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

This Is a Constitutional Crisis

(This piece is by Stirling Newberry)

This is a constitutional crisis. However, instead of the crisis arising all at once, for all tiers of society, some tiers have gotten what they need–without the others getting what they need.

The banking system collapsed in 2008, but is doing fine now. This is because the banking sector, along with those who depend on it, figured out what banking’s basic problem was in 1929-1932, but they have no concern with the other parts of the system. If your wealth depends on not having a gold standard, all well and good. But there were other problems in 1929-1932 that they didn’t bother solving. This is one of them.

In 1932, there were other problems besides the banking system imploding. For example, child labor was an issue. What happened in that time is that one man understood there were solutions and a check upon the system which had to be enacted together. He also knew that certain solutions would not be made palatable until their maw wrapped around the country.

This man’s name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He knew, for example, that the United States would have to go to war, but he also knew that such a step would not be palatable until much later. On the other hand, there were problems that had to be moved against immediately, and there were also problems–however extreme they might have been–which had to wait for the public to view them.

So many things were done at the last minute, many other things were put off for a generation. A few things were done which were abominable even by the standards of the time, such as the imprisonment of people who were of Japanese descent during World War II. In other words, there was no guarantee that everything would be done correctly, only that enough things were done in time. The check was that when it counted, enough people would do the right thing.

In 2012, we were again in a crisis, but the well-off thought that they had a solution, which did not involve handing so much power over to the public. Their solution was inadequate, but they did not see it in their equations. Instead they waited for the chance to assume power with almost no limit. The result is a Trump Presidency. In this presidency, certain, small things can be done for a class that has been ignored, but in the larger sense it is ultra conservative: Money will rule everything.

The problem they didn’t factor into their equation was with healthcare, and what will happen to people who do not have it. States can do things, but enough states rely upon the federal government–because, in fact, those state are poor. The old system understood this, so the rich states formed a bargain with the poor states: If the poor would put up some money, the federal government would put up the rest. While this was a burden to the rich states, they were making enough money that they could afford it. This distribution from rich to poor had advantages for both; the rich states would be caught in a series of inflationary cycles, while the poor states were trapped in disinflation.

Now in 2016, the rich want more. This is because the rich are not really the creative class, though they assume they are, and they need more money to enrich themselves. Health care is something that everyone needs eventually, the only question is when. Since they have looted the federal government tax system, the rich are in a quandary: They another system to bankrupt. Presently, there are only a few. One is healthcare. The other is the environment. Both of these will not last, but that is not the problem of the wealthy–they are fixed on the now and the short term.

So the real problem is that the liberal party (the Democrats) has taken their eyes off the ball. Obama was too concerned about being rich to think about the consequences, and the Clintons were very much in the same mold. They reversed the old system’s bargain: Instead of giving a great mass of the people a chance to make them selves rich, and then pocketing the difference for themselves (and remember, the great heroes of liberalism were also very rich by the end of their terms–they enriched themselves and gave just enough, or what they assumed was just enough, to be poor).

The problem is that they have not been dealing with a lumpen electorate. If one scans a large wall of books, one will find Leo Strauss, Ayn Rand, and other popularizers and intellectuals of the right. The problem is that they have been dealing with a conservative movement which has objectives, and is small enough to figure out ways of achieving them.

But now, our constitutional crisis begins with the fact that the popular movement knows that things are wrong. Because they do not have, in and of themselves, political power, they can only do things individually. When a state becomes conservative, people can only do one thing: Move. So, they move to the states that are more liberal. This has been documented by The Big Sort, by Bill Bishop. In fact, this problem should have been a priority for the federal government, and the Democratic party was, itself, part of the problem. Instead of making the country rich and making money, it reversed itself and made money, giving only the bare minimum. Some would make them selves rich, but many more became poor. This was fine for the Wall Street types who paid the Democratic party elites (including Bill and Hillary), but it created a wave of people who could not move from their state, and thus found few opportunities to make money.

The Republican party thought they had an answer: Real estate. And so for six years, from 2002-2007, there was a binge. Banking’s infrastructure managed, sagged, and then exploded. The Republican party thought that they would be fine, as they had learned that easing of money in a time of crisis was essential. Not for the poor, but for the rich. The rich would eventually pay it back, if not it could be forwarded indefinitely.

So the populace moved to the coasts, and the rich could make money on them doing so.

Now for the crisis: We could, by means of a treaty, create a popular mechanism for electing a president. But–and this is a very large but–that does not do any good for the populace who cannot, or will not, move. The draining away, the big sort, needs to be fixed. So even if we created the is a popular election mechanism, it wouldn’t change the fact that a large majority of states are retrograde. In terms of healthcare, climate change, and other problems–including the reborn banking crisis.

This is what we are up against, not a minor crisis, nor even a major one, but a constitutional crisis. Because a Trump presidency will eventually have to make unreal news real. It cannot help itself: The “facts” upon which it was collected are unreal, and, in no small number of cases, ugly unreal. There are people who do not look like “people” to the Trump voter, and they will do something about this. We may have one more chance, though I do say “may.” It is a return to a thought process, not just a mode of governing. A thought process which looks ahead, and sees problems long before they become a problem.

The alternative is destruction of the environment, and of people who are different, disabled, or locked in to a place. The new Democratic Party is still very much real, and though those who control it cannot govern the country, they can squash people who are disenchanted with them. Remember, a great deal of the country will have to get behind what could be called “The New New Deal.” They will have two have this problem explained, not in one long lesson but in short bursts. The need to have it explained why Kennedy was able to wedge himself in, but our new president cannot. There are a host of reasons, and they need to be drilled into the minds of those people who will do the explaining.

We need to do this now, because there is no then. This is our last chance.


The Votes by Income Graph Does Not Prove Working Class Whites Didn’t Break for Trump


The Imperial Trump Court


  1. Michael Wolfe

    So glad to hear from Stirling. Missed you, we’re going to need you.

  2. zot23

    Great to have a guest post by Stirling, thanks!

  3. Ché Pasa

    If nothing is done between now and January to correct the growing political imbalance in the country, Trump will go into office more fully delegitimized than any president in history. His reign will be a nightmare, not just for the masses but for his own shrinking constituency.

    The country may well split apart. There are already rumblings of secession or self-declared autonomy on the coasts. But what will happen to New Mexico and Colorado wedged between Texas and the world?

    I think Our Rulers are becoming conscious of how unstable and unsustainable the situation is. The question is whether they will resort to force against the growing refusal to accept the results or will they try to find an accommodation?

    Sterling is right that this is a constitutional crisis.

    But what to do?

  4. Little steps first…

    This piece, and the ones that will follow it, needs to be put on the public agenda. that means that the mechanisms ( twitter and Facebook) need to be pointed at this. if you can do that, it is a tiny step towards getting the idea that this is like the drafting of the constitution, of the Jackson revolt, the outbreak of the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the 1960s in terms of its importance.

    If you like this post, then advertise. There are of course many other steps to take, but first of all this needs to be on the agenda – because there are many people who realize that this is not an ordinary crisis, and if they see other people saying the same thing, they will speak out as well.

    It is in your hands, because the elites have truly messed this up, and royally so. we are not spectators, we are the players.

  5. Dan Lynch

    Meh. The government is doing exactly what the founding fathers intended — protecting the rich. There is no constitutional crisis.

    We have an inequality crisis, to be sure. And an environmental crisis. And a foreign policy crisis.

    FDR was elected as a conservative, on a promise to balance the budget and reign in Hoover’s wasteful spending on public works. FDR was forced to the left, somewhat reluctantly, because people were rioting in the streets, revolution was in the air, and Huey Long was threatening to run as a spoiler candidate in 1936. Eleanor probably pushed FDR to the left, too. My point is that the crisis of the Great Depression was not resolved at the ballot box.

    The South American countries have demonstrated that seemingly intolerable inequality can persist indefinitely, though marked by occasional coups, civil wars, high crime rates, and social unrest. So if you are thinking “we have reached a boiling point and something must give,” think again — we can remain at the boiling point for the rest of our lives. The rich don’t care, as long as they are comfortable in their gated communities.

    I wish I had something positive to contribute to this conversation, but I don’t. Our political situation is bad, but our environmental situation is worse. It’s going to get ugly, and political niceties will be the least of our worries.

  6. In case you have not noticed, it is not 1787. Or are you one of the Republicans who thinks so?

  7. David Casabonne

    Good to see you are still voicing your opinions, and trying to make and effect change!!!!

  8. different clue

    I hope Tony Wikrent is also given occasional guest-posting privileges here. He could offer some descriptions and explanations of the economic facet of our problem. He is only the second place where I ever saw Henry Carey and The American System ever even mentioned. ( Acres USA and Charles Walters was the first).

  9. Ian Welsh

    Tony is welcome to post here. He has done so in the past a couple times.

    I hesitate to ask people too often, since I do get some money from the blog, and I am not in a position where I can afford to share it out.

  10. Well, I for one would never ask for money. 🙂 If I were miffed at not getting a cut, I have other gigs. I prefer this one for certain kinds of content and for thrashing out certain sorts of issues.

  11. Max

    I’m happy to see that you’ve gotten better. How do you see the tariffs and taxes trump has planned working out?

  12. Ché Pasa

    @Dan Lynch

    It’s ugly now, and it’s going to get uglier. How much uglier depends on what the powerful choose to do in the face of revolt against an illegitimate Presidency that they’re trying to force on an appalled and more and more resistant public.

    They could — sort of — get away with it with Bush2, but this time, no. They will either have to crush the revolt which will have unpredictable blowback repercussions, or they’ll have to find a way to accommodate the People’s outrage and anger.

    And that is a constitutional crisis whether you believe it to be or not.

    Trump represents an existential threat to many millions of Americans — for example, the majority who didn’t vote for him — and is a threat to a faction of the High and Mighty, and to the environment. That alone is enough to for those in power to consider radical moves like canceling the election altogether, setting up yet another constitutional crisis.

    Their choices narrow every day. I’d say they have no more than two weeks to figure out what to do.

    Strap in. It’s gonna be a rough ride.

  13. Michael H Goldhaber

    I don’t see much evidence backing up your assertions, such as that Obama was too focused on being rich. Rather his own political experience taught him the need for moderation, as laid out in his book, “The Audacity of Hope” . Facing a heavily Republican and moderate Democratic Congress, he moderated a little too far. Don’t forget the Republicans were sworn to defeat him from the word “go.”

