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Trump and the Resistance

2017 February 10
by Ian Welsh

So, the Resistance are doing something effective, and important: They are showing up to town halls and holding their congress members feet to the fire. This is what the Tea Party did, and it works. Combined with aggressive campaigning for down-ticket offices: state, municipal, school-board, and so on, this is where true power comes from.

Obama’s reign left the Democratic party a shambling ruins, with hardly any states under their control. The weakness at the federal level is only a shadow of the weakness at lower levels, so much so that the Republicans are within spitting distance of controlling enough States to get through constitutional amendments. (If they do, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. If you’re smart, get the fuck out of the country.)

Liberals tend to think that Trump’s on the run. Sure, there’s been setbacks, but it’s worth remembering that the polls are, well, probably wrong, as they were running up to the election. Besides, general approval is irrelevant, even if the polling is correct. Trump is never going to win California, or New York, or Massachussets, and if those states oppose him en-masse it means little.

Traditional phone polls that use live interviewers — including some of the most trusted polls in politics and media — report limited support for Trump and the controversial executive orders he’s signed. But automated phone and Internet-based surveys tell a different story. Once the element of anonymity is added, the president’s approval ratings suddenly look a lot better.

In referring to an automated poll that put the president’s popularity in the black, Spicer actually understated Trump’s level of support. According to Rasmussen Reports’ most recent survey (released Friday), 54 percent of likely voters approved of the president’s job performance.

Some people are embarrassed to support Trump, but they do nonetheless, and his hard core support him very much. Further, his support among likely voters is his higher than his support among the general population.

The Resistance also has another problem: To win, Trump has to fail. This is bad in the sense that what Trump really needs to do to win is to deliver a decent economy to his core. Attacks on Kushner and Ivanka, for example, if those attacks succeed in reducing their influence, would actually make Americans worse off, because these are the sanest and kindest people who have significant influence over Trump. Likewise, while Bannon is a piece of work, the people who would replace him are an incoherent mess; evil without the silver lining of actually wanting a good economy for the working and middle class.

And if you get rid of Trump, you get Pence. He’ll make a lot less crazy headlines, but he’s a theocrat’s theocrat and an oligarch’s tool. He will be as bad as Trump in most ways and worse in others (for example, on gay rights).

Indiscriminate attacks on Trump’s advisers may make Trump fail (he’s vastly reliant on advice and guidance when it comes to policy), but they also risk railroading his and Pence’s presidencies into including all the bad and none of the good.

All this said, and at the end of the day, Trump’s fate is in his hands. If he can goose the economy, and replace Obamacare with something at least as good, and if he doesn’t allow Republicans to gut Social Security/Medicare, he’ll stay president and probably win re-election. If he doesn’t, he’s toast; either impeached or loses re-election.

But, for now, don’t believe all the numbers you’re being fed. Polling works badly with Trump; what matters is likely voters, and what really matters to them is if he delivers.

But the best form of resistance is the “In Your Face” kind: make the lives of Republicans and any Democrats who support him, personally miserable. If they are Democrats? Make it clear that you will primary them if they cooperate with Trump.


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100 Responses
  1. Pffft permalink
    February 10, 2017

    Join in this ridiculous WWE play-fighting? Go shout at party hacks? Like all of a sudden they’re going to give a shit what you think? What a waste of time. Go over their heads to the world.

    International civil society will show you how to write binding human rights constraints on state overreach into local law as a human rights city. International experts will come and help you conduct tribunals holding the USA to human rights chapter and verse, as they did for Philadelphia – and the UNHCR, Human Rights Council and OHCHR will feed the documented state dereliction you find into required review of binding law. Domestic civil society will set you up a National Human Rights Institution that holds scattershot programs to comprehensive standards.

    Instead of choosing sides for or against the presidential figurehead in traditional partisan divide-and-rule, you can focus on what we’re entitled to by law, like these people do:

    http://www.popularresistance.org
    http://economichumanrights.org/
    http://www.backbonecampaign.org
    https://www.unacpeace.org
    http://amicc.org/about/members
    https://www.nesri.org/
    http://www.ushrnetwork.org/

    What do I care what some stuffed shirt thinks of Trump? Will she help ratify the Rome Statute and the ICESCR, drop reservations to the ICCPR and CAT, or implement the Paris Principles, the Siracusa Principles and the Limberg Principles? No? Then fuck him. He’s irrelevant to anything you want by definition.

  2. February 10, 2017

    We want Pence – he is worse, and that better for us.

  3. Bill Hicks permalink
    February 10, 2017

    “…if they are Democrats, make it clear that you will primary them if they cooperate with Trump.”

    I disagree with this. If Trump wants to end the Syrian conflict, pull back troops from Russia’s frontiers to make World War III less likely, renegotiates NAFTA on behalf of workers, reduce America’s commitment to NATO, use the USG’s purchasing power to lower drug prices or change the H-1B visa rules to prevent tech companies from replacing American workers with cheaper immigrants the left should cheer him on. What we should do instead is threaten to primary any corporatist Democrat who supports Wall Street over workers, bank bailouts and foreign interventions; and is against a the $15 minimum wage, single payer health care and cuts to military spending. Any real resistance needs to go way beyond traditional partisanship.

  4. different clue permalink
    February 10, 2017

    I agree with Bill Hicks. If Trump and the Tea Party Republicans are all that stops a coalition of Country Club Republicans and Wall Street Democrats from degrading Social Security . . . . and a lonely few Legacy New Deal Berniecrats make up the balance of power by supporting the Tea Trumpers in protecting SocSec from the Second Hander Randers and the Catfood Clintonites, why should I make life hard for these Legacy New Deal Berniecrats?

    I shouldn’t. And I won’t.

    It is the DLC-type Hamilton Project type Third Way Democrats behind Clinton and Obama who are the enemy. It is they who should be purged, burned and destroyed. It is they who should be exterminated from political existence and wiped off the face of the political map.

  5. different clue permalink
    February 10, 2017

    Further, I would say the #TheResistance part of “the resistance” is a Clinton Restoration project designed to pre-co-opt the energy building for reform and decontamination.

    Hillary Clinton is certainly part of #TheResistance. So is Podesta. So is David Brock. So is Neera Tanden. So is Amanda Marcotte. They are all at #TheResistance. But they are no party of MY resistance. They are the core of the problem which my resistance would be resisting.

    Bill Clinton? #NotMyResistance.
    Corey Booker? #NotMyResistance.
    Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? #NotMyResistance.

    And I will renew my conditional if this-then that prediction. If the Regular Republicans feel they have gotten all they can out of Trump and decide it is time to expendable-ize him, the Wall Street Clintonbamacrats will support them all the way. The Wall Street Clintonbamacrats would prefer a President Pence over President Trump. Pence is just a Clinton Sandwhich with a bunch of evangelical theocratic gravy on it.

  6. Donald permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Shouldn’t we oppose Trump where he is wrong on policy, which will probably be most of the time, and support him if he happens to be right about something?

  7. Queerty permalink
    February 11, 2017

    ” end the Syrian conflict, pull back troops from Russia’s frontiers to make World War III less likely, renegotiates NAFTA on behalf of workers, reduce America’s commitment to NATO, use the USG’s purchasing power to lower drug prices or change the H-1B visa rules to prevent tech companies from replacing American workers with cheaper immigrants”

    Trump will do none of these things. He and Bannon will take what the Establishment will allow them: civilizational-scale war in the Middle East and a police state at home.

  8. February 11, 2017

    What we are seeing now is a radical agent inside the system. We haven’t had a President from outside the political system within my lifetime. The last one was Ike, and he had been in enough rooms with enough Presidents to be something of an insider even if his appeal was that he was an outsider. Every other President since then came up through the system — was a city councillor, then a mayor or state legislator, then a governor or a U.S. Congressman, or even a former Vice President (in the case of LBJ, Nixon, George H.W. Bush).

    The thing is, most of our checks and balances are matters of tradition, without any real mechanism to enforce them. They work only because everybody who is part of the system agrees implicitly to abide by these traditions. Courts can rule against the President, but if he has the support of the federal law enforcement machinery as well as of the military, courts cannot enforce their judgements. Yet almost always Presidents do abide by court rulings. Why? Because that’s part of the system, and the system has been good to them. They aren’t going to go against a system that has been good to them.

    Pence came up through the system. He uses the system for his own agenda, of course, but obedience to the unspoken rules of the system is deeply engrained in him after all these years of public life. If a court rules against him, I’m pretty sure he’d abide by the ruling. Trump… who knows? And that’s what makes me nervous about Trump. Reports are that he at least strongly considered ordering CBP to ignore the court order. Given that CBP is happy to have Obama’s leash taken off of them, it’s likely CBP would have done so. Then what? Luckily people talked him down. This time. That may not be always true. And remember, once we cross this Rubicon, then as long as he has the support of Federal law enforcement and the military, democracy is done. Even impeachment is off the table, because what is the enforcement mechanism for impeachment? Once he decides to ignore a court order, why should he give any more obedience to Congress? Hopefully Trump is too scatter-brained and self-absorbed to go grasping for absolute power like that on purpose. But with dark eminences like Bannon behind him stroking his levers? We may find out more than we wanted about just how weak the fundamental structures of our democracy really are.

