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By Criticizing This, Liberals Look Like Fools

2017 February 5
by Ian Welsh

Because this is 100 percent true.

trump-putin-america-comments

One of the great problems of the campaign and into the Trump administration is liberals and the media accusing Trump of lying. He lies a lot, yes, but he tells truths that no one else is willing to say, and he has, so far, kept his high profile promises.

Normal politicians tell the truth about the things Trump lies about, but those things are less important than the truths Trump tells and the promises he keeps that normal politicians break (for example, Obama saying he’d re-negotiate NAFTA).

For the fools, this doesn’t mean that Trump will keep his most important promise: the ur-promise of prosperity for the forgotten Americans. Of course, Obama didn’t keep his ur-promise either, which was of a fundamental change in how DC did business and how the country was run. Rather the contrary, Obama institutionalized George Bush’s abuses, leaving those powers in place for use by Trump.

But Trump won because he told truths other people wouldn’t tell. As for the “approval ratings,” they are largely meaningless because about 90 percent of Republicans still back Trump. The people who are unhappy with Trump (indeed, who hate him), are people he didn’t win and doesn’t need right now. Of course they hate him, the Democrats spent the the entire election telling them that Trump was Hitler reborn.

When the “decent” people like Obama, Clinton, and Bush (who liberals are now saying was actually pretty good) don’t do the right thing, and lie about what matters most, they open an opportunity for demagogues. Now they have one and they squeal, but he was earned by their actions and words.

The ban of Muslims from seven countries, currently stayed, is something I think was a bad idea and which has hurt people. However, it was not more evil, say, than what the US did to Libya under Obama, which occasioned far less outcry. Not by any reasonable standard: a lot less people are dying because of it, or getting raped because of it, or losing their homes and livelihood because of it. Almost certainly, Trump will do truly horrible things yet, but this wasn’t truly horrible. What it was was a strike at something liberals care about greatly, an emotive issue for them: The right for some people to move freely between countries. (Notice no similar outcry for the 2.4+ million deportations by Obama.)

All of this makes liberals look, to people who supported Trump, like raving hypocritical hysterics, crying about flesh wounds when they didn’t care about broken bones when Obama was in charge.

And so it goes. Trump’s a bad man, he’s done and will do bad things, but the reaction so far has been vastly out of scale to anything he’s actually done.

And yeah, the US isn’t exactly some bastion of purity and non-violence. Strange that the President who said that had to be Trump, because we all know it is true.

A little less pearl-clutching, please.


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85 Responses
  1. Brian permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Three points about most people I know who are Democrats / liberals (not excuses mind you, just explanations):

    1) Politics is tribal and people stick up for their perceived “tribe” regardless of what they do. People basically feel like if “their guy” is in power things are ok. This is something that applies to most people not just liberals, it just so happens that for the last 8 years we had a nominally “liberal” President so right now it’s the liberals who look like hypocrites. For the other side, suddenly executive orders and budget deficits are no big deal. So, part of this is pretty normal. (Related phenomenon: confirmation bias.)

    2) Most liberals I know are so used to losing to the GOP they’ve acquired a sort of “learned hopelessness” mentality. “Republicans will just filibuster…” or “We’d like to see universal health care but, you know, the insurance companies will spend a lot of money to stop it…” Not enough votes, Republicans and the media will say mean things about us, people will scream “LIBERAL!” and we’ll lose anyway… so, oh well, don’t try. It’s been so long since liberals were able to accomplish big, positive changes they’ve stopped believing they’re possible and stopped demanding them from their leaders.

    3) Given #2 above, this leads liberals to believe people like Obama and the Clintons are the best we can get, so they’ll close ranks around them because “Do you want to split the party and elect Trump!?” I often vote for the lesser evil myself, but I usually understand I’m still voting for some evil in hopes of averting worse evils. I think most people can’t handle that level of moral ambiguity in their lives and want to feel good about themselves, so rather than accept that they’re casting a lesser evil vote, they lie to themselves and ignore things they’d be upset about if the other side did them.

    As far as whether or not people are overreacting…

    No, I don’t think so. Trump is horrible. The fact that Obama was also horrible does not mean people shouldn’t be angry at Trump and take to the streets.

    Personally, I think Americans should have been in the streets shutting the country down over our endless wars, the surveillance state, bailouts, austerity, environmental devastation etc for the last 8 years (er, make that 17 years). Yeah, it would have been nice if people doing so now had been there while Obama was doing bad things, but if having someone from the other tribe in power is what finally jolts some liberals out of their lethargy and they’re putting up massive resistance now I say “better late than never.”

    I agree with your point that far too many liberals weren’t bothered by Obama doing horrible things, normalizing Bush’s policies etc, and I often make the same argument with friends, but it seems to me that if every time Trump does something we all shrug our shoulders and say “But Obama did…” we aren’t going to be any better off.

    Are a lot of them hypocrites or at least not very self aware? Maybe. But if they want to do the right thing now and begin opposing the system, I’m not going to turn down their help.

    What’s happening now may lead to a revival of a more active left. The Sanders campaign was possibly a harbinger of this. If reactions to Trump’s actions wake people up, lead them to organize, lead them to educate themselves, lead them to push for a better Democratic party down the road, then isn’t that all for the good?

    This is happening at the local level around the country incidentally – while Clintonistas may still cling to power at the DNC, I’ve been noticing an awful lot of stories about Sanders campaign veterans stepping up to take over local Democratic organizations. The massive pressure now being put on Democratic congress people is having an effect and pushing them to do the right thing.

    Purely anecdotally, I’ve noticed a lot of previously complacent liberals I know become radicalized by Trump’s election. Not only are they incensed at having misogynistic white supremacists in power, they are also incensed at the Democrats for having helped bring it about through their own failures. They held to the “lesser evil” thinking I described above and rationalized horrible actions by Dems because they thought it worked and was their only option… and then they lost everything anyway. Now they’re furious with the party establishment and out to change their own party almost as much as they are to oppose Trump. Sad it had to come to that but now that they’re starting to get it I welcome and try to encourage their newfound radicalism. Hopefully it makes a difference and hopefully it sticks if and when the Democrats are back in power.

  2. February 5, 2017

    @Brain; what a steaming pile of apologism and self justification.

    “I often vote for the lesser evil myself, but I usually understand I’m still voting for some evil in hopes of averting worse evils.”
    Oh please. Voting for evil, lesser or greater, merely perpetuates evil and tells the traitorous office holders that they can continue to betray us. I have admired the opposition for one thing that we liberals don’t have, and that is the courage of their convictions. If a Republican doesn’t do what he was elected to do they will throw him out, and if they have to lose an occasional election in order to do that they will do so. If a Democrat doesn’t do what he was elected to do we wring our hands and complain about his pefidy, but we reelect him anyway because we are afraid that if we lose an election the skies will fall down on our fragile little heads.

    “…but it seems to me that if every time Trump does something we all shrug our shoulders and say “But Obama did…” we aren’t going to be any better off.”
    Gack. Were we any better off after eight years of shrugging our shoulders and saying “But Bush did…’?” Good lord. Everything is okay when we do it but not okay when Republicans do it, or it’s okay when we do it with respect to our own but we should not do it with respect to the enemy.

    Liberals have completely lost any sense of perspective that requires us to have any spine.

  3. February 5, 2017

    “I’ve noticed a lot of previously complacent liberals I know become radicalized by Trump’s election.” Not really. They are just willing to criticize and complain about a Republican after eight years of justifying and defending almost identical actions by a Democrat.

  4. Billikin permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Putin is a strongman. And, as you pointed out, Trump has been acting like a strongman. Many Americans don’t like that. The closest American has come to being ruled by a strongman was when Dick Cheney was Vice President. Americans do like for their President to be a strong man. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and Eisenhower come to mind. But we do not like being bullied. Trump’s admiration for Putin is an indicator that he likes strongmen and would like to be one, too.