    The truth is that pundits such as economists just were not concerned with the individual and community costs of economic change, and even well-meaning Democrats trusted them. In addition, there were victims of technological change—not only automation, but things like the replacement of photographic film with electronic photography, which destroyed Kodak, the main employer in Rochester NY. Behind and beside that was plain old racism, which has kept the South solidly Republican ever since the voting rights act of 50 years ago.

    The real question is this: How do the victims of change, whether the change is seem as basically good, neutral, or bad, get compensated? It took decades to compensate the Japanese-Americans wrongly incarcerated in WWI, The vicims of slavery and Jim Crow, not to mention Native Americans whose ways of life were foreclosed by settlement and military defeat are still waiting for compensation. What would be just and effective? How do we go about doing it?

    I don’t think anyone has particularly effective answers. Blaming Obama and the clintons for not doing better is trivializing the depth of the problem.

  14. The problem is the “old economy” does not work – and the rich do not have a plan for a new economy. This is what John Maynard Keynes talked about all of those years ago. letting the rich get richer is not a good idea, that is why the government needs to tax the rich to produce jobs the poor.

    This is old school.

  15. anonone

    It is not 1787. But the Constitution was designed to ensure the power of rich, white, male property owners.

    Mission accomplished, I’d say.

  16. Peter*


    My, what incendiary language you use apparently thinking you can lead the munchkin forces in some type of Jihad against the ‘illegitimate presidency.’ Trump and his supporters just destroyed the House of Clinton after earlier destroying the House of Bush the two main political power centers in Amerika and you think you’re going to stir up a bunch of dizzy true believers to install the Red Queen on her throne.

    I have been watching the humiliated powerless Clintonites go bananas at other sites and it’s only getting more hysterical, delusional and ugly. They seem to be acting out much of the reactionary program that they projected onto Trump supporters.

  17. Will

    WTH? I’ve been reading this site as a lurker for years and I’ve never seen this kind of unhinged nonsense. Especially from the normally well grounded commenters.

    Get a grip. There isn’t a thing illegitimate about this results of this election. Let alone a constitutional crisis. Jeez. Now forceably overturning it? That would qualify. But don’t worry, that ain’t going to happen. Period.

    Try running a real live FDR democrat instead of a shameless grifter. Try addressing the shameful treatment of the working class instead of insulting them. Try admitting that trade and immigration are being used as economic weapons instead of calling anyone who stayed the obvious a Luddite or racist.

    My God it isn’t that hard. Keep up the idiotic virtue signaling and hysterical posturing and Trump will end up building bridges to more of your constituencies and leave social liberals on a political island with Wall Street execs and a few sad gray hairs still fighting the 60s revolution.

    Again, get a grip. This site is filled with thoughtful and intelligent people. Grab a beer and relax.


  18. markfromireland

    an appalled and more and more resistant public

    That would be those of the electorate – which happens to coincide with the well-armed and well-organised part of the electorate – who were apalled by the prospect of more Clinton carpetbaggery and yet more unrestrained free trade, with all that that implies for their communities and prospects. Or are you talking about some other well-armed, socially cohesive. and well-organised section of the American populace?

  19. poppajee

    Ditto Will

  20. >There isn’t a thing illegitimate about this results of this election.

    This is untrue, at the very least it is one of the few election when the winner of the popular vote has lost the election. Clearly you know very little of American presidential politics.

  21. Will

    And since when does that make it illegitimate? Seems to me the electoral college did EXACTLY what it was designed to do: Limit the level of dominance of population centers or economic powerful regions.

    Maybe you should dial down the level of condescension and do a little background reading yourself. Or not. Your choice.


  22. V. Arnold

    Comfort dogs, hug centers, counseling centers?
    I’d say the first order of business is to fix the psychologically ill and fractured U.S. society.
    A bunch of grown up babies with the maturity of infants.
    Shameful post election behavior…

  23. Already answered this. The reason I am being condescending to you, is you take one version of the Constitution, and assumed it is the correct one. And at least at Harvard, you would be pan seared for advancing this model. Try reading Wilson “Constitutional Government in the United States” for a different model – having been the president means that it is at least widely regarded as important.

    Other thinkers you should be reading:

    Charles Beard
    S Sherry

    There is after all more than just Scalia’s approach.

  24. Ché Pasa

    The ahistorical nonsense being thrown around by Trump partisans intent on protecting and defending their chosen leader is the same sort of hooey we heard about the lawless installation of G W Bush 16 years ago.

    Look, electoral legitimacy comes from a combination of popular vote majorities and Electoral College majority. Cf: R Reagan, B Obama and many others. An Electoral College majority without a popular vote majority may get you into office, but it’s not going to secure electoral legitimacy. A popular vote majority without an Electoral College majority, won’t get you into office but it may well earn widespread honor while denying electoral legitimacy to the office holder.

    This isn’t hard to understand except for those in complete denial of how politics and human nature work.

    Every case of a president installed with an Electoral College majority but without a popular vote majority has been a constitutional crisis. This one is no exception. Simply denying that the popular vote total matters as so many Trump partisans are doing is not going to legitimize your candidate in the eyes of the millions upon millions of Americans who don’t want him in office and refuse to accept his (s)election.

    Are you going to force them to? Or what?

  25. Ché Pasa


    It’s not about Clinton. She can take care of herself. This is about Trump and the fact that his Electoral College victory without even a popular vote plurality or majority will make him an illegitimate President in the eyes of many millions of Americans who didn’t vote for him and don’t want him or his kind in office. The fact that his partisans are essentially trying to order everyone to accept his Presidency because of the Electoral College — and ignore the popular vote like they’re doing — is part of the reason why this is a constitutional crisis.  Millions of people refuse.

    Many of those have no interest in seeing Clinton take office either. Which makes it even more of a constitutional crisis. If one candidate assumes the office of President after failing to win a plurality or majority of the popular vote, that President will not have electoral legitimacy. But if the other candidate isn’t acceptable either, what is the resolution? The whole system shudders and may collapse.

    Some of us would find that an acceptable outcome, but it’s probably not ideal without thorough preparation.


  26. Will

    Or not…. Obviously.

    “pan seared… at Harvard…”

    Uh huh. Well there is some of that posturing I mentioned before. Harvard’s an also ran in my major/profession so I’ll have to take your word for it.

    But you carry on. Trump supporters are racist homophobes. The electoral college is illegitimate. There are no valid reasons Trump is preferrable to Clinton. All right thinking people agree with me.

    By all means continue your current path. Victory is right around the corner. The trust fund children, their anarchist soccer fan buddies, and the straight shooters at the DNC will give us all an education on how to overturn a constitutionally sanctioned US election.

    We’re all eyes here in the hinterlands.


  27. Max

    What is the old economy? Manufacturing?

    And what’s the new economy?

  28. Peter*

    I’ve seen some comment already comparing this to a Soros financed Color Revolution and there may be a grain of truth to that observation. The initial demos seem to be mostly spontaneous displays of fear and angst but larger organizations and their activists are starting to get involved and plan for a much bigger and organized display at the inauguration.

    The march on Trump’s Tower of Doom today only attracted a couple thousand people which isn’t many in NYC so a lot of money and minions will be required to try to grow this mission to protect the Grifter Queen.

    I can’t wait to see all those Left Cost luminaries and hangers-on boarding the tarsands oil fueled aircraft to fly cross country to save the planet.

  29. An illegitimate election because Clinton got more of the popular vote? Oh, please.

    In the nation as a whole she received 395,595 more votes than Trump, out of 120.5 million cast, which amounts to a 0.3% margin. Significantly less than half of one percent.

    She received a winning margin of 2,568,841 in California, a state which Trump wrote off from the beginning and in which he never even bothered to campaign.

    In the nation as a whole, then, excluding California, she lost the popular vote by 2,173,246 votes of 111.9 million cast, for a 1.9% margin.

    Do you really want California to dictate to the nation?

  30. James

    Ian, what is going on? I’ve read this through twice and I can make neither heads nor tails of Stirling’s main points. To be honest, much of this post reads like a left-wing version of Sarah Palin’s word salad.

    Take this paragraph, for example, what seems to be the crux of the argument (such as it is) – “This is what we are up against, not a minor crisis, nor even a major one, but a constitutional crisis. Because a Trump presidency will eventually have to make unreal news real. It cannot help itself: The ‘facts’ upon which it was collected are unreal, and, in no small number of cases, ugly unreal. There are people who do not look like ‘people’ to the Trump voter, and they will do something about this. We may have one more chance, though I do say ‘may.’ It is a return to a thought process, not just a mode of governing. A thought process which looks ahead, and sees problems long before they become a problem.”

    Reading just this paragraph 5+ times, with it’s odd wording (the facts upon which a presidency was collected were ugly unreal?!?) the nearest I can figure is that it claims that a Trump presidency will “not be able to help itself” from “doing something about this” to “people who do not look like people” based on “ugly unreal facts”. What does this claim even mean? Deportations? FEMA camps – oh, I’m sorry – internment camps? Worse? If so, this has to be the most obtuse Hitler inference I’ve ever read. And what’s the claimed potential solution? A return to a thought process that sees problems long before they become a problem. In other words, prescience, or predicting the long-term future. Does Stirling suggest a crystal ball? Perhaps tarot cards…

  31. marku52

    James: I’m with you . I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

  32. markfromireland

    @ Stirling S Newberry November 12, 2016

    The reason I am being condescending to you, is you take one version of the Constitution, and assumed it is the correct one.

    The correct version as you put it of your Constitution is the version promulgated by your Supreme Court in its decisions.

  33. markfromireland

    @ Bill H November 13, 2016

    Thank you, however I suspect that your attempt to not only introduce the facts into this “debate” but also inject some common sense is bound to fail in the face of the present company’s desperate need to construct a Dolchstoßlegende.

  34. markfromireland

    @ Ché Pasa
    November 12, 2016


    It’s not about Clinton.

    Millions of American voters disagree with you. There are the millions who recognised that she is an utterly shameless shill for the most predatory and dangerously unrestrained Financial Sector in your history and voted against her. There are the millions of women who voted for her because they wanted to “shatter the glass ceiling”. There are the voters who voted against her because they consider her to be a dangerous war monger. I think you’ll find that for the overwhelming majority of voters Clinton’s record and personality were very much what it was about.

