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

Why the Wave Election of 2018 Could Mean Nothing

Trump is a historically unpopular President. The bills passed by the Republican Congress are hated.

In 2018, the United States will likely see a wave election, with control of the House and possibly the Senate returning to the Democrats.

I remember a similar election, one I followed closely as my job: 2006. The Democrats took the House, and did virtually nothing with it. They did not meaningfully oppose Bush.

Then in 2008, Democrats took the House, Senate, and Presidency and used it to pass an inadequate stimulus, a flawed healthcare plan (which, yes, has helped some people), and some technocratic fixes, while basically running an austerian, neoliberal policy regime: They bailed out bankers, collaborated with banks to take away houses from homeowners through fraud, increased drone murders, and so on.

They then lost control of the House and Senate, lost about a thousand seats at State level, and eventually lost the Presidency to the most unpopular Presidential winner in history (running a candidate who had the second highest negatives of any major party candidate ever).

All of this happened for a simple reason: The Democrats governed badly. Yeah, the worst part of 2008 was patched over (something which would have happened anyway–financial crises and recessions end), but basically the economy never, ever became good for most Americans again. We saw an actual decrease in life span for many Americans, we saw the rise of the opiate crisis, we saw the percentage of people with jobs never recover.

It was catastrophic, and the Democrats didn’t fix it.

Yeah, they did some good. But they didn’t do much and they did a lot of harm.

Fed up, enough Americans in the right places decided to try the other side.

Now the other side has revealed themselves as even more rapacious and incompetent, and Americans will then go back to Democrats.




This ends ONLY when one party or the other decides to govern to the benefit of a significant majority.

Democrats did this under FDR and they basically controlled DC for 5o years or so, until they fucked it up by failing to handle the oil and inflation crises of the 70s–at which point, they decided to go along with Republicans in getting rid of the economic and political policies which made the previous period of great prosperity possible.

So, there are some signs that Democrats are beginning to get it: increased support for single payer, anger over various internet monopolies, and so on.

But when they win, they have to actually DO IT. Especially once they have a President, they must just ram through the right shit. 51 votes in the Senate is all it takes if you are serious. That’s a choice.

Until they do…




The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Russia as an Enemy of the United States


Happy New Year


  1. Robert

    I think you are an optimist. Too much money in campaigning, and poor people by definition have no money. QED, they do not work for US. Add some revolving doors, lather, rinse, repeat, and here we are.

    Then be sure to avoid all debate about actual policy, and simply shout bumper sticker sized slogans. Be sure to demonize anything remotely critical or useful. Reduce the news to he said/she said, and make it click-bait friendly.

    Simmer and stir every hour.

    Serves 100 billionaires well, too bad about the rest of us!

  2. Bill

    “This ends ONLY when one party or the other decides to govern to the benefit of a significant majority.”

    Or when enough people get angry enough about the two parties’ relentless failures to fix more problems than they cause that a third party manages to take power. It hasn’t happened for a century and a half, but that’s not the same as being impossible.

    Of course, whether the third party is any better than the two currently sharing a revolving door is another matter entirely.

  3. realitychecker

    @ Ian

    “But when they win, they have to actually DO IT. Especially once they have a President, they must just ram thru the right shit. 51 votes in the Senate is all it takes if you are serious. That’s a choice.”

    Yes, well, though, here’s the problem with that. If we put our faith in them again, then they inevitably betray us again, and we will have to accept eight more years of movement in the wrong direction, probably followed by another Clinton-cult-type holdover effort.

    I know I’ll be dead by then. Sometimes, patience can itself be the enemy . . .

    Both parties are committed to betraying the regular working folks whose votes they court. We should support anything that tears them down and creates space for a true third party that is committed to representing the People. The Establishment guys never will.

    Remember the definition of insanity.


    Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi had the opportunity to end the genocide in Iraq! But they got scared somebody would say something mean to them about it (?), and whiffed! How is Nancy Pelosi still getting elected? And that fucker Harry Reid retired! He didn’t get voted out!!! How did that happen!!!! This suggests that America will never resort to violent revolution, no matter what.

    That was when I first started trying to be informed about politics, actually. I was only a few years out of college then, and still had the idea that if you just voted for the right candidates everything would be okay. That attitude looks hilarious in retrospect, but I think many people share that form of ignorance even today. I also couldn’t have predicted how hard it would be to become “politically informed.” Again, I just thought it was a question of reading news articles. I didn’t know it was going to be a daily boxing match against the various American Pravdas, which are apparently encouraged to carry opposing versions of the same inadequate propaganda, and that I would basically end up getting my news from bloggers and Twitter idiots whose fitness for the position I would have to ceaselessly police. Jesus Christ.

    I also remember that when they reported on Obama’s transition team & said he was stacking the Oval Office with Clinton administration fuckups (I didn’t know what a neoliberal was back then), my heart sank through the floor. My father was a coal miner for 37 years, & was and is a UMWA/AFL-CIO member, and when Clinton signed NAFTA he said: “America is finished. He did it. I can’t believe he did it.” The Clintons were hated pretty badly in our household, and in the households of people like us all over the area. I’m not interested in relitigating the 2016 election forever, obviously, but most of those old guys (including my dad) still vote — and they’re much more interested in whether or not their kids can get good jobs in the region (no) than taking hardline stances, pro or con, on transgender bathrooms. (My dad would like you to know that he would cut off an arm before he’d vote for a sack of shit like Donald Trump.)

    I have no particular fealty to the Democratic Party (other than the obvious), but this keeps me awake at night. When the tide turns, will they be too timorous to take advantage of public attitudes that support the kind of economic stability that will in turn support social and cultural change? And if they aren’t, what then? It’s terrifying. I’m actually afraid. I have resisted the Weimar America narrative for more than a year, now, but I don’t know what other outcome would be supported by the only two viable political parties remaining trapped in the clutches of neoliberal austerity into infinity. What then?

  5. Webstir

    Let’s play out a scenario: (i) the dems do take both houses, but (ii) they are largely of the establishment variety, then (iii) we have a Bernie-slide in 2020, while (iv) maintaining majorities of establishment dems in both houses. We can be pretty sure Bernie wouldn’t be a milquetoast like Obama. He’d try to push his agenda for a “significant majority” of the people.

    Question: do the establishment dems get on board with Bernie’s progressive agenda and start ramming things through, or is there continued infighting with the establishment dems chipping away at his proposals through a constant campaign of the “tyranny of amiability” and “pragmatism”?

    Question: how does the significant majority of people that Bernie is trying to help react to the establishment dems chipping?

    My two-cents: we still haven’t been hit hard enough over the head by the neoliberal policies. People are largely still comfy enough to be distracted by the shiny consumer objects the 1% keep dangling in front of them. Then, as usual, the wave will peter and die, and ping will once again meet pong.

    This is the problem. The .1% knows it needs to keep those shiny objects cheap enough that the 99% can still purchase them and be mollified. Yes, they are entirely sucking the demand side out of the economy. But it doesn’t take much. A big cheap television, an X-box, and a 20 year old car will keep most people in this country comfortably glued to the manufactured distraction enough to serve the 1%’s divide and conquer strategy.

  6. Herman

    I agree with you Ian. I think we are stuck in a bad spot politically. There is almost no chance of a third party rising. Our winner-take-all electoral system makes third parties into wasted votes and spoilers at best. Duverger’s Law and all that. If we had proportional representation maybe things would be different. But even European countries with proportional representation still seem to have problems with escaping the neoliberal rut.

    In the case of the United States, both parties know that they can succeed with their relatively narrow coalitions. The Republicans can run up the score with white voters and win seats in flyover country where sparsely populated and predominantly white states have a disproportionate voice in the federal government. The Democrats are counting on demographic change to maintain and grow their coalition of non-whites and college-educated liberals. Elections will likely turn on turning out the base with appeals to identity and culture war issues and stealing away enough swing voters to win.

    Neither party seems to be interested in tapping into the huge number of disaffected voters (about half of the voting-eligible population) who tend to be poorer than those who vote regularly. This means that elections will tend to skew toward the interests of the upper and upper-middle classes who, while making up a small proportion of the population as a whole, are overrepresented among regular voters. That is an important reason why the Democrats are loath to make a big turn left. They don’t want to alienate the section of their base (college-educated social liberals) who are liberal on social issues like gay marriage and abortion but conservative or moderate on economic issues.

  7. Dan Lynch

    Ian is correct.
    In my red state, D’s 2018 campaign strategy seems to be expanding Medicaid, something that the Republican-controlled state government refused to do when Obama was in the WH.
    There are two problems with this D strategy. First, regardless of how you feel about expanding Medicaid — I’m not keen on it for a variety of reasons — it would only benefit a small percentage of the population. How do D’s expect to build a base around a controversial program that only benefits a small percentage of the population?
    Second, state R’s will probably expand Medicaid before election day, thus co-oping the D’s election strategy. R’s only opposed expanded Medicaid when it was Obama’s idea, now that Obama is gone they’re willing to reconsider it. Mind you, the R version of expanded Medicaid will probably be crapified by privatizing it and requiring copays and deductibles that the poor cannot afford (and that’s in addition to putting a lien on the Medicaid recipient’s assets to recover Medicaid expenses), but Medicaid is a crappy program anyway so the crapification is merely a matter of degree.
    So D’s lack a good strategy, and they don’t have any ideas to fix things. For example, they have no plan for free (or at least cheap) universal health care. Even Bernie’s health care plan — which the D party has not endorsed — calls for a major regressive tax increase on the poor and working class, so that’s a hard sell and it’s poor economics. D’s won’t get serious about going after the rich because they’re beholding to the rich, so they fall back on social issues, where Republicans have the advantage in the heartland.

