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Trump Has Not Yet Lied About What Matters Most

2017 January 26
by Ian Welsh

In the brief time that Trump has been president, he has ended the Trans Pacific Partnership, moved forward on his border wall, signed various anti-abortion edicts, given notice he will be renegotiating NAFTA, and announced he’ll be banning visitors from six Muslim countries (though he hasn’t signed the bill yet).

In other words, Trump is moving forward on his signature issues. If you watched his rallies, or you read the transcripts, you know what issues he kept banging on about, and that those who voted for him have every reason to believe he cared about those issues.

He is, so far, doing those things. This matters one hundred times more than when he tweets delusional bullshit about inauguration numbers. The people who voted for him will forgive those lies if he keeps his promises to them. And, frankly, that’s how it should be.

Remember that Obama said he’d renegotiate NAFTA. He never did, and we all know he never intended to.

Trump was elected because he didn’t parse like people like Clinton or Obama or Romney: He didn’t parse like a normal politician, who will lie about NAFTA. He parses differently, and therefore as maybe someone who wasn’t lying.

Now, Trump made other promises that matter more than these ones. For instance, not cutting Medicare and Social Security. Replacing Obamacare with something better.

And he made an ur-promise, which amounted to making people who voted for him better off, especially rust-belters.  That’s going to be a hard promise for him to fulfill, because it’s in conflict with certain other things he wants to do (and on which he campaigned), like tax cuts and gutting unions. Those conflicts will mitigate hard against his promise to those who voted for him.

So how truthful Trump proves to be, in the ways that matter, is yet to be seen.

That said, he is keeping the promises that matter. Yes, he lies (or is perhaps delusional) about all sorts of things–from widespread voter fraud (non-existent) to inauguration attendance numbers, but I will straight up state that those lies matter LESS than the usual political lies of intent–of making core promises, and then failing to keep them.

One can cavil that Trump has said many things, but anyone who watched his rallies knows what his real core promises were. Making good on those promises is what he will and should be judged on most.

This is not to say there is no damage from his other lies: I disapprove strongly of lying or living in fantasy-land.  Climate change is real, the inauguration numbers are what they are, there is no voter fraud of any significance, and so on. Lying about these things is bad.

But lying about intent; lying to those who vote for you about what you will do, is, in my opinion, worse. So far Trump has been keeping faith in that respect.

We’ll see if he continues to keep the faith (to do so he will have to fight Congressional Republicans), but do understand that he has–so far. Understand, more, that the repeated lies of normal politicians about what they would do, then failing to deliver, is what made Trump possible, that made people so desperate they would take a flier on someone like Trump. (It’s also what made Brexit possible.)

People were sold lies about how free trade, and austerity, and so on would make them better off, for two generations. Specific promises like that of Obama’s regarding NAFTA were repeatedly broken–and, indeed, were never intended to be kept.

And now we reap what has been sowed.


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84 Responses
  1. January 26, 2017

    The real question is whether the promises on which he does deliver will have the effect that his supporters think it ought. Tough immigration policies, for example, tend to backfire, just like the drug war itself contributed to making parts of the USA a hellhole of addiction.

  2. January 26, 2017

    And the question after that is who falls under the blame cannon if it doesn’t work…

  3. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 26, 2017

    Yes, as I said, he has “ur promises” and they matter most, but people will give him 2-3 years on that.

  4. January 26, 2017

    We’ll see. The obvious goal of the whole liberal hysteria reaction is, whether they realize it or not, to try to shorten the timeframe on the evaluation. Also too soon to say if that will work.

  5. Hugh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Trump has not yet lied about X is really setting the bar low. The man lies like the rug on his head. He is selling a corporatist agenda as a populist one. He talks about bringing good jobs back but then sets the stage for them to pay crap wages. A fundamental lie. He denies climate change, an existential lie, and is pushing a pollution and fossil fuels agenda hard.

    I would make two points. First, Trump’s lying is clinically pathological. You can be mad as a hatter and lie left and right all day, but as long as all that doesn’t get in the way of you navigating your daily life. It’s not pathological. No harm, no foul. But as we are already seeing with Trump, not a week into his Administration, his lies are getting in the way of his functioning as President. It doesn’t matter that the lies in question are mostly about peripherals. It matters that they are getting in the way. It is that which makes them pathological –in the medical sense. I mean when you have Lindsey Graham being the voice of reason, you should know you are in deep do-do.

    Second, I have written a lot about the difference between acting in good faith and bad faith. The point I keep trying to make is that just believing in something doesn’t equate to acting in good faith. The example I use is of the SS officer engaged in special action reprisals and massacres. It doesn’t matter that the officer believes in his actions. He acts in bad faith because acting in good faith is not about personal belief but rather about what any person might be expected to know. And in his case, what any person might be expected to know is that murdering civilians and engaging in ethnic cleansing and genocide are bad. This is an extreme case, to make a point, but it works across the board. In other words, what we should be asking of Trump is not what he believes but what he should be expected to know.

  6. someofparts permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Thanks for what you are doing here Ian – continuing to make sense, being above hysteria and opportunism.

  7. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Hugh,

    His lies are impeding his functioning as president – as he implements his agenda. Meanwhile, his left opponents are reduced to issuing clinical diagnoses. Only, you’re not a psychologist so your diagnoses are fake news; you’re not Stalin so your declaration of mental unfitness has no official weight. In light of these facts, whose functioning he is impeding: his own, or yours?

  8. Tom permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Damn right the US is reaping its harvest. And if the Liberals of the Democratic Party won\’t step up and bitchslap the DNC in line and get a scrapper to run, then Liberalism is dead for the next few generations till a scrapper comes along who can bitchslap the opposition within his own party and his challengers.

    Bernie had his chance and he blew it. Trump for all his faults was a scrapper who took it all on the chin and slung it right back.

    Now Businesses are announcing plans to open new plants and hire more workers, and Unions are on Trump\’s side.

    As you pointed out here: http://www.ianwelsh.net/trump-and-the-art-of-the-strongman/

    Trump is forcing businesses to tow his line. His first meeting with them as President, the IRS Chief was in the back writing on a notepad as Trump laid down the law and didn\’t let the Business Leaders speak a word in edgewise and got them to nervously laugh at his bad jokes. The message was clear from Trump to them, don\’t fuck up my re-election chances.