    This is about Trump

    Who ran projecting himself as the polar opposite to Clinton yes.

    the fact that his Electoral College victory without even a popular vote plurality or majority

    There is the tiny difficulty that going for an Electoral College victory was the strategy adopted by both sides. Trump’s team were better at it and won. You should also see Bill H’s comment above. Clinton’s popular majority is within the margin for error – it’s less than ½ of of 1 percent. Are you really trying to pretend that that is a mandate?

    will make him an illegitimate President in the eyes of many millions of Americans

    You don’t actually know that do you? It’s unknowable. Until you see “many millions of Americans” as you put it specifically denying that his presidency has legal or political legitimacy and acting to replace him with a president whom they consider to have both legal and political legitimacy your statement is just so much political flim flam

    who didn’t vote for him and don’t want him or his kind in office.

    They should have worked harder to prevent him winning shouldn’t they? The fact is that the man is the legitimate President elect of the USA. The USA is a Republic with strong democratic elements and with constitutional provisions – including the Electoral College, to prevent the democratic process descending into demagoguery.

    The fact that his partisans are essentially trying to order everyone to accept his Presidency because of the Electoral College — and ignore the popular vote like they’re doing — is part of the reason why this is a constitutional crisis. Millions of people refuse.

    Make your mind up. Either you are a country of laws or you are not. If you want to alter your Constitution all you have to do is call a Constitutional Convention and change pr abolish the provisions which you find distasteful. Alternnatively you could try armed rebellion. Lots of luck with either of those courses of action.

    Many of those have no interest in seeing Clinton take office either. Which makes it even more of a constitutional crisis.

    This does not follow in logic – what point are you trying to make.

    If one candidate assumes the office of President after failing to win a plurality or majority of the popular vote, that President will not have electoral legitimacy.

    First this is not the first time in which a President of the USA has been lawfully elected President without gaining the popular vote. Secondly as BIll H points out above Clinton’s popular majority is less than ½ of of 1 percent. As I point out above that’s within the margin for error – well within it.

    But if the other candidate isn’t acceptable either, what is the resolution? The whole system shudders and may collapse.

    The resolution is to uphold the rule of law under which the man was lawfully elected. Both his team and the losing team adopted the strategy of ignoring swathes of the country in favour of gaining enough small victories in the Electoral College to be lawfully elected as President of the USA. His team won. If you refuse to uphold the rule of law then you are going to collapse both as a unitary state and a society. You haven’t recovered from your last civil war I’d pause for long and hard thought before starting another one if I were you.

    Some of us would find that an acceptable outcome, but it’s probably not ideal without thorough preparation.

    A USA that collapses into a set of squabbling and mutually antagonistic regional powers is entirely possible there are many outside of the USA for whom that would be a pretty ideal situation. Americans being treated by their fellow Americans with the viciousness and contempt with which you’ve consistently treated others coupled with your removal as a strategic threat, what’s not to like?

  35. Well, aside from the fact that it won’t precisely be like that: a collapse into instability is likely not to lead to less global viciousness, but more, and not only from Americans. The answer is not to hope that polities collapse into instability, but that they cease to see their interests in violent foreign policies.

  36. markfromireland

    @ Will November 12, 2016 –

    You’re wasting your time. Newberry is right in one respect which is that if what for lack of better terms I’ll call the American centrists and Left are to have a political future then they need to do what American conservatives such as Phyllis Schlafly and Frank Gaffney did and accept that gaining political power in a climate hostile to you is a long-term project.

    The American right wing is successful politically because they did make long-term plans and did so long before Regan was governor of California let alone President.

    Goldwater and Regan are the two most successful American politicians of the present era because they first set the agenda and the terms of debate in American political discourse and then moved to convert their agenda from aspiration to reality.

    They succeeded brilliantly. Which is why you have just had a “Goldwater girl” who has never moved far from her original politcal idol’s policies and beliefs contesting for primacy with a right-wing populist.

  37. I thought *I* understood what Sterling is saying. Yes, yes, it’s true that constitutional rules mean that this result is a perfectly legitimate one. That’s not the issue. The issue is what happens as populations in coastal states increase and their political interests diverge even further from the inner states, particularly the “swing states”. Then we will continue to have even more “legitimate” outcomes into the future, where an increasingly less representative population has its priorities taken to supercede the interests of the densely populated states, because of the electoral college formula. This could proceed even if the seats are allocated differently, simply because states have minimum representation requirements.

    (Side note: I personally think that geographically-based representation is for the birds. Poor person in Montana does not meaningfully have interests in common with rich person in Montana just because they both live in Montana — the poor person’s vote should clearly be counted with the poor people of California. But if you’re going to have geographical representation, it can never be fully representative: this problem always shows up.)

    So what this means is that the sorting of populations into states by interests acts as a centrifugal trend, as an increasing majority finds it systematically cannot get its interests represented in government. Those left behind in the shrinking states, on the other hand, become targets for hucksters who want to sell them scapegoating solutions that involve targeting people they’re unlikely to meet, because those people have moved to the big, underrepresented states.

    That, despite the rules-based legitimacy of the situation, represents a more fundamental crisis to the legitimacy of the constitution itself, a constitution that now becomes a document for the instrumentalization of the angry minority to attack the majority. This is a small gap now, but it will become an increasing gap in the future, by the same logic that had Democrats think they had a demographic lock on government into the future. Rather, that demographic lock is in places that are underrepresented, and therefore useless.

    Stirling, did I understand you correctly?

  38. markfromireland


    1: What part of “there are many outside of the USA for whom that would be a pretty ideal situation” did you fail to understand?

    2: The USA has demonstrated repeatedly that they are increasingly incapable of having a peaceful foreign policy.

    3: “The answer is not to hope ” people like me leave the hopey changey stuff to people like you which is why conservative people like me wind up winning elections and running governments and people like you wind up complaining impotently about what those governments do.

  39. RJMeyers

    I’m a little perturbed by how many people in the comments don’t seem to understand the post. This ties directly into why such a large portion of the US is in depression, why the coastal city denizens largely don’t understand, why the Democrats have failed to fix it, and why the Republicans have encouraged it. Also, how Trump won.

    Re-read until you understand. I’ve posted this to Facebook and am engaging there.

  40. 1: What part of “there are many outside of the USA for whom that would be a pretty ideal situation” did you fail to understand?

    I’m saying that it won’t, as in, be careful what you wish for. I’m saying that the actual breakdown of a hegemon under these conditions will likely lead to an even further escalation of violent emergency in places that the hegemon had originally acted. There is worse.

    2: The USA has demonstrated repeatedly that they are increasingly incapable of having a peaceful foreign policy.

    And whoever (if anyone) succeeds them will be faced with the same incentives, if nothing else changes.

    3: “The answer is not to hope ” people like me leave the hopey changey stuff to people like you which is why conservative people like me wind up winning elections and running governments and people like you wind up complaining impotently about what those governments do.

    But conservative people “like you” — judging by your comments, you’re against violent imperialism — haven’t won much, unless you count Trump. Which major imperialist has become less violently imperialist because people “like you” won?

    You’re hoping (and no, you have lots of “hopey changey”, whatever that is, everyone does, even the most jaded Trump supporter) for the removal of America as an international hegemon, which is completely understandable. But that won’t make the world as a whole less violent, without removal of the incentives for the assertion of hegemony in the first place.

  41. I’m a little perturbed by how many people in the comments don’t seem to understand the post. This ties directly into why such a large portion of the US is in depression, why the coastal city denizens largely don’t understand, why the Democrats have failed to fix it, and why the Republicans have encouraged it. Also, how Trump won.

    Re-read until you understand. I’ve posted this to Facebook and am engaging there.

    This post is not getting the discussion it deserves, IMO, because many people are trapped in a mental framework that pits Clintonian neoliberalism against anti-globalism. That will always lead them astray.

  42. > This post is not getting the discussion it deserves, IMO, because many people are trapped in a mental framework that pits Clintonian neoliberalism against anti-globalism. That will always lead them astray.


  43. To explain further, a crisis with one party ( for example Republican Party) is solvable by electing the other party. But that is not the case – both parties are corrupt. just because one of them is less corrupt, does not mean that both are not. A little corruption is not a bad thing actually, because money needs to be spent, and some extent, the best way is to allocated to corrupt little parties, because in the end they have to to reduce something. It is a kind of warped check and balance system, where money is thrown to corrupt local individuals, because in the end they have to spend it on something. So it limits the amount of corruption that they are able to do. we cannot get rid of all the corruption, just most of it.

    The Republicans run into the problem that the rich do not understand much of the country, so they form alliances with some of the most corrupt sectors of that economy. What made this constitutional crisis is the other party, the Democrats, also became corrupt when the specter of neoliberalism came to being. again, neoliberalism is the reward not the goal of power. you can have a certain amount of neoliberalism, and profit from it, So long as you understand that you have two take care of the majority of people in the country. Clinton and his ilk, especially his wife who did not understand the good old boy network, fell into this rather quickly. neoliberalism is a great way to make money, and given its full weight will destroy huge sections of the economy.

    So that is where the crisis is – corruption and neoliberalism as first in line, not last in line. The post asks a simple question ” so now that we are truly in this mess, what are we going to do about it?”

  44. Peter*


    You seem as delusional as CP in your own way when you refer to the democrat party as having become corrupt recently and therefore must see a golden era when they were not the corrupt war party, which never existed.

    I wish someone could identify this ‘we’ you and others call on when you ask ‘what are we going to do about it’? The controlling majority of the so called left/liberal population just voted for the status quo and many of them are showing signs of a psychic breakdown because they didn’t get their extreme centrist icon installed. This is not a group I would want to choose the ‘we’ from.

  45. Will

    @markfromireland: You sir are correct, I am wasting my time. This is why I rarely post on internet sites. Hence once this post is made I am going to do an oil change and grease job on the car and the 4 wheel drive. Winter is coming. :p

    But I think it is absolutely amazing that after literally decades of ridicule and malign neglect the working class finally gets to get a man that speaks to their issues, they come out in force to vote, they eek out a win….. and ~now~ we face a constitutional crisis?

    Not when this class goes practically unrepresented for decades. Not when we have the views of solid majorities of the populace totally overridden by tiny but extremely powerful slices of the US. Not when the smell of graft and corruption has become so overpowering that millions upon millions write off voting as a waste of time.