  8. It’s actually a bit worse. Democrats took control of both the House and the Senate in 2006 and it was based in no small part on a promise to stop the war in Iraq. Instead, we got “the surge” in 2007.

  9. Billikin

    It is true that the Democrats fumbled the ball in 2009-10. However, the sweep of the Republican Tea Party in 2010 was based, not on doing the right thing, but on making things even worse! Santelli’s rant was not about helping out underwater homeowners, but about screwing them over. It was not, “We bailed out Wall Street, now let’s bail out Main Street.” It was, “Enough bailouts already!” The Dems might have fought that idea, but they had already embraced belt-tightening. In 2009 Obama said that the government had run out of money. (!) In 2008 the Bush administration had realized that there was always enough money, when they baled out Big Finance and Wall Street.

  10. nihil obstet

    There’s one piece of demographics that actually inspires hope. The current Democratic Party leaders never developed a bench or farm team. Look at the party leaders and you could confuse them with the Brezhnev-era Soviet Central Committee. Obama, of course, absolutely decimated the local parties, actively discouraging anything that wasn’t propaganda and contributions to his personal policies. I could go on for considerable length recounting all the ways my state and local party leaders effectively turned the organization from a political party into a brand-management cabal for anyone rich who was willing to run as a Democrat. They had money from the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC for that purpose, but not for supporting local initiatives or liberal candidates. The result is that we don’t have a clear succession of those who have already committed to the “give a little tweak to the status quo” approach. I don’t know how long the 70+ year olds can hang on, but the political spaces are opening up for a younger generation and they seem to be post-Reagan-Obama assumptions.

  11. Willy

    Those Dummies books seem to sell well. Maybe a Rationality For Dummies Party, with yellow and black colors and triangle head mascot guy, wouldn’t need wealthy donors.

  12. BlizzardOfOz

    I have been just watching and waiting to see how effective Trump would be (how effective, mind you — he has never showed a reason to doubt his sincerity or competence). As he slowly establishes control over his administration, I am liking more and more what I’m seeing.

    On immigration, he seems to have maneuvered the Dems into checkmate. He could have simply repealed DACA — but would have encountered fanatical resistance, maybe even from the courts, given how crazy they have become. Instead, by offering DACA for the wall and an end to chain migration and the visa lottery, he has effectively dropped the issue into the Dems’ lap. Either they will have to give up their plans for demographic transformation (unthinkable), or surrender DACA and deal with the shrieking of their activist base. What a masterstroke — and here you guys are still running around thinking Trump is incompetent and/or senile.

    Even more promising is that Trump looks to be gearing up for a strategic attack on the globo-homo elites’ centers of power. The tax bill looked depressingly tainted with Bush-era thinking, until some gems came to light — the end to deduction of state from federal taxes, and the new tax on university endowments. The net neutrality repeal is looking like a prelude to cracking down on the tech companies’ SJW thought-policing.

    It still remains to be seen how this will all play out. But Trump is moving chess pieces more shrewdly that the rage-addled minds of the white left will admit, until it is too late. Trump is hated by the left, yes: for the same reason he is beloved – maybe more than any president since FDR – by those he champions, the old-stock Americans.

  13. The Stephen Miller Band

    This is now well beyond Politics As Usual.

    Most people think this insanity can be righted during the elections of 2018 and 2020, so they’re biding their time and while they do, normalization of the insane continues at a steady pace.

    They are sooooo wrong waiting for the elections to right this insanity.

    A genie has been let loose from its bottle and it won’t be put back in until the requisite massive amount of blood is shed, and even then the sacrifice may not suffice to contain the genie.

    We are now Beyond The Pale and most anything negative is possible.

    The Handmaid’s Tale is instructive. Build it and it will come. Think it, and it will happen.

    It’s happening. And those you thought would protect against such a thing aren’t doing a thing. They’re sitting idly by and letting it happen.

    There Will Be Blood.

    Pickup Pussies

  14. Charlie

    “This ends ONLY when one party or the other decides to govern to the benefit of a significant majority.”

    I have to disagree here, Ian. This ends only when the wealthy feel personally unsafe to step out of their homes for any reason, lest the rubes have a knot tying session around their necks.

  15. bruce wilder

    It is important to insist on the truth that the Democrats did not do what they “obviously” (obvious to Ian, to me and to most commenters here) should have done in response to the GWB administration’s cumulation of critical failures: Iraq, GFC, and on and on.

    Lots and lots of people who identify as Democrats or are inclined to vote Democratic are in denial about that historic failure (not to mention its consequences). Obama is fairly popular retrospectively and most could not give even a shortened litany of his failures such as the ones Ian might produce.

    There is plenty of economic and political dissatisfaction in the country, but the prevalence of denial in place of understanding or (yes I will use the word) ideology is a managed fact of politics and political Media. We have a structural problem and it is a deep structural problem in American politics, which is preventing rational adaptation and reform.

    That the wave elections of 2006/8 did not produce change is an indication of a deep structural problem in politics. That the Democratic Party could put forth in 2016 a status quo candidate identified with policy failure (NAFTA, sentencing reform, Libya, Iraq, Goldman Sachs and on and on) and not catch onto the deep dissatisfaction in the country demonstrated by a primary challenge is another indication of a deep structural problem.

    I think many of us commenting here have some sense that the dependence of the Democratic establishment on fundraising from billionaires and the executive class running large financial institutions and business corporations is a critical piece of this structural problem, maybe only one piece of many but let’s just consider that one piece for a moment. It seems to me that the Democratic establishment, still loyal to Clinton, has done a remarkable job of filling the political mindspace with the connivance of the degenerate journalism of the rump Media. Russiagate stands as a monument to their power to conjure a storm to fill both the old sock of cable news and the new stocking of the twitterverse with utter nonsense.

    I have talked to people one-on-one in meatspace about why Clinton lost and how Obama failed the country and quite often the response has been nothing less than hysterical. People get really, really angry when I have suggested, say, that the U.S. military still operating in Afghanistan is an abject policy failure and the U.S. should simply withdraw from there (and Yemen and a bunch of other places). “Admit failure and quit” is as simple a policy prescription as I can come up with and many people do not respond thoughtfully. The idea that the foreign policy establishment in the U.S. is a mindlessly stupid blob may have some currency in the blogosphere, but not purchase in the wider community. People can feel some dissatisfaction with U.S. foreign policy, but still not be accustomed to have any critical thought pass thru their minds, let alone form the kind of expectations for the behavior of politicians that might motivate policy change. I don’t go anywhere near the real hot button issues (anything related to Israel and its authoritarian idiot regime) that mostly famously paralyze both Media and Congress.

    I have tried to talk to people sensibly about why Clinton was a really, really bad candidate and I have found that it is easy to get soft agreement with that proposition as long as you do not go into any detail. Understood as a matter of style or celebrity-personality impression, people go along. Connect with policy, and not so much. I have tried to explain why the consequences of (Bill) Clinton’s repeal of Glass-Steagall and other financial deregulation combined with NAFTA to devastate manufacturing in the American midwest with terrible economic and social consequences. If “really, really bad candidate” gets translated into policy specifics, like opposing single-payer, reckless militarism in the Mideast, subverting a $15 minimum wage, advocacy for financialization and so on, some people seem inclined to start screaming. (Yes, really, screaming. Hillary has been a feminist champion and always an advocate for the children, doncha know?)

    A democratic politics needs public deliberation to thrive, which requires forums for public deliberation. Politics is how a People (collectively) thinks. And, we in the United States do not think collectively. We have been deliberately dumbed down into an idiocracy. It has not always been so.

    In previous great crises of American political development, the country managed some remarkably sophisticated feats of mass political thought. The Revolutionary period processed a legacy of Whiggish political theory thru the Committees of Correspondence and then the Congress and produced a rationale for independence and finally culminated in the classic Federalist papers. The antebellum period produced some very sophisticated political thought as people debated the institution of slavery and other legacies of deference. In the 1850s, a twice-weekly newspaper only had 8 pages, but people read those 8 pages and those 8 pages reproduced the full Lincoln-Douglas debates and many other closely reasoned speeches. The Populists and the Progressive Era produced a deep critique of problems of political economy and invented new institutions; its extended coda was the New Deal, which greatly extended the regulatory welfare state and during the course of the War, created a new, liberal international order.

    As Ian has pointed out many times, our politics is the result of the Boomers not being interested in how the carefully managed political economy of the New Deal actually worked. They listened to Milton Friedman and the neoliberals, right and left, and for forty years, we have been playing jenga with the U.S. economy, pulling out pieces and watching it collapse. Now, there is a political interest in feeding off crisis. Further collapse is deliberately sought for its financial benefits for the few and maybe the perverse psychic satisfaction of a frustrated and angry populism.

    And, it is proving very difficult to get any collective action moving around recognition that this has been going on, sufficient in size and scope and, yes, depth, to permit governing in the interests of a mass majority. I do not think most people I meet and talk to in the real world have an inkling that politics could be about their economic problems.

