Gaius Publius: Despite Officially Hating Trump, Democrats Like a Lot of What He Does

By Gaius Publius, a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius, Tumblr and Facebook. GP article archive  here. Originally published at DownWithTyranny

In a nice piece at TomGram (“On Seeing America’s Wars Whole: Six Questions for A.G. Sulzberger,” h/t Naked Capitalism) Andrew Bacevich takes the new editor of the New York Times to task for not adequately covering America’s endless war in the Muslim (and increasingly, the African) world:

I … want to suggest that obsessing about this administration’s stupefying tomfoolery finds the Times overlooking one particular issue that predates and transcends the Trump Moment. That issue is the normalization of armed conflict, with your writers, editors, and editorial board having tacitly accepted that, for the United States, war has become a permanent condition.

Bacevich doesn’t fault the Times for not covering these events, but for failing to connect the dots, something it never fails to do when covering Russian adventures abroad.

The Shape of the Forever War

What struck me most about the piece, however, were the dots themselves. Displayed as he displays them, they seem to connect themselves:

* Over 6,000 days after it began, America’s war in Afghanistan continues, with Times correspondents providing regular and regularly repetitive updates;

* In the seven-year-long civil war that has engulfed Syria, the ever-shifting cast of belligerents now includes at least 2,000(some sources say 4,000) U.S. special operators, the rationale for their presence changing from week to week, even as plans to keep U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely take shape;

* In Iraq, now liberated from ISIS, itself a byproduct of U.S. invasion and occupation, U.S. troops are now poised to stay on, more or less as they did in West Germany in 1945 and in South Korea after 1953;

* On the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. forces have partnered with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud in brutalizing Yemen, thereby creating a vast humanitarian disaster despite the absence of discernible U.S. interests at stake;

* In the military equivalent of whacking self-sown weeds, American drones routinely attack Libyan militant groups that owe their existence to the chaos created in 2011 when the United States impulsively participated in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi;

* More than a quarter-century after American troops entered Somalia to feed the starving, the U.S. military mission continues, presently in the form of recurring airstrikes;

* Elsewhere in Africa, the latest theater to offer opportunitiesfor road-testing the most recent counterterrorism techniques, the U.S. military footprint is rapidly expanding, all but devoid of congressional (or possibly any other kind of) oversight;

* From the Levant to South Asia, a flood of American-manufactured weaponry continues to flow unabated, to the delight of the military-industrial complex, but with little evidence that the arms we sell or give away are contributing to regional peace and stability;

* Amid this endless spiral of undeclared American wars and conflicts, Congress stands by passively, only rousing itself as needed to appropriate money that ensures the unimpeded continuation of all of the above;

* Meanwhile, President Trump, though assessing all of this military hyperactivity as misbegotten — “Seven trillion dollars. What a mistake.” — is effectively perpetuating and even ramping up the policies pioneered by his predecessors.

Emphasizing Bacevich’s main point, Tom Engelhardt asks us in his introduction to “imagine what kind of coverage [Russia] would be getting if, almost 17 years after it had launched a ‘Global War on Terrorism,’ Russian troops, special operations forces, airplanes, and drones were still in action in at least eight countries across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen“.

I can’t get past that list, however. It’s stunning in its scope. From it I draw a different set of conclusions.

Liking What Trump Is Doing; Wishing Someone Else Were Doing It

As Bacevich points out, we’re “whacking self-sown weeds.” The implications are frightening. My takeaways:

• The entire Establishment is waging this global war. With bipartisan consent we’ll be at war forever unless a truly peace-minded, anti-Establishment candidate is elected president, and even then he risks being brought back down by the government that answers to him, elected or not. With respect to war policy, Sanders is such a candidate, perhaps, and there may be others. Yet no one else of his popular stature and appeal, with his authenticity and viability, has yet emerged.

