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A Middle Class Which Aligns with the Rich Cuts Its Own Throat

2017 May 9
by Ian Welsh

This was explained to me by Stirling Newberry years ago.

The middle class, can, broadly speaking, align with the rich or with the poor.

If it aligns with the rich, the policies it favors benefit the rich exponentially more than they do the middle class. Tax cuts went primarily to the rich, by magnitudes, for example. Real estate prices rising faster than wages made some middle class families rich, but benefited the rich magnitudes more than the middle class.

Money translates almost directly to power in capitalist societies and even more directly in capitalist democracies without adequate corruption controls (which is almost all of them). The rich become powerful faster than the middle class and ultimately the policies they favor do not include keeping the middle class healthy: The rich want low wages, “flexible” labour laws, bankruptcy laws that favor their interests but not that of the middle class, plenty of financialized rent streams, and so on.

The first generation to make the devil’s bargain with the rich can benefit, maybe even some of the second, mind you. A lot of “Reagan Democrats” won–they sold their houses, and they retired to some place sunny with cheap brown labor to wipe their bums in their senesence. But their kids are saddled with huge debt, make less money than their parents at every stage of their lives, and can’t afford to buy houses or even pay rent anywhere decent.

If the middle class sides with the poor, on the other hand, almost everything they do also helps the middle class. Poor people with money spend that money, and wage increases are much more useful to the middle class than capital gains because they are durable. And policies which reduce the size of the working class and poor, make the middle class bigger and stronger. The working class, absent a huge swell in their numbers, are no threat to the middle class.

Ironically, the working class and poor are a threat to the middle class precisely when the middle class aligns themselves with the rich, because that swells the number of the poor and makes them desperate. It also knocks a lot of middle and upper class down (the upper class is not the rich, they are its direct servants, plus a few others), and those people are angry and know how the system works.

The middle class not only justifies its existence ethically by helping the poor, doing so safeguards its own existence.

The right thing to do, ethically, is almost always the right thing to do in policy terms. Those who believe otherwise almost always pay a frightful price for their attempt to be clever in service to their greed and selfishness.


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60 Responses leave one →
  1. Herman permalink
    May 9, 2017

    Many people have a desire to be associated with those of higher status and not those of lower status so by supporting the rich politically people can in some sense distance themselves from the poor. It also shows that you are not looking for “handouts” and maybe you will someday succeed and become rich and in that case you will want policies in place that favor the wealthy. A third of Americans think they will be rich someday and more than half of 18–29 year olds think they will be.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/7981/half-young-people-expect-strike-rich.aspx

    So to put it simply, most middle-class Americans ultimately believe that the country is a meritocracy and that people get what they deserve. Poor people deserve to be poor because they are lazy, stupid, immoral, etc. and the rich mostly deserve their wealth. Most middle-class people overestimate their own abilities and think that one day they too will be rich and if they don’t make it conservatives usually provide easy scapegoats to blame.

  2. May 9, 2017

    Desperate. That’s the word. Not there yet.

  3. Willy permalink
    May 9, 2017

    The conservative middle class will have something important working against their values: their children. Their own children and peer associations who wind up on the losing end of college debt, wage slavery, limited chances for a home of their own… there will be many. And who are they gonna blame? Mommies and daddies may try to double down on the scapegoatery, but I doubt it’ll work for long. I’m seeing this already with families I know – a new generation gap.

  4. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 9, 2017

    maybe you will someday succeed and become rich and in that case you will want policies in place that favor the wealthy. A third of Americans think they will be rich someday and more than half of 18–29 year olds think they will be.

    This, turned up to 11.

    Socialism never caught on in the USA because the majority of the poor, or the merely non-rich, in the USA, believe themselves not to be oppressed proletarians, but rather future millionaires, temporarily embarrassed by that naughty minx, Dame Fortune. (I am paraphrasing a quote questionably attributed to the writer John Steinbeck.)

  5. Tom permalink
    May 9, 2017

    FBI Director Comey just got canned by Trump via e-mail. Well the media frenzy will be getting hysterical quickly.

  6. atcooper permalink
    May 9, 2017

    Yeah, that new generation gap seems to be breeding radicals. I feel a bit of hope with em, cause the fat and happy are not gonna get their faces outta the trough on their own.

    There will be much suffering as this world transforms.

  7. Ian Welsh permalink*
    May 9, 2017

    The numbers on the “think they’ll one day be rich” and “think the economy is fair” are turning south, fast, especially with young people.