    No! Of course not. It is only when social liberals reap a tiny harvest of consequences for siding with global interests over the needs of their own fellow citizens that the system is broken, reform is needed, and we are hurtling toward a constitutional crisis.


    This basket case of inanities that started this discussion and brought me off the sidelines (sadly) is a perfect illustration of confusing cause with consequence, base deflection, and, quite honestly, a heaping helping of sour grapes mixed with impotent passive agressive behavior.

    A point in case: The assertion that people of driven from their rural communities by an evil red state elite into the welcoming arms of blue state stalwarts who try to help but are powerless to do much in the end.


    No. They left their communities and cultures behind because their means of livelihood were taken away from them. These people were lined up and taken down by both parties not one. Both considered them uneducated, uncouth, and more than deserving of their fate. And the elite of BOTH parties got filthy rich doing it.

    It is a hard thing as a young man to watch the pillars of your community stand in line for government cheese. Literally. It is enraging to watch your supposed reps hide behind an army of academic economists armed with sophomore level math and otherwordly assumptions that tell you that the total devastation you are seeing around you doesn’t exist. The seething resentment that brought a man like Trump to power was justified in their eyes and mine.

    Don’t like it? Too bad. Keep insisting that it the motives were anything but real and justified. Keep posting snide tweets of unflattering photos that confirm your worst stereotypes of us. Keep insisting that just one more adjustment to messaging or another focus group of suburban mothers would have carried you to the promised land. It is entirely your choice.

    But please (and this only applies to a couple posters) desist with the veiled threats and thinly disguised power plays. It is sad, counterproductive, and hilariously out of touch with reality. Those children busting up windshields, chanting dreary slogans, and pretending they will force a change in the election results should go back to their safe spaces and shut up. They are out of their league. And if they attempt to disrupt the assumption of power by Trump as one comment suggested? They’ll get a quick, complete, and very brutal lesson in how the application of power is handled by those who know how to wield it.

    Meanwhile stay safe, keep up the good debate, and know there are many of us out there reading and thinking. We thank you all and especially Ian for providing us with such a great forum.


  46. Ché Pasa

    @ markfromireland

    I laughed out loud at your efforts to turn the discussion right back to Clinton because of Her Evil and ignore the elephant in the room, Mr. Trump — and the horrors he’s preparing to unleash.

    And ultimately to ignore the constitutional crisis that’s engulfing the US and its Ruling Clique.

    This situation is intrinsically unstable and cannot be sustained over the long term, nor does it look like it can be sustained over the short term.

    Something must be done, and as Sterling asks: “What…?”

    That’s the question. Your answer, like that of most Trump partisans, is simple: “Obey.”

    The response in the streets as the protests grow and grow is “No! Not this time.”

    We were commanded to “Obey” when Bush2 was lawlessly installed in the Presidency in 2000. Grumbling, most did at least for a while. The horrors of the Bush2 regime are still resonating, still causing untold harm to uncounted millions, and this time, when Trump is essentially promising to be Bush2 on steroids (albeit with different targets for harm) more and more of the people are simply saying “No, we aren’t going to agree and we won’t obey.”

    Constitutional crisis? You bet. Because basically, the entire structure of neoLibCon rule in this country is on the block. Constitutional conventions or attempting to use elections for purposes they’re not intended or designed for, or simply waiting for this phase of neoLibCon rule to peter out are no longer operative.

    I keep saying it’s not about Clinton, it’s about Trump, but with the expansion of the protests yesterday, and the police and at least one sniper firing on protesters in Portland, it’s now gone beyond either one of them. It’s about the whole apparatus of rule.

    Trump sowed the wind and he and the rest of the political class will reap the whirlwind.

    I’m not sure that anything they do now will stop the refusal to obey that’s under way.

    [Note: I’m starting to see complaints that the protests are “Soros-funded efforts to launch a Color Revolution.” I don’t believe that, but if that’s what’s going on, then Trump and the ruling clique are most likely toast. I don’t know of any ruler or ruling operation that’s survived the… process. Maybe you do, but I can’t think of one. If it’s successful, then the entire apparatus — neo liberal and neo con alike, the Constitution and all — gets swept away. Trump won’t matter, Clinton won’t matter, and the freaks in Congress and all their sponsors and owners become dust in the wind.]

  47. > You seem as delusional as CP in your own way when you refer to the democrat party as having become corrupt

    I made no assertion like this. You are the one chasing his inner demons. There is a tipping point when a party becomes too corrupt, that does not mean it was not corrupt. In fact, in 2007-2008 it was shown how corrupt the Democrats were, because they had allowed a Republican administration to play with the levers. But they got out of the immediate mess, and thought they were passed the worst of it. This was not the case.

  48. Tony Wikrent

    I will post quickly, as I need to get on the road and drive back home from the last tractor show of the year in Cumming, Ga.

    What is our system of government supposed to be? A republic. But a republic is so ill defined that even John Adams famously wrote that it means nothing and everything.

    Just as important: are there principles and policies of political economy that are supposed to distinguish a republic from other forms of government: monarchies, oligarchies, plutocracies, dictatorships, etc.?

    Having read deeply trying to answer these questions for myself, I will write in immediate response to some of the comments posted here:

    The US Constitution is NOT solely designed to protect the rich. The system of government definitely has been been to that end, but I do not believe that was the intent of Hamilton, the one Founder most responsible for laying the foundation of the USA economy (And remember, Washington used Hamilton basically as a prime minister, and agreed with or acceded to literally all of Hamilton’s economic beliefs and policies. This was in no small part a function of their shared experience at the pinnacle of American military command during the Revolutionary War, when they both identified Britain’s major strategic advantage to be Britain’s ability to raise funds and float debt through its financial system.)

    Culturally, the most important aspect of a republic is supposed to be equality, especially economic equality. This is of course contrary to the view that the government was set up solely to protect property and the accumulation thereof. It was not – at least, not by Hamilton.

    Economic equality is basic to a republic because, the idea was, no person can be fully independent and be a good citizen if their livelihood depends to some extent or other on another person’s largess, benevolence, or tolerance. This was the basis of the fight between the Hamiltonians and the Jeffersonians. Jefferson believed that only farmers who owned their own land were independent enough to honestly exercise the duties of citizenship. This is why Jefferson acceded to the Louisiana Purchase, which he would otherwise have opposed on the grounds that the federal government has no express power to acquire so much land. With the Louisiana Purchase, yeoman squeezed out of the established eastern seaboard would be able to cross the mountains, and buy, steal, or somehow take the land of the native Americans and set themselves up as independent farmers.

    Hamilton, by contrast, understood that the economy could not be frozen in time and remain entirely agrarian. Industrialization HAD to not only proceed, but be encouraged, for the USA to have any chance of resisting the intrigues and hostility of the European powers – which remained committed to eradicating the American experiment in self-government until the US Civil War. (France and Spain landed troops in Mexico and Caribbean at the beginning of the war; the Mexican republic was eliminated and Maximilian installed as puppet emporer; and the British were preparing to land troops in Canada in 1862, but were deterred by the pro-USA street fighting in London and elsewhere which was led by Garibaldi’s revolutionaries.)

    Hamilton’s great insight was that economic development depended entirely on improving the the productive powers of labor. This meant the development of science and technology, and the spread of machinery to replace muscle power. The correct view of Hamilton must be precise: it was not that Hamilton sought to encourage and protect wealth, but to encourage and protect the CREATION of wealth. (Read the section with “Machinery” in the title in Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures, if you want something to read today.)

    This is where Marxist analysis fails catastrophically. Yes, much of economic history is that of elites accumulating wealth through exploitation and fraud. BUT: how was that wealth which is stolen created in the first place? Thorstein Veblen, and his discussions of industrial organization versus business organization, are far more useful in understanding the COMPLETE economic story, not just the exploitation side of it. I believe that one you understand this, you can understand why Elon Musk is much more useful to society than Peter Thiel. Musk and Thiel are both rich: should they therefore both be opposed because they are rich, and we dislike our system of government which protects the rich? No. I admire Musk because he as used his PayPal lode to create new wealth (which takes the corporate forms of Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City), while Thiel has used his PayPal lode to fund libertarian ideas which are fundamentally hostile to what America is supposed to be. In Veblen’s analysis, Musk is an industrialist, while Thiel is merely a businessman.

    In the nineteenth century, it was generally understood that the system established by Hamilton was in opposition to the the “classical economics” of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, and the other apologists for the death and destruction wrought on entire countries by the British East India Co. and the British empire. In the 1820s, Henry Clay coined the term “American system” to distinguish it from the British system. Michael Hudson has pointed out that in addition to these two systems of political economy, a third was developed in the nineteenth century: Marxism.

    It is easy to be confused by American history, because at the same time that the American System was being built and practiced, the British system was competing with it for control of the domestic economy and polity. Michael Hudson has written at least two excellent overviews of this fight within the USA between the American and British systems. For now, the simplified version is that the British system was dominant in the slave South, and fought for free trade in opposition the American system’s protective tariff.

    Because Hamilton’s American System sees economic strength flowing from increases in the productive power of labor, labor naturally has a favored place in the system. Or, at least, it is not ignored and even denigrated as it is in the British system, which likes to focus more on such things as monetary aggregates, and physical hoardings of “wealth” such as gold. What made the New Deal work (and it should be understood that the GI Bill was one of the most important legal enactments of the New Deal, along with financial regulation and Social Security) was that it allowed labor to achieve parity with, if not superiority over, capital, represented by the financial system.

    The slow destruction of the Democratic Party since the Atari Democrats (see Matt Stoller’s recent article on how the Party lost its populist soul) and then Bill Clinton, is because it has come to accept the neo-liberal fantasy that finance is more important than labor.

  49. Excellent post – to write on the major tenets of what has happened – “The Big Sort”, ” what is a matter with Kansas?” “We the people” &c

  50. Ché Pasa

    @ Will

    And if they attempt to disrupt the assumption of power by Trump as one comment suggested? They’ll get a quick, complete, and very brutal lesson in how the application of power is handled by those who know how to wield it.

    Who exactly do you think will administer this “brutal lesson?” What makes you think they’ll succeed?

    Those who know how to wield the power you seem to think can be used against the sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters of the American people without repercussions are caught in the same dilemma the rest of the power structure is.

