2:00PM Water Cooler 2/6/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


Trump Transition

RIght now, Trump is the only top-ranking politician in power — and this will “never, ever” happen, I’m doing counterfactual future history here — who I can even imagine totally reversing course and coming out for Medicare for All (“Only Trump can go to…”). This anecdote, from Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, explains why:

Trump strikes me as very much a “We simply march the whole of our Army to the East” kind of guy. Whereas the Beltway Republicans, ideologically bound (and funded) as they are, are very much Moltkes: “Once settled it cannot be altered!” (So, the Schlieffen Ryan Plan — “Remember: keep the right wing very strong” — because, dammit, our staffers already made the PDFs and besides, because markets.) I think, also, that people who are looking, in good faith, for historical figures to compare to Trump, they could do worse than look to Kaiser Wilhelm II (as opposed to Hitler. I know that the Kaiser isn’t a demon figure, but I did say good faith. And Kaiser Wilhelm isn’t exactly re-assuring, if you look at the record….)

The Trump team has advance game, when they want it. Watch the video:

Find out how did that and promote them!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democrats in disarray” is an old, old narrative. I prefer to think of it as volatility creating opportunity — as it always does!

“Democrats Are Desperate for Bernie Sanders’ Email List” [Mother Jones]. Hilarity ensues.

But former Sanders staffers and consultants scoff at the demand for the list. The way they see it, clamoring for access misses the point. The list wasn’t the campaign’s secret weapon; Sanders was.

“They keep thinking it’s the list,” says Becky Bond, who as a senior adviser to Sanders helped build the candidate’s national organizing operation. “It’s so crazy. It’s like someone who buys a $12,000 bicycle and thinks they can win the Tour de France.”

If the Democrats came out for Medicare for All and free college, they’d have no problem at all building their own list. Idea: Democrats! Stop sucking!

DNC chair candidate Sam Ronan “holding our members accountable” (to whoops and applause). The real story, however is Keith Ellison’s body language (on the right). Must watch and listen:

I’m not all that comfortable with “I’ve been in the military, so I know what leadership looks like” (Kos loves that kind of stuff), and I’m very uncomfortable at a lack of policy specifics (perhaps elsewhere, and DNC chair is a nuts and bolts job), but Ronan has said something that must be said.

And Sanders:

* * *

Some data on “the resistance” (quotes deliberate) came together for me. First, I’ve been wondering where the term, “resistance,” which is all over my Twitter feed like kudzu — Hi, Neera! [waves] — came from. Here’s the origin story:

The declarations began early on, with one key word echoing across them. “We are going to resist, we are going to oppose,” the filmmaker Michael Moore announced on the Friday after Trump’s election. “This is going to be a massive resistance.” The following week, the former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann began a new video series titled “The Resistance.” In December, a group of former Democratic congressional staff members published a much-discussed pamphlet titled “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” calling on liberals and leftists to emulate the most effective tactics of the Tea Party. On Twitter, hashtags like #ResistTrump, #NewAmericanResistance and #TheResistance document the range of concerns and movements now assembling under one banner: climate change, net neutrality, Black Lives Matter, reproductive and immigrant and disability rights.

So, the origin of the “term” resistance lies in the Democratic nomenklatura. And the program listed under “one banner” is full of worthy causes, but do you see any universal programs that bring concrete material benefits, especially to the working class? Me neither. Why? The simplest answer is because the party faction that ignited the movement actively opposes such policies.

Second, I’ve been wondering about the demographic and ideological composition of the demonstrators. One good way to understand that is to look at signage. WaPo summarizes the talking points in this fawning piece:

Protesters turned Trump’s own words against him, with their “Nasty Woman” banners and flaunting signs that declared “This p—- grabs back.” They scorned his seemingly cozy relationship with Russia: “Tinkle tinkle little czar, Putin made you what you are.” They mocked his appearance: “We Shall Overcomb” and “Hands too small to build a wall.” They found many different ways to reject his authority:

Not my President

Not my Führer

Not my Comrade

Not my Cheeto

With a pithy mix of humor and combativeness, this is protest art for the social-media era. While many kept their messages serious and straightforward — “Refugees Welcome,” “Keep Abortion Safe and Legal” — it was the new breed of signage that went viral long after the crowds dispersed. Gaining wide circulation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or various “best protest signs” listicles, they reached a vast audience that never went near a march or rally.

Digital triumphalism. Yawn. To be fair, this Katie Halper podcast summarizes the signage as half Clintoninte, with the remaining half divided between Sanders messaging and random humor. Now, throwing away the snark is at best useless, the first three talking points are all Clintonite tropes, and “Putin made you what you are” is as egregiously false as any Dolchstoßlegende. Not encouraging.

Third, I’ve been wondering about funding….

Fourth, even taking into account the tight focus of protest images, there’s obviously a lot protest going on, on the ground, in a lot of places. I think that’s good, because it’s better to be moving than not. So none of this slightly jaundiced commentary should be taken as a knock on your normal marcher. There are two questions I have. First, how is the energy to be integrated and by whom? If the outcome of Resistance is Restoration (“Booker 2020!”) count me out. If the outcome is Revolution (the sort that Sanders proposed) count me in! Leading to my second question: What are their demands? If the “movement” coalesces around the demand that Trump step down (or be impeached, whatever) that’s identical to the demand that the Tahrir Square protesters made of Mubarak: Arhal! (Leave!) But that movie ended badly, since when power was lying in the street, those protestors didn’t know what to do with it. (There is also the darker aspect of a coup, as we saw entertainer Sarah Silverman openly suggest last week, and Foreign Policy passive-aggressively advocate simply by raising the idea. Do these people really think that having seized power, the military will hand it over to them? That’s not how these things work.)

* * *

Question to and answer from Mike Duncan of the History of Rome and Revolutions podcast. “What would Trump have to do for you to support a revolution against his regime?”

Stats Watch

Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure, January 2017: “However, it is the highest daily consumer spending average for the month of January since 2008,” although it dropped post-Xmas [Econintersect].

Labor Market Conditions Index, January 2017: “[T]he readings for this indicator, a wide composite of 19 separate indicators, have been soft and point to still ample slack in the labor market and perhaps no increasing risk of wage inflation” [Econintersect]. J-Yel’s experimental indicator.

Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index: ” [J]ob growth will remain solid and perhaps even accelerate in early 2017″ [Econintersect].

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59 Greed (previous close: 59, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 6 at 12:49pm. Still holding at greed…

News of the Wired

“Anatomy of a miracle: How the Patriots came back from the dead” [ESPN]. More on the Superbowl because I like the writing. The explanation of the role faithless electors play in the nickel defense is terrific.

* * *

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 (EU):

EU writes: “Some randoms from the Southeast,” in this case Asclepias Rubra Bog Milkweed_BW Wells Savanna, North Carolina. I have some milkweed, which I thought would help out the Monarch butterlflies, but perhaps it does not. Are there Monarchs in bogs?

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.


  1. allan

    Few Recall Gorsuch’s Volunteer Work at Harvard [WSJ]

    When President Donald Trump introduced his Supreme Court pick on live television last week, he said Neil Gorsuch had “demonstrated a commitment to helping the less fortunate” by working in the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and the Harvard Defenders.

    His affiliation with these volunteer programs—which offer law school students real-life legal experience representing prison inmates and the poor—helped give Mr. Gorsuch’s deeply conservative résumé a personal touch, and the groups were highlighted in news reports about his nomination.

    But roughly three dozen students who participated in the two programs while Mr. Gorsuch was at Harvard Law School from 1988 to 1991 said they have no recollection of his involvement. …

    Occam’s Razor offers some insight here. More aspirational than operational, as they say.