  9. Barry permalink
    February 11, 2017

    I keep hearing that Trump has to deliver to his core, but I don’t think that’s a given. To win re-election? Do we know he wants a second term?

    To help his party win mid-term elections? I don’t get the sense he cares about party-building.

    He doesn’t have to deliver to the donor class like normal politicians, because it is unlikely he’s after a lobbying or hedge fund or speech-delivery job.

    I just don’t see him as being beholden to any particular power block, so I don’t think predictions based on how other politicians act hold any water.

  10. February 11, 2017

    “So, the Resistance are doing something effective, and important: They are showing up to town halls and holding their congress members feet to the fire. This is what the Tea Party did, and it works.”

    Oh good god, what an utterly silly idea that is. Screaming continuously and not allowing other people to talk is not political activism, it is a child throwing a tantrum. What the Tea Party did was throw out of office any legislator who did not vote in accordance with party principles. The net result was a Republican Party sufficiently unified that it was able to block a Democratically controlled Congress take control of Congress and the White House.

    Democrats have not been able to implement more than minute traces of our agenda, and that badly, even when we had a majority in both houses and had a Democrat in the White House, and managed to lose both control of government altogether because half of our legislators vote against the Democratic agenda and get reelected.

    To solve that we don’t need to go to town ha;;s and throw temper tantrums, we need to throw the DINOs out of office and elect actual Democrats who will vote along Democratic party lines in the legislature.

  11. Peter ** permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Just after the election, there was a brief period of self-criticism by the Dems and the left, asking tough questions about how they lost the support of people they always thought they championed. That’s been replaced by very shrill, full-bore Manichean opposition to everything Trump says or does simply because it’s Trump saying or doing it. It’s being lead by the same cast of characters the voters slapped down three months ago. It doesn’t seem to matter what the issue is, whether it’s rhetoric or substance or whether malice or incompetence. ( Who knew fascists could be so clownish?) If Trump’s for it, they’re against it. Even Sanders has lined up. The irony here is that it doesn’t seem to dawn on these people that they are implying Trump’s supporters (or even waverers) are even more deplorable than they thought and that a lot of those people will return the favour by dismissing what they have to say simply because it is they who are saying it.

    This remind me a bit of the Harper years in Canada. Compared to Trump, Harper was a traditional Burkean gentleman, but he was seen by progressives in much the same vein with all the Chicken Little doomsday scenarios and overblown rhetoric about fascism, crimes, coups, racism, etc. The left became completely fixated on the man and adjusted all their positions in reaction to him. It was almost as if they thought that if they told one another every day that they were even more outraged than they thought they were, their votes would count for more next time, and they were very in-your-face to anyone who wasn’t prepared to consign him to one of the deeper circles of Hell. His supporters and even those who were equivocal learned to keep their own counsel. They got rid of him in the end, but it took four elections, ten years and a lot of in-fighting to do it.

  12. Tom permalink
    February 11, 2017

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/mike-flynn-nsa-aide-trump-234923

    More fun. Personally I hope they eat each other alive.

  13. V. Arnold permalink
    February 11, 2017

    The election changed nothing; it was just musical chairs and the dems didn’t get a/the chair.
    Peter** above paints a pretty accurate picture of the U.S. present.
    Nobody seems to understand; the root still grows; the root wasn’t killed; but strengthened and invigorated by the Trumpian victory.
    You think things have changed forever; not even close.
    Usian’s abject refusal to learn/understand critical thinking, results in their remaining under the chains of crypto-fascists…

  14. Tom permalink
    February 11, 2017

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/federal-agents-conduct-sweeping-immigration-enforcement-raids-in-at-least-6-states/2017/02/10/4b9f443a-efc8-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?utm_term=.0da226d94f3e

    Trump is moving and hard. I have zero sympathy for these folks. Their presence is a slap in the face of all who came here legally and after intrusive vetting.

    Nor do I care about anchor babies. The parents either take them with them till they are adults at which point they can come here to open arms, give them over to family members who are US Citizens, or give them up to adoption. If they didn’t want those choices, too bad, should have thought of that before breaking the law.

  15. Tom permalink
    February 11, 2017

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0q_Ww1q1j8

    Been watching this guy for a few weeks now. Makes the case the Democrats need to go as well. Clinton not Reagan killed the New Deal and brought the Neo-Liberals to full power.

  16. BFZ permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Morris Berman extols the greatness of Mexico, and I’ll take him at his word. I have no problem with Trump deporting illegal immigrants. They undercut wages, they cause their nations of origins slide deeper into depravity due to brain drain, they use up precious medical resources that we cannot afford to give away and will make single payer an impossibility (doctors are fleeing their profession in droves and no one wants to be a GP anymore), and when automation hits, it will mean 20 million plus more people with no jobs. The modern left remind me of a manic depressive overloaded on emotions and feelings.

  17. jonst permalink
    February 11, 2017

    No, this is not like the Tea Party reactions. When the Tea Party showed up to shout down establishment GOP types, the “types” had no where to go. Those were the primary voters. They had to try and accommodate them, or, at least, try to pacify them. This they did. Successfully, and not so successfully.

    But when the Dems show up to do this stuff, and it will escalate, the GOP can, and will, appeal to other Republicans, ‘look how the Dems are shouting us down’.

    This is all going in the direction of a physical fight. But people seemed determined to go there. Perhaps for good reasons, from their parochial perspectives.

    I’m sorry, i just see this getting uglier and uglier. It reminds of old treatment, of draining the blood of a sick person. You think this will make it better? I think it will make it worse. Much worse.

  18. Ché Pasa permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Trump will do none of these things.

    Indeed. Queerty is correct. Why do any of you believe otherwise when the evidence has long been that he is playing you for fools, manipulating your hatreds for his own ends and for those of the cabal that’s ruling with him?

    The belief is so strong, though, the hatreds so deep rooted, that judgment is clouded and critical thinking is abandoned.

    The mantra has been that “if he does thus and so” (something his defenders want or something he’s said that they they want to hear) “then he’ll be a success and will be re-elected”, etc. “No matter what else happens, as long as he does this or that, he wins.”

    Guess what? He’s not doing “this or that.” In many cases, he’s doing just the opposite — or trying to — which should clue you to some facts.

    First, even rule by diktat has inherent limitations in our rickety system. He’s running up against some of them. Many of his ukases have no force of law; they’re essentially nothing more than press releases. Those that do have the force of law are also subject to judicial review, as we’re seeing with the ban. His consistent style is to alienate the very people he needs as allies to achieve his objectives, whatever they may actually be. He screwed the pooch by attacking the integrity of the courts (whatever you think of the courts) and that’s pretty much the end of that little exercise is “fulfilling his promises.”

    He’s done nothing on behalf of labor, and there’s no sign he intends to. Just the opposite.

    He’s been saber rattling and warmongering — and screwing it up — even more than the Dems and the hated Clintons. He’s not withdrawing troops from anywhere, and his generals are telling him he must deploy more troops to more theatres and engage in more hostilities with more enemies. His response to the failed Seal Team 6 raid in Yemen is to lie about it and to utterly ignore the slaughter in the village to focus on the loss of a single team member. That’s a good sign of what is to come.

    There’s no indication he will “save” Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the IHS or any other social or health care program that doesn’t enrich him and his cronies. Just the opposite.

    The dream/hope that the Trump regime will somehow create a better future for us all (well, except for the Undeserving) is similar to the Hope that Obama would do so. He didn’t. Nor will Trump.

    What you’re getting is chaos.

    Note: the Resistance is far more than the Democratic Party apparat. Much as you may fear them, they are nowhere near controlling this. The Resistance ultimately is matching Trump’s chaos with their own.

    And it won’t end well.

    
    

  19. Ché Pasa permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Trump will do none of these things.

    Indeed. Queerty is correct. Why do any of you believe otherwise when the evidence has long been that he is playing you for fools, manipulating your hatreds for his own ends and for those of the cabal that’s ruling with him?

    The belief is so strong, though, the hatreds so deep rooted, that judgment is clouded and critical thinking is abandoned.

    The mantra has been that “if he does thus and so” (something his defenders want or something he’s said that they they want to hear) “then he’ll be a success and will be re-elected”, etc. “No matter what else happens, as long as he does this or that, he wins.”

    Guess what? He’s not doing “this or that.” In many cases, he’s doing just the opposite — or trying to — which should clue you to some facts.

    First, even rule by diktat has inherent limitations in our rickety system. He’s running up against some of them. Many of his ukases have no force of law; they’re essentially nothing more than press releases. Those that do have the force of law are also subject to judicial review, as we’re seeing with the ban. His consistent style is to alienate the very people he needs as allies to achieve his objectives, whatever they may actually be. He screwed the pooch by attacking the integrity of the courts (whatever you think of the courts) and that’s pretty much the end of that little exercise is “fulfilling his promises.”

    He’s done nothing on behalf of labor, and there’s no sign he intends to. Just the opposite.

