Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Conversation with Comic Book and Graphic Novel Writer Jason Aaron About Storytelling, "Southern Bastards", and the South

In my best NPR fundraising voice, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to the June fundraiser to support The Chauncey DeVega Show and my other projects. We are making progress towards the goal and because of some very kind donors are now almost there.

There have been some very nice acts of generosity and kindness to get the fundraiser to this goal. So appreciated. Thank you emails are forthcoming. If you can and are willing--and have the means to do so--any donation into the virtual collection plate that can be found via the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen would be very much appreciated.


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Jason Aaron is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. Jason is the writer of such great comic book and graphic novel series as Star WarsThorSouthern Bastards, and The Goddamned. Jason has also written The Punisher as well as Scalped.

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Jason and Chauncey discuss their love of graphic novels and comic books, rejection of religion, reflect on personal codes of honor and masculinity, and of course the greatness that is Star Wars. Jason and Chauncey also talk about "Southern culture" and identity, the Confederate flag, "diversity" and "representation" in comic books and graphic novels, as well as creating authentic stories and real characters.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega explains how the Republican Party's so-called "healthcare" bill in the Senate is actually a way to kill those Americans they view as "useless eaters", corporate news media malpractice, and how the Georgia special election reveals the likelihood that Trump will win another term as president in 2020. Chauncey also reviews the amazing and powerful new film Okja which he saw at an early screening last week.


At the end of this week's episode of the podcast, Chauncey explains how the Republican Party is comprised of political sociopaths and cannibals like the notorious Albert Fish who want to eat poor and working class people in order to given rich people more money. 

This episode with Jason Aaron can be downloaded from Libysn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

The Chauncey DeVega Show can now be found on iHeartRadio.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Steve Scalise May Have Been a Victim of Political Violence But That In No Way Excuses Away His Bigotry

In my best NPR fundraising voice, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to the June fundraiser to support The Chauncey DeVega Show and my other projects. We are making progress towards the goal and because of some very kind donors are now 95 percent of the way there. 

There have been some very nice acts of generosity and kindness to get the fundraiser to this goal. So appreciated. Thank you emails are forthcoming. If you can and are willing--and have the means to do so--any donation into the virtual collection plate that can be found via the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen would be very much appreciated.

****

The universe has a logic all its own.

Last Wednesday in an act of politically motivated violence, James Hodgkinson targeted a group of Republican politicians at baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, using a high-powered rifle.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House majority whip, was severely injured by Hodgkinson’s bullets. He was in critical condition for several days in a Washington-area hospital, but he is now in fair condition. It appears that he will recover. Two U.S. Capitol police officers on special detail to protect Scalise were also struck by Hodgkinson’s fusillade. Undeterred, David Bailey and Crystal Griner returned fire and killed the gunman. They likely saved Scalise’s life, as well as those of other people present there that day.

David Bailey is a black man.

Crystal Griner is a black lesbian.

Steve Scalise is a white Republican man. He has also long been associated with racist movements and causes. As reported by Salon, in 2002 Scalise was an honored guest at a meeting of a white supremacist group founded by David Duke. Scalise reportedly went so far as to describe himself as being like “David Duke, without the baggage.” He eventually offered a tepid, obligatory apology for attending the conference.

Steve Scalise is also a bigot who does not believe that lesbians and gays should have full rights and equal citizenship in America. As the Washington Blade recently reported, “Scalise has built over the course [of] his tenure in Congress since 2008 among the most anti-LGBT reputations of any lawmaker.” The Blade further detailed:
Earning a “0” on the Human Rights Campaign’s congressional scorecard, Scalise voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and hate crimes protection legislation. In the last Congress, Scalise was among the 130 co-sponsors of the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal “religious freedom” bill seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination. 
As a member of House Republican leadership, he’s responsible for the lack of votes on pro-LGBT legislation on the House floor. When Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced an amendment upholding President Obama’s 2014 executive order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, Scalise was reportedly among House leaders who convinced seven Republicans to switch their votes to ensure the measure would fail. 
When a federal judge upheld Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage as constitutional in 2014, Scalise hailed the decision during an appearance on the anti-LGBT Family Research Council’s radio program as “an important win for marriage.”
Some observers have argued that highlighting such facts is inappropriate, mean, untoward or overly insensitive behavior toward a man who is lying in a hospital bed, trying to recover from life-threatening injuries. Others say that Scalise’s voting record is irrelevant and the focus should instead be on healing the country’s rancorous political atmosphere. Many of these same voices, I would suggest, ignore how this situation has been caused almost exclusively by Donald Trump, the Republican Party and the right-wing media. And undoubtedly some observers would rather avoid the inconvenient facts about Scalise’s personal politics, throwing them down the memory hole, as though his injuries and baptism by fire offer some type of absolution.