• The Washington elites are crazy if we view them through the lens of their own words. To decry Trump as in the pocket of Russia one minute…

and increase his domestic spying powers in the next…

55 Democrats voted against your constitutional rights and opposed the USA RIGHTS amendment. Had 26 voted the other way, we would have won. Among them is Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff.

— Daniel Schuman (@danielschuman) January 11, 2018

is crazy by that measure.

For another, simpler explanation, consider this: It isn’t crazy logic that drives them, but calculated hypocrisy. Why hypocrisy? Because…

• Leaders of the ruling bipartisan consensus like most of what Trump is doing; they just want someone else doing it. Perhaps Pence, to choose just one.

Enough Democrats were ambivalent about the Trump tax cuts, for example, that they campaigned softly (and ineffectively) against it, unlike their vigorous (and effective) campaign to protect their president’s signature achievement, Obamacare.

Enough Democrats voted for former Eli Lilly president Alex Azar to run HHS to get him confirmed.

And enough Democrats will vote for torturer Gina Haspel as CIA director to make the confirmation bipartisan. After all, 14 Senate Democrats (plus Angus King) voted to confirm pro-torture Mike Pompeo as CIA chief, and Pompeo almost immediately appointed Haspel as his deputy. No one in DC wants to piss off the CIA. As Chuck Schumer noted, it would take a fool to do it. (Trump, at one time, was such a fool. Now, not so much.)

Will the next round of power-holding Democrats keep us out of war and take the CIA out of the torture business? It’s fair to be extremely doubtful.

It’s therefore fair to conclude this war will last forever, will be waged at our will, where and as long as we choose. It’s also fair to ask: Is forever war, fought forever abroad, a stable new world order? Or failing to be reduced, will it expand and come home?

The Weeds Whack Back

A prediction: This war will come back to bite us. It will come back home to the shopping malls, airports, schools and hospitals of America. Not just the large, big-city ones, but the regional ones as well, those in the “heartland” where live the solid citizens who blissfully rubber-stamp everything the bipartisan war-making leaders want to do.

After all, with a volunteer (undrafted) army deployed abroad and just “lone gunmen” at home to be troubled about, why should heartlanders care about foreign deaths, so long as their fossil fuel–iPhone lifestyle is provided for? When the combatants stop looking like lone gunmen, however, and start looking more like the organized terrorizing warriors we’ve become overseas, perhaps they’ll care then.

But caring, if it comes, will come too late. A non-military government, in substance already lost, will be lost in form as well. The next new American state will be born, a naked military one, but c’est la guerreas they say: It can’t be helped.

The implications of that next change, including the implications for climate change mitigation, have a world-historical shape. Life in the “homeland” will be very much different from this one, if or when the U.S. military starts to fight the forever war here like it’s fighting it abroad. Teasing out the shape of that new American state is beyond the scope of this piece, but your imagination may suffice to paint the picture.

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  1. divadab

    “With bipartisan consent we’ll be at war forever unless a truly peace-minded, anti-Establishment candidate is elected president, and even then he risks being brought back down by the government that answers to him, elected or not. With respect to war policy, Sanders is such a candidate, perhaps,….”

    Not supported by evidence. Sanders’ focus has been almost exclusively on domestic policy. IMHO there is no “Peace candidate” – consider what happened to the last one – McGovern. Like it or not, the USA is a highly militarized society – war is popular. And the jingo machine is very sophisticated.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Agree that Sanders has focused on domestic policy and he is definitely niot a strong on fioreign as many here would like him to be. But he did publicly criticize Israel on a big stage and did not incur the usual and often career-ending backlash from both sides of the political divide that normally comes with such pronouncements. To me that is sign of what he might have done and that’s not nothing.

      1. Allegorio

        Remember what happened to John F. Kennedy when he threatened to blow the CIA into a thousand pieces. I’m sure Senator Sanders is aware. This has been going on since WWI after which the real left in this country was jailed and deported. Both Wilson and Roosevelt were elected promising to stay out of war. War is no longer an issue that is discussed, it is just waged.