    He’s been saber rattling and warmongering — and screwing it up — even more than the Dems and the hated Clintons. He’s not withdrawing troops from anywhere, and his generals are telling him he must deploy more troops to more theatres and engage in more hostilities with more enemies. His response to the failed Seal Team 6 raid in Yemen is to lie about it and to utterly ignore the slaughter in the village to focus on the loss of a single team member. That’s a good sign of what is to come.

    There’s no indication he will “save” Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the IHS or any other social or health care program that doesn’t enrich him and his cronies. Just the opposite.

    The dream/hope that the Trump regime will somehow create a better future for us all (well, except for the Undeserving) is similar to the Hope that Obama would do so. He didn’t. Nor will Trump.

    What you’re getting is chaos.

    Note: the Resistance is far more than the Democratic Party apparat. Much as you may fear them, they are nowhere near controlling this. The Resistance ultimately is matching Trump’s chaos with their own.

    And it won’t end well.

    
    

  20. February 11, 2017

    “Sure, there’s been setbacks, but it’s worth remembering that the polls are, well, probably wrong, as they were running up to the election. ”

    No, the national polls were correct. Hillary won the popular vote within the standard error margins of the polls. The polls are also correct now in Trump’s approval/disapproval ratings.

  21. Heliopause permalink
    February 11, 2017

    “Liberals tend to think that Trump’s on the run.”

    He’s been in office less than a month, as of yet has only attempted a fraction of his agenda, and I’m already seeing widespread declarations of victory on social and mass media. Delusional.

  22. February 11, 2017

    “The Resistance ultimately is matching Trump’s chaos with their own.”- Ché Pasa

    Well said,

    From the outside I can’t tell if chaos/spectacle is the plan or a means to enact a plan.

    Do you think this resistance will follow a similar path to that of Occupy Wall Street?

  23. dude permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Seems to me Ian’s point about resistance to Trump is that it is something that anyone can do locally and that is important. Compare that to the strategy of mainstream Democrats of the Hillary-in-Exile camp. They organize Third Way revivals and closed-door meetings with donors to create an counterweight to the Koch Confederation of political organization. They want to fight money-with-money because that is all they know how to do. You and I are not invited into those exalted circles precisely because we do not have money, but we have the ability to do ‘resistance’ in our backyards and hometowns. The entry cost is lower— admission is free. Is it effective? There is no guarantee, but you are more apt to recognize an actual result when it happens than if you depend on the media or a party regular to tell you if you are having an effect. Must there be blood in the streets before anything is noticed or changes? I don’t think that is necessarily true although I well aware of that some will argue there already is blood in the streets here and abroad. Our society is not monolithic. I am not personally convinced that hand-to-hand combat on every street corner is necessary to demonstrate your convictions about social policy or the direction of the country. Our society is stratified and (IMO) we tend to communicate and interact with people on our own strata more persuasively and regularly than across strata. I think Ian’s point is in keeping with “act local” and it makes sense given the resources of the 99%.

  24. Tom permalink
    February 11, 2017

    anonome,

    The polls are still wrong. An anonymous poll taken by Rasmussen Reports shows 53% of likely voter approve of Trump. That is key, and shows he is gaining support.

    People will not answer polls honestly if a living person is asking the question, but do so honestly when talking to an automated machine.

    So Trump is gaining support.

  25. sid_finster permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Team D and Team R are both fine with a President Pence, in that he is a standard-issue member of the religious right, and that means that Team D has a playbook for him.

    The upshot is that Team R and Team D can get back to arguing about wedge issues (which Team R only cares about as a buckram to get evangelical voters in the booths), while agreeing on overall economic policy and empire building.

  26. StewartM permalink
    February 11, 2017

    I agree with Queerty–Trump has already backed down on drug prices, on NAFTA his insiders are already backing down:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2016/12/06/nafta-is-here-to-stay-even-under-trump/#1ff2fd78560f

    But as the deal to keep Carrier jobs in Indiana was a lot less than it seemed, and no template going forward, the talk about NAFTA already appears to have been just that. Forget a teardown of the agreement. According to a report in The Hill, Trump’s transition team is already backpedaling on the claim that the days of NAFTA as the country has known are numbered.

    The Hill quoted Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump transition team senior advisor on the impact of NAFTA, in a talk in front of a group of business leaders as saying, “I don’t think we’re looking to rip up NAFTA as much as we are looking to right-size it and make it fairer.” He continued, “I don’t think anybody in the administration from the top to the bottom is looking for protectionism. We understand the economic harm and the impact that would take.”

    Instead of a complete renegotiation, the Trump team is talking about adjustments and modifications of some unspecified form.

    (And as for quoting a Forbes article, one of the reasons I like many others disbelieved Clinton’s disavowal of TPP because Wall Street openly didn’t believe she was serious about it all. Likewise, neither do I believe Trump when Wall Street doesn’t believe he’s serious about taking away their handouts and goodies. If that were truly the case, the market would be tanking instead of soaring, and fast).

    As for HB-1 visas, or immigration as a whole, they are not the huge job-killer they are made out to be, even given worst-case assumptions, but a ‘wag the dog’ distraction to blame the distress of American workers on something other than bad Fed policy, outsourcing, bad monetary policy, bad fiscal policy, market deregulation, union-busting, and low tax rates on the rich–all of which are major players in the saga of the looting of America. The very reason that the Republicans (and Trump) point the finger at immigrants is that they want the looting to continue. Moreover, on immigration, it’s only the non-white immigrants who are blamed; even if you buy the fallacious economic argument white immigrants would be just as much to blame as non-whites, but you hear nary a pip about them.

    Trump may (or may not) address some of the issues, but he’s going the completely opposite direction he needs to regulation and taxes if he wants to help American workers, so even if he takes some of the steps he’s promised I really don’t think he’s going to deliver to his base. You have to do it as the whole package.

    As for foreign policy issues, I certainly hope that Trump will seek good relations with Russia, unlike the MSNBC talking heads who are currently going ballistic over this, I don’t see the Trump people telling Putin “we’re going reverse Obama’s sanctions and work you” as something vaguely treasonous. But the problem is here is that Bannon is also seeking his own “crusade” against Islam and also has talked of a shooting war with China, and Trump has appointed a full-throated rightwing Zionist to be Israeli ambassador, all of which is just as nutty as Clinton’s and Obama’s unnecessary poking the Russian bear. Improvement? I don’t see one overall.

    I think Lisa pegged it well–Trump, like Obama, had an opportunity to be a historic president, flipping the Republican party against the will of its own leadership to the left of the current corporatist Democrats. Instead, he made a foolish and unnecessary deal for the Cruz vote, you’re seeing this now in his appointments and it may cripple him. Then again, Trump himself is a plutocrat, his entire business model caters to his fellow plutocrats (he hurts them, he hurts his business) so maybe expecting good things from him was unrealistic.

  27. Queerty permalink
    February 11, 2017

    “I just don’t see him as being beholden to any particular power block, so I don’t think predictions based on how other politicians act hold any water.”

    Agreed. He neither wanted, nor expected to be President. At most, he wanted to win the election to satisfy personal grievances against a handful of individuals, which is different from a desire to live with this shit for four years, never mind eight.

    Trump has a gift for bullshitting people who more or less already agree with him. This gift does not oblige him to care whether the people he is bullshitting live or die. Or live horribly or die horribly.

    Plus, let’s not forget who we’re talking about here: not exactly the most sophisticated electorate on the planet. Obama screwed over his coalition; Trump will screw over his; nobody cared; nobody will care.

    Trump is beholden to no one, but he also doesn’t have a single idea in his head. He’ll throw a sharp stick in the middle of a crowd of his advisors and do whatever the survivor says. For the moment, that crowd is trying to work out a compromise, rather than stab each other to death, and, because Bannon wants war above all else and the party hacks are fine with more war (so long as poor Americans get starved enough to fight it), we are going to get war. And starvation.

  28. Billikin permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Tom: ” Clinton not Reagan killed the New Deal”

    Clinton and Reagan killed the New Deal.

    There, fixed that for you.

  29. Pelham permalink
    February 11, 2017

    While it’s true the “resistance” is having its effect, two elements may be missing:

    1) A solid, coherent policy agenda with, I would argue, one central element, the obvious one being Medicare for all with full drug-negotiating powers.

    2) A geographic strategy. Lots more progressives need to leave the blue islands and settle in places like Ohio, Wisconsin (particularly promising) and Pennsylvania. The electoral college isn’t about to go anywhere.

  30. zot23 permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Also, you need to actually primary some of those Dems in addition to threatening it.

  31. Ken Hoop permalink
    February 11, 2017

    I’m not sure about Bannon. Does he want to separate Russia from China in the name of Tradition? That could make him ….a “premature nationalist.”

    The Economist gets this right. Of course unlike The Economist I was hoping Scotland would
    secede from the UK then grant Russia base rights.

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21716609-it-terrible-idea-donald-trump-seeks-grand-bargain-vladimir-putin

    “Likewise, Russia is not about to confront Iran. The country’s troops are a complement to Russian air power. Iran is a promising market for Russian exports. And, most of all, the two countries are neighbours who show every sign of working together to manage the Middle East, not of wanting to fight over it.”

