2:00PM Water Cooler 1/31/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Trade

TTIP: “Trump administration officials approached Germany, France and other European Union countries despite the fact that EU member states can only negotiate new trade pacts collectively as part of the 28-nation trading bloc, informed sources told Morning Trade” [Politico]. “The offer was rebuffed by those countries because of their current trading arrangement, the sources said, but it shows the aggressive pivot the new White House is taking in pursuing bilateral trade deals. The move also shows the dim view the current administration has toward the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — a proposed trade deal between the U.S. and EU that was pursued by the Obama administration.”

TISA: The Annexes [Bilaterals.org].

“As TPP crumbles, people must remain vigilant vs equally unfair bilateral deals” [Bilaterals.org]. “Through BITs, American corporations can cement their power to subvert local economies and people’s rights through national treatment, protection from expropriation and performance requirements for investments, and access to dispute settlement mechanisms through investor-state-dispute settlement.”

“The U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2015 cost 3.4 million jobs, of which more than three-quarters were in the manufacturing sector, according to a report released today by the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute” [Politico]. “The report, which is sure to fuel Trump’s fervor in hitting China’s trade practices, offers a number of ‘direct policy responses.’ ‘To adequately respond to these threats, Congress and the president should enhance enforcement of fair trade laws and treaty obligations (through anti-dumping, countervailing duty, and WTO case filings) and implement better early warning systems and mechanisms for responding to import surges,’ the report says.”

Politics

Trump Transition

This:

“Administration officials have drafted a new executive order aimed at overhauling, among other things, the H-1B work-visa program that technology companies have long relied on to bring top foreign engineering talent to their U.S.-based locations” [USA Today]. “The order is aimed at ensuring that “officials administer our laws in a manner that prioritizes the interests of American workers and — to the maximum degree possible — the jobs, wages and well-being of those workers,” according to a copy of the document provided to USA TODAY.”

“Senate Democrats boycotting HHS, Treasury nominees” [CNN]. “But minutes after the vote was scheduled to take place, Democrats on the panel convened an impromptu news conference to announce that they refused to participate in the proceeding, all as their Republican colleagues were waiting in a hearing room down the hallway… The Senate Finance Committee was set to vote on the nominations of Rep. Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary. But the timing remains unclear. The Senate Finance Committee’s rules state that at least one Democrat must be present in order for the panel to take a vote on nominees. That means Democrats can continue to refuse to show up to future committee votes, making it impossible for the panel to consider a nominee.”

“Democrats shouldn’t go scorched-earth on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee” [Editorial Board, WaPo]. “[T]he Supreme Court confirmation process needs to be protected from partisan politics to the greatest extent possible and that a scorched-earth Democratic response to any nominee, regardless of the individual merits, would simply deepen that harmful politicization. Yes, Mr. Trump seeks to fill the court’s vacancy to his liking, on the basis of a thin electoral college-only victory. Still, however narrow, his victory was legitimate and he does have the clear constitutional prerogative to make the choice.”

“President Trump on Tuesday told a group of drug company executives gathered for a meeting at the White House that they need to ‘get prices down'” [The Hill]. But: “At the meeting on Tuesday, Trump also spoke out against what he called ‘price-fixing’ in Medicare.’I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market,’ Trump said. ‘That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time.'” In other words, forget about single payer’s proven ability to use the governments buying power on behalf of citizens, because markets. Of course, in a sane universe, we’d have had 2017 – 2009 = 8 years of experience with that.

Obama’s law prof on Bannon at the NSC:

Liberals, especially process liberals, have a deep confusion between “the rule of law,” “democratic norms,” “the way things have always been done,” and “my ricebowl, dammit!”

“Dems plot ‘constant campaign’ against Trump in war room” [The Hill]. From January 25. I’m not hearing a lot about this, which I don’t like. Too quiet. Not that I’m foily.

“President Donald Trump will continue to enforce a 2014 executive order that offers protections for the employees of federal contractors from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, the White House said early Tuesday” [Wall Street Journal, “White House Will Continue Enforcing 2014 Obama LGBTQ Workplace Order”]. “Mr. Trump ‘is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,’ the White House said. It said the 2014 executive order signed by former President Barack Obama that protects LGBTQ rights for people working at federal contractors ‘will remain intact at the direction’ of the new president.”

“Trump has appointed a leading denier of climate change, Kenneth Haapala of the Heartland Institute, to serve on the administration team handling appointments for the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal agency that oversees NOAA. Haapala will be in a position to help choose top administrators at NOAA, an agency that conducts atmospheric research and, among other duties, also oversees the National Weather Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service” [McClatchy].

2016 Post Mortem

“The worst-kept secret inside Democratic circles is how bitter Hillary Clinton’s team is at President Obama over her election loss. We have heard from numerous, anguished people in Clinton-land blaming Obama — more than Putin, FBI Director James Comey or, um, Hillary herself — for the defeat” [Mike Allen, Axios]. “The reason: Clintonites feel that if Obama had come out early and forcefully with evidence of Russian interference in the campaign, and perhaps quicker sanctions, she might be president today. His caution, they argue, allowed the public to have a foggy sense of clear, calculated, consistent Russian meddling in the campaign. We can’t stress enough how upset some Democrats are. It’s testing relationships between Clinton and Obama loyalists. It’s making efforts to form a new Trump opposition coalition harder.” Hilarity ensues, as Clintonites deploy the blame cannons against [genuflects] Obama! (More here at TNR: “President Obama didn’t lose the election. Hillary Clinton did.” When you’ve lost Brian Beutler….) So I guess Obama is a Putin stooge, now?

“Could Someone Like John Edwards Have Saved the Democrats?” [RealClearPolitics]. Sanders = Edwards – bimbo eruption + white hair. Snark aside, this is an interesting counter-factual on what would have happened had Democrats really followed Judis and Teixeira’s formula for “The Emerging Democratic Majority.”

Revolt of the Worker Bees

“Full Text of Draft Dissent Channel Memo on Trump Refugee and Visa Order” [Lawfare]. “We are hearing that literally hundreds of foreign service officers are planning to be party to the dissent memo; it’s still unclear exactly how many. We have redacted all names and personally identifiable information from this document.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Corporate America Is Inching Even Closer to a Constitutional Convention” [Alternet]. “According to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states can convene a constitutional convention without the federal government’s go-ahead if two-thirds (34) of them pass a resolution in favor. Right-wing organizations—and their billionaire funders—have been working feverishly for decades to get state legislatures to call for such a convention, with the explicit aim of limiting the powers of the federal government. And now, they may be closer to their goal than ever. They have already passed resolutions in 28 states, and after November’s elections, Republicans will hold control of both chambers in 32 states, up from 30 before the election. Conservatives also dominate in Nebraska’s officially nonpartisan, single-chamber legislature, giving them 33. This puts them “just one state shy of the 34 needed to propose an Article V convention and permanently take back our government,” Daniel Horowitz wrote in the Conservative Review one week after the election.” Well done, Democrats.

“A less-discussed innovation of modern politics is the collapse of earnestness in public discourse. Sarcastic and ironic modes of conversation have sprouted like fungi wherever political discussion occurs –in political speech, formal journalism, social media formats, and on online content aggregators such as Reddit and Tumblr. This mode of discourse provides lazy, comfortable white noise as a backdrop to political discussion, a rhetorical style that can be genuinely funny but that masks a lack of faith in one’s words. Moreover, it deprecates sincerity as a value worth striving for while engaging others” [RealClearPolitics].

“The deep roots of modern resentment” [The Economist]. “Today’s anger and discontent—from Islamist nihilists murdering Paris concert-goers, to Trump supporters baying for Hillary Clinton to be locked up, to attacks on immigrants following Brexit—is hardly new. For many, such outrages are unfathomable at worst, or at best caused by economic dislocation or internet-peddled conspiracy theories. But Mr Mishra shows how violence, nihilism and hatred of the “other” have ample precedents among Western liberalism’s 19th- and 20th-century opponents, whether revolutionaries, anarchists or artists.”

“Donald Trump and the Continuing Bush-Obama Legacy” [Limited Hangout]. Interesting corner of blogosphere history, on the “Obama the Conservative” website, “a blog that featured just this single, periodically updated article, nearly 20,000 words long, with obsessively detailed sources and citations (totaling about 500), organized by topic into a navigable table of contents.” Conclusion: “Having been on the receiving end of this kind of zealous tribalism, watching the Democratic party devolve into a foaming pig manure explosion, and witnessing the subsequent utter lack of collective introspection, is sad but not surprising. If the party can’t admit what a terrible idea it was to try and sell Hillary Clinton as an alternative (!) to the untenable status quo, forget about Democrats ever coming to terms with what a particularly disastrous succession the last two presidencies made. If Bush took the most decisive turn towards a fascist America, Obama’s eight years were the coup de grâce that normalized his predecessor’s most radical policies. Trump seems like a logical continuation of this trend.”

Stats Watch

Employment Cost Index, Q4 2016: “Employers are getting a break as benefit costs continue to slow, helping to hold down the fourth-quarter employment cost index to a lower-than-expected 0.5 percent quarter-to-quarter gain” [Econoday]. “Employers aren’t getting as squeezed by benefits as they had in 2014 when related costs were approaching 3 percent. And though wages & salaries are up, there’s no indication that an inflationary flashpoint is at hand. Today’s report is not likely to heat up the inflation discussion at this week’s FOMC meeting.”

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, January 2017: Flat [Econoday]. “New orders have now joined backlog orders in contraction in what is a negative combination for future production and employment. Current production eased but is still solid though employment is clearly weakening, in contraction for a 3rd straight month…. Business spirits and consumer expectations may be high, but they have yet to give the Chicago economy much of a boost.” And: “declined but remained in expansion. This survey came in well below expectations” [Econintersect]. “The results of this survey continue to agree with district Federal Reserve manufacturing surveys – and aligns with the overall trend of the ISM manufacturing survey. Still the decline this month was not expected.” And: “Trumped up expectations vs ‘hard data'” [Mosler Economics].

State Street Investor Confidence Index, January 2017: “[G]eopolitical risk and stretched valuations were the main drag on sentiment, and worries about trade policies and a stronger dollar have taken center stage with the new US Administration in place. In Europe, institutional investor concerns about the impending French and Dutch elections, as well as a hard Brexit may have intensified the cautious tone” [Econoday].

Consumer Confidence, January 2017: “[S]trong and steady” [Econoday]. “But the outlook is less upbeat with more saying there will be fewer jobs 6 months from now and fewer saying there will be more. Confidence in income prospects is also down.”

Personal Income and Spending (yesterday): “The net income deceleration/meltdown continues, with no reason to suspect anything but more of same” [Mosler Economics]. “With income currently falling faster than consumption, I wouldn’t be surprised if consumption growth slows as well.”

Shipping: “Armed with licenses from both China and the U.S., [Amazon] is now positioned to buy space on container ships at wholesale rates and resell at retail rates, which will allow the company to connect two of the world’s largest markets while cutting out competitors” [Logistics Management]. “Given Amazon’s new deal with Air Transport Services, freight forwarders and air cargo companies have reason to worry that they are the next vertical to be disrupted. Because of this, the shipping industry can expect to see a decline in demand and heightened price competitiveness.”

Labor Power: “Today, there are 1.4 million fewer construction jobs in the United States than there were a decade ago, the largest employment decline of any industry. Employment growth in the U.S. was driven primarily by the education, health care and social services sector. Nationwide, the sector netted an addition of some 4.4 million new workers” [247 Wall Street]. In some states, such as North Dakota and Texas, employment growth was also largely attributable to gas fracking and oil exploration. The degree to which the number of jobs increased by state depended largely on the skill level of the state’s labor force and its industrial composition. It appears as though newer jobs tend to require a higher education.”

* * *

I have massive backlog of bezzle material. No surprise there! So here’s a lot of it…

The Bezzle: “Alphabet Inc.’s Google runs the world’s largest advertising business, selling space atop its search results. Google is also among the biggest buyers of those ads, promoting products from its music service to its app store” [Wall Street Journal, “Google Uses Its Search Engine to Hawk Its Products”].

The Bezzle: “After $34M in preorders, iOS-connected self-flying drone project Lily crashes, will issue refunds” [Apple Insider]. “Preorders will be reimbursed over the next 60 days, with payments returning to credit and debit cards used for the original transaction, though there is a form available for cases where the card has expired to arrange alternate payments. Considering the financial difficulties, it is unclear if refunds will be made in full to the project’s backers.”

The Bezzle: “Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, a woman who made more than $1 million in a multi-year scheme in which she purchased designer purses from department stores, then returned counterfeit versions to get her money back, has been sentenced to over two years in prison” [The Fashion Law]. Only a million? There’s your problem…

The Bezzle: “ASILOMAR AI PRINCIPLES” [Future of Life Institute]. “Beneficial AI,” says Elon Musk. So there’s a grift…

* * *

Rapture Index: Down 1 on liberalism (“President Trump has voided Several of Obama’s executive orders”) [Rapture Ready]. Record High: 189, October 10, 2016. Current: 183.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 51 Neutral (previous close: 55, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 31 at 11:48am. Nervous stomachs…

Health Care

“‘Since Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go,’ Brat told an audience Saturday at a meeting of conservative groups at Hanover Tavern” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]. “‘They come up — ‘When is your next town hall?’ And believe me, it’s not to give positive input.'” That’s good. And if the Democrat Establishment has its way, it also means making ObamaCare permanent, because markets. Pass the Victory gin.

“Whitley County has a median per capita income of $16,748, is 97% white, and 88% of the residents don’t have a college degree. In the three years since the passing of Obamacare, the Whitley County population with insurance has risen from 75% to 90%. Like other lower-income less-educated white Americans, Whitley County has benefitted disproportionately from Obamacare. However, these residents like many other Americans are unhappy with Obamacare mainly because of the unaffordable premiums and deductibles. But Whitely County residents had a nearly uniform belief that Trump, as a business man, wouldn’t entirely repeal Obamacare and leave millions without health insurance, but instead come up with a more affordable alternative. They were frustrated with the current law and willing to take a gamble on a new law under a new administration” [Legal Ruralism (TG)]. “Rural voters, like those in Whitley County, are right to be skeptical of Obamacare because as a whole it wasn’t tailored to help rural people and address their specific needs. This oversight has lead to disproportionately higher premiums in rural areas. There are several reasons why premiums are rising at a faster rate in rural areas. These reasons include: moving towards value-based payment models, rural populations are sicker than anyone expected, and rural areas are poorly integrated into rating areas and are facing higher than average rates of insurer drop outs.”

“[C]onservative legal activists are pushing Republicans to make unprecedented use of a 1996 law they claim would allow the Congress to swiftly ax ACA-related and other rules issued over the entire length of the Obama administration. Experts say it’s very possible congressional GOP leaders may try this, but that this approach is legally untested and would be politically explosive” [Modern Health Care]. The Congressional Review Act, passed by Republicans in 1996 as part of their “Contract with America,” enables Congress to overrule regulations issued by the executive branch through straight-majority votes in the House and Senate. Though it’s been seldom employed in the past, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy promised last week to use the law to start repealing specific Obama administration regulations finalized in the previous 60 legislative days, which goes back to last June… McCarthy also said last week that he and his GOP colleagues would pursue ACA repeal and replacement on three simultaneous tracks – an expedited budget reconciliation bill that can be passed on a straight party-line vote; executive actions by the Trump administration to restructure insurance markets; and a series of regular bills to replace the ACA that will need some Democratic support. Congressional repeal of Obamacare regulations using the Congressional Review Act theoretically could accompany the administration’s executive actions.” Very good article on the repeal part; but it’s the replace part that’s the killer. ObamaCare is, after all, a Republican plan.

“As of Monday, grassroots Get Covered groups in three dozen states had 30 percent fewer consumers requesting online appointments to get assistance in choosing health plans compared with a year ago, according to the nonprofit organization Enroll America” [WaPo]. Dear Lord. What a rickety administrative structure. Imagine of Medicare or Social Security worked that way [neoliberals salivate]. “Despite a presidential executive order to relax federal rules under the ACA and seesawing decisions to stop and then partly restart consumer outreach, the new White House has not touched mainstays of the enrollment operation.”

“Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini said Tuesday that his company will announce by April 1 whether it plans to stay beyond this year in any of the four states where it currently sells coverage, and it’s ‘really impossible to consider entering any new markets'” [AP]. “‘We have nothing but bad news in front of us right now,’ he told The Associated Press.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“A female officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department allegedly probed the inside of a black waitress’ vagina while a male officer watched — leading to discipline for the female officer and, now, a lawsuit in federal court” [Riverfront Times].

“FBI: U.S. law enforcement infiltrated by white supremacists” [Boing Boing].

Class Warfare

“Gabbert, 32, lives in [Connersville] in one of the poorest counties in Indiana, where she works the night shift—10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.—for an automotive parts manufacturer” [The Atlantic]. “Dark, 33, lives in the increasingly metropolitan city of Indianapolis, where he runs a creative consultancy doing videos and marketing work for a variety of clients.” And whose work, pray tell, has more social utility?

“Troubled Waters: A Coalfield County Loses Trust In Water And Government” [Ohio Valley Resource]. I think it’s useful to replace “flyover states” with “colonies.” And the same goes for Flint, Michigan.

“Safety Watch: Suicide rate among farmers at historic high” [Iowa Farmer]. “The phenomenon is not new in agriculture, and those of us who lived on farms during the 1980s certainly remember how the crashing agricultural economy affected rural communities. High profile acts of violence were often linked to farm foreclosures and financial stress.” No marches for dead farmers, naturally. From an excellent tweet storm by Stoller.

“What government organization has killed more black and brown people than any other in our history? It’s not the police. It’s the U.S. Armed Forces. Does this mean soldiers should be abandoned by the labor movement as well? Apparently, the government thinks so, because it is a federal crime for an enlisted man or woman to try to organize a union” [LAWCHA (TG)]. “But one of the highlights of anti-war organizing during the Vietnam era was the creation of the GI Coffee House movement. It was part of the campaign to build unions for the thousands of disenchanted draftees and veterans who were turning against the war. The American Servicemen’s Union (ASU), formed in 1967, was one more indicator that the ruling class was losing the grip on the armed forces that had been considered reliable.”

