“In Case You Thought Trump Was Imploding….”

Yves here. This is a short but important illustration of how having the unified voice of the mainstream media plus the many allies of the Democratic party in the punditocracy and The Blob all working as hard as they can against Trump is not proving to be as effective as they’d have you believe, even with them putting Trump on the defensive for his almost daily unforced errors.

Recall that we warned that Trump would be forgiven a great deal if he increased wages and lowered unemployment. Keep your eye on that ball.

By New Deal Democrat. Originally published at Angry Bear

For those of you who may be cocooned in the liberal blogosphere, I’m afraid I must administer a cold slap in the face.

Here is the graph of Gallup’s Economic Confidence Survey from its inception nearly 10 years ago. Notice that spike to new highs right at the end?

Let’s zoom in for a closer look, as in the last 3 months:

The first surge of +10% in confidence happened right after the November elections Democrats got less confident, but nearly 40% of GOPers became increasingly confident in the economy.

The second surge of +10% (from +8 to +18) happened starting on January 20.

Trump is solidifying his support.

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248 comments

  1. Kemal Erdogan

    yes, indeed. This is actually how Erdogan initiated his iron grip: he made health care more accessible, and supported construction industry which is very labour intensive. Additionally, he created a class of dependent people who literally become largely dependent government social programs which Erdogan has increased from less than 1% of GDP towards close to 3%.

    In the US government social programs might not fly with GOP base but it surely helps for people to look the other way if he can create genuine good paying jobs. People might even find it OK he gets a cut for himself as long as he supports his base. That is how Erdogan feeds and keeps his islamofascist base tranquil anyways.

    1. lel

      Framing social welfare programs as “creating dependency” is neoliberal talk, and is not empirically verifiable.

      1. jrs

        well if there are also no other opportunities, I don’t know I’d probably be happily dependent. Sure beats the crazy we are supposed to go through to find jobs sometimes (move 1000s of miles away from loved ones etc.)

    2. DanP66

      Forgive me, but that comment is just a bit over the top.

      The US is NOT Turkey. Any comparisons to culture, history, and institutional design are at best only skin deep.

      I personally find these types of comments and the hysterical overreach of the left just undermine any credibility that those making arguments against a Trump administration have.

      I will say this however, if our institutions, apart from the military, do not find a way to have a broader and deeper appeal, they will keep growing weaker and at some point that will lead either to civil war or to a TRUE strong man in power.

      ME?

      I worry more about the fascism of the left than I do about Trump.

      1. It is the left that is using violence to stifle speech. Look at what is happening on college campuses.

      2. It is the left that is calling for the purging and often the burning of books with which they disagree. College campus libraries and course reading are being purged. Calls have been made on social media to buy and burn Milo’s books.

      3. I do not see Trump supporters hanging out at democrat or progressive meetings and trying to engage the attendees with vile language and threats of physical assault. I see that every day on the left.

      4. It was Obama that concluded that he could govern with the pen and the phone and bypass congress and thus added to the imperial power of the presidency. Trump is just following in the path that Obama laid out for him. So..who was it that took the steps towards undermining democracy? Obama just did it with charm and a certain academic arrogance. SO…was it the left or the right that undermined democracy and pushed toward a dictatorship?

      5. It was Harry Reid that used the nuclear option to break the requirement that 60 votes were needed. He set the precedent. SO, who undermined democracy and the institution of the senate? Trump? No, it was the left.

      Tell you something else, if you look back through history, MOST dictatorships and strong men have come from the left, not the right. Mao and Lennon are just the best examples. Think about how many people were killed and under those two. What 40 or 50 million?

      As a side note, consider political correctness. In China during the Cultural Revolution, millions upon millions were put into reeducation camps because they did not or were thought to not think as they SHOULD think. Consider that the next time you see a speaker stopped from appearing or you read about another college trying to control language.

      1. Paul

        Lennon? Was that John Lennon? That may be why the Beatles collapsed in civil war and riots after he and Yoko assumed the reins of power.

        1. GERMO

          This “violent left” theme is growing around the mis-Information Superhighway, I notice — not 100% rightwing trolls, either: a lot of it seems to come from centrists desperate to regain their position as the adults in the room. So desperate that misspellings (Lennon, LOL!) and absurd connections (Reid=left) are tossed around a lot.

          1. Outis Philalithopoulos

            Lennon for Lenin is a misspelling. Reid=left is not an “absurd connection” that is evidence of systematic misinformation, it’s a difference in word usage. The people who feel outside of the whole liberal-left ideological area habitually refer to the whole of it as “the left.” Furthermore, right-leaning people see what is outside of them as if from a distance, and so are usually only familiar with the most salient figures there. That means notable Democrats, celebrities, media personalities, and so on, and very few people who would actually describe themselves as leftists.

            This often drives people who do see themselves as left crazy. To keep some perspective here, I suggest the following:

            (1) Try to treat the issue more the way you would a dialect difference. There are a lot of people in the US who say “soda,” but there are others who say “pop.” If you are used to saying “soda” and you run into someone saying “pop,” I supposed you could say, “lol, how do you drink ‘pop,’ pop is a kind of music,” but why would you?

            (2) You can just say something like, “When you’re talking about Reid and so forth as “left,” you’re referring to group X – we are actually part of group Y, which isn’t the same.”

            (3) Keep in mind that the same issue is present in the other direction. All manner of internal differences are erased when the media refers to “right-wingers” as an indiscriminate mass. That is also using a word in ways different from how the recipients use it.

              1. Paul Boisvert

                Lambert’s simplification isn’t bad, but I suggest a slightly more nuanced framework. Capitalism is the issue around which the left historically has constituted itself, and I suggest this framework is still the best. But markets are not the essence of capitalism, and some forms of markets are compatible with better alternative systems. As I see it:

                The right consists of those who want to increase the power of capital vs. labor. Like almost all Republicans these days, Donald Trump (a capitalist plutocrat) is part of the right—though he is indeed quite skilled, like any carnival barker, at preying on his intended victims’ desires (some quite legitimate, some not) by creating sideshows and diversions to hide his true intent.

                The center are those who want to partially decrease (some more, some less) the power of capital, partly out of some sympathy with labor, but often also because they think overly-powerful capital will behave in ways that create too much (dangerous) resistance to the capitalism itself. Virtually all Democrats, along with many non-Democrats, fall into this “center” category, from “softer” neoliberals to those espousing some form of “social democracy”—with most of the NC community (functionally, if not always ideologically) being in the social democratic ballpark.

                The left are those who want an alternative to capitalism, basically “democratic socialism”. That is, they want the ownership and control of the means of production to not be private, but to instead be public and subject to democratic control by those (laborers) who use them to make our social product.

                As described above, no Democrats are part of the “left”, but neither are most members of the NC community. That’s not an insult, just a fact—as blogs go, the NC community is IMO the single best non-socialist one around, with admirable motivations and intent. But the “left” has historically believed (based on evidence and logic, though of course we could still be wrong) that if you really want human freedom and dignity and justice, capitalism cannot be “reformed”, but must be replaced. If they temporarily support any given “reforms” of capitalism, it will only be those that advance us toward, and are compatible with, a socialist political economy. Note that the JG of MMT is an example of such a reform—a socialist society would of course guarantee work for all who want it.

                The confusion comes in when “Identity Politics” advocates are lumped in with the “left”. They share the most important motivation of the left—the desire for freedom. People need to be free both from capitalist exploitation and commodification, and from the very real and brutally horrific harm inflicted every day by racism, sexism/patriarchy, heteronormativity, xenophobia, etc. Those espousing only IP, however, either don’t believe that capitalism is fundamentally unjust, or don’t believe that there is any alternative. The left does, however, believe those things—while also desiring every goal of increased human freedom that the IP folks do, of course.

                The NC community is of course correct to critique some of the IP folks, to the extent they give short shrift to even reforming capitalism much, let alone replacing it. But such critiques, if coming from folks who themselves think capitalism can be satisfactorily “reined in” (let alone by Donald Trump!) cannot be said, as I see it, and certainly not historically, to either target the left, nor come from a left perspective. Such critiques are better framed, to avoid confusion, as one part of the center critiquing another part. Again, that’s not an insult—people are entitled to their views, and the intent is admirable, and perhaps the views of the “social democratic” center about the reformability of capitalism are correct. I don’t think they are, as I’m a socialist…but I’ve been wrong before… :)

                1. ChiGal in Carolina

                  Didn’t see this before. This is a great comment.

                  Clarifying, as Lambert would say.

                  Thanks!

              2. neo-realist

                Swedish Social Democratic Capitalism w/ Capitalism vs. American Neoliberal Capitalism.

                Coke or Pepsi w/ HFCS vs. Coke or Pepsi w/ real sugar :)

                There are Democrats that are part of the left–we/they are just told to shut up and go along w/ the lesser evil.

              3. Pespi

                I call them the gas and the brake, either way the motor is running. I think it’s a very important rhetorical project to take away the word “left” from democrats. They don’t deserve it and they don’t embody it.

            1. I Have Strange Dreams

              Lennon for Lenin is not likely to be a misspelling. Just apply Occam’s razor. Your simplifications are also patronising to people with basic reasoning skills. Have Americans really been so dumbed-down that they need politics explained through soft drink analogies? Don’t you guys learn this stuff by age 12 or am I just a snobby European? I really hope NC doesn’t continue down the path of pandering to simpletons. I had come to expect basic levels of intelligence and education from posters here and that nonsense be called out. One more time, Lennon for Lenin? FFS. That is beyond parody.

              1. Vatch

                Lennon for Lenin is not likely to be a misspelling.

                On the contrary, here’s the context:

                “Mao and Lennon are just the best examples”

                If he had said “Sinatra and Lennon”, then the use of “Lennon” would have made perfect sense. But combined with “Mao”, it’s clear that “Lenin” was intended. Although I happen to think that “Stalin” matches “Mao” better than “Lenin” (or “Lennon”).

                I liked the soda/pop discussion. George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have quipped (although he might not have really said it):

                “The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.”

                We could just as easily say:

                The United States is a country separated by a common language.

                Having said all this, I have to point out that I disagree with much of what DanP66 said, but I won’t go into details, other than to say:

                1. The U.S. right wing engages in much more censorship than the left does. They’re the ones who routinely ban books.
                2. The Republicans have been destroying democracy for many decades via ALEC, gerrymandering, and their greater financial access to talk radio.

                1. JoeK

                  DanP66’s post to my mind is an examplar of the pseudo-reasoning of the “Right” such as it is.

                  “Mao and Lennon,” that really gave me a chuckle. At least pair Lennon with Marx to preserve the ambiguity and reference the semi-iconic T-shirt at one blow.

                  And with that amendment made I’ll correct the OP on this point, I don’t think I’m alone in not having too much use for for Marx (sorry Groucho) yet will always be a Lennonist.

                2. sharonsj

                  The reason the U.S. is separated by a common language is because most Americans are stupid and cannot comprehend what they read. I am a former book editor; I and a friend who is a reporter commiserate daily about this.

                  1. aab

                    Americans having reading comprehension problems is not the same thing as being stupid.

                    You can be extremely intelligent and be completely unable to read. Our elite has been scorning and undermining the development of critical thinking and reading skills for decades, so it wouldn’t shock me if there’s systemic problems with reading comprehension. But I suspect a lot of this is cognitive dissonance and other psychological biases. In order to believe a lot of what Americans are expected to believe about their country, their government, and the rest of the world, they need to avoid understanding much of what they read.

                    Once Democratic leadership went all in on testing, charters and all that, I think they lost the right to claim to be superior to the Republicans with regard to caring about education or books. Republicans may burn more; the Democrats just make them impossible to get. As to destroying democracy, the Republicans aren’t the ones who rigged a primary this year.

              2. Outis Philalithopoulos

                Lennon for Lenin is obviously a misspelling.

                The soft drink analogy is not explaining politics, it is explaining the difference between descriptive and prescriptive linguistic analysis.

                The rest of your comment (“simpletons,” “basic levels of intelligence and education,” “nonsense”) is entirely prescriptive. In this sense, your comment is a non-response – instead of engaging with the point, it seems to have sailed past you.

