Posts tagged ‘trust’

“I Really Believe That When He Tells Me That…”

President DFF is being, well, a DFF as he goes about once again tarnishing our intelligence agencies and showing how truly stupid the man is. Of course I am referring to his comments about Putin’s claim of not interfering in our elections when the intelligence agencies have tons of data to show just exactly what they did do. We have tons of supportable data in the media to show exactly what they did including all the ad buys for Facebook and Twitter. But none of that matters because he has looked him in the eyes and can tell he, Putin, is insulted. Oh, where have we heard that or something very similar before? Wasn’t that George Bush?

I was at a party last night and someone who despairs this whole nightmare of President DFF and the Republicans was just despondent about this latest episode. I was not. I spent my after military service life as a lower level bureaucratic lackey serving the American public building and cleaning up things for the government. I know those people who work in the government well. Most are hard working, dedicated, and proud of what they do. President DFF just pissed off a whole bunch of people who probably have the goods on him. Here is from the Washington Post (WaPo):

On Saturday, Trump described the former top U.S. intelligence officials who concluded in January that the tampering took place — including former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and former CIA director John Brennan — as “political hacks.” He called former FBI director James B. Comey, who testified to Congress that Trump asked him to drop an investigation of his campaign’s connections to Russian officials, a “liar” and a “leaker.”

Clapper said in a statement that “the president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election. His own DNI and CIA director have confirmed the finding in the intelligence community assessment. The fact that he would take Putin at his word over the intelligence community is unconscionable.”

…Former CIA director Michael V. Hayden said he was so concerned by Trump’s statement that he contacted the agency to confirm that it stood by the January assessment. He described Trump’s remarks as “egregious comments on the character of folks who have been public servants . . . [and] the public should know that these guys are thoroughgoing professionals, and what the president left unsaid is that the people he put into these jobs agree with the so-called hacks.”

Senior officials in the intelligence community will be dismayed by the disparagement of two respected intelligence veterans, Hayden said. “People have a right to ask at senior levels: ‘Does what I do make a difference anymore?’ ”

In other words, other than his comments being imbecilic, he just kicked a hornet’s nest. Stand by for the leaks and ever more cooperation with Mueller. I opined in this discussion that it would not be long until President DFF probably gets removed and she shuddered at the thought of Mike Pence as President. But here is the thing. Republicans got nothing, and I seriously mean that. We have problems, big problems, and we have solutions. None of those solutions are palatable to Republican ideology. So things are going to get worse. It doesn’t matter if it is pious Pence or Joe College Ryan, they got nothing.

Their plan for the economy is tax cuts that only help the wealthy. They have no plan for healthcare which should be obvious by now. If they are successful at their tax cuts, which they won’t, President DFF’s base will be hurt and there will be no jobs. If they build the wall it will drag down our economy, not to mention be an environmental nightmare. Global warming which they ignore, will just get worse, and do you really think these boys and girls are going to pony up for infrastructure improvements without it being some giant give away to corporations?

We are in a waiting game for America to wake up out of their focused ignorance and finally understand, Republicans are bad for their health, livelihood, and peace of mind. You can only watch things crumble for so long before you say, let’s do something. Ask yourself this about the effectiveness of Republicans, how many people in Puerto Rico are still without power, our fellow Americans? You could be next. When that dawns on us and it seems to already be doing, things will start to look up. 2018 could be a banner year.

It Was Comey’s Fault!

Well it certainly did not help and when the critical question was could you trust Hillary to fight the establishment, it may have been the final straw.  Note that the Washington Post tells us this election was decided by 107,000 votes in three states Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.  It was 68,236 votes in Pennsylvania, 11,837 votes in Michigan, and 27,257 votes in Wisconsin.  This is such a small margin that certainly Comey could have in fact had a big effect.  But I think that is way too narrow a view.

What about third parties?  In Wisconsin, Clinton lost by about 1% of the vote – but if Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state. In Michigan, Clinton appears to be on track to lose by about 0.3% of the vote – but if half of Stein’s supporters had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.  In Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by about 1.1% of the vote – but if Jill Stein’s supporters and half of Gary Johnson’s backers had voted Democratic, Trump would have lost the state.  So it is quite reasonable to say this also had an affect.