        What is to be done? Thieves and murderers rule this country and are trying to rule the world. Elections are tightly controlled and when necessary rigged. Recall John McCain’s farewell speech to the Senate where he praised America’s engagement in the world and his statement that “by the way we all got rich.” The Boomer generation, despite the 60’s has been the most ignorant generation in American history. As they say change happens one funeral at a time. Can hardly wait for McCain’s brain tumor to take him out. Soon he will realize that you can’t take it with you and what the after life holds for War Criminals and depraved murderers.

    2. pohzzer

      Sanders ferociously defends Vermont’s piece of the F-35 program. Thinking he’s actually anti-war in the style of Ron Paul is a pipe dream.

      1. pohzzer

        By the way, a hot war is coming to Syria. Putin uncovering his unstoppable strike weapons and hypersonic advantage and the fact they are now manufacturing the S500 air defense system didn’t convince the globalists to stand down, it convinced them it’s now or never to keep their hegemonic plans alive if not keeping their existing hegemony from total collapse. The stakes are extremely high. A series of strikes into Syria is essentially holding a MAD pistol to Putin’s head and daring him to strike back.

        Putin, well known for saying what he means and meaning what he says, has stated Russia WILL strike back and isn’t interested in a world without Russia.

        So there’s that.

        1. pohzzer

          Of course if push does come to shove the majority of the Russian citizenry can pop into their extensive heavily fortified well stocked bunker system with well prepared post emergence plans in place as their American counterparts experience a cascade of systemic collapses as chaos, deprivation and death spread across the land.

          Good time to be a prepper VERY far away from the nearest population center. VERY good time to be a Russian citizen. Relatively speaking.

  2. The Rev Kev

    I’m sorry but I am having a great deal of difficulty with the last section called ‘The Weeds Whack Back’. The Forever War has already changed America so is no longer something in the provenance of a ‘prediction’. Examples? It is now normal to see Police dressed as combat soldiers on the streets, even in only very small towns. Militarized Police now ride around in blast-proof vehicles straight from Iraq and are instructed in tactics by Israelis in how to deal with civilians. The Pentagon has now a good grip on movies and TV shows that people watch and I have even seen this effect myself with even an innocuous program like the Ellen DeGeneres show. Women and children must now make way boarding aircraft for strapping, young ‘warriors’. The word ‘Homeland’ is now a thing. The laws have been changed so that it is now legal for the government to use propaganda on the American people. Habeas corpus has been suspended. I am sure other commentators can think of other examples. The Forever War has already changed America.

    So many of the complaints in the American Declaration of Independence can now be equally applied to life in modern America. Don’t think that I am just slinging off at America here as this applies to most western countries such as the UK and Australia. It is just that America is in the lead of this sea-change here. A long time ago I saw a cold-war film where at the end a KGB agent was telling a CIA agent that as America got more authoritarian the USSR was getting more liberal over time, perhaps that one day they could meet in in the middle and call it quits. I never imagined back then that what would happen was that each country would keep going along their path so that now they are both as antagonistic if not even more so but from opposite ends of the axis.

    1. Kokuanani

      The “military personnel in uniform may board next” sticks in my craw every time I experience it. Why aren’t we allowing “early boarding” for teachers, nurses, hospice workers, or any other “caring” professionals?

      It’s only the “killing” ones that have priority.

      1. Expat

        I wonder if Americans would lose their taste for war if one were fought on US soil? Probably not given US propaganda and principles. If a few freedom fighters knocking down a few out-dated skyscrapers led to America destroying two countries and a few million people, I suspect that entire continents would disappear if someone fought a foreign war on our soil.

