The Other Option for Containing Trump

Your humble blogger isn’t keen about having to broach the topic on what might be the next step on the Democratic party escalation ladder in its war against Trump. But we’d be remiss in not discussing possibilities that may seem like tail events…but as we know from Nassim Nicholas Taleb that tails are fat.

And given the state of Internet thought policing (see our link today in Links on GoFundMe stealing nearly $90,000 from The Grayzone and its donors), it seems prudent to introduce one scenario for where Trump opponents with institutional connections might go next via Tucker Carlson, who is rich and has no need to worry about monetization, and has too big an audience for him to be easily shut down. Remember that Tucker has blown hot and cold on Trump:

It’s not as if this is the first time Tucker has brought up the possibility that Trump could be assassinated by members of the power structure, see in his Trump interview starting just after 7:10:

There is plenty of aghastitude on Twitter over Tucker’s remarks as the worst sort of sensationalism:

It’s fair to depict Tucker is a drama queen on this topic, and to insinuate his fans who promote the assassination notion as having seen too many movies:

The wee problem with such airy dismissals is the assassinations of JFK and RFK feature, to put it politely, had too many suspicious elements. RFK, Jr. has said it is “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the CIA was involved in his uncle’s assassination, and RFK, Jr. also maintains that Sirhan Sirhan did not kill his father.

The second wee problem is that the Biden Administration and many of its close allies seem capable only of doubling down in the face of opposition. We can see that in Ukraine. Obama warned that Russia would always have escalatory dominance. Yet even as the famed counteroffensive has failed, US officials are still browbeating Ukraine to throw (increasingly aged) men and machines into a Russian meat grinder. Even worse this crowd either ran or enabled the astonishingly reckless move of bombing the Nord Stream pipeline.

However, another tail scenario seems potentially less fraught. If there were credible or exaggerated threats of violence in the runup to Election Day, my reading (and I welcome correction if I have this wrong) is it could take only declaring martial law or finding a pretext for closing polling stations in a couple of states (say New York and Georgia) to brick the presidential election. As far as I can tell, the Constitution does not allow for make ups or delays for Presidential voting. But that developmet would leave Trump in the picture to raise hell.

I don’t like talking through ideas like this but both Democrats and Republicans are fomenting civil war levels of hatred. And this propensity seems particularly crazy for the Democrats, since their voters live disproportionately in or near large cities where they depend on people they loathe in flyover for supplies. And they assume they will command the loyalty of the military and police when things get really bad, and that is not a given either (recall how the police repeatedly made a show of defiance every time then New York City mayor Bill DiBlasio criticized violent policing).

Perhaps if Biden is maneuvered out of running again, the Democrats will fall into enough internecine combat so as to divert energy from further plotting against Trump. Or perhaps all the prosecutions will wind up deflating Trump’s support, if nothing else by forcing him to spend so much time on legal matters that he can’t campaign effectively.

If the Democrats manage to prevail in the 2024 presidential election without escalating, that’s still not a very good outcome from the standpoint of social stability because all the candidates are so terrible. Oddly, it was Victor Orban who pointed out that the West welcomed Putin becoming President of Russia because another weak leader after Yeltsin was deemed to be a catastrophe in the making. See starting at 4:40:

So I was Prime Minister exactly at the same time the change happened in Russia. Putin after Yeltsin. Yeltsin was very weak and getting weaker and weaker. And I do remember the fear of that time here in Hungary and in Europe as well, whether there will be new leadership or not. So the real fear here was there will be anarchy in Russia. Putin is out and there is no new guy coming in strong enough to keep together the country, the nuclear arsenal, and the army control and so on. So everybody was happy when we realized that Yeltsin, Putin come [sic] in and started to control the military and the Russian power as a leader. So everybody was happy. I do remember that.

So now Putin is in power for long, long years. We forgot about how dangerous it is when there is no strong leadership or interregnum in Russia. The interregnum is the worst case possible.

Now it may also seem extremely strained to suggest any similarity between the US now and the Russia of the 1990s, with the country suffering a collapse in institutions and even lifespans, the rise of corrupt and often brutal oligarchs, and with president Yeltsin as a drunk with basement-level public support who was nevertheless re-elected due to massive US interference. However, the US is suffering from falling life expectancy, ever-rising inequality, more and more casual and visible corruption, and very weak leadership and bureaucratic competence. It’s not clear how much stress in the form of acute political discord our hollowed out institutions can take.

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  1. flora

    Thanks for this post. It’s certainly uncomfortable to talk about these things in left-of-center outlets. However, silence is not the answer to the growing number of questions about current events, no matter which “side” is asking. Thanks again for the post.

  2. John W.

    The period of maximum risk would be the time between a Trump win in November and him taking office in January. There would be very desperate people contemplating very radical things.

    1. chris

      Yes. No doubt made worse by breathless commentary in the media in the run up to the election about the end of the world if Trump were to be president again. I wonder what the DNC equivalent of Jan. 6 would be like?

      1. Altandmain

        Probably attempts at even more Lawfare and to block Trump on the pretense that he is somehow getting Russian support.

        Essentially an even more desperate need to get Biden and Harris back in.

        The irony of this situation is that the Democrats are unable to understand the way to win legitimacy and support is to make the lives of the American people genuinely better.

        That means improving living standards, ensuring inflation adjusted “real wages” rise, and other day to day things like infrastructure. Other issues such as economic inequality would have to be addressed.

        I can only say that the Democrats are unable to do so because they are totally owned by the donor class that doesn’t want those things. Hard for someone who is corrupted by money like the Democratic Establishment (and the GOP as well) to understand that.

  3. JonnyJames

    Sorry, I can’t be bothered to get worked up about the surreal Freak Show that we call elections. It is like a Twilight Zone episode or something. I could care less what Carlson, or any other over-paid pundit thinks.

    Who still believes that the US has a functioning democracy? (depending on how we define the term)..
    Do you really believe that voting in a general election is anything more than legitimizing a sham?

    After all, “the US is an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery” Can someone explain how this quote is inaccurate?

      1. JonnyJames

        So, Um, no. First we have to emerge from the denial phase. Most are still in denial. Just one more “election” and things will be different this time. This election is “historic” blah blah, I have heard that all my life. No matter if D or Rs control Congress and WH, it just gets worse, more corrupt. But we still want to believe.

        1. flora

          Oh tosh. The US has been here before in the late 1890’s and early 1910s-20s. The corruption now is huge compared to 40 years ago, imo. But about on the same level of corruption in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. See Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall, the big city machines and the monopolies of that era. The Populist party rose in several states, won statehouses, sent elected member to Congress, ran Presidential candidates. Put da fear o’ god into the Dems and GOP parties of upsetting their applecarts. Read Tom Frank’s book on US Populist “The People, NO!”

          I suppose I trust the US people in the long run to figure out how to do the right things: abolish slavery, extend the right to vote to property-less men and to women, to pass the Civil Rights act, to pass the voting rights act, to pass the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, the EEOC, to make legal representation available to all indigent defentants (Gideon), to advise people arrested of their rights (Miranda). All these major changes were achieved in the face of unimaginably wide spread political opposition by the then ruling powers that be …or were. I think we aren’t so different or weaker than earlier generations. I’m an optimist about the country. ymmv.

          No victory is ever permanent. No defeat is ever final. / ;)

            1. Old Jake

              Well mostly it’s that the US is not unique. Indeed, I challenge you to find me another country that is different. If there is a difference it’s one of degree and that’s mostly because – as that bank robber guy said – that’s where the money is.

              No, I’m not endorsing it. Indeed, I’m fatalistic and cynical. But to compensate, I try to maintain an optimistic outlook (yes, I’m a contradiction).

              Back to you…

              1. JonnyJames

                Although always imperfect, no other “democracies” legally allow unlimited political bribery. (again see: Citizens United) USA. At least they have to bribe politicians “under the table” ;-)

              2. Don

                “…another country that is different”? That’s a trick question in that there is a continuum. Does Canada, warts and all compare to the US in that it has a uniparty? No. Does it have unlimited political donations/bribery that determine policy? Again, no. Ditto, political violence, unbridled corruption, astonishing social incoherence… You could make a case that US governance is closer to, say, Kosovo, than it is to Iceland. But it’s a pointless framing.

                1. Scramjett

                  Many years ago, at an agency that I haven’t been at for many years (either), my workplace “manager” told us about a KGB analyst in the 90’s who predicted that the US would fracture into about 6-8 separate “regions” by 2010. Considering various articles in the MSM over the last few years talking about the “different cultures” or different “countries” within the good ‘ole US of A, one wonders if this analyst wasn’t on to something, albeit a few less years than a score off of his prediction.

                  In my youth, I always had a sense of the future existing, even if I didn’t know what it would be, right up until 2020. After 2020 is where things became dark and hazy. Never really thought it was “end of the world” stuff (or the end of me, since I’m still here), just something chaotic about it. Even now, I feel like 2030 is a weird mix of “fast approaching” but “nothing there.”

            2. flora

              I agree with your, I think, disagreement with the Citizens United case. I also think one day that decision will be regarded as the mirror image of badness a la the Roger B. Taney court’s Dred Scott decision about citizenship.

              ‘On March 6, 1857, in the case of Dred Scott v. John Sanford, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that African Americans were not and could not be citizens. ‘

              With the Citizens United ruling the Roberts court ruled that corporations are ‘citizens’. Stands law on its head, imo.

              1. JonnyJames

                Exaclty, that case alone negates any vestiges of equal application and one-person-one-vote principal. Since unlimited political bribery is formalized, democracy as we know it, is not possible. We should demand the legal framework be overhauled

                Sheldon Wolin wrote a book even before the Citizens United case: Democracy Inc. and points out the fact that the US is an oligarchy with his concept of “inverted totalitarianism”

              2. some guy

                We need to litmus-test new Justices for acceptance of the principle that ” The Corporation has no rights that Natural Persons are bound to respect.”

                1. Scramjett

                  Or maybe just either nerf SCOTUS or eliminate it outright. It’s not exactly a democratic body. YouTuber (yes, I now) Second Thought had a good video explaining how most countries don’t even have a Supreme Court, or if they do, it serves in an advisory capacity to the legislature. He also explained how, historically, SCOTUS is very rarely on the side of the people and often on the side of capital and the owner class.

                  1. some guy

                    There are legal ways to alter SCOTUS. But if a party or other bunchload of legislators wanted to do it, they would have to get themselves elected on a platform including doing it. They would either have to elect a bare pro-reform majority of both Houses plus a pro-reform President and a pro-reform Vice President, or otherwise get a veto proof supermajority elected into each House at the same time.

                    Then they could legislate things like a larger number of Justices, one term limits ( of whatever designated length) for each Justice, etc.

                    If civilization will not last long enough in America for such slow grinding changes to be achieved, then the suggestion is moot.

                    People should not waste the majority of their time, attention and energy on “Supreme Court Reform”. They should spend the majority of their time, attention and energy on building Separate Survival with likeminded people in suitable geographic areas, turning their homes into survivalist doomsteads, etc.

                    Any time, attention and energy totally left over after every survival-relevant thing has been done can be spent on what are now probably pointless hobby-horses and amusing time-suck diversions like “Supreme Court Reform”.

            3. redleg

              You need to answer it yourself. Make a case for it that can be analyzed and verified/refuted instead of asking other people to prove a negative and do free work for you.

                1. redleg

                  If you did, then why do you keep asking?
                  The world doesn’t exist to answer your questions, which you keep asking over and over again.

                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  You need to cut this sort of thing out. It’s called broken record and a violation of written site Policies.

