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The Method to Trump and Bannon’s “Madness”

2017 January 31
by Ian Welsh

The “chaos” of the first two weeks mostly isn’t chaos.

And the internal opposition is welcome to the new administration.

When you intend to have a revolutionary administration, you expect that the bureaucracy (the “Deep State”) will object: They are members of the old regime, that’s what they know and what they like.

So you want them to oppose you openly. You want them to stick their heads up and scream. You want them to block you in ways you can see.

You need to know who isn’t going to “go along to get along” so you can get rid of them. Everyone opposing you is doing you a favor unless they have enough power or are operating in such large numbers that you can’t get rid of them–OR if they are truly irreplaceable and doing something vital.

(Irreplaceable rarely means no one else can do what they do; it means everyone who can do what they do is so ideologically-bound to the previous ideology they won’t work for you.)

But, overall, the idea is to conduct tests to see who’s loyal (jumps to it with enthusiasm), who’s biddable (will do it even if they don’t like it), and who needs to go because they won’t get with the plan.

I would do the same thing if I was running a radically left-wing administration. It is far better to fire them now or give them a powerless desk to fly, than have them keep their heads down and sabotage from within. Plus, high profile scalps are needed to intimidate others (see “Trump and the Art of the Strongman).”

People who really want to oppose Trump and who are in the administration have a stark choice. If they think that high-profile defiance will weaken him enough that he can’t enact his agenda, or will be impeached (to be replaced by Pence, at least as bad in many ways), then so be it. But if they don’t, it might be better to keep their heads down and sabotage from within.

Meanwhile, from where I sit, Bannon and Trump are still outplaying their opponents (which is not to minimize the good the Resistance is doing). Bannon has a plan, and he’s executing it. He’s thought long and hard about what to do and that gives him an advantage.

The current focus on Bannon might bear fruit. He and Kushner are the most competent people Trump listens to, and if a wedge can be driven between them; using Trump’s ego against “President Bannon,” perhaps Bannon’s power can be reduced or he can even be gotten rid of. Kushner, as the son-in-law, is probably not someone who can be peeled off. Bannon might be.

Bottom line: If you are a civil service member who can expect to not be let go soon anyway, you should keep your head down and work from within. If you are going to be let go of anyway (as with the acting Attorney General who defied Trump), you might as well go out with a bang.

I’ll discuss, soon, actual strategy for defeating Trump. General opposition is good, but the current strategy is neither focused nor brutal enough to bear results soon unless Trump blows himself up (not impossible, but not worth counting on–though one should do everything possible to encourage his instability, if one opposes him.)

I note, once again, that defeating Trump is nice, but absent a fix of the general trajectory of the United States, will only kick the ball down the field. Fortunately, there are ways to do both at the same time.

More later.


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97 Responses leave one →
  1. Effem permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Good luck. Bannon is years ahead of DC as evidenced by the election. DC’s version of “strategizing” is to fight the last war. I see no sign of that changing…protesters and celebrities might as well just hand Trump votes.

  2. Tom permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Trump has largely locked a second term in, its just a matter of getting measurable increases in jobs to the Rust Belt and countering cheap labor.

    If Trump can get a workable ACA replacement and cause the Democrats to implode in 2018 then he might grab California in 2020.

  3. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 31, 2017

    If I were Trump I’d do one big thing against Republican orthodoxy: Medicare for all. That would lock him in as pres for the full 8 years. Dems couldn’t vote against it, enough Republicans would join. He could do all the other shit he’s talked about, and that alone would be enough.

    However, I don’t see that happening.

    Still, whatever replaces ACA has to be better than ACA.

  4. January 31, 2017

    So far, and it’s early, no replacement to the ACA has been proposed that is better than the ACA. If Trump does not push through anything better than the ACA, that would mean that the ACA is the closest to universal coverage that American society as such is willing to bear.

  5. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 31, 2017

    The chaos is real and intentional. Pretending it isn’t doesn’t help in defending Trump or in opposition to him.

  6. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    As I have said elsewhere, I expect a Reichstag Fire, False Flag, or other Shock Event to happen very fast, weeks not months, making most of previous analysis inoperative. Is Trump in any danger? Does he have time to wait? He needs successes and to demonstrate power and inevitability.

    You are right about determining or creating extreme loyalty and complicity, and I think they can wait to really staff up until after the shit hits the fan.

    Ryan and McConnell are not going to comprehend what is about to hit them.

    If I were Bannon, I would find a loyal pilot and drop 10 kilotons on Mosul. And change the world.

  7. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Oh, maybe nothing so drastic as dropping a nuke, although that has so many advantages (crazyman theory). And if you think the world goes full apocalypse after one tiny tactical, you are so very wrong. Of course they can deny and obfuscate for months. Might lose a carrier group. Maybe a small city.

    But since Trump/Bannon are moving so fast on the ethnic cleansing, and since the opposition is so energized, having the Arab World declare war on the US would make so many of their plans trivially easy and irrevocable.

    We would see whether Nato etc tries to stay neutral, or which side they choose, and whether they go conventional war against 60%+ of Earth’s military capacity. I’m way too cynical and pessimistic to claim any certainty, or assess probabilities. Bannon may be totally right, and it will shake out according to ethnicities. Certainly easier and safer to go ME than against America.

    Well, I suppose I am too far ahead, and maybe crazy. We will see. Sorry.

  8. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    And last one. I have been saying for years that Ian is wrong about Empire in decline. You can measure Empire in military capacity, the willingness of the population to fund it, and potential economic capacity. The last is complicated.

    Not in losses or ineffectiveness. Augustine lost two legions in Gaul very early, and Rome still expanded for 50-100 years. Not that Britannia was worth much. And I am not sure the economic capacity was in the metropole. Egypt substituted.

    We may be at the point the Republic dies, and Empire just really begins.

  9. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 31, 2017

    End of Republic is a model I’ve used a fair bit, actually. Wrote about it a while back, though I think in comments.

    We’ll see. China is the real rising power, and they now have more industrial capacity than you. In industrial and post-industrial societes that translates quite directly into military power if they want it to. But it does take time to translate. A real hard-head might decide to take them out now.

  10. StewartM permalink
    January 31, 2017

    The Muslim ban is Trump’s version of Reagan punching PATCO. His base will eat it up. Plus this is yet another gift to the Religious Right and the Cruz vote (these being the most rabidly anti-Muslim group in the US).

    However, I doubt Trump is going to actually give his base jobs or good health care (or even just better than the ACA, a low bar indeed). To do that he’d really have to buck Republican orthodoxy, and there’s no sign of that yet. And because he picked Pence as VP, the Republican leadership still has every incentive to impeach and remove him if the right opportunity arises.

  11. Frank Stain permalink
    January 31, 2017

    The response must be populist. The waste product being recycled by establishment liberals like Krugman and L. Summers, arguing the free trade and globalization line against Trump, does not even rise to the level of a polished turd. A populist response will recognize that Trump will selectively keep some of his promises, but he most certainly will not keep his promises to be tough on wall street, or to bring back manufacturing jobs, or to provide ‘better’ health care than the ACA. Let Trump’s base have their fun with whatever culture war detritus he can shovel their way. The left needs to hammer him for Goldman Sachs Govt, the inevitable failure to revive manufacturing employment, and the lies on health care. These are the important things, and these things will be his undoing.
    The other thing is to understand where the red lines are. The left is going to lose many fights. The things is cannot afford to lose are the things that involve the infrastructure of liberal democracy. Voting rights will be crucial. The left will win in 2020 if it fronts a left populist, and if it can preserve enough of the democratic infrastructure to allow a reasonably fair election process.

  12. Frank Stain permalink
    January 31, 2017

    If Trump does not push through anything better than the ACA,

    Mandos, do you really believe this is remotely plausible? One of the key questions for me is whether you see Trump as a disruptor of GOP policy, or rather as the inevitable end point of GOP ideological degeneration. Because I believe the latter, the idea that Trump would even try to push through something ‘better than the ACA’ just seems ludicrous. It’s clear what the GOP wants to do on health care. They want to give rich people their taxes back, and they want to offer young & healthy people cheap, catastrophic plans. What am I missing?

  13. Arthur permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Two of my favorite books are ‘I, Claudius’ and ‘Claudius the God’ both authored by Robert Graves. I am also a huge fan of the old BBC series based on the novels. (R.I.P. Sir John Hurt) One of the things I most remember is when Claudius is writing about the late crackpot Caligula. He says that as bad as Caligula was he really only effected a small group of Roman citizens. The majority went about their business, whatever that business may have been. Indeed, is it not much the same with Mr. Trump. He’s throwing red meat to the base by hassling people the majority never thought much about anyway. This statement in no way is an endorsement of Trump’s actions, just an observation. In any event, he seems much better at playing his base than Obama ever was.

