12.18.2016 10:50 AM

Trump Virus: NYC, a friend, a book

A friend from my Calgary law school now lives in New York City with her family. She posted the words below last night. 

Facebook leaves a little white rectangle to respond to what people put up, but I found myself lacking any useful words. Since November, this sort of thing has been happening over and over, and all over. But I truly didn’t know what to say to my law school colleague. This was someone I knew, and that changed my perspective. (As did this, a few weeks earlier.)

Since November – when Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump, but lost – my world view has dramatically, dramatically changed. I no longer subscribe to that old political cliché, that “the people are always right.” They clearly aren’t. With Brexit in the Summer, and Trump in the Fall, the people are wrong, now, all the time. 

I no longer believe in the inherent goodness, and common sense, of everyday people. I now believe a surprising number of them are racist idiots. They’re fools. 

I no longer believe that democracy is the least-imperfect of the various imperfect systems out there. It is more than imperfect: it is a fetid, stinking mess. It needs fixing, but I don’t know how, or with what. 

I no longer believe that war is improbable, for those of us in the Americas and Europe. With Trump, I now believe war is almost inevitable. He’s already fomenting conflict with China, and he isn’t even president, for the love of God. When he is president, things will get far, far worse. Count on it. 

Anyway. In the little white Facebook rectangle, I thumbed out a few words to my friend, but they seemed (and seem) wholly inadequate. More needs to be said and done. But what?

So, I am doing one of the few things I know how to do: I am writing a book about the new world disorder. Two publishers are looking at my proposal. A prominent filmmaker is considering a documentary. I will let you know how it works out. 

In the meantime, all of us need to be pushing back against what my law school friend experienced. We need to fight it. To remain silent, as they say, is to be complicit. 


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    dean sherratt says:

    New York City is about the most unlikely place to run across a Trump partisan yet surprisingly has about as many rude and obnoxious people as many other large cities…Nothing in the post suggests the rude person was anything other than an eye-rolling New Yorker. Is there more to the story than was is offered?

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    Kevin says:

    Disgusting and discouraging for sure.

    But here’s a rhetorical question: If the Israelites had thrown up their hands in despair and done nothing, would Pharaoh’s army ever have been drowned?

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      uh. OK. Here’s a ‘historical’ analogy for you. If Frodo had given up in Shelob’s Lair, would the Dark Lord not have been victorious?

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        Kevin says:

        Allow me to explain for you. People used to use stories to make a point. These days we just use hoary cliches. So instead of saying “God helps those who help themselves” or “Ask and you shall receive”, I used a colourful old story to make the same point. There are still cultures that speak that way, too bad we’ve lost that IMO.

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        bluegreenblogger says:

        great, and then the world would be submerged in cabbages and ‘taters.

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    Ron says:

    I am betrothed to laughter, the sound of which has always seemed to me the most civilized music in the universe.

    ~ Peter Ustinov


    Haaaaappy thoughts … and perseverance.

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    redraven says:

    Tomlin’s Law: No matter how cynical you are, it’s never enough to keep up.

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    redraven says:

    something else that makes people really angry and willing to vote for any wingnut that comes along. the minister for status of women just spent 1.2 million dollars renovating her office. are you kidding me? in almost 2017? that’
    s where the frustration lies. that kind of hubris and arrogance is what makes ordinary citizens want to throw political parties and their members off the nearest bridge and I’ll be glad to help push them off.

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    BillBC says:

    I won’t comment on your cri du coeur…I don’t know the future, so you may be right. One thing though: the Chinese don’t need to go to war; they could devastate the US by calling in their loans, couldn’t they?

    What interests me is the lady who got the hate stare on the bus. What brought it on? Did she look like a liberal, whatever that look is? Was she wearing a Down With Trump sticker? Lots of haters around before Trump. What caused this?

    Good luck with the book. I imagine you will face a lot of competition…

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      ottawacon says:

      The Chinese have basically no capacity to ‘call in the loans’. The debt is basically all Treasury bills, the Chinese (public and private) are one of the world’s largest holder of Treasury securities. Unless they are in default, there is no way to call them in. All they could do is sell them into the market and/or take themselves out of the bidding for new issuances.

      If they sell into the market recklessly, they push down the price of existing debt. Not great, but nothing too terrible. If you imagined them doing that in a short time frame, the likely effect would be other investors would be have their portfolios hurt, but would also have the opportunity to buy what would remain the safest security in the world at a cut-rate. Meanwhile, China would have to figure out what to do with an enormous amount of capital (even after they took a valuation hit) that would not cause massive inflation in their own economy. Moving into any other bond market in the world would push that market’s interest rates down.

      Conversely, if they shut off participation in US bond markets going forward, Treasury would get less auction value for face value – essentially pushing up interest rates. That might squeeze the US Government a little, but keep in mind that the Federal Reserve is already doing that anyway. If the Chinese want to do that for the Fed, they are probably welcome right now.