  32. Willy permalink
    February 11, 2017

    Knowing where the tipping point for things is good. Even if the initial heavy lifters are spent to discouragement, it’ll still be there. For example, general faith in the corporate media may rapidly fall soon, in spite of all the bloggers who’ve put in all the hours then quit believing they’ve failed.

  33. Arthur permalink
    February 11, 2017

    I just read on another site how the far right Catholics and the Christian fundies are making nice with each other because they share some common goals. Indeed they do: the destruction of the natural world, sex, science, education. . .etc. But there is a problem the fundies hate the Catholics. To a fundie even a far right Catholic is still a Catholic and thus no Christian at all. At some point they will turn on each other.

    Thoughts, please.

  34. Willy permalink
    February 11, 2017

    I still way back at wondering when the fundies will figure out that they’ve been kleptocratic tools. And why do Catholics ignore commentary from their supreme leader, including phrases such as “an unjust socio-economic system and wars”, not to mention what Jesus taught. What makes them know the ‘real truth’ way down at the minion level, while the one wearing the shoes closest to Jesus is in league with the dark forces of progressivism?

  35. wendy davis permalink
    February 11, 2017

    as Wikileaks keeps reminding us, herr trump has been silent on TISA.

    http://bit.ly/2kvf3kh

    and of course he’s backed down on ‘leave NATO, he just wants everyone to pay their *fair share*.

    restore glass-steagall? when pigs fly.

  36. Hugh permalink
    February 11, 2017

    I agree with bits and pieces of what has been said, and disagree with others. Basically, it comes down to this

    The Democrats are your enemies.
    The Republicans are your enemies.
    Trump is your enemy.

    None of them are going to save you. When they look on you, they don’t even see you as belonging to the same species they do. If I had to describe how they view you, it would be as food. You are the cattle from which they are going to carve their next steak from. You have to be twisted like a pretzel to think any of them are on your side, let alone your saviors.

    Forget “resist’. Fight them. Fight them all. Fight them all the time. Yes, make their lives miserable. These are people with big egos who prize their comforts and privileges. It will wear on them if every time they appear in public they face rotten eggs and cabbages.

    In the town in which I live, there is a murder every day and 20-30 overdoses. This is violence that the Democrats and Republicans, the rich and elites are doing to us. And it is only the most obvious form. The no jobs, the crap jobs, the no real healthcare, the poor schools, and now the push for charter schools, not because they will make education better but because privatizing education is the next logical locus of looting. I have to wonder not so much if but when some of the gun toting bubbas, gang members, and addicts are going to pull their head out of their asses long enough to decide that if they are on their way out anyway, why not take out a bank president or one of the community’s prominent movers and shakers with them? Of course, I can already imagine the hysterical reaction of our Establishment of the rich and elites to this. Violence is only violence, is only well and truly beyond the pale, –if it is directed against them.

    Also it is insufficient to know what you are fighting against –I don’t like that word “resist”–, you need to know what you are fighting for. And as I keep saying that means a vision of the society you want. Such a society is not that hard to imagine: we pledge to make sure that each of us has the basic building blocks for a decent and fulfilling life. For most people that is a meaningful job paying a living wage, good education, healthcare, housing, and retirement.

    Finally a note on immigration. It isn’t a big deal. It’s an enormous deal. 15% of the US population is foreign born. That’s around 49 million. And the foreign born make up about 17.5% of the labor force or around 28 million.

    As long as we keep running back and forth between the Democrats and Republicans, as long as we delude ourselves into thinking that we can expect anything good from them, then we will remain their cattle. And as long as we watch dopey news reports about this sad and touching immigrant story or that one, and not look at the overall numbers and the strains those numbers are putting on our society, we will just waste our time and energy, and play into the hands of our lords and masters.

  37. mike permalink
    February 12, 2017

    “Some people are embarrassed to support Trump, but they do nonetheless, and his hard core support him very much.”

    I live in California, Humboldt. Most of my friends are liberals, which I used to be. I’m not in the least embarrassed by the fact that I support Trump. Rather proud of it in fact. I never mention it to anyone tho, but not because I’m embarrassed, but rather because I’m afraid of getting attacked and put down and bullied. The liberals have gotten rather nasty. Above all, I’m afraid of losing business since most of my clients are liberals and very intolerant. I know for a fact that my biggest client would drop me immediately if she knew I voted for Trump. No question about it. I’m terrified of this.

    Trump’s support is much more widespread than people seem to think. And it’s grown considerably since the election due to the marches and riots and the ridiculous obstructionism of people like Warren, which most people just consider a silly waste of taxpayer dollars. The majority want Trump to get his team in place asap and get on with the job.

  38. Emma permalink
    February 12, 2017

    Why do you persist in suggesting that Trump intends to improve the lives of the working class, let alone that he has some sort of secret amazing plan to unplug the US from the world economy and put it into a 1950s snowglobe, where it will live forever building snowmen with its cousins until Mother calls it in for hot cocoa? That isn’t going to happen. How could you think it was going to happen? How is anyone allowing themselves to think that these things are possible, let alone likely? The way Americans think about working-class jobs is anachronistic. They will never be able to find a Big White Daddy powerful enough to build them a time machine that will allow them to relive their parents’ lives, but with a flat screen and less heart disease. The sooner they accept it, the less miserable they’ll be.

    I mean, I’m sure there will be a temporary boom in the extraction industry. And maybe in some limited national infrastructure projects? Maybe not. But those activities will be primarily focused on wealth creation for the already obscenely wealthy, not comprehensive economic retrogression, and those jobs will be shit for the people who actually work them. (As were the long-gone “good” blue-collar union jobs they pine for, but that’s another issue.)

    Normally I like your blog a lot, & read it often — but this baseless Trumpish optimism is beginning to worry me. I started getting suspicious when you suggested that Trump was winning life because he shits on a gold toilet and fucks anorexic white chicks with $10,000 weaves. I don’t know what it is about Trump that makes hard-leftists want to admit that he’s a rake, but he has a way about him. Maybe the same thing that makes them grudginly acknowledge that Putin is actually pretty clever? It’s odd! I don’t like it.

  39. Ian Welsh permalink*
    February 12, 2017

    Whether Trump is able to improve the economy and whether he wants to are two different things. I think he wants to, I’m not sure he can, because his ideology and therefore policies are shitty.

    But then Obama did little better, his economy was a trash fire and can only be made to look good by taking the depths of the financial crisis recession as his baseline. Otherwise it looks like trash.

    It is odd to think Trump doesn’t have something on the ball. Not only is he rich, he defeated two political dynasties to go on to win the Presidency, starting (and ending) with the highest negatives of any presidential candidate in polling history. Virtually every pundit, both conservative and liberal, though he couldn’t do it. He proved them wrong.

    Likewise, like or hate Putin, he has something on the ball. To deny such obvious things is to live in a fantasy land. A person can be a terrible person (Trump, Putin, Obama, Clinton, Bush Jr, etc…) and still be competent in specific ways.

    I can’t even understand why it’s controversial to say this.

    Competence and being a good person or even a good governor are not correlated in any meaningful way.

    Human history would be much different if being a mass murderer, say, were strongly negatively correlated with competence.

    Would that it were so.

    It is not.

  40. February 12, 2017

    StewartM:

    “I don’t think [the Trump admin is] looking to rip up NAFTA as much as we are looking to right-size it and make it fairer.”

    (And as for quoting a Forbes article, one of the reasons I like many others disbelieved Clinton’s disavowal of TPP because Wall Street openly didn’t believe she was serious about it all.)

    Agree completely that Clinton and Trump have been liars on this. And I’ll add that during their campaigns neither Sanders nor Stein ever promised to rip up the TPP, let alone NAFTA. Neither went beyond a lukewarm personal opinion, “I think maybe the TPP might be not such a good thing.” Therefore I never believed either was offering to take a crowbar to the skull of these globalization pacts.

    Therefore it’s clear that if one’s goal is to rip up NAFTA and the rest of it, as mine is, it’s delusional to look to ANY existing system politician, any element of this electoral system, anyone ensconced within it, to do so. As with everything else, there’s simply no substitute for doing the hard, perhaps long work of movement-building from outside the system and against it. Only then could anyone even talk about running political candidates against it.

    Of course this “resistance” shows zero signs of being the beginning of such a thing. Most of them are at least implicitly pro-globalization, and if they care at all about what Trump has done regarding the globalization pacts, they probably deplore his claim that the TPP is dead.

    (As for Trump, he followed up his words about the TPP with an ardent offer to Britain to conclude a standard corporate globalization (aka “free trade”) pact with them. And so far as I know the TTIP is a going venture as far as Trump is concerned, and we have to look to the European people to avert it. I won’t be surprised when the TPP comes back soon under a new name.)