            2. Jeremy Grimm

              Outis Philalithopoulos — I greatly appreciate both the intent and tenor of your comment. Yves was very wise when she added your voice to the moderation of comments at NC. [Your handle is a tad unwieldy.]

              I also agree with and appreciate most of the content and valor of DanP66’s comment. I too fear what DanP66 calls the fascism of the left as much as I fear that of the right, and that of the so-called center. However I worry more about Trump’s tendencies at this moment. It’s Trump who holds the reins for now.

              1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                Thanks, Jeremy. On the handle, sure, it’s a little long, but just “Outis” is also fine.

        2. Pete

          I have found that the right likes to stop free speech an awful lot as well. Mcarthy comes to mind and i remember a lot of people being railroaded during the bush years

        3. jrs

          Plus he seems to have slept through the W administration. It’s all Obama. W and his torture, and secret interpretation of secret laws, the Patriot Act etc. all forgotten.

          Ah well sometimes it’s just youth and I’m probably faulting a 21 year old for not knowing anything about the W administration or something. Studying history is good, but It also helps to have lived through it.

          1. juliania

            Obama shouldered the burden of the Bush administration by pushing forward not back. He took on Bush’s crimes, as so help us so far, Trump is also doing. The difference, we hope, is that they are now so embedded it will take a while to shuck them off. I am giving Trump more time than I gave Obama, but only to the point where I also give up on him. And even though my children and children’s children need the social welfare to live their lives and grow up as I was privileged to do, I will still want international affairs to become equitable and peaceful as well. That, I believe, is the American way.

      2. PH

        Neither your history nor your current analysis is correct.

        Right wing governments in Russia and Serbia did most to set off World War I, with nary a left wing govt in sight. After the Russian revolution, Russia wa invaded. That helped cement a ruthless dictatorship, but Stalin was brutal and evil.

        Still, it was Japanese militarists who started WWII in China, and German Nazi who starred WWII in Europe. So we will put the 100 million dead on the right wing tab.

        Stalin and Mao were murderous fanatics, but their ideologies have nothing to do with modern American Progressives. Our traditions flow from FDR and the “save capitalism” with a safety net and prudent regulation school.

        The only totalitarian ideology in America with any significant following is radical racist nationalism. That is mostly a small group, but there are large numbers susceptible to fear and the siren call of militarism and national dominance. Trump wants to play that tune.

        1. divadab

          Your comment is historically inaccurate – WWI was started by Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia. You blame this on the Serbs, which is a ridiculous inversion of the facts.

          Your sainted FDR implemented fascist policies (=policies that benefit the cartels) such as the a) prohibition of hemp (which benefited Dupont-nylon, the cotton lobby, and the secret police); b) nationwide agricultural consolidation and centralised govt control – look up Wickard V. Filburn for the anti-democratic details. So you are wrong – both left and right in America have totalitarian elements.

        2. Mike Constitution

          Nope, “left-wing” encompasses all of the authoritarian and totalitarian governments responsible for the wars and mass murders of the last 100 years.

          The United States of America is exceptional, and so amazingly successful, because it is defined by restraint of government to protect individual rights, right-wing.

          There was nothing to restrain Stalin, Hitler, Tojo, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam, or Chavez as they committed atrocities against their own people and those of other countries.

          The only force for good, the force that has saved civilization multiple times, and is trying to save it again as this is written, is the USA.

          The USA, despite being under attack from within by you leftists-in-denial and from without by the usual totalitarian suspects, is still the most successful and powerful nation in history.

          Left-wing describes unrestrained government power and leftists want to use government power to impose their views on others.

          Right-wing describes maximum individual liberty and conservatives want to preserve the protections from government power enshrined in the Constitution.

          1. mtnwoman

            “Right-wing describes maximum individual liberty”

            Unless you are a woman, then right wing men will decide what you do with your body.

            1. aab

              Or you’re a member of a out group with a different culture, ethnicity or religion.

              Or you’re an employee.

              Or you’re a citizen of a country that wants to live differently, or a neighboring state that wants to live differently than the right wing.

              But then, most of Mike Constitution’s assertions in his comment are counter-factual. That was a very neat trick, listing Hitler as left wing like we wouldn’t notice. I could list all the murderous right wing regimes, but I suspect you’re already gone, Mike.

        1. BeliTsari

          The wealthy tax immigrant living at the Dakota, who penned:

          “You say you got a real solution
          Well, you know
          We’d all love to see the plan
          You ask me for a contribution
          Well, you know
          We’re doing what we can
          But when you want money
          For people with minds that hate
          All I can tell is brother you have to wait
          Don’t you know it’s going to be all right””

          before being murdered by a bullied & abused Texan geek, “who fantasized about having king-like power over a group of imaginary “little people” who lived in the walls of his bedroom”

      3. russzimm

        Anyone that thinks of the Senate as a symbol of democracy is dreaming IMHO. When 82 senators represent 1/2 of our population and 18 senators represent the other half, I do not see any relation to democracy.

      4. Kemal Erdogan

        You will be surprised to see how the peoples of the world are similar. This is, by the way, how it worked in germany; the nazis actually created jobs, offered unemployed men dignity. While they did not have majority support when they staged the coup, they had overwhelming support when they started the war.

        Wait until you see the first fruits of Trump’s policies. I concur with Yves here: any sign of real improvement on the lives of little men, no matter how small, would be written as a big plus for Trump and people would just look the other side (no matter how outrageous even about basic rights) on issues like torture, freedom of speech, etc. It is true that bottom half of the population is f.cked up but that does not mean they hold higher ethical standards.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          His last sentence I suspect, should have read: “…people will just look aside on issues like torture [of distant others], freedom of speech [loss thereof], etc.”

          He is I believe, like Yves, essentially right. If large swaths of the U.S. end up with young to middle aged men working steady, well-paying jobs again because of policies associated with Trump!….. he and the younger ideologues who are backing him will retain power and prestige for decades.

        2. Adam Reilly

          Trump not only has to pass policies that will help lift standards of living in a enough places for people to care (doesn’t seem like his infrastructure plan will amount to much but corporate giveaways, we all know how well tax cuts work, he’s still in favor of free trade…etc), he has to do while avoiding an economic downturn that we are definitely overdue. Both of these things happening seems extremely unlikely. If he actually passed something that was truly helpful, I would be shocked given how hideous a start he’s had and considering that I doubt of any his advisers/puppetmasters really care about the common man.

          1. allegorio

            Trump seems to be a blank slate watching hours of corporate cable news and being inspired by it to send federal troops into Chicago. He is another Reagan who his handlers can get to do anything they want. He is already waffling on negotiating pharmaceutical prices after talking to the industry executives, talking about foreign monopolies taking advantage of the US and how a monopoly like Medicare shouldn’t be dictating prices to the free market. He seems to be just like his constituency, low information angry white men watching hours of cable news shaking their fists and yelling at the tube.The ‘white’ working class will soon be subject to the Chinese curse, “May get what your wish for.”

        3. bmeisen

          KE has a point: there’s a parallel with Hitler and the Nazis. But Hitler didn’t slowly consolidate his power with Keynesian programs that benefitted Germany’s deplorables. He used extreme violence, especially at the start, and deficit-funded jobs programs.

          30 Jan 1933 Hitler became Chancellor as the Nazi chair, leader of the largest party in a right-wing coallition, i.e. the Nazis alone did not have a parliamentary majority. He moved to consolidate power less than a month later 27 Feb 1933 following the Reichstag fire. The executive powers act (Ermächtigungsgesetz) and the hunt for perps sent a clear message to opposition and minorities foremost the Jews. He began to get people back to work slowly relative to the first phase of his political efforts, which arguably ended with the Röhm putsch at the end of June 1934, a murderous internal purge of the Nazi party. Thereafter he was unchallenged internally and could intensify his efforts to consolidate nationally. His works program needed 3 years before he was confident enough to incite Kristalnacht and the public beginning of the Holocaust. Also a financial solution – the Nazis reduced deficit spending by stealing from the Jews.

          The parallel doesn’t go that far. Trump may get a bump up with some Keynesian success. But the potential for extreme violence is not there, even with guns everywhere. I don’t see Trump as another Hitler. There are fascist tendencies but even with a compliable Congress and a profound level of ignorance and delusion among Americans an important factor is missing. Funny thing is I can’t name it.

      5. Reader1

        Trump began by demanding a list of government employees who attended climate change meetings. He continued by demanding that the Park Service back up his insane lies about the size of his inauguration crowds. He forbade government agencies from updating their websites or talking to anyone. He has removed information from the USDA website as pertains to mistreatment of animals. These are the actions of a tyrant.

        He has so worried scientists that they have removed scientific data for fear he would simply destroy it. This is insane.

        The Tea Party harassed Obama and other Democrats for years. The protests against Trump are much larger because the threat of autocracy is very real.

        The Republicans have bought into Trump’s march toward autocracy which is what they always wanted. They are not your Grandpa’s GOP, they are something quite foreign.

      6. MP

        Was the training at the School of the Americas designed to suppress the right or the left? My friend, “the left” has been treated with disdain by the leadership of both political parties. After Vietnam, the so-called centrists and conservatives went into overdrive marginalizing groups that didn’t serve their “major” policy agendas.

      7. berit

        Lennon was a peacenik Beatle. Love not war. I guess you may have thought to write Lenin? However this war of words on which side is the worst, the left or the right, is less interesting than what conditions gave/give authoritarians the chance to grab power, and who actively supported/support the creation of such conditions? Cynical manipulators come in more hues than one.

      8. Bill jensen

        In response,

        1. What is going on is the suppression of hate speech. What I see from the Right is censorship of science. I’m not a big fan of censorship, but to deny some punk, rascist from talking does not equate to the censorship of science.

        2. Milo is a racist. I applaud the backlash against him. Isn’t the backlash a form of speech?

        3. Flat out wrong. See the advent of the tea parties. I wonder if Trump supporters aren’t out there protesting because they are embarrassed in their support.

        4. The Obama is arrogant and caused all this is nonsense. McConnel said it best in 2010 that he would block Trump at every turn. End of argument. Th Republican congress shut any compromise, so to blame Obama is to deny reality. Incidentally Obamas use of executive orders was not extreme. Go look at past presidents for a comparisons.

        5. At some point Reid had to do something because Republicans obstructed.

        I don’t know what you are talking about with liberal fascism. It’s totalitarian fascism. It isn’t right wing or left wing fascism, it’s totalitarian, which is what is happening now. The political correctness argument is used as an shield to say rascist or sexists comments. Lastly, your comment implies some sort of moral superiority. Sorry, those days are over. Detaining and handcuffing a five year old boy with a legal basis to live in this country because he is Muslim is immoral. Deporting parents of American citizens and splitting up families is immoral. Suppressing African Americans from voting. Kowtowing with Russia is immoral. Never again does the right get to play the moral superiority argument, which is ultimately the premise of your argument.

        1. two beers

          Detaining and handcuffing a five year old boy with a legal basis to live in this country because he is Muslim is immoral. Deporting parents of American citizens and splitting up families is immoral

          But bombing tens of thousands of Muslim families is moral, because Obama and Hillary did it.

          Suppressing African Americans from voting [is immoral].

          But expanding the incarceration of black Americans for victimless crimes, exporting their jobs, slashng their social safety net, and giving their homes to Wall St banksters is moral, because Bill Clinton and Obama did it.

          Kowtowing with Russia is immoral

          But intentionally provoking Russia by expanding NATO to its borders, inciting coups on its periphery, and increasing tensions with the only other nation with the ability to turn the entire planet into ash is moral, because Obama and Hillary did it.

      9. FightClubber

        Yes of course it’s the left who kill everyone.

        Franco was a leftist, as was Mussolini and that nasty Austrian fellow who desperately wanted to be German and make everyone else German too!

        Let’s see; there was all that palaver in the South American continent with left wing death squads and don’t forget all of the 19th Century Left wing imperialism that raped Africa and Asia.

        Of course the daddy of them all has to be the pinko United States of America who has been at war with various parts of the world almost continually for the past 200+ years.

        Yes there has been (in all seriousness) awful brutality committed in the name of the left (Stalinism) but your comment is just ludicrous.

