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

Trump/Clinton Debate Open Thread

I used to get paid to watch these things. I don’t any more. So…I’m going to go read a nice novel in a coffee shop. Please feel free to talk about the debate in comments. I will, actually, be curious to hear what people have to say, just not willing to sit through so much sewage to get my own “take.”



The Golden Laws of Prosperity


How US Presidential Politics Guarantees Inevitable Decline


  1. EmilianoZ

    I aint very interested in the circus either so i’ll talk about something else. There’s a review in the Guardian about a book about the nazi’s use of methamphetamines during the war. It’s presented as some new groundbreaking research but i remember Ian mentioned it some time ago. It seems that the new generation of journalists we have aint very knowledgeable.

  2. Adam Eran

    I suggest something constructive:

    Down-ballot candidates and organizations worth supporting.

  3. MojaveWolf

    I am looking forward to an honest, enlightened and enlightening discussion of the important crises of our time, and how best to resolve them, by two dedicated public servants with a desire to help others and save the world, each of whom will use their best understanding of the actual facts and logical argument to persuade the electorate that they have the most compelling plan to achieve their vision of the future, as well as clearly explaining why their vision of the future is something we should all look forward to achieving.

    Thank you for providing this forum where we can discuss this important exchange of ideas.

  4. anonone

    As the world as we know it comes to an end, we might as well enjoy the sideshows that the oligarchs put on to entertain us.

  5. Lisa

    I have always said it was Trump’s election to lose or win.

    The Dem elites picked the most unelectable person possible who would run the worst campaign ever. If Sanders was the Dem pick then he would be, easily, 20 points ahead ..everywhere.

    The Clinton team are trying to (a) hammer the left, as far as they are concerned their ‘real enemy’ and (b) get those mythical ‘moderate’ GOP voters to create their also mythical ‘centre party’ that they want so much. Worked for Bill but it is the wrong era now.

    And the HRC campaign…oh my..a list of all the things never to do.

    So all up to Trump, if he doesn’t screw up too much he will win.

    That is a maybe as he had the election in his hands but has made mistake after mistake..being now all anti-LGBTI and signing up to the extreme ‘christians’ is a political strategic mistake of the first order.

    If he had stuck to his original lines, socially sort of liberal, anti-TPP, pro US jobs, anti-war and all the rest..he would be 10 points ahead.
    However I have total confidence in the HRC campaign to screw up even more, as they also move ever more to the right..

    ‘Average’ Americans are far more left wing, socially liberal and non extreme ‘christians’ than the politicians are. The trouble is the right have all the money..

    Lambert Strether at Naked Capitalism nails it.
    “1) The Democrat’s embrace of the Republican establishment is not merely metaphorical; it’s literal! Those votes are the votes the Clinton campaign wants; they affirmatively do not want Sanders voters, and the [so-called] Millenials are not that important to them either.”

  6. Ian Welsh

    Clinton’s actually winning millenials. The problem is turnout, they may “prefer” her, but she’s not the sort of person who motivates them to go out and vote or volunteer.

    I’m seeing most people, even a lot of right wingers, saying Clinton won. I’ll wait 3 days and see the polls, I think. (Especially as, yeah, I didn’t watch it. But even if I had, Trump’s not pitching people like me.)

  7. Lisa

    I said ages ago that it was women, especially young ones that were the key to the election.

    With Trump going all Ted Cruz, sharia ‘christianity’, anti-abortion, anti-LGBTI, etc that will get them (and the other Sanders voters) out to vote, even if it means holding their noses as they vote for Clinton, and that will sink him unless HRC screws up again.

    Most peoples’ votes are fixed by now, it is now an issue of turnout. How motivated are they to actually getting out to vote.

    Going all Cruz ..what is his team thinking. Cruz was even more unelectable than HRC, if he was the GOP candidate she would by 20 points ahead at the moment.
    The US has had enough of the ‘christian’ extremists setting the reproductive, women’s and LGBTI peoples’ rights agenda.

    He still has just enough time to back away from that, but not much..

  8. capelin

    i listened to it. while i was eating! ugh.

    pretty much a draw, i thought, marginally to clinton.

    he said a lot of truths never heard on prime time before, though.
    she said a lot of platitudes often heard on prime time.

    what’s with that weird sniffing from dt?

    i still feel kinda dirty from the experience. lose/lose.

    go greens.

  9. MojaveWolf

    Nobody won.

    I do not comprehend the people saying Hillary did well. She did a much better job of completing sentences than Trump. That . . . is not a meaningful bar for “winning.”

    It’s probably bad form to quote parts of what I wrote elsewhere, but since you didn’t actually watch, here’s my take:

    “I was hoping one of them would give me a reason to feel optimistic that they would do a decent job. They … both failed horribly.

    She mouthed a lot of decent sounding platitudes with no specifics re: policy while doing a decent but not great job of hitting Trump on some areas where he’s very vulnerable.

    He did a great job finding areas where she’s vulnerable, but a terrible job of hitting her on them.

    He looked like he was posing half the time. I don’t even know what to say about her expressions. I hate when people talk about stuff like that but what else is there to say here?

    My SO and I were constantly covering our eyes and putting our heads down and occasionally laughing at each others expressions and occasionally laughing so hard we had tears running down our eyes at what (both) the candidates were saying. Now it’s over I just want to cry.”

    All that said, with her we know what we are getting, and it is not good, nor, as my SO said, does she give us any reason to believe she thinks any sort of course correction is needed. Trump identifies that there are problems but his performance does not give one much reason to believe he has good plans to fix many of these problems.

    The world as a whole is in deep trouble.

  10. bruce wilder

    I did not watch much of it, bits and pieces.

    I did hear Clinton at one point say the U.S. needed “a smart surge” against (I think) ISIS.

    It was a moment when the total carelessness of Clinton came across. I doubt it registered with many, but if “smart surge” becomes her by-word, it will frighten me.