  5. britbong permalink
    February 5, 2017

    I agree 100% with Bill H. Republicans were getting pummeled in 2008, and we had control of the country. We could have finished off the Republicans, and held power for an entire generation. But the left immediately went into prevent losses mode, and kept accepting unspeakable compromises, justifying it with the lesser of two evils argument. How did that shit work out for ya? Republicans obstructed and went for broke on every issue no matter how ridiculous they looked, and managed to rise back from near death and now may hold the reins for 2 generations (Generation Z is the most conservative generation since WW2, so much for the magic demographics argument). Quite frankly, I think the left in America really is center right. I think they love consuming, low taxes, austerity for the poor, launching wars against brown people just as much as the right, because that is the only explanation I can think of for why the Dems fucked this up so badly. And I sure as hell did not hear a single person in my circle of friends or on mainstream left websites who condemned Libya or Obama’s militarism. I heard more whining about trivial shit like trans bathrooms than universal healthcare. You don’t get the shit you want because you don’t fight for it. And quite frankly, I don’t think Democrats want any of the crown jewels that the left have been mooing about for decades.

  6. Ché Pasa permalink
    February 5, 2017

    What you’re criticizing is ‘politics’ — the particularly vile kind that’s been practiced in this country for decades by Republicans, and occasionally by Democrats. The hypocrisy is built in and largely irrelevant. I think it was William Bennett — when his gross moral hypocrisy was revealed — who said, “At least a hypocrite has a moral standard.” It’s the people who don’t have one at all we should worry about.

    Dismissing Trump’s many lies because some of what he says fits the “truth” you want to hear and you think others should hear it too is the textbook practice of a political operative. “Sure he lies, but all politicians lie, Clinton and Obama lied, so it doesn’t matter as long as Trump says something I agree with and think you should hear” is pure politics, a game that hasn’t exactly been kind to the Netroots and others….

    The “but Obama!” and the “but Clintoon!!!” argument to defend Trump long ago wore out its utility. Citing “liberal hypocrisy” as a reason to discount the outrage in the streets falls just as flat.

    Yes, politicians are hypocrites; they lie. Sometimes they tell the truth. Sometimes they act on principle, even moral principle. Usually they act on craven self-interest, party loyalty, and submission to institutional authority. Yes? And?

    Most of the “pearl clutching” I’m seeing is coming from the newly empowered alt.rightist crew who see that things really are spiraling out of control into chaos and they’re afraid of losing their grip on power. They scream bloody murder over the “riots” and protests spreading across the land. They take to their fainting couches over every broken window, every fire set by the black clad anarchists, every call to oppose the fascists in our midst, every accusation of racism, sexism, homophobia and the rest.

    They’re terrified because their grip on power is very fragile, more fragile than their grip on reality. This is not going well for them, and it won’t end well — neither for them, nor for most of the rest of us.

    And this is happening well outside the institutionalized political framework of lies, hypocrisy and mutual anathemas.

    Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

    

  7. Glen permalink
    February 5, 2017

    I’m not in favor of the over blown hysteria, but I like that the left has marched and gotten real press. Being proactive is better than getting rolled. We just need to get the public to ignore the bright shiny objects and concentrate on real issues. I’m not sure how to do it.

  8. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ Che Pasa

    Do you even know how crazy you are?

  9. Ché Pasa permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ rc

    Right. If you have an argument, great.

    But you don’t, do ya? Nyah nyah is not an argument.

    So it’s down to projection and insult.

    Have fun.

  10. highrpm permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @cp
    get off your blame whitey high horse and return to balanced dialog.

  11. Herman permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @Brian,

    That is a great point about political tribalism. I think the way the media has developed over the last 20 years has only exacerbated this phenomenon. First you had the cable news networks that were tailored to appeal to certain political tribes and now you have websites that do the same. It is now very possible to live completely in a political information bubble without ever having to leave it.

    For all of its faults at least the Old Media presented multiple sides of an issue, even if it remained within the limited bounds of mainstream opinion and rarely included radical voices. There was a time when I thought the Internet would lead to a better-informed, more intelligent electorate but the result has been the opposite. Yes, you have some good blogs like this one but conspiracy websites and partisan hack news gets way more viewership than good alternative journalism.

  12. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ Che Pasa

    Sorry, but your comment I responded to is nothing but crazy, and it reveals you to be a snake that is in the process of eating its own tail.

    I feel sorry for you if you think there is even a tiny trace of sanity, let alone morality, in what you wrote, but it is certainly not my job, nor do I have unlimited time to waste, to try and pull you back from the brink of psychosis if that is where your enfeebled mind wants to lead you.

    Feel free to jump. You won’t be missed.

  13. February 5, 2017

    “He lies a lot, yes, but he tells truths that no one else is willing to say, and he has, so far, kept his high profile promises.”-Ian

    Is the act of telling hard truths (the ones no one else is willing to say) a sign of the renewal of civilization or a sign of its decline? Do we need a bit of hypocrisy just to hold it all together?

    I routinely ask myself these questions but have been unable to come up with a solid answer.

  14. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ Herman

    Remember the Fairness Doctrine?

    I am constantly amazed to learn how few people even remember that there ever was such a thing.

    Reagan’s single greatest sin, IMO, was that he abolished the Fairness Doctrine, which very predictably and deliberately paved the road to the abomination that is the mind-destroying media world of today.

  15. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ GH

    I submit, in response to your good faith angst, that it is the obligation of an ethical, rational person to adapt himself to the hard truths, however discomfiting that may feel, and NOT the other way around.

    The hard truths are the fulcrum against which we are supposed to press our levers of logic.

  16. February 5, 2017

    Ché Pasa is absolutely right when he says:

    Dismissing Trump’s many lies because some of what he says fits the “truth” you want to hear and you think others should hear it too is the textbook practice of a political operative. “Sure he lies, but all politicians lie, Clinton and Obama lied, so it doesn’t matter as long as Trump says something I agree with and think you should hear” is pure politics, a game that hasn’t exactly been kind to the Netroots and others….

    The “but Obama!” and the “but Clintoon!!!” argument to defend Trump long ago wore out its utility. Citing “liberal hypocrisy” as a reason to discount the outrage in the streets falls just as flat.

    Yes, politicians are hypocrites; they lie. Sometimes they tell the truth. Sometimes they act on principle, even moral principle. Usually they act on craven self-interest, party loyalty, and submission to institutional authority. Yes? And?

    Political tribalism is part and parcel of partisan representative democracy. Learn to live with it, work with it.

  17. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ Mandos

    “Political tribalism is part and parcel of partisan representative democracy. Learn to live with it, work with it.”

    Sorry, Mandos, but if we can’t do better than to continue thrashing about in the fetid morass of the present political madhouse that you seem so comfortable with, I’d rather kill the practitioners or, at the least, banish them to an inhospitable island and force them to deal exclusively with each other.

    The rest of us will get along just fine without those malevolent parasites, using just basic common sense and decency as our guides.

    Can’t do any worse.

  18. February 5, 2017

    realitychecker: Let’s check some reality here. You do not have the power to overthrow the principal harness of popular activist energy in the USA, which is partisan identification. Instead, some progressives have created a situation in which they are considered short-term, fickle, unreliable political followers, and therefore have given up all hope of influence within the system. That would be fine if you had the capacity to replace/supplant the system, but you don’t: therefore it is in the worst case a form of dereliction.

  19. Arthur permalink
    February 5, 2017

    I don’t like Trump. But there are moments when I have to wonder if God or fate or karma (take your pick) didn’t put him here at this time to say certain things that need to be said. The quote from the O’Reilly interview is a case in point. Our country is not innocent, everyone knows that to be the case, but somehow it took Trump to say it out loud. I must say it was refreshing. So it begs the question: Is this a case of a blind squirrel finding a nut once in awhile, or is he punking the whole country by exposing the hypocrisy of it all?

