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

Transcript of Trump’s Inaugural Speech

This is basically accurate (minus transferring power to the people), but Trump is making a lot of promises here, and I will judge him on them, especially since his cabinet picks are mostly abhorrent.

“Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.

And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.

They have been magnificent.

Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment.

It belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day.

This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.

And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.

Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs.

We will bring back our borders.

We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.

We will shine for everyone to follow.

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.

We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.

So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again.

And, yes, together we will make America great again.

Thank you.

God bless you.

And God bless America.”


Inauguration Open Thread


Does Trump Get Impeached or Get Two Terms?


  1. highrpm

    God bless you.

    And God bless America.

    let’s see, at $2oT debt, quit imploring the metaphysical. for our sakes.

  2. StewartM

    Seems like a Bannon-written speech to me. I wonder if Mnuchin, Betsy Devos, Rex Tillerson buy it. Also, I worry that the “Americans First” meme (while certainly not a terrible message in itself) will result in merely an exchange for our rich looting Americans less and foreigners more, because that too has its long-term downside. (Because as we all know, in capitalism the rich must always be allowed to rob *somebody*).

  3. someone on tv said they thought steve bannon had written the speech – and they remarked on the phrase “one heart, one home and one glorious destiny” – alluding to but not quite quoting “one people, one nation, one leader”, a slogan from long ago and far away – but not THAT long ago, or THAT far away

    may the Creative Forces of the Universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above – metaphorically speaking

  4. Peter

    I see the underestimating of Trump continues but I think he would want to own this speech even if others had some input on wording or phrasing. This was the most important point in his life and these may be the most important words he may speak, the People are back in Washington.

  5. Tony Wikrent

    “Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.”

    If Trump actually manages to force companies to return production to USA, the Democratic Party is dead meat. I’ve already seen the people at DailyKos regurgitate some “free trade” drivel from the Koch-funded, market fundamentalist American Enterprise Institute. If Democrats are going to oppose Trump by defending the tenets of neoliberalism, then they are going to be useless in opposition. The only way Democrats can successfully oppose Trump is from the left: by pushing single payer health care; a tax on Wall Street speculation; and a massive $100 trillion world-wide program to stop climate change by building new energy, transportation, and industrial systems that do not use fossil fuels. I do not see that happening. Certainly not with the old guard of Pelosi and Schumer still in control.

    Looked at in this way, the election of Trump WAS the American people voting in their economic interests: rejecting free trade, globalization, financialization, and all the rest. The great irony is that American industrialization in the 19th and early 20th centuries (and Germany’s, and Japan’s and South Korea’s and Malyasia’s and other Asian tigers) took place behind a system of protectionist tariffs, but very, very few people know this history. I see no indication that Trump or Bannon know this history, either: they appear to be stumbling toward a poor, faulty re-invention of what used to be called the American System of political economy.

    Will they eventually realize they cannot succeed in bring back production without imposing some forms of capital controls? And will they realize this requires a titanic struggle with the financial markets and the MOTU? The interesting point here is that Trump hates Wall Street. He is not a financier. He has had to deal with them, and he knows their tricks and their modus operandi. Almost all the problems he has had in his “deals” can be traced back to some imposition or other by the financiers and bankers he had to work with. So, he generally despises them. This is one major reason why Wall Street and the financial industry was so solidly for Clinton. Note that the people Trump has selected who have ties to large Wall Street firms, in most cases, those ties are from ten or twenty years ago. At least that’s the case with Bannon, Mnuchin, and Ross. They may still have been involved in finance until recently, but they have not been insiders at Goldman Sachs or Citigroup or wherever for a very long time. I am reminded of what FDR reportedly said about making Joe Kennedy the first head of the SEC: the best way to guard the henhouse was putting a fox in charge of watching the foxes.

    The Democrats can wreak havoc on the Republicans by repeatedly introducing a tax on Wall Street, and either force Trump and Wall Street into each other’s arms, or driving Trump and Wall Street further apart. If the former, the Tea Party base of the Republicans will simmer in revolt; if the latter, he will be making some very powerful enemies.

    The one vulnerability Trump has is that he has come to power by appealing to the very worst aspects of the American people. I believe he has done this with cold calculation and ruthlessness, but I do not believe he is able to foresee the monsters he has unleashed as a result. The bigots of America now feel they are free to openly express their hatreds, and act on them. This is going to result in thousands of individual incidents that will over time form a swelling national torrent of public unrest, violence, and increasing lawlessness. If Trump can pull off his economic “Make America Great Again,” it is this national torrent of racist attacks and counterattacks that will become the most dangerous obstacle to his success as a President. If he does as his supporters will want–clamp down by imposing a police state step by step–he will be increasingly unpopular and will probably fail. If, however, Trump actually speaks and –dare we hope? acts–decisively against racism and bigotry, he may have a chance to succeed.

  6. Creigh Gordon

    Us against them, them being the rest of the world, and “the establishment.” I wonder what was going through the minds of the Goldman Sachs contingent of cabinet nominees when they heard that, as well as the assembled dignitaries of the Republican Party.

  7. Bill Hicks

    I just love that Hillary was forced to sit there and listen what was a total indictment of everything she has ever stood for as a politician while scumbag Bill was caught on camera ogling Trump’s wife. I’ll bet some more china got smashed up in Chappaqua tonight.

  8. EmilianoZ

    It would be interesting to compare with 0bama’s first inaugural speech. I might be wrong but I seem to remember that by the time of his inauguration he had already discarded the populist “Hope and Change” rhetoric.

  9. Tom

    Trump all but said “You’re fired!” to Obama. Michelle looked pissed as hell. Laura Bush was like, “The Hell?” revealing that Trump truly is an outsider. Barrack Obama looked as if he got bitchslapped. Bernie was sending the Party Leaders of the Democrats a “I told you so look.”

    Well now to see how many more manufacturers tow the line and bring jobs back as more just said they will bring the jobs here.

  10. EmilianoZ

    The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.

    He forgot to say that it was also mainly redistributed upwards inside the US. He blasted the political elite in DC at the beginning of his speech but he left the oligarchs (his own class) off the hook. In final analysis the political elite in DC are only the servants of the oligarchs. So he offered scapegoats but concealed the real masters of the universe. This does not bode well.

  11. This is too polite:

    This is what’s is happen on the streets of the capital.

  12. seltzer

    morris berman was right. americans are irredeemable hustlers, whether left or right.

  13. i regard the following as particularly problematic

    we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.
    For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

    as remarked, the idea that power is being returned to the people is incredible

    also, this passages identifies the recipients of the transfer of wealth upward as politicians and – by implication – fat cat government bureaucrats

    whereas the real seat of power and privilege is wall street – metaphorically speaking – the control centers of the military industrial congressional financial corporate media complex – the MICFiC – a conspiracy to use, abuse and confuse the people – symbolically, to milk, shear, and slaughter the sheeple – except the slaughter is literal, not symbolic, although primarily taking place on foreign soil

    trumpism is within the MICFiC, not opposed to it

  14. Ché Pasa

    Not his voice, not even his belief. I’ll give him points for delivery, though. That was excellent.

    It revved up his rowdies, and it appeared to shock everyone else. The shock was so strong, it seemed, that the talking heads on the teevee could barely believe their ears. He was supposed to deliver a speech of reconciliation as presidents traditionally do. He didn’t. The horror.

    The horror was only overcome when, in his own voice, unscripted, he said nice things about the Clintons at the lunch in the Capitol. That they said was what he should have done in his coronation speech.

    But he didn’t.

    Meanwhile, somebody burned a prop limousine in the streets of DC. The pageant of glory and rage must go on no matter what.

    The lack of attendance, the empty reviewing stands, the disinterest, if you will, of the multitude in the elevation of an autocratic overlord to the Presidency is telling us something that ought to be paid attention to.

    The People are saying “No” in the ways they can, but who is listening?

    Not Trump or his loyalists and followers, for they see themselves as the only ones who matter — as was made clear in that speech.

    Ruling from that position cannot — and will not — end well.

  15. V. Arnold

    Ché Pasa
    January 21, 2017

    One reason I haven’t been posting is exactly the things you highlite; all utter bullshit.
    My own feelings about Trump are; he’s a walking, talking piece of shit.
    That said; the next 90 days will be crucial as to whether or not he actually gives a shit about his position.
    He’s in a very steep learning curve; how he handles that will be crucial.
    This is where he fails or succeeds.
    So, as the monk says; we’ll see…
    I have absolutely zero expectation one way or the other…

  16. Peter


    Have you seen the Trump team’s proposal on import/export taxes? Increasing import tax to 20% and reducing export tax to zero. Tariffs seem to have been more specific aimed at a particular country, product or commodity. Another difference is that that earlier protectionist era was designed to grow our industrial base to supply a growing demand and expansion. That is not the situation today with mature markets and producers but he can affect where the production takes place and who’s workers benefit.