      10. Allegorio

        Again the corporate media is hoodwinking Amerika. Again it is a false dichotomy liberal/left, Republican/ Trump. We have Amerika in uproar fighting each other over two competing neo-liberal criminal organization both looting the economy, merely differing over who gets the bigger cut. Divide and Rule! Real solutions are no longer discussed. The more the corporate media rails against Trump the greater his support from the low information working class. Hoodwinked again. Bread and circuses uber alles.

        Donald Trump was created by all the free publicity he was given by Jeff Zucker and CNN. Do you really think Jeff Zucker is upset over Trump’s roll back of regulations governing the predatory financial system? Raising Trump up as the ultimate liberal bogey man is completely marginalizing the progressive electorate. Mass demonstrations that are hijacked by government provocateurs breaking windows and burning cars likewise.

        The job of the liberals is to keep truly left progressive candidates off of the ballot. Hillary Clinton succeeded admirably. The establishment, despite their protestation, have no problems with the policy of Donald Trump, as in Nancy Pelosi, “We are capitalist”. Despite the media hysteria, Trump is doing nothing that Barry Obama didn’t do or Hillary Clinton wouldn’t do. Photo ops are us! Trust me the TPP will rear its ugly head again in bilateral trade deals that Trump negotiates. Once the unions have been destroyed completely and environmental regulations are completely rolled back it will be safe to bring jobs back to America, and as long as jobs don’t go to black people the white working class will be happy.

        Identifying the left with liberals like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi is one of worst outcomes of the corporate take over of the Democratic Party. Over and over again they subvert and oppose truly left solutions, as in “The Public Option”, and substitute corporate give aways like like the ACA. By identifying liberals as “Left”, progressives are saddled with all the baggage of universal surveillance, extra judicial murder, Wall Street corruption. Let’s get one thing clear, Liberals are not the Left.

  2. samhill

    If Trump actually fixed the few straight forward universal complaints of the ACA and rebranded it and pushed through a $12 minimum wage with some sort of bait/tweet/promise to soon go to $15 he’d drive the last nail in the DNC coffin, put in a cement liner, and bury it in an abandoned salt mine. The DNC could run a dozen Bernies in 2020 and they’ll all be flying with clipped wings. I’m almost scared to state it, but it’s nothing they can’t figure out on their own. But, the GOP will never allow it, along w/ all the other dysfunctions of politics in 2017, politicians and officials of whatever stripe don’t or can’t even act in their own self interests anymore.

    1. Carla

      “politicians and officials of whatever stripe don’t or can’t even act in their own self interests anymore.”

      Suggest “Deep State” by Mike Lofgren for a full treatment of this phenomenon.

    2. Thebelltolling

      How do you see this happening? I just can’t. It seems impossible with the current supply side straitjacket of the government and his party in particular. And I don’t see the drive in him to do the hard work of twisting arms for genuine fixes. He can’t tear himself away from the TV. I’m genuinely baffled by the idea.

    3. sid_finster

      DJT only has to do two things:
      1) bring back the jobs; and
      2) end the wars.

      Both are easier said than done, but if he does them, it will not matter what else he does.

      1. Katharine

        And if I find a pot of gold I’ll be rich. Your hypothetical statement may be true, but so far I see no evidence that he has either the will or the political skill to do either of those things, both of which require substantial cooperation from Congress. We’ll see what develops.

        1. Ivy

          The Elliott Abrams episode reminded me of the Mitt Romney episode. That may be Trump’s way of providing some signal to a segment of the politicians, while pursuing his own agenda. In any event, I am glad to see no country for old man Abrams.

        2. SpringTexan

          Yep, Katherine has put her finger on it, no sign that this can happen. As she said, we’ll see.

          I’m worried about the damage Trump will do to people’s lives; I’m not very worried that he’ll succeed in his economic program. To benefit people would take actions he doesn’t want to do and doesn’t have congressional support for.

          I’m troubled about the fallout meantime and I’m troubled that once he falls the elite will be no better than before. Very worried about Sessions, voter suppression, intensified drug war, deportations, militarized police. Not very worried that Trump will actually be bettering the lives of his base and thereby gain support. Yes it could work. No it won’t happen.

        3. animalogic

          Absolutely.
          And, he’ll need quite a bit of old fashioned luck. As most NC readers tend to admit, the US economy is a systemic mess. Nor is the world economy much better. So, circumstances….
          Though, Trump is well placed in one respect: his skill as a bullshit artist is second to none….

          1. Aumua

            This is all predicated on the assumption that Trump actually wants to do any of those hopeful or truly helpful things. I think you and many others here give him way too much credit. But I suppose that someone’s got to give him credit when so many are aligned against him..

      2. b1daly

        Ending the wars seems much more doable. It drives me insane how these wars somehow can’t be stopped.

        I do give Obama credit for keeping the US out of a shooting war in Syria (mostly). The mania for entering this war by other mainstream politicians was intense.

        Small “victories” I guess.

        1. 728huey

          That’s definitely not going to happen, especially with Steve Bannon as one of his chief advisers. He has apocalyptic visions of the Middle East and a total war against Islam, and he is already looking to provoke a war with Iran.

        2. Wyoming

          “I do give Obama credit for keeping the US out of a shooting war in Syria (mostly). ”

          So by your definition it is not a shooting war as long as your troops are not dying? Even when those same troops are dropping 10’s of thousands of bombs a year and killing thousands of people?

          Perhaps you have a rational explanation for the apparent contradiction you expressed?

        3. Crazy Horse

          Actually it was Vladimir Putin that kept Obama out of a shooting war in Syria. The American bombers were literally warming up their engines and the MSM was hard at work fabricating belief and assigning blame in the poison gas false flag attack likely directed* by our “intelligence” agencies.

          Putin had the audacity to use diplomacy to defuse the crisis, negotiating an internationally supervised removal of all chemical weapons held by Syria. Obama ended up looking like the amateur checkers player he is, and he and the War Party were backed into a corner unable to continue with the planned attack. Obama had to have been personally furious, which explains his obsession with fomenting economic warfare against Russia and demonizing of Putin.

          The US then fell back upon its policy of clandestine warfare against Syria, using as allies Al Qaeda and the jihadist fighters left over from our destruction of Lybia, all funded by our great friends the Saudis. Only to be checkmated again by Russia’s direct intervention at the invitation of their long term client/ally Assad and subsequent success in fighting jihadist terrorism.

          As President Trump recently pointed out in the “Killer Putin” Faux News episode, there is no lack of blood on American hands.

          Of course History is written by the victors. And memory spans are short.

          (*Motive, Means, and Opportunity— but the smoking gun is still buried)

          1. juliania

            Thank you for this, Crazy Horse, and well said. This was Putin’s Kennedy moment in historical terms – different parameters but the same adroit avoidance of catastrophe. The irrational animosity towards Russia simply deepened into a cause célèbre beyond this point, infecting and distorting electoral politics. It wasn’t the Russians that did that; we did it to ourselves.

          2. Allegorio

            Putin negotiated the Syrian’s relinquishing their poison gas arsenal in August 2013. This outraged the War Lobby which was prepared to invade Syria based on this false flag operation. This is the date from which Russia & Putin have been demonized. It was in February 2014, after the thwarting of the Syrian invasion, that the Kiev putsch occurred, resulting in the Crimean referendum and the saving of the Russian fleet. Putin has consistently outsmarted the neo-con war lobby and hence the demonization of Russia and Putin. It should also be remembered that the British Parliament vetoed the invasion and that Congress was inundated with letters opposing the invasion. I suppose the American electorate has been similarly demonized as the “Basket of Deploriables” Don’t they know that endless war is good for them.

    4. 5 Dog Life

      An very early supporter of Trump, San Diego County’s own Representative Issa, maybe the wealthiest person in Congress, who, until he almost lost in this last election, wanted to drown the federal government in a bathtub, is now stating that he supports replacing the ACA with the same health insurance currently offered to all federal employees.
      Is this a sign that Republicans are actually working on driving that last nail into the Democratic coffin?

      1. Arizona Slim

        In 2009, I attended a Bernie Sanders town hall in Peacham, VT. He had this to say about his federal health insurance:

        “I have the same plan as my secretary. It ain’t that great.”

        1. SpringTexan

          That’s funny. It’s actually pretty decent insurance, but depends on the federal cost-sharing, and you cannot offer it to everyone on the same terms as currently, because the general populace isn’t as healthy as the employed and retired federal populace, a very dull and healthy group. One strength of it is there are several excellent NATION-WIDE plans, something you don’t find in Obamacare.

      2. marym

        It’s not inconsistent with drowning the federal government. It’s just private for-profit insurance, similar to other employer based programs – depending on where you live you get a choice of some number of plans from private insurance companies.

      3. Lynne

        I don’t know anything about the health insurance offered to all federal employees. I did, however, see in the last few years FB comments from a variety of people on both ends of the spectrum demanding to know why they couldn’t have access to the same insurance that Congress had, apparently in the mistaken belief that they had no out of pocket cost. So perhaps this is an attempt to do so. Of course, it is a bogus suggestion, unless he is also suggesting that the government kick in that portion of the premiums that are paid for federal employees. See https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43194.pdf

    5. paula

      I figure if Trump wants to do these things he will. LBJ got stuff done with flattery, bribery, threats and blackmail. I think that’s Bannon’s job.

  3. Ptup

    That’s nice, but, always looked at that confidence measure as a bit of a joke. Stock market is up, too. Too bad nobody owns any stocks. But, here, here’s a link from your Link list this morning: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/how-trumps-agenda-clashes-with-what-americans-want-w465914 Or, how about that little incident in Utah (Utah!) the other night when that smiling weasel Chaffetz was abused for an hour by a bunch of normal looking, mature white middle class citizens, not a bunch of Occupy pierced and tattooed and long haired/bearded youngsters?
    As though this illiterate racist has the ability to “raise wages and lower unemployment”. He seems to be hard at work destroying the fragile auto industry, a very large employer, including suppliers, with his border tax, or whatever he wants to call it today. Soon we will have a labor secretary who would pay his own people 2 dollars an hour if he could, before he perfects fast food robots wearing bikinis. Oh, and let’s just write off our public school systems in poor and middle class communities for four years, considering who just got elevated to that position. That’s going to help our competiveness in today’s world. Yessireee.
    Please. I know the DNC and big media is hated here, and, I understand, I’m with you, but, this man is an incompetent and dangerous clown with a apocalyptic white, Christian supremacist at his side, whispering in his ear, and in command a of very mighty military and domestic police force. He is not a good alternative. He is not going to make life better for his voters. But, hey, thanks, Donald, looks like it’s Dow 25 grand pretty soon! I’m off to the ski hill!.

    1. Praedor

      So? Trump is the ONLY game in town. You can’t get rid of him because then you get Pence, an entire new world of horrible. No road, at all, fixes this situation. The Democrap Party is dead and not going to come back (because at its core it REFUSES to learn and refuses to change. It only knows doubling down on the criminally stupid neoliberalism.

      1. kj1313

        What the?! Trump is neoliberal hack sorry to tell you or haven’t you paid attention to his cabinet picks? He wants to privatize everything as the previous neoliberal hack.

        1. Massinissa

          In what way does that invalidate anything Praedor said? Replacing a neoliberal hack with Pence, who is MORE of a neoliberal hack, is useful in what way?

          1. kj1313

            I think it would be easier to oppose Pence because the Republican base aren’t as attached as they are to Trump.

            1. Pat

              The base isn’t, but the power base behind standard Republicans is more attached to him. And as we know from experience that same power base is very close with many Democrats. Trump being gone also removes much of the pressure on them to even pretend to be the opposition.

              IOW, I fear you misunderstand how much Trump is outside the SOP of the Beltway and how much Pence is very much on the inside and so would be sadly disappointed.

              1. MP

                Paul Ryan came to mind when I read your comment. Ryan’s demeanor with Pence is like watching a schoolboy with a crush; with Trump, he’s noticeably guarded and uncomfortable.

    2. hreik

      this man is an incompetent and dangerous clown with a apocalyptic white, Christian supremacist at his side, whispering in his ear, and in command a of very mighty military and domestic police force. He is not a good alternative. He is not going to make life better for his voters.

      “He is not a good alternative. He is not going to make life better for” almost anyone but the very rich.

    3. djrichard

      “incompetent and dangerous clown”.