    1. Bill Smith

      Later in that article there is one that says he remembers him. Vaguely. There was no formal membership or list kept of people who helped out.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do we have enough smartphone surveillance data to go back that far to determine one way or the other?

      “Yes, I believe he was at the building at that time!” – that’s still shaky though.

      1. Katharine

        Seems doubtful. J.D. 1991, first device that could be called a smartphone, per Wikipedia, 1994, though the term was not used till a year later. But it’s awfully nice of you to try to help him out there!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not pro bono work I do.

          If he does’t send money, I will not help anymore.

          I just hope he knows where to send it.

        2. craazyman

          Smart phones go back to at least 1928, or at least a time traveler used one that was caught on film — maybe to make a restaurant reservation or order food delivery.

          It would have been pretty funny if they forgot they were time travelling and called up the usual restaurant and then remembered. Hahaha. You want food dellivery and you have to wait 70 years!

          This was a Charlie Chaplin movie, but it’s not clear if it’s an iPhone or a Droid. It’s an indisuputable fact. I’m sure somebody would try to “explain this away” but anybody with common sense can see it for what it is. Somebody is using their smart phone in a Charlie Chaplin film!


          1. craazyman

            OK I should admit I may be jumping to conclusions — that it was a smart phone. It may have been a plain old flip phone. It’s hard to tell because the caller’s hand is in the way. You need to be logical if you want to do persuasive analysis. You can’t just claim stuff and have it be construed as self evident.

            1. craazyman

              That doesn’t sound like it would work. If you have to wait till the future to send messages back to your past then it’s already too late.

              Besides you might just ignore them. It would be better to travel back in time and remind yourself in person.

              1. integer

                Didn’t you ever watch the Back to the Future series? I thought you were supposed to be an expert on time travel. Clearly you are either a denier or a lackey.

              2. integer

                And I bet you’ve never even watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure either. Or spent any time seriously studying their Bogus Journey, for that matter. How do you think their time-travelling telephone booth worked? Magic?

    3. clarky90

      The big question here is, “Is the United States culturally mature enough to appoint a Protestant (Neil Gorsuch) to the Supreme Court?” The Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the English Body of Law on which US Law is based, were primarily created by Protestants, BUT a Protestant on the Supreme Court? Too far, too fast?

      1. Ancient1

        Gorsuch in his acceptance speech heavly emphasied his “faith”. What is his faith? Mainline protestant or fundamentalist? I am concerned that this man’s “faith” weighs to heavly on his legal decisions. He belongs to the upper, privileged class. This also causes me some concern, as a Justis should be classless in his decisions without influence by his clergyman, of whaterver faith.

      2. Iowan X

        +100. How many Catholics need to be on the Supreme Court? There’s a joke there…I’m thinking the answer needs to be “Almost Enough”.

  2. Altandmain

    Just wondering, does anyone here trust the official BLS inflation metrics? We sure as hell do not have 2% inflation.

    I’ve been looking at the Chapwood Index:

    What’s your thoughts on their methodology? I think it is far more accurate than the BLS possibly could be.

    A few things:
    1. Very few people get salary increases on par with 10-12% inflation rates. Many places give a 2% and even worse, many people have seen cuts in nominal terms in living wages.

    2. About the only way I can think of, other than winning the lottery or being very luck with a business to keep water would be to own a lot of equity in Index Funds. Since 2009 that’s been rising like crazy, but it is likely to crash again in the near future.

    3. This does not even take into account the costs of student debt and the huge underemployment or worse, discouraged job seekers.

    4. There should actually be an adjustment down for the crapification of goods. I know there is an upward adjustment for higher quality goods, but there should be a downward one too for crapification. There isn’t one right now.

    Basically we’ve seen our real purchase power erode and drastically.

        1. duck1

          inflation is when wages increase, silly
          absent inflation the proles engage in a series of hedonic adjustments
          like substituting heroin overdoses for life

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


            “Can’t afford a house? Substitute that with cheaper outdoor living. Try under a bridge.”

            He’s a patriotic inflation fighter.

      1. different clue

        That is a real question. I hope somebody will get on here and answer it.

        My purely amateur layman’s understanding is that inflation is creating or emitting more “money” of whatever kind then the economy being conducted in that “money” can create growing numbers of units of value to keep up the the growing numbers of units of money.

        What Zimbabwe had was certainly an inflation of some kind. More units of money without an equal number of more units of stuff to measure the value-of with the money.

        Whereas once the bluefin tuna goes finally and comprehensively extinct, any legacy pieces of it frozen at a hundred degrees below zero can be sold to rich Japanese bussinessmen by the shaving at a thousand dollars a shaving. That would be a genuine rise in price caused by a genuine scarcity of bluefin tuna.
        (I wonder if someone somewhere isn’t cryo-storing bluefin tuna right now . . . against the day when they will get to sell it by the shaving.)

        1. bob

          It’s price increases caused by rent seeking middle men.

          Without anti-trust law enforcement, it’s only going to get worse.

          People confusing the two are playing directly into the hands of the monopolists. There is a difference and it’s very important.

    1. Carl

      I brought this up a few weeks ago and I don’t think anyone replied, but it seems like a significant issue in light of the constant cheerleading for the “recovery” or “strong economy” that we supposedly have. Charles Hugh Smith has something like a burrito index that also measures the price increases in food, healthcare, and other “real life” expenses that the official numbers understate by quite a lot. You can call it inflation or you can call it price increases, but on a stressed-out shrinking middle and working class, the effects are devastating whatever the name. And it all trickles upwards eventually.

      1. bob

        “You can call it inflation or you can call it price increases”

        Or blue? Red maybe? How about potato?

        I know, I getting in the way of your rant. But, if you want to be taken somewhat seriously, you have to use words properly. They have meanings.

        There is very little indication of inflation. There are a ton of indications of price increases and rent seeking middlemen. Trying to solve “inflation” won’t do anything to help price increases, and may even make it worse, especially now that the US has a very monopoly friendly market and government. We have no anti-trust law anymore.

  3. Synoia

    Resistance!!! Yea we will put up one hell of a fight — but not propose anything concrete — and lose AGAIN!!!


    Otherwise it is MORE smoke, dirty mirrors, and no flame.

    1. Altandmain

      They are trying to restore the Ancien Regime in Washington.

      I don’t think they realize what they are facing. They are facing a legitimacy crisis, not just a short-term electoral crisis.

      1. Quentin

        ‘We worked ourselves to death t and look what you gave us in return. Ingrates!’, bitched the spokesperson for the Democratic Party. Right Altandmain, they don’t see how they’ve actually been rejected, spurned, stripped of authority and any gravitas, made themselves unworthy of respect, meaningless.

        1. integer

          If I may, allow me to make a minor correction to your quote:

          ‘We worked ourselves you to death and look what you gave us in return. Ingrates!’, bitched the spokesperson for the Democratic Party.

      2. Tom Stone

        If the Democrat Apparatchiks stopped sucking they’d lose a lot of investors.
        Of course sucking isn’t enough ( Even when it’s a bowling ball through a garden hose) if you can’t deliver the expected ROI.

        1. A Bas Les Aristocrates

          Winning elections isn’t necessarily the return they’re looking for. If you take the position that Democrats are being paid to neutralize the left and prevent a New New Deal, their corporate owners are getting their money’s worth.

