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

Trump Is Now Breaking His Core Promises

On January 26th, I wrote that Trump had yet to break his core promises; that his actions at that point were consistent with the major promises he had made during the election. He had ended TPP, was moving on the immigration bill, was working on the wall, and so on.

He might have lied about a lot of things, but he had yet to lie about what mattered.

However Trump made promises that lay at the core of his ur-promise, which was to make things better for those who the old economy had failed. He is now making those promises into a lie.

Trumpcare is clearly worse than Obamacare. It will not cover things Obamacare covered, will cover fewer people and will cost more.

The budget is a direct strike at the poorest and weakest and at people who voted for Trump in regions whose support he needed, like the Rust Belt. It’s one thing to “cut the state,” it’s another to cut programs that feed hungry adults and children. The extra money to the police state and military will help his people, but not as much as the cuts and the Trumpcare failure will cost them.

He has yet to move on NAFTA, a core promise.

It’s not possible for me to look at what Trump is doing and say, “This will really make a difference to his core supporters.” It won’t.

It’s quite possible than Trumpcare won’t pass, and it’s almost certain that Trump’s budget will take some huge hits before passage as well. But both indicate a failure by Trump to take his promises, and his ur-promises seriously.

Course correction is possible but unlikely. It is rare for Presidents to change from who they are during their first year: Obama never changed from the man who bailed out bankers and the rich, and fucked over small people, for example.

In one sense, this changes little. It will continue the loss of faith in the political system, continue America’s decline and continue on the glide path to the age of war and revolution our world is in. It will happen faster than it would have under Clinton, and more Americans will suffer sooner, but the trend lines remain intact.

In another sense, this is a lost opportunity, not to do the right thing, though some of what Trump promised was the right thing, but to restore some faith. Trump failing, but doing what he promised would be quite a bit different than Trump not even trying to keep his ur-promise, the same as Obama (Change!) or Bush.

So it has been, and it looks like, so it shall be.

So be it.

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The Fed Hikes


The Basic Psychological Structure of Our Society Does Not Work


  1. Mallam

    You’ve misread Trump the entire time, Ian. He does not care about governing. He wants to “win”, and takes the easiest way possible. Right now he’s moving his health care bill further right — capping Medicaid, block granting it, adding work requirements, and removing the expansion to 2018 instead of 2020. All because that’s what far right conservatives want. I tried to warn during the campaign that his “promises” to cover everyone were and are meaningless because he’s lazy and doesn’t do policy. Even if he knew how to govern, assuming he cared, it would have been next to impossible because he’d need Democratic votes. He poisoned that well by embracing white supremacy as the defining feature of his candidacy. But none of this matters. He’s making his supporters feel good about being white, and so long as that budget kicks brown and black people even as it kicks them, they’ll largely be satisfied. George Wallace never delivered on economics either, but he kept getting elected again and again. Trump’s win margin was made possible by marks who were conned, but will they throw him out when (not if) he doesn’t deliver? I’m skeptical.

  2. Ian Welsh

    I quite clearly said in the post linked that I didn’t know if he would keep his core promises, only that he hadn’t broken them yet.

    I said that rather a lot over the last year, actually. My usual line was approx. that I was quite certain what Clinton would do and quite uncertain what Trump would do.

    It is certainly possible he will slide on the consequences, but if he does, his party won’t, as was the case with Obama (he made it, while the Dems lost House, Senate and 1,000 stateside seats.)

  3. Holden Pattern

    Predictable and predicted.

  4. Robert

    The only benefit of Trump over Clinton — and the reason I was happy when he won — is unmentioned in this article despite the fact that it was his most important promise, one which he is in the process of breaking: cooling of tensions with Russia. Further cuts to safety nets, the continuation of a bipartisan effort over nearly 40 years, are insignificant in comparison. All his appointments and his failure to mention Russia in his address to Congress indicate that he has abdicated his independence in the face of significant backlash. One may argue that he was forced into this position; I doubt that future historians, if any exist, will be so kind.

  5. The Stephen Miller Band

    I laughed out loud when one of the arch-conservative politicians commented on cutting Meals on Wheels. He replied that the program has not proven itself to work effectively, yet, the military has proven time and time again that, at least officially, it doesn’t work effectively. Trump has told us in no uncertain terms that we don’t win wars any more. And you want to throw even more money at the mechanism responsible for losing one war after another? How come the military doesn’t have to prove itself, Don?

    I think the military actually has proven itself. It’s proven what Smedley Butler said about it so many moons ago and it still holds true today, even more so. The military is the enforcement arm for the corporations and The Rich. It secures markets and trade and it serves as a boondoggle for defense contractors that load it up with highly technical & expensive shit that becomes obsolete in a couple of years if it works at all. So, for some, The Rich, the military is a huge Cash Cow that provides many nodes of return on investment while ensuring the immiseration of the rest of us.

    The military budget is a giant black hole. It’s financially unaccountable and out of control, not to mention it’s one of the most prodigious polluters on the planet.

    If Trump is a Nationalist who does not want to engage in Nation Building and wants great relations with Russia, why the military buildup? One would think, if he’s true to his word, we would significantly cut the military budget and make it spend what it does get more wisely and prudently.

    The hypocrisy is so stark you can cut it with a knife. It’s so thick in fact, you might want to pull over.

  6. Bill Hicks

    The only real positive to come out of Trump winning was that Hillary lost, but even the benefits of her losing are not being realized because the Democrats are stubbornly refusing to change their ways and have even doubled down on their insane anti-Putin rhetoric. As to whether America will fail more quickly under Trump than Hillary, I think that is pretty much a toss up.

    The next major market crash will likely be the moment when America’s collapse really begins to accelerate.

  7. StewartM

    The only thing I hope (but do not believe) is that by letting Paul Ryan advance RyanCare, that Trump is setting RyanCare up for failure to discredit Ryan (just like Obama deliberately set up the public option to fail). As it stands now, RyanCare is an outright betrayal to those lower- and middle- class working class older whites who elected Trump….in *premiums alone* they would have to pay almost half of the median personal income, then on top of that higher out-of-pocket costs. TrumpCare lowers premiums by simply making medical insurance completely unaffordable to older people forced to buy it on their own.

  8. StewartM

    @The Stephen Miller Band

    Meals On Wheels ineffective? Just how much cheaper can you get than delivering institutional food prepped by cooks on minimum wage and delivered by volunteer unpaid drivers? What are these people thinking?

  9. Max Osman

    I’d prefer Hillary, because something would remain for the progressive president in 2018.

  10. ” It will happen faster than it would have under Clinton”

    Highly debateable. Clinton wanted our military to expel Russia’s forces from Syria, after all.

  11. Forget core promises. There were none. Trump, at his core, is a lying con-man. His promises were all lies. Perhaps now you’re finally seeing that.

    All Trump wants is personal aggrandizement. He will try to get this by starting a war, most likely with North Korea.

    This is not going to end well.

  12. BlizzardOfOz

    At some point we should observe that neoliberal austerity and Keynsian open-ended credit expansion are two sides of the same (debased) coin. Von Mises did nothing wrong. Obama doubled the national debt to $20 trillion – what do people think is going to happen if this continues? The middle gets crushed by hyperinflation, just as the poor get crushed by austerity. Or do people you think we are going to pay the debt by “taxing the rich”? Only if we go full Bolshevik. Hugh’s “nahgahappen” anaphora in the last thread is on point.

    In a wiser epoch, Hume foresaw the dangers of credit expansion. Is there any great evil of our time that can’t be traced back to it directly? De Jouvenal could have warned you what would come of putting the tool of unlimited credit into the hands of Power. There’s no way this ends well, but there are two golden rules of politics in the Current Year: 1) DC delenda est 2) Never doubt Trump.

  13. S Brennan

    I don’t approve of the proposed budget, but I am certain it won’t be enacted in it’s present form.

    My take on it is, I think it’s a badly couched negotiating position meant to bring [D]’s to the table…and the [D]’s have already said they won’t negotiate..even on things that are clearly [D] programs like infrastructure build out so…I think this was just stupid and then some.

  14. The Stephen Miller Band

    StewartM, it’s disgusting, isn’t it? I mean, come on, Meals On Wheels? That’s like the Tzar Nicholas II cutting back the Soup Kitchens. Hmmm….

    Problem is, there are no more Lenins. Plenty of Stalins, but no Lenins. I’m not advocating Communism mind you, but that type of fearless leadership in the face of incredibly daunting odds is something to behold. Lenin was resilient and persevered when most would have thought all was lost. He was able to convince a country of peasants to overthrow their masters and then Stalin kindly thanked him for doing all the hard motivational work and promptly poisoned him and consolidated power and created his own brand of perverted Communism called Stalinism and here we are.

    It’s why Revolution must become Evolution, otherwise, we’re just hamsters on the hamster wheel.

  15. StewartM


    The middle gets crushed by hyperinflation, just as the poor get crushed by austerity. Or do people you think we are going to pay the debt by “taxing the rich”?

    Didn’t we do exactly that, historically?

    (Look at the period after WWII, where after running up the biggest public debt in history, we got it down to about 30 % by…”taxing the rich” (90 % nominal rate, 75 % effective rate).

    Nor does it even have to be that high…even the modest Clinton tax increase of 1993 would have resulted in *zero debt* by 2012 if the Bush (later, Obama) tax cuts had not occurred (though taxing the rich like we did back from WW2 to 1964 would have allowed far more public investment than we could have done under Clinton’s modest tax hikes).

    The biggest reason why he have huge debt is that we’ve largely stopped taxing the rich, period.

  16. Duder

    The irony today is that it is the radical rightwing and people like Steve Bannon who take Lenin’s theory of revolution seriously, not the left.

    The left currently appears perfectly corralled by a mixture of McCarthyism and faux identity politics.

    My question is how will the radical right react to the slow burn of Trump’s betrayal? Will they resign themselves like liberals under Obama? Or is the disillusionment enough to stark a more dramatic split with procedural party politics? And what form would that take?

  17. Tomonthebeach

    The Trump budget is clearly an autocrat’s dream. It strengthens the police state against the unrest it is likely to cause among the proletariat who will be experiencing the proverbial rug being pulled out from under them.

    For those so quick to condemn the designated beneficiaries of the Trump budget’s largesse I caution against tarring the military with too broad a brush. For some of us who have spent considerable time in uniform, we know by experience that there exists a moral code in the office corps that bends only under extreme pressure (think Rumsfeld/Cheney) but never breaks (think Mattis’ resistance to Trump). The problems at the Pentagon presaged by Dwight Eisenhower have led to profligate spending that benefits industry but delivers far less in support of national defense. I have witnessed the joy expressed by flag officers upon learning that a costly, useless or redundant pork project they opposed was finally abolished after years of lobbying.

    Criticism of ineffective battlefield success is nearly always misplaced on field commanders who are doing the best they can while micromanaged by civilians at State and the WH. This problem started with Korea, ran through Vietnam, and has endured through our Middle East adventures. Imagine being in the Middle East today trying to general battles in the age of cell phones, spydrones, and sophisticated White House war rooms where it is possible to watch battles unfold on 4K monitors just like at the movies. Imagine that all the time in the background contracts are being padded and wasteful spending being successfully lobbied by contractors on the Hill.

  18. StewartM


    George Wallace never delivered on economics either, but he kept getting elected again and again.

    Interesting you say that, because I thought that hoping that Trump being another George Wallace was probably the best possible scenario.

    I had a friend who was politically active in Alabama during those years–fascinating person, her telephone was tapped by the FBI and she used to joke about FBI agents following her. And she knew the person who was the informant to the FBI and who tagged the Klan on the Schwerner-Goodman-Chaney murders. Anyway, she was convinced that George Wallace was not only *not* a strident segregationist but secretly worked for desegregation’s success, duping his segregationist supporters into supporting policies that were bound to fail. For instance, Wallace assured segregationists that–leave it to him!– he’d fight desegregation in Alabama in one big court case, which she believed he knew he would be sure to lose all along, and as a result *all* of Alabama’s schools would be desegregated in one fell swoop (as opposed to elsewhere, where it was being fought district-by-district, city-by-city, county-by-county).