      What makes him incompetent? What makes him dangerous? What makes him a clown?

      1. TheCatSaid

        Excellent examples of the same keywords being repeated over and over by the media to create a reality in peoples’ minds.

        This is what mind control looks like. It is extremely effective. None of us are unaffected by exposure to constant repetition of this kind.

        Trump is surviving by his own highly unconventional media strategies.

        1. Ptup

          Maybe you non New Yorkers are not that familiar with his history, but we’ve been watching this a hole for decades. Try four full page ads in all the NY dailies one day calling for the Central Park 5 to be effectively lynched. Try three casinos and an airline going belly up due to his absolute business incompetence, all the while stiffing contractors and workers. I don’t need some CNN pundit to tell me he’s a dangerous fool. Been there, done it.

          1. Arizona Slim

            One of my friends came very close to doing business with Trump. He was warned about how Trump stiffs vendors. And he is very grateful for the warning.

            1. John Wrightt

              I don’t know how Trump’s business could survive if he continually stiffed his vendors.

              From my limited experience (electronics industry), a company’s reputation for “slow pay” or “no pay” is quickly communicated to suppliers and they compensate.

              Trump would need to continually find new uninformed vendors to make this a widely used business practice.

              The problem with poor relations with vendors is that when times are good., the vendors remember how they were treated and will not deal with, or will demand a high premium (“cash in advance”) to work with, an untrustworthy business.

              Were Trumps practices in line with the industry?

              Usually a successful company realizes it needs good relationships with vendors to survive bad and good times, especially if the vendors provide a key component or service that is difficult to second source.

                1. Wyoming

                  This nonsense argument has become one of the Left’s favorite pieces of fake news. I.E. Trump is not a successful businessman because he has had 6 bankruptcies.

                  Six! OMG!

                  Trumps financial disclosure statement lists 530 companies he has some stake in. And we can be assured that over the last 40 years he has had investments in perhaps a couple of hundred others.

                  So his failure rate is under 1%?

                  This is not a record of failure but one of demonstrated success. One of the givens of starting businesses is that most of them fail. You get in and make what you can and bail before it all falls apart. Capitalism is a wonderful thing to behold.

                  For all of his personal faults and lack of education on many matters the fact stands alone that he is a successful man in his chosen field.

                  That he successfully used the skills he developed in that world to crush the Democratic and Republican machines cannot but lead one to the conclusion he is a person of serious capability. Or, alternately, that his opposition was incompetent across the board.

                  Not that I think he will not lead us into disaster. But then I also was convinced that Clinton was at least as prone to leading us into disaster as Trump seems to be. There was no lessor evil to choose from this time.

                  1. Nakatomi Plaza

                    You’ve got to be kidding. Trump has had some spectacular failures. However, I don’t think people would mock him as widely for his bankruptcies if the guy had an ounce of humility and owned up to his occasional failures.

                    And how about Trump U? Please, defend that one.

                  2. Bill jensen

                    I don’t think we really know whether he is a successful businessman, because he won’t disclose it. The test should be between his current net worth versus what he would be worth had he simply put his inheritance in a mutual fund. I’d venture to guess he would have done better with the mutua fund.

                  3. Crazy Horse

                    And bankruptcies are a sign of business failure? To the contrary they are just an example of using the rules of power and law to maximize personal wealth. Let me give you an example — the person who preceded Trumpet as the candidate for the Presidency from the Republican party.

                    When Mitt Romney was an ambitious junior executive in Bill Bain’s investment company he went to his boss with idea to generate piles of new loot— the private equity model. Works like this: Find a company in need of new investment capital for expansion, take them over with a leveraged buy-out and burden them with as many new loans as possible, use management fees to extract all the value in the company not nailed down, and when there is nothing left but a dry husk blowing in the wind bankrupt the sucker and send the employees out into the cold.

                    Bill Bain said “I’m in, with one stipulation— you can’t screw over my existing clients to fund it. After a bit of wheel spinning Mittens found the perfect angel investors— Salvadoran oligarchs who were funding the right wing death squads in their country. Their 6 million in blood money was the key to Romney’s fortune.

                    The American myth told to generations of children is that anyone can grow up to be president. What they don’t tell you is that first you have to become a billionaire criminal like Romney and Trump, a grifter willing to sell your soul a hundred times over like the Clintons, or a Trojan Horse groomed for the office like Obama.

          2. TheCatSaid

            1) Re: “you non-New Yorkers”, it’s dangerous to make assumptions about who you are talking to online.

            2) Being an ass-hole is a key requirement to become a credible presidential nominee these days. That endearing quality looks different in New York terms, as you rightly point out.

          3. WheresOurTeddy

            I’m plenty familiar with New Yorkers thinking non New Yorkers are all rubes and bigots, too.

            We have televisions and internet in rural areas too, Captain Condescension.

      2. ambrit

        Agree. He did wipe the floor with all of the “official” establishment candidates thrown at him. Then he upset the coronation fantasies of “The Anointed One In Purple.”
        He is “on the learning curve” here. He is discovering that a Sovereign Nation is most definitely not a business, and that he will have to adapt his methods to the situation “on the ground” as he goes along.
        As for troubles with the other branches of the Government; anyone remember Franklin Roosevelt’s ill fated attempt to pack the Supreme Court? Trump has a lot of political capital to hand. Googling around I found this appropriate quote. G W Bush after his reelection: “I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.”

        1. mpalomar

          The competency required to wipe “the floor with the official establishment candidates” turned out to be hosting ‘The Apprentice.’ I’m afraid that in our democracy with our current excuse for a fourth estate, the rigorous experience of being a loud mouthed, authoritarian, virtual-reality tv host was sufficient preparation for taking on the establishment (disclaimer I’ve not watched the Apprentice but irresponsibly assuming that was the basic premise for the show).

          I’m not sure how much political capital Trump has. Like Bush in 2000 he lost the popular vote, unlike Bush the spectacle of two skyscrapers pancaking in lower Manhattan has not provided the street car named hysteria for the media to jump on; instead they are actively trying to throw him under it.

          1. ambrit

            Referring to your 911 mention; keep an eye on Iran and the Middle East. Sic Semper Tyrannis has a good piece on the Iran situation: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/02/president-trump-entering-uncharted-waters-in-yemen.html
            Also, if hosting “The Apprentice” was good enough of a training ground for Trump to “wipe the floor” with the DNC campaign, and Trump is as bad as you suggest, what then does it tell us about the competency of the Democratic Party nomenklatura?
            Plus, consider the fact that we have just, thankfully, seen the back of a soft spoken, authoritarian, virtual president. Trump may be a SOB, but he’s our SOB.

            1. mpalomar

              “What then does it tell us about the competency of the Democratic Party nomeklatura?”
              -It tells me what has been obvious for some time now, the US is skating on very thin ice.

              “Trump may be a SOB but he’s our SOB”
              -I find no solace there in fact I find it quite frightening. Hang in there, we may be in for a bumpy ride.

              1. ambrit

                The “SOB but our SOB” quote is attributed to various, but this version is credited to Franklin Roosevelt. The person in question was Anastasio Somoza, “President for Life” of Nicaragua in the way back. The implication is that America has formally entered Third World territory.
                See: http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/30107.html
                Things do look a little choppy for the near future.

          2. Mark P

            ‘The competency required to wipe “the floor with the official establishment candidates” turned out to be hosting ‘The Apprentice.’’

            Trump used the performance mode in the campaign that he used for his WWF appearances, more than THE APPRENTICE, actually.

            Interesting times.

          3. Crazy Horse

            mpalomar, there are always more skyscrapers awaiting the proper placement of thermite charges. And our Saudi allies should have no trouble recruiting more student pilots by promising them endless lines of blow and 14 virgins with pink hair in the hereafter.

      3. Judticia

        The fact that he’s had to walk back almost all of his foreign-policy blunders makes him incompetent.
        The fact that he’s arrogant and ignorant, and has surrounded himself with ignorant ideologues makes him dangerous.
        The fact that he has the vocabulary of a 12-year-old and the maturity of a five-year-old makes him a clown.

            1. footnote4

              Ok, I’ll spell out the intermediate steps.

              Judticia asserted that Trump
              1) “has had to walk back almost all of his foreign policy blunders”;
              2) is “arrogant”; and
              3)”has the maturity of a five-year-old.”

              Assume for the sake of argument that Trump’s actions are “foreign policy blunders” (which is not necessarily a given).

              Wouldn’t the action of quickly “walking back blunders” undermine the assertions in (2) and (3)?

              1. Justicia

                No, not if you’re forced to do it because it was such an obvious screw up in the first place. It shows incompetence, not maturity.

                And, insulting the Australian PM is hardly an act of genius or wise foreign policy.

                1. witters

                  “And, insulting the Australian PM is hardly an act of genius or wise foreign policy.”

                  Can’t agree. Our PM Trumble is a man who cries out for insult. The man makes Obama look principled!

                2. Gaianne

                  Walking back a policy definitely shows incompetence. Mature people never correct their mistakes–they double down on them!
                  /snark

                  –Gaianne

        1. Lynne

          I’ve seen this comment here and elsewhere repeatedly: that his use of simple language means Trump is “a clown”, “an idiot”, “an ignoramus”, “someone with a serious psychological disorder,” take your pick. I wonder how many of the people making that claim have done much in advertising or public speaking. For years, I’ve read in legal publications and heard in seminars that we should use no more than 8th grade sentence structure and vocabulary in communicating to juries. For that matter, I recently had a conversation with a very smart, successful man in which I said something (can’t even remember what now) and got a blank stare until he asked me what some word I used meant. It was not a particularly obscure word, ether.

          My point: it’s dangerous to dismiss as stupid or “a clown” someone because they (effectively) use language calculated to appeal to the widest audience when their goal is to sell. Don’t make the mistake the Clintons or the Republicans made.

          1. MP

            In other words, he’s a skilled con. This “man” has few boundaries; many of his supporters will resent being disrespected.

            1. Lynne

              Just so, and skilled con does not equal stupid. I don’t know how much is incompetence and how much is gaming. But underestimating Trump and his crew is dangerous. You’d think we would have learned that lesson with the GWB intentional “misstatement” that people misunderestimated him.

      4. Karen

        “What makes him incompetent? What makes him dangerous? What makes him a clown?”

        He is both arrogant and ignorant. His problem is that his past career as a real estate developer did nothing to educate him about the things a POTUS should know, nor did it help him develop relationships with people who do know those things. So he flies blind because he doesn’t know much himself and doesn’t trust many (any?) of his advice-givers.

        I believe the Presidency is for him an ego trip (I believe the same about his two predecessors too, BTW). If he had any seriousness of purpose, he’d have educated himself a LOT more about the policy issues he cared about – and the workings of government – than he seems to have done. IMHO, of course.

    4. Patricia

      Plup, a while back, Yves wrote in comments that what she most dreaded was that Trump succeed with his base. Hit me hard at the time because it seemed accurate and what does one do with that? Some of what he promised is desperately needed, after all.

      (See also Kermal Erdogan’s comment above re Turkey.)

      Thus, you will find close study of result of Trump and his policies at NC. Just because it is reported, doesn’t mean it is approved.

      1. Ptup

        But he won’t. Have you seen any indication that he will? The judicial system not only threw his racist Muslim ban into the trash can, but now they are probably very much united against Trump and his team, although they of course won’t say so in public, of course, excepting the extraordinary situation of a President’s nominee criticizing him early in the process to a Democratic senator, with Republicans verifying that criticism. So, he’s screwed there, already. He won’t help create jobs. For gods sake, Ross is his Commerce secretary! And, like I said, trade wars and protectionism. Oh, yeah, that’s going to end well. Always has, hasn’t it?
        No, this guy has no friends. He has to pull an Erdogan, declare martial law, shut down the unfriendly press, and do a sweep of all non white immigrants to really satisfy his “base”. Oh, yeah, and lock her up. But, that’s not going to happen. It’s not that bad. Yet.

        1. Patricia

          Well, I am not as certain as you are about what Trump will/won’t do for his base, in the end. There are many ways to game the system and although so-called “improvements” carry less weight than they used to do, yet they remain potent for those looking to fit reality to bias. Bone-throwing works for a while, you know?