    On another topic: We are not going from republic to empire. We are already an empire. The empire began with the conquest of North America. If Bannon has dreams of an expanded world empire (and he may well have) he is going to run up against two things in the way. . .Russia and China. And any notion that we can drop a few nukes, they drop a few nukes, and we’ll have a winner is insane. Once the nukes start flying, and they might, civilization is over, which might not be such a bad thing. As the great George Carlin said, “The world has survived many things for billions of years. The world will be just fine; we’re the ones in trouble.” Put another way: Nature doesn’t give a damn if the highest form of life on earth is a human being or a bedbug.

  14. atcooper permalink
    January 31, 2017

    I tend to want to draw the line from republic to empire at the dropping of the bomb. That’s when the US supplanted the British empire and began the process of American biz as colonizer.

  15. Herman permalink
    January 31, 2017

    @Frank Stain,

    I agree that the Left has to fight right-wing populism with left-wing populism. Elite liberalism has been a total failure. The Clinton campaign actually bragged that Hillary didn’t need white working class votes because she would make up for it with affluent moderate Republicans from the suburbs. We all know how well that worked out.

    Trump can be defeated if he is shown to be a phony populist who is not making life better for your ordinary American. The identity politics route is a dead end. All it does is fuel the right-wing narrative of the Left as entitled crybabies who hate Mom, God and Apple Pie. The Left needs to dump talk about white privilege and male privilege if it wants to win elections. Telling an unemployed white male factory worker that he is privileged while his hometown goes down the tubes, he can’t afford healthcare and his kids are turning to alcohol or drugs out of despair is a good way to end up with more Trumps in the future.

  16. realitychecker permalink
    January 31, 2017

    “Telling an unemployed white male factory worker that he is privileged while his hometown goes down the tubes, he can’t afford healthcare and his kids are turning to alcohol or drugs out of despair is a good way to end up with more Trumps in the future.”

    WORD!

    When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

  17. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Jobs! White Working Class Jobs!

    1,200 GM workers laid off at Lordstown plant in Ohio

    By Jerry White
    31 January 2017

    January 20 was the last day of work for 1,202 hourly workers and 43 salaried employees at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio. The workers who lost their jobs were among 2,000 GM workers laid off in Ohio and Lansing, Michigan on the same day that Donald Trump delivered his Inaugural Address, posturing as a defender of the American worker.

    Another 1,300 GM workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant face the loss of their jobs when GM phases out the second shift at its only remaining Detroit plant between March 6 and 19. The layoffs, the first by GM in six years, are an ominous sign that the boom in auto sales that followed the 2008 crash and 2009 bankruptcy restructuring of GM and Chrysler is coming to an end.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/01/31/gmwo-j31.html

    BTW, WSWS is a real Lefty news source.

    I’m sure Donnie will get right on it.

    “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out… “

  18. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Well, I figure Russia will be on board as a second tier ally, content with exploiting its immediate, and perhaps slowly expanding territory. That is why I said 60% instead of the 50%.

    China might be to Nova America as America/Commonwealth was to Britain, 18o0-1914. I’m currently studying the Anglo settler expansion, James Belich. Genocide are us.

    Europe? India? Israel? Nobody wants to die when riches are available. Ain’t that many crazy nations.

    Maybe Empire started with the end of WWII. Rome certainly had a Empire under the Republic.

    But even with our history we have been nowhere near as brutal as was possible, and is possible under a determined tyrant. I am talking possible occupation and governance of dozens of nations, with the millions, even billions dead needed to make it so. Or maybe just the oil states, which are not going to become just really valuable very soon, but almost mandatory for the Hegemon.

    Dmitry Orlov thinks Trump-Putin may be going after SA and UAE.

    Or Trump could collapse, Bannon get shitcanned, 25th amendment. Could be ok.

    But unspeakable horror is the default of history and politics.

  19. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Bannon to Trump:” Alexander. Napoleon. The tools are in your hands. Ten thousand years from now in Andromeda they’ll remember your name.”

    Trump: “But I’m old. I can’t.”

    Bannon: “All we need is three things. 1) Start a war that can’t be reversed and mustn’t be lost, 2) destroy the domestic opposition and enthrone yourself, and 3) ensure the succession.”

    Both look over at young Kushner, who smiles.

  20. EmilianoZ permalink
    January 31, 2017

    StewartM: However, I doubt Trump is going to actually give his base jobs or good health care (or even just better than the ACA, a low bar indeed). To do that he’d really have to buck Republican orthodoxy, and there’s no sign of that yet.

    That’s my take too. For now Trump is just doing identity politics for whites. The Dems are experts at that game too, except they do it for the minorities.

    Delivering something substantial, something that would cost something to the 1%, that’s something else. That’s, as they say, “politically impossible”.

  21. Lisa permalink
    January 31, 2017

    “White Working Class Jobs!”…hmmm amazingly enough there are lots of US people from non-white backgrounds that are working class as well…

    As I have often stated, far too many of the US white working class actively colluded with their own destruction, because elites played the racism (and misogyny, etc) card on them. They were happy for far too long to trade off their ‘psychological wage’ until they found it didn’t pay any bills and that their beloved elites hated them as much as they hated the ‘others’.

    The disabled veteran in Houston who found out that the HERO legislation not going through affected him negatively …and he voted against it ..is a far too common story (look at all the women now realising what their vote for Trump now means).

    Ian gives Trump, Bannon, etc far too much credit. a reasonable study of these people in Trump’s cabinet and executive shows they are ideologues with a tenuous grip on reality. Simply put any organisation needs some basic administrative competence to function and that is something none of them have shown in the past.

    If you added up all the ideological positions they have, along with their proven incompetence, then you have a recipe for disaster.

    As for that ‘christian’ ideologue Pence, whose stated position is to create a ‘christian’ theocracy in the US, that person would create a civil war as his so called ‘christian’ views are only held by a very small minority of the US population (and when the impacts of such hit them, that number would shrink even more). To state that Pence and reality have no connection is a redundancy.

    So it is going to be a wild ride, you have a self confessed nihilist (Bannon), a ‘christian’ theocrat as VP, the cabinet/executive dominated by the ‘religious right’…
    If you summarise their political positions: they are more extreme right wing economically than the neo-liberals and more aggressive in foreign affairs than the neo-conservatives…pretty impressive when you think about it.

    If you read the book The Authoritarians (available for free by the way) and read what happened when a bunch of Right Wing Authoritarians played the ‘Global Game’….it was scary.

    As for Trump, if he had any brains he simply would have betrayed the religious right when he got elected and put in some competent people. I always thought of him as ‘cunning smart’, not really intelligent in a broad sense, but quick to seize on a deal…I am now re-evaluating that opinion …downwards.

    As an aside Bannon might just be smart enough to try to manipulate the religious right to create the catastrophe (heck a complete civil war) in US society that he has stated he wants. But he is no Lenin by any means as he has no clear idea of what he wants to rise from the ashes, which is common for such nihilists, destruction becomes the aim itself, not a means to an end.

  22. January 31, 2017

    Madnes? No. But stupidity, yes. The work men already hates both them. The Fox news types loving him, but that is alway the case.

  23. Frank Stain permalink
    January 31, 2017

    @Ché Pasa

    The GOP is set to introduce national right to work legislation tomorrow. This will further splinter the coalition among some union members who have hitherto been sympathetic to an agenda of white nationalism. When you get past the shock and awe, everything they will try to do will prove to be deeply unpopular. Remember: you don’t need to convince the ideologues and the fighters. You just need enough of the other groups that are along for the ride.

  24. MojaveWolf permalink
    January 31, 2017

    If Trump does not push through anything better than the ACA, that would mean that the ACA is the closest to universal coverage that American society as such is willing to bear.

    I haven’t been commenting because I haven’t had the time/energy to write what I would like in some very interesting comment threads, but this I have to reply to even before I finish the thread.

    C’mon Mandos, this bit of bad-faith sophistry is just so over the top obvious I don’t even know what to say except to call it out for what it is. It’s bad faith sophistry. You are not stupid, you’re a smart guy and you take the time to craft your posts so they say what you mean them to say, and this kind of deliberate attempt to mislead people is what’s wrong with the world, and why I say neoliberals and people like you are my enemy and the enemy of any attempt to actually improve things every bit as much as people like Inhofe are my enemy. (not that Republicans are above this sort of dishonesty, or that it is present only in politics and absent from business, but good gods I have never had any patience for it and my lack-of-patience has eroded steadily over the decades.

