The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Barbarism of Donald Trump

I go where the logic and numbers take me, which is why I said that Donald Trump’s economic plan will work if he actually follows it.

But Trump is beyond the pale, and I’m not talking about his support for deportations and various racists statements and policies, I’m talking about this:

The water fills the hole in the saran wrap so that there is either water or vaccum in your mouth. The water pours into your sinuses and throat. You struggle to expel water periodically by building enough pressure in your lungs. With the saran wrap though each time I expelled water, I was able to draw in less air. Finally the lungs can no longer expel water and you begin to draw it up into your respiratory tract. It seems that there is a point that is hardwired in us. When we draw water into our respiratory tract to this point we are no longer in control. All hell breaks loose. Instinct tells us we are dying. I have never been more panicked in my whole life. Once your lungs are empty and collapsed and they start to draw fluid it is simply all over. You know you are dead and it’s too late. Involuntary and total panic. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It would be like telling you not to blink while I stuck a hot needle in your eye. At the time my lungs emptied and I began to draw water, I would have sold my children to escape. There was no choice, or chance, and willpower was not involved. I never felt anything like it, and this was self-inflicted with a watering can, where I was in total control and never in any danger.

I didn’t allow anybody else to try it on me. Inconceivable. I know I only got the barest taste of what it’s about since I was in control, and not restrained and controlling the flow of water.

But there’s no chance. No chance at all.

So, is it torture?

I’ll put it this way. If I had the choice of being waterboarded by a third party or having my fingers smashed one at a time by a sledgehammer, I’d take the fingers, no question.

It’s horrible, terrible, inhuman torture. I can hardly imagine worse. I’d prefer permanent damage and disability to experiencing it again. I’d give up anything, say anything, do anything.

The Spanish Inquisition knew this. It was one of their favorite methods.

It’s torture. No question. Terrible terrible torture. To experience it and understand it and then do it to another human being is to leave the realm of sanity and humanity forever. No question in my mind.

This is the torture that Trump thinks is mild.  He’d do worse things.

This is my bright red line. I don’t know where yours is, but when a regime starts torturing or raping as a matter of policy, I’m out.  This is why I have no tolerance for any bullshit about Pinochet with his rape rooms and trained dogs to rape women. This is why I have no time for George Bush.

One can make lesser-evil arguments, and I have with respect to various despots–Saddam tortured, Qaddafi tortured, Assad tortures, the Egyptian regime tortures.

(I am fundraising to determine how much I’ll write this year. If you value my writing, and want more of it, please consider donating.)

These people all cross the line. They are all evil. One can then say, “What will happen if we invade is worse,” and be right, but that does not signify approval of the regimes.

It would be easy enough to rid ourselves of such regimes if we were willing to run a rich world, where things were getting better for everyone. Look at pictures of Kabul from the 70s, or Pakistan. A world order which believes in a genuinely good ideology, which provides better futures, which doesn’t torture and rape itself can deal with such regimes. The great flaw of the post-war world was that it was offering prosperity but refused to offer it evenly to everyone (though it was better than the neo-liberal era), and certainly didn’t believe in Democracy.

Your ideology, your stories, only work properly for you if you actually fulfill their requirements.

But back to America. I don’t know if Clinton will torture. I know Bernie Sanders won’t. I know there are options available in the American election that don’t sell the tattered remains of America’s soul.

Yes, Trump’s economic plan will work, but the cost is your soul. Bernie Sanders’ economic plan will work too, and it doesn’t cost you your soul.

Let’s be explicit: For a time, fascism works. It worked in Italy, it worked in Germany.

It is time-limited, which is why Germany had to start grabbing, but it works.

You get yourself Trump, he’ll make the economy work. But his plan has leaks, like his insane tax cuts, which will show up in time. If he only wants eight years, no problem. If he wants more, he’ll have to find victims to prop up his economy. War is the ultimate stimulus, so is looting.

But he’ll be very popular. America will follow him off the cliff. They followed George W. Bush after all, and he wasn’t half as popular as Trump will be.

In the macro sense there is no free lunch. You cannot run a good industrial economy for long without determined recycling of money and without controlling the oligarchy. That means high tax rates. The only other solution is looting.

And in the meantime, Trump will be torturing people.

Americans have a real, progressive option on the domestic front. I have my problems with Sanders, but if you want a chance at a good economy without giving up all human decency, I suggest you go for him.

As for Clinton, I cannot in good conscience endorse her. I believe there is little that Clinton wouldn’t do. A woman who embraces Henry Kissinger has claimed her circle in Hell as well.


Trumponomics – How the Trump Economic Plan Will Work


Watch, Feel, and Think


  1. LorenzoStDuBois

    ” I don’t know if Clinton will torture. I know Bernie Sanders won’t. ”

    Hmm… Of course Clinton will torture. She’s a more warlike version of Obama. Sanders probably will too, though the difference between him and everyone else is that it will be reluctant. Sanders’ main focus would be on the economy, and the organized power factions are too strong to lose to him where he’s not focused.

    So in the end the same argument for Sanders, but I seriously, seriously disagree that there’s any torture policy difference between estab. Dems and GOP at this point, especially Clinton. Maybe before Obama mainstreamed it.

    Of course, Trump’s legitimizing rhetoric is a different issue, and is a danger of its own.

  2. Ian Welsh

    Hrrrm. I don’t think Sanders will torture. Could be wrong, of course but there are substantial factions in the military and intelligence communities that don’t like torture. It’s not a leviathan on the issue.

  3. ProNewerDeal

    Ian, g0d forbid if H Clinton gets the D nomination, do you have an opinion/advice on what to do in a the Nov election, if it say Trump or Rubio?

    I heard a Chomsky Al-Jazeera interview, iirc on truthdig & youtube. Chomsky is still expressing his old/2008 take/advice “if you are in a swing state, vote for the D, the Lesser of 2 Evils (LO2E)”.

    In your opinion, who is the LO2E, H Clinton v Trump? H Clinton presumably is better/less bad in terms of not singling out racial groups fascist style, less blatantly dictatorish & Consitution-ignoring, possibly better SCOTUS nomination, abortion rights, police violence, min wage (HC $12/hr v Trump keep at $7.25). Trump is possibly less bad on being anti-TPP, reducing the trade deficit, better on not 0bama-esque “Grand Ripoff”-ing Social Insurance (SS & MC), possibly better on healthcare (more chance at MedicareForAll, Medicare Public Option, or eliminating the ACA Individual Mandate)

    How about H Clinton v Rubio?

    In the 21st Century it seems in every successive Pres gets worse in Murica. Hopefully Sanders defies the odds & somehow wins the D Nom & the Pres election

  4. Dennis

    Consider the fact that the global economy is in meltdown and we are entering the greatest depression in human history. The entire globe will never recover in our lifetime. An economic waterboarding for billions around the world and Donald Trump is the only one who can couple with Putin, Xi Jinping, hopefully Le Pen, and others who will break the backs of the bankers, who are on the verge of killing many times more innocent people, in the BILLIONS, than all the last century of waterboarding dictators ever did. Trump is it. As imperfect as he is to you and others who shun their responsibility, not only for themselves, but for others who don’t have a voice, I say shame on you for taking a morally ignorant stance. This election coming up is the single most important election in history. It will define if many survive or many die. Please reconsider and bring people to the light, rather than lead them away from the only thing that really matters. The people Trump is talking about waterboarding are the worst there are in the human race. Better we let them free like Obama did? To rape and behead innocent men, women, and children, by the thousands? This country will be protected at any cost, and since asking terrorists to divulge information about their plans to kill on a massive scale never really worked in all of history, waterboarding, or “worse” is the only way to stop what is taking place. I value life as much or more than you and I will wait as long as possible to stand in line and cast my vote for TRUMP!

  5. Dennis

    Trump isn’t singling out anyone. He’s not against anyone. He is for laws. He wants immigrants like his wife to come here legally. My wife came here LEGALLY. Many good people came here LEGALLY. What is wrong with that? You don’t like Law and Order? Go down to the border and pass out water to all those weary souls coming into our country seeking asylum from a brutal regime, ILLEGALLY. Then you will see just what the problem really is. Gangs, Radical Muslims, Terrorists. Go see it first hand. Obviously you won’t. We need a wall and the vast majority of Americans are going to vote Trump and put an end to Rockefeller’s plans of destruction for North America. You will feel the voice of America come November. Whether you want it or not.

  6. dfs

    OT: Twitter just removed #WhichHillary, a tag devoted to her heinous 90’s race-baiting comments.

    It certainly throws into relief the notion that corporate “social media” could somehow threaten government power, to say nothing of the long-standing use of Twitter by “enemies” of Washington like ISIS.