      In the end, the effect would probably not be good in a world with too much turmoil already, but China would likely be the biggest loser. US and Chinese interests are joined at the hip for now.

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      If China sells off their TBills and Bonds, the price for all TBills and bonds will drop. Since the price is the interest rate it yields, there are limits to how far that will go, as it happens in a market with other paper being bought and sold too. Every bond they sold would push the value of the millions of bonds they still owned down a tad. Now, if they really wanted to, they could sell a LOT of bonds, and pretty near destroy the market for US Debt. But then, all the work they did for 25 years, accumulating all that papar would be gone, as the value of that paper holding melted away. Their own banking system would be stuck with a $trillion in degraded paper, and not enough reserves to keep afloat. I recall an old saying, ‘If you borrow a little, then the Bank owns you. If you borrow a LOT, then You own the Bank. China lent America close to $2trillion. My guess is they are hoping to get it back one day.

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    dave constable says:

    I’m pretty sure that Obama and his assorted secretaries of state and their associates are the ones doing the USA military build up close to China. I also thought it was the Clinton campaign that though this threatening of China a good policy to continue. The same regime has a military build going on along Russia’s western borders after changing the government in Kiev to something they and NATO have always been aiming for.
    Like us up here in Canada’s empty vastness, USA has an electoral system put together in the 18th Century. They show no signs of adopting a system that more accurately reflects the views of the people, – just as here, we have those in power doing what they can to cling to a system that skews the views and will of the people.
    It isn’t their voters that erred, it’s their system that is designed to ‘check’ democracy. Seems odd to blame democracy for what a rickety system produces.

    We still have a fair number of people and organizations who work to mitigate the bigotry and racism we live with, both in Canada and USA. I agree, though, it would help if politicians and media would reach for truth rather than power and wealth when they talk to us.

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    redraven says:

    When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression

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    Kevin Laddle says:

    Tomorrow (Monday) is going to be a fateful day. All the peace, progress and prosperity gained since WW2 will be out the window of Drumpf is allowed to become president. The electoral college cannot — they must not — let this psychopathic Russian-controlled fascist attain power.

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      dave constable says:

      I agree with your sentiment…but the Russian part? The arguments I have read saying it was an insider leak seem to me to have more substance than the wall to wall allegations with no substance to back them up.

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    torontonian says:

    I am deeply pessimistic. I believe we that we are about to see things that we never thought we would see in our lifetimes. They will almost certainly include restrictions on civil liberties in the US, applauded by majorities, or at least by large minorities. They may include nuclear war. Things will get worse before they get better. A part of me is glad that I’m about to enter my seventh decade and I don’t have any children.

    The old liberal idea that history is the story of progress will be thoroughly debunked. (It should have been debunked by the Second World War, but we held on to it in North America because we convinced ourselves that we were different.)

    And yet. We can’t give up on the idea of democracy, as tempting as it may seem to do so. If we do, the Trumpists have won. They abandoned democracy a long time ago. Do we want to be like them?

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      dave constable says:

      Seventh decade is disillusioning. I’m in the middle of my eighth decade, and its’ really tough trying to convince the younger crowd that we now have wisdom. It’s really, really tough.

      People have been okay with Bush 43’s shredding of their constitution, his wars, his arbitrary detention sand torture centres, and of Obama’s continuation of the same, letting war criminals go, keeping Gitmo and such going, nailing more whistle blowers than all other presidents put together, drone murders in almost a dozen countries, bail out with public moneys of capitalist banks and health insurance companies, overthrowing elected governments, increased surveillance of everyone, wars and threats of wars…and no congress to stop the executive.
      So now, all those powers go to Trump, – and his generals and billionaires cabinet.

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    Philip says:

    I read this and felt saddened. There is a Chinese curse/proverb that talks of living in interesting times. Reading this, however, I was reminded of something that a young lady wrote decades ago during a time of oppression that cannot be imagined, even in these times.

    “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
    ~Anne Frank

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      Mike says:

      Two world wars in one generation, separated by an uninterrupted chain of local wars and revolutions, followed by no peace treaty for the vanquished and no respite for the victor, have ended in the anticipation of a third World War between the two remaining superpowers. This moment of anticipation is like the calm, that settles after all hopes have died . . . Under the most diverse conditions and disparate circumstances, we watch the development of the same phenomena — homelessness on an unprecedented scale, rootlessness to an unprecedented depth . . . Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest — forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.

      –Hannah Arendt, 1951

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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    I am reminded of “the five (or seven) stages of grief”, which collectively the liberal/left seem to be going through…


    There is a deep division manifesting within western societies. There are those who advocate, of late ever increasingly radically so, change merely for the sake of change, and thus too often failing to take time to consider the benefits/consequences of their actions. Conversely, there is a relatively equal share of the populace who are more conservative, with, as they say in Missouri, a “show me” approach, caution and deliberation being the order of the day.