“How Jeff Sessions Helped Kill Equitable School Funding in Alabama” [Pro Publica]. “Sessions, elected Alabama attorney general just a year after the courts had begun review of reform measures, didn’t think the state’s courts should have any role in deciding how Alabama educated its children. He hired expensive private lawyers to fight the findings of the court — first at the district level, later at the state Supreme Court level. He succeeded in removing a judge sympathetic to the plight of poor students from the case. He filed appeal after appeal, insisting he be heard even after the state’s highest court issued final decisions. He fought every effort by the court to require that schools in the state’s poorer communities be funded at the same levels as its wealthier ones. Sessions’s efforts won out — both in the short term, and in the end.

News of the Wired

“I’ve recently been reading up on medieval theories of cognition. The background is a paper I’m writing on esotericism and “kataphatic practices” – contemplative techniques where the practitioner uses mental imagery, sensory stimuli, and emotions to try and achieve some religious goal: Prayer, piety, divine knowledge, salvation, etc. Kataphatic practices may be distinguished from “apophatic” ones, which, although they may be pursuing the same goals, use very different techniques to achieve them: withdrawing from sensory input and attempting to empty the mind of any content, whether affective, linguistic, or imagery-related (note that the kataphatic-apophatic distinction is more commonly used as synonymous with positive vs. negative theology – that’s a related but separate issue to the one I talk about here)” [Heterdoxology]. You’ll like this, if this is the sort of thing you like.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Oguk):

No snow. No rot!

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

387 comments

  1. dcblogger

    This community seems to be so angry with the Democrats that you are missing the larger story. Saying that Obama and Sec Clinton had similar policies is a little like and Englishman in the 1640s saying that James I had a war on Cornwall to impose the Book of Common Prayer, so what is wrong with imposing the Book of Common Prayer on Scotland? Because this time it is different. People are opposing Trump the way we should have resisted Bush43.

    After the election everyone was sad and licking their wounds. Or smoldering with rage because they believe that Bernie would have won. (Quite possibly, but there is no way to know.) I will just point out the series of ever accelerating events that have altered the political landscape. First the GLBT community of DC launched a series of protests near the house where Mike Pence was staying, involving singing, dancing, and glitter bombs. Then Bernie orchestrated a series of health care rallies that had the effect of confronting what I would call the Versailles Democrats with the Paris Democrats. Then the failed Inauguration, where the protesters outnumbered the celebrants by 3-1. And then the delightful women’s march, that wonderful sea of pink hats which are such a festive expression of disrespect. That march covered 700 cities in the US and even went international. It is nice to know that we can export something other than bombs.

    And now the airport protests, which I regard as by far the most significant, as significant as the prayer book riots in Scotland. These were organized by far sighted organizations who realized what was going to happen, but they were quickly joined by all walks of life who wanted to express their disapproval for what they correctly regarded as a bigoted policy. Also members of Congress are going to airports to personally intervene on behalf of constituents and are now confronted with DHS personnel who are disobeying a court order. This is what feminists call a radicalizing experience.

    Rank and file Democrats are insisting that elected Democrats obstruct Trump at every turn and calling for primaries for collaborators. And it is interesting that they are using that term. There is some talk among senators of letting Trump’s supreme court nominee sale through and “saving” the filibuster for later. This has sparked outrage on Twitter. It is a delight to look at.

    People who, a few months ago were admiring Clinton and Obama as “pragmatic progressives who get things done” are now calling for a general strike. Public opinion is shifting very very quickly. This community should be thrilled to see it.

      1. DH

        Its how the Republicans addressed a similar issue in 2010. The Tea Party/Koch Party/Norquist Party primaried the moderate Republicans out of Congress and State Houses.

      2. dbk

        Let’s see whether Joe Manchin holds firm or crosses over to vote for Sessions. That’s a litmus test.

    1. Waldenpond

      I must be old, Ds protesting Rs is not new at all. Bernie does not confront Democrats, he’s their Outreach Coordinator.

      No one is arguing that billionaire funded organizations don’t have a very specific outlined strategy for protests and the identity groups they are going to tag in. If rank and file Ds are insisting elected Ds obstruct Trump, it’s been very silent as I have not seen one report of an action at any Ds office. In fact, after elected Ds have voted for Trump’s nominees, elected Ds are trotted right back out to the podiums and rank and file Ds retweet the singing videos.

      A general strike funded by billionaires, corrupt politicians and the media that colluded to rig a primary is …. an oxymoron? Someone will have a better word.

      Pink hats and glitter are delightful. Cory Booker 2020.

        1. Massinissa

          I’m at the point where I would rather have Gabbard at the top of the ticket. Need some new blood in the party. Sanders will be almost 80 in 2020…

          1. aab

            So there’s a possibility that you and I will vote for the same candidate. I’m aware of all the issues with Tulsi’s past, but I’m impressed with her in many ways. As things stand now, I’d happily vote for her.

            I think Bernie, if he can keep his integrity from being chewed to a pulp by being the Democrats’ “outreach” guy, will play the role of kingmaker, as it were. I hope the left is healthy enough to produce another candidate that can win by 2020. I know he’s in amazing shape for his age and his family’s history of longevity is impressive, but still.

    2. Synoia

      Dems plot ‘constant campaign’ against Trump in war room

      Ok we know they are against TRUMP. What are they FOR? (Apart from [ugh] HILLARY).

      The piss-weak democratic proposals (more of the same stuff)?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Precisely.

        The reason that so many, especially at this site, are pissed at the Dems is because we’ve seen this routine before. People yelled and screamed and protested the abuses of the Bush administration. “Give us a majority in Congress” the Dems told us in ’06, “Elections have consequences”. They got their majority and immediately took impeachment off the table and did precisely nothing to roll back Bush’s abuses. Then we heard barely a peep as Obama took charge and continued with and enlarged upon the worst abuses of Bush.

        What good does it do to get rid of Trump if he’s only to be replaced by someone who manages not to drool all over themselves while enacting the same policies as their predecessor? That’s what happened in ’08 and that’s why so many here are furious with the Democrats. They had 8 years to do something, anything to make this country better for 99% of us and they barely even tried. Had they done so we wouldn’t have Trump right now. Had they not pulled out all the stops to prop up a sclerotic old representation of the status quo instead of someone the populace could actually get behind like Sanders, we wouldn’t have Trump right now.

        I’m all for protests but if those protesting really want to get some traction with the real left who are the actual majority in this country, who want things like free good quality education, a living wage, Medicare for all, security for their retirement, laws that are enforced and don’t exempt the elites, etc., then the next time the likes of Booker and Schumer try to get in front of the parade they need to be pushed right the hell out of the way as they are part of the problem too. Then maybe more people here and more people in general might take these protests seriously.

        While I do not like Trump one bit, I do very much enjoy it when he does things no other politician will do, like calling BS on Schumer’s crocodile tears the other day. That was classic and I’d love to see more of it coming from someone who isn’t Trump.

        1. RUKidding

          Here, here! You took the words right outta my keyboard. Agree. Not a Trump fan or voter, but for heaven’s sake, I am thoroughly sick and disgusted with the DNC and the bunch of grifting jerks who call themselves Democratic politicians with a very few exceptions.

          I’m all for demostrations, but unless or until something changes in the Democratic party, voting for the same old bought off corporate grifters will inure to no one’s benefit except the Oligarchs and their pet poodles in congress.

        2. pretzelattack

          this is very much how i feel about this. i’m not willing to vote for another neoliberal/neocon appeasing democrat.

          1. Procopius

            Ah, that’s interesting, because I feel exactly the same. So who are you going to vote for? Because Rahm Emanuel pointed out our dilemma back in 2010, where we gonna go?

        3. that guy

          Hell yes. I love how along with this election cycle in general, Trump’s exposing the mainstream media and the Dems for what they are. This has been a long time coming, and now it’s time for the lot of them to reap the whirlwind.

    3. grayslady

      People who, a few months ago were admiring Clinton and Obama as “pragmatic progressives who get things done” are now calling for a general strike.

      That is because they are still licking their wounds, convinced that trying to tear down Trump will make the Dems look like a better choice. If you are truly located in DC, you may be too influenced by the DC bubble. Out here in “flyover” country, we are sick of identity politics and would like to see some beneficial solutions for our real issues. The move to ban travelers from certain countries is security theater; officially withdrawing from the TPP is a positive move away from oligarchy disguised as trade. I, for one, am not prepared to criticize everything Trump has done or is doing based on supposed tribal loyalties; but then I’m not a member of any of the political tribes.

      1. dcblogger

        Out here in “flyover” country, we are sick of identity politics and would like to see some beneficial solutions for our real issues.

        I just LUV how attempting to address the very real discrimination and violence women face is dismissed as identity issues. There were 700 demonstrations across the US, in the midwest, southeast, southwest, everywhere. It seems you did not notice. Also the airport actions are occurring in places like Little Rock, St Louis, and Boise, so no, not just the Acela corridor.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Lots of us Just. Don’t. Care. about the well-to-do pink pussy hatted faux “We’re outraged!” twits who are finally “shifting very quickly”.

          They have no principles, no insight, and no vision.

          Useless.

        2. Patricia

          Certainly there are still big issues facing women, but the most urgent ones are not chosen by establishment Dems. The most urgent ones are better framed as consequences of class inequality. This is better framing because it covers the issues raised by establishment Dems and also reaches into more areas of all women’s lives. Plus, with no stretching, it will also include children and men. Win/win, really.

          Of the women who marched, some know this but others are unaware. Those who ran the national demonstrations (DC, NYC, LA?) seemed largely under the banner of the neolib establishment, whereas the people in many of the local marches appear to have more clarity. It is the latter in whom I place hope.

          This is why the conflictual feelings. We need the new framing or things will remain as they have been and that means further failure.

          1. jrs

            You mean the California central valley? Where your strawberries and lettuce and walnuts and almonds come from. They call it fly over country because you have to fly over from L.A/San Diego to San Francisco and back. Or you could just drive. sure I’m being a bit silly but the silliness at this point is consuming all anyway.

            1. nippersmom

              My strawberries and lettuce come from Florida (except when they are available from local growers). Contrary to what Californians seem to think, it is not the only state where fruit and vegetables are grown.

              The point that for most of us, the biggest issues are not “women’s issues” but “non-wealthy issues” seems to be lost on many of you. How much “access” to abortion or birth control does a woman who has no health care coverage (or coverage she cannot afford to use) have? How is raising the minimum wage for all workers not beneficial to women as well as men? Solving problems of economic inequality, job availability, affordable education, endemic corruption, and ending our foreign policy of war and regime change for profit are the issues important to this woman.

              1. jsn

                Well said. Medicare for all, free, quality public education, a job for everyone that wants one at a living wage, war as a last resort rather than as policy preference.

                All of these make everyone better off and the worse off they are now the more each of these would help.

                Everyone has their own difficulties and no ones issues are any less important than anyone else’s, but things that help everyone do just that: help everyone. The only objection is that such policies are massively distributive and the haves can’t imagine even having relatively less.

                1. dcblogger

                  I think the discussion over at late stage capitalism says it better than I ever could. But using Medicare for All as a club to beat the women’s march is a little like saying All Lives Matter. Oh, and Nurses National Union, which works for Medicare for All more than anyone also supported the women’s march and is currently demonstrating at airports. some people understand solidarity.

                  1. jsn

                    I’m all for the women’s march, but everyone in it would benefit from all the things nippersmom mentioned. No?

                    I’m not clubbing anyone, I’m trying to broaden a progressive constituency that, while more likely to address your ID politics grievances than either currently extant party, will be even more likely to do so if it engages with every one rather than your self limiting ID cadres. It was just such a broad coalition that passed the Civil Rights laws when I was a kid and got as close as we ever have to ERA.

                    Of course all the ID issues matter and each is the result of its unique history of injustice all of which need mending, but what do you think about the increasing mortality of poor whites? The Demublicans delivered that and are now facing the consequences.

                    1. jrs

                      are there any issues that might only apply to some though? Paid maternity leave, oh but that doesn’t target fathers, ok then paid maternity and paternity leave, oh but that discriminates against child free people, and pretty soon you’ve morphed from paid maternity leave to take care of a baby for a while after it’s birth, to paid leave for anyone to take off a few months several times in their working life. Which is a good idea but it seems to me an EVEN harder sell that the original proposition.

                    2. jsn

                      Which is why you start with universal benefits. The New Deal created the security and general sense of well being that was the necessary precondition for the Civil Rights laws.

                      Secure, confident people are generous, caring people, insecure, worried people are suspicious, cautious people. If you want real change, give the most people you can the most confidence and security you can offer.

                  2. pretzelattack

                    and those people are not the people running the dnc. frame the marches as class issues, not identity politics issues.
                    that way the same old dinos don’t keep hustling us for our votes.

                  3. lyman alpha blob

                    You don’t seem to understand. It isn’t that identity politics is a bad thing per se, it’s that it’s all the Democrat party has.

                    As others in this thread have said, embracing the economic issues will solve a great deal of problems for everyone. Targeting policies at a select few is divisive and hasn’t been winning too many elections lately. Doubling down isn’t suddenly going to improve things.

                  4. Lynne

                    “some people understand solidarity.”

                    Yeah, and it’s not the people you are touting — the ones screaming hate at anyone who dares to suggest that maybe Democrats were clueless when they insisted we should vote for Hillary to continue their comfortable lives, the rest of us be damned. Medicare for All would benefit ALL WOMEN, not just those who have the time and $$$ to go march around ridiculing Native women, among others, while the rest of us work on our lives of quiet desperation.

                    1. different clue

                      It makes me wonder how much of the pink kitty cap marches are really part of a stealth Clinton Restoration movement?

                  5. Lambert Strether Post author

                    And some people don’t. I’m assuming that’s why the Women’s March as an institution doesn’t support #MedicareForAll, and why the NNU isn’t a sponsor (though SEIU, who worked hard to censor and suppress single payer in 2008, is).

              2. Oregoncharles

                @ Nippersmom: much of Florida will be underwater or salt marsh in the next few decades. Cali at least has more elevation. Of course, in the meantime, its climate will have migrated to Oregon.

                1. pmorrisonfl

                  The yacht marinas and waterfront condos will be submarine pens and underwater condos, but the parts of Florida where they still grow things will be above sea level for quite awhile. If you play with sea levels (after reassembling this url: http:// geology.com /sea-level-rise /florida.shtml) and pushthem up to 13 meters, you get a pretty good view of where most of the growing happens now.

                2. Massinissa

                  And its fossil aquifers will have run dry. No water = no metropolises or agriculture.

                  Yeah, Cali isn’t any better off than Florida is. Probably worse off considering that California has TWICE as many residents.

                3. nippersmom

                  And by that time, my state of Georgia will have also experienced climate change. Florida is not the only state that will be affected, and rising water levels will not be/are not the only result.

              3. NotTimothyGeithner

                The identity warriors tend to ignore actual identity issues anyway. Gay rights advances were made independently of the Democrats or forced on them, and as far as abortion, Democrats have slept through the Republican banning of abortion through zoning laws. Outside of token appointments, they don’t care except what votes they can hold hostage.

                It’s like the Voting Rights Act snafu which Team Blue tends to ignore. Pelosi just said whatever when she was still Speaker, but she held an ad hoc fake committee meeting to discuss Rush Limbaugh insulting a Georgetown law student. The Democrats didn’t even try to make it a campaign issue.

        3. Katniss Everdeen

          700 “demonstrations” by women dressed up in pussy hats and vagina costumes.

          I’d prefer serious issues be addressed, well…….. seriously.

          1. aab

            Everything you need to know about how pointless those “Womens March” “demonstrations” were (by design at the top) was proven here, in the comments section. Someone marched in Chicago, complained here about the criticisms, and then stated very clearly that:

            a) Other than that march, she had no idea what to do next — in other words, NO ONE educated her on further activism, NO ONE asked for her contact information, there was NO organizing or education AT ALL. In Chicago.

            b) She proceeded to say condescending things about the poors while feeling righteous about how she’s “socially liberal but fiscally* conservative.”

            So she came away from the march having had a lovely time, but learned nothing, changed nothing, had no idea what she might do next to help people, and demonstrated that she doesn’t actually want to change anything that might impact her “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” lifestyle. And — surprise, surprise — those marches look like they accomplished her goal: they changed nothing, but made liberal women who are complicit in ALL the problems non-affluent women face feel good about themselves. Because that’s what’s important, isn’t it? Feeling really good about being a liberal elitist whose support for the corporate Democrats and their toxic goody of “the First Woman (Warmongering Criminal Elitist) President!” led DIRECTLY to President Trump.

            Sorry, DCBlogger. You shouldn’t feel good. You should feel BAD. When I realized how badly I had been conned by Barack Obama, I set out to learn how that happened, in order to make sure it never happened again. And I didn’t wait until his policies personally hurt me, although eventually they did. I cared before that, once I realized his shell game meant that the party as a whole was corrupt and useless. Because I care about more than my own feelings. I care about other people, even the ones I don’t see every day. Even the ones who don’t believe what I believe or live the way I live. Even Trump supports AND Hillary supporters — although most Hillary supporters are clearly doing just fine, which was the point of that support.

            If you’re enjoying yourself right now, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re only mad at Trump, things won’t get better. That’s why people like me are insisting on a robust acknowledgement of the complicity and bad acts of the Democrats in the recent past. If you still buy “look forward not back,” you’re not my ally in making things better, because with your approach, they won’t get better. Democrats are unlikely to get back into power doing the same old, same old, and if they do, they’ll just do more harm.

            I am open to the idea that the current protests, although ginned up and manipulated by the corporate Democrats, could evolve and do some good. I listen when someone like marym thoughtfully proposes that, while acknowledging the issues with them as they are currently playing out. But when you describe what was OBVIOUSLY being managed by the Corporate Democrats to benefit themselves and their brutal policies as “festive…disrespect” you completely lose me. Most women in America do not have the resources for displays of festive disrespect, and lots of women of color who attended that “Womens March” (TM) came away feeling very, very disrespected by the affluent white women around them. Let’s hope going forward the rank and file LEFTISTS take care of this process and we have no more pink capped displays of smug privilege. Honestly, how can you claim Trump is a fascist and at the same time think the march was useful if the police didn’t lay a finger on any of these festively disrespectful women?

            People should have opposed Obama. You seem to have left that part out. Also, Bernie would have won.

            * She may have said “economically conservative.”

            1. abc

              Excellent post.

              I have personal experience with some of the affluent feel goods who shortened their trips to Hawaii and boarded their ferries from affluent homes also on islands, to dawn their p-hats and feel good. And feel good about their protests, they did. All smiles, they were.

