Check Your Amnesia, Dude: On the Vox Generation of Punditry (Updated)

by Corey Robin on July 21, 2016

Last night, Donald Trump shocked the world, or at least the pundit class, when the New York Times published a wide-ranging interview Trump had given the paper on the subject of foreign policy.

Trump said some scary things: that he didn’t think, for example, that the US should necessarily come to the aid of a NATO country if it were attacked by Russia.

But he also said some things that were true. Like this:

When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger.

And while the article makes a muchness of Trump’s refusal to pressure Turkey over its response to the failed coup, the fact is that Obama hasn’t done anything concrete on that score either (as the article acknowledges). Nor did Obama do much about the coup in Egypt or Honduras. To the contrary, in fact.

But that wasn’t the focus of last night’s chatter on Twitter. Instead, the pundits and experts were keen to establish the absolutely unprecedented nature of Trump’s irresponsibility: his recklessness when it came to NATO,  his adventurism, his sheer reveling in being the Bad Boy of US Foreign Policy: this, it was agreed, was new.

In a tweet that got passed around by a lot of journalists, Peter Singer, senior fellow at the New America Foundation (who’s written a lot of books on US foreign policy), had this to say:


Hmm, let’s see.

Barry Goldwater said the US should consider using tactical nukes in Vietnam, which prompted one of the most famous campaign commercials of all time.

As Seth Ackerman quipped to me in an email:

TRUMP IS SO UNPRECEDENTED IN HIS RECKLESSNESS HE COULD LEAD TO A NUCLEAR BOMB GOING OFF RIGHT AFTER A LITTLE GIRL PICKS DAISIES IN A FIELD!!

And as Seth pointed out on Twitter, Goldwater wanted to hand the decision to launch nukes over to field commanders.

But Singer was born in 1974, so let’s stay within his lifetime.

In the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan claimed that:

  • SALT II was illegal, even though it had been ratified by Congress; negotiated and signed by the Carter Administration (and was only pulled from a Senate ratification vote after the invasion of Afghanistan);

  • the United States had “no deterrent whatsoever” against Soviet medium-range missiles targeting Europe, even though it had submarines with 400 nuclear warheads patrolling the Mediterranean and the Northeast Atlantic, not to mention the thousands of other warheads that could easily be rained down on the Soviets in a retaliatory strike;

  • the United States had “unilaterally disarmed” throughout the 1970s, even though the US had built up its nuclear stockpile from four to ten thousand warheads during that decade (actually, he said that in March 1981, two months after his inauguration, though he repeated the charge during the 1984 campaign).

In other words, it should be possible to talk about the very real and undeniable dangers of Trump without ignoring or reinventing the insanity of American history.

(To be fair, I suffer from my own version of this amnesia: every time a pundit makes an ahistorical claim, I shake my head and wonder, have we ever had such a historically unaware media?)

Jamelle Bouie, of Slate, made a similar claim as Singer:


“Modern” is a slippery word, though I assume it includes Reagan.

But let’s move beyond the statement to the larger point it seems to be getting at: Trump is like nothing we’ve ever seen before in the realm of foreign policy.

This is a country, remember, where it was the operational policy of the government, at the highest levels, to be able to fight and win a nuclear war. That wasn’t just the crazy talk of Dr. Strangelove. That was the reality that Dr. Strangelove was satirizing.

Up through at least the first term of the Reagan Administration—and probably beyond—high officials in the national security establishment were talking about fighting and winning a nuclear war.

One of the US Army field manuals stated:

The US Army must be prepared to fight and win when nuclear weapons are used.

Richard Pipes, Harvard historian and senior adviser to Reagan’s National Security Council (also father of Daniel Pipes), had his position characterized thus in the Washington Post:
His strategy, which he says reflects official thinking, is a winnable nuclear war.

Even the official US Budget for FY 1983 stated:
US defense policies ensure our preparedness to respond to and, if necessary, successfully fight either conventional or nuclear war.

There’s a reason Bob Scheer titled his classic book on Reagan’s national security policies “With Enough Shovels.” (h/t Josh Cohen)

I’ll admit that I find it hard to take this ahistorical high dudgeon of the pundit class seriously.

Whenever I hear this kind of stuff—with all the faux-seriousness and operatic gnashing of teeth, the pompous heavy breathing, the weird identification with America’s global mission (as Tim Barker mused on Twitter, does Bouie seriously think the “end of US hegemony would be more dangerous than nuking a small post colonial state?”)—I wonder, whom are they performing for? Each other? Themselves? Political elites?

My mind wandered to Ted Knight’s Judge Smails from Caddyshack.

But there may something less funny going on here.

A lot of these pundits and reporters are younger, part of the Vox generation of journalism. Unlike the older generation of journalists, whose calling card was that they know how to pick up a phone and track down a lead, the signature of this younger crew is that they know their way around J-STOR.

Many of them have read the most up-to-date social science as well as the best history, from Ira Katznelson to Eric Foner and so on. Bouie, in particular, is among the most talented and learned of his generation. His articles, even when I disagree with them, are well-researched and grounded in the latest scholarship.

Yet so many of them seem to lack the most basic gut impulse of any historically minded person: if you think something is unprecedented, it’s probably not. Check your amnesia, dude.

Part of this is due, as David Marcus reminded me, to the fact that though some of them do read history, a lot of them tend toward the more ahistorical branches of the social sciences. Psychology and econ or the quantitative or rational choice parts of poli sci, without the more historically focused mediations of a subfield like American political development, which not only teaches us about the temporal dimensions of American politics (that allegedly permanent rules and norms sometimes change) but also about the temporal underpinnings of our knowledge of American politics. But that’s not all of it, I don’t think.

Though I’m a political theorist, one of the things I benefited from growing up when I did was that I had incredible history teachers: first in high school (Allan Damon, Tom Corwin, and Steve Houser, unbelievable all) and then as a history major in college (John Murrin, Arno Mayer, Lawrence Stone, among others). What all of these teachers gave me, beyond some rudimentary awareness of the past, was an unshakeable sense of the historical nature of knowledge. The sense that all of us are embedded in time, that when we look back to the past we’re doing so with questions from our present, that every consensus is contingent and provisional, that today’s knowledge is just tomorrow’s belief. Some people get this from Gadamer, I got it from E.H. Carr, which we read in high school European History. (The buzzing, the buzzing: another image from a book that I’ll never forget!)

I know this is nothing deep or fancy, but it does make me wonder if today’s generation of commentators, raised as so many are on the assumption that the biological sciences and social sciences—with neuroscience as the master mediator—are the source and model of all knowledge, are somehow at a deficit. Even when they read history: because they’re led to believe, once they’ve digested Katznelson or Foner or whomever, that they’re really getting the truth, the past as it was, without that sense that Katznelson on the New Deal is only this generation’s New Deal. And that tomorrow we’ll have another New Deal.

I’m not quite sure how far we can take this—sometimes, often, I feel paralyzed by the sense of relativism this leaves me with—but it does induce a certain humility.

And, as I said, a basic gut check when it comes to claims about the absolute novelty of our situation.

Update (July 22)

On a related note, here is Matt Yglesias today:

Being president of the United States is hard work. It’s important work, and Donald Trump has proven time and again he’s much too lazy to do the job….It [Trump growing, learning, working to acquire new knowledge] doesn’t happen because he can’t be bothered. It’s terrifying.

And here are some facts about Ronald Reagan, which were reported widely at the time.

  • A White House aide told Newsweek in 1982 that “he [Reagan] probably spends two or three hours a day on real work. All he wants to do is tell stories about his movie days.”

  • Reagan himself told a biographer, “I’m a lazy fellow. I work up to a certain point, but beyond that point, I say the hell with it.”

  • Early on, the Washington Post reported, “More disquieting than Reagan’s performance or prospects on any specific issue is a growing suspicion that the president has only a passing acquaintance with some of the most important decisions of his administration.”

  • The Los Angeles Times described a president so removed “from the day-to-day workings of the White House…that he is unaware of the dimensions of the problem or of its possible consequences.”

There’s a different point to be made here about the amnesia of the pundit class.

Yglesias’s complaint is a frequently heard among liberals. As Alex Gourevitch reminded me, they said the same thing about George W. Bush. Remember all those vacations he took? (879 days, or 30% of his time in office.)

But here’s the thing: Ronald Reagan (or George W. Bush] wasn’t terrifying because he was lazy. Do we honestly think that if he had worked harder he would have been less terrifying? When your entire belief system is jackboots and smiles, it doesn’t get less scary because you work harder; the opposite, in fact. Honestly, I’m thankful Reagan was as lazy as he was. God only knows how much more havoc he might have wreaked had he been awake during those precious afternoon nap hours.

Likewise, Donald Trump. The notion here is that if he had more knowledge of the things he talks about, if he just worked harder at his job, his positions would be moderated. Like Ted Cruz?

{ 881 comments }

1

Daragh 07.21.16 at 7:55 pm

“This is a country, remember, where it was the operational policy of the government, at the highest levels, to be able to fight and win a nuclear war.”

This is a) a not terribly accurate representation of US GOVERNMENT policy for most of the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s b) a 100% accurate representation policy of the Soviet military and government throughout the entirety of the Cold War.

The US military and elements of the civilian government may very well have gone through a logical chain of thought that goes something like this – a) a nuclear war would be so utterly catastrophic as to be something avoided if at all possible b) nevertheless a nuclear war remains a real possibility, and US government efforts to prevent one may fail c) it is therefore the responsibility of the US government to make contingency plans to ensure a maximally favourable outcome of a nuclear conflict if one cannot be averted.

This isn’t exactly ‘crazy’. In fact, as I mentioned above, its exactly what the Soviets thought too (though in the context of a much more aggressive overall strategic posture). Nor is maintaining a certain public ambiguity about the conditions under which you’d escalate up the nuclear ladder a bad idea when your opponent has an overwhelming strategic superiority in conventional arms.

As to the point of Trump’s comments – the Baltic states freely entered NATO to gain security guarantees, which have generally been quite successful in allowing them to deal with Russia from a position in which they cannot be pressured militarily. They are some of the only NATO states to fulfil the commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. To publicly muse about abandoning them is highly irresponsible, particularly when your campaign is managed by a guy with plenty of unsavoury links in the post-Soviet world.

The Reagan comments above primarily relate to the US’ own defence capacity (and the point about Soviet MRBMs in Europe has to do with reaction time, not if the US could launch a counter-strike. Of course it could – the problem is the whole point of US deterrence policy in Europe was to avoid a situation where the Soviets thought they could quickly invade/nuke/otherwise subdue Western Europe before the US could react, and then effectively demand the US accept the fait accompli or the entire world crumbles).

While Reagan’s comments were undoubtedly ill-informed and irresponsible, they did not amount to a public pledge to abandon key allies, during a time when the threat of war in the Baltics is a real, if blessedly remote, possibility. Trump’s comments do, and alongside Gingrich’s follow up could be read as the beginnings of a new Republican security policy for Europe, encouraging the Kremlin to be more risk tolerant in its Baltic policy. In this way, they’re probably more irresponsible than anything Reagan ever said. Whether they amount to ‘most irresponsible ever’ territory is essentially a ‘what’s the best Beatles album’ debate. There’s no real ‘right’ answer, but in the end that’s not really the point.

2

P O'Neill 07.21.16 at 8:03 pm

It’s been a weird couple of months. Not so long ago, this rising generation of pundits were in agreement that there was a dinosaur foreign policy blob in fancy buildings between Dupont Circle and K Street whose first instinct was to drag the USA into unwinnable wars. Yet the Blob and the New Pundits are in complete agreement that (1) the main problem in Turkey is Mt Erdogan and (2) Trump is unprecedented. Just one among many examples: this tweet, which relies on unnamed NATO foreign minister using apocalyptic language that this same group would ridicule in other contexts. From all Trump’s awfulness, is his reticence about a Baltic war the worst thing?

3

Steve Laniel 07.21.16 at 8:03 pm

Great post. It makes me want to learn how to be a better reader of history — both to be more skeptical when reading the Voxes of the world, and just generally to know where to look next when I see someone making a historical claim. I read a lot of history, but I’m certainly not reading it as a historian would. I’d like to.

4

Nick 07.21.16 at 8:09 pm

I’m not sure I agree with the assessment of the danger of being prepared to fight and win a nuclear war; my understanding of the nature of these weapons is that they are far more dangerous when you are known to have them and not be prepared to use them, or not have the capability to use them in victory, etc.

5

Bill Camarda 07.21.16 at 8:19 pm

Am I wrong to understand that all the triggers that were in place in Europe to set off war (first, conventional; and then likely quickly nuclear) in the event of an attack on NATO members from the East are still in place?

If that is the case, then statements which would make such an attack far more likely are certainly *among* the most reckless made by a “serious” presidential candidate since World War II.

Goldwater’s willingness to carelessly weaken the thresholds standing in the way of future nuclear war is largely why his opponents were so horrified by his discussion of battlefield nukes. Trump’s statement has similar effect, and might arguably be worse than Goldwater’s in one respect: it is already changing European strategic realities, and will continue to do so even if Trump loses.

If you’d like to say Trump’s interview roughly “tied” with some of Reagan’s statements and actions from the early 1980s, I’d certainly buy that. (Were Trump capable of thinking that far ahead, he’d likely agree with Pipes that you’d want to “win” a nuclear war once you started fighting one.)

Nor am I saying that today’s generation of commentators wouldn’t benefit from a deeper historical understanding; we all would. But I guess I think there’s less hyperbole in Singer’s and Bouie’s observations than you do.

6

medrawt 07.21.16 at 8:20 pm

I might have to think twice about the comments concerning SALT II, but I’m quite comfortable saying I believe Trump’s comments re: turning NATO into a US-dominated protection racket are more “irresponsible” than Reagan’s other two quoted comments re: US nuclear preparedness. Reagan was signaling a posture of belligerence, but not a novel one, and he was speaking directly about US military capabilities, something about which I assume the Russians had sources they took more seriously than the public statements of a former Governor running for office. (Maybe I’m wrong in my Kremlinology?)

Trump is intentionally creating ambiguity about the strength of US commitments to its treaty allies, which amounts to an open invitation to test our behavior; I think this transcends the comments made by Reagan here. Further, based on other of his comments, Trump seems to think this kind of caginess and unpredictability is a savvy way to handle international affairs, which I find intrinsically terrifying.

7

medrawt 07.21.16 at 8:22 pm

I meant to add that such ambiguity about our intentions may have been responsible (last I looked, this was still a subject of debate) for Saddam Hussein believing it was a good idea to invade Kuwait.

8

Asteele 07.21.16 at 8:28 pm

Trump is just saying true things that we are not supposed to say outloud, like no one takes the American gov. talk on human rights seriously anymore, and no one, no one is going to start a nuclear war over Latvia. That’s why people are only denying what trump said in the most general terms, rather than saying directly that we’d go to war with Russia over Lativa, because we’re not going to.

9

cassander 07.21.16 at 8:32 pm

>Many of them have read the most up-to-date social science as well as the best history, from Ira Katznelson to Eric Foner and so on. Bouie, in particular, is among the most talented and learned of his generation. His articles, even when I disagree with them, are well-researched and grounded in the latest scholarship.

I think this is an exceedingly generous assessment of the quality of modern journalists. I’d best most of the can count on one hand the number of times they’ve read something that wasn’t an introduction, summary, or abstract.

>Barry Goldwater said the US should consider using tactical nukes in Vietnam, which prompted one of the most famous campaign commercials of all time.

The better example would be in 1960 when Kennedy campaigned on a missile gap. Eisenhower showed him the information from the U-2 flights that proved it didn’t exist. He continued to campaign on it anyway.

10

b9n10nt 07.21.16 at 8:44 pm

09/18/2002, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense (before Congress)
“We do know that the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons. His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons — including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas. … His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons—including anthrax and botulism toxin, and possibly smallpox.” (presentation to Congress)

The point being, as irresponsible foreign policy statements go, this (one hopes) will be the standard by which political actors -actual or aspirational- will be judged for quite sometime.

11

RNB 07.21.16 at 8:47 pm

There is clear evidence that Trump is the most sociopathic Presidential candidate in modern American history. There are millions of Americans who don’t see that; count Corey Robin as among them.

12

RNB 07.21.16 at 8:52 pm

Corey Robin tells us that Trump is speaking the truth here: “When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”

How do people read this? I see this as Trump the most sociopathic authoritarian Presidential candidate in recent history saying that we cannot be a messenger for civil liberties because it leads to the civil unrest we see in this country. But Corey Robin tells us that Trump is speaking truth here. Clue: if any pundit tells us that Trump is ever speaking truth without disclosing how that truth is tied up in a retrograde political vision or linked to a retrograde policy platform, he is not to be trusted.

13

Marc McKenzie 07.21.16 at 9:07 pm

@RNB: I wasn’t very keen on what Rubin said either. It also reminds me of liberals who flocked to Rand Paul despite his horrific views on Civil Rights, LGBT rights, abortion, and the environment–all because Rand said something truthful about drones.

Or so it seemed at the time. Senator Paul, of course, didn’t really give a damn about stopping drone attacks; it was just a ploy.

Likewise, any “truths” that Trump appears to have said (according to Rubin) must be discounted. Trump speaks with a forked tongue, to be honest. That Rubin has fallen for that is, well, sad. Of course, some may blurt out the “stopped clock is right twice a day!” saying, but the truth is, you usually ignore the stopped clock or get rid of it.

Just my 2-cents.

14

Marc 07.21.16 at 9:28 pm

A similar disease is the tendency to assert that, because X is important, it’s the only thing that matters. The Vox crowd has an overwhelming sense of moral superiority grounded in this sort of analysis. A close cousin is the tendency to use statistical correlations to prove that some obscure factor is actually crucial, or that the normal wisdom (grounded in many independent lines of evidence) is utterly wrong because 51.6% of this group did that, in contrast to the expected 36.4%…

15

Placeholder 07.21.16 at 9:28 pm

Reagan and Thatcher’s warmongering was so terrifying for much of the world it reinvented the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament which had once been seen to be decisively defeated by the Labour right. They held unprecedented rallies and even had the organising power to great the Glastonbury Festival as we know it.

The New Zealand Labour party swept back to power in the 1980s when they promised that its territory will never be used for production, storage and transmission of nuclear material. When the US just wouldn’t tell them if their subs had nukes on them they simply banned them. To this day the policy has made New Zealand a nuclear-free territory.

Really though Trump is just saying what Europeans, the craven complicity of the warmongering media bosses aside, actually believe so…. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33072093

PS Turkey is suspending its membership of the ECHR, or as I phrase it OUTRAGE AS MIDDLE EASTERN DICTATOR DOES THING THERESA MAY HAS ALWAYS SAID SHE’LL DO

16

kidneystones 07.21.16 at 9:29 pm

Ben Rhodes on the Vox generation and the state of political journalism today: “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” Rhodes says. “They literally know nothing.”

Then there are others his assistant Ned Price refers to as “force multipliers,” more senior reporters and pundits who parrot what they’re told. “I’ll give them some color,” Price says, using the journalistic term for juicy bits of inside-baseball detail, “and the next thing I know, lots of these guys are in the dot-com publishing space, and have huge Twitter followings, and they’ll be putting this message out on their own.”

A foreign-policy reporter named Laura Rozen, the most credulous conveyor of pro-Iran-deal news last year, is given a specific shout-out by White House digital guru Tanya Somanader. “Laura Rozen was my RSS feed,” Somanader tells Samuels. “She would just find everything and retweet it.”

So, that’s what current administration officials think of the ‘fact-checking’ skills of the Vox generation and older soft-headed buffoons.

The FP establishment, let us recall, helped bring us Viet Nam and Iraq.

17

b9n10nt 07.21.16 at 9:58 pm

How does “In other words, it should be possible to talk about the very real and undeniable dangers of Trump without ignoring or reinventing the insanity of American history” (Robin, OP) become “Corey Robin doesn’t see that Trump is the most soci0pathic presidential candidate in modern history” (paraphrasing RNB @13)?

18

RNB 07.21.16 at 10:12 pm

Ver simply, b9n10nt. Trump represents a level of sociopathy unprecedented in recent American Presidential politics. You don’t read Corey Robin as throwing cold water on that claim? Then read what he has written again. If you want to run the risks of nuclear conflagration in reining in US involvement NATO or NATO expansion or US military presence in Asia, then Trump is your man because he brings an unprecedented level of sociopathy to the Office. Couple this with his mental instability, attention deficit disorder, and hostility to people with knowledge about Russia, China and Japan; and it follows that the twitter universe is not lit up enough about the danger that Trump represents to the world. In other words, Corey Robin thinks that from his little homophilic world of the American left that people are exaggerating the threat that Trump represents to the world. The opposite is the truth.

19

hix 07.21.16 at 10:12 pm

Not convinced, at least concerning Reagan.

20

RNB 07.21.16 at 10:14 pm

b9n10nt, what about where Corey Robin thinks Trump is speaking the truth? Do you think Corey Robin read Trump truthfully there?

21

hix 07.21.16 at 10:18 pm

“sociopathy to the Office. Couple this with his mental instability, attention deficit disorder,”

Youre full off shit. Really, you have no limit to cheap unethical talking point repetition.

22

RNB 07.21.16 at 10:21 pm

Well if you don’t take my word for it, read Jane Mayer’s piece on Tony Schwartz in the New Yorkers. He’s a sociopath that we have not seen before in American politics. That’s the story, not whether he’s crazier than Barry Goldwater.

23

mjfgates 07.21.16 at 10:52 pm

You can’t really compare whether different horrible leaders are worse than each other, because they’re limited by their opportunities. Trump hasn’t gotten the CHANCE to build death camps in Poland, so you can’t say that he’s worse than Hitler, but is he as bad? Maybe. He’s doing about as much bad as Hitler was doing in about 1932, stirring up the same kinds of shit, and that whole “imprison Hillary” thing at the convention is just… well.

So, saying that Trump is the “worst” is probably technically inaccurate, but it’s not worth worrying about whether he’s only second or third most awful.

24

b9n10nt 07.21.16 at 10:55 pm

RNB:

Robin quoted Trump saying “somethings that were true”:

When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger.

I don’t know whether it’s true or not (what kind of evidence might confirm it?). I also don’t know the context of the above Trump quote, but given that Trump seems terminally incapable of formulating anything beyond mental GIF’s, I’ll assume that there is no context and that CR is quoting DT truthfully. Lastly, to my ears, both saying something true and quoting someone truthfully is distinct from “speaking the truth”. The indefinite article of the last phrase ( the truth) suggests a big moving-of-the-goal-posts towards endorsing a larger Trumpian worldview. No, I do not see CR doing that.

More importantly, I do think you can see Trumpism as a continuation of the authoritarian, reactionary white identity politics in the US without downplaying the threat he poses. I also want to carefully distinguish 1) Trump’s personal character (sociopathic, as you rightly say) 2) the style of politics that he employs and 3) policies he will likely pursue. The latter are both more relevant to our political considerations and more continuous with modern Republican and even bipartisan interests.

Is it bad manners to recall that many of those who would clutch their pearls at exposing NATO allies to acts of Russian aggression either actively pursued or were silent in 2003 when they could have stood on principle against their own countries’ vicious assault upon Iraqis and international law?

25

Donald Johnson 07.21.16 at 10:57 pm

Reagan’s belligerence could have easily triggered a nuclear war.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Soviet_nuclear_false_alarm_incident

Yes, it’s Wikipedia, but I’ve read similar things elsewhere. I didn’t realize there were people who would still defend the rhetoric of fighting and winning a nuclear war.

26

LEO CASEY 07.21.16 at 11:21 pm

Bouie’s tweet was in the form of a question. It could have been a real question, not a rhetorical one.

27

max 07.21.16 at 11:47 pm

I’ll admit that I find it hard to take this ahistorical high dudgeon of the pundit class seriously.

ZOMG yes!

Whenever I hear this kind of stuff—with all the faux-seriousness and operatic gnashing of teeth, the pompous heavy breathing, the weird identification with America’s global mission (as Tim Barker mused on Twitter, does Bouie seriously think the “end of US hegemony would be more dangerous than nuking a small post colonial state?”)—I wonder, whom are they performing for? Each other? Themselves? Political elites?

Quite. Also endorse entire post. I would also point out that Kevin Drum kicked off some of the hyperventilating and he ought to know better. (But then he’s from Orange county, center of some seriously intense Cold War hatred of the Russians.)

max
[‘Really guys.’]

28

heckblazer 07.21.16 at 11:56 pm

If Trump is right when he said “When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger,” it’s by complete accident given his reasoning. What he said right before that in the interview was:

“We have tremendous problems when we have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country – we have other problems and I think we have to focus on those problems.”

He doesn’t think police shootings delegitimize American criticisms of Edrogan, he thinks protests against police shootings delegitimize American criticisms of Edrogan.

29

Anarcissie 07.21.16 at 11:59 pm

In regard to the ‘Which one is worse?’ conversation, which I’ve been seeing a lot of lately, some have pointed out that Trump hasn’t actually gotten anyone killed — yet — either as a principal actor or as an accomplice.

I was unaware, as implied in #1, that Russia had been bothering the Baltic States. The only thing I have seen about them in the news in the last few years was that the US was ‘bolstering’ its military presence there, absent any mentioned provocation. This seemed to comprise the addition of a few thousand troops, hardly much of a counterweight to the Russian army. I figured, after having failed with Georgia/Abkhazia/Ossetia, Ukraine/Crimea, and Syria, the US had to do something to show Putin a thing or two. What’s up?

30

Jim Harrison 07.22.16 at 12:19 am

I don’t buy it.

The trouble with radical critiques of American foreign policy is that they make it difficult to detect the difference between one brand of behavior and another. If Bill Clinton is no different than George W., if Trump will just be more of the same, why not vote for a Nader or Jill Stein and heighten the contradictions? Things look rather different if you get more granular in your view of history.

It’s probably useful to ask the question, is Trump really that dangerous?—I’m not opposed to doing that. Thing is, though, as somebody pretty much coeval with the postwar period, I come very different conclusions than Robin when I think over the history I’ve lived through. Goldwater and Reagan really were dangerous men and we were fortunate the former got beaten and the latter developed serious second thoughts about nuclear weapons when he found himself with real responsibilities. Trump has neither the integrity or the commonsense of either one of these guys. In a world undergoing an interlocking series of crises, it matters who is in charge even if none of the options are perfect—the deep lesson of 1914 is all about the price of mediocrity and inexperience.