    Thoughts, please.

  20. February 5, 2017

    @GH

    “Is the act of telling hard truths (the ones no one else is willing to say) a sign of the renewal of civilization or a sign of its decline? ”

    Well, “renewal” and “decline” are in the eyes of the beholder. If you take “renewal” to mean more nationalism, and more realism + less “idealistic” interventionism in foreign policy, then we have tectonic shifts going on, not just in the US, but in Europe, too, which qualify as “renewal”.

    Of course, even given this viewpoint, Trump is a mixed bag. I don’t have much of a head for financial topics, but this Trump voter has long accepted as Gospel Truth that Dodd-Frank is inadequate. Trump looking to remove what modest constraints there are, on Wall street, does not bode well for the economy, long term.

    I currently cannot view Trump as anything close to a catalyst for enduring change, because not only does he seem to be doing nothing to expand his base, he does not even seem to grasp the necessity for doing so. (In fairness, it’s REALLY early in his administration.) Bannon reportedly is a long term thinker. Maybe his high-falutin’ title as strategist includes engineering a populist re-alignment. I’m not seeing any evidence of that, though.

    OTOH, Trump’s opposition seems to be making real progress in organizing. Just today, I got notifications of #Resist meetup groups in West Orange, Montclair, and Maplewood, NJ. These towns are all minutes from each other. There are currently 18, 44, and 21 members, respectively. West Orange has a population of 46K, the others are probably similar. If these seemingly smallish numbers of people work from now to organize disruptive voting blocs, that express their displeasure in primaries, then I can see this nucleus growing into a powerful disruptive force.

    The fly in the opposition ointment, though, is it’s not clear how much is astro-turf. Is George Soros pulling the strings? Will the opposition just get co-opted by the corporate Democratic Party?

    Stay tuned. I wrote a series of diaries that started off with “The plutocrats are laughing at you”. The record of reformists, working against plutocratic interests, has been poor, indeed, for decades.

  21. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ Mandos

    Well, you’re right about one thing, namely, I don’t have the power to magically remove the most pestilential elements of our body politic, no matter how desirable it would be if I did.

    But I am forced to say, I have totally lost any patience I ever had with the mindless hysterical drivel that now endlessly emanates from the left as a matter of routine. I never could suffer fools gladly, and now that fools seem to have reached a critical mass, I see no point in even trying to reason with them.

    So, since the left is now endlessly indulging its amoral reality-defying fantasies in everything political and politically correct, and since reasonable people like Ian are doing a fine job of presenting the reasonable and balanced voice in these matters, I am claiming my equal right to occasionally do the same as the left is doing, just because I’d rather rhetorically beat up a stupid tribal lefty than bang my head against a wall.

    So, celebrate your ‘victory’–I’m being forced to displace some dispassionate reason in favor of some rage and petulance. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, n’est-ce pas?

  22. Queerty permalink
    February 5, 2017

    “Trump’s a bad man, he’s done and will do bad things, but the reaction so far has been vastly out of scale to anything he’s done.”

    Good. Do you want things to change or don’t you?

    I mean: people are rising up, but not in the measured way you would approve of? And their timing’s off? What the hell do you think the goal is? A well-ordered left?

  23. February 5, 2017

    “I submit, in response to your good faith angst, that it is the obligation of an ethical, rational person to adapt himself to the hard truths, however discomfiting that may feel, and NOT the other way around.
    The hard truths are the fulcrum against which we are supposed to press our levers of logic.”
    -realitychecker

    I concur,

    I just can’t ascertain if we “adapt and surpass” hard truths or “supplant and mask” them. I have rarely observed the former when it comes to hard truths.

  24. February 5, 2017

    “growing into a powerful disruptive force”-metamars

    I hope something worthwhile comes out of the disruption because we need something more than an event/spectacle. We need something that changes things the morning after.

  25. Emma permalink
    February 5, 2017

    I don’t know what promises Trump has kept; I’m seeing 700 jobs in a Carrier factory (for now), the deregulation of Wall Street (?), and an incompetently implemented Muslim ban being spun into gold by lots of people whose problems with the nostalgia-based fascism embraced by modern Republicans pales in comparison to their frothing, irrational hatred for Democrats. Hillary Clinton is terrible, but if she’d been elected I wouldn’t be worrying about keeping my health insurance, or nuclear war with Iran, or whether, in the (unlikely) event I find myself gestating an unwanted fetus, I’ll have to use DuckDuckGo to find a list of home abortifacients so I won’t be flagged for arrest under the Pre-Born American Protection Act of 2018. This is my life. The misery experienced by those people who were detained in airports and unable to reunite with their families was waaaaay more important than point-scoring against the Democratic Party (awful) or Obama (also awful). Watching people who are allegedly concerned about the Republicanization of this country congratulate Trump for playing mind-games with dumb people on teevee is starting to annoy me. I’m sorry the DNC ran over your puppy, Mr. Welsh. I’m pretty upset with them myself. This kind of silly shit isn’t getting anything done, though.

  26. Montanamaven permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Observations on my liberal friends:
    1. They went to the demonstrations on Jan 21 and felt really good and really believe that that was the start of some kind of revolution. They report that their children at college are very energized.
    2. They gave money, but really didn’t know who they were giving money to.
    3. They spend far too much time on Facebook feeding each other’s anger.

    On a more positive side:
    4. Slowly they are asking me about “news” stories like the one about Trump getting 19% stock in Rosneft energy company and are they true? They did not want to hear from me for the last 8 years. But now they are starting to be open to reading alternative sites like this one and naked capitalism. I even linked gingerly to Moon of Alabama piece on “the deep state”.
    5. They still don’t care much about “jobs, jobs, jobs”, but at least admit that might have been a factor in their loss.

    I find that it’s best to stay away from the “yeh but Obama and Clinton did it too”. I concentrate on asking them to be “for” something. The discussion should not be about how many refugees are coming but why there are refugees to begin with. We bomb the crap out of their countries with cluster bombs and depleted uranium. Then the citizens of said country sensibly try to get their families out of harm’s way. (This is where I can quietly insert the facts that Honduras, Libya, Yemen, Syria, are horrors that happened in the last 8 years aka Obama did it too). So the solution would seem to be to concentrate on a Peace movement that brings our troops home to help rebuild the US. Local right wingers here in Montana are tired of their kids being in the Middle East. They want them to have jobs here. So I bet there is some common ground there.
    How about Medicare for All as something to fight for. How about a jobs guarantee with a basic income? Don’t know what those are? Have teach ins like in the 60’s. That’s how I found out about the history of Vietnam and what a “proxy war” was.
    As to giving money and going to protests, I ask them to follow the money and introduced the term “sheepdogging”. “Do not get a missive from “Move On” or “Organizing for America” or “Blue this or that” and blindly show up where they tell you to,” I say. Don’t be sheeple. (I just realized that those pink pussy hats were knitted out of wool.)
    And I remark that the Republicans might be right about getting rid of the department of education. Their solution of vouchers and charter schools are just schemes and don’t work. But my neighbors would definitely be on board with using the money that funds government bureaucracies like the Dept of Ed to fund local endeavors like public schools and clean water and roads and bridges.

  27. nihil obstet permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Life and politics would be so much easier if they didn’t always call for judgment and prioritization. Not too long after Obama was elected, a commenter on another blog (forget which one), linked with enthusiasm to a site that showed that Obama kept most of his campaign promises. This, the comment read, proves objectively how honest and effective Obama is. Well, the site did indeed count the number of promises kept and yet to be fulfilled. Many kept promises were trivial beyond belief: to get a First Dog for the White House, to declare a national X day, and the like. But it was OBJECTIVE! As long as you don’t judge getting a First Dog to be inconsequentially trivial in carrying out presidential duties or prioritize other things like executing the laws without regard to status or wealth, you think Obama’s great. Otherwise, you’re being subjective and just clinging to your own prejudices.