              What a joke that March was. Whatdiditprove. Nothing.

            2. Temporaily Sane

              Great post. Beautifully mat slams the tone-deaf DNC controlled virtue signallers. Politics is a lifestyle accessory for these people. They don’t feel the sting of the economic policies they blindly support and they are not interested in stepping out of their comfortable echo chamber and examiming things from different points of view.

              Their “activism” ends as soon as their pesonal comfort is jeopardized.

            3. Fiery Hunt

              Bravo!
              Hear, hear! this is EXACTLY right.

              If you’re not hurting economically, you’re not doing it right.

            4. Massinissa

              ” doesn’t actually want to change anything that might impact her “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” lifestyle”

              As Phil Ochs would say, “Love me love me love me, I’m a Liberal.”

            5. Aumua

              Man, why don’t you guys tell us how you really feel about the Democratic party? It’s almost like.. we don’t like Democrats around here, or something. I can’t quite put my finger on it..

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                I like some Democrat individuals. Warren, with all her limitations, isn’t corrupt. Sherrod Brown is coming up on the charts. But the party establishment, and in particular Clintonite Flexians, are, to say the least, cringe-worthy. Worse than useless, because by their existence they prevent real opportunities from being exercised.

            6. Lambert Strether Post author

              > ginned up and manipulated by the corporate Democrat

              Plausible, but not proven. I’d love to see evidence on this. The funders and the board are not enough, in my view. Although the avalanche of treacle in the press is a good indicator…

        4. Brad

          Addressing discrimination and violence against women =! identity politics.

          But identity politics as played by the LibDems is precisely this kind of shell game.

          The question remains unanswered: Why were these people not out on the street in Obama time? (Save Occupy, BLM and Standing Rock, all facing repression orchestrated from the Obama Feds). Because everything was hunky-dory?

          The same question rephrased: Why do these demos allow themselves to be doormats for the Cory Hookers or why are LibDems permitted to fart up the stage at the Women’s March? Do we not see a problem with that?

        5. grayslady

          What did those marches accomplish for women? Do we have the ERA yet? Without the ERA, there will never be equal pay for women; but is that what they were marching for? What bills do they want to see passed? What specific actions did the marchers want Congress or the President to take to improve their economic well-being? I didn’t see the red shirts of Nurses United marching for universal health care that could benefit all of us, or union members marching for card check, something that might actually help working women. What I saw was unfocused groups, many women in silly pink hats, but no central message. As for any changes made for green card holders, and for some other specific cases, those came from lawyers and the judiciary, not from airport protesters. Still looks like identity politics from where I sit.

          1. Montanamaven

            And I wanted the actors at the SAG awards to speak out for Native American protests against the pipeline. Didn’t happen.

        6. Emma

          Ummm……and ID politics are not being leveraged to the hilt by Messrs. Bannon and Trump?
          It’s like a Wild West of democratic authoritariansim in the US today with wagons circling a jihad on democracy. A democracy Trump and his team would appear thus far, incapable of living up to. It’s already triggering dire consequences from young white male supremacists in their 20s. Ah yes Messrs Trump & Bannon, such deadly hysterics are to be found in ALL men – it’s not exclusively an ISIS phenomenon. As Mr Trump tweeted, “There are a lot of bad “dudes” out there!” And by ‘Spice-Boys’ logic, those young white male supremacists should be the “bad dudes” banned. Lest Trump become hostage to them instead….

          This is why the physical manifestation of a wall makes linear ‘yessense’ to Trump and guides POTUS action, thus far, with little care. The wall is the product of ‘MAGA’ Trumpism. It’s Trumps’ WMD. But there are “alternative” walls, aren’t there?!

          Like the “Wobble Wall”!
          Think of the Wobble Wall like the regeneration of WMD. No meltdown required. With a mass-mobilization effort we (and our Mexican friends incl.) can all turn Trumps’ wall into the Wobble Wall! We’ll build it with “cold jelly and custard, chorizo sausage and mustard!”

          And because of his messianic pretensions, we can ex-communicate Trump like Shabbetai Zevi, force him to convert to Islam, and wear a turban atop his head instead! So, what about some silly stuff?! What about a #WobbleWallWeek?
          This is just one of the many ways we can reduce our exposure to further disaster. And with a certain Monty Python ‘je ne sais quoi’ about it. So, with anything else Trump tweets this week, respond the way a Michael Palin character would: “Wobble Walls with –obs on!”

        7. hunkerdown

          dcblogger, bourgeois liberalism is under examination and has no standing to lawyer from the dock. Democrat dramas are not people’s dramas. City people’s values are not country people’s values.

          Besides, many people want the Democratic Party ripped to shreds and put in Federal PMITA prison for running a sham primary election, with whatever adverse effects on your loyal clients hostages foot soldiers constituencies just part of the package. After what the Party has done to them, why shouldn’t they? Why should any advocates for bourgeois liberalism even be suffered to speak? Restorative justice would seem to suggest that bolos should shut up, sit down, listen, and humbly obey the people rather than their fever dreams.

        8. pretzelattack

          a $15 hr minimum wage for working mothers would be very much a women’s issue, and a class issue, and a labor issue.

          1. jrs

            yea why even bother with an ERA when so many men are paid so poorly, it comes across as another privileged position of professional women until the minimum is raised for every one.

        9. Irredeemable Deplorable

          People who blockade airports are terrorists. Period. A 20 year minimum federal sentence for domestic terrorism would seem to appropriate.

      2. Buttinsky

        I confess I didn’t understand dcblogger’s point with that remark. Are the people who admired “pragmatic progressives” like Obama and Clinton and now calling for a general strike expressing some shift in opinion away from admiration for Obama and Clinton and their brand of duplicitous politics? What, indeed, is the public opinion that “is shifting very very quickly”?

        I would like to think the argument is that people who vote Democratic are now lamenting that they didn’t do more to take on the evil of the Obamas and the Clintons of the world in order to have precluded the expansion of that evil by Trump, and so are committing themselves to a new activism. But I have a feeling that isn’t what the writer intended at all. Nor do I believe that that’s what’s actually happening. Yes, there may be a new activism, but it doesn’t seem to be in any way predicated on a rejection of Democrats or their history of treachery. In fact, amidst the hysteria, one detects a certain nostalgia for the good old days when you could trust Obama to be murdering the right people in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya…

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          He was so classy and debonair whilst ordering the deaths and deportations of untold thousands

          1. Steve C

            His addiction to austerity. We used to call people like Obama Republicans. Of course, Obama would wear that like a badge of honor.

      3. aj

        +1

        Sadly, I cannot give more plusses than the single one I possess. As I see by dcbloggers response, they have just reverted back to tribal loyalties. Any calling of the bullshit will just be met with accusations of hating women and denying the “real” issues. Remember to the coastal elites, the only reason HRC lost was because those of us in flyover country are all racists, sexist, deplorables.

      4. WheresOurTeddy

        Trump stole the “economic nationalist” banner from Democrats. No problem, they say, we haven’t worn that coat in decades…and what did that “New Deal” ever get us anything, other than control of congress for 40 years and the largest middle class in human history?

        It’s about jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs. I’m not on board with his executive orders, but if the people are put back to work, and the (all-time low) labor participation rate ticks up, it’s going to be irrelevant what DT does to piss off the SJWs. If wages go up too the (D)s may become the Whigs of the 21st century.

        Simple electoral math for Democrats: My job is more important than your feelings.

    4. Andrew Watts

      *edited/added* Oops! Put this in the wrong place.

      RE: FBI: U.S. law enforcement infiltrated by white supremacists

      Wow! The Intercept is all over the map. The first tepid story involving the FBI is about investigating racists in law enforcement. Followed by the FEARFEARFEAR story because they’re going to go J. Edgar Hoover on your hippie *expletive deleted*!

      1. Skip Intro

        They forgot ‘Breaking’. I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that white supremacists are infiltrating police departments. I assume ‘infiltrating’ means a small number, so this is good news, since previously one might have said ‘dominating’ or ‘running’.
        Or perhaps the interesting thing to note is that the FBI is now composed of such a small number of white supremacists that a report like this is even released. In any case, it is always good to get mockery from the standard authoritarians, to validate the article.

      2. Fiver

        Seems straight-forward enough – the FBI, shown on the map of the United States as that mile-high headquarters flag pylon they’re going to build on the geographical dead centre of the US , is going to be a nightmare for dissenters of all stripes. The US Ambassador to the UN told the world the US is ‘taking names’ of those who ‘do not have our back’. FBI is going to take care of the domestic side according to Trump’s specs with unbelievable power at their disposal. There is no chance this degree of latitude for abuse of power is not going to go disastrously wrong.

        https://theintercept.com/2017/01/31/secret-docs-reveal-president-trump-has-inherited-an-fbi-with-vast-hidden-powers/

        https://theintercept.com/series/the-fbis-secret-rules/

        1. Andrew Watts

          I know people are worried about the aggressive policies of the Trump Administration but the FBI is a known quantity. The Patriot Act gave the Bureau an almost unlimited surveillance reach through the vagueness of Section 215. What has been declassified so far has revealed that up to 2005/2006 they didn’t make use of the expanded powers they were granted. Nor did they mess with public libraries or student records which was a galvanizing factor in the opposition to the Patriot Act. Obviously, all that and more could change but I’m not seeing a valid reason for the rabid fear-mongering yet.

          The one area of major concern with the FBI was the expansion of their use of national security letters which had no prior judicial review up until 2006 when the Patriot Act was amended. Additional concerns involved the number of NSLs being issued which greatly expanded post-9/11. The scope of collection involving certain NSLs and tech companies was also a problem. The FBI has responded to these concerns to a certain extent by releasing the number of NSLs being issued, and while we don’t in every case the scope of certain high profile NSLs involving tech companies, the controversy isn’t going away any time soon.

          I think the Intercept is building their brand on peddling national security theater where hero/villain roles are being interchanged randomly depending on the situation. The FBI isn’t playing any games in this area which is why I brought up the Malheur incident in the Links 1/31/17 posting. The infiltration of white supremacist groups/law enforcement is in a similar vein to their actions with the yeehadists and imo significantly overlaps. Neither left-wing activists or christian dominionists for that matter are exempt from any of this.

          1. Fiver

            So, as I said: unlimited FBI reach (including a years-long parade of full-of-holes ‘terror’ incidents) + Trump’s crystal clear direction as evidenced by his Cabinet picks, his own words and actions post-election/post-inaugural, as well as senior surrogate statements = not ‘rabid’ but rather very well-grounded fear for any individual or group caught on the wrong side of thump-them Trumpian justice. His punch-their-lights-out foreign policy re allies and enemies alike has given that fear global reach. The karma emanating from Washington is pure belligerence.

            As for what Intercept’s efforts at ‘branding’ might be, I don’t know or care – I take from it what I consider good just like any other source. Check out the story a couple weeks back about the conduct of US elite special forces for instance, and maybe you can clarify for me just who has been doing the terrorizing for the last 15 years – and this week, first collateral blood drawn by a Trump signature hit. If he had any brains or guts, he’d shut that profound idiocy down immediately.

    5. WJ

      I find this account somewhat one-sided.

      To the extent that what you are saying is true, all for the best.

      But the visible talking-heads of the opposition include Schumer and Booker, and there is A LOT of institutional power and money behind this contingent. Most liberals I know who have been active in protesting Trump do not seem to be too worried about DNC “collaborators,” but rather about white nationalists, anti-semites, and patriarchs in roughly that order.

      Now, a movement like Occupy was obviously opposed to these latter things as well, but the clear focus of Occupy’s opposition was structural and economic injustice, which is why you didn’t see Schumer and Booker (and most other elected democratic politicians) at the center of their rallies.

      I am willing to believe that the current opposition is mixed, but I am not at all persuaded that it is headed clearly in the direction of Occupy.

      Please by all means show me that I am wrong.

      1. jrs

        If Occupy had been more successful and less oppressed by Obama and Democratic mayors would we even have Trump? I don’t pretend to know, but what an alternative future to think about. The one we are never allowed to have.

          1. DH

            Its not an accident that the Dems are largely relegated now to the places that felt the full benefit of the bank bailouts. The “wealth effect” that the Fed has been focusing on is also largely limited to the same areas. The other places have largely gone red.

          2. Lynne

            Austerity, Geithner, refusal to go after the banks, and the Democrats’ promise to deliver more of the same got us Trump. The country twice elected Obama because he promised to change things (and then did not). Why were they surprised when people again voted for the candidate who said he would change things?

      2. jrs

        By the way Occupy and the protests now kind of give a lie to the belief that electing Republicans brings out left protest and electing Dems silences it. Now we have liberal protests but under a Dem we had Occupy because there weren’t 1000 other identity distractions to protest so they went after the income inequality and the bankster bailouts and corruption etc..

        1. WJ

          jrs,

          That is an interesting point. I assume that the “they” names a different group, or the same group under a different aegis? To what extent these groups overlap, and how self-conscious members of each are aware of this fact, are important but so far as I know understudied empirical questions.

        2. Massinissa

          I don’t know about that. Occupy was hardly even in the news. Occupy and its subsequent thrashing by the police state were barely noticed in the mainstream. Under Trump the same scale of protest + crackdown might get more attention.

      3. Eureka Springs

        And remember, it’s was Demos who destroyed OWS from outside – Obama, FBI -Homeland insecurity provocateurs – Dem mayors etc. as well as from within – the Dem peeps who were feckless more than anyone else in their passionless ideals (idpol, not much else, certainly not ready to challenge powers that be) / issues/ solutions/ wherewithal.

    6. Code Name D

      Or smoldering with rage because they believe that Bernie would have won. (Quite possibly, but there is no way to know.)

      Odd that we were told before the election – with just as much certanty – that Sanders would lose aginst Trump. Another McGovern I recall being told. But what you seem to ignore was the overt rigging of the primary for HRC at every stage. Even the scedual of the state primaries wasa tailored, placing the sothern conservative states at the head of the list and giving HRC an early lead. Evidence has emmerged that the campain even encuraged the mediea to give Trump so much positive press because he was the one they wanted her to run agains. I remember hearing the words “walk” and “cake” being said, and not in that order.

    7. jhallc

      “People who, a few months ago were admiring Clinton and Obama as “pragmatic progressives who get things done” are now calling for a general strike. ”
      I think you’ll find that quite a few people who read and occasionally comment on this site, are fine with the idea of protests. But, excuse me if I have trouble believing the folks viewing Clinton and Obama as “Pragmatic Progressives” are looking for the same results as I am. If the fear of losing reproductive rights finally gets folks into the streets (as it should I might add), that’s great. However, I just don’t believe that the DEM party has suddenly gone all “progressive” and I won’t be part of a parade led by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Corey Booker. That doesn’t mean I won’t get engaged in other ways.

      Also, in reply to “Waldenpond” I don’t think of Bernie Sanders as an “outreach coordinator”. He was more of a wake up call for me.

          1. Waldenpond

            It’s usually the billionaires that set the caucus agenda. Schumer, Durbin and Manchin then package it up with a strategy. Sanders job is to coordinate that communication to state parties, funders, electeds, CEOs, non-profits?

            The article is vague: [Sanders will lead a committee that will engage in dialogue with “leaders across the country” in an effort to promote their caucus’ agenda.]

    8. cocomaan

      I’m cautiously optimistic as well. Lifelong democrats I know are now cursing Obama and Hillary as supreme fuck ups of epic proportions. The protests and the opposition don’t seem to have a lot to do with them, even if they are entirely anti-Trump.

      There’s a contingent of the protests that’s constructed, but there’s a contingent that is grassroots as well. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late. Which is what many NC’ers will probably say. The powers have been entrenched in their various corners now for years.

      However, I’m done saying “I told you so”. It isn’t satisfying anymore, hah! Now would be a good time to take action. The internet is a sink of our efforts if we just focus on bitching about Obama, myself included. Thanks for your post, put things in perspective!

      1. Fiery Hunt

        But be careful cocomaan…Seems the O man decided he needed to speak up (unlike every other done President) and with Cory Hooker and Chuckie out there seeking the spotlight…

        The damn Neoliberals will hijack this story if they haven’t already.

      2. marym

        It’s terrible Dem partisans didn’t criticize Obama and the Dems, and pointing out that we should be addressing systemic issues, not just Trump, is important.

        However, though there may be both sincere and opportunistic Dem new-comers to the protests against the Muslim ban, and Dem politicians trying to co-opt it, it’s not a Dem project.

        Organizations of Muslim-Americans, immigrant rights and human rights groups, the ACLU, and non-Muslim religious organizations oppose policies regardless of who’s president. One would need to look a lot more closely at specific locations before making generalization about organization and participation.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          I agree to a point, marym…there ARE some very principled groups out there. But if they’ve been at the forefront of this for years, why this Yuuuge! reaction to a couple of hundred rejections vs. the millions deported last year?

          It’s the pink pussy hatted well-to-dos that scare me. No more Obama, Clinton, Booker, Harris, Democrat, Third Way crap, please.

          1. marym

            They’ve been there. 2016 2013

            It’s everyone else (media, Dembots, pink hatted ladies) that weren’t there. So that gets us back to the start of this thread – yes, many of those people were accepting and defending Obama and the Dems and ignoring or pushing back on any criticism. Others just weren’t paying attention. Now their starting not to do that. Now what?

        2. maxhazard

          Remember that the ACLU filed against drone killings in Yemen. They’ve at least been consistent.

    9. Goyo Marquez

      Fights over who gets to rule, the D or the R, aren’t that important to me. I’ll know the D’s are interested in more than just power when they start calling out the members of their own tribe, as Bernie did.

      Where are the D’s saying NAFTA was a mistake, or thanking Trump for ending TPP, or advocating for single payer. Where are the D’s taking responsibility, or at least placing responsibility, for the creation of a Syrian refugee crisis, for a Honduran refugee crisis, for 16 years of nonstop wars, for 24 years of stealing from the poor to give to the ultra rich?

      If this is just about who gets to wield power then you’d expect the D’s to act just like they’re acting, opposing Trump because he’s not Hillary not for what he’s doing.

    10. Oregoncharles

      Yes, we owe a large vote of thanks to Pres. Trump for inspiring such a wave of productive organizing and protest.

      Unlike Obama.

    11. KurtisMayfield

      Rank and file Democrats are insisting that elected Democrats obstruct Trump at every turn and calling for primaries for collaborators.