  11. V. Arnold

    Didn’t watch any of “it” (not a debate).
    With all that’s going on in the world today, militarily, I’m somewhat convinced that if Clinton wins office (not an election); 2017 will make the last 15 years seem peaceful.
    My only question is; will it go nuclear? Given the insane development of small nukes, stupidly called tactical, too many have themselves convinced there is justification for their use.
    Us humans are not the brightest bulbs in the known universe; I’ve removed optimistic/optimism from my vocabulary.
    In my definition of intelligence; humans are not even in the top 100…

  12. Synoia

    V. Arnold

    I suspect that intelligence as we proctice it is an evolutionary dead end. That’s a possible reason why SETI has been so unsuccessful.

    From Naked Capitalism

    “And BTW , hours later, I still have a headache from watching a mere 1/3 of the debate, even after taking painkillers. So kudos to those of you who did your civic duty and viewed the entire thing.”

    My Observation

    That’s because the drinking game where you had to to down your drink to when either person said nothing of substance was so successful at inducing a quick drunken state.

    Disclaimer: I did not watch it. I dislike hangovers.

  13. someofparts

    Reading an actual book in a coffee shop? Does that still happen in Canada? I really must plan on retiring out of the country.

  14. Ché Pasa

    [Cross posted from my comment at NC]:

    To the extent I watched — I do have what’s known as a “life” after all — I thought the thing was less surreal than, say, Chuck Todd declared it to be.

    As long as you could cut through the posturing and bullshit, it was easy enough to see that Trump’s criticisms of Hillary’s policies were mostly on point as were her criticisms of his practices (just “business”). From that perspective, it was all very polite and genteel. After all, these people travel in some of the same circles, know and admire many of the same people, and work for similar political and economic objectives. Their “debate” is more about mechanics and process than it is about goals.

    Trump clearly is out of his political league, but that’s hardly news. That’s a known quantity that some consider to be to his advantage. If the polls are correct, something is obviously working in his favor — and would be, I think, even if the Clinton Hate weren’t so strong.

    The closest comparison I can think of is the Reagan phenomenon of 1966 when it was axiomatic that this actor/spokesmodel for GE didn’t have a chance against seasoned pro/master politician Pat Brown, incumbent Governor of California.

    The shock waves that ran through the state the morning after the election and tsunami that overwhelmed the political establishment in California is hard to grasp today. Nearly sixty years of Progressive rule in California was set to be dismantled, beginning with public education and not stopping to this day.

    The shock was that Reagan was elected at all. It was widely considered to be impossible. Yet it happened in part because of the rise of the hippies, the riots in the ghettos, and the nascent student rebellion against the war and so much else that had gone wrong in the country.

    The election of Reagan was seen by the voters as a slap in the face to a failed (Progressive) status quo, and it didn’t matter who was harmed as voters lashed out at their rulers.

    Much the same dynamic took place in the 1980 election for president which Reagan won handily — but not so shockingly. The antipathy toward Carter’s failures was enhanced by media such as nightly “America Held Hostage” reports on the teevee.

    Will a similar dynamic lead to a Trump election this year? I don’t know, but I’ll say this: the dissatisfaction with the establishment is almost as strong today as it was in 1966 in California and 1980 nationally. The reasons for it are different, but the dynamic can’t be denied.

    Trump would be a disaster on many levels for many Americans, and his stable of neoLibCon warmongers and looters would be let loose to spread their misery and destruction far and wide.

    Clinton’s ascension, however, would mean no improvement in the lives of most Americans, and her stable of neoLibCon warmongers and looters would have a festival of misery and leave their own trail of destruction in their wake.

    How voters choose between them, I have no idea. They are both ultimately monstrous. And that is emblematic of the government they seek to oversee.

    Strap in, it’s gonna be a rough ride…

  15. anonone

    I think that Clinton at least understands that her fellow oligarchs are distributed among the population and should try to avoid killing each other while perpetrating their crimes, even if they don’t care about anybody else.

    Simply put, I think Hillary is more likely to understand the consequences of lighting matches while standing ankle deep in a room of gasoline when she and her family and friends are in it with the rest of us. Trump not so much.

  16. Lefty

    It boils down to Syria.

    Do we continue the war in Syria or don\’t we?

    Clinton = Yes!
    Trump = No!

    And Trumps No! can be erased by his VP if really needed.

    Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia for the next two elections.
    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia for the following two elections.

  17. Ron Showalter

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! All the butt-hurt Berniacs are STILL defending their know-nothing POS Trump even in the face of an unmitigated debate disaster!!

    Hilarious. I can’t to lick your tears come November NOT b/c I’m a Clinton supporter whatsoever just someone who can’t STAND the idiocy of the fake-left.

    Did Yves Smith at NC even get out of bed this morning?

  18. I watched the first Q&A, was very unimpressed with Trump (which made me nervous, since I think a President Clinton will push us close to, or over the edge, to an armed conflict with Russia), and left the TV room until 10 minutes before the end. Still wasn’t impressed with Trump. I was relieved to hear Charles Krauthammer, in commentary after the debate, call it a near draw.

    I admit to being a sucker for very good writing, even if the writer is expressing ideas I think are flat out wrong. Someone as inarticulate as Trump excites the opposite reaction in me, probably moreso than most other people.

    On the whole, though, the reinforced my conviction that Trump is lazy, and doesn’t even entertain (even remotely) the idea of mastering whatever skills one needs to be a politician. By “lazy”, I mean in the sense of undisciplined. I’ll guess he’s probably campaigning 50+ hours a week, but that’s by doing the relatively easy task of stump speeches, tweeting, radio interviews, etc. The picture of him eating Kentucky Fried Chicken, believe it or not, tends to reinforce my impression that he lacks discipline in other areas (like political mastery). He’s overweight, and should be eating salads, like it or not….