        Perhaps, when the Democrats finally take control back (not that that is a good thing per se) the Deplorables will march on Washington like they so often promise, carrying their God-given firearms and attacking the evil institutions that are destroying their right to be ignorant and racist. When they are massacred by the thousands by armored divisions, blasted by drones, and barrel-bombed into component molecules, perhaps they will decided that the answer to the gun issue is not to give guns to the citizens but to take them away from the government.

        ahahahaha…and a pony for Xmas.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      FWIW, I have yet to see militarized police anywhere and I travel a lot. Despite the off and on effort of the Obama admin to unload military surplus to municipalities, there was a lot of backlash, due both to the optics and in a lot of cases, higher maintenance expense. That doesn’t mean that some places don’t have police and local councils who bought this stuff anyhow. I’m just sayin’ it is way less common than you depict it to be.

      For instance, even though NYC has some of that stuff too, they seem to limit its use to special occasions like rousting the Occupy Wall Street encampment. Day to day policing is the same as it evah was.

      1. Expat

        Over here across the pond we have roving patrols of army personnel in addition to heavily armed police. The cops come out for events like Carnaval or Christmas Fairs, but the roving patrols are everywhere, all the time. My son informed me that the enlisted men have one round in their FAMAS, the officer has a fully loaded handgun and clips for his men. Frankly, I don’t want to try and verify that.
        The general consensus is that these soldiers add to the general level of fear. I certainly am NOT re-assured by their presence. The government would be better off deploying all of them on the roads and highways if it were truly concerned about saving lives. Terrorism (or freedom fighting an asymetrical war, as I prefer to call it) is not a big risk.

      2. The Rev Kev

        When I wrote that I was thinking of two iconic images. The first is at and shows a young black dude being confronted by a militarized police squad. The second is at the top of and shows a young woman being arrested by police who look like something out of the film “The Fifth Element”. They may not be out on the streets but the moment something happens, they will be there.
        This is not police doctrine here but the military doctrine of dominance at work. I know for a fact that the Israelis have been doing a lot of training with American police based on their experiences with Palestinians and I think that there is a carry-over effect also going on here. I have a lot of past police in my family and this is not police work as they knew it. This is something else altogether and I can’t but help notice that whether it was when the police were looking for the Boston bomber or when a school is being evacuated after a school shooter, the ‘civilians’ take care to have their hands in the air.

      3. PKMKII

        If they can’t find a justification for the defense contractors suckling at the government teat in overseas threats, they’ll manufacturer one domestically, even if it means the equipment just sits around collecting dust. The bezzle is the name of the game more so than proper militarization.

        1. rps

          If they can’t find a justification for the defense contractors suckling at the government teat in overseas threats, they’ll manufacturer one domestically

          Way ahead of you. Today, we have the international mercenary and security firm TigerSwan. According to The Intercept, TigerSwan originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror. Recently, they worked at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), to respond to the indigenous-led movement that sought to stop the project

          TigerSwan leaked documents revealed counterterrorism tactics used at Standing Rock, comparing the anti-pipeline water protectors to jihadist fighters.

          The 2017 investigative report states, “As policing continues to be militarized and state legislatures around the country pass laws criminalizing protest, the fact that a private security firm retained by a Fortune 500 oil and gas company coordinated its efforts with local, state, and federal law enforcement to undermine the protest movement has profoundly anti-democratic implications.”

          Not much different than the Pinkerton agency in the late 19th and early 20th century hired by private businessmen such as Carnegie’s Frick and Rockefeller to infiltrate and quell unionization from the Molly Maguires, onto steelworker strikes, railroad, coal and iron strikers. Than there’s Union General George McClellan to obtain military information in the Southern states during the Civil War as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) contracting Pinkertons.

      4. JEHR

        It seems to me that militarized police will not be needed when the blowback comes because nearly every American civilian has a gun or guns. In 2013, there were 357million firearms in the US, more guns than people. It would not take long to have these civilians fighting their war on their homeland.

        1. marym

          Paywalled, but from a quick glance that seems to be the raw numbers of guns and people.