  7. Stepp Girling

    The hysterical view, expressed here and elsewhere, that Trump = Hitler is based on a number of assumptions. One, that Trump is somehow different from other presidents and high officials. Two, that Trump somehow means what he says. Both of these should be unpacked for the hyperventilating. The first one is laughable given what we already know about Obama, the Clintons, the Bushes, et al: they are sociopaths. Obama cracks jokes about droning people. Clinton guffaws at Quadafi being mobbed, sodomized, and murdered. George W. Bush makes a little trophy out of Saddam Hussein’s pistols. This is not to mention the countless wars and the (literally) millions of casualities generated by those wars. Hillary and Obama get the credit for Libya, Syria, Ukraine and more. Bush’s mission of genocide was accomplished with Iraq and Afghanistan and more. So if Trump were Hitler, he’d be in good company. Second – and this one fairly crucial for anyone with any sense (which the article above lacks): you can’t simultaneously hold that Trump is utterly sincere and a proto-fascist Hitler-in-training *and* that Trump is pro-wrestling come to politics, without policies of any kind, simply in love with himself and using the election for self-promotion. But this is what critics of Trump do. They simultaneously hold both are true.

    My own view is that – like all the candidates – Trump is probably a mediocre person whose true private thoughts we don’t and won’t ever know. And all of his campaign promises – like building a wall and freezing Muslim immigration – are just that: more empty campaign promises. The only thing going for Trump is that the establishment is shitting itself over him. This is why he’s being attacked by Republicans and Democrats both, and is shit on by the media as relentlessly as they cover him. If you’re the establishment and your completely corrupt, you can’t have some loose cannon coming in and possibly raising up a bunch of long-buried corpses. The true extent of the criminality might become exposed. Now, I think that’s mainly a baseless fear because if Trump is elected, they’ll figure out a way to leverage him pretty quickly and bring him in line. However, anything that gets the establishment shitting itself in fear, broadly speaking, has my support.

  8. The US has used torture for a very long time. It certainly did so under several presidents during Vietnam. The question is whether or not the president will or will not sanction torture as official US policy. Bush started the policy of doing so and the argument is whether or not subsequent prseidents should continue it.

    Obama took it one step further. Not satisfied with the official policy of imprisioning without due process of law, he sanctioned assassination. We no longer capture suspected terrorists (note the “suspected” part of that) and then have the hassle of having to deal with them in some foreign prison, we simply kill them. No legal niceties are required, simply the “divine right of the President.”

    I’m not worried about Trump’s rhetoric. It is mere rhetoric in any case, is is all campaign blathering. None of these idiots has the slightest intention of actually doing anything that they are promising to do, and most of it is well outside the power of the presidency in any case.

    I don’t want a president who sanctions torture, but I don’t want one who sanctions assassination either.

  9. dfs


    George W. Bush makes a little trophy out of Saddam Hussein’s pistols.

    IIRC at one point he had the severed head of a slain insurgent leader delivered to him in a refrigerated canister.

    (I’d give the reference but all I can find are pages about “Game of Thrones” and it’s “offensive” severed G. W. Bush head. Jesus wept.)

    I essentially agree with your assessment of Trump. His prior history doesn’t comport with his current right-wing firebrand posturing.

  10. S Brennan

    Well Ian;

    You have me on this one. You can see the future with absolute clearity, I am only human.

    Clinton, Bill is responsible for the death of a million innocent children…and the world claps politely.

    President Cheney is responsible for the death of a million innocents…and in DC, he’s still considered a “serious person”.

    Barack Obama under Hillary’s tutelage is responsible for four “wars of aggression” and the death of a 350,000 innocent civilians…not to mention the genocidal extermination of 12-25,000 black people living in Libya….and liberals insists I clap louder.

    Brilliant writing, but bullshit, I give it four EZ-Kliens Why? The people aforementioned have all tortured far worse than you describe, all…actually.tortured.people. None of the people aforementioned tried to stop modern day Nazis from taking over the National Security Apparatus, not one.

    Trump has been talking smack to the proles in order to essentially lead a coup of the REPUBLICAN party, all the while putting together a national security team that is opposed to the failed policy of “regime change” a policy that has led to endless failed wars…and all the effing torture that goes with them. His tax policy is nuts, but everything else makes sense.

    Why do we think DBA is a real possibility? Why would the the Nazis in the National Security Apparatus want Trump dead if what you predict is really going to happen? Why did the RNC & DNC work together to stop Trump? The RNC knows God damn well that Trump is to the left of Hillary, the DNC knows God damn well that Trump is to the left of Hillary, the Nazis in the National Security Apparatus knows God damn well that Trump is to the left of Hillary.

    That is why DBA is possible, the nation, with the most imperfect of characters, under very difficult circumstances is trying to accomplish a bloodless coup. In the case of Sanders I believe the corporate apparatchiks in the DNC have the matter under control, Bernie is a “sheepdog” that got out of control, he will be caged at the appropriate moment. Maybe not, but the numbers are pretty clear, the war criminal Hillary Clinton, has been getting slaughtered in popular votes [caucuses = thievish thuggery], but maintains a clear delegate lead. And no doubt, the Republicans will rig their system like the Democrats did in 1974 so that another Trump will find it impossible…and last chance to escape the steel net of a total corporate ruled state, what FDR called fascism, will have passed us by.

    I don’t know where this better than Ezra hitlerum ad reductio came from, but the best thing that could happen in this election is a Sanders vs Trump election, but Trump will in all likelihood be snuffed and Bernie will be humanely sent to the pound…if he goes meekly along with the final ruse.

    But Dear Brother Ian; columns like this will held up as justification for Trump’s liquidation, a causam occidere, based on a conjecture, devoid of the context of the realities of the modern Republican nomination process.

    Again, had Trump not used the language he has, he would have been yesterday’s newspaper, wrapping a fish at the market. We have three murderous Presidents in a row, all cowards, two of whom spoke in the most pleasant tones, with a great flourish of “humanity” as they went about the business of murder by numbers, that is not conjecture.

  11. highrpm

    and trumps answer to the cnn debate moderator’s question about how position on israel/ palestine peace was rational, unlike the christian zionists’ rubio and cruz. trump would love his legacy to be that he facilitated peace — finally — between israel and palestine. and it brought the predicatable response that it was “out of bounds” to israel. (sure the PTB know that trump will stray out of bounds if he thinks necessary — damn fascist.) but not as radical as i’d like: there is not a 1 or 2 state solution to israel. only the no state solution: israel, if they cared even the tinniest bit for their membership in humanity, would return the stolen land to its rightful owners, the palestinians, and go back to eastern europe…and attempt to modify they nastiest tribal behavior and learn to “fit” better in society as a whole. but that would likely require mass psychotherapy. maybe that explains why so many eastern european professionals are contributors to the science of psychology.

  12. markfromireland

    But back to America. I don’t know if Clinton will torture. I know Bernie Sanders won’t. I know there are options available in the American election that don’t sell the tattered remains of America’s soul.

    Actually you can’t know that the American government under President Sanders were he to become President would refrain from engaging in torture, assasination, etc. I invite you to reflect long and hard on their behaviour in Central and South America when Carter was president before making such assertions.


  13. S Brennan

    I agree with Mark here;

    And I feel certain he’d prefer I not.

    We tortured [or outsourced the work] AND engaged in Neocolonialism under FDR, Truman, IKE, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush [the 1st], Clinton [the 1st], Bush [the 2nd], Obama & Clinton [the 2nd].

    Suharto, Saddam, Pinochet, Assad’s father, Qaddafi to name a few, all did this work under US directions and guidance, to attribute barbarous torture to one individual, who has never held office, strains all credulity.

  14. Lemonhead

    There are few phrases more pretentious than “beyond the pale.”

    Ian, this article was below your already cratering writing standards. It sounds like the rankings of a high school freshman.

    Grow up. Sounds like “torture” is your trigger-word.

  15. Lemonhead

    “Rantings”. Typing on a mobile phone here

  16. lemonheadkilla


    Christ, you’re a petty, small person.

  17. Billikin

    Who is the lesser evil, Trump or Clinton? Clinton, and here is why. It has to do with Trump’s followers. A large proportion of Trump’s followers are authoritarian personalities. Whatever you may think of the comparison between Trump and Hitler or Mussolini, they appeal or appealed to authoritarians, who gravitate to Trump because they see him as a strong leader. One thing about authoritarian followers is that they are conformists. If Clinton beats Trump, most of them will go along. You could see the effect in the South after the end of segregation. There were the KKK and others, of course, but most whites conformed to the new order of things without much fuss. For a while it even seemed as though some of the best places in the nation for race relations were in the South.