    Note: I’m not trying to be a jerk, I also liked Wicked, I liked your guest post on Marine Le Pen even tho it utterly failed to change my mind, and you’re a smart guy who writes well.

    If you actually LIKE the market based system better, or think it’s worse but the transition costs would be too high, or that incremental change is the way to go and the ACA will get us there in what you think are the proper increments, just say so.

  25. Webstir permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Ian, you said “China is the real rising power, and they now have more industrial capacity than you. In industrial and post-industrial societes that translates quite directly into military power if they want it to.”

    I’ve maintained in past comments that China is Trump’s geopolitical trump card. The Tillerson/Russia Alignment & the Russia/US military stranglehold on the ME portend an attempt to strangle Chinese industrial capacity/productivity by strangling their access to oil.

    There are just too many birds they can kill with one stone. For example: they can have an obvious bogey-man by starting a fight with China. They can drive up the cost of manufacturing in China by reducing it’s ability to procure oil, thereby bringing back manufacturing to the US.
    Further upsides abound, but he common theme is they all play to Trump’s base — and may even expand his base with the neocons.

    There are already hints of the coming fight dropped by Tillerson himself in regard to the South China Sea controversy. I will not be surprised in the least to see this come to pass. China’s stick is growing: militarily, industrially, and economically. The whole world knows this. Trumps base is keenly aware of it. Watch them take a two stick peremptory approach to China while both Russia and the US still have sticks to swing.

  26. MojaveWolf permalink
    January 31, 2017

    As long as I’m on health care:
    If I were Trump I’d do one big thing against Republican orthodoxy: Medicare for all. That would lock him in as pres for the full 8 years. Dems couldn’t vote against it, enough Republicans would join.

    Yes! Or better yet a national health system. I had some hope he would do one of these two things when he was running, based on long-past comments. Well, yes that this would be a good thing. Not entirely sure it would or should gaurantee him two terms, but it would be a good start. (everyone who pays attention to my comments is probably tired of me harping on this, but really, his kill-the-biosphere & end-life-as-we-know-it stance on environmental issues outweighs everything else for me, so unless he changes that almost nothing would get me to support a second term, unless the Dems put up another neoliberal, in which case we have the same horror choice as last time and I probably vote “other” again while hoping he wins, since they aren’t going to try and fix anything either)

    Still, whatever replaces ACA has to be better than ACA.

    The ACA is more of a mixed bag than either proponents or detractors make it out to be. It has provided needed and sometimes lifesaving health care to many, many people, but has saddled many more with useless junk insurance they can’t use.

    To use my own example of a mostly con situation, the first two years, I was forced to buy junk insurance I couldn’t use, the terms of which were confusing (they were very confusing to me, and I made a perfect score on parts of the GRE and LSAT, including the reading comprehension and logic bits). I now, this year, as it is about to vanish, have worthwhile insurance for the first time in my adult life (I had cancer when I was 19 and was still on my parents insurance coz in college, adult insurance was not affordable due to this when I got out of college). I actually need it for some things. Hopefully I will get to use it before it goes away. But the only reason I even have it is because my wife insisted on checking to see if things had improved, and spent many hours researching what would be the best policy available with doctors in my area (there were several this year). Otherwise, I woulda just let my old bad policy roll over. People only have so much time and energy in their lives. Most people probably did what I would have. And even after, I spent a lotta on the phone with people clarifying terms (tho the people on the phone were wonderful and highly highllpful, unlike the godawful horrible website, where you could wait hours to get in front of the line to ask questions and then be told no agents were available and be sent to the back of the line again, said line always being either hundreds or thousands of people long). Again, time and energy that people don’t have and shouldn’t need. The first two years, lots of people I know had policies with no local doctors, or, like me, had policies with terms and deductibles that effectively ensured they were never going to use the insurance unless it was that or imminent death or excruciating agony. Possibly not even then.

    OTOH, the medicaid expansion wasn’t a wonderful thing, or that the insurance part didn’t help some people too. I’m aware of some. And now, it appears to have, long past the sell by date, finally been tweaked into worthwhileness, at least in Cali. But other people, including some of the working poor, were at least initially harmed by it.

    It’s a big mess that people from places with national systems probably view with horror. But it could easily be replaced with something worse, or even worse than what it started with, which was even worse than the nothing we had before (excepting the medicaid expansion and people in certain narrow demographic bands, who did have good experiences).

    (and now I’m gone for a while, apologies if I get back to any responses much later or never)

  27. MojaveWolf permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Apologies for screwing up the italics again. I will quit posting unless I can focus better.

  28. S Brennan permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Not much to say to this post.

    As an FDRist I definitely don’t want to depose Trump while the [D]’s are deep in the deliriums of neoliberalism & neocolonialism. [D]’s gnash their teeth at the trim of Trump’s sails while their rotting ships gunnels slip below the waves. Start pumping boys & girls, nobody in their right minds wants to jump aboard your plague infested ship. When your ship is in order, then, and only then do I want to hear your plans for a “revolution”, Clinton/Obama/Hillary were/are a sick joke.

  29. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 31, 2017

    Yes, Webstir, I wrote a rather long piece on the Trump tilt against China, aligning with Russia. It might be quite smart, if they have the finesse to do it.

  30. Hugh permalink
    January 31, 2017

    It all sounds like eleven dimensional chess to me. Trump was a bad candidate with high negatives who beat an even worse candidate with high negatives. A decent ham sandwich would have trounced both of them. Trump is a hardcore conservative with a few populist flourishes. He is also erratic, and the two are often confused.

    We could come up with a lot of wouda, couda, shoudas on how Trump might win a second term or even last through his first term. I agree with Ian doing a straightforward, no loot for the rich Medicare for All would lock in a second term. Nahgonnahappn.

    Bringing back manufacturing jobs? You’re talking a lead time of 5-10 years for new capacity and 2-3 years for expanding existing capacity. Manufacturing jobs currently account for only 10% of nonfarm jobs. So even if Trump had 1.2 million such jobs, not back but on the way back, during his first term, this would eventually increase manufacturing jobs all the way up to 11% of nonfarm jobs. 2.5 million: 12%. To do this, Trump would probably have to use tariffs and these would act as a regressive tax on Americans. Even so, the numbers would not be yuuuge. There would be a significant delay in their coming. And as Trump has indicated numerous times, they would not be like your old industrial jobs in terms of pay or benefits.

    How about Trump’s public-private infrastructure plan? Well, construction makes up only 5% of total nonfarm jobs. The outsized profits relative to their investment going to the private side would again act like a regressive tax on the rest of us. And while Trump and company might get a few projects off quickly, there would still be significant lead times. And all the caveats about numbers, pay, and benefits would apply here as well.

    And none of this takes into account the effects of possible trade wars and international backlashes. Now I am not saying that some of this could not be done, but you would need to be smart and thoughtful how you went about it. Trump and Bannon strike me as clever, but they are not smart, and they definitely aren’t thoughtful.

    Flash forward three years and Trump will have hacked off most of the world and he will not have delivered much or at all on his core promises to the voters who elected him. Disruption and volatility have their costs as well. So they likely are not going to feel that much better about their lives. At the same time, his base will be disheartened, a lot of voters who sat out the last election will be energized to vote for anyone but Trump. Trump’s one hope for election may hinge, as it did in 2016, on the Democrats. I mean look around. There is not a credible Democrat on the horizon or waiting in the wings. It’s hacks, hacks everywhere, nor any pol that thinks.

    The only other possibility is something like another 9/11. Dubya was already on his way to being a forgettable one term President when 9/11 came along and salvaged his Presidency transforming him into the Deciderator in Chief –for 8 long years.

  31. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    As an aside Bannon might just be smart enough to try to manipulate the religious right to create the catastrophe (heck a complete civil war) in US society that he has stated he wants. But he is no Lenin by any means as he has no clear idea of what he wants to rise from the ashes, which is common for such nihilists, destruction becomes the aim itself, not a means to an end.

    The right have the guns and are in the country/exurbs.

    The liberals are in the cities and can be cut off from food and energy.

    Bannon doesn’t need to think hard about what comes after

    He could be wrong.

  32. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Y’all do know that Trump has already registered his 2020 Campaign committee, open and accepting donations? Some think that is simple grift, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Kushner and his army of cyber analysts have a plan to flood facebook for four years and microtune messaging and voter turnout.

    He wants to create an enclosed army, a gated nation that listens only to him and each other and not to public media or even their congresspeople.

    Among probably other things I can’t think of. But he will not be storing those millions in a bank for his retirement or yuuuge media buys in October 2020.