These objections are misguided.

In a democracy, questions about how elected officials view the public — and their obligations as well as relationship to them — are always relevant. Policymakers do not operate in a vacuum; their actions and decisions have real-life implications. Values such as empathy, sympathy and respect for human dignity ought to be central to proper governance and its goal of crafting a more just and good society. In the aftermath of a crisis or another challenge, these questions become more important, not less so.

As he recovers from his injuries, will Steve Scalise experience a grand epiphany about his beliefs and how they hurt people like David Bailey and Crystal Griner, as well as their families and their broader communities?

Will the Republican Party and its leadership reflect on how David Bailey and Crystal Griner risked their lives to save Steve Scalise and his colleagues and reject the racism and other types of bigotry that drive their party’s agenda?

The answer to both these questions is most likely no.

Conservatives do not practice systems-level thinking. Modern conservatism is also extremely anti-intellectual. As a movement, today’s version of American conservatism — as well as the Republican Party — is divorced from reality and drunk on conspiracy theories and other hallucinogenic beliefs. This nurtures a willful blindness to how macro-level political decisions about public policy actually affect individual people on a day-to-day basis.

In addition, today’s Republican Party could be called sociopathic. American conservatism has become increasingly authoritarian and tribal. Consequently, its followers have little if any sense of linked fate and empathy with those they consider “the other,” including people of color, gays and lesbians, the poor or Muslims.

Ultimately, this is not an after-school TV special from the 1980s where the racist or bigot realizes the error in his ways and becomes a changed person because a stranger came to his aid. Steve Scalise, like other white conservatives, may have affection for an individual black person or perhaps feel love for LGBT children and family members, while still maintaining deep animus and hostility toward both black people and gay people collectively.

After the shooting in Alexandria, President Donald Trump issued a statement where he proclaimed, “We are strongest when we are unified.” Those words should turn into ashes in his mouth.

Given the politics of Trump and the Republican Party, that “we” cannot possibly be read as including black people, immigrants and gays and lesbians. Trump’s comments serve as a neat summary of how the American right wing is willing to weaponize the Alexandria shooting to serve its own narrow, divisive and dangerous goals.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Mad King Donald Trump's Court of Sycophants

In my best NPR fundraising voice, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to the June fundraiser to support The Chauncey DeVega Show and my other projects. We are making progress towards the goal and because of some very kind donors are now 85 percent of the way there. It is the beginning of the third week of the fundraiser and we need a push to get over the finish line. If you can and are willing--and have the means to do so--any donation into the virtual collection plate that can be found via the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen would be very much appreciated.

****

On Monday, June 12, the 143rd day of his presidency, Donald Trump convened his first meeting with all his Cabinet members. As they sat in the West Wing of the White House, Trump first complimented himself before asking them to praise his accomplishments as president.

Trump’s Cabinet members dutifully responded, one by one. But White House chief of staff Reince Priebus’ groveling was perhaps the most pathetic: “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people. And we’re continuing to work every day to accomplish those goals.”

This is not funny. This is not normal.

Trump is vainglorious, a personality trait that can be compelling for a character in a Shakespearean tragedy or a Greek play, but disastrous when channeled by the leader of a country.