    Her position is not nuts–it is supported by the fact that Wallace did not begin his career a strident segregationist and moreover by the 1970s was actively working with African-Americans, winning their votes, and appointing them to his cabinet and to state positions.

    So, what I was hoping for Trump is a series of obviously unconstitutional Muslim bans that were bound to be struck down by the courts (well, so far, so good), and a Ryancare bill and austerity measures that he manages to sink. A lot of ‘red meat’ speechifying to his base, to be sure, but managing see actual policies implemented that would be a lot better than would be enacted by “respectable” Republicans like Pence, Romney, Ryan, and Bush. I’m not optimistic that this will actually be the case, but that was my best hope.

  19. Tom


    The Military doesn’t get a pass. Its actions are actually increasing warfare and they are complicit in war crimes.

    If you served in it, you are collectively guilty, it doesn’t matter what you personally did. Nuremburg means shit if you are given a pass for serving. So I won’t give you one.

    You are actually worse than the soldiers of the Heer, they were drafted, you were not. So your collective guilt is far higher.

  20. You’ve misread Trump the entire time, Ian.

    The problem with Ian’s political analysis of Trump is that it has largely pivoted off his understanding of why the establishment Democrats have failed. Analysis of the Trump phenomenon as a thing in itself becomes secondary — the failure of the Democrats sets up a narrative framework that Ian can use to project Trump’s political aetiology and options. But Trump is a phenomenon in himself, partly independent of the failure of the establishment.

  21. S Brennan

    “You’ve misread Trump the entire time, Ian”

    To all those who are patting themselves on the back after being repeatedly wrong on dozens of occasions this election cycle I’d advise a little modesty, your batting record is less than .100 while Ian’s is in the high .850’s.

  22. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Perhaps Ian is now ready for this fine site.

  23. Pelham

    I’ll second what S Brennan says.

    Although it’s not surprising that Trump is backing out of his core promises, neither would it have been surprising if he had made a genuine effort to keep at least one or two of them. Ian can’t be faulted on that count, and neither should many of the Trump voters.

    It’s not unusual in our history for politicians to break promises, and I believe voters in general are aware of this. What is more recent, however, is major politicians deliberately breaking every damned one of their core promises at the outset, as Obama did with by scotching the public option and setting up a punitive mandate in healthcare as well as his refusal to press for card-check union organizing.

    That sort of shock takes some getting used to, and I will give Trump voters a pass for grasping at what looked like it just might be a viable straw this past election only to be abandoned just two months in.

  24. Willy

    Still, is now a good time bring back the term “credibility gap”?

  25. DanfmTo

    That Trump would side with the plutocrats in most big things (TPP being a big exception) was predictable and predicted as said above but if Trump had spurned them and gone more populist in policy that too would have been predictable and predicted by others.

    Both were plausible paths. Trump is the leader of the party closest to the plutocrats but he is also someone who won the nomination with a lot of plutocratic resistance to him and little reason to need them.

    I think people who were right about him governing this way were more lucky than prescient. I supppse given all the institutional incentives it was the safer bet but in no way a sure thing.

  26. sglover

    BlizzardOfOz — I wonder how many years you’ve been howling that hyperinflation is just around the corner? People like you make me laugh.

  27. Hugh

    I look at current political systems through the lenses of kleptocracy, class war, and wealth inequality. To me, it was always laughable that Trump was depicted as an outsider. He was born into money and went to an Ivy. How much more of an insider could he be? On top of that he was a billionaire and to accomplish that degree of looting requires being an insider’s insider. So we got all of these lame explanations about how he wasn’t really a member of the club, –even though he sat on its board. He made, i.e. stole, his money in real estate not Wall Street. He went on TV for his celebrity instead of going to DC. So if you just stood on one leg, turned your head, and squinted, he really did look like an outsider.

    Class war is about distraction, setting us against each other, and also getting us not to believe our lying eyes. Trump is, was, and always will be a kleptocrat. But for the last year or so, millions of Americans out of the anger and desperation of their lives convinced themselves that just because Trump sounded different from the run of mill politicians he was somehow different from them. Well, in terms of character he is. His narcissism, baldfaced lying, and complete lack of personal discipline are on a whole other level from anything we have ever seen. As with Obama, and even Bush before him, his supporters wrote into that space between their candidate and the other politicians what they wanted to see there. Obama was able to finesse and Bush to exploit 9/11 and the Iraq War, the otherwise glaring contradiction between what voters wanted from them and what in fact these Presidents were delivering. With Trump, only two months into his Presidency, the contradiction between his populist followers and his radical conservativism and kleptocratism is coming fast, hard, and unfiltered.

    His wiretapping kerfuffle is important because it shows us something fundamental about the man. He lies, he lies like a rug, he lies like the rug on his head. Worst of all, he lies when he doesn’t even need to. So if he can lie so much about this, then what won’t he lie about? It started with Pence, his hard right VP choice, and then his Cabinet picks, arch conservatives, kleptocrats, generals on the take from the MIC, and others like an anti-EPA head of the EPA, an anti-labor head of the Department of Labor, and an anti-education head of education. How were any of these crooks supposed to make life better for struggling Americans? Now we have his healthcare initiative and his budget, and both are testaments to screwing over ordinary Americans.

    He said he would make our lives better. He lied but, here’s the thing he’s the most powerful person in the world and not only does he lie when he doesn’t need to, he can’t stop himself from lying, and he seems to believe his lies even when the rest of us don’t. Two months in, 46 months to go, can we or the country survive or endure Trump that long? And what comes after? Pence? without the figleaf of Trump’s feigned populism. Strap yourselves in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  28. Mallam

    Brennan it’s not my fault you fell for the huckster out of your hatred of Hillary Clinton — and you’re still in denial about it. You sound like Obamafans yelling about 11 dimensional chess with this bullshit about Trump “negotiating”. It’d be amusing if it wasn’t so sad.

  29. Hugh

    A small additional note. A country sovereign in its own currency can not go broke. So the national debt is mostly an abstraction and handy means to promote austerity for the rubes. When the rich want money to bail themselves out or return to the casino, guess what, it’s there.

    The current debt is $19.846 trillion, but $5.482 trillion of that is money the government owes itself, most of this in the fiction of the Social Security Trust Funds. So the net national debt or the debt held by the public is $14.364 trillion. China holds just over a trillion of this.

  30. Steve

    ” It will happen faster than it would have under Clinton…” made me think of the Colin Powell emails, and in particular his succinct description of Hillary Clinton, ” Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” I do think things stood a very good chance of moving from bad to we’re fucked in record time with Hillary at the helm. I was hopeful Trump would gunk up the cogs and slow the decline, fearful Hillary would triangulate us to record breaking fuckery, sad at the missed chance Bernie represented. It’s still early game and if the past few months are any indication, things are likely to take a few abrupt tuns sooner rather than later. Its in the air, change is welling up, the steady, manageable flow is going to have its bucket jostled and I’m not sure it would have mattered none but misery and death measured in months against years of the steady turn of the screw.

    And the Wheel turns…

  31. BlizzardOfOz

    sglover, have you looked at the cost of education and healthcare lately? You fell for the magician’s trick of misdirection.

  32. Richard

    The key point to keep in mind is that Trump has always been a huckster and a con man (and that those who are most desperate are most easily conned).

    He conned people out of their money to pay for his worthless Trump U degrees.
    He conned investors in to investing in to businesses that he promptly ran in to bankruptcy.

    Who are most desperate right now? The plutocracy or those without a college education?

    It never made sense to me how a kleptocrat who was born in to riches and appointed the richest cabinet in US history could be seen by anyone to be on the side of working folks.

  33. V. Arnold

    Ian, you may enjoy this brilliant read by Aleksandra Radlak.
    She gives one of the best analysis’ of our past, present, and present predicament. Our transition from Homo faber (working man) to Homo ludens (playing man) to what may follow.

  34. S Brennan

    “You sound like Obamafans yelling about 11 dimensional chess with this bullshit about Trump”- Mallam

    Apparently Mallam; you don’t come here often, or have a limited reading comprehension. I was quite critical of Trump dumping Flynn, his domestic tax policies and [see the comment above], which you either didn’t comprehend or are feigning willful ignorance of.

    But if their is an idiot in the room…it’s those who think Hillary wouldn’t have already tried/failed to establish a “no-fly zone” in Syria and thus thrown the US into another useless war…but with the strong possibility of starting WW III. On that point alone, Obama/Hillary supporters will always be the lamest of the lame.

  35. It does not matter that Trump is running, it matters who is running against Trump. Now is the time to decide that.

  36. The Stephen Miller Band

    I bet the Dems run Michelle Obama against Trump in 2020. Don’t laugh — she’d probably win (whatever win means in this context) and bring back Obamacare and so, every four years, the most D.C. will do is reinstitute and/or then repeal Obamacare in perpetuity until one day we wake up and realize we’re finally Russia and Putin can say, as he lifts his glass of champagne to a toast with his fellow kleptocrats, Mission Accomplished.

    If I was Putin and I was hellbent on imploding America and turning it into a client state, I’d start that long game process by infiltrating & compromising America’s intelligence services. Who do the alphabet agencies really work for? How would we determine that? You have to work backwards to determine it. I’ve been working backwards for awhile now, and I believe America’s intelligence services have been infiltrated and compromised. It’s now doing Putin’s bidding. The soft coup is unfolding as planned. Remember what I said about those little piggies. They are not our friends.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I need to take a nap before I meet with Kim Jong-un. He wants to play a little one-on-one with the goal lowered to eight feet so we can dunk.

  37. Hvd


    This is where you go off the rails of your own argument. Putin is not some mad mastermind pulling all the strings. He is just one kleptocrat among a world of kleptocrats.

  38. realitychecker

    Well, it seems to me that among Trump’s core promises were the promise to push back against crazy runaway political correctness, and the promise to push back against blatant and rampant media dishonesty and manipulation. Two very major problems afflicting us.

    At least he is delivering as to those, and I think they are important.

    I think it will take awhile before we truly know how he delivers on any of the others. The early signs don’t look too good, but it is really too early in the game to be making judgments about end results.

    If he is another Great Betrayer like Obama, hopefully the People will be angry enough to finally rise up in a meaningful way.

    I’ve never had much hope for this country if the People continue to behave like passive livestock.

  39. The Stephen Miller Band

    Destabilizing America should be Putin’s goal if he’s intelligent. Putin is intelligent and, I would add, quite clever. Therefore, Putin is trying everything in the KGB/FSB Bag of Tricks to destabilize America and the best way to do that is to infiltrate and compromise the target nation’s intelligence apparatus. If you can do that, you’ve pretty much accomplished your mission because the intelligence apparatus is the implosive device. It touches & affects everything. By infiltrating and compromising a nation’s intelligence apparatus, you get the most bang for your surreptitious buck.

    Barsky even said this morning that Putin is loving every minute of this Shit Parade. It’s exactly what he wants. Despite the feckless sanctions, Putin is as powerful as ever and even more so than prior to Obama’s tenure despite the two portrayed as bitter enemies.

    Look how far Putin’s Russia has come in eight short, or is it long, years. Russia has taken Crimea and it has boots on the ground in Ukraine. It’s got boots on the ground in Syria and has saved the Assad Regime from annihilation so Syria will now be a permanent Russian client state (Russia’s Israel without Israel’s prodigious lobbying network). It now has aspirations related to Libya and the chaos there.

    It’s as though America destabilized these countries so Russia can mop up and take the spoils — much like what has happened in Iraq when you consider who is really benefitting right now from Iraq’s anemic (compared to what it could be) oil production — meaning Russia and China are significantly benefitting from it despite not expending any resources in ousting Saddam and destabilizing Iraq.

    Putin is winning and, to me at least, working backwards through all the evidence, he’s winning, Russia’s winning, because America is throwing the game to its favor. All this Bad Intelligence that has led to one American mistake after another, when taken in its entirety, paints a picture, and that picture, that painting, is one of endemic & epidemic Treason.

  40. Arthur

    What this Trump budget proposal tells me is that bloodshed is inevitable. Even many progressives are starting to realize that the far right Republican plan is to, as Dickens put it, ‘decrease the surplus population.’ This will not be stopped by yet another march or by signing a petition. As I’ve said before, the only question is when this will begin. How it will look at the other end is anyone’s guess, really. My own opinion is that the US will break up along the lines of the Roman Empire.