                  In your case, it’s just like a toddler demanding more attention from a parent by saying “But why?” to every answer.

            4. PelhamKS

              I think perhaps the difference between now and the period that flora mentions is the current vast consensus in the form of “the blob” or, more narrowly, the deep state. And that may have begun with the launch and empowerment of various intelligence agencies after World War Two (17 that we know about) extending through the assassination ’60s. Big city machines, OTOH, were dispersed and valuable to a degree, providing needed local services. Today, we face a national monolith of mostly well concealed nefariousness.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            one glaring difference between now and those many thens: the Internet and social media, and the high level button pushing that they enable, compared to …say WR Hearst, or whatever….just look at our current abilities to believe in utter, easily disprovable nonsense. as near as i can come to objectivity, these features are objectively worse that they were even 20 years ago.
            when i see people say things about the goodness of the american people, i remember the days after 9-11, way out here…and i remember a couple of years later, when i was still a Dem….and protesting the war in iraq and torture and such(and the usage of “Homeland”)(even got my picture on the front page of the san antonio paper)…and the threats and even being strangled…
            because these folks out here just couldnt take the flag from their eyes for a moment and think.
            it was too much to be the bad guys, no matter our long history of being just that.
            now, that bunch…right and right sympathetic…are all about the Chicoms in the demparty…and the demparty is now even crazier than the right was back then, wrt russia!.
            and the latter goes even beyond demparty true believers…remember my friend who went to Ukraine to volunteer?
            she came back a nazi…and a russiaphobic nutter…wont talk to me,lol.
            i understand that a lot of the above is limited to faceborg, etc…and wouldnt be acted upon, necessarily, and en masse…but it can get palpable…even way out here…if yer paying attention.
            we’re a nation of somnambulist zombies, well armed, well medicated, with shaky prospects and therefore clinging to whatever cosmic narrative makes us feel whole.
            Contra Orlov, we aint USSR in 1989…although there are many similarities.
            the Russian People, back then…and from what i can remember from the time…knew that things were falling apart…and maintain to this day a robust skepticism and unit cohesion, at an almost dna level.
            we’ve never had the former…and the last time we had the latter…except for 911…was in the 30’s and 40’s.

            1. playon

              The other difference between now and then is that 130 years ago, the US had plenty of resources and global warming was just getting started. The influence of those two things alone guarantee a bumpy ride – now add in control of media, oligarchic forces and corruption, etc etc.

          2. Kouros

            Outsiders probably woldn’t care that much but for quite some time, it is the outsiders that bear the brunt of US politics, except China until very recently…

            1. Monsoon

              All roads lead to Rome in the US. The US people will experience a civil war far before a class war.

              No, with the brain rot and the material conditions for fascism at play, expect little from any ‘left’ movement in America.

              The global south will be the death spike for the American capitalist system.

              Septis of the blood, that is what currency illness will bring.

          3. CarlH

            I agree with the spirit from which you remark, but in the periods of time you site, they were not dealing with, and under the spell of, the vast propaganda machine we are barraged with all day everyday, nor was their every movement, purchase, and communication being monitored.

          4. ArvidMartensen

            The difference now is that the ruling powers have panopticon levels of control over the population and an ever expanding cabal of paid thugs to take down any opposition. Police, NSA, FBI, CIA etc etc.
            The ruling powers control the electronic communications superhighways, FB, Twitter, google, YT etc. They can remove any opposition text, video or sound commentary on a whim, and do. See Taibbi
            The ruling powers control the banks. Anyone saying the wrong thing can be demonetised. See recent UK. Farage had the muscle to make a fuss. How many community organisers could get back their bank accounts? Same happening in the US.
            The ruling powers control fund raising. Any opposition can be demonetised. See recent Grayzone.

            Communities have been atomised to the benefit of the ruling powers. Not so long ago, people could organise in secret. There were unions at some point. People could send round the hat for donations. They could hold meetings. Now it all seems to be electronic. It wasnt pollyannaland, but there were tried and true ways of being an underground opposition.

            Is there much underground opposition in Ukraine right now, testing ground for our future?
            So the parallels between 50 years ago, 100 years ago, and now, cannot hold.
            We have to find new ways of dealing with this, and I think that will be up to those smart young people who finally realise that their situation is hopeless unless they invent their way out of the panopticon.

        2. Synoia

          The UK parliament’s rule is sometimes referred as Dictatorship By parliament. A similar epithet could be aimed at the US’s system of government.

          A better description might be that the US system is the least worst system we can produce.

          1. Terry Flynn

            As a Brit/Aussie I have a lot of respect for the principles of the US system. I like how the 2nd chamber respects geographical entities. This could be better utilised to enforce climate change policy etc.

            I actually feel that the US has a lot of the basic principles right…… It’s just that a bunch of “fixes” to the original (obviously) flawed constitution have introduced nasty byproducts (2 party hegemony) etc.

            If I were reforming the UK, I’d have a 2nd chamber that resembled the US Senate. Obviously there’d be voting and other differences. But I do notice that the US Senate (arguably) was the last part of govt to “go rogue”. (The supreme court is other candidate but I’d argue the UK system beats the US one anyday).

            1. Kouros

              The US Constitution, while not as open ended as the Charter of City of London, still gives tanker size wiggle room for an oligarchy to continue existing and furthermore, take over the affairs of the state.

              1. digi_owl

                Frankly the US system exist to keep the hoi poloi out of the way of big money.

                At the time it was mostly the big land owners, who were the people negotiating the founding, by these days has become finance and their corporate hand puppets.

            2. JohnA

              Sweden only has one chamber, but any changes to the constitution have to be ratified by two parliaments with a general election in between.
              Having said that, joining Nato would certainly come into the category, but for some reason, with uniparty support, Swedish politicians have refused to bother to consult the electorate about this.

              1. digi_owl

                Yeah i don’t think any number of chambers or deck chair rearrangements will help. As long as the biggest players agree, that will be the status quo.

            3. digi_owl

              I could have sworn the US senate is basically their take on the UK upper house. Same as how the president is their alternative to the monarch. Other than that US is a carbon copy of the UK system.

          2. Mildred Montana

            I call Canada a “periodic democracy”; that is, it is one only at election time. If the leader of a party in that election gains a majority of seats in Parliament he or she becomes a de facto dictator, those dictatorial powers emanating from the Prime Minister’s Office and strictly enforced by party discipline. Non-compliant back-benchers (rare) are expelled from the party. Lick-spittles are rewarded for their obedience with various minor perks and the chance to run for re-election which will qualify them for those juicy MP pensions awarded after a mere two terms.

            Our current Liberal PM Justin Trudeau (whose grandiosity is bound only by a minority government at the moment) aspires to just such a dictatorship, so much so that he is recklessly packing the country with millions of immigrants (reliable Liberal voters) in the face of a nation-wide housing crisis. He doesn’t care if many of them and the rest of us have no dependable affordable place to live. He only desires to sit in the PM’s office wearing the purple of unassailable power.

    1. Darius

      Presidential elections are a pageant and spectacle managed by the oligarchy. The oligarchy always wins. They were fine with Trump mostly but he became too much of a liability. No one wanted Biden but they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Especially to head off Bernie, who probably wouldn’t have been that big of a problem for them anyway. At this point, the only reason to participate in elections is to f$&# with the system. There is some utility in voting for dissident candidates like West. But probably not get too invested because it’s a waste of time.

      1. Randall Flagg

        >No one wanted Biden but they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

        I disagree, The PTB were just fine with him. I have run out of time trying to track it down but there was a video recorded of Biden at a 2020 fundraiser of well to do where he flat out stated that nothing was fundamentally going to change for them if he was elected.
        That video so far has done a disappearing act…

        1. GeoCrackr

          Are you sure you’re not thinking of Billary 2016? I clearly remember her making that self-sabotaging claim.

    2. Piotr Berman

      “… unlimited political bribery …”, compared with, say, Gabon, Nigeria or genuine banana republics (e.g. Ecuador where a heir of the top BANANA company will run in 2nd round for presidency and probably will win, weird situation with very little reporting and zero polling data), USA has a way to go, so I would use “rampant” instead of “unlimited”.

  4. fjallstrom

    I am no expert on the US Constitution, but if I understand correctly the states conduct elections of electors, who then elects a president. So if there is martial law on election day, can’t the state in question hold a new election of electors, or even appoint electors?

    I mean as long as they finish in time for the electors to ride to DC and elect a president, and it happens in accordance with state law and constitution. Or does the US Constitution stipulate that all states must hold elections at the same time?

    1. marym

      The SC recently ruled that state legislatures do not have sole control over federal elections. However, Alito, Gorusch, and Thomas dissented, Roberts only weakly agreed, and Republicans are still arguing about it, at least as far as trying to defend what they tried to do in 2020. State constitutions, state courts, and federal courts have roles.

      Congress chooses the time and date for choosing the electors; and it’s the same for all states (Article II). Electors don’t “ride to D.C.” There are constitutional provisions and federal law determining the timing and procedures for the electors to vote, transmit their votes to DC, and have their votes archived and counted.

      1. fjallstrom

        Thank you.

        Riding to DC was in jest, because I find some provisions of the US constitution very 18th century. The rest was serious and I appreciate the answer.

      2. scott s.

        There’s no specific requirement for the popular vote. Same-day voting wasn’t implemented until the election of 1848. What’s required is that the Electors vote on the same day. That day could be modified, and Amendment XX allows for case where no one is qualified as President on 20 Jan. Under the old calendar Congress convened in Dec and had until March to work things out. Since XX it’s compressed by Congress convening on 3 Jan and having just a couple of weeks to resolve an issue.

        1. marym

          Yes, I apologize. I misinterpreted Article II:

          “The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”

          I see it now as as “Congress may – but didn’t initially” determine the time for choosing the electors…” Thank you for the correction.

  5. TimH

    “Do you really believe that voting in a general election is anything more than legitimizing a sham?”

    Yes. Those voters who want to send a message can select one of the non-mainstream candidates. The two main parties will notice. Sitting on your apathetic arse and not bothering to vote simply maintains the current system.

    1. JonnyJames

      Oh, like last time and the time before and the time before eh. BTW I have “wasted” my vote by writing in candidates for years, I don’t sit on my arse. It’s time to admit the ugly truth and emerge from the denial phase.

    2. hunkerdown

      “Sending messages” is the epitome of self-glorifying impotence. And actually, worship makes religions (including civic religions) strong. to vote legitimizes the current system. To abandon it delegitimizes it. I have to wonder what interests would make you propagate the myth of agonism.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        im with you and whomever Johnnyjames is on this…
        ive voted third party since i could vote(for ron paul, against daddy bush, and against whomever the dems ran)…except for once…for BO’s first run.
        it doesnt matter….”they” dont even notice it.
        i havent voted for president since the dems stole the primary in 2016.
        ive voted for local things…but that too often requires voting in the gop primary(where sheriff is decided).
        i stopped even that the last go-round.
        if Cornell is on the ballot in the general…or if rfk is on the dem primary ticket…i might come down out of the hills, again…but at this moment, i think not.
        the only ones who have noticed my absence is the judge who sits there watching it all, and the actual poll workers.
        all of them have stopped me in the produce aisle, etc and asked…and since i’m known as the first one in the door when polls open, i tell them: i dont believe in it anymore…both parties have screwed it all up…and i remain unrepresented.

        1. some guy

          Are the numbers of people voting third,fourth, fifth party counted and the numbers made known? Are the numbers of people voting on regional or local people and things but not voting on national-level lines on the very same ballot counted and made known?