      I am so pleased that the Democrats can just say no over everything at the federal level and still not stop the Republicans from doing whatever they want. (See Devos confirmation) Until they actually come up with a strategy to win at the political game (like a 50 state strategy..I think that is what was called before it was killed) instead of doing self righteous obstruction that amounts to nothing, the party is not worth voting for.

    12. Altandmain

      It depends on what the people calling for a strike want. Many are upper middle class professionals who want a return back to the status quo, which is totally unacceptable.

      Mike Whitney, the outstanding commentator noted the outrageous double standard in giving Obama a free pass during his wars, but suddenly attacking Trump.
      http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/26/double-standards-where-were-the-liberal-protestors-during-obamas-wars/

      Obama largely got a free pass despite at times outright betraying his 2008 promises. I think that Clinton got too much of a free pass as well at times, especially when it came to political corruption during the Democratic Primary. Clinton literally had the entire media on her side.

      There’s a bigger danger. They might alienate working class whites.
      https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/21/selectivity-in-trashing-trump/

      But the current danger for Democrats and progressives is that – by bashing everything that Trump says and does – they will further alienate the white working-class voters who became his base and will push away anti-war activists.

      There is a risk that the Left will trade places with the Right on the question of war and peace, with Democrats and progressives associating themselves with Hillary Clinton’s support for “endless war” in the Middle East, the political machinations of the CIA, and a New Cold War with Russia, essentially moving into an alliance with the Military (and Intelligence) Industrial Complex.

      Many populists already view the national Democrats as elitists disdainful of the working class, promoters of harmful “free trade” deals, and internationalists represented by the billionaires at the glitzy annual confab in Davos, Switzerland.

      The real fight is going to be with the corporate Democrats first. We don’t get to see a good candidate in 2020 unless the left prevails. Likewise, in any primary, unless a person for the people wins, it’s a choice between corporate Democrat or corporate GOP, which really isn’t a choice at all.

      1. Fiver

        The people making these arguments keep using the word ‘left’ to describe positions/actions taken by the profoundly failed, triangulating Democrats from another era. I am a self-designated eco-socialist – someone who believes there is no escaping the fact we are very rapidly destroying this planet’s environment, and us with it. Also, someone who thinks there is a way to get there with all 7 billion of us and the rest of life on the planet all in one piece, and with the ‘nice things’ – but it means a radical transformation across the entire economy towards all things supportive of life. I’m pretty much certain the US should consider the value of playing this role on a global scale, instead of leading the charge into oblivion.

        As to ‘calls for a strike’, I’ve mentioned a form of strike strategy myself on more than one occasion, as one of a very few possible tactics the people have to use legitimately when its Government becomes illegitimate, and have not heard nor seen any other reference to such a thing. Go figure.

        The entire Election was an illegitimate fiasco as an exercise in democracy.

    13. Buttinsky

      dcblogger,

      I was hoping to see an answer to my indirect question to you above, but I probably should have asked you directly to begin with.

      You state, “Public opinion is shifting very very quickly.”

      Which “public opinion” do you believe is shifting very very quickly? I genuinely would like to know. It seems to me that everybody is trying to figure out (or control) exactly what the narrative is at this rather uncertain moment, and it’s not clear to me from the context what fact that statement is meant to assert. Maybe it’s true, but I didn’t get it.

      And what is the evidence?

      Thank you.

    14. integer

      After the election everyone was sad and licking their wounds.

      Including Trump supporters? Personally, seeing as Clinton was the other possibility, I was very happy* that Trump won.

      *Although I believe it is clearly stated in the above sentence, please note that my taking satisfaction in Trump’s victory was borne from a relative, rather than objective, perspective.

      1. Aumua

        You also happen to be Australian too, don’t you? So you don’t get to have the unique immediacy of living in a country where Donald Trump is the president, either.

        1. integer

          That’s a fair point I guess, though I maintain that the D-party establishment will have to be thoroughly purged for any lasting leftward change to occur in the US politics, and Clinton winning the election would only have tightened the D-party establishment’s grip on power. Sometimes it’s better just to rip the bandaid off than slowly remove it. Also, neither Australia nor the US would be better off if a hot war with Russia got started, which imo was very likely if Clinton and her murder of neocons had been running the show.

          Funnily enough, just before I saw this comment I had replied to another one of your comments in today’s links, so check it out when you get the chance (it’s currently in moderation though).

          1. integer

            it’s currently in moderation though

            I don’t know why I wrote this, seeing as it’s likely both comments will come out of moderation at the same time. I hope you will believe me when I say that it wasn’t meant to be a between-the-lines complaint about being in moderation. Tbh I’m grateful I’m not permanently banned, and still feel remorseful about my prior behaviour.

            1. integer

              This seems like the right time to formally apologize to Yves, Lambert, Outis, timbers, PlutoniumKun, and Andrew Watts. I got a bit carried away with it all. Sorry!

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Sometimes it’s better just to rip the bandaid off than slowly remove it.

            Regardless, that’s what’s been done. To continue the metaphor, liberals want to put the Bandaid back on (#SaveTheACA). The Left wants to heal the wound (#MedicareForAll).

    15. Dwight

      More support for my long-held belief that the Democrats are worse than the Republicans, because they enable the Republicans and suck the air out of space for public debate. Please let these people go away and give us space for real discussions.

    16. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Public opinion is shifting very very quickly. This community should be thrilled to see it.

      I’m not sure I’m enthusiastic about prescribing appropriate emotions (“thrilled”) for an entire community.

      I’ve expressed my political views with what I hope is clarity here. I won’t repeat them.

      I have repeatedly written that I expected volatility to continue after the election, and that I expected a legitimacy crisis. How right I was! Since I thought Clinton was slightly more likely to win, I expected the legitimacy crisis to be triggered by the Republicans with an impeachment (justified, in my view). Since Clinton lost, we are now seeing a legitimacy crisis fomented by Democrats. I don’t think that’s something to be thrilled about. I think it’s something to be at a minimum understood (if only to be able to get out from under a falling safe). Better would be to be able to do my own little bit to create outcomes in line with my political views (see, again).

      I don’t have time to go through all the comments, since I have to be on foot and moving in about 15 minutes. So I’m going to be more generic and less linky than I would normally be. I’ve been covering political movements in some detail since the events of Thailand in 2010, and in great detail since Tahrir Square, the capital occupations, and Occupy proper, through the Carré Rouge in Montreal through (to the extent I was able) BlackLivesMatter. Frankly, I don’t know of another blogger who’s done more on this topic (readers will correct me). This is distinct from my own (very marginal) personal activism on landfills in Maine. So I’ve seen things like this before. Therefore–

      1) Resistance is fundamentally a reactive concept. Whether resistance turns into Restoration (a la the Bourbons) or Revolution (hopefully a la Sanders, i.e. with no Reign of Terror and a subsequent Napoleon) is an open question. If the former, we get #SaveTheACA. If the latter, we get #MedicareForAll. I know which one I prefer. I also know what one the leadership of the pink pussy hats prefers (and the Resistance Handbook), because they do not support #MedicareForAll.

      2) Resist is a movement. Movements tend not to have consistent, well, ideologies. (“What does victory look like?” I know what it looks like to me). Specialists make a distinction between mobilization and organizing, with the former much easier to do than the latter. Therefore, movements are much easier to capture by decapitating their leaders. A classic recent example is BlackLivesMatter, where the terrific work done at ground level was exploited and dissipated by charismatic leaders from pro-charters Teach for America. Democrats, although they seem not to be good at much else, are good at this. If Neera Tanden has a “Resist” button on her Twitter account, as she does, then we need to think twice about whatever process is going on, and that includes inquiring into funding, personnel, etc. Bringing me to–

      3) The Democrat Party is all about reinforcing failure. No failed leadership is ever replaced. No failed strategies are ever examined. In particular, Clinton campaign operatives have never accepted personal responsibility for their loss. If you’re in a genuine Resistance, a la the French Resistance to the Nazis, then you have to wonder why the Vichy generals who lost the battle of France want to be included in your plans. Democrat loyalist operatives — not your average ground level Dem, but your Beltway type — should be approached with the care that a frog approaches a scorpion. Rigging the election for Clinton and against Sanders is their nature. Occupying Schumer’s office was good. It would be useful to do that to others, and to Schumer whenever he backslides, which will be often. Occupying the entire DNC offices would be better.

      4) Generically, I hear a lot of “let’s put the past behind us,” and “Why are you focusing on Obama when there are so many other things that are so much more important right now?” Let me begin by quoting another exponent of this view:

      “History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history that we make today.” (Henry Ford, Chicago Tribune, 1916).

      Henry Ford is, of course, a noted anti-Semite. However, I’ve noticed that today’s “history is bunk” crowd — yes, I improperly generalize — continually invokes history when the history is about Hitler and the Holocaust, but refuses to invoke history when the history is about Obama. Personally, I don’t think its my job to help deal with their cognitive dissonance by burnishing Obama’s halo, and I also believe that “those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it” (see point 3).

      5) Both as a matter of principle and a matter of practical politics, I believe that tens of thousands of excess deaths from despair yearly are more important than refugees. I know that people have to start where they start, and its better to be in motion than paralyzed, and I’m not putting down the genuine empathy shown by protestors for refugees. But if the movement ends there, it’s not going anywhere (except maybe to Booker 2020, which is exactly where some Democrat loyalists would like it to go).

      Anyone remember the Sanders campaign? Are students talking about free college now? No. Are people talking about Medicare for All now? No. Are people talking about oligarchy now? No. Does the bare possibility exist that there are factions within the political class that are very happy about that? Yes. Are many of them Democrats? Yes. Most of the Democrat leadership? Of course. By their fruits shall ye know them…

      1. JTFaraday

        re: #5. It’s not about refugees, it’s about civil rights. Green card holders do have rights.

        Don’t make the mistake of dismissing rights in hot pursuit of food, sex, and pants.

  2. Art Eclectic

    Still, however narrow, his victory was legitimate and he does have the clear constitutional prerogative to make the choice.”

    Bullshit. Obama had a clear constitutional prerogative to make the choice and Republicans shut him down. They can burn.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Agreed, Art Eclectic. The Dems are where they are today because they took the high road and Republicans were allowed to get away with malfeasance.

      1. Patricia

        “High road”? You mean, noses held high while jaunting next to bankers in their white shoes? You mean the high of drones, killing brown people in 7 countries? You mean so high on power that you take down habeas corpus? You mean getting high on the pain in Guantanamo? Or the high pleasures of punishing the most whistleblowers with jail? Or do you mean the sweet secret highs caused by surveilling anyone you wish?

        I prefer my lies bald-faced and rough, where you can see the truth being trashed. When lies come smooth and round and hidden in educated ivy-league, not only the truth is trashed but also grace and courtesy. F*ck that sh*t.

        1. Waldenpond

          Republicans live in a mansion with the toilet overflowing next door to
          Democrats that live in a mansion with the toilet overflowing that complain about the stench coming from next door.

          Thanks, I’ll pass on the hazmat suit as a solution. The D base needs to stop inviting people over for dinner while the toilet is currently overflowing and they are standing ankle deep in excrement. They are going to have to burn it down, rebuild and learn to cook first.

        2. aab

          The Democrats intentionally threw away opportunities to use power on behalf their voters, but never failed to use power — even illegal power — on behalf of their donors. That’s not a high road; it’s a toll road.

          Obama could have recess appointed Garland (reminder: Garland is effectively a corporatist Republican) right after Scalia’s death. He could, therefore, have had a full court for his last year in office and done something with that. He didn’t, presumably, because the Democrats thought (once again) that campaigning around the Supreme Court opening would be a winner politically for them. Oops. Again, that’s not a high road; that’s a road that led over a cliff.

          I prefer my lies bald-faced and rough, where you can see the truth being trashed. When lies come smooth and round and hidden in educated ivy-league, not only the truth is trashed but also grace and courtesy. F*ck that sh*t.

          THIS. A trillion times this. I’m not remotely interested in supporting people who will fuss over the use of the fish fork while others starve in the streets outside their door. Nor will I feel sorry for them when ruffians take the fish forks and drive them through their pale, smooth, uncalloused hands. What kind of “high road” involves stealing from and starving your own supporters and illegally killing innocent people overseas?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            4 to 4 splits favoring the Federal Court rulings probably worked out better than Garland, a Republican Obama thought other Republicans would support, for a year.

            1. aab

              That, too. I believe there’s a specific case where we got a more progressive/left outcome because of the 4/4 split than if Garland had been in there. But today’s been crazy, and I didn’t want to take the time to find the link.

    2. Vatch

      Absolutely. Trump has the constitutional prerogative to make the nomination, but he requires the consent of the Senate before his nominee can become a Supreme Court justice. The Democrats can and should use the filibuster, unless (and this is extremely unlikely) Trump nominates a good candidate.

        1. Vatch

          The filibuster is available for Supreme Court nominations, but not for any other judges, and it’s also not available for Executive branch nominations. The filibuster remains available for bills that might become law.

          1. katiebird

            Thank you. No wonder I was confused….. I missed the Supreme Court exception.

            I wonder if they (Dems) really WILL do a permanent filibuster. That could be fun.

            (Still, I’d rather they rally for Expanded Medicare for Everyone)

          2. DH

            McConnell would pull the trigger in a heartbeat to get rid of the filibuster on the Supreme Court if he thought he wouldn’t have 60 votes. He is making up tradition as he goes along.

            Folks like Schumer will be dead to him now given that Schumer and 5 others voted against his wife today.

            1. John Wright

              Schumer may have cleared the vote with McConnell as something he needed to do to rally Schumer’s home team supporters.

              McConnell would certainly understand this Schumer vote, and might not be offended in the least.

              After all vote was 93-6.

              Schumer dead to McConnell over this insignificant vote? Does not seem likely.

              Wait to see how Schumer votes when his vote really counts on a significant issue for his Wall Street constituency, say on a financial transaction tax, financial regulation, carried interest tax increase, or “medicare for all”.

              This was political theater, and McConnell may have completely understood and appreciated the performance.

              It might have even been rehearsed in advance for McConnell..

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          No. The filibuster is a gentlemen’s agreement. 50+1 (VP) is the constitutional threshold for changin the rules of the Senate at any time. Obviously, the Senate can have its own rules, but it’s rules can’t supplant the constitutional order.

          50+VP can change the rules at any time. This was Bill Frist’s nuclear option. He didn’t want to get rid of it because he knew the Democrats would blame for their inability to pass legislation if they ever took power. When Frist threatened to change the rules, the Democrats did what they were told under the leadership of the Gang of 14.

          The Supreme Court applies the same way. One might even argue the simple majority of Senators and the VP as the Constitution does mention the importance of tie breaking votes, not 60-40 splits, is all that is necessary for the Senate to vote positively for a nominee or legislation regardless of the standing rules. The rules can’t limit Constitutional derived power. Amazingly enough, the Senate has in the past voted for stuff without following the secret handshakes when it suited them.

          If the Republicans don’t want a nominee, they might bemoan the filibuster and blame a few RINOs the same way Team Blue used the rotating villain strategy.

      1. Carolinian

        So is it going to be a four year filibuster? After all you are opposing all Trump SC nominees, regardless of cause. Not a lot of wiggle room there.

        Which is why this is a strategic mistake. Trump can always, as Scott Adams says, back off from his more extreme positions (which may be some kind of ploy anyway). “Not my president” has no fallback.

        1. Vatch

          No, I said that if Trump nominates a good candidate, the filibuster should not be used. But if he only nominates clones of Antonin Scalia, then yes, a four year filibuster is the right thing to do.

      2. Anne

        Something tells me that when Trump says this:

        “evangelicals, Christians will love my pick.”

        chances are that nominee isn’t going to fall into the “good candidate” category.

        Ugh.

    3. Jess

      What I find interesting is the urgency to oppose the nominee before we know who it is. Trump and Bannon are both wild cards, and Trump used to be a registered Dem. What if Trump decides to put up, say, Judge Rakoff, who raked (no pun intended) the government over the coals on tortue and letting the banks get off scot-free?

      How about we wait until the short list is real? You know, just a thought.

      1. hreik

        Well the impetus is that the Repbulicans wouldn’t even meet w Merrick Garland at ALL. His nomination languished for 10 months. 10 Months!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Payback is a _____!

            1. hunkerdown

              Garland? The “joke” tough-on-crime pro-corporate SCOTUS candidate explicitly nominated to troll the GOP? Which, for some odd reason, Democrats are hell-bent for leather on confirming?

              Other than Democrat narcissism, is there any real reason to want Garland?

        1. Massinissa

          OH NO! The Republicans wouldn’t let a pretend-republican get on the Supreme Court! HOW TERRIBUL!

          Explain to us why we should care exactly?

      2. Vatch

        I find it hard to believe that the President who has nominated Steven Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price, Andrew Puzder, Jefferson Sessions, and Scott Pruitt to high offices would nominate a good candidate for the Supreme Court. In the unlikely event that this happens, I will stop asking for a filibuster.

    4. Altandmain

      I don’t think that it is productive to fight everything that Trump says and does.

      When it comes to trade for example, I’d rather support Trump and fight the corporate Democrat/GOP (is there any difference?) in getting rid of the deals like the TPP.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-donald-trump-infrastructure-trade_us_58779a2ae4b092a6cae57dd7

      Another example is if Trump gets rid of the H1B program, which amounts to class warfare these days against tech workers and other office jobs.

      It is best to selectively target policies that are damaging to people.

      1. robnume

        Yep, “pocketbook policies” is what I call ’em and the H1b visas and their counterparts H2b, etc. are where I hope Trump starts. I’ve had to watch – not literally, of course – as my husband, a credentialed, oft-published biochemist had to train the two H1b workers who replaced him. Since this is now an industry wide trend it took a year or so for him to become employed again at a much reduced salary. I will support anyone who helps Americans get back to work again. Yes, the issues are complicated, but, for me, as for others of whom I’ve read the last few years, Trump doing what he can to stop the obvious and severe abuses of the worker visa programs that CONgress foisted upon us is at least some small remedy for the scandalous disregard to the plight of workers who were born here and have to live here.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          And here is the basic truth of this American life. Corporate greed coupled with corrupt Washington policy creates hardship for average Americans.
          And beyond the immediate employment issues there are background health care and housing issues that go hand in hand with employment in this rigged system…

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Yes bullshit. As much as I dislike Obama, it was his constitutional prerogative way before it became Trump’s. The republicans’ obstruction was fairly unprecedented but for some reason we barely heard a peep about it from the WaPo or any other media or from the Dems themselves..