  8. Herman permalink
    May 9, 2017

    @Ian,

    Yes, the poll I cited is quite old and I think that young people are becoming more realistic about their chances in this economy. But my own impression is that among middle-class people there is still the traditional “American Dream” of owning a home, having a stable job, a career as opposed to just a series of crappy jobs, etc. The big divide will be between those who make it and those who don’t or only barely make it by taking on tons of debt or getting help from their parents. I have noticed that the divide between upper middle-class people and middle-class people seems to be growing. The former group is doing very well while the latter is not.

    The middle class seems to be merging with the working class and as you point out, the people to watch are the young, downwardly-mobile people, especially those with some higher education. These people are the possible leadership class for any big left-populist movement. It seemed to me that many of the young Occupy Wall Street and Bernie supporters were exactly these types: people who went to college but didn’t get what they expected out it and are now turning against the system.

  9. Willy permalink
    May 10, 2017

    I found something from Represent.us* in one of the previous post comments that wasn’t half bad:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tu32CCA_Ig

    *Mission: to pass tough anti-corruption laws in cities and states across America, and end the legalized corruption that has come to define modern politics.

    I might pass it on to a couple 30-ish brothers I know who’ve been estranged from their wingnut parents after being declared “socialist” (in other words, daring to disagree with the parents about opportunities being the same today as they were back in their day).

  10. May 10, 2017

    The “Middle Class” are just the highest paid members of the “Working Class.”

  11. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 10, 2017

    FBI Director Comey just got canned by Trump via e-mail. Well the media frenzy will be getting hysterical quickly.

    Comey wasn’t canned. He resigned.

    Where did you get your information? From some Mainstream Media Propaganda Outlet like CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times or The Washington Post?

    I got mine from Fox News because it’s Fair & Balanced.

    James Comey Resigns

    My pick for FBI Director besides me? Giuliani. He’ll clean America up like he cleaned Manhattan up. Let the Brownshirting of the FBI begin as if it’s not the Brownshirts already. Under the new FBI Director, anyone who says anything negative about Russia will be tortured & thrown in the Slammer. Putin’s orders delivered by Lavrov today.

    Like I said, Autocracy in America is inevitable. Either you, we, The Little People be it, or you, we, will be run over and ground into the dust from whence you/we came.

  12. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 10, 2017

    The Middle Class is, or traditionally has been, the Finger In The Dyke.

    The Rich believe they don’t need that traditional Finger In The Dyke any longer because technology has replaced it with The All Seeing Eye.

    We’ll see — pun intended. We’re going to find out shortly one way or another.

    Pressure

  13. Ché Pasa permalink
    May 10, 2017

    The definition of “middle class” keeps changing depending on the needs of the moment.

  14. tony permalink
    May 10, 2017

    You write of the middle class as if it is an entity. Most people don’t necessarily care about what happens to their class, they care about themselves as an individual. In that case, anything more than 20 years to the future is irrelevant.

  15. Sub-Boreal permalink
    May 10, 2017

    As a high-level, general explanation, I think this is sound. But individual cultures and nations have characteristics which can reinforce or mute this pattern.

    To this Canadian observer, what strikes me as most distinctive about the U.S. is the mutually reinforcing role of three tendencies which greatly limit the likelihood that the middle class will side with the underclasses: extreme individualism, overt religiosity,and anti-intellectualism. And there’s probably a fourth element: exceptionalist nationalism. These currents certainly exist elsewhere, but have achieved their most pronounced hypertrophy in the U.S.

  16. atcooper permalink
    May 10, 2017

    The US could use an invasion of some kind to get a better taste of war. It looks like fun and games, a video game par excellence, for too many of my peers. Lends itself to its callousness.

  17. Synoia permalink
    May 10, 2017

    Climate change is the tipping mechanism.

    When extant practical skills, not financial trick will be key to survival.

    And will become expensive.

    After the Black Death in about 1340, the peasantry changes from Villeins to Tradespeople, and also their hours became valuable.

    Being good at jousting became valueless.

  18. Tony Wikrent permalink
    May 10, 2017

    It would be useful to gather a list of different schema of class analysis. http://www.johnlaurtis.com recently posted The Precariat: The Dangerous New Class, by University if London professor Guy Standing. https://www.johnlaurits.com/2017/precariat-new-dangerous-class/

    In 2009, Stirling Newberry posted Three Polar Politics In Post-Petroleum America, which was reposed by Lambert Strether at CorrenteWire: http://www.correntewire.com/three_polar_politics_in_post_petroleum_america

    And of course, there’s Marx, and Veblen.

    Charles Beard wrote (responding to the widespread belief that his Economic Interpretation of the Constitution was Marxist) that Madison’s analysis of factions had stood the test of history better than Marx’s class analysis.