But I think the critical issue was that she never really presented an economic plan for Middle America.  Oh, I hear you now, of course she did, look at her policy plans.  Policy plans do not make a vision for change and economic success.  They certainly will help Middle America much more than anything Donald Trump will or can do, but we are not talking about policy wonks out there voting, we are talking about an election run on emotions.  The Donald kept presenting a vision of America (total fantasy) that they could identify with.  Hillary did not.  It was there and we saw it at convention but then it got lost on attacks on the Donald’s character that became the center of her argument for the presidency.

I have opined here that I thought that was a giant mistake to make the final days of the election about Donald’s character as opposed to her plan for challenging the whole Republican machine and our way forward.  It turns out that while I got who would win the election wrong, this may have played a much larger role in her failure than anything else.  Bernie had a vision and he might just have won.  On the trust issue, third parties, and vision he had Hillary beat. Hillary started out by telling us she was a moderate and had no clue about the distrust of the establishment of which she cemented her connection to with this statement.  Then she never gave us a consistent vision of our future, instead focusing on attacking Donald’s character in the final days.

So what really happened?  I will leave you with Andy Borowitz’s explanation to his six year-old daughter:

When my daughter came home, I sat her down at the kitchen table, gave her a Kit Kat from her hoard of Halloween candy, and offered this explanation of the election: “Imagine the stupidest thing you could ever do, like peeing on a stack of pancakes. Now, imagine that the United States is a stack of pancakes. Millions of grownups just peed on it.”

She started giggling. This explanation made sense to her. As she ran off to play, I was relieved, and grateful for the alacrity with which children laugh at their elders. But I am still waiting for someone to explain the election to me

 

 

Trust

One more thing to get off my chest while I am at it.  I think America is in the state it is in (led by ignorance of facts) rest squarely on the shoulders of our news media.  Paul Krugman did an excellent job of pointing out that the press had real facts about Donald Trump and his sleazy character and just innuendo about Mrs. Clinton, but they report it as if they are equivalent:

True, there aren’t many efforts to pretend that Donald Trump is a paragon of honesty. But it’s hard to escape the impression that he’s being graded on a curve. If he manages to read from a TelePrompter without going off script, he’s being presidential. If he seems to suggest that he wouldn’t round up all 11 million undocumented immigrants right away, he’s moving into the mainstream. And many of his multiple scandals, like what appear to be clear payoffs to state attorneys general to back off investigating Trump University, get remarkably little attention.

Meanwhile, we have the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation.

He points out how the press twisted the story of George Bush as a likeable guy while Gore was boring:

Yet throughout the campaign most media coverage gave the impression that Mr. Bush was a bluff, straightforward guy, while portraying Al Gore — whose policy proposals added up, and whose critiques of the Bush plan were completely accurate — as slippery and dishonest.

If you can even get the hint of a scandal, your story moves to the front page.  When it turns out there was nothing there, nobody remembers that.  Our media is creating news instead of reporting it, and leading with poorly fact checked slime.  Hillary used a private server!  Watching what is going on today as they use innuendo to convict, wouldn’t you want to keep your private messages private considering how the press will bend everything into a sensational story for entertainment value?

As Joy Reid and some of her MSNBC colleagues were trying to describe, there is no balance here.  They try to equal out the innuendo about the emails (remember she was cleared and she was not lying) with actual slime of the Donald to make a story.  And it is creating a false reality where people don’t trust her or are turned off by both sides.  Excuse me, one has well-defined policies you can pick up and read, a Fund that has helped millions and being given a better rating than the Red Cross, and a life of service, and the other has acquired his money through deceit and con.  Really there is an equivalency while you are discouraging voters to see the difference and even vote.

Watching this amazing fiasco called our news media is there any wonder Hillary tries to keep away from them.  She is not trying to hide anything.  She is just trying not to say something honest and sincere and have it turned into another scandal when there is nothing there.  Trust is a two-way street and right now, the American news media tops the list of untrustworthy.

Day 1 and Lunacy

Probably the most important thing to take away from last night is that you never ever want to follow Michelle Obama on a speaking tour.  Wow.  She could not make you more proud to be an American, unless of course you are a whack job in the Republican Party.  The Obama’s make wonderful role models for all of us.