    What makes Clinton the lesser evil is that she, unlike Trump, will not inflame the violence and prejudice of current Trump followers. Trump is not a law and order candidate, as evidenced by his reaction to the illegal violence of his followers who beat up that Black Lives Matter guy. Trump is a Trump candidate, running on being “the meanest son of a bitch in the valley”, IOW, on being Der Führer or Il Duce. You cannot count on him pursuing any policy that he may currently espouse. You can count on him being In Charge.

  18. S Brennan

    According to Billikin;

    Clinton “is the lessor Evil”. Yes, it’s the Democrats shit slinging time again, the folks who supported the Iraq Invasion, AF-PAK escalation, Guatemalian, Libyan, Syrian, Ukrainian regime change, the neoliberals who keep selling us trade agreements are the “lessor of an imagined evil. Yes, it’s the Democrats trotting out the old tried & true war horse, their version of “thank goodness George Bush was in office during 9/11”.

    Why is Clinton’s demonstrated venality less evil you might ask? After all, Hillary is responsible for the deaths of at least 350,000 innocent civilians, so Trump must be evil incarnate to surpass Clinton’s incredible record of death and destruction mustn’t he?

    Well just listen to this unspeakable evil:

    “A large proportion of Trump’s followers are authoritarian personalities.”

    OMG!!! Can you believe that, how horribly horrendous is that? Surely nothing could be worse, than winning an election among goons with, wait for it, goons. Surely that’s as bad as say FDR, garnering Southern Democratic votes to enact the New Deal…isn’t it? But in reality, is a theoretical conjecture based on an unfounded premise worse than a GENUINE WAR CRIMMINAL? Billikin says it is…and so it goes.

    “Lessor of two evils”, hmmm maybe Democrats should give that one a rest, it’s well past it’s sell-by-date.

  19. BlizzardOfOz

    Have we not reached a point where you need a strongman, even a borderline-madman to achieve any kind of change? This is the problem with Sanders – he is sincere, but weak. A suggestive example is his position on immigration. He knows that unlimited immigration harms American wages, and he came out vocally against it (interview with Ezra Klein). But some shrieking from the usual suspects made him quickly do a 180. Contrast to Trump, who has repeatedly exploded both Republican shibboleths and the mass-media’s Overton window and won, forcing the establishment to retreat. There hasn’t been actual leadership like that in the US in my lifetime. Imagine what Trump might do with the “bully pulpit” that we all wanted Obama to use (before we realized what a phony he had been all along). Sanders may be an annoyance to the establishment, but Trump is an existential threat to it, as shown by the (by my count at least 3 by “respectable” pundits) calls to assassinate him.

    It’s about whom we trust, not a litany of positions on wedge issues. Trump is independent-minded and patriotic, so there’s a chance he will do some good. He will have millions praying for God to guide him and his advisers to make the good decision regarding interrogation/torture and everything else that may come up.

  20. BlizzardOfOz

    The left should swear off the “authoritarian personality” psycho-babble. It’s pseudo-analysis by agenda-driven Jews who kept finding oy vey anudda shoah under every rock. Just as Ian’s last post demonstrated that the “good Germans” really were good, so “authoritarian” really just means normal, well-adjusted people from good families.

  21. Hugh

    In the historical frame, we the many have been in a centuries long struggle against the haves of the day since before the founding of the country: property owners, slave holders, factory owners to today’s elites and billionaires. A central thesis of mine is that we, the rubes, the many, do not know our own history. Instead we are taught a national mythology. The Founders and Framers were not democrats. Hamilton, one of the principal writers of the Federalist Papers which were used to sell the Constitution, originally wanted to make Washington king. Iconic leaders like Washington and Jefferson were slaveholders. Most adults of the time, women, slaves, most unpropertied whites, had no vote and therefore no say in the new Constitution. The Framers were so uninterested in the rights of the people, sufficiently so to scare even members of their own class, that the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments, had to be added to win approval by the also not democratic state legislatures. The Constitution with its separation of powers and checks and balances has been lauded by the mythologizers in the last two centuries as making change hard and so defending the country against tyranny and radicalism. But what doesn’t get talked about is that these inbuilt checks were really about the distrust that the haves had toward each other, they did not want one group of the propertied/haves dominating the others, but what they all could agree upon was that they did not want real power passing to the people, the have-nots. So they larded the Constitution with anti-democratic devices like the electoral college and Senate (and, as I pointed out, restricting the franchise).

    Now, you might ask what this has to do with barbarism and Donald Trump? It is all about the frame we are talking in. We can talk in the long historical frame, or the construction of kleptocracy frame that I date back to the late 1970s, or others as well. The idea is that the US has acted barbarically several times in its history. Just look to its history with and treatment of Native Americans. The modern concentration camp was invented during the American Civil War as was the concept of total war. What separates the barbarism of Trump and others in our political classes is something beyond Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil. It is the casualness of evil. Evil and barbarity have been reduced to a throwaway line here (Trump on torture) or a smirk there (Clinton on Gaddafi’s sodomization and murder). It is not that barbarity has not existed before. What we are talking about is its current manifestation.

    The same can be said of those, including Chomsky, who continue to sell the hackneyed lesser of two evils line. In its current form, this line has been around since 2008 (5 election cycles), and for those who espouse it, the standard response is, how has that worked out for you? Voting for evil doesn’t slow evil. It increases it. Obama validated and institutionalized Bush’s evil. He made it acceptable and easier to inflict. The lesser of two evils is a lie and a cop out. You either fight evil or you are complicit with it. Voting for Clinton instead of Trump (or any Democrat or any Republincan) is not being pragmatic. It’s being a facilitator of evil. If you are going to do it, at least, be clear about what you are doing. If you have to sugarcoat it, you already know it’s wrong.

  22. Lemonhead has risen

    Oh no you didn’t Blizz, thou shalt not name the immortal Jew. There’s a home for people like us (/pol)

    I love seeing more and more people take the red pill, especially on leftist sites like Reddit and here. Like watching them awaken from a decades long coma!

  23. Lemonhead has risen

    Ah Hugh, how much of what you are regurgitating is Howard Zinn swill?

    See post directly above this one.

  24. Lisa

    Well a return to 1950s US? White cis male people don’t know just how horrible a place it was for non whites, women and LGBTI people.

    We LGBTI were arrested, jailed, put into mental homes and ‘treated’ with drugs, ECT, lobotomies and years, decades of incarceration.

    Women who didn’t conform to the male ideal were also treated the same. Single mothers were treated like lepers. Women banned from working, no divorce even if you were endlessly abused (and how would you survive?).

    Racial apartheid. Religious bigtory and all the sorry rest.

    It was cruel hard time, well unless you were that white male cis person. Then it was great.

    A society built, even more than today, on total lies and hypocricy. Paedophiles in positions of power running rampant …and everyone else covering up for them.

    Of course Trump has a lot of the male white vote locked in, “bring back the good old days” they cry.

  25. V. Arnold

    The barbarism of Trump? How about the barbarism of Clinton, Cruze, Rubio, and the rest of their ilk?
    The U.S. has found itself at the bottom of the cesspool arguing/discussing which of the contents is the choicest morsel.
    What could be more pathetic or dangerous?

  26. Lisa

    Another perceptive analysis from the Archdruid.

    However he has a blind spot, which given his age and gender is understandable, the women vote.

    If the Democrats put Sanders up he will win largely on women voters, while many are ambilvanet (at east) about HRC.

    The usual votes will be locked in and the swing ones are disaffected working class white males and females. Most if not all women will vote for Sanders and enough of those white men will do so also to get him over the line.

    If HRC gets up many of those women will just not vote at all and those males will vote for Trump en masse and, the AD is right, it will be landslide for Trump.

    The Democratic party has to wake up and face the fact that if they go with HRC they are facing obliteration.

    The mainstream feminist and LGBTI leaders and rgansation have to also wake up to the fact that if they dont push for Sanders then we face obliteration as well. Oh sure the rich cis women, gays and lesbians will be fine, but the rest will be hammered into the ground and we trans people will be eliminated from public existance everywhere in the US.

  27. Ian Welsh

    Amazing comment section. Truly amazing. Congratulations. The majority of you are going to get exactly what you are asking for, even if most of you don’t understand what you are asking for.

    Can’t say it bothers me. Continue.

  28. The Tragically Flip

    Really starting to think Canada should volunteer to build a wall on our US border.

    But really, we probably should like, double our military spending if Trump wins. He’s easily apt to annex something unless we have a credible rapid response force that could at least make him take US casualties to seize territory. We don’t have to be able to stop a full fledged invasion, just be strong enough to make it not worth trying to grab something here.

    I hate having to think this way, but in a Trump world, relying on US to only economically colonialize us won’t do.