  33. bob mcmanus permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Hmmm. What Trump and Kushner could use those campaign millions for, starting tomorrow, under the guise of voter research, is direct the army of social media analytics not at potential Trump supporters, but at potential Trump opposition, activists and leaders at the precinct, neighborhood, block level. They understand the electoral college, and driving Democrats out of the Midwest gives then advantages and opportunities. Squadristis

    How Italian Fascists Took Over Italy

    Fascists interrupted meetings, beat elected officials, and made impossible the work of local government. Socialists in particular were intimidated, threatened, and even beaten until they resigned.

    Having conquered major provincial centers, Fascists spread out into small towns and hamlets. Major cities provided launching points for attacking other cities. Having consolidated power in these places, the squads then moved into more peripheral areas. Newly founded fasci were local initiatives, organized by Fascists who understood the life of the place. The leaders were often locals who bore a particular grudge against Socialists, whether economic, political, or personal. When necessary, stronger fasci nearby lent paramilitary support. After rooting Socialists out of a community, Fascists commonly held a public ceremony inaugurating the new fascio. As fascism penetrated smaller rural communities, it became a mass movement without precedent in Italian history.

  34. kj1313 permalink
    January 31, 2017

    This was all planned to keep the Dems off balance but like you said, in order for Trump to be re-elected he would have to make good on promises that will affect the public’s pocketbook. If his remarks regarding drug prices are any indication he will set himself for failure.

    “I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market. That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time.”

    With Trump the Devil is in the details and if he follows a neoliberal agenda that is the backbone of both parties not much will change.

  35. January 31, 2017

    Mandos, do you really believe this is remotely plausible?

    Of course I don’t. My whole thesis on the ACA, as a Canadian who lived the Canadian health care dream than moved to the USA and lived the US health care boondoggle (I had good insurance but even then it was maximally dystopic and a stress hazard on its own!) and now live somewhere somewhat civilized again… my whole thesis has been that the ACA represents the maximum US society can bear in terms of health care universality. There is a cultural reason why Americans are not up in arms about what is a totally unacceptable situation and willing to vote for politicians who won’t fix it forthwith. The ACA is the culmination of that culture, its wan, already-wilting flower.

    Trump and the GOP Congress can, of course, at any moment prove me wrong and offer genuine coverage with the establishment of the government’s monopsony power. Any moment now. If they do that, they will have up-ended all other political theories. We would be living in a totally different world. Will Paul Ryan discover his inner Tommy Douglas? Will Trump help him on this voyage of inner self-discovery?

  36. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 31, 2017

    @ Lisa

    hmmm amazingly enough there are lots of US people from non-white backgrounds that are working class as well…

    Why I’ve even heard tales that in some parts of the country, the working class is largely non-white, even non-white, non-male. How that can be, I don’t know, as all we hear about is the unhappiness of the white male working class who elected Trump.

    And isn’t it something that all these thousands of workers can lose their jobs in the rust belt and there’s not a peep from the White House about it.

    Not. A. Peep.

  37. chris collins permalink
    January 31, 2017

    On the ACA, yes they can pass something worse. Trump seems unwilling to sign such a thing but all the proposals have been worse or the same as ACA. The PCA being floated now for instance is basically the ACA with out the mandatory tax.

  38. Webstir permalink
    January 31, 2017

    @Frank Stain said “Voting rights will be crucial. The left will win in 2020 if it fronts a left populist, and if it can preserve enough of the democratic infrastructure to allow a reasonably fair election process.”
    And …
    @Herman said “Trump can be defeated if he is shown to be a phony populist who is not making life better for your ordinary American. The identity politics route is a dead end.”

    Yes, yes, and yes. This has to be the approach. I just broached this subject on Ian’s last post “Lessons for the Resistance … “ in less than gentlemanly language which will probably get the comment moderated out unfortunately. But here’s the gist:

    We must take a page from the Tea Party playbook and primary out ALL of the corporate democrats. Bernie’s campaign made it clear that we are so close to the numbers we need to begin achieving this goal. Add the fact that the voters decisively rejected the corporate democrat model. Add to that the fact that Trump is signaling that he is going to give his base more piss all over their heads economics, and what you have is recipe for a grassroots backlash the likes of which will put the Bush/Obama backlash to shame.

    Now, there are those out there who are seeking to accomplish just the aforementioned goal. “Those” I mention are some of the main players and major supporters of Bernie Sander’s campaign. And they have the media savvy and technological experience to get it done. They are focused on a platform called theJustice Democrats

    You can also find them here: https://www.facebook.com/justicedemocrats/

    And a great video on Saikat Chakrabarti, the Executive Director of Justice Democrats, as interviewed by Cenk Uygur on the Young Turks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5guXxPsdoYM&list=LLoQFyf3skklZrCIyKva5O3Q

    This can be done.

  39. highrpm permalink
    January 31, 2017

    @cp
    Jobs! Black Under Class Jobs!

  40. VietnamVet permalink
    January 31, 2017

    The battle has just started. It pits Nationalist verses Globalist Oligarchs. The White House against pink protesters and the media. Steve Bannon has the initiative but Corporatists have the money. In a week there has already been a Monday Massacre. The Globalists will never give up on the free movement of capital, people, goods and services. John McCain and Lindsey Graham must be working fervently to build a pro-war coalition with new Democrats to continue the looting by elevating Mike Pence. On the other hand, the Nationalists must provide jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs. Health care for all would be a plus to stay in power. This can only be accomplished with peace and the redistribution of wealth. If this battle is unscripted, there will be blood on the streets.

  41. Herman permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @Lisa,

    Yes many working-class people are non-male and non-white and I also agree that many working-class white men shot themselves in the foot with their racism and sexism. But Bannon and friends are very smart and know how to manipulate people. They know how to push the right buttons and make easy scapegoats. The right-wing narrative is that white men are being oppressed by powerful, shadowy elites who hate Western culture and want to replace it with some kind of socialist/multicultural/feminist dictatorship. Of course the real endgame for the Right is to create an employer’s utopia where ordinary working people are reduced to peon level and kept distracted with culture war issues.

    However there are enough people who are alive today who remember what better times were like and their children have a cultural memory of those times also. So there has to be a way to create some kind of cultural ideology that brands certain “outsiders” as enemies while doing just enough for favored constituents to make them feel that they are better than those on the absolute bottom. It is traditional right-wing punching down but with a nationalist face.

    The task of the Left is to show this program for the raw deal that it is. But this cannot be accomplished by telling working-class whites that they are dumb or that they deserve their misery or that if only they had gone to college they wouldn’t be in such a bad state. That is the elite liberal response and you see it all over the partisan Democratic media and websites.

    I have been reading about the social base of electoral support for the Nazis and one of the big predictors of whether the Nazis were successful in their efforts at wooing working-class voters was whether areas had strong left-wing political parties and unions. This is why the Right always demonizes labor unions. At their best, unions can help to inoculate members from virulent forms of right-wing politics. They are not always successful but it is better than a vacuum where the space can be taken up by the likes of Bannon, Alex Jones or worse.

    The Left needs to get organized with or without the Democrats as the Dems have shown time and time again that they are both incompetent and care more about elite interests than those of working-class Americans. If the Democrats decide to get with a left-wing populist program that is great. But I have to see it to believe it.

  42. Hugh permalink
    February 1, 2017

    VietnamVet, as JFK wrote, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” I doubt that he meant what we are now seeing, but it’s still true. There will be blood. The rich and elites have simply stolen too much, and though they call it anything but, have committed too much violence against us. And all the while, progressives or the Left or whatever you want to call it/them/us have remained completely undisciplined, unfocused, and disorganized. So in the absence of any unifying vision or plan, revolution when it comes, and it will come, will be both chaotic and violent

  43. February 1, 2017

    Drug benefits off the table.

  44. highrpm permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @cp

    Wake up, people. Educate yourselves, and then, maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll be worthy of Silicon Valley. Many of you don’t know but you should, Bill Gates, similar to Navin Johnson, was born a poor Somalian Child. Don’t let the skin-tone fool you. Gates has the same dermatologist Michael Jackson had. Yes, Bill Gates was/is a Refugee. Same for Jack Dorsey, the Founder of the Social Media Platform, Twitter, that enabled Donald Trump to become POTUS. He was born a poor Yemeni Child and like Bill Gates, was/is also a Refugee. Not all Middle Eastern people and/or Muslims are dark-skinned, you know. Quit being a racist and judging people by the color of their skin like Silicon Valley that believes brown-skinned and yellow-skinned people are superior intellectually to loathsome and mentally-challenged people with white skin.
    ,
    The Hypocrisy, The Hypocrisy | Catcher In The Lie

  45. brian permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @bob mcanus

    > Trump/Bannon are moving so fast on the ethnic cleansing
    What world do you live in? What ethnic cleansing do you see? Barring immigrants from ethnicities is not ‘cleansing’ even if that was happening that’s limiting the inflow. Doing drone strikes in ME is not ethnic cleansing or anything new. WTF are you thinking? Illegal, undocumented immigrants are illegally residing and unless you don’t care about rule of law at all they must be enforced or the law changed. Where do you get this stuff from?