    Good governance by the politicians requires good governance of the politicians by the People and I do not see that pre-requisite as being met in the near future. The existing Media, embedded in the corporate business world with its networked-monopolies, is a huge obstacle. The accelerating collapse of journalism over the last decade has, if anything, made things worse; the remaining professional journalists are concentrated in a few urban centers, mostly in the Northeast corridor and they are young, and when not actually stupid in a foppish overeducated manner, they are cynical and recklessly opportunitic. EZ-rah Klein, indeed.

    I do not think Obama and Clinton are the leaders we deserved, but they are the leaders the neoliberal political system produced and We the People, in our ignorance and stupidity are part of the system that produced them. We really need to think more about the system that produced our collective ignorance and stupidity. I do not think it is simply a matter of lacking spontaneous good will. Something else is lacking, something else is missing — a structure to hold the processes by which we might think together and do better.

    The Democrats may indeed fair well in 2018 against a very unpopular President. But an unpopular celebrity President is not the problem. The problem is a political system that can no longer respond. Declining life expectancy is kind of a key indicator that governance by the state of the political economy is poor. But, governance of the politicians by the people is moribund. Most of us — most of those who voted for Clinton anyway — still cannot see how bad she was, or how bad Obama was.

    Maybe, it is not in their interest to see. The professional and managerial classes are doing OK, I guess — certainly better than the formerly working classes. But, I am not sure that it is a matter of interest so much as it has been simply the absence of social institutions where critical thinking might take place or be modeled, let alone platforms from which collective action might be taken. (Instead, we have teevee.) In my considerations of this problem, I keep coming back to the secular decline in social affiliation — the “bowling alone” problem — and its replacement among the liberally-educated by synthetic affinity as in so-called identity politics. (“You are an Asian-American, that’s your position, here are your assigned stories, this is what you think.” That there is no corresponding organic culture held in common and embedded in actual community is brushed aside.)

    OK, I’ve wandered off. Sorry. I will post anyway. I regret the hyperbolic tone of what I wrote above — some people won’t be able to read it as I would wish as a result. I recognize that I feel like the Englishman stuck in France, who doesn’t speak French, but resorts to talking louder in a doomed effort to make himself understood. Oh well

  16. highrpm

    !hillary in 2020! rah! rah!. sis, boom, bahhhh!

  17. mago

    “Old- stock Americans”?
    Trump a chess master?
    Say, Blizzard, you aren’t from around these parts, are you? (Meaning the planet.)

  18. BlizzardOfOz

    It’s an uncomfortable truth for your side, mago. Call them untermenschen – sorry, deplorables – if you like, it won’t change the facts on the ground. Subtract the foreigners that your side imported to farm for votes and cheap labor, and you are vastly outnumbered.

  19. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “Old-stock Americans”?

    I was not aware that Cheeto Mussolini was a champion of Native Americans. I thought he was more of the alleged champion of the descendants of the pale invaders who displaced them. 😈

    Of course, he is the actual champion only of the affluent portion of the descendants of the pale invaders.

  20. realitychecker

    @ bruce wilder

    Excellent comment, sir. Thank you for it.

    Nothing there that I would take much exception to, so I’ll just add that the media is and has been the biggest danger area since they abolished the Fairness Doctrine. (Most don’t even remember what that was.)

    All that flowed predictably from that got us here. They did not perform their essential and unique fact-checking function, so eventually nobody could agree on the facts.

    Lies are needed to carry out any significant evil. We failed to adequately control and punish liars of all types. So now they rule.

    FYI, commenter Hugh of local address produced what I think is the definitive compendium of ammunition against Obama–namely Hugh’s List of Obama Scandals. In several parts, with several hundred annotated entries. Similar lists exist for Hillary, I believe. But Hugh deserves a place in history for his work in this area lol. Google it, you’ll love it. (Some friends will hate you even more for knowing what Hugh knows lol. Been there. 🙂 )

    Re critical thinking, yes, the underlying work has been neglected deliberately for decades. Maybe glance at the Torture thread from a few days ago, and register your reaction to the refusal of most to even engage in classical hypothetical dialoguing. Totally unfamiliar to most.

    To a better next year, good sir.

  21. ultra

    Dan Lynch: “There are two problems with this D strategy. First, regardless of how you feel about expanding Medicaid — I’m not keen on it for a variety of reasons — it would only benefit a small percentage of the population, etc.”

    Item 1: Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to more people than any other insurance carrier in the United States. Currently, more than 70 million people are covered by this program (Medicare covers about 55 million people). About 50% of the people in nursing homes (mainly middle-class people) rely on Medicaid to pay their nursing home bills. Even special education programs for children with disabilities at local schools are funded, at least in part, by Medicaid. This is NOT an insignificant program.

    Item 2: The quality of the Medicaid program can vary considerably by state and location within the state. Some states have better Medicaid programs than others. At some localities within a state, the Medicaid program is accepted by most physicians and specialists and it covers almost all health care services, but at other states and locations, the Medicaid program is crappy (as you stated). Generally, Medicaid programs are better run in urban areas of liberal states, but less well managed in rural areas of conservative states.

    Item 3: Contrary to what you have stated, the Republicans want to destroy Medicaid altogether, they do no want to expand or improve it. The real target of the failed health care bills of the Republicans was Medicaid, not Obamacare. They tried to cap Medicaid expenses at a measly $5,000/yr., which does not even come close to covering typical emergency room expenses in the United States ($20,000 per admission) nor would it have covered the costs of a typical pregnancy ($30,000 per delivery).

  22. ultra

    If anyone here is interested in what it takes to reverse the growing wealth gap between the rich and everyone else, then I suggest reading the following book:

    “The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-first Century” by Walter Scheidel (2017). The author argues that only serious catastrophes can reduce a widening wealth gap in society. These catastrophes include the following:

    1) Major economic depressions that last for years or decades (e.g., the Great Depression of the 1930s).

    2) Major wars involving the military draft, especially if they result in defeat (e.g., World War I and World War 2).

    3) A widespread plague that causes a labor shortage (e.g., the Black Death in medieval Europe).

    4) Ecological crises causing widespread agricultural failure and starvation (partly responsible for the collapse of the Mayan civilization, also partly caused by wars between city-states).

    5) State failure as a result of extreme corruption and incompetence, causing a major revolution (the overthrow of the Czarist regime by communists during the 1917 revolution, also partly caused by the catastrophic loss of life during World War I).

    This book is rather depressing to read because it implies that, throughout human history, large wealth gaps between the rich and everyone else can only be reduced by the massive loss of human life and/or extreme material deprivation. Progressive reforms are a by-product of these catastrophes. For example, the New Deal reforms of FDR did not occur as a result of peaceful democratic reform – instead, it was shaped by the extreme violence and material deprivation that occurred during World I and the Great Depression. World War II further cemented these reforms into the political consciousness and caused them to last longer than they would have otherwise. This book implies that neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties are capable of reducing the wealth gap through peaceful reforms unless severe catastrophes occur that either threaten or weaken the control of the wealthy elite.

  23. The old Democrat (sic) party is dying – the will live long, but not by much.

  24. Tom

    Until the first past the post system is replaced by a proportional vote, this mess will continue. We also need a unicameral legislature,
    And a popularly elected president. Otherwise the elites can sandbag endlessly.

  25. marku52

    Bruce: Thanks for always providing some of the most thoughtful comments on the intertubes. Over and over again.

    My thoughts. The Dems might win, but they won’t do anything useful with it. The donor class won’t allow it. On the Pub side, this was already clear. The donor said “Get us tax cuts or don’t expect any more money”. The Dems will desperately seek a way to get elected without offending any donor interests. “You want to break the glass ceiling for a few female CEOs. Great.” A $15/hr minimum wage? Single payer? Free college? ” You’ve got to be kidding”.

    Plus for the Dems to accomplish anything useful they would have to pry the cold dead hands of the Clintons off the party. No sign whatever of that happening. If anything, they are getting more entrenched. Some wag guesses the Dems policy prescriptions ” Means-tested micro loans for student lunch debt!”. Sounds about right.

    So here’s a guess… Like Ian intuits, ping, and pong. The underwashed 90% keeps voting for change and neither party will give it to them. Hence we eventually get the Authoritarian Populist. The actually competent Trump. Probably from the Pubs, as they are more comfortable with Authority.

    He’ll declare a nation wide rent freeze, take out a few PharmaBros and shoot them (best comment ever on Shrikelli, a prospective juror said “I’m completely unbiased. I don’t care if we hang him or shoot him”) and institute free health care in one form or other.

    The public applauds. Nobody notices or care much that his opponents seem to go off to some camp in the desert and never come back.

    We’ve seen this shit before and we should know how it plays out. No surprises.

  26. marku52

    Ultra: I’ll get that book. It seems correct and entirely likely. Plutocrats don’t give up power willingly, and with their power to subvert the electoral process, some other means will problem be required to dis-empower them.

  27. Ronald Wilkinson

    I didn’t read all the responses so I might be repeating what someone has already covered.
    Yeah, a Democratic takeover, for what it’s worth, is a long shot. Hopefully a lot of Trump supporters feel burned and pissed off. I’m not sure if the polling or anecdotal observation is indicating anything very accurately. It’s gonna be the luck of the draw. Gerrymandering weighs in on it too.