    This is what got the Unions to jump onto his boat and he let them into the Oval Office and treated them like Kings and let them talk. If the Republican Leadership follows his example, the Rust Belt will go solidly in their camp and they will be in power for a long time so long as they keep Business Leaders in line and jobs here.

  9. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Are his diktats and ukases being implemented as ordered? Or is he simply issuing a blizzard of EOs and memoranda of recommendation, urging action on his terms but not compelling it — because he is unable to? The presidency is powerful, but it has limited enforcement mechanisms — none with regard to memoranda — should the permanent government choose to defy the White House (which appears to be happening.)

    Here’s a list of his memoranda and EOs as of yesterday:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions

    Read what they actually say and compare that to what is actually happening.

    Meanwhile opposition grows. The narrative, however, requires that the opposition be ignored, much as Bush2’s opposition was ignored.

    It was unwise to do so then, it’s manifestly unwise now.

  10. January 26, 2017

    He has told the truth about certain nasty things – regardless of how expensive they are. e.g. The Wall.

    And he has lied about climate change, refusing to let the federal government share what it knows, as in millions of illegals voted. He has told ‘the big lie’ a.k.a. Goebbels. Just because he has made it acceptable to lie does not mean that he has lied. And I know you know the difference Ian.

    This is a post you should be ashamed of Ian.

  11. Eric S Vaughan permalink
    January 26, 2017

    I am not quite sure he has not lied about what matters most. He indicated he would not be beholden to the banks. He has so far appointed 6 Goldman Sachs bankers to senior and key positions. He has hired a Wells Fargo Board member and lawyers who serve the financial services industry. I consider this a lie about something important.

  12. January 26, 2017

    And Hitler kept his promise to deal with ‘the Jewish problem’.

  13. January 26, 2017

    He did deal with it – by extermination. this is more along the lines of promising to deal with the little green aliens from Mars, and giving a broad number as to the millions who voted against him.

  14. atcooper permalink
    January 26, 2017

    When the best the left can do in regards to environmental issues is fellaciate Musk, we’re in serious trouble.

    Tech, for all its wonders, cannot solve capitalist rape.

  15. gnokgnoh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @BofO

    I’ve read that in a number of places, especially left-leaning blogs – Trump is playing 12-dimensional chess with his pathological lies and hopelessly distracting the opposition from his real agenda. That is exactly his intent, his evil, wonderful master plan. It’s an interesting clinical diagnosis.

    I’ve read that before about some previous president…no, it’s just deception. Man of the people, my ass.

  16. Peter** permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Meanwhile opposition grows.

    Does it? Or are people who hate him and wouldn’t vote for him to save their mothers just talking among themselves and telling one another ever more loudly and emotionally that they hate him more than they realized, imagining that the depth of their contempt will translate into more votes and political power? I’ve read a great many anti-Trump speeches and articles since November and my overall impression is that, when they aren’t openly contemptuous of the sixty-three million people who voted for him, they are either fantasies about quick fixes like recounts, faithless electors and impeachment or banal generalities about “resistance” or “reaching out”—the kinds of locker room pep talks amateur coaches dream will inspire their last place teams to the championship. Perhaps the reality is too tough to face for many of them.

  17. January 26, 2017

    Remember that Trump is a bright smart person playing extremely dumb. but it is an act. I do not know about the 3rd Mrs. Trump – she does not have a record, and the stories are clearly faked.

    But one thing that is clear about Mr. and Mrs. Trump is that they are thugs.

  18. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @ Stirling

    Oh, and is it equally clear to you that the people killing each other in record numbers in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, etc., etc. are also thugs?

    Just trying to understand how you define such things.

  19. Webstir permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @Hugh

    Citing Hannah Arendt:
    “The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”

    It’s sounds though you are expressing a banality of evil message, Hugh.
    To which I would reply that the banality of evil is the new vogue.

  20. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Ed and Sterling think enforcing borders is the height of evil. Being honest, self-aware left-wingers, their opinion would naturally be the same if, instead of Mexicans, it was tens of millions of Afrikaners streaming over the border and voting 80% Republican.

  21. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Trump and his people — including many of his most devoted followers — are thugs, that’s correct. So were Hitler and the Nazis. On a different level but a parallel track so were the Bolsheviks and Lenin followed by Stalin. So indeed were Bush-Cheney.

    Thugs indeed. Gangsters. And yes, they were able to rule. The Nazis scapegoated and exterminated most of their opposition, consolidated their rule, and destroyed their nation and their people. They were driven by memories of humiliation and dreams of vengeance and glory. It did not work out well for them.

    The Bolsheviks saw their role quite differently, but in order to rule in the face of fierce domestic and international resistance and a civil war, they had to become more ruthless than the Czar, ultimately exterminating much of their domestic opposition and intimidating the rest. They and their successors were able to hold on to a dominant position through some of the most horrifying circumstances faced by any nation in modern times (the Great Patriotic War was in many ways unprecedented) until they wore themselves and their people out, self-destructing rather than continue. Many rightist dictatorships have done the same (Franco, anyone?) They have a certain life span and then they can’t go on. So it was with the Soviet Union.

    Part of what led to its disintegration was a failure to listen to the People until it was too late. The immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union didn’t work out well for the People. Thugs, gangsters and thieves had free rein and took full advantage of it.

    The absence of any historical memory seems to be a chief characteristic of Trump and his loyalists and believers. History begins (again) with Trump’s latest tweet or diktat. Every one, of course, is a brilliant expression of “promises kept.” It doesn’t matter whether promises are actually kept, just that statements are made that this or that promise is fulfilled.

    As was the case with Bush-Cheney, the opposition is threatened on the one hand, ignored on the other. The historical treatment of serious opposition in this country is to shoot them down and it’s happened again and again and again. A dry run for that kind of treatment of the opposition has been under way at Standing Rock for months and it is gearing up again.

    Yet the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets immediately after the “election” were mostly ignored by the regime and its believers as were the millions who took to the streets after the inauguration. For some reason, they don’t matter, whereas the Indians and their allies in a remote corner of North Dakota very much do.