    In The Foundations of American Economic Freedom: Government and Enterprise in the Age of Washington. University of Minnesota Press (1973), E.A.J. Johnson wrote that in the 1780s, political theorists recognized eight distinct interests. Five of these interests were seen to be “natural,” meaning that they were interests resulting from having a livelihood in a socially useful capacity. The five natural interests were: agriculture, commerce, manufacture, mechanic arts, and the professions. For Jefferson and the Republicans, agriculture was the most important interest, because it was the purest and most virtuous.

    Any others?

  19. Oaktown Girl permalink
    May 10, 2017

    It’s no coincidence that as more (particularly young) people are waking up to how they have been screwed, more and more states are trying to pass anti-protest laws that are truly draconian. This article from today is about the Code Pink activist who laughed out loud, but also talks about what’s going on around the country.

    Somehow the U.S. is too broke to invest in infrastructure, education, renewable energy, affordable housing and health care, our national parks and green spaces, but we got endless money to invest in keeping people from complaining about it.

    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40532-the-conviction-of-an-activist-for-laughing-portends-repression-of-protest-under-trump

    5/10/17
    8:31 pm PST

  20. Peter permalink
    May 11, 2017

    @O Girl

    I don’t think you can call the new penalties for existing laws such as those in OK repression of protest. The direct actions by activists and the groups that support them at earlier demonstrations drove these changes and it has nothing to do with Trump.

    When people move from demonstrating to trespassing, sabotage and burning property they will face harsher enforcement of the laws. These are not protected rights but crimes already and people can decide if they want to face the cost of their behavior.

  21. Cripes permalink
    May 11, 2017

    @Peter

    In erecting and knocking down your self made delusion, the already-got-laws-against-violent-protesters straw man, you disrespect OK Girl, the smirking commentators, and general civility. The past 2-3 decades are replete with a sordid history of repressive laws and penalties, against whistleblowers, recorders of animal abuse crimes and nice ol grandma’s.

    You took a wrong turn on your way to Brietbart or a Koch Bros astronaut “citizens” group. Go peddle that trash where someone gives a shit.

  22. Cripes permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Sorry, that’s “assembled commentariat” and “Koch Bros Astroturf.”

    I’m sure there’s work for skilled turd-polishers in “prison reform” or “poverty” programs over at the Koch plantation.

  23. kulmthestatusquo permalink
    May 11, 2017

    The poor can’t strike back to the upper class. Which is the only thing which matters.

    The last century was the only century when the poor had some kind of military power which the rich had to fear. But now the power shift is complete and the rich don’t have to fear the poor any more.

    So the rich will do whatever it pleases, and the smarter middle class people know they have more to gain by licking the rich people’s boots than sharing the poor’s shantytowns.

  24. V. Arnold permalink
    May 11, 2017

    This says it all;
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/14/f-the-usa/

  25. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Oaktown Girl’s link, and there is plenty of evidence above & beyond it, proves that we are well beyond “Protest” as a form of Resistance.

    The American Representative Republic feigning to be Democratic is a miserable failure. The Constitution is a Bad Joke at this point and is irrelevant to The Rich. They prance right through it and around it thumbing their noses at us all along the way. Its constraints only apply to The Little People.

    The Democrats feign outrage over the Comey firing for political purposes only. The only thing that matters to the bipartisan binary political duopoly is politics and political power. The means and the end are one and the same.

    The Democrats came out in force speaking as one according to a preemptively prepared script immediately when Comey was fired. None of them missed a beat. They all said exactly the same thing as though it was rehearsed — because it was. Their concern is not genuine. They are not genuine. None of them have a genuine bone in their body.

    The Democrats are not the answer. Protests are not the the answer. At this point, massive tax revolts and collective refusals to comply need to be the order or disorder of the day. Families will be divided. It’s happening in my family & my wife’s family.

    I recently was approached about a lucrative position in finance. I humored the acquaintance who approached me and was trying to solicit me but I never had any intention of following through. I made my mind up nearly ten years ago that I would not directly or voluntarily support The Rich ever again no matter how well compensated I was. But here’s the kicker. The company is owned by a scumbag diehard Republican and yuuuge Trump fan & supporter. He boasts and has received awards and accolades for adopting two Black children even though he’s Lily White. He supports taking healthcare away from millions of Blacks and as a token measure adopts two Black children as if to say, “look at me everyone, see, I’m not a racist motherfucker who has nothing but disdain for The Little People.” Here’s the kicker — he was The Little People before he wasn’t any longer. That’s a major flaw with The Little People. Once they strike oil, they forget their roots.

    And how about the following Trojan Horse prick. Stick it up your ass Obama you smarmy, greasy son of a bitch. Ian is correct, Trump was only possible because of you and the feckless, corrupt Democrat Party, and yes I say Democrat instead of Democratic because you and your party are in no way Democratic, but in the off chance what you are is truly what Democracy really is, I want nothing to do with Democracy.