          If those numbers are counted and made known, then a longer term reason exists for non-brand-name voting or selective voting. And it goes like this: if a large enough number of people do that and the numbers of people doing that are made known, and if that number reaches some theoretical effectiveness/ mass-movement threshhold, the people themselves who voted that way might also see that number made known. And they might learn that they are not alone. That there are significant numbers of other people like them.

          If they reached out to eachother to become a functioning political culture-movement, they could then evolve themselves into an attritional-warfare political warfighting force within society. If they had the patience to accept that life is not a TV show and is not a morality tale and if they were ready to make the patient targeted strategic time investment that the Christian Taliban Evangelicals showed themselves ready to make and conquer significant parts of the political-social battlefield with over several decades.

          But first such people would have to disabuse themselves of some deeply stupid concepts.
          Love is a crock of sh*t. Hatred is often what makes the world go round. Effective politics is not about convincing and converting the enemy. It is about conquering and destroying the enemy, in order to force one’s own agenda down the enemy’s dead body’s throat.

          People who don’t understand that are too stupid to understand anything else, and such people should certainly not vote. ever ever.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            such things are counted, and reported in the local paper…and i know everyone in the chain, including the news paper people…i know them all, because there’s 4500 people in the whole county, 3500 of those in the one town.
            i trust them, because i know them…and know how seriously they take these responsibilities.
            for change to happen at any scale, that kind of knowing will hafta be scaled up…by scaling polities down.
            weirdly, we’re at the upper limit of what anthropologists consider a viable number of souls for a functioning polity.
            divide 300 million by 4500…and thats how many congresscritters you’d need.
            the revolution wont begin here.
            unless its organic, and after the fact.
            ive been busy building an alternative system, on-farm…so that…and this is a classic doomerism…”when gengis khan shows up at your door, offer him a beer”.
            when things break down and its obvious, i hope to be remembered as “hey, didnt that hippie warn us about this, some years ago…maybe he knows what to do”…
            i keep a lot of saved seed, etc for just that purpose.
            sad that we cant get a local food autarky up and running before it goes to shit….but there are ripples in the continuum to that end…some of which are likely due to my subtle influence, over almost 30 years.
            ya caint force or even lead people out of The Cave…but you can coax…and plant doubts coupled with dreams of independence, etc.

            1. Randal Flagg

              I wonder what would happen if Trump was not allowed on ballots due to that 14th amendment and all.
              So, he runs as a write in. Can that be stopped? He is already so well known, he gets more free media attention than anyone on the planet and will continue to do so with the upcoming court cases and all the talking heads going on about it. With some carefully chosen words about the injustice of his being on trial (they’re out to get me because I stand up for you, etc.), after every court appearance, the media either has to report at a minimum what he says ( and they will, they can’t help themselves) or they have to ignore him . Never mind his ongoing campaign events.

              Ignoring Trump is an impossibility with the mainstream media at this moment. If not, what’s the alternative? The rest of the group known as the collective GOP Clown car, or reporting on Biden and his record. And his son. And his dealings in Ukraine. And his record overall. The decline start of affairs in this country. And on. And on. None of it very flattering.

              1. LifelongLib

                The Constitution bars the person from holding office, which makes putting them on the ballot pointless and also applies to write-ins.

        2. JonnyJames

          Cheers Amfortas, my first name is Jon and my middle name is James, a good friend used to call me Jonny James, as there are usually many “Johns” around ;-)

          In an ideal world, folks would demand an overhaul to the entire “democratic process” including an immediate overturn of the Citizens United case that legalized unlimited political bribery.

          I don’t expect utopia, but a one-person, one-vote basis would be nice start..

        3. orlbucfan

          Writing in Cornell West on my ballot for POTUS here in DeSh1tface land. I will also be working a get-out-the-vote table at the local Vegan Fest in late Oct. Sick Rott/Rick Scott is up for re-election. 💩💩 BTW, my area is the same one which sent Maxwell Frost to the House. Thought-provoking, huh?

    3. lyman alpha blob

      They will notice, and then spend all of their efforts on denying that 3rd party candidate ballot access, although that happens much more frequently with the Democrat party. When the last time you heard any republicans whingeing about the Libertarians? But the Democrats are still butthurt about Nader a generation later.

      Several years ago in my state a pretty popular and longtime Dem US House member decided to challenge the Republican incumbent US senator. There was a 3rd party candidate getting maybe 2% in polls. The state Dem party went out of their way to get the 3rd party off the ballot, while neglecting to criticize the Republican who took their marching orders for 8 years from the corrupt and warmongering Shrub.

      Guess who won that election? That would be Republican Susan Collins,who is still in the Senate, and who plays the press like a fiddle to be portrayed as a “moderate”. The same Susan Collins who got herself portrayed as THE swing vote in the Senate regarding recent Supreme Court nominations. Oh, she hemmed and hawed before approving the nominees, but she approved them nonetheless, and there they sit today.

      With all the lawfare going on against Trump, twisting precedent into pretzels trying to find a crime to indict him for, does anyone really think the current Supremes, are going to let Trump get anywhere near a jail cell?

      So I have to say, my protest vote back in 2008 has done [family blog]-all to improve anything.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        “current Supremes, are going to let Trump get anywhere near a jail cell”

        It may not be that clear-cut. The three Trump appointees all came vetted by the Federalist Society. The two jokers who wrote the Notre Dame law review article are members of the Federalist Society. All the “respectables” are lining up against Trump and the “deplorables.”

        1. lyman alpha blob

          You may be right – I do think Pelosi and McConnell both deliberately hindered Trump’s chances of re-election. Can’t remember the exact sequence of events off the top of my head, but I think it has something to do with why Biden still owes me 600 bucks. The “respectable” ones like Jeb! for example want him gone – he made fun of Jeb!’s mommy after all.

          But the reason I think the Supremes will balk at upholding any judgement that puts Trump in jail is because of the way the law is being twisted to try to put him there. If in “The Call” to Georgia Trump had said “Find me 11,700 votes or your old lady gets it”, that’s clearly a crime and the “normie” republicans would be glad to see him go down as a result. But if the law can be twisted to put a former president in jail for essentially b**lsh**ting during some phone calls, wouldn’t it be even easier to twist it to rid the nation of a few corrupt Supreme court justices?

    4. Terry Flynn

      I always vote. But if both parties in uk are awful (most of the time) I spoil my ballot paper. So at least I’m counted.

      My “Aussie half” firmly believes in compulsory voting. That way spoilt ballots become much more obvious.

    5. Kouros

      How easy is to get on the ballot as a nonmainstream candidate across the 50 US States? As well as getting some minimal exposure on the public spaces?

      1. rowlf

        Members of the Ross Perot team have said over the years they faced a lot of challenges in different states trying to get their candidate on the ballots. If someone with Perot’s resources had a problem, I suspect others will too.

        I think anyone that registers with the Federal Election Commission to run for office should be on the ballot. So what if the media has an anxiety attack discussing 200 ~ 400 candidates.

    6. Polar Socialist

      First step would be to get rid of the plurality vote, since it’s Democracy In Name Only, to misuse the popular say. You get to vote, but you’re very unlikely to get what you want (or need) – so mostly you’re voting against someone.

      Here’s a nice video (youtube) of how first-past-the-post system ensures three things: two-party system, minority rule and gerrymandering. There’s no way of voting that would change this.

  6. elissa3

    You put your finger on it: whatever one thinks about the 2024 “election”, it is existential for both Trump and his adversaries. For Trump it’s do or die (in jail! literally). For the other side, losing is not only taking away their iron rice bowls, but the same fate as they would wish on Trump. He has said so, very forcefully, multiple times. And while he lies all the time, this threat by him has the ring of truth.

    I’ve tried to imagine scenarios where both sides agree to some sort of neither/nor solution, but they just don’t seem plausible given the intensity of the rancor. Add to this the growing disgust of the general populace with the establishment, a precarious economic environment, and you end up with a witches’ brew that recalls 1968. But there is no Walter Cronkite today. The media today is Taibbi’s Hate, Inc. view. And there’s this thing called the internet.

    Interesting times.

    1. some guy

      Suppose a Democrat ticket won so convincingly that the Trump side could get no traction anywhere in the public by claiming it was rigged. Suppose Trump was convicted of one or more somethings. Suppose the DemPresident were to commute any or all of Trump’s federal sentences. Then Trump might live in shame ( not that he would notice) but not die in jail. Note that I said ” commute” and not “pardon”.

      What if the DemCandidate were to make a campaign promise to . . . ” If I am elected and Trump is convicted of something federal, I will commute Trump’s sentence.” Would that lower some of the existential do-or-die-ness of some of Trump’s supporters?

  7. ambrit

    America has always had a “robust” struggle for political dominance. Lincoln was shot just when he was preparing to ‘heal’ the divisions arising from the American War Between the States. The Election of 1876 is notorious for the victory of corruption over good governance. Hoover sent the Army in to crush the Bonus Marchers out on the Anacostia Flats. Kennedy was shot at a crucial time in East West relations.
    The Kennedy example is instructive. Evidently, Kennedy was going against the wishes of the post WW-2 “Deep State,” (or whatever you wish to call it,) and had already stopped the Bay of Pigs ‘Adventure’ before it got properly going. Then he was rumoured to be contemplating winding down the American commitment to supporting South Viet Nam. The CT Community fairly unanimously agrees that these were the reasons why Kennedy was shot. Trump is following a similar trajectory. Similar results can be expected, if the same “hidden” power structure is at work in America.
    Trump being “eliminated” obviously would not only be consistent with “Deep State” behaviour patterns, but would be, if done openly, a ‘message’ to the other power centres in America. “Defy us at your peril.”
    We live in interesting times.

  8. JonnyJames

    If rogue elements within the “intelligence community” wanted Trump dead, he would have been killed years ago. Besides, will the outcome of the next election significantly alter the status-quo? Maybe it will be different this time?

        1. mrsyk

          There is. Ostensibly, official elements could be held accountable, plausible deniability or no. And it’s not “will it be different this time”, it’s what differences will there be between potential election outcomes this time. Your comments imply that you don’t see any difference between Trump and Biden (or any other members of the two party clown car) being elected. I would beg to differ.
          As for the “intelligence community” offing Trump whenever they feel like it, perhaps they take the possibility of a civil war seriously.
          I too believe that elections here are a sham. But I like to use my voice when I can. That includes voting, even if it feels like it won’t make a difference.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        And that wouldn’t be hard to come by. Liberal “hero” Robert Mueller was the master of using informants and undercover agents to entrap the vulnerable into plotting “terrorist’ attacks and then arresting them, so the FBI could crow about how it was saving the US. Mueller may be brain-addled now, but I’m sure there are proteges of his still infesting the Deep State. Having an official element tap some spook to find some TDS sufferer and pointing them in the desired direction wouldn’t be all that difficult.

      2. rudi from butte

        Plausible Deniability……like revenge for Soleimani. I still wonder if Trump knew about it. Anyway, gotta chuckle when you think about the “If I were to do it over again…if given a second chance….or the knowing what I know now” TRUMP. It’s driving DC crazy. Both sides.

        BTW….I’m surprised that no one commented on William Schryver’s “The Fleeting Mirage of Imagined Supremacy.”

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          He took credit in his interview with Tucker. “We did it” not the CIA, which suggests he regards a big role of the CIA as to shield the President and probably members of the Cabinet (although Burns just added to the Cabinet under Biden)

  9. Lexx

    Chaos was predicted for the mid-terms, but all was quiet. Were the stakes not high enough? I recall an article that suggested the American voters wanted it that way – quiet – why assume that will change next year? Perhaps the voters are catching on to the propagandist’s game and weren’t helpless to resist. The images from 1/6 are still floating around and Trump may yet serve real prison time. Fingers crossed.

  10. John k

    I’m maybe pessimistic by nature, but I’m worried by the massive corruption. I know all eras have some, but it seems that now corps are writing all laws that affect them while oligarchs pay no taxes. But corps only care about this Q bottom line, so slash research budgets, and this reduces demand for engineers/researchers, so everybody crowds into finance. Neolib is killing the west. Schools are mostly horrible…
    But where to go? Comfortable here, kids/grandkids are here…

    1. Carla

      Yes, john k, that’s the problem, I think. Too many of us are too comfortable here…

      I admire Yves’ courage in quitting the US. Certainly, it’s crossed my mind more than once. In the end, I don’t have an international network, and I know I’d be unhappy living anywhere without friends, neighbors and familiar institutions. So yes, the sad fact is I’m reluctant to leave my comfortable life… even as, in so many ways, the world says it is leaving me…

  11. deedee

    “Now it may also seem extremely strained to suggest any similarity between the US now and the Russia of the 1990s, with the country suffering a collapse in institutions and even lifespans, the rise of corrupt and often brutal oligarchs, and with president Yeltsin as a drunk with basement-level public support who was nevertheless re-elected due to massive US interference. However, the US is suffering from falling life expectancy, ever-rising inequality, more and more casual and visible corruption, and very weak leadership and bureaucratic competence. It’s not clear how much stress in the form of acute political discord our hollowed out institutions can take.”

    Paging Dimitri Orlov. This is his exact beat …

    1. digi_owl

      80s USSR, with their conga line of old sick men in charge may be just as good a comparison. As everyone knew the system was broken, but nobody could envision anything different than status quo ante.

      1. Polar Socialist

        While still argued, it’s now I believe well accepted that Yuri Andropov actually was a reformist – Gorbachev was his protege and got a lot of his ideas from Andropov – but he was hospitalized after only a few months in the office and died after only a year. So, yes, an old, sick man but one with a vision for improvements.

        For example, he wanted to wean off all the other socialist countries from the Soviet tit since Soviet economy could not bear the burden anymore. He also crushed the corrupted Brezhnev era bureaucrats and replaced them with young people.

  12. Mark Gisleson

    Yves: the Biden Administration and many of its close allies seem capable only of doubling down in the face of opposition

    This to me is key. The Democrats went fully undead with hardcore All Russiagate All The Time. Building everything around a lie deformed the party and led to unnatural divisions which — not inadvertently — elevated the neocon adjacent factions which is maybe just another way of saying PMCs as their amenability to warmongering has frankly unnerved me.

    Most unforgivably, the neoliberals professionalized the party which had the intended effect of cutting the leadership off from their base. Now instead of being heard by someone who knows someone you know, complaints are processed by “pros” who correctly ‘handle’ the situation. #disconnect

    Successful parties are more like movements than corporations but it seems we’re being overlorded by The Duopoly, LLC. I agree with everything Yves has written (coincidentally I had watched all the same videos : ) and more strongly suspect we will see remarkable levels of strongarming and outright suspension of the normal rules of order before the 2024 votes are counted.

    Politics by gaslighting is like painting a stairway to heaven. You have to start on the bottom step and at some point you begin to see that the harder you work, the further you have to fall but in our magical Christian West dying just takes you to the top of the staircase but only if you’ve been good and it is at this point that the panic sets in ; )

    I hope whoever forces Biden out has the power to get Democrats to chill on war. And that they do it sooner, not later.

    1. redleg

      There is no off ramp.
      MAGA and VBNMW folks hate (and I mean that) anyone who isn’t them. Governing is not possible in this situation. Regarding elections, when faced with social and economic conditions that suck and your choice at the polls is limited to the status quo, the status quo that offers a scapegoat, and small party options that can’t win, the party that offers a scapegoat has an advantage. None of the options produce much-needed change, but one of them offers a dammit-doll to pummel which might absorb some of the rage.
      The US domestic situation is identical to the US foreign war and trade situations- punishment escalation without an off ramp.
      The US economic situation is also a parallel construct- the situation for the 99% continues to become worse with no sign of an off ramp.

      Since 2007 I haven’t seen signs of how change for the better happens without spilling blood, though I do not endorse this in any way. If this is inevitable, and I sadly fail to see any sign at this point that it is not, then let it happen ASAP just to get it over with. I hope that it’s limited to domestic US and not part of a nuclear war that dooms everything, but that unfortunately conforms with the whole escalation without an off ramp paradigm that is the USA.

      1. Synoia

        The US probably is not capable to follow the UK’s retreat from empire , and to Go quietly into the Night, after freeing Ireland, India, Aden(The Persian Gulf) and Indonesia.

        The UK was exhausted and impoverished after WW 1 and ww II, and the result of these two wars was obvious.

        I was born after WW II, and can dimly recall rationing of food in tjhe early ’50s.

        1. JonnyJames

          The UK did not retreat from empire – it was forced to by bankruptcy (as you indicated) and the US. (See: Bretton Woods 1944) The US became the senior partner in a different flavor of empire.

          1. Anonymous 2

            Yes,, the Atlantic Charter of 1941, signed by Churchill, called for the self-determination of peoples IIRC. That was a dagger to the heart of the British Empire, though it took some years to be delivered on.

      2. John R Moffett

        It might actually be easy for an up-and-coming politician to bridge the gap between many workers on the left and the right if they were willing to go against the official narrative. Many workers (Red, Blue and Independent) want many of the same things, and those are things that the Red and Blue Team politicians won’t even talk about. It would be interesting to see someone give it a try, at which point they would instantly get the Bernie Sanders treatment, or worse. But still, it would be interesting to see how that played out, if there were anyone so bold.

        1. redleg

          I agree with this and personally know of many now-MAGAs that found Bernie their number 1 candidate in 2016 (but not in 2020).
          That opportunity is gone and there isn’t anyone comparable who could do something like that this time.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            i had the same experience out here, in 2015+…but Bernie was shivved, and they either went for Orange Man or didnt vote.
            all the blue collar people i talked to back then, due to the bernie sticker…are visibly glum these days…a choked back anger in their eyes, covered over with a sad frown and glooming on their fones.
            all of them were amenable to a New New Deal…many, after we had got past the rush limburg commies-under-beds nonsense…and that was shot down and burned and the ashes scattered.
            the earth underneath salted.
            just to be sure.

      3. Hepativore

        I think the best way to “contain” Trump is to let him get reelected. This way, he will be reduced to “lame duck” status because of the two term limit, and then you will never have to worry about him being president again.

        The more the Democrats and PMC try to pile on Trump and amp up the Trump-Derangement Syndrome, the more popular they make Trump as it only makes him look like more of a martyr in the eyes of his supporters and the public at large. Even his mugshots have given him free publicity.

        Plus, the elephant in the room is that many of Trump’s policies do not differ that significantly from Biden’s such as immigration, the border wall, Medicare privatization, etc. and perhaps he might have enough foresight to get us off of the nuclear war escalation ramp with Russia over Ukraine.

        Do not get me wrong, Trump is indeed a crook, but he is no better or worse of one than anybody else in the DC bubble. If we can survive two terms of Dubya, which I still contend was the worst president we have ever had, we can sustain another Trump term. I am voting third party instead of Trump or Biden, but I think that a second Trump term would actually be slightly less bad than that of Biden.

        The trouble with a violent revolution is that most of them fail, and even if they succeed, 90% percent of “successful” revolutions end up replacing the leadership with a new regime that is just as bad if not worse than the old one. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss and all that.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          There’s a Hitler vs Satan meme going around. Hitler only killed 6 million people which makes him objectively better than Satan so you MUST vote for Hitler!

          We survived four years of Trump. After three years of Biden I’d give Trump two more terms before enduring three more years of Bidentity. [Full Disclosure: I came up with Bidentity just now, really don’t know what it might mean but wanted to try it out in a comment.]

          1. Kouros

            So all the dead due to war don’t count for Hitler, only the gas chamber?

            Soviet Union lost 25 million during WWII. Are you putting those under Stalin’s account? That comes close to the new history that is peddled to us, that WWII was started by Nazi Germany and Soviet Union together…

            1. ambrit

              “…that WWII was started by Nazi Germany and Soviet Union together……”
              Well, there was that Poland business.
              Now, if we go into the origins of the NASDAP, especially their early financing, then ‘things’ get interesting.

              1. Kouros

                Do you think that if Hitler wouldn’t have invaded Poland, USSR would have still done it at a later time?

                Also, the actual world war started after Germans invaded Denmark, Holland, Norway. Only after that UK and France mobilized and went east. And then was Operation Barbarossa, a year later…

                1. ambrit

                  Russia has a long history of entanglements with Poland.
                  There was the “sitzkreig” at the very beginning of that war.
                  We can argue endlessly as to when the war started. If we include the Orient, the date when Japan invaded China can be a useful milepost.
                  The Anschluss can be also viewed as a ‘bloodless’ start to the war.
                  Here’s hoping the Neo-cons don’t start another Pan-European war.

          2. ambrit

            Hmmm…. I can see the GOP weaponizing “Bidentity,” but in reference to Michelle.
            There is a very healthy “Obama still in the closet” sub-culture on the internets right now.
            We all made fun of ‘Pizzagate’ and thus accrued ‘Virtue Points’ to burnish our social credit score with. Then along came ‘Epstein’s Island,’ most decidedly not an old television comedy show. Call me crazy, but I’m becoming cynical enough to now view the ‘Pizzagate’ fracas as a Super Gaslighting Op by someone or other.
            It is somewhat depressing to realize that the previous ‘Worst Case Scenario’ has turned out to be not bad enough.
            You can’t make this s— up.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              A Michelle Obama candidacy would blow the ADOS vote up. I don’t think she’s got the solid support from minority communities the party thinks she has.

              Then again, who else do they have?!

              There is hope for the duopoly. If ADOS voters became Republicans again, it would relegitimize the GOP while gutting the D’s letting the Left swoop back in to retake the party (Bernie was a nobody and he blew their machine up). A party of Lincoln and a party of the Left would make a fine duopoly, imo.

              A cup of black tea and a mixed bong hit of Skittles Lake and Bananas strain, why do you ask?

      4. Dr. John Carpenter

        I don’t see an off ramp either. All the major parties offer is “That other guy hates you. I’ll protect you.” And both sides keep ratcheting it up. When both sides are selling the election of the other guy as literal Armageddon, where else can it go?

        I don’t see Biden being forced out either. There may be a lot of insiders hoping nature takes it’s course before the election, but, as noted here, there are already party muckety mucks declaring “Biden is the nominee.” Even with Ukraine and Hunter stuff bubbling up, as long as they can claim Trump is worse, I feel they’re going to keep dragging him to the finish line.

        And the fact that there is a bipartisan freak out over Trump running again kinda makes me want to vote for the guy. Not that I have any delusions about him, who he is or what he’s about. I’ve grown to accept voting will not positively change my life in any way and the Dems have had almost four years to show me at a minimum they aren’t as bad as Trump. But they can’t do it. So if voting isn’t going to get me anything, I might as well use my vote to make them uncomfortable too.

      5. Mark Gisleson

        “MAGA and VBNMW folks hate (and I mean that) anyone who isn’t them”

        I can’t let that slide. I moved into MAGA country and once you get to know these people, they’re nothing like you think. The MAGA is a protective shell because the world out there freaking HATES rural areas so you see the t-shirts and gear. It’s armor, just like hiphop fashion. Talk to the person (not the crazies on the edge of the crowd — no one locally talks to them!) and you’ll quickly ascertain that there’s another human being standing next to you, one with real issues AND JUST A QUICK REMINDER THAT MOST OF YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND RURAL ISSUES HALF AS WELL AS RURALS GET URBAN ISSUES (which is not well at all).