    It’s not just a question of what the people do in this situation, it’s a question of what the power structure does. If they simply try to violently force obedience, it would be a very Pyrrhic victory if it is a victory at all.

    If it happened, it would be such a triggering action that the consequences for Power would be a risk I think they don’t want to take.

    What other answer do you think there is?

  51. David W Farrell

    hey typo in 8th paragraph.
    Instead of- They NEED another system to bankrupt. The sentence is just- They another system to bankrupt.

  52. Dean Flemming

    The more I see on-line, the more I am convinced that this is a struggle between city and country. The countryside of course is eventually doomed: it has always been heavily influenced by urban culture; but it refuses to go down without a fight, however irrationally and desperately it chooses its champions. All the moral constants of thousands of years have been turned upside down in the past few generations: sexuality and gender identity, abortion, traditional social order, obscenity, drugs, education, capital punishment, man’s dominion over the nature, et cetera. What was good is now called evil. The fundamentalist rural voter has turned to Isaiah, “Woe unto them who call evil good, and good evil.” Trump will not give them anything they want, but they will grasp at any straw to save their traditions.

  53. Will’s comment reflects precisely what the people protesting Trump are afraid of: that the young man watching the pillars of his community collect government cheese will decide that among his his enemies are single black mothers who were long ago also collecting government cheese, but never had a president (yes, including Obama) elected on the strength of outrage about their treatment. Forget constitutional talk. That is the legitimacy crisis.

  54. Peter*


    I doubt it will be necessary for Obama to loose his jackboots on the poor Snowflakes before or after Trump takes power even with the Soros activists trying to herd these poor dupes into the killing pens.

    Crazy Mike Moore might be able to whip some of the impressionable ones into a suicidal frenzy at the inauguration but when they see the glitterati and activists slip to the back of the van they might realize they are expendable tools and fools.

  55. DanB

    Regrettably, I found Sterling’s essay recondite, even though I hoped it wold be straightforward because I respect him.

  56. what did you find abstruse?

  57. Lisa

    markfromireland: Well that’s got to be the most naive analysis of US politics I have ever read.

    “..gaining political power in a climate hostile to you is a long-term project.”. The people then were intellectually incapable of thinking long term, they were opportunistic and short sighted. In fact the few long term thinkers in the GOP warned about not getting into bed with the ’religious crazies’ at the time.

    Starting with Nixon (please read your history) the Republican embrace of the ‘religious right’ (RR), formalised with Reagan, actually followed a conservative big business strategy to attack unions, attack taxes on the wealthy and corporations, social security and all the rest, basically the hated Roosevelt consensus. They started pouring money in such areas in the 1950s to split the working classes.

    The basis was very simple (and used elsewhere by the CIA) religious conservative people are easily manipulated and led, they are easily conned into believing ‘what is right for the elites is what is right for me’ (part of the Authoritarian mindset). They are easily conned into being (as elsewhere) conservative economically, anti-union, pro-big business, against Government in social security (but not war or ‘national security’ which they love), pro war and all the sorry rest.

    We (or at least I) have talked about the ‘psychological wage; from identity politics.

    And that was the pay off they got. Authoritarian people are great haters of just about everyone. So they got ‘identity politics’ against blacks (duh), women, other minorities., the promise that ‘they’ would be demonised and kept in line.

    The creators and greatest users of ‘identity politics’ have always been the right wing in any society, ever.

    The ‘great con’ had them running around being ‘useful idiots’, ‘5th columns’ and ‘cannon fodder’ for right wing elites. Having their pockets picked while feeling all righteous helping the smashing of their unions.

    Those people have been studied, the bedrock of Hitler’s and similar people’s support. They will accept any leader provided they are given the encouragement and permission to express their hatred. They are seriously horrible and dangerous (in groups, they are always cowards) people.

    At about 25% of the population they are very useful electorally in the US since they vote in disproportionate numbers. It was a Faustian bargain for the Republican elites, as over time that very ability to organise meant they gained ever more influence over the Republicans, pushing it further rightwards and ever more extreme in social issues …against the major social trends in society. They also became (as always) easy targets for the ambitious looking to gain power as they are so easily lied to and led.

    Now you might (almost certainly don’t in fact) not like it, but the majority of US people support gays and lesbians (trans people are still lagging).

    So they were not a significant factor in the election, they voted Trump but they have always voted GOP. In fact Trump’s pandering to them nearly cost him the election, since it alienated so many others. He was far more popular when he was socially liberal, which is how he beat the extremely religious right Ted Cruz.

    It was other white men and women, many of whom had voted for Obama and would have voted Sanders, that swung in enough numbers to get him elected in some key states, bolstered by some black/latino people, normally Dem voters, that didn’t vote for Clinton.

    And please don’t start on the horrific bigoted fool Phyllis Schlafly a more racist, anti-women, anti-LGBTI person it is hard to find.

    Look white women are just as stupid about their self interests as white men are, the ‘religious right’ amongst them live in a fantasy land as well. They are against abortion, turn out in demonstrations against it and vote against it, but they have abortion at least the same rate as everyone else does (maybe higher) .. as well as taking contraception. They are also conservative about social security, health coverage , unions, minimum wages ..all of which they more dependent on that many others …again the (easily manipulated) stupidity is a amazing.

    To give an idea of how really stupid these people are, and hence how useful they are to the elites, I saw a picture of a sign that said ‘’”Keep Govt Out of Medicare”…yes really… Poll after poll show they are against social security (etc) and yet they are some of the biggest recipients.

    The election can be easily explained: Some white men woke up politically, some voted in protest, some responded to the hate. The white women vote is hard to explain except by political stupidity of the highest order. And Clinton was such a horrible candidate that some just couldn’t hold their noses enough to vote for her.

  58. Ché Pasa


    Shhh. You might burst his bubble. Heh.

    On the other hand, I like your analysis of how these things happen — as they have in our elections so often. Indeed, well before Nixon.

    Listing some of the groups that are definitely on the get ’em list is instructive for those who “don’t understand” what all the fear is about. Oh, they understand, all right. They’re just not bothered by it because of course they will never have targets on their backs, will they?

  59. Lisa

    Ché Pasa: I was re-reading Gore Vidal (arguably one of the US’s finest historians) and reading his stuff about Nixon and Reagan when they started tapping into the ‘religious right ‘ hate and stupidity, being all ‘so clever’.. was enlightening.

    These have been long term trends now (as he warned) coming to a head.

    The demonisation of LGBTI people, women, abortion and contraception is an endless constant in right wing US politics. And no one is more anti-worker, pro the rich, pro the ‘national security’ state, and pro war than the religious right is.

    This is what I wrote a little back:
    “Reading what he (Gore Vidal) wrote in 1981 or 1991.. and it could be today. Nothing has changed except for the worse, the rich richer, the poor poorer, ever more wars, the infrastructure ever more crumbled, ever more people in jail, the environment ever more destroyed, ever more power to the National Security state. The ever more manipulation of the self destructive stupidity of poor/working class white men. The ever more naked lies and hypocrisy of religious and conservative leaders. The ever more naked lies and hypocrisy of the so called ‘liberal’ leaders. The ever more appeals to the great middle eastern sky-god (Vidal’s words not mine) to justify any old hatred, violence and greed.

    The only thing better? A bit more acceptance and rights for LGBTI people and women, still endlessly fought against by the conservatives and the religious determined to police all sexuality for everyone. Except their elites and what they do with women, men and children, which is anything they want basically, to the rapturous applause of their followers who fantasize about doing the same.”

    Mark is from Ireland, almost certainly Catholic (with all its twisted sexuality and hypocrisy about it), an admitted ‘conservative’. LGBTI people are incomprehensible to him, and mass support for them even more so. He hasn’t studied enough about US history to understand the deep racism within it and how it has been endlessly used and manipulated by the elites. No one more so than Bill Clinton did, creating the mass prison society for black men, destroying social security and playing the real ‘identity politics’ of the US ..fear and hatred of blacks, women and LGBTI people.

    He mistakes the fight for LGBTI and minority rights as some big plot by the Dems, and ignores the real truth that the Dem elites fought just as hard against them as the GOP did and any progress has been in the teeth of bitter opposition from all political sides.

    Unless you are ‘on the other side’ it is difficult to understand it. I was, pre transition ( I am a transgender woman) , a very successful male. Only when I transitioned did I become aware of the hatred we get from certain sections of society, the ‘christian’ conservatives (especially the Catholic Church), the less religious social conservatives (they are always religious in some ways), the right wing authoritarians.
    And these people hate us, and are dedicated to eliminating us from society (even life itself). And you watch the others manipulating those people to gain their aims.

    Take a simple example, the Catholic Church and our ‘wonderful’ under investigation for child sex abuse Cardinel Pell. He made a deal with our conservative party here, the Church got money and he came out against any actions on climate change (he called it paganism no less).

    That’s how the game gets played. They get money and/or their social goals (anti-sex, anti-women and anti-LGBTI basically) then they support the economic aims of the wealthy and powerful and rally their idiot troops along those lines. Such as: ‘unions are communist and against religion, the family ..’ and all that tosh… that they spouted in the past (and still do) . In the US you can add the racism element as no one is more racist than the US ‘religious right’.

    So this is where the ‘bargain’ is, ‘give us xxxx .. and we will support the rich’ (and wars and all the rest).

  60. Lisa

    I’ll add the key beachhead by the right wing (often called zionist) Israeli’s has been through the US religious right. In a work of political genius they managed (despite the incredible hatred of Jews amongst them) to subvert them to right wing Israeli aims.

    And that has been a significant (not the only one of course but never to be underestimated) factor in US middle eastern policy and actions. The US religious right are the ‘spear carriers’ for Israeli influence in the US Govt and military.

    I am always amazed at commentators on US/Israeli links and policy that ignore that very important factor. You find a religious right person in the US and they are always a rabid Israeli supporter (for the moment that is).

    So the embrace by (usually but not always) the right wing and the elites in the US of the ‘religious right’ has been very damaging for the country, been great to help them get their economic and war aims sure, but the cost…. as long as that was confined to poor women (wealthy white women can always get their jobs, abortions and contraception) and LGBTI people then a price well paid has been their cynical calculation ..and who cares about the blacks.

    Now the US is going to get hard core ‘christian’ theocracy rammed right down their throat and all the racist boys are off the leash. Not exactly a formula for social stability and economic progress.