Trump’s actions last Monday are but one more reminder that he is a plutocratic authoritarian with no regard or respect for basic norms of democracy or human decency. He leads a cult of personality whose members will not abandon him; he is backed by a political party that worships power and will abandon American democracy in order to advance its goals.

And Trump has repeatedly shown that loyalty to him should supersede loyalty to the Constitution. As such, it appears more likely than not that Trump committed impeachable offenses when he potentially obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey for refusing to stop an investigation of whether Trump’s inner circle had been infiltrated by Russian agents.

An independent judiciary and a democracy where the branches of government are separate from one another is a dire threat to an autocrat who wants unlimited power.

If so empowered, Donald Trump would rename the calendar in his name. Like any other petty dictator, he would festoon himself with medals and ribbons for imagined feats of bravery and strength. He would also order his own personal state-sponsored media in the form of Fox News, Infowars and Breitbart to play an endless loop of footage highlighting the Great Leader’s wondrous abilities and all the ways he is a gift to the American people and the world. There would be military parades at home and spectacles of violence abroad to distract the public from the country’s problems.

In the near-daily tsunamis of lies, cruelty, rumors, obfuscation and political theater that surrounds Trump’s administration, there are important developments that the American people and news media often do not fully appreciate. This is understandable given that one of the primary tactics of an authoritarian is to bend reality to his or her will and by doing so to confuse the public so it is less able to resist.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Conversation with Barry Blaustein About "Beyond the Mat", Professional Wrestling, Donald Trump, and Eddie Murphy

The Chauncey DeVega Show is a labor of love. It is also very time intensive. Each weekly episode takes an average of 7 hours to produce. Twice a year--once in June and once in December--I push out the old begging bowl in the form of an online fundraiser to support the podcast and my other projects. If you value the podcast as well as my writing--and are able--please click on the right hand side of the screen at chaunceydevega.com on the Paypal link and throw in some silver, gold, pennies or paper. The monies will go towards the video podcast series that I am still developing (it is more expensive than I originally thought) and to help finance an additional project that is in its early stages.

The Chauncey DeVega Show has featured some amazing guests including Van Jones, Timothy Snyder, Sheldon Solomon, Bandy Lee, Tim Wise, Cornell Belcher, Malcolm Nance, Naveed Jamali, Philip Zimbardo and so many others as part of my effort to help the public understand the threat to American democracy and the world posed by Donald Trump and his regime. I have received a good number of offers to advertise on the podcast as well as on my site Indomitable but have always refused them. I can do this in part because of the kind donations that good folks such as yourself offer up during the twice a year fundraiser. I set a fixed amount for the fundraisers in June and December and then conclude them once that goal is reached. We are about 65 percent of the way there. With some kind donations from just a few of the many thousands of people who listen to each podcast episode and read my essays online each month, I hope we can reach our goal. 


****

Writer, movie producer, and director Barry Blaustein is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. Barry is the writer of such classic comedies as Coming to America, The Nutty Professor, and Boomerang. Barry also helped to write Eddie Murphy's legendary skits on the TV show Saturday Night Live. And of course, Barry Blaustein narrated and produced the amazing documentary about professional wrestling Beyond the Mat

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Barry and Chauncey discuss their shared love of professional wrestling, how Donald Trump is a performance artist, how he made Beyond the Mat, what it was like trying to tell the true life behind the scenes stories of the (then) World Wrestling Federation, talk about Jake "the Snake" Roberts, and some of the "good" and "bad" things about professional wrestling today. Barry also shares some stories about working with and writing for Eddie Murphy as well as the challenge of being creative for a living. 

Jared Yates Sexton is also a guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a journalist and writer who has extensively covered Donald Trump's campaign and now presidency. This is the third time that Jared has stopped by the virtual bar and salon and he has some great stories to tell about how Trump and the Right-wing media are causing violence and other problems within families and communities, offers some thoughts about Trump and the Russia scandal, and ponders how Trump's regime may end. Jared also loves professional wrestling, so of course, he and Chauncey have to talk about the WWE and Brock Lesnar's upcoming battle with Samoa Joe. 