    Looking at what Trump is doing without any judgment except he’s doing a lot of bad things is counterproductive. Democrats tried the “Not-Trump” argument during the election. It didn’t work. Instead of the politics of personality, we need the politics of policy. And that means dealing with what Trump says or does more than shutting down thought with “Trump bad, very bad, everything Trump say bad”.

    At the risk of really not appreciating potential danger, I tend to think that if one person, even as president, can do as much damage as many Democrats are claiming, then we have serious problems with the structure of our government that should be addressed NOW.

  28. February 5, 2017

    Yes, this hectoring “you don’t criticize when it’s your team” ironically will lead people further away from criticizing their team, since the people doing the hectoring don’t evince enough outrage that Trump got elected. I know that sucks but that’s how people think.

  29. February 5, 2017

    At the risk of really not appreciating potential danger, I tend to think that if one person, even as president, can do as much damage as many Democrats are claiming, then we have serious problems with the structure of our government that should be addressed NOW.

    Well yes. The structure of American government (and Canadian, and …) is fully predicated on the idea that, regardless of political views, only a certain sort of person will be allowed to hold office, and then that person should have very wide discretion with which to act, because they can be trusted with that power. It is vulnerable to the ascension of people who do not share those norms. The system is designed to weed those people out, but as soon as someone figures out how to hack the system, well…

  30. Queerty permalink
    February 5, 2017

    “I don’t know what promises Trump has kept; I’m seeing 700 jobs in a Carrier factory (for now), the deregulation of Wall Street (?), and an incompetently implemented Muslim ban…”

    Also, a border wall that a tax on Americans will pay for.

    Look, Trump is irrelevant. Bannon, Miller, and Flynn are running the show. Soon, Sessions will join them. The thinking among the contrarian left is that Trump will forestall war, initiate a huge infrastructure plan, and somehow crush crony capitalism.

    Instead, the Bannon crew will compromise: they will trade infrastructure and crushing the cronies in exchange for war with Iran and China and the re-establishment of Jim Crow.

    I’m pretty okay with people rising up against the latter, even if many of those people are Clinton voters.

  31. Tabatha permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Thank you Emma,

  32. February 5, 2017

    @Che Pasa,

    Brilliantly said.

    Also, the basic notion that you can understand that the US is not innocent but not Putin’s Russia and as a simple practical matter it’s stupid for a POTUS to talk that way is lost on some. But Trump has already made such fools of those folks that they have to double, triple, quadruple, etc. down on the rationalizations to keep from dealing with that truth.

  33. aoifjeo permalink
    February 5, 2017

    What does UR in ‘UR promise’ mean?

  34. EmilianoZ permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Trump: What do you think, our country’s so innocent?

    I thought that was the most amazing part of the interview. Maybe he’ll soon have some fireside chats with Americans and explain to them why 9/11 was justified from the Arab perspective.

  35. StewartM permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Ian, I agree that on the applied evil scale Trump has a lot of catching up to match what the Obamas, Bushes, and Clintons did, but if Bannon really is running the White House show, he may catch up quickly:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/02/steve-bannon-donald-trump-war-south-china-sea-no-doubt

    War with China, a nuclear state, over the South China Sea is as nutty as Clinton wanting to shoot down Russian fighters and extend NATO deep into Eastern Europe. Likewise, fighting some ill-begotten crusade supposedly for “Judeo-Christianity” (a term almost never used by Jews) while just happening to steal more oil for BP and Exxon-Mobil in the process, is the last thing that many Trump white rural voters, who have been seeing their children sent overseas making multiple tours and coming back maimed or in body bags, want. Trump is a “strongman”? Let him take on Big Oil, Pharma (ooh, he’s already backed down on that one) and see if he can rescue jobs without bribing companies like Carrier. Beating on refugees hardly makes one “strong”.

    Once more, no matter what button on the remote American voters push each election, the programming scarcely changes…save for the worse.

    I also agree on the other hand that elevating Bush & Company up to the status of sage statesmen, up there with St. Reagan, strongly motivates me not to vote Democratic. Clinton and her apologists did that this past election, pulling out every conservative and Republican who would come on MSNBC and say “Trump’s not a ‘real conservative'”! and all it did was drive down Democratic turnout. A pox on both their houses.

  36. February 5, 2017

    Beating on refugees hardly makes one “strong”.

    It does not make one strong, perhaps, but it does make one a strongman. What do you think “strongmen” in that sense do?

  37. February 5, 2017

    What does UR in ‘UR promise’ mean?

    The “ur” is an older Germanic prefix meaning “fundamental to” or “prior to” or “archetypal of”. Ian uses it to refer to the meta-level promises underlying Trump’s immediate policy promises. Those “ur”-promises are things like better jobs and more stable communities and fewer drug overdoses. Ian and others think that, in terms of getting re-elected, it doesn’t really matter what Trump does, as long as he fulfills the ur-promises, and if he does not fulfill them, he probably won’t be re-elected, even if he fulfills his immediate promises.

    I am more skeptical about this dependence, in that I think he can get re-elected, even if he fails to fulfill his ur-promises.

    The deeper issue is that his followers, through talk radio and other means, have been primed to believe that some policy choices will lead to particular outcomes. I called these on another thread the ur-ur-promises. The ur-ur-promises are things like “cutting business taxes will lead to more jobs” and “building a wall is feasible and will lead to more jobs.” I am fairly sure that these are wrong. What happens if Trump fulfills his immediate promises, but the ur-promises don’t result from them, because the ur-ur-promises were complete lies? Do his followers re-evaluate the ur-ur-promises, form solidarity with undocumented workers, and actually attempt to tame the US economic elite? Or do they swallow the argument that the ur-ur-promises should have worked, if only an elite hadn’t thwarted Trump at every turn?

  38. February 5, 2017

    “some ill-begotten crusade supposedly for “Judeo-Christianity”-StewartM

    I think Bannon’s “Judeo-Christian world view” is totally useless when it comes to China.

    The Chinese have always struck me as a people who view the religions, cultures, and technologies of others the same way a visitor views exhibits at a theme park. They stop at the exhibit, look at some unique items/information, take a few souvenirs to use/enjoy later, and they move on. When they enter the theme park they are Chinese and when they leave the theme park they are Chinese.

  39. gnokgnoh permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Good lord, Ian, what’s there to criticize?! Americans have no problems with Presidents who declare that they, or we, are killers. Obama just did it, last year. We have a problem with killing Americans, especially white ones. If you’re going to kill brown or black ones, we prefer that they be over there somewhere and don’t tell us too much about it, except that we won. Of course, if cops kill blacks here, they always deserve it…

    The problem with Iraq and Afghanistan is that we did not win, not that we killed people. Clinton’s bombing of Serbia was fantastic, because we won, or at least declared we won and stopped…the war. That’s victory. I’m not sure why Bush Sr.’s invasion of Iraq lost him the election. He did it the right way, invaded, declared victory, and came home. It must have been the economy, stupid! Obama’s drone bombing is cool, but hard to declare victory, too scattered. It just felt like we were buying time, and the left’s arguments that the drone killings were causing blowback were beginning to make sense. Can’t have that.

    Trump is setting the stage for something much better, much bigger, much more like Trump. Not even he is sure yet what that means, but the opportunity will present itself. North Korea, Iran, Syria, those damned protestors…the possibilities are endless.