Then there was the tension over what Bernie supporters would do especially from earlier in the day, when Bernie spoke to them and they booed him when he told them the obvious, support Hillary.  But it turns out Democratic strategists are way smarter than Republican ones.  They started the convention with Cory Brooker giving a rousing speech about why we should be proud Americans and reminding us of our basic values.  Then in a stroke of genius they had Al Franken and Sarah Silverman lighten it up.  And Silverman, a real Bernie fan, delivered a message to Bernie supporters no politician could:  Stop being ridiculous.  But the logical connection through out the night was that Trump is a disaster and they all nailed it.

Then Elizabeth Warren came out to put the nail in the Trump coffin and set Bernie up.  And nailed him she did.  Fact checkers did not have much to do last night as Democrats basically exposed the Donald’s sordid record which has been out there but not condensed for the whole world to see.

Then comes Bernie and we are all holding our breath, but Bernie delivers for Hilary and although you can hear boos in the crowd, he made a strong case for what they had accomplished, how far they had moved the party, that Hillary is their way forward, and maybe the part of the speech most did not hear, they would keep Hillary in line if she strays.  It was a very cleverly crafted speech that hidden within Bernie’s indictment of where we have faltered was the promise to not allow any backsliding.  If Bernie supporters were listening, his message was take back the Senate and we will make sure our agenda is enacted.

You could say the Democrats nailed it on Day 1.  While pundits were looking for conflict and trouble under every chair, the Democrats set a positive theme, emphasized the real America, not the war zone Trump created, and exposed the Donald for the creep he is.  And they did a good job of defusing the Bernie supporters by meeting them more than halfway on platform and policies.  And Bernie did his part masterfully, letting everyone know he is still a player.  Now some will say, well there will be no unanimous consent today when they vote and see that as a problem, I think that is part of letting his supporters still have a victory of sorts, and keeping Hillary’s feet to the fire to stay left.  Anything else would have been seen as a capitulation and a betrayal by Bernie supporters and caused more dissention.

After the convention, MSNBC was down on the floor interviewing disgruntled Bernie supporters (because they make good news/entertainment. Now understand that 85% of Bernie supporters have already said they were going to vote for Hillary so they found three woman, two of which might vote Green Party.  You kind of have to wonder why it wasn’t two fo and one against to be representative, but where is the conflict in that?

When asked why they said they trusted Bernie, but not Hillary, and were challenged on the fact that if they trusted Bernie and he told them to vote for Hillary, why didn’t they really trust Bernie, their answers were incoherent.  One was all wrapped up with the TPP and misstated Hillary’s position on it.  The other was just totally illogical.  The third one totally got it, and was moving to push Bernie fans to support Hillary.

I think I have an insight into the intransigent two.  From a rational point of view, Hillary is the only way forward.  Any other option is self-defeating.  So why the incoherence?  In the primary, Hillary became the enemy.  She was the problem.  They no longer saw the person or the policies, just the evil person who made all good things go bad for Democrats.  They weren’t focused on Republicans, but the war in the Democratic Party.

Now they can’t overcome those feelings they created within themselves about Hillary.  Their brains are not disengaged from their emotions yet.  And maybe in that is the way forward for Hillary.  She needs to become a person for them instead of the caricature they have created in their mind and feed by Republican and primary propaganda.  Bernie is doing his part and Hillary is going to have to do hers.  We know that she is not great at communicating the real person, but that she must.

So all and all, the Democratic Convention was like a breath of fresh air after the smoke, fire, and brimstone of the Republican hell and damnation convention.  Oh dare I say it, Morning in America?

Trying to be Unbiased

Well, the best that can be said about the email affair is that once again the Clintons shot themselves in the foot with arrogance.  The worst is that she got caught in a lie.  Yesterday there were competing stories (string her up, and much to do about nothing).  The truth lies somewhere in the middle.  So more balanced coverage today has shown that there were emails marked classified, and there was certainly information discussed that should have been known to be classified.  Even little old me has worked on State Department projects where normal email cannot be used.

Okay a counter to all this, is that no known damage was done nor was their any intent to do damage, just carelessness.  The actual number is small considering the totality of the emails. Further, and I am well aware of this one, the classified system makes real-time communications on time sensitive matters almost impossible.  Add to that the classification of stuff that is already out there, and everything and the kitchen sink, and you are going to have these disasters.  So what do we have?