  41. Hugh permalink
    February 12, 2017

    I should add that different polls skew different ways. Rasmussen has always skewed conservative. We are early into Trump’s Administration. He has already managed to f*ck up one policy rollout: the travel ban, in easily avoidable ways. His personnel continue to act like a bunch of screwups. Kellyanne Conway’s plugging Ivanka Trump’s business was not a big deal. It was just exceptionally stupid. Trump’s National Security Adviser Flynn is more substantial. He was caught in a lie on a policy issue and then pled poor memory. Lying intentionally or unintentionally, he comes across as incompetent either way. Since Trump was selling himself on competence, this many unforced stumbles and bumbles this early on does not bode well. People will cut, God knows why, Trump a lot of slack for a while, but he’s burning through that reservoir of goodfeeling fast. And there are a ton of future snafus in the works. You have the anti-education Secretary of Education, the anti-environment head of the EPA, the anti-labor Secretary of Labor, the insider trading Health and Human Services Secretary, one of the sleazier Wall Street looters at Treasury, and a Buck Turgidson type at Defense who believes in more and bigger wars. Meanwhile at State, Tillerson is walking back Trump’s assertive foreign policy, you know the stuff his supporters supposedly liked, but then he too has his botch with trying to make a neocon POS like Elliott Abrams his deputy. Ben Carson at HUD, nuff said. And Elaine Chao at Transportation because nepotism. Finally, the slightly reformed racist Jeff Sessions as Attorney General who at the moment only looks halfway OK in comparison with Obama’s two dreadful picks for AG of Holder and Lynch.

    All in all, the Trump Administration is shaping up as a witch’s brew of corruption, conflicts of interest, and incompetence, way way beyond anything we saw with Dubya and Barry. These guys are not only not going to deliver, their clusterf*cks are going to get seriously old seriously fast. So if you voted for Trump, in a few months, you may regret that vote. On the other hand, the alternative was Clinton was you were really screwed either way, and that should be the real lesson. Vote for a Democrat, vote for a Republican, you are going to get screwed. So if you want to stop being screwed, stop voting for them.

  42. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Hugh

    You say:

    “I have to wonder not so much if but when some of the gun toting bubbas, gang members, and addicts are going to pull their head out of their asses long enough to decide that if they are on their way out anyway, why not take out a bank president or one of the community’s prominent movers and shakers with them?”

    Well, Hugh, that would seem to be a step into new ground for you, and I have to ask, what took you so long? And, how much longer before you will bring the same wondering attitude to the possible spontaneous action of patriots generally, as opposed to the already-clearly-doomed losers?

    It has always been my voting strategy that Trump will either help regular folks as he promised, or he will help clarify their thinking as he is apparently already beginning to clarify yours.

    (OTOH, nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. So, there’s that . . .)

  43. Queerty permalink
    February 12, 2017

    “Competence and being a good person or even a good governor are not correlated in any meaningful way.”

    It goes the other way too: competence and evil are not correlated.

    Your evidence that Trump is competent:

    1) Wealth

    2) Presidency

    First, wealth is never evidence of competence. Second, there is a lot of evidence that A) Trump is not as wealthy as he says; B) He is not responsible for what wealth he does have; C) When given responsibility for his wealth, he has lost wealth every time.

    With regard to the Presidency, there is no evidence that Trump meant to win or has any understanding of how he won. There is a lot of evidence already that, on the matter of governance, Trump is incompetent to a completely unparalleled degree. He has no idea how anything works, no plan, no principles, no goals, and very little sense of what is even happening to him.

    None of this is going to change. None of it. Trump is not going to do anything for anybody. He is incapable of doing anything for anybody. Including himself! And you! Trump is not your revenge on Obama. He is just thrashing, blind, stupid chaos.

    The big fear with Trump was that he would be Mussolini. He is not Mussolini. He is Yog-Sothoth.

  44. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Queerty

    “First, wealth is never evidence of competence.”

    “With regard to the Presidency, there is no evidence that Trump meant to win or has any understanding of how he won.”

    Congratulations. The fact that two of the most facially moronic statements ever entered into the Internet information stream originated from one mind, and appeared in one idiotic comment, represents a demonstrable new low in the intelligence level of the human species.

    You are a true pioneer.

  45. Queerty permalink
    February 12, 2017

    “You are a true pioneer.”

    Something stinks in your playpen
    The mule is dead and rotting
    (You’re gonna lose)
    You’re hanging out with your best friend
    ‘Cause you’re too afraid of pushin’
    (You’re gonna lose)
    The baboon crawled in your mouth and ate your brain
    You think maybe you wanna be famous
    (You’re gonna lose)

    But I’m not talking to you
    I’m not talking to you
    Not talking about you

    Since back in the day when JFK
    Pioneered the use of amphetamine
    (You’re gonna lose)
    Since 1984 when the president’s wife
    Was a plain old Hollywood cocksucker
    (You’re gonna lose)
    Isn’t it time that you made up your mind
    And leave behind those childish things?
    (You’re gonna lose)

    But I’m not talking to you
    I’m not talking to you
    Not talking about you

  46. Peter permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @RC

    After reading these comments and about the petty snowflake Resistance I doubt Trump has much of substance to worry about.

    The real power he is facing now is the deep state establishment with the Silicon Valley power players and their influence in the courts.

  47. February 12, 2017

    Queerty is right: wealth is not a direct measure of competence, especially competence and governance, unless you believe wealth accrues in a contextual vacuum to intelligence and hard work, in which case, I have a seat at Trump University to sell you.

    Same thing for winning elections: reveals little about competence at governance. It does reveal some intelligence and organizational skill, but if winning elections meant competence at governance, would we be in this predicament in the first place?

  48. Peter permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @Hugh

    I read and it seems to be valid that revolutions only happen during relatively good economic times with coups and wars being what happens during extremely bad economic times. You may have to join the Trump team so the economy can improve enough for your revolutionary fighting and killing to commence.

    I don’t think you quite comprehend how the gang business functions, it’s a service industry that depends on the bankers who handle their revenues. The ‘bubbas’ are not fools and know you don’t shoot the money man.

  49. February 12, 2017

    Peter, did you ever answer the question a number of threads ago on what “Clintonism” really means to you, apart from a putative personality cult of Hillary Clinton?

  50. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Mandos

    Queerty said:

    “never evidence”

    “no evidence”

    CAN YOU EVEN FUCKING READ, YOU MORON?

    I swear, it appears that the left’s new strategy must be to simply exasperate everyone else to death.

  51. February 12, 2017

    Ambiguous scope of negation — a non-existent nit at which you are pointlessly picking.

  52. Willy permalink
    February 12, 2017

    To get all psychobabbly, I know of a neurotic INTP who does the same thing, behaves the same way, has the same attitudes, yet has (mysteriously) come to almost diametrically opposite political conclusions, and with all the same angst whenever anybody disagrees or forgets to dot an i. Absolutely fascinating. We really need to get these people together.

  53. Hvd permalink
    February 12, 2017

    Now you are really being silly. This is not a legal document in which every word gets to be parsed talmudically. These are blogs in which mistakes of this sort are commonly made. I really don’t believe that you actually understood queerty in the way your Talmudic (or lawyerly) self feels you can get away with so you can have the pleasure of putting him down.

  54. February 12, 2017

    Here’s one story on a company the Trump campaign hired. Kushner is a number cruncher, so they may have been more savvy than people want to believe. http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/the-british-data-crunchers-who-say-they-helped-donald-trump-to-win/
    Underestimating this inner circle is not a wise move for a fight (I agree that people must fight for Medicare for All and Peace in the Middle East not resisting whatever). And Trump has street smarts/ cunning. Don’t ever pooh pooh that. There are a lot of people out here who look skeptically at “book learning” with no common sense.

    But it looks like he has some real incompetents in his made men. There was no reason for Flynn to lie about something so nothing burger as talking about keeping or revoking sanctions on Russia with his counterpart., Nixon cut a deal with Hanoi in’68 to postpone the peace talks and LBJ knew about it or Reagan with Iran in ’80 releasing hostages in ’81 seems a tad more serious than a pretty normal conversation about whether or not sanctions will stay in place. The conversation took place after the election. Nixon and supposed Reagan deal was made before the elections.
    The real story is about these 9 “intelligence” people who blabbed to The NY Times. Doesn’t seem in our supposed national interest to be spilling officials private phone calls . Oh unless TPTB want to keep up this “Russia is the #1 enemy and Putin is the devil and they screwed up the election for Hilary” meme in the hopes of impeaching Trump or thwarting the neo cons who want a war with Russia. And how any liberal can side with the CIA on anything is beyond hypocritical.
    I’m not a fan of using the term holding elected officials “feet to the fire”. Basically, that says that the only way to get them to vote for your priorities is to threaten to scare the hell out of them. But in lieu of taking off their socks and shoes and holding their feet to the fire, how do you make them do your bidding? They can always get lobbying jobs unless we get rid of that idea. Occupy did actually annoy the hell out of them by camping in their fancy front yards and yelling in front of their NY brownstones. How do you shame the new attorney general to lock up some banksters? Show up at his house and yell “Lock them up!” Sounds tougher than the stupid “Do your job”. I would think that’s another bi partisan winner.
    And,yes, join groups like backbonecampaign.org. They are working on something called a “Solutionary Railway” that is electric and will aid farmers and ranchers get their produce to market. That would come right past my ranch, so that would be pretty nifty. It would make it possible for people to function out here in fly over country.
    Sorry I don’t have any answers but I do know that my energy will not be co-opted by any solicitations from any groups affiliated in any way with either party.