  40. February 5, 2017

    When it comes to killing millions of innocents, useless wars and regime-changes, NONE of these pikers even comes close to Henry the (Big) K:

    IsKissingerDeadYet.com

  41. February 5, 2017

    We’ve seen this for the last year and a half. Trump or his surrogates same something dumb or offensive or both. Twitter and the MSM and various Dem politicians go nuts. Other people try to point to some of the truths underlying Trump’s statement or that it’s not just Trump. Arguments ensue. Then the next statement gets made.

    It’s noise. It’s all noise.

    The reason I come here, Ian, is because I want to see beneath the noise. I get that Obama/Clinton are as bad as Bush/Reagan, etc. That’s been bludgeoned into me enough times. But we’re where we are. How do we go forward?

    We clearly have to do two things: prevent Trump (and his successors) from being able to burn the country down or turn it into a totalitarian dictatorship; and fix the underlying elements that led to his rise. I admit I’m chomping at the bit waiting for your posts on these subjects.

    Because, frankly, I’ve seen plenty of the vocal left. I live in Boulder, Colorado, where they’re an impotent curiosity that ties up city council and gets ignored by the rest of the state. The protests feel good. The calls to the Senators feel good. In forty years, they haven’t changed a damn thing.

    So rather than waste my time, for example, calling Senator Gardner (R-Colo) about DeVos, whom he’ll vote for no matter what, where are the real pressure points that matter?

  42. StewartM permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Mandos:

    It does not make one strong, perhaps, but it does make one a strongman. What do you think “strongmen” in that sense do?

    Ah. So it’s something akin to the John Wayne definition of “tough guy”. Being oh-so-brave when there are no real bullets flying around not paying heed to any script.

  43. Queerty permalink
    February 5, 2017

    ” Ian and others think that, in terms of getting re-elected, it doesn’t really matter what Trump does, as long as he fulfills the ur-promises, and if he does not fulfill them, he probably won’t be re-elected, even if he fulfills his immediate promises.”

    Yeah, this analysis of theirs relies on a fundamental misunderstanding of the American electorate.

  44. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    realitychecker says: I’d rather kill the practitioners or, at the least, banish them to an inhospitable island and force them to deal exclusively with each other.”

    You’d “rather.” But you can’t. I’m reading enough of your comments RC to begin concluding that, in reality, you’re devoid of content. So instead of taking the difficult position and advocating for policies that you believe in, you vote for Trump in an effort to burn the world down, while frequently maligning the morals other commenters who actually have the guts to stand for something. There’s a word for your position RC: nihilism.
    So before bashing the ethics of Mandos’ quite rational position, and then having the temerity to do nothing but mewl to the effect that “I have totally lost any patience I ever had with the mindless hysterical drivel that now endlessly emanates from the left as a matter of routine” you need to check your reality, realitychecker.

    You’re not acting morally, you’re being nihilistic. And by voting for Trump, you’re simply hoping the rest of the world is forced to share your existential anomie. That’s reality.

    Now, go ahead and spin some condescending high minded “there, there, young lad” pap that’s devoid of content to confirm my suspicion.

    And Ian, again, I come back to the need to support a grassroots TeaParty like movement among progressives that draws a line in the sand and primary out those “like Obama and Clinton and Bush [who] don’t do the right thing, and lie about what matters most, [thereby] open[ing] an opportunity for demagogues.” It’s really that simple. Am I wrong?

  45. Montanamaven permalink
    February 5, 2017

    I thought O’Reilly’s use of the word “respect” very interesting. I don’t think he was prepared for Trump saying that of course he respects Putin. He’s the head of a large nation. “Respect” is a much better way to approach a foreign leader than making fun of him by calling him a pouting schoolboy like Obama did or likening him to Hitler invading Poland like Hilary did. It’s not diplomatic and it’s not smart to make fun of someone who could be an ally or an adversary. “Hey, I haven’t met the guy. I might not even like him. But he deserves respect.”

    During the election campaigning, the Trump voters I talked to wanted some respect. They did not wanted to be talked down to. They did not want their jobs, if they had them, to be looked down on. They did not want their love of country looked down on.
    Over at Naked Capitalism they have a link to an essay by Yasmin Nair “Bourgeois Feminist Bull Sh*t. She points to Clinton’s disparaging of young Bernie supporters as baristas living in their parents basement as if being a barista is a sad and deplorable job.
    Basic guaranteed incomes with a job that leaves enough leisure time to do things you enjoy like cooking, biking, gardening, playing music, story telling…. would be a place to start to lobby for not this idea of resisting whatever comes down the pike each day on the orders of some Democratic operative determined to co-opt the energy and use it for the same old electoral politics.

  46. February 5, 2017

    “movement among progressives that draws a line in the sand”-webstir

    Punishment or not, I don’t know if a dogmatic adherence to principle can be created in our current environment. Our leaders (both parties) are so cynical/pragmatic that can’t adhere to much of anything.

  47. Hugh permalink
    February 5, 2017

    You can’t beat something with nothing, and that’s all liberals and Democrats have right now. Their efforts so far have included rolling out the Great Russian Conspiracy theory which have left people like me scratching my head and wondering less about Putin and more about what drugs they are on. Now they have embraced immigration as an issue. But they can’t answer the question of why they they want more non-citizens in when we are not taking care of large groups of citizens who are already here. Nor, as Ian notes, can they explain why they were silent when Obama was deporting millions.

    I am experiencing this hypocrisy first hand. I live in a city like many others. In it, large numbers of mostly young black men are killing each other off at an alarming rate. At the same time, the opioid epidemic has hit hard. Unlike the gun violence, it does not discriminate whom it kills on the basis of race. In my area, there are a large number of immigrants. Seeing women wearing the burqa at the grocery stores or hearing two or three languages, not English or Spanish, is common in what would otherwise be called a very non-cosmopolitan town. All of these immigrants have sponsors, but the curious thing is none of the sponsors actually live in the area. It’s like it’s OK for them to visit immigrants. They just don’t want them living in THEIR neighborhoods or on THEIR streets. It’s like immigrants are a kind of hobby for them. But the native born, especially the young, looking at no jobs and no futures, where is the outcry for them? Where is the aid?

  48. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    GH:
    Agreed, which is why new politicians need to be recruited. Now, I’m not saying the Justice Democrats are the be all end all of this type grassroots organizing, but I do believe they are worth checking out. One of the features of their platform IS to recruit a new class of politician that has not had the opportunity to be beholden to monied interests.

    https://justicedemocrats.com/?utm_expid=138498668-0.DbzB_JSuQ6u6dZl0XxJRfw.0

    We need to create a NEW environment. Again, the Tea Party did it. However, nothing changed because ultimately they were duped. It was an astroturf movement and the monied interests were always pulling the strings. Bernie showed that we can compete with small dollar donations. Indeed, to bring about true, progressive, Democratic Socialist change, we must.

  49. Jill permalink
    February 5, 2017

    The reason this truth, uttered by Trump, is important and going to cause a ruckus is that is strikes at the very heart of American exceptionalism. This doctrine is held dear (talk about pearl clutching!) by all the neoconservatives and all the neoliberals. They all believe it, preach it and demand obedience to the doctrine. It’s like ripping a cloth off a naked statue, a cloth put there by the oligarchy to cover their nakedness.

    These people are killers. I have no illusion about what Putin is capable of but he doesn’t have the opportunity that US oligarchs have at their disposal. They have killed and killed and they will kill again, any chance they get. The doctrine of American exceptionalism has been made into some weird MK Ultra mind control so that citizens of the US don’t seem to see what our own “leaders” are doing.

    I always think our “leaders” speeches at the UN on other people’s war crimes are just bizarre. They are up there dripping blood, calmly condemning someone else. “Is that blood dripping from my hands?” If there is, everyone around them is too polite to mention it. It’so creepy!