    Any honest appraisal should conclude that the liberal/left have been driving the bus, so to speak, for a long, long time now. For decades they have quite literally brow beaten opposition to the methods and rationale into submission. They’ve rewritten the rule book as they’ve proceeded to move their agenda, most notably with imposition of a paradigm of “political correctness” that effectively became the means of censorship of non-conformity to their (often, and increasingly so, Utopian) idealism.

    A veritable bellwether of society is what’s happening in our universities. During and especially following this election, everything conceivable short of actual soothers was handed out to “traumatized” students, almost literally wetting their pants at the mere mention of Trump! Outright persecution of those not toeing the liberal/left mantra was rampant! Everywhere! Contrarian debate banned altogether! And if not immediately, riots verging on violence drove home their demands, to which managers of these institutions relented without so much as a whimper, certainly not proffering any defense of rights to speech and an healthy involvement in political discourse.

    Even so-called “conservatives” have in large part succumbed to the intimidation; witness the vacuum of leadership willing to buck these imposed paradigms among Canada’s center right! And God help the one that might dig in his/her heels on the issue of climate change!!! The left, assisted by usual suspects of the MSM, would have him/here summarily dragged into the streets and symbolically burned upon the stake of public opinion…all the while citing “science” as their righteous vindication!

    Trump, unlike so many within conservative ranks, refused to be intimidated. And thus, he was a breath of fresh air, and became the best available means by which millions could, with arguably just cause, poke their collective finger in the eye of the “system” that, by almost any measure, has failed so many.

    F’rinstance, how well have things gone under 8 years of Obama’s and the Democrats’ rule? (…pardon the source, but it’s worth a look/see.)


    It’s not the end of the world, but rather a time for a balancing of the scales. The proverbial pendulum swings…and it’s got a long, long way to go in the other direction to achieve that balance.

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      The Doctor says:

      I see. So when people are spray-painting swastikas on mosques and synagogues, it’s just a virtuous rebalancing of our political order.

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        dave constable says:

        Doctor, He may be right (I assume Al is a he).
        It’s okay to be politically incorrect again- like that 49er quarterback and that American female soccer star who take a knee when the American national anthem is played.

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        Al in Cranbrook says:

        That’s been going on for as long as I can remember. It’s the extreme exception, not the rule by any stretch. The implication, however, that the 50 some million who voted for Trump are somehow equatable with such extremism is, frankly, obnoxious nonsense! That said, when free speech is suppressed, for whatever reason, that kind of crap, right or left, doesn’t just go away; it merely goes underground…mostly to fester.
        ever will, get past that barrier.

        That’s the greatest danger now facing western democracies. The environment is ripe, particularly in Europe, for a backlash to the suppression of opinions/views/positions contrary to a predominantly left wing narrative and/or public policy that has become the all too common norm.

        people across the west, to put it bluntly, want their countries back; the versions they see before them now feel foreign. Right or wrong, that’s the reality of human nature…and narrow, one size fits all, ideologies never have, nor n

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          Al in Cranbrook says:

          Sorry about that, my computer is having issues lately with the mouse!

          Last line should read: A great many people across the west, to put it bluntly, want their countries back; the versions they see before them now feel foreign. Right or wrong, that’s the reality of human nature…and narrow, one size fits all, ideologies never have, nor never will, get past that barrier.

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            The Doctor says:

            I see. So when people are spray-painting swastikas on mosques and synagogues, it’s really the fault of poncey liberal elites who are suppressing free speech and letting too many dark-skinned foreigners in.

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    MF says:

    Come on…Trump been in NYC for years …born there no? I think unfounded hysteria is in the air. An 8 year old girl at a coffee shop told me the other day that “Trump is worse than Adolph Hitler”…wonder where she is hearing that.

    Remember the lead up to the war in Iraq in 2003? Now that was bad. Bush and Blair are still free men the last I heard.

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    Jon powers says:

    Look at this. A man trying to acquire slaves, right here in Ontario. At least the university took action and terminated his contract. Yet another example of the Trump Virus.

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    Frank says:

    Come ON, Warren! I love your columns, books and outlook on life but this: “…the people are wrong, now, all the time”, “…everyday people…..they’re fools”, “..democracy…is more than imperfect: it is a fetid, stinking mess”?

    I can appreciate your strength of feeling but slagging the people who voted they way they did? The unfortunate and tragic beauty/ugliness/frustration of democracy is that it doesn’t always work out they way WE want. When that happens we work harder, longer and with more conviction to understand people’s frustrations and hopes. Clinton, despite her public service, clearly did not do that and took much for granted but what’s to be done other than re-doubling our efforts over the next four years. I, for one, will not let my disappointment allow me to turn on my neighbours. Anyway, sorry for the lecture.

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