  29. S Brennan


    Can you kindly show me a quote with a link that shows Trump to be anti-LGBT, the guy lives in NY, NY so I kinda think we’d have hundreds of quotes on the subject if your accusation is correct…

    …or are you using Billikin’s argument: “A large proportion of Trump’s followers are authoritarian personalities.” therefore he worse than Hitler, therefore candidate [x] is the lessor of two evils?

    Quoting myself from above:

    “Why did the RNC & DNC work together to stop Trump? The RNC knows God damn well that Trump is to the left of Hillary, the DNC knows God damn well that Trump is to the left of Hillary, the Nazis in the National Security Apparatus knows God damn well that Trump is to the left of Hillary.”

  30. Ian Welsh

    Canada has needed a real deterrent for a long time. This isn’t hard to do, even with conventional weapons, we simply have to be willing to do it.

    We make cruise missiles up here, btw.

  31. kj1313


    I vehemently disagree with you. As an American we have to realize some of the illegal immigration is fueled by our failed U.S. Policies which we should take responsibility for.

    Mexicans – NAFTA destroying agriculture industry in Mexico.

    Honduras- small coup endorsed Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration.

    El Salvador- US policy during the Reagan Administration

    This is blowback plain and simple and the American Public should start demanding better leadership.

  32. Billikin

    For the record, Trump is not worse than Hitler, not even in the same ballpark. However, Trump has a gut understanding of the Führerprinzip and of the value of playing to animosities and fanning the flames of discord.

  33. Jeff Wegerson

    Isn’t Canada in NATO? If invaded won’t all the other NATO countries come to your defense? I would suggest starting an ATO, Arctic Treaty Organization but Alaska lets the U.S. in.

  34. Mojave Wolf

    Ummmmm. Wow. I had something I was going to say after reading this post but I have forgotton it reading the comments.

    Thoughts as best I can manage on phone:
    To those who think Trump is the only chance to take down the current elites, please lookat hiw they are treating him vs how they are treating Bernie. It is very very very obvious that Sanders is who they fear more. Trump is a wild card. Sanders is a known quantity & the powers that be don’t like what they know.

    Look at the last 50 years of his record: since the 60’sBernie has been trying to build something better. Hes finally in the position to do it, with our help. Hes also addressing climate change. Trump prolly believes n it but isn’t admitting it or showing any signs of doing anything about it. If he doesnt, no matter what else he accomplishes it will not matter. Civilization at thevleadtcand quite probably a lot more gonna go bye bye.

    Look, I still think Bernies going to win this, but if itvwinds up being two people u think are horrible, no need to vote for lesser evils if u can’t stomach either of them n 4 heavens sake no needvto stay home. There’s green (my likely backstop should we fail yo put Bernie over), or write in for bernie, socialist libertarian or whatever floats your boat. Write in Quelcrist Falconer if u want to. Or killer Mike or Nina Turner or Elizabeth Warren. I think Bernie is our last chance at saving the planet short of a miracle, but Bernie being where he is right now seemed like it would take a miracle way back thisctime last year. Miracles have a better chance of happening when youbwork and fight for them.

  35. Hugh

    Never read Zinn. There is no content or coherence to Lemonhead’s comments to respond to. The reason I got involved in the internet and blogosphere was that I came to realize that many of the things I thought/had been taught did not correspond to the world I actually lived in. It is a long process to peel back the layers of lies that is all our baggage. It is hard to unlearn “truths” and look at things anew. Many, and I would count Lemonhead among these, are content with the lies precisely because the alternative is so much work and leads to such unsettling conclusions. Better to close their eyes than face any ugly truths even if they are on the Titanic and the water is up to their nose.

  36. S Brennan


    You are a little late to the party on this comment:

    “The majority of you are going to get exactly what you are asking for, even if most of you don’t understand what you are asking for.”

    We [the USA] have been under authoritarian rule for some time, our media has been on lock-down since the early 80’s, the Democratic party closed the nomination process in 1974, both parties agreed to “neoliberalism” back in ’78. The Republican party was “cleansed” in the mid 70’s. The intelligence community was purged in the ’74-’78 time frame. Assassinations/DBA’s, of those who truly MIGHT challenge the ruling elite have been going on regularly since the 60’s, they’re there, in plain sight for anybody with a brain. All of our judicial and regulatory branches of government were captured by 1998. And so it goes.

    Fighting your way out of an ambush isn’t pretty, it’s not an intellectual exercise and it ain’t elegant, it’s not for the weak at heart, but the alternative is the killing floor. If you have a better ACTIONABLE* plan than an all up, all in revolt, like a Trump vs Sanders match-up represents, brother, “we’d all love to see the plan”.

    * We’re here, we have to get to there, here’s how we can do it.

  37. EmilianoZ

    History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce.

    Hitler/Mussolini were the tragedy.

  38. Lemonhead

    At the end of the day, what exactly is so fearsome about Trump? What are leftists scared of? His desire to send illegals back from whence they came? What exactly is leading to the comparisons to Hitler?

    It really does look like a Jew undermining tactic when the default scare-mongering goes straight to “he’s Hitler.”

    Illegals suppressing wages at the bottom, and H1Bs suppressing wages at the top. He’s against it. That’s why he has my vote.

    It’s the economy, stupid.

  39. Al

    Wow, I see the Trumpers are descending on your comments section. You must have hit a nerve with the fascists.

  40. Al


    You say \”Another perceptive analysis from the Archdruid.\”

    You realize this isn\’t John Michael Greer\’s blog, right?

  41. Dghdhjfg

    “There is an explicit, openly stated goal of radically transforming western civilization by destroying its population and replacing them with foreigners that are more easily controlled. This is why every politician but Trump supports illegal immigration.”

    Cribbed comment, pure gold

  42. cripes

    “Trump will do universal healthcare.” “Sanders won’t torture” “Hillary will be nice to minorities and gays” or whatever.

    As Hugh and J Brennan point out, it doesn’t work that way.

    Maybe what you mean is Sanders won’t go on TeeVEE and brag about waterboarding.

    Torture (and genocide) has been US policy since at least the Phillipines in . Native Americans would place it earlier. Be serious.

    However, the “democracy” theater is crumbling and the elites must rush around trying to prop up the scenery and keep the band playing. Sanders gets crowds of 30,000 cheering week after week and the TeeVee hardly notices. Hillary trots out a handfull of stage managed old ladies on walkers and their pastors and run it on loop. Trump’s braying boors cheer beat-downs and ethnic bashing with spittle and blood dripping from their chins. Even he, especially he, knows they are imbeciles. But they would beat the shit out of Bernie’s herbal-tea swillers in a street fight.

    I would thoroughly enjoy a Sanders-Trump contest.

    The deep state continues.

  43. cripes

    Oh yeah. In the event of a Clinton-Trump campaign, expect large numbers of “democrat” men to defect and vote for trump. In the event of a Sanders-Rubio (or Cruz) contest, expect large numbers of “republican” women and some men to defect to Sanders. Those two lamebrain libertarian, constitutional originalist, bible-thumping, crypto-facists couldn’t get elected class president. Hillary only wins, most likely, against Cruz.

    Trump could be maneuvered out of the ticket and Sanders will be. Both by fraud and manipulation.

    Circumstances make it possible for a grotesque mediocrity Like Donald Trump to play a hero’s part. (hat tip to the 18th Brumaire)

    The dragon is not invincible. Others will follow. First blood has been drawn.

  44. Amazing comment section. Truly amazing. Congratulations. The majority of you are going to get exactly what you are asking for, even if most of you don’t understand what you are asking for.

    Can’t say it bothers me. Continue.

    But why are you amazed? This comment section is precisely what I would have anticipated. You present a highly materialistic analysis of political failure, based on the idea that you can separate the economic aspect of Trump’s success from the identity politics. Then, rightly, you point out in this post that Trump supports ugly barbarisms, and you get pushback from people who like your writing precisely because you separate the (to them) “serious” stuff from the bleeding-heart “fluff”? And surprise surprise, so many of them think that it is because of the “immortal Jew”, betray their underlying rage about the pathologization of authoritarian tendencies, and so on and so forth.

    Again, why is it amazing? If you look at the the tendencies all across the internet and all the identity squabbles, you find that a great many of the people claiming that they’re above “identity politics” and want to deal with “serious” stuff are actually harboring an underlying desire to reverse the gains that other groups have made. Unsurprisingly, some of these people are also willing to overlook Trump’s bluster. This is not an accident.

  45. markfromireland

    @ Lemonhead February 26, 2016

    Grow up. Sounds like “torture” is your trigger-word.´

    Torture is a trigger word for Ian you’re right. That’s because he’s a decent and civilised human being with decent and civilised values – unlike you.