    I’m glad Trump said this. With Yemen, he’s already made himself a war criminal, so no illsuions there either. But he just spoke a real taboo. I hope real good comes from that statement.

  50. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @Jill: +1
    I watched Face the Nation this morning. Here’s a chunk of the transcript that speaks directly to your point:
    DICKERSON: But — Mr. Vice President, but this is a new debate. This is not an old debate.
    No one has compared the United States to a killer in Vladimir Putin. And this is not the first time that the president has done this. When he was a candidate, on MSNBC, he was asked whether it was wrong for Russia to kill journalists. And he said — quote — “I think our country does plenty of killing also.”
    When President Barack Obama was in office, he was criticized consistently by conservatives for not praising American exceptionalism. He never said anything on this par, did he?

    PENCE: What I can tell you is, there was no moral equivalency in what the president was saying.
    He was simply acknowledging that — that he has been throughout his life willing to be critical of government policies and government actions in the United States.
    But we recognize, we recognize the extraordinary superiority of the ideals of the American people and the implementation of those ideals. But…

    DICKERSON: Do you think America is morally superior to Russia?

    PENCE: What — what you have in this new president is someone who is willing to, and is, in fact, engaging the world, including Russia, and saying, where can we find common interests that will advance the security of the American people, the peace and prosperity of the world?
    And he is determined to come at that in a new and renewed way.

    DICKERSON: But America morally superior to Russia, yes or no?

    PENCE: I believe that the ideals that America has stood for throughout our history represent the highest ideals of humankind.

    PENCE: I was actually at — I was at Independence Hall yesterday. And I stood in the very room where the Constitution of the United States was crafted, the very building where the Declaration of Independence was held forth. Every American, including our president, represents that we uphold the highest ideals of the world.

    DICKERSON: Shouldn’t we be able to just say yes to that question, though?

    PENCE: I think it is without question, John.

    DICKERSON: That America is morally superior to Russia?

    PENCE: That American ideals are — are superior to countries all across the world. But, again, what the president is determined to do, as someone who has spent a lifetime looking for deals, is to see if we can have a new relationship with Russia and other countries that advances the interests of America first and the peace and security of the world.

    So I was thinking “look at Dickerson, slave to the mainstream, trying to make Pence say that America is not exceptional. And Pence, doing everything in his power to squirm out of saying it. When in fact, that was EXACTLY what Trump was saying. Our hands aren’t clean. Our shit stinks too. I wonder how that straight talk would have gone over with his flag waving base.”

    It’s true, what you’re saying a diseased form of social censure. It rots our country to the core that we can’t be self critical without being called unpatriotic and hissed out of the discussion. And that the Democrats continue to play this game? Barf ….

  51. dude permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Trump and Respect for Putin?

    I grew up hearing an expression among farmers and hunters that went: “I don’t fear snakes, but I respect them.” I think that is that is along the lines of what Trump meant, and I have no trouble understanding it. And to qualify it further by saying, “Will I get along with him? I have no idea” just reinforces it for me.

  52. Jill permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Webstir,

    Thank you for your transcript. Here is another from this morning: “CHUCK TODD:

    I mean you know the Putin record here. Let me just put it up here. Obviously, a former KGB agent, in itself, an institution of mass killings. What he’s done to fund and promote the separatists in Eastern Ukraine, proxy wars that he’s gotten involved in that, of course, ended up in the killing of innocent passengers on MH17. Then there’s the list of mysterious deaths that are Putin-related. This is not something– what American leader has done something similar? ”

    WOW, really Chuck, you can’t think of anyone? Obama? Bush?–no way, those two saints would never have engaged in that kind of thing now would they? I’m telling you it’s surreal!

    I went to a lecture by Obama’s state dept. council. He was talking about the need to bring torturers to justice. It so happened that Bush was literally four hours away from this talk at one of his book signings. I asked why Obama hadn’t arrested Bush. The only answer I got was mumbling about american exceptionalism. The man received a standing ovation for his talk about Obama’s right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth on his own say so. That’s just weird. It’s also horrific.

  53. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ Webstir

    Well, you obviously are a very young lad, but that is no excuse for your recent turn toward the stupid, is it?

    You can’t tell the difference between nihilism and a pragmatic recognition that something is so thoroughly corrupted and broken down that it makes more sense to rebuild it from the ground up than to continue just aspiring to put some touch-up paint on it every few years.

    I’ve noticed that you’ve become more and more adamant in your own certitudes, just as it has become more and more obvious that the situation is too complex and multi-faceted for anyone to be sure of anything EXCEPT that those with whom you are casting your lot have lost their collective minds and have no ability for self-examination and criticism whatsoever.

    As you all debate the relative moralities here, let me remind of what nobody has mentioned yet–we killed 500,000 innocent children by our Iraq sanctions during the Clinton years. And his SOS said it was “worth it.”

    Is there anything that could be worse than that? And yet, here you are, deploring Trump and his supporters.

    Grow up, sonny. The world is more complex, and more ugly, than you have the experience to accurately appraise.

    Certitude among the young is the cheapest, most plentiful commodity on Earth.

  54. Kim Kaufman permalink
    February 5, 2017

    What I’m seeing is a lot of “liberals” who are just pissed they didn’t get their way. They’re protesting FOR the status quo. A couple of weeks ago, a friend, on facebook, posted she was sooooooo embarrassed by Trump. I said, really, you weren’t embarrassed by the multiple wars in 7 or 8 countries for 8 years during Obama?

  55. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    RC:
    (1) I’m 46 old man. Grew up rural. College athlete. Wildland firefighter for the USFS for 5 years. 10 years spent Seining, gill netting and crabbing from Alaska to San Pedro. In doing so I learned to fix anything you put in front of me. Then I got sober. Went back to finish my undergrad in psych at 35. Finished concurrent degrees in law and an M.S. in bioregional planning and community design at 42. Currently a jack-of-all trades small town trial lawyer. How’s that for life experience? Don’t, ever, condescend to me.

    2) You said that I’m “aspiring to put some touch-up paint on it every few years.” WTF? I’m trying to tear it all down by advocating a movement that is seeking to primary out all the sell-out knee-pad democrats. So, put a sock in it.

    3) You said “those with whom you are casting your lot have lost their collective minds and have no ability for self-examination and criticism whatsoever.” Really? The Berniecrats have lost their collective mind? Again, where is the content in this statement? It’s facially untrue. It is a bunch of Bernie’s staffers and progressives that are trying to remake the party. It’s a bunch of mewling, sell-out, sour-milk, progressive in name alone Trump voters like you have lost their minds.

    4) My Myers-Briggs personality type is ENTJ as is my Father’s, who is a retired Airborne Colonel that was awarded two silver stars and too many other medals to mention in Vietnam. Certitude is what I do, and certitude, among all the chaos in todays environment, is what is surely lacking.

    Finally, Nihilism is defined as:
    1
    a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless
    b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths
    2
    a : a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility
    b capitalized : the program of a 19th century Russian party advocating revolutionary reform and using terrorism and assassination.

    If the definition fits — wear it.

  56. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @ Webstir

    Sorry, I don’t find you nearly as impressive as you find yourself. I have 20 years experience on you, years spent figuring out how things really work, not fishing. And I never had to get sober, so maybe you should put a sock in it.

    There’s no point in laying out exactly what details should prevail after the current diseased system is pushed aside. Reasonable people will do the reasonable things when the time comes if they get the chance.

    Pushing aside the liars and killers that currently rule, andtyheir minions and corrupt institutions, is the big task, and you ain’t getting that done. Planning in detail now for the after is classic cart before the horse. You must think you have a magical way to get the power. I disagree, concentrate on the big task first, which is getting the power. I don’t see where youre\ generation has the balls or the awareness to get that job done.

    The Bernie losers will get it done? Dream on.