  55. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Mandos et al

    OK, have it your way. Words have no actual meaning. It’s all about the mind reading. Serious writers can just re-define any words willy-nilly to mean whatever convoluted thoughts they are ‘feeling.’

    That explains all the drivel the left has been putting out. Now I get it.

    It also explains why all you can do is lose, lose, lose, and then lose some more.

    Keep it up, I’m sure you’ll get a different result someday.

  56. montanamaven permalink
    February 12, 2017

    OOPs. I meant to type “Oh unless TPTB want to keep up this ‘Russia is the enemy and Putin is the devil and they screwed up the election for Hilary’ meme in the hopes of impeaching Trump or keeping the drumbeats up for the neo con war with Russia they so fervently want.

  57. Queerty permalink
    February 12, 2017

    “Here’s one story on a company the Trump campaign hired.”

    This article is strange.

    ” The ‘authentic’ candidate, the roaring id who supposedly disdained traditional campaign pollsters and consultants, had quietly hired this British company in June and paid them millions.”

    “A lot of vendors refused to work for Trump because they didn’t believe he had a cat’s chance in hell of winning. Cambridge Analytica did the opposite. We invested in Trump.’”

    “There are reports that their main investor is the secretive hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer — and that this switch from Cruz to Trump tracked his allegiances.”

    “A company spokesman called reporters before election day to say that Trump had only a 20 per cent chance of winning. That was increased — in an internal assessment — to 30 per cent as people went to vote.”

    Trump hired them.

    They invested in Trump by allowing Trump to hire them.

    One of Trump’s big funders might own them.

    They have the secret of winning campaigns, but they worked for Trump after working for Cruz, who lost to Trump.

    They thought Trump would lose.

    While we’re at it, here’s Michael Anton on Trump:

    “Trump himself—no man of ideas, to say the least—is unsuited to the task of thinking through what his popularity means or how to build on it. Others will have to do the real work.”

    http://www.unz.com/article/toward-a-sensible-coherent-trumpism/

  58. Queerty permalink
    February 12, 2017

    “Queerty said:

    “never evidence””

    Bob has a billion dollars. Is Bob competent?

    Andy has five billion dollars.

    Bob has one billion dollars.

    Cathy has twenty billion dollars.

    Rank Andy, Bob, and Cathy in competence.

  59. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Queerty

    You really are a hopeless moron.

    Read a basic text on logic, and stop embarrassing yourself.

  60. Willy permalink
    February 12, 2017

    “That explains all the drivel the left has been putting out. Now I get it. It also explains why all you can do is lose, lose, lose, and then lose some more.”

    The right has superior drivel? Breitbart and Bannon were better to Welsh and FDL?
    We all may need to be schooled on this.

  61. February 12, 2017

    “After reading these comments and about the petty snowflake Resistance I doubt Trump has much of substance to worry about. The real power he is facing now is the deep state establishment with the Silicon Valley power players and their influence in the courts.”-Peter

    The Resistance is just another piece on the board and each piece on the board is worth thinking about. Regardless of their individual strength, all pieces are capable of restricting your or attacking you in some way that has yet to be revealed.

    I might think the Resistance has the strength/utility of a pawn (not the knight some wish it to be) but that is far less important than the overall pattern/picture emerging.

  62. Queerty permalink
    February 12, 2017

    “Read”

    Answer.

  63. Hugh permalink
    February 12, 2017

    So Peter, the French, Russian, and Chinese Revolutions happened in “good economic times”? Who knew? certainly not the French, Russians, and Chinese. You must get paid by the word, because content-wise there is no there there in your writing.

    realitychecker, I have written about revolution for years and how we are in a pre-revolutionary time now. Revolutions occur as a response to violence and they are themselves violent because those in the old regime make them so. Their regimes are inherently violent, and they will hold on to power using all the violence at their disposal, which is why often only violence can remove them.

    Currently, our ruling class acts with complete impunity in its looting, and looting is violence. That would be different, not necessarily better, if the Jamie Dimons, Lloyd Blankfeins, and Koch brothers of this world had to live with the real and immediate knowledge that a bullet was out there with their name on it. I mean they would still loot, but a lot of the enjoyment would be gone. They deserve to live in fear because they and theirs because they have filled the lives of a couple hundred million of their co-citizens with fear, fear of getting sick, getting old, losing a job, a house, drowning in debt. And as I have written for years when revolution comes, many of them will end up hanging from lamp posts, and they should. But while there is some emotional satisfaction in the idea of them getting theirs, a few gun-toting “spontaneous patriots” outside of creating some chaos will accomplish very little. The current criminal ruling class and elites will only be removed by the organized actions of tens of millions of us. And while revolutionary justice has some appeal, and in some cases, may be necessary, I am far more interested in building a society which works, is sustainable, and which we really want to live in.

  64. Willy permalink
    February 12, 2017

    A resistance would need to be well thought out in advance, as it could be difficult to control once unleashed. You can bet there’d be plenty of Trump=Hitler, “moran”s, and shop windows being smashed just for the hell of it. Not to mention a really pissed off old guy running around trying to realitycheck all the participants.

  65. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Hugh

    I grant that you have frequently written ‘around’ the question of revolution, but it seems you got a bit more explicit in your comment above. I was just recognizing that edgier quality that comes with explicitly acknowledging that some direct violence might be required to displace an oppressive regime.

    That, of course, puts you way out ahead of most lefties we see on the Internet. It is much more common to see lefties dream about a magical solution that gets them everything they want without even having anybody’s feelings get hurt.

    Purely as an analytical matter, I despair at being associated with people who are so blind to the realities of what it takes to displace entrenched power such as you accurately described above. It really makes it impossible for me to have any respect for such mewling fools. But I’ve been stuck there for decades.

    Btw, I never said a “few” spontaneous patriots. But I do recognize that mass organization is no longer possible. So, the menu of possibilities is clearly limited.

  66. February 12, 2017

    *rolls eyes* OK here we go:

    I wonder if I could get realitychecker to blow an even bigger gasket if I revealed to him the wonderful “reality check” that “a language” (like “English”) is not really a thing in itself. Rather, we all have individually acquired idiolects, that happen merely due to coincidental similarity of upbringing to permit extremely limited mutual understanding, and we call that extremely limited mutual understanding “English” (or “Chinese” or “Russian” or whatever).

    In any case, negation-words like “never” have, for many (but not all!) “English”-speakers, ambiguous application to the structured concepts in the sentence. (Keeping in mind that meaning is not comprised of genuinely discrete units.) ie, “ambiguous scope of negation.”

    E.g., the sentence “my readers are never playing the banjo” has multiple alternative readings:

    1. that people who are reading my work are never, at the time of reading, playing the banjo.
    2. that it is a fundamental property of “my readers” that at no time do they play the banjo.
    3. that those who are playing the banjo at some point in time are never my readers, and they won’t stop playing the banjo in order to become my readers.
    4. that it so happens that playing the banjo is not a fundamental property of my readers, and won’t become that.
    …and probably more that I haven’t thought of. Some of them can be the case simultaneously, with little shades and gradients of acceptable implication based on the surrounding context.

    There is a large but admittedly subtle difference between the two, however most people with an idiolect that would be called “English” by other people with a similar idiolect are able to detect the correct one effortlessly without even realizing they are doing it. Qweerty is saying something like #4, that it is not the case that wealth is ever to be included as a definitive sign of competence, in other words, “wealth is never evidence of competence.” Most people understood it, only realitychecker erupted in a rage that others did not read what he did, and started to nitpick, but he is not the only one capable of splitting fine grammatical hairs if it comes to that, surely.

  67. Arthur permalink
    February 12, 2017

    The times are strange. I know a number of folks who have sincerely devoted their lives to education or the arts or the media, what have you, who are truly disgusted and depressed by the Trump situation. I worked in media for years (out for the last five years) and long ago gave up any hope that it would make any difference. So while I am disgusted, I am a bit more grounded than others. All this said, however, I don’t see much happiness on the part of Trump supporters. To be sure, there is the occasional Skeeter type talking about ‘making America great’ but on that side of the divide there is a strange silence. Where is the huge crowd that was going to take to the street, win back America, and bring back the 50s?

    Indeed, the anti Planned Parenthood marches were dwarfed Saturday by the pro.

    Strange times.

  68. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Mandos

    What is clear is that you love to see your own words appear on a screen, and that you very likely masturbate as you read and re-read them endlessly through the night, taking them as irrefutable proof of your very special intellect.

    Enjoy yourself, but let me tell you something: If my thought process was as uselessly convoluted as yours is shown to be, I would be seriously considering suicide. But don’t let me push you into anything.

  69. February 12, 2017

    Yes, I thought so. He can dish out the grammatical nitpickery, but he cannot take it without getting snippy. Total sour grapes there.

  70. Willy permalink
    February 12, 2017

    I’m like, a smart person. I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things. My primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff.

    Fooling around aside, many constitutional conservatives believe they own the military, a statist thing if there ever was one. Is this a cultural aberration resulting from some kind of deep state machination? Who knows. But that’s beside the point. It’s not hard to imagine that a failed “lefty” revolution could pave the way for an authoritarianism sanctioned by the conservatives themselves. Caution is advised.