  41. Willy

    Most discussions here are far beyond the citizen majority, who IMO need to hit bottom before they wake up to demand changes. But I still try to find answers to this, since I believe national political dynamics are in many ways, scalable to things we have to deal with in our own little worlds. And lemming/enabler ignorance towards corrupt power is generally the same at all levels. For all I know progressives need somebody who walks and talks like an ubermensch, but is actually a saint. If anybody knows of any successful historic examples of such…

    Getting the simplest, clearest word out to their busy selves past the corporate media noise, to where they become inspired enough to think for themselves in rational ways, is a challenge, since most usually blindly project their own perceptions onto everybody else. But if the kleptocratic think tanks found ways to get these people to vote against their own best interests, shouldn’t there be ways to get them to undo that damage?

  42. BlizzardOfOz


    A country sovereign in its own currency can not go broke.

    Maybe true for some definition of “go broke”. For another, better definition of it, America has already gone broke, and is getting broker. Expansion of the state and its incentivizing of useless activity takes its toll, although conveniently hidden.

    So the national debt is mostly an abstraction and handy means to promote austerity for the rubes.

    Ask the Chinese or any domestic holder of US debt, if they consider the money owed to them an “abstraction”.

    When the rich want money to bail themselves out or return to the casino, guess what, it’s there.

    When you give the state the ability to print money, did you suppose it would be used for the social good? Surprise, surprise: power has its own ends.

    The current debt is $19.846 trillion, but $5.482 trillion of that is money the government owes itself, most of this in the fiction of the Social Security Trust Funds.

    Does the trend line worry you? The 1945 debt was due to a world war, and the country had decades of expansion ahead of it. The 2017 debt is due to … what, exactly? Does each US president now need to add $10 trillion to the debt in “stimulus” just to tread water?

  43. bruce wilder

    What will matter to the course of politics in the U.S. and the world is not what Trump does or whether what he does “works” in some vague pragmatic sense for some diffuse group — what will matter is whether anyone effectively opposes Trump and offers a plausible alternative.

    What got us (the Left and the responsible Center if there can be such a thing) into this hole in which a reality teevee star who yells at what he sees on cable news sets the policy agenda was the abandonment of the cause of the commons and the working and merely middle classes. Call it populism or social democracy or American liberalism, the politics of fighting against the rich and powerful for the general welfare was abandoned by the professional and managerial classes, turned over to amoral incompetent grifters like the Clintons.

    With minimal resources and good will, it would not be difficult to overcome either Trump or the Republicans in Congress. These are not particularly clever folks. But the Left and Center do not have such resources or good will at their disposal. Instead, the levers of power and influence, the giant megaphones of Media and the apparatus of Party are in the hands of hacks hired by the Other Side. So we hear about Russian subversion of the election, not about declining life expectancy under Obama. Worse, the Left finds itself not fighting for Medicare-for-all, but defending the indefensible Obamacare and championing the integrity of the CIA!

    We have been setup. Setup in many cases by our personal, individual success in a rotten system. Rachel Maddow has done well in this system and millions accept her narratives. This is who and what we are dependent on to critique Trump and pave the way to an alternative: hacks who do not want an alternative.

    When George W Bush was the incompetent in the White House headed toward failure, I had some hope because the critiques from Left and Center appealed to decent values and principles. Paul Krugman was magnificent in the NYT. Digby at Hullabaloo was clear and eloquent. I could list many, like Digby or Krugman, who I cannot now stand to read who seemed ten years ago the voice of Reason and Idealism. That change — or revelation — is of more importance to our future after Trump than Trump. And it does not make me optimistic.

  44. highrpm

    the far right Republican plan is to, as Dickens put it, ‘decrease the surplus population.’
    and the neolibs’, too. while at the same time, both sides have their hands in our pockets.

    it’s really as simple as mob rule. otherwise described as collective insanity.

    and who masters/ plays mob rule? the military.

    the klepto’s play inside the beltway. the citizen majority play outside, and t.v. is likely as close as most of us get to citizen participation. while wearing ourselves out running inside the hamster cage of purchasing our most recent debt product that our functional life is.

    the immersiveness of big screen storyboarding is so powerful that the citizen majority buffaloed by hollyworld propaganda simply cannot imagine hitler as anything but the purest evil. when, in fact, he’s a distant third to nety. (take a few days to read some cesar tort.)

  45. Peter

    Some liberals/Clitonites seem to be obsessed with imagining Trump breaking his campaign promises so that his conservative supporters can feel the pain they suffered from Obama’s betrayal. This loser meme has been repeated since before Trump took office. It included variations on the theme including begging for Trump to be a little liberal and take up some of their causes to ease their victimhood.

    Now that it is clear that Trump is not going to help the Clintonites, in any way, the Clintonites revert to telling people they don’t know and don’t seem to understand what they are or should be thinking about Trump’s actions. One thing I do know about conservatives is that they don’t use liberal metrics to decide what is ‘best’ so they will probably chuckle at the statement from a liberal that Trumpcare is ‘worse’ than Obamacare.

    There are some republicans in congress who think Trump should leave the ACA in effect and allow it to implode this year so we could see what is worse and what is best but that is probably too dangerous to allow to happen besides it was a campaign promise to shred it before it imploded.

  46. S Brennan

    With everybody talking about a 3% cut to “meals on wheels” it’s kinda interesting to “look under the hood” at things being cut that never should have been funded in the first place. The groups being cut are those groups who helped create the mess in Libya; Syria & Ukraine…and that is a good thing. NGO’s, which are the tools of the non-elected neoliberal/neocolonial policy makers should be eliminated, if you can’t get elected president of the USA, you don’t make foreign policy [somebody tell McCain, because he wouldn’t know the US Constitution if it slapped him in the face].

    “Under the Trump proposal, the budget for the State Department and the Agency for International Development would be cut by 28%…State Department [funded] advocacy groups immediately expressed outrage. Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, which advocates for press freedom and democracy around the globe, said the slashing “Foreign assistance and diplomacy are critical to defend democratic values and U.S. interests”

  47. The Stephen Miller Band

    I agree that the cuts to the pesky, meddling, destabilizing state department are a good thing, but more importantly, who does the cutting and for what reason is equally as important. Increasing the military budget while concomitantly cutting the state department budget is a recipe for war, and since Trump has emphatically asserted America won’t lose any more wars so long as he’s the Salamander In Chief, well, we’re talking about Total War and Total War means War Crimes on a scale we haven’t seen since Vietnam when America slaughtered 3-5 million Vietnamese needlessly when you consider Vietnam effectively has State Capitalism today and that’s what murdering all them recalcitrant “Commie Gooks” was all about.

  48. The Stephen Miller Band

    I think Hillary’s reading me and it’s prompted her to “come out of the woods.” Sorry Hillary. Too late. Pandora’s Box is open and you don’t have the capacity to close it. You and your husband and Obama are Trump and Trump is all of you and it’s time to throw the miasma that is all of you to the curb once and for all.

    Don’t Be Fooled Again.

    The only way forward is another way that’s still coalescing. It hasn’t taken shape yet so any number of shapes are possible, but rest assured, the way forward will not be via any established political party unless the majority prefer to go backwards or remain in place.

    Hillary Clinton Says She’s ‘Ready To Come Out Of The Woods’

    “I’m like a lot of my friends right now, I have a hard time watching the news,” Clinton told an Irish women’s group.

    But she urged a divided country to work together to solve problems, recalling how, as first lady, she met with female leaders working to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

    “I do not believe that we can let political divides harden into personal divides. And we can’t just ignore, or turn a cold shoulder to someone because they disagree with us politically,” she said.

    Friday night’s speech was one of several she is to deliver in the coming months, including a May 26 commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. The Democrat also is working on a book of personal essays that will include some reflections on her loss to Donald Trump.

  49. StewartM


    There are some republicans in congress who think Trump should leave the ACA in effect and allow it to implode

    The ACA isn’t “imploding”, not according to the Congress’s own CBO:

    If you listen to many Republicans in Washington, the Affordable Care Act’s insurance markets are in a “death spiral,” “imploding,” “collapsing” or “will fall of their own weight.” That’s part of the rationale behind the new House proposal to reshape the health care system.

    On Monday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeated this line, even in the face of projections that his plan could lead to 24 million fewer Americans with health insurance in 10 years. “Put this against the backdrop that Obamacare is collapsing,” he said in interview with Fox News. “This, compared to the status quo, is far better.”

    But the new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office contradict this long-held talking point. According to the budget office, the Obamacare markets will remain stable over the long run, if there are no significant changes. The House plan would cause near-term turmoil, it found, but the markets would eventually become stable. “The nongroup market would probably be stable in most areas under either current law or the legislation,” said the report, using the technical term for the market where people buy their own health insurance.

    Now that it is clear that Trump is not going to help the Clintonites

    The rollback of Medicaid expansion, plus making medical insurance essentially unaffordable to many pre-Medicare eligible older white people who voted for him, is definitely doing more than “not helping Clintonities” but in fact is hurting the Trumpsters who believed in Trump’s version of “Hope and Change”. In fact, people who voted for Clinton are more likely to “win” under TrumpCare than will Trump voters (due to being eligible for the tax cuts in his plan). Here is the breakdown:

    Of course, if you were a *rich* Trump voter and all you were concerned about was getting your taxes cut even if it meant an additional doubling the national debt you were a “winner”.

    Of course, that doesn’t include most of my neighbors here who voted for Trump.

  50. StewartM


    There are some republicans in congress who think Trump should leave the ACA in effect and allow it to implode

    The ACA isn’t “imploding”, not according to the Congress’s own CBO:

    If you listen to many Republicans in Washington, the Affordable Care Act’s insurance markets are in a “death spiral,” “imploding,” “collapsing” or “will fall of their own weight.” That’s part of the rationale behind the new House proposal to reshape the health care system.

    On Monday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeated this line, even in the face of projections that his plan could lead to 24 million fewer Americans with health insurance in 10 years. “Put this against the backdrop that Obamacare is collapsing,” he said in interview with Fox News. “This, compared to the status quo, is far better.”

    But the new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office contradict this long-held talking point. According to the budget office, the Obamacare markets will remain stable over the long run, if there are no significant changes. The House plan would cause near-term turmoil, it found, but the markets would eventually become stable. “The nongroup market would probably be stable in most areas under either current law or the legislation,” said the report, using the technical term for the market where people buy their own health insurance.

    Now that it is clear that Trump is not going to help the Clintonites

    The rollback of Medicaid expansion, plus making medical insurance essentially unaffordable to many pre-Medicare eligible older white people who voted for him, is definitely doing more than “not helping Clintonities” but in fact is hurting the Trumpsters who believed in Trump’s version of “Hope and Change”. In fact, people who voted for Clinton are more likely to “win” under TrumpCare than will Trump voters (due to being eligible for the tax cuts in his plan). Here is the breakdown:

    Of course, if you were a *rich* Trump voter and all you were concerned about was getting your taxes cut even if it meant an additional doubling the national debt you were a “winner”.

    Of course, that promise doesn’t include most of my neighbors here who voted for Trump.

    (Ian, delete the first comment).

  51. Morongobill

    Speaking as a veteran, don’t tar me with that guilt brush. I never committed a war crime nor know anyone who did. My suggestion is to go one night to a bar where veterans hang out and repeat it.

  52. The Stephen Miller Band

    The Vietnam War was one giant War Crime. America had no business picking up where the French left off and escalating a conflict that resulted in 3-5 million Vietnamese dead — NEEDLESSLY.

    I brought it up as an example because Trump has made it clear that America will not lose any more wars and that necessarily means America has to use any and all means to win and that means that the next war, and there will be one, will be all out Total War like Nixon & Kissinger, and LeMay before them, wanted to do in Vietnam to win.

    Of course, for victory to have been possible in Vietnam, the entire country would have to have been blown to smithereens with all manner of ordinance to include nukes and the jungle canopy everywhere would have to have been entirely defoliated and pretty much 90% of the Vietnamese people would have perished and perhaps 150,000 American deaths in the process.