In this week's episode Chauncey DeVega shares some insights about a crazy week that included an attack on a Republican congressional baseball game in Alexandria, violence by conservatives against Democrats, liberals, and their other enemies, and how a racist thug cop got away with the de facto lynching of Philando Castile. 

At the end of this week's episode of the podcast, Chauncey shares a story about gun violence and other foolishness at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants in Chicago. 

This episode with Barry Blaustein and Jared Yates Sexton can be downloaded from Libysn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

The Chauncey DeVega Show can now be found on iHeartRadio.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Don't be tricked by the Republican Party's and the Right-wing hate media's hypocrisy after the Alexandria shootings

In my best NPR fundraising voice, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to the June fundraiser to support The Chauncey DeVega Show and my other projects. We are making progress towards the goal and because of some very kind donors are now 65 percent of the way there. It is the end of the second week of the fundraiser and we need a push to get over the finish line. If you can and are willing--and have the means to do so--any donation into the virtual collection plate that can be found via the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen would be very much appreciated.

****

How exceptional is America? We are reminded once again that political violence is part of our national creed and culture and not just something that happens “over there” in distant developing countries or failed states.

On Wednesday during practice for the annual congressional baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, a gunman opened fire and injured five people, including Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican.

The alleged gunman — who was killed by police at the scene — is James Hodgkinson, 66, from Belleville, Illinois. He is reported to have volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016. The alleged shooter also has a criminal record that includes charges of domestic violence. On social media and in public, Hodgkinson was also highly critical of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Immediately after the shooting, Sanders issued a statement and spoke on the Senate floor, disavowing Hodgkinson’s actions and condemning political violence.

In the aftermath of a horrible event such as today’s shooting in Alexandria, it is easy to focus on the singular act, as opposed to the broader context within which it took place.

President Trump is a plutocratic authoritarian whose leadership style and personal brand are centered upon violent, predatory masculinity. Such behavior by a president helps set the mood for a nation.

Trump has encouraged political violence against his opponents. During his presidential campaign he routinely told his supporters to beat up political protesters. Trump even promised to pay the legal fees of his foot soldiers, whom he told to attack protesters so that they would have to be “carried out on stretchers.” He has bragged about being so popular with his voters that he could shoot someone dead in the street and not go to jail for it. He went to far as suggest that if Hillary Clinton won the presidential election, armed insurrection against her administration might be necessary. Donald Trump was endorsed by right-wing terrorist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan.

In response to the shocking (but not especially surprising) events in Alexandria, there will be obligatory calls for “unity” and “national healing.” To fulfill that script, phrases such as “both sides do it” and other examples of lazy thinking and false equivalency will dominate the mainstream public discourse.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Donald Trump Gave America a Political Concussion--James Comey's Testimony Did Little to Alleviate It

In my best NPR fundraising voice, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to the June fundraiser to support The Chauncey DeVega Show and my other projects. We are making progress towards the goal and because of some very kind donors are now 50 percent of the way there. If you can and are willing--and have the means to do so--any donation into the virtual collection plate that can be found via the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen would be very much appreciated.

****

Boxing is a beautiful, dangerous and violent sport. Two participants beat each other about the head and the body until one of them quits, is knocked out or the referee declares a winner. The boxing ring is also a crucible where a person’s essential character is laid bare for all to see. While a boxer is being hit he often does not feel the pain at that moment. Adrenaline, muscle memory and training have made him numb. It is after the fight — and in the months and years to come — when the damage is experienced most acutely and the physical abuse takes its cumulative toll.

Politics is a blood sport as well. Its traumas are different in character but just as real.

Since Donald Trump’s election last year, many millions of Americans have been suffering from a political concussion. Trump’s authoritarian politics, disregard for democracy, his cruelty, repeated scandals, serial lies and apparent encouragement of a foreign power’s interference in our politics — along with a Republican Party and a right-wing media that are determined to protect him from any consequences for his misdeeds — are repeated blows to the body politic.

In most other circumstances any one of these transgressions by an American president would dominate the news. But less than five months into Trump’s administration, this swirl of malevolent chaos and willful incompetence is a new type of normal. The sum effect is that the American people are dismayed, confused, angry and disoriented.