  46. Peter permalink
    February 1, 2017

    The republicans are adopting s form of ethnic cleansing to clean the obstructionists Clintonites from their path so President Trump can have the team he needs to govern. Clintonites have made themselves unneeded or wanted in committee business where much of the sausage is made.

    I suppose they can reach out to the world by joining Schumer and the snowflakes at the airport to tearfully remind people ‘first they came for the Clintonites’

  47. Webstir permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Stirling:
    Read that last night.
    Moral of the story — Davos man looks out for Davos man. He’ll be a one termer. The backlash from those that were conned into thinking he would fight for them will be of epic proportions. Thus, as I’ve maintained, the key is ensure that in 4 years — hell in two years for the mid-terms — the Corporate Dems are reeling and the progressives surging.

    But hey, FWIW, my optimism has led me astray before.

  48. NoPolitician permalink
    February 1, 2017

    > Illegal, undocumented immigrants are illegally residing and unless you don’t care about rule of law at all they must be enforced or the law changed.

    False premise. It is indisputable that there are immigrants in this USA without visas. It is a matter of opinion as to what needs to be done. We have laws on the books about speeding, but it would be insane to argue that if a lawmaker drives to congress every day by speeding, that any actions he takes would be illegitimate because he got to work by doing something illegal. Or that refusing to “do something” about every last speeder means that we are “ignoring the rule of law”.

    We spend time enforcing laws based on the impact of those who are breaking them. Sometimes we change laws that people break frequently because we realize that this is simply a sign of a bad law.

    I would argue that US laws on immigration are somewhat antiquated, and many people favor them because of xenophobic or racist reasons.

    If adding any more people to the US was inherently a bad thing, then we should seriously look into forced population control because surely having more babies is even worse – we have to use our country’s resources to raise them. Obviously we need some limits, but I doubt that most Americans can tell you the annual legal limit on visas that the US grants (675,000 per year, or 0.2% of the US population), nor can it tell you how long it takes the average person from the “more popular” countries to get such a visa (If you’re trying to get here from the Philippines and you have a brother who is a US citizen, you had to apply by 1991 to be considered ), nor can it tell you how many people are on a waiting list for legal entry to the US (4.4 million people, or 15% of the US population).

    That is where the debate should be – but is not. It is unfortunately mired in the swamps of racism and xenophobia.

  49. Peter permalink
    February 1, 2017

    I doubt people are fooled by some people who describe themselves as progressives when everyone has been shown they are just liberals dressed up for a parade. The conservatives scored big points when they identified liberals as leisure class creatures with leisure class goals so rebranding them as closer to the working class actually convinced no one. The woman’s march in DC was a perfect example of the leisure class progressives jetting into town to listen to their celebrity mouthpieces. Their loyalty is to the Party and Winning and not much else.

    The progs seem to be moving away from the loser Red Queen and smearing on some of Bernie’s phony disguise to try to rise from the smoking ashes of their possibly permanent and total defeat. I suppose someday I might stop laughing at the their offering of clueless humor by adopting the delightfully oxymoronic label of JusticeDemocrats. I might change my attitude if they started their Justice Program with a call to ‘Lock Her Up’.

  50. Brian permalink
    February 1, 2017

    No idea how all this is going to play out of course, Ian, but I think you may be giving them too much credit. I find it equally plausible that they have no idea what they are doing and that they are not as strong as they think they are.

    We’ll see of course, but at the moment I find Corey Robin’s view persuasive here:

    That is why I don’t buy the notion that somehow today’s events, with all the opposition at the airports and the imposition of a stay, was part of a grand plan. I think they have no idea what they might be facing from the left. And let’s be honest: neither do we.

    Whatever the case may be, the point is this: If Trump is a fascist – I’m dubious, as many of you know – he may be the most backasswards fascist we’ve ever seen. Having seized control of the state, he doesn’t destroy his opposition in order to pursue his maximal agenda. Instead, he creates an opposition – what may be shaping up as the largest mass movement this country has seen in 50 years – by pursuing his maximal agenda first.

  51. realitychecker permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @ NoPolitician

    Very interesting take on the Rule of Law, you’ve got there.

    So, re Hillary’s mishandling classified material and lying about it, worth enforcing that law, or not worth enforcing that law?

    Please show your work.

  52. Lisa permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Ché Pasa “Why I’ve even heard tales that in some parts of the country, the working class is largely non-white, even non-white, non-male. How that can be, I don’t know, as all we hear about is the unhappiness of the white male working class who elected Trump.”

    But nothing to do with racism and misogyny of course……

  53. different clue permalink
    February 1, 2017

    The Republicans can certainly pass and get signed something worse than Obamacare. The only thing that would stop them from doing that would be a lingering concern that if they make it as even-worse as they would like to, that they will have made it so much even-worse that Single Payer CanadaCare will roar back onto the center of the radar screen.

    The Republicans will try to refine Obamacare into pure pristine Heritage Care. They will certainly keep the Forced Individual Mandate. They may strengthen penalties for daring to go without private profit insurance to the level of many-years-hard-time in America’s worst prisons.
    Or they may be more creatively Darwinian and just legislate that anyone without insurance will not receive any medical/health care or treatment unless they can pay total cash.

    The Forced Mandate will be preserved above all. Obama and his Big Insura backer-owners worked to hard to get the Forced Mandate legislated for anyone to ever allow it to be repealed.
    It is part of what Obama expects to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars for .

  54. NoPolitician permalink
    February 1, 2017

    > So, re Hillary’s mishandling classified material and lying about it, worth enforcing that law, or not worth enforcing that law?

    realitychecker, I’ve found that when the conversation abruptly turns to “Hillary email”, I’ve struck a cognitive dissonance nerve.

  55. bob mcmanus permalink
    February 1, 2017

    you don’t care about rule of law at all they must be enforced or the law changed.

    I don’t care about rule of law at all. I don’t think it exists, or ever existed, except as rhetorical tactics or as a elitist mechanism of social control.

    Pure democracies, or pure communisms, don’t need no stinking warrants.

    Open borders, incidentally. And voting rights, in American elections, for seven billion earth inhabitants. And bankrupting reparations for descendants of slaves and other colonized peoples. And whatever other outrageous illiberal nonsense I can come up with just to offend.

  56. realitychecker permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @ No Politician

    Well, I’ve found that responses like that constitute irrefutable proof that the source is a monstrous gaping asshole.

    Cognitive dissonance is your natural environment. Enjoy it, mindless partisan loser.

    I’m enjoying watching you and your friends devour themselves. I’m really enjoying it.

    My enjoyment is yuuuuge.

    Try not to choke on your bile. Unless you really, really want to. In which case, pretty please put it on youtube and provide us with the link.

    I’ll sell tickets.

  57. Richard McGee permalink
    February 1, 2017

    I’m finding the notion of Bannon being some kind of populist mastermind increasingly laughable. The steps they need to be taking to create jobs on a mass scale are not being taken. At the same time, the long-delayed deflationary undertow is now gathering momentum. The slow sucking decline of the Obama years can’t be sustained. Trump won’t have the luxury of inaction afforded Obama. In the background hovers the real specter of a financial panic (which could easily morph into a deflationary holocaust).

    What this means is that Trump’s window of opportunity is fading a lot faster than most people realize.

  58. Lisa permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Well there is going to be a big fight…the dominant ‘religious right’ wants the end of any health insurance whatsoever. That is their stated position (see the FRC website for example).

    They don’t believe in ‘risk pooling’, getting sick to them is because you have sinned…’true christians’ don’t get sick, if you do get sick then it is because you have sinned and are not a ‘true christian’ (yes it is the ‘true Scotsman’ logical fallacy).

    FRC: ”risk sharing involves cross-subsidization within the group to pay for the medical claims of the group. It is critical that these private transfers are based on criteria fair to all families and promote personal responsibility within the group.
    Of course, compassion dictates that families help one another with costs that are beyond their control, such as unknown genetic diseases. But compassion is reciprocal such that all parties need to avoid risky behaviors that result in conditions that unduly drive up premiums.”

    So the internal fights are going to be interesting to watch.