        Dip State (yeah, I like my term best) has everyone thinking all the wrong stuff. When your fists clench and your butt tightens up at the mention of “the other side,” start writing down specific reasons why you’re angry at them. Later try to figure out what any of those issues have to do with little people who don’t make policy but are angry. If you can’t sort that out, you don’t know them well enough to hate them.

        The people on TV are NEVER representative of the crowd. WE’RE the crowd and the media exists to tell us lies about each other. Never let your anger slip below the c-suite level or Dip State wins.

        P.S. Maybe you’re in a rural area. If so, and if you only see one side of these people, it probably means you’re so armored up that no one talks to you without going into MAGA mode just for protection. I experienced that a lot until I learned to revert back to country speak. No one talked openly with me until I synced into their issues and concerns, all of which were very locally focused.

        No one wins until we stop hating each other. Hate should be reserved for those who lie to us and take actions that harm the well-being of our country, i.e., our leaders.

        1. redleg

          What I think you might be seeing is the differences between the hard core MAGA/VBNMW and the garden variety conservatives/centrists. I’m referring to the former, whom I find nearly irredeemable, not the latter. If change is going to happen for the better, it will only come from the garden variety types and the independents but these people have no voice, if they aren’t outright hated by those on both sides (especially by VBNMW) who do.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Hardcore MAGA just take a little longer.

            Anger at the rot on high drives all of this, not rancid politics. Sure there are nutters, there always will be when people gather to complain. On the Left there will always be someone in the crowd wanting to blow everything up.

            And both parties go through bouts of correctness, when those who want to blow everything up seem to be in charge. That doesn’t get fixed by more correctness from the other side.

            I really get the anger and I can’t hate someone for being angry. The secret of winning politics is not to defuse anger but to redirect it. How hard would it be to confront a VBNMW character and say, “So you agree we need stronger laws to discourage rape?” or “Wouldn’t a more effective merger of schools and social services allow us to spot the family of origin molesters a lot faster?”

            You see angry people, I see potential votes.

            OK, I always see potential votes.

            Any vote can be flipped given the right pre-election scandal.

    2. Rolf

      This to me is key. The Democrats went fully undead with hardcore All Russiagate All The Time. Building everything around a lie deformed the party and led to unnatural divisions which — not inadvertently — elevated the neocon adjacent factions which is maybe just another way of saying PMCs as their amenability to warmongering has frankly unnerved me.

      Mark, I had a long comment to say exactly this, which you’ve done much better. And as has been stated here and elsewhere, Biden and the Democrats seem to lack a reverse gear, know only how to double down.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        You win elections by always being focused on the next election.

        I’ve been stuck in 2016 for seven years now but nothing I want can happen until the Ghost of ’16 stops flying over our domestic dialogue.

        Being stuck in a bad place isn’t good politics but it’s given me plenty of time to sharpen my knives. Don’t let me saying what you think discourage you from commenting. Comments that say the much same thing are kind of like votes, not at all redundant. There are plenty of professional kibbitzers who come to NC daily just to check the temperature of the commentariat ; )

    3. JBird4049

      >>>I hope whoever forces Biden out has the power to get Democrats to chill on war. And that they do it sooner, not later.

      This presupposes that there is someone able to force President Biden out and it is also a hope that they will put in someone more competent then him, which would not be Vice President Harris.

      The line of presidential succession is the Vice President Harris, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, President pro tempore of the Senate Patty Murray, and then the entire cabinet. The only person that I know anything about that I would have any confidence is Speaker McCarthy and that is only in comparison to everyone else. It looks, and to honest I have not really gone into it, that most of the cabinet is composed of nonentities chosen for their loyalty, not for their competence.

      It also looks, as with Senators Diane Feinstein and Mitch McConnell, that increasingly it is the staff that is in control, not the individual office holders. Just who are the staff and who is managing them? This means that some want the mentally ill, the incompetent, and the nonentities in place. However, when the fecal matter hits the fan, puppets are not enough. I can only hope that we can as a country and nation stagger to the 2024 elections were there are procedures to replace these knuckleheads.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        how many unfortunate events would it take for a President Lina Khan?
        when biden put her forward, i was shocked outta my mind, because i had been reading her for a long while by then…in places like Monthly Review,lol.

        1. redleg

          Exactly. She could be a bridge as monopoly control of everything is just as big of a concern in deep red areas as they are in deep blue, and the recent reawakening of antitrust started under the Trump admin.

  13. Screwball

    Yves wrote; I don’t like talking through ideas like this but both Democrats and Republicans are fomenting civil war levels of hatred.

    Bold mine.

    This. From my travels in the interwebs, and since I’m retired I have lots of time, and like to read comment sections of all slants of media – I would say the level of hate is as bad as I’ve ever seen it. Off the charts, and both sides.

    If my PMC ex-friends had any say so in the matter, Donald Trump AND his “Red Hat” followers, as they call them, would have been eliminated long ago. If he were “offed” they would be cheering from the rafters and asking why not his followers as well. These are the same people, who wished people starved, locked up, or to just die because they refused a COVID vaccine.

    How did we get to this point? I want to blame the media, but that’s not all of it, but guilty just the same. Just the other day Rachel Maddow did a segment saying Trump has two choices – win the election(s) to stay out of jail – or lose and go to jail. Therefore, if he wins, he will appoint himself president for life. This isn’t helpful since MSNBC is the mouth organ for the PMC.

    It still boils down to the person. They have to get their minds right – sift through the muck to find the truth. But many don’t want to – they seem to only be happy when they are hating on someone else – and the media supplies them plenty of reasons. What a world.


    1. John R Moffett

      It has always been relatively easy for the news media and politicians to whip much of the public into hateful frenzies. It is much worse now than any time I remember. As conditions for most people deteriorate steadily, it is important for those in power to deflect blame onto immigrants, Russia, China, the Other Team, whatever the hate du jour is. It must be very exhausting to constantly drum up hatred, but it really works, so apparently it is worth their tireless efforts. But in the end, rather than having a functioning country, they have a fragmented and angry mess on their hands and in the end it won’t turn out well for anyone.

    2. mrsyk

      IIRC, there were reports of cheering when President Kennedy was assassinated. We have a proud history of hating. The newish thing is team blue members loudly and publicly joining the party like an 18 year old at his/her first college kegger.

    3. Rolf

      Our divided America is very much the work product of the MICIMATT (Ray McGovern). The most profound divisions in American society are not the oft-scrutinized right versus left, or liberal versus conservative, or black versus white, female versus male. These divisions exist, yes, of course, but always have, and are not inherently destabilizing or pernicious. But the MICIMATT grotesquely magnifies them as a false prism, in order to generate the widespread political and economic insecurity, stress, and fear that sustains it, ensuring no real debate over root causes of domestic gun violence, poor educational outcomes, homelessness, drug abuse, weak political participation, on and on. The true division in American society is between the 1%, who have real economic and political power, and the 99%, who have none. And the MICIMATT knows that it must maintain the austerity and FUD of American public life to survive.

      1. Donald

        I wish people would stop using all the abbreviations unless you are going to explain them. What the heck is MICIMATT?

    4. Amfortas the Hippie

      i mentioned this many years ago, here at NC…and i couldnt find the thread Lambert asked for:The “Kill them All” thread, on alternet.
      blue check gay dude in upstate NY arguing with me in alternet comments(disqus) about the right to live of what would become “Deplorables”.
      i goaded him, following his lead…and he didnt disappoint…literally “kill them all”…in a fine example of transference of consciousness, from Right Wing Nazi to erstwhile, ostensible “Left”.
      thats when i abandoned all commenting everywhere but here, at NC….having already abandoned FB for the same sort of crazy…and being kicked off Kos, of course.
      (the latter for linking to older stories in NYT and WaPo regarding Hillary’s record…in the “Papers of Record”,lol)
      the Kill Them All Thread is on one of my old laptops…somewhere.
      i try to save watershed things like that between machines, but am not always successful.
      i offer free deer hunting to a sane, nonfbi, data recovery person, with their own kit.

    5. undercurrent

      I would suggest that the entrance of evangelical Americans (I can’t call them christians) into the political process is one good explanation as to why politics in these United States is so venomous. If evangelicals get their marching orders from God Almighty, then if you’re opposed to these ideas, well, you must be opposed to the will of God. You are a scourge to good, God-fearing people, and must be removed from decent society. Satan was expelled from Heaven, and you, an infidel, must be removed from the political process; and, more ominously, perhaps from the living. Perhaps in many American churches, bullets have become the new bread and wine anointed by some holy mumble-jumble. God help us.

      Ain’t no war like a holy war.

  14. Louis Fyne

    “… live disproportionately in or near large cities where they depend on people they loathe in flyover for supplies. And they assume they will command the loyalty of the military and police when things get really bad…”

    Just take NYC….electricity: from upstate via very soft targets (lines), clean water: from upstate via very soft targets (aqueducts), landfill space: (rural Pennsylvania), food factories/flour millers: (nowhere near metro NYC).

    I guess Democrats on banking on the Scholz and the German Greens to sea/airlift enough food and clean water for 20 million people via JFK and the port of Newark).

    As for police….had a family member serve 10 years as a beat cop. He went to political agnostic/indifferent pre-cop to 100% MAGA within 12 months of driving his beat.

    And as Machiavelli wrote….don’t count on mercenaries to maintain your political power.

    1. Lee

      That quoted passage struck me as being of particular interest. Citizen violence would be largely unnecessary. A general strike and targeted sabotage by those who produce food and fuel would certainly concentrate the symbol manipulating minds of the coastal urban elites. Bill Gates and others of his ilk may own a lot of farmland and other material assets, but they certainly don’t know to farm, mine, smelt or fabricate.

    2. Mike Mc

      Eldest stepson and wife live mere blocks from epicenter of George Floyd’s murder and subsequent riots in Minneapolis. They had rented a cool old house circa 2016 with several roommates, then bought it in 2019 when landlord moaned about having to sell it vs. fixing the place up (wife works in corporate IT so getting a loan was no big deal).

      Now neighborhood has spiraled into increasing decay and, post Floyd, Minneapolis Police Department has largely abandoned law enforcement in the area. MPD has been awful for some years pre-Floyd, and their behavior after Floyd’s death was 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention bad (we know several witnesses).

      Now they will sell the house (a solid old 1904 wooden frame house in decent shape) to escape the increasing crime rate – I suspect they will go back to renting since Minneapolis real estate market has become nearly unaffordable. Going up to check on them next week.

      Add to this anecdote our next eldest stepson’s experience in his Pittsburgh neighborhood:

      His response to this email? “ACAB” – All Cops Are Bastards.

      Expecting LEOs, the National Guard and the US military to be any less divided than the general US population is a big stretch. At best, the Guard and military will follow orders and the chain of command… what in Billy Hell those orders might be (and from whom) is anyone’s guess.

      1. JBird4049

        I think that while there are plenty of exceptions, both by department and individuals, the police in general have decided to have a silent strike. They have their feelings hurt because of the criticism and protests over their incompetence, brutality, and corruption. Then you can add the change in purpose of police from the law and order as in fighting crime and protecting the population to control and extract as in being guards for this increasingly surveilled, imprisoned nation and to be the tax collector using civil asset forfeitures, fines, and fees for the local governments.

