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"Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss'd to me

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."

Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937

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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column

Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 


Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

 

    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

     In Washington County, Oregon's "economic engine," the divide between the affluent and the working poor continues.  We have a 19,000 unit gap in affordable low income rental housing.  County political and business leaders are indifferent to this crisis...   

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If you want to e-mail me "comments" use my Yahoo back up e-mail address russdondero@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

See my FACEBOOK @ Russ

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  • He lost by 2.9 million votes...

  • He's a con artist...

  • He's a pathological liar... 

  • He's a failed business man...

  • He's a fascist... 

 

Trump & The Mob

http-//www.politico.com#13C5A6C


Trump's role models are Vladmir Putin and Benito Mussolini.  He has contempt for our checks and balances system.  He wants to "rule" not govern like a strong man, a despot.  He will shredd the Constitution anytime he feels the urge to do so and like all despots he only listens to his inner circle.  And he is paranoid and narcissistic. 

     

Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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Housing Needs in Oregon 

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"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1940

  • "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild


  • Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  


Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001

    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

 



"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' 

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"  

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921) 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."  

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11 

"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”   

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."    

- Abraham Lincoln 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society  

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..." 

- Edmund Burke  

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”  

- Jonathan Swift 

A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

 

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

FYI:  

Squareapace has closed the "comments" section on my blog as a way around this contact me via my Yahoo e-mail address posted on the left sidebar...   

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Friday
Jan182019

TRUMP'S LOSING THE PUBLIC...  

RCP POLL AVERAGE
President Trump Job Approval


   

RCP


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Appove = 41.0%

   Disappove = 55.5%

  Margin 14.5% 

You decide who is winning!  

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

Editor's Note:  With polling data showing Trump is losing the PR battle with Democrats - given the #s from the RCP poll - 41% approve; 55.5 disapprove - gap 14.5... and growing - Trump's latest 'deal' offer is a non-starter! As long as he is blamed by the public including some of his own base - the D's have no reason to negotiate with him. 

But as I've said previously the D's are playing a dangerous game, public opinion can turn on a dime. The D's need to be more vocal about "their plan" - to disconnect negotiations over the wall from the government shutdown. 

I've suggested a different path - agree to a scaled back Wall (which Trump seems to embrace as of today) with annual funding limits with strict congressional oversight tied to agreement to protect all DACCA residents including those who have been deported AND to allow asylum seekers protection from family separation plus accelerated hearings on their asylum claims. 

The "art of the deal" is compromise. Both sides need to acknowledge that reality - as long as each plays this as a zero sum game America loses... But Trump started this dive into a rabbit hole so he deserves the blame. It's time for him to cry "Uncle."

For more articles on this subject go to my FB page - the link is on my right sidebar...   

 

 

Friday
Jan112019

THE WALL TO NOWHERE...  

I took a vacation during the holiday season from punditry. I needed the diversion and with the help of the Hallmark Channel, the British Baking Show, Christmas videos (White Christmas et al) I was able to stay in a state of denial. 

But now I'm back! 

Trump and the GOP are playing with fools gold on the "partial" government shutdown over a damn wall! Who will this hurt - as usual lower income citizens who depend on their tax returns for paying the bills (see article below for the details). 

As for the a Wall they don't work. At ports of entry they make some sense but with a 2000 mile border between the US and Mexico the wall is delusional "group" think.  It's a waste of money but effective political rhetoric for Trump's base - the same people hurt by the IRS slowdown! 

But to quote FDR "all we have to fear is fear itself."  Those seeking aslym are not drug mules, criminals, but families fleeing persecution from their own government, war lords and/or drug cartels.  They seek a better life just like millions of immigrants to the USA have over the years.  

Some historic Walls of infamy that never worked - the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, the Maginot Line... In a global world no such barriers can work anymore than they did in antiquity. Remember the Trojan War?They also deny us workers who can really make America 'Greater' again. 

My concern is that the Democrats will overplay their hand on the shutdown 'showdown'.  I'd offer Trump a phased in Wall plan over the next 5 years with rigorous congressional oversight, strict annual spending limits and annual program based reports - no 5 billion slush fund just annual appropriations @ 1 billion fully vetted each fiscal year. 

And the price for this compromise - just enough Democratic votes to pass a bill tied to complete amnesty for all Dacca eligible residents in the US and those who've been deported PLUS allowing asylum seekers entrance into the USA, subject to judicial adjudication and protection in humane conditions while waiting for a hearing. 

If Trump is defeated in 2020 - then the new President-elect can assess spending on the wall since there's no way it can be completed before the 2020 election.  Let's decouple the debate over the wall and funding the government.  The American voters don't deserve to be held hostage on this issue.   