      And then the Dems beg for votes ‘because the Supreme Court’ and they couldn’t even put up a fight for the seat that was by all rights theirs to fill, and that they wanted to fill with a Republican!

      Feckless.

      1. Yves Smith

        Why does everyone airbrush out that Obama came in with not just majorities in both houses, but a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate? And the country was frightened and prostrated. People WANTED bold action. Obama could have done a Roosevelt 100 days and didn’t.

        In fact, the reason the Republicans were eventually able to obstruct was Obama’s failure to do much of anything for ordinary voters. The reason Scott Brown won in Mass was Obama’s failure to address foreclosures. The propensity of a voting district to go for Brown was highly correlated with the level of foreclosures. Ditto why the Democrats took such huge losses in the Congressional midterms in 2010.

    6. lambert strether

      As many do, you’re confusing “democratic norms” with constitutional prerogatives.

      It was Obama’s job, as a politician, to get the job done using constitutional prerogatives.

      Assuming good faith, he didn’t. This is really the same argument the Clintonites make: “The real problem is that our candidate was opposed!” Well, golly.

    7. Yves Smith

      What are you talking about?

      I am sick of this “legitimacy” pablum. Trump won by the rules. You may not like them but the rules are the rules. No one would think of saying a World Series winner was “illegitimate” because they scored fewer runs but won more games.

      You don’t like the rules because you don’t like the results. How about saying the Dems need to stop being a lousy party? Hillary sucked all the money out of down-ticket races and still lost. The Dems have been hemorrhaging representation at all levels of government since 2008.

      The Dems overall are a hollowed out shell. Time you face up to that and demand better.

  3. TheBellTolling

    [T]he Supreme Court confirmation process needs to be protected from partisan politics to the greatest extent possible

    This almost had me destroy my computer screen. The process is already subject to partisan politics. WaPo trying to fit things back into the respectability politics lens when the whole facade is in ruins. Stop imagining that there is this some way to put this egg back together.

    And we all know Senate Democrats are reading this and getting ready to roll over to Beltway consensus like the freaking cowards they are. Grow a freaking spine or get ready to go home. They should draw out this process for eight years if they have to.

    1. Katharine

      Consider the source. A fine example of why it’s so hard to write satire these days. If I had a stronger stomach, I’d go back to see what the Post had to say when the Senate was refusing to consider Merrick, but in any case that’s water over the dam and I am really trying to deal with the present.

    2. mrsyk

      So, the process is working when only one team (red) gets to make the choices? Dear WaPo editorial board, You should all resign.

    3. integer

      WaPo trying to fit things back into the respectability politics lens when the whole facade is in ruins. Stop imagining that there is this some way to put this egg back together.

      Contrary to the widely held belief* that it was simply an accidental fall,
      WaPo was one of many vested interests that pushed Humpty Dumpty off the wall.

      * Widely held, but not among the NC readership.

  4. flora

    ” I think it’s useful to replace “flyover states” with “colonies.” And the same goes for Flint, Michigan.”

    I disagree about “colonies”. Colonies are external to whatever nation has colonized them, are prone to rebel and kick out the colonizers and setup their own govts. Economically the term “colonize” might make sense here, but politically it does not, unless one wants to feed the “Revolution” and culture “war” meme currently floating in the twittersphere. Are parts of Appalachia “colonized” or “neglected”? Are parts of Michigan and Ohio “colonized” or ” economically despised” by the current political Powers That Be? There’s a difference. imo.

    1. flora

      and on another comment: ‘Liberals, especially process liberals, have a deep confusion between “the rule of law,” “democratic norms,” “the way things have always been done,” and “my ricebowl, dammit!” ‘

      Yes, indeed.

      1. polecat

        I think I’ll throw some rice bowls, strictly for home use mind you, that have faux cracks on two opposite sides ….. with a donkey image impressed on one side …. and a pachyderm impressed on the other … and on the inside, on the bottom, the image of a medieval serf, in the act of breaking HIS bowl !

      2. Code Name D

        So they are calling themselves “process liberals” now? Who can keep up with this without score cards?

    2. polecat

      ‘Districts’ work for me ….. i mean, what really matters is the health of the Capital … right ?? …. Bueller ? ……. Bueller ? ………. Ok, Ms. Everdeen ?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I’ll go with “Districts.” And it’s CapiTOL to you, prole.

        From Wiki:

        The Capitol is populated by citizens who, like the ancient Romans as observed by the satirical poet Juvenal circa A.D. 100, have sold their civic responsibility and capacity for self-government in return for panem et circenses (“bread and circuses”).[2]

        Removed from the deprivation and oppression of the districts, the pampered and hedonistic civilians are generally preoccupied with extravagant fashion, parties, and mass entertainment like the Hunger Games.

        Sounds about right to me.

        1. JustAnObserver

          Dunno about that ? Given that DC is owned by the 0.01% maybe Capital is the right nomenclature (should it have a `K’ ?) since that’s what they’ve invested in it (as even Hillary admitted the other day).

        2. Skip Intro

          Pretty awesome freudian slip though… the health of the Capitol protects the health of capital, as we well know.

    3. grayslady

      Agreed. Colonization has a very specific meaning. The so-called “flyover” states are also the agricultural heartland and what is left of the industrial heartland, whether located in the midwest or the south. Difficult to say whether these areas are “economically despised” or just politically abandoned.

      1. Montanamaven

        Governor Schweitzer, when he ran in 2004, described Montana as a colony. He defined a colony as a place that exports it’s raw materials and has to import finished goods from outside like the original 13 colonies. He ran on trying to build factories in Montana that would make finished wood products from the lumber. I guess we could take our cowhide and makes shoes. Anyway, I kind of liked that definition. It was about more self sufficiency and localism. He advocated for our own health care plan and when he ran for the Senate in 2002, he took a bus load of seniors across the border into Canada. He had his faults (coal), but his idea of state sovereignty and practical solutions always resonated with me. I like the idea of regions or districts since I think the US is too big to govern. Montana would need a seaport so a union of Washington, Oregon, Vancouver and British Columbia would be kind of neat.

        1. Oregoncharles

          You forgot Idaho, the connection between Montana and the coast.

          Unfortunately, that would not be a politically viable “union.” Or did you not mean it to include Montana?

          1. Knot Gal

            Idk. Montana has all that beetle kill pine that we could mill and use for construction. And they have fracking on the East side of the state so the new union would have access to it’s own oil as the economy shifted to windmills picking up the winds that come from the rockies. And all those mining operations that have been shut down by the feds or bought by foreign companies could be taken back. And having fracking/mining on the east side of the continental divide means all that waste would flow out of our sovereign territory into someone else’s. And we could probably get the northern leg of Idaho (it’s only 70 miles wide at the interstate) with one battle at Coeur d’Alene and threatening to allow the Berkeley Hole to flood over. Those Potato Barons would give it up in a heart beat. Although Montana would technically still be a colony it would have a new oppressor (Microsoft). But we’d give back to Montana the 777 and I’m sure they’d be very happy.

            1. DH

              Global warming is opening up a new opportunity. Without Arctic sea ice, Montana can link up with the Dakotas, Alberta, Yukon, and Northwest Territories and have a seaport on the Arctic Ocean. Wheat, oil, and other resource extraction as far as the eye can see.

        2. DH

          The union almost exists. It is already called “Cascadia”. It has its own styles of beer-making, so that should qualify it to be a country.

        3. Yves Smith

          Hate to tell you, that is not true.

          Go read Jared Diamond’s Collapse. He uses Montana as a case study of a system that would rapidly fail were it not for trade with the outside. It isn’t remotely ecologically self-sustaining.

    4. JTMcPhee

      flora, might one ask whether the destabilizing, cruel open-air prisons called the West Bank and Gaza are “colonies,” within the definition stated? Mowing the lawn, “settlements” and “new homes” continue to be built, all that. By a relatively few gonifs and schlubs who play the victim game so well? Were the Native Americans “colonized” or just “neglected”?

      Not attributing anything to you, I should probably lay this down as another standalone comment, but context, folks, context…

    5. PKMKII

      I think “Zombie states” would be a more fitting term. Drained of their essence, left for dead, yet the corpses are animated, still moving forward even sans life, motivated by a desire to (metaphorically) eat the brains of those that created them, driven to bring about the apocalypse, as they moan out “urrrr… take that.. libtards… urrrrrrr.”

    6. VietnamVet

      Mid-America is not a colony in the sense that with the dying breath of democracy they gave the finger to the coastal elites and elected a Nationalist, Donald J. Trump. Incredibly, the Democrats tossed aside their anti-war progressives and mid-West working voters but blame Russia for their loss of power. This is a war between Oligarchs over supremacy of the Globalist’s core belief in the free movement of people. Will Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham and John McCain and other GOP Corporate Globalists dare join with their Democratic brethren to elevate Mike Pence? If the past is a guide, the Little People will be the ones trampled underneath in the war.

  5. Ivy

    ISIS shows up again via proclamation, then ISDS via TPP, TTIP etc, then ISPs via net neutrality. There is more alphabet besides the I’s, so what happens next?

    Re Health Care: rural trends may show uptick in colonia development.

    See for added reference on a slice of rural life, Winter’s Bone.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Apple is sending threatening letters to anyone using the letter “i” whether small or capitalized as the first letter of any brand, acronym, shorthand, abbreviation, proper name…. Claims this is dilution and infringement, and demands licensing fees or cease-and-desist. (Just kidding, I think,,,)

  6. Portia

    From “Future of Life” link. SMH

    8) Judicial Transparency: Any involvement by an autonomous system in judicial decision-making should provide a satisfactory explanation auditable by a competent human authority.

    these are serious people working on the evolution of society. LOL

    1. Waldenpond

      Wouldn’t an automated judicial system mean that white people might run the risk of being treated the same as a person of color, a wealthy person with the same risk as a poor person? No one to disappear a ticket, traffic tickets, fines would be a fixed amount based on an infraction not the person that did it, etc. I don’t see how that would work.

      1. marym

        Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil

        We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.

        But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.

        Good, readable book – includes a chapter on sentencing algorithms already in use – author blogs at mathbabe

      2. Lynne

        Being tested with bond. See http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0803/Courts-use-risk-algorithms-to-set-bail-A-step-toward-a-more-just-system

        However, “this year ProPublica, an investigative-journalism group, concluded that in Broward County, Florida, an algorithm wrongly labelled black people as future criminals nearly twice as often as whites.” http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21705329-governments-have-much-gain-applying-algorithms-public-policy

        In many jurisdictions, there is a fine and bond schedule with set amounts for many offenses, so yeah, same for wealthy and poor. It isn’t until you get to more serious crimes that a judge individualizes it.

  7. Chromex

    Cognitive Dissonance Alert. Again, the media seems to want us all to equate unusable insurance with “benefit”. To wit:

    “In the three years since the passing of Obamacare, the Whitley County population with insurance has risen from 75% to 90%. Like other lower-income less-educated white Americans, Whitley County has benefitted disproportionately from Obamacare. ”
    Wow! A Benefit. But um wait… . The nest sentence reads:
    “However, these residents like many other Americans are unhappy with Obamacare mainly because of the unaffordable premiums and deductibles.”
    Prithee, where’s the benefit then??????? 15% more people have insurance they can’t use? Once again- insurance is not care. In fact having insurance no longer seems like much a of a umm benefit. I’m no Trump fan but why would the Dems want to save this? Now is the time to push for single payer it seems to me.

    1. katiebird

      It really is the time to Push for Single Payer (Expanded Medicare for Everyone). I know the Dems already proved their total lack of interest in it but I pray they change their minds, wake up and rally their districts to insist on it.

      (I’m cranky after spending over an hour trying to find out how much it will cost me to get a Thyroid Ultrasound tomorrow) the best estimate is somewhere between $100 and $1100. Grrr.)

    2. HopeLB

      Think the Dems wil realize their obvious opportunity here? Instead of endless Resistance they could move past resistance to policy planks, admit all of their past directional mistakes as Trump simply builds upon them. “No Ending Obama care” becomes, “We were wrong to try and continue the for profit healthcare system. Bernie is correct. Healthcare is a right. Medicare for all!” . It gets tricky when Trump does things like infrastructure, but here again, the Dems could push for “No privatized infrastructure, “Infrastructure For America Owned by Americans with an Infrastructure Bank Ellen Brown’s idea) for ALL”and then explain using Rahm’s parking meters example what a bad idea it is to let the Banksters grift from the public.
      On Trumps ban of people from 7 countries, the Dems could say, “Well, while we were wrong and complicit in constantly ratcheting up US citizens’ fear of terrorists after 9-11 to get more wars going and the surveillance state normalized, we were wrong and there is going to be blowback, so we must end the constant wars and at the same time keep the blowback from hitting US soil while making amends.”.

  8. Carolinian

    meant for @dcblogger. It’s an interesting new concept–let’s have an election and then, if you don’t like the result, try to nullify it through a general strike, impeachment, whatever. Why have the election at all then?

    People certainly have a right to protest and Trump said that himself. It’s the whole nullification thing I have a problem with. America fought a war over that.

    1. Detroit Dan

      Carolinian,

      There needs to be a recourse when the elected president is a pathological liar. The system has spun out of control and extraordinary measures are required to get it back on track.

      – Obama was not born in US
      – There is no global warming
      – Mexico will pay for the wall

      1. Carolinian

        You think Bush jr wasn’t a pathological liar? If we impeached presidents for lying we would impeach them all.

      2. tgs

        Trump didn’t start saying those things after the inauguration. Trump was saying those things all the way along – and he won.

        But the post-truth world did not begin with Trump; I actually listened to Obama’s last press conference and almost everything he said was either a lie or misleading b*llshit.

      3. pretzelattack

        the second item on your list is the one i am worried to death about. we are in extraordinary danger as a civilization. some pipeline protestors are using a defense of legal necessity.

      4. WheresOurTeddy

        Please tell us which president in your lifetime was not a pathological liar.

        Hell, tell us which president in *anyone’s* lifetime was not a pathological liar.

        1. Massinissa

          Did Jimmy Carter count? He had a hundred and one flaws but I’m not sure being a liar was one.

          Other than that, I’m having a hard time thinking of anyone who was president in the last 100 years that fits that bill.

      5. integer

        – Obama was not born in US

        This rumor originated in 2008 during the D-party primary, when a group of Clinton supporters sent out an email questioning 0bama’s birthplace. It is possible that this group of Clinton supporters was a David Brock affiliated group, as he was involved with Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign. Trump picked the issue up in 2011 and seems to have used it to to get free publicity for The Apprentice. Apologies for not providing links but I did the research and posted about it here a month or two ago. Not going down that rabbit hole again.

    2. Katharine

      Yes we had an election. We also had an inauguration with an oath of office, and some people see serious problems with fulfillment of that oath. That’s not nullification, it’s demanding follow-through. You may not agree with them, but it isn’t accurate to represent them as anti-constitutional.

      1. Carolinian

        My opinion: you are being played and marginalized. Generals lose battles by not understanding their opponents. Trump is deliberately provoking you and if you don’t think Trump is that smart Bannon very well may be. By most accounts Trump is a good delegator.

        1. Katharine

          I am being what? What do you know about me beyond what I write here? Your opinion is impertinent. I do not have to agree with you to be a rational independent adult. Learn manners!

          1. Carolinian

            Ok how about–in my opinion [see above] and judging from what you’ve been writing about this, you and others who believe they can protest Trump out of office are being played. Better?

            But the double jujitsu ad hominem was a nice try. Turns out you don’t know anything about me either. We are all just here giving our opinions in the spirit of open debate.

            1. Katharine

              You said:

              you and others who believe they can protest Trump out of office are being played. Better?

              No, not better. I have not said I believed that. You have no right to assume you know what I believe.

              1. witters

                I saw no ‘rights’ claim anywhere (as in ‘I have a right to assume I know what you believe’). Is it a mark of (many in) the US that everything must come down to ‘rights’? A minute before it was about ‘manners’, then all of a sudden there are claims of rights abuse!

              2. Carolinian

                The other day you seemed to suggest that a Trumpexit was inevitable and since it’s hard to see that happening short of total social chaos perhaps I was reading between the lines.

                But you’re right. If I have mischaracterized your views that should be set straight–perhaps by simply stating them rather assuming some malevolence on my part.

                That said, I will stand by my opinion that those who see mass protests as a road to a Trump expulsion or resignation are acting foolishly and also dangerously.

                1. Katharine

                  Thank you. I appreciate that. Do, by all means stand by your opinion. You surely have as much right to it as others have to theirs. I don’t share it, though I am more in a position of reserving judgment than of active disagreement. All I objected to–strenuously–was your imputing ideas to me which were not mine.

                2. Fiver

                  It’s dangerous to the extent that Trump has already established a very clear inclination to ratchet ever-further right in response to what I believe so far have been the largely orchestrated theatrics of opposition of the outed Dems, not the sort of organic response that is certain to come, and perhaps sooner than later, when Trump does something so big, stupid and wrong most of his current supporters find themselves twisted in knots trying not to disown him, then, when their heads stop snapping back into position face-forward, are going to want the sort of justice meted out on Trump and this crew as was disastrously not on Bush/Cheney or Wall Street, or for that matter, Obama and Clinton and Wall Street. His basic orientation, temperament and judgment are completely incompatible with economic, social or environmental stability, be it domestically or globally.

                  Someday not so far down the road you will hear a big, loud, odd-sounding, whipping ‘thwap’ – that will be the first head, head one of millions. You’ll never forget where you were that day, the day Trump looks up from his twit-feed, gives the world the finger, and chews his own face off.

            2. Vatch

              who believe they can protest Trump out of office are being played.

              How about if we protest Scott Pruitt, Steven Mnuchin, Jeff Sessions, and Betsy DeVos out of office in the federal Executive branch? Pruitt can go back to Oklahoma, Sessions to the Senate, and the other two to wherever it is that super rich people like to hang out?

              If Trump notices that a lot of citizens don’t like some of his nominations, maybe his deep need for approval will prompt him to improve the quality of his choices for public office.

    3. WJ

      I think the time for a general strike was right after the first, or second, or third Presidential Debate….

        1. Eureka Springs

          The time for a general strike was long, long ago..and today. But you better be for something, with great specificity and simplicity.

          Not just against someone.