    Here is ‘an example of christian’ health cost sharing (they state clearly it is not insurance):
    https://mychristiancare.org/medi-share/what-is-medishare/

    “Medi-Share is not insurance. Medi-Share is a Healthcare Sharing Ministry as outlined in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act. Each Medi-Share member is solely responsible for the payment of his or her own medical bills at all times. Neither CCM nor other Members guarantee or shall be liable for the payment of a Member’s medical bill. Further, no Member may or shall be compelled to make sharing contributions. If sharing occurs, the shared medical bills are paid by the Member that incurred the bill solely from voluntary contributions of Members, not from funds of CCM itself.

    Neither CCM, Medi-Share nor its Members are insurance or an insurance company. The payment of your medical bills through Medi-Share or otherwise is not guaranteed in any way. Medi-Share is not, and should never be construed as, a contract for insurance or a substitute for insurance. There is no transfer of risk for any purpose from a Member to CCM or from a Member to other Members; nor is there a contract of indemnity between CCM and any Member or between the Members themselves.”

    “HOW MEDI-SHARE WORKS
    Each month, your monthly share is matched with another’s eligible medical bills. Through a secure online portal, Christian Care Ministry publishes the bills eligible for sharing and coordinates the direct sharing of medical costs between members. You will know every month whose bills you are paying, and when you have eligible bills, your fellow believers will be sharing those and praying for you. ”

    “Medi-Share is built on a foundation of like ideals agreed upon by the Members. These biblical principles of health and lifestyle are important requirements for membership in Medi-Share.

    Each adult member must attest to a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and profess the Statement of Faith to join. Members also agree to live by biblical standards, bear one another’s burdens, and regularly attend and actively support a fellowship of believers.

    As part of the commitment to a healthy lifestyle, members have agreed not to:
    use tobacco and illegal drugs, abuse legal drugs, or have sex outside of traditional Christian marriage. ”

    Welcome to your theocracy….

  59. StewartM permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Peter

    The woman’s march in DC was a perfect example of the leisure class progressives jetting into town to listen to their celebrity mouthpieces.

    No it wasn’t. In fact, the women’s march in DC was criticized heavily by the Clintonistas by explicitly distancing itself from Clinton and not including her:

    https://shadowproof.com/2017/01/22/womens-march-transcends-elite-feminism/

    The Women’s March partnered with Planned Parenthood, United Healthcare Workers East (1199 SEIU), American Federation of Teachers, (AFL-CIO), the Southern Poverty Law Center, and many other organizations fighting for access to healthcare, reproductive and gender equity, environmental justice, and civil rights.

    There was a significant faction of women, almost entirely from the Hillary Clinton camp of political engagement, who demanded organizers apologize for not including Clinton on a list of women, that “paved the way” for them to march. This list included Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Berta Caceres, Marsha P. Johnson, and others.

    The social media campaign #AddHerName was an illustration of the overwhelmingly reactionary philosophy guiding bourgeois feminism—that unbridled gratitude should be offered to a failed candidate that has stymied progressive movements and promoted violent policies for the sake of civility, and respectability.

    Take for example the reaction of Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation and author of What’s The Matter With White People, who described leaving Clinton off of a list of honorees as “unimaginable”. The thread that was born in reaction to Walsh’s statement was evidence of a deep-rooted cult of personality. One person even went so far as to allege that women of color were “removing [Clinton’s] existence from the March,” thereby arguing that this move was an act of erasure by women who should know their place.

  60. Frank Stain permalink
    February 1, 2017

    If adding any more people to the US was inherently a bad thing, then we should seriously look into forced population control because surely having more babies is even worse – we have to use our country’s resources to raise them

    It’s inherently a waste of time trying to reason with nativists about the economic dumbness of their anti-immigrant stance. Their view is rooted in xenophobia, not economic considerations. This becomes evident when you realize that the majority of nativists are also strongly anti-abortion. This means that nativists are, simultaneously, trying to decrease the population because immigrants are competing with natives for jobs, and also trying to increase the population by ending the ‘white genocide’ of millions of aborted white babies. With xenophobes, the need to increase the birth rate is an absolute rock bottom imperative of any society. And since high birth rates are incompatible with broad gender equality, nativists are always and everywhere hostile to women’s empowerment.
    Now, you can talk to nativists about how these two imperatives are in contradiction until you are blue in the face. After all, won’t those millions of extra white babies also (eventually) be competing with current populations for the same jobs immigrants are allegedly stealing? Yes, of course. But in this case, no one is harmed because the surplus population is white . And that, very simply, is the bottom line.

  61. karenjj2 permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @realitychecker

    “misshandling classified material” overlooks the larger issue of deliberately diverting ALL official State Department correspondence to a residential address for her entire term as SoS, retaining it after leaving office and destroying State Department correspondence when subpoenaed to produce the correspondence.

    Everyone ignores the MAIL part of eMAIL much to my continuing disgust.

  62. February 1, 2017

    @NoPolitician

    I make 4.4 million divided by 322,762,018 as 1.36. How did you get 15%?

  63. Peter permalink
    February 1, 2017

    StewM

    Many of the Clintonites are trying to rebrand themselves but I can assume that nearly all of them were her supporters/voters. Even their news organs are trying to sell the grassroots BS about these demonstrators but the only people they find to interview are longtime Clintonite activists.

    All of the power structure that existed in the Clintonite cult was elite and they attracted leisure class and middle class lesser professional elites along with elite wealthy hollyweird celebrities and very elite Soros types. None of these forces appear to be walking away from Clintonism even if they do distance themselves from the humiliated Red Queen.

  64. Hugh permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Rex Tillerson of Exxon was confirmed as Secretary of State by a vote of 56-43 with Coons (D-DE) not voting. Heitkamp (D-ND), Manchin (D-WV), and Warner (D-VA) were the three Democrats who voted to confirm Tillerson along with King (I-ME) who caucuses with the Democrats.

    https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00036

    It would be more honest to describe these 4 as Republicans who caucus with the Democrats.

    The Senate then voted to go into executive session to consider DeVos’ nomination as Secretary of Education. Apparently, McConnell was too embarrassed by DeVos to continue proceedings in public.

  65. February 1, 2017

    OK Peter, it’s your turn now. Please define Clintonism as apart from Hillary or Bill Clinton the personae or just plain old “neoliberalism” or “neoconservativism”. The more you inveigh the more it sounds like it’s a collection of cultural stereotypes and canards.

  66. Hugh permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Yes, Peter, thank goodness we have a working class man of the streets as President, somebody from the wrong side of the tracks who despite his hard scrabble roots was able by the sweat of his brow to rise above his humble origins and who throughout his career has fought for and never forgotten where he came from. /s

  67. StewartM permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Frank Stain:

    It’s inherently a waste of time trying to reason with nativists about the economic dumbness of their anti-immigrant stance. Their view is rooted in xenophobia, not economic considerations. This becomes evident when you realize that the majority of nativists are also strongly anti-abortion. This means that nativists are, simultaneously, trying to decrease the population because immigrants are competing with natives for jobs, and also trying to increase the population by ending the ‘white genocide’ of millions of aborted white babies. With xenophobes, the need to increase the birth rate is an absolute rock bottom imperative of any society. And since high birth rates are incompatible with broad gender equality, nativists are always and everywhere hostile to women’s empowerment.

    All true. Except the number of “white Americans” (a biologically false category) would in fact be in absolute decline *were it not for immigration*. Immigration is actually bolstering the white numbers.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/us/census-benchmark-for-white-americans-more-deaths-than-births.html

    So it’s not really about immigration per se, or maybe even illegal immigration. It’s not about immigrants competing for jobs–I sat on a committee where we ended up hiring an immigrant, an Englishman, who I’m sure wouldn’t raise hardly a protest in this group even though elsewhere the argument would be made that he was “taking away a job” from an American.

    The current anti-immigration argument can only be understood by two facts:

    a) the proportion of “whites” in the US is declining;

    b) the proportion of professed Christians in the US is declining It was once 93 %, now it’s down to 70.6 % (2014).

    This also explains why there is such an overlap between the anti-immigrants and the theocrats. Neoliberals jump on the bandwagon because anti-immigration hysteria detracts from the true job-stealer, outsourcing, which both steals more jobs and depresses more wages than immigrants.

  68. realitychecker permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @ karenjj2

    Yes, of clurse you are absolutely correct, it is a huge issue, but unfortunately it seems like only lawyers appreciate how big it is.

    The big yawn you saw above in response to my comment about it typifies the usual response from the ignorant and the recklessly thoughtlessly partisan types.