In the Middle East, Far East, and Eastern Europe, we’ve got a wolf or rather wolves by the ears. Ignoring long standing treaty obligations is not a safe way to let the beast go; and if the world is going to move away from the Pax Americana of the last seventy years, it better do so carefully.

31

bob mcmanus 07.22.16 at 12:21 am

It’s about time we recognize the triumph of liberalism/neoliberalism in America, past hegemony into dominance. And ahistorical moralism, with a side order of apocalyptic and missionary imperialism, is what the petty bourgeois do, and Vox, Bouie, and the feminists at Slate and Jezebel are just parts of the latest iteration. It shouldn’t be that hard to recognize Comstock and Carrie Nation and John Harvey Kellogg under the bicycle helmets and tattoos.

Trump’s gonna get smashed. Same relevance and interest as maybe WJ Bryan or Henry Wallace. End of an era. But this is not good news, cause liberal imperialism is gonna kill a lot of people. Again.

32

Daragh 07.22.16 at 12:35 am

“I was unaware, as implied in #1, that Russia had been bothering the Baltic States. “

Then you really haven’t been paying attention.

More to the point – given that we’re in the middle of a situation where Russia has demonstrated the capacity and intent to seriously test the unity of the NATO alliance (with all the horrific consequences that would entail), the nominee of one of the major parties of the largest power in the alliance idly wondering about whether he would defend Estonia, due to his apparent belief that NATO is a protection racket, is really, really, really irresponsible.

Donald Johnson @27 – you’re right that Reagan’s irresponsible rhetoric encouraged the 1983 war scare. However, the root cause of it was the fact that the USSR was being ruled by an increasingly paranoid gerontocracy, that told it’s spy agencies to look for evidence of Western preparations for a pre-emptive strike and proceeded to interpret virtually all the subsequent data as confirming their existent hypothesis. In other words, Iraq WMD avant la lettre.

33

T 07.22.16 at 12:47 am

34

Shmoo 07.22.16 at 1:11 am

I’m impressed that the OP had such a well-developed sense of history at such a young age, because I certainly didn’t. It feels to me that the issue isn’t the Vox-like ecosystem so much as simply the ignorance of youth. I was 40 before I figured out that I’d been seeing the same movie over and over, and that my lovely original ideas were nothing special. Perhaps that makes me distinctively ignorant and self-involved, but I think my experience is pretty common. Certainly, I suffered from a particularly stultifying selection of high-school history teachers, and given that it wasn’t a subject that naturally interested me, I learned basically nothing.

35

Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 1:14 am

I seriously take issue with this post. I don’t think the attitude of the press has anything to do with amnesia or lack of historical knowledge. It’s just that it’s cool right now for them to be against Trump. If it were cool to be for Trump, they’d reverse positions in a dime.

Let’s look at the microcosm of CT threads for an example. When Trump started getting popular, some people here wrote the same kinds of things in reference to his statements about protestors — had any Presidential candidate asked so barbarously towards protest? So I thought for less than a minute and came up with a couple of examples from both the Bush and Obama administrations of protestors being arrested for wearing the wrong T-shirt, of laws being made to make it even easier to arrest people, of cops brutalizing protesters much more severely than (to my knowledge) any anti-Trump protestor has been brutalized without any official reaction, and so on. People didn’t have amnesia about all of this: it happened within the last decade.

And they didn’t care, because they weren’t really interested in historical comparisons, much less an abstract right to protest. It was all about whether it was being done by their side or the other side. I got treated to a long explanation of why Obama needed to crack down on protestors because someone somewhere was scary.

So none of this is about NATO or about whether Trump really said something scary. Asteele is right, of course, and no one is going to start a nuclear war over Latvia, but Trump being Trump I’d say that he told the truth in this case by accident. But if Trump gains in the polls and starts to win, all of these pundits will reverse themselves. By the end of the campaign, they’ll be saying how great it is to have a straight talker in the White House. The truth, much less historical comparisons about the truth, is irrelevant.

36

Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 1:16 am

“asked” above should be “acted”. Spellchecker.

37

hix 07.22.16 at 1:27 am

Being a bad person is not a mental health diagnosis.

38

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 1:27 am

End of an era. But this is not good news, . . .

Hmmm.

39

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 1:29 am

And they didn’t care, because they weren’t really interested . . .

Hmmm, again.

40

Corey Robin 07.22.16 at 1:53 am

But Rich, you can be against Trump without inventing the past, no? I mean, I’m against Trump. But I don’t need to create a completely false narrative about the last 10 years much less the last 50.

Or put it this way: why the need to feel that this villain is the worst villain ever? Why not, shit, he’s pretty terrible, he can’t get elected.

To my mind there is something there about history. You say — rightly — “they don’t care about historical comparisons.” But that, it seems to me, is part and parcel about the amnesia. They don’t know, and they don’t care that they don’t know.

41

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 1:55 am

Also, hyperbole is cheap rhetoric.

42

bob mcmanus 07.22.16 at 2:09 am

Asteele is right, of course, and no one is going to start a nuclear war over Latvia

Are we only a hundred years from Sarajevo?

I take the liberals and Democrats at their word, and while I think the conservatives and isolationists would bluff, fold, and go fishing, the defenders of freedom and pluralism would, possibly will, reduce the world to a glowing cinder…for Latvia.

43

RNB 07.22.16 at 2:15 am

Then there are those who understand how unhinged Trump is, not just in relative terms today but even in historical terms.
http://www.vox.com/2016/7/21/12218136/donald-trump-nomination-afraid
Oh look it’s from Vox. Interesting that given the title of the OP this Vox piece does not appear to be linked to.

44

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 2:22 am

I guess Ezra will get his Clinton White House All Access card in the mail before Labor Day.

45

Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 2:54 am

The problem is with analogizing it to amnesia, to forgetting. Someone who doesn’t care about history hasn’t forgotten about history: they simply don’t care about it. The mention of history is a rhetorical flourish: Trump is supposed to be the worst in history, the first person to do something. If the person writing this cared about history but had forgotten about it or never learned about it, then you’d see corrections eventually. Something of the form: Trump is the most irresponsible candidate since Goldwater. But we don’t see these corrections, because learning about history would weaken the comparison that the person wants to make, especially since Obama foreign policy is very much a continuation of Bush policy and pundits really would rather not open that can of worms. So casting it as amnesia seems to dignify it as something that pundits can’t help doing due to their background, rather than something that they are actively doing because they are hacks.

46

b9n10nt 07.22.16 at 4:16 am

RNB @44

Then there are those who understand how unhinged Trump is, not just in relative terms today but even in historical terms.

I didn’t see historical evaluations in the Ezra piece.

47

Donald Johnson 07.22.16 at 4:28 am

I thought it was sort of a truism that politics attracts sociopaths. You can google it and find articles like this–

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/the-startling-accuracy-of-referring-to-politicians-as-psychopaths/260517/#

Trump seems like an exceptionally inept sociopath– what is horrifying about him is that millions find his openly and unashamedly narcisstic personality attractive. Politicians usually try to fake humility, but Trump can’t be bothered and for whatever reason this seems to be working for him.

48

Hidari 07.22.16 at 6:44 am

Looking at it from outside, I simply don’t understand all this horror and hatred of Trump. Perhaps we should create (or adapt) a new phrase for it. ‘Trump-Derangement-Syndrome’ a mental disease (like so many other similar mental illnesses) disproprtionately suffered by white middle class males who have well-paid positions in the corporate media.

Now: don’t get me wrong: Trump is awful. He is probably (morally) a bad person, although I’ve never met him so what would I know. It is possible that he is a ‘sociopath’ although that phrase tends to have a somewhat elastic meaning in ‘liberal’ political discourse.

But there are a number of points to be made here.

1: By what possible criteria could he be considered worse than the psychos, narcissists, nutjobs, crooks and lunatics that the Americans have been in the habit of voting in as their President since about 1960? Look at JFK (subsequently canonised) and his wild and reckless decision to literally bring the world close to nuclear armageddon because of his unilateral decree that the sovereign state of Cuba was not to be allowed nuclear weapons (imagine how we would feel about Castro if he unilaterally decreed that the United States was ‘not to be allowed’ nuclear weapons, had invaded the United States to overthrow its legal government, and then blockaded the US for over 50 years to protest against the US’ many human rights violations, as well as attempting to assassinate all of its leaders. But when the US does the same to Cuba, we all think its perfectly reasonable).

The TV series ‘Altered Statesmen’, which is worth checking out, posited that Kennedy was a drug addict (amphetamines) and that this contributed to his reckless behaviour over Cuba.

Then we had Lyndon Johnson, who, although his domestic policies were good (better than Kennedy’s), invaded Vietnam, and was relatively keen to start a nuclear war over Vietnamese resistance to his belligerance.

Then we had Nixon. ‘Nuff said.

Then we had Carter, like all of them, a believer in a sky God who doesn’t exist, who brought religious fundamentalism to the White House (thanks Jimmy!) and who was also a a believer in UFOs.

Then Ronald Reagan. Where to start? A man who (apparently) had Alzheimer’s Disease for much of his second term (although the liberal commentariat helped to deceive the American public about this). The times of whose meetings were planned (apparently) by an astrologer. A man who openly hoped for an alien invasion to unite the ‘peoples of Earth’.

Then we had Slick Willie, who, although nominally sane, has at least the same aura of sleaze about him as Trump does.

Then George Bush, the first real, ‘hardcore’ religious fundamentalist in the White House, a religious extremist who apparently invaded Iraq (amongst other reasons) because of the Biblical prophecies of Gog and Magog.

Then we have Barack Obama, and it has to be said, compared to the others, he looks good. He is, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, a perfectly competent and sane imperial administrator. His policies in no way deviate from the main contours of American foreign policy as they have existed since about 1949 and in no way from American domestic foreign policy since 1981. He is no better, morally, than his predecessors, but he is less nuts.

But he is unequivocally the best (except maybe Lyndon Johnson in terms only of his domestic policy), and he ain’t that great.

2; By what possible criteria is Trump worse than the other Republican candidates?

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n15/eliot-weinberger/they-could-have-picked

3: There are good reasons to loathe Trump. But the liberal commentariat go out of their way to find bad reasons. The objective fact is we heard harder and more aggressive arguments against the invasion of Iraq in the Republican debates than we heard in the Democrats’ debates (and that includes Sanders). In his last speech, Trump went out of his way to condemn Hilary/Obama’s annihilation of Libya. It is not clear what Trump would do vis a vis Syria, but he is right to point out that Syria is now a disaster area and that Obama/Clinton share some of the blame. Trump condemned TPP: will Hilary?

Those who argue that they can see Trump causing world war 3 are right, but surely one can also imagine Hilary Clinton causing it? She is a hawk: indeed, far more of a hawk than Obama.

Trump attacks Nato (an organisation which, as has been said, exists to solve the problems caused by its own existence).

Good.

So what’s the big deal? It is hard not to see a connection between this hysteria over Trump, and the concurrent hysteria the liberal commentariate are having in the UK over Corbyn. And in both cases, denial of the obvious: the neo-liberal consensus as we have known it since 1979 (1981 in the US) is breaking down. What replaces it might be worse. But it is definitely breaking down, and Clinton’s attempts to piece it together again will not work.

49

ZM 07.22.16 at 6:53 am

I can’t really remember Reagan’s Presidency since I was just a kid in the 80s. I suppose he must have had something to do with the end of the Cold War though (?)

I didn’t support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I think they have gone really really wrong. I think the affected countries in the Middle East need a lot of help rebuilding their countries now, and the situation with the Islamic State is terrible, there needs to be some sort of peace process in those countries to end the ongoing conflict, the civil war in Syria has gone on for about 5 years now.

As someone from another country, it is a bit concerning that Donald Trump voices a lot of anti-interventionist and isolationist sentiment.

I don’t agree with some American foreign policy objectives, and I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing that some people in mainstream American politics want America to take less of a leading role in international security. But I think that if America just withdraws to isolationism it would end up leaving a vacuum in international security, which could be a real problem.

I would prefer to see America moving towards a more multilateral approach to global security, emphasising human security, rather than withdrawing to isolationism and anti-interventionism.

My mum watched The Apprentice so I have seen that show, I really wish Donald Trump would exercise a bit better judgement about choosing advisors for foreign policy. If he did that on TV then he should be able to do that as a politician. At the moment his foreign policy seems backward looking and it is concerning as person from another country.

Joe Biden recently visited Australia and spoke about America’s role in the security in our region. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but at least he took seriously the fact that China’s rise has changed the security situation in our region. I personally would prefer to see a more regional approach to security where the different countries can work together, since China’s rise isn’t going to be the only security issue, we are also going to have to deal with the environmental and social impacts of climate change.

50

Howard Frant 07.22.16 at 7:05 am

Anarcissie@31

“In regard to the ‘Which one is worse?’ conversation, which I’ve been seeing a lot of lately, some have pointed out that Trump hasn’t actually gotten anyone killed — yet — either as a principal actor or as an accomplice.”

I have no idea what you’re saying here. You’ve been seeing a lot of people asking whether Trump or Clinton is worse? Truly, is there no limit to the stupidity of the intellectual left? I presume you’re not referring to Vince Foster but to her bloodthirsty, baby-killing foreign policy. No, Trump hasn’t actually gotten anyone killed. It’s easy not to get anyone killed if you never spend any time in international politics. Very hard otherwise, either by commission or by omission.

“I was unaware, as implied in #1, that Russia had been bothering the Baltic States.”

You may have been aware, however, that Russia has been bothering Ukraine. A lot. Like taking some of its territory and supporting separatists in some of the rest. Then there’s Moldova, and, as you say, Georgia. Gosh, do you think that people in other countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union (and didn’t like it) might be a little nervous? Nah, couldn’t be. Must be the US trying to show Putin a thing or two.

51

Ronan(rf) 07.22.16 at 7:14 am

Unless Ive missed something in the op and various links, who is saying unprecedented ? Saying something is the worst , most frightening , most dangerous etc isn’t saying it’s without precedent. To make a judgement that a specific candidate/speech is the most X I’ve ever seen doesn’t necessarily imply historical Amnesia or that it’s an aberration , it’s an opinion on the historical record. Bouies question explicitly acknowledges the historical context by asking “is this the most dangerous ….”
I don’t see what amnesia has to do With it

52

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 7:23 am

Good OP.

Given the stakes its always something of a surprise to see normally cautious academic types leap into wild speculation buttressed with rock solid certainty in their belly-button lint.

Check out the gay get trashed by the homosexual haters at not Ted Cruz’s RNC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dATiLCxJ_Q

Equally informative: misogyny is sooo in among the all male speakers. Check out this loon

53

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 8:38 am

I thought the link provided by RNB @ 44, to a hackpiece by Ezra Klein was actually a pretty good illustration of Vox Pundit rhetoric, which makes sense, because Ezra is the Vox-in-Chief.

EK: I am, for the first time since I began covering American politics, genuinely afraid. (He’s 32 years old, so he’s basically known 2 Presidents — being precocious perhaps he vaguely remembers Bill Clinton.) Of the two Presidents he’s known in his adult life, when he piously proclaims, “. . . the presidency is a powerful job where mistakes can kill millions, and whoever holds it needs to take that power seriously and wield it responsibly” who does he have in mind as exemplar?

RP: Someone who doesn’t care about history hasn’t forgotten about history: they simply don’t care about it.

I think it is possible that the present doesn’t seem quite as real as history. We tend to wash the unseriousness out of history.

54

Alex K--- 07.22.16 at 8:47 am

If they are well-read in history and good at querying JStor, why are they ignorant of relevant facts from the recent US past? Perhaps it takes too much time and effort to check broad assertions such as “it has never happened before” even if one has access to all the research databases in the world? If it’s true, and the columnist does not have the background in history to come up with instant counterexamples, “ask an expert” seems to be the only sensible approach left unless the writer is willing to compromise his integrity to make his dubious point.

Trump’s suggestion that US protection for NATO members be conditioned on those members’ fulfilling unspecified obligations towards “us” (the US?) did sound like something completely new coming from a US presidential candidate. That NATO members are free-riding on the American military buildup and should be made to pay up is an old hobby horse of Trump’s. But suggesting the US should or might renege on its treaty obligations is a novelty.

No, I don’t think Putin is going to invade Latvia – he has learned his lesson in Eastern Ukraine. However, Russia might still be able to pull Latvia to its side in the big game. If Trump’s view prevailed in DC, Latvian voters would start asking themselves, “Why do we need NATO if they won’t protect us? Why do we need the EU if they’re out to flood us with refugees?”

On the other hand, Trump’s unpredictability might give him an advantage against Putin.

55

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 9:17 am

The thing is, the U.S. shouldn’t be offering security guarantees to countries on Russia’s doorstep. The U.S. is overextended and some scheme of multilateral arrangements, suitable to a multipolar world ought to be on the agenda.

There is an out-of-the-mouth-of-babes quality lurking in Trump’s stream of consciousness, as the OP points out. Of course you can always question the context (and in his disjointed ramblings that can be hard to pin down) and everything he says is quickly contradicted, but he isn’t the one trapped by conventional nonsense. He has his own nonsense.

56

casmilus 07.22.16 at 9:26 am

Remain would have won if only they’d run that broadcast where the little girl plucks the flower, and then it cuts to Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

“Project Fear”? It never even got started.

57

J-D 07.22.16 at 9:29 am

Ze K 07.22.16 at 7:42 am

Should, next time, large majorities there demand quitting the EU and NATO, and integrating (or, god forbid, joining) with the Russian Federation, German troops being deployed there will certainly come handy: they know the terrain…

If large majorities in Latvia (or any of the Baltic states) demand quitting the EU and NATO and integrating or joining with the Russian Federation, pinch yourself and wake up.

58

casmilus 07.22.16 at 9:36 am

Trump is only saying what Patrick Buchanan has been saying for years. And the latter was a Presidential candidate, though not a real contender.

The real effect will be further down the line, in 10 years. Now that someone has put the Buchananite end-the-Empire stuff into the mainstream, it will be taken up and brought forward by serious people.

30 years ago nobody thought the UK’s membership of the EEC (as was) was ever going to be put in question again. Nobody really thought that 20 years ago either. But 10 years ago it was a distant possibility, and then it all slides away in the final few years and months.

59

novakant 07.22.16 at 10:47 am

why the need to feel that this villain is the worst villain ever?

maybe not, but why the slightly blasé ‘been there done that’ pose?

Threatening to ban all Muslims from entering the US, referring to Mexicans as ‘killers and rapists’, proposing to build a wall along the southern border and threatening to deport 11 million people – that is certainly a new quality in political discourse, at least in recent memory.

It think it is dangerous to ignore or downplay this conscious and deliberate breaking of taboos with reference to historical precedent. Of course you can always come up with some politician saying outrageous things in the past, but for quite a long time now there has been a consensus that it is socially unacceptable to be openly racist and discriminatory – this consensus has been continually threatened by right-wing populists criticizing it as ‘political correctness’ and claiming ‘free speech.

What we are seeing now, and not only in the US, are the fruits of this campaign, the breakdown of this consensus and it does have real consequences for those who are targeted by the majority which is not ‘silent’ anymore but suddenly very outspoken.

60

TM 07.22.16 at 11:05 am

Question for the relativists: how would you recognize if Trump really is much worse than the others? Or conversely, by the standards you are using, is there anything that Trump could do say (before getting to a position of power) that would convince you that he’s really extraordinarily dangerous?

61

TM 07.22.16 at 11:13 am

… anything that Trump could do OR say …

62

novakant 07.22.16 at 11:21 am

the defenders of freedom and pluralism would, possibly will, reduce the world to a glowing cinder…for Latvia.

Well, Latvia is a sovereign country and a member of the EU and NATO.

What is your policy: small countries have no right to exist? they can be handed over to imperial powers in some horse trade if it suits everybody else? EU and NATO just shouldn’t bother upholding treaty obligations?

63

Frenchguy 07.22.16 at 11:23 am

@TM

Thing is, Trump talks a lot but actions speak louder than words. In the fascist of my nightmares I am looking at least for some military experience, the shadiest the better. That way I know that when he speaks of violence, he will follow through.* Also looking for evidence of being a real psychopath. The stuff of Newt Gingrich leaving his wife while she is in a hospital, that’s cold ! I could go on…

*that’s why I am much less scared of Marine Le Pen than I was of Jean-Marie Le Pen. That guy was a para in the Indochina and the Algerian war, that’s a start at least.

64

Daragh 07.22.16 at 11:32 am

Novakant @68 –

Well said. And for the various usual suspects declaring NATO to be some American imperium – the Baltic states chose freely to enter the Alliance, and the EU because that’s where they perceive their foreign policy interests to lie. As they’re next to an imperialist, revanchist power, they’re quite right too.

65

casmilus 07.22.16 at 11:45 am

@68

The First Czechoslovak Republic had lots of treaties and allies, until it needed them.

66

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 12:25 pm

@ Scarier and more sociopathic than this? : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

67

bob mcmanus 07.22.16 at 12:44 pm

What is your policy

Unilateral disarmament and unconditional surrender to any and all aggressors. Outlived many of my peers with this strategy.

68

Faustusnotes 07.22.16 at 12:48 pm

This thread is ridiculous. What is wrong with the American left that you can look on trump and see anything except a disaster? Yes, he is part of a trend, the result of thirty years of republican insanity, but he is clearly worse than anyone who came before him. Yes, bush invaded Iraq but what do you think trump will do if some terrorist blows up trump tower with a plane? Are you people completely stupid?!

69

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 12:55 pm

@ 73 I agree!

The neocon in a dress who supported the Iraq debacle and enjoyed it so much that she played a key role in American regime change in Libya, and still wants kill more brown people through more violent regime change in Syria is far and away the safer, saner candidate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

70

Faustusnotes 07.22.16 at 1:08 pm

Yes, she is.

71

ZM 07.22.16 at 1:11 pm

Faustusnotes,

I am just hoping if Trump happens to be elected he undertakes the Presidency like The Apprentice, and hires lots of good people and gets rid of the bad people, and offers everyone prizes if they keep America functioning for the term of his Presidency. If I manage to envision a Trump presidency sort of like a government version of The Apprentice it doesn’t seem quite as worrying ;-)

72

Walt 07.22.16 at 1:12 pm

novakant: Left doctrine now is apparently the strong will do what they can, the weak will bear what they must.

73

Procopius 07.22.16 at 1:12 pm

Reading the comments, I find myself wondering when these people were born. I especially was baffled by Daragh at #1. You are wrong. The official, and widely publicised, policy of the United States government and its Department of Defense was that it was perfectly possible to win a nuclear war. True, we might take as many as 80 million immediate casualties, with many more to die from radiation and fallout later, but we could survive. You betcha. Do you know who Curtis Le May was? I served in the Air Force from 1955 – 1959, and then in the Army from 1965 – 1982. I remember. Those people believed we could win a nuclear war. I think there are people in the State Department today who believe that we can fight a war with Russia without having it quickly turn into a nuclear war. I am scared because I think Hillary believes the (a) Russia will not resist an invasion by NATO land forces AND that they will not launch their missiles before they are overwhelmed. This really, really scares me. Honest to Dog, they were thinking in terms of a dozen of our cities being obliterated, maybe eight or ten million casualties, heck, just a flesh wound. I don’t have the references to the Field Manuals, but it was official, settled doctrine in the Department of Defense that is was possible to fight and win a nuclear war, and the people who claimed the Russian General Staff were lunatics for thinking so were fringe elements at best.

74

Layman 07.22.16 at 1:23 pm

“I am scared because I think Hillary believes the (a) Russia will not resist an invasion by NATO land forces AND that they will not launch their missiles before they are overwhelmed.”

I agree with much of your post, but this bit is nonsense on steroids. The notion that anyone with HRC’s intellect, education, and experience couldn’t easily predict the result of an invasion of Russia doesn’t stand up to even a second’s scrutiny. Whatever else she is, she’s not stupid.

75

Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 1:28 pm

I thought it was horrifically stupid that the world nearly got incinerated because of a putative dispute between communists and capitalists: but “treaty obligations” would be even worse. We couldn’t help killing billions: it was a treaty! Oh good God.

BW mentions us being “only a hundred years from Sarajevo”, but in between then and now there was a new doctrine, MAD. The promise that we made to Latvia was one that we never should have made, but it was a promise that the fear of MAD — which would uncontrollably come closer if Latvia was invaded — would protect them. It was not a promise to actually follow through and kill billions if the bluff was called, which is insane. Trump mentions this and what people really object to if they are objecting rationally is that he is deflating the bluff. But deflating the bluff is what you have to do if you are going to back off from a dangerous promise that as mentioned above never should have been made in the first place.

Yeah but BW is right, people probably believe that we need to do this. That’s why some people seem a bit blasé about Trump. Trump is horrible, but we see horror every day. He hasn’t killed anyone yet due to incapacity: the people here haven’t killed anyone yet due to incapacity. Trump is a lot closer to having that capacity, but the people here are voting en masse for someone who seems like they are going to do what the people here seem to want and push up tor Russia’s borders and then bravely follow through.

76

Layman 07.22.16 at 1:30 pm

bruce wilder: ‘Of the two Presidents he’s known in his adult life, when he piously proclaims, “. . . the presidency is a powerful job where mistakes can kill millions, and whoever holds it needs to take that power seriously and wield it responsibly” who does he have in mind as exemplar?’

Odd that Ezra, who we know is a journalist, apparently can’t read, never learned any history, and lacks any imagination, and is therefore left to consider only those Presidents he’s personally met when trying to understand the enormity of the job. Who knew?

77

Layman 07.22.16 at 1:34 pm

Rich P: “…but the people here are voting en masse for someone who seems like they are going to do what the people here seem to want and push up tor Russia’s borders and then bravely follow through.”

‘Seems like’ is doing one hell of a lot of work here.

78

ZM 07.22.16 at 1:42 pm

“I am scared because I think Hillary believes the (a) Russia will not resist an invasion by NATO land forces AND that they will not launch their missiles before they are overwhelmed. “

Um, just recently it was in the news that some of Obama’s last actions as President will be changing the nuclear arms provisions so America cannot launch a first strike nuclear attack.