    He’s also from a society that doesn’t glorify and hero-worship violence, barabarity, and torture, and use them as instruments of both of policy and entertainment – also unlike you.


  46. S Brennan


    “many of them think that it is because of the “immortal Jew” How many? Name Names, give agency.

    To Ian’s next post I say:

    It’s common to hear some version of, “I’ll kill you for that”, I’ll probably hear it a couple of times today, I heard it once yesterday. But it is far rarer to see somebody commit murder. My point, verbal “smack talking” is NOT the moral equivalent of mass murder. But in this post, in very emotional terms, Ian doesn’t just conflate the two, he says verbal “smack talking” is incomparably worse than mass murder. I don’t just disagree with him on this, I think that’s nut’s.

    That said, I think of Ian as a good person is rarely wrong.

  47. stephen

    We don’t really know if Trump is a fascist. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of conviction. It not like he went to jail or risked his life for the fascist cause. His politics could have been described as Metrosexual 20 years ago. I think he’s just another opportunist like Obama.

  48. Jew is my trigger word

    Yes would like to reverse the gains of the cultural Marxists, who are in positions of power throughout all industries worldwide.

  49. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    The industries of capitalism have been infiltrated and controlled by Marxists?

    What spectral class of star does your home planet orbit?

  50. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Holy Haruhi, the Dork Enlightenment Squirrel Bait Brigade is really turning out for this thread. 😆

  51. Lisa

    Masdos: “you find that a great many of the people claiming that they’re above “identity politics” and want to deal with “serious” stuff are actually harboring an underlying desire to reverse the gains that other groups have made. ”

    Nailed it.

    As a transgender person we endlessly get told two things;
    (a) “We will get around to sorting out your rights, after we have done x,y,z,…..” …sometime after the heat death of the universe.
    (b) When we are attacked (like now), “well it’s not affecting us, so we are not going to help you defend yourself, it’s not a ‘really important’ issue”.

    The Christian right and hence the GOP are running two successful major campaigns around the US at the moment:
    (1) The legal elimination of public trans people, especially trans women (trans men get a much easier deal as long as they are in stealth, because, after all they are men).
    (2) Against poor, mostly non white women, especially if they are single mothers.

    The mainstream feminist and LG organisations are all wasting time and energy on the HRC campaign, have taken their eye right off the ball and are suffering from ‘victory disease’ after their marriage equality win.

    Though Trump himself hasn’t shown either support or much antipathy for LGBTI people and issues and he is no Cruz his administration wll not be good for LGBTI people in the US because:
    (a) His administration by necessity will have a lot of GOP people in it and they hate us.
    (b) He is a populist without conscience, if he can win a few votes by throwing us under a bus (or into a camp) then he will do so.

    I expect a Trump administration will roll out a national scheme to try to eliminanate trans people first, before going after at a later stage the more poltically powerful gays and lesbians. Politically weak poorer women will be put in a horrible situation and they can kiss goodbye any cheap/free reproductive help (contraception and abortion) and womens health in general (pap smears, breast exams and all the rest).

    His core power base is poor and working class white men and bigger bunch of homophobes, misogynists and transphobes you cannot find.

    So he would not be as horrible as Cruz (who would put us all in death camps in his first week in power)…just be moderately horrible.

    Of course the feminist and LGBTI organsations will wake up and start fighting back, and when they do they will (at least) hold the line, but a lot of damage will be done by then especially to trans people and those poor, mostly non white cis women.

  52. S Brennan

    To my question:

    “Lisa; Can you kindly show me a quote with a link that shows Trump to be anti-LGBT, the guy lives in NY, NY so I kinda think we’d have hundreds of quotes on the subject if your accusation is correct, or are you using Billikin’s argument: “A large proportion of Trump’s followers are authoritarian personalities.” therefore he worse than Hitler, therefore candidate [x] is the lessor of two evils?

    Lisa answers in the negative to the first question, failing to cite a single example of hatred. And to the second in the affirmative to the “A large proportion of Trump’s followers are authoritarian personalities.” therefore he’s worse than Hitler.

    1] “Though Trump himself hasn’t shown either support or much antipathy for LGBTI people”

    Not one example LGBT hatred in a lifetime in the spotlight, such can not be said of any other candidate, Republican or Democrat, save Bernie Sanders…weird huh?


    2] “His administration by necessity will have a lot of GOP people in it and they hate us.”

    For example; Log Cabin Republicans who successfully fought with the Obama administration to end DADT. That’s right, it was only when it was clear that they had lost that the Obama administration did a 180. Another example of uniform Republican hatred of LGBT comes from Secretary of Defense Hagel, who was attempting to green light transgender service when he was removed by Obama…such hatred by Hagel huh?

    Clearly, the facts run counter to your unsupported conjectures on this count.

    3] “He is a populist without conscience*, if he can win a few votes by throwing us under a bus (or into a camp) then he will do so.”

    If there was a time to “win a few votes by throwing us under a bus” it would be the Republican Primary, not afterward. Again, the facts run counter to your unsupported conjectures on this count. The fact that he has not when he gains votes by doing so should be a good indication he will not when it will lose him votes…right?

    Lisa; you have not one factually supported allegation, just conjecture that conforms EXACTLY to corporate consensus.

    *yeah, like Hillary, except she’s a corporatist without conscience, yeah, that’s so much better morally

  53. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Torture is a trigger word for Ian you’re right. That’s because he’s a decent and civilised human being with decent and civilised values – unlike you.

    He’s also from a society that doesn’t glorify and hero-worship violence, barabarity, and torture, and use them as instruments of both of policy and entertainment – also unlike you.


    Dear Lemonhead: This Meganekko Is You 😆

  54. Lisa

    S Brennan

    “Just this week, the Human Rights Campaign issued a report detailing an unprecedented 44 anti-trans bills now pending in state legislatures in 16 states across the country. The South Dakota bill has a built-in deadline of Tuesday; if the governor does not sign or veto the measure, it will become law without his signature.”

    Bills targeting transgender students in education and sports (Nine States: Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin)

    Limiting access to gender-segregated public facilities (Five States: Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Virginia, Washington)

    Preventing transgender people from amending their birth certificates (One State: Virginia)…so far. Note that some of the other ligislation will do this too by covert means.

    Requiring transgender people to disclose their surgical history when obtaining a marriage license (One State: Oklahoma)

    Defining “sex” so as to exclude transgender people from state legal protections in employment and education (One State: Virginia)

    “Why are these bills being filed?
    These bills are being filed primarily by religious conservative lawmakers, many of whom are linked with the Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel, and the Alliance Defending Freedom. They are following a legislative template laid out by FRC to deny transgender people basic access to the workplace, schools, and public accommodations like restaurants and gyms and to deny them legal recognition. ”

    The right wing attacks on Planned Parenthood are so blindingly obvious to not need mentioning but add this:
    Illinois Republicans Sponsor a Bill That Denies Birth Certificates to the Children of Single Mothers
    “A law proposed in the Illinois House of Representatives isn’t just another run-of-the-mill right-wing attack on women. This time legislators have gone a step further and taken aim at children, too. Illinois state Representatives John D. Cavaletto and Keith Wheeler have co-sponsored HB6064, which would deny birth certificates to the children of single mothers who fail to name a father or financially responsible caregiver.

    Snippet from the bill:
    “Provides that if the unmarried mother cannot or refuses to name the child’s father, either a father must be conclusively established by DNA evidence or, within 30 days after birth, another family member who will financially provide for the child must be named, in court, on the birth certificate. Provides that absent DNA evidence or a family member’s name, a birth certificate will not be issued and the mother will be ineligible for financial aid from the State for support of the child.” ”

    Expect more of these. Of course eventually they will stopped/wound back/etc but they will do a lot of damage along the way.

    Trump: “But he is definitely speaking forcefully on his anti-gay positions to evangelicals on their media platforms, in their language, using the dog whistle on LGBT rights even if he’s using the fog horn on other issues. Trump is much smarter than many give him credit for. By speaking with the fog horn on many issues it gives the impression that he places low priority on the issues with which he’s using the dog whistle”

    “In his Nevada victory speech, he said, “I love the evangelicals!” Only looking at Christian evangelical media forums, however, would you understand why they have reason to love him back:

    Last week in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, Trump called the Supreme Court’s Obergefell marriage equality ruling “shocking” and told evangelicals to “trust me” on the issue, telegraphing that he would get the marriage equality ruling overturned.

    On Fox News Sunday, Trump in fact said he’d consider appointing judges who would overturn the Obergefell ruling, taking up a position that Marco Rubio had announced weeks earlier. ”

    “Trump came out in support of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which anti-gay Republicans introduced in Congress last year. It would allow government entities, non-profit organizations that receive government funds and businesses contracted with the federal government to discriminate against gays.”