  28. kj1313

    Sorry Blizzard but that’s a laughable assessment. Trump has taken all of the neoliberal and neocon ideas and pushed it into overdrive due to greed or stupidity. The tax bill is a direct assault against blue donor states who pay more than they get back. Repealing net neutrality leaves us at the mercy of telecom companies who since the repeal said they will be raising fees. DACA is a result of lousy US foreign policy (drug war & Nafta) Plus Old stock Americans might rail against it but they are dying due due to an opioid crisis that has taken hold of rural America. FYI millennials are now the largest voting block and they detest Trump.

  29. Willy

    Anybody who claims that Trump “has never showed a reason to doubt his sincerity or competence” is going to be about as credible as an Alex Jones disciple.

  30. Ché Pasa

    “…could mean nothing”… ? Well, of course. When you realize what a farce our electoral system is, then it’s easy to see the truth of Emma Goldman’s famous (if apocryphal) saying:

    If voting changed anything, it would be illegal.

    If voting doesn’t change things, but things change nevertheless, something else must be driving events. What could it be?

    Direct rule by an in-your-face faction of the plutocracy — as we’ve been experiencing most of this year — is an ugly thing to be sure, but it is only marginally different in substance than the indirect rule by more or less “polite” factions of the plutocracy that we’re used to.

    The results are similar. The goals are nearly identical between the plutocratic factions. The struggle is over who “wins” — who profits most, and by how much.

    So it is and so it will be under either of our major political parties.

    Democrats are typically somewhat less cruel and operate somewhat slower than their Republican rivals, but the substance of their rule is little different: exploitation of the masses, disinterest in long-term progress, plunder of resources, destruction and death of rebels and rivals.

    Those basic principles don’t change because one or another party of the duopoly is in office.

    Yet principles can and do change. If it doesn’t happen through the political/electoral process, how does it happen?

  31. highrpm

    the electoral system is lame by definition, based as it is on yet another secret society. what rules vet and hold accountable the members of the electoral college? these fuking alpha elitists who pleasure themselves in governmental phantasies, working out their distorted self-actualizations in imposing their will on others. jungle law’ers is all they are. all dressed up to amplify their self-importance. otoh, goverment’s purpose is to serve the corporate mission, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. someone has to design and implement the complex supply chains that serve the masses. the public utilities. (and fuk the rationale for killing-purposed defense. morphing all too soon into empire-building. are not humans with their neocortex a higher life form than limbic-driven animals of the jungle?) all the while the danger of the bio-mimicry of cancer lurks nearby. when income-driven corporations — and that includes foundations, non-profit and for-profit legal collectives — were legalized as persons and permitted to vote by buying elections, the cancer metastasized and will soon kill the host. c’est la vie.

  32. Altandmain

    Ian is right. The Democrats ultimately answer to the same donors as the GOP. They are just a slightly less bad version of the Republicans.

    What they won’t do as the Obama administration and 2006 “victory” revealed is to fundamentally fix the structural problems of neoliberalism. Actually they are working to undermine the left wing candidates who are running.

    Here is an example:

    There appears to be a huge number of Democrats in collective denial about the situation.

    1. Their party is bought by the very rich and the billionaire class
    2. Obama and the the Democrats have failed to deliver the change they promised
    3. Rather than solid material benefits, we’ve seen a worsening of inequality
    4. All they will do is a few small reforms around the edges, but nothing big that would upset their donors

    It is very interesting to note that Obama had 60 Senators, yet Trump has managed to pass tax “reform” with barely 50 people. That shows that the Democrats hearts are not in it. They could have removed the Bush tax cuts early on.

    The only way I can see this solved is for left wing candidates to win. Bernie is not perfect, but he’s a big step in the right direction I’d say.

  33. realitychecker

    @ Altandmain

    Sure, Bernie would have been a good step. Too bad the loathsome Establishment/Clintonite Dems stole the primary from him.

    Another thing to never forget.

  34. NR


    Meanwhile, in reality, Trump is the least popular first-year president in history by a very large margin.

  35. BlizzardOfOz

    NR, I trust you have seen demographic breakdowns of the Presidential vote. The “white” vote is a good approximation of the American nation, that is American-Americans and not the post-1965 invaders: you will see they went for Trump in an FDR-esque landslide. It’s no surprise that he is unpopular with Mexicans; everyone rightly sees him as a champion for Americans.

  36. Billikin

    Trump a champion for Americans????? Do not be deceived. Trump is a champion for Trump. Trump screws his buddies.

  37. NR


    ” The “white” vote is a good approximation of the American nation,”

    And this one little comment tells us pretty much all we need to know about you. America is not just white people, but it’s not surprising that you think it is.

    And by the way, Trump has lost quite a bit of support even from white people since taking office. People like you are pretty much the only ones left supporting him at this point.

  38. That’s easy: as long as people vote for more of the same, they GET more of the same, in slightly different styles.

    Once they’re willing to vote for something different (I’m a Green Party advocate), then they’ll get either real change or a coup, which would at least make everything very clear. Until then, ping-pong. Hope you enjoy the game.

  39. uvose

    Pretty much agree with everything you’ve preached to a choir that’s already frustrated corporate funded MSM never brought these issues up enough when there were better odds to slow the drift towards dystopia. Not to mention how much the media, in general, has degenerated into whatever it is now but I guess I’ll just digress…

  40. BlizzardOfOz

    NR, I’m referring to readily observable facts, not semantics. A nation is a real thing. “Americans” – if referring to the descendants of British colonists – are a real nation, related by blood, and with a shared language, history, religion, and culture. “Americans” – if referring to the people currently residing within the geographical boundaries of the United States – are not.

    The former – contra Bruce Wilder’s lamentation above – are able to make decisions as a group, and in fact they just elected a champion, against the fanatical opposition of just about every powerful institution. The later, not being a real nation, are not able to make any decisions — how could they, since they have no shared interests beyond their wished-for destruction of heritage America? Incidentally, this is why the globo-homo elite love multiculturalism so much – culture forms an immovable bulwark against arbitrary tyrannical rule, and multiculturalism is the dissolution of culture into mutually hostile factions.

  41. NR


    Yes, you’ve made your view that only white people matter quite clear. Sadly for you, the United States is not made up only of white people. And also sadly for you, even many white people have stopped supporting Trump over the last year due to his gross incompetence as a leader. Expect that trend to continue on into next year. Eventually, he’ll be left only with people like you still supporting him–and you’ll find that people that believe as you do are not even close to a majority of the country.

  42. BlizzardOfOz

    Lol NR – having watched your discussions with rc, I still chose to engage you. I got what I deserved.

  43. NR


    You mean, you got your racist BS called out? Yes. Yes, you did.

  44. Webstir

    Ok. I’ve been quietly observing your, umm, ‘interesting’ take what it means to be an American.

    You state “A nation is a real thing … ‘Americans’ – if referring to the descendants of British colonists – are a real nation, related by blood, and with a shared language, history, religion, and culture.”

    If you want to rely on a dictionary definition then you are technically correct. And it does hold true of most nations to date. However the U.S. was intentionally set up differently. The Brits were one “Nation” that sought to claim supremacy over these new found lands. So were the Dutch. So were the French. So were the Native Americans. So were the Spanish … etc. You see — and I can’t believe I have to give you a history lesson — we rejected all that. The theory was that a nation could be a collection of all sorts of people tied together by the common interest of being ruled by a system of LAWS — not blood, not religion, not culture.

    This is grade school stuff.

    Check out Colin Woodard’s book “American Nations.” Note the ’s’ at the end of Nation. The theory is that the issues that the U.S. continues to struggle with owe to this very fact. A more accurate name for the United States of America would be the United Nations of America. Because, although we are tied together by the rule of law, the original national identities continue to fight their ideological wars.

    Now, please stop being a pill.

  45. nihil obstet

    A nation is a real thing. “Americans” – if referring to the descendants of British colonists – are a real nation, related by blood, and with a shared language, history, religion, and culture.

    I guess the great national game played from 1861 at Fort Sumter through 1865 at Appomattox Courthouse proved that descendants of British colonists were a nation.

    (Apologies to most of you for feeding the troll, but this was just too funny).

  46. Jonathan

    > This is grade school stuff.
    And you still believe that melting-pot revisionism designed to cheapen labor and prevent the people from having common interests, other than a shared fantasy that they are ruled by laws? Come on, be an adult and put away childish things.

  47. Willy

    Deportations have been less under Trump than under Obama. According to campaign promises, with everything in DC being ‘Brand R’ controlled these days, it shouldn’t even be close.

  48. NR

    Good points made by others here, but also, if BlizzardOfOz was actually interested in dialogue about the character of America as a nation, one could point out to him that his statement the descendants of British immigrants have a shared culture is ridiculous on its face. White people in Alabama have a very different culture from those in Montana, which in turn is different from those in Kentucky, which is in turn different from those in New York.

    But of course, BlizzardOfOz gave the game away in his very first reply to me. He doesn’t care about history, religion, or culture at all. He only cares about skin color.

  49. Webstir

    Nice straw man. Yes, we are ruled by laws. It’s indisputable. The problem is that rich people made the laws then and continue to make them now. You probably should have done more than just read the cover of The People’s History of the United States.
    And you should probably read Colin Woodard.
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment, however.
    Happy New Year

  50. realitychecker

    The melting pot was a wonderful concept.