If there is a nuclear war Russia will have to launch the missiles first. I think it is highly unlikely Russia will launch nuclear missiles first, it would be terrible for its foreign relations and basically pointless. What would Russia achieve by launching nuclear missiles?

I really think you are being overly alarmist possibly to do with your background. I don’t think nuclear war is really on the horizon. There would be nothing achieved by it.

79

bob mcmanus 07.22.16 at 1:47 pm

82: I am willing to remove the “seems like” and “seem” from the quote in 82.

I expect HRC to attack Russia, and I expect the Democratic Party and the liberals here to cheer her on. I expect the Fifth Columnists here like BW and RP and ZeK to be in a fragile and vulnerable position.

80

Daragh 07.22.16 at 1:48 pm

Procopious @78

Of course the USG would maintain a public stance of the ‘winnable’ war – to do otherwise would poke a very large hole in the credibility of it’s nuclear deterrent. That being said, if you look at actual US nuclear doctrine, particularly Flexible Response and beyond, USG policy was clearly based on the MAD principle, with emphasis on the Mutual.

“Do you know who Curtis Le May was? “

I do. He was the legendarily hot-headed head of the Airforce and SAC during the 1960s, among other things. He argued strongly for bombing Cuba during the Missile Crisis. Of course, that is an event that did not happen because the US armed forces and nuclear arsenal are controlled by the civilian leadership. Whether he or any other office truly believed in a ‘winnable’ nuclear war is immaterial. More to the point, it’s the duty of the nation’s armed forces to develop military strategies to counter and defeat real threats. During the Cold War a general nuclear exchange was very clearly one of those threats, so DOD had a duty to try and figure out ways to ‘win’ a conflict. You might also note that most of these strategies were heavily caveated with admissions that during a conflict it would be virtually impossible for the US and it’s allies to control the pace of escalation (something the Soviets were less concerned about, but I digress).

“Hillary believes the (a) Russia will not resist an invasion by NATO land forces AND that they will not launch their missiles before they are overwhelmed. “

You’ve provided absolutely no evidence for this. More importantly, absolutely no-one is proposing the above. We’re talking about NATO fulfilling it’s Art 5 commitments to protects the territorial integrity of the Baltic states. On a practical level this might involve over-running the Kaliningrad exclave, but it doesn’t mean a march on St Petersburg. More to the point, you’re placing an awful lot of faith in the idea that the Russian elite is perfectly happy to immolate themselves. In the event Putin launched an invasion of the Baltics, and it being defeated by conventional NATO forces, his options will be to swiftly exit power and become the public whipping boy for the national humiliation, or try to initiate a world-ending nuclear strike. He may very well prefer the latter – the question is whether the likes of Shoigu and Ivanov would, or instead, whether they’d use the opportunity to launch a swift coup d’etat to save their own bacon.

To be clear – any military confrontation over the Baltics would be a massively high risk enterprise with potentially world-ending consequences. It is something that should be avoided at all costs. The best way to avoid it is for NATO to make absolutely crystal clear that it will honour its treaty obligations to the Baltic states and that Russian efforts to break the alliance by picking off weaker states in the hopes the rest of NATO won’t respond will not succeed. Equally, major political actors wondering aloud whether honouring Art 5 is worth it, and confusing NATO with a protection racket, is a very good way to encourage the perception among the Russian leadership that Estonia is ripe for the taking if they simply show sufficient will.

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Layman 07.22.16 at 1:51 pm

“Um, just recently it was in the news that some of Obama’s last actions as President will be changing the nuclear arms provisions so America cannot launch a first strike nuclear attack.”

At some point, people will have to grasp the simple truth that no President can tie the hands of a future President; just as no Congress can bind any future Congress. If the current President accomplishes some objective by fiat, the next can simply un-accomplish it by fiat. If the current Congress accomplishes something by passing a law, the next can simply un-accomplish it by passing another law.

82

Layman 07.22.16 at 1:53 pm

“I expect HRC to attack Russia, and I expect the Democratic Party and the liberals here to cheer her on.”

Apparently, then, you’re a fool.

83

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 1:53 pm

FDR allows 527 heavy bombers of the US Eighth Air Force to drop 1, 247 tons of high explosives on Dresden on January 14 and 15 of 1945 ‘fierce winds fueled the resulting fire-storm’. (Six Months in 1945, p. 97) That’s after the Brits had already firebombed the civilian target on the night of February 13.

FDR allows Curtis Le May to deploy new ‘miracle’ weapon’ napalm against Japanese civilian targets in 60 Japanese cities. The March raid on Tokyo killed 100,000. FDR ‘raised no objections when informed of incendiary attacks on Japan (Targeting Civilians in War, p. 132)

Truman – nuclear weapons and invasion of Korea 1950.
Kennedy – Bay of Pigs – numerous assassinations/support for dictators across the globe.
Johnson – massive escalation of US troops in Viet Nam. Staunch cold warrior.

A number of us served during the cold war. Procopius @ 78 is right.

The policy of Mutually Assured Destruction provided the ‘stability’ during the cold war. Is there a crazier notion than ‘we can win’ a full-scale nuclear conflagration? That’s what passed for normal from 1945 to 1992, more or less. Both the US and Russia deserve credit for stepping back from that brink.

Partisan blinders prevent some from recognizing that war/torture/state terror/and meddling in the affairs of allies and enemies alike has long been part of the policies not just of both parties in the US, but of many governments around the globe, including that of the UK.

The fiction that Democrats are somehow more humane and caring than the rest of the planet is very much open to question. Indeed, the historical record offers plenty of evidence to the contrary, at least as damning as HRC’s giddy recollections of killing Libyans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

84

Layman 07.22.16 at 1:56 pm

@ Daragh, what is the basis of your view that the US did not pursue a policy of being able to fight and win a nuclear war?

85

LFC 07.22.16 at 2:04 pm

Sorry haven’t read the whole thread, but a couple of comments on the nuclear theme, spec. on Procopius @78 and Rich P. @80.

Rich says:

The promise that we made to Latvia was one that we never should have made, but it was a promise that the fear of MAD — which would uncontrollably come closer if Latvia was invaded — would protect them. It was not a promise to actually follow through and kill billions if the bluff was called, which is insane.

Latvia and the other Baltics came under the NATO umbrella only fairly recently. The ‘promise’ is that if they come under attack, NATO art.5 will be triggered and collective defense will come into play. The nuclear issue here only hovers in the background. To the extent it does hover in the background, Rich P., I think, somewhat misunderstands the psychological underpinnings: the whole point of a credible “bluff” in this context is that there must be some residual uncertainty, however small, in the mind of the ‘adversary’ about what will happen if it were to launch a (conventional or other) attack. The risk of inadvertent escalation, again however unlikely, is what really deters, not the notion that someone would deliberately and premeditatedly engage in MAD. This uncertainty is what Thomas Schelling, in his classic mid-1960s book Arms and Influence, called “the threat that leaves something to chance.” The psychological basis of nuclear deterrence, or a key part of it, is the idea that one cannot be entirely sure what will happen once hostilities are embarked upon. Now, this reasoning did not prevent the Russian annexation of Crimea, but then Ukraine is not a NATO member. The Baltics are in NATO, hence the commitment is there, hence everything is tenser and the Russian calculations must be different (regardless of what Trump says, since they can’t be sure he is going to win, and even in the unlikely event he does become Pres. he’s unlikely actually to implement these musings).

Procopius @78: Elements of DoD did think in terms of a winnable nuclear war but Eisenhower, for his part, realized that it was a contradiction in terms: see on this, e.g., Campbell Craig, Destroying the Village.

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Donald Johnson 07.22.16 at 2:04 pm

There is an obvious compromise here–Trump is genuinely scary for the reason novakant pointed out and yes, the nice sane sensible people we had in years past came dangerously close to killing us all. And many of those nice sane people support unnecessary wars or groups that chop the heads off children. But Trump does represent a new step in the sense that he openly espouses racism and bigotry. He doesn’t dogwhistle.

Trump’s open espousal of racism didn’t come out of nowhere–Republicans have been playing with it for decades and to a lesser extent, on certain issues so have Democrats (militarism and being “tough” on crime and immigrants requires contempt for the human rights of some people). But so long as everyone at least pretended that racism was bad it places constraints on what people can do. Trump is removing the constraints.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 2:05 pm

I don’t expect HRC to attack Russia for the same reason that I don’t expect Russia to attack Europe: MAD is still in effect. I don’t think that people are really that crazy. That said, NATO pledging full defense of small countries on Russia’s border is inherently destabilizing and leads to stances like Daragh’s at @85, in which we have to make crystal clear that we are promising to do something that it would be insane to do, and the crystal clearness of this insane promise is the best guarantee of stability.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 2:08 pm

LFC: “Rich P., I think, somewhat misunderstands the psychological underpinnings: the whole point of a credible “bluff” in this context is that there must be some residual uncertainty, however small, in the mind of the ‘adversary’ about what will happen if it were to launch a (conventional or other) attack.”

I think that I did understand this: that is what I meant by MAD “would uncontrollably come closer if Latvia was invaded”. What I was strongly objecting to was the idea that some other people seem to have in this thread that we promised to protect Latvia and treaty obligations force us to follow through.

89

LFC 07.22.16 at 2:09 pm

mcmanus: “I expect HRC to attack Russia”
Sort of what one might expect mcmanus to expect.

90

bianca steele 07.22.16 at 2:11 pm

@9

All of the Europeans posting at CT are on the left and therefore against NATO, which they see as an instrument of US imperialism. But if Russia invades a NATO, EU country, and the US says “sucks to be them,” possibly we will discover lots of other Europeans don’t agree with them?

91

LFC 07.22.16 at 2:12 pm

Rich,
We can argue about whether the Baltics should have been admitted to NATO and whether NATO expansion was a good idea. But that ship has sailed. Latvia is a NATO member. What would really be ‘destabilizing’ now is for NATO not to carry out its commitments or to hint that it might not. Daragh, it seems to me, is entirely correct on that point.

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Howard Frant 07.22.16 at 2:15 pm

kidneystones@74

“The neocon in a dress who supported the Iraq debacle and enjoyed it so much that she played a key role in American regime change in Libya, and still wants kill more brown people through more violent regime change in Syria is far and away the safer, saner candidate”

The “in a dress” part is nice. I must try it: “Barbara Boxer, that senator in a dress…”

Everyone seems to have forgotten that there was a genuine civil war in Libya, and that Qaddafi had said he was coming and there would be no mercy. (But maybe he didn’t really mean it…) Of course it’s *American* regime change, because everyone knows those European countries are just our puppets. Look how they all got pushed into helping us invade Iraq. Oh, wait…

When you get to Syria, you go off the rails altogether. Yes, that Hillary just loves to kill them brown people! Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed, and according to the UN, only 400,000 brown people have died so far. Thank God they’ve been spared violent regime change.

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Daragh 07.22.16 at 2:19 pm

Layman @89 Over a decade of studying Soviet/Russian politics and foreign policy, including more detailed examinations of the history of the Cold War, the respective strategies of both sides and the points on which they understood and misunderstood one another than I care to remember.

Rich Pulasky @92 – Sorry, how is it ‘inherently destabilising’ to tell Latvia we’ll defend them if they’re attacked by Russia and mean it? The alternatives are a) leave them in a position where they have absolutely no ability to preserve their sovereignty vis-a-vis Russia, encouraging revanchist and neo-imperial forces within the Russian leadership, b) issuing half-assed, vague ‘assurances’ like the Budapest memorandum. You can ask the Ukrainians how that worked out.

NATO membership for the Baltics forces Moscow to accept that it can’t achieve its goals through raw force, and has to accept the Baltics as independent sovereign states. It makes a military clash on the borders of Europe that would inevitably draw in Poland, and god knows who else much, much, much less likely than it otherwise would have been. It is ‘destabilising’ only in the rhetoric of the current Russian political elite, which has adopted an policy of subordinating its neighbours and eroding their sovereignty in order to create a ‘sphere of privileged interests.’ How a voluntary alliance based on consensus decision making and mutual defence is more ‘destabilising’ than explicit imperialism is, frankly, beyond me.

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Donald 07.22.16 at 2:30 pm

“Everyone seems to have forgotten that there was a genuine civil war in Libya, and that Qaddafi had said he was coming and there would be no mercy. (But maybe he didn’t really mean it…) “

The counterargument is that he said this about the armed rebels, Qaddafi had already taken cities back and hadn’t murdered tens of thousands of people, the rebels themselves were already killing African “mercenaries” (that is, black people) and as usual, the US government claimed massive atrocities were occurring when they weren’t. (Mass rapes are never mentioned by the pro-Clinton people anymore).

So, no, “everyone” hasn’t forgotten the rationale for intervening. It’s just that some of us have read things outside of what the more rabid pro-Clinton people have read.

And again, I’d like to plead for compromise here. Those of us who are voting for Clinton don’t have to place ourselves in a position where we have to defend her record or the record of all the other mainstream politicians in both parties who have intervened in various stupid and catastrophic ways, nor do we have to defend some of the insane thinking that occurred during the Cold War. We just have to make the argument that Trump is taking us in a worse direction and that he seems unstable.

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Donald 07.22.16 at 2:31 pm

Hmm. I switched machines. “Donald” above and here is the same person as “Donald Johnson” above.

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kidneystones 07.22.16 at 2:35 pm

@ Agreed. If only the Syrians could enjoy the type of stability HRC brought to Libya and western Iraq. A neocon in a dress really hurts, doesn’t it. But it’s that simple.

Did you watch the CBS interview of HRC yukking it up over killing the brown dude?

Inspiring stuff! I’m Canadian. Many my deluded fellow citizens resisted your demand to join you in Iraq and even believe in the UN, not war, to solve regional differences.

Silly us!

97

Daragh 07.22.16 at 2:35 pm

“The Clinton admin bombed Serbia, Russia’s close ally, from high altitudes with no military purpose”

A) Serbia was not an ‘ally’ of Russia. In fact at that point it wasn’t even a state.
B) Non-ethnic-Serbian residents of the former Yugoslavia may have a slightly different recollection of that war than you.

“Obama’s admin is responsible for the coup in Ukraine and its consequences, as well as the incredibly aggressive propaganda campaign, and all the recent escalations, all well-known.”

No, it wasn’t, and isn’t, as even a cursory examination of the Obama administration’s foreign policy prior to the revolution would make clear. I’m sorry you can’t accept that the Ukrainians are a separate nation from the Russians, and one that had the fortitude and courage to overthrow their own kleptocratic dictatorship to boot, but waving your hands furiously and declaring ‘THE AMERICANS DID IT!’ doesn’t make it so.

98

Anarcissie 07.22.16 at 2:38 pm

Howard Frant 07.22.16 at 7:05 am @ 54:
‘I have no idea what you’re saying here. You’ve been seeing a lot of people asking whether Trump or Clinton is worse? Truly, is there no limit to the stupidity of the intellectual left?

Most of my conversational parters, in Real Life or online, are not what I would call ‘intellectuals’ and many of them are not leftists in the bourgeois intellectual leftist sense. I read CT as I used to read the New York Review of Books, to find out what the bourgeoisie are up to. I hope my terms will be understood, but if not, it doesn’t matter; I’m sure you get the general idea.

Indeed, I was referring to Clinton’s foreign and military policies. By the standards of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, which seem reasonable to me, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a war crime, and those who supported it in a significant way, such as being in the U.S. Senate and voting for it, being accomplices, are war criminals. Clinton’s excuse is that she was fed bad intelligence, but I don’t believe she is that stupid or incompetent. Absent a war-crimes trial, we must guess, but my guess is that she calculated that if the war turned out badly, it would be Bush’s war, and if it turned out well (politically, I mean) she would have been in on it. That is, she voted for the violent or deaths or other serious harm of several hundred thousand innocent people in order to secure a political advantage. In my view this makes her a war criminal and I won’t vote for or otherwise support such a person. Her subsequent career seems to confirm my guess. Insofar as she shows emotion about slaughter, she seems to enjoy it, as witness her crowing about Qaddafi.

‘It’s easy not to get anyone killed if you never spend any time in international politics. Very hard otherwise, either by commission or by omission.’

Or, as Stalin is said to have said, ‘If you kill one man, it’s murder. If you kill a million men, it’s a statistic.’ I see that kind of thinking as a problem as well as a joke, and I’m not going to go along with it. How do you deal with it? Don’t you find it somewhat problematical?

In regard to Ukraine, my take on what happened there was that the existing situation, in which Ukraine was a more or less neutral state, tolerated by its neighbors, was unsatisfactory to some important people in the US. As long as Ukraine followed more or less democratic forms, the large Russian population there would tend to keep it neutral, so a violent coup against the elected government was fomented, obviating that problem. I’d guess the targets of the exercise were the Russian naval base at Sevastopol, and the chance of putting NATO forces and weapons next to southern Russia. Putin’s response was to play black: he took just what he needed, to wit, a couple of eastern provinces and Crimea, and left the rest. A gangster, no doubt, but a rational one. I don’t see this sequence of events as relating strongly to the Baltic states. I suppose if NATO built huge bases there it might make the Russians nervous, but to my knowledge that isn’t planned. God knows, though — people could be that stupid, I suppose, considering the pair the major parties have presented us with.

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Corey Robin 07.22.16 at 2:46 pm

There’s an update in the OP.

100

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 2:51 pm

@ 95 It’s unlikely that the US will allow Russia to bully Britain and the Baltic states too badly. But you’re quite right to point to the hypocrisy of France and Britain whining about NATO and Trump given that the US rode to the rescue of European empires in 1917 and to European colonialism two decades later, over the objections of a significant percentage of the populace.

Unlike most here, I see no major threat of war from either candidate. My support for any anti-globalization candidate pushes me away from HRC. Plus, I think she’s really creepy.

Had Cruz won, I can see myself doing my tiny, tiny part to keep him from power. Trump is/was a liberal Democrat who supports LGBT issues and equal pay for women.

No politician from either party besides Sanders seems much interested in actually bringing real change to America, and we know HRC is more of the same only worse. Offering nothing more to the poor and middle-class who’ve been screwed by both parties for decades than ‘Let them eat confetti’ confirms all the worst that Sanders’ supporters see so clearly.

Her sense of entitlement is off-putting in the extreme.

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Daragh 07.22.16 at 2:52 pm

“In regard to Ukraine, my take on what happened there was that the existing situation, in which Ukraine was a more or less neutral state, tolerated by its neighbors, was unsatisfactory to some important people in the US. As long as Ukraine followed more or less democratic forms, the large Russian population there would tend to keep it neutral, so a violent coup against the elected government was fomented, obviating that problem. “

Your take is entirely wrong, unsupported by any evidence, ignores the fact that the Euromaidan stayed peaceful through months of unrelenting police brutality, and more to the point, totally ignores (or is ignorant of) the basic contours of Ukrainian domestic politics and implicitly assumes the Ukrainian people have no agency and could not possibly have organised their own revolution.

Funny how notions of self-determination and the right of the oppressed to assert themselves are immediately subordinated to the higher principle of ‘the Americans are super bad and responsible for all the troubles in the world’ by a certain tribe of those who like to think of themselves as ‘left wing.’

PS – “I’d guess the targets of the exercise were the Russian naval base at Sevastopol, and the chance of putting NATO forces and weapons next to southern Russia.”

You do realise Turkey exists right? And is a NATO member?

102

TM 07.22.16 at 2:54 pm

“I expect HRC to attack Russia”

I can’t believe it wasn’t mentioned yet that Hillary Clinton tortures puppies and eats babies. Also, “lock her up”.

No answer to 66 yet.

103

Corey Robin 07.22.16 at 2:59 pm

Rich P.: I’ve been thinking a lot since last night about your point. Here’s an aspect that I think transcends the issue of wanting your own side to win. That, I grant you, plays a role. But I also think there’s something else going on with these guys: they desperately want to believe that despite all the badness they associate with Trump, the overall system — its past, present, and future — is good. So there is always a tendency to want to incorporate everything from the past that was, at the time, viewed as vile, into a larger story of the American Pageant. So suddenly Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush become these genial fellows, at best rogue-ish characters, who were basically decent and good in some way. Either principled (Goldwater), smart (Nixon), good-hearted and unhateful (Reagan) or compassionate (Bush).

That, to me, is part of the amnesia. You’re right that it’s impervious to facts and correctives, but I don’t think that invalidates the claim of amnesia. The facts and corrections could easily be acknowledged, and then forgotten the next day (I’ve seen that happen!) Nor is it simply strategic and instrumental or narrowly partisan. It’s part of a larger desire for national validation, and that was what Renan meant, I think, when he said that every nationalism is premised on a kind of forgetting.

104

Daragh 07.22.16 at 3:01 pm

Corey – I’m generally in agreement with your assessment that Reagan wasn’t a particularly hard worker, or entirely in control of his administration (though only up to a point – if you think he didn’t know about Iran-Contra, I’ve got a bridge to sell you). However, given the emphasis in the OP on historical rigour, it should be pointed out that –

“A White House aide told Newsweek in 1982 that “he [Reagan] probably spends two or three hours a day on real work. All he wants to do is tell stories about his movie days.””

Is not a ‘fact’ about Reagan. It’s an assertion, by an anonymous aide with unknowable motivations. Similarly the WaPo and LAT quotes aren’t ‘facts’ – they’re contemporary interpretations and suspicions about the inner workings of the Reagan administration.
There is still quite a bit of debate on how, ahem, engaged Reagan was during his tenure. As I said, I tend to come down on the same side as you. But neither of us will really ever know for certain, barring some truly extraordinary documentary evidence coming to light.

105

Corey Robin 07.22.16 at 3:06 pm

Daragh: Well, if you want to be uber-pedantic, they are in fact, facts about Reagan. An aide really did tell Newsweek that Reagan…the Washington Post really did report that Reagan….

And all these facts about Reagan were in fact widely reported at the time.

But I take your point. I should have said, “Here are some statements made about Reagan (and by Reagan), which were widely reported at the time.”

106

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 3:09 pm

Re: the update. Laziness is much-maligned. Our son used to expend a great deal of effort in the pool going nowhere other than closer to the bottom. Learning when and how to expend effort, and when to relax is knowledge worth having. The picture of professional know-nothing Yglesias lecturing anyone on ‘getting shit done,’ especially a guy who builds buildings for a living is one for the ages. Has Matt even purchased his own home, yet?

Trust fund babies do exist and being born wealthy hasn’t hurt Trump one bit. But nobody who builds any successful business, or career, or raises a family deserves to be called lazy by a wannabe VSP.

Trump’s death count, like it or not, resides only in the vivid imaginations of his detractors, so far. The same can’t be said for his opponent. She could have opposed Iraq, like every sane person in the world – but both she and Matt signed up for that mess. That’s as dumb and sociopathic as anyone needs to be.

When Dems stop supporting stupid wars of choice and pointless regime change let us all know.

107

TM 07.22.16 at 3:10 pm

Let’s face it, Trump is really no worse than any other candidate and hyperbole about his hate speech is just cheap rhetoric. Clinton on the other hand is planning to attack Russia, and liberals are willing to “reduce the world to a glowing cinder” to teach Putin a lesson. Upholding treaty obligations is “destabilizing” – the sane thing to do is to publicly disavow them. What could possibly wrong?

108

Anarcissie 07.22.16 at 3:14 pm

Daragh 07.22.16 at 2:52 pm @ 108 —
I know only what I read in the media, so I don’t really, really know what happened in Ukraine, but I do know there was a violent coup against an elected government, apparently supported by the US — no one seems to disagree with that part — and the rest seems to organize itself around that event pretty well. I was also impressed by the torrent of propaganda that promptly issued forth at that time, which always makes me suspect advanced preparation. If you are in contact with any of those people, I suggest that in the view of us outerworld cranks their work in this area has not been up to the best standards of the art. Agreed, it’s a tough case.

The strategic difference between having major NATO installations in Turkey and having them in the north and east of Ukraine ought to be obvious.

109

RNB 07.22.16 at 3:15 pm

Silly discussion. Trump is an unstable sociopath, so this is how it plays out. He keeps on harping on how since allies are not paying their full share, he is withdrawing US military support. He thinks this is just part of his deal-making, tough guy talk. But he is over his head. Putin or Kim Jong-un tests this and strikes out. Humiliated by the loss of territory, Trump counter-strikes recklessly in the heat of the moment; and horrific war results. No one in his right mind would want Trump to be the one to rein in US military commitments. He could not carry this out from a strategic point of view; nor does he have anyone willing to work with him who could do this without creating a vacuum likely to result in war.

110

Alex K--- 07.22.16 at 3:17 pm

The issue raised by Prof. Robin was not whether Trump’s take on NATO and other foreign policy subjects is right or wrong, but whether it is unprecedented:

Instead, the pundits and experts were keen to establish the absolutely unprecedented nature of Trump’s irresponsibility: his recklessness when it came to NATO,  his adventurism, his sheer reveling in being the Bad Boy of US Foreign Policy: this, it was agreed, was new.

At this point in the discussion, I believe the only remaining candidate for uniqueness and novelty is Trump’s indication that the US might not honor its obligations to those NATO members he vaguely defines as non-contributing. It is different from Trump’s view (held for 25 years or longer) that NATO members should contribute more to joint defense. It sounds like a unilateral shedding of responsibility. Has the US ever done that before?

111

TM 07.22.16 at 3:19 pm

CR 110: Of course you are right but the vast majority of Americans believe that “the overall system — its past, present, and future — is good”. To even doubt that consensus is a fairly radical and marginal position in American politics.

112

RNB 07.22.16 at 3:21 pm

Silly discussion, part 2. There has been no recent Presidential candidate who has whipped up exterminatory hatred against a US minority population. But this is what Trump has done when he lied about thousands of American Muslims celebrating the 9/11 terrorist attack. This is what he did when he falsely said American blacks were calling for a moment of silence in honor of the black assassin of police in Dallas. There has been no US presidential candidate who has insisted that he is going to create a secret police to deport 12 million people.

Anyone who does not recognize the unique threat that Trump poses to American minority populations is suffering a massive ethical lapse insofar as we think ethics entails some recognition of the needs of others, especially vulnerable others, and adapting our actions accordingly.