          Pew 2013

          Gun ownership is one of the hardest things for researchers to pin down … A Pew Research Center survey conducted in February found that 37% of households had an adult who owned a gun — 24% said they owned a gun, and 13% said someone else in their household did.

          Though other surveys [Gallup cited] have found somewhat higher self-reported ownership rates, by and large they indicate that less than half of Americans own a gun.

          Pew 2017

          Three-in-ten American adults say they currently own a gun, and another 11% say they don’t personally own a gun but live with someone who does. Among those who don’t currently own a gun, about half say they could see themselves owning one in the future.

          This is not to dispute your point about what will happen when the blowback comes. I don’t have a prediction on that.

          1. sharonsj

            I know several gun enthusiasts and they all own numerous weapons. One guy doing work on my house said “A person can never own enough guns.” One of my tenants once had an assortment of 20 handguns and rifles (before the FBI came and took them away). I myself own two rifles. So saying that maybe 25% of the population has a gun isn’t the full picture.

        2. Wukchumni

          I’d go even further and say that our slavish devotion to hand cannons will probably figure in the civil war to come.

          Not sure what the Fort Sumter moment will look like, though.

        3. rd

          The Pareto Principle applies to guns. A 2015 survey indicates that 3% of the population owns 50% of the civilian guns in the US while all of the guns are estimated to be owned by 22% of the population. Presumably, many of these guns will be in households with more than one person and that some of those people will not own a gun, which explains higher numbers for households owning guns. It is almost three times as likely that a man will own a gun as a woman.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Oops: assault rifles.
            By no stretch of the Constitution or “hunting” should these be in the hand of citizens.
            2004 ban expired, thanks Bush. Obama squeezed out a crocodile tear after Sandy Hook and then did no-thing, didn’t want to rumple his suit, certainly not over something trivial like 29 massacred children.
            So now? There are 22 million of them in the hands of citizens. Genie, back in the bottle? Good luck.

      5. WheresOurTeddy

        flew from Rome to Chicago in June 2001, pre-9/11.

        Multiple guys in fatigues on catwalks far above carrying what looked like M-16s. Again, pre-9/11 Italy.

        This has been a long time in the making. Frogs jump out of the water if you heat it up too fast.

    3. Mike

      To be absolutely honest, I opine that Russia and the USA have not crossed paths, but diverged on some important points of similar methodology along a parallel path. Russia under Putin puts much credence in “diplomacy”, as long as any arrangements leave space for them to use connivance to gain advantage for the oligarchs that Putin “administers”. In the US, we have oligarchs as well, who have also bought their way into power, who also arrange, with the help of the bureaucracy, certain advantages to their control over their environment, much like the Soviets did when taking control of industry and agriculture to keep political and economic disturbance to a minimum.

      The paths are along a trajectory that is similar, but their nation-state status determines the amount of opposition they show to one another. The power advantage goes to the US, due to its elites being desperate to gain profit and control over an unruly world quickly, as well as the relative size of their economies, ultimate control over client (vassal?) nations, and the hegemony of the dollar, which is the ultimate reason we have invaded so many countries. This forces our elites to undo Iran, Venezuela, and the China/Russia nexus. Brexit only exposes the UK for the shameless vassal to the US that it is, as we weaken the EU as an economic bloc to our advantage. The neo-con theory of total control over global matters is confidently carried out by both political parties in league with those overseas who see the demise of national populations, their impoverishment, even their deaths, as not too bothersome, as some weeding out is necessary. Read their screeds and dig between the lines, and the image of armored police is a Disney-like myth, since propaganda does the trick for the sizable majority. Citizens, ordinary and toothless, are to be left behind to flounder while money and power will be de-nationalized eventually.

      The major question is when will the bulk of our “citizens” move (since they are so disparate and divided, it begs the 2nd question – “movement” in what direction)?