    There are lessons to be learned in that contradiction. Whether Trump’s opposition will learn them remains to be seen. The Democrats, btw, are not “the opposition” nor are they “the resistance.” They are anything but.

  22. nihil obstet permalink
    January 26, 2017

    A major feature of American politics over the last roughly 40 years is the acceptance, admiration even, of lying. Carter won the presidency vowing “I’ll never lie to you,” which was important after Nixon. But then came Reagan, whom the media treated as an entertaining figure whose lies were so smart and effective. The press and Washington establishment just loved sticking it to the Georgia hillbilly and what they regarded as his simple-minded self-righteousness. They celebrated the “Teflon President” and his reign of error.

    Since then, not only has the bar dropped, but the people who think they believe in good government have enthusiastically embraced lying as a legitimate technique. For me in 2008, what sent Obama beyond the pale was his flat-out promise to help filibuster any bill that gave telecoms retroactive immunity on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary — this promise wasn’t volunteered; various internet organizations demanded a yes or no response to the question — and then after the primary he went back to Washington and whipped and voted for the immunity. My response was “That’s the end of democracy. If you vote for somebody because of what they commit to do if elected, and they don’t do it, your vote is meaningless.”

    But now, we’re all the supersmart analysts who judge and interpret politicians with skills that transcend simple integrity. So Obama supporters in ’08 told me about his lies, “He has to say that to get elected. Saying what you really believe is nice and all, but you do what you need to do to win. Then you can do all the things that we just know you agree with us on.” This continues to this day. I am disgusted.

    Having come to believe that lies are necessary and smart, we can no longer damage someone by pointing out that he lies.

  23. January 26, 2017

    Ed and Sterling think enforcing borders is the height of evil. Being honest, self-aware left-wingers, their opinion would naturally be the same if, instead of Mexicans, it was tens of millions of Afrikaners streaming over the border and voting 80% Republican.

    By Afrikaners I assume you mean, for those not in the know, white South Africans. The thing about these little thought experiments is that you really can’t change just one thing and keep it believable. Any condition under which millions of white South Africans were “streaming over the [American] border” would be a world in which the politics would be aligned wholly otherwise. They would presumably have a need to do so, and likely not be very dissimilar from Mexicans overall in their feelings and motivations.

  24. January 26, 2017

    All government lie. All.

  25. January 26, 2017

    This is a post you should be ashamed of Ian.

    It’s sort of like I said: a lot of people have slotted Trump’s victory into a particular framework they had prepared for American politics many years ago, and even though he doesn’t quite fit, they’re going to shoehorn him into it: the punishment of American liberals for a certain type of economic neglect. But Trump keeps bursting out of this framework, and so far, so do events.

  26. Ian Welsh permalink*
    January 26, 2017

    There’s rather more to it than that.

    Y’all don’t like it, but so far he’s keeping his core promises. I note the problems with his ur-promises in the piece.

    Screaming denialism and messenger-blaming are to be expected, and while specific occasions can still make me sad, I have come to terms, overall, with it.

  27. Peter permalink
    January 26, 2017

    In this otherwise excellent post Ian drops the liberal turd of (non existent) widespread, whatever that means, voter fraud. Living in a foreign land may offer some detached clarity in viewing what is happening here but our voting system has a documented history of corruption right down the narrowly defined voter fraud. The republicans certainly use the possible voting fraud as part of their Kabuki to rally their base but blanket statements from either side are meaningless until an actual widespread investigation is performed.

    There are about 40 million legal resident aliens in the US none of whom can legally vote in federal elections. Some states allow them to vote in local elections and some states limit or forbid revealing their status which might be missed in registration drives. After living here for years some of these people may think they qualify to vote and register while some may be encouraged by party operatives to claim these rights. Whatever might happen it would only take 5% of these people voting to produce 2,000,000 illegal voters.

    I began to see these possibilities after reading an interview with a long time legal resident alien republican businesswoman at the Trump primary rally in Vegas. This conservative Mexican immigrant said she hadn’t pursued citizenship while her husband had yet she was there to vote for Trump.

  28. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @ nihil obstet

    GREAT COMMENT!!

    Everybody else should just shut up and keep re-reading it, over and over and over, until it sinks in through their hyper-intellectualized apologias and rationalizations.

    You’ve done a good day’s work there, good sir. Watch the non-responses from the resident political junkies lol.

  29. Willy permalink
    January 26, 2017

    This is certainly worth repeating: “Yes, he lies… but I will straight up state that those lies matter LESS than lies of intent: of making core promises, and then failing to keep them.”

    Not sure if it was intent, or having been co-opted by some other more persuasive power. Was this week part of a bullshit sandwich, or something completely different? What are the motives behind the initial integrity? This is where it gets interesting.

  30. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Here’s the point where things break down. Everybody seems to agree that all our public faces lie to us all or most of the time, and that the lies enable them to accomplish many great evils.

    But nobody has the balls to even consider that maybe it would be morally acceptable and pragmatically necessary to end the lives of some of the worst of these actors.

    Instead, this is the point where we turn to expending all our energies arguing that our specific little affinity group has all the answers, and all the other little groups know nothing.

    And so the paralysis continues, and the PTB continue to win everything.

    I’ve been reading a lot of the writings of our Founders recently, and it cannot escape notice that they would have thought all modern Americans were hopeless, worthless cowards.

    I couldn’t agree more.

    The mewling of modern Americans makes me want to puke.

  31. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @Ian

    Why do you believe that his EOs and Memoranda are by themselves fulfilling his promises? They are a step — perhaps — but they are not fulfillment in any rational sense.

    Why do you believe some of what he says and ignore or discount the rest?

  32. Willy permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Cowardice often comes from a lack of practicing courage. Success has it’s drawbacks as well.

    I’ve seen racism and sexual harassment in real time, and the effects they had on targets, leaving them permanently marked, scarred, scared… I forgive such marks, and try to better understand what I can do, if anything, to most effectively help. Or at least defend my own self. The great commentary and analysis here could prove useful.

  33. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 26, 2017

    And now Trump orders “safe zones” in Syria.