113

RNB 07.22.16 at 3:30 pm

No one has defended Corey Robin’s claim that Trump did speak the truth about the US and civil liberties. But Trump did not speak the truth. What he was saying–as was evident last night again–is that American civil liberties are behind the rising civil unrest and crime in America and need to be stamped out so that he can eliminate crime and civil unrest completely on Day 1 of his Presidency. Sure, this is an authoritarian like every other US Presidential nominee in the last forty years. Who says these kinds of things?

114

RNB 07.22.16 at 3:32 pm

It would be a shame if Corey Robin continues to write the OP’s about US Presidential politics. He is setting the discussion off in an idiosyncratic and terrible way.

115

Daragh 07.22.16 at 3:34 pm

Anarcissie @116 –

“I know only what I read in the media, so I don’t really, really know what happened in Ukraine, but I do know there was a violent coup against an elected government, apparently supported by the US — no one seems to disagree with that part — and the rest seems to organize itself around that event pretty well. “

Here’s the thing – I’ve been studying and analysing the politics of the region either as a student or professionally since 2005. Your interpretation is incorrect, in its entirety. Plenty of people ‘disagree with that part’. You just haven’t heard them or sought them out.

To lay it out briefly – There were a series of protests, collectively known as the Euromaidan, that went on for three months, to the general indifference of Europe and the US, neither of which wanted the headache of a geopolitical confrontation with Russia over Ukraine (2013 wasn’t a great year for the EU, and the US was trying to implement its ‘pivot to Asia’.) The Euromaidan and associated movements endured several months of police brutality, including the abduction, torture and murder of prominent protest leaders, and yet remained overwhelmingly peaceful in the face of this state violence. In February 2014, snipers opened fire on crowds of demonstrators in Kyiv’s main square killing dozens. At this point a few of the more radical protestors fired back. In the aftermath of the carnage, Yanukovych’s few remaining allies deserted him and his bodyguards headed for the airport. Yanukovych himself followed swiftly afterwards, having spent the days leading up to the violence loading as many valuables as he could find from his Mezhihirya villa into a helicopter (captured on CCTV). During this period Yanukovych was implored by Russia to take a hardline approach to the protestors and crack down violently. There is some evidence to suggest the snipers may have been Russian provocateurs. What is beyond doubt is that Yanukovych’s administration and security agencies were thoroughly penetrated by Russian agents (a continuing problem for the post-revolution administration) who had a high degree of influence over the Yanukovych government’s actions, and the subsequent unfolding of the situation in Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk.

In other words, the revolution in Ukraine is quite complex, involved a number of different factors primarily related to the domestic politics of Ukraine itself (you’ll note that the ‘elected’ government included a parliament selected through a rigged vote in 2012, and maintained itself in power through targetted brutality and violence against its political opponents). To reduce it to some evil geopolitical scheme initiated by dastardly Americans is incredibly insulting to the thousands of Ukrainians who literally put their lives on the line in the hopes of a better future for themselves and their country (some of whom I have the privilege to know). It’s doubly insulting from someone who freely admits they don’t really know what they’re talking about, and apparently can’t be bothered to find out.

Corey @113 – Apologies for being pedantic. Just in one of those moods today. And like I said – I think you’re right on Reagan. I just wish we could prove it!

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Corey Robin 07.22.16 at 3:34 pm

RNB always make me laugh. He thinks there’s nothing ethically problematic about a presidential candidate being willing to nuke the Vietnamese people. Or Nixon engaging in secret negotiations that led to the prolongation of the Vietnam War that killed easily another half-million people, again, mostly of color. Or Reagan, who gave his full support to the Guatemalan military, the only military in the Western hemisphere judged by the UN to have engaged in genocide (against mostly Mayan peasants). That’s all cool with him; reason of state and such. And I guess, judging by his freakout over Trump and NATO, RNB doesn’t think twice about sending the American military to fight abroad. Because, of course, he won’t be doing that fighting. And who will? A lot of poor people of color. That, my friends, is what they call “ethics” over at Berkeley.

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Daragh 07.22.16 at 3:36 pm

Anarcissie –

An addendum – “The strategic difference between having major NATO installations in Turkey and having them in the north and east of Ukraine ought to be obvious.”

Sevastopol is not ‘in the north and east of Ukraine.’ And if you think that the European states of NATO were going to welcome Ukraine with open arms as soon as Yanukovych was gone, well… you’re wrong. There’s simply no other way to put it.

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Walt 07.22.16 at 3:37 pm

I don’t know what RNB has posted in other comment threads, but I didn’t see anything resembling that here.

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RNB 07.22.16 at 3:40 pm

Yeah laugh all you want. But no recent American Presidential candidate has threatened American minority populations the way Trump has. You didn’t respond to my claim. Nor have you defended your claim that Trump was speaking the truth about civil liberties. I was an opponent of both wars in Iraq and helped to organize massive demonstrations.

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stevenjohnson 07.22.16 at 3:44 pm

The OP’s point that much of the rhetoric and policies advocated by Trump are not particularly novel is correct. The issue is whether it’s relevant. Obama supporters heavily emphasized Clinton’s Iraq War vote, but that told us precisely zero about Obama’s highly aggressive drive toward world domination. Which of course continues even without Clinton as Secretary of State. But it seems obvious to me that if you are looking for someone wholly driven by greed and a lust to win, win, win, the billionaire (any of them, all of them) are the ones to pick first. They’ve already “won” more than they can spend but they still can’t stop. There’s something horribly wrong with every one of them.

The issue about Trump is not his skills or his rhetoric or his professed policies. The issue is that one of this country’s owners is campaigning against the tired old democracy shit which has enabled two bit politicians like the Clintons to extort speaking fees from their betters. Trump has already done a good job in wrecking one party. And there’s every reason to think he’ll continue. Sowing confusion on this issue only benefits him. He has plenty of support in his campaign, despite the opposition from rivals who would prefer an American version of Monsignor Tiso, the Ustase or perhaps Generalissimo Franco. Clinton will be just as bad as Obama, but that’s not what she’s campaigning for.

It’s up to you to make your choices. Since it is universally agreed among the politically correct thinkers that Marxism is outmoded and Communism is outright evil, there is no left alternative.

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Faustusnotes 07.22.16 at 3:46 pm

Oh yes, obamas highly aggressive drive towards world domination … You people are so stupid

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Michael Foley 07.22.16 at 3:54 pm

Donald Trump promised at one of the primary debates to order the US military to murder the innocent children of terrorists and force them to do so in spite of laws against this. The fact that he was forced to walk back the position the next day and say he would do this only after getting Congress to legalize it does not change the fact that he is clearly not a candidate who has any objections to murdering brown people.
You can argue that Trump’s “non-interventionist” policies (although you do recall he supported the Iraq war and Libya intervention until they went wrong) would result in a lower risk of war but he is not more responsible than Clinton. He praised the Tienanmen Square massacre at the time, he admires the North Korean government, he thinks he can exempt himself from lawsuits by insulting the judges, he praises Putin (you may think that the US exaggerates the threat Putin poses but Putin is not a personally admirable figure what with the murdering journalists and violating the norm of territorial integrity), and he explicitly encourages violence against his critics in the United States.
Trump would become President in a less dangerous time than Reagan or Kennedy and I think the odds of a nuclear war during a Trump term would be lower because of that but I don’t think we can say Trump is somehow more responsible than other candidates.

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Yankee 07.22.16 at 4:00 pm

The NATO treaty isn’t about a “moral” obligation since state politics is always played at the street level, there being no supervening authority. It’s a statement about aligned interests and taking preparatory steps towards implementing that interest if and when. So Trump is disavowing that interest (unless they earn better than they have been) and suggesting an alignment of interest with Putin (). So maybe that’s the key to a Trump presidency: give it over to the Oligarchs. Big money, hardly any work at all!

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Yankee 07.22.16 at 4:02 pm

Krugman! href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/opinion/donald-trump-the-siberian-candidate.html”. Sorry about that.

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JimV 07.22.16 at 4:06 pm

Evolution would tend to predict that most human leaders are war leaders. Believers in domination, come not to bring peace but the sword, looking for enemies to fight, both externally and internally. As I often say, the evidence for evolution is all around us (including CT threads).

There may be technological solutions, if we last long enough to develop them and should we then chose to implement them: reliable lie detectors, AI judges, AI governments.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 4:20 pm

CR: “That, to me, is part of the amnesia. You’re right that it’s impervious to facts and correctives, but I don’t think that invalidates the claim of amnesia. The facts and corrections could easily be acknowledged, and then forgotten the next day (I’ve seen that happen!) Nor is it simply strategic and instrumental or narrowly partisan. It’s part of a larger desire for national validation, and that was what Renan meant, I think, when he said that every nationalism is premised on a kind of forgetting.”

Aren’t we really talking about cognitive dissonance? Or perhaps some kind of similar expression within the realm of ideology. I agree that pundits want to think of a great American Pageant in which every person of power contributed to the American story to the good in some way. If they had to consistently criticize American history when that history was not good, they could not be in their line of work.

That was what I meant when I wrote that if Trump began to win, the tales the pundits tell would change. Not simply because they want to be on the winning side. But if Trump gets into power or looks like he’s about to, then his attributes have to in turn be incorporated. Maybe they’d wait until he was gone? But the news cycles go quickly these days, and I think that very soon these same people would be writing about plain-talking Trump, no-BS Trump, Trump who gets things done. Can that be called amnesia in any meaningful way?

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bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 4:26 pm

There is a tired old cliche, reliably attributed to Santayana, about those who forget history being condemned to repeat it. It hovers over this thread.

To be a Vox pundit requires reading one’s own emotions. Trust your instincts, Ezra, feel the force. The big news in the Ezra Klein rant is that he, himself, wise veteran reporter of 32, is frightened for the first time.

History is easily forgotten; people project backward imaginatively. If they are old enough to have personal memories, there is nostalgia for youth mixed in. But, they project forward, too, in the same spirit.

I disagree slightly with Corey Robin’s assessment. It isn’t the Pageant that anyone needs whitewashed; it is the present, the status quo. People forget so quickly because they are uncomfortable with the reality of their own times, yet pleased with their own place and want it all to continue even as they sense precarity.

The problem with Clinton and Libya wasn’t her nervous joke about Gaddafi’s grim end, but the apparent absence of a plan. After the experience of Afganistan and Iraq, no one thought, “we need a plan.”

This is amnesia pressed forward.

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bianca steele 07.22.16 at 4:33 pm

My 2c on the discussion between Rich and Corey:

So now Goldwater and Reagan are treated respectfully, as part of the American Pageant. This involves forgetting that they used to be thought of badly. Historical opinion changes. Does it make sense to call that amnesia, when Klein and Yglesias are too young to have remembered it before they forgot it? My own introduction to the dark side of US politics was when I was assigned The Making of the President 1968 for a high school summer project (which was so poorly supervised that to call it poorly supervised is a compliment). I didn’t know who Goldwater was before that; my family didn’t talk about Goldwater. I picked that up over the years, from college on, and now I guess I’m supposed to forget it again, because it’s not “cool” (not the word I’d use, but it gets at least part of the point across) to remember that conflict.

But . . . the amnesia is supposed to be in the name of unity. But it can’t possibly be about unity, because there are too many people who do remember. “We’re going to ignore all this history, and all the people who were on the currently ‘wrong’ side of that history, in the name of ‘unity'” obviously is nonsensical.

I think I agree with most of what you say about social science and possibly with all of what you say. The devil is in the details, though.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 4:37 pm

LFC: “We can argue about whether the Baltics should have been admitted to NATO and whether NATO expansion was a good idea. But that ship has sailed. Latvia is a NATO member. What would really be ‘destabilizing’ now is for NATO not to carry out its commitments or to hint that it might not. Daragh, it seems to me, is entirely correct on that point.”

That is very familiar reasoning. We did something stupid, but now the ship has sailed. We can’t go back on it. We are forever committed to following through because someone in the past locked us in.

Imagine that you think that NATO expansion was not a good idea. How are we supposed to get out of it? We can’t just hold a referendum and vote Latvia out of NATO. If ever something was going to green light Russian expansionism, that would certainly do it, I’d imagine. So now what? Our solution to every such problem is to double down and say that we were right from the beginning and that we have to preserve this forever. And part of that is that people really start to believe the propaganda. They start to think things like our commitment to Latvia means that we really do have to kill billions if it is attacked and that if we say the obvious, we’re bad treaty breakers.

If you give people no path to change things, they start to look for very risky paths. Like the ramblings of a demagogue. I’m sure that 99+% of people do not care about NATO expansion, but this is a symptom of a larger state of affairs.

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bianca steele 07.22.16 at 4:39 pm

That was Selling of the President, not Making–the one everyone remembers. I might have read both of them, but don’t have my copy of the other one anymore.

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Layman 07.22.16 at 4:51 pm

Rich P, please feel free to correct me (seriously!), but as far as I can tell, you think (1) we shouldn’t have let Latvia into NATO, because we shouldn’t be serious about coming to their defense if Russia attacks; (2) and we shouldn’t be committed to keeping them in NATO and defending them as a NATO member just because we let them in foolishly in the first place; (3) but we can’t vote them out, because that will encourage Russia to invade them; so (4)…what, exactly? We should say we might not defend them, as Trump does? We should say we will defend them, as Clinton does? We should say something else?

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casmilus 07.22.16 at 4:53 pm

For example of a much-lauded figure who was controversial for most of his career, there is of course Winston Churchill.

He wasn’t heeded too well in the 30s precisely because he was seen as a discredited hasbeen due to Gallipoli, the slump, etc.

Nowadays you have to pay a lot for an old copy of “The Tragedy Of Winston Churchill” (1931):
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tragedy-Winston-Churchill-Victor-Germains/dp/B0006ALIVO/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1469206288&sr=8-8&keywords=the+tragedy+of+winston+churchill

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Bob Zannelli 07.22.16 at 5:06 pm

Corey Robin is wrong here in my opinion, which is usual, he’s generally very insightful. What Robin is doing ,as I see it , is projecting his dislike of the cast of Characters who have been president ,and a sorry story that is, on to Trump. But he’s just wrong to argue that Trump is just more of the same. Trump represents an unprecedented new escalation in just how dangerous an election can be , given the rise of Fascism and religious extremism in the GOP.

The only blast from the past who was almost as dangerous as Trump was Goldwater and he was destroyed in the election. In terms of future worry , assuming Trump is defeated , is this new ability of the GOP to gather sociopaths and religious extremists and get them elected.

No president in the history of this country has ever argued for defaulting on the national debt. Now we have Trump and Pense who hold this view , even if for different reasons. For Trump because he thinks all problems can be solved by shafting people you own money to, and Pense because he believes an economic collapse would bring on biblical economics. Robin is just wrong here, this election is unprecedented.

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Lee A. Arnold 07.22.16 at 5:24 pm

Hitlery vs. Hillary

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Lee A. Arnold 07.22.16 at 5:31 pm

Now that Hitlery has been nominated, I think we are going to hear more Republicans come out and condemn him, and suggest that Hillary is the better choice, however much they have to “hold their noses”, and all of that.

The Dem Convention would do well to have a speaker who makes an explicit appeal to “Clinton Republicans”.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 5:40 pm

“We should say something else?”

The first observation that I should make is that there are treaties that everyone agrees are super important to follow to the letter, because they involve promising to kill people. There are other, unimportant treaties that no one really cares about like the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty that say that the nuclear states are supposed to pursue nuclear disarmament. No one calls you a bad treaty breaker if you ignore those, because those involve not killing people.

So asking what I would say in this situation is asking me to accept these ridiculous premises at face value. If we were pursuing nuclear disarmament, we could make stupid promises to protect small countries on Russia’s border and those promises would only potentially lead to millions dead rather than billions dead. But we’re not, so… I think that we should give up on the state entirely and let all of these promises fall by the wayside. But that’s not going to happen either.

Bur we need solutions! That’s what you always say. Even if they are delusional solutions. Well no, I know what I’m doing with my personal ability to do things, and that does not involve obsessing about creating “solutions” that are not going to be implemented.

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LFC 07.22.16 at 6:20 pm

It’s true ‘we’re’ not pursuing nuclear disarmament in a particularly urgent or serious way. That said, the number of nuclear warheads has declined, as a result e.g. of the new START treaty. The U.S. nuclear arsenal imo is still too redundant, big, and expensive, and the coming cycle of nuclear-weapons ‘modernization’ is a chance to make some important policy calls that could shift things in a better direction. Unfortunately the Obama admin, as far as I’m aware (important caveat), has not made these course-changing decisions.

In February of this year the Center for Am. Progress issued a report on this topic that made what seem like sensible recs. for change, to wit:

This report describes four changes to U.S. nuclear modernization plans that ensure strategic stability in a cost-effective way: Reducing the planned number of submarines from 12 to 10; cancellation of the new cruise missile; elimination of the tactical nuclear mission; a gradual reduction in the size of the ICBM force.

Collectively, these changes could save roughly $120 billion over the next 30 years. These savings would increase the likelihood that the services will have the consistent funding necessary to efficiently modernize the nuclear force and would lower the risk they will have to quickly accommodate shocks to the nuclear force structure on short notice. This plan preserves the overall structure of the nuclear triad …while remaining at the warhead ceiling allowed by the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START. …

Before leaving office, the Obama administration can take three steps to ensure that his successor has the information and flexibility necessary to make these needed changes. First, the president should cancel two programs: an effort to consolidate variants of the B61 gravity bomb—a lower-yield nuclear weapon dropped from fighter aircraft—as well as a program to produce a new cruise missile launched from a bomber that is able to maneuver to its target. Second, the president should revise deterrence requirements that currently constrain modernization plans. Third, the White House should order the Pentagon to generate analysis in order to inform the next Nuclear Posture Review regarding options to limit the modernization plans.

Most people prob. aren’t aware that the US still has in its arsenal, in diff. variants, about 200 B-61 gravity nuclear bombs — ‘tactical’ i.e. ‘low-yield’ nuclear weapons — located in certain NATO countries (not the Baltics). The report quoted above calls for cancelling the consolidation/modernization effort for these weapons and for (putting the same point in different words) ending “the tactical nuclear mission.” These tactical nuclear weapons don’t deter anything, and there is, imo, no point in having them.

And further to Rich P’s point on MAD, I think what immediately deters Russia vis-a-vis the Baltics (assuming Russia wd otherwise move on them, which I have no strong opinion on actually) is not some kind of nuclear option, but rather it’s conventional forces and what they symbolize in terms of poss. further conventional action. That’s why I said in my orig. comment on this that the nuclear aspect, at most, “hovers in the background.” It’s really not what’s doing the ‘heavy lifting’ of deterrence, imo.

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LFC 07.22.16 at 6:25 pm

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stevenjohnson 07.22.16 at 6:36 pm

Faustusnotes@120 “Oh yes, obamas highly aggressive drive towards world domination … You people are so stupid.”

How very Crooked Timber of you people!

But, this post neatly suggests the falsification of the present is the key to the ignorance of the past. (Which may be what Bruce Wilder is driving at, but I think not the OP.)

ZeK, using your strategic approach, you should plan to escape the deceits of bourgeois democracy by restoring the Tsar.

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Layman 07.22.16 at 7:00 pm

Rich P: “So asking what I would say in this situation is asking me to accept these ridiculous premises at face value.”

No, not at all. You can completely ignore the premises, and simply focus on the facts. There is a (foolish) treaty; Latvia has been (foolishly) included in it; now what?

“But we’re not, so… I think that we should give up on the state entirely and let all of these promises fall by the wayside.”

Isn’t that the same thing as saying we don’t intend to defend Latvia? Or voting Latvia out, which you said earlier we couldn’t do. At least, it’s the same thing from Latvia’s perspective.

“But we need solutions! That’s what you always say.”

I suppose I’m trying to grasp the point of your harangues. You spend a good deal of energy on pointing out the wrong things people do and say, while almost never offering any alternative available under the circumstances. If there is no smart or wise thing to say about the situation, what’s the point of calling what is said unwise or stupid? Saying “we should not be in the situation” doesn’t really address the reality, does it?

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bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 7:05 pm

For much of the post-WWII era, American politics was eminently predictable: if the economy was good in February, the incumbent or the incumbent Party was favored to win the Presidency in November. In general, the Democratic Presidents tended to be better for the economy viewed from the perspective of the general population of wage earners over the course of their four years, but conservatives found ways, sometimes, to undermine the Democrats in election years. And, in the reverse of this pattern, Republican Presidents tended to be bad for the economy (from the perspective of the general population of wage earners) except in election years.

Early on, ex-Presidents imitated Cincinnatus. Truman moved in with his hateful mother-in-law and people worried that he didn’t have enough to live on. Eisenhower went to his farm in Gettysburg. Lyndon Johnson had secured his fortune while in office as a Senator and was able to hold onto office for Texas only by presenting himself as sufficiently corruptible to Texas oil interests. But, Johnson, like Eisenhower, seemed to think reactionary Texas millionaires (they were mere millionaires in those days) were crazy and irresponsible, and needed to be handled and marginalized.

Nixon found the enduring fracture points in the post-war liberal consensus; he used his own personal and deeply felt resentments like a hammer and chisel, first as the most successful commie-baiter and later as a reinvented epitome of mediocrity. His personal corruption, by 21st century standards, was as modest as his wife’s Republican cloth coat. But, he saw that the next generation of the left was anti-authoritarian and wanted to separate from the diminishing working classes and he helped them along on their course. His sociopathy was different from Trump’s narcissism, but it knew few bounds; unfortunately for him, there still were bounds in American politics and while he broke some of those bounds, some of the bounds broke him. He was still a statesman — at least in his own mind — working on a long-term vision at home and abroad, even if it was without much consciousness of his own severe myopia.

Nixon’s many sins tend to get erased from collective memory, partly because he was so deft at using the left against itself. The Keynesian boom he induced to over-insure his own re-election was a catastrophic precedent that would be repeated and amplified by Reagan and GWB and, finally, Obama. This cynical maneuver became the basis for storytelling from the right that overthrew Keynesian demand management. As Corey Robin notes, he prolonged the Vietnam War, killing more Americans than Johnson and spreading and deepening the war in ways that destroyed Cambodia as well as more deeply scarring much of Vietnam. Just as he sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks in 1968, Reagan’s dark eminences would sabotage Carter’s Iran talks. And, Reagan would run bigger deficits and took over Carter’s deregulation push, using it to destroy organized labor and restore predatory finance.

George H W Bush was the last veteran of WWII to be elected President. He organized the first gulf war to vindicate the post-war principle of non-aggression, pushing Saddam Hussein’s forces back within his borders and containing him. The bounds, and the reasons for the bounds, were clear to him, at least where a narrative of aggression was available and the proper response was to mobilize a consensus with self-restraint as glue.

His son, George W Bush, whose honorable service limited his wounds received to dental work in Alabama, did not understand bounds. When the opportunity arose he went instantly from complacent nonchalance (“you covered your ass” in response to warnings) to pure righteous reactionary (and may I say, stupid?) anger. No plan, really; no real consciousness that he needed a plan. No consciousness that he needed even an actual justification. I say, “he” rhetorically; this is politics not personal psychology though the two may mix — his Administration and much of his popular support came to embody this shared conviction that ordinary means and constraints should be broken. It didn’t matter that Iraq had nothing to do with 9 / 11. William Safire was sure there was “smoking gun” evidence of a connection. Tom Friedman thought America needed to beat an Arab country senseless, or something like that. “Torture”? We were quickly mesmerized by ticking time-bomb scenarios and television heroes who did what it takes, righteously beating the truth out of suspects.

The history Corey Robin reminds us of has always had more than a fair share of crazy shit going on. That’s certainly true. Some of today’s Republicans are not that far removed from yesterday’s John Birchers.

But, there’s also something to the fear that the history of the last 70 years has been of a world system that managed against daunting odds to reach adult maturity in the fall of the Berlin Wall, George H W Bush’s Gulf War or Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo or the reinvigoration of the EU in the early 1990s and now show every sign of deteriorating into dementia. We keep doing the same things over and over, and for a while it looked like we were learning, and then we weren’t and it didn’t matter to us anymore. Colin Powell told us we wouldn’t repeat Vietnam; then, he went before the U.N. Security Council and lied the world and the U.S. into the war crime of aggressive war. No one needs no stinkin’ Glass-Steagall! What we need is financial innovation; the home equity ATM of no doc mortgages financed by a savings glut from China of all places.

The U.S. has been involved in endless, fruitless war for nearly the whole of the 21st century. We cannot end it. We just keep extending the pattern, without little acknowledgement that diminishing returns is progressing into blowback. We cannot end the post-WWII era, because, I suppose, we quietly fear what comes after — a zombie politics with a brain-dead Trump or a brain-eating Clinton?

Reagan, though already demented as he left the Presidency, made some fairly serious money making post-Presidential speeches. The Clintons took that to a whole ‘nother level of Davos Man with a collection plate. The corruption involved is epic. When Trump says, “the system is rigged, I know” people believe him, they believe he knows, I believe he knows. And, then he looks at Hillary and Bill. I know it makes no sense to elect a supreme huckster to be huckster-in-chief as if putting a Fox in charge of the chicken coop will protect the chickens, but we stopped being rational enough to respond to feedback or anticipate the obvious a while back.

The Pageant can be total pollyanna b.s., of course, but it can also be instructive about the trajectory we are on, and that trajectory is not looking good.

Pretend and extend, kick the can down the road, is not working out well and the popular impulse to simply break the system in contradiction to “it’s complicated” and “there is no alternative” is growing in strength. And, there really doesn’t really seem to be that much a left left to provide an alternative.

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bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 7:29 pm

Turkey’s NATO membership is a bomb waiting to go off. A small-minded dictator who is apparently willing to stage terror bombings and coup attempts to provide pretext for enhancing his own power to destroy his country’s modernist secular political culture holds the Western allies hostage to their ability to penetrate his smokescreen, during a hot war involving Iran, Assad, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Hezbollah, the Kurds, . . .

Compared to that, Latvia and Ukraine are simplicity itself.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 7:39 pm

Layman: “Saying “we should not be in the situation” doesn’t really address the reality, does it?”