    Advising Trump to become a tax and spend democrat or thinking that power plays are how he can succeed are both dead ends. Trump may have good personal reasons to dislike bankers but he needs them now more than ever to further his larger goals. Penalizing them now will not produce the cooperation he needs to keep and return skilled jobs to the US.

    I don’t know if Trump has studied these issues but he doesn’t seem to do anything without being very well prepared. Just look at how efficiently he sliced through our electoral/political system right to its core and rebuilt it to meet his goals as President Donald Trump.

  17. realitychecker

    I think it’s really past time for all the Trump opposers to just STFU for awhile and resign themselves to LEARNING what they can from this man who has so totally defeated them and revealed their foolishnesses and miscalculations and incorrect predictions at every turn over the past two years.

    Where’s the fucking humility, fools?

  18. StewartM

    Tony Wikrent — exceptionally well said, all of it. I have visited your page now and again and have been impressed, I think I’ll try to start reading it more regularly.

    I’ve already seen the people at DailyKos regurgitate some “free trade” drivel from the Koch-funded, market fundamentalist American Enterprise Institute.

    Heh, you see that too? DKos has gone nuts, embracing not only this, but the sage wisdom of our intelligence agencies and the notion that transparency of information about candidates and their campaigns true intent (i.e., the DNC leaks) is a horrible thing that must be stopped!

    Which leads to EmilianoZ’s likewise excellent comment:

    He forgot to say that it was also mainly redistributed upwards inside the US. He blasted the political elite in DC at the beginning of his speech but he left the oligarchs (his own class) off the hook. In final analysis the political elite in DC are only the servants of the oligarchs. So he offered scapegoats but concealed the real masters of the universe. This does not bode well.

    Yes, the Trump people are scapegoating immigrants and foreigners to let his fellow oligarchs off the hook. Yet the “free trade” shtick hasn’t been good to them either. As Ian has pointed out, Africa fared better under managed trade, in Egypt when they were more “socialist” and allied with the Soviet Union the average real income of average Egyptians doubled (as opposed when they started taking our economic advice, when food ended up being unaffordable to many). As Ian notes, calories in India have fallen, and *even in China* wages as percentage of GDP fell until recently (when the Chinese government has started to promote more internal consumption). The “end of history” economy has been shitty for all workers, domestic and foreign, in developed and developing countries, not just for those with low educations but also those with advanced degrees including STEM degrees. The only people who came out winners where the oligarchs. Finally, as for “foreign aid” that many Trumpsters think of the US as being overly generous much of that is military aid, and I don’t really see that group suffering under Trump.

    I do not see Trump and Bannon (who is actually the most “progressive” advisor economically, as bad as his views on “race” and other things may be) as willing to take down their fellow oligarchs. Even if they are genuine about improving the lot of American workers (and one look at Mnuchin creates doubts about that) they will not do what needs to be done, like tax them heavily. Instead, I think they will try to pressure their fellows oligarchs to rob American workers less and foreign economies more, so all oligarchs stay happy and fat (note how Trump talks about denying ISIS and “the Jihadists” oil as it if was our oil to deny?). But that policy too wouldl cause blowbacks that we will feel.

  19. Peter


    The Soros snowflake warriors had a pitifully small turnout yesterday which is a good sign. The Clintonite leisure class women’s march today should be large but I doubt they will do much smash and dash or rioting. These are comp-time more affluent and professional petitioners who will return to their liberal enclaves and sulk about their loss.

    I recall the huge overflowing ecstatic crowds at Obama’s first inauguration who got a cigarette butt flicked in their faces soon after their tear streaked adulation ended. It appears that Trump drew about the same number of people to the inauguration as Obama did for his second one which is not too shabby.

    The idea that Trump should seek reconciliation with the Clintonites, deep staters or the right-wingers who not only opposed him but tried to foment a soft coup against him is rubbish. These creatures are not going to change their stripes and will remain the Enemies of the People until they are stripped of any remaining power they posses.

    I think Trump’s seemingly kind words for the Clintons at the later gala was coded talk that the Red Queen should have understood as a clear warning that without his loving friendship they were on very thin ice so they should behave accordingly.

  20. Tony Wikrent

    Peter writes: “Tariffs seem to have been more specific aimed at a particular country, product or commodity.”

    This is an example of what Ian has written: Trump is doing something that should be done, but he is NOT the person we want doing it. The present GATT / WTO regime of world trade functions to allow multinational companies to profit from regulatory arbitrage. I.e., relocate production to nations that are “less expensive” to operate in. The “cost saving” derives only in small part from cheaper labor costs; most of it comes from less stringent or complete lack of government regulations banning, or forcing company expenditure to alleviate, pollution, workplace hazards, and so on. The death rate of workers in the work place in China is nearly three times that of USA.

    I do not intend to be cruel or impolite, but “earlier protectionist era was designed to grow our industrial base to supply a growing demand and expansion” is an example of what I mean when I write that very, very few people actually know the history of American System political economy. The first act of the First Congress was to specify oaths of office for junior officials; the second act was to pass Hamilton’s plan of tariffs. It is true that this tariff was aimed at economic “expansion,” generally, but my reading of what Hamilton and others wrote at the time is that an even weightier reason was the recognition that to remain dependent on British manufactured goods threatened to undermine the political independence won during the war. Trump’s position is a much attenuated reverberation of this “economic nationalism” which lacks almost entirely the classical republican understanding of “promoting the general welfare” which underlay the formation of the USA Constitution, and which–and this is crucial–set the USA economic system apart from the mercantilism of the European monarchies and oligarchies.

    As the American System is further elaborated over the next half century by such as Henry Clay and Henry Carey, the policy of protectionism is fully justified in terms of the benefits and advantages given to American workers. A completely forgotten part of American economic history is the Doctrine of High Wages

    which argued that not only were American workers better paid than their counterparts in England and Europe, but they were far more productive as well. In fact, American System economists argued that high wages created a virtuous circle: the superior productivity of American workers allowed them to be paid much higher wages than anywhere else in the world, while those high wages provided American workers a much higher standard living, which, in turn, enabled them to be more productive.

    None of the following books and economists from this period are ever mentioned in economics textbooks of our time:

    Essay on the Rate of Wages: With an Examination of the Causes of the Differences in the Condition of the Labouring Population Throughout the World, by Henry C. Carey, 1835

    The Rights of Labor, by Calvin Colton, 1847

    Manual of Political Economy, by Erasmus Peshine Smith, 1853

    Essays on the Progress of Nations: In Civilization, Productive Economy, Wealth, and Population, by Ezra Champion Seaman, 1869

    Wages and Trade in Manufacturing Industries in America and in Europe, by Jacob Schoenhof, 1884

    The problem with this history is that at the same time, the American System was in constant combat with the ideas and purveyors of British political economy. Adam Smith, for example, was never reprinted by an American publisher until the last half of the 1800s. The foremost opponents of the American System domestically were the slave holding oligarchs of the South–and we all know what they ultimately decided to do about the Union. That so many people today mistakenly believe the USA economy was established on the ideas of Adam Smith is a testament to how thoroughly the American System has been defeated by its enemies.

    I can think of no better remedy than to highly recommend people investigate and read the American System economist Henry C. Carey–who also ran what was the largest publishing house in USA until the 1880s or so. Carey makes clear the argument for protectionism as it relates to foreign trade and balance of payments: the ability to import is based on the ability to pay. The ability to pay is based on the earning power of a nation’s work force. If you force a nation’s work force to compete with the cheap colonial labor of the British empire, you diminish the earning power of your nation’s work force. The result will be that imports will increasingly be paid by incurring increasing debt from foreign creditors.

    This is exactly what has happened to USA in the past half century, over a full century after Carey made the argument. Though the original and strongest impetus to abandon American System protectionism came from the policy decision to open the USA domestic market to the nations of Europe and Japan, which needed to be rebuilt after they were devastated by World War 2, and to make them strong allies in the containment of communism during the Cold War.

    “cheap colonial labor of the British empire” of course today is replaced by the labor and environment of other nations left unprotected by regulatory arbitrage.

  21. Ché Pasa

    Where’s the fucking humility, fools?

    By your own metrics, “humble” doesn’t win, does it? Fool.

  22. Tony Wikrent

    realitychecker writes: “Where’s the fucking humility, fools?”