    This is the implication of Trump’s words if they’re put into action, therefore it’s incumbent upon you and everyone to understand the past precisely in order to prepare for and prevent a repeat of it in the future.

    America did the same thing in Korea before Vietnam and, considering the building tension with North Korea and Trump’s adamant assertion that America won’t lose a war under his watch, it looks like America may pull a Korea 2.0 but this time with nukes.

    My kind of Veteran is the kind of Veteran that stood, or still stands, shoulder to shoulder with the American Indians in their peaceful, non-violent protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Veterans who stood up against the progeny of Erik Prince’s private Blackwater Security Firm to help prevent yet another ecological disaster. If I were to visit any Veterans, they would be the Veterans I visit and I’d give them a big hug and my mutual respect.

  53. Hugh

    Blizzard, you really don’t understand what money is. Most people have been indoctrinated with the belief that it is a fundamental element of the universe: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, –and money.” It’s not. It is a human construct, and an abstract one at that. You could have a billion dollars but if you are on a desert island, that billion would be utterly useless to you. Money is not debt. It is not property. It is not a store of wealth. It is a medium to give access to and direct the resources and services of a society in principle to build and maintain the kind of society its members want. In a kleptocracy such as ours this end is disrupted and large, socially unproductive, amassing of money is encouraged, even exulted. In a kleptocracy, a billionaire is a master of the universe. From a social point of view, a billionaire is a thief and looter. Also from this social or societal context, the idea of the society becoming broke is meaningless because money is about moving wealth, i.e. goods and services, around. It is not actually that wealth. If that wealth is not used productively, then the society can be damaged and distorted. It can be broken, but this is different, and worse, then being broke. If you want to understand the national debt, look on it as a useful lie of kleptocrats.

    If you want to know why China buys Treasuries, it is to recycle dollars, to hedge against its own currency, to keep its factories running and its population from revolting. A trillion in Treasuries is cheap at the price.

  54. Hugh

    S Brennan, why cut Meals on Wheels at all? Why not increase funding to it? Why not cut the trillion dollar F-35, the plane that doesn’t fly, or the littoral combat ship, the bloat that doesn’t float?

    Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    7:16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?

    7:17 Even so every good tree produces good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.

    Trump biblically explained.

  55. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. (John 3:19-20)

    Trump’s supporters, Biblically explained.

  56. Lisa

    BlizzardOfOz PERMALINK
    March 17, 2017
    At some point we should observe that neoliberal austerity and Keynsian open-ended credit expansion are two sides of the same (debased) coin.

    Sigh…You need to read some Keynes. Keynes never advocated unlimited private debt expansion…in fact the very opposite, he wrote and warned about it often. In fact it was the right wing so called ‘monetarists’ that pushed for that by advocating de-regulation of the financial system under their mantra ‘the Market is always right’.

    The Von Mises crowd are idiots with their obsession about Govt spending and debt …and their total ignoring of the far more dangerous (and the cause of every major economic crisis) private debt (and all the associated speculation, rentier capitalism and capital value inflation).

    Ideologues little different to the religious nut jobs …..who seem to be their greatest supporters. But if you substitute ‘Market’ with the word ‘God’, or vice versa, what difference is there between them?

  57. Tom

    @ Morongobill

    It doesn’t matter what you personally did. If you went to Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, etc, where America is or was illegally waging war, you are complicit. It doesn’t matter what you did.

    Nuremburg means shit if you are given a pass, and you won’t be.

    Nor will I be intimidated by your fellows. I’m an EMT and I have stared down guns in my face and been shot at without a single weapon to protect me. So fuck off on that score too.

  58. Lisa

    As soon as he sided with the religious right of course he was going to break all his core promises…as I warned.

    The US religious right, just like other countries versions, are not just right wing about women and LGBTI people (with their not so hidden racism as well), they are extreme right wingers in every area.
    Just read their platforms. They are against any health insurance (public or private), any social security of any kind…in their minds just some ‘christian’ charity will do…but only for those that deserve it of course. They love military spending (but hate spending on vets, etc) and have never seen a war they didn’t love (and want more).

    Add in some so called ‘alt right’ (who are really nihilists) people and his cabinet and executive are dominated by them…so what did everyone expect?

    As usual it was we LGBTI people, on the front line, warning about this and no one (including many now regretful, women) listened.

    It is such a blank spot in nearly all the people here’s (including Ian) political knowledge and thus analysis framework. I find it amazing the blindness to them. You have the VP stating endlessly he wants to create a ‘christian’ theocracy in the US…and yet you all ignore it. You think they are making it up? They mean it.

    You will never understand what is really happening until you open your blinkers. They are a Major Political Force in the US and especially within the GOP both Federally and in the States.

  59. markfromireland

    Oh ffs – yet another puff piece from the antipodes. From here on in I’m just going scroll past this self-agrandising trumpet blowing. It’s a pity, I remember when Lisa wrote stuff worth reading I also remember when the stuff she wrote wasn’t so pathetically provincial. Wogs might begin at Calais but contrary to Lisa’s repeatedly clearly expressed belief the world does not consist entirely of anglophones.

  60. markfromireland

    For some of us who have spent considerable time in uniform, we know by experience that there exists a moral code in the office corps that bends only under extreme pressure (think Rumsfeld/Cheney) but never breaks (think Mattis’ resistance to Trump).

    That might have been true of your officer corps once but it hasn’t been true of either the overwhelming majority of your officer corps, or the overwhelming majority of your NCOs and other lower ranks for at a least a generation.

  61. Lisa

    But markfromireland as an admitted ‘Catholic Conservative’ of course you are either (a) blind to their influence, (b) agree with it or (c) are happy that people are distracted from noticing it.

    It is not just the US, though they are the worst in the western world and export (through many organisations) that toxic influence elsewhere.

    I wrote this for local consumption in Australia awhile back, but it has been the long sad story of the Republicans for decades now, where those seen as ‘useful idiots’ for more traditional conservatism, always guaranteed to vote against and work against their own economic interests are now in charge.

    From earlier this year about our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (but he could be any so called western conservative leader these days):

    Just shows you that you can’t pander to extreme right religious people. Turnbull did that, did everything they wanted …but it is never enough. You cannot compromise with religious extremists.

    He did it, as all conservative politicians have done, because religious extremist people are never just right wing socially (anti women, LGBTI, etc) they are also extremist in economic, foreign policy, envirionment, energy, etc, etc areas.

    So Turnbull got his support for what he wants, cuts in taxes for corporations, the wealthy, privitisation, cut Medicare, social security*, pensions, and all the rest …all he had to do was throw women,LGBTI,. Muslims, refugees, kids, etc under a bus….which he is more than happy to do of course.

    Except there is a lot of pushback from that…. and his popularity plummets.

    So he equivocates ( a little) and the right wing ‘christian’ extremists jump up and down about that, feeling all betrayed and angry because he hasn’t brought in the ‘christian sharia’ law he promised to them..

    The price of doing business with religious extremists…

    Now he could have taken a better path, but it would have cost him his REAL economic agenda as he would have had to compromise on that but there is no way he was going to give that up.

    Sympathy zero, if for no other reason that if he could have he would have thrown all women and LGBTI people under a bus, then kicked them, to keep the religious extremists onside…look at him on refugees and you can see the sheer cynical cruelty of the man. His first priority is the interests of his (perceived) class at the expense of everyone else.

    Never ever separate ‘traditional’ conservatives and religious extremists, they live in each other’s pockets all trying to use each other to the detriment of everyone else.

    Once there was a difference …but no longer.

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

    *The very deliberate Centrlink debt plan is just an indirect way of cutting social security. It is not fiasco to him, rather a raging success.

  62. Lisa

    If someone wast’s to learn about how our ‘modern’ version of capitalism works I highly recommend Prof Steve Keen, one of the very few economists that predicted the 2008 GFC.

    This is a link to a great series of lectures, just this section (out of many) on the history of economic thought is worth going through, but I recommend all the rest as well.

    History of Economic Thought
    Introduction/Antiquity (Very large file [9MB] because of large images!)
    Antiquity to Physiocrats/Smith
    Classical to Marx
    Marx to Robbins
    Robbins to Keynes
    Keynes to Monetarism
    Monetarism to the Cambridge Controversies
    More on Marx
    More on Keynes
    Debates: Nature of money and capital
    Debates: Economic Dynamics

  63. > I bet the Dems run Michelle Obama against Trump in 2020

    One vote for ConsDem. AfrAm and ConsDem are just barely a majority of the party.

  64. sglover

    “sglover, have you looked at the cost of education and healthcare lately? You fell for the magician’s trick of misdirection.”

    Yeah, well, speaking of misdirection, originally you were hyperventilating about the awful Federal debt. Now, for some reason, you’ve decided to veer off into some tangent about how some sectors have become really really expensive. I can’t keep track, and after years of enduring hyperinflation cranks, I don’t want to. I guess you should just keep hording those gold ingots. You’ll show us all when Weimar II rolls around, right? Any day now….

  65. S Brennan


    You guys sound like real religious scholars…or perhaps two guys who learned how to Google up scripture to make yourself sound genuine when you are just being a common troll. Fine, I’ll play.

    Jesus, in his “Sermon on the Mount”, explained that the 3rd commandment prohibited using God’s name to validate one’s own argument/testimony and the thought is repeated in the Master List of Logical Fallacies:


    “The Appeal to Heaven: (also, Argumentum ad Coelum, Deus Vult, Gott mit Uns, Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism, or the Special Covenant): An ancient, extremely dangerous fallacy (a deluded argument from ethos) that of claiming to know the mind of God (or History, or a higher power), who has allegedly ordered or anointed, supports or approves of one’s own country, standpoint or actions so no further justification is required and no serious challenge is possible…Practiced by those who will not or cannot tell God’s will from their own, this vicious (and blasphemous) fallacy has been the cause of endless bloodshed over history. See also, Moral Superiority, and Magical Thinking.

    The rest of your post is the old standby “mock outrage” and in the link below, a professional scribe “mocks” those that use false argumentation better than I can.

  66. BlizzardOfOz

    I was poking through Keynes, and chartalism / MMT on Wikipedia and came across the name Abba Lerner. I remembered that name because Larouchies would always crow about the infamous (in their circle) debate from 1971. It’s on Youtube now! Lerner vs Larouche. The timing of this debate makes it interesting: December 2, 1971, 3 months after Nixon “temporarily” (ie, permanently) suspended the USD’s convertibility to gold, which led swiftly to the collapse of Bretton Woods.

    The debate is bonkers. Lerner supports Nixon’s wage and price freeze to control inflation — not because he thinks inflation is a problem, but that other people think it’s a problem which was leading them to apply a cure worse than the disease. Larouche accuses Lerner of austerity via these wage freezes, which he claims will require fascism to implement, because you would need to atomize and suppress the trade unions. Lerner counters that his policy isn’t austerity, because although nominal wages will fall, real wages would stay the same. Larouche claims that Lerner is Literally Hitler because Hjalmar Schacht had the same austerity policy in 1933. Lerner confirms that Hitler Did Nothing Wrong (economically speaking!) but that the (good) economic policies can in fact contra Larouche be implemented without the (bad) fascism.

    One thing that jumps out is that the meaning of “austerity” has changed in the intervening 46 years. Then it apparently meant the government artificially suppressing wages; now it means reducing government handouts (we’ve come a long way). Another thing is that Larouche’s prediction – that “capitalism”, or whatever you’d call the post-1971 economic system, would tend to cannibalize the population in favor of fictitious paper – seems correct broadly speaking.

    Anyway … I’m sticking to what I wrote earlier in the thread. The solution to runaway Keynsianism isn’t more Keynsianism, just like the solution to a heroin addiction isn’t heroin. The problem is, how do you go cold-turkey in a democracy when the addicts are the voters? Hmm …

  67. BlizzardOfOz

    @S Brennan,
    Lefties’ penchant for quoting the Bible in support of their policies would seem to support the hypothesis that leftism is a Christian heresy.

  68. Gaianne


    It may be off topic. But I think you go astray to imagine Putin masterminding the miss-steps of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. These miss-steps come out of American self-righteousness and self-absorption–the idea that reality must conform to our most cherished self-delusions. Along with that is the obsession with enemies: Americans cannot live–literally do not know what to do with themselves–without enemies. Partly, but only partly, it is practical: Our own American oligarchs find foreign enemies very profitable.