          So far.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If your aim in marching is to bring attention to your cause and gain support, then snarky signs only go so far. They aren’t likely to convince anyone who isn’t already on your side. I fell out a bit with some friends back in college who went to a pro-choice rally with signs that said ‘Men who are pro-life can go f%#k themselves’ after pointing out that while kind of funny, it wasn’t likely to help their cause much. Personally I’ve never been a fan of the signs and chanting – a simple strong presence is more powerful, especially one that doesn’t run back home once the free speech zone time allotted by the authorities is up.

      However if your aim is just some virtue signaling and you want to show you won’t press too hard so that you don’t get bludgeoned by the authorities, then snark away and go home after a few hours.

      Reminded of a documentary I saw years ago about how protesters drove Milosevic out of office. My recollection of it was that a few hundred thousand people surrounded the main government building and refused to leave while challenging the police present not to shoot at their own friends and families in the crowd. The police backed down and Milosevic was driven out and arrested. Nobody got hurt except one traffic accident and one heart attack.

      I’d be interested if anyone else remembers this – I can’t put my finger on the actual documentary. It didn’t seem to be a typical Western propaganda piece like we currently see about the Ukraine. It wasn’t widely viewed, almost like the authorities here didn’t want people getting any ideas.

      1. tejanojim

        I wouldn’t be surprised if it was accurate. People Power that drove the Marcoses from office in the Philippines went down pretty much like that. I feel like the dynamics between that and the Women’s March (which I neither support nor oppose) are vastly different. My wife is Filipina and she is deeply skeptical of the marchers.

      2. Katharine

        Frankly I’ve always enjoyed other people’s signs–not all equally, of course, but some make me laugh, which is a great way to build solidarity. I still cherish the memory of a tall man moving through the crowd fourteen years ago with a piece of corrugated cardboard on which he’d written with a black marker, “Came all the way from Texas to take him back.” He left a wake of grins and laughter, and while that did not prevent the invasion it did leave a strong sense that there were fellow-citizens still who cared about doing the right thing, and would try to do it with kindliness and humor. We need that.

      3. b1daly

        This is why I think these protests should focus on getting rid of Trump. Blocking him, deligitimize, mocking him, whatever. The protests are quite effective I think, because they communicate clearly the weight of general opposition to, in this case, president Trump.

        I happen to think Trump is going to be one of the worst presidents of all time. In that contest he’s off to a great start. I also think it’s going to be very hard to stop him from undertaking all sorts of destructive actions. Along with the actual power of being the Commander In Chief, Trump couples that with a ruthless, amoral style of leadership, which involves “splitting” others into two camps: friends or enemies.

        The way so many of these Republican “never Trumpers” have changed their tune is just sickening.

        In any case, the protests are about getting rid of Trump, at their core. About other subjects, such as reforming the Democratic Party, or starting a new one, this is just not a good fit. Trying to overload such actions with other, more complex goals, is to doom the protest activities to failure.

        If ones concern is the overthrow or destruction of the centrist factions of the Democratic Party, it’s not hard to make a case that having Trump as President is more consonant with this goal.

        1. Jen

          “In any case, the protests are about getting rid of Trump…”

          And then what? What happens if you succeed in getting rid of Trump?

          You get President Pence.

          Just thinking out loud here: if ones concern is preventing the overthow and destruction of the neoliberal factions of the Democratic party, it’s not hard to make a case that having Pence as President is more consonant with this goal.

          For the last 8 years (at least) the Democrat platform has boiled down to “we suck less.” It’s a low bar, to be sure, but if Trump somehow manages to deliver material economic benefit to middle class voters, he might, in the eyes of those voters, not suck less than whatever the establishment Dems have to offer.

          Pence, on the other hand, offers everything the Dems like to demonize without even a marginal potential upside for disaffected voters. Win-win!

          Is not sucking really that complex a goal?

  4. Synoia

    I’ve been in the Military and I know what leadership look like…..

    Charge of the Light Brigade
    Iran (Hostage rescue)
    Iraq (Twice)
    Afghanistan (Multiple times, multiple nations)
    Central Africa Republic

    I too know what leadership looks like.

      1. OIFVet

        My friend inherited his father’s vintage Playboys. In one, there is a cartoon depiction of Custer’s Last Stand: Custer lying on the ground with his pants down, and an arrow sticking out of an engorged Little George. That one always made me chuckle.

        As far as leadership in the military, it is pretty hit and miss, with a distinct trend toward ‘miss.’ Perhaps a little better on the enlisted side, but too many commissioned officers should have no business leading anything other than a horse buggy.

    1. jsn

      Now there’s a field where “survivors bias” truly reigns!

      I’ve known a half dozen really bright Army/Air Force guys turfed out at Colonel for not being gung-ho enough, one in the Navy too, turfed after Captain on a sub: the common theme was they all thought war was the LAST OPTION.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        You could say one of the drawbacks of modern war technology is that selection bias isn’t killing the reckless ones. The military historian John Keegan wrote how one of the defining characteristics of European warfare from medieval times to WWI was the staggering death rate among the officer class. These were almost always upper class types brought up to think of themselves as a military elite. But the downside was that they were expected to be always at the front, usually wearing glossy uniforms. The death rate among officers in WWI was astonishingly high, until they got some sense and started making snipers lives harder by wearing the same uniforms as the regular men. I guess one drawback of more democratic militaries now is that the officers don’t feel compelled to put themselves in harms way, even as they advocate ever more aggressive tactics.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps as early as the Battle of Meggido and the Battle of Kadesh.

      For sure the Battle of Gaugamela.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        There likely are millions of battles starting hundreds of thousands of years ago, fought with sticks, rocks and mud that could provide plenty of support for the hypothesis. Our history is one of yelling and dirty feet. Occasionally we live in a safe village with decent neighbors.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Unknown soldiers of unknown wars, and their unknown tombs.

          “You are probably sitting over one right now.”

    3. Code Name D

      Men! I know the battle ahead will be long and hard. And many of you shall surly die valiantly in the fight to come. Just be assured that I am behind you, all the way. And should it be necessary to order a retreat. It might comfort you to know that I shall be leading the way to safety.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The Russians were famous for the “3-wave” formation. Up front, comrades with rifles. Wave 2, comrades without rifles, they pickup the rifles from the dead in Wave 1. Wave 3 is commissars with machine guns ensuring there’s no retreating.

  5. oho

    not predicting this scenario will happen, but it ain’t impossible….

    Trump tweets Medicare for All. Paul Ryan’s GOP howls. Trump ‘compromises’ and cobbles a coalition that lowers Medicare eligibility to 50/55 (conveniently a sizeable chunk of Trump’s base).

    Win-win for Trump. Paul Ryan’s GOP and neolib Dems. lose.

    1. aab

      That is probably the best possible outcome we can get from this administration — plus maybe talking more Republican states into doing the Medicaid expansion, if they can somehow rebrand it.

      It’s better than we’d have gotten from Clinton. So I will hope for this outcome. I won’t be holding my breath or anything, but I will hope away.

  6. Vatch

    With DeVos Vote, Some Republican Senators Must Weigh Opposing Trump Versus Supporting Policies That Hurt Public Education in Their Own States. Specifically mentioned are Republican Senators Dean Heller (NV), Cory Gardner (CO), Rob Portman (OH), Pat Toomey (PA), and Dan Sullivan (AK).


    These paragraphs about Sen. Toomey are intriguing:

    Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has declared Pennsylvania charter school law “simply the worst” in the U.S., citing, in an April 2016 report, examples of alleged waste, fraud and abuse of public resources that have gone undetected by regulators. The report generated a scandal when it was released, as did a December 2016 Economic Policy Institute study demonstrating how charter schools in Philadelphia and other urban centers have drained funds from traditional public schools, with mixed results.