  61. Jim

    Well most members of the losing side in all this mess are certainly still buried in the Denial stage. A few perhaps have moved on to the Anger stage but they are pretty much just hysterical at this point still. Guess that happens when you get your butt kicked to the curb.

    I will say this though as a ideological Socialist and a former (not anymore) Bernie supporter. The Left in this country got exactly what it deserved. If there is another group of people in this world who are so incompetent, feckless, irresolute, arrogant, bigoted (yes I mean that), clueless than the leaders of the Democratic Party I would like to know who they are. And trying to imply that someone from Harvard has credibility or cache any longer is laughable. We would be better off in this country if we had a constitutional amendment prohibiting anyone from Harvard or Yale from holding public office. Jeez!

    IF you want your way in this world you have to fight for it. Bottom line. It is not possible to argue or reason your way to the front of the line in the super market let alone in politics. I don’t know how many people I tried to tell this year that the working class was reaching the limits of what they could tolerate and were going to fight (having grown up working class I understand them and will always support them). These people flailing around with their excuses and pointing fingers need to get out more. Travel the world and learn about other cultures. There is no place the kind of world you want exists. If you want to create it..fight for it. Dump everyone of the leaders of the Democratic party in the bin and build something useful. Or leave it like I am going to do and go another way. I will never support anyone who even hints that they were in line with these incompetents let alone was one of them.

  62. Lisa

    The amazing thing is how the elites in both parties both misunderstand and over estimate them. Their numbers are actually, even in the US, quite small (25% roughly), but they are very noisy. So their perceived influence is actually greater than it is.

    They are also easily manipulated for the aims of the wealthy and those war lovers so that this was irresistible for them (though people like Buchanan warned against it).

    Because they were (and are) given so much attention and influence despite their low numbers, in actuality they have now become more politically powerful, by grabbing some of the levers of power. It’s been a positive feedback mechanism.
    So much so in the GOP that even those that detest them (such as McCain) now have to pander to them despite them numerically being a minority even within the GOP….

    So to an large extent the manipulators have now become the manipulated. And that seems to have come to fruition with Trump where, unless there is some big change soon, all social policy is going to be dictated by the religious right (as per Ted Cruz if he had gotten in).

    And the right wing elites in the Dems, with their wet dream of creating a national centre right party (where they can dump the left and the blacks) comprising the right wing Dems and ‘moderate’ Republicans have done the same to a large extent too.
    By the numbers they are electorally insignificant to the Dems, yet at local, State and national levels they keep pandering to them. Only to his credit did Obama break ranks with that ‘elite Dem consensus’ on LGBTI (especially trans people) and their rights, though not in many other areas (he did it with Iran though).

    It is a weird psychology, I have watched for decades politicians in the UK, the US and Australia sucking up to groups and even throwing their own supporters under a bus for people that would never, ever vote for them anyway.

  63. David H

    @Lisa — So, a significant number of white men & women, plus the religious right, are just too stupid to understand what’s good for them. Just…wow. You don’t work for the DNC, do you? These people & their concerns, regardless of however much you condescend to & ridicule them, are real. Writing them off as stupid is exactly why we have President-elect Trump. A little long-term engagement would not go amiss. But better to just write them off & feel smug about being so obviously superior to them.

  64. polarseltzer

    There is not a constitutional crisis, you utter condescending twit. Trump won, deal with it. He’s already taking more moderate positions and he’s killed TPP, TTIP, and now Mexico and Canada are willing to renegotiate NAFTA. We also just avoided WW3. Yes, he will be disastrous for the environment and climate change, but if you haven’t noticed yet, Obama is allowing gas companies to break federal law and crack down hard on peaceful protests.

    Just because a bunch of little SJW cry babies are pissing their diapers, doesn’t mean this is a constitutional crisis. If anything, it’s the opposite. This will strengthen the left and will force them to move back to class issues instead of this toxic virtue signalling social justice crap.

    And if you don’t like the results, you vote in the midterms in 2 years, and the next general in 4 years, and this time, don’t nominate a fucking corporate whore. Got it, MEAT?

  65. tsisageya

    So. I see that you’ve taken the fear route, Sterling. Good for you, and yet, BULLSHIT.

    The end. I couldn’t even finish reading you from the very title.

  66. Lisa

    Some people here seem to think I ma exaggerating about the ‘religious rights’ (especially the Catholic Church) desire to eliminate all LGBTI and especially trans people from society…

    Well here are one example:
    “WASHINGTON — A pair of lawsuits filed on behalf of nine states, several religious orders and more than a dozen Catholic hospitals are challenging a new federal mandate that attorneys say requires doctors to administer hormonal drugs and perform transgender surgeries, even if doing so goes against their medical judgment or religious convictions.”

    “he first lawsuit against the rule, filed Oct. 21, is on behalf of the Franciscan Alliance, a network of 14 hospitals in Illinois and Indiana established by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical and Dental Society, an Illinois nonprofit. Eight states are also represented: Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona and Mississippi.

    The second lawsuit was filed Nov. 7 on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy — and two clinics they operate — and the Sisters of Mary of the Presentation, who also run a network of hospitals and clinics. Both are based in the upper Midwest. The state of North Dakota and the University of Mary, a Benedictine college in Bismarck, are also parties to the suit.”

    “Kevin Miller, a moral theologian at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, said the Church’s opposition to transgender procedures is also rooted natural law. That begins with the understanding that a person “isn’t a soul inhabiting a body, but, rather, a body-soul composite.” The integrity of the body is violated when individuals have a perfectly healthy body cosmetically modified to match their mental image of what their sex should be, according to Miller.”

    “Though the issue of “gender transition” is not explicitly discussed in magisterial documents, two encyclicals of Pope St. John Paul outline the foundational principles for opposing it. Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) reinforces Church teaching about the unity of the body and soul. A second encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Value and Inviolability of Human Life), warns of the pitfalls of considering nature to be “mere ‘matter’ for our manipulation,” Miller said. ”

    Note the exact same people and groups are against: any contraception (inclduing condoms), abortion for any reason including saving the mother’s life (several women have already died because if this) and of course gays and lesbians.

    And you still don’t think they want to eliminate us?

    Oh and here is the full article, and the disproven and debunked lies they tell..I thought lying was a sin for these people?

  67. wendy davis

    jeezum crow; really? head-scratching post and thread. well, for those of you who believe that the electoral college votes weren’t enough, there’s a petition to sign: ‘Electoral College: Make Hillary Clinton President on December 19’; it now has 4,113,246 ‘supporters’. you want a constitutional crisis? well, there it is.

    peek into
    well, shucks; too bad there’s a chinese stealth fighter J20 that looks just like a MIG…

    war pimps for the imperium are showing trump protests as commie walls, (hate to trip ian’s two links into moderation), but they’re also advising that in solidarity w/ the lgbtqi wearing a big safety pin (diaper pin?) , as though the asshole trump really is hitler, and will march people to the ovens.

    as a commenter at tarzie’s said: ‘fancy if these folks had hit the streets when two of the most deplorable and odious candidates were the duopolies’ choices?’

  68. Peter*


    I was wondering how you were holding up after the Trumpocalypse. These Snowflakes, as they’re being called, can e-sign anything they want but what little influence they once had is gone along with their Crooked Queen.

    The clowns over at Common Dreams are trying to sell the quaint notion that Trump doesn’t deserve credit for killing the TPP, it was all those powerful petition writers, signers and activists that really won the battle.

    I wake every morning with a grin on my face when I realize it’s another day without Clintons anywhere near power.

  69. Mudduck

    Yes, theoretically, the Electoral Collage can vote for anyone they please. So, if they don’t endorse Trump — why should they pick the other loser? They could choose Sanders!

  70. Ché Pasa

    Wow. So for Trump partisans it really is just a matter of commanding the libtards to do as they’re ordered, take their punishment and shut up. Gee. Who’d a thunk.

    When that’s all they have left, their flop sweat is all too real. They can’t handle the disobedience of their inferiors without flying into a violent rage. But then we knew that didn’t we?

    Not a crisis? Right.


  71. wendy davis

    @ Peter: briefly cuz i’m feelin’ rode hard ‘n put up wet after a very long day and scant sleep the past few nights. i’m okay, just finding the hysterical ‘certainty’ of projections of libruls over the blogosphere and print media what the odious T-man w/ the tourette’s mouth will do…astoundingly baffling.

    one thing i do know: the supermoon tonight & tomorrow night, is the largest and bad-assed closest and largest in decades. when i sang to her: ‘la luna bella’ as she rose over our neighbor menefee mountain, i howled, and some coyotes near the house sang w/ me. with the moon so full, the milkway ‘edge of our local universe’ has to take second seat, but that’s okay… the twins and orion are rising in the NE, harbingers of winter. the seasons roll on, the sun rises again, all w/o human interference. perspective.

    one thing i suspect (not entirely kidding) that john podesta’s devotion to inquiry on ufo’s was fine with me, as i’ve wondered if a visitation mightn’t be the only thing that could get humans to fuck their hubristic exceptionalism…and make accommodation/détente w/one another. fun perspective. is humanity a failed experiment? would evolution 2.0 from the dolphins and cockroaches create something…better? ach; the oceans are so toxic…who can say? but we’ve collectively ruined this planet, w/ the help of the climate star name brands who never were bold enough to say: ‘factory farming, the massive military carbon footprint, plus ‘consumerism’ is what’s at fault. and trump’s penchant for climate change denial will kill us? oy, if the sixth extinction ain’t baked in already some climate scientists are wrong as rain.

    dunno about T and the tpp for certain, but it does seem that mitch mc doesn’t want to bring it to a vote: before trump. one joke out and about is that so many tweeting pols and heads of state who’d gone crazy indicting the T-man as a fascist…are deleting their tweets and yanno, finding common accord. 😉 but tisa…is still alive, ceta has been signed, sealed, and delivered. few understand that most US multinationals have offices in…canuckistan. oooopsie.

    hadn’t heard ‘snowflakes’; hmmm. what’s it imply? i thought those were the rescued babbies from the anti-abortion militancy. no? T-man has as many public/private positions as the dethroned ovien queen, it seems. me? i’m a gonna wait and see, try to make community as i’m able (not very, considering), and love saying goodbye to the clinton crime family and neoliberalism, and hope that the most oppressed among us (people of color and other rabble) band together in movemental politics…and help us build a better world.

    not brief; sorry for the rant. need to step outside and gaze, don’t i? 😉 best to you, peter, and to all of us. sorry for any typos; mine eyes get even more crap by nighttime.

    i reckon that

  72. Ché Pasa

    that petition is a giggle isn’t it? The idea that anyone would make Clinton president at this point is nauseating, almost as nauseating as making Trump president. But gosh, golly, gee! 4 million signers and growing. Please. Desperation will do that to some people, though.