We could in theory stop getting into future situations of this kind. If we stopped piling on more and more things like this then the pile would start getting smaller as some of them went away by themselves. It does no good to say e.g. “the solution to the Iraq War is that we should get out” if people nod and eventually agree and then are immediately enthusiastic to do it again somewhere else.

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bob mcmanus 07.22.16 at 7:44 pm

Most people prob. aren’t aware that the US still has in its arsenal, in diff. variants, about 200 B-61 gravity nuclear bombs — ‘tactical’ i.e. ‘low-yield’ nuclear weapons — located in certain NATO countries (not the Baltics).

Incirlik airbase in Turkey, 20-30 I think, in case BW wasn’t worried enough. There is news about that base this week, had the power cut off for instance. It would take an armored brigade to take them from their guards, but Turkey has 100 armored brigades.

Low yield, apparently they are adjustable from 0.3 kilotons to 340 kilotons. Hydrogen bombs, actually. 340 is a lot of kilotons. Hiroshima was about 15.

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Anarcissie 07.22.16 at 7:48 pm

Daragh 07.22.16 at 3:34 pm @ 123 and 125:
‘… incredibly insulting to the thousands of Ukrainians who literally put their lives on the line….’

Lots of people have put their lives on the line, and even died, for all kinds of causes and reasons. It doesn’t necessarily mean the causes and reasons were therefore good or noble, and it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the causes and reasons and actions of the parties involved. I suggest you discard the umbrage and huffing; it only makes people think you don’t believe in your own argument.

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Walt 07.22.16 at 7:58 pm

When the Baltics joined NATO I remember thinking “This is pointless,” but it’s proved a pretty prescient piece of policy-making that puts a sharp boundary around Russian territorial expansion.

An actual nuclear war over the Baltics is incredibly unlikely, unless Putin takes up eating paint chips. It’s incredibly unlikely that Russia would invade in the first place, because of the NATO guarantee. If Russia did invade, it’s incredibly unlikely that NATO would launch a nuclear attack because conventional NATO forces are sufficient to dislodge the Russians. It would require Russia to launch a nuclear attack in response to a defeat, which is slightly more likely, but would still be insane decision making given the chance of a nuclear response.

More likely would be a Russian-funded separatist movement, but if a separatist movement caused one of the Baltic States to quit NATO, then any security guarantees would be moot anyway.

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Daragh 07.22.16 at 8:23 pm

Anarcissie @153 –

I’m going to put ‘resisting a kleptocratic, criminal dictatorship and building a democratic state’ on my list of noble causes. You’re free to disagree, but then again, you’ve already admitted you only have the vaguest idea of what happened in Ukraine, beyond something you half-remember reading in the media about the Americans being involved. This seems to have led you to the belief that the revolution was bad, because reasons.

In other words, you’re the kind of person who would clearly like to be seen as having an ethically and morally sophisticated world view, but has absolutely no intention of doing the kind of intellectual graft actual ethical and moral sophistication requires. Instead, you just use variants on ‘America is bad’ and align yourself with similarly lazy thinkers who think this is some form of brilliant insight.

As for the huffing and puffing – it may surprise you to hear this, but having seen the suffering of friends whose main demand was nothing more radical that to live under the rule of law in a democratic state, I find it genuinely offensive when their sacrifices are traduced by the likes of yourself.

Walt @154 – exactly correct.

As a general addendum, it’s incredibly depressing to see so many people who self-identify as ‘left wing’ adopt positions like ‘imperialist kleptocracies are justified in crushing popular revolutions in former colonial states’ or ‘we should abandon small democratic nations and allow them to be bullied by militarily superior authoritarian neighbours.’

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Daragh 07.22.16 at 8:33 pm

@Ze K – yes, everyone who disagrees with the dear leader is ‘US financed’. You might be a more believable and effective troll if you weren’t so cravenly devoted to the most absurd propaganda lines of the Kremlin. And frankly, you can send your crocodile tears to the Crimean Tatars, or indeed the thousands of Georgians who were murdered or otherwise driven out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia that you’d prefer to pretend never existed.

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Daragh 07.22.16 at 8:49 pm

Ze K – Where to begin…

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PJW 07.22.16 at 8:54 pm

I once worked at a newspaper where the word “unprecedented” was banned unless it was used in a quote.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.22.16 at 8:59 pm

Walt: “An actual nuclear war over the Baltics is incredibly unlikely, unless Putin takes up eating paint chips. It’s incredibly unlikely that Russia would invade in the first place, because of the NATO guarantee. If Russia did invade, it’s incredibly unlikely that NATO would launch a nuclear attack because conventional NATO forces are sufficient to dislodge the Russians. “

OK. Asteele started this sub-thread by saying that no one was going to start a nuclear war over Latvia. It sounds like you agree. What I particularly found disconcerting was the way in which people started to indignantly say that how could we abandon our treaty obligations to a small democratic country in response to the obvious truth that we were not going to start a nuclear war over Latvia.

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bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 9:13 pm

“incredibly unlikely”

This is what I mean about taking Corey Robin’s amnesia and projecting it forward.

People don’t know they need a plan, that wars and recessions are not supposed to go on indefinitely.

153

Anarcissie 07.22.16 at 9:22 pm

Daragh 07.22.16 at 8:23 pm @ 156:
‘I’m going to put ‘resisting a kleptocratic, criminal dictatorship and building a democratic state’ on my list of noble causes. …’

With a violent coup against an elected government, at least partially funded and organized by a foreign power. An interesting way to build a democratic state! Not that I’m unfamiliar with the theory.

Walt 07.22.16 at 7:58 pm @ 154 —
I don’t see what Russia would have to gain, besides a lot of trouble, by invading the Baltic states. However, by pushing NATO up to Russia’s borders, installing ABMs, funding coups, and so forth, the Russian ruling class and much of the population can be made more paranoid, thus increasing hostility and making hostile activities more likely. Should cool thug Putin be replaced by some sort of hot thug, I suppose things could get really interesting. We’ve got them over here, why not in Russia? There are people who like that sort of thing.

154

Walt 07.22.16 at 9:35 pm

Well then it’s good that the Baltics have NATO to protect them from future hot thugs.

155

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 9:37 pm

“Should cool thug Putin be replaced by some sort of hot thug, I suppose things could get really interesting. “

The stability of a large part of southeast Europe, the Levant, Iraq and greater Arabia seems to depend upon Mr. Putin’s coldly calculated and competent foreign policy. Meanwhile, the U.S. embarks on a ludicrous search for “moderate” good guys to fight the “bad guy” terrorists. The mentality among American punditry seems to be that if they can distinguish Shia from Sunni for the length of a 35 second soundbite, they are authorities who should be listened to.

156

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 9:39 pm

Well then it’s good that the Baltics have NATO to protect them from future hot thugs.

And, who is going to protect NATO from the Baltics’ homegrown hot thugs?

157

TM 07.22.16 at 9:40 pm

The point of this thread seems to be to prove how difficult it is to hold two different thoughts in mind simultaneously.

158

TM 07.22.16 at 9:42 pm

BW: “The stability of a large part of southeast Europe, the Levant, Iraq and greater Arabia…”

Stability???

159

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 9:44 pm

Stability???

The U.S. might have something to do with the state of things and I dare say the U.S. has not done much for stability in the region; Putin cannot be expected to do it all and be the “bad guy”, too.

160

Daragh 07.22.16 at 9:47 pm

“With a violent coup against an elected government, at least partially funded and organized by a foreign power.”

Except, as someone who actually knows what he’s talking about, I’ve already pointed out those things didn’t happen. If you’re going to claim that basic civil society initiatives amount to ‘funding a coup’, then you might as well go full Ze K and tell us about how great Russia’s ‘foreign agents’ law are. Equally, while it’s true that Yanukovych won an election in 2010, he subsequently rigged the 2012 parliamentary elections, and packed the Ukrainian supreme court with cronies who overturned amendments to the Ukrainian constitution enacted prior to his term, resulting in a massive transfer of power from the premiership to the presidency. And the ‘violent coup’ you speak of largely consisted of unarmed civilians being shot by police forces, following which Yanukovych ran away because his allies melted away.

You literally don’t have the first notion about Ukrainian politics (or indeed, Russian politics, or NATO policy or anything much of anything about European security policy). And yet you’re perfectly comfortable engaging in gross mischaracterisations of a political event that by your own admission you barely paid attention to, lest anything prick your ‘gosh aren’t those awful Americans responsible for all the awfulness’ bubble.

It would be merely risible, if it weren’t for the fact that this kind of moral idiocy underpinned by total ingorance has genuinely hampered efforts to counteract Russian imperialism.

161

Daragh 07.22.16 at 9:49 pm

bruce wilder @166 “Mr. Putin’s coldly calculated and competent foreign policy.”

Good lord…

162

LFC 07.22.16 at 9:51 pm

mcmanus @152
Incirlik airbase in Turkey, 20-30 I think, in case BW wasn’t worried enough. There is news about that base this week, had the power cut off for instance. It would take an armored brigade to take them [i.e. the nuclear weapons] from their guards, but Turkey has 100 armored brigades.

Yes, I’d say this furthers the case for scrapping the gravity bombs. Anyway Incirlik is not a good place for any of them; that’s just sort of bonkers, istm.

163

TM 07.22.16 at 9:59 pm

The current instability in Iraq and greater Arabia, with frightening repercussions to Europe and Africa, can be traced in large extent to the incompetent foreign policy of George W. Bush. But then, the suggestion that a reckless incompetent right winger as president could do immensely more damage than a “lesser evil” sane liberal is dismissed as hyperbole – if one doesn’t get accused of wanting to start a nuclear war.

164

TM 07.22.16 at 10:00 pm

That crossed with 170 but should do as a response.

165

J-D 07.22.16 at 10:05 pm

Ze K 07.22.16 at 10:15 am
“pinch yourself and wake up”

Why, because some anglophone commenter from down-under can’t believe it’s possible? Tsk. Oh well, thanks for your suggestion, and rest assured that it’ll get all the attention it deserves…

The suggestion that you’re dreaming is, naturally, easy to offer but difficult to accept. Dreamers seldom realise they’re dreaming. I’ve often woken up with memories which I didn’t immediately realise were pure dream.

I can tell you’re dreaming because your suggestion is unrelated to any observations of the waking world; but it’s unsurprising that my recognition doesn’t help you.

So I offer my suggestion not for your benefit — experience indicates that you’re never going to derive any benefit from any suggestion of mine — but for the benefit of anybody else who may possibly be reading this. If you and I are the only two noting our exchange, there’s nothing to add.

166

Walt 07.22.16 at 10:09 pm

Wait, who are the Baltics hot thugs going to invade? Poland?

167

bruce wilder 07.22.16 at 10:26 pm

Those putative hot thugs of Latvia might find ways to provoke the Russians. They haven’t been very nice to their Russian populace lately — understandable given the history, but it is what it is. Similarly, attacking the status of the Russian language in Ukraine was probably not a good way to make friends, but Ukrainians are often passionate about it.

Offering NATO protection to Latvia — which is offering U.S. protection; the German Army would have a hard time driving from Bavaria to Berlin in a rain storm — is inviting trouble, entangling the U.S. in local politics it cannot control or even understand for no good reason other than habitual hostility by the U.S. toward Russia.

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Daragh 07.22.16 at 10:37 pm

“Offering NATO protection to Latvia — which is offering U.S. protection; the German Army would have a hard time driving from Bavaria to Berlin in a rain storm — is inviting trouble, entangling the U.S. in local politics it cannot control or even understand for no good reason other than habitual hostility by the U.S. toward Russia.”

That’s not only an inaccurate assessment of the Bundeswehr, the ‘Vilnius group’ of states were offered NATO Mempership Action Plans (MAPs) from 2000, and formally invited to join in 2002, during a period of unusually close relations between Russia and the US.

Additionally, while many people here seem to think NATO = America, the Atlantic Council actually operates by consensus. That’s why Ukraine and Georgia didn’t get MAPs in 2008. Now if you want to argue that France under Chirac and Germany under Schroeder were bastions of Russophobia you’re free to do so, however this is likely to result in people familiar with the foreign policy histories of those nation-states point at you and laughing, heartily.

169

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 10:42 pm

Trump’s ‘craziness,’ so far, is to say things others only think, to hold views ordinarily associated with liberals (such as defending social security and equal pay for equal work) and to actively attack multi-national corporations whilst refusing to play politics as usual.

He will be constrained in very real ways by many of the forces that prevented other presidents from delivering real change. It’s very likely, should he win, that he’ll be unable to do much of what he promises and may make many situations substantially worse.

In the case of HRC, all of the above are certainties – she’s as much in the pocket of Goldman-Sachs as Ted Cruz and his undeclared low-cost ‘loans.’

Trump is a New York liberal who’s done stuff. HRC is a New York liberal who laughs when reminiscing over killing people. I’ll take the former.

170

phenomenal cat 07.22.16 at 10:57 pm

“Trump’s open espousal of racism didn’t come out of nowhere–Republicans have been playing with it for decades and to a lesser extent, on certain issues so have Democrats (militarism and being “tough” on crime and immigrants requires contempt for the human rights of some people). But so long as everyone at least pretended that racism was bad it places constraints on what people can do. Trump is removing the constraints.” Donald Johnson @91

Yeah, see, I don’t buy that last sentence as an analytical claim. Trump isn’t removing constraints vis-a-vis racism. If anything, he is removing blinders about the fears and anxiety a certain % of the population experience which are in turn frequently expressed in racist language, concepts, and symbols (i.e., “we’re gonna build a Chinese Wall on the Mexican border!”).

The above socio-economic fact vaguely relates to the OP or at least its protagonists–Klein et al. Their historical ignorance, I would think, is given and not particularly noteworthy. However, their petty bourgeois shock and horror, grossly displayed in CT comment threads for a year now, at the racism channeled through Trump’s campaign–as if it were something unprecedented and unheard of in American social politics–is certainly interesting. I find it very clarifying in fact that so many of the educated, the comfortable, and the affluent regard the phenomenon of Trump’s campaign as beyond the pale and without equivalent. It’s either studied ignorance of American social realities or unconscious hypocrisy or some combination of both.

Anyway, it’s just a guess, but you know who probably isn’t shocked by the RACISM of Trump’s campaign? Mexican migrants, Black Americans, Native Americans, pretty much anybody who is poor. For these people being “ahistorical” is an absolute luxury, but being so ignorant of actually existing reality as to be shocked by Trump would necessitate a bonafide religious miracle.

171

PatinIowa 07.22.16 at 11:15 pm

@ “There has been no recent Presidential candidate who has whipped up exterminatory hatred against a US minority population.”

My guess is that neither Nixon nor Wallace count as “recent,” and that you’ll point out that Buchanan wasn’t the nominee. Nixon counts as recent to me, and here’s why: Trump’s attacks on minorities in the US grow out of a thread in conservative politics that’s been with us since at least the sixties, which, among other things, integrated the Wallaceites into the Republican Party. The ahistoricism is damaging because it allows people to think that someone like Ted Cruz might be a reasonable choice in 2020, when he is implicated in the party platform as well. Ronald Reagan may have been personally affable, but he made sure that the EEOC didn’t do its job.

It’s not a compromise to say both, “Donald Trump is uniquely horrible,” and “Donald Trump will be horrible in ways that have historical antecedants that make it possible to understand how it is that we’ve come to this point.” Those are two separate assertions and they do not contradict one another.

One final thought: I find it plausible that Donald Trump was and is pretty mobbed up, and there’s lots of reasons to believe that his construction sites were run on the cheap and that he knew it. I’m not convinced that he isn’t responsible for an innocent death or two along the way. (Cough, cough, Ricky Ray Rector, cough.)

172

Anarcissie 07.22.16 at 11:48 pm

‘….You literally don’t have the first notion about Ukrainian politics (or indeed, Russian politics, or NATO policy or anything much of anything about European security policy). And yet you’re perfectly comfortable engaging in gross mischaracterisations of a political event that by your own admission you barely paid attention to, lest anything prick your ‘gosh aren’t those awful Americans responsible for all the awfulness’ bubble. It would be merely risible, if it weren’t for the fact that this kind of moral idiocy underpinned by total ingorance has genuinely hampered efforts to counteract Russian imperialism.’

Right. I’m just working with the stuff from your side, and I know that the US government and media lie, conceal, and obfuscate routinely, so I’m very conservative about what to believe. But the violent coup stuff, the funding, and so on, is what was reported in the Western media available to me, along with the usual propaganda. Not RT, not al Jazeera, not Xinhua, but the Times and WaPo and the rest of them.

As for imperialism, I’m more concerned with American imperialism than Russian imperialism. First, because I live in the US and its activities belong to me, however unwanted they may be; and second, because it isn’t Russia that has hundreds of overseas bases, spends more than the rest of the world combined on war, and engages in — how many wars now? I’ve lost count. I don’t think an aggressive, threatening power striving for world domination is really the best instrument for pacifying the Russians or anyone else. It certainly doesn’t seem to be working very well so far.

173

Gerard MacDonell 07.22.16 at 11:49 pm

This thread makes me think of Jonathan Haidt and Chris Mooney, who is less interested in being “balanced” and more interested in getting it right. Liberals are scrupulous to a fault. Is Trump the worst conceivable or might it have been one of the two recent Republicans before him? Tough call! And so important to make. Let’s have 200 comments from liberals on that. Maybe I am just envious.

A sense of history will tell you Reagan was a crazy person. Agreed. On the other hand, those who draw the “lessons of history” think Reagan showed us the way, because the world — in our one run of it — happens not to have been annihilated in a nuclear exchange. George Will is a “lessons of history guy.” I will not insult the author is by implying the author is in that camp. But you know that camp exists.

Here is a wild ass guess. I bet that — among liberals — being American predicts a belief that Trump is uniquely horrible. I have lived here 11 years and hold that view. I bet people outside of America are much more comfortable with the idea that sucking really bad is not that odd for an American president. That there have been lots of crap presidents would go down more easily among among, say, British liberals than among American ones.

174

Donald Johnson 07.22.16 at 11:51 pm

“But then the suggestion that a reckless, incompetent right- winger as president could do immensely more damage than a ” lesser evil” sane liberal is dismissed as hyperbole”

A fine point to make regarding some liberals, but not Clinton, who supported the Iraq War.

175

Shmoo 07.23.16 at 12:06 am

kidneystones @ 180: here’s the thing I don’t understand, well, two things. First, you describe Trump as a liberal, but his platform is unlike any platform that would be described as “liberal” today, so I simply don’t know what you could possibly mean by that. Second, you seem to have this idea that just because Trump hasn’t had a chance to do all the awful things he’s promised, he must be better than Clinton. He will not be constrained in any useful way; he is more contemptuous of norms than even the current Republican Senate, and if he’s elected, he will almost certainly be accompanied by a fully Republican Congress, for which, as we’ve seen, the idea of norms is simply not comprehended. I know how bad Clinton is going to be, and how good – non-whites will get a fairer shake, women’s health will be more respected. Yes, her foreign policy is pretty bad, but what Trump has promised – and how little he understands or cares to – is far worse, and presidents have trmendous latitude in foreign policy – the idea of constraint is nonsense, as we saw with the Iraq war. Your argument for Trump strikes me as deeply specious.

176

kidneystones 07.23.16 at 12:34 am

@ 186 Thanks for this. One question for you.

How frequently do you visit the Trump website to read his actual positions? Trump supporters cheered the gay republican speaker, support equal pay for equal work, and for the most part reject discrimination in any form. The last point is the most problematic, because the individuals/groups that openly practice and preach racism and discrimination, especially against minorities, are lined-up solidly behind Trump. This group historically supported Democrats, but now belong firmly to the Republicans. Trump has and will certainly continue to practice ‘dog-whistle’ politics, just as Obama and the Democrats do.

People forget 2007 and 2008 when it was the Democrats who were using racist language and appeals to racial solidarity to win votes – David Duke in Drag Ferraro was just one example.

Currently, the only group of undocumented people living in the US Trump is promising to deport are those convicted of crimes. This has been the case since 2015 according to noted pro-Trump site CNN. “While Trump has called for deporting all of the undocumented immigrants in the United States and allowing “the good ones,” to re-enter legally, his policy outline makes no mention of that plan. Instead, it calls for deporting all “criminal aliens.” It does not address the deportation of otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants.”

Ted Cruz and the old-style bigots are furious that Trump promised to deport all undocumented workers dumped that promise once he’d garnered the headlines to dominate the news cycle. That’s why the conservative establishment if freaking.

Trump is going to offer some simplified form of amnesty within a year to all undocumented workers willing to leave the US and apply for citizenship. No other policy makes sense. And by that I mean one member from a family leaves and applies for citizenship outside the US. Expedited paperwork and all undocumented residents without criminal records can stay legally in the US as citizens, or documented workers.

Sounds like some form of hell, doesn’t it?

177

Daragh 07.23.16 at 12:46 am

Anarcissie @183

“But the violent coup stuff, the funding, and so on, is what was reported in the Western media available to me, along with the usual propaganda.”

Translation – I read newspapers, but actively filter out any information that contradicts the conclusions I’ve already reached. Then I congratulate myself for being able to spot all the propaganda and lies in the lamestream media.

“Russia that has hundreds of overseas bases, spends more than the rest of the world combined on war, and engages in — how many wars now?”

As a portion of GDP, Russia spends significantly more than the US on its military. It simply has a much smaller economy, due to it being an endemically corrupt kleptocracy which has been systematically looted by its political leaders.

As to wars? Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Tajikistan, Chechnya (1994-96), Chechnya (1999-2004), Georgia, Ukraine, Syria.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia culminated in campaigns of brutal ethnic cleansing, and the installation of Eduard Shevardnadze in Tbilisi. In Tajikistan the 201st Motor Rifle Division put Emomali Rakhmon in power, and gladly propped him up while he looted what little there was to steal in his country. Rahmon continues to rule with an iron fist while the country’s economy is so dilapidated its sole sources of income is remittances from migrant workers, one antiquated aluminum factory, and heroin smuggling. The Chechen campaigns involved the massive and indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations, including the use of thermobaric weaponry (and that’s before we get to the incredibly suspicious circumstances surrounding the Moscow apartment bombings that kicked off the war, turning then PM Vladimir Putin from unknown apparatchik to hero of the nation, with the help of actual propaganda.) Since the annexation of Crimea, the Aksyonov government has indulged in mass persecution of ethnic Tatars. In the Donbass, Russian proxies have kidnapped, tortured and ‘disappeared’ those brave enough to disagree with them, as well as executing Ukrainian POWs en masse. In Syria, the Russians actively targeted hospitals, bakeries and other infrastructure vital for sustaining a civilian population, as part of Damascus’ policy of depopulating territory held by (non-ISIS) rebel groups. Despite an official justification for the campaign that it was targeting ISIS, only a small fraction of Russian sorties actually targeted the caliphate, for reasons that are entirely obvious to anyone aware of the dynamics of the Syrian civil war.

As to overseas bases – when the Iraqis asked the US to leave per the 2010 SOFA, they did. When the Russian lease on Sevastopol was due to expire, they placed enormous commercial and political pressure on Yanukovych to extend it for a further 50 years on generous terms. When a change of government in Kyiv potentially threatened that arrangement – and indeed, before any political position on Sevastopol was taken at all by the provisional government – Moscow seized the peninsula by force.

I’m no fan of the Iraq war, and think Afghanistan was horribly botched, but to claim moral equivalency between the US and Russia in military policy would be nauseating. Comparing US military adventurism unfavourablyto Russian military adventurism in the post-Cold War order is only really possible if you haven’t got the first frickin’ clue Russian actions over the past 25 years. Moreover, you’ll note that the US and its allies can chalk up several instances of successfully intervening to STOP the slaughtering and displacement of civilian populations based on ethnic criteria. In more than one instance, the Russian armed forces have been used to accelerate such processes.

“an aggressive, threatening power striving for world domination “

Yeah, you’re really immune to the aul propaganda alright.

178

Daragh 07.23.16 at 12:47 am

Oh, almost forgot! The man Moscow chose to be their Viceroy in Chechnya? Ramzan Kadyrov. I suggest you look him up.

179

franck 07.23.16 at 12:53 am

Donald Trump supported the Iraq war, despite what he says now.

180

Ronan(rf) 07.23.16 at 1:04 am

Apparently the 50s were a time of stability , a period soon after millions were killed in war, millions more were traumatised , millions more killed in the wars that followed this great cracking of the International system …’and we (thirty somethings) are the historically Illiterate. Give me a break …..

181

kidneystones 07.23.16 at 1:04 am

One more, and this is as much for Corey. I very much hope that some of the speaking out of my ass commenters here have at least read, or watched, some of speeches at the RNC this year because revolutionary doesn’t come close to describing the kinds of changes Trump is bringing to the Republican party. Teh Donald and Ivanka both make it clear that they can just as easily support Democrats, as Republicans. Ivanka and Chelsea Clinton travel in the same wealthy NY circle and are friends. Ryan and company talk about making the Republicans the party of Lincoln once again. Trump is serious about doing it.

There’s no doubt that Trump is going to advance policies such as workfare, and perhaps means testing social security, and certainly school choice. That said, when unemployment rates among minorities have been as high as they are, for as long as they are, there’s no doubt of the need for change.

The reason Kristol and Cruz are freaking is that they and their ilk in politics, pacs, and the press understand at their core that Trump is literally ripping the GOP from their tawdry, bigoted mitts and remaking it as a LGBT and minority-friendly party of empowerment and pride, however suspect those buzzwords may be. That’s the Dem base. Which explains, in part, the charges that Trump is ‘unprecedented’ threat to their entitled status as overpaid managers of failing inner cities.

If Trump wins, he’ll be facing a GOP establishment that is as backward looking as HRC. If he wins and is able to bring a significant number of new voters, and minorities in any number with him, we may well be watching a fundamental transformation of the Republican party.

Which has to be good news to any sane observer.

182

Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 1:11 am

I think the whole argument about Russian intentions misses the point — this is about us, not Russia. The defense of Latvia is one of the classic U.S. foreign policy items where it’s supposed to be ultra-important that we hold to a particular propaganda line about what wed do, and so Trump is supposed to have screwed up by contradicting that line. But really we ourselves don’t really have any idea what we’d do beforehand, and that’s more scary for both us and the Russians than some kind of crystal clear assurance. The crystal clear assurance could be a bluff, but in reality we have no idea whether we’re bluffing or not, given the imponderables of Presidential temper and public opinion and feckless advisors.