    I did hear him give a speech a couple of weeks ago (using a teleprompter, I’m sure) that was so well done, it was almost shocking. (Again, even that is easier to do than preparing for a debate. To do well in a debate, he’d have to focus and memorize stuff. Like it or not.) Also, I didn’t see or hear of any rude schoolboy stuff like making fun of somebody’s hand size, so he definitely was more in control than previous debates. So, he’s made some progress in the role of political candidate.

    If Trump loses the election, IMO he should blame himself, first and foremost. Hillary Clinton is worse than a poor candidate, even if she is articulate and politically seasoned. She has a history, especially her failed tenure as Secretary of State, which is closer to an Achilles leg than an Achilles heel.

  19. Ron Showalter

    Seriously, it’s one thing to have convinced yourself that Hillary is THE embodiment of all things evil – hello?! Late to the party? somehow not notice the last 50? 75? 250? 400 ? years of U.S. history and its parade of war criminals? But HILLARY!!! – and that since your boyfriend Bernie (according to sheep dog plan, btw) didn’t make the Big Horse Race you were going to stick it to the man and vote for Trump.

    But to allow this delusional display of idiocy to continue so far as to make excuses for Trump’s performance last night is just too rich.

    Look, the American right’s been delusional for a loooonng time and while it’s dangerous at least their delusion’s not wrapped in the smarmy smugness of the smarter-than-thou American fake-left.

    But but KILLERY!!!!


  20. S Brennan

    I didn’t watch the debate along with most Americans, of those I know who did, it’s mostly decideds and their views were wholly predicable. Frankly, I think anybody who lets a corporate media event decide/sway their vote is an idiot.

    In normal times, Ian’s point that it’s really media spin miesters that decide who won the debate correct, but this year might be an exception? The normal flow is that the corporate media, with their scripts modified slightly to encompass some aspect of the debate is always going to to put their thumb on the scale because, the reality is, most media people are corporate whores who weren’t good enough, or too lazy to get acting gigs. That’s why blogging had such a lift-off in the early oo’s…of course that, with exception of a few blogs, [Ian’s, in particular], just gave rise to a new set of media-whores.

    I’d also like to apologize to newer, or more sensible readers, normally the commentary on Ian’s site is of a much higher caliber than displayed by Ron Showalter above.

  21. KW

    Trump reminded me that he is not a teacher. He talked on many issues but didn’t explain or teach why they matter to the average American. The issues are complicated and most Americans have no understanding how trade deficits and imbalances are corrected or got started in the first place. Both candidates talked in generalities. Who was the audience for the debate? Hillary was dismissive and laughed inappropriately. Trump was earnest and too respectful. Hillary did a better job of putting on the camera face and mechanically saying her lines. Felt like she had all the questions in advance. Watched on Fox and would love to have seen body language but the split screen huge talking head format didn’t allow for that. In the end, most voters will wonder, what has this candidate done for me and what can this candidate do for me. Like the early primaries, Trump has a steep learning curve. On appearances, Trump mentioned on Dr Oz that he had seasonal allergies. Last night, looked like nonstop sniffing. Clinton was made up as best as I’ve seen, was on her game and surprised she stood up the whole time. However, did notice her eyes got more and more tired as the evening wore on. Bad night for Trump. Holt led an unsatisfying debate. Neither candidate would woo new voters as a result.

  22. Brian

    I only watched the last 25 minutes or so but my impressions were:

    – “Wow, Trump is a blithering idiot. He’s just rambling incoherently. Word Salad.”
    – “Wow, Trump seriously brought up Rosie O’Donnell in his closing statement. Seriously.”
    – Clinton kept it together. I despise her but she didn’t come off as ridiculous. Trump did.
    – She had a cutting response to his crap about her not having “stamina” or “the look” of a President. Generally did a good job of baiting him into showing off what a petulant misogynist he is.

    All theatrics of course, and debating who “won” is stupid. Probably won’t change many minds but may buck up Clinton’s supporters who were beginning to panic a bit over her falling numbers.

    No idea if it will make a difference in the election.

  23. gendjinn

    Not sure Trump really wants to win. His primary campaign was like an ego trip that stumbled into victory.

    I reckon the real prize for him is Trump TV with Ailes. A rollerball version of Fox News.

  24. Memory

    @MohaveWolf: That first comment of yours is pure sarcasm, right? All but the part in which you thank Ian for his most excellent public forum, right? Otherwise, my friend, you are the ignorant ass of a cunt.

    I listened to the last part of the debate. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry, so I snorted some, giggled softly, and rolled my eyes at the media spectacle brought to us in prime time for more of that ol’ time reality tv religion so sacred here in the ol’ US of A.

    Jill Stein has my vote. I’d rather carve a woolly mammoth out of my left knee cap than vote for either of those evil motherfuckers: (Ego trip, Dr. Jill.)

  25. sglover

    I watched pretty nearly the whole thing with a friend. It was an excuse to share a pizza and socialize and watch a controlled demolition.

    I’m in a state that’s a lock for the Dems, so I can safely write in Bernie Sanders when the day comes. But I’ve got to say that if I were a Trump supporter, right now I’d be deeply dismayed at how ineffective and off-the-mark my guy’s attacks really were. With her record HRC has well known vulnerabilities about as long as the American coastline, and Trump couldn’t score an effective hit on any of them. The best he could do were scattershot mentions of various Clinton embarrassments, but if he made even a single sustained, coherent criticism of any of them, I missed it.

    The guys been a fixture in TeeVee land for, what, more than a decade, right? He’s been play-acting at being a presidential candidate for nearly two years now. Yet he couldn’t do even the most basic preparations for an event that’s been in his future for months. What a lightweight! I dislike Clinton as much as anybody, but I’m pretty sure that at least she can read a calendar and prepare for appointments. Evidently that’s too difficult for the Genius Tycoon.

  26. okanogen

    Che Pasa had an excellent point.

    When has the Overton Window ever moved left by first getting jammed all the way right? Never.