    Obama: ‘You Get The Politicians You Deserve’

    People have a tendency to blame politicians when things don’t work. But as I always tell people, you get the politicians you deserve. And if you don’t vote and if you don’t participate and if you don’t pay attention, then you’ll get policies that don’t reflect your interests. ~ Barack Insane Obama

    I’ll say it again for the millionth time. You cannot Protest your way out of this or Vote your way out of it. We are well beyond conventional means of Resistance. The sooner the majority of affected people wake up to this, the sooner we can make some Progress. Social Evolution cannot and will not happen until then.

    Law Enforcement, as it exists in its current state, is the enemy of The Little People. It’s likened to The Irish Overseers who kept The Slaves in line on The Plantations. Remember who they are. When the Zeitgeist is right, they will be stripped of their weapons and their uniforms. Quite literally. This can be done non-violently. You don’t have to beat them and abuse them or torture them or kill them. You merely have to surround them with enough people, and perhaps some of the people surrounding them will die because Law Enforcement will kill them, but ultimately you will overwhelm them because they can’t kill that many people quick enough. Ask the Germans. It’s why they invented the Gas Showers because shooting the Jews one by one was too inefficient. Once you overwhelm them you take their weapons and their uniforms and they will truly stand naked before those they’ve abused their entire lives. They are violent. We are not. Do not stoop to their level. It’s what they want, and they take your taxpayer money to abuse you violently. It’s insult to injury on a massive scale. Do not comply. They have abused their authority and spit on The Public Trust. They deserve less than zero respect. They only exist to Serve & Protect The Rich.

  26. Hugh permalink
    May 11, 2017

    As Ché Pasa says, we talk a lot about the middle class, and we think we know what it is, but it is fairly amorphous. In the past, we might have said, for example, that the poor and “working” class comprise the lower 25% of the population, the rich the upper 10%, and the middle the intervening 65%. But what does working class even mean? If we look at what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “production and nonsupervisory employees,” i.e. non-management positions, these account for 82.37% of private sector jobs as of April 2017. As for the poor, according to the Census data in 2015 (the last year for which we have data), 13.5% of the population, and 11.6% of households were below the poverty line. The problem is that the poverty line is an arbitrary artifact totally divorced from reality. For instance, if you were over 65 living alone, you would not be considered to be in poverty if you made over $11,367. Nor would you be if you were in a household with two adults and two children, and the household income exceeded $24,036. These numbers are as silly as they are pernicious.

    My own view of a living wage income begins with the following or its equivalent: $20/hour X a 40 hour work week X 50 weeks = $40,000. This would allow someone to afford the basic necessities and have some discretionary income, a couple of “middle class” attributes. It would not allow them to own a home, another middle class attribute. If two people formed a couple, their incomes would allow them to afford a house. But under current conditions, it would not allow them to send their children to college, yet another middle class attribute. This is why tuition free college and trade schools are so important.

    To afford all these “middle class” attributes while retaining a degree of financial security today, you would need an income well north of $100,000/year, –which brings us back to the 2015 Census data. The entry income to the top 20% of households begins at those which exceed $117,002.

    There are various ways of looking at this. One is that nowadays you have to be rich to be a member of the middle class. Another is that the middle class has strung so much that only its upper fringe 5-10% remains. Yet another is that the middle class no longer exists and what you have is an 80-20 split between fairly secure haves and very insecure have-nots.

  27. Hugh permalink
    May 11, 2017

    As an aside, what is interesting about the Comey affair, is

    A) Trump never learned that it isn’t the crime, but the cover-up that can bring his Presidency down

    B) Trump and his staff can’t organize a one car parade

    C) this is yet another self-inflicted wound. He has managed to further damage his own credibility, and honesty, both of which were already at low levels. He has blown up the credibility of Rod Rosenstein, his new Deputy Attorney General, after only two weeks on the job. He has made Sessions look like even more of a hack, instead of the nation’s chief legal officer. And he has solidified the impression that he has stuff to hide with regard to Russia, whether he does or not.

    Consider as a thought experiment if someone had taken away Trump’s twitter account on the day of his Inaugural. You might not have liked or though much of what Trump has done since, but his Presidency would have been much more on track, and competent. But the man cannot simply STFU. Far from being some great negotiator and strategist, he can’t stop from reacting, and overreacting, to everything. This makes him incredibly easy to derail.

  28. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 11, 2017

    I don’t know, Hugh. I don’t think he gives a shit about derailment. For him, it’s all about The Journey — he apparently likes Roller Coasters he’s engineered and so his Presidency thus far is one Roller Coast Ride after another.