    I do not think there is any need for humility in these corridors. Ian and most commenters here have been the most lucid, most logical, and most persistent critics of the Clinton / DNC / centrist Democrats and have repeatedly warned that the Democrats’ refusal to renounce economic neoliberalism would lead to electoral victories by wrong-wing economic populists.

  23. Ché Pasa

    @ V. Arnold

    Still giving him a chance? I say no, and I say no because of our long and ignoble history of doing just that for incoming regimes, even when we know (as with Bush2) that they were bloodthirsty renegade fools, intent on causing as much horror and destruction as they could. There was no mystery about it; it was plain as day to anyone with eyes to see, ears to hear, and even a minimum of critical thinking skill.

    It was the same with Obama. He was telegraphing his betrayals from very early on in his campaign, doubling down when he was elected.

    So tell me why we should give Trump — or Clinton if she’d been elected — a chance.

    No. He’s shown his intentions clearly enough, and they do not bode well for most people, as any sensible review of his behavior in business and life shows, as his appointments demonstrate, as his daily rejection of anything not of his liking is twitted, as his lies pile up.

    Wait and see is out of the question.

  24. Daniel Hatch

    A Hobbesian speech … nasty, brutish and short. Thuggish and cruel, uninspiring. THIS is what late-stage capitalism looks like just before it dies.

  25. V. Arnold

    Ché Pasa
    January 21, 2017
    Okay, point taken; no argument; agree…

  26. StewartM

    Tony Wikrent:

    This is exactly what has happened to USA in the past half century, over a full century after Carey made the argument.

    Carey also predicted that not only did the “Engish system” of laissez-faire capitalism ” looks to underworking the Hindoo, and sinking the rest of the world to his level” but also required an empire and perpetual war to maintain. That too looks to be incredibly prescient to today’s American experience.

  27. S Brennan

    Worth repeating:

    realitychecker permalink
    January 21, 2017

    I think it’s really past time for all the Trump opposers to just STFU for awhile and resign themselves to LEARNING what they can from this man who has so totally defeated them and revealed their foolishnesses and miscalculations and incorrect predictions at every turn over the past two years.

    Where’s the fucking humility, fools?

  28. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Where’s the fucking humility, fools?

    Your Cheeto Messiah won (barely, with lots of help from his master, Tsar Putin).

    You lot Trumped That Bitch and showed those uppity women and coloreds and hippies and heathens and eggheads that Real White Men Still Rule.

    You should be soaring in joy–but no, you seem to be angry.

    You want “humility”.

    You lot seem to be unhappy because we losers haven’t been “humble” enough.

    Unless I overestimate the shrewdness of you lot, you would know that any “humility” we expressed to you would be as false as anything your Cheeto Messiah promises.

    Humility, like love, must be sincere to be satisfactory.

    If I am wrong about that, and you lot would be satisfied with the mere simulation of humility–who, then, are the greater fools?

    I’ll go back to lurking now, and I’ll enjoy your rage at the hollowness of your victory.

  29. tsisageya

    Words are cheap, aren’t they? Obama spent 8 years cheapening words. Am
    I right?

    Trump carries on cheapening words. Am I right?

    You misunderstand me.

  30. tsisageya

    That’s fine.

  31. tsisageya

    Goodbye, then.

  32. Hugh

    It was just a speech. “Empty talk” as it were, most notably,

    “we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”

    “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
    January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.”

    Well, who are these people Trump is talking about? Billionaire investors, the COO of Goldman Sachs, the CEO of Exxon, lots of generals, but you know what? not an ordinary American to be seen anywhere, and not one of Trump’s Administration with any history of leaving their blood on the floor defending ordinary Americans or fighting to improve their lives.

    Character is destiny and a narcissist is a narcissist is a narcissist. He’s just not that into you.
    Personnel is policy, and you don’t hire a pirate crew for social work.
    Oh yes, the math doesn’t work and never bet against the math.
    But aside from that… Oh right, there is nothing aside from that.

  33. Hvd

    And if the 20% import duty goes into effect and the oligarchs limit the availability of investment for domestic production instead maintaining shell corporations could llecting shell profits abroad who exactly is it that pays the import duty on top of the local sales tax on top of in this me and property taxes.? I suspect that with a wink and a nod that’s what we’ll be getting with the occasional high profile show of a few hundred jobs saved here and there. One more tax to pile on the backs of the working classes (including the “middle class”)

  34. Hvd

    Damn auto fill on cell phone:
    “Could llecting should be collecting
    “in this me” should be income

  35. VietnamVet

    One can hope. Donald Trump addresses two of the existential threats to America; the collapse of the middle class and the rush to war with Russia. If he survives to fix these, my sense of relief will be justified. If not, it is simply a matter of what kills us first: war, famine, plague or climate change. For young human beings not in the elite enclaves, it won’t be old age.

  36. gnokgnoh

    So, it begins – help for the working class = $348 a year minimum increase in mortgage payments for an FHA loan. Nice. Trump’s first executive action

  37. Steve B

    I am not a patriot. To be a patriot, you have to love the Empire. I find the Empire reprehensible, destructive, rapacious, evil. Trump calls us all “patriots” but he is wrong. Some of us hate the Empire and will not serve the Empire, no matter what. Our blood does run, and it is red, but it is not the blood of patriots that runs in America. It is the blood of the victims of Empire who are not patriots. Patriots run off to foreign lands and enact Empire’s ambitions and machinations upon other peoples. Now they want to do that here. Patriots become mercenaries for Empire, sacrificing the common good for Empire’s greedy ambitions. Patriots come home and champion the Empire as the ‘hope of mankind’ while ignoring the true hopelessness Empire actually causes. Patriots are not my countrymen, they are my enemies and always will be. They belong to the evil that grows and abuses everything that is alive today. Trump’s patriots are among the very worst of them all, ignorant, stupid, uneducated and blindly indifferent to everything but their own ambitions and greed. They don’t care who they trample or how they do it or what they destroy. Nothing is sacred to them. Their selfish greed is unmatched. I’ll be dedicating my life to opposing these faketriot patriots. There is a violence coming to the Earth and it will have the face of an Orange Monkey as its Chief Proginator.

  38. realitychecker

    @ Tony Wikrent

    “The “cost saving” derives only in small part from cheaper labor costs; most of it comes from less stringent or complete lack of government regulations banning, or forcing company expenditure to alleviate, pollution, workplace hazards, and so on.”

    From the POV of the corporation, all of that falls under the category of “cheaper labor costs.” Moreover, there’s no news there; equaling up those tangential inequities was part of the PR rationale from the beginning, but proved to be only lip service. So they got away with fucking the American worker for an extra 25 years. Quel surprise.

    May I submit, as a separate point, that the usefulness of analogy diminishes with time and all the variations and conflicting factors that creep in and come into play over time. Economic discussions are already too prone to becoming intellectual quicksand pits, using analogies that refer too far back in time to circumstances that are different in a thousand ways just exacerbates that tendency. (Albeit lefties seem to love to see themselves as intellectual experts on all economic matters.)

    IOW, “Keep it simple, stupid,” still applies, as does “Use the freshest data.”

  39. I think the main thing I didn\’t like about it (I turned off the TV after about 5 minutes) is the same reason why I think the speech is significant. It sounded a lot like a Trump stump speech, which I don\’t find too interesting. (Contrast that with Bernie speeches, where he peppers his main points with supporting facts and argument – though not excessively).

    However, Trump not only delivered a strongly worded indictment of the existing political order (which was awkward, given the folks on the dais with him), but he also has painted himself into a corner, from which he will either successfully burst out of, or will be seen as having failed. While Trump\’s a frequent whiner, he seems NOT to be either a quitter or excuse maker.

    In other words, what I gather from this is that Trump is going to FIGHT. Probably not every significant battle he could pick (Twitter \”fights\” with John Lewis and Meryl Streep are embarrassments, of no great importance), but a lot of big fights, all the same.

    Paul Craig Roberts had a similar takeaway. In \”Trump’s Declaration of War\” @

    he says,

    \”Trump made it abundantly clear that Americans’ enemies are right here at home: globalists, neoliberal economists, neoconservatives and other unilateralists accustomed to imposing the US on the world and involving us in endless and expensive wars, politicians who serve the Ruling Establishment rather than the American people, indeed, the entire canopy of private interests that have run America into the ground while getting rich in the process.