    Russia is a country with a different history from the US, and a different outlook on life. The terrain is inherently insecure from a military point of view, and over its 700-year history, Russia has been invaded about twice per century from the west. It has also been invaded from other directions. So Russians do not think of war as something fun, or an opportunity for great riches, but as a grim necessity in which people you know and love will die. This could not be more different from the American view.

    Russia has had its imperial periods. The expansion of Russia eastward to the Bering Strait was the result of such a period. And during Soviet days, the Soviet Union was frankly imperial. (The US also being imperial but dishonest about it.)

    With the collapse of the Soviet Union the existence of Russia itself became problematic. The Yeltsin years–much celebrated in the West–were a time of political and economic disaster during which Russia was looted out and partly dismantled. That this happened at the behest of American advisers and to the benefit of American banks and businesses did not escape notice over there.

    Putin was of course selected and advanced by Yeltsin himself, but perhaps did not do the job expected of him. Putin formed a political coalition with the nationalist oligarchs to fight against the “atlanticist” oligarchs–Russians who were happy to take their gains out of Russia and live (in luxury) in places like London. The nationalist oligarchs have different priorities–living in Russia for the long term they need the country to be a functioning entity. Putin became the focus of this shared recognition.

    Russia has been in open conflict with the US since August 2008, when the US used a color revolution in Georgia and an ethnic war against Russian nationals in an attempt to flip Georgia to NATO. The Russians considered this a life-or-death threat and responded with main force. The entry of Georgia into NATO was forestalled.

    Each act of Russian “aggression” since has been the blocking of an American attempt to extend NATO or American proxies into former Soviet territories. The Russians are coming or have come to believe these moves constitute yet another western invasion, analogous to those in previous centuries such as the First and Second World Wars in the 20th century.

    From a Russian point of view, the US-sponsored coup in the Ukraine and the US-armed Sunni rebellion against the Syrian Government were both aimed directly at existing Russian naval bases. As Crimea was attached to the Ukraine by Nikita Khruschev during Soviet days when internal borders did not matter, the view that Crimea is eternally part of the Ukraine does not carry much legal weight–even less since the US dismembered Yugoslavia–and in any case it is a military necessity. The population of Crimea is of course not Ukrainian–it is Russian and Tartar, which is a different story.

    Syria has been an ally of Russia since Soviet days. Although disliked by the US, the Syrian Government is still legally recognized internationally, and will remain so unless or until the United Nations decides otherwise, regardless what particular countries or individuals might think. Russia adjoins the Islamic world, and the funding of jihadi terrorist groups by Saudi Arabia and their arming by the US are matters of Russian national concern and dismay.

    While Russia may decide to become an empire in the future–that is not a certainty–right now Russia is fully occupied fending off the political and economic pressures against it and the military threats surrounding it. It has been remarkably successful, but it is still in the midst of its struggle.

    The sanctions against Russia were not welcomed there, and yet proved to be a blessing: Russia needs for reasons of national security to diversify and become more self-sufficient. Under the pressure of the sanctions this is happening.

    Russia is both hurt and helped by the stupidity of American policy. Russia is hurt because American policies are aggressive and destructive, being driven by the need for financial expansion during a period of imperial over-reach and material decline, but Russia is helped because the policies are tactically stupid and thus vulnerable to Russian counter-measures.

    In this context I would say that the idea of Russian influence on the CIA is laughable. Certainly it was not in Russia’s interest for the US to arm the Islamic State as the CIA did for the last half-decade. (Whether it was in America’s interest is equally doubtful–but a different conversation.) It is important to remember that although CIA policies are often very evil, their implementation is often incompetent. The CIA is subject to the same group-think, over-reach, and preference for favored theories over fact as the rest of the American political establishment. This will not change: It is part of the process of American imperial decline.

    The main lesson is this: Increasingly, what is claimed to be 11-dimensional chess will prove in fact to be the chaos and incompetence that it appears to be.


  69. Some Guy

    My mind is still on the last topic, the fed. Did you read Kashkari’s explanation of his dissenting vote? Utterly damning. The other fed members are all smart people, you wonder how they can read his comments and still look themselves in the mirror.

    But then you wonder that about most of the elite we are stuck with, until you realize that this is what the system is selecting for. Hypothetically, there might only be one person in a million who is both quite intelligent and willing to screw over their country to serve the plutocrats, but you can bet that, if that was the case, those 350 people (out of 350 million Americans) would all be in positions of great power and influence.

    As for the topic at hand, Duder asked the most important question, where do the voters go next? I don’t have an answer, maybe they go back to meekly choosing between Chelsea and Jenna or whatever the grinding devolution of the democratic dream spits up next. Maybe they keep pushing for an outsider willing to actually drain the swamp. Do (enough) people take the message – we tried an outsider and it was a disaster so let’s go back to insiders, or do they take the message, we need to go further outside, more radical. We shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out.

  70. Gaianne


    From the point of view of peace, dismantling of the State Department is a good thing: It has long since given up its mission of diplomacy and has been the strongest advocate of all our recent wars (Iraq, Libya, Syria, the Ukraine). This goes doubly for the NGOs that–whatever good they may have done in the past–have become devoted to overthrowing governments and undermining societies.

    Ironically, the Pentagon, at least in the lower ranks, is a hotbed of pacifism. Not because they are against war in principle but because they do object to getting killed in stupid wars with no purpose, and because they do understand–as most civilians don’t–that the US cannot win a hot shooting war with Russia.

    Does that sound extreme? But think about the proper meaning of winning a war: It can only mean achieving strategic objectives through force. And that is precisely what we cannot do–achieve strategic objectives on Russia’s border by force of arms. And any war that grows big enough to wreck Russia will destroy the United States as well.

    Sane people will choose other means for conducting policy.

    In fact the Pentagon, wasteful and parasitic as it is, has been the main stabilizing, reality-oriented force in American policy for nearly a decade.

    By comparison.


  71. V. Arnold

    March 19, 2017

    Bravo; well done and said.
    You know your Russian history; a rare trait these days and refreshing to behold, thanks.

  72. Gaianne


    Thank you for your thoughts. In general, I suspect you are right.

    It may have been a big mistake for women and LGBT to align with liberalism, for when the neo-liberal project went bad–as it had to, being based on plunder and allocation upward rather than production–it was inevitable that we would become the designated scapegoats.

    We are certainly overdue for a new and better strategy.


  73. Lisa

    Gaianne “Thank you for your thoughts. In general, I suspect you are right.”

    I suspect I am too, though these men here will never admit it…lol.

    But overall, the LGBTI movement is faster and more agile and suspicious of ‘liberals’ and we know the religious right hates us. So our history is always fighting. Sure we will make deals but we know that, if they can, we will be sold out. By anyone, left men or women, ‘liberals’ and all the rest.

    I have stated here many times, and no less than the great pessimist The Archdruid admits we have done far better than many other pressure groups given our small size and resources.

    But these clowns here don’t get it…and seemingly never will,,they argue about things that mean nothing.. while all defending their male heterosexual white privilege.
    They add to that total ignorance of economics, social theory, let alone basic science. Old while middle class men whining away…none of them get it.

    Some are smart, MarkfromIreland is one, in many ways brilliant, a man I’d love to sit down with over some drinks and talk and listen to…and argue with…. but crippled by his Catholic Conservatism.

    Maybe by giving everything up by transitioning to a female I started to see things clearer, albeit on a base of good old Scottish working class socialism. And 40 years of analytic work

    And I hate those, in this era of the internet that don’t do their research, that spout total disproven BS.

    Hint the world does not work the way you think.

    For the technical it is non Gaussian, non linear and well organised minorities full of hate can win…. provided, as they do, support the elites in all they want (as they do)…until they become the elites….

    And for those men here with daughters…never mind we tiny number of LGBTI people will save you daughters rights …not that you will ever do anything for them…..

  74. Prince Kropotkin


    Have you read this, by Corey Robin?

    The idea of Trump being a “disjunctive” president is quite interesting, and it seems a lot of the ‘data points’ are backing it up.

  75. Tom

    @ Gaianne

    The CIA did not arm ISIS and that has been thoroughly disproven countless times.

    ISIS lives off war spoils and local production, nothing more. No one supports it and it has made it as far as it did by its own efforts.

    The CIA is guilty of a lot, but ISIS is not their creation. If anyone should be held responsible for ISIS, start with Jordan’s current King. But ultimately Abu Musab al-Zarqawi created ISIS.

  76. Trump is not breaking his core promises. He is not doing the things he said he’d do, which are not necessarily his core “promises”. I like Ian’s old “meta-promises” framework. As realitychecker points out, Trump is fulfilling his most important promise, breaking “political correctness”, i.e., stomping on the cultural gains of minorities. That’s the coriest promise of the Trumpian discourse there is! There was nothing more core than that. And he’s clearly fulfilling it!

  77. Hugh

    S Brennan, I begin to see why you are so attracted to Trump. When he can’t address a point or an argument, he simply goes off and lies, and shovels as much BS as he can until, hopefully for him, the point or argument is forgotten.

    I said some time ago that Trump was going to betray his followers, that all the signs were already there, but that it would take some time for his followers to admit this. In the meantime, they would deny and rationalize his every attack upon them, his every blunder and failure. But eventually the sheer number and weight of these would sink in to all except the inevitable Trump deadenders. And for these, they were going to be far angrier at those of us who had Trump nailed from the beginning than they were ever going to be with Trump for callously screwing them over and throwing them away. This is not the first blog war I have been in, and they do have a pattern. I could call you a sap or a dupe, blind or an idiot, but it really doesn’t matter. You could learn form Trump’s betrayal of you, but I doubt that you will. Instead I expect you to remain angry and blame everyone but yourself, and of course learn nothing.

  78. Hugh

    Mandos, there is a difference between breaking political correctness and just being a jerk. I think this is going to be one of the areas of cognitive dissonance for his followers. They thought he was making a point, but he wasn’t. He was just being the narcissistic, egotistical asshat he is.

  79. The Stephen Miller Band

    The manifestation of Daesh/The Islamic State is a complex issue with a myriad of contributing factors.

    Or, if you’re a Trump supporter, it’s as simple as the following article. Surely Dubya’s invasion & occupation of Iraq and the consequential dispossession of Iraqi Sunnis and former Baathists had nothing to do with it or David Petraeus paying them off in order to quell the Insurgency or the exiting of Iraq and leaving all of that military hardware behind because it was too expensive to ship it back or all the War Criminal Arms Dealers who continue to sell them weapons.

    Why is everyone so surprised by Donald Trump’s comments about Obama tapping his phones when you consider the precedent he’s set his entire life in the public eye? This IS Donald Trump. It will ALWAYS BE Donald Trump. There is no distinction between Campaign Donald and President Donald and there never will be.

    Obama Founded ISIS And Crooked Hillary Clinton IS The Cofounder

  80. The Stephen Miller Band

    Yet, Don defends Putin concerning accusations that he had all those journalists murdered and Nemtsov and Litvinenko. I think Putin was behind all of that, but I also believe it will never be proven. Putin and his Henchmen are too intelligent to leave any discernible proof but they will leave symbolic calling cards as a kind of in-your-face and warning to other potential transgressors.

    Why did Don go out of his way to defend Putin against these charges and yet go out of his way to accuse Obama of founding ISIL/ISIS/The Islamic State/Daesh? Why does Don avoid saying anything negative about Putin, and worse, why does Don carry Putin’s water for him?

    Donald Trump Defends Vladimir Putin Over Alexander Litvinenko Murder

  81. realitychecker

    @ Mandos

    I said:”Well, it seems to me that among Trump’s core promises were the promise to push back against crazy runaway political correctness, . . .”

    Note the words “crazy” and “runaway.” Those are what educated people call “qualifiers.” Qualifiers are included for a specific communicative purpose. Do you not understand what that purpose is?

    You dishonestly paraphrased me thusly:

    “As realitychecker points out, Trump is fulfilling his most important promise, breaking “political correctness”, i.e., stomping on the cultural gains of minorities.”