183

bruce wilder 07.23.16 at 1:44 am

There are ways of backing up a paper committment with bodies and installations, but anything of that sort has the potential to become either a provocation or a hostage to our great good friend, Latvia, in whatever strategic contest it may develop with neighboring Russia or just internally.

Except for our dubious insistence on our own flawless righteousness, it would be recognized as not a sensible design for living.

184

js. 07.23.16 at 1:51 am

What a fun thread! There are some good comments, tho. PatinIowa @182 (or thereabouts) stands out.

185

Raven Onthill 07.23.16 at 1:56 am

My take on this is that the world order is wobbling like a poorly-thrown pot and that Trump, May, and all the rest of the various neo-fascist movements want to see it go splat, and this is the wrong time to repeat the division on the left of the 1932 German elections.

Yes, it is probably fair to say that Trump is a cruder Reagan, but can we please stop squabbling among ourselves long enough to keep the vulgar talking yam out of power?

186

Moby Hick 07.23.16 at 2:04 am

Is Trump copying Putin and using a paid internet army or something?

187

js. 07.23.16 at 2:19 am

@Raven — You should know that that sort of good sense is not appreciated around these parts.

188

F. Foundling 07.23.16 at 2:39 am

On Daragh’s claims that the 2012 Ukrainian election was ‘rigged’ – the European Academy for Elections Observation said it was ‘a good election, not perfect but clearly acceptable’. The worst thing that the OSCE observers could point to was ‘the lack of a level playing field, caused primarily by the abuse of administrative resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing, and lack of balanced media coverage’ (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-20120888). These are extremely common problems in the so-called developing democracies in the region and usually aren’t considered sufficient to delegitimise a government. Similarly, if being ‘kleptocratic’ were enough to delegitimise a government, all governments in such democracies would be permanently delegitimised.

On Daragh’s claim that the Euromaidan remained very peaceful in spite of state violence – at a rather early stage, they were already fighting the police with clubs, throwing Molotov cocktails at them, literally setting them on fire on some occasions. A random combat scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAIhZVHFOwQ. Some early action scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IRowUvF_9o. And yes, US and Western financing is a very real political factor in the region – that’s a fairly mundane fact of life in my neck of the woods.

The alleged fears of a Russian invasion of its NATO neighbours are extremely far-fetched. Russia has yet to annex any region which isn’t mostly ethnically or linguistically Russian anyway, and it has only supported local ethnic separatists – Ossetian and Abkhazian in Georgia, and Russian in Ukraine (and BTW, the suggestion that the Russian support for select factions in various civil wars that erupted across the post-Soviet space in the early nineties is equivalent or actually worse than the US ‘adventures’ in Iraq, Libya etc. is, indeed, ‘nauseating’). No similar separatist movement nor the preconditions for it exist in the NATO neighbours (the Russian minorities in the Baltic countries aren’t concentrated in well-delineated ethnic enclaves that could secede or be annexed).

Daragh often emphasises that he is a professional Russianist. Judging from his comments, it seems that this vocation is now more accurately described as ‘professional anti-Russian propagandist’, and, consequently, ‘professional pro-US imperial propagandist’ – due to the abovementioned Western financing, these are very common where I live as well.

189

LFC 07.23.16 at 2:48 am

Bruce Wilder:
Offering NATO protection to Latvia — which is offering U.S. protection; the German Army would have a hard time driving from Bavaria to Berlin in a rain storm — is inviting trouble, entangling the U.S. in local politics it cannot control or even understand for no good reason other than habitual hostility by the U.S. toward Russia.

In addition to agreeing w Daragh’s response @179 to this remark, I wd add a response on my own account. The statement that “the German Army would have a hard time driving from Bavaria to Berlin in a rain storm,” even discounting for comment-thread hyperbole, is ridiculous and is, incidentally, insulting to those German soldiers, and there are some, who have been killed participating in the ISAF/NATO mission in Afghanistan.

190

LFC 07.23.16 at 2:55 am

@Raven–
I have every intention of voting for HRC and think a Trump victory wd be extremely unfortunate. That said, a CT comment thread discussion will not affect the election one way or other. You have to understand that kidneystones makes pro-Trump comments, that’s just what he does. Other people here loathe HRC (as k’stones does). It’s just how things are here, and it wd prob be dull if there were echo-chamber agreement a la some threads elsewhere.

191

Yan 07.23.16 at 3:17 am

“to repeat the division on the left of the 1932 German elections.”

“to repeat the division on the left of the 1932 German elections.”

Sincere question: is this a commonly agreed upon explanation? I honestly don’t know the details. My impression from casual reading was that the problem was a division of too many parties period (not of the left), plus proportionally allocated parliamentary seats, making a majority government difficult. My impression was that the public, which was split between wanting to go far left or far right grew frustrated by a gridlocked centrist government and so many leftists switched to the authoritarian right.

Maybe that’s wrong, but I’m curious if there’s a consensus, since my impression suggests that insisting on a unity that pulls to the center is precisely the worst possible path.

In any case, I don’t know where the evidence is that if the left would shut up and fall in line with the centrists we’d prevent the Trumps of the world from getting power. We’ve done that for 30 years already. On that theory there shouldn’t be any Trumps getting this close to power in the first place. Maybe just maybe the problem is what we’ve been doing that whole time, rather than the relatively recent squabbling?

192

Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 3:33 am

Raven Onthill: “Yes, it is probably fair to say that Trump is a cruder Reagan, but can we please stop squabbling among ourselves long enough to keep the vulgar talking yam out of power?”

And we do that how? I’m not even clear own whether one person who comments here is going to vote for Trump. It’s 95+% HRC. Which is meaningless. CT’s demographic insofar as it has one is minuscule and it’s going to be heavily HRC no matter what the people here do.

Fake solidarity sucks. Let’s all come together! — to do what?

193

kidneystones 07.23.16 at 3:38 am

Overwhelmingly positive support for Trump’ policies and his speech CNN poll (Oops!)

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2016/07/22/cnn-probably-regrets-polling-viewers-trumps-rnc-speech-well-wow-368574

Social media freaks!

194

F 07.23.16 at 4:10 am

That would be good news for Trump is the electorate was limited to people who watched his acceptance speech.

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Faustusnotes 07.23.16 at 4:13 am

There’s no contradiction between recognizing that trump is the inevitable consequence and continuation of republican political craziness, and also thinking he is worse than anyone who came before him. It’s also worth bearing I mind that pundits like Klein have grown up in an environment where pointing out the very real racism of the republican movement gets them in a lot of trouble and is generally considered taboo (we see that on CT threads too, see e.g, brexit). They’re used to interpreting things like republican obstructionism of Obama withiut any racial component and move in circles that ensure any such analysis is deemed “vulgar”. Just today we have some idiot in the guardian analyzing brexit and trump as rage phenomena, rather than the obvious racist movements they are. For pundits raised to politely look away from the glaring racism of these people,it must be very shocking when one of hem finally drops the mask and goes full arsehole.

But that willingness to drop the mask is a scary development, it means something, and even though these pundits are thick as shit to have missed this issue and not addressed it squarely all these years, they are responding correctly to the change in style.

Similarly for our resident rich’s and abb1’s, who are used to seeing everything only in terms of neoliberalism and the ineffectuality of mainstream leftism (their own being pure and powerful of course!) it’s hard to adapt to a world where there really are clear differences between the parties, they have no analytical framework for it. I guess it’s an armchair radical version of Both Sides Do It, and it fails just as much.

At least Klein is starting to wake up. Drift glass blog does good work cataloging how the mainstream pundits are finally recognizing the danger the GOP poses. Sadly it’s too little too late…

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 4:22 am

faustusnotes: “the very real racism of the republican movement gets them in a lot of trouble and is generally considered taboo (we see that on CT threads too, see e.g, brexit).”

Who do people like this even write for? Talking about the racism of Brexiters is taboo on CT threads? It’s such a bald-faced lie that it doesn’t even work as a lie. Anyone reading this is obviously reading CT threads and they can see for themselves that “Brexit=racism” is not a taboo subject here.

faustusnotes was the guy here who defended actual repression of protest with a perfect example of love for authority as long as that authority was capable of being turned against people he disliked. But solidarity forever, we have to stop Trump because we have so much in common.

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bruce wilder 07.23.16 at 4:37 am

LFC: . . . is, incidentally, insulting to those German soldiers, and there are some, who have been killed participating in the ISAF/NATO mission in Afghanistan

By all means wave the bloody shirt support the troops. Really, have you no shame?

NATO had no business in Afghanistan. And, Germany’s military shortcomings have been widely noted.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/11130506/Military-failures-stall-German-response-to-Ebola-and-Isil.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/02/19/germanys-army-is-so-under-equipped-that-it-used-broomsticks-instead-of-machine-guns/

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Faustusnotes 07.23.16 at 4:43 am

Rich, I have been predicting brexit here for months (years?) on the basis that the movement is a racist, revanchist movement targeting people who prefer race analysis to class analysis and I have been consistently accused of all manner of sins for it – not thinking brexiters should be talked to, seeing them as unpeople, dismissing their “very real concerns” etc. this is what I mean by “taboo”, not that no one ever says the thing. My analysis was correct and the people who shied away from accepting the reality of British racism and the racism inherent in these arguments were wrong. But still people like you, the execrable gallstone up above, and all the anti liberal leftists want to pretend it was about national self determination and opposition to neo liberalism and nothing else. The same goes with any analysis of republican craziness that doesn’t accept they’re a bunch of racists first and a coherent political program second.

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js. 07.23.16 at 4:43 am

I have a genuine question (+ follow up) for Corey:

Do you read/follow Jay Rosen? And if so, what do you think about what Rosen has been saying about Trump and esp. media coverage of Trump?

This is not some kind of snark. I’d genuinely love to know the answer.

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js. 07.23.16 at 4:47 am

This is the kind of thing I had in mind. Just to be very clear that I’m not baiting in any way.

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kidneystones 07.23.16 at 5:24 am

@210 and 211. Thanks for this. I’m familiar with Rosen’s work and agree he has some useful things to say about the media. The piece you link to reveals his fundamental problems.

First, Rosen is asking not for better journalism, but for better propaganda. He cites the work of Josh Marshall very favorably as an example of the type of ‘journalism’ he admires. The problem with this position, of course, is that Marshall is not a journalist in any sense. Marshall markets his own propaganda as ‘fierce independent journalism.’ Yet, Marshall is quite open about the fact that TPM is a smear shop dedicated to exposing Republican hypocrisy and getting Dems good press.

Which leads to Rosen’s second problem. CNN is not remotely interested in providing information in any sense. The news panel Rosen discusses is designed to serve a number of functions, and providing news and analysis are not among them, certainly not analysis of the sort Corey offers. The CNN panel is designed to keep eyeballs on the screen between commercial breaks, a fact Rosen seems to have forgotten. The one thing the CNN panel wants to avoid at all costs is to give any viewers a reason to change channels between commercial breaks. You can figure the rest for yourself, I’m sure.

Here’s what CNN and major news outlets are dedicated to achieving: http://adage.com/article/media/cnn-charging-40-times-usual-price-commercials-republican-debate/300185/

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RNB 07.23.16 at 5:28 am

js,

I was trying to watch that CNN roundtable and was waiting for someone to address Trump’s insinuation that illegal aliens not only commit a disproportionate number of murders in the US but also commit more murders in absolute terms than any other possible demographic group in the US. I could have sworn that Trump was insinuating that these illegal immigrants from Mexico or Muslim countries presumably via Mexico soon to be walled off are the greatest public safety threat in the US today. Who gives sanctuary to their victims, cried Trump last night; and this was the rallying cry of a flag draped in blood.

The New York Times soon reported that the overwhelming majority of the 180K illegal immigrants who have criminal records committed non-violent offenses. That did not make it on the cable news.

Trump was incensed about how many murders illegal immigrants have been committing , incensed enough that I was hoping that he would give himself a heart attack.

And alas the media did not talk people off trying to understand the problem of murder via our cognitive disposition to the availability heuristic; this cognitive problem is bound to make us identify murder with the highly visible terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando.

Yet this is a cognitive error; the commentators have phones (Corey Lewandowsky uses his to talk to Trump). They could look up murder stats (or how much money the US stands to save if NATO members and Japan pay what Trump thinks is their fair share).

They could easily see that the illegal immigrants Trump had in mind probably did not commit more than 150 murders of the 15,000 or so committed in the US–that is, 1%. And that would include those monsters in Orlando and San Bernardino that the availability heuristic gives us though they were home-grown, born on US soil just like Dylan Roof and Timothy McVeigh were. So why is Trump talking about illegal immigrants?

But one would leave his rant thinking that illegal immigrants commit 50 to 90% of the murders in the US. And then given the American people’s mathematical literacy a high proportion of them would then think 50 to 90% of the people they think are immigrants are violently disposed.

Ana Navarro feels in her bones what Trump is unleashing, but does not break down analytically what Trump is doing.

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J-D 07.23.16 at 5:28 am

kidneystones 07.22.16 at 10:42 pm
Trump’s ‘craziness,’ so far, is to say things others only think, to hold views ordinarily associated with liberals (such as defending social security and equal pay for equal work) and to actively attack multi-national corporations whilst refusing to play politics as usual.

He will be constrained in very real ways by many of the forces that prevented other presidents from delivering real change. It’s very likely, should he win, that he’ll be unable to do much of what he promises and may make many situations substantially worse.

In the case of HRC, all of the above are certainties – she’s as much in the pocket of Goldman-Sachs as Ted Cruz and his undeclared low-cost ‘loans.’

Trump is a New York liberal who’s done stuff. HRC is a New York liberal who laughs when reminiscing over killing people. I’ll take the former.

I don’t know whether Trump has ever actually laughed about killing people, but he has taken full-page ads in New York newspapers saying this:

Mayor Koch has stated that hate and rancor should be removed from our hearts. I do not think so. I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence. Yes, Mayor Koch, I want to hate these murderers and I always will. I am not looking to psychoanalyze them or understand them, I am looking to punish them. If the punishment is strong, the attacks on innocent people will stop. I recently watched a newscast trying to explain “the anger in these young men.” I no longer want to understand their anger. I want them to understand our anger. I want them to be afraid.

What sort of difference does it make whether those words made him laugh?

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js. 07.23.16 at 5:40 am

Oh, hi kidneystones. So (a) You will notice that I have never responded to one of your comments. If I could be extended the same courtesy, I’d be quite thankful. (b) If you really must respond to me, at least do me the favor of never fucking thanking me again.

And in general, please fuck off.

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js. 07.23.16 at 5:43 am

And RNB, I sympathize. But I really just want to know what Corey thinks about Rosen’s take and how it fits with the Vox generation bit.

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RNB 07.23.16 at 5:43 am

Kidneystones, you are much too critical of CNN. How could it provide the information we need to make a decision since Trump has refused to release his long form taxes? They have to find some other way to fill up the hour since Trump won’t give them what they need to make sure he hasn’t been bought. True enough, they could harp on Trump’s refusal to release his taxes a bit more. They could even humiliate him into releasing them by giving plausible but highly embarrassing scenarios of what is in them, e.g. a few hundred millions of debt to a Putin associate or the expensing of his haircuts or implants.

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kidneystones 07.23.16 at 6:00 am

@ js. Thanks for this. Feel free to ignore the pro forma ‘thanks’ and ‘please.’ They carry as much weight as your own deployment of the word ‘please’ before the two words that end your comment. Indeed, feel free to ignore my comments entirely. Happy to have helped.

@ 227 You seem to be between nervous breakdowns. Good for you!

@ 214 I suspect, or rather hope, that the difference is strikingly clear. Perhaps not, sad.

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Raven Onthill 07.23.16 at 6:24 am

Yan@202: Yes. The Social Democrats and the Communists together polled more votes than the Nazis.

“I don’t know where the evidence is that if the left would shut up and fall in line with the centrists we’d prevent the Trumps of the world from getting power.”

We can help defeat Trump in this election. Time enough for squabbles later.

Rich Puchalsky@203: we bloody well form a coalition and work for it.

Faustusnotes@206: “But that willingness to drop the mask is a scary development, it means something, and even though these pundits are thick as shit to have missed this issue and not addressed it squarely all these years, they are responding correctly to the change in style.”

Just so. I think what is happening is that they now see the great gate surmounted by “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” and are panicking, no matter that they have been on this pilgrimage for much of their lives.

It falls to us who are aware of the history and therefore not panicked to act, if we can. And perhaps CT comment threads make more difference than we know.

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RNB 07.23.16 at 8:00 am

If Trump puts restrictions on the use by American car companies of intermediate inputs from Mexico or outsourcing to Mexico, Americans will probably end up buying even more now even more relatively cheap Japanese and Korean or German cars, possibly leading to an overall reduction in employment in the US auto industry.

Trump can’t stop with tariffs just on intermediate inputs from or on products assembled in Mexico without also sharply increasing tariffs on cars from other advanced industrial countries if he wants to boost US employment in the auto industry. He could do this, but this could lead to all kinds of retaliation. Moreover, if US dollars are increasingly spent domestically, this could exacerbate the shortage of dollars abroad and strengthen the dollar, reducing employment in export-successful US manufacturing sectors.

It’s not clear to me that Trump’s protectionism would actually protect mfg employment in the US. It seems more likely to me to create chaos and uncertainty, depressing investment and therewith employment levels.

And in today’s NYT it’s not clear that China is outcompeting US mfg: ‘In a 2015 study, the Boston Consulting Group said the costs of manufacturing in China’s major export-producing zone were now almost the same as in the United States, after taking into account wages, worker productivity, energy costs and other factors.

Without the lure of large cost savings, more American companies are “reshoring,” or moving factories back. In a separate survey of large United States manufacturers conducted by BCG last year, 24 percent said that they were actively shifting production home from China or were planning to do so over the next two years, up from only 10 percent in 2012.’

China seems to be slowing down; growth is more robust elsewhere in Asia but US access here will be stymied by populist opposition to TPP.

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RNB 07.23.16 at 8:09 am

Catherine Rampell:
“That’s not to say that the Americans displaced by trade — millions of factory workers who lost their jobs over the decades, for example — have recovered. Hollowed-out Rust Belt towns reveal persistent unemployment and great suffering. And the United States never did right by these trade victims; one of the implicit promises of earlier trade deals was that the winners would compensate the losers, which never happened.

But the fact remains that U.S. trade’s losers are a small, and shrinking, share of the workforce. Meanwhile, the winners are widespread. Contrary to Trump’s and Sanders’ claims about the benefits of trade accruing to only a few rich elites, trade’s benefits in the United States are quite diffuse, affording a wide swath of consumers a better quality of life through cheaper and more varied products.

The losses from trade tend to be felt by a small, concentrated group.

More to the point, that small, concentrated group has become less and less politically significant over time…

So how exactly did trade talk get its groove back?

One possible explanation: When Americans talk about “trade” today, we’re not really talking about trade. Rather, “trade” has become a scapegoat for other economic forces and policy choices that have increased inequality, and a proxy for ethnic tensions and white anxiety about loss of social status.

It’s telling that when presidential candidates argued about trade in the olden days, they were talking about industry-specific protections. In the 2012 and 2016 elections, VanGrasstek noted, politicians have largely focused on country-specific protections. Trump in particular often talks about “losing” to some faceless group of foreigners, especially nonwhite ones with “funny” accents.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric, closely intertwined with anti-trade rhetoric, also emphasizes problems with (nonwhite) illegal immigrants from Mexico — even though the United States has had a net outflow of Mexican immigrants lately, and the country whose citizens are most likely to illegally overstay their visas in the United States is (majority-white) Canada.

Trade-as-proxy-for-some-other-hot-button-issue is not exactly a new development, of course. Trade policy has experienced mission creep for decades, used to shape human rights, national security, environmental and other not-exclusively economic concerns.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s shapeshifting again into an outlet for other American anxieties.”

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TM 07.23.16 at 8:33 am

RP 207, now that’s Rich. You are the one who accused us of “contempt for voters” when the racism of the Brexit campaign was pointed out.

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Igor Belanov 07.23.16 at 10:02 am

@ Raven Onthill

‘this is the wrong time to repeat the division on the left of the 1932 German elections.’

‘Yes. The Social Democrats and the Communists together polled more votes than the Nazis. ‘

I’m not entirely sure what your point is here? At the November 1932 Reichstag elections, held under PR, the combined forces of the SPD and KPD won 221 out of 584 seats, nowhere near a majority. The country was effectively under the control of chancellors ruling by presidential decree, and there was no chance of the president appointing a minority left-wing chancellor who was supported by the KPD. The Weimar Republic was already well on the way to its decomposition, and if there was a problem with the German left it was that it was unable to unite and unwilling to defend its position by force. Given the fact that it was electorally in a minority and the political and bureaucratic elite at that time were determined to exclude it, there was no chance of parliamentary resistance to Hitler.

The more significant election of 1932, and the one that clearly proves in hindsight that the system was doomed, was the German Presidency. Here the SPD backed Hindenburg to keep Hitler out, a sign of utter desperation and lack of initiative that worked for less than a year.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 10:30 am

faustusnotes: “not thinking brexiters should be talked to, seeing them as unpeople, dismissing their “very real concerns” etc. this is what I mean by “taboo”, not that no one ever says the thing.”

So faustusnotes argues for a theory, and other people argue against that theory. That is what he means by “taboo”.

Raven Onthill: “we bloody well form a coalition and work for it.”

That coalition is called “the Democratic Party”. I fail to see what CT has to do with it. The primary value here should be developing our understanding of what is going on, and “squabbling” is part of that.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 11:07 am

TM: “You are the one who accused us of “contempt for voters” when the racism of the Brexit campaign was pointed out.”

No, I actually quoted this:

Contempt for voters (explicit and vocal, the quiet contempt has been there for years) has become a feature of the dominant factions of the left-leaning major parties in both the UK and the US. I’m not sure how that’s a good plan to win elections, but I don’t get paid the big bucks.

It’s from here.

And the basic idea that you and faustusnotes and whoever else can’t seem to understand is that there’s very few people on the left who deny the existence of racism and xenophobia or who think that they can’t be used as a powerful political force. What they do tend to deny is that this racism just exists, instead thinking that it wouldn’t have the power that it does if existing government was not failing.

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TM 07.23.16 at 11:16 am

Ze K: What is going on in Munich? I have read the live ticker (I’m not there, no). A shooter killed 9 people and killed himself. The shooter is described as an 18 year old German-Iranian who “was obsesses with mass shootings”. No specific motive is known.

What also happened is that the police and media terrified people with many false alarms. There were several false reports of shootings at other places, and the police said they were looking for three shooters with guns – there was only one shooter with a pistol. They went so far to close down the whole public transport and places where nothing had actually happened were evacuated “just to be safe”. It took them hours after the shooter was dead until they were able to figure out what actually happened. Not reassuring at all. This is of course the new normal – anybody with a pistol can now shut down a whole city.

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TM 07.23.16 at 11:21 am

Rich, I know what you quoted and the context made it clear that the “contempt” consists in saying that many Brexit/Trump voters are motivated by racism.

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TM 07.23.16 at 11:26 am

And suppose it’s all the government’s fault. That still doesn’t explain why it is showing contempt to say that people who are racists are racists. Or, that people who get their news from the Murdoch press are misinformed.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 11:34 am

TM: “I know what you quoted and the context made it clear”

The context made it clear. Did you read the original Atrios blog post it’s from?

I don’t mind when people disagree, but your comments are just, to re-use the title of that post, an omnishambles. You can’t figure out what anyone is writing so you’re just flailing around and as a result disagreement isn’t really possible.

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Chris G 07.23.16 at 11:36 am

Corey @ 07.22.16, 3:34 pm

> And who will [do the fighting]? A lot of poor people of color. That, my friends, is what they call “ethics” over at Berkeley.

And a lot of middle- and lower-middle-class white people. A significant fraction of my colleagues are veterans, young through middle-aged. Once upon a time when we had a manufacturing base I suspect a fair number of them would have gone to work at “the shop” rather volunteered for war. Our permanent (?) state of war as well as our privileging capital over labor has profoundly changed the nature of opportunity here. I think it’s a class issue as much as a race one.

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TM 07.23.16 at 11:48 am

RP, I have extensively engaged with your comments on the other thread. There was no reciprocity. Why don’t you try argumentatively refuting a single thing I have said before resorting to name-calling.

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TM 07.23.16 at 12:08 pm

Update re 230: The police say the Munich shooting is related to the 5th anniversary of the massacre by Anders Breivik in Norway. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36874497 [I’m posting this because there was a request for info. Won’t post any more on that.]

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novakant 07.23.16 at 1:11 pm

As for imperialism, I’m more concerned with American imperialism than Russian imperialism.

You know, it’s perfectly consistent to reject both forms of imperialism.

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novakant 07.23.16 at 1:26 pm

Well Rich, since you have a tendency to tie yourself into unintelligible knots, let’s make this simple: if they are racists I have contempt for them, it’s personal – don’t you?

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 1:41 pm

novakant: “if they are racists I have contempt for them, it’s personal”

The Atrios post that I quoted is actually about the Labour attempt to dump Corbyn. Something that you, novakant, supported for what seem like the same kinds of reasons as Atrios mentions (“the totebagger crowd”). I don’t think that what I write is unintelligible at all.

Here’s the basic thing: I don’t need to make you understand. If you look at Corey Robin’s comment at #110, he writes “I’ve been thinking a lot since last night about your point.” In other words, a political scientist whose views I respect actually thought about one of the ideas I expressed in these comments, and that point may affect his understanding of events just as his posts, even when I disagree with them, affect mine. That is possible because we understand what we’re each writing, more or less. And when someone does understand what I’m writing, they sometimes find it valuable (and sometimes stupid, of course). If everyone had your reaction, then the problem would be mine. But when the people who I’m most interested in hearing from don’t have that reaction, then the problem is yours.