    We should ask ourselves why a 70 year old billionaire with flourishing businesses, a beautiful wife, and intelligent children is willing to give his final years to the extraordinary stress of being President with the stressful agenda of putting the government back in the hands of the American people. There is no doubt that Trump has made himself a target of assassination. The CIA is not going to give up and go away. Why would a person take on the grand restoration of America that Trump has declared when he could instead spend his remaining years enjoying himself immensely?

    Whatever the reason, we should be grateful for it, and if he is sincere we must support him\”


    N.B. While Trump has powerful enemies, he also has powerful friends. I recently found out that scandalous info about Trump mob connections were kept out of most of American MSM. See
    Johnston, a Pulitzer prize winner, says that Trump scandals (or \”questionable associations\” with a major drug trafficker) merited network attention in Australia, Japan, Canada, Britain, France and Germany, but has not gotten on ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox, and PBS \”edited out every reference to Donald\’s connections to these criminals.\” Furthermore, there was \”hardly\” any coverage in the NY Times and Washington Post.

    Then, the plot thickened after reading Pepe Escobar\’s \”Here’s how the Trump presidency will play out\”. @ .

    Escobar\’s \”Master of the Universe\” \”Deep Throat\” gives a plausible explanation of which elites are backing Trump, and why. These elites are elaborated on by a commentator:

    \”You’re confusing two groups which Pepe failed to explain in detail in this particular post.

    Masters of the Universe = Wall Street and mega-corporate interests. Trump’s Cabinet.

    Deep State = majority of CIA, Syria jihadist trainers, “warmongering neocon/neoliberalcon status quo”, former pro-Clinton hangers-on, now issuing propaganda against Trump.

    Pepe’s source X (who he’s used in the past, to good effect) claims that MotU are using Deep State as their bad cop. That’s simply the way the game is being played, that doesn’t mean Deep State is not independent and able to move on its own.

    MotU wants continuity of government. They see America at a precipice, and they don’t want their heads getting chopped off. They will do what is necessary to prevent national collapse. They have been pro-Russia for years, Trump’s Cabinet included.\”

  40. realitychecker

    For the reading challenged, I did not suggest a need for humility by Ian or his readers that have kept an open mind and done balanced analyses about Trump; the super secret clue was when I wrote “Trump opposers” to designate those to whom my remark was specifically addressed.

    Now, as to those mindless opposers who take umbrage at the very suggestion that humility might be in order for them (and, Che Pasa, you lead that parade for looking like a foolish impotent old man shaking his fist at the moon), humility is a blessing to folks like you, as it offers the only hope for any intellectual growth. And the past two years reveal very clearly how desperately you all need some intellectual growth, because that is what perpetual wrongness actually signifies.

    But, scorn the humility offer if you will, and stay in your denial stage. Not everybody is destined to grow or learn through experience. Just stand in front of the mirror and keep repeating, “I know I was right all along.” See how that works out for you.

  41. Peter


    Now you’ve done it, RC you have whipped these snowflakes into another frenzy with your sharp Yankee wisdom. They’re duct taping two soapboxes together now to give them more height to spread their demented HP headlines.

    The Dr Dementos over at the Intercept are fuming because Trump committed the worst possible sin in the Clintonite rulebook, he was transparently displaying his wealthy friends and supporters at the inauguration. All of that hard work that the Clintons and Obama did to shield their dependence on powerful wealthy people has been wasted because of Trump’s heresy and the fact that he is one of these people not needing their wealth but appreciating their help.

  42. Ché Pasa

    Trump and his defenders and loyalists cannot accept fact and truth.

    The fact, for example, that Trump is entering office the most reviled old man to take the office in living memory. That’s saying something given the abominations that have become president in my lifetime alone.

    The fact, for example, that millions of people turned out today around the country and the world, most in opposition to Trump and his cast of oligarchs, thieves, conmen and conwomen, far exceeding the attendance at his own coronation/inauguration. He would do better to learn humility himself, but we know he doesn’t have it in him, nor can he imagine being humble in front of anyone who stands in opposition to him. That is not how he wins, is it?

    As I’ve said many times, he sowed the wind and he is reaping the whirlwind. He can’t stop it, nor can any of his sycophants and defenders. It cannot — and won’t — end well. The question is how many innocents will suffer as he lashes out in inchoate rage at the growing rejection.

    At this point, it doesn’t matter whether he says something some of you want to hear. Fewer and fewer are listening.


  43. anonone

    Today at the CIA, the man with the nuclear codes said, “We have not used the real abilities that we have. We’ve been restrained.”

    That is the key line in the remarks. The rest is pretty much bragging lies about the crowd size at his inaugural and how the press lies and how smart he is.

    You can argue around the edges all you want, but the President of the United States controlling the largest military in the world is bonkers.

  44. Tom_b

    Dare I point out the Republicans were much more unified in their unexamined support for “free trade” than the Democrats? As a Democrat, I have never been a big fan of that, nor have the better economists. The bulk of the “benefit” goes directly to the 1%, even if you do save a few cents on your socks if they come from sweatshops in Haiti.

    Dare I also point out Trump had already kicked his deluded supporters in the teeth? Almost every one of his cabinet picks is either grotesquely incompetent or malaciously opposed to the mission of the agency he or she is supposed to lead,

  45. Tony Wikrent

    Actually, “fucking humility” is often remedied by ingesting the little blue pill. It was perhaps misleading to preface “humility” with “fucking.”

    Btw, one of my favorite scenes in The Martian is when they discuss how the martian meant to use “fucking” in one of his sentences transmitted back to earth.

  46. markfromireland

    @reality checker:

    Hey don’t let it worry you. When I as a conservative Catholic heavily involved in European conservative catholic politics. Mentioned how it was Reagan who cemented the alliance with conservatives I got told by one of the resident pomposities that I was and I quote direct “naive”.

    Well maybe so, except I know many of these people and consider them allies if not always friends. So when I draw on decades of back and forth between us I cannot help but notice that these consvervative catholics have been rather succsessful politically. That when they said “we’re going to do X and it will probably take us around Y years to set the terms of the debate” that they had a pretty good idea of what they were talking about. And that they’ve succeeded and I’m glad of that. So ummmm who was the “naive” one?

    When I mentioned my friend Phyllis Schlafly – a wonderfully kind woman with whom I corresponded quite a bit and made strenuous efforts to meet on those occasions when I visited the US – the same buffoon had a serious case of pearl clutchery. Ian’s hallowed halls were not to be sullied by her name. Seriously WTF she was charming company and she was very shrewd politically. When the idea of curtailing abortion by going after PII and PII providers was first mooted it was pooh poohed by quite a lot of people she immediately spotted the potential and pushed the strategy which has been superbly effective.

    Just one of many examples. The fact is that many right-wing conservatives are very in tune with what people think. They’ve worked hard for literally all my life to set the terms of the debate and they’ve succeeded only the naively arrogant would ignore that success. In the meantime I’ll enjoy a little musical schadenfreude:

    PS: I know our host will probably disagree with me but to my mind much of economics is as useful as phrenology or astrology both of which also involve feverish calculation. (I have however sometimes been tempted to engage in reverse phrenology).

  47. realitychecker

    OMG, did you hear the latest news about Trump?

    That arrogant oligarch prick actually used two sheets of toilet paper to wipe his ass this morning.


    Who the fuck does he think he is?

    We must all oppose him before he takes this kind of behavior any further. Let’s all raise our impotent little fists in protest.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  48. Ché Pasa

    Rage on little man. Rage on. It’s working out so well for you.

  49. Hugh

    markfromireland, the problem with conservatism, much like liberalism, is that it doesn’t work. We used to make fun of the 26-percenters who supported Bush right up to his last day. They were completely impervious to any fact or argument. Then Obama got elected and we saw the liberal version of the 26-percenters. Now Trump’s in and it’s déjà vu all over again. Each time, it is the same damn story. Nothing changes. Nothing improves. It is just this group or that group that thinks they are so damned clever that they have wrested for now the keys to the bus we are all riding on. It’s all about being “effective”, having the power. They don’t care a bit that we are still headed toward the cliff. But tell me this. What good are those keys going to do you when we finally do careen off the cliff? What happens to all the 26-percenters who think they can stare down reality when reality finally stares back?

  50. Hugh

    And as for right wing conservatives being in tune with what people think, not that I was a big fan of Sanders, but if he had gotten the Democratic nomination, he would have cleaned the floor with Trump. He covered much the same ground as Trump, tapped into a lot more groups, and had much lower negatives. So how would the conservative narrative run if a socialist had won?

    I figure Trump won with about 30% of eligible voters, how does that tie in with conservatives, or anyone, knowing what people want?