    It’s an existential crisis for many millions of Americans, including a whole lot of my Native American friends. Not so much for what Trump has done — most people, even the most vulnerable, can handle insults, threats and nasty words most of the time — it’s what they fear he will do once he has the power. March them to the ovens? Probably not, but private prison cartels are seeing their stock prices explode apparently based on the assumption that Trump will order the round up of suspected dark-hued aliens to be held for prompt deportation — or just held, who knows? Oh yeah, that’s actually what he said he would do just the other day. Millions and millions marched to the prison camps to await their fate. Ms Ché, being of the browner hue in a majority Hispanic county just might be one of them.

    That’s just point A. There are hundreds of others. But of course, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear. Right? Right.

    Tarzie is frustrated, so are a lot of people, that the Revolution didn’t come during the abominable campaign. He should know that the Revolution comes on its own time, not ours. Those in the streets now may be a harbinger, but they’re not even close to burning down the palace and hanging the aristos. Not yet.

    It’s a constitutional crisis for the ruling clique. I think they thought (wrongly) they could get away with either one of them, but chose Trump to keep his crazies from committing complete mayhem if he wasn’t awarded the Prize. Now they’re stuck. They can’t raise her to the throne, god no. They can’t justify putting him on the throne, but can only order that the Rabble accept him — which the Rabble refuse to do.

    Are you bunkered down yet?


  73. the purpose of the petition is to get people organized, not to change the election system – though there is a way to do that, if people wanted to.

  74. CP: Yep. It’s amazing that the first reaction of some people around here to the evidence of the abject terror Trump’s elevation has unleashed is to yell at the abjectly fearful as sore losers. And then, presumably, they’ll later wonder why tired old Clintonism eventually came to look to said losers as warm, welcoming, and worth fighting for (regardless of whether it actually is *facepalm*).

  75. V. Arnold

    Well, the hyperbolic response to Trump’s win is not unexpected.
    To anybody paying attention, Trump’s rhetoric is already degrees lower; che’ surprise, no?
    I would suggest everybody just calm down and think, observe, analyse (if capable), and wait.
    I see no other choice at this point in time. There is time for action (if capable) at a later time.
    As the Buddhist monk said regarding the future: We’ll see…

  76. Ché Pasa

    @V. Arnold

    I say “we’ll see” all the time, but this time, it doesn’t look like people are going to follow the teachings.

    We’ve been through this before, at least a lot of us have, with the lawless installation of GWB. We were told then to just calm down, accept it, wait and see, get over it, he wasn’t so bad, yadda yadda, and despite the loud protests of tens of thousands in DC on his election day (protests which were ignored by the media, btw) most Americans went along with the usurpation. They obeyed.

    And one horror followed on another. The people obeyed, they gave him a chance, they encouraged his goodness, or what they thought was his goodness, and millions died or were displaced, the Middle East was thrown into destructive chaos, the economy collapsed and we’re still afflicted with the consequences. Pretty much none of which were overcome under Obama. He just slowed down the horror a little bit.

    Now it’s set to rev up and go into hyperdrive. And you know what? Now is not the time to calm down, wait and see, give him the benefit of the doubt, yadda yadda. The Busheviks started out so weak, you see, that any sort of sustained opposition in the streets or in the halls of Congress could have curbed some of their worst instincts and might even have brought them to a halt; but there wasn’t any sustained opposition. Everyone tried to get along with these usurpers and to help them succeed. Just as Obama is doing with Trump, btw.

    How many millions of Americans and people around the world have suffered because of it?

    And how many more millions of Americans and people around the world are slated to suffer because of Trump?

    So this time, more and more people are standing up and saying “No! Not this time.”

    Not. This. Time.

    Who knows whether they’ll succeed? Signs are all over the place, and the situation is definitely unstable. It could go any direction at this point. And disobedience is spreading.

    Settling down, waiting it out, etc. etc. is fine for some people, but it won’t stabilize the situation or
    end the crisis.

    I’d say you’re lucky to be out of the country.

  77. Ché Pasa


    What do you think they’re organizing for? (There are a bunch of petitions going around).

    I realize that online petitions are mostly email harvesting operations and don’t really reflect any particular action. That’s part of why I never sign them, not even pencil and paper petitions at the grocery store.

    They usually don’t organize any action at all. Though signers might get endless solicitations.

    But if you think the ones going around now are organizing tools, what action do you think is being organized?

  78. someofparts

    I’m sorry that Will lurks more than he posts. This passage rang very true for me –

    “Try running a real live FDR democrat instead of a shameless grifter. Try addressing the shameful treatment of the working class instead of insulting them. Try admitting that trade and immigration are being used as economic weapons instead of calling anyone who stayed the obvious a Luddite or racist.”

    Amen. It is deeply satisfying to me to hear those words spoken, at long last.

    My best guess is that the long-term future here depends on what the economy does in a Trump administration. If economic conditions for working people improve or just continue to decline gradually I could see me and my friends hanging on and maybe having a chance to work on making things better down the road. If there is an economic catastrophe all bets are off.

    If we are lucky enough to get a declining but stable economy, things are certain to get harder for the usual scapegoats. If we get economic catastrophe things could get deadly. As a person who is in some of those scapegoated categories I expect to stay put if I can but be ready to move quickly if I must.

  79. V. Arnold

    @ Ché Pasa
    I’d say you’re lucky to be out of the country.

    Luck had nothing to do with it; I swore I’d leave and with intent, I found a way.
    For the most part, I enjoy and agree with your POV.

    My entreaty to calm down is to get away from emotion; nothing to be gained from emotional response/reaction to Trumps “election”.
    Cool, informed, calculating response is the only viable response.
    What I’m suggesting is that the real Trump has yet to reveal himself. Little by little; this is not a stupid or unintelligent guy.
    There is time for a considered, intelligent response; but not until we know what to respond too.
    Sun Tsu would be a good guide for this situation.
    Think about it…

  80. > What do you think they’re organizing for? (There are a bunch of petitions going around).

    Why does Michael Dukakis want it? The first thing we have to do is prove that all of the normal options are not possible. Yes, we know that they are not possible, but you have to prove it not just say it.

    Then when have these people organized, and bitterly disappointed, there will come a next phase.

  81. Peter*

    These refugees from the collapsed Clintonite cult might be best serves if they were offered deprogramming assistance not a Soros backed Blue Revolution fantasy. Her Crookedness might even avoid the wrath of Trump by helping to talk these lemmings into avoiding the cliff they are rushing towards.

    Back in the real world Trump is enjoying his first political victory with the republican congress coming to heel and blocking Obama’s planned TPP lame duck-walk. He has also facing the reality that his wall will be more of a fence but it will be built and it may save some lives.

    The promised deportations are being refined to target illegal aliens with criminal records about 2 million of them according to Trump. Other parties claim that number is inflated but even they admit there are about 900,000 criminals illegally in the US an astounding number if it is accurate. The hand wringing liberals are already trying to use their liberal relativism to convince the rubes that they should support these criminals and help protect them from the dastardly trump regime.

  82. BlizzardOfOz

    Keep in mind that *all* illegal aliens are already by definition criminals, having violated not just US immigration law but also (in most cases) other laws around welfare fraud, forged social security cards and things of that nature.

  83. wendy davis

    ah, ché; i’m so grieved to hear that miz ché and your first american friends are so frightened as to what that man’s rule seems to portend. he has indeed ignited the culture wars again, most coverage of the various marginalized groups are reported to be ‘fear __’. sure i have heart for that, with a black son and native american daughter, but movemental politics can stop him in his tracks. i don’t even think he knows that ‘a wall along the mexican border’ exists in the main, and has been a total failure.

    so many election autopsies are being written that it staggers the mind; some are even correct; i just crabbed one at CP with a title “poor liberals, nobody to blame but themselves’. i look forward to reading it. but sure, the clinton machine (as per the podesta emails) ‘pied pipered’ trump as an easy foil against ‘the new normal: america’s mother’.

    (her popular vote is increasing, as per a link at telesur english.) but now is the time for the oppressed classed and colonized to ban together to create a more fair and just world. ha; even old sourpuss hedges has weighed in it, as per the popular resistance newsletter. but demonizing for his read meat for xenophobes (as with the architects of #brexit attracted many of the disenfranchised who were just so fucking sick of the clintonian dystopic spiral into death, including for their progeny and chosen families.

    but he does seem to be backing down from some of his most outrageous claimed policy threats, and i think you may be over-estimating ‘people around the world’ in your ‘how many?’ question. there won’t be a nuclear war w/ russia, for one, nor will he likely prosecute the regime change for resources wars that atilla the hen had on her rolodex. at least…as far as we know. china is kinda in his cross-hairs economically w/ trade, whether or not that floats into bravado in the south china sea is worth considering. out of nato? nafta is about to be ‘renegotiated’ w/ the canadian trade minister, dammit, not shut down. so i guess we’ll see.

    but it was hard for me to watch the early protests w/ signage calling him a racist, as though clinton and obama’s war on brown and black people over the world were just..worth ignoring. but for a lot of folks, what happens in ‘the homeland’ trumps foreign militarism, assigns it to the rabbit hole of history.

    dunno that the prison stocks rising indicates anything but ‘they’re hoping’. under O, how many millions were deported back to their nations of origin? how many mamas and children were kept in kennels w/ a space blanket on the floor for ‘bedding’. ach, well, sorry. but it’s crunch time for human rights and justice, not only in northern turtle island, but all around the world.

    (looks like the software didn’t like my wordy rant much. it went into moderation, and got chopped.) (smile) my best to you and miz; would it help to score some sweet grass and smudge one another? and i’ll leave this for stirling newbury so he can read the petition.

  84. Ché Pasa


    There is time for a considered, intelligent response; but not until we know what to respond too.

    [I was sure I left you a response this morning, but I guess it got eaten by the software, or :maybe: it was just a dream.]