    Perhaps that’s why, as Bob Casey, Pennsylvania’s Democratic senator, told Cox Media’s Dorey Scheimer on Thursday, “correspondence is up 900 percent” to his office this year, most of it urging a no vote on DeVos. FaxZero, a free faxing service, listed Casey’s colleague, Sen. Pat Toomey, as the most faxed congressperson in the 24-hour period that ended Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Still, Toomey has not budged from his enthusiastic position on DeVos, whom he said will ensure that “poor children trapped in failing schools have the same opportunities that wealthy and middle-class kids already have.” That might have something to do with the $60,050 in campaign contributions Toomey received from the DeVos family, though the same group gave $43,200 to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is voting no.

  7. Lambert Strether Post author

    Water Cooler comments are now open. WordPress must have flipped a bit. The setting to turn comments off is in a place I almost never go. The Internet is a hostile computing environment….

      1. Katharine

        Which was triggered by a butterfly landing on the shoulder of a dinosaur several million years earlier, which tickled.

        (How long, do you think, before Lambert turns the comments back off on purpose?)


    I think, also, that people who are looking, in good faith, for historical figures to compare to Trump, they could do worse than look to Kaiser Wilhelm II (as opposed to Hitler. I know that the Kaiser isn’t a demon figure, but I did say good faith. And Kaiser Wilhelm isn’t exactly re-assuring, if you look at the record….)

    If we’re going straight up fascists, Trump strikes me as more of a Mussolini than a Hitler. Good faith though, said it before, say it again, his political spirit guide is Robert Moses: “We’re gonna build some bridges and highways, and it won’t cost the taxpayers a cent! (no, really, we promise this time)”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      According to MMT, it won’t be paid by the taxpayers.

      And people gossip that Trump is a closet-MMTer, with his ‘we can’t go bankrupt…,’ referring to the country, not his corporations.

      1. jrs

        What about constraints in real resources, fast to go out the window? Does anyone think the wall is a good use of all that cement or whatever it’s going to be built with? Natural resources are not unlimited. Stupid projects that create useless infrastructure (the wall) and jawbs for jawbs sake are not good.

  9. tgs

    re: “Putin made you what you are” is as egregiously false as any Dolchstoßlegende.

    The Trotskyites over at the World Socialist website have a piece detailing the Democrats doubling down on the election and the so-called moral equivalence bruhaha. Pelosi, Krugman, and apparently even Sanders. But Amy Klobucher is the standout.

    The Democratic senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar, echoing the words of many others, told ABC News, “You cannot compare any leaders in our country to what Vladimir Putin has done. This is a man and a regime that has taken down a passenger plane in Ukraine, killing hundreds of people… This is a regime that, we believe—17 intelligence agencies in our own country have said—has tried to influence our own election. I don’t think there’s any comparison.”

    Of course the Dutch are still ‘investigating’ but what the hell. Putin took down MH17 has been the meme since pretty much the day it happened and repeated enough to become part of the conventional wisdom.

    1. shinola

      I seem to remember something about an Iranian passenger plane being shot down by us good ol’ Americans some years ago.
      Of course it was a “mistake” so no harm, no foul.

      1. Gaianne

        Whoever shot down flight MH17, it was air traffic control in Kiev that redirected its flight path to go over a combat zone and then ordered it to a lower altitude.

        Surely just an unfortunate co-incidence!


        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes and the cockpit and control tower tapes, you know, the ones that get played nonstop after every other air disaster, prove this.
          Oh, wait!

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Heh. And Obama droned some folks but nobody was really counting the bodies so he gets a peace prize.

      1. clarky90

        They didn’t “die”, they were “collaterally damaged”. That is all together different from death, AND, much kinder/nicer/empathetic!

    3. Brad

      Took a tour of the liberal noise-o-sphere today. Libs all doubling down on attacking the left, America the Exceptional, It Can’t Happen Here Like In Russia, Pence for President, all while their politicians vote for Trump appointees. It’s clear they care only for what the Congressional Repuglies think, their rhetoric is addressed to *them*, and addressed against us. They know that is what Congressional Republicans respond to. It’s all about appeasing the snakepit as prep for Trump removal. And to hell with Social Security and Medicare and the rest. Anything to preserve the unity government with the Repugly Congress, anything to avoid addressing class concerns.

      Liberals have truly shown what they are made of these days.

  10. Jim Haygood


    Donald Trump is set to be banned from giving a historic address in the British Parliament’s grandest and most prestigious hall.

    The House of Commons Speaker today announced he did not want to invite the US President to speak in the 11th Century Westminster Hall when he makes a state visit later this year.

    John Bercow slammed Trump for “racism and sexism”, his undermining of judges and his migrant ban.

    He added that although he does not have as much say over a speech in the glittering Royal Gallery in the House of Lords, “I would not wish to issue an invitation”.


    As the Mickey D’s slogan goes … I’m lovin’ it.

  11. JohnnyGL


    Audio quality isn’t good. Article has interesting quotes. This is a bit dated, but the remarks were around the “Russian prostitutes are best in world” speech that Putin made that media only mentioned. Apparently, there were these, too….

    Regarding Trump’s opponents who are questioning his legitimacy, he said: “They trained in Kiev, and now they want to organize another Maidan here in the United States in order to prevent Trump from becoming president.”

    Whoa, Putin seems to think that’s what was up, too, huh?!??!

  12. JohnnyGL

    More remarks from Putin….

    “Another objective is to tie the hands and legs of the newly elected president, in terms of his promises to the nation, and also in terms of foreign policy of the country,” he added. “Just imagine: How can you improve relations between the USA and the Russia Federation when there are such objections as hackers influencing the vote.”

    “Hackers did not create anything new, they just revealed the information that already was there,” he said.

    My goodness, the man dishes out some astute observations, no doubt…

  13. aab

    Because I try to stay away from liberal Democrats and their nonsense as much as I can, I had NO IDEA liberals had decided it was vitally important that the team from the old Confederacy needed to win, and the team representing one of the last regions of the country with significant Democratic power needed to lose, because a sports celebrity from the New England/Democratic base part of the county likes Donald Trump.

    A big reason the Patriots won is that for YEARS now, Tom Brady had been giving up a lot of money personally so the team can afford better players to help him win championships. He has the 28th biggest salary cap hit right now, IIRC. That means a whole lot of mediocre quarterbacks and elite non-QB skill players are making more money than he is. I don’t know about Belichick, but for the roster, it’s got to be one of the least unequal pay ratios in football.

    So remind me again which team reflects Democratic values?

    (I wish Barnwell would find a better forum for his writing. I miss Grantland for that, if nothing else.)

    1. lyman alpha blob

      To be fair, 95% of the country hated the Pats way before any election. Trump just gives the haters something else to hate about.

      But you are right on the money about the reason they win. Nobody is bigger than the team in NE. Belichick lays into Brady as much as any of the other players. Equality and ‘do your job’ – not a bad way to run an organization.

      1. aab

        There’s a whole conspiracy theory building about how the Falcons lost their playbook for part of a day early in the week. Guys started tweeting it at me and I just disengaged. I’m assuming I don’t need explain here why that couldn’t possibly explain a comeback that didn’t start until more than halfway through the third quarter. It’s kind of interesting watching CT build up over something so easily explained by regular football stuff, like wearing down the Falcons defense so the Falcons pass rush died right when Brady started looking like Brady.