    Bush won, or got close enough to steal the election, because a lot of people was sick of Clinton. Eight years later, Obama won because people were sick of Bush. Now Trump has won because people were sick of Obama. So tell me again how this has anything to do with conservatives Yoda-like knowledge of voters?

  51. Lisa

    Hugh: But Obama, with a few exceptions followed conservative economic, social and foreign affair policies. He threw a (very) few bones towards the LGBTI community and that was that.

    The rest were straight continuation of Bush’s policies, whcih were largely Clinton’s as well.

    The Dems, like UK’s ‘New Labour’ under Bliar were totally co-opted by the neo-liberal economic consensus. And hence there has been virtually zero difference in many (especially economic) matters between either parties.

    This is not even a new phenomena, Gore Vidal noted ‘one party with two wings’.

    In very simple terms ‘conservative’ (though neo-liberal economics are not actually conservative in the traditional sense) policies have dominated for decades in most the west, since Thatcher & Reagan, in Australia Hawke/Keating, in New Zealand Langey.

  52. Lisa

    “European conservative catholic politics.” …backed with lots of CIA (etc) money no less.

    Look all the extreme right, nearly always religious political movements were all, if not actually created, were greatly supported by the US (and UK) Govts in ‘the fight against communism, unions and all the rest’ all over the world. The US never found an right wing extremist religious organisation (‘christian’ or muslim) that it didn’t love and support.

    Most would never have survived without that help. Everyone who has half a brain knew they were just fronts.

    That’s the thing (as made clear in the book The Authoritarians) how gullible and easily manipulated right wing (especially the religious ones) people are. Played like fiddles by all sorts for just about ever, always to the benefit of corporations and the wealthy (duh) and to the detriment of the vast majority of the population.

    And that horrible old homophobe Phyllis Schlafly, who’s son was gay, spent decades lying about LGBTI people. The religious right obsession with sex and sexuality just tells you how neurotic (and hypocritical) they all are.

    Like all that type they throw their so called ‘family values’ right out the door if (a) there is money involved and/or (b) they can implement their bigotry on someone (hate trumps everything for them, except money of course).

    Her on Trump: “Earlier this year, Schlafly’s Eagle Forum almost dissolved thanks to a civil war caused by Phyllis’s endorsement of Donald Trump for president.
    Even though her life mission has been to espouse family values, Schlafly is all in for Trump, mostly because of his plan to ban Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. ”

    “She also said the purpose of same-sex marriage is to “wipe out the Christian religion.” “, no need, ‘christians’ are doing a real good job of that on their own through their bigotry, hatred and blatant hypocrisy. Even in the US numbers are crumbling and in Australia only 16% of people ever go to church let alone regularly.

    I can’t believe any of these idiots are still around, when I was a kid almost no one was religious except some old farts, we all thought it would all be gone after they passed away. Then again my #1 Law: “Never underestimate human stupidity”.

    I think Gore Vidal get it right ‘ bronze age, middle eastern tribal sky god stuff’.

  53. Ian Welsh

    Most of economics is garbage, but like all social “sciences” it has some insights that are close enough to true to be usable.

    Honestly, though, I find sociology and anthropology the most useful of the social sciences; and economic sociology more useful than economics.

    The division of Political Economy into economics and political science made both much less useful.

    Conservatives have had the benefit of long-run funding; of not having to scramble to survive. One of the most important things for long term success is having those sources and keeping them from getting co-opted.

    (This is also one of the main reasons, indeed the main reason, why high marginal tax rates and confiscatory estate taxes for the rich are required. As well as keeping corporations poor: they can use money for business, not for politics.)

    What a good conservative should understand, however, is that these things are cyclical. The cons have their time in the sun, the over-reach; then the left has its time, and so on. The question is simply how long one can draw out their own part of the cycle, and how short they can keep the opposition’s part of the cycle.

    The left had 40 to 50 years, depending on how you count it. The right is now running at 36 years. This isn’t anything to get too worked up over, and if it weren’t for the looming climate disaster, it would even be somewhat yawn-inducing for anyone taking the long view.

    From this POV, Trump’s victory isn’t particular important. It’s a sign of the neo-liberal era’s exhaustion (and understand, the neo-liberal era was/is a conservative era.)

    Tomorrow or Monday I’ll have up a piece discussing Trump’s prospects and how to determine his effect. (It’s too early to tell, but we’ll know in a couple months.)

  54. realitychecker

    @ Hugh

    The Bush 26 percenters and the Obama 26 percenters only became recognized and then appropriately ridiculed AFTER their man had laid down a record in office that they should have been thoroughly ashamed of, but were not.

    Trump just got sworn in yesterday.

    See the difference?

    Nobody gets or keeps my support if they fuck up once in office. But I can wait and see the actual data before condemning them.

    For now, all I know about Trump is that he was the only man left standing who was running as an outsider, after the Dems screwed Sanders out of the nomination. And that’s all you know, too.

  55. realitychecker

    I prefer the second version of that comment, but can live with either one lol.

  56. Tony Wikrent

    markfromireland: What was the purpose of the anti-abortion issue?

  57. markfromireland: What was the purpose of the anti-abortion issue?

    “Virtue-signalling”, obviously.

  58. markfromireland

    @Tony Wikrent – vindication of the most fundamental and elementary human right of all, the right to life. Specifically vindication of the most fundamental and elementary human right of all, the right to life of those incapable of defending themselves. Next.

  59. See I told you so.

  60. Also name-droppage, although that is neither here nor there.

  61. Basically it’s about forcing a pregnant woman who does not want to give birth, to undergo the full pregnancy and give birth. ie, torture of a known-to-be-actual rights-bearing human in favour of a hypothetical one.

  62. markfromireland

    @Hugh so when we take both sets of 26 percenters we’ve got a clear majority :-). The purpose of political power is to do things – now those things can be seeing to it that society is ordered in a way that protects your interests or that sees to it that opportunity is distributed more equally or to arrange matters for the greatest good of the greatest number or to live the good life. Or to ensure the survival of the species.

    As to your comment about Sanders – he’s always been a gate keeper and something of an earthing circuit. Who has he consistently caucused with? Who is he working with and for whom is he working now?

    Personally I think it’s a pity that a principled left died out in America a long time ago not least because a principled left would have prevented the political debates in the USA (such as it is) being between right wing conservatives and right win radicals. Perhaps if those who’d identified as “progressive” or “left” or whichever label you care to slap on them had had some principles in which they believed and were prepared to fight for you wind be in the mess you’re in now. But you don’t have a principled left you have people with a set of attitudes and that’s all you have.

    And that Hugh is why you are in that mess in which you now find yourselves. Politics as a very successful politician once remarked is “the art of the possible”. So how do you propose making the “left” appealing in a society such as the USA.

  63. markfromireland

    @Lisa – in other words she backed a political winner, something she’d had a lifetime of doing. I love it when my opponents prove my point for me.

  64. markfromireland

    Oh and by the way, Hugh, about Sanders – realitychecker has it almost right just one tiny change needed from:

    “For now, all I know about Trump is that he was the only man left standing who was running as an outsider, after the Dems screwed Sanders out of the nomination. And that’s all you know, too.”


    “For now, all I know about Trump is that he was the only man left standing who was running as an outsider, after Sanders buckled and allowed the the Dems to screw him out of the nomination. And that’s all you know, too.”

    Does the job nicely. Sanders was never a serious contender in the current set-up any more than Stein was. It’s a great pity a viable socialist movement and a viable green movement would both be very good things for America in particular and the world in general.

  65. markfromireland

    @ Ian Welsh

    Well it had but as a profession it was coopted so completely and so long ago that I find it difficult to see any utility in it. (Sorry can never resist a pun). Yes there are some exceptions and holdouts but they’re too few and too far between to have much influence.

    No argument from me about the other social “sciences” I’d suggest that the sooner they go back to being arts that are influenced by scientific methodology the better for everyone.

    Yes of course conservatives have had the benefit of long-run funding; of not having to scramble to survive – eggs granny already knows how etc.

    And yes I agree that it’s cyclical but the long-term trend (and function) off conservatism remains. And yes despite the vehement protestations of your commentariat the “liberal” era now stumbling round waiting to be put out of its misery was a profoundly right-wing era in all the important respects. Liberalism always had a tendency to “greed is good” from its inception it’s just that that tendency became ever more marked. Good (successful) parasites don’t kill off their hosts – a lesson that the current generation of “liberals” should have learnt but didn’t.

  66. Hugh

    Character is destiny. Sanders had the issues, but also a long history of folding. So his loss was pretty much baked in. On the other hand, if the Democrats had wanted to win, they would have given him the nomination, instead of stuffing Hillary Clinton down everyone’s throats. But, as has often been said, the Democrats preferred losing with Clinton than winning with Sanders. The point remains, however, that Sanders, a socialist of a sort, was in tune with voters, just not the Democratic party.