    “…hen pressed in an interview with me at the Values Voter Summit last fall, he expressed support for Davis and her position.”

    “Trump has attacked Chief Justice John Roberts — who voted against LGBT rights consistently — as insufficiently conservative, and recently promised in a Christian Broadcasting Network town hall with Pat Robertson at Robertson’s Regent University that he would put far right extremists on the court who would get Roe v. Wade “unpassed.” ”

    “Trump is a master of manipulation (of media and of constituencies) who learned that on the gay issue he could give mixed signals, implying “tolerance” of LGBT rights while on the campaign trail but then speaking to anti-gay bigots within their forums and telling them exactly what they want to hear. ”

    “Just ahead of the South Carolina primary, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is leaving no doubt that his anti-LGBT rhetoric on the campaign trail is no accident.”

    “LCR*, in fact, got dumped by Trump as soon as Trump saw that many evangelicals would back him even though he’s thrice married, can’t quote bible verses accurately and owns and operates casinos. And now, trying to nail that vote down further — and knowing that he’ll need that constituency in South Carolina and beyond — Trump has thrown gays under the same bus he threw Latinos and Muslims.”
    *Log Cabin Republican basically gay Republicans…and no friend of transgender people at all.

    “The idea that any LGBT people could support Trump while he demagogues other minorities is not just sad; it’s repellant. But the Log Cabin Republicans’ thinking that he’d actually be “good for the gays” was also just plain deluded.”

    As you well know, I am no HRC supprter at all

  55. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    *sigh* What part of “God is love” does the “Christian” Right fail to understand?

    Take it away, Captain.

  56. Tom W Harris

    At the end of the day, what exactly is so fearsome about Trump?…

    It really does look like a Jew undermining tactic when the default scare-mongering goes straight to “he’s Hitler.”

    And that’s what’s “so fearsome about Trump” – his knack for drawing Nazi filth like you out into the open and unashamed of the Nazi filth they spew.

  57. S Brennan


    I went through this link

    and came up empty, you are bullshitting me with a voluminous reply, devoid of any substance.


    Michelangelo Signorile, the author of this link.

    uses, like you, conjecture. Your quote parsed out:

    “Trump called the Supreme Court’s Obergefell marriage equality ruling “shocking” and told evangelicals to “trust me” on the issue, telegraphing that he would get the marriage equality ruling overturned. ”

    It was “shocking”, to the whole nation, absolutely truthful, but not in the least hateful. And then in a separate sentence, he wants evangelicals to “trust me” which he most surely does, but again, not the least hateful. And around these three words, each spoken in different sentences Michelangelo Signorile writes a paragraph of conjecture in service to his sponsors. Again, you came up empty, you are bullshitting me with a voluminous reply, devoid of any substance!


    Now the rest of the links are HRC which is a Democratic umbrella organization. Having been to several HRC fundraisers that were exclusively intended for Democratic candidates, it’s unreasonable to expect me to slog through their pro-Hillary attacks on Trump given paucity of evidence in your premier links.


    Finding a direct quote [in context], from a news legitimate news source, shouldn’t be even mildly hard, Trump has lived his life in the bright lights of showbiz, he has worked with openly gay men and women on a daily basis. If they [his gay workers] any had cause to trash him, they would done so long ago and we would know about THAT. THAT is something our MSM does very well.

    Your original claim was false, but you have compounded that by fraudulently trying make a case from quoting prejudicial conjecture from biased sources and then try trying to cover the deceit with billowy volume. I resent the subterfuge, I have often promoted your comments as insightful and treated you as an equal…now I have doubts.

    If you hate Trump because you think he comes across as a jerk, fine, he is jerk, he wears that moniker on his sleeve. But the whole reductio ad hitlerum ad nauseam made by people who could not name one of his advisers is laughable. Trump’s military advisers are actively trying to end the “regime change” policy of Presidents Cheney/Obama, they are open to cooperation with Russia and seek to prevent the efforts of the last three presidents from plunging us into a new, far more dangerous cold war. To me that “trumps” all the conjecturous bullshit his reductio ad hitlerum ad nauseam critics can come up with.

    Yes, your focus is on getting equal rights for transgenders, I think that’s important too, but impossible to conjure if the nation impoverishes itself into a Hobsian state through needless war, or immolates itself in a nuclear holocaust.

  58. cripes

    We’re interested to know who you think these foreign policy advisers are.

    “Trump’s “Go-To” National Security Adviser Says He’s Never Talked Policy With Trump
    Did Trump fib about his top military advisers?”

    “Donald Trump’s Imaginary Foreign Policy Experts
    Primary voters are loving Trump’s foreign policy, and Trump keeps promising to roll out the Best Foreign Policy Team Ever. But is anyone actually on it?”

  59. Ivory Bill Woodpecker


    Fearsome, or useful?

    If the neo-Ratzis start speaking openly, then the rest of us can learn who they are, all the better to ostracize them.

  60. S Brennan


    Three posts ago I gave an example, I know you are too lazy to post links for your, so God knows you’d be too lazy to find stuff on your own.

    Go read the linked article and give your BS a well needed rest.

  61. Tom W Harris

    I guess we’ll see, Ivory, but I’m not seeing near enough ostracism yet.

    We live in interesting times.

  62. cripes

    @ J Brennan:

    First, restrain your nasty tone. I simply asked you to name his “advisers.”
    If you are curious to find the source of my headlines, then try google.

    Even the Josh Rogin article you cite confirms Trumps campaign has claimed military advisers that deny it. Gen Michael Flynn is cited as talking to Trump and thinking he’s “smart” He talks to other republicans. So what?

    Trumps website is devoid of any meaningful policy statement on the matter.

    His “policy” links only to 5 topics: US-China Trade, Veterans Administration Reforms, Tax Reform, Second Amendment Rights and Immigration Reform.
    Little importance to foreign policy there, is it? I read the Tax Reform “proposal” and it’s bad, real bad.

    In the “issues” section of short videos featuring Donald extemporizing on matters he is ill-equipped to understand, there is only this:

    “The Military
    I will make our Military so big, powerful and strong that no one will mess with us.”

    That clears things up. But do go see the whole video, Donald devotes 23 seconds to this “important” subject. You’ve already read most of it.

    Yves Smith demolishes his so-called policy on health care here:

    Your wishful thinking and bias is so blatant, you’re embarrassing yourself.

  63. cripes

    Oh, yeah, and his “policy” adviser, one Sam Clovis of the Rick Perry campaign, was disparaging Trump just a month before taking a job with the campaign and refusing to discuss his compensation.

    Here’s what the evangelical conservative activist said of Trump before accepting a jawb: ““(Trump) left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs. … His comments reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal,” calling him a “cancer on conservatism.”

    The Morningside College professor and failed candidate for Senate and Iowa Treasurer is best known as a flaming Christianist and right-wing radio host.

    If you want to know his “policy” adviser’s policy, you can find it here. It’s somewhere to the right of Michele Bachman.

    I trust Trump knew he was pandering to the evangelical vote, even if others are sporting rose-colored glasses.

  64. S Brennan

    The Trump foreign policy doctrine is revealed
    Josh Rogin, (c) 2016, Bloomberg View(c) 2016, Bloomberg View

    Some leading foreign policy pundits are convinced Trump is shooting from the hip on foreign policy, making up glib answers to serious questions like how to defeat the Islamic State or deal with an aggressive Vladimir Putin. Top Republican national security officials who advise other candidates routinely tell reporters they have not heard from the Trump campaign, which leads them to believe he has not sought any expert input before his provocative statements, like lashing out against China or Saudi Arabia.

    Trump’s advisers say they’re happy to be perplexing. The Washington foreign policy establishment has no idea what to make of Trump’s string of declarations, such as his promises to “take” the Islamic State’s oil, force Mexico to pay for a wall on the southern U.S. border, or bar all Muslims from coming to the U.S.

    “This whole notion that he is devoid of advisers is wrong. We have a lot of smart guys around us and a lot of smart people helping us,” Sam Clovis, Trump’s chief policy adviser, told me in an interview. Clovis, a retired Air Force colonel and former Iowa Senate candidate, leads a policy team of two that works with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to connect Trump to experts and former officials constantly, he said.

    Following a couple of incidents in which Trump identified his foreign policy consultant — only then to have that person deny it — the campaign is mum on names. But other experts have regular interactions with Trump, including former Defense Intelligence Agency head Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn, who has also met with other Republican presidential candidates, told me that Trump was a “superb listener” who asked “exceptional questions” and was interested in detail on a wide range of world issues.