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stevenjohnson 07.23.16 at 1:50 pm

F. Foundling @199 The factual corrections to Daragh are true enough I suppose. But really, the more important issue in looking at and assessing Ukrainian affairs is how you respond to the triumph of a fascist regime in a major European state. CT collective in general is indifferent with some active support. The refusal to admit Kyiv is fascist rests on arguments that would prove Franco’s regime wasn’t fascist. In addition, they refuse to acknowledge that Euromaidan won, and has proved it wasn’t about democracy, fighting kleptocracy or opening to Europe, except for weapons and financing for their war.

The thing is, Putin is nearly as accepting of fascism as CT. He did not support any effort at reversing the calamity, discouraging not just formal democratic resistance working from Yanukovych’s status as the elected leader, but any left wing resistance. The desperate resistance of the targets of the new regime was deliberately contained, both socially and militarily, restricted to an ultimately futile defense of a fraction of the country, just to avoid dealing with a mass of refugees. Instead, he merely rectified a notorious border problem in the preposterous belief that a naval base is actually an existential issue. He grossly deceived himself into thinking his diplomacy could find a way to make this acceptable after the fact, leaving Russia a permanent diplomatic wound.

As to Daragh’s list of wars, again, it seems to me there is a more important underlying issue. Dudayev in Chechnya, Gamsakhurdia in Georgia, Tudjman in Croatia, Izetbegovic in Bosnia, Milosevich in Serbia, the assorted gangsters associated with Sali Berisha in Albania and Kossovo…it is long past time that conclusions were drawn about the nature of capitalist restoration. national democracy, ethnic discrimination and war/ethnic cleansing. As a fellow proponent of restoration alongside Daragh, how do you justify Russia’s policy of fighting democracy in places like Georgia, Chechnya and Armenia?

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Layman 07.23.16 at 2:16 pm

Rich P: “I don’t think that what I write is unintelligible at all.”

But of course you don’t! No one thinks that about themselves.

“Here’s the basic thing: I don’t need to make you understand.”

Apparently you do. If your goal was to converse with Corey Robin and Bruce Wilder, you’d hardly spend so much time reading and responding to a bunch of other people who don’t get what you’re saying, or, more properly, don’t agree with it.

I don’t think you’re unintelligible – far from it – but I do think your criticisms are often pointless. While you could very well be right that we ought not to be in a particular situation (I often agree with you on that), what you seem to do is criticize what people say or do about that situation without offering any alternative words or action. “Let’s get a time machine and undo that prior bad decision” is not a particularly constructive criticism. But I don’t think you’re really interested in construction; your motives are a bit more base than that.

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Eli Rabett 07.23.16 at 2:27 pm

There are a lot of voters whose ancestors came from Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuenia, and so forth. They are not exactly unfearful of the Russians and Putin. This will move their votes.

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Brett Dunbar 07.23.16 at 2:38 pm

The problem Weimar Germany had was that the last few elections produced an anti-system negative majority. Both the far right parties (NSDAP, DVP) and the far left party (KPD) had enough seats between them to defeat any possible constitutionalist coalition in a motion of confidence. As making constitutional government impossible was the only thing they could agree on forming a government was therefore impossible. The KPD believed that they stood to gain from the failure of constitutional government, so were actively collaborating with the Nazis to destroy Germany. The KPD was actively malevolent.

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Yan 07.23.16 at 2:41 pm

A while back, there was speculation that RNB was paid by the HRC campaign. I’m beginning to think that’s false. He or she is clearly a computer program. He almost started singing “Daisy” in a couple of theses posts.

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Daragh 07.23.16 at 2:45 pm

“The refusal to admit Kyiv is fascist rests on arguments that would prove Franco’s regime wasn’t fascist.”

No, the refusal rests on having a passing familiarity with what fascism actually is, and not being the kind of mindless cretin who swallows Kremlin propaganda unthinkingly.

“In addition, they refuse to acknowledge that Euromaidan won, and has proved it wasn’t about democracy, fighting kleptocracy or opening to Europe, except for weapons and financing for their war.”

I suppose that’s why the Euromaidan was followed by two of the freest elections in the history of post-Soviet Ukraine, and Kyiv’s allies have continually refused to provide weapons or significant financing for Ukraine’s defence against transparent Russian aggression.

And as to the ‘corrections’ about Yanukovych above.

A) Yanukovych won the 2010 election, fair and square. No-one disputes this.
B) He subsequently had the constitutional court overturn amendments to the constitution that had made Ukraine a parliamentary-presidential Republic similar to France, reverting to the super-Presidential system that had existed earlier. That is, the powers and prerogatives associated with the office Yanukovych was elected to increased substantially, without any democratic input whatsoever.
C) Yanukovych immediately launched selective prosecutions of his political opponents, as well as violently intimidating opposition journalists, businessmen etc.
D) The subsequent 2012 elections were neither free nor fair, and included open vote rigging with the assistance of the Berkut riot police.

If you would like to pretend this is a ‘democratic’ state, go right ahead. But it wasn’t and it isn’t, and the willingness of so many nominal ‘left’ wingers to defend it against a civil uprising is truly depressing.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 2:53 pm

Layman: “But of course you don’t! No one thinks that about themselves.”

Which is why I described an external test (i.e. external to myself) for whether I was really unintelligible or not.

Layman: “Apparently you do. If your goal was to converse with Corey Robin and Bruce Wilder, you’d hardly spend so much time reading and responding to a bunch of other people who don’t get what you’re saying, or, more properly, don’t agree with it.”

I have hopes for there being more than like 5 people here whose replies I’m interested in. Keep hope alive! And it’s not at all “don’t agree with it”: people don’t get it.

For instance, you claim that I don’t “[offer] any alternative words or action” just after I took the trouble to reply to you up at #151. The meaning of that reply was basically “If you’re in a hole, stop digging.” If people don’t understand that we’re in hole, and don’t agree that digging is making it into a deeper hole, or that being in a hole is bad, then it’s pointless for me to suggest some kind of complicated solution for getting out of the hole. They’ll just dig another one.

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Faustusnotes 07.23.16 at 3:14 pm

Rich when you say people are racist because the state is failing you are a) going along with the “they have genuine concerns” style of dog whistling that made the leave campaign so successful, b) ignoring the fact that most of the supporters of these racists are not the people the state is failing, but are actually older middle/upper working class people in relatively secure financial positions (the state is failing young people the most and they overwhelmingly voted remain), and c) ignoring the clear and obvious history of racism in the countries in question and in the movements these people voted for. In the us this means ignoring the openly racist statements of the kovement’s leader, the history of slavery and Jim Crow laws of the country itself, and the obvious racist sloganeering of the party these voters are members of. Instead of these historical facts you resort to some kind of ahistorical argument about structural factors without any evidence these structural factors actually affect the voters you’re discussing.

Culture and history matter but for some reason I really don’t understand you want to ignore this culture and history and just blame everything on “very real concerns” that you have repeatedly been told are not the actual concerns of the people in question. Meanwhile you ignore eg johnson’s open cheerleading for colonialism, the breaking point poster (which you absolutely refuse to even discuss), the white nationalist elemen of trumps support, and the well documented and very real violent racist slogans and actions of his supporters.

I mean now we even have abb1 claiming that there are very few racists in American politics and they are marginalized – in defense of a man who said about Mexicans “they are rapists. They are murderers” at his campaign launch and is now the republican nominee. If this is how racists are “marginalized” in the us I think you have made my point for me …

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bruce wilder 07.23.16 at 3:14 pm

Someone up thread mentioned Jonathan Haidt and Chris Mooney, who have separately and differently written about the psychology of political attitudes and morality. What Haidt says is people bind themselves to each other around sacralizing certain issues. Which issues changes over time. At the present moment, on the left, sacralizing race and gender issues is key to the political motivations common on the left, particularly in terms of binding together and (part of the same social process) identifying the other. We are seeing this play out on this thread, as people affirm that racism is really, really bad. And, racists are bad. And, that’s all you need to know.

Haidt seriously irritates me, by playing certain cards intended to annoy liberals. He will say both sides do it (annoying). He will say Republicans tend to be better at propaganda because they push moral buttons along a broader range of moral dimensions than liberals (very annoying and a mischaracterization of liberalism as a political philosophy). One point he makes that I do accept is that sacralizing something both strengthens conviction and blinds a person. Another general point of social science he emphasizes is that people rationalize; they react emotionally first and devise explanations later. The rationalizations enter politics as expressions. So where people are disposed to be in the political space is the product initially of personality and attitude.

novakant: “if they are racists I have contempt for them, it’s personal” seems to me to be an instance and an illustration of how sacralizing race is working in the political dynamics of the Left.

There is disagreement on the left about the wisdom of this course of sacralizing race. And, it has to do with conflicts that arise with left preoccupations with issues of economics and class or issues of the environment.

One can make the issues align in one’s own mind. There is no reason I can see why concerns about race, economic inequality, social class, social justice, climate change and the environment entail logical or objective conflicts, but in our actual politics, they entail social conflicts and shape coalition building.

And, there is a generational dimension that is very interesting, as the experience of race and economics is very different, depending on one’s age.

The hyperbole of personal conviction and experience that the OP draws attention to, and the contradiction with history just illustrates this divergence.

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Layman 07.23.16 at 3:25 pm

@ Rich, I appreciated your reply @151, but it more or less made my point. ‘Don’t get into these situations’ is not a helpful reply to ‘what should we do now were in this situation.’

‘Stop digging’ sounds reasonable, until you ask yourself WTF it actually means in terms of policy.

It used to be that gay marriages were not recognized by the state. Now they are recognized by the state. This change is due to one thing: That some people chose the lesser of two evils in 2008 and 2012. If we’re going to learn from history, I think the lesson isn’t ‘refuse to participate in choices because I don’t like the stupid situation we’ve been put in, where we have to choose between lesser evils.’

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 3:30 pm

faustusnotes: “Rich when you say people are racist because the state is failing you are a) going along with the “they have genuine concerns” style of dog whistling that made the leave campaign so successful, b) ignoring the fact that most of the supporters of these racists are not the people the state is failing, but are actually older middle/upper working class people in relatively secure financial positions (the state is failing young people the most and they overwhelmingly voted remain), and c) ignoring the clear and obvious history of racism in the countries in question and in the movements these people voted for.”

Blergh. I’ve written here time after time that the GOP is a party organized around racism. That does not mean that everyone in the GOP is racist: it means pretty much what it says. It’s a judgement that doesn’t just rely on current politics, it’s informed by the long-term history of the U.S. (slavery, Jim Crow, etc.), the medium-term alignment that we’re currently in (the Southern Strategy), and the shorter-term effect of the exportation of ideas from the GOP fringes to the GOP center. (See e.g. Dave Niewert’s book _Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right_.) That judgement is fully consistent with what I wrote above.

That kind of theory could also apply to Britain and Brexit and still be consistent with what I wrote above, but I don’t think that that is the situation for Brexit — not entirely. The voters who predominantly voted for Brexit, once you take out geographic factors, were predominantly old, uneducated, and poor. Calling these people “people in relatively secure financial positions” is what, exactly? It could just be a factual claim that’s false, but it sounds a lot more to me like a rationalization for contempt for the people who the left can not exist without as a political force.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 3:34 pm

Layman: “WTF it actually means in terms of policy”

In this case it means “stop making alliances in which we guarantee to protect small countries against neighboring large and powerful countries.”

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TM 07.23.16 at 3:34 pm

RP, “stop digging” isn’t any more specific than “stop doing what is wrong”. You might just as well say “do good and not bad”. But I don’t expect specific solution recipes from a CT comment thread. It would be great progress if our debates helped us better understand reality. I’m always hoping for arguments. For example, BW above says that the left is “sacralizing race and gender issues”. What does that really mean and what would it mean to take racism and sexism seriously (which I trust BW doesn’t object to) without “sacralizing” them? It sounds like something profound is being said with such lofty terminology but really it’s totally vacuous. Engaging with the vacuous claim will now lead to another round of let’s say unfruitful exchange in which nothing will be learned. It’s such a waste of intellectual energy.

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TM 07.23.16 at 3:36 pm

RP: “stop making alliances in which we guarantee to protect small countries against neighboring large and powerful countries.”

No such alliances are currently being made. The question remains how to deal with alliances that have already been made.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 3:49 pm

TM: “No such alliances are currently being made. The question remains how to deal with alliances that have already been made.”

Perhaps Daragh will use his expert knowledge to assure us that controversy around NATO membership wasn’t a factor in the events in Ukraine as recently as 2014.

Or perhaps the whole “R2P” idea wasn’t an attempt to extend this kind of protection to the entire world.

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Richard M 07.23.16 at 3:53 pm

> Is Trump copying Putin and using a paid internet army or something?

I think it’s more that Putin’s pre-existing army is taking Trump’s side. Those who’s paying for who is a bit ambiguous, as Trump’s campaign manager is literally a Putin employee.

http://www.politifact.com/global-news/article/2016/may/02/paul-manafort-donald-trumps-top-adviser-and-his-ti/

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Yan 07.23.16 at 3:58 pm

@249,

“It used to be that gay marriages were not recognized by the state. Now they are recognized by the state. This change is due to one thing: That some people chose the lesser of two evils in 2008 and 2012”

Wait, this isn’t correct is it? In 2008 Obama opposed marriage equality, and Clinton opposed it until 2012. The lesser evils changed their views but also dragged their feet. It was only after many states legalized it that the SC was forced to decide it. We achieved marriage equality despite lesser evilism, or at least independently of it, not because of it.

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Scott P. 07.23.16 at 4:05 pm

“In this case it means “stop making alliances in which we guarantee to protect small countries against neighboring large and powerful countries.”

So boot Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg out of NATO? It’d be foolish to offer them any protection against German or French aggression?

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Yan 07.23.16 at 4:05 pm

@255,

Yes that’s a dishonest way to phrase it, and it bothers me how often Trump critiques suggest that spin, but I think what he really said was pretty damning, and definitely pandered to racist sentiments. He implied that most *illegal* immigrants, not all Mexicans, were violent criminals. It’s aimed at the logic of those paranoid about immigration: “if they’re breaking into the national house, it must be in order to commit a crime, right?”

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 4:09 pm

Scott P.: “So boot Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg out of NATO? It’d be foolish to offer them any protection against German or French aggression?”

Are the Germans or the French going to roll tanks into Belgium unless NATO threatens to go to war with them? I would say that that belief is delusional, except that I don’t think that anyone really believes it. It’s just a weird kind of hippie bashing. Insofar as NATO is not an alliance against Russia, it’s one of the things intended to keep Germany and France from going to war with each other. It’s not there to protect Belgium from France.

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Yan 07.23.16 at 4:37 pm

I’m not as quick to cry racist as most Democrats, and didn’t say the comment was racist or that it’s intended audience is. I said it pandered to, and to racist sentiments rather than to racist, precisely to avoid such blanket accusations.

I’m happy not to speculate about whether it was intended as pandering, if you want. I don’t share American politics’ obsession with the state and degree of purity of souls, whether it’s the left declaring everyone who disagrees with them a deep seated racist, sexist, etc, or whether it’s the right gasping with shock and acting severely wounded by such accusations.

I’m more interested in consequences. Trump’s claim, as you’ve parsed it, is false. Illegal immigrants have lower crime rates. And the consequence is that he’s misrepresenting them to people who already resent them and have false opinions about them (that they’re dangerous, that they’re taking their jobs, etc.). So he’s making things worse. And he and his audience may not be racists, but he’s surely making them more disposed toward racism.

You don’t have to be a knee jerk social justice warrior to admit that what he said is false and very unhelpful. You can even admit that and continue to, as you rightly have, point out that much of what the Clinton cult and spineless left is saying is false and unhelpful, too.

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bruce wilder 07.23.16 at 4:44 pm

Just to add a bit to the able summary Brett Dunbar gave @ 243:

The DNVP, the catch-all national conservative party for (Protestant) establishment conservatives, was pretty consistently anti-Weimar thruout the period. It is not clear that their voters always wanted them to abstain from power and the responsibility of office, but the leadership with few exceptions chose to just say no, in the expectation the republic would collapse and, blameless, they would accede to power.

The DNVP nurtured and made socially respectable some pretty evil themes, and it is impossible to understand how the Nazis could have seemed “normal” to so many Germans or why it was so difficult for Weimar to assemble a stable alternation in office with left and right both favoring the constitution.

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dax 07.23.16 at 5:01 pm

NATO will be over in any case, done in by its own contradictions. It was supposed to be an alliance against the Soviet Union. It was in Europe’s interests to have American support when an attack by the Soviet Union on Europe was still considered possible; it was in America’s interests because it made European countries allies in its fight versus its sole geopolitical rival.

But now it is no longer stable. It has put European countries at the mercy of American foreign policy, to which they have no control. America was “attacked” in 2001, not by the Soviet Union, but by terrorists upset with American Middle East policy. Europeans had no input in this policy, the conflict was orthogonal to their concerns, yet they found themselves called on to fight with America in Afghanistan. Now they – and not the US – are the principal victims of terrorism. The Nato alliance has caused them a great deal of pain.

In the present day America is making an enemy of China. Again Europeans have no input in this American decision. At some point Europeans will make it clear that they have no bone in this Asian conflict and will not come to the defense of America. Once that happens, Nato will crumble.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 5:10 pm

I’ll just go back to talking to Bruce Wilder. One of the things that’s come up in the past is what kind of pot at the end of the rainbow is expected from giving up on the state. Destabilization destroys structure, and why would it be bad when the U.S. does it to some other country but good internally? Shouldn’t we attempt to fix a complex system rather than go for simplification via destruction?

In part this is why I’m a devotee of one of the most useless political tendencies ever invented: gradualist anarchism. Instead of smashing the state, let’s try to really gradually chip away at the state. This has the large advantage that both success and failure are pretty much impossible. More seriously, what’s important is the gradual change of public opinion and gradual demonstration that other ways of doing things are possible.

But most of all it’s freeing. Threads like this — and politics in general — are full of delusions of grandeur. “What should we do about Latvia” as if anyone cares what we think or as if we have any route towards implementation of what we think. The people who are closest to having positions of advisory power in matters like this are the ones most firmly in the can for the system, and the rest of us are ignored.

But each of us has actual skills and connections to other people that we can actually communally use. Anarchism is a way of focussing on those actual abilities. It clears away the nonsense about how we have to support the Democratic Party because the alternative is Trump in favor of the reality that the controversy over your vote is meaningless, and what can actually be done?

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 5:13 pm

“and what can actually be done?”

And lastly, as an added response to Layman, really I can’t answer that question for you. Shouldn’t you answer it for yourself? Or talk to some people who you actually know in real life and who you intend to actually work with?

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Alex K--- 07.23.16 at 5:24 pm

It’s irrelevant to the original post but since the discussion has already hopelessly veered away from it (i.e., the question of Trump’s speech being “the most dangerous thing a modern POTUS nominee has ever said”), I suppose it’s OK to say it.

Daragh is talking sense on Ukraine 2014. I understand Russian and Ukrainian and I followed the 2014 uprising and the aftermath pretty closely, relying on Ukraine-based Twitter feeds and Russian and Ukrainian news sources. (I’m not a professional anything-ist, thank goodness.) There’s no doubt in my mind the Euromaidan was a genuine uprising, mostly middle-class, inspired by the simple idea that only the EU can provide the necessary institutional pull to transform Ukraine into a rule-of-law state.

The US may have been guilty of some meddling in local politics (a shallow and small-scale effort compared with the Russian meddling) but it never seemed to take seriously the Euromaidan’s imperative desire to transform Ukrainian politics into something completely different from what the corrupt mess it was in 1991-2013. The US would have been OK with a rotten but nominally pro-Western figure like Yatseniuk replacing Yanukovyvch. The people standing up to Yanukovych, in contrast, wanted an uncorrupted civil service and a decent legal system and were hoping the US and the EU would help them to achieve that.

Ze K’s claim that the two Donbass “republics” have been trying an anarcho-syndicalist model can only be true if anarcho-syndicalism is defined as synonymous with banditry and gangsterism.

Paul Manafort’s past work for the Yanukovich’s electoral team says nothing about his political sympathies but hopefully taught him something about the way things actually work in Ukraine (and Russia). That knowledge, and above all Trump’s apparent readiness to not play by the rules and to make unpredictable moves, could actually make Trump the best candidate to take on Putin – should he choose to do so, of course.

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Alex K--- 07.23.16 at 5:31 pm

It should have read “Paul Manafort’s past work for Yanukovych’s electoral team.”

I spelled Y’s name the Russian (not Ukrainian) way and failed to delete a superfluous article. Emotion and haste getting in the way of proofreading.

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TM 07.23.16 at 5:35 pm

RP: ““What should we do about Latvia” as if anyone cares what we think”

Just for the record, that is not what the debate was about. What it started with (brought up by the esteemed CR) was the evaluation of a statement by Trump, some people saying that the statement was extremely irresponsible. Now Trump’s opinions have some relevance and the degree to which they are irresponsible is not a purely academic question.

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TM 07.23.16 at 6:13 pm

It’s always good to know Ze K’s opinion. Now we can safely assume the opposite is true.

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bruce wilder 07.23.16 at 6:21 pm

TM: Now Trump’s opinions have some relevance and the degree to which they are irresponsible is not a purely academic question.

The degree to which the conventional standard for responsible opinion in support of the status quo is objectively irresponsible is also relevant and not purely academic.

Conventional responsible opinion has led the U.S. into a series of increasingly expensive, often bloody and destructive, risky and counterproductive confrontations, commitments and military interventions. And, there’s a Presidential candidate, who is not Trump, who has been pretty much cheerleading all it.

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Daragh 07.23.16 at 6:49 pm

” Yanukovich signed a deal with the opposition, supervised and approved by foreign ministers of 3 EU states, and then, in the evening of that same day, neo-nazi militants took over the government quarters. Svoboda, which is nowhere near any ‘inspired middle-class’, got 5 (iirc) cabinet posts in the putschist clique…”

Literally none of this is true. Except, maybe, for Yanukovych signing the deal. Of course, he immediately ran to the airport afterwards and abandoned his presidency, so it’s a bit of a moot point.

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Yan 07.23.16 at 6:55 pm

A strategic question for those hoping to defeat Trump: is it possible that the increasing tendency to portray Trump as more unprecedented in his badness and dangerousness, in addition to the complementary indirect and sometimes direct portrayal of Clinton (and now Kaine ) in an ever more flattering comparative light, will actually convert more people from hold-their-nose voters to no-voters than the reverse? Because I’ve planned to vote against Trump since the beginning, and the behavior of the anti-Trump crowd over the last month is making it increasingly difficult for me. I’m still confident I’ll do it, but I imagine many others may not, that these sorts of discussions may be counterproductive to the goal

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stevenjohnson 07.23.16 at 7:00 pm

Daragh of course is not only selective in the topics he chooses to address, but dishonest as well. The IMF extends credits to Ukraine instead of demanding a balanced budget as it usually does in order to finance the war. And this is only one way the war is financed. And if the pressures from the Berkut made voting unfree, then the many murders after make them much less free. But Daragh is a fascist supporter. For him, the murders committed by the fascists are not regrettable mistakes, not even crimes, but moral progress. One wonders if he celebrates the anniversary of the Odessa massacre. As for his oblique reference to the alleged Maidan massacre by snipers, we all know that if the fascists had a case against Yanukovych they would have made it.

It’s not certain about Alex K. If he genuinely thinks Daragh is talking sense, he is deranged. Of course there was a genuine uprising on Maidan, spearheaded by fascists (largely but not exclusively organized under Andriy Parubiy, the semi-official head of security for the protesters.) And it put into power a fascist regime. It is up to the likes of Alex K. to explain why the victors of a real uprising would not or could not carry out their own program. Ukraine is ever more the plaything of oligarchs after the Euromaidan. Not only does the chocolate king Poroshenko preside, but Kolomoyskyi has his own private army. Etc. But how does a democracy end up making Sakaashvili governor of Odessa oblast? Even if Alex K. is fixated on elections, things like fascists kicking out TV executives should cause reservations.

[On a related note, it has escaped my attention that Ahmetov for one has been dispossessed in Lugansk and Donetsk. Perhaps it’s my ignorance. But I’m inclined to think Putin has expended great effort in keeping the “People’s Republics on a short leash both militarily but politically.]

Brett Dunbar’s assertion that Weimar democracy was overthrown by ungovernability due to Communist malice is breathtaking, even for Brett Dunbar. First, the ungovernability had rather more to do with the Great Depression. Second, the notion that the KPD should have given up its leftism to support the Christian Democrats is astonishing. Bruening was ruling by decree anyhow. Third, as it turns out, this is despite the popularity of the claim, very dubious on the face of it. Hitler became chancellor as a result of the intrigues of General von Schliecher and Franz von Papen, along with the connivance of Hindenburg. Then he consolidated his dictatorship by using the Reichstag Fire to ban the KPD etc.

It is entirely unclear what role the KPD can be directly assigned here, save that the threat of Communism is something that made a decisive leader like Hitler so attractive to those who felt the Great Depression was likely to end with Red victory. No doubt Bruce Wilder is sure the leftish Germans shouldn’t have been goading their natural masters into a rage. Unfortunately he should not be so sure that people of the period could not tell the difference between the German People’s Party (DNVP) and the Nazi movement. One had the Sturmabteilung, much street fighting and violence and a leader who did time for a putsch. You know, the sort of thing Trump doesn’t do (yet?) Endorsing Brett Dunbar? Shame on you.

Going back more directly to the topic of the OP, objecting that so many of Trump’s policies and rhetoric are really business as usual, including by people who don’t use his kind of rhetoric at all is certainly factual. But neglecting to object that Trump clearly is running against government per se, notions of equality etc. is, well, peculiar. Like criticizing Clinton from the right, it merely sows confusion.

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LFC 07.23.16 at 7:16 pm

Small correction to my comment @90: ‘the threat that leaves something to chance’ is from Schelling’s The Strategy of Conflict.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 7:49 pm

TM: “Just for the record, that is not what the debate was about. What it started with (brought up by the esteemed CR) was the evaluation of a statement by Trump […]”

And evaluating that statement is fine: that’s an example of what CT can actually be useful for because it’s about understanding, not about putative action. (And I commented on that part of the thread on that basis.) But for that evaluation to be at all useful it has to be honest, which means that it can’t be something like Trump = bad so how could anyone say that his statement isn’t the worst in living American memory.