    As for Trump, character is destiny there too. He is 70 years old. If you (generic you) don’t know by now where he is coming from and where he is going to, I doubt you ever will. I knew enough about Sanders that I knew how it was all going to play out with him. I didn’t need to wait around for the last act, or even the first act. The same goes for Trump. He’s been in the public eye for more than 30 years. I saw his campaign. I’ve seen his Cabinet and staff choices. I know that the math doesn’t add up re his tax cuts, budget cuts, his defense spending increases, and his infrastructure programs/public-private partnerships. I know you can’t be for bringing back “good jobs” and for unfettered corporatism and against strong unions and minimum wage increases at the same time. Or for a weak and strong dollar at the same time. Or be a populist and fill your Administration with elitists. I know he is an unselfconscious liar who has major problems with in your face facts whether these are peripherals like crowd size or existential crises like global warming. I know too he is a narcissist with no sense of priorities willing to spend as much time going after Meryl Streep as fixing the damn country. I don’t owe Trump any special consideration. I came out against Obama in 2008, and at the time, Obama had a nearly non-existent track record compared to Trump. But as I tried to tell people at the time, Obama is actually telling you what he is going to do and that he is just not that into you, you just aren’t listening. The same is going on with Trump only with a much longer track record, but still you aren’t listening.

  67. realitychecker

    @ Tony Wikrent

    “Actually, “fucking humility” is often remedied by ingesting the little blue pill. It was perhaps misleading to preface “humility” with “fucking.” ”

    Shall we just let that stand as the high point of your writing skills?

    Clearly, you are a serious man.

  68. realitychecker

    @ Che Pasa

    “Rage on little man.”

    Say it ain’t so–A Mexican is attempting to mock someone for being a “little man.”

    Best laugh of the weekend, thanks a bunch, fool.

  69. Ché Pasa


    The US went through a populist era more than a century ago, and the populists were both crushed and co-opted. They represented a clear and present danger to the power of the oligarchs of the day, and so use of force against them and their allies was considered appropriate and necessary, but that only had the effect of enraging and energizing the survivors. Something else had to be done or the rule of plutocrats and kleptocrats would inevitably be toppled.

    The “something” was Progressivism. It was a means to mollify the Rabble — without actually ceding power. Instead, power would be exercised and mediated through experts. The finest minds from the finest institutions would be set apart from the nasty business of politics and would be given the authority to determine what was best and best practice for the the well-being of the people and the state. Elected bodies would be subsidiary to appointed managers and commissions. The voters would be allowed to ratify the decisions of the experts — or not as the case may be — but they would have very little direct say in most of those decisions. Initiative, referendum, and recall would be instituted and the gross corruption of the previous era would be curbed or eliminated. Science would rule over emotion.

    Progressivism had a pretty good run, about 80 years or so, until the advent of Reagan to the Presidency. His objective was to dismantle it as a governmental operating system. He got plenty of practice in California where he dismantled most of the Progressive operating system of government there, and he did it rather cleverly, by using its own administrative non-partisan nature against it. He replaced it with a throwback to the kleptocratic rule of the past which he marketed as “getting government off your back.”

    Well, it didn’t do that for the masses. They fell under greater and greater government intrusion, surveillance and restriction. It did, however, liberate the oligarchy to do as they wished, and they’ve taken full advantage of it — to the detriment of most of us and the world in general.

    Populism is said to be arising again, in reaction it’s said, to the restoration of oligarchical rule we’ve been living under for decades. Trump is being marketed as some kind of Grand Populist, but he is nothing of the kind.

    He’s one of the oligarchic class, the very same class that’s been exploiting the working classes and destroying their lives, fortunes and futures with gleeful abandon. Neoliberalism is the economic ideology that has justified and reinforced his behavior in business throughout most of his career. It’s a fantasy that he will overthrow it; he has no reason to. It’s helped to make him and his cronies very rich.

    His political goals appear to be much more personal. I only half-jokingly refer to it as wanting to be a God-Emperor. People in his class have long been aware of how easily a cult of personality can develop and be sustained around almost any president — we’ve seen it again and again since Reagan’s 1980 landslide election. Bush the First wasn’t able to accomplish the task, but Clinton certainly could, and after a rocky start, Bush the Second managed to develop a pretty good cult following — until it all collapsed in disaster toward the end of his reign. Obama, however, has managed not only a cult of personality while in office, but one that is likely to continue the rest of his life. His tactic was modesty and gratitude and humility. It worked. It’s still working.

    Somebody like Trump sees that and wants it for himself, but there’s no modesty, gratitude or humility in him. He’s a bully and an abuser. At his age, he’s not going to change his spots, and he’s making no effort to. He’s doing what he’s always done, bullying, lying, conning, threatening and browbeating to get his way. Not for you or for me, but for him, personally. His “populism” is pure fakery.

    On the other hand, millions of Americans and people around the world took to the streets yesterday in opposition to this clown-prince, in a mass demonstration of genuine populism. Their demands were simple: Women’s rights and human rights, dignity, justice, respect, community, liberty, and a positive future for all, not just the “winners.”

    Of course, that only enraged the Trumpists even more.

    If it can be sustained, the nascent opposition to Trump’s self-referential oligarchy will overwhelm the phony populism he’s marketing.

    His strategy will have to be to destroy it.

    As I say, it can’t end well.

  70. realitychecker

    @ Hugh

    As a professional predictor myself, I give you appropriate props for your past correct predictions.

    But I think you are missing the boat this time around.

    Thought experiment, because getting into the skin of others is the best way I know to understand and predict their behavior:

    Imagine you want to run for President, you have no political background, but you honestly think the country deserves better than it has been getting in many ways, a view with tons of supporting evidence. You are an outsider to the rigged system, and all Establishment elements are militantly arraigned against you in a continuous onslaught of lies and ad hominem attacks.

    What would your plan look like, during the election and once in office? Could you make it look like the usual conventional recipe, or would you need to have an entirely different approach in order to have any hope of ramming your agenda down the Establishment’s throat?

    I think if you honestly embrace this thought experiment, your degree of certainty would certainly have to diminish.

    “Character is destiny” is just a slogan, but even if it was a rule, there are frequently exceptions to any rule. I think it is a mistake to expect Trump to operate on a linear basis. Time will tell.

  71. BlizzardOfOz


    I just think your focus on policy and then your personal distaste for Trump cause you to miss the forest. Trump is not, by all indications, owned. Before he was inaugurated he faced multiple assassination attempts, and had the physical and moral courage not to back down. Do these things resonate with you at all? We haven’t seen them in an American President probably within living memory.

    You mention that Sanders “has a history of folding” – almost as an afterthought – yet you think he could have defeated Trump? He wasn’t going to beat anyone. He wouldn’t even fend off two sassy black women at his own campaign rally. Look how weak he is. Championing Sanders points starkly to the deep despair of the “white” left.

    Trump, bless him, seems to be a true believer in what’s called “civic nationalism”. Look at his speeches – “black or brown or white”, “urban sprawl of Detroit” – where he tries to appease the left’s fetish for identitarian inclusiveness. Obviously if he’s sincere in this he will fail. The left in its essence never had any positive goals, only the chimera of “equality” which justifies the pursuit of permanent revolution.

  72. dude

    I have read through the speech several times and I have listened to the popular press for a day or so. For me the key passage is:

    “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.”

    One hopes we shall not impose and will allow the better angels of our nature to shine, but while I think this is a positive message and a dreamy sentiment, our nation’s history doesn’t support it well. Trump’s history doesn’t support it.

    The reason this line strikes a chord with me is because my mother used to say the same thing. She said it in the time of Eisenhower. She was a Democrat too.

  73. reslez

    What I found significant in Trump’s speech is that he points the blame at the political class, not the ownership class. The problem is the middlemen according to Trump. He’s taking power back from them and giving it to the people? No, those are mere words. Trump’s actions say he’s taking power back from the middlemen and the owners will run things themselves. That’s what his Cabinet says about him.

    Neither Trump nor Clinton would have taken meaningful action on climate change. Neither one would have done anything to help workers, health care, the environment, or inequality. Complaining about these things as if Clinton would have been any better is, in a word, moronic. If Trump scuppers trade deals and does nothing else that would make him a bigger friend to the working class than Clinton or Obama. If he keeps the US out of war with Russia or reduces the number of stupid and evil wars the US is involved in that will put him over Clinton in a big way and justify the people who voted for him. It would be a big moral victory, too — imagine that.