    This is amusement for him. He is The Troll In Chief. He loves to troll. He lives for it.

    This week, he thought he would pretend to be Nixon, and so he did everything he could to bring about that impression up to & including Kissinger in his Shit Parade— purposefully I believe to get The Media’s Goat. And The Media obliges. But he’s not Nixon. Not by a Long Shot. Nixon would never have bent over and taken Russian C**k up his ass. Nixon, like Comey at least according to Trump, “was his own man.” That’s what got Nixon in Hot Water. He may have been a Prick, but he was a serious, intelligent person who was the ultimate Political Animal and he most definitely wasn’t a Troll and did not seek the Spotlight. Aside from a Cover-Up, Trump is no Nixon. Do you hear that Donald? I knew Richard Nixon, and believe me, you are no Richard Nixon and that’s not a compliment.

    Who’s he going to pretend to be next week, I wonder, or the week after? Julia Child? Every week will be a new surprise for the reactionary, apoplectic press. He’s still playing them like the fiddle they collectively are.

    A great experiment, one that would work by the way, would be if everyone pretended he didn’t even exist and pretended he wasn’t even POTUS and instead acted as though Pence was. He would truly lose it at that point and order a Nuclear War to get our attention. He’s an Attention Whore. He’s an Attention Junkie, and when he doesn’t get it, he’ll take desperate measures up to and including destroying the planet if its within his power to do so.

  29. Cripes permalink
    May 11, 2017

    On the bright side, we have fulfilled H.L. Mencken’s prophecy of installing a complete moron in the white house. Over and over.

    Maybe we need more energy spent on policies than personalities. The circus itself serves to prolong the misrule of the rich and immiseration of the rest of us.

  30. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Here’s the kicker — he was The Little People before he wasn’t any longer. That’s a major flaw with The Little People. Once they strike oil, they forget their roots.

    The ultimate examples of this are all of those Communist cadres which succeeded in taking over their respective countries. Somehow, “the dictatorship of the proletariat” (which, of course, actually means the dictatorship–or, more correctly, oligarchy–of the cadre, or the dictatorship of the Dear Leader of the cadre) never “withers away” like it was supposed to do. The only way it goes away is if it is overthrown in its turn, or undermined or crushed by external forces.

    “Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss”–the Who

    Those among the Trump Chumps who thought their Dear Leader would restore the Golden Age of the pale-skinned working-middle classes got fooled again.

    Their kind started losing their Golden Age in the late 1960s, when they started voting Republican (or Boll Weevil Democrat) because they didn’t like those dirty hippies and those uppity wimmin and (especially) those uppity n-people.

    The Stupid White Folks started doing that BEFORE the jobs started being automated or going out of the country. The business classes were able to get away with doing that because they could distract the Stupid White Folks with the “social issues”, playing on their fear and loathing of The Other.

    The Stupid White Folks have spent the past 50-odd years cutting off their noses to spite their faces, and then blaming the absence of their noses on the dirty hippies and uppity wimmin and (especially) the uppity n-people (now with the uppity h-people and uppity Moozlimz added).

    The Stupid White Folks now have the government, society, economy, and ecology which they deserve.

    The problem with that, of course, is that those of us–including us non-stupid white folks–who deserve better are also getting what the Stupid White Folks deserve.

    Selah.

  31. Willy permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Recently in South Dakota citizens very peacefully passed the non-partisan “South Dakota Government Accountability and Anti-Corruption Act” to fight lobbying and secret money influences in their state which work against majority citizen wishes.

    The Republican governor and his Republican henchmen shot it down using “emergency powers.”

  32. Peter permalink
    May 11, 2017

    @Cripes

    You are jumping to conclusions and I meant no disrespect for OG who seems to represent many people’s views on this issue.

    I wouldn’t argue with you about how some laws are being used against people and groups but that along with the violent repression of public demonstrations seems to be bipartisan, enforced by democrats with as much vigor as republicans.

    I appreciate the frustration people feel knowing that demonstrating against pipelines is a lost cause and even a bit hypocritical. Because of this fact some small faction of the demonstrators are staging a little militant drama to draw media attention. They seem to think inflicting financial losses and causing delays on private projects is somehow protected speech but in fact the constitution protects the private property owner from criminal attack.

    I’m not impressed by the quantity or the quality of todays demonstrations, They are a mere shadow of what happened in the ’60s led by mostly special interest groups and partisan operatives. Demonstrators and even bystanders, at that time, faced the possibility of being bayoneted, shot and killed besides being arrested, beaten and fined so these new harassments seem petty in comparison.

    Trump hasn’t yet prosecuted any whistleblowers or written any EO to penalize protected demonstrators. I think he’s going to have his hands full just dealing with the crazed losers from the last election and their deep state brethren.