    People who paraphrase so dishonestly, and there are waaaaay too many such in public dialogue nowadays, are nothing more or less than liars and deliberate bearers of false witness against those they disagree with. They obfuscate rather than illuminate, and that is their preferred tactic when the merits of an argument do not work for them. They are horrible human beings, pretending to be responsible debaters.

    So, with all due respect, which ain’t much, I invite you to kindly go fuck yourself.

  82. The Stephen Miller Band

    Like the formation of Daesh/The Islamic State, there are many contributing factors to the ascension of Donald Trump to the Presidency. One such factor is the Citizens United Effect. Politicians have always been bought & paid for, but with Citizens United, the gloves are off and donating has now become a steroidal-embellished slugfest amongst the various competing feudal overlord Plutocrats.

    We must Deport The Rich. They own the political process from start to finish and Government now works for them, not with them as it did before Citizens United.

    The Blow-It-All-Up Billionaires

  83. Peter

    Poor Stevie, stuck in the pit with the loser snowflakes feeding on nothing but Putin hysteria while the world turns. Denial and derangement are a strange mix so Trump may need to open mental asylums to handle this large contingent of loony’s as they are dragged out of their self-made snake pits.

    I knew we had one bible thumper here but now there are two so we’ll get more guidance from a higher power other than the Red Queen.

  84. GrimJim

    RE: Trumpcare, this is a broken promise. Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better for his people, and Trumpcare seems to be nothing of the sort.

    However, it is and yet it isn’t, depending on which of his people you are talking about. Trump had support from two major voting blocks — the Rural White Poor (“Crackers”) and the Urban White Conservative Middle Class (20 to 40 something-year old “Trumpies,” the modern “Yuppies”). Trumpcare throws the Crackers under the bus while supporting in full everything the Trumpies wanted. The Trumpies either get their health care through their companies or buy it personally (if they feel they need it, they are the younger middle class who are still making good while the older former middle class members are being thrown over for the younger, cheaper crowd).

    Trump figures he will keep the Crackers on his side as he gives them everything they want in their racist, immigrant-hating dreams; they were really only a minor part in his victory, anyway. It was the Trumpies that really won him the presidency, as they were the major difference in the swing states.

    RE: Russia, of COURSE he loves Putin. Like attracts like, and Putin is a nationalist autocratic kleptocrat, just like Trump. Remember, Hitler was best buds with Mussolini (though like Putin no doubt considers Trump, Hitler thought Il Duce was not his equal). Tyrants almost always LOVE other tyrants, unless they are blood enemies. Ergo, Trump loves Putin. I’m sure he will get along fabulously with Le Pen when she wins. They are all one big happy family. Of course, there are always the red-headed stepchildren of the family, such as Kim Jong-in, but then, he’s not white, anyway.

    RE: Theocracy, we’ll get plenty of that when the Republicans finally are done with Trump and throw him under the bus in favor of Pence, unless Bannon is able to purge the party first and make it a true Trump party (unlikely, as Trump would need to have real allies at that level of the party, and he does not, not even prospective allies). And then Heinlein’s long-held prediction of the rise of Nehemiah Scudder shall finally come to fruition, merely an election late…

    RE: Money, it’s all a joke. I hate to bring in Marx here, but money is meaningless, it is all really about controlling the means of production. And THAT is a big problem today. Most production is done today by virtual slave labor in China; most that is left in the States is being done by robots (even farming is going to be done by robots shortly). Money is meaningless; we will find that out shortly after Trump nukes Pyongyang. How quickly can the rusting, abandoned US factories get geared up to produce anything? Will it be fast enough to keep people from rioting in the streets? Will fracking provide enough energy for both the war effort and civilian needs (including heating in winter and cooling in summer)? Good luck trading in ounces of gold or piles of cash to bribe people for their small, nominal, subsistence rations…

  85. Note the words “crazy” and “runaway.” Those are what educated people call “qualifiers.” Qualifiers are included for a specific communicative purpose. Do you not understand what that purpose is?

    As the thing you’re calling “crazy runaway political correctness” is neither runaway nor crazy, I am certainly justified in my paraphrase.

  86. Willy

    Not sure what your point is, but what nety (bullying workplace newbies) and Cesar Tort (racism) appear to have in common in this context here, is that the citizen majority find it easier to eat their own when under economic pressure, instead of doing the hard (and riskier) work of cutting the head off the snake. Are we on the same page?

  87. Ed

    So, if neoliberalism has run its course:

    1) What should replace it?
    2) How do we make that happen?
    3) Is there a way to do so without massive bloodshed?

  88. realitychecker

    @ Mandos

    Not “runaway’? Not “crazy”?


    Go micro-invalidate yourself, then.

  89. realitychecker

    @ Ed

    We can’t do it if any bloodshed at all would or might be involved.

    We don’t have enough safe spaces for everyone.

    (Ain’t it great that our American kids will never have to compete with all those tough kids the Chinese and the Russians and others are raising? Oh, wait . . . )

  90. Gaianne


    “So, if neoliberalism has run its course:
    1) What should replace it?
    2) How do we make that happen?
    3) Is there a way to do so without massive bloodshed?”

    1) Relocalization. The idea is to give up on large organizations (falling into corruption and profit taking) and long supply lines(vulnerable in every way) and to start producing locally for local needs. The basics, things you actually need, are most important–really the only things that matter–food, water, shelter, warmth. Concentrate on easy things first: Organic gardening can be producing much of your vegetables sustainably within a single season. In wet climates rainwater collection can free you, when necessary, from deteriorating public (or suddenly privatized!) municipal water systems. (I became a believer when one fine summer day without warning, brown sludge started coming out of my tap.) Water purification can be done by filtering and treating with chlorox, on the one hand, or solar distillation to remove inorganic contaminants, on the other. Caulking, winterizing, and insulating can reduce the energy requirements of heating or cooling a dwelling. Dressing warmly in winter can also reduce winter energy requirements.

    When you have done the easier things, start on the harder ones. Growing staples is hard because of the land requirements, but the Three Sisters Garden–corn, squash, and beans grown to mutually assist each other and make a nutricianally strong diet–is compact and modest in energy use and labor. Medicinal herbs will become important as modern medicine becomes increasingly dysfunctional and predatory, but remember that most drugs came from herbs in the first place and this can be relearned.

    Move as much of your life out of the money economy as possible. Everybody needs money for taxes and rent, granted, but every time you find a way to meet your needs without using money you have improved your prospects for survival. Often you will do this by sharing work, skills, tools, and products with friends–either by bartering or gifting. Money is going to disappear from your life–slowly or suddenly–regardless of what you do. It goes without saying that you cannot afford to waste it on useless crap from China. This is a big sticking point for people, but you will come to it sooner or later. It might as well be sooner.

    2) Forget about national politics, or indeed all politics–at least temporarily. National governments will never willingly help you. Start with the practical things you can actually do. That will often mean finding people you can work with right where you live to get practical things done.

    Naturally, most of what you want to do is illegal. This is not an accident. Our economy was deliberately designed to shift wealth, benefits, and power upward–away from the people actually doing the work. So cultivate the art of staying off the radar. Staying off the radar is an essential skill.

    But staying off the radar is not always possible, and you may have to deal with local politics such as zoning ordinances. Take a positive attitude of public benefit and you can meet more success than you might expect. For example, a few years ago the town next to mine–a green-grass lawn suburb–legalized chickens! It can be done.

    Working regionally or nationally is much harder. But sometimes there are organizations–such as organizations for organic farmers–who are on the same page and have already been working. Join them.

    3) No. There really isn’t. But you should be organizing your strategy now that you will most likely not be part of it. The bloodshed will come from people clinging to a way of life that does not work, and becoming violent as it fails them. It might be oligarchs or the state trying to extract wealth that no longer exists. It could be factions fighting over the shrinking economic pie. To the extent possible you should be already exited from that pie. But the good you do might also be targeted. Be prepared for the fact that through no fault of your own, there may be no good answers. Even so violence will rarely serve you and your should try to avoid it. Negotiating skills and personal diplomacy will be some help.


  91. @ Mandos

    Not “runaway’? Not “crazy”?


    Go micro-invalidate yourself, then.

    The theory of micro-aggressions, etc, refers to a real need and issue that has finally had an opportunity to be expressed. It is exactly as I said: we have come this far, and you want to turn back the clock.

  92. realitychecker

    @ Mandos

    Nothing is as you said. It never is.

    Most of the country considers people like you to be ridiculous. Most Americans consider that political correctness did some good a long time ago, but has now gone to an extreme that makes reasonable people laugh or shake their heads in disbelief.

    Those people voted for Trump, and he is delivering for them by de-legitimizing people like you..

    You think we need MORE political correctness.

    There is no hope for you, Mandos, and no “safe space” big enough to make people like you ever feel safe enough.

    Continue to tremble your way through your life, while trying to censor everyone else’s speech and thoughts. Continue to imply that everyone who is not as extreme as you must be a racist, seeking to undo all the progress of all the oppressed minorities.

    I don’t think the future belongs to people like you.

  93. musical interlude

    Micro-aggressions. What are those? I’m curious. Apparently there’s a language I don’t know about.

  94. musical interlude

    Core promises. I hear you. You’re not wrong.

    President Donald Trump.

  95. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Most of the country considers people like [Mandos] to be ridiculous.

    Yes. This is why Pimp Daddy Cheetolini won landslide majorities of both the popular and electoral votes. 😉

  96. realitychecker

    @ IBP

    I know you are trying to be funny, but I will nevertheless point out to you that the population at large is not at all identical to the population that voted in the last election.

  97. Tom W Harris

    Actually Tom, the CIA damn well did have a lot to with the creation of ISIS. As did the Pentagon. And the media.

    It was the whole establishment, Peter. Obama and Clinton aided the process because they were part of that establishment, not because they were uniquely evil scumbags. They were just run-of-the-ill

  98. different clue

    @Ed and @Gaianne,

    About re-localization, self-reliance, community co-survivalism, preparation, etc.; . . . I think the internet, web, etc. will survive in its current useful form for at least several years yet. That gives people several years to find out about these things on interwebnet sites and sources and begin practicing and applying those things that people feel might be useful

    So among all the several million websites/ netsites/ blogsites/ etc. that exist, what might be a few good ones since no one person or even community will read millions of sites? Hopefully different people might come here and offer a few ideas and links to their idea of good useful sites. Here are a few from me.

    There is a site called Journey To Forever by some young people interested in decent subsistence and survival in a descending industrial civilization for whole bunchloads of people at a time and in groups. Aside from describing some of the things they themselves do, think and study; they post many other sites letting the linker-reader find more information in other places. Here is the link:

    Survivaling will probably work out better in the suburbs than in the cities. Suburban houses on mid to large size lots offer enough roofspace for survival roofwater harvesting and collecting, enough yard space for some survival gardening and micro-orcharding, etc. If big long downturns happen, many suburbs may become high-density semi-rural slum villages where survival will still be possible. Whereas the Great Urban Shitholes will become Great Urban Deathtraps for many. So what guidance sites exist on the interwebnets for suburban survival preparation information? Here is a very creative one by someone who is really doing it.

    There are near-endless web-sources for herbal medicine knowledge. I don’t know enough to know how to rate them. Professor James Duke ( botany) is senior in his field and respected by many. Here is a wikipage about him.
    Here is a link to his online database of medicinally relevant plants.

    By the way, Professor Duke assembled a bunch of referrences for a book about plant bio-energy/ bio-mass he was going to write but never wrote. He put the titles of all the referrences he assembled online, for anyone who wants to take the long hard time to run them down.

    And here is Professor Duke’s database of potential energy-crop plants its own self.
    Why is that relevant? Because if you have to provide your own fuel from grown and harvested plants, it is better to know than to not know which plants might help you.

    Interested people should probably start reading these and other things starting now. Because when the Web and the Net goes dark, everything that was ever posted to the WebNet goes dark with it. Never to be accessed again, ever. Ever.

    So start reading now.

  99. Some Guy

    “But overall, the LGBTI movement is faster and more agile and suspicious of ‘liberals’ and we know the religious right hates us. So our history is always fighting. Sure we will make deals but we know that, if they can, we will be sold out. By anyone, left men or women, ‘liberals’ and all the rest.