      1. witters

        “Russia under Putin puts much credence in “diplomacy”…”

        What is the use/mention distinction doing here?

    4. Ford Prefect

      “…instructed in tactics by Israelis in how to deal with civilians”

      I assume “civilians” is a euphemism for Palestinians which would be a direct parallel to minorities in the US.

    5. Gaius Publius

      To this above, and with respect, just want to say … I was born and raised in six town in the Midwest, spent half my life there (the other half on one of the coasts), and still stay in touch with people who never left, or left and went back. I’m not talking about strangers.

      I think the offending phrase is “blissfully rubber-stamp everything the bipartisan war-making leaders want to do.” If you do nothing to stop an evil, you rubber-stamp it by letting it happen. If it troubles you not at all that the evil occurs, or worse, give it zero thought because your own lives are free of it, “blissfully” seems an OK word to use.

      Of course there are objections everywhere in the country to these wars from the many who have no say in foreign policy, just as there are toothless objections to the many neoliberal domestic policies foist upon us.

      But there’s a kind of comfort about mass murder abroad that comes from the seclusion that not living near international centers (New York, SF, LA, etc.) provides. People worry about organized attacks (as opposed to “lone wolf” assaults) against sites in the major cities, and think their own malls and airports are safe. What international terrorist group is going to “pull a Paris” in Kansas City, or Dayton? Who’s going to fly in from Yemen to bomb the Fashion Centre Mall in Tulsa, or Battle Creek? The Fashion Centre Mall in San Jose … that’s another story.

      And the subset of those non-big-city residents (do we really object to “heartland” to characterize them?) who don’t fly much, don’t fly on business at all, and almost never travel abroad, those people live in an imagined safety that makes blowback from Israelis shooting Arab children in front of their parents’ eyes, or Obama/Trump bombing the crap out of Yemen at the behest of our friends in SA, (etc.) completely unimaginable.

      For that huge part of the country — of which, again, I’m a product and was a part — worries about personal safety fade away, and that changes the degree to which those uninclined to worry anyway can get even more comfortable with what happens to people halfway round the world.

      It’s human nature that personal safety becomes part of the equation unless one is otherwise motivated to care (by concern for more than just our neighbors and friends, for example). Many are motivated to care by larger concerns. But many others are not.

      And for those who don’t care, why should they worry? If a part of New York or Atlanta blows up one day, it’s still someone else’s problem. Until it isn’t, which is my main point.

      To some degree, everyone reading this lives in a world of “someone else’s problem” since no one can care about everything. This isn’t to condescend to the Midwest or the “heartland.” It’s just the way of the world.

      For example, here’s another “someone else’s problem,” and it’s almost ubiquitous in the U.S. How many believe that if we don’t stop burning carbon now (meaning very very soon), that the earth will change badly and forever, relative to the needs of every human living on it?

      Yet how many also assume that that blowback will fall to the next generation, or the generation after that, and that this generation, alive and adult today, will live and die relatively unscathed?

      Now imagine what new climate responses would become doable, would not be deemed “politically impractical” at all if the worst consequences were to fall, and be expected to fall, on this generation — all of it, today, tomorrow, or in the next five years? That “New Deal response,” that “WWII mobilization,” would start as soon as we found a politician to elect who would lead it. In one electoral cycle, that person would have FDR’s mandate, FDR’s Congress, and we’d see action that would make even Bill McKibben spin.

      When consequences are “someone else’s problem,” a fair number of people everywhere in the country are inclined to go with the flow, no matter how destructive. The more distant that “someone else” is — in space, in time — and the more unlike “us” they are, the more destructive that flow can be before people, in the aggregate, complain in a way that matters. It’s just human nature, and not at all a putdown of one region over another.


  3. Carolinian

    I’d say the assertion that it is the heartlanders who are supporting this perpetual war mentality is off the mark although it is true they don’t seem to be doing much to stop it. After all Trump campaigned during the election for less American involvement with the rest of the world, not more (whatever he may be doing now). Recent polls have said the public at large would prefer less military spending.