    But these days, nobody wants to melt anymore.

    The results are the results.

  51. VietnamVet

    Yes. Ping. Pong. Till plutocratic rule ends. A hundred or so families stealing everyone else’s wealth is inherently unstable throughout history. Nuclear weapons make a major world war with draftees impossible without destroying the Northern Hemisphere. Holding back the start of a war with Iran or North Korea plus virtual money is keeping the wheels from spinning off, right now. The accelerant, when the crash comes, is the oligarchs incompetence, love of torture, disdain for science, and overwhelming greed.

    An alternative is the restoration of the rule of law in democratic nation states with strong borders protected by an armed militia plus government job and health guarantees. All paid for with taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

  52. Willy

    Rule of law is the tough part. Seems as soon as a system gets up and running, underminers get to work subverting, skirting, rearranging… rule of law, whatever those rules are. Some have said this isn’t even a capitalistic society anymore. Others say communism wasn’t even given a chance for that reason. BOO says this isn’t a white society anymore. I guess everybody has their pet peeve. Is the overarching weakness of humanity its inability to equitably maintain and enforce its own laws, regardless of how powerful or persuasive the corruption is?

  53. ttu

    Direct rule by an in-your-face faction of the plutocracy — as we’ve been experiencing most of this year — is an ugly thing to be sure, but it is only marginally different in substance than the indirect rule by more or less “polite” factions of the plutocracy that we’re used to.


    Unfortunate that even here there is still discussion of “politics” as if any conflict–other than a lingering concern about appearances–actually ruffled the waters of our betters. When I typed “politics”, this was the first definition the ether produced: the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. We don’t have politics because we don’t have any conflict at the top. How could there be? If you are fabulously wealthy in the US there is nothing that will not be done so you can make yet more money. As most people at the top of the heap in the US did not get there by being nice, for them this is probably as close as humans can get to a perfect state of affairs.

    So far as I am permitted to opine, there are perhaps two avenues for change (other than the continual downslope of the US into a version of Mexico). The first is idealized, and while unlikely is not impossible, namely, organizing and passing a constitutional amendment barring private money for once and all in American elections (more specifically, as some other amendments have done, vacate/render null and void a Supreme Court decision, here Buckley v. Valeo and all its perverse progeny. I’d argue it’s worth doing even as a long shot because the evidence in support of the amendment would, if nothing else, open the eyes of the increasingly hapless public. The somewhat more likely path is the traditional US reform method: breakdown of the existing order forcing a realignment and significant political changes. The only real reforms in the US have been the product of revolution and catastrophe: Revolutionary War, Civil War, Great Depression (the Progressive Era was an interesting ameliorative affair, but the substantive changes had to wait for the love affair with Wall Street to crash). Now, since the government’s sole economic policy is to prop up Wall Street at the expense–explicitly–of the people they are ostensibly working for, a crash that would break the neo-hypnosis exemplified by the continuing hero worship for Clinton and Obama is so unlikely as to be impossible.

    As a related aside, I think it is fair to say that those who still think WJ Clinton was a good president are no less in the grip of a fantasy than the most ardent Trump supporter. Better spoken, perhaps, but just as fantastically bound to their hero. Maybe we do need to pull down all of our statutes. The point of my aside is simply that there is a great swathe of the public that prefers its narratives to reality, and that this swathe has nothing to do with party and everything to do with human nature. Those folks will continue as they have until events force their way into their consciousness. Both parties know this, and make good use of it.

  54. Willy

    Discussing Buckley v. Valeo is where we need the lawyers in here.

    How the hell does money = free speech? In Canada, where many things work better, aren’t there campaign contribution limits?

  55. Webstir

    Lawyer here.
    How does money equal free speech? Go and see if you can get your own personal billboard message for free, That’s how. That’s the argument. And it won the day. The question is not how. But, why?

    It’s like asking how does the “well regulated militia” phrase gets ignored in “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It gets ignored because politics matter. Just look to the make up of the court at the time. The four Conservatives appointed by Nixon — including the Son of Satan, Powell, of Powell memo fame — were in lock step with big money. Stevens abstained. And the Democrat appointees split their dissents resulting in a plurality. When there is a plurality, the argument that recieves the most similar opinions wins. That was the four conservatives. All the other justices dissented in differing forms.

    The whole thing started because when Nixon got busted during Watergate it was discovered that the Kochs and Adelson’s of the day were cheating the election laws in effect at the time. Congress responded with even tougher campaign finance laws and a cabal of Conservatives (Buckely being William F. Buckley’s brother) challenged them. They knew they had the court and went for it. The left has never had a Court since that could do anything about it.

    Now, this may be highly unpopular to the commentariat here, but I’ve said it before so here goes. The last time this country was even close to sane was under Roosevelt. Roosevelt straight up fucking battled an extremely resitant court until in the end attrition won out and he had the court he needed to get reform done. I argued vociferously with commenters over at naked capitalism once Bernie was robbed that we should take it on the chin and vote for Hillary rather than stay home or split the vote with Jill Stein for one, and only one, reason. The fucking Supreme Court matters. As I said upthread, we are a nation of laws. The Supreme Court tells us what those laws are. It is ESSENTIAL to have the Court if you want real change in this country.

    But, oh no. I got skinned alive on naked capitalism by a bunch of butt-hurt dipshits that were so pissed Bernie was robbed they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. We could have primaried Hillary in four years and guess what, we’d have a left leaning court for decades. Kiss that shit goodbye for the rest of your lives.

    Clear things up for you Willy?

  56. BOO is merely regurgitating the social theory described here:

    First, for Schmitt a community’s ability to draw the friend-enemy distinction can—by definition—brook no conceptual or institutional restraint.

    Most notably, the distinction can’t be predicated on other domains of human value, such as morals, aesthetics, or economics. Ideals from these fields may be used to enhance public feelings of opposition. Enemies are regularly portrayed as ugly, for instance—a practice at which Trump personally excels.

    But the object of a community’s political dissociation is made on the basis of criteria independent from judgments about good and evil, beauty and ugliness, or profit and loss.

    Liberals today regularly violate this principle. They seek to circumscribe national sovereignty within generally-applicable legal norms such as individual human dignity—consider Article I of the German Basic Law—and to restrict it through institutions like the United Nations.

    Schmitt views such liberal projects not simply as naïve, but also as a recipe for social chaos at home and unrestrained, imperialistic violence abroad.

    On the domestic level, according to Schmitt, when liberals predicate the friend-enemy distinction on ideals drawn from other value domains, they undermine the state by confusing their community’s own self-understanding. Who are we if our state holds basic responsibilities to everyone?

    Such uncertainty chips away at what President Trump, warning specifically about the fate of the West, described as a community’s “will to survive.” It also leaves the state vulnerable to capture and abuse by self-interested private groups, because its essential duties and commitments become unclear.

    The whole idea is genocidalist nonsense, conveniently designed to make the brutal conclusion inescapable, but there you have it. And yes, it is a politics based on love. A politics based on love is *drumroll* a politics of murder.

    In any case, consider that BOO’s reference to “Old Stock” (somehow, not e.g. Navajo) “Americans” is nothing other than a boring old ideological nostalgia for the glorious past where the above friend-enemy distinction was really clear and there was a kind of metaphysical hive-mind commonality of existence that some people alas find so comfortable (a comfort that will destroy the entire human race eventually). When you have this kind of nostalgia, your past utopia occluded by a present you despise, anything that appears to do damage to that part of the present order you hate makes the re-emergence of the longed-for retro-future seem more likely. So the self-serving destructive appearance of Trump necessarily looks like a sort of victory — whether it really leads to the nostalgic retro-future is another thing entirely.

    A lot of this stuff is weirdly similar, although BOO might find it very hard to see the similarity, to the kind of “archaic future” stuff of the late radical-feminist writer Mary Daly, who envisioned the same metaphysical commonality of purpose and existence, but instead for the great community of women, rather than for whites. The only way even to bring it even into some kind of realistic imagination was to imagine lands and spaces without men, whose mass presence disrupts that fundamental “quintessence” of female existence. In that vision, not only must male-free spaces be constructed, but eventually, literally anything that could hint of “male energy” needs to be excluded — leading to some of the anti-trans activism one still sees on the part of certain corners of feminism. It is an experiment that can only be conducted in very limited spaces or in the mind, without mass violence, and rarely leads to the predicted outcome if done for longer than a few days of music festival.

    The connection between this and BOO’s white nationalism and all such things is the concept of an underlying metaphysical connectedness and the arbitrary friend-enemy distinction that one can extract therefrom.

  57. Bruce’s long post on the failure of “good governance of the politicians by the people” left me wondering how his argument differs from a simple complaint that — surprise surprise — voters do not behave according to the behavioural model to which Bruce seems to think they ought to conform. He writes in a seeming tone of puzzlement, but I would suggest that voters never did behave that way, and part of the problem is that a lot of would-be advocates of The People are mired in bad theories of how the The People ought to react, and are therefore unable to govern themselves accordingly.

    I have written extensively in the past on this very problem. There are at least two facets of it. One is the psychology of the voter in the voting booth, and the other is the optimal behaviour of a career politician in a hierarchical representative system. That latter is the key — the hierarchical representative system of government. It conditions both voter behaviour and politician behaviour and constrains the form action can take to influence the political process.