  57. realitychecker permalink
    February 5, 2017

    and their minions

    your generation

    Someday we’ll have an edit feature.

  58. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    Again RC, you present nothing substantive. Just blah blah blah I’m an old man so you should be a nihilist like me.
    What part of taking out the knee pad dems in the primaries don’t you understand? Nothing magic. Just good old fashioned voting. Maybe you’re too old to read the tea leaves … but he writing is on the wall. Ian’s off on this one. Trump won’t get two terms. The backlash will be impressive. The trick is determining whose narrative will govern the backlash. I’m working to ensure the progressive narrative prevails, while you’re masturbating to glory day memories and puffing up a neoliberalcon — because that’s all Trump is, the worst of both the neoliberal and neoconservative worlds — instead of getting on board and making a difference. It’s a little sad that you’ve been reduced to this because I’m petty sure at one point in your life you were probably an effective advocate for positive change.
    Alas, if you’re an example of your generation, it’s time for the baby-boomers to GTFO of the way. If not, we will sideline you.

    And btw … I’m not puffing. Just giving you my experience, since you try, w/o reference, to constantly make yours sound so impressive. So? Your CV? How long have you spent on both sides of the blue collar/white collar divide?

  59. V. Arnold permalink
    February 6, 2017

    @ Webstir

    I agree; you make excellent points and line out courses of action. Pretty tangible stuff, all in all.
    This old fart has quite a bit in common with you: Commercial salmon troller in the North Pacific; worked in the woods, many years (fishing didn’t pay that well, already in decline in the 70’s)); worked blue collar for 30 years before crossing into white collar (CAD design/engineering) in which I finished my working life.
    I think you’re far too optimistic however; I’m of a mind it’s already too late. The U.S. has done itself immense harm; especially to its citizens and this last election cycle has sent a very serious message and likely augured in a period of tyranny. As you well know; we’ve been ruled by some very bad people for at least 27 years, with no end in sight…

  60. Webstir permalink
    February 6, 2017

    V. Arnold:
    Thanks. And I’ve got hope that the millennials will find the next four years the wake up call this country has needed.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/

  61. realitychecker permalink
    February 6, 2017

    Webstir, you are carrying on like a dry drunk. Check yourself, before you lose all your credibility as anything but a namecaller.

    You came of age after freedom was already gone in this country, you don’t even know what you don’t know. You sure don’t know how good the system is at co-opting anything promising that comes through the election system. You just don’t know, because you haven’t seen enough. Playing sports and putting out fires and fishing while drunk isn’t what it takes to understand what we are facing now. It takes brains and many years of careful observation and study.

    You want my CV? My CV is my brain, which gave me an IQ at birth that is so high you would certainly call me a liar if I told you what it is. And I have been relentlessly training and refining it every day of my life.

    Nobody says you have to learn from me. Just don’t think you have achieved any real wisdom yet. You haven’t. You’ve only just arrived at the place where you might start learning something real.
    Don’t make an ass of yourself by pretending that you are ready to lead the world, or that the older generation has nothing to teach you. Every arrogant, ignorant youngster in history has already made that mistake. You don’t impress anybody by joining them in that error.

  62. brian permalink
    February 6, 2017

    @webstir according to the adam curtis documentary all the fighting against the government during the 60s protests didn’t go anywhere because the government ‘had all the guns’ and they even resorted to terrorism and multiple bombings – is the left going to resort to terrorism? the left of the 60s won by changing culture through a new form of self discovery and self individualism..

  63. Hairhead permalink
    February 6, 2017

    Kudos to Reality Checker for noticing something I noticed, too.

    Over the past few weeks, several posters have asked the question, non-rhetorically, “When did we get this way?”

    As an outsider, a Canadian who has been watching you Americans for decades, I can name the first specific point at which I said, “If they let this go, everything’s going to go.”

    It was the early ’80’s. when the Reagan administration explicitly took out the “Fairness Doctrine” on broadcasting political speech — and the Dems barely raised a squeak. I had studied propaganda for over a decade, and I knew that eliminating the Fairness Doctrine would AUTOMATICALLY mean media dedicated to 24/7 hate — something which is HIGHLY effective at brainwashing a significant plurality of the population. I mean, eliminating “fairness”? The Rethugs couldn’t have been more obvious than if they’d tried to pass the “N**gers are Dumb, Oversexed, and Lazy Act”. But the Dems let it through and the rot, in my eyes, officially began

    Later on FOX News (24/7 hate, and highly effective) , Rupert Murdoch, and all the following effects.

    There were a few other points, such as when H.W. Bush said that, “Atheists are not real Americans”

    One recent, real-life example of 24/7 hate — the Rwandan massacres were preceded by over a year of 24/7 hate radio describing the targetted ethnic group as “cockroaches” who had to be “wiped out.”

    I wish you you people luck — you’ll need that. along with vigilance, hard-line resistance, and public truth-telling.

  64. Duder permalink
    February 6, 2017

    I think it is worthwhile to remind people arguing here in the comment section that the liberal hypocrisy Ian is assailing is not the relatively small matter of party tribalism or the lies of politicians. We are discussing murder. MURDER. The cold blooded and calculated murder of hundreds and thousands of people. It is not simply ridiculous to see these same authority figures claim outrage about Trumps comments, but truly sicking and reeks of utter moral decay. If you cannot see that then you are truly blind.

  65. February 6, 2017

    I think it is worthwhile to remind people arguing here in the comment section that the liberal hypocrisy Ian is assailing is not the relatively small matter of party tribalism or the lies of politicians. We are discussing murder. MURDER. The cold blooded and calculated murder of hundreds and thousands of people. It is not simply ridiculous to see these same authority figures claim outrage about Trumps comments, but truly sicking and reeks of utter moral decay. If you cannot see that then you are truly blind.

    And? OK, we know this. We’re supposed to do what with this knowledge now?

  66. Brad permalink
    February 6, 2017

    @ All liberal Democrat apologists

    First we’re told that if we recognize a truism – “We’re killers too” – by a politician we hate, we’re behaving as “political operatives”. This is immediately followed by

    “Political tribalism is part and parcel of partisan representative democracy. Learn to live with it, work with it.”

    Putting aside the touchingly naive but profoundly questionable notion that the USA is a “democracy”, how is brainless adherence to a presumed “tribe” not the behavior of political hacks and “operatives”.

    More generally, the liberal democrat “tribe” still shows it is largely clueless about how to deal with Trumpism.

  67. Brad permalink
    February 6, 2017

    @brian This isn’t the 60’s & 70’s anymore. That’s another problem: liberal democrats are quite comfortable still living in Nixon-Reagan time. Comfortable with waving the specter in our faces of McGovern getting buried in a landslide over and over again.

    The left is in a much stronger position today. Sanders showed that without a doubt (whether he “could have won or not” is besides the point, since Sanders didn’t intend on winning). The working class is much less privileged today. The Almighty White Man is demographically doomed. All the Nixon-Buchanan shit is over, Trump is but its last gasp. The Right always get desperate like this when it senses its time is up. There’s danger in that, no doubt, but there is also tremendous possibility. Study your damn history.

    Because “America Ain’t Great Already” and most know this. Except clueless liberals who love the status quo and don’t want change. Well you’re going to get it like it or not.

    All that is required is the left’s own *independent* organization. It’s a lot of hard work. Stop whining and start acting.

  68. February 6, 2017

    Putting aside the touchingly naive but profoundly questionable notion that the USA is a “democracy”, how is brainless adherence to a presumed “tribe” not the behavior of political hacks and “operatives”.

    Representative democracy is obviously not actual democracy.

    My whole shtick on this point, anyway, is that the political hacks and operatives are political hacks and operatives for a reason, and that the opponents of present power, whether it be run under the (D) or the (R) label, have not even managed to accomplish what little the hacks and operatives you hold in contempt may have accomplished.