Happy New Year America - !

 
About this website
MSN.COM
Taxpayers who file early in the tax season might not receive their refunds in a timely manner because of the partial government shutdown that began on December 22, according to the Wall Street Journal.
 

Tuesday
Jan082019

DUCK & COVER!  

Editor's note:  Revised 1/11/19 - 2:41 a.m.   

This began as a series of e-mails trying to answer the riddle of "why is a duck?"  Given my Oregon surroundings it seemed obvious to me, this was a reference to those critters who poop on golf courses, or those jock Quacks at Nike U who benefit from the largess of Uncle Phil.  Then I remembered the infamous quote attributed to Senator 'Gunner' Joe McCarthy (R, Wisc.) who in the '50s was reputed as saying while hunting "commies" in the government - "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck or quacks like a duck - it must be a duck."  A former student of mine offers some "alternative facts" (?) to the species of 'duck'...  

Author Cameron Winder, is a Pacific alum, Liberal Arts major who was very active in theater at Pacific and former student of mine who interned in Senator Mark O. Hatfield's Washington DC office.  He then went to England to earn a Ph.D. at the University College, University of London and has been a Colorado state legislator and currently is a principal in an investment firm in Denver.  

 

“Why,” I posed the question to my companions, distinguished Fellows of the College, “is a duck?” We were sitting after dinner in the Faculty Lounge, sipping port and smoking cigars. Seated around me were the Chancellor of the University, the Provost, and the Registrar. We were engaged in a bit of game-playing. One would ask a question, one that had a humorous answer and the others would attempt to figure it out. The question was to be applicable to Life, as was the answer. Tonight was my night to ask the question. This is what we academics do for fun. 

Spoiler alert: To the hundreds, if not dozens, of Avid Readers of this blog, the answer to the question will be answered shortly in the Article. For those wishing to figure out the answer for themselves, this is a good place to stop. Scroll down to the end of the Article and submit your answer on the “Post a Comment” section and then resume reading where you left off. 

“I suppose so that people can see one floating serenely on a pond but point out how the webbed feet one cannot see are going like crazy,” ventured the Registrar. 

“Back when I was at Harvard,” the Provost reminisced, “we would observe the ducks in the Public Garden. One never questioned the ‘why’ of it.” Have you ever noticed that when someone went to Harvard, they would work that fact into the conversation within the first five minutes? Harvard’s reply: Only those who applied to Harvard and didn’t get in point that out. 

“Why is a duck?” mused the Chancellor, glancing up from the American Tattler newspaper he was reading. The Chancellor was fond of receiving his news from the tabloid press. Disturbing. “I suppose that it’s similar to the question I would pose to my philosophy class: If we homo sapiens evolved from the monkey, why, then, are there still monkeys? But see here now, what I’m reading in the Tattler is vastly more important than why the duck. It seems that there’s an invasive species of vulture descending upon Washington, D.C., inflicting all sorts of havoc.” He pointed to the article in the Tattler headlined “Foul Fowl:” 

Trumpian Vultures are known for their predatory ways of attacking gentle songbirds in the D.C. area. Their droppings have virtually poisoned the water supply, fouled the footpaths, and caused government offices to close down. 

The article went on to describe how the vulture would also attack members of the Cabinet, forcing many of them to leave and it would pick fights with members of Congress, usually through its incessant tweets. 

“This is all made up,” I said. “Surely there can be no such thing. It’s mythological; it’s like the phoenix.” 

My curiosity piqued, though, that night I ventured into the Natural History section deep within the bowels (Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Be sure to wipe your feet when you leave!) of the University Library and discovered among the dusty tomes the species that the Tattler was writing about, the Trumpian Vulture (Vultur tyrannicus), also known in this country as the Orange-Plumed Crested Smockingbird. It is known for its shrill, grating tweets and twitterings, fooling some birds but not most and for its preening and strutting like a peacock. It associates with lesser birds that, when captured and caged, tend to sing like canaries and are known jocularly as “jailbirds.” This phenomenon is known among ornithologists as “flipping the bird.” The Smockingbird also congregates around various birds from Eastern Europe, sometimes mating with them. It has an apparent affinity for the Great Soviet Mud Hen (Caesar vladimirus putinus), once thought to be extinct but seemingly making a comeback. 

Interestingly, environmentalists and other scientists want the Trumpian Vulture to go the way of the dodo bird.   

Apropos of the dodo, the word “dodo” comes from the Portuguese duodo, meaning “stupid.” 