    “This guy is really switched on and has a strong understanding of what’s going on in the world,” said Flynn. “I walked away with a much stronger impression of him than I had previously.”

    Sources close to the campaign told me Trump has also spoken with controversial historian Daniel Pipes and Israel’s current envoy to the UN Danny Danon, among others.

    Trump’s advisers also claim that Trump’s wide-ranging foreign policy proposals, which include renegotiating the U.S.- Japan alliance treaty and outsourcing the Syria problem to the Russians, all fit into an easily understandable set of three “organizing principles” that form Trump’s governing doctrine on foreign policy.

    “One, we want to take a very clear worldview in our foreign policy, dealing with the national interest, and let that be our organizing principles. Two is that we want to make sure that we engage in free markets, but we want those markets to be fairer as well. And three, if we do not have strong economic recovery, we can’t do the other two,” said Clovis. “If that’s not a Trump doctrine, I don’t know what is.”

    The practical application of that doctrine plays out in several ways. Trump’s narrow definition of “national interest” does not include things like democracy promotion, humanitarian intervention, the responsibility to protect people from atrocities or the advocacy of human rights abroad. Trump believes that economic engagement will lead to political opening in the long run. He doesn’t think the U.S. government should spend blood or treasure on trying to change other countries’ systems.

    “This is a long game; it’s not a short game,” Clovis said. He faulted neoconservatives who ” think you can go out there and in three weeks after Iraq collapses you can create a constitutional democracy over there.”

    The Trump campaign thinks of this approach as pragmatic and realistic. Like classical realists, Trump wants to deal with states and governments, not non-state actors or international organizations. That, according to his advisers, is why he sometimes seems to praise strongmen who lead their states as executives with absolute power. Trump sees Putin and other dictators as businessmen doing what any CEO would do, fighting for their organization.

    “Mr. Trump looks at them and he says, ‘OK, I know exactly what kind of man you are and I know when I sit down at the table with you I can get your measure,’ ” said Clovis. “That’s really the calculus that’s in place.”

    Clovis said the problem in the Republican national security establishment is that the experts see everything in “micro- tactical” terms and want to solve problems immediately rather than taking a longer historical view. He said Trump’s narrower vision of America’s national interest is designed for the everyman.

    “People get it,” Clovis said. “And you know what, he’s absolutely right.”

    Sam Nunberg, who advised Trump on foreign policy early in the campaign before having a falling out with Lewandowski, told me that Trump’s foreign policy was “Reagan-esque realpolitik,” a stance designed to be able to make policies based on circumstances without being burdened by ideology.

    “Reagan would go after [Libyan leader Moammar] Gadhafi, but he would do business with Saddam,” he said. “It’s a case-by-case basis of what’s in American interests.”

    Trump’s foreign policy doctrine may be undecipherable from his public statements, and once articulated by his advisers it may be somewhat unsatisfying to experts. But it does exist. And it shows that as president, he would alter America’s global role in major way.

    _ Josh Rogin is a Bloomberg View columnist writing about national security and foreign affairs.

    For more columns from Bloomberg View, visit

  65. cripes

    @S. Brennan:
    “you are bullshitting me with a voluminous reply” much?
    Which replies to nothing. I already read it.

    Clovis is a clown. Trump is a clown. His website is made by clowns, like his non-existent foreign policy.

    You can’t even find the words foreign policy there, ’cause it’s soooo secrect.

    Step back and take a breath before you hyperventilate.

  66. S Brennan

    Why they hate Trump
    by Justin Raimondo, February 29, 2016
    Print This | Share This

    On June 14, 1918, a nineteen year old Italian soldier by the name of Bernardo Vicario was ordered by his commander, Carl Rigoli, to carry out a curious task. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Italian forces would soon be hit with a furious bombardment that would mean the death of most of them. Rigoli clearly knew this, which is why he told young Bernardo to write an inscription on the ruined wall of a home in the village of Fagare, where they were holed up:

    “Better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep.”

    Rigoli perished in the battle: Bernardo lived to tell the tale. And almost a hundred years later, a researcher looking for ways to smear GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump stumbled across a reference to it and attributed it to Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator.

    A reporter for Gawker, the notorious gossip site that’s been sued for libel more times than I care to discover, had set up a parody Twitter account named “Il Duce,” and the reporter, one Ashley Feinberg, tweeted the not-said-by-Mussolini quote at Trump, who promptly retweeted it. Shortly afterward, Trump was confronted by reporter Chuck Todd, who wanted to know why he was retweeting something said by Mussolini. Trump wouldn’t back down: “It’s a great quote,” he said, quite correctly. That refusal, and the content of the quote itself, underscores and explains why he is wining and why the hysterical smear campaign directed at him and his campaign is failing big-time.

    But why – why do they hate him with such ferocity? The accusations of “racism” and the way he speaks without regard for upper class niceties doesn’t explain the intensity of the hatred coming from the journalistic wolf pack and the Washington crowd. After all, shortly after Trump raised the issue of whether we should allow Muslims into the United States, the House of Representatives passed a bill – supported by libertarians like Rand Paul as well as mainline Republicans and Democrats – making it all but impossible for immigrants from Muslim countries to resettle here, or to even get a tourist visa. Yet we heard very little about that.

    So where is all this vitriol coming from? David Stockman, former chief of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, nails it:

    “To be sure, there is much that is ugly, superficial and stupid about Donald Trump’s campaign platform, if you can call it that, or loose cannon oratory to be more exact. More on that below, but at the heart of his appeal are two propositions which strike terror in the hearts of the Imperial City’s GOP operatives.

    “To wit, he is loudly self-funding his own campaign and bombastically insisting that America is getting a bad deal everywhere in the world.

    “The first of these propositions explicitly tells the legions of K-Street lobbies to take a hike, thereby posing a mortal threat to the fund raising rackets which are the GOPs lifeblood. And while the “bad deal” abroad is superficially about NAFTA and our $500 billion trade deficit with China, it is really an attack on the American Imperium.

    “The American people are sick and tired of the Lindsey Graham/John McCain/George Bush/neocon wars of intervention and occupation; and they resent the massive fiscal burdens of our outmoded but still far-flung alliances, forward bases and apparatus of security assistance and economic aid. They especially have no patience for the continued huge cost of our commitments to cold war relics like NATO, the stationing of troops in South Korea and the defense treaty with the incorrigible Japanese, who still blatantly rig their trade rules against American exports.

    “In short, The Donald is tapping a nationalist/isolationist impulse that runs deep among a weary and economically precarious main street public. He is clever enough to articulate it in the bombast of what sounds like a crude trade protectionism. Yet if Pat Buchanan were to re-write his speech, it would be more erudite and explicit about the folly of the American Imperium, but the message would be the same.”

    All this was on display during the Houston GOP debate, and yet its significance was lost amid all the histrionics. To begin with, look at this exchange between former AIPAC employee Wolf Blitzer, the moderator, and Trump:

    “BLITZER: You said this about the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians – I’m quoting you now: ‘Let me be sort of a neutral guy. I don’t want to say whose fault it is, I don’t think it helps.’

    “TRUMP: Right.

    “BLITZER: Here’s the question. How do you remain neutral when the U.S. considers Israel to be America’s closest ally in the Middle East?

    “TRUMP: Well, first of all, I don’t think they do under President Obama because I think he’s treated Israel horribly, all right? I think he’s treated Israel horribly. I was the grand marshall down 5th Avenue a number of years ago for the Israeli Day Parade, I have very close ties to Israel. I’ve received the Tree of Life Award and many of the greatest awards given by Israel.

    “As president, however, there’s nothing that I would rather do to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors generally. And I think it serves no purpose to say that you have a good guy and a bad guy.

    “Now, I may not be successful in doing it. It’s probably the toughest negotiation anywhere in the world of any kind. OK? But it doesn’t help if I start saying, “I am very pro-Israel, very pro, more than anybody on this stage.” But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors, because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace, finally, for Israel and for their neighbors.

    “And I can’t do that as well – as a negotiator, I cannot do that as well if I’m taking … sides.”

    That is nothing short of remarkable, especially if one recalls the Mitt Romney-Barack Obama debate in which both competed with the other in proclaiming their absolute fealty to Israel and their refusal to even recognize that there are two sides to the issue. Marco Rubio was outraged by this unprecedented display of common sense, and launched into one of his robo-responses, repeating word-for-word some editorial he’d probably read in Commentary or the Weekly Standard. And in the course of it he said something remarkably stupid: “The Palestinians are not a real estate deal, Donald.”