    More generally, the liberal democrat “tribe” still shows it is largely clueless about how to deal with Trumpism.

    If the liberal Democrat “tribe” is clueless, what does that make you?

  69. Brad permalink
    February 6, 2017

    BTW, Trump’s statements on Putin and Russia belie the “Trump’s a dangerously unstable mentally ill crazy guy who’s going to get us all nuked” liberal meme. Seems Trump doesn’t want to get nuked just like the rest of us. That’s what he “respects” about Putin. Typical American bully-think.

    I think the “craziness” is deliberately generated provocations by Bannon. He’s already amply telegraphed this tactic. Trump is the “crude” toll he has to work with, Bannon said. You might recall that Nixon pursued a deliberate tactic of coming off “crazy” to keep opponents guessing and afraid.

    The thing about Bannon is that he, LIKE LIBERALS, is also still living in the 70’s, when Pat Buchanan’s Southern Strategy put the Almighty White Man on top. Bannon’s dreaming of doing it again. You might notice Bannon is no spring chicken. He remembers the glory days of Reagan Democratic Morning Again In America. But history doesn’t just keep repeating itself like that.

    It ain’t going to happen.

  70. Billikin permalink
    February 6, 2017

    So the Liberals are living in the 1970s and the Conservatives are living in the 1850s. At least the Greens are living in the 2010s. 😉

  71. brian permalink
    February 6, 2017

    @Brad I voted for Trump and for the first time voting for a non-Democrat president. And I’m happy so far with the choice. I think you are underestimating the conservative, pro-life, hard-work ethic of the Latino community that is immigrating to the USA legally. I have seen no sign Trump wants the party to be White. He’s done more outreach to the African-American community and LGBT than any other Republican. Trump is not a Republican though, half the Party was against him. Trump is a third way. Is he perfect, no, but he is at worst a creative destructive force to the current stalemate and malaise of politics. It’s great to see the judicial challenges, the real issues being brought up and argued, and government actually doing their jobs for once.

  72. February 6, 2017

    Hear, hear!

  73. DMC permalink
    February 6, 2017

    Exactly! Before he’d won his first primary, there were Republicans making it clear they’d prefer Clintonova over Trump and indeed, for guys like McConnell and Graham, winning with Trump was the second best option, simply because he’s not a conservative ideologue of the type that comprises most of the Republican politicians and party operatives. If Trump can manage to maintain a focus on the Ur-promises and resist the blandishments of the party hacks, he stands a good chance of fundamentally changing the Party. Or crashing it into a bridge abutment at 100 mph. Its almost certainly why he chose Pence(as a sop to/cover from the social conservatives) although there’s certainly the “amiable twit” factor. Which brings me to why a good metaphor might be helpful getting the notion that there is in fact an upside to the current administration across to those on the left that are not hopelessly stuck in whole “team red/team blue” dichotomy, to wit: Consider this the “dose of salts” administration. Its unpleasant to experience but you’re happier for it in the end. Its a little bit of something foul to expel a great deal more that is foul. If Trump can kill F-35(for instance) I’ll kiss him on the lips.
    (sorry for image!)

  74. Webstir permalink
    February 6, 2017

    RC:
    1st paragraph — What does a non-alcoholic know about a dry-drunk? You’re out of your depth. And at no point did I call you names. I called you a nihilist. You started with the condescending b.s. and you continue.

    2nd paragraph — You said: My CV is my brain, which gave me an IQ at birth that is so high you would certainly call me a liar if I told you what it is.”
    Well, to paraphrase Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction: “Look at the big brain on realitychecker!” And also, I don’t think Bukowski would agree with your cerebral experience. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    3rd paragraph — with bloviators like you as teachers, I’ll stick to ignorance, thanks. There are plenty of commenters in these threads that actually have something substantive to say, and to learn from. All I’ve seen you do lately is criticize others without offering anything but “listen to me because I’ve got a big brain.” Well, actions speak louder than words.

    Finally, it’s you that is losing credibility in this little spat. I called you out for what you you’ve been. A nihilist. Not what you “are” mind you. I don’t know you. I only know what I’ve observed in your comments, which have been arrogant and facile. Having been called out, you responded just like I said you would: “blah blah blah, listen to me lad b/c I’m so smart.” Well, until you offer something substantive, this commenter is done with you. You’re going in the “Peter” bin.

  75. Peter permalink
    February 6, 2017

    @DMC

    Trump not only broke the elite hold on the republican party he ran the Clintonites into a ditch where other people should take the imitative to finish them off for good. Their leadership should be publicly rejected and shunned or they will again suck the life out of any real progressive movement which is the one thing they do well.

  76. Webstir permalink
    February 6, 2017

    Peter: +1
    I think we finally agree on something.

  77. February 6, 2017

    You talking about killing? Hmm? Y’all experts? Y’all know about killing?

    I’d like to hear about it, pot heads.

  78. Webstir permalink
    February 6, 2017

    @Sgt. Barnes:
    Sounds like somebody needs to smoke a bowl and chill. Hear it does wonders for PTSD.

  79. realitychecker permalink
    February 7, 2017

    @ Webstir

    Calling me a nihilist, when I know I am nothing like one, puts you on the “ignorant shit” list forever. Labels are so easy for the morons among us. And for you to think you understand me from the little fragments I bother to type into these comment threads is hilarious, and demonstrates your mental shortcomings clearer than anything else you could ever do.

    Here’s a thought experiment for you: Imagine that somebody WAS actually light years ahead of you in intellect and knowledge, AND THEN HAD TO DEAL WITH YOU AND YOUR PSYCHOLOGICAL OPEN WOUNDS WHICH YOU HAVE PUT ON FULL DISPLAY IN YOUR LITTLE CRUSADE TO ATTACK ME HERE. How fucking boring, can you grok it? How very fucking boring.

    Please, do us both a favor, and pretend you can’t see anything I submit here. You’ve been pretty much not seeing anything clearly anyway, and you’re wasting a lot of time and energy for both of us.

    I’m glad you stopped being a drunk, but that does not magically transform you into being a great thinker. Sorry. It just means you get to start over, which is nice, but you are still just starting over. And you are still exhibiting addictive behavior patterns. So, look to yourself.

  80. Webstir permalink
    February 7, 2017

    RC:
    Ok, I now understand you’re a genius. BECAUSE GENIUSES ALWAYS RESORT TO ALL CAPS TO MAKE THEIR POINT.

  81. realitychecker permalink
    February 7, 2017

    Mule, meet brick.

  82. highrpm permalink
    February 7, 2017

    for all the labeling of trump as narcissist and megalomaniac, the same can be used of the masters of MSM. undisputed masters hate being challenged. or being replaced. i’m glad that trump pushes back at them. as i’m glad that russia/ putin finally pushed back at the US masters of the universe in syria. and it’s cost russia $$$.

    don’t expect pin head sized mentalities like o’reilly & co who love using labels to taint their opines with an air of legitimacy to get it.

  83. February 7, 2017

    @Webstir
    Why do you smoke that shit? So as to escape from reality? Me, I don’t need that shit. I am reality.

    There’s the way it ought to be. And there’s the way it is.

  84. February 7, 2017

    @Webstir
    I thought you would have twigged…. I might have strung you along for a bit longer if this thread wasn’t petering out by the time I got here.

    Tom Berenger played Sgt Barnes in the movie ‘Platoon’ [one of the all time great movie baddies, a criminally under recognised performance in that regard]. That was a quote of his from the movie.

    As was my reply to you up there.

    Enjoying your tête-à-tête with realitychecker, FWIW.

  85. William Mcdonald permalink
    February 8, 2017

    These never ending personal tiffs are very distracting. Fwiw.

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