    I have stated here many times, and no less than the great pessimist The Archdruid admits we have done far better than many other pressure groups given our small size and resources.”

    Some sad news for Lisa and others who see the LGBT advancement over the years as some sort of victory over the establishment – the LGBT movement and success is just one more victory of the globalists over people who believe anything should take precedence over the mighty dollar (whether that be nationalists who want to put the state first, religious people who want to put God first or humanists who want to put people first). The globalist sees someone who is LGBT and they don’t care about their sexual orientation, they only care if they have money or could help them make money. This is commercial morality at work, all people are equal in the sense that all people are potential customers, no more no less.

    Have you noticed that when religious Republicans create measures against the the LGBT population that the powerful political force that always defeats them is the pressure from huge corporations that otherwise spending their time destroying the planet and the power of labour?

    I recommend the article, “Corporatism and Gay Marriage: Natural Bedfellows” from the American Conservative a couple of years back.

    Here’s a quote for those too lazy to google it:

    “Yet, generally unremarked upon has been the deep friendliness between the Left and corporations in the most burning issue of the day (according to the Grammy Awards at least)—gay marriage. It has been particularly noticeable to me as a recently transplanted Hoosier, given recent efforts to defeat the proposed amendment banning gay-marriage in Indiana by a combination of Left gay-activists and corporations. To the extent that the amendment has run into trouble, it has been arguably because of the concerted resistance not by the activist Left—who were always going to have limited traction with an overwhelmingly Republican state legislature—but corporations.

    Here is what those corporations are saying: “A ban would tell talented workers to stay out of Indiana.” According to Marya Rose, chief administrative officer for Indiana-based company Cummins, “If we have a climate in our state that makes people feel unwelcome in any way, we think that’s bad for Cummins, and we think that’s bad for business.” Similar arguments have been made by Nike in Oregon and General Mills in Minnesota. In New York, the push for legal recognition of gay marriage received major financial backing from some of the oft-denounced “wolves” of Wall Street—many of them prominent in conservative circles, especially Paul E. Singer, chairman of the conservative think-tank the Manhattan Institute. In Indiana, a coalition combining gay activists and corporations has been formed under the banner, “Freedom Indiana.”

    In a period when the Left takes up the banner decrying “income inequality,” it should at least give pause to see them cozy up to corporate elites in support of their most darling issue of the day. Indeed, what is most striking is the not-so-subtle threat that is made by opponents of the Indiana gay-marriage amendment: if you pass this ban, talented people will leave, and even corporations will find it difficult to remain. The same threat that is often used by corporations to compel localities into watering down collective-bargaining powers, diluting environmental restrictions, crafting significant tax breaks and “sweetheart deals” is now being used by proponents of gay marriage to threaten the legislators of Indiana. A state struggling with high unemployment and a rust-belt economy can ill-afford to upset the Masters of the Universe.”

    “To liberate individuals from such deep commitments to people, place, and generations, marriage had to be redefined in accordance with our self-conception as utility-maximizing consumers, free agents who are not permanently locked into any arrangements that might not prove to be continuously pleasing or rewarding (or, which forestall other, better arrangements). Defined today as one of our “rights” (rather than as part of our duty), marriage should be like a consumer good—something that satisfies us, in accordance with our desires. It does not partake of a moral and natural and communal and sacramental ecology. Rather, it is part of our dominant marketplace of choice, a marketplace extensively constructed by the modern economic realm, and in which the modern corporation flourishes. The Grammy’s showed modern marriage in its purest redefined form: the focus was on countless couples, unfamiliar with each other, before an assembly of total strangers and televised on commercial television which exists to sell things.

    The modern corporation and modern marriage are born of the same philosophical roots: rootless individuals seeking self-gratification in whatever way they see fit, short of “harming” another. Marriage is just another consumer choice, with the added advantage of tax benefits (it’s especially interesting to witness the Left’s insistence on gay marriage as a means for wealthy, oft-childless homosexuals to avoid inheritance taxes. After all, U.S v. Windsor wasn’t about “love,” it was about money). Corporations thus defend gay marriage for the same reason (and using the same tactics) they seek to undermine unions, environmental regulations, and tax policy—most obviously short-term gain, but more deeply, a society that needs to be remade in such a way that short-term gain seems the only game left in town: a thoroughly mobile society devoted to personal satisfaction, composed of individuals whose relationships are fungible and who have no strong relationship to place, history, or the generations stretching between the past and the future.”

    None of this is to say that it is bad that the LGBT movement has had the success it has had, indeed that is one of the few good things that recent decades has brought us, in my opinion – just that I find the preening of folks like Lisa tedious, when their victories have been won by large corporations and the same forces of commercialization of every aspect of life that are destroying us all.

  100. I posted a link to this diary, as well as Ian’s related diary “Trump Has Not Yet Lied About What Matters Most”, on reddit/r/The_Donald. I posted them within seconds of each other.

    I’ve now been banned, due to the link to this diary:

    You’ve been banned from participating in r/The_Donald

    You have been banned from participating in r/The_Donald. You can still view and subscribe to r/The_Donald, but you won’t be able to post or comment.

    Note from the moderators:

    If you have a question regarding your ban, you can contact the moderator team for r/The_Donald by replying to this message.

    Reminder from the Reddit staff: If you use another account to circumvent this subreddit ban, that will be considered a violation of the Content Policy and can result in your account being suspended from the site as a whole.

    I’ve asked for a reason why, but can’t say I’m shocked. A quick perusal of the front page rarely shows anything critical of Trump. Apparently, it’s more of a fan page than anything else. There’s more serious criticism of Trump at breitbart than at r/The_Donald

  101. George Balanchine

    Dear Mr. Whoever-you-are,

    “So it has been, and it looks like, so it shall be.

    So be it.”

    Conclusion? Ignore politics and enjoy one’s life.

    George Balanchine

  102. Ed

    @Gaianne and @different clue

    I appreciate the resources–bookmarked for later perusal.

    That said, I’m not quite ready to go full survivalist. For one, that only works until the Feds come up with an excuse to kick in your door (see Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc.). For two, that would require relocation, since I live in a semi-arid locale that’s only going to get worse water-wise according to the local climate change forecasts (yes, these can be found, if you’re persistent, for much of the world). If we’re going to relocate, we might as well move to New Zealand as somewhere more sustainable in the States.

    I’m also more optimistic that we can find some solutions that don’t require complete withdrawal from the world. I’m more cyberpunkish about the future than post-apocalyptic.

    However, I do think localism has to be a key for whatever’s next. The Federal level is broken and unsustainable. The questions then become ‘how do we help our local community thrive?” and “how do we protect ourselves from the machinations of the Federal level?”

    Some of these resources will be helpful in answering those.

  103. Peter


    The US certainly created the battleground where what became the IS developed fighting the US occupation of Iraq. The military may have erred in not separating the QA in Iraq members they captured there but there is no evidence this was intentional or part of some grand plan. Remember these AQI personnel were dedicated to blowing the legs off and life out of Infidel US soldiers which prison stopped these inmates from accomplishing for some years.

    The TFH ravers see collusion and planning everywhere but have to spin mostly meaningless occurrences as if they were the plot of some imagined and mostly hidden mind games.

    I agree with your assessment of Obama and would add Bush and Bill Clinton but the Red Queen is a different type of political creature. None of these boys had the huge cult of personality develop around them that she enjoys and as we are seeing it is a fanatical following. Facts and reality are ignored by this seething horde replaced with identifying with and desire for power.

  104. Knot Galt

    “It will happen faster than it would have under Clinton, and more Americans will suffer sooner, but the trend lines remain intact.”

    That’s one of those assumptions that one will ‘never know’. In the least, I don’t know how anyone can quantifiably provide proof or site facts that can be independently verified. (even though I understand the process has fallen out of fashion.)

    I’m not a Trump fan although I did vote for him. And I agree he has started to break many of his core promises. But one implied core promise from Trump is that he would stop Clinton and the lost hope of Obama. In this core promise, he delivered.

  105. different clue


    I am not ready to go full survivalist either. If civilization dies I expect I will die with it. I am not trained or qualified to survivalize in the woods. So I want to live lightly on the grid as my part of keeping alive the grids which keep me alive. Whether enough people could do that at the level of individual conservation lifestyling to keep the grids sustainably alive or not is unknowable to me. It is worth the effort because the worst that could happen is it won’t work, and doing nothing already won’t work anyway.

    Many of the resources pointed to can be used for conservation lifestyling in service to living lightly on the grids. The information need not be viewed useful only for total survivalism or useful for nothing at all.

  106. different clue

    @Knot Galt,

    Exactly. Trump was our Tire Iron of Justice to swing into the Evil Mouth of Clintonism. And it has worked provisionally. If the Clintons can be driven from public life as thoroughly as the Bushes have been driven, then we will have achieved something to build on.

    The next step would be to purge and burn every last little filthy Clinton cancer cell from every corner and out from under every rock of the Clintobamacrat Party. No Clinton and No Bama. Make the Clintobamacrat Party Democratic again.

  107. different clue


    A book you might find interesting is Growing Food In A Hotter Dryer Land by Gary Paul Nabhan.

    Another book called Gardening With Less Water also contains information about growing food plants in semi-arid conditions. Semi-arid, not hyper-arid. Nothing much works for hyper-arid.

    There are seed sources for hot-dry adapted seeds. Gary Paul Nabhan co-founded the ancient Indian seed rescue effort which led to the company called Native Seeds Search. He is no longer with them, but he left it in good hands.

    Circling back to Gary Paul Nabhan, he has written lots of books and things, some of them quite good.;_ylt=AwrBT9EyKtBYeSwAUgtXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyZzBpYTZoBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjM2MjNfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=gary+paul+nabhan&fr=sfp

    As to interacting with the Federal Government, I consider the Federal Government to be one of the social grids we live on. It has fallen into bad hands. Can we reconquer it and repurpose it to our benefit? The effort deserves to be made, if we can find non-futile non-gesture things to do that might actually work.

  108. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    If the Clintons were both as evil and as all-powerful as the Diff Clues of the world perceive them to be, then why are Diff Clue–and so many, many more Clintonophobes–still unjailed and breathing? For that matter, why isn’t Hillary in the White House now, if the Evil Clintobamacrats (to use the eternally baroque quasi-English dialect of Diff Clue) are so widespread in the upper ranks of society, and so mighty?

    That reminds me of a fallacy of the anti-Semites: If *THE JEWS* are so well-organized and almighty, how did Charlie Chaplin’s Evil Twin From Another Mother ever manage to rise to power?

    But then, if I expect clear, rational thought from such people, I guess I am even sillier than they. 😉

  109. Ed

    @different clue

    That’s actually how I’ll treat the info. For example, it’s hard to get off the water grid where I live, but pulling off the power grid (actually not that hard given how much sun we get) will certainly help reduce the ability of other folks to dictate how me and mine live.

  110. tagio

    I voted for Trump because I thought that, unlike Clinton, we had a chance for peace with Russia. That was my number one concern. He seems to be losing the battle with the MIC on that one, but I sure hope he prevails on that one.

  111. Peter


    Solar systems have some benefits for some people who are affluent enough to finance the instillation and a backup storage system large enough to meet their needs. Grid connected systems are the most practical because there is no need for backup and the system can be smaller and less expensive while still generating excess power at times.

    A huge class problem is developing where large numbers of home solar instillations are occurring. The revenues needed to maintain the grid are falling and may require the non-solar class of less affluent people to make up the difference with higher rates. So far connection fees for solar are being used to cover this cost but the problem is growing and complete separation from the grid will only make it worse.

  112. different clue


    The utilities could partway solve that problem if they became buyers-brokers-resellers of very distributed solar power bought from roof-top solar powermakers at wholesale price and sold it to whomever at retail price. That way at least some of the solar powermakers would stay on the grid and keep helping pay to maintain it.

    I wonder if affluent rooftop panelizers would have gone full-standalone-panel if utilities had been more co-operative and welcoming to begin with about integrating renewable rooftop power into their systems. I also wonder if a full and total production and life-cycle audit of the solar panels would reveal more or less carbon having been skydumped in their cradle to grave making and use . . . as against a panelized homeowner’s own little pro-rated share of the cradle to grave carbon skydump involved in having made and maintained and fed their own little pro-rated part of the power grid.