  58. Hugh

    Democrats govern badly. The Republicans don’t govern at all.

    Republicans stand for dreadful things. The Democrats don’t stand for anything at all.

    Democrats are owned by the powerful and rich while for the Republicans it is the exact opposite. They are owned by the rich and powerful.

    That about covers it.

  59. JMAC

    IMO the absolute worst thing about 2017, is that Trump makes Obama look good.

  60. Willy


    Now that’s what I’m talking about! Love the comments worth saving. Wikipedia is useful but it’s easier to get the synopsis first along with some inside story.

    I was clueless to human power games until I went to that particular school of hard knocks. Eyes opened, I met all kinds of players and victims of players, including a victim of a well-known national senator. No surprise, the games and the players and the deceits they employ are pretty much the same regardless of scale. It’s a human thing. But I’m still disconcerted by the sheer number of people who refuse to accept that reality. Like a former Scientologist, those kinds of people seem to need to hit bottom first. But still, I search for magical intervention keys that might speed up that process.

    I’m hoping Ian might combine meditation and political insights into some kind of survival guide for normal people. Might be an opportunity for him, I dunno. As it is, most sources out there tell you to either play the games, hide, or quit the environment.

    Maybe some didn’t trust who Clinton might select. Maybe others wanted the chaos with Trump, hoping more minions would wake up. As it is, it looks like Trumps handlers will be making those calls. Maybe there’s a better way to play their game.

  61. Willy

    Maybe BOO grew up like I did, in an idyllic kid neighborhood in a Midwestern city, with everybody white and middle class and generally happy.

    Unfortunately my family moved away and I never went back.

    Many years later, through the magic of Google and Facebook I found my old neighborhood had completely changed, turning mostly black. All of the surrounding public schools had either been closed or currently rate very poorly for academic achievement and student safety. And a lot of my old kidmates were Trump supporters.

    Maybe that’s as far as BOO goes – there went the neighborhood because of “them”. But quite obviously, most of the people here go much further. There are reasons for reasons.

    The best job I ever had was in the deep south working with a motley crew of ethnicities and ages, where conflicts were rare even with all the office pranks. The worst job I ever had was in a very liberal city in a strictly run all-white Office Space. Maybe that the latter was run by sociopaths, was what ruined it for me.

  62. BlizzardOfOz

    Willy – that’s not my background, no, although the experience you describe is of course common on the right.

    I will say that this kind of sentiment from left-leaning types is endlessly fascinating to me:

    Maybe that’s as far as BOO goes – there went the neighborhood because of “them”. But quite obviously, most of the people here go much further. There are reasons for reasons.

    — almost as if you’re trying to ward off the bad thoughts by projecting them onto someone else. *Only badwhites would try and draw any implications from this story, not a goodwhite like me.* I do think that people are justly apprehensive of pulling on that particular thread; once you start noticing lies about race, then the whole edifice of postwar liberalism quickly comes unraveled.

  63. BlizzardOfOz

    Mandos – that article isn’t altogether terrible, although the usual left-wing howlers are sprinkled throughout. The idea that modern European states are “liberal” — huh? Did things like massive state surveillance and suppression of dissident speech become liberal, while I wasn’t watching?

  64. Willy


    — almost as if you’re trying to ward off the bad thoughts by projecting them onto someone else.

    No. As you saw in that comment, I know more than a few white flighters. What we goodwhites do is notice that the now black high school continues on using the same blonde Vikings mascot on their banners, helmets and all. And we think, “is chuckling at the irony of that, a ‘bad thought’”? We know there are conditions and variables well beyond “just get over being black already”. We know that we’ve never had to live an entire life as an obvious minority. We know that studies have suggested that racism is genetic. We know of the poison that comes from living in ghettos, how it infects and inhibits everything. We know that simple answers come from simple dogmas. And finally, with all that complexity, we know that it’s just plain easier to take people on a case by case basis.

    FTR, I’m against all illegal immigration. We wouldn’t have the mess we’re in if the PTB from both ‘parties’ believed that rule of law only means guidelines, for them.

    I mentioned the two work conditions because it’s obvious other variables besides racism were at play.

  65. BlizzardOfOz

    Willy – you seem like a sensible guy, I’m guessing we’d agree on a lot of stuff. Before I even knew much of anything about Trump, I hated our trade deficit (along with the loss of good jobs, Chinese buying up our real estate, etc). When I became aware of the mass migration of people into our country (whether it be low-skill Mexicans, Indian coders on H-1Bs, etc) I thought it was insane. I could go on and on — my point is that when Trump came on the scene, he seemed to be a godsend, because he lined up with my politics almost perfectly. I still had some thought that the left included people who cared about our country, and about the working class — so when they went into full meltdown I just had to laugh and shake my head.

    Now, previously both our mainstream parties would pretend to lament the loss of our manufacturing, claiming that there was nothing that could be done. I think Trump has exposed the truth — that in fact, they like it that way, they support it. As one National Review writer put it, the white working class “deserves to die”. Again, outside of Trump, this is/was a fully bipartisan position.

    Of course, today’s left has no answer to any of this — they won’t even engage, but just start shrieking about “racism”. You know it as well as I do. I doubt I have much in common with your friends back home, but their thoughts are probably similar to mine: if opposing the destruction of the town where my grandparents grew up is racist, then *shrug* okay, I guess I’m a racist.

  66. realitychecker

    Good for you, Blizz.

    It’s illuminating to consider how you, Peter, and I get lumped together as though we were one.

    Just a bit of overlap is good enough for the label-worshippers, ikt would seem. 🙂

    Me, I like to be exposed to thoughts that differ from my own, hell, maybe I can learn something!!!

    But some are deathly afraid of any departure from their little personal dogma-box, and react accordingly.

    You and Peter represent big (but differing) departures from that dogma-box, so you must be smothered. Me, much less of a departure, but even my invitations to explore beyond some new thought-doors are more than some reflexive talking-pointers or attention-seekers can handle.

    Ian deserves a better audience than some he has accumulated in his tolerant respect for the marketplace of ideas principle.

    Marketplace of ideas. What part of that is so difficult to understand?

  67. RC: Because some people are more vulnerable than others in the “marketplace of ideas”. BOO is representing a well of cruelty that will do nothing to save the communities for which he claims to care so much, at a price of destroying other communities. That is because the communities are an alibi for the preservation of an abstract emotional state.

  68. realitychecker

    Sorry, Mandos, but none of us has all the truth, and all of us harbor some questionable/debatable POVs and positions.

    That’s why it is a marketplace of ideas, not a menu of ideas pre-approved by one’s own tribalists.

    Once you start summarily and arbitrarily excluding some ideas, you have become an authoritarian, with no identifiable rational limiting principle.

    Query: Who gets to exclude the excluders?

    Dog knows the left has so many glaring contradiction of its own to defend, but somehow it never gets around to defending them. Ad hominem occurs instead.

  69. Willy

    The problem I have with Trump, is that he has all the symptoms of classic narcissist personality disorder. That’s a diagnosis I arrived at myself. NPD means that he can say anything but will often do the opposite. One can predict what that opposite will be because it is usually be something which will benefit him personally, regardless of the cost to any others. I am also quite aware that his enemies will seize on NPD talk and try to poison perceptions. So I try to not arrive at my conclusions quickly or naively.

    I can get stoked about locking Hillary up, or Mexico paying for walls, or the draining of swamps. But I must go with the results. When he said that it played well but now we don’t care, that is a very bad sign.

    I’ve been down the road of fake promises before in my own personal life. Repeatedly. I finally did the big WTF – who or what are these people? So I studied. They are humans who are hardwired to use everybody, and I mean everybody, around them, to get the power and admiration their bodies desperately need. You cannot ever rely on somebody like that unless your own personal goals align with their own personal goals. And even then, as happened with many of his contractors who gave him a good deal hoping they’d mutually profit from future real estate deals, you’ll get screwed because the narcissists need for power frequently overrides the rationality of mutual benefit. They enjoy conning then screwing people even when it makes no sense, because the exercise of power gives them such a chemical rush.

    Unlike autistics, or agoraphobics who are quite obvious, NPDs are very good at blending in. One only really knows them by their fruits, which unfortunately, is when it’s usually too late.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with the Clintons. Maybe they’re on the NPD spectrum as well. But they’ve come under so much right wing attack, and are so slick, that it’s hard to separate the truth from all the mud from a distance. They may suffer from the same malady as certain state representatives who live in my own neighborhood. When called on by hundreds of OUR neighbors to stop a local business owner from polluting our area which was reducing our property values, these guys, both D then R, automatically sided with the employer who was operating illegally and trying to buy state favors to continue doing so. Apparently this is their culture now.

  70. NR

    Of course, many American communities have lots of legitimate problems today, including loss of jobs/opportunities, crumbling infrastructure, and opioid abuse, to name just a few. The problem is that instead of being interested in real solutions to these problems, people like BOO just use them as excuses to justify their own prejudices and opportunities to push them onto others. Racists like him don’t feel the need to think any deeper about these problems beyond “it’s the brown peoples’ fault!”

    BOO doesn’t want to alleviate suffering, he just wants to cause more of it, focused on the people he hates.