    In fact this is much more of an Acela corridor phenomenon with the NYT and the Post leading the charge and the vast swamp of intel and military contractors raking it in while the Ivy League and think tankers provide support.. Whether or not fish really rot from the head, Dukakis got that exactly right when it comes to the USA.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I agree. The “heartlander” remark was insulting, and a stupid remark tossed off at the end of an otherwise scintillating piece. Midwesterners almost never use that term to describe their region, and many recoil at it. The author’s use displays an unfortunate bias which undermines what was otherwise an excellent rant. Might as well have used the term “flyover country”.

      When the weeds whack back, the establishment will know very clearly that it has happened.

    2. Louis Fyne

      yes. that’s my headshaking with the otherwise spot-on article.

      America First! = no more wars. At least that what many Trump voters were hoping during the campaign.

      While Team Hillary was tone-deaf on war fatigue. see her Syrian no-fly zone comments.

      At least Trump addressed the issue. “wouldn’t it be nice if we were friends with Russia?,” said Trump. While John Oliver nicely summed up the establishment left’s response, “It’s not that f*****ing easily” (Seriously that was his literal response on-air during one of his shows)

      1. Sophie

        Russia just wants to be friendzies. Of course they do.
        This article is anti Dem propaganda. See Justice Democrats. It’s past time to kick out the DINO’S. And, where I live the Democratic representatives don’t vote with the Republicans. Progressive Democrats at the very least offer some form of sanity in the midst of a fascist regime in DC.

        1. Eureka Springs

          If ninety or more percent of House and Senate Dems were needed to vote for more war, they would. What you are seeing in the most recent vote is oft called rotating villains.

          The D party is now running more spook and mic candidates for federal office than we can keep up with. The money always flows. The whole Russia scare initiated by Hillary and the dems (progs included), perpetuated to the promise of a war to end all wars for no other reason that to cover there embarrassing losses. I think the 90 plus percent votes for all things MIC/Israel are also a huge tell.

          It’s beyond myopic to think there are just a dozen problem Dems in the Senate, when the problems are systemic in the party itself.

          1. Allegorio

            I don’t call them Dino’s anymore, I call them Pino’s, progressive in name only. Seems more appropriate given the rapacious climate we live in.

    3. Ultrapope

      Yes, the assertion made at the end is rather surprising. I would have thought Gaius Publius would be familiar with the Krinera & Shen study showing the positive correlation between community casualty rates and how much those communities flipped to Trump. Granted there could be other explanations for this correlation but still, assuming the “heartland” rubber stamps all these wars abroad does not really seem to reflect whats actually going on. Your comment re: the Acela corridor seems more on the mark.

      Maybe I’m just nitpicking, but I keep hearing the “American’s are too complacent and lazy to protest these wars” trope and it gets under my skin. It strikes me as both lazy analysis and overly pessimistic. Most Americans are embroiled in their own battles within the context of the class war being waged at home. It certainly doesn’t help that the Post, NYT, etc. are, as Bacevich puts it, failing to connect the dots.

      1. Allegorio

        Further, during Ron Paul’s presidential runs, he accumulated the greatest number of contributions from the rank and file military. Remember over 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Seeing the horrors our military have seen and knowing the venality of this country’s leadership, there will come a day when the military rank and file will stop fighting and turn on their corrupt leaders. That day is sooner than we all realize.

    4. WheresOurTeddy

      In every single poll, the public overwhemingly wants single payer and overwhelmingly DOESN’T want more war.

      And yet we have the current state of affairs. I guess that’s why 74% of us don’t think this is a republic anymore. I can only assume the other 26% are all either too young, old, medicated, or involved to answer in the affirmative.

  4. Jean


    Trump gets reelected.

    Unless the Democrats come up with a real plausible candidate.