Thursday’s much-anticipated testimony by former FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee did little to alleviate this state of affairs. Comey explained how Trump had pressured him in private to stop his investigation of Michael Flynn, the now-disgraced national security adviser and possible Russian operative. Like a Mafia boss, Trump also demanded Comey’s personal loyalty. When the director did not act the way that Trump desired, he was summarily fired.

Comey found Trump’s behavior so inappropriate that he began documenting their encounters. In the best-case scenario, Trump’s behavior demonstrates a brazen disregard for the norms of American democracy. In the worst-case scenario, Trump’s behavior constitutes obstruction of justice and what could potentially be an impeachable offense.

And Comey refused to confirm that the president of the United States would not come under active investigation in the future for possible colluding with Russia to undermine and interfere in the 2016 election to his advantage. Likely because of concern about revealing secret intelligence information or tactics, Comey would also not publicly confirm the contents of the “Steele dossier,” which is purported to contain salacious information that the Russians or another foreign power could use to blackmail Donald Trump.

Comey plainly and directly told the committee, however, that Donald Trump is a liar who did not tell the truth about Comey’s standing and tenure as at the FBI.

For people who already understand that Trump is an existential threat to American democracy who abuses his power, likely obstructed justice and seems to be under Vladimir Putin’s spell — perhaps working from the White House to advance the interests of the Kremlin rather than those of the United States — Comey’s testimony is further validation of what they already know.

For the Republicans who are in a de facto political suicide pact with Trump and for the president’s core supporters who still view him as their personal avatar and savior, Comey’s testimony will be distorted and selectively processed to validate their devotion and support.

Ultimately, Donald Trump, the Republican Party and their voters will go about their business undaunted as they work to make the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans worse by destroying the social safety net, poisoning the environment and taking away health care, food, shelter, medicine and schooling from the most vulnerable members of society.

In his book “The Fight,” Norman Mailer made the following observation: “Maybe all illness results from a failure of communication between mind and body. It is certainly true of such quick disease as a knockout.”

One of the cruel ironies of boxing is that being knocked out can also offer a type of relief. The punches have stopped. You put in a good fight. The referee’s count and the bell signaling the end of the contest means that the torment can finally end.

Donald Trump has so far avoided such a moment. Unfortunately, while testifying on Thursday James Comey did not land a devastating blow that left Trump writhing on the mat.

But the fight against Donald Trump is in the early rounds. He has been bloodied but shows no sign of quitting. The American people have suffered far worse injuries. They are punch-drunk but are slowly beginning to regain their senses. The question remains: Whose will is stronger? If there is no clear knockout, how will the judges score the fight — and did Donald Trump already buy them off before the opening bell rang?

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Conversation with Tim Wise about White Privilege and White Identity Politics in the Age of Donald Trump

The Chauncey DeVega Show is a labor of love. It is also very time intensive. Each weekly episode takes an average of 7 hours to produce. Twice a year--once in June and once in December--I push out the old begging bowl in the form of an online fundraiser to support the podcast and my other projects. If you value the podcast as well as my writing--and are able--please click on the right hand side of the screen at chaunceydevega.com on the Paypal link and throw in some silver, gold, pennies or paper. The monies will go towards the video podcast series that I am still developing (it is more expensive than I originally thought) and to help finance an additional project that is in its early stages.

The Chauncey DeVega Show has featured some amazing guests including Van Jones, Timothy Snyder, Sheldon Solomon, Bandy Lee, Tim Wise, Cornell Belcher, Malcolm Nance, Naveed Jamali, Philip Zimbardo and so many others as part of my effort to help the public understand the threat to American democracy and the world posed by Donald Trump and his regime. I have received a good number of offers to advertise on the podcast as well as on my site Indomitable but have always refused them. I can do this in part because of the kind donations that good folks such as yourself offer up during the twice a year fundraiser. I set a fixed amount for the fundraisers in June and December and then conclude them once that goal is reached. We are one third of the way there. With some kind donations from just a few of the many thousands of people who listen to each podcast episode and read my essays online each month, I hope that we can reach this goal very quickly.