          But my main point here is that there are always good reasons to continue sober straight analysis on what’s actually happening, and it’s particularly important when both Trump and Dem sub-culture are caught in a hysterical loop.

          Things look dour, no doubt. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have been given such wretched choices for prez, and been left with a jacka*s.

          But ptup, worrying about horrible things that may or may not happen is a waste of energy. Give your worse-case scenario 10 minutes of consideration, do what prep you think necessary, and then set it on the shelf. There’s a lot of work that needs doing!

        2. TheCatSaid

          “This guy has no friends.”
          Haven’t you noticed friends are easily bought and sold? Especially in political circles.

          “Everyone has their price” etc. etc.

        3. Lynne

          And that court case HELPED him with his base. The opponents just had to go to the 9th Circuit to get it, didn’t they? They played right into his hands, as did the businesses who are now crowing about it. Starbucks’ proclamation that they were going to hire thousands of migrants? The base asked why won’t they hire Americans? Tim Cook’s argument that Apple wouldn’t be successful without immigration and they HAD to have H1B’s? The based asked why does Cook hate Americans? etc, etc

          Remember Citizen’s United? The left lost that one, and Obama used it to demonize the Supreme Court right in front of them during a State of the Union speech. See much sympathy for the judges there? I know you probably think it’s because Obama was right and Trump is not. But that’s not it: it’s because people hate lawyers and despise judges? How many times have you heard complaints about political judges? How many comments on this site alone about the Supreme Court picking presidents? It unites people against what they perceive as a common enemy.

      2. papicek

        BINGO. Nobody seems to get what the GOP & Trump are doing right now. They’re choosing a course of policy specifically intended to rally the base rather than address concerns in the respective problem domains these issues revolve around. IOWs, they’re just playing politics. The base wants democrats bitch-slapped and that’s what Trump & company are doing. The bigger problem is that this is all they’re capable of.

        1. MP

          The so-called base is going to turn into an angry mob and “the manufactured other” won’t be their focus.

    5. Jim Haygood

      ‘always looked at that confidence measure as a bit of a joke. Stock market is up, too.’

      Not sure why you would regard confidence surveys as a joke. Besides Gallup’s Economic Confidence Survey, the University of Michigan and the Conference Board also conduct consumer confidence polling. All three series have multi-decade histories.

      No coincidence that stocks are up — they correlate well with consumer confidence.

      If you don’t trust Gallup’s survey for some reason, combine the Gallup, U Mich and Conference Board series to make a meta-survey. As Led Zeppelin used to say, “The song remains the same.”

        1. Katharine

          Thanks, that’s interesting. I was wondering if anyone has done a long-term study of correlation between “consumer confidence” and actual economic performance maybe 3-6 months down the road. Unless there’s a fairly strong correlation I can’t see much use in the confidence index as a predictor. Judging by the little I’ve found so far, the relationship is more complicated. This article, which I still need to digest further, includes what I would regard as a caution:
          http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2010/november/confidence-business-cycle/

          In this way, optimism about the future can lead to an economic boom today, along the lines suggested by Pigou. But the boom may ultimately lead to a bust if new developments fail to fulfill the original expectations and sentiment sours.

          To the extent that might be true, I would say reading too much into confidence is unwise.

    6. George Phillies

      Vast numbers of us own stocks, thank you.

      It is likely the case that it will occur to the White House that whenever a Republican Congressman has a town meeting Trump supporters should be reminded to show up at which point the audiences will eb elss one-sided.

      1. Ptup

        Wrong. “Vast numbers” of Americans do not own stocks. If by “us” you’re talking about the white upper middle to upper classes, ok, yeah, but, the “vast” numbers of Americans don’t have any savings at all. Half of the most comfortable demographic, the Boomers, have zero saved for late life. Zero. Of the other half, maybe 20% have an amount that most investment advisors won’t secretly laugh at if put in front of them. No, “vast” amount of Americans are knee deep in debt, not equity holdings.
        Lord, this commentery community is so white. Unable to be offended by one of our most blatantly racist modern presidents, and doing so well with their investments.

        1. BobW

          I own stocks, sorta… in a 401(k). As a boomer I can report that there is enough in my retirement account for a comfortable USD $300/mo. over 15 years, assuming I can keep working and contributing until age 70. Of course Social Security can pick up the slack as soon as they “fix” it. /sarc

          1. jrs

            I think the truth of the matter is a lot of middle class (not poor) people may own some stocks, and yes usually in a 401k, but of course the vast majority of stocks are owned by the rich.

        2. Dave

          Why are your personal morals, social choices or possibly family blood line suddenly worthy of altering and bending national politics?

          Substitute “Christian” or “Jewish” for “racist” and its obvious how subjective and personally partisan your observations are. Relying on a one-word trick-pony is only as good as long as the crowd don’t wander off to the next sideshow.

          Buy a can of tennis balls to chew on. It’ll make you feel better and will tighten up your face.

          Your first paragraph is spot on.

          1. Ptup

            You’re white and Christian, right? Have to be, to be so snarky and cute. As though us old white guys are being shot down for minor traffic offenses or just being disrespectful to the man. Or wondering, now, if they’ll bust down your front door at any moment to deport you. Or, realizing that your grandmother’s talk about fearing the goyum in the old world can actually be a little preview to your life when the Breitbart readers get deputized. It can happen here. But, I’m guessing you and I are safe. What a luxury.

        3. WheresOurTeddy

          Ptup, there are many forums where you can shut down debate and take over threads with your holier-than-though anti-white people crap.

          This isn’t one of them.

        4. jrs

          racism isn’t everyone’s number one voting issue and there is really no reason it should be. If someone’s most important voting priority is another issue (the environment or peace or poverty etc), that’s understandable. Now I suspect there are very few issues Trump will be good on on (trade at best pretty much) so I’m plenty skeptical but ….

      2. Ptup

        Oh, and, where are these Trump supporters? Don’t you find it strange that only his critics are showing up at town halls and marches? Where’s the rabid support? Stuck in a lazy boy eating chips and watching Fox? Seriously. Why so one sided? And, please, don’t tell me they all are too busy working. I thought their misery was the whole point.

        1. hreik

          They showed up when BO was Potus. With revolting caricatures of him in tow.

          And thanks for your doggedness and comments. Really ty.

        2. jrs

          “And, please, don’t tell me they all are too busy working. I thought their misery was the whole point.”

          well if they are all too busy working and long hours as well, then I would say they are indeed miserable.

        3. SteveB

          Your condescending tone is comical. Do you believe everything that the Democrats and Media tell you. You shouldn’t continue to make the mistake of disparaging anyone that voted for Trump. The base that voted for him is stronger now and growing everyday. Your disdain and vitriol only confirm that they made the right decision to rip your political heart out.

          Trump supporters aren’t going away anytime soon and they needn’t show up to protest anything. They are too busy enjoying their victory lap.

      3. Katharine

        Approximately half own stocks; from a quick search of reports, it seems to vary, over half one year, under another. The vast majority of those holdings are concentrated in the hands of the wealthy. A lot of people who “own stock” in the sense of that “half” statistic have small 401(k)s that may or may not be managed well enough to do them much good in the long run.

        And there’s still the problem of the other half, who do not own stocks in any sense, who do not have savings in large amounts (or any, for some), who have not benefited significantly from the economic policies espoused by either political party for a long time, and whose lives matter. I wonder how many of them get included in these supposedly scientific surveys, and even if they are, I wonder if their responses may be colored by a grim determination to stay positive because that is the only way they get through.

  4. PH

    The scary possibility is if Trump (advisors) learns how to harness the National Security powers. Not run around with naked executive orders, but make top secret findings that can more plausibly be claimed to be unreviewable.

    Then a few selective prosecutions, an intimidated press and bureaucracy, then a military clash somewhere, Ann’s the game is on.

    There have been lots of popular right wing dictators.

    1. integer

      That sounds more like Clinton and her neocon BFF’s bag of tricks to me. Had she won, chances are that there already would have been a huge crackdown on so-called “Russian propaganda”, and the US would be rapidly escalating tensions with Russia, which were already close to the point of no return.

      Countries don’t hold 30 million person nuclear war drills for no reason.

  5. JEHR

    Such disheartening news from Sweden:

    The OECD survey confirms that Sweden is no longer the model country it once was, in the heydays of the 60s and 70s. It’s no longer the country of Olof Palme. Just as in so many other OECD countries, neoliberal ideologies, economists and politicians have crushed the Swedish dream that once was.

    It’s sad. But it’s a fact.

    1. oho

      zero/negative interest rates benefits Sweden’s multinationals;

      neoliberal labor policies—open borders for unskilled migrant labor, for a country w/a population 1/2 that of tri-state NYC, does not help native workers. just being a realist—no flaming please

    2. Ivy

      Of greater immediate concern to the average Swede is the daily social disruption from their myopic policies. They just did not seem to think through the potential crime and other impacts of their immigration programs, (see what is happening in Malmo and other cities for examples) leaving the details to be re-edited in post-production or as re-work at the end of the assembly line. In either case, that is a very expensive approach that is bad all around for Swedes and those they purport to help. Worrying about industrial or economic policy seems far off compared to daily social impacts going to a grocery store or school or other public place.

      1. fajensen

        I happen to live in Sweden. To an outsider, It is very clear that the Swedish people are very strongly divided along class boundaries and regions. The Swedes deny this of course, but it is very obvious that whatever a few, certain, people say or do matters a lot compared to all others. These people happen to live mostly in Stockholm, in specific areas, definitively not in Kista or Rinkeby.

        What happens to people in Malmö or Gothenburg may be pretty bad, but, regrettably, their problems are simply not the kind of problems that the decision making upper layers of Swedish society care much about. The media knows that very well, so they concentrate on the news that matter and long editorials shooting the messengers bringing news that don’t matter. .

        Now, as part of the Swedish culture, various forms of cronyism, fraud and corruption are quite common here. Enforcement is often ludicrously lax (apart from drugs*) which of course is royally taken advantage off by many of the newcomers, who simply doesn’t care at all about “Swedish values (of good taste)” or “Folkhemmet”.

        This visible difference in criminal energy creates plenty of resentment, however, it takes *a lot*** of outrage to move the needle on enforcement – one assumes this is partly because “proper people” might get nailed also but I believe them main problem with enforcement is that there will be statistics produced, making elites look like they were wrong. Which they never are, because they are elites.

        *) Therefore only the most stupid, desparate people make a career in drugs crime, which is why they will shoot and bomb each other – and random bystanders – pretty much all of the time. Malmö mainly does shootings, Gothenburg does bombings.

        **) The border controls eventually happened because people were torching asylum housing at a rate of several per month and this was beginning to look bad for the Swedish Brand. Those statistics again.

  6. John

    Or maybe he isn’t all bad as some think and like all people has part good; so maybe take a step back, fight what is really bad, give on what is good, and plan for the future in 4 years. Because that is the next chance to transfer power legally. And admit others have a different view of how things should be and they mean you as much harm as you mean them. Of course, I could be wrong!

  7. Watt4Bob

    Excuse the fact that I’ve posted this anecdote previously;

    Nazi Pork

    Back in the late 1970’s, while riding a city bus, I met an old man carrying a very old sewing machine on his lap. I asked if he fixed sewing machines and he answered yes, he had worked in a sewing machine factory in Germany when he was a young man before the war.

    I don’t remember how it came up, but he told me that ” If you worked with machines, Hitler was very good, of course after a while it didn’t turn out well.”

    I’ve heard it said that Hitler cemented his relationship with the German people by putting them back to work, after which they became life-long supporters.

    So far Trump has made moves, that to me look like ideological payback to his working-class constituents, but not much that would have a real impact on their precarious economic situation.

    Now one would expect that he is going to disappoint these people, and that they will see through his fecklessness in the same way they saw through Obama’s fecklessness, but if he can figure out how to deliver even a little real economic relief to the working-class, watch out, their satisfaction will result in Trump being given permission to do what ever else he wants to do.

    The American people gave Obama permission to change things, and from the perspective of those who voted for him, he not only wasted that opportunity, he helped extinguish that hope.

    Trump has been given permission to change things, and he’s going to change things.

    If he is successful at delivering even a little relief to his working-class supporters, watch out, he’ll change a lot.