  71. BlizzardOfOz

    rc – it truly is a marvel. The (white) left has lost its freaking mind, and shows no sign of coming back any time soon. I think Mandos is actually his own separate case, as shown by his continued ability to form sentences and not just implode into a puddle of anger when questioned. Ian makes me sad — he started out attempting a clear-headed analysis of Trump, but he seems to have been cowed by the fanatics in his party — now occasionally emerging from his shell to signal a dutiful re-commitment to orthodoxy.

  72. BlizzardOfOz

    Willy – diagnosing public figures with psychological disorders is a bizarre habit, I can’t sympathize at all. Every politician is flawed — the old maxim holds true that desiring public office should be a disqualification. I’m absolutely fine judging Trump on his concrete achievements. But a realistic analysis will account for what is possible: think for example of Trump implementing his Muslim ban, only to have it (outrageously, unlawfully) overturned by the courts. As much as I would like to see him go Andrew Jackson and have judges arrested, prudence forbids that, as he has precious little support and many enemies who would seize any pretext to remove him from office. That’s why I emphasize the proposed DACA deal — a year ago the most starry-eyed optimist would not have thought that restrictionist immigration reform could pass congress; but now that is seriously on the table.

  73. Willy

    Everybody is flawed. But I’ve had far better times with those who are working on their flaws, than I have with those who refuse to recognize them as flaws at all. And that goes triple when they’re in power. With my experiences, no amount of shaming from anybody who’s never walked in my shoes could ever change that.

    If I was you, I’d itemize all the practical reasons why illegal-tolerance is not a good thing.

  74. BlizzardOfOz

    @NR, well, I don’t recall saying or implying that — but I understand that your antenna is exquisitely tuned to detect heterodox thinking. And you’re absolutely right — I have not been initiated into your order, and its dogmas are impenetrable to me. Like, if we are all the same, then how can diversity be our strength? I’m sure it makes sense to you, but to me it just seems illogical.

  75. NR

    ” The “white” vote is a good approximation of the American nation, that is American-Americans and not the post-1965 invaders”

    The implication in that statement is quite clear: you believe that non-white people are not real Americans.

  76. Category error. We are the same in rights and human value and roughly in initial mental state, but through complex incident of environment and history we have different personal characters. That diversity is strength, but the advantage of that diversity can only be potentiated through recognition of our human interchangeability. However, little of an idea survives when converted to a slogan, doubtless.

  77. The implication in that statement is quite clear: you believe that non-white people are not real Americans.

    More specifically, he is saying that there is a metaphysical “body”, called a “nation”, and that some Americans by incident of blood belong to that body, except an ever-increasing circle of cancerous growths in that body, not to mention all the foreign objects that have penetrated it.

  78. I think Mandos is actually his own separate case, as shown by his continued ability to form sentences and not just implode into a puddle of anger when questioned.

    If you constantly confront people with the thing you know they consider most odious, it is not surprising that most people will react in anger. I spent a lot of time back in the day inoculating myself and am intimately familiar with every argument you have been making and its implications.

  79. RC: I support the existence of places like Ian’s where we can discuss the opposing propositions in a halfway civilized manner, but your argument is just the equivalent, in the ideological space, of the “neoliberal” argument that the market (of labour and capital) should remain unfettered for fear of placing a controlling authority over it that has its own interests.

    In the “marketplace of ideas” we are not all equal and we have to take the paradox of tolerance seriously, i.e., there are people who are vulnerable to ideas aimed at their destruction and the destruction of the “marketplace of ideas” itself.

  80. BlizzardOfOz

    That diversity is strength, but the advantage of that diversity can only be potentiated through recognition of our human interchangeability

    Mandos, you’re a national treasure.

  81. Willy

    I think he’s Canadian.

    Most people wouldn’t mind an actual, real realitychecker, who exposes and pokes like a master fencer. Cries of “touché!” would certainly give this place an elegant touch.

    But IMO, the one we’ve got swings wildly with a Homey da clown sock. I think most of his many pop-head victims would rather be touche’d than… “Homey don’t play dat”, all the damned time.

    IOW, if one doesn’t want to give others the impression that they’re being herded in some unknown direction, be specific with the realitychecking.

  82. BlizzardOfOz

    NR – lol, that’s a bit different than “it’s the brown people’s fault”! I’m talking about identity – I believe that assimilation can happen, albeit slowly and never completely. The older waves of immigrants demonstrate this — the Italian mafia “la costa nostra” proves that immigrants do not instantly become Americans, and some of their descendants identify as “Italian” rather than “American” even after multiple generations.

    The current wave of Mexican immigrants dwarfs even the massive wave of roughly 1890-1920. The USA is now in the position of being a multi-national (“multicultural”) empire – it is no longer a nation-state. What normally happens in to multi-national empires is that their various nations start demanding autonomy. Americans will want to be governed by Americans, Mexicans by Mexicans, and so on.

    The Texan war is a good example of this process. Texas was originally part of Mexico, but they allowed Americans to settle there. After the Americans had colonized the place, they declared independence and went to war with Mexico, then joined the United States shortly after! Territory is in reality owned by whoever occupies it.

  83. BlizzardOfOz

    Mandos, I just love how you are willing to articulate this stuff. “Interchangeable” – you could have just as easily said “fungible”. This is where the bugman managerial class has found common ground with the shit-flinging street leftist. The leftist demands unlimited migration of people, because “equality” – why should a straight white male have the privilege of living in a nice safe community, while the 65 IQ Somali has to eke out a living on rape and subsistence farming? The bugman asks the same question in a slightly different form – why should he pay whitey a living wage when a third-world border-jumper will do the same job for a tenth of the price, and not make any impertinent demands.

  84. Willy

    Undocumented indentured servants, H1Bs, Vietnamese sweatshop laborers… all are components of the same race to the bottom. I don’t quite understand why the ones who work in the states are lesser humans than the ones working in Vietnam.

  85. realitychecker

    Willy thinks that if he ever did run into a genuinely better mind than his psychopath-marinated one, the better mind would have an obligation to force-feed knowledge into him, to selflessly devote itself to putting up with his online stalker bullshit just for the privilege of helping him become a little bit less of a juvenile, self-admitted feces-flinger.

    Behold, the future hope of our species.

    Willy, at least take your hand off your penis while you type about me!

  86. realitychecker

    @ Mandos

    Yeah, you’re right again, the marketplace of ideas was a really bad idea. Sorry I brought it up./s

    Man, you’re the ultimate in linguistic shapeshifters. The very fucking ultimate.

    But it always comes down to Mandos deciding exactly what the daily paternalism should be about. The stink of authoritarianism is strong upon you.

    No matter how you wax polysyllabic.

  87. Willy

    rc, you really suck at realitychecking. And you claim this is your highest calling?

  88. realitychecker

    My ‘highest calling’ is trying not to attract the attention of the brain damaged lol. 🙂

    Do you think I suck at that, too?

    And I told you to take your hand off your penis while you stalk me!

    You just can’t quit me.

  89. Man, you’re the ultimate in linguistic shapeshifters. The very fucking ultimate.

    No, I merely identify connections and similarities you are not willing to acknowledge. You object to neoliberal argument when it comes to goods and labour, but the very same objection can be applied to traffic in ideas and feelings. If that recognition makes me a nasty “shapeshifter”, then it pleases me to keep shifting shape.

  90. realitychecker

    @ Mandos

    Your analogies are just too loose and sloppy to be considered controlling. The economy is the same as ideas? Sorry. My requirements for “same as” are a lot tighter than yours, apparently.

    Hey, Mandos, SAYING IS DOING!!!! Remember that? You just play with words, and think you are communicating. That’s why you are a shapeshifter. If you can’t make your point in direct and simple language, look to yourself.

    You use verbiage as cover for the emptiness of your thinking. Plain and simple.

  91. “…and the ‘parting on the left’ is now ‘parting on the right’ …”
    Sound familiar? The Who, 1971 ….

  92. different clue


    When you refer to the “65IQ Somali who has to eke out a living with rape and subsistence farming” . . . you leave me confused on a particular point.

    I can understand how one could eke out a living with subsistence farming. But how does one eke out a living with rape? What percent of a Somali’s eked-out living would come from rape and what percent would come from subsistence farming?

    I admit I am a little slow and hard-of-thinking at times. Can you explain to me how rape would help someone eke out a living?

  93. BlizzardOfOz

    A penny saved is a penny earned, dc.

  94. different clue


    I assume you mean to say that the 65IQ Somali saves money by raping for sex instead of paying to support a wife. Do you have statistics on that? Have studies been done? I should think that in a severely Islamic society like Somalia, that any 65IQ subsistence-farming Somali who tried to get free sex through rape would only get away with it once, and maybe not even once. Would I be wrong about that?

    What percentage of 65IQ Somalis are known to be successful and un-punished rapists? Is there any information? Have any studies been done?

  95. BlizzardOfOz

    It’s good that you’re taking an interest in Somalia – here you will find the true rape culture that media elites have long fruitlessly sought among white gentiles. If Sabrina Rubin Erdley had focused her investigation on swarthy Muslims instead of blonds, she might have found a real gang rape instead of a made-up one.

  96. different clue


    But how do I know that Somalia actually has a rape culture? What is the percent and amount of rapes in Somalia? And how many of the first-time-rapists get to try it a second time? And if rape helps to eke out a living for the reason you suggested above, is there any evidence that subsistence farmers in Somalia who also successfully rape without getting punished for it . . . make a better living than subsistence farmers in Somalia who don’t even attempt successful rape?