    Just as Hillary proposed.

    Exactly how does his order prevent WWIII while her proposal ensured she would start WWIII?

    FTR, I don’t agree that either one would necessarily initiate the Apocalypse, though at this point anything could, but there was intense and constant hysteria from Trump partisans over Clinton’s proposals while Trump’s almost identical proposals during the campaign and now being drafted as orders were/are met with nods of agreement and/or total silence.

    Propaganda? Hackery?

  34. highrpm permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @cp
    help me out here, please. would you name a few not thugs?

  35. Pelham permalink
    January 26, 2017

    And even in his delusional comments about the inauguration crowds he’s playing to his audience. My wife pointed out a study that showed when Trump supporters were shown photos of those crowds and the women’s march, they described the inauguration gathering as larger even though it quite clearly wasn’t.

    So even though Trump may just be stroking his ego with the crowd estimates, his tweets nonetheless have the effect of solidifying his base. If that were his intention, he would be a political genius.

  36. Peter permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @CP

    You seem stuck in some time warp where Russia is still our advisory in Syria. That condition ended with the defeat of the Red Queen and now the US, Turkey and Russia are beginning to work together in Syria.

    It’s not necessary to protect these areas from Russian bombing anymore but this could be directed at protecting the Sunni civilians in these areas from the Iranians and their foreign militias. There may be room for a deal that allows Russia to exert imperial power in Syria if the Iranians are sent home with a thank you but goodbye.

  37. Willy permalink
    January 26, 2017

    I’ve had a helluva time wrapping my head around tribalism. Maybe it inborn, but I don’t do “cult” very well. And I’m not practiced enough to know what effectively pierces their considerable defenses, where doing right by their chosen tribe is an urge that can overpower even self-interest. Rationality doesn’t work, as has been alluded to here many times.

  38. Duder permalink
    January 26, 2017

    I think the only good counter-factual yet raised against Ian’s argument has been Trump’s appointment of leading bankers to his cabinet- in direct contrast to his campaign promises of “independence” from the corrupt banking system. However, in defense of Ian’s argument, I don’t think that will matter to Trump’s supporters or the American people at large come election day if Trump’s administration is not seen as beholden to the bankers. A difficult accomplishment to be made, but not impossible.

    Having bankers in power is not the same thing as being beholden to those same interests. I know this statement appears to be oxymoronic, and it is contradictory. But is contains the base contradiction of all problems of rulership- transforming your private interest into the general interest of society.

  39. White Buffalo Calf Woman permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Torture. It’s absolutely okay.

  40. White Buffalo Calf Woman permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Same shit, different day.

  41. gnokgnoh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @Duder

    Nice post, but it falls terribly short. You’re still entranced by the illusion that Trump is not a part of the oligarchy, that he cares about us. Ian thinks that the snappish ones are in denial or messenger-blaming. We are neither.

    We’re not denying that Trump has been doing, by executive fiat, exactly what he said he was going to do. It’s irrelevant, because we were arguing six months ago that those promises meant nothing other than to lock us down nice and tight. Ian calls them ur-promises, the big objectives – the return of industrialism, jobs creation, “make America great again” promises on the terms that mean something to the working and rural class. That is the lie. They cannot be disconnected. I was angry about it then, and I am now.

    Then we get your odd transformation of the private interest into the general interest as the rationale for the oligarchs and kleptocrats in power. Why not simply appoint a truck driver or a teacher, or an auto worker to a cabinet position? Cut out the middle man.

    As for messenger-blaming, no one is blaming Ian for writing truths. He simply recorded that Trump did what he said he’s going to do, and that, if he keeps doing it, he will lock down his support and win a second term. It’s the magic trick, that governance thing, for all the people. We’re arguing about ur-promises, that they cannot be disconnected. The how is important. Demagogues do not operate by governance, they operate by fiat.

  42. White Buffalo Calf Woman permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Does no one hear what our new president said about torture? Am I the only one?

    Well, I guess those that gave Obama a pass for 8 years wouldn’t really care about these things come to think of it.

  43. Hugh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    nihil obstet, Obama’s flip-flop on the Telecom Immunity Act was the last straw for me too. And as gnokgnoh says, we have seen this all before, right down to the flat out ridiculous eleven dimensional defenses. I get that people are downright desperate for real change and something, anything to improve their lives and get the country back on track. But just as Obama was not the guy, neither is Trump. You can stop up your ears, close your eyes tight, engage in all kinds of absurd verbal gymnastics, revisionism, and alternative facts. You can lambaste the rest of us for being prematurely correct and having all kinds of hidden, and not so hidden, biases for not being taken in by obvious cons. It. won’t. change. a. thing. You will still be had. The real change you want won’t happen. Your lives won’t improve. The county will still be royally f*cked. In 4 or 8 years, you will still be more pissed at us telling you this than at Trump for doing it to you. And most importantly, you will not have learned a damn thing from the experience and will be ready to repeat the same mistakes with whoever shows up to lead you down some other garden path.

  44. White Buffalo Calf Woman permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Thanks for nothing, Hugh.

  45. Duder permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @gnokgnoh

    I don’t think you grasped the point I am making, or Ian’s. It is implied in my comment that Trump and his cronies are a part of the oligarchy. Clinton is as well. The point is whether Trump is able to govern, or appear to govern, in accordance to the interests of the general population that he claimed he would benefit.

    FDR was also a member of the oligarchy and ruling class that rules the United States. But he proved able to turn his narrow class interest (saving the US ruling class from popular revolt and possible downfall following the great depression) into the assumed general interest of US society. So much so, that his benevolence towards the working class is an unquestioned truth for most Americans today. Ask a 1930s communist about that.

    The Democrats fell to their own hubris and forgot to even make the case that their private political interests were in the general interests of the US. They pandered instead to narrow “identity” interests, believing (like a libertarian) that a collection of private interests equals a general interest. It does not. There is an entire feat of discourse to accomplish that task. One Trump proved slightly better at accomplishing than them.

    As Ian states, it has yet to be proven whether Trump can go beyond the easy task of issuing executive orders in the first week to delivering on substantial demands for his base. I think you are right to be skeptical. But if Trump has proven to be one thing, it is unpredictable.