          A general strike is timely because we are mired in systemic criminality, A long train of abuses – State sanctioned torture, deception, surveillance, provocateurs, inability to assemble peacefully when we are really challenging the powers that be, have our grievances addressed, denial, looting, 99 percent class war, war criminality, denial of health care as a human right, the most of our brethren imprisoned in the world. Political process sold exclusively to highest bidders. Propaganda from the Government upon its own people. The ability of congresscriters to conduct insider trading, American citizens on the hook for derivatives – above and beyond everything else when derivatives fail! Five sibling billionaires who never worked for their inheritance have more wealth than the lower 160 million citizens combined, Secret law, budgets, police, courts, decisions.

          None of that is by accident or to blame on just one side… it’s systemic.

          And all who are in charge must go! Preferably to jail or Iraq.

          The Declaration of Independence may not have the force of law, but it’s time…

          But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. —

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > General strike: You better be for something, with great specificity and simplicity.

            All the things the resistance is not. Whether that’s a bug or a feature I don’t know.

    4. Anne

      Haven’t we had enough of rolling over and playing dead? Enough of packing up our opinions and ideas and beliefs just because the other guy won?

      Striking, boycotting, sitting-in – none of those things nullify anything; they amplify voices that others want to silence on the basis of who won and who lost. I, at least, am exceedingly tired of being told I’m supposed to shut up because “my side” lost, and I should just get over it.

      Is that what women who were treated as chattel were supposed to do? Is that what people of color were supposed to do? The gay community? Were those denied rights and whose rights were being infringed on just supposed to go quietly into the night?

      I see the rise of protest as an effort to take our voices back from those who would sell us out for money or power or influence, but admittedly, not everyone sees the same things I do.

      1. Waldenpond

        Again, I have not seen a single protest at an elected Democrats office. The Democrats voted for Trump’s nominees and those claiming they are protesting Trump’s agenda trotted the very people who had just voted for Trump’s agenda right back on to the podiums.

        1. Vatch

          The Democrats voted for Trump’s nominees

          Most Democratic Senators voted against Pompeo (CIA), and all of the Democrats on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee voted against DeVos (Education). You are absolutely correct that some of the Democratic Senators are acting like spineless pushovers; such Senators need to be pushed hard so they will vote against the worst of Trump’s choices. Some people aren’t comfortable demonstrating publicly, which is why I encourage people to make a few phone calls. Those who are comfortable with public demonstrations should do so, and they can find which Democrats have voted for all of Trump’s picks so far here:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formation_of_Donald_Trump%27s_Cabinet#Confirmation_roll_call_votes

          1. hunkerdown

            Spineless pushovers to you are effective operators to the olilgarchs.

            Think about the narrative you’re asking us to accept here and whether it would have worked by now if it worked at all.

          2. dbk

            It’s also very probable they’ll all vote against Sessions in committee tomorrow, and against Mnuchin (whenever that committee vote is rescheduled).

            Joe Manchin (D-WVA) has stated he’ll vote for Sessions in the full floor vote. He’s a test case for how the Democrats will react when one of their number breaks rank for inscrutable reasons. Worth following, closely.

            1. hunkerdown

              Sessions → pot crackdown → big pharma → Mylan → Manchin’s daughter. It’s all about the cutouts and the family grift.

        2. marym

          In Chicago there have been protests at Durbin’s and Duckworth’s office building. At least one of the local groups involved has universal healthcare in their own agenda, and the protest group includes a #Medicar4All in tweets about their action. The facebook page for the protests indicates support for the women’s march and the airport protests.

          Saw tweets today of a women’s march organizer speaking in DC about cabinet nominations, and another of people with a sign “If you vote for Sessions we won’t vote for you” (and some of the letters in the sign were pink – hah)

          It’s going to take all of us.

          1. Waldenpond

            After the Ds vote for Bush’s war, Obama’s drones, AUMF, (I’m not doing this again) the line in the sand is “If you vote for Sessions we won’t vote for you”? I don’t like the imaginary sand line and I’ll check back in 2018 to see how many of the corrupt Ds have been replaced with someone to the left.

            I’m not your ‘we’.

        3. TheBellTolling

          Again, I have not seen a single protest at an elected Democrats office.

          There have been and are. There is a Chuck Schumer protest going on today.

        4. Anne

          Do you think flooding the regional offices of members of Congress with phone calls, e-mails and letters qualifies as “protest?” Because my understanding is that that is what is happening – people are overwhelming their Senators’/Representatives’ offices with expressions of their disagreement for recent actions and their support for alternative policies (not to be confused with alternative facts).

          I saw this online today, here, which details actions being taken at the regional office level.

          So, no, the optics aren’t the same as crowds of people massing in the streets, but is optics what we’re going for, or is it action? Is taxing the ability of these offices to handle day-to-day activities via mail and phone different than taxing the ability of cars to navigate the streets?

          There are all kinds of ways to be heard; not all of them involve one’s camera-ready physical presence.

          1. Waldenpond

            No I do not think calling some poorly paid staffer at any office is protest.

            I notice every single person who noted that there is a protest at a particular politicians office conveniently left off that they trot these very same Ds back out.

            ….and those links are not an effective response to a call out for failure to hold Democrat electeds to account. Did you think I wouldn’t look?

            The first link was for a Republican!

            and then you link to an article with: [A one-day delay won’t likely change anything]

            Was that supposed to be a pat on the back for Schumer who voted for the original bill in the first place? Come on!

            https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2017/01/these-73-sitting-democrats-voted-to-ban-visas-from-some-muslim-countries-that-law-still-exists

            1. Anne

              I thought it responsible to provide the link to where it was I saw the Facebook post screenshot; I did not make any comment regarding the Sessions committee vote delay, nor did I make any comment regarding Chuck Schumer.

              The Facebook screenshot was provided to show what people are doing to get the attention of whoever represents them in the Congress; I am sorry I did not see something similar that concerned a Democrat.

              Let me ask you a question: if your Representative is a Republican, or perhaps one or both of your Senators is Republican, do you not see value in expressing your views to that person or his or her office, just because he or she is a Republican?

              I happen to think that it isn’t just important to get more people elected who better represent the views of the people – the actual human beings, as opposed to the corporations who keep trying to run the show – but that it’s important to push the people who already hold office in directions that serve us better, whether those people are Democrats or Republicans.

              I’d be curious to know what methods you would apply to improving the quality of the people running for public office, and of the people who currently hold office. I see a lot of criticism, but I don’t see any suggestions or ideas for changing anything.

              1. Waldenpond

                The democrat base just got a 25/26% presidential vote. It’s strategy is an abysmal failure.

                Phone calls, e-mails, letters do not work. They are statistical gathering by staff.

                Why would you harass some staffer? If you have an issue with a politician, go after that politician. Get in their face and stay there.

                1. Stop deferring to the system. I have been dumped from townhall calls for calling out my rep for lying while on the line with me. He literally stated a position on the group call, claimed he was taking a break and walked in the other room and voted the opposite of what he just claimed. Unfortunately for him, I had on c-span at the same time and was still on the line. When he returned I repeated his statement, called him a liar and when he came sniveling at my door for support, reminded him and told him to get lost (and his sycophant wife he had tagging along.) Some people do not deserve respect let alone votes.

                2. Purge the billionaire money from the party. You’ll attract nothing but grifters until you do. I have repeatedly stated, boo and shout the celebrities off the stage. Boo and shout the corrupt Democrats, every single one, off the stage. If an event is on facebook or in the NYT, it is top down. People are getting paid (just not you) to put the event on and track the performance. You might have to not attend. If you do show up, obviously, don’t donate your labor nor supplies.

                Protests for policy are fine but protestors and observers are going to get burned out. Use the time wisely. Make sure that the demand is specific and always for more than people are willing to settle for. If your protest is on local tv… fine. If it’s on national tv, you might be doing it wrong.

                3. Give people something to vote for. Conservatives have five planks. Learn them. Offer policies in opposition to their platform. Stop offering up lesser evilism ameliorating policies. Adopt policies that eliminate causes instead of offering insufficient treatments… want to do something about violence against women? Take off the pussy hat, demand concrete solutions to the stress that causes violence for all people …. jobs, poverty, health care, public housing and over policing (Clinton’s welfare bill, Clinton’s crime bill, Obama’s republican insurance were not only all insufficient to the cause, but immiserating). Don’t offer up pablum like suggesting adding mental health care coverage to extortionist Republican insurance.

                4. Stop voting for them. Purge the politicians that voted for Clinton’s and Obama’s immiserating legislation.

                Those are a couple of suggestions. This is nothing but rejecting neoliberals and liberals and trading some policies with the left.

                The problem is there is a far-right party and a center-right party in this country. The D coalition is neo-liberals, liberals and progressives… a center-right coalition.

                People have been habituated to a pretty limited political process, style, rhetoric and theatrics by media and elite. Don’t comply.

                  1. Waldenpond

                    I find Sanders to be consistent though. His campaign was about money in politics in general, generic Ds accepting money, and calling out specific Rs. Pulls his punches on the Ds.

                    But, yes, many Berners have abandoned the ‘money out of politics’ issue and are supporting 501c4 pacs for unlimited donations, spending and no disclosure.

                    Sanders isn’t necessarily a Berner. That’s how they gitcha’!

              2. Waldenpond

                Another… stay focused.

                If someone supports a policy such as medicare for all, the argument needs to be much harder… single payer, public hospitals, public pharma, public medical device, public ownership of patents paid for with public money at Universities.

                So when there is a debate by a Democrat elected in support of the noxious republican extortionist insurance cartel bs….. don’t give ground, ignore the noise and always demand way more than you are willing to settle for.

                [Patrick Svitek Verified account
                ‏@PatrickSvitek

                .@TedCruz will debate @BernieSanders on Obamacare next Tuesday, @CNN just announced.]

                https://twitter.com/PatrickSvitek/status/826626242011082752

      2. dcblogger

        I, at least, am exceedingly tired of being told I’m supposed to shut up because “my side” lost, and I should just get over it.

        especially when Trump lost the popular vote.

          1. Eureka Springs

            Because 75 percent of the electorate voted (and no showed/voter general strike) against Her and Trump.

            A 25 percent winner in a two horse race is a massive vote of no confidence at best.

        1. nippersmom

          Yet Clintonites had no trouble telling that to Sanders supporters after the DNC and media conspired to hand the nomination to Clinton, in defiance of their own rules, as well as election laws.

          Clinton and the Democratic Party were well aware of the electoral college system; it wasn’t some last-minute or post-election surprise. Their inability to develop a strategy that worked with that system is their own failure.

      3. Brad

        Right. The point of the mass demos for non-LibDems is not to “nullify Trump” but to talk to real people about how the LibDems brought up to this impasse. About how the 2-party system actually works. About how to change the way they have been relating themselves to the political scene.

        Trump will only be “nullified” by his class comrades, when the 2-party snakepit and their backers have had their fill of him.

      4. Fiery Hunt

        Anne,
        It seems you may be forgetting that lots of people have been ignored for the last 8 years. They were told to shut up during the entire Obama administration. They voted for Trump. And they won. Maybe, just maybe instead demanding that identity politics continue to be heard, maybe you ought to consider the other half of the country.

        Identity politics is not a solution.
        See Democrat devastation; state or national edition

        1. Anne

          I’d be curious to know your understanding of “identity politics,” because I’m not sure that encouraging people to speak out, and resisting calls to shut up and get over it fits my understanding.

          I suppose I have some difficulty with your comment because I felt that the two terms of the Obama administration aligned much better with center-right ideology; only Republicans could label a warmed-over Republican health plan as the looming arrival of socialism delivered by an ultra-liberal, for no other reason than it came from a Democratic president. The security state, prosecution of whistleblowers, slow-walking gay rights, hedging on reproductive rights, pushing for TPP – to name just a few – are not positions I identify with. I am not one of those people who bases my opinion on which letter – ( R) or (D) – appears after some politician’s name.

          If anything, it was Democratic voters who were ignored while politicians like Obama and many Democratic members of Congress bent themselves into pretzels conceding to Republican demands in an effort to show they were willing to work to get things done. Time and again, the voters were abandoned in the belief that we had no choice but to vote for Democrats no matter how badly they treated us.

          As a citizen and a human being, I have the right and the responsibility to speak out; I will continue to do so, and encourage others to do the same.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            I absolutely support both your right to speak out and the manner in which you do it at least as evidenced here on this site. A voice of reason and thought…

            Here’s where I come from: If the argument for a policy is based on some benefit specifically for an “approved” minority of the population, I’ve got a problem with it. Gay rights? I am absolutely FOR them. But not because LGBTQ (or blacks or Mexicans or left-handed people) are different or special but because they are Americans. Women’s rights, racial minorities…god, do I believe in equality and justice for all. Woman’s health choices are not special, they SHOULD be just like everyone else’s…their own choices. Gay marriage? Anyone of consenting age should be allowed the partner of their choice who also is of consenting age. Black Lives Matter? No more AND NO LESS than anyone else (including cops) and on and on..
            BUT….
            Being against illegal immigration doesn’t make me a racist. Not wanting to focus on transgender bathroom bills doesn’t make me homophobic. Respecting tradition rural Americans doesn’t make me a Trump supporter.

            And trust me, having been borne and raised in the SF Bay Area, I am neither neo-nazi nor religious. But I see the racial and gender issues as divisions to distract from the real fight of class warfare. And as long as my fight is with the oligarchs, I can’t abide the serpentine whispers of those who have enjoyed the very political and economic system that enslaves a majority of Americans.
            The pussy hatted brigade are in fact my landlord who just raised my rent 22%. They are my clients who think nothing of putting off payment because…well, they just like to schedule their payments for maximum benefit as opposed to when the work is done. No one is speaking up for me and people like me. And that goes doubly for the anti-Trump protesters. But there are lots of us. Self-employed. White. Non-privileged.

            I never suggested that you should shut up. I know that there have been 8 years of struggle for lots of Americans. Trump has only been President for 11 days.

            So I guess my answer to why I might suggest listening as opposed to demanding more identity politics is…

            I think we’d be very good allies if you quit looking past me.

            1. Fiery Hunt

              And you’re absolutely right…the last administration was conservative right wing.

              But they were members of the Democrat party.
              And so much of the “protesters” just want their comfortable leadership back. And I say screw that.

              BTW I also don’t have a party affiliation and until I get someone I can support, I will continue to not vote. Would’ve voted for Sanders but it didn’t matter. I got burned on Bill Clinton in my first presidential vote and haven’t voted since.

    5. Oregoncharles

      Trump won the election only in the most legalistic sense. He’s legal but not legitimate.

      Actually, I see the campaign against him as promoting gridlock and paralysis, not removal. He’s already done the best thing he’s going to, by blocking the “trade” agreements, so gridlock is our friend.

      And I see nullification as civic civil disobedience; the Green Party has promoted initiatives with that effect. (In many cases, the constitutional status of some federal laws is very questionable; nullification attempts are ways to test it.) It’s a political tool, useable for either good or bad.

    6. LZFR

      I think in terms of the General Strike – it would need an actual demand. It can’t just be ‘anti-Trump’ or ‘I’m angry.’ Thats not a strike, thats a protest. You strike until your demands are met. So there needs to be a list of material demands – medicare for all could work, example.

      But I DO think, in regards to dcbloggers post, there are some take aways from the womens march and the airport protests that are good signs. Most importantly: people are looking for involvement, for something to do because they feel helpless. Most of these people are not involved in politics, locally or nationally, or haven’t been in quite some time. I was at the protests at LAX and i’ll tell you – it was mostly normal people, probably HRC voters, families, strollers etc. AKA was not the usual protest guard. And they shut down the airport! Went out in the streets, were up in the cops face, not letting cars through. That is a good sign.

      I had a lot of problems with the womens march (not sure what it was about, all of this has been talked about) – but I think it was cathartic for a lot of people, and lot of those people are looking for entry points. A lot of lefties are shouting: agitate! educate! organize! Which is good, but most people don’t know what that means and don’t know how to start.

      Of course I worry that this won’t sustain itself, that people will get worn down, become indifferent, etc etc. But thats the trick and thats where the hard work comes in. And as much as I want to continue pointing out ‘where were you when Obama did this’ etc, I’m not sure how helpful it is if its not phrased the right way. Becomes alienating, antagonizing etc. People are upset and that should be harnessed as much as it can, not driven away because they tuned out for far too long. They are here now, time to get them up to speed. This doesn’t mean making bullshit concessions but it means organizing effectively.

      Anyway, trying to be optimistic here god help me :)

  9. allan

    DeVos questionnaire appears to include passages from uncited sources [SFGate]

    President Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, in written responses to questions from senators, appears to have used several sentences and phrases from other sources without attribution – including from a top Obama administration civil rights official.

    The responses from nominee Betsy DeVos were submitted Monday to the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is voting Tuesday morning on her confirmation.

    In answering a set of questions from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on how she would address bullying of LGBTQ students, DeVos wrote: “Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment where they can learn, thrive, and grow.”

    That sentence is almost identical to language used by Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division under Obama, in a press release announcing the administration’s controversial guidance to schools on how to accommodate transgender students. …

    Shouldn’t we be celebrating the bipartisan consensus?

    1. a different chris

      Yes and who is seriously thinking that a billionaire did or even was expected to answer these questions herself? She has little people for that, and if they made errors – technical or otherwise – they will be fired and replaced with other little people. Now shut up and give her the job that is her due.

    1. polecat

      … or maybe all those oak leaves, clover, and grasses got sucked onto a screen, in front on a reverse wind tunnel ….. the power switch dialed to 11 …

      I DO like the oak leaves, by the way ! ‘;]

  10. Portia

    hah, you know me so well. kataphatic practices, not a religious goal in my case. practicing deep inner silence and setting your intention from deep inner silence is very effective. Meditation practice has a purpose beyond peace of mind–it trains us to circumvent the control freak “everyday mind”, which some may remember as “Self One” from the “Inner Game of -” series–and access that magical world of infinity, where our true being is free to be.

  11. Waldenpond

    I kind of feel bad I laughed at the constitutional convention piece. We’ve always had liberals, neo-libs and libertarians selling this stuff (secession, convention, etc) in CA. Can not convince people that this is not going to go the way they think even when they watch as CA rejects eliminating the death penalty but makes is easier.