    I am hoping that inasmuch as you have made an actual study of this matter, that you might have genuine sources and links to genuine information (data, statistics, analysis derived therefrom) for me to actually and genuinely consider. In the absence of that, I just don’t know what to think or even have any opinions at all on the subject.

  97. BlizzardOfOz

    dc, are you fact checking me? Just like your heroes do to Drumph on the teevee?

    I don’t have any data for you, but I had a scientist friend travel to Somalia to study whether they are dumb savages (just to prove the bigots wrong mind you). He went to check the government records, but soon learned that there were none, nor was there a government. Then he was raped and murdered. Fortunately his family were very understanding, saying that Somalis are wonderful people except for a few bad eggs, and he could just have easily been murdered by a blond gentile (in a sense he was, really, if you consider how structural racism victimizes us all).

  98. different clue


    This is your big chance to win some converts on this site, and you are blowing it on petty annoyance at being revealed as having no actual facts and no actual knowledge upon which you based your claim that rape is part of how the 65IQ Somali ekes out his living, along with subsistence farming. It is easy to rape and murder a foreign scientist in a lawless anarchistan like Somalia and get away with it. But you said the 65IQ Somali ekes out a living on rape and subsistence farming. That means you were talking about basic trends and averages, and since there aren’t enough foreign scientists in Somalia to make a living raping them, the rape you referrence would have to be Somali-on-Somali rape in order to make any visible contribution to the population of Somalia eking out a living.

    So . . . okay. You have no information about Somalis eking out a living by rape and subsistence farming. You have one fact-free assertion and one personal anecdote.

    So here is a chance for you to do better and perhaps impress enough readers here into adopting your views on things and stuff. What is the visible evidence that Somalis are dumm? And if there is any, what is the reason for their dummness? What, in your view, explains the poor performance of Somalia? And what explains and supports your explanation?

  99. realitychecker




  100. different clue


    I have read that the German word for really really stupid is “dumm”. Also, our word “dumb” also means “mute” as in “not able to speak”. So using the word “dumb” for really really stupid is a kind of accidental aspersion against smart but mute people. Hence . . . ” dumm” .

    Stephen Hawking would be voiceless without his computer speech machine. He would be mute.
    In other words, dumb. But would he be dumm? I think not. Hence . . . “dumm”.

  101. BlizzardOfOz

    dc – as you well know, science has conclusively proven that all population groups are exactly equal in average intelligence and behavior. Therefore, whenever differences are observed, it follows logically that there is some nefarious reason behind it. For example, although Somalis have very low IQ on average, we can attribute this in part to the white supremacists who design IQ tests sprinkling their exams with topics that only whites would know about, such as regattas, indoor plumbing, and Hitler biographical details.

    Similarly, there is a proven discovery of hard science called “stereotype threat” — basically, if you see people like you portrayed as unintelligent, you will actually score lower on any IQ test. So, for example, due to Hollywood bias, no blacks were portrayed as contributing to the moon landing, which in turn causes blacks to do poorly on IQ exams (kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy with retroactive efficacy). Likewise, portrayal of whites as dumb hicks in Jewish and east Asian media causes whites to have lower average IQ scores than those groups. I could go on, but you get the general idea.

    In sum, science has proven that once bigotry has been eliminated once and for all, each population group and individual will be able to attain above-average intelligence.

  102. realitychecker

    @ dc

    Well, OK, as long as you were linguistically motivated. 🙂

    I was surprised . . .lol.

  103. different clue


    Yes, linguistically motivated. Dummheit, dummkopf, etc. I hope other people will start using “dumm” instead of “dumb” when they want to mean ” really really stupid”.

  104. realitychecker

    @ dc

    Yes, amigo, I’ve always known you were a cunning linguist. 🙂

    (And, fortunately, I have a German girlfriend.)

  105. different clue


    I have learned that you are partially half-right about Somali society having a widespread rape problem. How did I learn that? By random listening to BBC last night. Here is a little written item loosely inspired by the interview with a Somali legislator-activist last night.

    What the legislator claimed is that Somali society used to have people-enforced sanctions against rape, back when Somalis lived on the land and families’ young daughters herded the family goats. This legislator/activist claimed that the rape-load has gone up with the large-scale urbanization of Somali society, an ongoing exodus from the land, and the rise of aimless unemployed youth in town and city settings.

    While there is no way you could have known about the absence, and suddenly the presence of a law against rape in Somaliland, you would have had plenty of time to learn about those other aspects of where the rape is coming from. So why didn’t you know about this stuff? Why should I have to find out about these things from a random BBC news show and then a back track web search instead of getting it from you when I asked? Why had you never bothered to find any of these facts to support your assertion about Somali rape culture so you could supply those facts when asked?

    And now that you know these facts are out there . . . thanks to me and not to any research of your own . . . what do you plan to do about finding out whether Somali society had a rape problem back when it really was thoroughly rural subsistence based or whether the rape problem has emerged after the decay of Somali rural economics and the urbanization of large numbers of Somalis as the Somali legislator/activist being interviewed claimed?

    And don’t you think you should begin gathering facts and evidence about all the other things you assert in case people begin asking you, in all sincerity, how you document and support those assertions? Don’t you want to impress people here and try changing minds?

  106. realitychecker

    @ dc

    Bless your heart, you have such good impulses and inclinations.

    BUT, you should realize by now that the Internet is not a place that limits access only to scholarly types lol. Or people who know how to do a reality check, for that matter. Or people who give a damn about how foolish they make themselves look.

    And Blizz is by no means the only disappointment in this regard. Most here are on the left, and many of those are sloppy beyond belief.

    It is frustrating, but that’s what we have to wade through to get to the few comments, and interact with the few commenters, that are deserving of careful consideration.

    OTOH, I believe reputation does matter, and, eventually, we get to know who to take seriously and who to just shake our heads about while we pray they never find their way into our immediate vicinity.

  107. BlizzardOfOz

    @dc – all the information you need to know about Somalis, in order to conclude that they will have low intelligence and high rates of violent crime, is that they are black — that’s it. This goes for black populations in Africa, and the African diaspora in every other nation. While I’m sure there must be some few exceptions to this heuristic, I’m not aware of any.

    The questions you’re asking are anthropological – those are interesting, for sure. (I have a book down on my reading list Africa: Biography of a Continent by John Reader which may answer some of them.) My glib reference that you latched onto was coming from a political question — if you let these people into your country (we do), they will commit rapes and murders at a high rate (they do). Personally I’d rather avoid that.

    I was giving you troll responses because I didn’t think you were serious. If you actually were, then I apologize. In general, though, it’s not useful to try and persuade someone using facts, when their metaphysics or ideology has already decided the question. If you don’t know what I mean by this, please take a look at this blog post. Discussing this issue with a leftist is futile, because they are already resolved that there can be no biological differences.

    It’s as if I say I prefer dogs to cats, because they are more affectionate — and then a leftist will tell me that, well, actually, while observed affection may be mostly higher in most dog species, it’s not universally true (some breeds of dog are not affectionate ever, and even the affectionate breeds aren’t always). Furthermore, these differences are only due to the history of how dogs have been selectively bred according to human preferences, and if we remove those structural inequalities, then the affection gap will disappear. Therefore, I shouldn’t prefer dogs because it’s not really true to say they are affectionate, (and anyway, it’s bigoted).

  108. different clue


    The nice thing about the Internet is that every reader is sitting by hermself without a meatspace crowd of people gathered around herm yelling at herm to ” Read this! No, read This. No, read THIS!”

    And the nice thing about any blogthread is that every person reading it and/or typing a comment is also sitting alone without the meatspace crowd yelling in herm’s meatspace ear about what to say and how to say it. So the non-lazy person is free to disregard the lazy people and post a non-lazy comment after non-lazily reading and thinking about all the comments and the post that went before.

    And it gets better. Every non-lazy reader-writer can decide to skip the lazy pieces or at least not even respond to them. The non-lazy reader-writer can even develop the skill of quickly skim-sniffing a comment to see if it is non-lazy or non-trashy enough to deserve more time and attention. And the non-lazy people can talk to eachother through the fog of lazy and nasty comments. That way, a comment section can become a bucket of sewage with diamonds in it.
    One just has to find the diamonds. But that will only work if those of Diamond Mind take the time to throw some diamonds into the bucket of sewage.

    God made a scroll button.

  109. realitychecker

    @ dc

    Nothing there that I would disagree with.

    But, I really come here hoping to have good high-level discussions that I can learn from. Same as when FDL was my online home. I’m happy to share what I have already learned, but self-interest brings me here more to try and learn what other thoughtful people, i.e., Ian and the others here that I respect, already know that I do not.

    The distractions from that are just annoyances to be endured.

  110. different clue


    Well, the high-level discussion-seeker can come here and seek out the other high-level discussion-seekers among the threaders. They can have a high-level discussion hidden in plain sight among all the low-level discussion-filler material. It can be done, as long as one becomes okay with taking that approach.

  111. realitychecker

    @ dc

    Well, sure, that’s what we are trying to do, isn’t it? 🙂

    But some come just to disrupt, and that makes it more difficult.

    Still do-able, though.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén