Ilargi: Shithouses

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor at Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

Tomorrow we have the State of the Union. Donald Trump will be gloating from ear to ear, but he’ll be subdued – by his standards. Expect perhaps $1 or even $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending to be announced, plus an immigration plan that gives Democrats much of what they want in exchange for some of the things Trump wants, as well as more on trade surpluses and deficits. The Democrats will attempt to turn it into a circus of sorts by bringing guests, and they will fail.

What America needs right now is dialogue, but it’s only moving further away from it. Anything that’s wrong with anything or anyone gets blamed on Trump. By half the population. That’s nice and easy and convenient, but it doesn’t lead anywhere.

This pic, even though it features a very dumb question, says a lot about where the country stands, and it’s not standing pretty. Everybody’s just busy confirming their own opinions 24/7, egged on by networks, newspapers and social media. It’s like Moses split the nation.


Watched the Trump speech in Davos last week. He made all the points you would expect him to. No scandals, nothing anyone could blame him for. In fact, it’s true that the US economy is doing well, in Trump terms. They’re not my terms, because they laud stock markets that quit being actual markets the moment the Fed and it global brethren killed off price discovery. But in Trump terms a record S&P 500 is all you need to know, alongside low unemployment numbers, even if the latter have everything to do with underpaid shit jobs robbed of all benefits American workers once fought so hard for.

In Trump’s view, that’s a good thing. In mine, it’s a recipe for mayhem. I was watching CNN in the build-up to the speech, and Trump’s denial of the NYT report that he had intended to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller was completely ignored. Like he never said it. At CNN, anonymous sources have -way- more credibility than the president. That’s a bit of a problem.

After the speech, all sorts of people were interviewed, and Joe Stiglitz of Nobel Memorial fame was one of them. He couldn’t muster anything better than that Trump is a bigot, a misogynist and a racist. That’s a terribly poor reaction to a speech like the one we saw and heard -which included not one word that would make any sane person think of these ‘topics’-, certainly from an economist.


The 1-year-old Donald Trump presidency has brought us a lot of new things, but none more significant than that Trump has been under investigation since day 1 (and even before that). This sets a dangerous precedent that will resound through US politics for a very long time to come, not least of all because today, one year into the presidency, none of the investigations has resulted in anything tangible, while they continue without a finish line in sight.

The problem with that is that if you can do it with one president, someone will do it with the next one and the next one after that as well. Which does great damage not to Trump, but to the entire US political system, and the Office of the President of the United States in particular. If the office cannot command sufficient respect on Capitol Hill to limit any such investigation to an absolute minimum, in deference to what it represents, why would anyone else, domestically or abroad, show such respect?

Obviously, some people may claim that the situation is unique, simply because it concerns Trump, but that argument doesn’t fly very far, because he was elected president, the culmination of a process that, given the powers endowed upon the office, should be close to sacred in the country. And if the very people (s)he must most closely work with, in the Senate and the House, are willing to subject a newly elected president to endless investigations without producing any results for a whole year, where and what are the limits?

It is at present of course all based on opaque accusations of the Trump campaign working with Russian intelligence to swing America’s election process in favor of the president. But to date, four different committees on Capitol Hill, plus Special Counsel Robert Mueller, have made nothing public that proves any such ‘collusion’. And Mueller’s investigation is not only unlimited in time, it’s also unlimited, in practical terms, in scope: whatever is deemed even possibly, perhaps, linked to collusion with Russia, goes.


The American empire was built, once it had acquired enough geopolitical, financial and military power, on invading countries and turning them into shithouses. It wasn’t and original idea, America wasn’t the first country to do it, but it’s certainly been no. 1 in applying the ‘tactic’ over the past 100 years and change. Which makes it curious that when its own elected president calls some countries shithouses, that is treated like the worst thing anybody could have said anytime in history. And racist too, allegedly.

The entire country was built on racism, and it’s still to his day almost exclusively run by white males. Much of the racism may be hidden by now, but it’s still very much there. Go look at Baltimore, Chicago, Milwaukee, and the long list of black kids killed by white cops. It’s not much use trying to claim that America is over its past. But Trump is singled out as a racist, though it’s unclear what would make him worse than others.

And on Martin Luther King Day, all Democrats and many Republicans fell over each other once again claiming they knew exactly what Dr. King stood for in his days, and what he would have said if he were alive today (the same they thermselves say). They don’t have a clue. The only way to honor MLK is to assume he would have been lightyears ahead of you. To assume he would have condemned all US foreign as well as domestic policy, and the likes of Bill Clinton, both George Bushes, Trump, and even Obama, wouldn’t even have had a remote chance of becoming president.


Allegedly Trump never said “shithole countries”, but instead talked about “shithouse countries”. Which would explain why he could say he never used the language he was quoted as having used (“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”) That a private conversation with lawmakers held in the Oval Office was leaked again within no time will not only frustrate Trump to no end, it also paints a dangerous picture of the future of US politics.

What used to be the exclusive domain of police officers and TV series, the catchy line “anything you say can and will be used against you”, no longer applies only to suspected criminals, from here on in it should be read to American presidents too. Trump and his successors will no longer be able to discuss policy in the White House, they must assume everything they say will be in the press within hours if not minutes. That is dangerous.

But let’s dig some more. And ask ourselves what is worse, let alone more racist: turning nations into shithouses or calling them that after the fact. Half the planet was encouraged to speak out in indignation at the use of the term, but where were all those Americans when the bombs and drones were unleashed upon Syria, Libya, Iraq? Where were the media?

Trump singled out Haiti and El Salvador. Two completely different ‘cases’. But also too complete basket cases (another word for shithouse) , compared to their potential. Haiti was the first slave colony to liberate itself, under black rule. That was in 1804, and if you know what Americans’ view of slaves and black people in general was back then, you can imagine how the former no. 1 global sugar producer was treated. By France, the country that had ruled it, but also by America. And you want to claim Haiti is not a shithouse country today? Go to Port-au-Prince and ask people living in the poor part of town how they feel about that.

As for African countries, the Congo is always a good example. The richest nation on the planet when it comes to natural resources, and one of the poorest when it comes to living standards. Long governed by a regime under Belgium’s King Leopold, matched in cruelty only perhaps by Germany in WWII, the Congo is still maintained as a hellhole to this day. So American and European conglomerates can dig up the metals and minerals almost for free. Not a shithole, a hellhole.

No, Trump is not going to solve that, but he didn’t make it what it is either. Generations of Americans did that. Yeah, we understand why they don’t want it named the way Trump has.

Perhaps the best illustration of how convoluted the entire issue quickly became after Trump said shithouse, which then became shithole, is this LA Times article, which starts out with the headline that Americans with African roots ‘should’ all be insulted, but then rapidly devolves into something else altogether, that insults them a lot more: the history of American involvement in their countries. Slavery, occupation, warfare, plunder.


For Black Americans, Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Comment Was An Insult To Their Histories

Kimberly Atkins, the Washington bureau chief of the Boston Herald, recently did a DNA test “that pretty much confirmed my heritage is 100% the result of the slave trade,” she wrote in a private message on Twitter. “Eighty-seven percent from western coastal African countries and 13% European, all migrated by way of the American South.”

She traced part of her heritage to an ancestor who fought in the Union during the Civil War to guarantee his freedom and the abolition of the U.S. slave trade. “My ancestors did not come from shithole countries,” she tweeted. “They were neither tired nor poor. They were forcibly brought here to live in a shithole created for them.”

Trump’s singling out of Haiti was particularly frustrating for descendants from the Caribbean nation, coming as the nation mourned the eighth anniversary of an earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of residents.

“Haiti is not unacquainted with racists or white supremacists. We defeated our share of them in 1804 when we became the world’s first black republic,” Haitian American author Edwidge Danticat wrote in a post on Facebook, expressing her frustration that Haitians’ mourning was being diverted by an insult from Trump.

Danticat’s father came to Brooklyn, N.Y., to drive a taxicab “sometimes sixteen hours a day, so that my three brothers (two teachers and an IT specialist) and I could have a better life,” Danticat wrote.

Danticat added: “We are also the country that the United States has invaded several times, preventing us from consistently ruling ourselves. If we are a poor country, then our poverty comes in part from pillage and plunder.”

Clint Smith, a writer and PhD candidate at Harvard University specializing in sociology and education, said that he hoped that at least the president’s remarks would prompt a fuller conversation about past U.S. and European involvement with the countries Trump mentioned — countries still troubled by the legacy of colonial rule and military interventions.

“You can’t understand the economic conditions in which Haiti exists now without understanding the centuries and centuries of direct imperialism and violence and economic exploitation that the country experienced after the Haitian revolution of 1804,” Smith said. “We can’t have a real conversation about what is happening, why Salvadorans are coming here, without discussing how the U.S. contributed to the civil unrest in that country.”

The larger conversation, Smith said, “is not often enough taking into account the way that U.S. policy directly contributed to the condition in which so many of these so-called shitholes are currently existing.”


The woman who says “My ancestors did not come from shithole countries” says it best. Before the slave traders came to ship their ancestors to Brazil and later America, their countries were not shithouses. But they did become just that after, and many if not most still are now.

From a less echo chamber-confined point of view, this little thingy is priceless:


That points to an aspect of all this that we can not ignore: the media. There has a been a profound shirt in that field, and it happened fast, it turned on a dime. The first signs were already there before the Trump presidency, but it’s all been going going gone out of the park since. Media organizations (for lack of a better term) like the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and CNN were anti-Trump from the get-go, but it was when they found out their attitude was commercially very interesting that they really went for it.

And in a way, that made sense; they all had big problems trying to adapt their business models to the internet age. Then they found that publishing one after another anti-Trump piece brought them tons of new subscribers and advertisement revenue. Also for their internet presence. One stone, two birds.

The problem is that all that revenue and readership comes from one half of America, and excludes the other half. You know beforehand that anything these firms publish about Trump will be biased, and not a little bit. Much of it is based on anonymous sources, not exactly a sign of solid journalism. But it sells. And they have a business to run. We get it.

For those outside of the echo chamber, however, they have become largely unreadable and unwatchable. It’s obvious by now that someone like me, who asks a few questions and doesn’t feel comfortable in an echo chamber, will almost of necessity be ‘accused’ of being a Trump supporter. Absolute nonsense, but that’s echo chambers for you. They’re deafening and they lead to brain damage in case of long term occupancy.

Perhaps even worse are social media, where untold numbers of people revel in the notion that many others think like them, and let that carry them away to ‘heights’ they would never have thought possible. In the case of Trump, many allow themselves to call him names -in writing- they never would have dared use before, but they see echoed back to them on Twitter and Facebook et al.

That their often insults of Trump in effect show their disrespect for America’s political system would never occur to them. It’s an us against them battle, and they feel greatly emboldened by the 24/7 presence of those that are like-minded. It’s entirely unclear where this is going in the future, but it should be obvious it won’t be anywhere pretty.

Neither Bob Mueller nor those 4 committees on Capitol Hill have presented anything of substance as of now, but it’s crystal clear that Donald Trump is not being considered innocent until proven guilty. Which not only goes straight against, and into the heart of, American values and principles of justice, it also doesn’t even begin to address the real problem.

The real problem, and it’s not new at all, is that both US political parties might as well be run by Tony Soprano. The presence inside party leadership of people like Steve Wynn is ridiculous, but so is that of John Podesta. That is undoubtedly blindingly obvious for a vast majority of Americans, but it’s not what they focus on. They focus on Trump instead, on the still contagious obsession with impeaching him, even though many understand that wouldn’t solve any of the underlying issues.


And then Trump gets to present great economic numbers tomorrow. The numbers are mostly fake, but they’re the same ones that the echo chamber media also use, so they’ll have to tackle him somewhere else. They’ll come up with something, don’t worry. Their audience will just wait to be fed the usual pre-chewed bite-size fare anyway.

America needs a dialogue. But all it has left is loud, echoing, deafening, monologues. And plenty shithouse counties and cities and neighborhoods within its own borders as well. For which, too, it’s useless to blame Trump. He’s just the logical conclusion of years of blindness, ignorance, greed, stupidity and neglect. All of which, as long as everyone focuses on him, are guaranteed to continue.

Trump is not what’s wrong with America. Rather, what is wrong with America is what has given it Trump. Someone asked God for a sign and He said: here you are.

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  1. epynonymous

    The daily mail presents a unique, brief, and decent overview of the African political response.

    “I don’t know whether he was misquoted or whatever. But he talks to Africans frankly,’ Museveni said. ‘In the world, you cannot survive if you are weak.”

    Jan. 24, 2018

    Uganda MP’s remove presidential age limit
    (allowing 6th term for current ruler… after fist fight on floor of their parliament)
    Dec. 20, 2017

  2. WheresOurTeddy

    The 71-24 split among independents underscores how far to the right the Overton window has been dragged. Only in a country devoid of any progressive representation whatsoever could the idea that Bill Clinton was a liberal and Obama was a socialist be said with a straight face, but in America it is as good as fact, whatever that word means at this point.

    Americans have been gaslighted that they have a choice for decades. Chomsky’s “vigorous debate within acceptable parameters” is in full effect. Trump gets endless coverage for “shithole/house” comments while the thieves loot and run out the back door.

    He’s just running interference.

    Always remember Trump got 26% of eligible voters. 74% of us said no in some form.

    1. human

      Always remember Trump got 26% of eligible voters. 74% of us said no in some form.

      This framing is very misleading. The 42% who didn’t vote said no to both candidates.

    2. edmondo

      Always remember Trump got 26% of eligible voters. 74% of us said no in some form.

      Actually, Trump got 26% of eligible voters; Hillary got 27% and the rest of us said “We don’t give a rat’s patoot which set of billionaires run the country…or which county you are going to invade next or whether Raytheon or General Dynamics gets the bigger Pentagon contract.” And that’s basically what why we have elections in the Empire

      1. witters

        “Actually, Trump got 26% of eligible voters; Hillary got 27% and the rest of us said “We don’t give a rat’s patoot which set of billionaires run the country…or which county you are going to invade next or whether Raytheon or General Dynamics gets the bigger Pentagon contract.”

        Rubbish virtue -signalling. You got a system and voting “legitimates” it. The more who vote the more BS legitimacy it gets. The only use for your vote is precisely the one you ill-advisedly have taken up.

      2. Summer

        the rest of us said “No matter which set of billionaires run the country…you are going to invade countries for resources and Raytheon or General Dynamics gets to lobby for the bigger Pentagon contract.”

        Is that what you meant?

  3. Thuto

    Speaking from a shithole, or is it shithouse (does it even matter) country, where white males visited unspeakable horrors upon the majority black population for decades (and continue to do so today, albeit in an institutionalized, covert kinda way), my brain has rewired itself to function as a highly developed racism detector along with its usual functions. When you’re in the crosshairs of white supremacists, you fine tune these sensors as a survival mechanism.

    The intricacies of how the American political system functions notwithstanding, Trump is a racist, and America is by and large a racist country. Look to see who the victims of its murderous foreign policy are, and you’ll find Blacks, Slavs, Arabs and Asians. It sits at the heart of, exports, and protects through its military might, a capitalist system that promotes the economic molestation of countries that were yesterday called basket cases, and today are called shithole/shithouse countries.

    Millions of Africans have died through the centuries, in the Congo, in Namibia, in Angola, on slave ships bound for the “new world” etc, millions more continue to be persecuted even today, suffering oppression on their own continent and in the diaspora. The carribean nations are de facto vassal states of the US, and one suspects, if Trump’s statement about Norwegians are anything to go by, they wouldn’t be if they were majority populated by whites of European descent. America is a vital cog, the vanguard, in perpetuating this system that molests countries to the brink and then gleefully mustering the temerity to call them shitholes/shithouses.

    1. MK

      Based on his actions (or inactions) over his presidency, there is no questions that Obama was racist as well as all presidents before him as you point out. Trump is just another cog in the machine.

      I agree that America is at the forefront of murderous foreign policy and Obama did nothing, as all presidents before him did nothing. Again, Trump is no different.

      Wash, rinse, repeat.

    2. Crazy Horse

      Shithouse: “A room or outbuilding solely intended for the purpose of defecation.”

      Trump’s Winter Palace, Mar-a-Lago has 33 bathrooms graced with gold plated fixtures, perfectly matching his infantile level of taste. We really should pity anyone who needs 33 bathrooms to accommodate their daily eliminations.

      Mar-a-Lago–Now that is what I call a shithole.

    3. rps

      The United States is comprised of immigrants with diverse cultural, religious and ethnic heritages. To expect homogeneity is to ignore the historical fact human beings are tribal. The USA has been addressing race, gender, religious, cultural and political bigotry throughout its young history as a nation. Public opinion has influenced and rectified past injustices through judicial and legislative institutions. We are comprised of a collective of imperfect individuals seeking commonalities amongst a nation of diverse tribes. Blaming Trump for all the population ills of a country’s gordian knot whether its pigmentation, ethnic, political, religious and cultural affiliations is to ignore the complexities of a nation built by immigrants. The United States is a work in progress.

      You speak about ‘white men’ as the cause of human misery ignoring the historical facts about institutionalized patriarchal domination worldwide. These governing institutions enforce political, legislative and judicial biased gendered systems. Patriarchal institutions replicated within local community and family levels are hidden in the open as the norm. If you want to talk slavery, lets start with the oppression of women. Over half the world population are women. Female infanticide is more common than male infanticide, particularly India and China. How about female mutilation as accepted cultural practices. Yet, until recent times, women throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the USA- were unable to have any influence over the political, religious or cultural lives of their societies. They couldn’t own property or inherit land and wealth, and were frequently treated as mere property themselves. Unfortunately today, women in parts of the world are still held hostage, oppressed and disenfranchised labelled as human chattel and traded among men of all color in violently aggressive patriarchal dominate nations.

      1. LyonNightroad

        I know wouldn’t things be much better if the 0.1% where half women and a perfect mix of all ethnicities! All our problems would be solved.

      2. Thuto

        You’re adding layers of context to my comments that mischaracterize what I said. Firstly, your retort re: my comments on white males ignores the fact that what i’m recounting are historical facts based on lived experiences of myself and millions of other South Africans (I.e. the “human misery” was in this case inflicted by white males presiding over a brutal, racist regime). When you bring in historical patriarchal power structures, you’re extrapolating beyond the intended scope of my comment and ironically, you take issue with an interpretation of what I said that derives from your extrapolation (I.e. You’re pushing back on your own extrapolations, not the recounting of historical facts in the intended, localised context as presented by myself so you’re broadening the scope to argue against what I didn’t say).

        Re: America being a racist country. This doesn’t mean you personally, your neighbour, or the guy you ran into at the store are racist. Ordinary Americans are obviously a heterogeneous bunch vis-a-vis their views on race relations. The American government on the other hand is racist, and I say again, a cursory glance at the victims of its foreign policy will reveal this to be true. As regards blaming Trump for it all, I make no such assertion (see my comment below in response to Eustache De Saint Pierre that we are in agreement on this). Regarding the historical oppression of women in patriarchal societies, this is a historical fact and i’m in total agreement with you on this, but again this was beyond the scope of my comment.

  4. Eustache De Saint Pierre

    Judging by my weekly FB visits in which I check the posts of absent family & friends, it is clear that it is not just an American phenomenon – anything that derides Trump is guaranteed to yield many ” Likes “.

    Perhaps it suits those who are in truth running the fair, in having an extremely popular sideshow featuring the perceived worst evil monster, being constantly pelted with virtual rank vegetables by a largely self righteous mob.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I like to drop history lessons on such people.

      For example, there are quite a few FB posts that question Trump’s fitness for office. Point out that similar things were said about John Adams and watch the fun begin.

    2. Thuto

      I tend to agree and I hope i’m not mischaracterizing what you’re saying, if I am I apologize. I agree that the Trump show represents what magicians like to call “misdirection”, make the audience look elsewhere while the real magic happens away from where the collective gaze is being cast. It’s as much a tried and tested, time honoured tactic in politics as it is in magic. That said, Trump, given his traits, is still a complete embodiment of the type of bogeyman that allows those who’d benefit from the obscurity/cover such a sideshow provides to keep the show going, he’s a gift that keeps giving. I also think that, as the author of the post suggests, he didn’t create the moment (in so far as the “moment” represents a snapshot of America today), he seized it by embodying the kind of traits that would catapult him to sit atop it all.

    3. Quentin

      And the side show to Trump is Putin and Russia. A double whammy for the grifting media. ‘This is the time for speaking truth to power, honesty and courage in the face of fascistoid Trumps and Putins. And you can help by subscribing to us.’ For instance, the Guardian which is tripping over itself to join the ranks of the British tabloids.

  5. oaf

    “The entire country was built on racism, and it’s still to his day almost exclusively run by white males.”

    Diversity is appropriate for the lower 99%.

  6. Tom Stone

    More succinctly America is a failed state that has abandoned the Rule of Law.
    Don’t forget to say something if you see something…you wouldn’t want to be complicit, would you?

  7. Eureka Springs

    During the whole tax cuts for the wealthy ‘debate’ I heard nary a word nor saw a link to any resister/Dem/prog saying, no cuts, tax the hel* out of the rich!

    I expect much the same telling lack of response to public – private looting, I mean partnerships, on proposed infrastructure spending.

    1. RUKidding

      I don’t know for sure, so take with a gaint pallet of salt (bc I’m too lazy to do the research and find links), but I believe Bernie Sanders was saying something along the lines of “no tax cuts; in fact, tax the rich more.”

      I could be wrong, but I think I remember reading that. I know that Sanders has said stuff along these lines all along.

      As for anyone else? If they said it, I certainly never read about it.

      Big D is as in bed with the Oligarchs as the Rs are, and Big D could give a rat’s patoot about anyone in the 99%. The end.

      1. John Rose

        Bernie Sanders is traveling the country with that message (I heard him in Reading, PA.) but where is the organization? Where is the people’s caucus that will methodically call out the minions of the big donors, in the Democratic Party, at least? that will relentlessly insist on Medicare for All? That will keep alive the movement toward an increase of the minimum wage? That will demand free college tuition so the decline of America will be reversed?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I have no idea where you get your idea from.

      The leftie sites had quite a lot of material that lambasted the Trump tax plan as a gimmie to the rich, as well as from Dean Baker. IIRC Joe Stiglitz also was critical and that was widely re-reported. There were even articles debunking some Rs tax claim that every middle class person would get a tax cut (which was gonna be trivial). The NYT, The Hill, plenty of others reported that was false too, that a lot of people would see an increase.

      One of the reasons not more was said was the Rs kept changing what was in the plan, so it was hard to be as definitive about it as people normally are with tax law changes.

  8. John

    In the Bible, a scapegoat is an animal who takes on the sins of others. The concept first appears in Leviticus, in which a goat is designated to be cast into the desert to carry away the sins of the community.

    We in the “heaping on the sins of our nation” stage…in another year it will be the casting into the desert stage. America is definitely not a Christian nation. We are a Levitican nation. And Trump does make a pretty good scapegoat. Dirty, nasty, tainted to begin with so of course he’s perfect to carry all our shit away.
    100% afflicted with magical, iron age thinking.

  9. RUKidding

    The media absolutely sucks, especially anything mainstream. All major media outlets are run by the Oligarchs, so we get propaganda only of one sort of another. Maybe there’s some slight slant in this direction or that. Maybe some are a TINY bit more fact-oriented, but by and large, it’s all hype and spin and b.s. and lies 24/7/365.

    There’s only a tiny percentage of the populace is really truly GETS this. Too many are distracted by a variety of bright shiny objects, whether they mostly vote D or R. They’re mostly clueless and are easily manipulated into believing the most crapulous b.s., whether that b.s. leans leftish or hard right.

    It’s next to impossible not to be completely cynical.

    Trump, like all of his predecessors before him, is a bright shiny object of distraction, and boyohboy do BOTH parties use him to their advantage.

    I ignore, as best I can, the vast majority of his tweets. I’m sick and tired of the outrage du jour (or outrage l’heure). As Trump tweets out his fugly stupid racist twits, his cabinet and Congress are doing the really vile and evil things behind his back… all the while laughing and laughing that it’s SO EASY to distract a gullible and ignorant public with nonsense that’s essentially meaningless.

    Of course, the same thing happened under the “reasonbale” Barackstar. The media did their level best to portray him as this Nazi divisive socialist whatever, and many bought into those memes and reliably got themselves all self-righteously ANGRY at the blah in their WHITEhouse. In the meantime, all the heinous stuff that Obama was doing behind closed doors got little to no coverage. And if any of it came out, so-called “liberals” were ever willing to cut him huge breaks because he had a beautiful wife and daughters and was, at heart, a “good man.” Blah blah blah…

    And so… on it goes.

    I can’t bear to listen to any SOTU addresses anymore, as it’s simply disgusting to me. But I’ll read about it at reliable sources.

    The media will have a field day creating a giant circus out of it signifying abso-effun-lutely nothing. Duly noted that the media is already freaking out about it 24/7 since before the weekend. So you know we’ll get precious little real information. It’ll all be the same b.s. hype and spin.

    Trump’s fans can swoon about how masterful he is, and Trump’s detractors can swoon about what a lying POS he is. Who is right and who is wrong in their belief system in this case???

    1. Arizona Slim

      Me? I listen to SOTU addresses so I can have something to yell at while I’m doing something useful. Like cleaning the house.

      1. RUKIdding

        Ha ha! To each his or her own. I’m sure your floors will be scrubbed so clean tonight that you could eat off of them tomorrow!

    2. lyman alpha blob

      There’s only a tiny percentage of the populace is really truly GETS this.