    Donald Trump is not a populist knight riding in on a white horse to save us. He is a corrupt, racist, sexist xenophobe and greedy self-promoter. He has never had a single public-service impulse in his entire life that wasn’t designed to increase his fortune or save him a buck. Except for the one time where he fronted the racist birther movement.

    If you listen to his platform: tax cuts for the wealthy (and why does he care? he pays zero tax as it is!), Law and Order (not the show), stop and frisk, build a wall, muslims not allowed, blow North Korean and Iranian ships out of the water, torpedo the Iran nuclear deal, anti-abortion, pro-gun, anthropogenic climate-change is a Chinese hoax (yes, he said that), end Obamacare and replace it with “free market”, on and on and on, these are all just straight Republican talking points right out of Rush Limbaugh.

    How would any of that ever lead to anything except a new, even more right-wing status quo that actually turns back the clock on the few, miniscule gains we have even now in these terrible times?

    And yeah. He is an unapologetic racist and sexist. Sorry if it is boring or uncomfortable to repeat that.

  27. realitychecker


    “When has the Overton Window ever moved left by first getting jammed all the way right? Never.”

    Are you kidding? That would fall right into classical revolutionary theory, i.e., that the people must become angry enough to erupt.

    So, vote for Clinton and get more of the boiling frog thing we have had for decades, or vote for Trump and, worst case, maybe you’ll get a revolution faster.

    In the meantime, support for any political outsider, including Trump, serves to start breaking down the duopoly stranglehold that will certainly have us reduced to livestock in your lifetime.

    I hope you don’t fell microinvalidated by having your binary thinking challenged.

    Voting based on personality is a fool’s strategy—behind closed doors, they are all ugly vulgar narcissistic psychopaths at the upper political levels.

  28. realitychecker

    Edit: I hope you don’t FEEL microinvalidated . . .

  29. Hill: “It is my turn”
    Trump: “I need your money.”

    In other news I posted the next segment of my non- fiction novel:

  30. okanogen

    Scott Ledeoux said it pretty well last March “Those Contradictions Won’t Heighten Themselves!”:

    “Verbatim Susan Sarandon: ““Really [I may not vote for Clinton],” Sarandon said, adding that “some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode.”

    Shorter Susan Sarandon. “Tell you what. I’ll take a big tax cut. Many of you can take loss of access to safe abortion, any possibility of civil rights enforcement and the loss of your health insurance, just for starters. My theory is that the American political economy would become just like Denmark’s in 2021. If I’m wrong I owe you a Coke.”[Note: debt may not be honored.]”

    I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.

  31. Hugh

    The debates are merely another way to get us to compare and choose among shit sandwiches. It is a sucker’s game. Why play it?

  32. Because 1 is going to be in charge – and 1 is shittier.

  33. capelin

    Because 1 is going to be in charge – and 1 is shittier.

    shittier depending on what metric? i find it really hard to call.

    short term/long term, black/white, countryx/countryy, wake-up shock/status quo.

    it’s a huge responsibility to support a wake up shock, a “burn it down so it can get better.”

    what are the odds of it getting better, vs things getting more worse?

    bad times are good times for organizing, but they are also good times for ramming through more law/order/neo/liberal/privatization/bullshit.

    is there social infrastructure to help nurture people power in such a tumultuous time?

    is it too late already but this is the last chance so lets do it?

    the precautionary principal would suggest that new initiatives meet a higher standard and be approached with more caution than the status quo.

  34. markfromireland

    Well Hugh it’s like this one offers you the chance of getting (just about treatable) Cholera while the other offers you the chance of contracting anti-biotic resistant Diphtheria with a side order of MRSA.

  35. Ivory Bill Woodpecker


    If you ever grow weary of slumming among Lefter-than-thou White Male Doofi, I recommend:

    The Confluence


    Uppity Woman’s blog

    Just sayin’… 😉

  36. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Oh, that invitation goes for other “Okanogens” here, too–the people who see the folly of the “Nach Drumpf, uns” strategy, noting how poorly that strategy worked out for its original users in Germany, in the early 1930s.

  37. okanogen


    I’m not under any illusions that Clinton is some transformative figure. She isn’t. She is a politician, a fairly average to below-average one, and has a lot of typical politician baggage. She has had some remarkably bad judgment primarily on foreign policy. She has the “brown touch”, where things she touches seem to turn to shit. If she is elected, the work to further marginalize the right wing will only have just started.

    But all that said, Donald Trump represents the worst in America. The arrogance, the white privilege, the oligarchy, the racism, sexism, militantism, ignorance-worshiping and favoritism. In the debate he actually said “[Bibi] isn’t a happy camper”, like we are supposed to give a shit? His constituency, that was built on the birther movement, Breitbart and the Alt-Right, will own this country if he is elected. They know that demographics are going to make them obsolete within a matter of 10 years at most and they are determined to lock the country into a “Euro”-culture (as they call it) such that they can control the agenda as a minority through the court system as long as they possibly can. If he loses, it will have been their last realistic chance to lead the country, and I will be filled with glee. Not because of Clinton’s victory, but because they will have been repudiated by maybe the poorest excuse for a major party candidate in my lifetime.

    I’ve never much cared for the Clinton worship at Confluence. I can’t remember UWB.

    This November, I’ll be voting the lesser of two evils, just like the vast majority of Americans.

  38. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Your call, Okanogen. However, I think you may have been infected (though not severely) by the “25 Years of Smears”, one of the best-funded and most effective propaganda campaigns in human history. If I believed the 25YoS, I’d think the Clintons were Mr. and Mrs. Beelzebub.

    Also, by now, I would vote for her just to piss off Putin, if I had no other reasons. 😉

  39. BlizzardOfOz

    Hey markfromireland, Trump wants to end the end the empire and return the USA to its isolationist roots (“America First”). Where do you, having repeatedly berated Americans for their government’s destructive foreign policy, stand on his candidacy, now that core America seems to have learned its lesson and is rallying behind the kind of anti-empire candidate that was unthinkable just two years ago? Are you going to stand behind us and risk the scorn of your uber-hip secular leftist peers, or indulge in some cheap above-it-all virtue signalling at the expense of us and your own prior ardently expressed beliefs on the American empire?