  69. realitychecker permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @ Hugh

    You can put all the sarcasm tags you want on your comment above, but that will never change the hard truth that the person you sarcastically describe could never get elected as an outsider, could he?

    You’re too smart to be holding out for a perfect messenger to be our change agent. We don’t deserve perfect, and we sure as hell will never get one.

    You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you can get what you need. 🙂

  70. StewartM permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Peter:

    Even their news organs are trying to sell the grassroots BS about these demonstrators but the only people they find to interview are longtime Clintonite activists.

    So Shadowproof (FDL) is now a Clintonite news organ? Really? Did you bother reading its coverage of the 2016 campaign and what they said about her?

    If pro-Clinton celebs you cite had much sayso as you infer they did, they’d certainly would have succeeded in getting her name on the list of celebrated women. They didn’t.
    .

  71. realitychecker permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @ karenjj2

    Of clurse I meant to type of course lol.

  72. realitychecker permalink
    February 1, 2017

    @ StewartM

    C’mon Stewart, I know you’re smarter than that. You can always find one group or individual that contrasts with the general rule. That doesn’t negate the general rule.

    I saw one black transgender woman who said she could not support and wasn’t attending the Women’s March because the elite white women hadn’t supported either her black BLM tribe or her transgender tribe.

  73. Arthur permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Watching as this insane show unfolds is somewhat mind numbing. Everything is all over the place. But one observation, if I may. I don’t think it will be too long before the various elements of the right start fighting each other. An example. . .sometimes to amuse myself I listen to far right Catholic radio. Today the hosts were positively over the top about the Supreme Court nominee. They are convinced that the end of abortion, gay marriage and dare they hope birth control is at hand. Apparently, we are at the beginning of a wonderful Catholic world. Just one problem, friends. The rightwing fundies hate your guts. To them a Catholic isn’t even a Christian. Just wondering what happens when all those evil liberals and women are put in their place? My guess is that if that were ever to happen these folks would butcher each other pretty quick.

    Just my two cents.

  74. atcooper permalink
    February 1, 2017

    There’s old resentments just waiting to be surfaced because folks have been pretending for too long that the US is more secular than it is.

    I’ve been warning Mormons, of which I once was, of the danger in allying with your typical US Protestant for a long time now. Its not so easy outside the old strongholds out west. And when they question my alliances, I tell them to think of it as a weighing of sin. That they needed to be honest with themselves regarding trade-offs. That the commandment not to lie includes not lying to themselves. That murder is wrong, and so wars must be justified, etc.

    There’s a real failure in the leadership of American Christianity these days that is not unlike other institutions, finance, academic. The AC is largely rotten to the core. You can see Christ in the strangest places, the forgotten places still, the US as land of contrasts and all, but His institutions in the US, so to speak, are failing.

    The new pope has given me some hope that all is not lost. I cannot help but think his being South American plays a huge role.

  75. Lisa permalink
    February 2, 2017

    It just gets worse and worse:

    “He has now threatened to send the national guard into Chicago to enforce martial law, to invade Iraq for the oil, and now to unilaterally attack and invade Mexico.”

    “”It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.
    Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.”

    “Mr Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admissions of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers”.”

    “An email obtained by The Washington Post shows that the Trump transition team attempted to fire the Inspectors Generals of all the agencies. ”

    And just leaked:
    “Leaked Draft of Trump’s Religious Freedom Order Reveals Sweeping Plans to Legalize Discrimination”
    If signed, the order would create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity.”
    “ A leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” obtained by The Investigative Fund and The Nation, reveals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination.

    This article was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.

    The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” in every walk of life: “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”

    The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.”

    https://www.thenation.com/article/leaked-draft-of-trumps-religious-freedom-order-reveals-sweeping-plans-to-legalize-discrimination/

    “House Republicans Vote to End Rule Stopping Coal Mining Debris From Being Dumped in Streams”

    “Police Raid Standing Rock Camp, Destroy Tipis and Are Burning What Remains”

    As I said, malevolence untempered by competence.

    This will tear the US apart, secession now seems to be real a possibility, especially if this ‘freedom of religion and/or morality” thing goes through.

  76. Lisa permalink
    February 2, 2017

    Arthur: Long my observation (and I have studied these clown quite a lot) and prediction, they all hate each, each of the various evangelical and Protestant ones detest the others …and they all hate the Catholics.

    If they get the ‘religious freedom’ laws they want, they will use it against other as much as they will against Jews, Muslims, women, LGBTI people , etc.

    How long until the ‘no Catholics’ signs appear… not long after the ‘no Jews’ ones I suspect.

    They are nuts, ‘christian’ jihadists no better than Wahabbi Sunnis, almost to a person Authoritarian personalities, lives dominated by hate…of everyone except themselves.

    This will create a wave of hatred throughout the US, on a scale never seen before.

  77. Hugh permalink
    February 2, 2017

    realitychecker, I don’t need a perfect messenger. But I do know a false messenger and a fuckup when I see one. We all want change, our country to heal and our lives to improve. But you can’t build a house by randomly nailing pieces of wood together. We need a vision, a plan, one that is out there for everyone to see, one that makes sense. There simply isn’t one on the table, not from the Republicans, not from the Democrats, not from Trump.

  78. Lisa permalink
    February 2, 2017

    High: “There simply isn’t one on the table, not from the Republicans, not from the Democrats, not from Trump.”

    Well you did from Sanders….

  79. V. Arnold permalink
    February 2, 2017

    The present players in U.S. politics are all disgusting pigs.
    If you decide to engage in the game; you have agreed to wallow in the pigsty.
    I’m outa here; I already, physically left, but philosophically remained attached; finished.
    Enjoy the mud, smell, filth, and your position in line for the slaughter…

  80. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2017

    @ Hugh

    Personally, I always expected that a period of chaos would be the first result of an outsider successfully crashing the Establishment gates–how could it possibly be otherwise?

    So, from that, it follows that one cannot extract any reliable data from chaos, i.e., no fulcrum against which to exert the levers of logic.

    From that, it follows that we must wait long enough for the inevitable dust of chaos to settle, and only then can we collect some reliable data to work with.

    A sloppy process, but it could never have been any other way. Coming in with a detailed plan, so that the Establishment could focus all its efforts on tearing it apart rather than putting all its efforts into protecting its vulnerable asses, would have been a foolhardy strategy that was doomed from the start for playing into the Establishment’s strengths, rather than exploiting its weaknesses.

    It may take six months before we can really appraise the results of Trump’s opening moves.

    I know patience is the rarest of commodities on the Internet. Perhaps we can use the time to honestly examine the implications of the fascistic response of the left to its electoral defeat.

    That is a problem that we can and should start to deal with and resolve in the here and now, because madness seems to have become rampant among the supposedly tolerant free speech lovers on the left.

  81. StewartM permalink
    February 2, 2017

    @RC

    I just got tired of Peter’s double standard, where a march of 500,000 people (more than a million in the country) where the *organizers* explicitly refused to include Hillary Clinton as one of their heroes despite the frenetic protests of professional Clintonistas are “snowflakes”, while when Trump has events with Martin Sheen, Ted Nugent, Bob Knight, Dennis Rodman, Hulk Hogan or other celebrities, those aren’t “snowflakes” at all but just ordinary “real Americans” (TM).

  82. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2017

    @ StewartM

    Stewart, you’ve always been one of the smart and thoughtful guys, even when we don’t fully agree, and I will say the same about Peter.

    IMO, this is the perfect time for us all to honestly consider what useful things we might actually learn from each other. None of us has demonstrated a monopoly on correctness, nor on wrongness. The best way to maximize the benefits of a good brain is to keep the humility harness on it.

    All of us who have good hearts and who operate in good faith are going to need each other going forward from here.

  83. NoPolitician permalink
    February 2, 2017

    @CB

    > I make 4.4 million divided by 322,762,018 as 1.36. How did you get 15%?

    Thanks for correcting my math (I must have missed a zero when typing the US population into Excel). 1.36% is an incredibly low number – if we added all the immigrants who were on the decades-old waiting list tomorrow, I don’t think our country would even skip a beat.

  84. Webstir permalink
    February 2, 2017

    Oh, come on RC. I’m with StewartM on this one. Peter is a far cry from “smart and thoughtful.”
    He’s a …
    Right. Not gonna go there this morning. I’ve said it all before.
    You just have a hard-on for him b/c he too voted for Trump, thereby allowing your political Venn diagrams to occasionally overlap.

  85. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2017

    @ Webstir

    No, that’s not right. I think he is wildly out-of-touch with the realities of capitalism and of the housing market collapse of 2007, and I have thumped him hard many times on those issues.