  12. Jim A.

    “President Donald Trump will continue to enforce a 2014 executive order that offers protections for the employees of federal contractors from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, the White House said early Tuesday”

    I read that as a personal attack by Trump on Mike Pence. I wonder what he did to hurt Trump’s feelings. Trump doesn’t care one way or the other, but Pence hate “the gay.”

    1. RUKidding

      Possibly an attack on Pence. That said, and fwiw, Trump did say a number of times, during the campaign, that he would protect LGBT citizens and enforce their rights. So, that’s interesting.

    2. Lynne

      What makes you say Trump doesn’t care? He’s the one who walked around onstage in CO with a rainbow flag, as well as the one who said he didn’t care what bathroom people used. He’s actually being consistent on this, just as with his other campaign positions. Just because so many of those positions were hideous, doesn’t mean they all were.

  13. Waldenpond

    Enjoyed the communication articles. I don’t mind different writing styles, some more cerebral and trying to tease out what someone who is more verbose can be a positive exercise. Many times calls for civility are a demand to adhere to a hierarchy and also a tool to shut down conversation.

    I noticed the comment regarding Clinton… lock her up. There were a range of discussions from: she committed no crime, she committed a crime.. let it go, look forward, she committed a crime and should be prosecuted, lock her up. This could very well be an example of ‘you teach people how to treat you’. If you ignore other arguments other than the extreme, you train yourself to seek out memes and teach others to approach you with memes.

  14. RUKidding

    Well alright! Trump is proposing to look at H1b visas with the prospect of making some changes. It’s about time. I won’t hold my breath, as it’s well-known that Trump, himself, utilized the H1b visa program hire workers at lower wages (mostly from Eastern Europe, I understand).

    Of course, the Tech Sector has commenced their usual whining and bitching:

    Technology companies are in an on-going struggle to hire computer-science professionals to power their companies. Executives often claim that they must look overseas because there is a shortage of home-grown math and science graduates.

    Critics charge that tech firms lack diversity because they reflexively look to hire white and Asian males and overlook a growing pipeline of women and people of color who are developing programming skills.

    How many articles have been written in recent years about USA STEM grads being unable to get a decent job, ending working at coffee shops and the like. I realize that not every STEM grad is going to qualified to work at certain types of jobs, but I disagree that the USA doesn’t have “enough” qualified workers, that Tech companies consistently “have to” hire overseas workers. It’s not true.

    I hope this one grows legs and ends up providing access to good quality jobs to US citizens, who are qualified for them.

    Speaking as someone who found it next to impossible to get a tech job in ye olde Dot.Com boom days. Many US citizens, like myself, were amply qualified with the right educational background, but because all the Tech gurus begged Congress to give them H1b visas instead, they could hire qualified tech dudes (they were nearly always men) from places like India for lower wages.

    I have quite a few Indian friends and wish them well. They are hard workers and very smart. Yet it does nip at me that they’re here working in high paying jobs on H1b visas when at least some US citizens, with equal or better qualifications, are finding it hard to get work.

    The fact that some of these H1b visa workers go on to create new companies which create more jobs is irrelevant. It’s like only Indian H1b workers are the ones who’ll do this feat of magic. Let’s limit H1b visas and see how good US workers really are.

    If the Trump Admin really does something worthwhile in this regard, it will go some distance to making me happier about his Admin, in spite of the numerous glaring issues and flaws.

    1. David

      it’s well-known that Trump, himself, utilized the H1b visa program hire workers at lower wages (mostly from Eastern Europe, I understand).

      Source?

      In 1983, Trump was sued by union members for cheating the union by hiring undocumented Polish laborers.

      From Politifact,

      It was Trump’s contractor, not Trump himself, who hired 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish a building to make room for Trump Tower in Manhattan. Trump said he didn’t know. The lawsuit sought $1 million in damages, and a judge ruled that Trump had to pay $325,000 plus interest.

      Is this the same issue you’re referencing?

      1. RUKidding

        Here’s a story about Trump hiring models on H1b visas:

        http://www.ibtimes.com/donald-trump-slams-h-1b-program-stocks-modeling-agency-underpaid-catwalkers-same-visa-2062490

        Trump hires models on H-1b visas. However, I made a mistake about Mar el Largo employees. They were on H2b visas:
        https://www.macobserver.com/analysis/trump-reportedly-drafts-executive-order-targeting-visas-used-apple-techs/

        So yes, Trump has hired workers on H1b and H2b visas, as well as off-shoring manufacturing of some of his products.

        Just saying.

    2. LT

      If things don’t improve in that area, I can imagine a future where Americans go overseas to have their kids or they apply for jobs from overseas…

    3. ChrisPacific

      Technology companies are in an on-going struggle to hire computer-science professionals to power their companies. Executives often claim that they must look overseas because there is a shortage of home-grown math and science graduates.

      Oh? Cry me a river. If you need them that badly, you can sponsor them for green cards (and have them work as provisional status in the meantime). Which is what you should have been doing all along, rather than leveraging their temporary worker status to arbitrage salaries and benefits for citizens and residents. Yes, the process is convoluted and expensive, but the cost is still tiny in comparison to the value of a solid, long-term employee. You are looking for solid, long-term employees, aren’t you? If not, why should you be favored over organizations that are?

      And by the way, about this shortage of math and science graduates. Why is that, do you think? Care to share any kind of ownership of that problem? Are you lobbying for more funding for education, or funding education or research grants yourself? Helping out with school programs? Do you offer paid internships? How is your graduate program? What sort of career paths do you offer for new graduates? Or do you just rely on others to train them up for you and then hire them away? Remind me again why you deserve special treatment?

  15. Left in Wisconsin

    So I went to the first Madison meeting of Our Revolution Wisconsin (or Our Wisconsin Revolution, I forget) last night.

    The good: Huge crowd (300 maybe), lots of energy and enthusiasm, a good mix of Bernie supporters with others who have been around 3rd party and other fringe efforts. Plan is not to play as a party but not to discourage those who want to get in and takeover the state D Party.

    The questionable: The two main people running the show last night are well-known and already deeply involved in Working Families WI (which thus far has basically no presence outside Milwaukee and not much even in Milwaukee). What does that mean? There is already an “interim organizing committee.” No idea who was authorized to put it together. Weirdly (or not?), until yesterday there was resistance to identifying who was on it and still no answer to the question who appointed them. But many seemed to be Bernie delegates and it was claimed that they had tried to contact every state Bernie delegate and offer them a slot. The plan is to make a dues-supported organization (good) but unclear what involvement members get to have (of course, lots of talk of “democracy”), etc.

    Stay tuned, I guess. I’d be interested in others’ experiences.

    1. uncle tungsten

      Sounds suspicious from my distance. If it aint up front, its likely a sham. Maybe there could emerge a Wisconsin Our Revolution chat board pretty quick with people keeping anon and yarning up a democratic framework for delegate and administration election.

      There has been more than enough time for the OR to have produced a “local organization guide” etc. Open democracy at the beginning would be a prerequisite to success in my experience.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes. I hate that there’s no coverage of this, no coverage of what’s going on in the California state Democrat Party… I try pierce the walls of the bubb;e on this, but in vain. Links very much appreciated.

    2. UserFriendly

      The one in Minneapolis just kind of formed from organizers last summer and voted on leaders. I think most of them formed that way. If you have a big enough group already and you want to get recognised by OR national you just fill this out…. Not sure if it is supposed to be public so don’t spread it everywhere.

  16. WheresOurTeddy

    “Today’s anger and discontent—from Islamist nihilists murdering Paris concert-goers, to Trump supporters baying for Hillary Clinton to be locked up, to attacks on immigrants following Brexit—is hardly new.”

    Wow, what an interesting 3 groups to lump together.

    Anyone who thinks Clinton is an unprosecuted felon who should be locked up is *the same as a terrorist*.

    “The deep roots of modern resentment” [The Economist].

  17. The Trumpening

    Surprised the Clintons are STILL pushing this Putin thing. Don’t they realize the logical consequences of claiming Putin stole the election in 2016 despite Obama controlling the government is that in 2018, with Trump not just not blocking but actively conspiring (supposedly) with Putin then the GOP should win a 200 seat majority in the House and win 30 of the 33 Senate races? And that in 2020 with the Putin / Trump partnership in full bloom (supposedly) that Trump will win the first 50 state landslide in US history?

    Why would any Democrats bother voting in the future if Putin is totally controlling the voting booths from the Kremlin? Because you can’t say Putin hacked the vote in 2016 despite Obama’s efforts to resist him without admitting Putin is totally free to do whatever he wants to the vote (supposedly) in 2018 and 2020?

  18. WheresOurTeddy

    “Sanders = Edwards – bimbo eruption + white hair.”

    Seriously? One is an ambulance chaser who is the phoniest phony I’ve ever seen in politics.

    The other has been fighting for civil rights and equality (however much purists fault him for playing the long game) for over 50 years.

    Ridiculous comparison.

    1. RUKidding

      I agree. It’s a great way to damn Sanders with the faintest of faint “praise” (if you can even call it that).

      Edwards had a few redeeming characteristics, but he is/was no Sanders.

  19. Jim Haygood

    Apple!

    78.2 million iPhones, a beat!
    $3.38 a share, also a beat.
    $78.4 billion in revenue, a record quarter. Also a beat.
    Apple stock up 2.3%.

    Cook’s in his flivver; all’s well with the world.

  20. Montanamaven

    Got some OFA email (not sure how I am now on that list) and low and behold, it’s from Madeline Albright!

    By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the executive order on immigration and refugees that the President signed on Friday. It bans Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspends the entire refugee program for 120 days, cuts in half the number of refugees we can admit, and halts all travel from certain Muslim-majority countries.

    I felt I had no choice but to speak out against it in the strongest possible terms.

    This is a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. We have a proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution, and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. As a refugee myself who fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, I personally benefited from this country’s generosity and its tradition of openness. This order would end that tradition, and discriminate against those fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria.

    There is no data to support the idea that refugees pose a threat. This policy is based on fear, not facts. The refugee vetting process is robust and thorough. It already consists of over 20 steps, ensuring that refugees are vetted more intensively than any other category of traveler.

    The process typically takes 18-24 months, and is conducted while they are still overseas. I am concerned that this order’s attempts at “extreme vetting” will effectively halt our ability to accept anyone at all. When the administration makes wild claims about Syrian refugees pouring over our borders, they are relying on alternative facts — or as I like to call it, fiction.

    The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.

    Refugees should not be viewed as a burden or as potential terrorists. They have already made great contributions to our national life. Syrian refugees are learning English, getting good jobs, buying homes, and starting businesses. In other words, they are doing what other generations of refugees — including my own — did. And I have no doubt that, if given the opportunity, they will become an essential part of our American fabric.

    By targeting Muslim-majority countries for immigration bans and by expressing a clear preference for refugees who are religious minorities, there’s no question this order is biased against Muslims. And when one faith is targeted, it puts us all at risk.

    I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty when I came here as a child. It proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping.

    This executive order does not reflect American values. If you agree, make your voice heard now.

    https://my.ofa.us/Stand-Up-For-American-Values

    Thanks,

    Madeleine Albright
    Former Secretary of State

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      NEVER FORGET:

      Stahl asked: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?”

      Madeleine Albright replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omnskeu-puE

      In a just world, Albright is in prison.

      1. Brad

        Also don’t forget bubba Clinton’s curve ball endorsement at the end of his soliloquy to the Mad Madame at the Dem Convention: “And it was worth it!”, Clinton said with a smirk. A deliberate middle finger to the Sanderistas.

        That’s the kind of politics they represent. Enemies, not friends.

      2. clarky90

        Madeleine Albright is a bloody tyrant, who “does not reflect American Values”.

        Also “Stand-Up-For-American-Values” will be, in fact, a Secret Trotskyist Front Organization promoting Albrightian Mass Murder of Innocent Children.

        Decoding the purpose of these myriad “organizations” is a breeze once I learned the formula! (They are the opposite of what their name implies.)

    2. Liberal Mole

      So that’s what it said. I unsubscribed and reported as spam as soon as I saw sender was Albright. The neoliberals aren’t giving up, are they?

    3. Massinissa

      Haha Albright.

      “Protest Trump for not allowing refugees from the country I helped destroy! It cost me a few hundred thousand dead Iraqi children to create those refugees!”

      1. Jim Haygood

        Those half million kids were carefully vetted for 18 to 24 months before we determined it was best to terminate them. /sarc

    4. Brad

      Excuse me…ralph!, whew…”it was worth it”. Will shed no tears over the purge of Mad Halfbright’s State Dept.

      1. Jay M

        Imagine how many refugees there would have been without the preemptive excess child mortality in Iraq.
        Just mowing the lawn I guess.

        1. montanamaven

          thank you all. that letter from Allbright made me ill. are the Democrats stupid or evil? or both.

          1. allan

            Both.

            Trump administration is radicalizing Democratic voters, creating a challenge for the party, Rep. Adam Schiff says [LA Times]

            As protests spread over policy announcements from the Trump administration, Democrats must work to encourage participation in politics, but face a danger of the party becoming too radicalized, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said Tuesday. …

            Democratic leaders have to channel public reaction to Trump’s actions into progress, rather than deadlock, Schiff said. …

            “We have two of the most capable strategists as the head of our House and Senate Democrats,” Schiff added, referring to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Senate Democratic leader Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York.

            “If anybody can grapple with this, they can …

            Someone please put me out of my misery.

            1. Massinissa

              This all translates as, “WE NEED SCHUMER AND PELOSI TO KEEP OUR VOTERS FROM BECOMING LEFTISTS!”

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Corporate America Is Inching Even Closer to a Constitutional Convention” [Alternet]

    Actually, parts of the Left have been, too. My hobbyhorse on this is that a Convention cannot be restricted as to topic or result. Basically, it all depends on who the delegates are – so Republican control of the state legislatures that would name those delegates, I assume, is extremely important.

    A Convention is a whole new ball game, a non-violent revolution. It can rewrite anything that can get past the required 3/4’s of states. It’s a high-risk move, for the corporates, too, but appealing because the Constitution as it stands, is so full of botches (EC, anyone?). And restraining the Federal gov’t’s steady self-aggrandizement is pretty appealing for Left Coast lefties, too. Marijuana legalization, anyone? What about corporate personhood? (Granted, that’s about a one-word rewrite of the 14th Amendment: “natural” persons, as opposed to fictional ones.)

    I’d be for it if the political climate was different. The organizing challenge if one was invoked would be spectacular, though.

    1. Jim Haygood

      When a lead time of years is considered, the political pendulum could easily have swung the other direction by the time the 38th state is needed for ratification of whatever proposal a convention produces.

      Don’t aim at the skeet, aim at where it’s going to be. ;-)

      1. Oregoncharles

        It’s all about vectors; which way is it going?

        Not in our favor, at the moment, but Trump is enormously unpopular. If that continues, the next couple elections will make quite a change – if they get the chance.

        My attitude to that is pretty conspiratorial: after 2008, there was talk of the Republicans being through, but the Dems made sure they were revived.

        Now it’s the Republicans’ turn to engineer a Big Comeback for their partners in collusion.

  22. WheresOurTeddy

    NEVER FORGET:

    Stahl asked: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And – and you know, is the price worth it?”

    Madeleine Albright replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omnskeu-puE

    In a just world, Albright is in prison.

  23. Temporarily Sane

    Greetings NCers, Russian agents and others. Reading yesterday’s Water Cooler left me perturbed. Very much so. I thought about it for quite a while and still don’t “get” it. I’ll try to be brief and concise.

    There was an at times heated discussion around Trump’s banning for 90 days people from seven Muslim majority nations. Lambert was not too concerned about it, saying his thing is universal single-payer health care and that a nation state’s primary objective should be to look after its own citizens. I believe his words were along the lines of “first health care for all Americans, everything else comes after”.

    First question…how does accepting refugees from these countries prevent the implementation of a functional health care system?

    Second…what practical purpose is the ban intended to achieve? The countries in question are mostly Shia majority and are fighting against ISIS, AQ and the Salafi/Wahhabi terrorists. They hate the Shia like Nazis hate Jews and that is not hyperbole.

    All the countries were on the list of seven nations to be “regime changed” by Bush43. This would make the United States a threat to them, no?

    Saudi Arabia, the ideological/theological home of ISIS and all (and I do mean all, as in 100%) of the other civilian slaughtering Islamic terror outfits, was not included on the list and neither were its allies. Strange, considering the ban was enacted ostensibly to fight terrorism.

    Here is what Trump said in 2011:

    “Then look at Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petro dollars—our very own money—to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them!”

    Trump, D.J. 2011. Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing. Page 20.

    Something does not add up (to say the least).

    And I reiterate my first point, how does accepting refugees. from these nations prevent any government from implementing single-payer health care? (Additionally, were it not for America’s schizophrenic foreign policy, many or most of these people would not be in such dire straits in the first place.)

    Thank you for reading and considering my questions.

    1. Massinissa

      Obama never stopped the bombing that was creating the refugee problem in the first place, and Trump is not likely to do so either. So forgive us if we don’t take the Democrats seriously on their concern trolling about refugees. Oh yeah, and it doesn’t help that Trump is just using a list of seven countries that OBAMA CREATED. You can find a few articles on that in the last few days of NC coverage.

      So if it seems we don’t care, its really more that we blame the Dems as much as we do the Repubs and the Donald.

      1. nowhere

        The whole “Obama did it too” bit seems a little silly. Trump makes his own policy. He makes his own choices about what to implement. This has nothing to do with Obama! And this is coming from someone who has read this site since 2009 and learned to dispel what the Democrats say and what they do. But, I repeat, this is Trumps’s plan, his list. Period.

        He is every bit as culpable for his foreign policy actions as the other Presidents. In this regard he is an atomic actor, he makes choices, and he is not confined to previous administration’s actions unless he chooses to be.

        This site has always been a bastion of calling out BS. There are years worth of articles slamming Obama and referencing other writers and thinkers that have slammed Obama for his wrong actions. Call a spade a spade. Trump’s actions are wrong too.

        1. Brad

          Then why did not Trump extend this wrong action to the likes of Saudi Arabia, just as Obama also refused to do? Why didn’t Trump “make his own policy” here?

          I think a lot of the left wing pushback against equating Obama-Clinton with Trump-Bush or whomever comes from a place that just doesn’t want to face up to the fact that the whole LibDem crew are our enemies and not our friends.

          They hate us. They are our political enemies every bit as much as is Trump. Period. Please face up to it.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Clarity and truth.