  33. Kevin T. permalink
    May 11, 2017

    The rich have alot of incentive to look out for the interests of the Middle Class. Nobody will buy their products if there is a poor economic situation elsewhere. Somehow this has not happened, perhaps due to the rise of automation and changes in how people purchase products.

  34. Mike1 permalink
    May 11, 2017

    The Gallup poll cited is fourteen years out of date. There have been many recent polls which show very different results. In 2003 the property bubble was starting to peak and these attitudes WERE common. A lot of young people knew for certain they were going to be rich. Bernie Sanders was giving the exact same speeches and no one was interested.

    The young today usually know that as a group they are in a lot of trouble. Individually they tend to think they will be the ones to avoid the meat grinder. It is the same response we saw in the housing crash: “oh yes, prices in this area have gone down a lot. MY house however, has held steady because it is a very special house”.

  35. Willy permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Trump just fires potential whistleblowers as an example for the rest.

  36. Peter permalink
    May 11, 2017

    @Willy

    I see you are wearing your new tinfoil hat and parroting the snowflake’s latest deranged theory about Trump. Portraying Comey as a whistleblower is hysterical lunacy but that is what the loony left has been reduced to.

  37. Willy permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Peter, your nonsensical namecalling is projection. Trumpisms are not an isolated incidents, but part of a very long and extensive behavior pattern. Since Trump has consistently displayed all the qualities of a dark triad personality, it’s rational to see him as such and disregard the blinkered tribal stupidity which you stubbornly display.

    I reread your “pipeline” comment. The only thing the “represent.us” anti-corruption movement in South Dakota had with the anti-pipeline movement was trying to limit dark money. If you at all believed in such things you’d be a part that movement, which is non-partisan and nationwide. That point was that the mostly republican supporters in that state’s movement got to find out the hard way what their chosen leadership truly represents. The explanation they got from the governor himself was dissimulated condescension, very similar to your own style here.

  38. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 11, 2017

    The ultimate examples of this are all of those Communist cadres which succeeded in taking over their respective countries.

    A Communist, apparently, is just a Wannabe Oligarch In Waiting as witnessed by The Fall of the Soviet Union. Putin, who was effectively recruited as a Snitch (euphemistically referred to as an Informant) by the KGB when he turned 18, got many of his friends & acquaintances jailed, tortured & murdered because of his Snitching. And for what? To defend The Soviet Union? Why? So it could ultimately become the Oligarchical Autocracy it is today?

    What a Shitbird. All those people he spied on & abused & ruined their lives. For THIS?? Son of a Bitch!!! Scumbag!! And Trump respects THAT? Peter respects THAT? I thought Loyalty was important to Trump. Putin couldn’t be any more Disloyal.

    Snitches are the Lowest Lifeforms — they’re Bottom Dwellers along with Pedophiles & Rapists of every stripe.

    No doubt I’ll be on the FBI’s list for saying that considering Trump’s plans to thoroughly Russify The Bureau.

    So be it. I don’t care. It’s The Truth & THEY can’t handle The Truth.

    The Converse is true as well. All the heretofore historical Anti-Communists are turning out to be the most rabid Communists. The Koch Brothers Father helped prop up The Soviet Union, so I guess it’s not too surprising.

    It’s a world turned upside down. The Rosenbergs were murdered in vain and are rolling in their graves. The Heartbeat of America was Communist all along. Peter & his ilk are proof of it. Who would have thought? Me, that’s who.

  39. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Not specifically Communist, SMB.

    The word you seek is “authoritarian”.

    The Caucus of Scrooge McDucks, which much help from Tsar Vladimir and the Corporate Holodeck Media, managed to mobilize the authoritarian one-fourth of the country to take over the country–but their Great Orange Hope may go glimmering soon. 😈

  40. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Comey and the FBI betray their country for Cheetolini, and this is the thanks they receive?

    He’s actually driving another powerful agency–which supported him in the election–to turn against him. SMH; color me gobsmacked. :/

  41. Ferrell permalink
    May 11, 2017

    I don’t think so.

    This line of thinking repeats the old Enlightenment error of assuming that all people in all groups are otherwise the same except for how much money they have and will behave similarly. This was sort of mechanistic view was probably never true in a homogeneous society and is certainly not true in a heterogeneous society. It’s what makes humans so damn interesting and frustrating.

    Far from enriching anything, racial and cultural diversity blow these creaky western assumptions apart. Always have and likely always will. Sad but true. Unfortunately, well-meaning people will destroy their own societies rather than admit they swallowed a line of horse-hockey. But of course it’s hard to admit you’ve based your life on a lie.