  46. Hugh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    On a slightly different issue, complicit Democrats, I would note that the filibuster is still in effect. There was a roll call cloture vote on Trump’s torture happy pick Mike Pompeo to head the CIA which passed 89-8-3. The Democrats had the votes to defeat the cloture motion had not 38 Democrats voted for it.

  47. gnokgnoh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @White Buffalo Calf Woman

    I care. So does everyone here. Keep saying it. It’s why government scientists are viscerally and literally scared to talk to journalists. It’s not just about losing their jobs. Those are gone, and they know it.

  48. Hugh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    WBCW, if you have a point, please feel free to make it. I did not give Obama a pass 8 years ago and caught hell for it. I am not giving Trump a pass now. Far from it. The reaction is much the same.

  49. gnokgnoh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @Duder

    I don’t disagree with anything you or Ian wrote, except the analogy to FDR. FDR applied pressure when needed, but was not a pathological liar. He did lie about some big things, but not about everything.

    I am simply arguing that, in Ian’s two to three year timeframe theoretically given him by his base, all of the metrics for his ur-promises will be going in the wrong direction, and it simply will not matter. Statistics will not matter. Only lies matter.

    Do you know which first world country has the best healthcare system in the world? Why, it’s the United States of America, of course, health statistics be damned. I’ve tried this game with judges about our justice system. That’s the game that Trump plays better than anyone else in our political system. He’s a master at it, because we want to believe it. I thought Obama was good at the same game, but he only lasted one week for me. Do you think Trump’s “peripheral” lies are not central to his core lies?

  50. realitychecker permalink
    January 26, 2017

    And as usual the innocent continue to die in droves around the world every single day to satisfy the needs and desires of the obvious liars and bad guys in the Establishment, and all here are willing to let that continue forever just so long as they do not have to even discuss whether some of the bad guys should forfeit their lives as a way of applying leverage for change, Not even as a philosophical matter. Read the Declaration of Independenc, and then hang your heads in shame.

    Gum-flappers are us, which is OK, I guess. Nobody ever said we had to be relevant. Or real.

    Just don’t indulge in the fantasy that gum-flapping is ever going to displace even one bad guy.

    That level of delusion is painful and offensive to witness.

    In the final analysis, all the talkers, especially those with a stake in the future, are sniveling cowards. Their proper destiny, and the one they are moving toward rapidly, is to be livestock.

    I don’t expect to be here for all that much longer, and have no children, but man am I ashamed of my species.

    Pardon the vent. Carry on gum-flapping.

  51. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 26, 2017

    Actually, Clinton and Trump had almost identical proposals for no-fly zones and safe zones for civilians in Syria during the campaign, and while not generally known to the WWIII hysterics, Clinton’s proposal was to negotiate these areas with Russians, not impose them unilaterally. She and Trump were opposed in these matters by Mr. Obama who didn’t want to further involve the US military in an effort he apparently saw as already lost on the one hand, and a situation that could not be salvaged by further provocation.

    Now that Trump is reviving the safe zone notion for Syrian civilians, the Russians are saying “Hold on just a damned minute.” In other words, don’t do it unilaterally. Gee, who’d a thunk.

    American conservatives on the other hand are having serious heartburn over it, not because it would provoke WWIII — which was never a likely outcome — but because it would axiomatically involve masses of American troops, exactly what Obama did not want.

    Of course as always, Trump is running his mouth the way he does, and it’s taken seriously/literally, when in fact, he’s just talking.

    But just like reviving torture and black sites and keeping Guantanamo open, he did say something-something about safe zones for Syrian civilians during the campaign, so he’ll come up with a ukase directing that Defense do a feasibility study and report back. Therefore fulfilling his promise.

    Or something.

  52. wendy davis permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @ White Buffalo Calf Woman: is this what you’re referencing? ‘Trump claims torture works but experts warn of its ‘potentially existential’ costs; Trump gives first presidential TV interview as draft executive order points to return to practices such as waterboarding’, jan 26

    http://bit.ly/2kw76iE

    it’s popular to say that obama and panetta ended torture, but they really only re-defined it, as per the NYT (iirc) back in the day. keep prisoners moving from site to site ever X days, and its not torture. it was the first we were told about his Terror Tuesday dec of cards game, which of course expanded to: drone assassinate ever male who walks in a military fashion.

    one other promise mr. T has broken is to move the US embassy to jerusalem, and declare it ‘undivided, and israeli’. he was back-pedaling a bit, and now we may know why. israel seems to not want it; perhaps they know what would ensue. but abe fox says it would interfere in the peace process, which mr. T has said should happen between the concerned parties in israel. (i assume the hamas/fatah coalition and the israel state department?

    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/01/israeli-embassy-jerusalem/

    @ ché pasa: interesting on the safe zones in syria. i assume that means ‘no fly zones’?

  53. sid_finster permalink
    January 26, 2017

    I can easily imagine a scenario in which white South Africans stream into the US and thereafter vote very differently from what is the norm for Mexican-Americans.

    Just look at Cubans in Florida.

  54. MojaveWolf permalink
    January 26, 2017

    A +1 to a whole bunch of comments from Hugh in this thread.

    I get Ian’s point and mostly agree with it, and Trump is indeed following through on the reasons I preferred him to Hillary in the general. But, he is being so very awful in other ways that I cannot feel anything but dismay and horror.

    OTOH, @ CP–Trump’s “safe zones” appear to be extremely vague at this point, and thus far have no similarity to the previously spoken about “no fly” zones. I first saw this on twitter as “no fly zone” and raced to read further; thus far it sounds potentially okay (I am qualifying everything I say at this point on purpose; it would not shock me if it turned into something good or something awful or disappeared entirely by tomorrow)

    Arguably slightly off topic– The one thing Trump’s presidency has already proven, though, is that ALL OF US, by that meaning nearly everyone here, who had been calling out the Dems and Obama for either bad faith, incompetency or cowardice (I’m still voting for bad faith) when they had power and did nothing. Trump’s been in office less than a week and tectonic shifts are underway and battles are roiling all over the place. Any Dem who talks about how “nothing much can be done except small things if we get power” should now and for ever in the future be known as bald faced piece of shit liar, and/or a gutless wonder. Which is no change from the past, it’s just now we have a very recent and extreme example to point to. Trump is, by Dem establishment accounts, a nutjob and a dumbass. Yet, he gets as much “change” in less than a week as Mr Hopey Changey worked for in 8 years.