  74. anonone

    This discussion borders on the absurd. Trump is a con-man. He is clueless about policy. He is a master at saying what people want to hear, and he lies without compunction. He will be a robo-pen for Republican conservatives, and he is chomping at the bit to go to war.

    Commenters who think that he will keep us out of wars are ignoring what he says.

    How do you think he is going to try to “eradicate [radical Islamic terrorism] completely from the face of the earth?” With flowers and candy?

    He says:

    “We’re going to do great things. We’re going to do great things. We’ve been fighting these wars for longer than any wars we’ve ever fought. We have not used the real abilities that we have. We’ve been restrained.”

    Does that sound like a person who does not want to start wars?

    Or how about stealing Iraq’s oil (from yesterday at the CIA):

    “And I always said: “In addition to that, keep the oil”.

    Now I said it for economic reasons, but if you think about, Mike, if we kept the oil we would probably wouldn’t have ISIS, because that’s where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil.

    But okay. Maybe we’ll have another chance.”

    Maybe another chance?!!

    The guy is bonkers.

  75. Peter


    When Trump won the election he announced he would represent everybody and I take him at his word. That ‘everybody’ includes the banksters, corporates, wheeler-dealers and John Q Public or it wouldn’t be everybody.

    Trump’s mission is to convince, entice or at last resort force the banksters and corporates that it is in their interest and their survival may depend on including John Q Public in their calculations as an asset not a deficit.

    We have already seen this new attitude take hold in the auto industry with very little push from Trump but with strong nationalist rhetoric that these boardrooms were apparently already primed to embrace.

    None of this change in attitudes will happen if you send loudmouth politicians such as Warren or Sanders into these boardrooms, they’re merely viewed as some political forces hired help or self promoters. Trump went headhunting when he choose his assistants and many are leaders in their industry who will have the respect and influence needed to move these mountains.

    It may be eternally frustrating to those who cling to the silly notion that you can gain control by taxing the wealthy into submission when In fact the only way to improve everyone’s conditions may be to keep them fat and happy so long as they agree to be slightly less fat.

  76. anonone


    Bullshit. Has Trump or his progeny brought his companies’ manufacturing jobs back to America? If not, then just shut up with this nonsense about “this new attitude.” It is a lie among a multitude of lies.

    Just bullshit.

    And “taxing the wealthy into submission?” Eight mostly American white men own as much wealth as the bottom half the planet (3.8 billion people). Have they been taxed into submission?

  77. highrpm

    why drag trump into the bring back the jobs discussion. shit. obomber had 8 f*kin years to act in that regard. what the h* did he do? certainly, trump won’t likely deliver even 50% on his campaign intentions. throw darts at the earlier admins that reneged on their sworn allegiance to uphold the constitution and token lip service government for the people when they instead kissed hollyworld’s asses by evangelizing for the nwo religion. like all religions: utter nonsense. complete b. s.

  78. realitychecker

    Frankly, I’d like to send a big “Fuck you” to everybody who loves to harp on Trump’s imperfections, but can’t find anything negative to say about Obama or Killary.

    Such people have no honesty in them, and therefore no honor at all.

  79. StewartM


    It may be eternally frustrating to those who cling to the silly notion that you can gain control by taxing the wealthy into submission

    How do you explain then the pre-1964 tax rates, during the Great American Prosperity, where the wealthiest paid a nominal rate of c. 90 % and an effective rate of 74 % even after hiring armies of lawyers and accountants? Mind you, then the US had an economy that actually worked for most people and one of the most equitable distributions of income and wealth in the world. We also had a *effective corporate tax rate of c. 50 %* (so much for us needing to lower corporate taxes to bring those jobs back, eh?). These are simply empirical facts.

    It was “loudmouths” like Sanders (FDR, in fact, remember his thundering against “economic royalists?”) who accomplished this, not people who tried bribing them to play nice and throw the serfs a few crumbs now and again like Trump’s policy looks like it’s going to be.

  80. It may be eternally frustrating to those who cling to the silly notion that you can gain control by taxing the wealthy into submission when In fact the only way to improve everyone’s conditions may be to keep them fat and happy so long as they agree to be slightly less fat.

    It’s so lovely that we can define radicalism down so easily now that the heart’s desire of keeping Clinton out of office has been achieved. No one told me that the whole point was to keep oligarchs fat and happy so that they’ll share the table scraps. It sounds so very, very familiar.

  81. Peter


    Is that what you desire for the country, more low wage dead-end jobs? Auto workers can earn about $60 hr but let’s demand those low pay careers return to build prosperity. Why not concentrate on those good paying jobs so some of the poor folks already stuck in low wage nowhere have something to advance into.

    I was referring to some people who think someone can mine the wealth of a Bill Gates or Warren Buffett through new higher taxes on income when most of their wealth and yearly pay is not earned income but stock holdings and capital gains.

  82. anonone


    I never mentioned “more low wage dead-end jobs,” now did I?

    Our whole tax structure is slanted to make money flow to the rich and super rich.

    The idea of “the only way to improve everyone’s conditions may be to keep them fat and happy so long as they agree to be slightly less fat” is obscenely inhumane when 8 men control the equivalent wealth of the bottom 3.6 billion human beings, and 795 million people are starving in the world right now.

    Fuck your “fat and happy.”

  83. Willy

    Hope, fear and perception are strange things. If only there was a proven way to cut through one’s own personal BS (and past the BS of those skilled at taking advantage of such BS) to see everybody as they really is (or are, if that’s your style.).

  84. Willy

    Why aren’t all corporations simply taxed for the amount of business they do in America, regardless of wherever it is they’re officially ‘based’?

    Why aren’t there ‘taxpaying-jobs creation credits’, given to the insanely wealthy to encourage the old myth of ‘job creator’ instead of the less socially beneficial insider stock, commodity and real estate speculation?

  85. Hugh

    Even after the 2008 meltdown, a fundamental misunderstanding about the kleptocracy we live in remains. People continue to view kleptocrats through the prism of their own conceptions of greed. They think kleptocracy is about stealing the golden eggs, and maybe the goose that lays them, because that’s what they would do, or rather because so many people are really decent what they would imagine they would do. But the lessons of 2008 are different. Kleptocrats will loot to a crash, and then loot the crash. They have only one setting and one speed. They loot without any concern for the consequences of their looting or what happens after. This psychology was typified back in the run up to 2008 as IBG, YBG, I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone. This is what the normal world doesn’t get. Kleptocrats will steal the golden eggs, steal the goose that lays them, kill the goose, eat it for lunch, and then go looking for another goose.

    So no, our rich kleptocratic ruling class can not be kept fat and happy. They are predators with a vast maw and an endless hunger. It is either us or them. It’s that simple. The idea that one of these predators who surrounds himself with an army of like-minded predators is somehow going to be a savior to the rest of us is beyond strange. It is rather the latest example of the efficacy of the Big Lie. A lie so big that many can not imagine that anyone would make it without it being true.

  86. Willy

    What Hugh said. I’m disturbed by the utter naïveté regarding anything Dark Triad. It took me a while, but by middle age and after several encounters, including personal battles with sociopaths and narcissists, the truth finally blew past my normal empathic worldview structures. I came to realize that some humans are simply incorrigibly, incurably born without any constraints against power and control impulses which the rest of us are able to keep in check. Many of these ‘extreme temperaments’ may wind up imprisoned or dead, but some are cunning enough to succeed quite well in our society.

    Today it’s a lot easier for me. I know them by their fruits alone. The words and promises of their pathologically lying kind means absolutely nothing (unless I’m sensing disparity between word and deed).

    Trump reflexively blaming the media instead of a saner “Okay the turnout was poorer than I’d predicted, but I’ll win you over with my policies” is telling enough for me.

  87. Willy

    Obama and Clintons are psychologically more normal, but were conned,power-threatened or mentally defensed themselves into turning out as they did. High on the narcissistic scale, yes, but not to the point of lying about everything in plain sight of the truth.

  88. Hugh

    Willy, because this would just encourage US corporations to do what they have been doing, moving as many of their operations abroad as they can. What you need is something like a declaration from the US government saying corporation X is a US company and so must pay US tax rates on all revenues from whatever source for all its operations throughout the world minus what it may pay in taxes in any of those jurisdictions. This rule would apply both to individual companies and to holding companies. Even with such a rule, you would still need tariffs and other restrictions to keep companies from moving abroad to lower labor costs and avoid environmental, labor, and safety regulations.