    Now one assumes he meant the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t about a real estate deal, but the reality is that’s precisely what it is – a real estate deal gone bad. It’s all about land. And it will take fair-minded negotiating and – yes – deal-making to solve that festering problem. Rubio cannot acknowledge this because his donors won’t let him. As a creature of Imperial Washington – where Israel is always right and the Palestinians are always wrong – Rubio can’t allow himself to say or even think that.

    Another example of why Trump has roused the ire of the political class: in refuting Rubio’s misleading accusation that he did not change his position in August 2011 and come out publicly against the Libyan intervention and starting another war in Syria – both of which he has denounced in no uncertain terms – Trump said this:

    “If these politicians went to the beach and didn’t do a thing, and we had Saddam Hussein and if we had Gadhafi in charge, instead of having terrorism all over the place, we’d be – at least they killed terrorists, all right?

    “And I’m not saying they were good because they were bad, they were really bad, but we don’t know what we’re getting. You look at Libya right now, ISIS, as we speak, is taking over their oil. As we speak, it’s a total mess.

    “We would have been better off if the politicians took a day off instead of going into war.”

    I bolded the above because it succinctly sums up not only the Trumpian foreign policy but also Trump’s critique of the past twenty years. And to make things even scarier for the War Party, he wants us to pull back from policing the world to attend to business that must be attended to:

    “We can no longer defend all of these countries, Japan, Germany, South Korea. You order televisions, you order almost anything, you’re getting it from these countries. Whether it’s a Mercedes-Benz, or whether it’s an air conditioning unit. They’re coming out of these countries. They are making a fortune. Saudi Arabia, we are defending Saudi Arabia. Before Before the oil went down, now they’re making less, but they’re making plenty. They were making $1 billion dollars a day.

    “We defend all of these countries for peanuts. You talk about budgets. We have to start getting reimbursed for taking care of the military services for all of these countries.”

    Trump has called for pulling US troops out of Europe, where they’ve been sitting since the end of World War II: these countries are rich, he argues, and have to start defending themselves. He also questions what they have to be afraid of in Putin’s Russia, declaring he could get along with the Russian leader, with the implicit assumption being they could too.

    Indeed, Trump challenges every major new American incursion into regions where it doesn’t belong: Syria, where he wonders why we’re subsidizing “rebels” and “we don’t’ know who they are”; Ukraine, which he disdains as simply a backwater where we have no interests; and Libya, where he points to the chaos caused by Hillary’s war and where we’re getting ready to revisit.

    Trump represents a deadly challenge to the high command of the War Party – the neoconservatives who lied us into war in Iraq – and were called out for it by him. These people are the main driving force that is ideologically committed to maintaining Washington’s imperial pretensions even as we plunge further into bankruptcy. They are behind the vicious smear campaign that equates Trump with Mussolini, Hitler, David Duke, and the Devil himself. They see that they are losing control of the GOP – their pathway to power – and they are reacting like the cornered rats they are.

    If Trump gets the Republican nomination the neocons are through as a viable political force on the Right. That’s why National Review devoted a whole issue of their magazine to the theme “Against Trump.” That’s why the neocons’ allies in the media are going after him hammer and tongs. That’s why neocons like Robert Kagan are openly declaring they will support Hillary Clinton, while others – including the formerly libertarian network of organizations funded by Charles and David Koch – are financing a “Stop Trump” campaign. There is even talk of the (impractical) idea of running a third party candidate in order to take votes away from Trump.

    The rats are converging, squealing up a storm of abuse, and resorting to the most obvious smear tactics in order to keep their bread-and-butter on the table. Yet this, too, will backfire, just as all the other attempts to stop Trump have flopped – because people have had enough. They beyond angry – indeed, they’re happy! Overjoyed by the sight of the political class on the run – and determined to make them run even faster.

    I hear Trump wears a bullet-proof vest, and has done so for years. If I were him I’d guard my head – and watch my back.

    This is not to say I personally give one iota of political support to Trump – and doesn’t endorse candidates for any office, period. David Stockman’s piece, linked above, describes some of the pitfalls of Trumpismo, which I fully endorse. Yet that is not my purpose here.

    If Trump secures the nomination, the way is paved for transforming the GOP from the party of perpetual war to the party that honors the long-forgotten “isolationist” Sen. Robert A. Taft, who used to be celebrated as “Mr. Republican.” And if Trump actually wins the White House, the military-industrial complex is finished, along with the globalists who dominate foreign policy circles in Washington. While Trump is no libertarian, the effect of this sea-change in the foreign policy realm will be to objectively cut the dominance of federal power in our lives, first of all by saving us from bankruptcy and freeing up resources for the private sector, and secondly by reducing the blowback that has empowered terrorists.

    Don’t be fooled: GOP bigwigs aren’t afraid Trump will lose to Hillary. They’re afraid he’ll win.

    Trump, for all his crudity and contradictions, represents a populist uprising against the Empire and those who profit from our imperialist foreign policy. That’s why the political class hates him – and has vowed to destroy him.

  67. sglover

    ” …if Trump actually wins the White House, the military-industrial complex is finished, along with the globalists who dominate foreign policy circles in Washington. While Trump is no libertarian, the effect of this sea-change in the foreign policy realm will be to objectively cut the dominance of federal power in our lives, first of all by saving us from bankruptcy and freeing up resources for the private sector, and secondly by reducing the blowback that has empowered terrorists.”

    This is a lab-grade specimen of the wish-thinking and psychological projection that constantly turns up in Trump apologetics.

    Trump has stated the blindingly obvious: The Iraq war was a disaster, launched by lies. It’d be nice if he’d said as much back in 2002, when it counted (a lot of us did), but anyway, good for him. From that, how does it follow at all that “the military-industrial complex is finished” under Trump? I don’t think the crowds bellowing for Trump have a problem with the Pentagon’s budget at all. I think many of them would be happy to see it **increased**. And I’d be surprised if Trump himself has **any** concrete idea of what he’s going to do with the military budget.

    And from this bit of projection Raimondo sketches out a happy, prosperous, blowback-free future.

    I have no idea of what Trump proposes for the Pentagon, or foreign policy. But I do know that I’ve heard him promise “better” torture — always to rapturous applause. Call it hypocrisy, call it a double standard, but at least up to now American politicians have typically denied or minimized allegations of torture. I have a really hard time believing it’s a healthy sign that now they shout endorsements of it.

    Mr. Welsh is right, this thread is an eye-opener.

  68. sglover

    Jesus Christ. S Brennan sez:

    “We [the USA] have been under authoritarian rule for some time, our media has been on lock-down since the early 80’s,”

    Right. Which is why we’re all typing at each other about how rotten the political and economic system really is. I mean, I believe in notions like “manufactured consent” and “repressive tolerance”, but… “Authoritarian?” “Lock-down?” The way you use those terms negates their meanings.

  69. Lisa

    S Brennan. Note on another thread I gave conditional approval to some of his economic policies.

    The key thing that is good about Trump is his rejection of a lot of the neo-liberal economic policies that have empoverished the majority of working classes in most western countries.

    The devil is in the details and the implementation. Whether he can translate that into actual working policies and actions is another thing.
    The other issue is the irresistable urge to ‘pay off’ white working class people by demonising others (immigrants, LGBTI, etc, etc). The problem is with an uneducated working class what appeals to them more, what will get their vote?
    Then there are the evangelicals, without which he cannot get elected. How far does he have to pander to them?

    Right now Trump is having a bet both ways But if he gets into power he wil face entrenched internal opposition since the mechanisms of Govt and all the various agencies are to all intents and purposes totally neo-liberal and neo-con. They are also totally fragmented (ref Syria, parts of the US Govt supports Syrian groups to fight other US supported groups….).

    These will, at least, foot drag any actions he takes. To break through that and a hostile Senate (and the GOP senators will be very hostile to him) he will need massive popular support to bludgeon through.

    And therein lies the danger, to throw a lot of groups to the wall to keep the white working class and evangelical support he will need.

    The comparisons to Mussolini are more apt than most think. He too wanted to reform Italy but the internal opposition was too great for him to achieve much economically, let alone socially. So he hunted down communists and socialists and in doing so actually entrenched more power to the ossified Italian elites…. In the end he tried war as a method of giving him the power to change Italy…and that failed miserably too.

    He was caught in the trap Trump will face, not being able to find enough competent right wing people that wanted to change the economy and society.
    Being right wing the very people Trump can draw on to replace all the various Govt and administrative elites are all card carrying neo-liberals.

    This is where Sanders has a big advantage, if he is ruthless enough. He can tap onto a lot of talent that is non neo-liberal. If necessary he could replace just about the lot of the DC elites with some pretty good people. That is not an option Trump really has, his available talent pool is far smaller.

    So in that environment of probable failure, throwing ever more groups to the prejudices of those who elected him is going to be hard to resist.

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