Well, there are two tracks here.  First is the government system of classification and real-time communications to deal with time sensitive issues.  They are a disaster and need to be brought into the 21st century.  Snowden and the Guardian reporters could email large data with encryption systems, so why can’t the government design systems for mobile users?  Good question.

But the second track is the political and on that one I am deeply angry at Hillary and the Clintons in general.  They did this to themselves, and by they, I mean to include Bill and his meeting with the Attorney General.  My first reaction is how can you be so stupid, and don’t give me the paranoia of Hillary and past attacks.  Both actions, the email server and Bill meeting with the Attorney General speak of a bubble that insulates them from the rest of us.  Maybe it is why Hillary keeps trying to sell she can work with the Republicans.  Okay fine, but what’s the plan when they won’t play?

Hillary is caught in a lie* that justifies the hyperbolic claims by the Right that she cannot be trusted.  She did see and send emails that were marked either “c” (Confidential) or higher. Maybe she just missed them, but the damage is done.  While Donald Trump would be a national disaster, what does this say about the Democratic candidate?

Here is my concern.  It closes the book on trustworthiness in many voters minds.  She doesn’t seem to be able to look in the camera and tell the truth when it reflects badly on her.  That is not a presidential quality most want and her campaign style (terrible) will not wash this blot away.  More importantly, it raises real questions about how she will deal with political roadblocks to her path of incrementalism when it is clear it is a failed idea.  It puts that kernel of doubt in independents and Bernie supporters.  It may keep them from the polls.

Reality is we have Hillary.  It’s the best we are going to get this cycle but as Cenk Uyghur pointed out, she may be primaried in 2020 when incrementalism fails to change anything meaningful**.  So I think this should put a nail in the coffin of some VP that is an establishment Democrat (Tim Kane).  She now needs a real Progressive we can believe in.  That would be Elizabeth Warren.  The thing that Hillary supporters want to stop and think about is this is not poor Hillary being attacked by the mob.  It is Hillary and Bill shooting themselves in the foot.  That should raise real eyebrows.

*FBI Findings (NYT)

  • 110 emails sent through her server contained information that was classified at the time it was sent
  • Eight chains of emails and replies, some written by her, that contained information classified as “top secret: special access programs.”
  •  “A very small number” of emails sent on her server bore markings that indicated they were classified, contradicting not only previous statements of Mrs. Clinton’s but also claims by the State Department that none had contained these markings
  • (SBU),” for “sensitive but unclassified,” appears in more than 1,000 of the 30,000 work-related emails that Mrs. Clinton turned over to the State Department

**”Uygur, founder of The Young Turks Network, told USA TODAY it is a “no-brainer” to vote for Clinton if the only alternative is Donald Trump.

But he said Sanders’ supporters are looking for more than the lesser of two evils — they are looking for a political revolution, particularly one that gets big money out of politics. “No one has ever been less interested in political revolution than the Clintons,” Uygur said, so while the Sanders movement may vote for her this time, “I would be shocked … if Hillary Clinton — if she won — was not primaried in 2020.”

 

My Problems with Hillary

Now before I take on Hillary let me just say that this could also be a blog entitled my problems with Bernie and I would have just as many complaints.  He is not the ideal candidate to lead the country, but he is in my mind the one who is espousing a progressive vision that I have hungered for.  So bias clearly stated.

In my last blog I pointed out that if Hillary were making Bernie’s case about fundamental problems in our political system and presenting a progressive vision for the future, she would be the perfect candidate.  But I sense in many ways that she does not basically understand what Bernie is really about, and that is changing the way politics works in this country.  He has never been a good old boy or a favorite of the establishment so he has no vested interest in keeping it.

Okay here are somethings that may or may not be relevant, but give me pause about Hillary (again you can make the same kind of list for Bernie, I just happen to like his ideas and my sense of his commitment better than Hillary’s):