        I wasn’t into football during the period when the Patriots were dirty, cheating scoundrels. I came into my football fandom hating the Pats because I mapped my legacy hatred of the Yankees onto them. And yeah, not a fan of cheating. However, NFL management is such a mess, I can’t get worked up about whatever happened with the videotaping. Deflategate was clearly trumped up, and the Seahawks, for example, have an intentional plan of holding and committing penalties all over the field on every play, on the theory that over an entire game and season, if you commit that many penalties, the refs can’t see them all and won’t call them all, so you end up with an advantage. So I’m now sorta kinda a fan of the Pats. I respect Brady as a player, Belichick is amazing, and while they don’t play my favorite flavor of football, I respect the work level, determination, creativity, training execution and overall skill. I still hate the oligarchic and exploitative structure of the NFL a whole lot, but when I tried to quit watching games, my husband lured me back in because he was enjoying my following the details more than he did and offering up game-themed dinners. (The trade-off is we generally watch my preferred teams, so no more Miami Dolphins.)

        I wish the Packers would quit wasting Aaron Rogers. I want my pseudo-socialist team to do well.

      2. KurtisMayfield

        It’s the fans, not the team. Just like Dallas Cowboys fans they are insufferable.. and they pull the classic fairweather fan trick “We won in 2016, but they lost in 2007!”

        I love Belicheck and Brady. The way they handle the press with their good cop/bad cop routine is masterful.

  14. Katharine

    I’m puzzled over this from the weekend (sorry if everyone else already digested it):

    President Donald Trump reportedly did not realize he was promoting chief strategist Steve Bannon to the National Security Council (NSC) Principals Committee when he signed the executive order dropping intelligence and defense officials from the top government panel and elevating the former Breitbart News chair in their place.


    If that means he doesn’t like the outcome, why does he not alter it with another executive order?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      (Just trying to ‘splain things, not helping Don Trumpeone here) – maybe he doesn’t trust the people drafting executive orders when it come to NSC. He is waiting for a new team.

      1. Katharine

        Well, here’s your big chance. Just slip on over there and tell him you’ll do it right, and then get busy before he notices!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not the Drug Tsar or Czar, the position I am interested in is the Russia Tsar.

          It will be a newly created position to deal with all things Russian.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        No reason to apologize.

        Scene: French Army HQ, May 9, 1940

        DULL NORMAL: Now, if we look at the map, you can see that Hitler might strike through the Ardennes….

        BUBBLE DWELLER: ZOMG!!!!!!! You’re ***** helping Hitler ***** [foam drips on map].

  15. Oregoncharles

    “RIght now, Trump is the only top-ranking politician in power — and this will “never, ever” happen, I’m doing counterfactual future history here — who I can even imagine totally reversing course and coming out for Medicare for All (“Only Trump can go to…”).”
    Before he ran for the Republican nomination, Trump supported single payer. It would be very helpful in his businesses – he has a LOT of low-paid employees. Furthermore, even when campaigning and since the election, he has repeatedly promised a “universal” solution, which the Republican alternatives certainly are not.

    Hence, he’s in a bind with only one solution: Single Payer. The real problem is Congress. In this case, it’s a problem for us that he’s at odds with the Republican establishment, although it can also limit the harm that he can do.

      1. aab

        Isn’t there some oligarch or CEO willing and able to speak truth despite the class theology not to? For most corporations operating within the United States, single payer has got to be a better deal for them than the mess we have now. They don’t need to offer better quality care to hold on to employees; employees are desperate for jobs.

        1. LarryB

          I would think the current health care mess helps them hold on to employees. After all, employer provided plans are the only way to get half-way decent healthcare in this country. It keeps people from going out on their own and starting their own companies. One of the reasons social mobility is lower in the US than in the places with sane healthcare policies.

    1. Katharine

      It’s fairly straightforward really. I am never quite sure of terminology, but I would call it sarcastic parody of those who use the sanctity of the market as an excuse or justification for everything, as if no other argument were needed, hence the abrupt ending.

    2. Mel

      The first time I saw this trope, it was “Because reasons.” The thing is, in good rhetoric, when you see “because …”, you expect to see it followed with an articulate statement of the reasons for some effect under discussion. In the kind of bad rhetoric that people try to foist off, the stuff they present after “because …” doesn’t make the grade, and doesn’t really explain anything. The “because reasons” trope satirized that kind of argument, implying that the word “reasons” was the best and only thing the arguer had to offer. Later, people got more specific in specifying the nature of the reasons that would not be forthcoming. Hence “because markets.”

    3. ChrisPacific

      It’s a concise statement of the neoliberal belief that all good and right outcomes in the economy, society and the world in general can be produced by the action of free markets (typically either unregulated or regulated as lightly as possible).

      A corollary of this is that an individual’s net worth defines how good a person they are. So for example being rich is prima facie evidence that you have made enormous contributions to society, while being poor indicates that you are a worthless deadbeat of no value.

  16. ma1ne

    Re: the popularity of the term “resistance” —
    I’ve noticed this too, and had theorized its connection to the Star Wars universe. The latest film in the franchise, Rouge One, came out Dec. 16 2016, coinciding with the lead-up to Trump’s inauguration. “The Resistance” is of course the name of the coalition fighting “The Empire” — politically vague, simple good-vs-evil style. United in opposition. Hard to underestimate how deeply Star Wars has seeped into our American minds — also provides a fun/mythic lexicon for people to plug into. Kind of like with Hunger Games (https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/world/asia/thailand-protesters-hunger-games-salute.html). Anyway, “The Resistance” is a really famous phrase thanks to Star Wars.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      This is a fascinating comment. I had not thought of Star Wars at all. My guess is that the phrase is meant as a reference to the movements that tried to oppose the Nazis from within the various occupied countries, particularly the French Resistance. However, regardless of whether that is ultimately correct, it seems very likely that the Star Wars connection makes the phrase extremely salient to people and affects its connotations.

      1. jrs

        “My guess is that the phrase is meant as a reference to the movements that tried to oppose the Nazis from within the various occupied countries, particularly the French Resistance.”

        yea, me too, which made it plenty hubristic in my mind (that is who you are likening your protests to? people who risked their lives? wow. Protest is fine but that just speaks of lack of perspective)

  17. ChiGal in Carolina

    Lambert, above: There are two questions I have. First, how is the energy to be integrated and by whom? If the outcome of Resistance is Restoration (“Booker 2020!”) count me out. If the outcome is Revolution (the sort that Sanders proposed) count me in! Leading to my second question: What are their demands?

    Won’t the outcome be determined by those who participate? Do you get to stand on the sidelines and expect the outcome to be the one you want in on?

    And shouldn’t that be What are our demands? or better yet Here are our demands!

    Seems to me those who are skeptical of the Establishment Ds need to be out in full force making sure the left harnesses the energy of those who are well-intentioned, as yet oblivious, but in the case of 35 and unders (at least in my experience) eminently teachable due to a pretty well developed sense of fairness.

    Medicare for All is the drumbeat to sound to unite them with the working class to create an unstoppable coalition. But that’s been said already here. It needs to be on a zillion signs and in a zillion conversations with people other than the choir.

      1. aab

        This is an identity politics strike by definition, organized by the same Democratic Party insiders, if I understand it.

        So that would be bad, most likely. Just another way to drain energy and resources from the naive who want real change, so that wealthy women can playact resistance.

        People are starving and dying in massive numbers, and they want to protest “male violence” and “reproductive rights”? How? Why? What policies initiatives align with this? Who are they protesting? Neither elected Republicans nor most elected Democrats care about reproductive rights. How do these protesters envision changing that paradigm?