    Loss leader with be any ticket with Kamala Harris on it. Maybe that’s why Mnuchin sent her a donation, the only ‘democrat’ he ever supported.

    1. Allegorio

      Let’s not forget that Kamala Harris, as California Attorney General, did not prosecute Mnuchin and his bank when her staff catalogued a thousand violations of baking laws, Obama style. Proof positive that there are no quid pro quo’s in today’s campaign financing corruption.

  5. Oregoncharles

    It’s called collusion, G.P. Just use the word. It’s exactly what we saw with Bush: always just enough Dem votes to put his policies through. Or maybe just the MIC’s, since it seems the President makes little real difference.

    I have a problem with this: “why should heartlanders care about foreign deaths, so long as their fossil fuel–iPhone lifestyle is provided for? When the combatants stop looking like lone gunmen, however, and start looking more like the organized terrorizing warriors we’ve become overseas, perhaps they’ll care then.” That is blaming the voters, when Gilens and Page have shown that the voters aren’t in charge. The money is, and the duopoly parties working for them.

    Of course, I wind up blaming the voters, too, because they refuse to break free of the duopoly, which at this point is riding on sheer, blind habit and self-fulfilling assumptions.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The Trump voters were voting to break the duopoly to begin with, by breaking one of its two parties from within. They knew how much the mainstream Republicans hated Trump.

      They took a chance. They may have been wrong all along. Maybe Trump got captured. Maybe Trump was lying right from the start.

      But the only blameworthy voters are the voters who voted for Clinton and the mainstream Republicans all through the primaries. Those who voted for Sanders or Trump, and then for Trump against Clinton , are blameless. Hard to know what to say about those who have sullenly retreated from voting at all.
      That they “shoulda” voted? What “shoulda” they have voted for?

    2. Allegorio

      I think the word you are looking for is callaborators, as in Nazi collaborators. We all know the fate of Nazi collaborators.

  6. drumlin woodchuckles

    It is the bi-coastal elitists who design, engineer and support the forever wars. The heartlanders are the ones getting tired of it. The heartlanders are the ones who showed their opposition to it by voting for Trump.
    It is the bipartisan Pink Pussy Hat class who actively support these wars and who placidly support them. It is the bicoastal elitists and cultural snobs and the ethnic minority voters who supported the forever warmonger Clinton. It is Clinton and her blissful supporters who wanted to turn Syria into an Islamic Jihadii emirate, Ukraine into a New Birth of Nazism, and Russia into a new Forever Cold War enemy.
    Trump’s heartlanders are THE people who voted aGAINST all that.

    To blame it on the “heartlanders” is to treat the “heartlanders” as a stage upon which to strut one’s superior virtue . . . when in fact it was the “heartlanders” themselves who displayed the actual superior virtue by voting for Trump against the Forever Wars. And it was the Democrats and Clintonites who blissfully rubberstamped all this aggression by voting for the Forever Warmonger, her Majestic Herness Hillary Clinton. They only lost their bliss when their forever warpig monster lost the election.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      For example, just look at how unhappy Digby became when Trump defeated Digby’s favored forever-warpig candidate Hillary Clinton.

      Talk about “losing your bliss”!

  7. Edward

    Sooner or later the U.S. will run out of money. A responsible government would have ended the wars after the 2008 economic crash and made fixing the economy priority one.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > Sooner or later the U.S. will run out of money.

      No, the US will never “run out of money.” The US is a currency issuer. It can no more run out of money than a bowling alley can run out of points.

      Now, the US may “run out” of productive capacity, where “the economy” becomes so distorted that it can’t maintain itself — being unable to build a train tunnel under the Hudson when we know the existing tunnel will soon fail is a fine example — but that’s not the same as running out of money.

      1. Edward

        Fair enough. In a literal sense you are correct. I see the U.S. as “exhausting its reserves” in different ways, such as weakening the dollar’s reserve currency status or fostering inequality in different ways.

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