        One should not think that everyone in government or in any kind of authority is corrupt, incompetent, or uncaring because that is not true. There are even congress critters who are good people, but they are effectively buried alive by people like President Biden, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Freedom Caucus; it is turtles all the way down. Perhaps the majority want to at least do a decent job with some wanted to do more than that, but they cannot.

        If what I say is true, we are in for some surprises as not even the individuals themselves will know what they will do when it gets real.

  15. Rip Van Winkle

    Re-animate Perot?

    Prob better bet to pass physical and cognitive tests than Mitch, Joe, Nancy and Diane.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I voted for him twice.
      compared to everybody in the oval since Carter, he wouldve been a gem.

      1. ambrit

        Me too. I later figured out that Perot was an old style small “c” conservative. I could live with that, much to my surprise.
        Considering that Nancy Reagan was stealth governing the country with the able assistance of the Court Astrologer, after Ron became too demented to function efficiently, conjuring up Ross Perot to be President doesn’t sound too outre. Government by Ouija Board is as delusional as the mind set of today’s Neo-cons, who are running America’s foreign policy, so, why not?
        About Nancy; I was always amused in contemplating the farce of a Great Power being run by a woman who famously said, “Just say no,” while employing a Court Astrologer. How were the drugs any worse than the Court Necromancer?
        Stay safe.

  16. Alice X


    I carry it around with me.

    The D’s have indicted Orange Man for things they do routinely. It will not be lost on his supporters.

    This will not end well.

    1. JonnyJames

      No it won’t. And who benefits from having the public deeply divided (as usual)?
      This time, an armed and angry mob of DT supportters might start shooting and unfortunately innocent people will get killed. This will be a great excuse to declare a national emergency – I hope I am wrong on this

      1. mrsyk

        Me too, but it seems entirely possible. Wouldn’t that go sideways fast. These are interesting times.

        1. JonnyJames

          People sometimes forget: a majority of people in the US are armed and many (I know some of them personally) have stockpiled ammunition and guns over recent years. The media and politicians have, as Yves points out, whipped up civil-war levels of hatred. Most people are misinformed and believe in people who are against their interests. An ignorant, misinformed, well-armed and angry population is not a good recipe.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            im a new dealer libertarian socialist(!) in deep red rural texas.
            everybody above poverty line is armed up, and always has been.
            many below poverty line, as well.
            but there are only a handful of ammosexuals out here…the gun fetishers.
            and they are avoided like a fart in church.
            vast majority of such armed folks are ordinary humans…given, with incredible levels of nonsense they believe in, but still…the trick…as in my 1st comment way up there^^^…is to get them riled up, in fear of their lives, and pointed in the right direction(ie: away from wall street ).
            but we’re in an ontological crisis, right now…in addition to the existential and various teleological crises we’ve become accustomed to.
            now, we cant agree…each to each.. just what is real…what is the shape of the world and how did it get thattaway?
            who is to blame, etc.
            to an extent, that ontological crisis has been there…between two camps…at a slow simmer.
            but now?
            i feel it in the wind, man.

  17. Henry Moon Pie

    Thanks for this, Yves. Should make for an interesting thread.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the Libs commitment to doubling down. Their minds are completely inflexible at this point.

    And the comparison to the Soviet collapse is apt as well. The only different is that the Harvard boys don’t even have to jump on a plane to muck things up. Larry Summers can just stay home and do a Zoom interview.

    I do differ with this though:

    And they assume they will command the loyalty of the military and police when things get really bad

    From what I heard of the 1/6 Committee hearings, Carlson’s interview of the Capitol Hill police chief and Woodward’s account of Milley’s meeting with his immediate subordinates who themselves commanded forces, I think Pelosi and the Dems were quite uncertain which way the National Guard might break on 1/6 and even afterward. I think that’s why they worked so hard to keep them out of the action. At the same time, Flynn was busily recruiting former associates to participate in some kind of extra-legal action ranging from seizing voting machines to participating in 1/6.

    I think the situation is a lot like Spain in 1936 though at much bigger scale. Franco succeeded because of troops he brought from Spanish Sahara, many of whom were basically non-Spanish mercs.

    Nobody is all that sure which way various U. S. commanders might break, and absolutely no one knows where the rank-and-file’s sympathies lie, though It’s a safe bet that the rank-and-file is deeply divided, probably along racial lines.

    None of this is any clearer today than it was on 1/6. I’m sure that both sides are doing lots of recruiting and plotting now in anticipation of a wild January, 2025. Crazy times.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      It is true the National Guard were not called in until very late and the rioters actually left pretty quickly once they got in. But the DC police were not called in either and they have much more riot/crowd control experience and would not be sympathetic to Trumpies. So I don’t buy that explanation.

      Note that there is a scheme to put the National Guard more fully under military control. This story line may be to advance that agenda.

      I also infer per Douglas Macgregor that there is a good bit of recognition and resentment at the lieutenant colonel/colonel level of how becoming a general requires pandering to what the Administration wants to hear and advancing military-industrial complex interests.

  18. Carolinian

    Just for my two cents I saw this on ZH and Carlson also said he thought Obama might be gay going by some remark Obama made about fantasies to a prep school girlfriend and one affidavit claiming an assignation in 1999. So Tucker says some true things and he says provocative things just for attention and he is a former/still conservative and a mixed bag.

    As for RFK jr, I think he is full of it on the assassination question and if he has proof then put up or shut up. St. Clair says that a Palestinian had every motive to kill RFK and St. Clair’s deceased partner Alex Cockburn scoffed at the JFK theories when Oliver Stone’s movie came out.

    That said, it’s not at all unlikely that some non Deep State nut might try to kill Trump given the current atmosphere. But that’s the world we’ve been living in since 1963. Let’s hope the Secret Service know their job because if it did happen there would be chaos.

    And much as I despise Biden I don’t think even he wants chaos. After all if he blew up Nordstream it was supposed to be a clever ploy and a secret. He says he doesn’t want war between the US and Russia.

      1. Carolinian

        So college girlfriend, not prep school.

        But reading your Daily Mail link none of it sounds all that convincing and if it is true maybe it just adds to his pronouns.

    1. some guy

      About “put up or shut up” on RFK shooting:

      Here is a link to a summary of the Coroner’s Report on the Senator Kennedy assassination. County Coroner found no reason to think Sirhan shot Kennedy at that time and place. Every witness who says they saw Sirhan with a gun saw Sirhan in front of Kennedy. Kennedy was shot from behind. Here is the link.

      St. Clair can say that a Palestinian has “every motive” to shoot Kennedy but he does not address where Sirhan was and what direction Kennedy was shot from. So nothing St. Clair says has any value in this case.

      I remember attending a talk Alexander Coburn once gave. In the question and answer period, I asked Coburn whether he thought the Archbishop Romero assassin in El Salvador did it all by himself or whether he would have needed the co-operation and co-planning of others to be able to achieve the assassination.
      Coburn went into some detail about what he thought was known about the extensiveness of the planning and the numbers of people involved to make it work. I then asked Coburn that if it took a number of co-ordinated people to achieve the Romero assassination, why did he choose to believe that a single shooter planning and acting alone could kill U S President Kennedy? Coburn said ” I didn’t realize you were a lawyer.”

      Coburn can scoff all he likes at Stone’s film in particular. But Coburn never has and never had anything useful to say about the Kennedy assassination itself. Nor did ( or ever will) Noam Chomsky.

      Blogger Jeff Wells noted a visible analytical weakness in the approach of establishment-pet-leftist organ-grinder-monkeys like Noam Chomsky. Here is how Wells describes that sterile weakness of approach in his article about the Rabin assassination . . . ” There’s a reflex among some on the left to embrace the lone gunman hypothesis, because they regard the alternative as an embrace of a hollow liberal myth. Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn regard John F Kennedy as nothing but a patrician cold warrior who would have delivered more of the same had he lived. Rabin receives the same treatment, if not more, for his harsh words and measures during the Intifada and for the flawed Oslo Accords. But their killers were not appraising them from the left. From the hard right, they were both men who had risen through the system and had become traitors to it.”

      To quote Shania Twain from another context, Noam Chomsky ” don’t impress me much.”
      Neither does Alexander Coburn. Neither does Jeffrey St. Clair.

      Here is the link to the article I took that quote from.

  19. ArkansasAngie

    The length to which “they” will go really has no limit. It is scary. The unholy trinity … politicians, deep staters and the media.

  20. notabanker

    I’ve been speculating for a while that there will not be an election. It would be so hypocritically consistent of the Dem’s and their corporate / intel overloards to stage some grand excuse to bypass one, after crying so loud about protecting ‘their’ democracy. Maintaining the pretense of Joe on the ballot is just beyond reason. He will get absolutely crushed in a general and Mayo Pete or Kamala would fair even worse. They are ignoring RFK jr as if he doesn’t even exist.

    If one looks at the accelerating insanity of the US gov, this makes eminent sense. Their hubris knows no bounds, there are ample examples of it in the last two years. Who knows what nonsense they will generate to pull it off, but one can assume it will definitely involve ‘the Russians”.

  21. James

    I think it would be a smart move for Trump to name RFK Jr. as his VP after, and I assume this is going to happen, the DNC rigs the primaries against RFK Jr.

    Then if they kill Trump, RFK will run on a “they killed Trump” platform. A Trump/RFK ticket would be a very smart move on Trump’s part IMO.

    And I don’t think they would kill Trump too early on – it would be more like Milošević dying in custody the day before the judges were scheduled to hand down their verdict.

    1. some guy

      If RFK Jr would agree to take the VP spot, and would agree to ” let Trump be Trump” without second guessing and speaking separately to any media or surrogates, and if Mr. Trump found that a viable concept, and if such a Ticket emerged, I would vote for it.

      If Trump/RFK Jr got elected, RFK would have to spend the next four years living inside Dick Cheney’s man-sized safe in a secret undisclosed location in order to avoid being assassinated his own self. If he is prepared to do that . . . . if co-elected on the Trump ticket . . . . then he might get something done in the fullness of time.

      1. some guy

        I can think of a reason why he would not run with Trump, however. And it is the same reason that
        Gabbard would not run with Trump.

        And that is this: Gabbard, RJK Jr and everyone else sees that Trump uses and abuses and discards people for his own profit, convenience and amusement. They are smart enough to see that to get involved with Trump is to get be-feced, be-pussed, and besmirched. And they are smart enough to not want to do that.

        So there won’t be any Gabbard or RFK Jr or any other credible VP-of-desire running with Trump.
        I can see DeSantis running with Trump. He is dumm enough to think he can find a sewage-proof hazmat suit to wear for the campaign and for the next 4 years after that to keep himself protected.

        I think a Trump/DeSantis ticket is very plausible.

      1. some guy

        Vivek is somebody’s curling stone and is just too dumm to know that he is somebody’s curling stone.

        Whose curling stone is he? The answer can be indirectly arrived at by watching all the people and institutions are sweeping the path ahead of him as he slides down the ice.

  22. RookieEMT

    It’s shocking how I evolved from not really caring about the upcoming election to being genuinely terrified of the upcoming election.

    Who-ever wins needs a nice margin of victory in the popular vote and the electoral vote or the country goes off like a powder-keg. Joe Biden is absolutely not winning with a solid margin of victory.

    Donald Trump could break even in the popular vote among low turnout and low morale among the Democrats. Joe Biden wins with a small margin electorally. Chaos ensues.

    I’m voting third party. The Democrats are going to have to soul search as to why an orange clown is ripping the country apart. They need to look in the mirror. They won’t.

    1. some guy

      The current crop of Wall Street Silicon Yuppie Clintobama Bidencrats occuppy the Democratic Party the way the weasels occupied Toad Hall for a while in that Wind In The Willows story. The current DemParty Leaders and Active Followers have no souls to search, so free advice to the to search their souls is worth every cent.