        Protesting for universal health care that covers birth control (including IUDs for women who have not yet given birth) and abortion access in hospitals would fix this problem. It’s a clear policy goal. As long as abortion is treated as a weird, shameful side problem, NARAL and Planned Parenthood can keep grifting and their CEOs can go to swanky dinner parties in New York while women outside the Democratic citadels continue to suffer and die.

        This March 8th thing sounds like a planned distraction intended to undermine policy-focused protest that the Democratic elite wouldn’t enjoy.

        1. Tigerlily

          By my count all but one of the people who signed that article are academics at elite schools with an intellectual background in social theory. Call me cynical but I don’t think they have either the street cred or the desire to lead their working class sisters to the barricades. To the extent they have an economic perspective it’s the sterile, warmed over neo Marxism of kaffeeklatsch intellectuals who talk a lot about revolution but don’t have the first clue about how to actually start one.

          I also have a personal quibble: what’s with the repeated harping on “male violence”, ladies? When did violence become gendered, and why is female violence implicitly less objectionable? Why not avoid exclusionary language that will unnecessarily alienate a sizeable portion of your potential base and simply say you’re against violence, period?

          1. hunkerdown

            > When did violence become gendered?

            For that matter, when did males become violence? It’s Big Lie pairing: white + working class = working class is racist, male + violence = males are violent, Trump + white supremacist astroturf Twitter campaign… (Media Matters, sorry, but it’s fun to watch Brock squirm when his hand is in the cookie jar)…

          2. aab

            Males are trained and conditioned to be violent, and unsurprisingly, commit more violence against women than women commit against men.

            Having said that, focusing on that problem, using that term especially, right now, as rallying cry against Trump is tone deaf and guaranteed to be ineffective. It’s a complex, multifaceted problem. However, one incredibly easy thing you could do to decrease male violence against women (or men) would be to increase employment opportunities for jobs with good pay, benefits and a modicum of dignity, and stop the finance sector from taking people’s pensions and homes. Humiliated, desperate men are angry men, and men are socially conditioned to physically lash out when they’re humiliated and desperate.

            So, we get back to how the best thing for women right now — just like men — is universal, material benefits. Because by pushing for universal, material benefits, we:

            – Break the isolating, undermining hold identity politics has over these discussions;
            – Break the Democratic Party’s attempts to shunt activist energy into cul-de-sacs from which no leftist change can emerge;
            – Create the solidarity we need to make real change in such a corrupted system;
            – Meet the basic needs women AND men currently have, which neither the Democratic nor the Republican party has been willing to address over the past quarter century, or looks to be interested in delivering today; AND
            – Reduce male violence at the same time.

            Likewise, pushing for universal health care with all forms of birth control fully covered and abortion provided in a hospital setting takes care of the reproductive rights problem.

          3. Fiver

            Violence in US society is so heavily skewed towards men being the ones who start, or escalate aggression, look for fights, beat their spouses, or sign up for duty hoping for combat, or end up in a drunken melee, at which a number of people so inclined start beating on strangers, or a big drug drug shootout, or an ultimate fighter match, maybe a Texas death match. It’s not that there is no ‘female’ violence, just that it pales in comparison to male violence, and no doubt much of the ‘female’ violence that does take place is in a situation of desperation.

            You actually can’t imagine such a thing as a clear male propensity towards violence that is far more pronounced in the US than any other country ?

            1. Yves Smith

              Your view is seriously out of date. Over 40% of the victims of partner abuse are men.

              SUMMARY: According to a 2010 national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Justice, in the last 12 months more men than women were victims of intimate partner physical violence and over 40% of severe physical violence was directed at men. Men were also more often the victim of psychological aggression and control over sexual or reproductive health. Despite this, few services are available to male victims of intimate partner violence.

              Physical violence

              More men than women were victims of intimate partner physical violence within the past year, according to a national study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of Justice. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (hereinafter NISVS) released in December, 2011, within the last 12 months an estimated 5,365,000 men and 4,741,000 women were victims of intimate partner physical violence. (Black, M.C. et al., 2011, Tables 4.1 and 4.2) 1 This finding contrasts to the earlier National Violence Against Women Survey (Tjaden, P. G., & Thoennes, N., 2000)(hereinafter NVAWS), which estimated that 1.2 million women and 835,000 men were victims of intimate partner physical violence in the preceding 12 months. (One-year prevalence “are considered to be more accurate [than lifetime rates] because they do not depend on recall of events long past” (Straus, 2005, p. 60))


              1. Fiver

                You single out spousal violence, which, first, was only 1 dimension of my statement, and second, is nonetheless,still heavily slanted towards a preponderance of male violence. Studies based on self-reporting are notoriously biased, violence between partners being no exception. And very important to note is that when dealing with violence other than between partners or within families, the apparently closing gap between females and males as victims is the very large drop in male-on-male robberies, muggings etc.

                On a personal note, I have knowledge of many, many cases of men beating partners, but have never come across anyone even with a story about the reverse. Note also that male victims of ‘family violence’ are very commonly in the age group 18-20. I’ll bet the farm it is not ‘Mom’ fighting a son. Now, maybe something has gone very, very wrong in the US in very recent years, but from what I can quickly discern, the story remains much like this:





                1. Yves Smith

                  The survey I linked to did show that men were more often the perps in spousal violence, just not to the preponderant degree that you indicated. And I hate to say it, but 4 of the sources you cited are ones that fundraise, and the ideas that men are victims too isn’t a winner in terms of getting donations.

                  How often is a man going to admit a woman beat him up or hit him so hard he got a shiner? This would be an article of shame for virtually all men. So it is a safe bet that woman on man violence is underreported, although we don’t know to what degree.

                  A separate issue is that a violent men will often more serious damage to a woman than even a really violent woman would to a man, but in the US we do have guns to balance that equation out a bit. But that didn’t seem to be your argument.

                  Plus I have to tell you in NYC, there are women who falsely report male violence to get a protective order against a man so they can wind up with the rent controlled or stabilized apartment with him still paying for it because he does not want to lose it. I personally know of a case where I knew both members, and the woman, who was later diagnosed as a Stage 4 alcoholic. One time (before I knew how bad her drinking problem was) she visited me, get fed a drink, got over her tipping point, striped down, and showed me an enormous bruise on the back of her butt, and claimed it was from her hubby. It was obviously a made up story. She’d come over in the summer, with her arms fully exposed. She was fair with the sort of skin that would bruise easily. She has no marks on her anywhere else. She’s clearly gotten that bruise in a fall and was blaming it on him.

                  I have also known the husband for a very very long time. I have seen first hand him deal with situations and people where most people would have blown up and he’s always stayed calm, not out of being controlled but out of being a very relaxed person.

                  She got repeatedly in screaming fights with him to the point where the cops would come, on the assumption that she was at risk. They repeatedly hauled her away to the drunk tank or involuntary psych incarceration even though she was 5’2″ and he was over 6 feet. And in NY state, the standard for involuntary psych incarceration is danger to others.

            2. Tigerlily

              I’ve never denied that men are more prone to violence, though I’m by no means convinced American men stand out in this regard.

              Even so I don’t think the “male violence” framing is politically expedient. It turns off a lot of men, especially in the lower reaches of the socio-economic hierarchy, who perceive it as a blanket indictment of people with a Y chromosome. Also, saying you’re opposed to “violence” rather than specifically “male violence” already subsumes all forms of the latter under the former, without appearing to single anyone out.

              Benjamin Studebaker had a good post a few days ago entitled How to Fight Fascism Intelligently that probably has influenced my thinking on this. Two of his points:

              1. Conspicuous Respect: Always treat white people, especially poor and working class white men, with respect. Show concern for their interests, and never verbally bully them or employ physical violence against them. It’s important not only that we treat white people with respect, but that white people recognize us to be treating them with respect. This means that slogans like “Black Lives Matter”, which are not intended as disrespectful to whites but which are nonetheless often interpreted that way, have to go. The same goes for “The Future is Female”.