  • “Progress is the root of the word Progress” – Here Hillary in a debate was explaining why she is a progressive, but that instead of radical change, we need incrementalism, specifically about Obamacare versus single payer system which she labeled unrealistic.  I will get the second part in a minute, but what many of us sense lacking with Democrats is a fundamental definition of our values.  Too many times have we seen them negotiated away in the name of the greater good.  Progressive means you stand for certain things that are not negotiable, and Hillary’s answer gave me the impression she did not really buy into that.
  • Her somewhat callous approach to her email problem –  No, I am not talking about whether she broke any laws or revealed any classified information.  It is ridiculous to think she would knowingly do any of that.  What I am talking about is a sense that she is special and the rules that apply to me if I worked in the State Department do no apply to her.  Again, I don’t think she broke any rules, but she was skating on thin ice and leaves the impression that she is special.
  • Her incrementalism versus radical change – She has attacked Bernie for his Universal Healthcare and free public colleges as being unrealistic and basically said these are pie in the sky.  She mischaracterized his approach as destroying Obamacare with nothing to replace it.  Now it is one thing to say his plans for getting there are pie-in-the sky and I have a better approach.  But that is not what she said.  She said they were impractical.  The clear message was these are not my end goals and yet they are the very essence of what defines Progessivism.  She lost me on the vision thing. We can’t lose our vision or we lose who we are.
  • Her cavalier approach to taking large speaking fees from the banking industry – “It is what they offered.”  Some of us, mostly Bernie supporters, see the fundamental problem as money in politics and the good old boy and girl network that benefits from it.  Real fundamental change can’t happen until this is addressed in a meaningful way.  This comment by Hillary gave real substance to the belief that she is part of the problem and has no real understanding that this is the problem and it is wrong to play that game.  Claiming you cannot be bought is belied by almost every leader throughout history.  It might be subtle like it just buys you access, but it does buy you access and allows you to outshout others. They create an echo chamber that impacts how you perceive things.
  • Her was for it before I was against it – Keystone pipeline comes to mind.  I really was mad at her on the Iraq war when it was clear she had not read the intelligence summary that indicated the iffy-ness of their intelligence sources.  Trade policy I have mixed emotions about because there is an up side and a down side so you can’t just be against them.  Gay marriage and her support of Bill’s tough on crime, leaning right policies even with banking.  Is is just a feeling that she is calibrating which way the wind is blowing.  Doesn’t mean she can’t learn and change, but is that it or did she just see the political winds change?  It’s the trust issue.

Now having said all that, what this campaign should do is wake her up to each of those reservations I have and give her pause.  If she actually learns from them, learns from Bernie’s astute understanding that the problem of money in politics and economic inequality are the root problem, and can convince us she is that person, great.  If she can’t and I still have doubts, I will have to stay with Bernie, warts and all.  He espouses a vision and an understanding of the real problem that could change America.

Hillary’s Move on the TPP and Why it Troubles Me

I am undecided about the TPP simply because I haven’t read because it is not out there for us to read.  I was strongly opposed to the Fast Track Approval because I think we need to actually see it and discuss it before we grease the skids for approval.  My concern about the TPP is very simple.  Along with climate change, I think economic inequality is the critical issue for our future.  So the question is does the TPP continue to facilitate shifting jobs off shore and does it further solidify wealth taking by the wealthy?

I don’t know.  Some of the economists who I think have a fix on macroeconomics have been negative about it (Stiglitz and Krugman).  Krugman, however, recently wrote that what he had “heard” about some of the restrictions, that just might make it palatable.  So we need to see it and then consider the cost/benefits.  So why does Hillary now come out against it while not having read it?

Now she did qualify her objections by saying she still needs to actually see it.  So it smacks of a total political calculation.  Note she did not weigh in on the Fast Track vote, and now comes out against it when it will probably be approved.  So is it a callous political ploy to take the issue off the table for the upcoming debates and to mollify labor?

I don’t know, but it certainly smacks of that and is why many of us who feel strongly about a Progressive future are not so sure Hillary has any committment to that.  For many of us who think we need to make real systemic changes to the way our economy operates if we are all going to share in it wonder if Hillary really understands that. Or we wonder whether she is picking and choosing progressive issues to get the nomination, with too much attachment to the status quo, especially in our financial sector.

Maybe it is a smart political move, but for the people who really need to get out and vote to change the whole system, it raises in a major way that trust thing.  Maybe she gets it or maybe not, but the timing makes one wonder if what is politically advantageous is more important than what is the right thing to do.  If that is what is going on, then the trust thing is a real issue.