    1. djrichard

      Let’s game this out then. When Trump’s nazi proclivities manifest themselves, what is the thinking on what will happen?

      I’ll game out something. I think odds are good he’ll start war with Iran. But I don’t think he needs nazi proclivities for that to happen. That’s the “divine right” of any mafia/gangster leadership of the USA.

      1. Lee

        When the resistance pick up guns I might begin to believe their claim that Trump is a Nazi. Or better, I might believe they believe their claim that Trump is a Nazi.

        1. Watt4Bob

          Fascism exists over a wide spectrum of intensity, and visibility, as far as that goes.

          The Anglo-American flavor is low-intensity, and visibility at home, high-intensity, and visibility abroad.

          The American public is barely aware of the true nature of this reality, and are only now reaching the point of asking tough questions of their ‘leaders’.

          Obama ‘proved’ that the democrats either can’t, or have no interest in helping the working-class so the working-class has chosen a different ‘Promiser in Chief’, and if he delivers any improvement in their economic comfort level, they’ll quit asking questions, and go back to ignoring a little chaos in the ME.

          As for the guns, I’d remind you that one of fascism’s main characteristics is firm control of society’s vectors of lethal violence.

          No fascist regime has ever been defeated by it’s own citizens.

          1. Arizona Slim

            ISTR that Mussolini’s regime was ended by citizens. A similar thing also happened in Romania in 1989.

            1. Watt4Bob

              Romania was a communist country, ruled poorly by corrupt leaders, but not under the sort of control that can be accomplished by a true fascist outbreak among the multi-nationals as in third Reich Germany and the Anglo-American empire today.

              Mussolini was killed by his own people, but only after the allies had invaded Italy and the jig-was-up so to speak.

            2. Kemal Erdogan

              Both of your accounts are wrong. Romania was a western supported coup; perhaps the first staged mass-media operation. And Mussolini was killed only after Italy was defeated and also while trying to escape to Germany, not by the people storming his palace.

          1. fajensen

            Eh? The CIA has a loong history of positively loving pretty much every fascist, nazi, salafist, torturer or whatever. That kind of persons are always worthy of a little regime change to push things in their favor. Especially if their country had ideas about using their own ressources on improving the lot of their people, depriving rich americans. .

            The only way Trump would ever be in life-threatening trouble would be if he came out as democratic or a humanist.

          2. aab

            Wait, I thought our Republican elite has been in bed with the Nazis since the ’30s. If Trump was actually a Nazi, wouldn’t the Bushes invite him to tea?

      2. Watt4Bob

        Anglo-American fascism has done away with the requirement of a ‘Fuhrer’ so the point of my comment is less about Trump the person, than it is about the steps toward consolidation of power.

        Hitler delivered positive change to the German people’s economic life, they rewarded him with their support.

        While it may be unnecessary to deliver economic change to allow continued, and expanding war as you say, it still makes it easier for our masters to do their worst if given the cover of improving conditions for the working-class.

        1. djrichard

          Is there populism without fascism? Is there any difference between a mafia and fascism? Does progressive democracy yield leadership which isn’t fundamentally a mafia in its own right?

          Two relevant references.

          http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/kalecki-on-the-political-obstacles-to-achieving-full-employment.html

          But perhaps the fight for full employment may lead to fascism? Perhaps capitalism will adjust itself to full employment in this way? This seems extremely unlikely. Fascism sprang up in Germany against a background of tremendous unemployment, and maintained itself in power through securing full employment while capitalist democracy failed to do so. The fight of the progressive forces for all employment is at the same time a way of preventing the recurrence of fascism.

          [snip]

          One of the important functions of fascism, as typified by the Nazi system, was to remove capitalist objections to full employment.

          The dislike of government spending policy as such is overcome under fascism by the fact that the state machinery is under the direct control of a partnership of big business with fascism. The necessity for the myth of ‘sound finance’, which served to prevent the government from offsetting a confidence crisis by spending, is removed. In a democracy, one does not know what the next government will be like. Under fascism there is no next government.

          The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments.

          http://www.salientpartners.com/epsilon-theory/magical-thinking/

          In phase 3 — and this is where we are now in the historical process, somewhere near the end of phase 2 and the beginning of phase 3 — the priest-kings are challenged by a rogue priest in their midst (rare) or an alt-priest coming out of nowhere (common). By “nowhere” I mean that the alt-priest is an Other, whether that’s a foreign religion or a foreign geography or a foreign (i.e., non-priestly) caste. The alt-priest isn’t about tweaking the spell or casting it louder. He’s about doing an entirely different spell, and he’s about accusing the incumbent priests of incompetence or worse. The alt-priest is always a populist, and populism comes easy when the incumbent spells have been failing … and failing … and failing.

            1. djrichard

              I have mixed emotions

              Reality as it is sold to us is a form of tyranny. [press is guilty in particular here.] And populism can make it even more so, when it appears everybody is buying into the same mind-set. Basically I watch out for the tyranny of the winners.

              But populism as being expressed around the world today is a populism of the losers. Well the winners have had their time in the sun, time to let somebody else have their time. When they in turn create more losers than winners, by all means let’s revisit. In the mean time, there’ll be a mix of graciousness and obnoxious lording it over the winners that have been deposed.

              Obviously the current crop of winners have the most to lose. And it’s my suspicion that appeals to fears of fascism are being made primarily by those who have the most to lose: the current crop of winners.

        2. djrichard

          the point of my comment is less about Trump the person, than it is about the steps toward consolidation of power

          If the discussion is less about the proclivities of a particular person and more about institutional proclivities, then it begs the question what is the fundamental DNA of populism in the USA? Is about excluding others from the party (the common weal)? Or is it about being fighting against one’s own exclusion and finding solidarity with others who are fighting for the same thing?

          Similarly what is the fundamental DNA of the institutions that are the gate keepers to the common weal?

          1. Watt4Bob

            Is about excluding others from the party (the common weal)? Or is it about being fighting against one’s own exclusion and finding solidarity with others who are fighting for the same thing?

            I think it swings back and forth between those two poles, depending on the leadership and the times.

            If the leader is a socialist, like Bernie Sanders, then the fight is about seeking inclusion, and seeking solidarity.

            If the leadership is selling a ‘solution’ that espouses exclusion, then you can bet that leaderships intent on pitting people against each other, a ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy that is more and more understood to be ‘astroturfing’.

    2. JTFaraday

      It was an eye opening moment for me when someone here years ago defended Hitler “because jobs.”

      Think Hitler analogy too strong for Trump. We do need to fortify the rights of citizenship vs the neoliberal onslaught– and it’s not just “because jobs,” which is Trump’s narrow interpretation. Trump made it less politically incorrect to say this. This is a good thing.

      But enabling the also now less politically incorrect white nationalist alt-right in the process should give one pause. And this is the most likely outcome of Trump’s nationalism given his economic policies.

      This is why many people are protesting. They’ve already seen past the “because jobs” hooey to the alt-right pandering and the police state crackdown. (And, yes, it’s true they disregarded Obama because they were lulled to sleep by his smooth exterior). They’ve also been exposed to the alt-right and its masculinist fellow travelers on-line, and they are OBNOXIOUS.

      Trump doesn’t need to deliver jobs to The White Working Class to move ahead on this. Many think cracking down on their class-race enemies is THE way to improve their lot, as well as a good in and of itself.

      1. JTFaraday

        And so, also, we should note that the immigrant working class and recent immigrant and non-white working class and the white working class are not the same working class. Wishing it doesn’t make it so.

        This has two implications. One is that the white working class can and will try to lock the others out and this might well better their condition. The other is that when the other working classes– including black citizens whose families have been in this country many generations– contend that their interests are not the same as the white working class and that “race matters,” in the name of truth and all that is holy, we should believe them.

      2. Watt4Bob

        I suspect you either did not read my original comment, or you misunderstand it.

        I was not describing Trumps similarity to Hitler, I was not commenting on Trump having to deliver, and I was not commenting on what the marchers are, or not protesting, or what they can or cannot see.

        What I am saying is that by immediately abandoning the interests of the working class people who elected him, Obama created the opening that Trump took advantage of to win the presidency.

        And if by some chance, Trump happens to create a significant change in the well-being of his supporters, we’ll be looking to at least eight years of Trump Republican.

        People are not protesting because they’ve seen past all the “jobs hooey” they haven’t seen past the “jobs hooey” because for the most part, they’ve got jobs.

        If you ask me, ( Iknow, you didn’t) they’re marching because Trump ‘offends’ them.

        I’m offended too, but being offended is not the same as being politically astute.

        You’re right, Trump doesn’t need to move on jobs, but he wins big if he does, and to a very large degree, it’s the democratic elite’s fault.

        1. Pat

          I largely agree with you that with very few exception the protests and the screams and even the outrage are as much because they hate him and anyone connected with him because he offends them as for any policy reason. I would also say that terms like ‘ignorant’, ‘clown’, ‘stupid’ etc show that they are not really paying attention. I’ll give them arrogant, but anyone who thinks Obama and Clinton(both) weren’t arrogant a…holes wasn’t paying attention there either.

          I don’t know that he can manage to maneuver, connive or strong arm a real jobs program, get his tariffs, or most farfetched get the GOP to understand they cement their majorities and increase their power for years with Medicare for ALL even if it screws a couple of big groups (and it would give them Congress for a while). What I do know is the guy is smart enough to know that making that happen is important and not disposable (as most Dems have thought). After doing the relatively easy things he had at his hand to meet his campaign promises, it will be interesting to see what he does next. (And yes I know the public/private partnerships are probably his best bet which is why they are on the table, even though yuck. Thing is if they don’t work, I won’t be surprised if fixing roads doesn’t become a defense issue…)

        2. Lynne

          I think many are protesting because Trump is vulgar. There’s no doubt that he is vulgar. He’s not remarkably “articulate”, to quote Reid’s downright racist endorsement of Obama. How many “thoughtful” articles have there been about Trump’s policies than ones about how much tacky fake gold there is in his buildings — and how ignorant he was to *gasp* not want Warhol’s chic pictures of his building? It’s just ironic that the Women’s March chose to demonstrate their rejection of Trump’s vulgarity by striving to be even more vulgar.

    3. Dave

      “While riding a city bus, I met an old man carrying a very old sewing machine on his lap. ” And the punchline is?

      The white working class and the black working class have way more in common than the immigrant working class. Besides language and family structure, they have nowhere else to go should things get worse.

      1. Watt4Bob

        There’s no punchline, it’s not a joke.

        You’re right, the working class has their backs to the wall, and if Trump delivers even a little relief it’ll be perceived as confirmation that he’s the greatest.

        And like the outcome described by the man on the bus, the fear is, it might not end well.

  8. Steve Ruis

    Gosh, do you think this “rebound” is due to a lack of doomsaying on the part of the GOP. They are no longer crying crocodile tears over the national debt or deficit and that “tax and spend” Democrats are now out of the way. Could this be an explanation for why “economic confidence” is edging upward?

    1. Jim Haygood

      “March 8: International Strike Against Male Violence and in Defense of Reproductive Rights”

      Ugh. Stereotyping males as violent is as offensive as stereotyping blondes as dumb. That’s the wrong message to defend reproductive rights.

      The May day march might be more to my taste.

      1. Katharine

        Part of the trouble with our language is that an adjective like that can be read as either a universal characteristic or as a descriptor of something perpetrated by (some) males as distinct from females. Even when it is not meant as a universal, it jars those who feel wrongfully accused.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Ugh indeed. Still doesn’t seem to have sunk in that all identity politics all the time is a losing strategy.

        But I’m sure the ‘strikers’ (is it a strike if it only lasts for the duration of a parade?) will be sure to call out erstwhile wannabe VP and current ‘prolife’ senator from VA Tim Kaine (D) along with Trump and pals.

        I mean really, for those who are considering participating in this, please do. It will let a lot of people who are ostensibly on the same side but who were fed up way before Trump came along know that you are serious.

        1. Propertius

          Still doesn’t seem to have sunk in that all identity politics all the time is a losing strategy.

          Doesn’t that depend on what your ultimate aim is? As a late-20th/early-21st Century equivalent to Jay Gould’s “I can hire half the working class to kill the other half” it seems like a resounding success.