              2. Parties For Poor and Working People: Never support political parties, movements, and politicians which allow themselves to be seen to ignore the interests of white people, especially poor and working class white men. Even if it’s not true that these parties and movements ignore white people, if they are seen to ignore white people they will inevitably aid and abet right nationalism. It is ultimately the Democratic Party’s perceived indifference to these folks which brought us to this pass–it made them feel “forgotten”.

              I suspect the authors of the Guardian piece will find these points deeply distasteful, as in their minds it amounts to excusing white male privilege. But if you want a real revolution, as opposed to just talking about one (and I’m by no means convinced these highly privileged establishment women really do) then you need to build bridges to potential allies, not tear them down.

              Btw while you’re there The Left Cannot Defeat the Right Through Violence and Suppression is also well worth a read.

              1. Fiver

                First, terminology. There are no ‘radical leftists’ advocating for or engaging in the sort of violence seen to date, though there certainly are lot of people, very often younger people, who are caught up in the clearly tribal, binary choice world-view imposed for so long on US political life and so wildly amplified by media, especially social media – a Dem/Rep, ‘us vs ‘them’, ‘good vs evil’, ‘win vs lose’ duality perfect for a politics based on keeping people divided, not on the public ever gaining an equal (or preferably) superior position to the 1%.

                Second, no ‘radical leftist’ anywhere is advocating war with Trump’s supporters, a with ‘the right’ or a war of urban vs rural or a war of the educated vs uneducated, or emphatically a war of unarmed people vs armed people (most of whom happen to be men, a very large and growing number also with military training and an alarmingly growing sub-culture of highly trained ‘target’ killers).

                Nobody called the riots in ’67 ‘leftist riots’. They were ‘race riots’. The violence seen thus far utterly pales in comparison. Actually, the police violence employed in dispersing either Occupy Wall Street, or Occupy Oakland dwarfed anything the demonstrators did.

                The idea that urban Americans can violently overthrow their Government is at this time laughable. The only people thinking they might or could are precisely the hard-core gun guys.

        2. b1daly

          Tying the protest to the issue of male violence and reproductive rights makes perfect sense, as those are two areas where Trump is terrible.

          It seems to me the Democrats are way better than the whole Republican Party on reproductive rights. As far as violence against women, that’s hard to say. Everyone says they are against it. It’s hard to believe coming from Trump, as there are credible accusations of being violent towards women.

          1. aab

            You are wrong. You are confusing “messaging” with actual results.

            I mean, yes, Republican leadership is salivating to jail pregnant women and keep their brain-dead bodies going as fetus farms. So looked at from that point of view, yes, the Democratic Party’s limp protests against such things is “better.”

            But Democrats have held the presidency 16 of the past 24 years (so 2/3rds of the time), and held both houses of Congress sporadically during that time. And inevitably, reproductive rights have shrunk and shrunk during that period, because the New Democrats don’t actually care about guaranteeing and protecting real reproductive choice access for women. It is the thing they always bargain away, to get more stuff for their corporate masters.

            And that is one of the reasons this framing for a strike would be bad. It facilitates more corporate Democratic playacting, and if enough women fall for it, their lives will continue to get worse.

            Unless the focus of the strike is how universal health care is the best and only way to guarantee reproductive health care access for all women in this country, it will be fraudulent and counterproductive, if you want actual change that makes women’s’ lives better.

    1. Superposition

      Medicare for all will never be the Dems answer, at least this cycle, as that would presume the ineffectiveness of the ACA.
      Trump has a huge opportunity to out flank them on this front, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.
      I don’t know what would make me more happy, universal coverage, or the sounds of all the DNC talking heads exploding…

  18. GERMO

    In Portland OR the label “resistance” was adopted pretty swiftly by people protesting the night of the election, the following night, and thereafter.

    Students and youth from a pair of protests that took over freeways Wednesday morning and night have formed Portland’s Resistance.


    If pro-“restoration” trends co-opt this label it can be no surprise after this last awful Dem primary but if there are still “real” Sanders supporters (and there are many who resisted the sheepdogging effort) there will definitely be a “real” resistance that some might not see if unwilling to look beyond the “love trumps hate” sign-waving.

  19. T.M. Hawley

    Changing the subject here. Just wanted to share what I do whenever the Democratic Party or its allies ask me for money, which is pretty much a couple of times an hour. I send them the following text.

    “I will resume donating to the Democratic Party when the DNC explicitly repudiates its centrist/Wall Street proclivities of the past several decades and returns to an authentic progressive agenda, working at the grass roots to convince poorer Americans to vote their actual interests in local, state, and national elections.

    “Your atrocious performances in the presidential elections of 2000, 2004, and 2016, and your beyond atrocious performances at the state level over the past 20 years or more have convinced me that you people do not know how to spend money responsibly.

    “Until you return to an authentic progressive agenda, etc., you may remove me from your mailing lists. I will not contribute one thin dime, but I will be working with my local Democratic Committee.

    “Be well and get smart. T.M.Hawley
    Best-selling author, Against the Fires of Hell: The Environmental Disaster of the Gulf War (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992).”

    1. mk

      I’ve responded with several nasty emails too, unfortunately, I can tell by their response that they don’t care and they continue to lie (as in stating I am one of their most active supporters, etc.) They don’t acknowledge any of the issues stated in my email, all they have for me is demands for what I can do for them. Next time I write, I’ll be sure to recommend the DNC look up NC for factivists.
      Thanks for letting us know your thoughts on the direction our party should take.

      You’re one of our most active supporters, and we’re going to keep relying on you to help Democrats push back against Republicans at every level of government.

      Here are three quick, easy things you can do right now to stop Republicans:

      1. Spread the word. Let your friends know that you’ve committed to electing Democrats, and ask them to join you! Share on Facebook or tweet that you’re in.

      2. Make a donation. We rely on supporters like you to make sure that our candidates have the resources they need to win. Your donation of $10 or more today will support Democrats who are fighting for our values at every level: https://my.democrats.org/Invest-in-Democrats

      3. Become a Factivist. Help get out the facts about Republican candidates and their disastrous policies. Sign up to become a Factivist today, and we’ll make sure you get the latest information to share with your friends and neighbors.

      Thanks for staying involved,

      DNC HQ

  20. allan

    CalPERS staff says fund should not divest from Dakota Access [Reuters]

    California Public Employees’ Retirement System should maintain its investments in the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline project in order to exert influence over the companies involved, staff for the largest U.S. public pension fund said on Monday.

    Legislation proposed in California would require CalPERS, a $300 billion fund, to divest from companies involved in the building and financing of the 1,168-mile-long underground pipeline project, which would affect an estimated $4 billion in CalPERS holdings, according to staff.

    CalPERS staff said that while divesting stocks of companies involved in the project may reduce stakeholder perception that the fund’s investments contribute to climate change, the move would limit CalPERS ability to change corporate behavior through engagement. …

    “Engagement” is the new “conversation”.

  21. Plenue

    If we’re lucky, this Superbowl will be one of the last. The sport can go out with a bang, as people migrate to other, less barbaric sports that leave fewer people brain-damaged.

  22. Demented Chimp

    I sent an email to Trump on Medicare for all as below:.

    Suggest everyone else do likewise and spread the thought through the various channels. If enough send it may float past his eyes long enough to capture his attention.

    Only Trump could……. give Medicare for all. Treat everyone as a patriot veteran!