I guess maybe this is unfair, but she “evolved” on gays.  She finally came out against the Keystone Pipeline long after it was obvious you should be against it.  Now it is the TPP.  Leadership requires a leader to sometimes take an unpopular position and lead people to it if the leader believes it is the right thing to do.  The last thing we need right now is a leader who is led.  Hope I am wrong, but this is truly her Achilles Heel.

Oh, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary

Answer the mail Hillary or you just give the credence to your gaming the system and the trust worthy issue.  She dodged the Keystone Pipeline and the TTP question on what her position was.  She said she was the Secretary of State and she should not pre-judge them as she had a hand in them.  And further, we don’t know exactly what is in the TTP.  On the Secretary of State thing, you are not deciding this issue like a judge, we are judging you as a political aspirant.  Answer the damn question.

On the TPP, I will give her a pass.  We don’t know what is in it.  I was totally against giving the President Fast Track Authority on the TPP because it is like approving it before you know what you are buying.  But we are past that now.  But her answer left you wondering if she is waiting to see which way the wind is blowing.  

She could have said that if it is like earlier agreements that shipped jobs off shore and basically protected the transfer of wealth to the wealthy, then she would be against it, but if it had appropriate safeguards, she would be for it and we just have to wait and see what it says.  It puts her on the hook.  It lets us know where she will likely go.  But her answer gives you real pause with that ringing question, can we really trust you Hillary to be a Progressive?

On the Keystone Pipeline, I believe her answer was a total punt.  And that scares me.  Either you believe in global warming and the science or you don’t.  It is not something that you can punt on.  If we really are (WE ARE) facing rising sea levels of 3′-10′ in the next 50 years, then this is a no brainer.  As hard as it will be, we cannot continue to take carbon fuels out of the ground and burn them.  Yes there is the argument it will just go another way so we might as well partake, but that is like saying, the Titanic is going to sink so let’s dance the night away.

Then there is that other little problem, running a ticking time bomb through our most precious resource, water.  Pipelines will break and if you have not figured it out yet, the really precious resouce out there that is getting harder and harder to come by is water.  Do we really want to put our aquifers at risk to pump a very dirty fuel that puts our climate at risk?  

Again, you can argue that there are court cases about right of ways and property rights and maybe you can dodge the question until these are resolved, but it is dodging the question that makes us wonder if you really understand the threat from climate change and how our behavior has to change.  It makes us wonder if you are saying all the right things and nothing changes.  There has to be there there, Hillary.

So here we go again.  This election is for her to lose and she seems determined to do that.  You either energize the voters or you leave them wondering if they can trust you and they don’t get to the polls.  Take a page from Bernie, Hillary, stand for something and fight for it.  It is the details of how you reach the goals that count, not the goals.

Just a Couple of Things

I watch the unrest in Thailand with some interest having spent a year of my life there during the Vietnam war (flying RF-4Cs out of Udorn). It was a beautiful land of contrasts with mild mannered people in the North and the highest murder rate in the world in the South. Now the country is in turmoil because one faction in the south does not want the elections to proceed because they will lose (sound like our Republicans?). I wonder what part of consent of the governed did they miss? Of course that may be an over simplification since a truly just democracy has institutions, constitutions, and checks and balances that prevent the tyranny of the majority. I don’t know enough to know if this is an example of the tyranny of the majority, but pushing for an unelected and ultimately unresponsive governing body seems to be the height of stupidity.

The Coca Cola Super Bowl ad showing America’s ethnic diversity made me tear up and enjoy what really does make us great. Apparently that was not a shared opinion with some who took umbrage at all these “foreigners”. I saw an America I know and love, and they saw all that they think is wrong with America. There are some scary people out there.

One thing that might explain some of that was a very good article about how increasing economic inequality through a mechanism of our dominance behavioral system causes people to have less trust in one another (How Inequality Hollows Out the Soul). “This part of our evolved psychological makeup, almost universal in mammals, enables us to recognize and respond to social ranking systems based on hierarchy and power. One brain-imaging study discovered that there were particular areas of the brain and neural mechanisms dedicated to processing social rank.” As the article concludes:

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that we become less nice people in more unequal societies. But we are less nice and less happy: Greater inequality redoubles status anxiety, damaging our mental health and distorting our personalities — wherever we are on the social spectrum.

So if one were connecting the dots on all of this, we are living in a society that as inequality increases, we become distrustful of others and the general outcome is to try to disenfranchise them. Could that explain what is going on?