****

Anti-racism activist, author, and scholar Tim Wise is the guest on this week's edition of The Chauncey DeVega Show. Tim Wise is the author of numerous books including his most recent Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America. He is also the subject of a great new documentary called White Like Me.

This is the third time that Tim has stopped by the virtual bar and salon--and our first conversation since the election of Donald Trump.

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Tim and Chauncey discuss what Trump's election reveals about white identity politics, the resurgence of "white nationalism" as something "respectable" under Trump's regime, questions of empathy (or not) for Trump's "white working class" voters and the white backlash to Barack Obama.

Maya Rupert is also a guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. She is the author of a great new essay at The Atlantic about questions of race, gender, and representation in the new Wonder Woman movie. Maya and Chauncey offer their thoughts about Wonder Woman, share some concerns and hopes about the broader DC film universe, and do a little script doctoring along the way.

In this week's episode Chauncey DeVega shares some insights about James Comey's testimony before the Senate and wonders if this is all just an episode of the Scooby-Doo cartoon. Chauncey also shares some new research that further demonstrates the power of racism and nativism and bigotry among Trump's "white working class" voters. At the end of this week's episode of the podcast, Chauncey also asks the listeners for advice about reconnecting with some relatives he hasn't spoken to in almost two decades.

This episode with Tim Wise and Maya Rupert can be downloaded from Libysn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

The Chauncey DeVega Show can now be found on iHeartRadio.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Donald Trump's Voters Mostly Were Not the "White Working Class"

In my best NPR fundraising voice, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to the June fundraiser to support The Chauncey DeVega Show and my other projects. We are making progress towards the goal and are 25 percent of the way there. A few kind donations will put a great dent in that remaining amount. If you can and are willing--and have the means to do so--any donation into the virtual collection plate that can be found via the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen would be very much appreciated.

****

The 2016 presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton gave birth to many narratives that were (and remain) very much in search of facts.

The corporate news media believed (or claimed to) that Trump would eventually normalize his behavior and become “presidential.” This did not happen during the campaign. Nor did such a transformation take place upon his inauguration.

Trump was also supposed to “pivot” in order to expand his base of support among the American people. He was also supposed to moderate his behavior in order to win over more “centrist” Republicans. Instead, Trump is focusing entirely on his core supporters and has no interest in winning over other Americans. The Republican Party’s leaders and representatives largely support Donald Trump’s agenda. They have made a political suicide pact with him.

There were voices within the American corporate news media that argued that Donald Trump’s election supposedly represented a populist “uprising.” In reality, Trump won because of a statistical fluke and low-voter turnout. This dynamic was aided and abetted by foreign interference from President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his spies.

Many in the mainstream news media said that fears about Donald Trump as a potential fascist or authoritarian were paranoid and exaggerated, perhaps evidence of some type of derangement.” They believed that America was a democracy with strong and enduring political institutions that would prevent such a poisonous plant from taking hold and blossoming. Donald Trump’s personal behavior and public policies have proved them wrong. He is a plutocratic authoritarian.

And of course there was the narrative that Donald Trump’s success in the Republican primaries and eventual victory over the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, were fueled by “economic anxiety” on the part of the “white working class.”

This is a zombie idea that needs to die. As I have repeatedly shown in a series of essays and interviews, public opinion and other research clearly indicates that it was a combination of white racial resentment, old-fashioned racism and sexism as opposed to some vague type of “economic insecurity” that motivated Trump’s voters.