I digress. The answer I’m looking for is: 

Q. Why is a duck? 

A. One leg is both the same. 

I never tire of it 

On the subject of ducks, it just keeps getting better. There’s a slang word, “canard,” meaning a false and especially malicious report. i “Stories of all sorts last week respecting his resignation which may be heard canarding about the halls of the hotels.”  ii It comes from the French word canard meaning “duck” and the French phrase ‹‹vendre des canards à moitié,›› “to half-sell ducks.”  iii There’s a satirical newspaper in Paris, somewhat like The Onion here and the British Punch, called Le Canard enchaîné. Has anyone seen my copy of the Tattler? 

Editor's comment:  Pacific being more plebian doesn't have a faculty lounge where one can imbibe in adult beverages or smoke...  

Stanford has a venue at the Hoover Institute where the elite of the academy gather for scholarly chit chat while TAs teach their classes? Was a guest faculty member there years ago for a week and saw how "the top 1% of the academy live" doted on by middle aged Eastern European women serving a mid afternoon brunch equal to anything served at the Top of the Mark!  On the "Farm" like Nike U "all are equal but some are more equal than others!" Woof Woof!       

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i Webster’s New World Dictionary, 4th Edition, (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2003).

ii The (London) Times, March 27, 1862.

iii American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition, (Boston: American Heritage Publishing Company, Inc. and Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975).

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Monday
Jan072019

PLAYING THE LONG GAME...  

EJ Dionne...  

 The next two years are about democracy itself 

This is what democracy looks like.” It’s the chant heard again and again at the women’s marches the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated and echoed later in mobilizations on behalf of gun sanity and the Affordable Care Act, in defense of immigrants and refugees, and in support of democracy itself.

Those determined gatherings were, indeed, part of what democracy looks like. There is a reason the First Amendment to our Constitution asserts “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” immediately after it guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The assembly right is intimately linked to the next one on the First Amendment’s list: the people’s right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

One of the main goals of tyrants is to keep dissenters shut in their homes and out of view. Only when they find each other can advocates of change realize their potential power.

But democracy also looks like what we saw on the floor of the House of Representatives last Thursday. Through use of the ballot, fortified by exceptional feats of organization and mobilization, voters changed the face of government in our country — in both a literal and figurative sense.

The contrast between the diversity of the Democratic side of the House (by gender, race, ethnicity and religion) and the visible homogeneity on the Republican side has been much noted. It was genuinely thrilling to see how free elections can allow citizens to bring about so much transformation in such a short time. And this new House was the product of the highest midterm turnout since 1914, back when all citizens aged 18-21 and most women and African-Americans were denied access to the ballot.

The electoral rebuke to Trump (measured by the Democratic advantage in House races of nearly 10 million votes) showed that those who marched and demonstrated understood that peaceful assembly was only the first step toward achieving their goals. In cities and towns, red and blue, large and small, they met in church basements, coffee shops, living rooms and libraries. There, they planned on how to persuade their neighbors to elect a majority that would stand up to the president and his pliant Congressional allies. Then they executed the hard work of door-knocks, phone calls, social-media conversations, fundraising and texts. And they prevailed.

It is thus appropriate that the new majority gave the hallowed designation H.R. 1 to the bill they presented Friday with the purpose of expanding democracy while pushing back against corruption. The headline aspects of the legislation took aim at Trump era sleaze, including a requirement that presidential candidates release their tax returns, and tightening of White House ethics rules.

But the guts of the bill are all about making our system more democratic: automatic voter registration along with limits on voter purges and other methods that states use to block access to the ballot box, especially for minorities and the young. It would also ban contributions from corporations controlled by foreign entities.

Central to the proposal is a new campaign-finance system designed to limit big money’s power in elections. It would create a series of incentives, including matching funds for donations of $200 or less, to encourage candidates to rely on small donors rather than the typically self-interested generosity of the wealthy. Creating a better way to pay for politics is central to a democratic egalitarianism that was well described by the political philosopher Michael Walzer: “a society free from domination” where there would be “no more bowing and scraping, fawning and toadying.”

H.R. 1 will be accompanied by a new Voting Rights Act restoring the federal government’s ability to end discriminatory voter suppression, ripped away by the Supreme Court’s misguided 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder.

Leaders of the Republican Senate dismissed the House effort and said they’d ignore it. But this doesn’t reduce its importance. Democracy is a long game. It involves pressuring those who resist reform (see: peaceable assembly above) and offering proposals future electorates can eventually endorse (see: The New Deal, which brought to life many ideas first floated by progressives in the 1920s).