    Regardless, if the defection of the affluent plays out as you say, perhaps the rising price of electric power charged to the remaining non-affluent customers will become high and then punitive enough so as to spur forced conservation lifestyling among the non-affluent power customers.

  113. Ed


    I’m well aware of the problems the utilities have when users convert to solar. Here, they’re having to shut down coal plants or convert them to natural gas, since that’s cheaper. I’m not exactly upset at that.

    As for passing the costs on, that’s where localism kicks in. Our utilities are regulated pretty fiercely and a couple of nearby towns have started their own utilities rather than pay the big boys. Also, several towns started by going solar for city services first. I may personally not be off the power grid yet, but the town I pay my sales tax dollars to is. Even better, the city council is *very* responsive to voters. We’re just not big enough for serious corruption.

    It’s not perfect, and we’re all waiting for better battery technology, but it would be easy for me and my affluent neighbors to absorb a minor/modest tax increase so we could make solar electric available to every residence in town via the city solar farms.

  114. Peter


    My point is that all these problems/solutions are connected and can’t be treated individually. Your town may build a solar power instillation but they are still connected because when the clouds come or the sun sets they need a gas fired backup power supplier ready to fill their demand. Waiting for the mythical better battery is at about thirty years and counting now. I’ve seen some hype from researchers about wonder batteries but nothing economical or near production has emerged.

    I know that solar instillations have a strong visual and even emotional effect on people because in operation they seem so clean and green and are often profitable. It’s too easy to disregard the long trail of co2, pollution and destruction that is required to build this new green industrial revolution along with other unintended problems with their adoption.

  115. Ed


    Yep, everything’s connected, but one either makes progress when one can or one gives up. I prefer not to give up.

    The evils of the petro-states and oil oligarchs are obvious, and that ignores carbon emissions. It seems to me that anything we can do to cut back our usage of those fuels is worthwhile, even if there are other challenges involved.

    And even if those batteries never appear and we still need a backup gas plant, I’d rather have that gas plant be one under local control than owned by some Enron-esque organization out of Texas. My neck of the country exports natural gas to the rest of the USA. It’s stupid to have the power generated any further away than necessary.

  116. different clue


    I am guessing you live somewhere in one of the Southwest or near-Southwest states, but I can’t get any more specific in my guessing than that.

    If you are interested in reading about broader energy and energy-engineering issues, you might like a blog called The Ergosphere by “Engineer-Poet”. The actual post that the link will take you to first thing is depressing, but there is a lot of interesting material there going back through time. Several years ago, for example, Engineer-Poet wrote a post about how while it is difficult to store electricity, it is easier to store the things it does. Or that we can do with it. He gave the example of Holland’s small national network of super deepfreeze meat storage lockers. For safety, that meat is supposed to stay at O degrees Farenheit. So the Dutch were sending some of the electricity produced by their windspinners WHEN the wind is blowing . . . to the chill-works components of those meat storage lockers. They use the windmade electricity to cool the lockers down beLOW O degrees. The longer the wind blows, the farther beLOW zero the lockers get. When the wind slows or stops enough that a “surplus” of windmade electricity cannot be committed to those lockers, they are permitted to “warm” back up to zero degrees. If there is still no windmade power after that, then they have to start drawing from the fossil power grid. But they don’t often have to do that. Intermittent wind power can be effectively stored in those lockers as surplus chill in those lockers.

    How could that be relevant to your situation? If you are making surplus solar power in the cloudless daytime, you can air condition your house down to as cold as you can stand it. When night comes, or clouds block the sun, you can let the house warm back up to the hottest acceptable level before tapping the grid or your batteries. If you have a solar powered freezer AND fridge, you could spend the surplus solar power on having your freezer freeze “cooler-style chill blocks” which you could put in your fridge to help keep it cool without running its own motor so much.

    If you find such thinking fun to do and read about, here is the link to The Ergosphere.

    I notice you said you remain on the water grid. There might be a way to use less gridwater.
    There is a book called Humanure about how to build and use a simple waterless composting toilet. He has also put the less-than-most-current version of the book online. If you click on the little word rectangle near the homepage top called “the book” , one of the choices is the whole book itself on line. He also sells, for people who don’t want to build it themselves from plans, something called The Lovable Loo.

    While Mr. Humanure claims that his process will naturally de-pathogenize the accumulating pee and poo harvest, it is understandable that some people might not agree. Living in a high-sun area with much solar energy would allow you to solar boil and therefor totally sterilize the output beyond any doubt, to where it is totally safe to put in a garden. That would allow for living very lightly indeed on the water grid.

    These are the kinds of things I would do/ will do if I ever had/ ever have a real house on a real yard of my very own. Till then, I can only read and think about some of these things in my little co-op dwelling unit.

  117. different clue


    Addendum to above comment: The Ergosphere has become a lot more nuclear-power focused than what it used to be. Still, going back several years on it turns up all kinds of interesting things. And who knows, we may have no choice left soon except to re-think nuclear as well. But enough conservation might put that day off till something else turns up . . .. maybe.

  118. Ed

    @different clue

    My dad was a nuclear researcher. It’s worth rethinking if for no other reason than it’s almost never been rationally considered and discussed in the USA. The hysteria because “it’s nuclear!” has overwhelmed serious discussions about risks, ways to mitigate those risks, and what the benefits are.

    For example: if my father had died inside the plant, regulations prevented his body from being removed. The natural radioactivity inside the human body is higher than what you’re allowed to remove from a nuclear facility. But efforts to explain that to the public were a waste of breath because “we can’t have *anything* radioactive leave that facility!” Say ‘radioactive’ and rationality leaves too many people…

  119. Peter


    I appreciate someone not giving up but wonder about the logic of sending large amounts of money to Chinese sweatshop owners to avoid paying some Texan wheeler-dealer for his juice.

    I live in the primary Nuke weapons/power sacrifice zone in the US where the full Nuke cycle and its radioactive byproducts are strewn from Church Rock to the WIPP site. My brother was a Nuke engineer at General Atomics and tried for years to sell me the Nuke industry pabulum about clean safe radioactive power. What we know now is that all Nuke plants either discharge or leak different kinds and amounts of radioactive pollution continuously.

    The China Syndrome was a SF that could never happen according to our Nuke experts but Fukushima has pushed it into reality. Two cores are still cooking their way down spewing incredible amounts of radioactive material into the environment with no end in sight.

    Stick with promoting solar or better yet reduction in excessive consumption which is the basis of our problem.

  120. Ed


    Solar panel production in China is an economic/trade issue. Nothing to prevent us from making them here. Ditto wind (got a good friend who’s a wind turbine designer).

    As for nukes–my issue is simply that we’ve had damned few rational examinations and risk assessments, especially compared to the costs of things like coal mining. It’s a species problem. We have trouble engaging some subjects rationally (cf: war on drugs).

    That said, we’re in agreement that reducing consumption absolutely needs to be highest focus. That’s the basis of the problem indeed.

  121. musical interlude

    Trump—just another Israel ass-licker. His motto should have been: Fuck the poor.

    I gave him time. Fuck his budget. He’s fired! And so is everyone else.

  122. Tom W Harris

    OmiGOD, he’s PRO-SEMITIC!!!!!!!! AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  123. realitychecker

    @ musical interlude

    You turned yourself in-to an asshole.

    (Up until now, I thought you were just a weirdo.)

  124. Morongobill

    No Tom, I am not complicit and if you told me that to my face, you would be picking your teeth up from the floor.

    It is amazing how someone like you can damn a whole generation.

    Of course, if you feel like spouting off Mano to Mano, grab a few of your buddies and head down to a veteran or cop bar, I know who my money is on, if a challenge is offered.

  125. different clue


    Halfway into his book Storms Of My Grandchildren by James Hansen the NASA climatologist, Hansen writes a few pages about some kind of reactor design which was being studied at Argonne National Lab and maybe elsewhere. It was some kind of full-fast breeder-eater reactor. Released neutrons were guided around inside the atomic fuel loads so that ever-more nucleii could be destabilized and fissed for energy, leaving about 3% of the original radioactivity potential behind as irreducibly un-fast-fissible radionuclides . . . an easy storage problem.

    What we call the “fast breeder reactor” was in fact a half-fast reactor designed to produce plutonium for extracting and making bombs with. The “full-fast” design consumed the plutonium as fuel and consumed almost all the downstream species produced by plut0-neutrons destabilizing yet other nucleii. Apparently the “full-fast” design was too successful and would have threatened established coal industries and so it was suddenly and swiftly terminated and suppressed at Argonne. Hansen would like us to take another look at the very least at the full-fast reactor. Does Hansen know what he is talking about in this regard?

    Meanwhile, as Peter above and others elsewhere have said, lowering electricity use by millions of homedwellers is important in itself for lowering the level of carbon outfarting. Hopefully the affluent all defect from the electro-grid as fast as possible to force the grid masters into raising the price of electricity to all non-defectors . . . if it really works the way Peter says it does. That will forcibly recruit all the anti-conservation consumers to the cause of power-use curtailment and global de-warming purely to save money under tight budget pressure. They can all come down to the 3 kilowatt-hours-per-day annually averaged daily use levels that I have achieved. And if there are others on the grid who are using even less than 3 kilowatt-hours per day, then we can all shrink our at-home electro-use down to that less-than 3 killowatt-hours-per-day level.

    Meanwhile, do you live either just north enough, or just high enough elevation, that you have real genuine winter where you live? Or do you live where the “winter” is just a kinder gentler summer?

  126. Ed


    I trust Hansen’s science. I am less trustworthy of his politics because I know he’s got an axe to grind. The Bush Jr. Administration actively tried to destroy his career, even forcing him to send his scientific papers to the White House for review before he could submit them to scientific journals or give them at conferences (yes, they pulled some serious dirty shit because he was such a vocal climate change supporter). So his comments on the “full fast” design being suppressed could be true, or could be exaggerations because he’s projecting similar suppression elsewhere.

    As for lowering power consumption, there are ways to implement changes besides having the affluent pull off the grid. Back in the mid-90’s, for example, the Maryland Public Utility came to the houses of every customer and *gave* them compact fluorescent bulbs. In Tucson, they made changes to street lighting decades ago, in part to protect the telescopes, but with the side effect of cutting power consumption. Local communities have a lot of options if they make it a priority.

    As for where I live–I live in Colorado, where we get 310+ sunny or mostly sunny days a year. We also get a lot of snow, though with climate change we’re getting less and less. So I don’t know what you mean by “real genuine winter.” I realize that it makes solar more viable for us than other places, but that’s the hand we were dealt: lots of sun year round, enough wind to make that viable too, but a serious issue with lack of water.

  127. different clue


    Colorado sounds like real genuine winter to me. If there is snow and subfreezing cold often enough and long enough to prevent warm weather plants like tomatoes or corn from growing at all, that’s a real winter. A non-growing season.

    I certainly know so little about nuclear engineering that I am totally unable to assess what Hansen was saying about the prospective reactor design he was describing. Hopefully those who know can comment.

    About using less electricity, there are many ways to do that . . . some ways for some people, other ways for other people. All deserve to be applied by those who can.

    Winter snow . . . here in Michigan I have spent the last few winters harvesting the snow off my little back yard space and packing it onto my garden beds. That way it can soak down into the soil after the soil begins to thaw out in spring and let smowmelt soak down in. Perhaps the same approach could be used in your part of Colorado. It might pay even more if you have a winter weather regime of snowfall followed by flash thaw which melts or evaporates all the snow which fell. Packing it into piles on beds might save some which would otherwise be totally lost. Trying to move all that snow with a shovel would be silly, pointless, and un-doable. Luckily, there are two-handled snow pushalongs nicknamed “yooper scoopers”. A good one easy to use is the Ergo Sleigh. It lets me move huge amounts of snow real fast to the snow-assembly place right next to the target garden. I can shovel it onto the garden from there. Here is a little video on the Ergo Sleigh.

    Snow harvesting and snow-storage; perhaps one way to live more lightly on the water grid?
    And have more garden-water?

  128. Ed

    @ DC.

    Thanks for the pointer. Colorado winter is all “snow on Monday, melt on Friday” so moving it around generally doesn’t happen.

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