  71. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    OK, let’s take a poll–how many here have ever seen anybody with a writing style like Mandos’?

    (Shorter Mandos: “Look, Mommy, I’m a published author; my ridiculously convoluted comment showed up on the Internet!”)

    Just can’t take you seriously. Sorry.

  72. Peter permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @Hugh

    I have to look askance at anyone who encourages other people to do their killing and dying for them while promising some utopian future under their guidance. This isn’t leadership or brotherhood but it is usury and incitement. If you don’t have the guts to stand in front of the guns perhaps you should leave revolution to the revolutionaries.

  73. wendy davis permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Mandos: smile, and along those lines:

    “Science was always there, and it was important for improving many practical aspects of human life, but it was never the main engine propelling a nation towards some just, balanced, and ‘livable’ society. When employed by an enlightened system, science had played an important role in building a much better world, but it was never the other way around.

    The progress was always triggered and fueled by human emotions, by seemingly irrational and achievable dreams, by poetry and wide scale of burning passions. The finest concepts for improvement of civilization were frequently not even logical; they were simply born out of some beautiful human instincts, intuitions and desires (logic was applied later, when practical details had to be nailed down).

    Now ‘knowledge’, rationality and ‘logic’, at least in the West, are forcing human feelings into the corner. ‘Logic’ is now even replacing traditional religions. Obsession with ‘facts’, with ‘understanding’ everything, is actually becoming absurdly extreme, dogmatic, even fundamentalist.

    All this fanatical fact collecting often feels unreal, ‘metallic’, cold and to many of those who are coming from ‘the outside’ (geographically or intellectually), extremely unnatural.”

    ~ andre vltchek http://bit.ly/2kXGlkA

    channeling uncle albert: ““Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

    do any of you consider that ‘as death lurks over our left shoulders, just out of sight’? considering that it might come in the next five minutes is this what you want to be doing/saying to other humans with whom you actually might entice by less strident/histrionic/ad hominem communications?

  74. bob mcmanus permalink
    February 12, 2017

    Arthur: Where is the huge crowd that was going to take to the street, win back America, and bring back the 50s?

    Indeed, the anti Planned Parenthood marches were dwarfed Saturday by the pro.

    Okay, you’re right, the anti-Trump liberal whatever crowd has the numbers “3 million more votes” for instance.

    So why, serious question for you and the crowd, does the right and neoliberals have the victories and power?

    Brains? Commitment? Organization? And if one of these, why?

  75. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ bob mcmanus

    “So why, serious question for you and the crowd, does the right and neoliberals have the victories and power?

    Brains? Commitment? Organization? And if one of these, why?”

    Just rest assured, it CAN’T be because of competence lol.

  76. realitychecker permalink
    February 12, 2017

    @ Peter

    Sorry, gotta push back against that. Nobody here is telling anybody to do anything.

    We are just dancing around the edges of a theoretical discussion of political and power realities, and what the realistic options of the parties might be.

    We are still allowed to do that.

  77. Tom permalink
    February 13, 2017

    Oronville Dam in CA about to break. Thousands being evacuated.

  78. Lisa permalink
    February 13, 2017

    Ian Welsh “Whether Trump is able to improve the economy and whether he wants to are two different things. I think he wants to, I’m not sure he can, because his ideology and therefore policies are shitty.”

    I keep repeating you cannot do anything until you fix the financial system, and current moves are to make it worse. And his cabinet/executive are full of religious right people and no one,. but no one is more extreme right wing economically than they are.
    For example, the official position of all the major ‘religious right; organisations is to end all health insurance…totally (I’ve checked).

    “Likewise, like or hate Putin, he has something on the ball.”
    What everyone forgets about Putin is that he tripled the standard of living in the Russian Federation, during a period when it declined or was static in many western countries.
    Oh he has made many mistakes, the worst being pandering to his own ‘christian’ religious extremists, which left unchecked will tear the country apart as is now starting to happen.
    Economically he made the country far too dependent on oil and gas exports, slowly being reversed thanks to some political luck (sanctions forcing what obviously needed to be done).

    But he is canny, cautious, conservative, clever, cunning and competent.
    But, facing some of the same issues as the US, can he hold it together given all the internal forces that are trying to split it.

    For different reasons he pandered to the Russian Orthodox Church, just as the GOP did to the US ‘religious right’…but the results will be the same, as they get more powerful they get ever more extreme, first LGBTI people, now women, next Muslims, already some other ‘christian’ sects ….. But unlike the west the Russian Federation has a lot of Muslims. So he has some challenges ahead.

    “If you dance with the devil, then you haven’t got a clue, for you think you’ll change the devil, but the devil changes you.”

    I keep getting amazed at how people in this forum underestimate the ‘religious right’, when they are demonstratably a major (if not the major) political driving force now in the US, and increasingly in other countries. You don’t get it, they are not ‘normal’ right wingers like you have been used to, you cannot compromise with them, you cannot negotiate with them, there are no common areas of communication as their worldview is so totally different and unchecked will tear society apart.

  79. Lisa permalink
    February 13, 2017

    But on the positive side this has energised the ‘left’, ‘progressives’ and even ordinary people who now realise they are at real risk.

    And it has exposed the Democratic elites (and the various ‘left’ parties around the world) for what they are. In so many ways they are to blame for this, signing up to the neo-liberal economic paradigm and the neo-conservative worldview. Desperate to create their fantasy ‘centre’ party that would rule forever while throwing just about everyone under a bus and who saw anyone left of about Genghis Khan as a bigger enemy than the religious right (who I might note they were quite happy to deal with). How’s that working out for you now?

    People wonder why the Dems let all the States get controlled by the GOP as well as the reps and senate…but it was quite cynically deliberate. To them they were better ‘allies’ to push their policies than those ever so hated ‘left’ or ‘ordinary’ people

    So there are going to be some big changes there soon, with all the energy that is flowing..and the feelings of betrayal and the realisation that the Dem elites, by and large, agree with everything the right want economically and would be happy to throw every LGBTI person, every woman, every non ‘christian’, every poor person, every POC, etc under a bus to achieve that.

    Trump (and his ‘religious right’ mates) is so crude and nasty, so ‘in your face’ that people are now facing the truth, that a lot had hidden from or ignored. Well they can’t do that any longer.

    The real majority is now waking up.

  80. ProNewerDeal permalink
    February 13, 2017

    Ian wrote: “Republicans are within spitting distance of controlling enough States to get through constitutional amendments. ”

    Ian, I have read this idea, but not what the Amendments the Rs are planning on enacting if they get this State legislature-based Constitutional Amendment. What is your expert guesstimate on what the Rs are planning? Federal Balanced Budget? “Religious freedom” aka Fundy Xian version of Saudi Arabia theocracy?

  81. Richard McGee permalink
    February 13, 2017

    From the outside, the Deep State apparatus looks strong, even unbeatable. But it is, IMO, in the final stages of necrosis. Like the Soviet Union, the Deep State has cut itself off from information transfer from its periphery. Only the core is still left alive, leaving the rest of the body to succumb to creeping gangrene.

    The town hall actions are a bad sign. They are based on camera time, not face time. The Deep State (now Zombie State) used the msm as a top-down signalling device, but that mechanism is dying as well. Fewer and fewer people listen, and fewer still react to its posturings. It is fascinating that the Trump Insurgency, which is distinct from the Trump administration and distinct even from Trump himself, has a distributed command-and-control system running rings around the Zombie State.

  82. V. Arnold permalink
    February 13, 2017

    Richard McGee
    February 13, 2017
    Very cogent post; thanks…

  83. Peter permalink
    February 13, 2017

    @RC

    Sorry, but this gasbag venting went beyond the usual overheated steam and I didn’t say ‘telling but did say ‘encouraging’.

    I’ll continue to support the spirit of revolution and how it might happen, hint you need the military, but I’ll continue to distance myself from mouth breathers who can’t defend their idiotic statements.

  84. realitychecker permalink
    February 13, 2017

    @ Peter

    I believe the word that counts in this context is “incite,” and nobody is going anywhere near that one.

    So, you could afford to loosen up a bit about the idea that people could have a scholarly, common-sensical discussion of when a revolution might be justified and what tactics and strategies might or might not be available or effective. After all, this country was founded on revolution, and we supposedly revere the Declaration of Independence, plus we have seen a number of actual revolutions taking place around the world in the last few years. So, the topic is not really that far out as being appropriate for discussion.

    Plus, remember that many, if not most, of the likely readers here will push back hard even against the morality of personal self-defense against a criminal aggressor. So, there is clearly a long way to go before anything like a balanced attitude toward the appropriate uses of force is approached.

    Marketplace of ideas. Buy low, sell high. The price/value of the idea of justifiable use of force is at or near an all-time low. The price/value of the idea of safe space-type entitlements is at an all-time high. A word to the wise should be sufficient. (Albeit it seldom is lol.) 🙂

  85. Willy permalink
    February 13, 2017

    Legend has it there was once this impenetrably powerful structure called the USSR, which fell apart amazingly quickly. For some reason such concentrated power lost the its ability to hold itself together.