      A combination of Legacy New Deal and Younger Newer Deal and New Deal 2.0 people would have to conquer, purge and declintaminate the Democratic Party to make it theirs again. Every weasel would have to be found and “eliminated from existence” in order to make Toad Hall be Mr. Toad’s again.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        one of my favorite books…its why im the kind of druid i am, today…towit,lol:
        to further your analogy, i would hope that i sit somewhere near the hooves of Pan, waiting to guide lost wanderers in.

      2. redleg

        People forget that FDR was a statistical outlier. The Democrat party is fundamentally the party of Andrew Jackson and Franklin Pierce and has returned to its roots after a mid-20th century detour.

        1. some guy

          It took decades of hard work by dedicated anti-New Dealers to return the DemParty to those roots. It didn’t return there by itself.

  23. Lambert Strether

    I made a transcript of Carlson’s question and Trump’s response shortly after the interview appeared. I did a little close reading. Here it is:

    Anyhow, this exchange was interesting. I cleaned it up a bit (all errors mine):

    7:15 [CARLSON:] I’m looking at the trajectory since 2015, when you got into politics for real and then won. It started with protests against you, massive protests, organized protest by the left and then it moved to impeachment twice, and now indictment. The next stage is violence. Are you worried that they’re going to try and kill you? Why wouldn’t they try to kill you? Honestly.

    [TRUMP:] They are savage animals. They are people that are sick, really sick. You have great people in the Democrat Party. You have great people that are Democrats. Most of the people in our country are fantastic, and I’m representing everybody, not just Republicans or conservatives, I represent everybody. I’m the president of everybody. But I’ve seen what they do,  I’ve seen the lengths that they go to. When they make up the Russia Russia Russia, when that’s exposed they go down and Barr should have gone after them…..”

    Two interesting things. First, Trump speaks without heat (very much unlike the screaming headlines). Second, the lack of agency is pervasive. Who, exactly, is “they”? Clearly not all Democrats, as Trump says explicitly, nor all the American people. So, who? Oh, and three: Trump doesn’t answer Carlson’s question (which is a good one).

    Perfectly legitimate question from Carlson, especially to anybody who remembers 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated (Wallace came later, in 1972; events blur).

    1. Kouros

      Yes indeed, naming names is the first step: bring them out from the shadows… Otherwise how ou clense things?

      1. John

        There must be a rectification of names before order can be restored. Not exactly as it appears in the Analects, but you get the idea.

    2. Rolf

      Perfectly legitimate question from Carlson, especially to anybody who remembers 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated (Wallace came later, in 1972; events blur).

      Though a teen at the time, a bloody blur is the way I remember those years, one terrible death after another.

  24. Randy

    I know I am dreaming but my ideal scenario for the American people sending a message to their “leaders” would be a boycott of a national election.

    Let’s use 2024 as an example. Trump vs Biden. Everybody stays home. The election comes down to who has more family members voting for him, Trump or Biden. Final vote tally: 14-10 (without spending time counting the members of each family).

    Hoo Boy, that would send a message that would reverberate around the world.

    Pinch myself, OK I am awake again.

    1. some guy

      In a ” general election boycott” scenario, the 5 per cent of citizens who might still vote would realize that they can elect a president all by themselves. And so they shall.

      And the 95% who boycotted the election can bleat all they want about how “unfair” that is.

      And that is why there won’t be any general election boycott at this time.

  25. marku52

    Sad to say, I think whomever wins the election, the opposing party will regard the results as illegitimate.

    What happens after that is anybody’s guess. I suspect nothing good.

    1. John

      Once one party or individual refuses to accept the result as legitimate, the door to where the USA is today has been opened and closing it … I’m not sure it can be closed. Nixon had reason to challenge the 1960 election, and he considered it. Gore certainly had grounds to challenge 2000. Even after he was sandbagged by the Supreme Court, he could have raised a stink. Not until the Democrats refused to countenance that Hillary was denied the crown she felt she so richly deserved … and they still whine about it … was the genie of discord let out of the bottle. But Trump’s indication in 2016 that he would not accept losing and his insistence that he was robbed in 2020 assures, in my opinion, that the 2024 will not be accepted except in the unlikely event that the margin is so extreme that to refuse to concede would be evidence of a detachment from reality. The parties have mead an uncomfortable bed for the nation inn their short sighted and selfish pursuit of power at any and all cost.

  26. Gulag

    Yves, I find your worry and logic highly persuasive.

    I also find the worry and logic of Tucker highly persuasive.

  27. Susan the other

    World war should be out of the question but it is not. Ukraine has been a dark horse. Joe Biden has always been a militarist. He is now perfect for the presidency, being both senile and reckless. And the top brass talking heads have become so smarmy and pompous it’s equally frightening. Worse, the EU is sounding pro-war. China is getting very defensive and Russia has finally said basically “fuck it.” By comparison Trump looks to be the only sane man in the room. The perfect target for some, I’m sure. The whole situation is precarious and the worst thing to do is refuse to look at it. So the first thing (remembering 1960) to watch for is who gets chosen for the VP candidate on both tickets, assuming the top spot is taken by Trump and Biden. In 1960 the bases were both covered by Henry Cabot Lodge and LBJ. Both big-time war mongering US supremacists. Because those positions needed to be carefully controlled. If I’m right that the plan to cause WW3 was in the works by the late 50s, it stands to reason that a similar political situation exists today. And my own personal observation is that our PMC is borderline frantic about lost hegemony and prestige. Anything can happen.

  28. some guy

    I don’t have the time to do a proper long-form comment.

    In the tiny bit of time that I have, I would merely suggest that for anyone, either government or freelance, to assassinate Trump, would be a uniquely stupid thing to do. Trump in particular has several million personally armed and skilled supporters who , in the event of a Trump assassination, would take highly kinetic revenge in every direction possible.

    If that is what the government wants to have happen, then the government will have Trump assassinated. If a freelance-accelerationist wants to have that happen, then a freelance-accelerationist will try assassinating Trump on its own, in order to create the Boogaloo Helter-Skelter scenario which some freelance Full Metal Jokerists would like to see happen.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      …which is why i truly wish the american right …and alt right…and substack right leaning and on and on…would cease and desist referring to run of the mill clintonists as “Left” and “Far Left”…because i’ll get perforated in their stead, even though ive been vocal in my opposition to the corporatist, versailles demparty for 20 years,locally.
      a little accuracy in naming conventions, please.
      ive begged everybody fro Rod Dreher to Max Frelling Boot to just stop with that nonsense…but its like a tic, by now.

      1. Divadab

        It’s hard to reason with people who are convinced Obama is a Marxist. The most reliable corporate tool ever. Of course it’s impossible to reason with people who think trump is a tool of the Russians either. Either way, we have dueling stupid fantasies; carefully curated by the scum who run the media complex.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        And “Marxist.” Some Rumble preacher called Peter Thiel a Marxist.

        But then I did hear Charlie Kirk start to use “neoliberal” a while back. Since he’s some sort of “youth leader” for Trump, maybe it will flow upward.

        The real Left was always the demon in American politics as soon as there was such a thing as “Left.” Palmer raids went after the Wobs as much as any American Bolsheviks. Then this nutty 14th Amendment stuff brought up the story of the Wisconsin socialist elected to Congress who got convicted under Espionage Act and barred from the House.

        I guess it really has changed under the Blob these days because the Right is getting hit too. That never happened under Hoover unless it became too embarrassing to overlook it, like the church bombing that killed the little girls or the three murdered on their way to Mississippi Freedom Summer. But plenty died otherwise who never got the attention from the press or the FBI. But now the Proud Boys and Oathkeepers are on the list as much as the anarchists.

        Ins and Outs. Strange coalitions might be brewing.

      3. playon

        I see that stuff all the time on social media, Biden being called “left” by those on the right. It’s absurd.

        1. digi_owl

          Not just those on the right. Dems themselves wants to be seen as “the left”.

          But only on “social” issues. Come talking about food on the table etc, and one gets labeled a crypto-fascist in no time flat. Even if the talking points were those of the labor left at one point.

    2. lambert strether

      > for anyone, either government or freelance, to assassinate Trump, would be a uniquely stupid thing to do

      This is the stupidest timeline, however.

      1. some guy

        But is it that stupid? THAT stupid?

        Well . . . as they say . . . ” It’s not my timeline. I just live in it.”


      It’s a shame Manson died before being able to see his life’s work consummated.

    4. some guy

      And it occurs to me that the Inner BidenDem Party OverLords consider Trump the most lucrative threat they have for raising money on and scaring potential voters with. Why would they assassinate such a campaign fundraising golden scare-goose for any reason?

      Now . . . if some free-lance wannabe-assassin does it, then the Trump supporters will of course say the Deep State Radical Marxist Left Democrat Government did it. Carlson raises this “possibility in theory” in order to get the ” Deep State Etceteracrats” blamed for it and targeted for mass social revenge if it happens.
      That is Carlson’s own little underhanded meme-seeding here.

  29. Verifyfirst

    In 1980, at the ripe old age of 20, my scraggly buddies and I crashed the Republican caucuses in Minnesota, trying to get John Anderson picked as the Repub nominee. It was great good fun. I have not seen any mention of trying to crash the Repub nominating process to get someone other than Trump chosen as the nominee. Of course he would then run as an independent, splitting the right side vote, and giving the win to the Dem?

    1. redleg

      Have you seen the Dems? If this were to happen:
      1. They’d see it as a mandate (a coronation!) to continue the triangulation rightward,
      2. Have no pressure to make any changes at all from what they are currently doing,
      3. If we manage to not get nuked in the meantime, the party would continue to get worse as they again avoid the internal consequences of losing in 2016,
      4. Competent versions of Trump take over the GOP and the US repeats the uniparty times of 1872-1912 to establish something like Atwood’s Gilead without any effective opposition (look at how many seats in State legislatures team D has lost since 2000).

      At least Biden had some pressure on him to do two right things: leave Afghanistan and accelerate anti-trust. If they have to earn a win there’s a chance, however small, that changes for the 99% can be rented.
      I’m personally hoping for a Jesse -Ventura -in -1998 candidate to enter as a 3rd party and win in a confusing plurality, because neither the GOP nor the Dems offer any improvements for the 99% to what currently exists.

  30. elkern

    Remember, this is a three-way fight, between Democrats, Trump, and the GOP.

    The real GOP – the network of Institutes funded by Zillionaires – hates Trump, but they can’t win elections without the support of the Mob which Trump stole from them. They spent decades and $Millions creating that Mob, training them (see: Limbaugh, FOX) to hate Democrats; they believe they are the rightful owners of that Mob. They know that Trump doesn’t have any core political philosophy, and worse, they don’t have a good handle to control him. They want him out of the way, but they need to be able to blame his demise – personal or political – on Democrats, to regain control of the Mob.

    Democrats love to hate Trump (largely for good reasons), but they need him alive, because the only thing they all agree on is that Trump Is Bad. Sadly, Democratic “leadership” probably doesn’t understand this; if they did, they would have soft-pedalled the court cases, leaving Trump time to wreck the GOP from within.

    I don’t believe in a monolithic “Deep State”; of the many factions within the various “deep state” bureaucracies, I’d guess that some support Trump while others oppose him (see discussions above about Police, Nat’l Guard, etc). But ALL of the bureaucracies with guns are historically Republican patronage havens, and Democrats have had neither time nor skill to change that, nor even the good sense to try. If some disgruntled boffin from deep in the Department of Education decides to bump Trump, they are likely to have as much luck as Squeaky Fromme or John Hinckley.