    Job creators is just the most recent iteration of the false economic theory that has gone under such names as Say’s law, voodoo economics, Reaganomics, supply side economics, and trickledown economics. The idea always is: Transfer more money to the rich and they will invest it and create new jobs with it. This has never worked whether in the 1930s or more recently in the last 40 or so years it has been tried. What usually happens is that the rich simply hold on to the money or gamble it blowing bubbles in the casino of Wall Street. If you want to stimulate the economy or increase jobs, then what you do is increase demand.

  89. Ché Pasa

    Trump represents his class, though he is ruder and cruder than most. That quality endears him to the Trump loyalists among the Rabble. How could an upper-class predator reach the heights he has by talking and sometimes acting like an average dumb fuck alley fighter? It doesn’t compute. Thus, he must be one of the Rabble himself, right?

    Bush2 could sometimes pull off the same sort of masquerade. He could talk and sometimes act like any ordinary schmuck. Sure he killed a lot of people — he was known for presiding over the most executions in Texas history before he was appointed to the presidency and was already bloodsoaked — but he was just one of the guys who everyone wanted to have a beer with, right?

    More advantageous for him, he had a casual nonchalance and boyish ease that made him seem almost cool. And then came disaster that inspired a fervent patriotic response which he rode to heights of popularity hardly ever seen in presidents. And then it all collapsed. At least he was/is humble enough to stay in the shadows after his multiple catastrophic failures.

    That won’t happen with Trump. He’s been wrong-footing his presidency from the get-go, and there’s no sign he’ll turn it around. He is starting off as the most despised president in modern history, something he doesn’t even try to correct. The millions in the streets yesterday — estimated between 3.6 and 4.5 million in the US alone — are harbingers of things to come.

    What does he do? He babbles, whines and lies at the CIA and sends a very nervous Sean Spicer out to denounce and threaten the media for not covering things the way he wants. This isn’t even sane.

    Yet he believes that his will alone is capable of turning matters in his favor, and if that doesn’t work, he’s got all the power of the presidency to compel the favor he demands.

    It has begun.

    We ain’t seen nothing yet.

  90. Ian Welsh

    No, how you deal with the rich is let them bankrupt themselves and don’t bail them out, then you put on 95% tax rates and estate taxes to keep them down.

    You can’t allow them to stay or get fat, or they will fuck everyone else. A “little less fat” does not work.

    FDR taxed the hell out of them for a reason.

  91. Willy


    Part of me says screw the US corporation. Give the business to newer better startup replacements. I once worked for a name-brand multinational where the culture there was Machiavellian madhouse. Their products are inferior to the competition, and IMO they cannot operate profitably without outsourcing jobs and significant government assistance. So I went to a mom&pop company where I worked my ass off but was rewarded for it. Then it was bought out, repeatedly, until it was now part of a US corporation – and then… the same old Machiavellian madhouse culture again. Apparently having ownership onsite, keeping watch on the minions is important to keep productivity up and the games down. Maybe that’s why Elon Musk sits on the SpaceX open-cubicle office floor. My own personal reason why the corporate-government oligarchy sucks. It’s not even capitalism anymore.

    Went a little OT, but you’re right. A taxation scheme would be be geared towards increasing federal revenues and growing good jobs at the same time. But selling such hasn’t worked, with all the BS noise out there. Trump did see that promoting an America first nationalism might be the ticket, but I don’t trust him. I knew one too many sociopaths in the corporate world. They’ll say anything to get more personal power.

  92. Billikin

    There is no trouble making the Left popular in the US. Left wing issues typically appeal to at least 60% of the population. It is just that the US is a plutocracy.

  93. Trevor Groves

    Ian, I have read and admired you for years, but I sincerely feel that your strong desire for the rise of some power outside the neo-liberal mode has blinded you a developing American-style fascist order under Trump.

    For years I have read you, the Archdruid, and Jim Kunstler (and I noted how all three of you accurately predicted Trump). But, (tragically) all three of you over-emphasize the value of his
    upset of the order you all hate, over the disaster that will replace it.

    Trump is going to cure herpes with a big dose of AIDS.

  94. Tom

    Trevor Groves, we all realize Trump is an asshole. But he is in charge because the left did not fight the deep state and bitchslap it. Trump did. He is also delivering for the Rust Belt and bitchslapping the manufacturers in line.

  95. Hugh

    So Tom, how do you fit Trump’s sucking up to a fascist, apartheid Israel into your view? Who is bitchslapping whom?

  96. No, how you deal with the rich is let them bankrupt themselves and don’t bail them out, then you put on 95% tax rates and estate taxes to keep them down.

    You can’t allow them to stay or get fat, or they will fuck everyone else. A “little less fat” does not work.

    FDR taxed the hell out of them for a reason.

    Yep, it’s like Peter wanted to put us through all of this to show the neoliberals what’s what, but then we find out that Peter wanted trickle-downery all along anyway so what was the point FCOL?

  97. realitychecker

    @ Hugh

    Israel is surrounded by savages who never stop killing each other, chopping heads and clitorises, enslaving women and other weak victims, when they don’t have Israel to whine about.

    How do YOU explain supporting those savages? Doesn’t it conflict with some of your liberal views re women, for example?

  98. Willy

    Supporting Israel is a little like investing a house rehab construction project in the middle of the Detroit gangster hood. Since we’re not gonna flip Israel, I’m curious about the practicality behind doing such.

  99. Peter

    I may be vexed by the many neo-Taxmen here who drag out dusty old and meaningless new shibboleths but some people just can’t seem to get beyond lost causes. I looked at the peaks in income tax rates and found they coincided with our great and lesser wars which helped to pay for them while the wealthy found ways to reward themselves outside the earned income bracket.

    The recent nonsense trying to compare the very wealthy with the very poor is purely emotional and tells us nothing useful. People who earn two dollars a day spend their money on food and fuel not buying condos or gambling in the great economic casino where very rich people store their wealth.

    Mandos seems particularly confused about history and the present where people such as Clinton, Bush and Obama have inflicted neoliberalism on the US after a test trial on the third world in the ’90s. Some Clintonites may have whined about its evils but they lined up to feed at the trough when their vote was needed to ram through these programs.

    The early descriptions of trickle-down as voodoo economics were accurate because it was part of neoliberal restructuring that treated productive labor as a commodity to be used, abused and abandoned for profit.

    If the Red Queen and the PTB that she served was starting their reign now the TPP would be a glorious accomplishment and good jobs would continue to bleed from the country but Washington is under new management and good working class jobs can be used to stimulate demand while some the tax savings promised to business can be invested in financing the infrastructure rebuilding needed. This isn’t trickle down anything it’s recognizing and acting on the notion that a prosperous skilled working class is vital to a strong economy not just a profit tool to be used and discarded.

  100. realitychecker

    @ Willy

    Well, that’s the sloppiest use of analogy that I’ve seen in quite some time.

    Much more anal than logy.

  101. realitychecker

    @ Peter

    “Mandos seems particularly confused . . .”

    Ha, coulda stopped right there lol.

  102. Willy

    @ realitychecker

    Sloppiest use of hubris I’ve seen in a long time.

  103. realitychecker

    @ Willy

    I’m wounded lol.

  104. Willy

    Fat, drunk, and a worthless troll is no way to go through life.

    You add nothing to these conversations.

  105. realitychecker

    LOL now I’m REALLY wounded. Go watch Animal House again. That’s your speed.

  106. Willy

    van @ blogodidact. Completely different “truths”. Identical attitudes and behaviors.

  107. I may be vexed by the many neo-Taxmen here who drag out dusty old and meaningless new shibboleths but some people just can’t seem to get beyond lost causes. I looked at the peaks in income tax rates and found they coincided with our great and lesser wars which helped to pay for them while the wealthy found ways to reward themselves outside the earned income bracket.

    The recent nonsense trying to compare the very wealthy with the very poor is purely emotional and tells us nothing useful. People who earn two dollars a day spend their money on food and fuel not buying condos or gambling in the great economic casino where very rich people store their wealth.

    Mandos seems particularly confused about history and the present where people such as Clinton, Bush and Obama have inflicted neoliberalism on the US after a test trial on the third world in the ’90s. Some Clintonites may have whined about its evils but they lined up to feed at the trough when their vote was needed to ram through these programs.

    This is a terribly interesting theory, very much in line with the sort of thing that “blames” the wars for prosperity and downplays FDR and the New Deal. It also, you know, completely sidesteps/ignores the whole issue of the role of a “fat and happy” oligarchy and its (usual un)willingness to share a little of its fat. Skilled workers + fat-n-happy oligarchy = party time? Really?

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