  42. Hugh permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Kevin T, the rich have no incentive to help the middle class. They have been doing their utmost to loot and destroy it for more than 35 years. It is important to understand the kleptocratic mentality of our masters. Kleptocrats are different from you and me. They are not interested in just stealing the goose that lays the golden eggs and those eggs it lays. A kleptocrat will steal the eggs and the goose, kill the goose, eat it for lunch, then go out and look for another goose.

  43. Peter permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Hegemon Trump is moving quickly after he severed the head of the FBI to spread his “dark triad personality’. He authorized a commission and sent out the hounds to chase down the snowflake machine that enables illegal voting. I expect that the Clintonite party registration numbers will shrink noticeably before the next election.

    Trump’s firing of Comey was decisive and powerful and it has the snowflakes twitching like they had a stroke and it may finally push them into total madness. The hysteria I have seen displayed at other liberal blogs is unbelievable.

  44. Stirling Newberry permalink
    May 11, 2017

    But the right thing do is harder… much easier to the wrong thing.

  45. Tomonthebeach permalink
    May 11, 2017

    So many unprosperous Americans align with the rich because they believe in the so-called “American Dream” that hard work will make anybody rich like Trump. We are, to a considerable extent, a country of millionaire wannabes. Any convenience store owner can attest that they sell as many lottery tickets as they do gas or snacks.

    Those in the bottom half of the economy are looking for a deus ex machina solution to their lack of prosperity. For decades Republicans have asserted that the American Dream has been stifled by federal constraints on corporations and the financial sector. Even though every president who has weakened those regulations has triggered a recession, a great many people still seem to be hopeful that like Charlie Brown, this time Lucy will not snatch away the football. Or are they?

    I think what put Trump and the rest of his robber baron cronies into power was not so much faith that he will restore prosperity by draining the make-believe Washington Swamp, but that the less-prosperous among us will at least get a schadenfreude high from seeing the disingenuous Democrats who let them suffer in order to prop up the 1%, anguish at their impotence to stop the vandalism to their neolib policies.

  46. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 11, 2017

    I begin to wonder if Peter is, or has become, a conscious self-parody.

    Very well, Peter, how is Trump’s antagonizing one of the few Deep State agencies which supported him in the election “decisive and powerful”, instead of “shooting himself in the foot”?

  47. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Or to borrow our host’s phrase, “cutting his own throat”?

  48. Willy permalink
    May 11, 2017

    Maybe Trump is playing some kind of super rope-a-dope, and after so many years playing the narcissistic fool, he’ll suddenly unleash hell fury melty on all the snowflakes?

    But with Gallup at 38% and Quinnipiac 36%, he might want to make it snappy.

  49. Hugh permalink
    May 12, 2017

    Peter is useful because he gives us free of charge all the tangled defenses of the Trump true believers. Logic and facts bounce off him. If nothing else works, he’ll just change the subject or call names. These are the people it is going to take two to three years of Trump unrelentingly sticking it to them and betraying them before they start peeling off from him. And there will always be a core that never will, that will maintain until the end that Trump never failed but was failed, that he never betrayed but was betrayed.

    In this, Peter is hardly alone. I see this everywhere I look across the political spectrum. Bush had his 26%ers who stuck with him no matter what. Obama had a strong following of Obamabots. Just look at the Democrats who still defend Hillary and think a series of far-fetched conspiracies and a mixture of deplorables, racism and misogyny did her in, –and not that she was a ghastly scheming lying grifter who stood for nothing. Or go to Naked Capitalism and watch them try to spin Bernie’s betrayal of his followers when he threw them under the bus and backed Clinton or any one of several instances where their icon took an anti-progressive position. Our problem is that everyone wants to believe, but almost no one wants to think.

  50. realitychecker permalink
    May 12, 2017

    @ Hugh

    “Our problem is that everyone wants to believe, but almost no one wants to think.”

    Oh yeah.

    Thinking is scary, because it might take you to a place where you feel like you should act.

    Mommy, where my safe space at lol?

  51. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    May 12, 2017

    The reality is that Trump has already delivered a lot, and is still delivering. With the firing of Comey, fears that the DC swamp had kompromat on him seem to have been misplaced. There is so much fake news flying around that it’s impossible to know what’s happening — and really, this would seem to be a necessary condition for Trump to operate in the face of overwhelming and fanatical resistance from the swamp. By constantly misleading the press with juicy fake leaks, which of course they can never resist, he is able to operate out of view of Sauron’s Eye. Let’s see what tangible results we have 3 1/2 years from now.

  52. realitychecker permalink
    May 12, 2017

    @ BOO

    One might almost say it was a “blizzard” of fake news we are experiencing right now.