    There’s a lot of bad change to go with some good, and how these efforts bounce off pushback and world conditions remain to be seen, but it’s obviously doable.

    The other reason for dismay is that the Dem establishment STILL has learned nothing and is using the entire array of awfulness on display to try mobilize a new enthusiasm for neoliberalism, and that the same cast of voters who were on board with Hillary/Obama are still on board with this, and almost no one seems to get that Climate Change is more than a virtue signalling event (I’m right wing, and I think it’s bunk! vs. I’m left wing, and I think it’s real! w/most on neither side grappling with what the reality means, which is at least more understandable on the right wing side, if they really manage to convince themselves it’s not happening, and just plain boggling on the left, “yes, it’s going to kill the world maybe, and you are bad bad bad evil for not believing in it, and the Russian Nazis are hiding in the oval office and we need a left wing Joe McCarthy, and also Trump has bad hair!”), and more important than anything else other than people’s immediate survival (you could argue it’s more important than that too, but I get that almost no one who’s immediate survival is threatened is going to go with me there, and they can’t do anything to help combat global warming if they don’t survive, etc).

    Apologies for disjointed nature of comment, if I waited till I had time for undivided attention I would never comment at all, and am a horrible multi-tasker.

  55. Hugh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    The confirmation vote on Nikki Haley was interesting because it showed how unimportant everyone thinks the UN embassador is. Haley’s diplomatic and foreign policy expertise could be fit into a thimble and still leave plenty of space for your finger. Yet she was confirmed 96-4 with 43 Democrats supporting her nomination. In other words, although she is totally unqualified, almost no one thought it worth the bother to vote against her.

    As with most of these votes, what is worth looking at are the unforced votes, that is, among Democrats, not those who voted against (cheap vote which made no difference) but those who voted for (had cover to vote against but voted for anyway).

    https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00033

  56. Hugh permalink
    January 26, 2017

    ambassador, oops.

  57. January 26, 2017

    “when Trump supporters were shown photos of those crowds and the women’s march, they described the inauguration gathering as larger even though it quite clearly wasn’t.”
    -Pelham

    Well of course they didn’t…

    It is utterly humiliating to admit that the candidate that best exemplifies your values is disliked by so many. And going along with the absurd doesn’t requires any action/change on your part.

    These folks aren’t inept, they just have too much pride to admit fault and too little motivation to change.

  58. January 26, 2017

    Ian,

    There’s rather more to it than that.

    Y’all don’t like it, but so far he’s keeping his core promises. I note the problems with his ur-promises in the piece.

    Screaming denialism and messenger-blaming are to be expected, and while specific occasions can still make me sad, I have come to terms, overall, with it.

    If I were you, I’d wait a few months before I declare that he’s keeping his “core” promises, let alone his “ur”-promises (which is a great neologism!). We don’t know what sort of wall it’s going to be. We don’t know what he plans to do, if anything, instead of TPP. And so on. I mean, he could mean it, or it could be all smoke and mirrors. It’s too early. Of course the fact that he says it is massively consequential. But that doesn’t mean we can say he’s keeping his “core” promises.

    Even the core promise vs. ur-promise distinction I’m not really sure is valid. I guess the point of the concept of the ur-promise is that the core promises are supposed to lead to them. But if you, for example, know that some of your core promises don’t lead to your ur-promises, which of them was really “ur” after all? You think the ur-promise is better jobs and better lives and more economic security etc. But it’s not even clear that that’s quite what it is.

  59. Peter permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @GH

    I thought you were referring to the loser Clintonites in your last paragraphs, it describes them well.

    Because the statement preceding it is from a Clintonite source its validity is questionable and at best represents the view of a few people. I did read news that stated this crowd was as big or bigger than Obama’s second inauguration which could be true.

    I also saw that the reasons for Trump’s spinning of this story was it offered another chance to skewer the media for their biased partisan coverage and more importantly to deflect their attention to crowd chasing while Trump was taking his light-saber to the bloated federal bureaucracy.

    This strategy seems to have worked with the media chasing their tails for days while the CEO and staff got down to business. Limiting ME immigrants and building the wall may give us the time and manpower necessary to resettle all these displaced government refugees.

  60. V. Arnold permalink
    January 26, 2017

    I wonder how long before the “goose stepping” parades start?
    The view from the hermitage is horrifying…

  61. wendy davis permalink
    January 26, 2017

    @ GS: well yes; attribution (or cognitive) bias bias: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attribution_bias

    it occurs to me that i wasn’t clear about Herr Trump and torture: the evidence is in, and the tortured will admit to almost anything to avoid more pain. see: abu ghraib, and no we are “not all fucking charlie hebdo” as a ‘mad magazine’ (funny ‘free speech issue’, ha ha). torture and occupations of muslim lands yield more enemies of the western Imperium, a fact which brilliant hair Trump might try to overlook. and given his diatribe to believe in torturing ISIS and related groups, he might look to the history of their creation as he continues to prosecute war in seven nations or close, starting in iraq and libya..

    but it just might be that he needs more ‘enemies’ to justify his buildup of the USian military and ‘our wangs are bigger n yer wangs’ parades. ♪i love a parade.♫

  62. Tom permalink
    January 27, 2017

    http://observer.com/2017/01/natural-gas-shortage-ukraine-import-russia/

    Well Comrade Putin just won. Took longer than he expected, but General Winter was on vacation.

  63. January 27, 2017

    “I thought you were referring to the loser Clintonites in your last paragraphs, it describes them well.”
    -Peter

    They crossed my mind when I typed my previous comment. Feel free to use it for that group but be prepared for someone to say “Well, thats obvious”.

    “also saw that the reasons for Trump’s spinning of this story was it offered another chance to skewer the media for their biased partisan coverage and more importantly to deflect their attention to crowd chasing while Trump was taking his light-saber to the bloated federal bureaucracy.”
    -Peter

    It cost the media air time and column inches while making them look petty. They have no idea what is being done to them and won’t adapt/improve for quite some time.