  86. Peter permalink
    February 13, 2017

    @Willy

    There were many contradictions in the USSR before the power brokers in the Party decided they wanted to become even wealthier Capitalist Pigs and dismantled the old structure. There is no real comparison to make between the USSR and the Hegemon, the Hegemon won that argument and Putin’s Russia is a Capitalist state under managed democracy.

  87. Arthur permalink
    February 13, 2017

    Bob,

    To answer your question I have no idea why the rightwingers have all the power.

    I watch the protests and wonder where were these people in the states that mattered on November 8?

    This morning on the ‘progressive’ Chicago radio station I heard a guest say that the Republican establishment will soon tire of Trump. WTF! They had a year and a half to get tired of Trump.

    There’s the argument that they wanted Trump because is so dumb that he’ll sign anything they put in front of him. Maybe. But couldn’t that be said of all the morons who ran on the Republican side of the game?

  88. atcooper permalink
    February 13, 2017

    I’m not sure it is so much that right wingers have all the power so much so that it’s there’s just not enough to go around. Folks have known this on a deep level a while now, I think, and when you can sense the coming storm, no one wants to take any risks, so we’re left with nothing but the most conservative views regardless of the political spectrum model.

    I mean, on paper it seems like there should be more than enough to go around. But to do so at this point requires a Christlike capacity for sacrifice. And with his advocates preaching prosperity gospel type stuff, few even know what any of what I’m trying to say even means. Wishing for something is sufficient for getting it, am I right? (I had an ex girl friend give me a copy of ‘The Secret” when I graduated from public school back in the day. It was only a few pages before I put it down for good. I don’t have much taste for being pandered to.)

    It all looks symptomatic of a much deeper ill to me these days. We’re in the time of things coming apart now.

  89. bob mcmanus permalink
    February 13, 2017

    ProNewerDeal : Ian, I have read this idea, but not what the Amendments the Rs are planning on enacting if they get this State legislature-based Constitutional Amendment.

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/19811/constitutional-convention-of-states-alec-balanced-budget-corporate-america

    “This “dry run,” held in Williamsburg, Va., produced drafts of six different proposed amendments. One would effectively require a balanced budget by mandating a congressional supermajority in order to increase the national debt; one would establish congressional term limits; another would abolish the federal income tax and require a supermajority for other federal taxes; one would vastly curtail federal legislative and executive jurisdiction by reining in the commerce clause; one would allow three-fifths of the states to nullify a federal law; and one would allow congressional override of regulations.

    There are concerns however, even within the movement, that a real convention could go beyond its stated goals, drafting amendments above and beyond the six above. To address fears of a “runaway convention,” Convention of States has claimed that the convention will be bound by the subject matter of the resolutions: limiting the federal government.”

  90. Willy permalink
    February 13, 2017

    @Peter

    The USSR had many believer citizens, who did little to defend against that radical change. And it’s been said that many if not most Russians wouldn’t mind a return to such a state. I’m trying to draw parallels between those committed to defending the status quo (in America I’m thinking of the religious right). Under what conditions do these staunch defenders of ‘their’ system, refuse to do so? Understanding why would make a resistance more capable, I’d think.

  91. Richard McGee permalink
    February 13, 2017

    @Peter

    The Soviet state and the US state do have one important thing in common, however: a failure of collective intelligence over an extended time frame. Two systems can both fail, since the failure of one does not guarantee the success of the other. Indeed, you could argue the moment of the West’s greatest triumph, December 26, 1991, perversely accelerated the decline of its stable “partner.”

  92. Richard McGee permalink
    February 13, 2017

    That last sentence above wasn’t clear. Should read “perversely accelerated its own decline.”

  93. Hugh permalink
    February 13, 2017

    “I have to look askance at anyone who encourages other people to do their killing and dying for them while promising some utopian future under their guidance”

    And yet Peter, you fell for a third rate grifter like Trump and are one of his biggest, if not biggest, and looniest, defender here. The joke is you are projecting. The description above is not of me, but your erstwhile savior. Much as it sticks in your craw, if you want a sane and decent society you are going to have to go through people like me. Rather than making a bunch of empty promises like Trump or really any other politician I try to figure out what kind of lives people want and work out the roadmap to get them there. The problem is that most people don’t know what they want, or come up with lists filled with contradictory items that don’t and can’t be fit together, or only look at what they or their small group want and ignore everyone else’s hopes and wishes.

    In a lot of ways, all this boils down to the three points that are the essence of any adult decision: What do you want? What can you do? And what can you live with? It may make your blood boil that gasbags like me keep pointing out that 2 + 2 = 4 and you may want to follow the Great Leader who says it’s 56 or whatever number you want it to be but it is not going to change the underlying facts, and that’s what people like me hammer on. All it is going to do is waste your life and perversely keep you that much longer from what you keep saying you want.

  94. Willy permalink
    February 13, 2017

    @ collective intelligence

    Indeed. Because of how all power games are played and who it is they reward, everything eventually becomes all about what the players themselves gain, the rest of the members of that system be damned. Power doesn’t just corrupt, it invites the corrupt. Eventually the membership figures it out, that knowing the game is more important than competency, contribution, creativity, technical skills… Everything becomes all who you know. The larger the structure and the more concentrated the power is within the more this happens. Studies of human temperaments can yield insights into who it is that are best suited towards rising to the top of any large human structure. And integrity and empathy are not their strong suits.

  95. Peter permalink
    February 13, 2017

    It’s specious to think the Russian people have ever been able to control or choose their government . Some people there may pine for the social benefits they enjoyed under the USSR but they aren’t going to get that either.

    Until Trump exploded our rigged system and then used it to be elected things weren’t that much different in effect here with manufactured consent produced when necessary along with staged selections of status quo figureheads. Trump with those voters who support him have some power to challenge the status quo while this so called resistance, actually the establishment, is desperately looking for ways to stop him and return to the status quo.

    The latest eruption of leaks from the Clintonite appointees in the IC, CIA, if verified and traced could be treasonous. They claim that for political reasons critical intelligence is being kept from the President and disrupting the flow of national security information to the President must be a high crime.

  96. February 13, 2017

    The “resistance”? lol

    Mark Blyth–“Liberalisms’ great trick has been to naturalize very difficult political contests.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMngIbm1OBE

    Watch it to the end. There’s also a traditional Dem chiming in. He’s polite to her. I wouldn’t have been.

    https://twitter.com/johnrobb/status/831214526536232965
    This is simply true.

  97. February 14, 2017

    Russia has attempted to make alliance with illiberal forces in order to return to a nation-state world order that Russia thinks is more favorable to its interests. However, the political orientation of those very forces makes them extremely unreliable — if they can turn a profit from a conflict with Russia, they eventually will try to do so, or they subscribe to weird theories that eventually end up at right angles to Russian interests (e.g. Iran conflict), even if they make alliances of convenience.

    The price that Russia pays for trying to oust the mainstream anti-Russian policy establishment is making a mortal enemy of political movements that were previously at best indifferent to Russia. Social liberals now perceive Russia as deliberately treating them and their movements as collateral damage. As the Trump administration now seems to be gradually dragged into the mainstream on Russia policy, Russia is not gaining the policy foothold/ear it wants in Washington, while having actively made further enemies.

    Still lots of time left for this to change, but that’s the current trend.

  98. Anon permalink
    February 14, 2017

    Emma, so there’s no alternative to neoliberalism? From the left or the right? The Sanders/New Deal vision is just as doomed? Should we just submit then and hope Mark Cuban or some more benevolent billionaire will save us? And of course strive for more diverse boardrooms and war-rooms…

  99. Lisa permalink
    February 17, 2017

    “By this time some readers may be asking for a profile of the 74% of the final 45,000 who voted against the rich and powerful. Who are these people? Well, they are us. All of us. I have never heard of a vote so uniform: whether Republican 72% or Democrat 77%; Male 74% or Female 75%; White 75% or Black 74%; Rich 70% or Poor 79%; Christian 74% or Muslim 72%; Graduates 68% or not 76%; they all agreed. They have all had it with the rich and powerful.”

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/02/grantham-twas-capitalism-killed-capitalism.html

    However (as usual) they can’t work out the all solutions:
    “Measures of income equality are correlated positively with everything valuable in a cohesive society. Exhibit 4 shows nine of these clear correlations, for which the US shows poorly in all! How far away this is from the widely-held belief that the US is best or nearly best at everything that matters. The way to improve this situation, though, is fortunately straightforward: Increase taxes on capital and on the very rich, perhaps slowly over a number of years, and increase the effort on worker training and education. ”

    The above is partially correct, but (as I keep repeating) you have to sort out the financial system, first, reduce it in size greatly, cut off the ‘money pump’ that leads to fake capital growth, corporate concentration and reductions in innovation and competition.

    Secondly you have to nationalise ‘natural monopolies’, as they are simple ‘rent extraction’ systems that at best offer no public or economic good and (more commonly) at worst suck the life out of an economy, being critical components of the ‘rentier’ model.

    Unless you fix those 3 (financial system, concentration, rentier) attempts to stimulate the economy by infrastructure spending (etc) are doomed, as they extract it all with no benefit to society and in fact usually leave general society stuck with the bill and worse off (they also inflate costs massively).

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