    I don’t always agree with your observations, but I do find a ring of truth in your assertion that the chaos benefits Trump as you describe.

  53. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    May 12, 2017

    As far as the middle class and its allegiance, no doubt it is a mistake to have allowed the rich to become so dominant as they are today. But it’s not necessarily smart to align with the poor, either. And it often seems to happen that the rich and poor are themselves together in a political alliance to crush the middle. Case in point: did the poor vote for Bernie Sanders, or Hillary Clinton?

    Of course the equation is complicated by US racial politics. For the (mostly white) middle class to ally with the (largely black/Mestizo) poor would be not just suicidal but auto-genocidal. The non-white poor support (through ignorance, apathy or anti-white animus) the globalist rich scheme of Camp of the Saints inundation from the 3rd world.

    Another question is whether it is even possible to restore FDR-era marginal tax rates in a world economy as globalized as it is today. I mean this beyond the question of mere head-counts in Congress. Wouldn’t capital start to flee? Then you need capital controls, and your economy is going to take a hit. Holding the line requires national economic self-sufficiency, relative national unity, and strong sovereignty. As long as we don’t have those things, we’re probably forced to supplicate before Davos Man.

  54. Peter permalink
    May 12, 2017

    Poor Hugh is trying to be clever again, projecting his bible-thumping ‘thinking’ onto people who don’t accept the hysterical groupthink and hate coming from the snowflakes. Trump’s popularity has dropped according to the Borg polls but these polls only matter just before an election.

    The ‘thinking’ snowflakes and their Borg accomplices are projecting the notion that their black propaganda is the new truth that repetition makes real and the masses will follow. They are so intent on reversing their public humiliation and powerlessness that they become mouth-breathing caricatures of citizens as snarling dogs. They will destroy anything in their way including the Republic to ease their lose of entitlement. Some Trump supporters may be upset with him because he isn’t using enough of his power to crush these entrenched threats to what little democracy remains in the US.

  55. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 12, 2017

    These are the people it is going to take two to three years of Trump unrelentingly sticking it to them and betraying them before they start peeling off from him.

    I don’t know, Hugh. Trump’s like The Herpe. Once you have it, you have it. There is no cure. The best you can hope for is a modicum of symptom abatement.

    I, for one, know I don’t want to have relations with any of them after knowing they have The Herpe. Yuck. No thank you. Gross.

    FYI, I have no love lost for Comey whatsoever, but this is one time I agree with William Kristol. I can loathe Comey and at the same time loathe Trump and flog him relentlessly for firing Comey to include the why & how of it. This is the problem with Political Ideologues. They can’t walk, or run, and chew gum at the same time so the Liberals are forced, because they are required to hate Trump, to defend Comey after excoriating him and calling for his head months earlier and the Conservatives, because they are required to hate Hillary & all Liberals, are forced to defend Trump and excoriate Comey after praising him months earlier.

    Me? I hate them all and so I’m free to excoriate unfettered by incarcerating ideology.

    Calling Mr. Morality

  56. Willy permalink
    May 12, 2017

    Polls also matter before an impeachment.

    Is trump swamp or not swamp? That is the question. Words and promises mean nothing. Overthinking accomplishes little. What is he doing in the face of opposition? As for ethics NPR has it’s monitor, but it seems out of date:

    http://www.npr.org/2017/02/17/513724796/trump-ethics-monitor-has-the-president-kept-his-promises

  57. Willy permalink
    May 12, 2017

    TSMB,
    If anybody’s worked in large environments such as the major corporate world, and paid attention, you’ve seen power players using, then dumping loyal ‘henchmen’ all the time. It amazed me when the binary thinking tribal ideologue (or whatever the hell they can be called) couldn’t see simple reality as it was. The power player cared nothing about the company except as a host, and the henchmen were no longer useful.

  58. highrpm permalink
    May 12, 2017

    the nation-state took two key steps, both against the spirit of its constitution, that turned it down the path to empire:
    1. foreign entanglements
    2. imposing a state religion, egalitarianism. egalitarianism

  59. DMC permalink
    May 12, 2017

    I’m coming around to the “Zaphod Beeblebrox theory” of Trump. That is, that he’s not there to wield power but to distract from where power actually is being wielded. He’s all anyone can talk about, he’s like the road accident you can’t help rubbernecking at. Meanwhile….

  60. Willy permalink
    May 12, 2017

    I’d think an inability to check and balance concentrations of power dooms every possible system regardless of “egalitarianism”. America is mostly “foreign entanglements” because of unchecked oil power.

    People have to get it out of their heads that power is earned or deserved or given somehow. Those people are projecting, and/or ignorant that that kind of power went away when clans grew into towns. Today lasting power over large groups is usually taken.

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