    Scaleable system, leverage to cut costs and create a loyal base.
    Give the insurance industries profits to Hospitals and Pharma to get their buy in.

    Take the leap. Make America Great!

  23. ChrisPacific

    Re: Bernie’s list article

    In an interview with the Huffington Post in December, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a front-runner in the election for Democratic National Committee chair, said he wants “to learn from Senator Sanders about how he did it.”

    Everything that’s wrong with the Democrat Party in a nutshell. Perhaps by (I don’t know) standing for policies that would make a meaningful improvement in their lives, rather than gradually driving them into poverty and despair?

  24. LT

    Trump and Medicare For All?
    Not happening. Not unless it’s “Medicare” For “All” that you’re talking about.
    For one thing it’s too compassionate to fly in the Beltway.
    Number two, as bad as the Democrats are, Trump was not elected because of the “compassion” he represented.

    1. John k

      He was elected because dems in swing states found the options so awful they couldn’t determine a lesser, and stayed home.

  25. duck1

    fly on wall:
    T: Wow, Bowling Green . . .
    B: Those boys can chew up more column inches than would exist in a normal universe . . .
    T: Kelley is a champ at taking the flak. It’s like, they lost interest in everything else we were doing . . .
    B: Seems like the news can be driven at will . . .

  26. Pat

    I will admit that I did think the Dems needed better catchier reference terms to hated policies. Republicans always seemed to do better of short insulting titles for policies. About the closest I have seen the Dems do it is “Right to Work for Nothing” law. So in some ways the ability to write a snarky protest poster could be considered an improvement. Where I think they fall short is much as it is an illusion the Republicans still managed to stand for something – small government, less regulation, low taxes, even personal responsibility. As they threw more and more of their history over in order to appeal more and more to the big donors they lost the identification of standing for…well anything.

    I know we hear a lot about identity politics, but they aren’t even very good at pretending about that. They are for women, but don’t really fight for them, Blacks and inner city youths unless they need them to be predators, LGBTQ well… As for their history of support of working people and unions, we all know how that has gone and how about the only people who buy that are the union leaders who are slightly in on the grift.

    I admit I’m happy that people are now noticing the state we are in. What I am not happy about is that they somehow think all this is so much worse than where we were before the President was Donald J. Trump. It really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong it is bad, but does anyone seriously believe that a Clinton led administration would enforce the judiciary rule? Hell if it had been enacted a year earlier, Obama’s administration would have ignored it or done an occasion wrist slap. Yeah, I’m not happy with the dick swinging in regard to Iran, but despite Nikki Haley making stupid Samantha Power style comments and yes I do think Obama took a step back after Clinton but it isn’t as if he were war adverse. So folks get that DeVos is a nightmare, wish they had noticed how bad Duncan and King were. By not recognizing that, what we get is a nostalgia for an imaginary better time just past.

    And that false nostalgia, that lack of recognition that it wasn’t that good before gives our Democratic non leadership team the chance to avoid the change they need to make if they want to be more than a boil on the butt of democracy. It should no longer be about saving ACA, they should recognize that ACA was not close to what was needed and demands that if you are going to repeal it do what we couldn’t and pass Medicare for all! It should be don’t cut, find a way to expand Social Security. It should be we are America and exceptional of course there should be free post high school education, college AND trade schools. It should be about postal banks, and community wireless, and infrastructure without strings where the public still owns the commons. Privatization should be called and treated as the cancer it is. Roads should not put tens of thousands a month in a corporation’s balance sheet for tolls because they were repaired, your national park should still have forests, and your water should be lead free without having to pay nestle for every drop.
    But unless they can find something to be for, and not just against l those protesting will only find leaders who do little more than advance the status quo of the previous three decades. The blinders aren’t entirely off yet, and I’m not sure they will get beyond team Not Trump. Sanders gives me some hope. Most of Twitter and SNL not so much. Snarky signs or no.

    1. Pat

      Just realized that fiduciary became judiciary and that it should be “As Democrats threw more and more of their history over in order to appeal more and more to the big donors…”
      I apologize for being more unclear than usual.

    2. b1daly

      I think amongst all this critism of the Dems that there should be some acknowledgment that their “centrist” moves are to a degree tactical. If you look at the last 50 years, the only President we’ve had that could be considered slightly progressive-left is Carter.

      Bill Clinton was pretty calculating in how he positioned himself. He wanted to win power. If there was really such a large constituency for progressive causes, someone would have tapped into it. Even the most successful third party presidential candidate in living memory were right wing: Perot and Anderson.

      Just because something can be used as an excuse for lack of outcomes by a supposedly progressive Democratic politician, doesn’t mean it is true.

      Obama gets a lot of, scathing, criticism here for failing to pass single payer healthcare, bailing out the banks, lack of good jobs. But I can’t see how he would have been able to do much given the political climate. You can criticize him on tactics perhaps, for not being more agressive the first two years, when Dems had Congress.

      I understand the criticism on military and security policy more, as the president has more power to act unilaterally. It’s not infinite though, he/she still requires political power to do I anything major.

      1. marym

        This brand of excuse-making has been debunked repeatedly. Obama and the D’s won the election. The “political climate” was in favor of change. They chose not to use the energy of OFA, Congressional majorities, Congressional procedural options, the virtually limitless platform of the president and his popularity. They chose to serve their donors rather than the people, and their supporters chose to make excuses for them rather than demands.

        On the specific topic of healthcare, polling had been favorable to a Medicare-for-all type program for decades.

      2. Pat

        Obama ran on hope and change. And then did nothing to foster either.

        Regarding health care, they took single payer off the table before the table was brought into the room for negotiations. Now even if you take that as the cost of getting anything passed at all (and I do not), it weakens your ability to negotiate stronger policy regarding the delivery of health care. I had to laugh hysterically during the election when all of a sudden the Public Option was back. They could have had a Public Option. It was in the House version of ACA. And since the bill was passed in reconciliation there was no reason to jettison it except it didn’t fit with the agenda of the donors pushing this reform.

        As for whether this country is center right or center but never left. Funnily enough when you actually present the policies without the terms: single payer is popular (Medicare for ALL), set retirement pay is popular (Social Security), women’s reproductive rights are popular (yes abortion), and yes protectionism is popular see the backlash about free ‘trade’ deals. Even financial regulations are popular (explain the fiduciary rule in plain english and watch the agreements flow). Antiwar is practically the norm. Try asking most people about the Middle East and our actions there, if they know it is largely get the hell out.

        Is America as liberal as I am. No. But then this is a time where a President largely to the right of Richard Nixon gets portrayed in the media as some lefty hippy type when he is not being portrayed as some cool black version of JFK. Propaganda does work, and most of our media has been making William Randolph Hearst jealous for years. Even with that, the ‘center’ is rebelling.

  27. Kim Kaufman

    The groups I’ve seen demonstrating are the Bernie people who are more issue oriented; the Hilary people who are pissed they didn’t get their way and just want the status quo; and the “anti-fascists ” who are Answer Coalition, Revolutionary Communist Party, World Can’t Wait, etc., and where I suspect most of the violence comes from.

  28. dk

    “What would Trump have to do for you to support a revolution against his regime?”

    Is that meant as a trick question? It’s the goals and methods of the revolutionaries that matter. A revolution is not intrinsically better than the regime it seeks to replace. Whaddaya got, besides no-mo-Trump? Because if it’s Pence, or even a reinstatement of the Obama/Clinton establishment, I would have been up for a well-conceived rebellion against that, too. I don’t think that really qualifies for the term “revolution” at all, that’s just a coup.

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