    If there is an effective Deep State, they (whoever “they” are) would understand that knocking off Trump would repair the GOP – returning control to the old Big Money wing – and doom Democrats.

  31. Fitzroy

    Over the course of a few days this summer I spoke with someone whom I would describe as CIA adjacent, in and of itself not terribly unusual for someone from my milieu or social geographic background. I’ve known this person a long time but we hadn’t seen each other since Bush II was president. In those days we were both proud Americans and proud too of our Southern cultural heritage to include a reverence for our Confederate forefathers some of whom we rather liked. This person had erased any association with any confederate historical associations; never happened. They had also erased any fondness for their country which they now considered a uniquely evil thing. I remember us having a shared love for all American historical figures, whether they were Comanche, Gullah, Yankee, Confederate, French or English. They were all part of our rich history, and they had all made it what it was. And we along with our Yankee friends loved reading history. It was I thought we could all agree, history. No more. Better check the bookshelves.
    I tried also and with great delicacy to talk to this person about their involvement in the investigation of JFK’s assassination, and was made to understand this was off limits. All they would say was that the investigation had been a waste of time. I draw the two subjects together because this person described the Confederates as traitors, which I found silly. They had to choose between their state and the Union. Some went North and others South. To be traitors they would have had to be spies in Richmond or Washington, passing on secrets to the enemy camp. Now in 2023 fashionable Democrats call them traitors, and if there were traitors in our midst today and their plane went down or someone took a shot at them… no one in power would look too hard for the perpetrator. To me the utility of calling Confederates traitors is to call into question the loyalty of anyone who would today dissent from “the program.” This person described Trump as a “criminal” and Biden as a noble figure uniting the world against the enemies of Ukraine and of course the enemies of the Union.

    I think Tucker is right. The downfall of Trump would be Nordstreamed.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      ive run into more than my share of such adjacent people in my weird ass life…including my dad, who worked in image analysis(that’s rice, that’s opium) for the DIA at the tail end of LBJ.
      every single one of these folks had to be at least a little drunk(save dad)…and out in a boat in east matagorda bay or somewhere similarly remote and off-grid(all of this was before ubiquitous cameras, etc)…to even begin to open up about the state of play, as they saw it.
      all of them, including dad, were to one degree or another, looking to stay out of sight, not make waves, not get noticed.
      a few, at the time of our knowings, were already way off the grid, in backwaters.
      waiting for the shit to hit the fan.
      none of them would tell me much…but all of them were as one in saying “there’s so much you dont know…”
      ironically, my aloof and distant father was the most open of all these people…once, and once only…when he informed my brother and i(at 11 and 14 respectively) that there was a “dossier” on both of us because of what he had done back then(!!!)…
      this, just after a long rambling dissertation(long for him,lol) about the rice paddy/opium thing, ufo’s when he worked for NASA, etc.
      that hour or so, in the car eating hamburgers at a drive in in schulenburg, texas, sticks in my mind, to this day.
      i suppose i should feel fortunate to have bumped into so many such things over the years.
      it contributes to my doomerism, fer sure.


        Thanks for sharing this Amfortas. Your anecdotes are always a pleasure, regardless of the “doomerism.”

  32. Willow

    How much damage would she will be willing to inflict in order to push Biden aside and become nominee? Losing punters as they get closer to end go for increasingly riskier bets and closer she’s thinks there’s a chance the more red lines will be crossed to stay in the game.

  33. JustTheFacts

    It seems to me that senility is worse than drunkenness. At least with drunkenness, you can make good decisions whenever you are sober… like appointing a competent successor.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Actually, no. In Putin’s four hour interview with Oliver Stone, Putin points out that the was the third one chosen. The first two refused to take the job. Putin said he didn’t want it either. He liked being a bureaucrat and largely a private person.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          ZOMG how embarrassing. Fixing.

          There is actually a transcript in book form where Stone fact checks what Putin said….although I beg to differ with a few of the points where he deems Putin to be wrong (although he does catch Putin declaring homosexuality to be illegal in some parts of the US by virtue of Alabama having anti-sodomy laws still on the books….which contra Putin’s knowledge are now irrelevant by virtue of were overruled by the Supreme Court). And the transcript supposedly has some bits in it that are not in the videos.

  34. The Rev Kev

    The pity is how the justice system is being corrupted to take down Trump and out in public for all to see. So Trump’s trial, by an amazing coincidence, starts the day before Super Tuesday when the Republicans choose who will stand as their Presidential candidate. What are the chances? If that is not an effort to swing their choice then I do not know what is. People like the DNC will pat themselves on the back and say how smart they are but the reality is that well before Super Tuesday that the Republicans would have chosen their candidate-

    Frankly I am surprised that this story has not gotten more traction.

  35. ChrisPacific

    Regarding the last comment about Putin and Russia, you do not have to look very far or hard to realize that no matter how rigged and corrupt the current system might be, a chaotic breakdown could end up being far worse. Post-Soviet Russia. Syria. Libya. The list goes on.

    Politicians on both sides who do not see how creaky the whole system is becoming, and are willing to further stress it to accomplish their short term goals, are playing with fire.

  36. John

    Donor Class? … Zillionaires? … Billionaires? … One percent? Let’s just call them what they are … oligarchs. Oligarchs just like in Ukraine. And just like in Ukraine and elsewhere the oligarchs, the super-wealthy are interested only in their welfare. The novelist William Gibson puts these words in the mouth of one of his characters. “She looked into those soft blue eyes and knew with a mammalian certainty that the very rich were no longer even remotely human.” A bit over the top? He is novelist. But you see where he was going.

  37. Victor Sciamarelli

    The DP has been fighting a two front war since 2016. Regardless of appearance, Trump is secondary. The primary front is being fought against the left.
    IMHO, I don’t agree with Tucker. I think project Biden prefers to campaign against Trump.
    Trump didn’t simply beat HRC in 2016. He defeated the DP leadership, the legacy of Clinton and Obama, and every neoliberal thing they represented. In order to maintain power within the DP after 2016, the corp dems had to defeat its own rising left wing.
    It was not Trump that panicked Bloomberg into buying his way into the 2020 primaries but the weakness of Biden and the spectre of the likes of Sanders or Warren winning the nomination and possibly the presidency.
    Of course they want to defeat Trump but turning Trump into a criminal, Putin puppet, or fascist makes it nearly impossible for any left leaning democrat to do anything but fall in line behind Biden.
    Noting the lack of dissent or interest in alternative candidates, today’s DP and media support seems as conformist and subordinate as the CP of the Soviet Union.

  38. JBird4049

    Something to note is that an increase in violence by the use of the police including assassinations by them, false arrests, and framings, of lower level activists, which happens just before or at the same time as assassinations of important, high level politicians in the United States. For example, in the 1960s, there were as series of assassinations with some of them involving the Chicago and New York police as well as the FBI. However, I could also use union movement and Jim Crow as examples as well albeit without the high political level murders.

    If Donald Trump gets assassinated, expect to see similar murders as well as questionable arrests by the police at the same time. This could also include a rash of “suicides.” This is my fear. It is not of one man being murdered, but of the great number of deaths and lifelong imprisonments that are likely to happen at the same time.

  39. Grayce

    When two languages dominate a community, good leaders are found to be bilingual. So, when two ideologies dominate a country, good leaders and judges are likely to be found among the moderates. Standing in the middle of the road allows one to see both sides. If there were any backers who valued good judgement over pledges (that’s you Norquist and NRP with the handcuffs of no new taxes at all and the other), supporting the ultimate candidate nominated by the party, over one’s own convictions, such backers would look for moderates.

  40. Joe Well

    If they were going to assassinate him the obvious choice is to make it look like a natural death–the technology may exist already to provoke a heart attack or stroke in a way that wouldn’t be detected by medical examination or autopsy.

    Trump is so obviously in bad physical shape, it feels like a miracle he is still alive anyway. He has already convinced people he has more to worry about from fast food and Diet Coke than the CIA.

    Even if the death weren’t 100% natural-looking, any medical examiner or even private practitioner who certified the death as anything other than natural would be board de-certified faster than you can say “horse paste.”

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I think Trump looks robust for a fat old man. There are some MDs who point out that some heavy people are pretty healthy despite the bulk. He has never smoked and does not drink which would be something of an offset for all his personal port.

  41. orlbucfan

    I’m writing in Cornel West if possible in my 2024 POTUS ballot choice. I live in DeSh1tface and Orange Blimp land. 💩 I am also working a get-out-the-vote table at the local Vegan Fest next month. BTW, Maxwell Frost is our US House Rep. Thought-provoking, huh?

  42. WillD

    As a non-US citizen who lives far far away, it is starting to look to me as if the 2024 presidential election will be a dangerous disaster regardless of the ‘official’ outcome.

    US politics has become so dirty, so propagandised, and now so extreme, that nothing is ‘off the table’ in my view, including the assassination of Trump or any other candidate that might prevent the Democrats putting their person in office. It wouldn’t be the first time, as the Kennedy family knows only too well.

    Most Americans are unable to see how it looks from the outside. They can’t see the whole picture, and so can’t see how extreme it all seems to those of us that live in less volatile countries. Sadly, I think there will be big trouble for the US in late 2024.

  43. JBird4049

    >>>Most Americans are unable to see how it looks from the outside. They can’t see the whole picture, and so can’t see how extreme it all seems to those of us that live in less volatile countries.

    True, but most Americans are trying to survive and live their lives. No matter what is happening, life goes on. As this has been a growing crisis for forty or fifty years with the prophets and prognosticators being increasingly loud as, it is hard to hard to pay attention. “It is really going to blow up in 2024? Unlike the previous ten elections where it didn’t? Excuse me, I have to pay the bills and get the kid some shoes.”

    As a nation, we have been seeing this onrushing storm for years and years, but as a nation we are tired, afraid, often hungry, and confused with little faith in anything. Just what should we do? Aside from trying to get through the day?

  44. Giandavide

    i think biden is like breznev, and the comparison with yeltsin is wrong cause this politician is tied to the secession of the urss in smaller states, a thing that didn’t happened in usa. Yeltsin was a president of a local administration that went to higher power and then changed the istitutional infrastructure of russia. he never was a representative of all russian people, it was like if desantis become us president without an election, just with florida votes. other americans would like to be governed by a man elected just in florida? i think not. trump could be a bit like andropov, but he wasn’t really that different from other usa president, if we don’t consider the style of communication. honestly i don’t understand all that struggle of usa people to argue between themselves for election representants that are almost the same, but i think that admitting that they can do nothing to change their country’s politics could be quite depressing and frustrating, so they go on with delusions about democracy

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? Yeltsin was elected president in 1991 and again in 1996:

      1991: presidential election

      On 12 June Yeltsin won 57% of the popular vote in the democratic presidential elections for the Russian republic, defeating Gorbachev’s preferred candidate, Nikolai Ryzhkov, who got just 16% of the vote, and four other candidates….

      In February 1996, Yeltsin announced that he would seek a second term in the 1996 Russian presidential election in the summer… with a turnout of 68.9%, Yeltsin won 53.8% of the vote and Zyuganov 40.7%, with the rest (5.9%) voting “against all”.

      1. Giandavide

        i meant that yeltsin didn’t presented in all urss states, cause the urss seceded before that. i also got confused myself cause i sometimes used the word russia in place of the word urss, so i’m sorry for not being clear to expose myself. the thing i wanted to underline is that yeltsin came after the collapse of an institution (the urss), and in usa there’s no such collapse. i think it’s not just a secondary element in a comparison

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