      Indeed. If I have to read one more time how someone is ‘woke’ because they as a grown adult eventually noticed that our current president is pretty family-blogged-up, I think I’m going to gouge my eyeballs out with an ice cream scoop.

  10. markodochartaigh

    As long as Our Oligarchs find that they rule over a population easily dazzled by rumor and innuendo, by emotion and attraction to shallow beauty; a population with little interest in analysis and debate, Our Oligarchs will find us an easy people to drive to our own destruction and to that of the World.

  11. JEHR

    Sentences like the one below give me a queasy feeling and I still haven’t figured it out:

    “To assume he would have condemned all US foreign as well as domestic policy, and the likes of Bill Clinton, both George Bushes, Trump, and even Obama, wouldn’t even have had a remote chance of becoming president.”

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I searched for the sentence you picked out to find its context. Something is missing from that sentence and rather the “queasy” it leaves me wondering what point I am missing at that part of this post.

    2. PrairieBear

      The previous sentence begins with the phrase “The only way to honor MLK is to assume …” The sentence in question following it just leaves that most of that off, including the verb of the sentence, “is.” So the sentence you are questioning is technically not really a sentence. The full sentence would read:

      The only way to honor MLK is to assume he would have condemned all US foreign as well as domestic policy, and the likes of Bill Clinton, both George Bushes, Trump, and even Obama, wouldn’t even have had a remote chance of becoming president.

      I think he means that, had MLS been alive, he would have been raging against all those things and also calling out all those presidential candidates for their neoliberalism and hypocrisies, which might have kept them from being elected president. Maybe. The thing is, though, the fact that he had gone on from the early civil rights movement and was starting to condemn and rage against all those things probably helped get him killed sooner.

  12. Douglas Paul Anthony

    I think the author of this piece was born too recently to remember the Gingrich accusations and the probe that followed (thank you, Kenneth Starr of the Kingdom of Baylor/Repubs/Kirkland and Ellis Law) over $350,000 if accurate, then active participation by Trump on Obama’s eligibility to be president. So let’s just summarize that as a lack of historical perspective.

    The overall piece is more op-ed than informational and diminishes by its lack of professionalism the great work on this site.

    1. shinola

      “The overall piece is more op-ed than informational…”

      I guess I missed the part that indicated it is supposed to be anything other than op-ed. I believe NC posts op-eds rather frequently.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      First, you start with a personal attack, a violation of written site Policies. And even more rich, it isn’t remotely accurate.

      Second, the piece is clearly labeled as a cross post, both in the headline and the opening sentence. We require in our site Policies that you read a post in full before commenting. You obviously didn’t bother.

      Third, your comment re Trump is irrelevant to the post, which means your remark is bad faith argumentation, another site policy violation. You double down on bad faith by concern trolling.

      Fourth, we and not you are in charge of what runs here. Trying to depict this piece as an op ed and therefore somehow inferior is wrong on multiple levels.

      Better trolls, please.

  13. Tomonthebeach

    The Trump message is really, really high dissatisfaction with Washington – a punch in the nose if you will.

    We elites are generally estranged from punches in the nose. We simply do not do such things. So, for most of us, the message escapes us, and we sink into more hand-wringing-but-cogent analysis and critique. Alas, we do not know what comes next except probably a shift left on the Hill.

    Can we put the toothpaste back into the proverbial tube? Should we? Perhaps our time would be better spent discussing what changes might improve things once somebody answers King Henry’s question.

  14. Tom Bradford

    “some people may claim that the situation is unique, simply because it concerns Trump, but that argument doesn’t fly very far, because he was elected president, the culmination of a process that, given the powers endowed upon the office, should be close to sacred in the country.”

    Well in most countries, such as mine fortunately, the President, Prime Minister or whatever is elected on the assumption that every vote cast has equal weight. As I understand it were this to be the case in the US your President would now not be Donald Trump. That he is seems to have been down to the way a few hundred people in Washington chose to vote, which is something I for one would have a hard job to regard as legitimate.

    However as, fortunately, I am not an American and live far from the US I can’t say it bothers me much.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The US has had the Electoral College since its inception. The US has never pretended to be a one person, one vote system as far as the Presidential election is concerned. It is also hard to say the selection process for choosing Prime Ministers is any more democratic, since the electorate has no say whatsoever on who the party factions settle on, particularly in the case of a coalition government.


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