  64. Lisa permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Really, remember all the ‘Killary will start WW3 stuff” (which I basically agreed with) well now, as ‘The Great Betrayal’ unfolds day by day, Trump is aiming to do the same thing:

    -“Trump eyes ‘safe zones’ in Syria despite fears of deeper U.S. involvement in war”

    “President Trump is expected to order the Pentagon and State Department to develop a series of “safe zones” in Syria, a move that administration critics claims could draw the U.S. military deeper into the country’s civil war.

    The safe-zone mandate was tucked into the text of a draft executive order by Mr. Trump obtained by several news outlets* that establishes curbs on the flow of refugees from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other conflict zones from migrating to the United States. The order also institutes a revamped screening process for all U.S. immigrants.

    Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Rex Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s pick to be secretary of state, would have 90 days to submit a blueprint to the White House on the establishment of “safe areas in Syria and in the surrounding region in which Syrian nationals displaced from their homeland can await firm settlement,” according to a copy of the draft order, obtained by The Huffington Post.”

    Original at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/01/25/read-draft-text-of-trumps-executive-order-limiting-muslim-entry/

    But covered by many others such as the Washington Post.

    – Stuffing Russia and one in the eye for Putin. From the Australian ABC:

    “A Kremlin spokesman says Donald Trump’s administration did not consult Russia before announcing the plan to establish safe zones for refugees in Syria.

    Key points:
    Mr Trump says he “will absolutely do safe zones in Syria” to protect people fleeing violence

    Russia says it was not consulted

    Turkey says it has advocated “safe zones” from the start

    On Wednesday, the US President said he “will absolutely do safe zones in Syria” for refugees fleeing violence.

    “I think that Europe has made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and various other countries,” he said in an interview with an ABC News (US) broadcast.

    According to a document seen by Reuters, he is expected to order the Pentagon and State Department in the coming days to craft such a plan.

    “No, our American partners did not consult with us. It’s a sovereign decision,” Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

    “It is important that this [plan] does not exacerbate the situation with refugees, but probably all the consequences ought to be weighed up.”

    Mr Peskov also said direct contacts between the White House and the Kremlin have not been established since Mr Trump took office.

    “Contacts at the level of the administrations are not taking place at the moment, there haven’t been any yet, such contacts are yet to be established,” he said.”

    – Tick, tick tick, heck I thought Clinton would at least take 6 months to have a shooting war with Russia…

  65. Tom permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Trump’s Safe Zone is planned for the south, where the NSyA holds sway and an area Russia cares shit about, never once launching Air Strikes there and letting Israel bomb with impunity. Turkey has already developed a de-facto safe zone and Astana Conference is basically trying to divest JFS from the FSA which is happening as we speak in Idlib with an outbreak open fighting between JFS and Turkish/Saudi backed Ahrar ash-Sham which has absorbed all the other Rebel Groups in Idlib and working to crush JFS.

    The other issue at Astana is declaring SDF a terrorist organization which was done and drawing up plans to eliminate it and install a more amendable government like the KRG which most Kurds living under SDF rule prefer. SDF is little different from IS.

    Putin’s main goal is securing access to Tartus, only Iran and Assad want to reconquer Syria and that is increasingly not going to happen given the Regime’s lack of manpower and the heavy losses Hezbollah has suffered.

    If Putin can keep the Tartus Port, he’ll be happy, especially if Turkey becomes his ally at the expense of NATO.

    Trump is well aware of this but the refugee problem has to be solved first.

    As for Trump’s domestic problems:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/trump-congress-234242

    Well how he handles Congress and whether he can stiff the Democrats with the blame and get more of his camp in Congress over Republican hacks will determine whether 2018 will see a blowout of his political opponents in Congress.

  66. Lisa permalink
    January 27, 2017

    To recap on the start of The Great Betrayal:

    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
    * On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
    * On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
    * On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
    * On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
    * On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
    * On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
    * On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
    * On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
    * On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
    * On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
    * On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
    * On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
    * On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
    * On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
    * On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
    * On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
    * On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.

    And today: the wall and a ban on Muslims entering from a large number of countries and the end to accepting Syrian refugees.

  67. Oaktown Girl permalink
    January 27, 2017

    And now we reap what has been sowed.

    On that note, good interview here on the Majority Report from a couple of days ago: “Obama’s Age of Austerity”. (Interview portion starts at the 13:30 mark).
    https://majority.fm/2017/01/24/124-mike-konczal-obamas-age-of-austerity-m/

  68. Tomonthebeach permalink
    January 27, 2017

    An alternative viewpoint may turnout to be wrong, but an “alternative fact” is a lie.

    We have a WH press secretary that lies (for no apparent benefit) in the face of facts. He is either a toady or a stooge – probably both. Lucky for him he has a blond spin doctor to help repeat the lies (a la Goebbels) to help them seem more like truths while also attacking the truth and threatening the truth tellers.

    I liked it better when we had presidents who did not insult my intelligence.

  69. V. Arnold permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Tomonthebeach
    I liked it better when we had presidents who did not insult my intelligence.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    And, that would have been…when?

  70. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Ah but Lisa, the Narrative would have us believe that none of that matters, nor will anything else matter, so long as Trump’s base is mollified/satisfied. So long as he says or does something that makes them feel better about their own lives, it’s all good.

    Nobody who matters cares what he does as long as his base is satisfied. And his base is whom, exactly? Those 80,000 or so voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania who put him in the White House? The vaunted Male White Working Class? Rural White America?

    May be.

    From his actions, however, it doesn’t look like they’re his base any more than they were GW’s base. From his actions, it looks like his real base is a paranoid subset of the super-rich intent on complete impunity and irresponsibility, and on putting as much distance as they can between themselves and the unwashed masses. At least GW could be honest about who his regime was serving.

    In Trump’s case, the dishonesty and lies and spectacle are non-stop and serve to fool the rubes into believing in a fantasy that he gives a shit what happens to them.

    He doesn’t. He never did. I doubt he or those he’s surrounded himself with can. It’s just not in them.