    Yes, there is time for the adepts to consider just what to do — if anything — in the face of the Ugly.

    But there isn’t time for the people who are under attack now. I grieve especially for the children who are facing something most of them have never seen or even thought about before: the ugly racist, able-ist, sexist side of the Caucasian Id, running free because permission has been granted by Trump and his loyalist for children so inclined to do as they will to their brown, black, differently abled school mates. They’ve been given permission to act out their rage or whatever they feel at the Other, and that is a clear and present danger. There is no safety for their victims.

    In Albuquerque, where most of the school children are brown, there have been counseling efforts to ease the pain of the present and future but there’s not much the schools can do in advance of an attack by that Id.

    There have already been plenty of attacks on adults whose ability or dress or gender or orientation or language or color of skin doesn’t match the New Model Conformity. Paul Ryan says these attackers are Not Republicans. But is it wrong, Paul? Well, we’ll wait and see. Trump himself tells them to Stop It, like one would tell a dog to behave, but you know how dogs are. Once they get their teeth into something, it’s… hard to get them to stop.

    Yes, I know, some want to shift the blame to Clinton, as if she were even relevant now.

    I’m not prepared to sacrifice even one of those victims to the Caucasian Id. Damn, they must feel so deprived of victims all these years. How have they managed to survive?

    But sacrifice them is what we’re being told to do. Let them go. We can’t stop it. What will be will be.

    Strange days.

    [Of course, I’m old enough to remember when Reagan was elected governor of California back in ’66. The feeling was very much the same. Catastrophe loomed, and many innocents would suffer harm. And they did. Pretty much as predicted.]


  85. Peter*


    Trump is referring to these illegal immigrants without a criminal record as the Good People in this group so there may be a plan for dealing with them less severely even if they may have violated some rules. The Mexican government is making plans for about 2 million returnees and it seems that Trump understands that more than that would cause extreme problems in Mexico.

  86. Ché Pasa

    Ah yes, Wendy,

    That Caucasian Id. It just hasn’t had enough victims under Obama and that other Clinton, and not nearly enough victims at home under any president since Eisenhower. Get ready, we’re headed back to the Good Times. Mmm. Mmm. Mmmm.

    Ms. Ché has already faced interrogation at an ICE checkpoint near Las Cruses. The brown interrogator (get these people to check up on their own kind, right) asks her in Spanish, “Are you a citizen, ma’am?” She lowers her sunglasses, inspecting her brown interrogator top to tail. “I am most certainly a citizen, young man,” she says in perfect English. “Are you?” On go the dark glasses, and she revvs the engine of the little blue car. “Thank you, ma’am,” he says with a New Mexico accent. “Have a nice trip.” You understand she’s not Mexican, she’s not Hispanic of any sort. She’s an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. But not one of the White Cherokees. A brown one. Of course, this incident was under Obama; there’s no way to know how checkpoints will be run or who will run them under Trump. But we can be sure they aren’t going away. And the private prison operators expect — hell, they might demand — a shit-ton of inmates as soon as the roundups begin. They just gittin ready, that’s all.

    Of course brown people of any sort are suspect just because they’re brown. Sorting out who the illegales are as opposed to the Natives and the citizens and the guest workers and so on will require quite an apparatus, it would seem to me, one that simply doesn’t exist right now. So let’s have corporate contractors (G4 maybe, huh?) sorting the brown people. Hey yeah! That’ll work! And somebody will get rich on it too! Win-win! Jobs! Wow!

    I’m sure you’ll keep your own non-white children safe, just as I will run interference should Ms. Ché have to account for her own brownness again. At least it’s something for an old codger who doesn’t suffer fools gladly to do.

    I honestly have no interest in Clinton at all. She did what she did and she’s done. Let her sit on her pile of money and moan. I really don’t care.

    As for the Democratic freak show. Lawsy. They have the longest institutional memory of any political party on god’s green earth. They know how to win elections. Oh yes. You know what? They choose not to. Why bother when they can pile up those piles of money by losing? Suckers!

    As for our supposed escape from WWIII, don’t believe it. Russia may not be Trump’s chosen target… yet. But there are plenty of others. China. Iran. The Mooslums in the way of Progress. Those are just a few on the short list. There are so many others.

    Note: despite all the gnashing of teeth over it, Hillary wouldn’t have started a nuclear war with Russia either. Here’s the thing. Kids who grew up when she and I did, and went to public school as she and I did, were conditioned about nuclear annihilation and instant incineration. It was driven into us. If it ever happened, it would mean the end of everything. There might be a handful of surviors in the ruins, but there might not be. It was not worth the risk, and the only way we could prevent it was by being strong and unafraid. We were repeatedly taken to the brink of nuclear annihilation in the ’50s and early ’60s, but never to war with the Soviet Devil. Either our side backed down or theirs did, or we both did, in a little negotiated dance. Over and over. And it scared the crap out of kids and grownups alike. Anybody who came up during that era and had a public school education had the same sort of conditioning. They won’t start a nuclear war because the body memory of what it would lead to never goes away. [Note: Trump did not go to public school. Point of reference: he was in a military boarding school during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest we came to nuclear annihilation back then. Some in the military were champing at the bit to get it on! Saner heads prevailed, though. They’ve probably never forgiven or forgotten.]

    Be safe and sane… we’ll get through this. Survivors we are.

  87. realitychecker

    Wowsie. I suggest that everybody change their panties and smoke a joint. Make no big decisions for the next six months.

    The pendulum swung too far toward the crazy end of leftism (micro-assaults, micro-invalidations, white privilege, even for poor whites????–too fucking far, you idiots). Time for it to swing back the other way for a while.

    That’s how it works, folks; try to remember that next time you are tempted to go over the top and “jump the shark” with your crazy daily duopoly-supplied talking points. That way lies madness, which must eventually be corrected by a push the other way, and that push may be very uncomfortable while it is going on, but it will probably leave us closer to reality and sanity in the end.

    Life is an ongoing adjustment process. Power leads to arrogance and arrogance leads to comeuppance. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

    Make advances by acknowledging the faults in yourself. We all have plenty to acknowledge, if we are honest about it.

  88. Tony Wikrent

    I am sorry I did not post this earlier, when the discussion was young and at the top if Ian’s page.

    A number of commenters have rejected Newberry’s thesis that this is a constitutional crisis. I think these commenters have a different understanding of the Constitution than Newberry does. Back in August 2001, Newberry posted “The Fourth Republic: The Cycle of Constitutional Government in America,” and reposted a revised edition in December 2005. It is apparently no longer listed in the first few pages of a Google search, but I have it saved as a 35 page pdf file.

    From Newberry’s Introduction that that December 2005 artcle:

    “Today we live under political parties, and the contest between parties is the balancing mechanism of government. Yet there is no mention of them in the constitution anywhere, even the founding political theory which the constitution rests on abhors them.

    “Many of the fundamental mechanisms which balance power are not constitutional. For
    example, the sacred “cloture” rule, which effectively creates requirement for a 3/5
    majority to pass contentious issues through the Senate – is nowhere enshrined in statute
    or constitution. The process of blue slips, the legislative offices, the workings of
    committees – all the product of agreement. It is also the product of agreement that
    presidential electors are no longer chosen by state legislatures. True, no state has done so
    in over a century and a quarter, and this makes our current system of general slate
    election “ancient usage and custom” rather than having the force of law.

    “While most school children are taught that the difference between the United States of
    America’s constitution and the British constitution is that theirs is unwritten, while ours
    is written – it simply is not true. Our constitution is both written and unwritten… A rule is constitutional when it fundamentally alters the dynamics of power, and very often these rules are set in laws or customs which are no harder to overturn, in theory, than any other law.”

    Newberry goes on to identify the Second Republic as being defined and created by the series of amendments passed after the Civil War. “Lincoln enunciated, and the amendments established a new Republic – the Union.” Though, of course, much of the good done by this new Second Republic was undone after the North withdrew its occupying forces from the South and allowed Confederate elites to reimpose their social, legal, and economic domination.

    “The second great division was created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in response to the
    challenge of the Great Depression. He referred back to the civil war, and called on the
    nation to be a great army, and, in effect, stated that the government could mobilize that
    army for national causes. The supreme court struck down key law after key law of “the
    New Deal”, indicating with surety just how much Roosevelt’s vision was at odds with the
    constitutional order which had reigned since the close of the Civil War.”

    He continues: “Constitutions are not agreements, but agreements to disagree. They represent, not the universal values, but the means of containing forces which tore the previous political
    order apart. It cannot be emphasized enough that new constitutional orders arise,
    because the old arrangements became untenable, and disintegrated: often violently, and always dramatically….

    “Money is not the particulars of how money is distributed, that being the realm of the
    politics that happens within a constitution, but the very nature of money itself. Money is
    the constitution that people carry with them. As long as the monetary system works,
    people will be loathe to replace it. When it fails to work, they will be easily motivated to
    alter anything to get the wheels of commerce turning again. The thesis of this work is that
    each constitutional order is intertwined with its monetary system.

    “And it is meaning that binds motivation to money, and provides a lens for interpreting the
    formal and written constitution, as well as establishing the unwritten constitution: that
    halo of rules which are sacrosanct, because it is recognized that without them, the
    interpretation of the written order will fail….”

    It should hopefully be obvious that the constitutional crisis Newberry pointed to a few days ago is not about the Electoral College trumping the popular vote, but about the final drive by USA elites to make capital and their own wealth and privilege absolutely dominant over the country. A crucial element of the problem we now face is: that drive has unleashed a right-wing, nativist populism lurching towards the dismemberment of the previous constitutional understanding of equal rights for all.

    I hope this helps, and that many people come back to see it. Perhaps Ian will place Newberry’s post back at the top of the heap for a day or two.

  89. Ché Pasa

    @Wikrent and Sterling

    Of course this is the crux of the problem. We tend to focus on other things — whether it’s the EC or whatever else raises immediate and pressing ire — because we think we might be able to do something about it in the near term whereas the elite power structure and the dominance of corporate and personal wealth over the government is something that we haven’t been able to do anything at all about through Constitutional means.

    Elections only serve to change the players — and sometimes not even that. They don’t, and in my view can’t, change the system of rule on behalf of the People. Elections aren’t meant for that purpose.

    Ultimately the Constitution is part of the problem, not the solution.

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