      3. Vatch

        It’s an unfortunate stereotype, yet it is based on biological reality stretching back for millions of years. See Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, by Dale Peterson and Richard Wrangham. The authors provide numerous examples of primarily male violence among chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and early humans. (The bonobos are the good guys.)

        I understand there is disagreement among the experts, but there is some strong evidence that needs to be honestly and thoroughly examined.

    2. TheCatSaid

      If strikes are to promote something specific then they can accomplish something.

      If they are vague or overly general they will be a waste of effort and, worse, create conflict opportunities for advanced militarized policing and repression.

      I hope people will consider carefully what/whose values they are energizing in each circumstance, including hidden agendas.

    3. Pat

      Let me correct that for you: we are doing to Trump what we should have done to Reagan40, Bush41, Clinton42, Bush43, and Obama44.

      General Strikes are well overdue and may even be too late.

    4. aab

      Welp, these seem like everything I was afraid of. The organizer of the “Day Without Immigrants” seems to know his stuff. But he seems to be coordinating (at least in top line messaging) with whoever is doing the Womens March organized “strike,” which is bad.

      If you want to support labor, support labor. This messaging will fracture labor solidarity. Why isn’t this a Fight for $15 march? There are a whole lot of people who are un- and underemployed in this country, and showing them how you can shut down a city without cheap immigrant labor may not lead those people to the organizers’ preferred conclusion. On the other hand, strengthening sanctions against EMPLOYERS for using illegal immigrants while pushing for a higher minimum wage helps immigrant workers, including illegals, by focusing punishment on the employer, and deemphasizing incarceration, warehousing by ICE, and deportation. It wouldn’t be a big improvement for illegal immigrants, but it would be much better for the other two cohorts, and I think they have to be prioritized at this point.

      And the “Day Without Women” — what can I say? This seems pointless and counterproductive to me. One day without (some) sex workers or (some) homecooked meals? And exactly how many sex workers are going to strike, and how many men are going to suffer due to this day who then then become allies in making left change? My guess, frankly, is zero, on the latter. The Polish protest was in response to a specific law, you know. One that could be pulled. What is supposed to happen based on this “strike”?

      And the President’s Day “strike” to protest the current President doing unnamed unconstitutional things building on all the unnamed unconstitutional stuff of his predecessors? Do I really need to delineate how dumb this is?

      They keep saying the goal is to make the country ungovernable. Why is that a useful goal? This country is a mess. It’s not like it’s awesome for most and that meanie Mr. Trump is going to mess up a good thing. This seems like it’s a) begging for an authoritarian crackdown, which I think the government is quite capable of delivering; and b) designed to throw up a lot of chaotic dust so nobody notices how much the Democratic Party is complicit in all these problems while refusing to change.

      This really seems terrible to me. It looks to increase the divisions among labor along identity lines, blocking off potential allies from one another, and guaranteeing no progress at all. In fact, it looks very much like client populations of the Democratic Party are being used to provide theatrics that align with the Party’s desired focus. I recognize that the women engineering the “Day Without Women” are not Democratic Party apparatchiks, but I’m sure the apparatchiks are quite happy to have this be the “womens” protest, not Fight for $15 or Universal Health Care with Abortion Hospital Access — both of which would help a whole lot of women working and living in America.

      A General Strike should be both “general” and a “strike.” These events are neither, as far as I can tell. A Facebook strike by women for a week would have more impact — but only if they struck for something Zuckerberg could deliver on. How about a Social Media Strike of ALL Silicon Valley companies that use visas for x percentage of their workforce? No Facebook, No Google, No Instagram, No Snapchat. Demand they cut their visa usage in half this year, and repatriate x percentage of their “offshore” funds without getting goodies from the government.

      I don’t want to be a dark cloud about this. I hope I am wrong.

      I’d love trip reports of how many pink hats can be spotted standing side by side with sex workers putting their bodies in harm’s way. I still wish it would be FOR something, but that would be an exciting demonstration of cross-class solidarity.

      1. TheCatSaid

        Yes–when the focus is on something clear and specific, identifying what it is we intend to create, it is possible to be productive.

        Otherwise, it’s GIGO at best.

        Or worse, and more likely, IMO–we are (unwittingly) supporting someone else’s agenda and it is probably not what it says on the box.

    1. JTFaraday

      “General Strikes are well overdue and may even be too late.”

      Too late or too early. Exactly. People used to say this during labor strikes and other protests I observed in the 1990s.

      I can’t really get my bloomers in a twist about people’s “misguided” marches and protests.

      I think the rage against these people was misspent and that the chance to take a closer look instead at Trump’s appointments as he made them a missed opportunity. Who is the President here?

      1. jrs

        “I think the rage against these people was misspent and that the chance to take a closer look instead at Trump’s appointments as he made them a missed opportunity. ”

        right at worst the protests are stupid and accomplish nothing, but cabinet appointments actually matter.

  9. collins

    The media made a dust-up last week of some comment his advisor made about some store dropping his daughter’s fashion line. I only saw the (multiple) by-lines, didn’t bother reading- not wasting time.
    Even given their socioeconomic cocoons, how media employees could imagine this story matters to the average American family – the one that’s got only $400 on hand for a car repair or medical bill – is beyond me. I know the New York Times claims they picked up – 80,000 new subscribers since the election, so “joining the Resistance” (as the zillionaire entertainers call it) is a good business strategy for the paper and the media in general. But they’re fooling themselves (and no one else) if they call it “journalism”.

    1. TheCatSaid

      That’s a great example of how media uses distraction events to shape dialog and perceptions.

      Most media coverage these days is 95% distraction, maybe more. This prevents people from considering what they would otherwise be thinking or asking about.

      This is mind control. The US learned it from the British during WWII and have applied it ever since.

      Government handbooks have published the strategy.

      I search out multiple independent sources of information.

    2. Bill jensen

      On an intellectual level, you are right, but is it relevant? Most folks are irrational, emotional beings who aren’t very smart. There is a better chance of being killed by lighting or falling in a bathtub than dying in a terrorist attack. Does anyone know this and even if they did would it matter? Moreover, it m not sure I even agree with you. The Nordstroms story has relevance to the extent that the President and his staff is effectively hawking foreign made goods in violation of the law.

  10. oho

    >> mainstream media plus the many allies of the Democratic party in the punditocracy and The Blob all working as hard as they can against Trump

    wish this armchair media watcher had better access to credible website traffic…

    58% of WaPo’s traffic is purportedly from China. real or bots?
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/washingtonpost.com

    49% of NYT’s traffic is purportedly from China. real or bots?
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/nytimes.com

    Contrast
    2.4% of foxnews’s traffic is from China
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/foxnews.com

    MSNBC/slate.com/”liberal” blogosphere is in a death spiral?
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/slate.com
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/msnbc.com
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/dailykos.com
    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/salon.com

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Note increases. From <20% to over 50% from China…in *2 MONTHS*?

      I'm sure NYT renting out 8 floors of their building isn't a canary in the coalmine…

  11. InquiringMind

    The confidence fairy is a coincidental indicator. Rarely can it be proven to actually lead to action. If anything, it might be pausing layoffs (inventory levels are pretty high), but it won’t create hiring until demand starts drawing down those inventories. Sales of almost every stripe are in declining patterns.

    Trump is certainly winning at the messaging campaign to his core supporters…but you have to realize that they’ve been told that the reason they are hurting is because Obama wasted too much money on ineffective fiscal stimulus and that the US Federal debt “crowded out” the private investment which would surely put them all back to work, etc.

    Trump’s tough stance on trade deals is already foundering on the shoals of reality thanks to the Chinese. They realized that to cut through the bluster, you only need to sit on your hands. Simple inaction and delay on their part takes away a lot of Trump’s bluster. His WWF road show needs someone to play the heel, if he is going to be the face who saves the day. Without an opponent, he stands in an empty ring making empty threats.

    If you believe that Trump’s privately-funded infrastructure plan and top-down tax cuts will a). happen anytime soon and b). actually turn things around for the Trump base, then keep clapping – the confidence fairy needs your applause!

  12. jerry

    The news media love Trump, I bet their ratings are though the roof. Trump loves the game, he doesn’t care what the media and anyone else is saying, he just wants to wheel and deal and see where the limits are, whether it be China, the travel ban, trade deals, etc.

    Ultimately I do think he truly wants to see his presidency be a success, and have the people love him (however possible that is given the divided nature of our country right now). And he has the balls to do it, unlike anyone I can think of in the past several decades. It’s unfortunate where he appears to be lining up on things like climate change, but there are also several bright spots (trade, infrastructure, drug prices, etc ). If the people can stand up big on issues like minimum wage/healthcare perhaps Trump will respond to that.

  13. The Forgotten Spirit of American Protectionism

    All Trump needs is to reinstate the Lincoln (as in Abraham Lincoln) tariffs; brand it that way and remind Americans their country was rich, self-sufficient, innovative and a land of opportunity and relative equality under America’s good old time religion of protectionism. The US began unraveling almost as soon as it put in place one-sided free trade in the 1970s. This pattern of sudden decline has happened at least four times before to other wealthy powers that then collapsed: UK in late 1800s; Dutch in 1700s; Spanish (via overvalued currency) in early 1600s; Byzantium (which allowed its vassal states in Northern Italy to plunder its economy in the 1100’s in a short-sighted deal to get aid in defending against the Turks – a strange echo of which is found in the US relationship to its “vassals” in Japan and South Korea which effectively vacuumed up and sucked out so much wealth and technology that they are now calling the shots).

    South Korea and Japan combined have almost half the world’s shipbuilding and robotics industry (PRC has other half). That the automation story isn’t immediately laughed away is evidence most elite Americans aren’t even vaguely aware of the wealth and technological advancements of East Asia. There is no way the robot story squares with the fact that PRC-SK-Japan are packed with robots and have much higher employment to population ratios than the US, while Haiti, Chad, etc. have essentially no automation and formal EMPLOYMENT rates of 2-5%. American economists’ credibility today rests almost entirely in the fact that most Americans are too poor to travel. The 2010s in the US feel a lot like the Soviet Union in the 1980s must have felt like, with the officials telling you that your country is the best, and somehow you really are beginning to wonder — all the homeless, all the potholes… the dirty airports… well-educated folks with no chance at a decent income… hmmm….

  14. Portia

    Trump is paving the way for the monetizers. With Betsy Devos, monetizing kids, Tillerson, monetization of anything the Earth has to offer, Zinke, ditto, etc. etc etc etc and we are all just…..

    The Walrus and The Carpenter

    Lewis Carroll

    (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)
    The sun was shining on the sea,
    Shining with all his might:
    He did his very best to make
    The billows smooth and bright–
    And this was odd, because it was
    The middle of the night.

    The moon was shining sulkily,
    Because she thought the sun
    Had got no business to be there
    After the day was done–
    “It’s very rude of him,” she said,
    “To come and spoil the fun!”

    The sea was wet as wet could be,
    The sands were dry as dry.
    You could not see a cloud, because
    No cloud was in the sky:
    No birds were flying overhead–
    There were no birds to fly.

    The Walrus and the Carpenter
    Were walking close at hand;
    They wept like anything to see
    Such quantities of sand:
    “If this were only cleared away,”
    They said, “it would be grand!”

    “If seven maids with seven mops
    Swept it for half a year.
    Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
    “That they could get it clear?”
    “I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
    And shed a bitter tear.

    “O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
    The Walrus did beseech.
    “A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
    Along the briny beach:
    We cannot do with more than four,
    To give a hand to each.”

    The eldest Oyster looked at him,
    But never a word he said:
    The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
    And shook his heavy head–
    Meaning to say he did not choose
    To leave the oyster-bed.

    But four young Oysters hurried up,
    All eager for the treat:
    Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
    Their shoes were clean and neat–
    And this was odd, because, you know,
    They hadn’t any feet.

    Four other Oysters followed them,
    And yet another four;
    And thick and fast they came at last,
    And more, and more, and more–
    All hopping through the frothy waves,
    And scrambling to the shore.

    The Walrus and the Carpenter
    Walked on a mile or so,
    And then they rested on a rock
    Conveniently low:
    And all the little Oysters stood
    And waited in a row.

    “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
    “To talk of many things:
    Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
    Of cabbages–and kings–
    And why the sea is boiling hot–
    And whether pigs have wings.”