Protecting and enhancing democracy should be the central cause of the new House majority. Democracy is, after all, what allowed it to come into being, and Trump’s hostility to democratic norms must be challenged at every turn.

At this moment of trial for all who treasure democratic institutions, the world could use an example of politicians whose solutions to our problems involve more democracy, not less.

ejdionne@washpost.com; @EJDionne © 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

Monday
Dec172018

WHAT WOULD THE BARD SAY ABOUT TRUMPISM?  

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/01/tyrant-shakespeare-on-power-by-stephen-greenblatt-book-review-robert-mccrum?CMP=share_btn_link

Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power by Stephen Greenblatt review – sinister and enthralling

A scholarly study revealing the seeds of Trumpism in Shakespeare’s villains is highly entertaining

Richard III (played here by Laurence Olivier)

 Richard III (played here by Laurence Olivier) is one of Shakespeare’s ‘notable monsters’ who bears comparison to Trump. Photograph: ITV/Rex

In a twist that Shakespeare himself might have relished, he is as much America’s national poet as Britain’s. Here, he is an icon; there, in a crisis, his poetry and plays can become a touchstone. Indeed, in the “general woe” (Shakespeare’s words) that attended the 2016 US election, it was to Shakespeare that many Americans turned in their distress. When, in the midst of the most vicious presidential campaign in memory, Professor Stephen Greenblatt, bestselling author of Will in the World, published an op-ed piece in the New York Times headlined “Shakespeare Explains the 2016 Election”, it went viral.

Greenblatt was at once topical, impassioned and provocative. “In the early 1590s,” he began, “Shakespeare sat down to write a play that addressed a problem: How could a great society wind up being governed by a sociopath?” After a pointed analysis of Richard III, he closed with this appeal: “Shakespeare’s words have an uncanny ability to reach out beyond their original time and place and to speak directly to us. We have long looked to him, in times of perplexity and risk, for the most fundamental human truths. So it is now. Do not think it cannot happen, and do not stay silent or waste your vote.”

Overnight, Greenblatt’s article becameshared more than 500,000 times. As the US election spiralled beyond expectation, “Shakespearean” became a consoling shorthand for bewildered American democrats. It was a buzzword that soon acquired the status of a minor linguistic meme, rooted in an old tradition of New World veneration for Shakespeare’s life and work.

Having sounded the alarm, and after two long years of disruption and dismay, which reached a grim nadir with the forced separation of immigrant families, Greenblatt now addresses the overwhelming question with which we are still grappling: how is it possible for a whole country to fall into the hands of a truly disastrous leader, a sociopath and a demagogue?

Tyrant is Greenblatt’s answer, a highly entertaining rhetorical exercise tinged with sinister intimations of dread. A lifelong Shakespeare scholar, he has turned to the collected works to construct a grammar of tyranny based on Shakespeare’s plays, and some of their most notable monsters, from Richard III to Macbeth, by way of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and King Lear, reflecting on their narcissism, incompetence, cruelty, paranoia, folly and corruption.

In general, Shakespeare’s villains are more sinister than the clownish, lazy and narcissistic Trump, though no less evil

Greenblatt’s method, after Polonius, is sly. He will “by indirections find directions out”, a nod to Shakespeare who perfected a strategic obliquity in his narratives of power. For instance, you will look in vain for an outright indictment of Donald J Trump. Nonetheless, the villainy of the 45th president is implicit in every line of this elegant and measured exploration.

Greenblatt’s anatomy of power moves from the dishonesties of party politics to the cynical exploitations of populism to the mind of the tyrant – a wonderful analysis of Jack Cade’s revolt in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, the play famous for “first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.

In general, Shakespeare’s villains are more sinister than the clownish, lazy and narcissistic Trump, though no less evil. Still, Greenblatt is very perceptive about the “enablers” who sustain a weak and incompetent leader in office.

As a Harvard professor and a prominent member of America’s liberal elite, Greenblatt is probably too appalled by Trump’s insurrection to see the funny side, as depicted, for example, in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. He does concede “a touch of comedy in the tyrant’s rise to power”, but doesn’t develop this promising line of thought.

He closes, wearily, with the admission that, since he first protested in the New York Times, “it feels like a century has passed”. With so many American democrats, all he can do is wait for the wheel of history to bring some respite, as it must. Until this nightmare ends, we should be grateful for the reminder that one consoling antidote to Trumpism might be regular visits to Shakespeare plays, which teach, as Edgar puts it in King Lear, that: “The worst is not, so long as we can say, ‘This is the worst.’”

 Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power by Stephen Greenblatt is published by Bodley Head (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.44 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99