            “Check out the big brain on Brad!”
            Samuel L Jackson as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction

          2. nowhere

            I completely agree that they are. I don’t agree that this absolves Trump from making his own bad policy decisions and that blaming his choices on Obama is laughable. Please face up to it.

            I can go down a line of things that Obama was terribly wrong about:
            * Drone war
            * Lybia
            * Syria

            That doesn’t mean Trump gets a pass because his predecessor had bad policies. He is choosing policies that are as bad if not worse.

            They are, in fact, not logically connected.

            1. WJ

              I agree with this completely.

              The issue is that many people want to claim that Trump’s action is not merely unjust but wildly, extraordinarily, unprecedentedly so.

              In responding to these people, many others point out that Trump’s action, while obviously unjust, is really not the worst thing that an American president has done recently, not by a long shot.

              What is going on here?

              Usually, the first group is made up of Democrats, liberals, etc. who feel the need to condemn Trump in hyperbolic terms befitting his vulgarity.

              Usually the second group is made up of leftists worried that people who are hyperbolic in their criticism of Trump are probably people who don’t know much about Obama, and who are likely going to ask us to support Booker in four years.

              1. Fiery Hunt

                Ohhh, I dunno bout that…

                The second group, who are well versed in the vileness of the two party, one ideology that has ruled America for lo on 40 years now, who rip Trump protesters as hard as they rip Obama and Hillary,…I’m thinking we’re not really big fans of Cory Pharma-Hooker.

                1. WJ

                  The second group is worried that the FIRST group is going to ask us (I am a second grouper) to support Booker in four years!

            2. Massinissa

              “I don’t agree that this absolves Trump from making his own bad policy decisions”

              Who said that it did?

              “They are, in fact, not logically connected.”

              But they ARE logically connected. Trump is continuing the godawful policies of Obama, Bush and Clinton. But apparently the Democrats only get up and protest when an R is in the white house and not a D. Maybe they should consider protesting no matter who is the president instead, and making it about policies instead of personalities or tribal identities?

    2. alex morfesis

      you frame it as refugees, but are they really refugees or economic opportunists…if we were having this discussion when the pinochets of the world still walked the earth, then the options were perhaps limited…but historically, people went to the country next to them, and would skip over the nation if the oppression was not what they had been used to…

      syrians, afghanis, iraqis…they were not fleeing some loving, multi party democracy, and not even living an illusion of such…so…there are other countries on the planet closer to from where they came to move to…even iraqi citizens who helped us destroy their country…scratch that…helped us “free” their country from the tyranny of running water and electricity…there are other muslim plurality nations that they could move to…

      it is a big world, and most countries, although corrupt almost everywhere, have democratic inklings that are greater than from whence they came…

      if china is the purported “future” of the world, why don’t refugees get scooting over to the line that forms at the red army communist party breakfast club…??

      We should not be dropping ordinance on anyone…period…

      although with all due respects to the waste and pillage that the micc vampires absorb, my thoughts are we need a much bigger but very different military…

      a navy that has vessels that still only have a couple of propellers at most, in effect a giant barge, is insane today…the aircraft carriers are too short and there are not enough of them, and they are a total logistical disaster…(getting off point…)

      we should pay for the resettlement of those whose lives we have allowed to be destroyed…

      oh where oh where were the protests so that these folks would never have had to become refugees…

  24. PKMKII

    re: Sarcastic and ironic modes of political conversation; As a member of the club, I’ve long observed that millennials, who make up a large contingent of the online political discussion, are often apprehensive about stating their opinions, political or otherwise, with conviction. Between the South Park & hipster ethos of “cool people don’t care about things,” the internet logic police who care more about whether you used a strawman than if you’re right or not, and the “I think every side is equally bad” pseudo-intellectuals, millennial culture is a caustic environment for earnest political movements to grow in. So it’s not surprising that it get shielded behind snark, satire, sarcasm, and irony, as to deflect the barbs of the peanut gallery. Conservatives are eager to amplify this, as it inevitably means a default to the status quo or the dreaded “golden mean.”

    1. aab

      That’s odd to me because I interact online politically with a lot of Millennials, as well as having produced one from my womb, and I haven’t actually noticed this with any of them, or my kid’s friends. I recognize the description of the culture, but my experience is that it doesn’t map that tightly with “Millennial” (of course all that generational definition is mostly a marketing construct anyway.)

      With my kid and her friends, it would make sense that they’d be outliers, since I raised her, and people who would be her friend would be attracted to our family’s, um, direct style. But I also haven’t noticed this with my online friends, who are earnest, logical, passionate, direct and committed — not 100% of the time, but then, I’m not, either. Most of them I know from the Sanders campaign. Perhaps that’s why.

      I’m crazy about the young ‘uns I know. They’re awesome. If it’s possible to turn the bowl of feces fettuccine they’ve been handed by their elders into something decent, they (and you) will find a way.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I agree, although my experience is limited to the kids in my college town.

        I had in mind, in fact, snark as weaponized language developed in the Bush Resistance, as described by Ian Welsh, for which I was present at the creation. Almost 15 years later, this seems to have congealed into a default communications style for the political class of a certain age, and activists in the same cohort. I think it’s a failure strategically, and that it reinforces the “progressive” bubble.

        1. Rhondda

          I think it’s a failure strategically, and that it reinforces the “progressive” bubble.

          I agree. It’s a kind of groupthink.

  25. LT

    Re: The deep roots of modern resentment” [The Economist].

    Funny how the Economist’s examination of the book ends with another version of “But, er, well, TINA…”

  26. Oregoncharles

    “Donald Trump and the Continuing Bush-Obama Legacy” [Limited Hangout].

    Thank you. this and the long-form article it references are valuable resources I hadn’t seen before.

  27. Dave

    “The working-class strongholds that once prospered without college-educated workers, on the other hand, are doing worse and worse, as computers and robots replace the workers whose jobs haven’t been sent overseas, and, as a result, an oversupply of labor brings down wages for everyone still there.”

    Not one mention of the word “immigrant” legal or otherwise, as though they don’t exist and had no effect on the job market or wages? The Atlantic is framing the debate on their own terms and like the rest of the presstitutes, has shown itself to be irrelevant to the majority of Americans through elitism and class bigotry.

    A picture of the people that they claim are representative of Hoosiers?

    https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2017/01/AP_953531299003/176dbdf05.jpg

  28. allan

    Trump to Direct DOL to Delay Fiduciary Rule [Think Advisor]

    President Donald Trump is expected to issue this week an order directing the Department of Labor to delay its fiduciary rule, according to two attorneys familiar with the matter. …

    Because nothing says looking out for the back row kids more than letting Wall Street keep ripping people off.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Scandalous. Delaying this rule lets Wall Street continue to soak retirees with fat commission financial products that could not be sold by a fiduciary … but pass muster under the sleazy ‘suitability’ standard.

      Behold the white horse of the false savior.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Accounts differ on this, and that link is paywalled. See e.g. MarketWatch.

      Incidentally, this is the second example of rule put into place by the Obama administration at the last minute, and hence very easy to a new administration to undo. One for the “History is Bunk” crowd.

  29. LT

    “Corporate America Is Inching Even Closer to a Constitutional Convention” [AlterNet] “Well done, Democrats…”

    So well done that it makes you wonder.

  30. Waldenpond

    Up for Trump’s consideration:

    [The drafts are circulating among administration officials, and it is unclear whether President Trump has decided to move forward with them or when he might sign them if he does decide to put them in place.]

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-circulates-more-draft-immigration-restrictions-focusing-on-protecting-us-jobs/2017/01/31/38529236-e741-11e6-80c2-30e57e57e05d_story.html?postshare=2611485889175975&tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.33fc71cc84e2

    [In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, popularly known as “welfare reform.” The law severely restricted all immigrant access to social assistance; those who are in the country illegally are barred from almost any federal program designed for the poor. Legal immigrants must live in the United States for a minimum of five years to become eligible for a limited set of social aid programs, and access to Social Security assistance is rarely granted.]

  31. El Guapo

    After meeting with pharma lobbyists, Trump abandons pledge to let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices https://t.co/MWha5a1Og1— Vox (@voxdotcom) January 31, 2017

    I am sure all the Trump Cheerleaders will find a way to rationalize this, much in the same way they rationalized the “temporary” Muslim ban. Though maybe not – the ban involves dirty foreigners (which the state should have zero concern about) so maybe there will be some anger here since now they will be directly fucked over.

    1. The Trumpening

      Here is a different view of that meeting:

      Even Matt Y admits other journalists had a different interpretation of what happened at the meeting.

      Basically Trump has two, potentially conflicting, goals with pharma. Lower prices and move production back to America.

      The carrot to get them to move back is a combination of lower taxes and less regulation. But with Trump there is ALWAYS a stick. And that stick remains Medicare negotiations. But guess what; he can’t come right out and say it but those negotiations are going to be much easier for companies with substantial production facilities in America and are going to be quite difficult for drug companies who refuse to relocate to the US.

      That’s what I heard Trump saying!

        1. The Trumpening

          I’m not so sure he took that off the table. My reading is that he just reframed Medicare negotiations in more positive terms in preparation for his coming fight with The Republicans on this issue.

          I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market. That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time.

          So what I want, we have to get lower prices, we have to get even better innovation and I want you to move your companies back into the United States. And I want you to manufacture in the United States. We’re going to be lowering taxes, we’re going to be getting rid of regulations that are unnecessary.

          Notice for “price fixing” he uses the present tense. To me this means he is taking the current system off the table by defining it negatively as “price fixing”. His solution, “increase competition and bidding wars” is of course presented in positive terms and is very much on the table

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            “I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market. That includes price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening. But we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time.

            Your reading differs. That’s fine.

  32. ChrisPacific

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-bid-to-counter-isis-online-recruiting-webops-inept-ap-finds/

    AP investigation finds that DoD funded unit aimed at countering ISIS propaganda turns out to be pretty much useless at anything other than funneling money to private contractors:

    “One of the things about jihadis: They are very good in Arabic,” said an Arabic specialist who previously worked on WebOps.

    It’s hard to establish rapport with a potential terror recruit when – as one former worker told the AP – translators repeatedly mix up the Arabic words for “salad” and “authority.” That’s led to open ridicule on social media about references to the “Palestinian salad.”

    Yes, and I’ve heard Western imperialist warmongers are very good in English.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks for the link! That’s really good material (subject to correction by actual Russia experts).

      This quote caught my eye, from “the great Trump-skeptic, Vladimir Soloviev”:

      Vladimir Soloviev

      “You know, this Trump is a strange fellow. So far he is not at all like a traditional American president. He is fulfilling he pre-election promises like a bulldozer.”

      I dunno about fulfilling, and not all the promises are good. But at a minimum, excellent PR!

      The weak must pay attention to the strong far more than the strong pay attention to the weak. Hence the high quality of the transcript…

  33. dbk

    Legal Ruralism piece: great site overall, and a great piece that ties in nicely with the other link to Iowa Farmer on the shocking rate of suicides by farmers in recent years. My grandparents were farmers (on the paternal side, in Iowa itself) and I followed the gradual industrialization of farming in the central Midwest in the 1970s and 1980s – in west-central Illinois, there are very few large-scale independent farmers left. For those who remain, and who must cultivate thousands of acres to stay afloat, I suspect one additional aggravating factor is the loss of the sense of agency – Monsanto controls what they plant now, and it owns their seeds.

    The heartland (“colonies” – a painful term for those of us from this region to contemplate) has a multiplicity of problems, none of which are addressed by any bureaucracy designed for densely-populated urban areas. The reasons are financial, of course. The ACA is only viable when populations served are large and providers can reap maximum profits with minimum investment of resources.

    Yet another reason to support Medicare for All, in addition to a JG, PO Bank, Debt Jubilee, Free College … and in addition, I think, public K-12 education as the right of all citizens (including Native Americans), prison reform, sustainable energy… the list goes on.

    In other news, Caterpillar announced today that it is moving its headquarters from Peoria (where it has been for 92 years) to Chicago. The death-knell of yet one more Rust Belt city.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In other news, Caterpillar announced today that it is moving its headquarters from Peoria (where it has been for 92 years) to Chicago. The death-knell of yet one more Rust Belt city.

      Just like Boeing, another company where management literally hates its workers.

      I wonder if there will be any marches for Peoria? I remember driving through Peoria when I was a good deal younger; literally miles of yellow Caterpillar tractors and parts. Miles. No more….

      1. dbk

        Reader reaction to the Peoria Journal Star’s headline story is pretty amazing – I’ve never seen this level of rage and sense of betrayal from Peorians. The company two years ago promised to stay on no matter what, and began plans for a new international headquarters downtown near the riverfront – a lot of development (aka, gentrification) has been done over the past ten years, and the new headquarters would have significantly contributed to a continued revival of the long-neglected city proper, which by the nineties was pretty much a slum.

        CEO Doug Oberhelman retired a year ago and was replaced by Jim Umpleby (both men were internal hires; Cat has always promoted from within), but Umpleby is from an Indiana suburb of Chicago, while Oberhelman was a Peorian. There have been references to Indiana being a right-to-work state, while Cat was famous as one of the great union shops for UAW workers, though the union’s back was essentially broken in the 1980s with threats to offshore (which, of course, they did anyway – production all over the world now).

        The top management is leaving now (around 300 executives), but nobody’s pretending that middle-level management and production facilities will stick around. Trust in the company’s word was lost in a single day after nearly a century. Amazing.

        Cat executives are the richest men in central Illinois. I wonder what will happen to their million-dollar estates in zip code 61615, one of the wealthiest in the state.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t buy the implicit acceptance of the H1B program, which isn’t about “top” engineering it all, but about labor arbitrage, and breaking such power as labor has in this country. It’s the same mentality in Silicon Valley that lead to the wage-fixing cartel, which screwed over a million employees.

      Plenty of “top” engineers in the US who can’t get work anymore, at least with wages and working conditions commensurate with human dignity. So, Canada can do what it likes.

    1. Waldenpond

      Delete Erroneous quote…..

      OK, this is a misquote. Blumenthal said Dems shoudn’t attempt to BLOCK HEARING. “do the right thing” part = verbatim

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That Tweet is broken. In general, please embed tweets. It’s extra work for readers to have to click through, and I don’t want claims being made about linked tweets where the actual Tweet is not visible.

    2. Vatch

      Neil Gorsuch: The son of one of the worst EPA Administrators this country ever had — Anne Gorsuch Burford. She was Reagan’s Scott Pruitt.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Gorsuch was confirmed by voice vote in 2006, so I don’t see how the Democrats have standing on this matter. Gorsuch is highly credentialed, hence conforms to liberal meritocratic ideology.

        So, and as usual, Democrats sow the wind and, eight or ten years later, reap the whirlwind (Hos 8:7). The “history is bunk” crowd would do well to observe this process carefully.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Thanks for the primary source. I assume that if the Democrats cared enough to put the vote on the record, they would have, so I don’t see why shouts of Nay are likely, since there’s no percentage in it. I don’t see the alternative facts being presented here.

            1. Vatch

              The alternative fact is the claim that specific Democrats voted to confirm Gorsuch. Maybe they did, but maybe they didn’t. There’s no clear evidence either way. Perhaps I should have made it clear that I was referring to Waldenpond’s comment, not yours.

              1. lambert strether

                Democrats as a collective body certainly did, which is why the leadership accepted a voice vote.

                1. Vatch

                  I see your point, but sometimes nothing can be accomplished by demanding a roll call vote. In 2006, the Senate was controlled by Republicans. If this had been a major vote, a roll call would have been justified, even though the nomination was guaranteed to succeed. But it wasn’t a major vote — it was routine.

                  You often tell us that generations don’t have agency. Well, do Democrats as a collective body have agency? Maybe they do, but we still don’t know the preferences of the individuals singled out. The Democrats have often been complicit in sabotaging their purported agenda, but let’s not overstate our case.

                2. Vatch

                  Oh, maybe I was wrong. Sorry. I saw a couple of web sites that said the 2006 vote was “en bloc”, which I think means unanimous. Although the official Senate web site says it was a voice vote, which might not be unanimous, or even close to unanimous. But since the subject is the behavior of establishment Democrats, it’s probabl that the worst is what actually happened. Sorry for being grumpy.

  34. RWood

    As-salāmu ʿalaykum aby, et all, pedant here:

    “It is often said nowadays that in great crises and moral revolutions we need one strong man to decide; but it seems to me that is exactly when we do not need him. We do not need a great man for a revolution, for a true revolution is a time when all men are great. Where despotism really is successful is in very small matters. Everyone must have noticed how essential a despot is to arranging the things in which everyone is doubtful, because everyone is indifferent: the boats in a water picnic or the seats at a dinner-party. Here the man who knows his own mind is really wanted, for no one else ever thinks his own mind worth knowing. No one knows where to go precisely, because no one cares where he goes. It is for trivialities that the great tyrant is meant.”
    G.K. Chesterton, “The Duty of the Historian”, from The Uses of Diversity (1921)

    Yea, “everyone” is dodgy

  35. allan

    Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead Trump’s higher education task force [NYDN]

    Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said President Trump has tapped him to lead a task force to reform the U.S. Department of Education.

    He spoke with Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, Tuesday about the role and said details about it are the still being sorted out, according to the Associated Press.

    “The goal is to pare it back and give colleges and their accrediting agencies more leeway in governing their affairs,” Falwell told The Chronicle of Higher Education. …

    It would be irresponsible not to point out that Falwell recently hired the former athletic director from Baylor:

    Liberty University hires former Baylor athletic director who resigned during sexual assault scandal
    [Richmond Times]

    Giving new meaning to “more leeway in governing their affairs”.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The Falwells are a lovely family, also very welcome in the Bush White House.

      Personally, I don’t think universities should even have athletic directors. Why not privatize college athletics formally, as they are in practice? Then return universities to their formerly central missions of teaching and research (so far as I know, it’s not the purpose of the Department of Education to do either of those things, or to gut the administrative layer, also important).

    1. Waldenpond

      [Pelosi: “your family is suffering cos Trump’s reckless”

      Dad died due to US-backed Saudi siege, mom lives in house broken by Saudi airstrike. ]

      https://twitter.com/Yaro_RT/status/826644829291610113

      I don’t vote for Democrats. The democrat base keeps asking what they should do. Purge Pelosi from your party, purge Pelosi from society. Reject Pelosi completely and never excuse a vote for this truly garbage person ever again?

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