  40. S Brennan

    Peter Hitchens really gets going about halfway through.

    “…her [Hillary’s] militant interventionist foreign policies are terrifying.
    I lived through the Cold War and never believed we were in real danger. But I genuinely tremble at the thought of Mrs Clinton in the White House. She appears to have learned nothing from the failed interventions of the past 30 years, and scorns Barack Obama’s praiseworthy motto: ‘Don’t do stupid stuff.’ She will do stupid stuff, and drag us into it, you may rely upon it. How odd it is, to hear on the air the faint but insistent sound of coming war, here in this place of sweet, small hills, rich soil and wistful, mountainous horizons. Men came here in search of what we all really desire, to be left alone to get on with the really important aims of life, to build a home and raise a family, to see the fruits of their labour, to believe what they wish to believe. I cannot quite work out how the good, sane impulse that gave birth to the USA could possibly have led us to this nightmare.”

  41. Ron Showalter

    Sniff (wipes tear away) sniff

    That was some really beautiful stuff there, SB, esp. the part about men coming here to be left alone and – choke, sob – how they all – tremble, sigh – just wanted to waise wittle bitty babies and have them suck on their pinky fingers while papa chopped wood out back.

    Oh…my….god you people have lost your minds. Another example? OK

    Claiming that Obama did NOT do stupid stuff?


  42. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “…secular leftist peers…”

    How many times does MFI need to state he is a Catholic conservative?

    Granted, I have a hard time seeing how he could be a conservative, since he genuinely worships God, rather than Mammon–but then, I am nation-bound, both by poverty and a Hobbitish disinclination to travel. Perhaps non-American conservatives do not necessarily believe that “There is no god but Mammon, and Ayn Rand is his Messenger.”

  43. Hugh

    Again it is a sucker’s game to get you to choose which shit sandwich is less shitty or which deadly epidemic disease a candidate most resembles and which then you prefer. To play the game is to validate and perpetuate shit and disease. The concept is not a difficult one: you play, you lose, period. You are not being smarter or wiser or more responsible by playing. Trump is a flake who could well lead the country over the cliff. Clinton represents more of the same, and more of the same is what is killing this country. Being asked if you want your poison in a cup or a glass is not a choice. Stop acting like it is one. Stop the equivocations, excuses, and rationalizations. Trump is not your friend. Trump does not represent you. Clinton is not your friend. She does not represent you. Neither is going to fight for you. To them you are just saps and rubes. You are less than the shit they get on their shoes. This whole campaign and all those in it, including Saint Bernie (who is, of course, now shilling for Hillary), have been about getting you to vote against your interests. And it seems with most of you, they have succeeded. You should be raging against the system, because it and its candidates and parties are screwing you over. Instead you weigh which of two candidates who hate you and everything you stand for you are going to vote for. It is madness. Nothing is ever going to change as long as they can get you to play their game.

  44. Peter*


    I think that Hitchens and other pundits are overplaying this Witch of War meme and it may be covering their real deeper feat that she could very easily be successful in countering Putin and the Chinese also.

    There can be no conventional war between the US and Russia or China only mutual and total destruction. Neither of them are self destructive nor apparently led by madmen so if push comes to shove under the Red Queen they will more than likely back down and survive to fight another day and another way.

    Syria is probably where this new aggressive posture will be first enforced and I doubt Putin will throw away all he has built in Russia to save that petty dictator who won’t even stop trying to sabotage every deal Putin makes.

  45. Jeff Wegerson

    Clinton/Trump/Putin will all likely settle for a Cuba style showdown in Syria. The country will be divided against Russian/Syrian wishes but Russia/Assad remain.

  46. Jeff Wegerson

    Turkey Qatar US EU etc get gas pipeline but little gas ever flows as solar wind bankrupt dirty fossil.

  47. V. Arnold

    September 30, 2016

    IMO, you do not understand Pres. Putin or Russia/Russian culture in general.
    Yours is a very western centric view of the Syrian “situation” and it should be pretty obvious Russia has a commitment to its allie, Assad.
    The U.S. has not committed all that much and can easily let its proxies do the real fighting by supplying weapons.
    However, Russia has, on the ground, intelligence, where the U.S. does not.
    The game is; the U.S. says let’s you and him fight; Russia identifies the problem and deals with it effectively; which has been aptly demonstrated already, many times many times…

  48. markfromireland

    @ Ivory Bill Woodpecker September 29, 2016

    Libertarianism is antithetical to Christianity.

  49. BlizzardOfOz

    Ivory Bill,

    I realize that mfi is a conservative. A few years ago he gave me a stern telling-off for being American, and thus guilty for America’s destructive foreign policy. Now there’s a national election pitting a George W. Neocon versus the first isolationist in generations, and mfi is ever so above-it-all. I guess those 500,000 dead Iraqi children weren’t all that important after all.

    Now, if I thought he was a leftist I wouldn’t bother calling him out for this kind of contradiction, as left wingers in the current year believe a million contradictory things. Once you’ve accepted being a white member of the anti-white party, there’s no strain of cognitive dissonance too great to bear.

  50. S Brennan

    As is neoliberalism and neoconservative or more aptly, neocolonialism.

    and there is nothing “new” about these ideologies, just new names for the same old evils that have plagued civilized man.

  51. S Brennan

    Not that Mark needs defending, but unlike his critics he has put his physical person where his convictions led him. I am always dubious of brave words if they belong to a man who has never shown physical bravery, hence my early and vocal support of Jim Webb over a fair weather sailor like Bernie Sanders. Fine words of the oceans beauty should be tempered by the knowledge of it’s storms that can darken the brightest of souls.

  52. Peter*


    The only way I can interpret your statement, that I don’t understand Putin, is that you think he is a madman bent on destroying all he has achieved over a minor Russian Imperial holding in Syria and the real madman who rules there.

    I don’t base my opinion about Assad on western centric views but on the reality of what he has done to the people of Syria and that tens of thousands of them seem willing to fight and die, to remove him, because of what he is and does.

    I agree with you that the US hasn’t done that much to assist the rebels and are concentrating on the Islamic State while seeking a political solution to the civil war however haphazardly. Branding the Syrian rebels as proxies is convenient for those who support the dictator and his Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan and Lebanese Islamists forces but the rebels have shown repeatedly that their goals represent Syrian’s desires to remove Assad and they ignore US dictates when they conflict with their plans.

    The latest threat by Kerry to end discussions with the Russians on Syria may show they have given up trying to negotiate a political end to this part of the Syrian conflict and are moving into the Clinton camp to prepare for Shock and Awe against Assad. A massive attack against Assad and his military can be staged without any direct assault on Russian forces or equipment and Putin will have been warned to shut down his radars or face the consequences.

  53. markfromireland

    @Seamus: “just new names for the same old evils that have plagued civilized man” indeed, to say nothing of the evils of racism. I long ago concluded that there’s no point in legitimising the sort of trashy scum who spout the usual fæcal trash about the “white” and “anti-white” parties and similar nonsense. By all means let them masturbate their well-deserved inferiority complexes over in the corner if they really must. But adults should deny them the attention they crave by ignoring their puerile fantasisations and hopefully the owner of the joint will elevate the tone of the place by doing the obvious. One of the few things I agreed with the late Margaret Thatcher about was that extremists should be denied what she termed “the oxygen of publicity”.

  54. MojaveWolf

    @Memory — Of course I was being serious, not sarcastic! I truly expected brilliant discourse at the debate between these two titans of virtue and progressive problem-solving, and admit to being initially dismayed at what we got instead.

    Then I realized–it was all a genius demonstration of 11-dimensional chess on their part, as Trump and Hillary wished to show us what kind of horrorshow we could be stuck with if we failed to choose wisely at the ballot box.

    Next time–that’s when the great debate will be! Just wait, you’ll think even Jesus vs Buddha would be hard pressed to top the compassionate love for all beings these two paragons of justice and enlightenment will dish out.

    PS–I’m voting for Stein too. More debates like that one, and she might actually have a chance. Lordy. I wasn’t kidding about wanting to cry after that was over, or laughing so hard tears were running from my eyes during. Still flummoxed that Hillary’s people think she was dah bomb and won going away. Trump may have lost it, but she didn’t win. (and to Trump supporters, I’d say the same; she may have lost, but your guy didn’t win). The only metrics by which either won was in finishing sentences, where Hillary won going away.

  55. Lisa Mullin

    MFI: Human rights is antithetical to Christianity, at least as is represented by the major extremist ones like Catholicism and the evangelical Protestants.
    Organised religion is dying in the US, as has already happened elsewhere, long one of the most religious and conservative countries

    Brynn Tannehill captures the death spiral of US ‘christians’.


    “Real Christians” like the Duggars would like to think they’re doing God’s work. But if they’re judged by the fruits of their tree, as the Bible teaches, they’ve actually driven Americans away from churches. And new research indicates that their entrenched, anti-LGBT positions are part of why Americans are abandoning the faith in record numbers — and not coming back.”

    “The Nones are more numerous than either Catholics or mainline Protestants, according to Pew’s latest survey. Indeed, the unaffiliated are now second in size only to evangelical Protestants among major religious groups in the U.S., and growing faster than any other group. The Nones are more likely to be young, white, and educated, although growth is occurring across almost every demographic.

    But the Nones also tend to be one of the most solidly Democratic and pro-LGBT demographicsas well. This isn’t coincidental; prior studies from the Public Religion Research Institute have shown that up to a third of Millennial Nones left traditional faith communities because of religious intolerance toward LGBT people.

    Certainly, there are other factors at play. Generational replacement is failing to happen — for every person who has joined a religion after having been raised unaffiliated, there are more than four people who have become religious “Nones” after having been raised in some religion, revealed Pew.

    Many Nones cite organized religion’s lack of relevance to their lives as a key reason they have left the flock. In other countries within Europe, there are clear correlations over time between wealth, education, and religiosity; As wealth and education rates grow, religiosity tends to drop. The U.S. has long been something of an outlier as a wealthy and religious nation.”

    As the moderates leave the churches, then the remaining ones are the most extreme, this pushes those organisations into ever more extreme and shrill public positions, which drives out more moderates….and so on into a death spiral of ever increasing bigotry and irrelevance.

  56. shit·ty (shĭt′ē)
    adj. shit·ti·er, shit·ti·est Vulgar Slang
    1. Of very poor quality; highly inferior.
    2. Contemptible; despicable.
    3. Unfortunate; unpleasant.
    4. Being in a state of discomfort or unhappiness; miserable.
    5. Incompetent; inept.
    6. Trivial; insignificant.

    trump is shittier, but Clinton does not smell like roses.

  57. Side comment:

    What books are you reading Ian?

  58. Peter*


    I agree with much of your view of these debates but stating that ‘she might actually have a chance’ about Stein is pure fantasy or a fevered mirage. She couldn’t get elected as a dog-catcher and this third party voting just seems to be a diversion from making a difficult decision to stop the Red Queen from ever taking power.

  59. The problem is we can get presidential material to run. The insiders and outsiders are to strong. H is an insider, Trump is an outsider. Both are dismal candidates, though Hillary was so then Trump. Hence another people will vote for Hillary, if the case is made in those terms. Though there is a chance to get Trump elected, if people want to take the bribe that they are offered. At least the two sides are not interested in throwing the election, which is at least a minor accomplishment.

  60. sorry my voice is messed up again…

    The problem is we cannot get presidential material to run. The insiders and outsiders are to strong. H is an insider, Trump is an outsider. Both are dismal candidates, though Hillary was less so than Trump. Hence another people will vote for Hillary, if the case is made in those terms. Though there is a chance to get Trump elected, if people want to take the bribe that they are offered. At least the two sides are not interested in throwing the election, which is at least a minor accomplishment.

  61. V. Arnold

    This whole election crap is a joke (a very cruel joke); Usians think the person will make the difference; when the bloody hell will y’all learn?
    It doesn’t matter any longer, who sits in the oval office. That one is the (not so) respectable face of a barbaric, murderous, world hegemon bent on domination at all costs.
    What I do find incredible is, y’all (not a personal attack @ posters here) just won’t see today’s reality. Until and unless that can be understood; you’re just playing musical chairs…
    As Hugh says; you’re willing to eat shit sandwiches.
    The only possible way Usians can be heard is to NOT vote…

  62. @Stirling Newberry

    In light of the difference of nuclear war potential “offered” by both candidates, don’t you think it’d be advisable to make specific arguments? Says Adam Walinsky, in Politico article “I was RFK’s Speechwriter. Now I’m Voting for Trump. Here’s Why” (

    “In fact, in all the years of the so-called War on Terror, only one potential American president has had the intelligence, the vision, the sheer sanity to see that America cannot fight the entire world at once; who sees that America’s natural and necessary allies in this fight must include the advanced and civilized nations that are most exposed and experienced in their own terror wars, and have the requisite military power and willingness to use it. Only one American candidate has pointed out how senseless it is to seek confrontation with Russia and China, at the same time that we are trying to suppress the very jihadist movements that they also are attacking.

    That candidate is Donald Trump.”

    Just noting, as some do, that both Trump and Clinton “don’t care about us” seems like a poor excuse, indeed, to not even TRY to figure out the answer to this question. There are American insiders (or former insiders), like the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity member Ray McGovern, who recently penned “Russia-Baiting and Risks of Nuclear War” @ He’d rather avoid risking nuclear war with Russia…..

    One can be an insider and/or elite, and favor pursuing insane policies wrt Russia, or else sane policies wrt Russia. I don’t doubt that an elite can both “not care about us” and also be willing to bring us to the brink of nuclear war with Russia; I also don’t doubt that an elite can both “not care about us” and view Russia primarily as a potential ally in fighting terrorism, and be more than happy to cooperate with Russia towards that end (and not provoke her).

    Which sort of elite is Trump? Which sort of elite is Hillary? Your life may literally depend on enough Americans figuring out the answer to these questions.

  63. BlizzardOfOz

    Democrats pursue anti-white policies and frequently express anti-white sentiments. You don’t have to go far to see this — our own Aztlan revanchist “okanogen” was crowing about the ethnic cleansing of Euros a few posts up. But I’m the extremist for noticing? I might even be tempted to believe you, except that anyone who studies history knows that our greatest forebears all had a consciousness of race and a pride in their own. It was a symptom of their civilization’s strength, and our deracination is a symptom of its decline.

    White lefties continue to bury their heads in the sand. Our grandchildren will curse us for turning over their birthright to rootless, hostile foreigners without firing a shot.

  64. @Seamus: “just new names for the same old evils that have plagued civilized man” indeed, to say nothing of the evils of racism. I long ago concluded that there’s no point in legitimising the sort of trashy scum who spout the usual fæcal trash about the “white” and “anti-white” parties and similar nonsense. By all means let them masturbate their well-deserved inferiority complexes over in the corner if they really must. But adults should deny them the attention they crave by ignoring their puerile fantasisations and hopefully the owner of the joint will elevate the tone of the place by doing the obvious. One of the few things I agreed with the late Margaret Thatcher about was that extremists should be denied what she termed “the oxygen of publicity”.

    Not only that, it’s very difficult to see how the inherent contradiction between the supremacism/ethnic nationalism and the alleged isolationism of the likes of Trump’s supporters is supposed to hold up over the long haul. Peace cannot emanate from viewing those unlike you as a contaminant.

  65. Hugh

    Stirling, shit is shit. It is like the word “black”. It’s an adjective and you can make comparative and superlative forms with it: blacker, blackest, but blackest is not blacker than black. So what is the point of your exercise, other than trying to legitimize support for one of two thoroughly criminal and unfit candidates?

  66. Ghostwheel

    @V. Arnold:

    “The only possible way USians can be heard is to NOT vote…”

    V, I’d like to hear why you believe not voting is more meaningful or useful (or whatever) than voting third party (if in fact you do believe that). By asking I don’t necessarily mean to assert the latter, but I am curious as to why you assert the former (if in fact you do). Just want understand how you view these two in contrast without throwing down any kind of a gauntlet, although yeah, I do tend towards the latter myself.

    Maybe you spoke to this before and I missed it. Recap?

  67. Lisa

    “White lefties continue to bury their heads in the sand. Our grandchildren will curse us for turning over their birthright to rootless, hostile foreigners without firing a shot.”

    Sigh. It has long been neo-liberal ideology to increase immigration far beyond what the economy and infrastructure can cope with. This raise property prices, decreases wages and benefits the 1%.

    It is not the ‘left’ that has pushed this, it is the right wing.

    The debate has become inane, because most of the ‘left’ have been co-opted by neo-liberal ideology as well. The ‘right’ long the pusher of ‘identity politics’ (read your political history folks) has turned this into a racial debate, which the so called left has gone along with willingly.

    The right has also been cunning and ran rings around the left on this, by marginalising immigrants in legal terms you push wages down even more….. since you exclude them from what little wage and condition protections US workers have. It is very clever of them. An illegal immigrant has no rights, cannot join a union, cannot complain and are little more than slave labourers.

    Both believe in massive immigration, but both have different strategies to distract people from the real issues. By and large the right have won on this by tapping into racism and using that as a vehicle to drive wages down ever more.

    In fairness some of the left do want acceptance which reduces the wage impact a little bit, because there may be vast surplus labour but at least there are some checks and balances if they are all legal. But tactically they usually just huff and puff and let the right get away with their real agenda, while politically attacking them as racist.

    None of them will ever talk about the real issues (and it sure is not race or religion, it is economics) because it does not suit the 1%, the real beneficiaries of all this.

    BoZ: Your position is just the classic example of someone who has been beautifully conned.

  68. V. Arnold

    October 1, 2016

    As already stated; it is my contention that the president of the U.S. is a figurehead, a symbol, with no real power. Third party or sixth party; it no longer matters. Voting is an irrelevant action based in a system that no longer exists.
    Think about that…
    Usians are kept preoccupied by nonsense so the majority won’t understand their true status.
    What policies have been changed by the “two” parties (both look and act the same) in the last 15 years?
    Obama (alleged democrat) is trying to destroy yet another ME country, Syria. It’s a continuation of the policy of full spectrum dominance.
    I’ve totally given up on the U.S., its become the enemy we used to fight; it’s all a bloody lie…

  69. >Stirling, shit is shit

    Spoken like someone who does know what he is talk about.

  70. Ché Pasa

    Re: Not voting.

    I’m very sympathetic to the argument that not voting in this year’s presidential election is a positive strategy given the widespread dissatisfaction with the major party candidates. Voting 3rd party is a rational strategy as well. Write in somebody if you want.

    However, I’m not convinced that any of these alternative voting/not voting strategies will make any difference to our ruling class. The the party honchos would just as soon we not vote, and both major parties are experts at suppressing the vote. Rs have long been doing it by throwing up (targeted) roadblocks to exercise of the franchise, Ds do it by 1) not significantly challenging R roadblocks, and 2) by running dismal candidates and lackluster campaigns, or by running no candidates at all…

    Third party candidates have no chance of winning, and both major parties use them as spoilers while dismissing their constituencies.

    Voter turnout in this country is already among the lowest in developed countries, confidence in the government is nearly nonexistent, and the division between our rulers and the ruled is at almost ancien régime levels.

    Our rulers govern contrary to the public interest and often against the public will, and they get away with it. Nothing we do seems to affect their determination to be as ruthless, greedy and violent as they want to be.

    We are not going to change that by voting — or not voting.

    If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. — Emma Goldman

  71. Peter*

    Boycotting elections is an organized strategy to undermine and discredit a corrupt system, it is a long term project aimed at the goal of replacing the corrupt system.

    The rubes in Amerika don’t have much useable power but they do have some and conservative voters have exercised that power to undermine the elite power structure in the republican party. The left wing of the democrat party tried to do the same thing and failed thinking they could change Sanders from party sheepdog into their representative. Both of these insurgencies weakened the corrupt party system and it may be permanent depending on the outcome of the election.

    If the Red Queen is selected most of the system will return to the status quo with Clintonism declared the law of the land while the conservative elite will regain control of their party, purging the dissidents and returning to control over their part of the Kabuki.

    If Trump is elected the panic and horror exhibited by the elites of both parties will be a sight to witness and even though the Ruling Class system may not be greatly changed it will be different.

  72. Hugh

    Peter is right. Voting for 1%ers like Trump or Clinton won’t really change anything. Trump says one thing Monday and the opposite Wednesday. Clinton only lies when her lips are moving. But voting for either will serve to validate a completely corrupt political and economic system one more time.

    To vote or not to vote exposes the faultline that runs between reformism and revolution. If you believe the system isn’t completely rotten, then you may be able to justify choosing between a Trump and a Clinton. But if you believe the system is rotten, then such a choice is a con and kabuki whose purpose is to waste our time and resources, disperse our energies, and keep the system going as long as possible.

    So if you are a reformer, you will be content to make sagacious distinctions between various kinds of shit. You will use some tired variation of lesser evilism to defend your choice and rail against those of us not buying it with some riff on us making the perfect the enemy of the good. Well, revolutions aren’t about perfection and they often go awry. But the first step in effecting real change is to stop playing the same old games. We know they’re a deadend. A revolution may come to nothing. That is certainly how the current Establishment and powers that be like to portray them: However bad things are now, revolution will be even worse. But revolution has the possibility of getting us somewhere we want to go. The status quo and the illusion of meaningful reform do not.

  73. Lisa

    Watching him self destruct has been illuminating indeed. However I predicted awhile ago that this was a risk to him, that if he got into bed too much with the GOP right wing religious ‘establishment’ that he’d be corrupted by it and lose doing so.

    The trouble was that the so called ‘middle of the road’ neo-liberal, neo-conservative GOP ‘establishment’ rejected him and he needed some sort of national organisation since he had none of his own (unlike Sanders).

    If he’d stayed small ‘l’ liberal or even small ‘c’ conservative on social issues, banged on about the TPP (etc), anti foreign wars, jobs for Americans, given the religious right the ‘Democrat treatment’ (you have nowhere else to go) and all the rest he’d have won comfortably against HRC (but still lost against Sanders).

    He’d have picked up the protest vote and many Dems would have simply not voted for HRC and stayed at home (or voted Stein or even some for Trump) .

    Now it is HRC’s election to lose, however since her campaign has made every mistake in the book so far, it isn’t over by a long shot, but I expect her to ‘just’ squeak through, because the “I’d rather saw off my left arm than vote for HRC” Dems (etc) will hold their noses and get out and vote for her.

    Classic example of ‘snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory’.

  74. V. Arnold

    It’s rather incredible; I’m at my favorite beach in Thailand and I’m responding to utter shite re; the US election bullshit; it doesn’t matter. You’re done, cooked, finished!
    Further conversation is irrelevent; jaw, jaw, and DO nothing; meaningless drivel going nowhere. Nuclear war is coming and you all trivialize current events in Syria as a minor event.

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