    “But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
    “Before we have our chat;
    For some of us are out of breath,
    And all of us are fat!”
    “No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
    They thanked him much for that.

    “A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
    “Is what we chiefly need:
    Pepper and vinegar besides
    Are very good indeed–
    Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
    We can begin to feed.”

    “But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
    Turning a little blue.
    “After such kindness, that would be
    A dismal thing to do!”
    “The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
    “Do you admire the view?

    “It was so kind of you to come!
    And you are very nice!”
    The Carpenter said nothing but
    “Cut us another slice:
    I wish you were not quite so deaf–
    I’ve had to ask you twice!”

    “It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
    “To play them such a trick,
    After we’ve brought them out so far,
    And made them trot so quick!”
    The Carpenter said nothing but
    “The butter’s spread too thick!”

    “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
    “I deeply sympathize.”
    With sobs and tears he sorted out
    Those of the largest size,
    Holding his pocket-handkerchief
    Before his streaming eyes.

    “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
    “You’ve had a pleasant run!
    Shall we be trotting home again?’
    But answer came there none–
    And this was scarcely odd, because
    They’d eaten every one.

  15. marym

    After lying about un-vetted people flooding into the country; the US crime rate; voter fraud; and immigrants as criminals and rapists, he’s now issuing orders unleashing police power to disrupt and ruin lives of brown and black people.

    He hasn’t appointed anyone who has the history, skills, or intention of providing public programs, corporate or government accountability, or the protection of the commons – just the opposite.

    Maybe these increasingly confident GOPers think that ruthless police tactics won’t harm them; and that once all the black and brown people are banned, deported, killed by unaccountable police, or put in prison there will be just enough economic well-being, healthcare, drinkable water, and freedom left for them. If they’re elite GOPers, it may even be true for a while.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agreed, but I would say all members of the duopoly, whether R or D

      I am heartsick that while the media and the convo here has been all about the ban and the march, ICE has rounded up some 600+ allegedly “deportable” people this week

      From the account I read from the Chicago Tribune and LA Times, they are characterizing the action as routine, similar to one taken last summer, but admit that along with the “deportables” (who have been convicted of felonies – in one example, a DUI) they have taken in some who have no documentation of legal status but have otherwise committed no crime. They apparently have no intention of letting them go.

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-immigration-officials-national-enforcement-operation-is-routine-not-part-of-trump-crackdown-20170210-story.html

      And yes, where was the outrage when smooth-talkin O was doing it? Some noticed, but thanks to the corporate takeover of the Fourth Estate, not enough. Now that the nation is becoming aware, in the present moment, standing for due process is a good thing.

      Many according to the law are deportable – can’t really fault Trump for enforcing the law and keeping promises to his base. But the overreaching should be checked, and if the laws are unfair (keeping in mind that freer immigration favors capital over labor) we can work to change them.

  16. TG

    A lot of the economy is out of Trump’s short-term control. I believe that trade agreements like NAFTA and MFN for China, and repealing Glass-Steagal and bailing out Wall Street and starving Main Street and loading up an entire generation with unpayable student loans, were disasters for the working class, but what’s done is done and I don’t see how the damage of decades can be rolled back in a couple of years.

    On the other hand, immigration has the potential to change the job market quite rapidly. I know I know it’s racist to say such things immigrants always make wages go up etc., but the record is quite different (and hey, do you really believe that Mexico would be better off if we dumped a hundred million refugees into it? Isn’t more always better?). For example, recently Singapore made a significant increase in the rate of immigration, and within the year wages had trended significantly down and rents up. Things can move quickly in the world of supply and demand.

    If Trump really does crack down on illegal immigration, and especially if he moves against H1B and L1 visas etc, he could potentially boost the labor market quite substantially in a relatively short period of time. Why do you think all these industries are screaming? It’s because they know how important having a steady stream of cheap docile labor is to keeping their labor costs low. But one person’s ‘affordable labor costs’ is another’s poverty… I would watch what happens to net immigration from all sources – not ‘terrorists’ – that might be a strong predictor of how serious Trump is about owning the loyalty of the working class, and about whether he can really deliver.

  17. Expat

    What is amusing is how the flyovers and mullet-heads really believe Trump cares about them. They believe he will stop Wall Street from stealing from them, lower their mortgage payments, bring back high-paying (union) jobs, and ideally re-instate slavery (but not indentured servitude).

    His voters are blinkered or ignorant enough to wait eight years (assuming re-election), find themselves worse off, and blame the Democrats. You can’t buy that kind of political support!

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Replace “flyovers and mulletheads” with “minorities and the poor”, “Trump” with “Obama”, and delete your nonsensical line about reinstating slavery.

      Now say it in November 2009. Congratulations, you’re me!

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        November 2008, actually. Right after he announced his Goldman Sachs cabinet.

        The more things change…

    2. Lynne

      Actually, I’d say that many do not believe that Trump cares about them. What they do know is that YOU hate and despise them and Trump both, so they side with him rather than you. That would be why the left doesn’t win.

      1. Portia

        THEY hate the left more than the left hates them. lol. dirty commies.

        don’t make Trump supporters into victims, please

  18. troutbum

    After 30 yrs on Wall Street, all I can tell you is that the public is always in at the top. And people in the middle of euphoria are unable to recognize the euphoria.

  19. footnote4

    Those of you certain Trump could never deliver on jobs, healthcare, etc., must be too young to remember the culture shock of Nixon going to China during the Vietnam war.

      1. Ulysses

        “Doing the 1970s-80s over again is Bannon’s scheme”

        Sounds intriguing, but what does it mean? No Thatcher and Reagan this time? No Roe v. Wade? Please clarify.

  20. Pookah Harvey

    Trump doesn’t have to accomplish anything to have a power base , he just has to give the perception that he is “seriously trying” to accomplish things important to the American people . Their main concerns are jobs (a real concern) and safety from terrorism (a political scare tactic). Trump’s one and probably only talent is self promotion.

    Trump tweets a corporation to not move factory jobs overseas, even though the corporation had already decided months previously not to move them. The perception is that Trump is a hero for saving jobs.

    The ban is another example. It sounds good, not only to Trump’s base, but to a majority of the population (from the latest poll I saw). He did no legal vetting for it and in reality the ban does nothing but Trump is “shocked” that its taken down by the judiciary and he goes on a rant about how he’s trying to protect the American people but only a broken system is preventing him from doing it. The general perception is he is trying his best to protect the country.from terrorism

    I wish I knew how long the “I’m the Great and Wondrous Trump” show can go on before the American people decide to look behind the curtain. But as George Carlin said ”“Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider.”

    1. Splashoil

      The “I’m the Great and Wondrous Obama” show went on for eight years before the American people decided to look behind the curtain. Ditto George Carlin. Nothing reversed a decline in outcomes for the majority. “You can keep your doctor, period.”

    2. Biph

      Who is Trump putting in charge of FEMA? Say what you will about Bill and Barack, but they put actual experienced emergency managers in charge. If Trump puts a horse show judge or equally unqualified person in charge and ends up with Katrina 2.0 Trump will get the incompetent in a crisis tag and it will be hard one to shake.

  21. Dead Dog

    The Australian media (incl govt stations like ABC) continue to sneer at Trump and he is depicted as a dangerous clown with trigger-sharp Twitter thumbs.

    We all have our views of him and what he might do. And, the opening signs (his political picks for example) are not good.

    In some ways it feels the same with Trump as when GB and BO were elected, in that I feel sure that something is going to change, that this dude is going to do something good. I remember many of my friends and colleagues saying that had stayed up all night to watch the first black president win the Presidency, they were that taken in by his promises and eloquently timed speeches. Even now, our MSM talks of Obama like he was one of the best pressies ever. Please shoot me. Scorn and derision are his just desserts, not praise.

    So, in former cases, I was wrong and my optimism was misplaced. It feels the same now, to me anyway, only time will tell with Donald Trump.

    Great comments

  22. Brad

    Trump’s Presidency is one of weakest starts on record. His Admin faces formidable obstacles going forward, not least of which is the opposition of many of his class comrades, and a roused Left. Bannon’s trolling will likely backfire. This isn’t the 1970’s, Bannon. This is the White Man’s Last Stand.

    As mentioned, Trump also has to avoid the business cycle until 2020, and that could mean going up against the Fed, as credit expansion, and not “job creation” that can’t be more than temporary construction jobs, is the only way to put off the next recession.

    So don’t overrate Trumps chances. Take your pick:

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n04/sidney-blumenthal/a-short-history-of-the-trump-family

    Leans too much into the Putin angle, but Russian Mafia connections much more likely.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/10/roaming-charges-big-boss-man/

    St. Clair doesn’t rate Trump’s chances too highly either, and he’s not part of the liberal media complex:

    “Sooner or later, the Trump possé will be reduced down to Trump and Trump alone. Then he will be forced to confront his most primal fear about himself, the one that has haunted him all of these years, the one he has fled from wife to wife and scam to scam: that he is a loser and has always been a loser. And now there’s no one left to bail him out of the jam he has put himself and the country in, except, perhaps, for the chilly, death skull visage of Mitch McConnell. The ultimate humiliation.”

    I agree with both that Trump initially did not plan on actually becoming President. But he won the booby prize.

  23. Vatch

    People are noticing just how bad several of Trump’s nominees for high office are. While searching for information about Steven Mnuchin, I found this, with three letters to the editor mostly about Betsy DeVos and the Tennessee Senators who voted for her. Scott Pruitt, Jeff Sessions, and Steven Mnuchin are mentioned in one of the letters:

    http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2017/02/11/letters-editor-feb-11-betsy-devos/97648444/

    Trump had been President for less than four weeks, and he’s already done an excellent job of enraging millions of Americans.

  24. cj51

    The positive expectations of voters about Trump’s (alleged) economic plans are due to their lack of understanding between macroeconomics and microeconomics.
    They are about to get schooled.
    I hope the Republicans do not literally destroy the USA.

  25. Irredeemable Deplorable

    The Trump base is ecstatic so far, winning squared, and they know the Trump Train has no brakes. They did not expect perfection, just action on campaign promises, and that he has delivered in spades. We realize he is fighting the globalist/left agenda of the Unniparty, and it’s not easy. The Mostly Swamp Media assault on our God-Emperor is failing, and the Democrats seem to have gone into a mental brakdown phase. 2018 & 2020 planning is underway, things are looking very good from our side. I really don’t see any Trump voters saying “Next time, I vote Democrat!”, it ain’t gonna happen. Some will defect, I’m sure, normal churn, but a lot of independents are coming over.

    The fake news meme has proven vastly destructive to the MSM narrative, and thus the more anti-Trump hysteria generated, the more Trump supporters resolve hardens. The meme wars are ongoing, and the most potent of late have been generated from the leftist terrorist riots at Milo’s events, Portland style protests etc. Milo has become a planetary rock-star, the Streisand effect writ large. Many recent defectors from the center over that issue. People who actually watch Milo’s speeches are often converted, I have played them for skeptics and it works.

    As someone who, 2 years ago, would have said the right was losing the culture wars, it is remarkable how fast the pendelum has swung. I have recently met numerous young under-21 Trump supporters who are fully on side, are plugged into the alternative media, and they report their friends are onboard too. Right wing is the new punk rock rebellion thing the cool kids are doing. Generation Z they call them, and the ones I talked to don’t seem like future liberal/progressive voters.

    It’s only been 3 1/2 weeks…

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Right wing is the new punk rock rebellion thing the cool kids are doing.

      Oh, please. The right always tries this, and it never works; it is, however, a current talking point. Please don’t do the retail politics thing here. Also, Milo is a Golden Dawn-supporting creep.

  26. Jeremy Grimm

    The election is over. Trump is our sitting President and this is February — well past the election season.

    How does a brief post indicating confidence numbers are trending up after a Presidential election elicit or deserve more than two hundred comments at NakedCapitalism? Broad confidence numbers are up following a Presidential election. Is that so unusual?

  27. ian

    “Recall that we warned that Trump would be forgiven a great deal if he increased wages and lowered unemployment. ”

    I don’t think he even needs to deliver much in the way of results. He just needs to look like he gives a damn. I never got the sense that Obama did.

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