  71. V. Arnold permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Oaktown Girl

    Yes, thanks for the link to that. Good stuff.
    Nice to know there are some who see past the shiny…

  72. Ché Pasa permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @ V. Arnold

    I meant to point out the other day that not all Americans are pussified cowards.

    The Water Protectors aren’t. Not only have they been reactivated in North Dakota, they’ve spread all over the country, and they are not to be deterred.

    Nor are the Anti-Capitalists who showed up in surprising numbers (hundreds at least) in DC during the inaugural festivities and caused… something of a ruckus. Americans have been conditioned to hate them, of course, due to their black clothing and propensity to smash windows of our corporate overlords and cause other forms of property destruction and vandalism. Burning a limo? OMG! Smelling salts!

    Another brave if sometimes foolish American outfit is the RCP — RevCom, the Revolutionary Communist Party. Bob Avakian’s little pop stand of resistance. Opportunists to be sure, but they put themselves on the front line when no one else will.

    The hundreds of thousands who took to the streets in the days after the election, and the millions who took to the streets after the inauguration are still too formless and indefinite to actually resist. The primary effort right now is to get them to work within the system, and that’s not resistance at all. The system has produced this perfect storm, and you’re not going to stop or reverse it by fielding candidates and talking to your representatives. Ha.

    The brave rebels may be few in numbers so far, but we’ve seen throughout history that it isn’t really numbers that accomplish radical change.

    We’ll see…
    

  73. V. Arnold permalink
    January 27, 2017

    Ché Pasa
    I meant to point out the other day that not all Americans are pussified cowards.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A bit hyperbolic of me to be sure; I know what you say is true for a minority; the rest?
    I think defeated, discouraged, beaten down, shit jobs, shit wages, shit possibilities, and the worst?
    Feeling trapped with nowhere to go; and a government that is just indifferent to their plight.
    As to the few remaining natives; they’ve been fighting against us western scum for over 500 years and refuse to be beaten down passively.
    Passivity is the disease I see permeating us Usians for the last 47 (?) years, at least.
    Very much appreciate your belated observation Che Pasa.

  74. January 27, 2017

    Quite so. However he cannot rely solely on protectionism if he is to replace those rust-belt jobs. He is going to have to devalue the dollar. How is he going to do that? In the UK the economy is booming – I would say overheating as a result of staggration – following a Brexit vote devaluation. Manna from heaven, as we did nothing else to get it! Trump will no be so lucky.

  75. realitychecker permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @ V. Arnold

    “pussified cowards”

    “Passivity is the disease I see permeating us Usians for the last 47 (?) years, at least.”

    How interesting. Your message mirrors exactly the message I have been strenuously trying to bring home to the audience here for months.

    And yet, I see that, at another venue (where you currently appear to constitute about one third of the total commentariat), you have singled me out by name for the purpose of calling me an “absolute prick.”

    I submit, Mr. Shapeshifter, that what you did was very cowardly, and that since our essential message is identical, then logically you must also be an absolute prick.

    But maybe that is to be expected from one who fled his country to hide in the sex tourism capital of the world.

    Piss on you, asshole.

  76. V. Arnold permalink
    January 27, 2017

    realitychecker
    January 27, 2017

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha……………………..

  77. Oaktown Girl permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @V. Arnold – you’re very welcome!

    6:29am PST

  78. Art permalink
    January 27, 2017

    How can rational people support having a piece of shit as president of the US?

    With Bannon – an even bigger piece of shit – producing all the documents that he signs?

  79. realitychecker permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @ V. Arnold

    Giggling in the dark, exactly your speed.

  80. wendy davis permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @ realitychecker: now please! credit where credit is due. today, v arnold is a full 100% of the commentariat. but i reckon it may just be that as w/ ian, the café commentariat is only 10% of its readership.

  81. Willy permalink
    January 27, 2017

    “How can rational people support having a piece of shit as president of the US?”

    You’d think rationals would support any good, protest the bad, and hope that any protests which are quite obviously larger than corresponding rallies would influence things somewhat. If not, I guess we really do need teachers expert at the fine art of “Piss on you, asshole.”

  82. different clue permalink
    January 27, 2017

    @Lisa,

    Trump is clearly giving normal decent people a lot to be against and support a candidate running against it. Unfortunately, a lot of DemParty candidates who would support the normal decent position on the things you list and describe . . . . also support Free Trade Treason agreements, support the Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadi rebellion in Syria, and support Cold War 2.0 with Russia, including thermonuclear exchange if that is the logical end result. We call the people who support those things . . . Clintonites.

    As long as the Democratic Party remains a Clintonite Obamacratic Party, it will repeal millions of decen normal people who reject Free Trade Treason Agreements, who reject Cannibal Liver Eating Jihad, and who reject World War Three with Russia. If Trump oversees any measurable return of “good jobs” to America, those people will vote for Trump all over again if the DemParty runs another Clintonite piece of Shitobamacrat filth for President. I will vote for Trump all over again if the Dems nominate another piece of Clintonite Shitobamacrat filth.

    I gather you live in Australia. But anyone in America who thinks the way you do might consider it to be in herm’s interest to get to work on purging, burning and exterminating the Clintonite Shitobamacrat filth from out of the Democratic Party.

  83. Lisa permalink
    January 28, 2017

    Tom “Trump’s Safe Zone is planned for the south”:

    Right we will invade just a bit of the country….. Wart is war, invasion is invasion.

    Like if someone invades Australia ..’oh it just the northern part not all of Australia’…just a ‘;safe zone’…

    Come on… By that logic Germany and the USSR never actually invaded Poland… Germany never invaded the USSR by the way …they just wanted a bit of it….

    This is war..which is good actually I can see no way out of this destruction of the world except full nuclear war..none… I do stand to be corrected but personally the extremist nutjobs are winning..and if they win, 1984. the Nazi regime and the Sta;in USSR will look like a kind fairy tales.

    They win because the economic/miltary/etc elites see them as ‘useful idiots’ except they have now taken over. Said economic elites are now preparing to run away to New Zealand.

    Drop the bombs and wipe it all away…..

    Can anyone here give me a better alternative?

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