    At the same time, I think he is deliciously on target in his criticisms of the knee-jerk Dem and Hilllary supporters. And his disdain and scorn for them is shown to be justified every day by their continued outrageous antics, see, e.g. Berkeley today.

    It’s very comforting to think you have a model for political thought that has everything correctly accounted for, but the truth is that no extreme ever has everything all correct; therefore, we must all learn to select from the smorgasbord of correctness with great care and less smug arrogance.

  86. February 2, 2017

    @NoPolitician

    Thanx for responding. I\’ve blown past a decimal point or two in my time, and intellectual honesty is a commendable quality.

  87. Richard permalink
    February 2, 2017

    MojaveWolf and Ian:

    I agree with MojaveWolf that the awfulness Trump policies mean to the biosphere should be the overriding concern. And Ian agrees that Trump would be terrible in the medium-run on the environment and unions (and he’s terrible in the short run to minorities to boot).

    If that’s the case, why would any sane Democrat help him out by passing a Medicare for all? Especially considering that he’s overwhelmingly unpopular to major portions of the liberal base.

    I would hope that both Democrats and liberals would be able to think more than one step ahead (which some Trump voters i know _who_are_minorities_ were not able to do).

  88. different clue permalink
    February 4, 2017

    @Richard,

    It may be that just as only Nixon could go to China, only a Republican President can go to Medicare For All. If that is what Trump tries to do, he should get enough DemParty help to get it passed. And the Dems should give it. Because it is more important to use our one chance to get Medicare For All than it is to shoot the Medicare For All hostage just so that the Clintonite Shitobamacrats can have another chance to advance their grubby selves in power.

    If we get Medicare For All under Mr. Trump, and it becomes so popular that no future politician or political movement can ever reverse it, then people will no longer be job-loci hostages dependent on Ol’ Corporate Massa for a job and therefor health care. People with that survival worry lifted and removed will be freer to organize and agitate for whatever . . . including for reversal of all of Prexy Trump’s ecocidal initiatives.

    And remember, all this speculation is only possible because we defeated the Evil Clinton and removed the possibility of all out thermonuclear war with Russia which she offered as President. So now we can focus on resisting the Trump agenda where indicated.

  89. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @different clue: “Clintonite Shitobamacrats”

    As you may have discerned, I’m no fan of Clinton, Obama, or any of the corporate knee bending democrats. But just what exactly do you think you’re accomplishing with this type of childish verbiage? Maybe you should be logging your comments here: http://www.breitbart.com

  90. different clue permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @Webstir,

    With this type of childish verbiage I am letting any Clinton-sympathisers and Clinton-Restorationists who are reading these threads ( and I know there are some) that have not forgotten and I have not forgiven.

    If the comment were written without the childish verbiage but were exactly the same otherwise, would you find something wrong with the basic-description-otherwise of the Democrats or their intentions and goals?

  91. different clue permalink
    February 5, 2017

    To anyone interested,

    I just ran across an interesting little you tube audio ( the video is an unmoving image) about how certain big social media venues censor people. It devotes most of its time to Twitter and a clever new way Twitter has devised to drop a Cone Of Silence over Tweeters whose messaging it wants to suppress. The problem with this post is that it contains huge amounts of childish verbiage in among the high value description of how Twitter suppresses selected information dispersal. In that sense, it poses a test to the listener . . . . will the listener endure the childish verbiage in order to get the valuable actionable information? Or will the listener register herm’s disapproval of the childish verbiage by turning off the yootoob and missing out on the information?

    Since Ian Welsh and others here were involved in the Netroots Nation effort, they ( and others) might be interested in having us mere layfolk understand how these information dispersal-supporession methods work. Because some counter-Trump activity might have to take place across social media platforms, and perhaps knowing how the social medialords selectively suppress it may permit knowing how to end-run and/or undermine that selective suppression.

    So, here is the yootoob link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrcXQQbIhkM

    And here is the link to a very recent blogpost by Scott Adams ( Big Papa Dilbert) about his discovery of this suppression method invented by Twitter.
    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/156806516721/the-social-media-hive-mind

    ( @Webstir . . . . as you can see, I have taken your criticism to heart. I have typed a few couple-hundred words without typing a single childish verbiage. And the links I gave to things were for the inforMAtion benefit of those things, deSPITE their childish verbiage. NOT beCAUSE of it. Shall one pick out the treasure from among the trash? Or shall one throw the carrot out with the peelings?)

  92. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @different clue: “would you find something wrong with the basic-description-otherwise of the Democrats or their intentions and goals?”

    No.
    I’ve read enough of your comments to know we’re basically on the same page. I just tire of all the name calling. From everyone. I call it out for the same reason I got after Peter and all his “snowflake” bullshit — it’s just banal. Like I said, if I wanted to read a bunch of insult one-ups I could spend my time over at breitbart reading about libtards. I generally expect a little more from the commentariat here.

    I’d much rather hear you expound upon these monolithic “intentions and goals,” and help me figure out how to better move these voters in a more progressive direction rather than alienating them with insults. JMG has a good discussion on what happens when we allow our politics to descend into empty-rhetoric instead of policy discussion, here:
    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2017/02/perched-on-wheel-of-time.html

  93. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @different clue:
    See … it wasn’t so hard. And passive aggression done well can quite be entertaining 😉
    And seriously … that there was some high quality PA entertainment.

  94. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    And btw … read my comment to come as supra to the last one that posted. It got caught by the moderator bot b/c I put a link at the end.

  95. Peter permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @DC

    Don’t let the Clintonite Borg dictate your language or anything else, use your anger. This is just another one of their guinea worm PC deflections that attempts to portray these creatures as superior humans while using their plentiful arrogance to slight others. They never change and this class ploy is just another of their hypocritical diversions.

  96. Webstir permalink
    February 5, 2017

    @Peter
    Because calling people names has always proven to such an effective tool for changing people’s minds.
    And why do you have resort to lies, Peter? You know I’m about as far from a Clintonite as they come. Your rhetoric is nothing more than trolling.
    Weak sauce …

  97. February 11, 2017

    The Republican leaders in the congress have been unenthusiastic regarding the idea of massive increases in Federal government spending for infrastructure. Steve Bannon, Trump’s new senior White House Advisor recently said:

    “The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world , it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works get them all jacked up.”

    Bannon maybe correct that conservatives are going to go crazy. Even the socialist parties in Europe seem to have concluded that government spending to jack up otherwise uneconomic ship yards and iron works is not a very good idea. Bannon’s problem is that the Republican leaders who control Congress are the very conservatives he thinks will go crazy at spending an extra trillion dollars. In contrast to what Bannon said, Senate Majority leader McConnell has already said about Trump’s idea of increases in Federal government spending for infrastructure that “it was not a top priority.”

    It also may not be that easy for many of the Republicans in congress to vote for budgets that significantly increase the deficits and the increases in the debt ceilings that those deficits will require. We can be fairly sure that there will not be many Democrat votes helping them on those votes. The Congressional Budget Office is bipartisan and would not simply roll over and use unrealistic growth assumptions when scoring budgets. They might produce both static and dynamic calculations and projections to show what higher growth assumptions would do to their deficit and debt figures. However, appropriations and debt ceiling votes would have to be based on actual figures. Those within the Republican Party who were never enthusiastic about Trump such as Kasich, McCain and possibly even Paul Ryan, might form a fiscal restraint wing of the Republican party which might oppose policies which increase deficits.

    Assuming that political reluctance to the Keynesian stimulus of higher deficit spending can be overcome, there are other timing considerations. Any effort to rapidly increase spending could run into the “lack of shovel-ready projects” problems that stymied the Obama administration’s stimulus programs. There can be long drawn-out struggles in Congress regarding the details of additional spending programs and changes to tax law.

    Aside from the fiscal arguments that president Trump will be inflationary, there are other policies and actions that he could take that some think would be simulative. Trump and Republicans before him have called for reductions in government regulations and mandates. They say that reductions in government regulations and mandates will increase economic activity. Most would consider an increase economic activity to be inflationary. However, to the extent that government regulations and mandates increase costs, reducing those costs is deflationary. Additionally, one entity’s higher costs imposed by government regulations and mandates, is spending that is another person’s income.

    An example would be Trump and Republicans’ promise to stop the war on coal. Armstrong Coal Company, which does not have publicly held stock but does have bonds, had their earnings conference call the day after the election. The President of Armstrong Coal was giddy and said he could not decide who he was happier to see go, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency or the head of occupational safety regulation at the Department of Labor. Both of whom he considered as nemeses to the coal industry. He also said that he had been in contact with some of Armstrong Coal’s major customers, electric power utilities, which shared his views…”
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/4025083

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