In Shakespeare’s home town, a house divided as the U.K. plunges unto the Brexit breach – The Washington Post

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England — Just over four centuries ago, the third-born child of a leather tradesman walked the streets of this medieval market town, nestled in the countryside of an enchantingly verdant island, and imagined stories set on a vast continent he would likely never see. 

Epic French battles. Illicit Italian love affairs. Brooding Danish princes. 

William Shakespeare, forever after known as England’s national poet, was obsessed with Europe. 

It’s an obsession that survives in Stratford-upon-Avon, where the men and women who tread daily in the Bard’s footsteps past half-timbered Tudors are fixated on their country’s imminent rupture from the European Union.

But is that break a historical triumph, or a tragedy?

This is my town; I live just outside of Stratford-upon-Avon. The Washington Post sent a journalist to wander around the town and get a few stock opinions about Brexit, and balance them in his article. It doesn’t say much that other articles about Brexit opinions say; and it includes some of the erroneous opinions of Brexiteers that you see repeated in the press here in the UK. It looks like they just wanted a hook to hang their article on, and found it in Stratford.

Two hours by train from London, or a five-day walk in Shakespeare’s era, Stratford is heavily reliant on tourists, giving it an international outlook and affluence unusual for provincial England.

And this is why the people who support Brexit in Stratford are mistaken. The town will suffer if tourists from the EU need visas to come here. Without tourists, and without the theater, this would be just a sleepy market town in the middle of an essentially rural area. Sigh.

Source: In Shakespeare’s home town, a house divided as the U.K. plunges unto the Brexit breach – The Washington Post

An American Tragedy – The New Yorker

“Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate but a resilient, intelligent, and competent leader, who never overcame her image among millions of voters as untrustworthy and entitled. Some of this was the result of her ingrown instinct for suspicion, developed over the years after one bogus ‘scandal’ after another. And yet, somehow, no matter how long and committed her earnest public service, she was less trusted than Trump, a flim-flam man who cheated his customers, investors, and contractors; a hollow man whose countless statements and behavior reflect a human being of dismal qualities–greedy, mendacious, and bigoted. His level of egotism is rarely exhibited outside of a clinical environment.”

Wise words from David Remnick.

Source: An American Tragedy – The New Yorker

Donald Trump’s childhood in Queens can explain his obsession with borders — Quartz

And Jamaica Estates, where Trump grew up, was an haven for the well-to-do and white, with a stone pillar entrance and imposing homes set back from the tree-lined streets north of Hillside Avenue.

That’s not at all true. There were parts of Jamaica Estates that were fairly wealthy – specifically the area where Trump Senior built his large house, after the family moved from their home on Avon Road – but it was essentially a middle-class neighborhood. It was a bit nicer than Hollis, which the author of this article describes; it has winding, tree-lined streets, but most of the houses weren’t that much bigger than in other neighborhoods.

Queens’ wide slashes of boulevards — Jamaica, Hillside, Union Turnpike — were not for crossing. They were for staying with your own.

Wrong again. First, Jamaica Estates ends on Hillside Avenue; that’s where I lived. A few blocks south is Jamaica Avenue, and that was a very different neighborhood. And Union Turnpike was no special kind of border. South of Union Turnpike is Jamaica Estates, and north of that avenue is Fresh Meadows. I had many friends who lived between Hillside Avenue and Union Turnpike, and the latter was where we hung out, where there was a bowling alley, pizzeria, and bagel bakery. It was far from a wealthy neighborhood.

In fact, what most people don’t say is that it was a very Jewish neighborhood. Most of my friends from the area were Jewish, and there were a number of Jewish centers in or around Jamaica Estates. If anything, the Trumps didn’t fit in.

The only part of the area that would really be closer to “wealthy” was the part to the east of 188th Street, called Terrace Heights. That is not part of Jamaica Estates, though I see that Google Maps says it is. That was (and perhaps still is) an area of larger houses, and tree-lined streets without sidewalks. That’s where the Cuomos lived.

No, don’t blame Jamaica Estates for Donald Trump.

Source: Donald Trump’s childhood in Queens can explain his obsession with borders — Quartz

Against Trump

“If Trump were to become the president, the Republican nominee, or even a failed candidate with strong conservative support, what would that say about conservatives?”

The National Review (a Conservative publication) launches an all-out salvo against Donald Trump. Because after welcoming him into their fold, in order to get attention, they realized that he is an idiot in wolf’s clothing.

John McCain is to blame for this. He’s the one that made it acceptable for a mainstream party to select someone on the presidential ticket so blatantly unqualified to hold any public office that it was laughable. Yet the Republicans just don’t see how bad things are. (And that same poor excuse for a once-politician has endorsed Trump…)

Though to be fair, the Conservative movement long fostered the type of hatred and divisiveness that Trump is now exploiting, through their support of obnoxious talk radio complainers and TV “news” anchors (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News), many of whom ranted about the same things that Trump is, offering the same populist solutions. Yet the Conservative movement never denounced those talking heads as not being true Conservatives, but rather embraced them, less for their ideas than for their ability to move the masses. (This is the same right-wing media that was happy to promote Trump’s paranoid-lunatic “birther” theories about Barack Obama.)

There’s something cult-like in the embrace of Conservatism in this series of articles from the National Review, with one author even talking about her “conversion” moment. This cult-like approach to politics makes it too easy to be drawn into groupthink, and they’re now seeing the result of their long strategy of attempting to sway the American people with such an approach. They indoctrinated the people with divisiveness and lies, and now, when someone comes along and exploits these same gullible people, they shudder in fear.

He presents himself as a Strong Man who promises to knock heads and make things right again. In this, he has a lot more in common with South American populist demagogues than with our tradition of political leaders.

But I suppose that’s the reason for his popularity. The middle-class consensus in America has collapsed. This is the most important political and social earthquake since World War II. The conservative movement’s leadership isn’t up to the challenge, and a good number of voters are willing to gamble on Trump’s bluster. Bad bet. Our nation’s solidarity is being tested. It will only make things worse if we go Trumpster diving.

Yes, the Republican party and the 1% – the Conservatives – have essentially eliminated the middle class in the United States, and this is the result. There is a lot of anger, and Trump is exploiting it.

I generally avoid politics on this site, but what’s happening in the US is simply beyond the pale. Trump is such a racist, his policies are so ridiculous, that it’s hard to think he isn’t a satire. (And this just after Jon Stewart retired from the Daily Show… I can’t help think there’s a connection between the two.)

But it’s probably too late. The Republicans will most likely nominate Trump (or, even worse, Ted Cruz), and hopefully get trounced in the general election, because the vast majority of Conservatives just aren’t stupid enough to vote for him. I hope.

Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.

This moment of clarity from the National Review doesn’t obscure the divisive, hate-filled articles about politics that fill their pages and their website. They realize the danger that is facing them, but perhaps it is too late.

Source: Donald Trump — Conservative Movement Shouldn’t Support Him