New polling data from the American National Election Study has provided even more ammunition to finally kill off this argument. As detailed by Nicholas Carnes and Noam Lupu of The Washington Post, the white working-class comprised only 25 percent of his voters:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It's Always Great When Two Guests Who Have Appeared on The Chauncey DeVega Show are Quoted in The Washington Post

Today's Washington Post has a great summary of the ongoing madness and chaos that is Donald Trump's regime. It is also nice to see two guests who have appeared on The Chauncey DeVega Show quoted in the piece:
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history at New York University who writes extensively on authoritarianism and Italian fascism, told me that a discernible trait of authoritarian and autocratic rulers is ongoing “frustration” with the “inability to make others do their bidding” and with “institutional and bureaucratic procedures and checks and balances.” 
“Trump doesn’t respect democratic procedure and finds it to be something that gets in his way,” Ben-Ghiat said. “The blaming of others is very typical of autocrats, because they have difficulty listening to a reality that doesn’t coincide with their version of it. It’s part of the authoritarian temperament to blame others when things aren’t working.” 
Trump expects independent officials “to behave according to personal loyalty, as opposed to following the rules,” added Timothy Snyder, a history professor at Yale University who wrote “On Tyranny,” a book of lessons from the 20th century. “For Trump, that is how the world is supposed to work. Trump doesn’t understand that in the world there might truly be laws and rules that constrain a leader.” 
Snyder noted that authoritarian tendencies often go hand in hand with impatience at such constraints. “You have to have morality and a set of institutions that escape the normal balance of administrative practice,” Snyder said. “You have to be able to lie all the time. You have to have people around you who tell you how wonderful you are all the time. You have to have institutions which don’t follow the law and instead follow some kind of law of loyalty.”
We are doing some good things on the show and have had some amazing guests who are leading the national conversation in this moment of crisis.

In my best NPR fundraising voice, I would like to thank all of you who have donated to the June fundraiser to support The Chauncey DeVega Show. We still have a very long way to go. If you can and are willing and have the means to do so any donation into the virtual donation pile that can be found via the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen would be very much appreciated.

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Conversation with Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat about Authoritarianism and Donald Trump's Violent Predatory Masculinity

The Chauncey DeVega Show is a labor of love. It is also very time intensive. Each weekly episode takes an average of 7 hours to produce. Twice a year--once in June and once in December--I push out the old begging bowl in the form of an online fundraiser to support the podcast and my other projects. If you value the podcast as well as my writing--and are able--please click on the right hand side of the screen at chaunceydevega.com on the Paypal link and throw in some silver, gold, pennies or paper. The monies will go towards the video podcast series that I am still developing (it is more expensive than I originally thought) and to help finance an additional project that is in its early stages.

The Chauncey DeVega Show has featured some amazing guests including Van Jones, Timothy Snyder, Sheldon Solomon, Bandy Lee, Cornell Belcher, Malcolm Nance, Naveed Jamali, Philip Zimbardo and so many others as part of my effort to help the public understand the threat to American democracy and the world posed by Donald Trump and his regime. I have received a good number of offers to advertise on the podcast as well as on my site Indomitable but have always refused them. I can do this in part because of the kind donations that good folks such as yourself offer up during the twice a year fundraiser. I set a fixed amount for the fundraisers in June and December and then conclude them once that goal is reached. With some kind donations from just a few of the many thousands of people who listen to each podcast episode and read my essays online each month, I hope that we can reach this goal very quickly.

****

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. She is a historian at New York University who specializes in authoritarianism, aesthetics, cultural politics, and Italian history. She is the author of numerous books including an upcoming project on authoritarianism and political strongmen. Ben-Ghiat is also a regular contributor to CNN, The Atlantic, and The Huffington Post.

During this week's show, Professor Ben-Ghiat and Chauncey discuss Donald Trump's rise to power, authoritarianism and American politics, the global color line, masculinity, and how violence is a central component of Donald Trump's appeal for his voters.

In this week's episode Chauncey DeVega offers some thoughts on the recent white supremacist murders in Portland as well as Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Chauncey also gives out a special prize for the "prank monkeys" who fell for Trump's "covfefe" foolishness. For this special fundraising episode of the podcast Chauncey responds to some listeners' and readers' questions about white privilege and white supremacy as well as how best to resist Trump's fascist foot soldiers. Chauncey also has fun reading hate mail from a white supremacist.

This episode with Ruth Ben-Ghiat can be downloaded from Libysn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

The Chauncey DeVega Show can now be found on iHeartRadio.