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Layman 07.23.16 at 7:51 pm

Yan: “Wait, this isn’t correct is it? In 2008 Obama opposed marriage equality, and Clinton opposed it until 2012. The lesser evils changed their views but also dragged their feet. It was only after many states legalized it that the SC was forced to decide it.”

Of course it’s correct. If Obama loses in 2008, instead of Sotomayor and Kagan you get two justices appointed by McCain. Instead of a 5-4 victory for gay marriage, Obergefell is decided 3-6, and states remain free to ban gay marriage. Obergefell recognizes a constitutional right – you’d never get that from a majority conservative court, much less a state legislature.

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Layman 07.23.16 at 8:00 pm

Yan: “Because I’ve planned to vote against Trump since the beginning, and the behavior of the anti-Trump crowd over the last month is making it increasingly difficult for me. I’m still confident I’ll do it, but I imagine many others may not, that these sorts of discussions may be counterproductive to the goal.”

I confess I can’t make any sense of this at all. You think Trump is the worse choice, plan to vote against him, but might instead vote for him because other people irritate you? What?

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Yan 07.23.16 at 8:15 pm

@282

Given that the voting issue was about presidents, I’m sure you can see how you’re claim might be read as a claim about a more direct causal relation to the President.

Two issues. First it remains the case that the majority of the work was done by popular pressure and brave state courts, so even if lesser evil voting was a necessary element in the process I wouldn’t overstate its role.

Second, and relatedly, given how much causal work was done by popular pressure and advance guard state court judges, it’s not obvious to me that a different SC would have voted it down or, if it had, the decision would long last the force of history. As it is, the SC already had to be forced to the decision. Any SC would likely be forced to the same decision relatively soon.

And the SC argument for giving the self perpetuating wheel of the slow death of the left another spin always strikes me as dishonest. History shows us that lesser evilism just slows regression rather than protecting incremental progress. I’m voting against Trump because I prefer it to end with a whimper not a bang, because I prefer euthanasia to catastrophic death, but at least be honest that in the long term it’s far from certain that you’re preventing the same end and in some ways are directly promoting it.

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Yan 07.23.16 at 8:23 pm

@283

I confess I doubt you’re trying that hard. I have decided on principle to do something that is loathe some and depressing and nauseating in practice, making it hard to find the will power to do it. The entire left and mainstream media is screaming at each 24 hours a day telling me how great it will be and how I’m worse than Hitler if I don’t do it and throwing each other you’re so great I love us award ceremonies for each other’s efforts. Yeah, it hurts the will power, go figure.

If that’s incomprehensible I suggest you figure it out, because the left’s moral, emotional, and frankly sociopathic inability to understand this very ordinary aspect of human psychology is partly responsible for the rise of trumpism, and could well lose us the election.

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James Wimberley 07.23.16 at 8:23 pm

283 comments on (well, more or less related to) Trump’s foreign policy views, and not a single mention of climate change. It’s true that leaving the Paris Agreement (and it seems the whole Rio Treaty process of which it is the latest instalment) is standard GOP fare. Trump’s only wrinkle is the yahoo ignorance of “cancelling” the Paris agreement, an international treaty adopted by 195 countries. The policy is breathtakingly irresponsible.

Climate change is hurting us already, unlike the catastrophic but low risk of nuclear war, and it is quite certain to get worse even with very vigorous mitigation policies all round. Indifference is a policy for mass deaths and population flight on a huge scale. It’s quite as insane as a wall to keep out Mexicans.

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Layman 07.23.16 at 8:31 pm

@Yan

The reliably conservative justices (Scalia, Alito, Thomas, Rhenquist) all voted to uphold gay marriage bans. If you want to believe it likely that two additional reliably conservative justices would have gone the other way, or that McCain would not have nominated reliably conservative justices, go ahead, but personally I think that’s silly.

As for causal links, nominations to the courts are just about the most direct and enduring powers of the Presidency – the place where the executive has traditionally held the strongest hand in the separation of powers, and where the impact survives long after the President is gone. There’s nothing indirect about the causation here – if Trump wins, you can predict with very good accuracy how the makeup of the court will change, and where they will come down on almost any issue.

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Layman 07.23.16 at 8:35 pm

Ugh. Rhenquist = Roberts above.

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Ronan(rf) 07.23.16 at 8:37 pm

I think this makes a more coherent attempt at the point of the OP (although, going by this thread, and ironically the OP itself, it’s clearly not only applicable to the new meritocratic elite”

“Of course, Peter is not at St. Paul’s because his parents went to Harvard; as he makes clear to Khan, he is there because of his hard work and academic achievement. Here we have the meritocratic delusion most in need of smashing: the notion that the people who make up our elite are especially smart. They are not—and I do not mean that in the feel-good democratic sense that we are all smart in our own ways, the homely-wise farmer no less than the scholar. I mean that the majority of meritocrats are, on their own chosen scale of intelligence, pretty dumb. Grade inflation first hit the Ivies in the late 1960s for a reason. Yale professor David Gelernter has noticed it in his students: “My students today are…so ignorant that it’s hard to accept how ignorant they are.… [I]t’s very hard to grasp that the person you’re talking to, who is bright, articulate, advisable, interested, and doesn’t know who Beethoven is. Had no view looking back at the history of the twentieth century—just sees a fog. A blank.”42 Camille Paglia once assigned the spiritual “Go Down, Moses” to an English seminar, only to discover to her horror that “of a class of twenty-five students, only two seemed to recognize the name ‘Moses’.… They did not know who he was.”43

Once again, Khan uncovers the clue to this phenomenon by letting his St. Paul’s students speak for themselves:

“I don’t actually know much,” an alumnus told me after he finished his freshman year at Harvard. “I mean, well, I don’t know how to put it. When I’m in classes all these kids next to me know a lot more than I do. Like about what actually happened in the Civil War. Or what France did in World War II. I don’t know any of that stuff. But I know something they don’t. It’s not facts or anything. It’s how to think. That’s what I learned in humanities.”

“What do you mean, ‘how to think’?” I asked.

“I mean, I learned how to think bigger. Like, everyone else at Harvard knew about the Civil War. I didn’t. But I knew how to make sense of what they knew about the Civil War and apply it. So they knew a lot about particular things. I knew how to think about everything.”44
“How to think bigger” is indeed a fine quality for a governing class to have, but this young man was cheated if his teachers tried to cultivate it as a skill in isolation and not via the discipline of learning “particular things.” It was the meritocratic ideology that paved this road to ignorance. Being open to all comers, with intelligence the only criterion, meant that no particular body of knowledge could be made mandatory at an institution like St. Paul’s, lest it arbitrarily exclude students conversant only with their own traditions. This has predictably yielded a generation of students who have no body of knowledge at all—not even “like about what actually happened in the Civil War.”

Unlike meritocracies, aristocracies can put actual content into their curricula—not just academically, but morally. Every aristocracy has an ethos, and a good ethos will balance out the moral faults to which that aristocracy is prone. The upper-class WASPs who constituted “the Establishment” in twentieth-century America were very rich; so they instilled in their children a Puritan asceticism. The Whig grandees of eighteenth-century Britain, who were the opposite of ascetic, cultivated a spirit of usefulness to check their tendency toward idleness. The besetting sin of the current elite seems to be arrogance, both moral and intellectual, with humorlessness a close second. To address the first, their acculturating institutions might try putting greater emphasis on humility—and they may find that learning how to laugh at themselves is one way this virtue can be acquired.

There is a wonderfully sad anecdote about Kingman Brewster, the man who as president of Yale did more than any other individual to create the modern meritocracy. In his first portentous strike at the WASP elite that reared him, he turned down his Skull and Bones tap on anti-elitist grounds. He then hopped on his bicycle and rushed to boast of his principled stand to A. Whitney Griswold, his ultra-WASPy but reform-minded mentor, whom he would succeed as Yale president two decades later. Far from being impressed, Griswold was not even home to receive him—he was across town at his own secret society, Wolf’s Head, for its Tap Night ceremonies.45 The poignancy of this story lies in the realization that, for all his Mayflower pedigree, Brewster really did not understand at all the class he would destroy. In retrospect, it seems likely that Brewster could have achieved all he desired—a more diverse student body, a more rigorous academic curriculum, a more liberal general atmosphere—by building upon the existing virtues of Old Yale, its sense of public duty and fair play. Unfortunately, he was blind to these virtues. So he did the only thing contempt can do: He destroyed.

The task of reforming our present elite ought to be entrusted to someone with a feeling for what is good in it. For all its flaws, this elite does have many virtues. Its moral seriousness contrasts favorably with the frivolousness of certain earlier generations, and its sense of pragmatism, which can sometimes be reductive, can also be admirably brisk and hard-nosed. What is needed is someone who can summon a picture of the meritocratic elite’s best selves and call others to meet the example. But this process can begin only when this new ruling class finally owns up to the only name for what it already undeniably is.”

http://www.iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2016_Summer_Andrews.php

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Anoni 07.23.16 at 9:03 pm

Which one of you is going to send your sons to die for Estonia? Mine is about military age. Robin, I don’t know how old your daughter is, but if she is military age, are you encouraging her to enlist in the combat arms so you can have her come home in a box?

I’d have mine enlist to help defend Poland, but Estonia, come on, they have to get along as best as they can in a rough neighborhood.

If you all don’t have sons or daughters begging to be the first to get run over by Russian tanks in a part of the world where we do not have the logistics to defend, then you should just stop talking.

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TM 07.23.16 at 9:03 pm

273: “The degree to which the conventional standard for responsible opinion in support of the status quo is objectively irresponsible is also relevant and not purely academic.”

Well said. You do realize though, don’t you, that it doesn’t imply that Trump is not irresponsible.

270

TM 07.23.16 at 9:06 pm

I don’t have to spell this out right? Hitler also disregarded certain conventional standards. Since the conventional standards of rotten Weimar weren’t worth defending, wasn’t somebody like him exactly what was needed?

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bruce wilder 07.23.16 at 9:48 pm

TM: What does that really mean and what would it mean to take racism and sexism seriously (which I trust BW doesn’t object to) without “sacralizing” them? It sounds like something profound is being said with such lofty terminology but really it’s totally vacuous.

I wasn’t going for “profound” so much as arguing for a cooler perspective on politics as a means of understanding better its dynamics and the point of view of people taking on other allegiances. One thing implied by taking racism seriously without “sacralizing” would be to turn down the flame of emotional investment in contempt for racists and the associated need to reduce analysis of political issues or coalitions to race or racism alone and the hysterical demands to exclude the persons and concerns tainted by racism.

It isn’t vacuous to argue that you have to manage your own emotions to put yourself in a place where you can understand points of view not your own. Metaphorically, you need a little distance. Abstraction in the analytic mode of social science can help with that. It also helps if you can sometimes tame the social impulse to make agreement a goal.

Politically, where achieving power depends on effective coalition building, empathy is helpful. It helps in understanding what others are saying, how others may understand and react to what you say, and how consensus might be reached.

I find racist expressions, attitudes and ideas distressing. Being institutionally circumspect and sensitive around race and gender issues is, in my view, an important political priority.

That said, I think some ways of using conceptualizing racism and using convictions about racism in personal political identity are less than helpful. More heat than light on the level of personal perception is part of that. Framing issues of racism as orthogonal to issues of economic class domination or political authoritarianism is part of the political dynamics of increasing economic inequality that ought to worry the leftish. Again, I am using abstract language chosen to cool, but these are very real, very hot issues as, say Krugman talks about “horizontal” inequality or Thomas Frank assesses the politics of Clinton.

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bruce wilder 07.23.16 at 9:58 pm

TM: You do realize though, don’t you, that it doesn’t imply that Trump is not irresponsible.

I do.

It implies that arguing that he’s irresponsible in some supremely unique way that justifies support for Ms Lesser Evil is ill-conceived. Trump is filling a space that has been created in large part by the smug, complacent, corrupt politics of Clinton and the Democratic establishment.

273

LFC 07.23.16 at 10:01 pm

@Ronan
For Christ’s sake, you are quoting something that quotes David Gelernter [!] in the first paragraph. Yes, no one is as smart as they think they are. News flash! News @11. Etc.

Gelernter et al want to persuade people that elite institutions don’t teach ‘content’. In my first semester at college, I took, for some reason or other, a survey course on Chinese hist. and civilization etc. Lecturers — (the late) John King Fairbank and (the late) Benjamin Schwartz. Nothing but ‘content’.

Today, decades later, if someone put a loaded pistol to my head right now and told me to recite all the major Chinese dynasties and their exact dates or die, I would be dead.

I’ll let you draw the moral, if there is one.

274

LFC 07.23.16 at 10:07 pm

And btw, Ronan, I think you rather mistake the point of the OP. Corey R doesn’t talk about the specific knowledge he learned from Murrin, Stone, Mayer et al, but rather the sense that historical judgments are always provisional etc.

Corey doesn’t tax Ezra Klein et al w not knowing history so much as w taking certain historical judgments as final: e.g., “i’ve read Katznelson, therefore I have the last word on the New Deal.” The pt of the OP as I read it is to say that there is no last word, which is, as CR himself acknowledges, a fairly obvious pt.

275

LFC 07.23.16 at 10:14 pm

@BW
Not necessary to argue that Trump is irresponsible “in some supremely unique way” in order to justify a vote for Clinton. Just as e.g. in 2004 it was not nec. to argue that GWB was uniquely irresponsible to justify a vote for Kerry. Other exs come to mind.

276

LFC 07.23.16 at 10:21 pm

J Wimberley @286
seconded

277

Rich Puchalsky 07.23.16 at 10:35 pm

TM: “Hitler also disregarded certain conventional standards.”

*And* Hitler was a vegetarian. I knew that I shouldn’t trust those damned vegetarians. They’re as bad as Hitler!

Do spell this out in more detail, please. Jam those Tinkertoys together or we might not be able to figure out how they go. Trump speaks at rallies … he’s running for the highest office … he’s right wing … he appeals to racists … uses eliminationist rhetoric … OMG Hitler! I never got the connection before! This historical analysis has never before been done with such precision or such care.

I wonder whether creating a state that’s kind of dysfunctional for ordinary people might be a bad idea? Maybe they might get unhappy … see no chance for change within the system .. .turn to a demagogue … and then it might lead to H, wait there’s something that begins with an H — Hockey. We might have to play hockey as our national game. Wow that would suck.

278

kidneystones 07.23.16 at 10:38 pm

@ 293 Yes, precisely, and that space as Yan notes above thread appears to be growing. Hence, the need to recognize that those who translate ‘reality’ principally through the fiction of race are not the problem/target audience, and why it’s essential to address the economic and identity concerns of an increasing number of workers threatened by globalization, robofacturing, and AI. The ‘surprising’ level of support for Sanders confirms as much.

Communicating why these concerns may/may not be best met by various policy options requires considerably more effort, skill, and patience than is currently on display. Hence, the argument that simply branding Trump supporters as racist is not only inaccurate, it’s lazy, provably false in many cases, and thus dangerously ineffective.

Support for the SNP was very strong leading up to their vote. The same willingness to hurl mud rather than explain which currency might be uses in an independent Scotland exposed critical failures/weaknesses in the independence argument. Ditto Brexit. The scare stories failed in large part because they became part of the white noise.

I continue to support Trump because I don’t believe his record shows him to be anything worse than a vulgarian egomaniac brimming with bombast who loves nothing more than garnering attention for himself in the most grandiose fashion.

Trump doesn’t want to start anymore wars and he wants all people in America to enjoy the same legal protections. And for all his public and private intemperate behavior and bad judgment, Trump has yet to appear allow himself to be filmed laughing about people he helped kill during a CBS interview. So, there’s bad judgment and bad judgment.

Finally, a question. Which is more important – electing another neocon cause she wears a dress, or helping destroy Ted Cruz’s GOP by electing a NY liberal billionaire who promises to remake the party of Lincoln?

I mean, if we’re talking about big ideas and the fierce urgency of now. For real.

279

Ronan(rf) 07.23.16 at 10:53 pm

LFC, they are both talking about the same supposed phenomenon, even if they have different twists on it.

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Lee A. Arnold 07.23.16 at 11:00 pm

Trump is unprecedentedly irresponsible, for a Republican

From a conservative and military point of view, Trump’s bad thinking, before he speaks, shows that he is unfit for the Presidency. Dangerously unfit. This is not just the liberal point of view, although the reasoning is different.

Trump has done major damage. Not by his indication to dishonor treaties, because that kind of chimpanzee chest-thumping is standard red meat for the stupids in U.S. election campaigns.

But Trump made a very big mistake in the so-called “war on terror”. Electing him would make it irreparable. Trump’s irresponsibility is indeed unprecedented, coming as it does from a Republican nominee.

Lefty liberals are quite unlikely to understand why. But what is amazing is that none of Trump’s supporters understand why, either. (This is another thing that is perhaps unprecedented). Or else they couldn’t possibly support him.

So, in an attempt to put everybody on the same page, let’s start with some basics, from a purely military point of view:

The “war on terror” is strategized by the foreign policy, defense, and security establishments inside the U.S. and inside all of its allies, as a Guerrilla War. It is not a war against state actors with standing armies.

It is being fought on both sides as a guerrilla war. This should be well-understood by anyone who is genuinely concerned about terrorist threats. You aren’t the first person to think about this! First you do your research, to find out what the basic thinking already is.

It is easily possible to read the requirements of guerrilla war. Some of the military manuals are on-line. Two historical and classic texts are Mao Tse-tung, “On Guerrilla War” (that’s right, Mao the Chinese communist) and David Galula, “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice”. These are short and, sadly, never out of date.

These will tell you how BOTH sides must fight, each in a slightly different manner. If you think that bin Laden hadn’t read them, think again. Trump has shown that he is a fool, by not even bothering to learn the basic countering strategy, and tactics.

The first thing you do NOT do, is to demonize the entire population, as Trump did with Muslims. This makes the war less winnable, not more winnable. It is exactly what guerrillas want you to do.

Trump has since tried to soften his statements, but there is no “walking it back” which saves him from being an unreliable, self-absorbed fool.

The entire globe has already heard Trump’s statements. Electing him would only say to the world, and to U.S. allies, “Yes, the U.S. hates all Muslims, and it will punish them.”

And, now that we have some of the basics down, here is the effect that THAT would have, from a military point of view:

1. Makes it more difficult for US and allied soldiers in hostile situations to find friendlies in cities and villages. If your Commander in Chief has bruited the possibilities of not letting Muslims into the US, and killing families of kids who become terrorists, what incentive would the villagers have? Soldiers need to be able to assure them of good intentions and safety. What security can be promised to non-combatants, if the Commander in Chief has already indicated that he may pull the rug out from under people, at any moment?

2. Makes it more dangerous for US civilian businesspeople and vacationers to travel abroad.

3. Makes it more difficult for US Muslims to come forward with intel about possible domestic terrorists. Why do you think there have not been many MORE attacks on US and allied soil? Taliban, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, ISIS, etc. would like to cause at least one attack per day. What do you think has been preventing this? It’s not electronic surveillance. The killers don’t use cell phones; they know the NSA, etc. are recording.

4. Makes it more difficult for the US and allies to find Muslims who want to train for reinsertion as humint (spies) into hostile regions.

5. Makes it more difficult for leaders of allied countries that have big Muslim populations to cause their own public safety problems, by agreeing with the US. Why do you think the allies are freaking out about Trump?

–Not understanding the things in this list, BEFORE you open your goddamned mouth, is evidence of complete unfitness to be President.

Whatever Clinton’s reasons (and many other people’s reasons) for not using State Dept. servers for emails, this simply doesn’t compare to Trump’s frightening demonstrations that he doesn’t think things through.

About a week after Trump started his demonization of Muslims last winter, the Republican establishment started to publicly express widespread alarm, and a big chunk of them broke away from him, warning that this sort of behavior made him unfit for the Presidency.

What was Trump’s reaction? To double down on his comments!

Trump: “I know more than the generals, believe me.”

He has since ameliorated his views — in fact, he is unlikely to do anything differently; Muslim immigration to the U.S. is vetted & is presumably always improving — but this does not remove the basic questions of character & temper.

Once he is in office, will he continue to be thoughtless and foolhardy? What could be the guarantee that he won’t?? Trump is 70 years old: Do you think he is going to suddenly have better judgment? He should have known better 50 years ago.

So, from a military point of view, Trump is not a person who should ever be the Commander in Chief. He has demonstrated that he does not think, and he will say anything, even if it endangers people and national security. Just to get elected!

This is why, from the point of view of conservatives who support the military, electing Trump to be President is just about the worst damage you could do to the United States.

281

LFC 07.23.16 at 11:17 pm

@Ronan
Hmm, maybe. (I’m reserving judgment for now, not that it matters.)

282

kidneystones 07.23.16 at 11:45 pm

@ 301 Actually, an informal March poll in the Military Times provides some surprising data. Trump, of course, leads.

“In total, 27 percent of troops listed GOP front-runner Donald Trump as their preferred candidate, with Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders following closely behind at 22 percent.”

Huh?

“GOP Sen. Ted Cruz gained 17 percent of support, while the next in line is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 11. 17 percent.”

Talk about getting it wrong.

283

RNB 07.23.16 at 11:45 pm

@212 kidneystones says that Josh Marshall is not writing true journalism. But then there is this:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing
Can Trump get the security briefings without having his long form taxes reviewed by James Comey to determine whether his access should be denied on the grounds of his being a foreign agent. Perhaps instead of getting the security briefings, Trump will be going through the FARA process. Irony for the one who lead the birther movement and screams “America First”, I suppose.
____

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was enacted in 1938. FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities. Disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons in light of their function as foreign agents. The FARA Registration Unit of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Act.

284

RNB 07.24.16 at 12:06 am

Are Putin and friends intervening in the American election by rolling over or forgiving Trump’s debt to them or “lending” money to him on “generous” terms? Would he have been able to finance his own campaign to the extent that he has otherwise? Has Trump already turned over his taxes to Comey? As Trump has become so reliant on Russian money, he does have an objective stake in Russia becoming stronger perhaps at the expense of the US national interest. Josh Marshall is doing extremely important journalism!

On another note: I still think Bill Clinton helped Loretta Lynch take the sideline on the email report so that the former Republican FBI Director James Comey would be the one to defend the decision to press charges against Clinton. If Bill Clinton had not “accidentally” met with Loretta Lynch, she would have had to answer Republican Congressmen on why she decided not to press charges given what Comey has found. This way the Republican Congressmen had to impugn the integrity of the FBI Director. Bill Clinton put the Republicans just where he wanted them.

285

RNB 07.24.16 at 12:08 am

oops typo: the one to defend the decision NOT to press charges against Clinton.

286

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 12:16 am

@ 304, 305, 306. Off the meds, again. Good luck with recovery!

Has anyone read the comments at TPM these days, btw? I put a toe in that swamp-water a few days ago. I don’t doubt a literate readership for Marshall’s donkey-spew, but the comments? The small sample I viewed was worse than Free Republic in ’06.

Really grim.

287

phenomenal cat 07.24.16 at 12:17 am

The entire globe has already heard Trump’s statements. Electing him would only say to the world, and to U.S. allies, “Yes, the U.S. hates all Muslims, and it will punish them.” Lee Arnold@ 301

Care to explain how the US hasn’t been punishing them since 2001? If you want to drink the “strategic” kool-aid of the FP/military establishment then go right ahead, but as I’ve said repeatedly on CT it is precisely the kind of “thinking” you are referencing that has created an unmitigated waking horror for millions of people across the globe, especially Muslims. And, as I’ve also said before on CT, this kind of thinking, which you apparently believe is paramount, needs to be flushed out to sea for the good of the planet.

That’s no argument for Trump, but your faith in the musings of the war profiteers and chaos lovers is hardly an argument against him. Seriously, can I assume you found that Kagan oped in Wapo against Trump (because fascism) well-reasoned and honest? I guess if one makes allowances for the fact that the kind of rationality Kagan et al embody would make a lizard cringe then one might be able to find such blatant propaganda reasonable…

288

Brett Dunbar 07.24.16 at 12:19 am

Made a slight error in the acronyms, I meant DNVP not DVP. Quite different party.

The reason that the Zentrum were willing to attempt to form a government with Hitler as chancellor is that seemed the only way that a government capable of winning a motion of confidence could be formed. Literally the only thing that the KPD agreed with the NSDAP and DNVP was that they should vote no-confidence in any constitutionalist government. If the KPD had actually valued freedom of the German people they wouldn’t have voted down any possible constitutionalist government. They were however an anti-system party devoted to ultimately destroying the Weimar state. Like the DNVP and NSDAP.

When drafting the current basic law the problem of a negative majority was an important consideration. So the constitutional court has the power to ban anti-system and non-democratic parties outright and the opposition cannot call a motion of no-confidence. They can call a constructive motion of no-confidence but that requires that a majority vote in the person named as the new chancellor. The Weimar anti-system parties would not have been able to do that; but had been able to agree on a general policy of voting down any government. The current German state takes the philosophical position that in order to participate in the democratic process you must accept the principal of the democratic process and your party must practice internal democracy.

289

Lupita 07.24.16 at 12:21 am

@Lee A. Arnold

This makes the war less winnable, not more winnable.

Another thing guerrilla manuals say is that a state cannot win against a guerrilla, like in the Vietnam war or the US war of independence. I think it is more honest to just accept defeat instead of talking about less winnable or more winnable unwinnable guerrilla wars. Besides, the US could save some money and what little prestige it has left.

290

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:21 am

65% of the U.S. population supported invading Iraq by the eve of the invasion.

The fact that a lot of soldiers are Trump supporters is not surprising. The military tends to vote conservative Republican.

Once again, what is unprecedented is that ALL Trump supporters, soldiers and civilians alike, do not think clearly about a fundamental strategy. And it does not bode well

291

LFC 07.24.16 at 12:22 am

Lee Arnold @301
It doesn’t undermine your conclusion re Trump, but I think you’re overestimating the COINindistas’ wisdom; I remember this angry piece from 2013 by Christine Fair:
http://nation.time.com/2013/03/13/the-coin-of-the-realm-is-a-wooden-nickel/

That said, dissing all Muslims as Trump has in the recent past is, of course, stupid and dangerous, for some of the reasons you give and other reasons, regardless of the debates over strategy.

292

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:28 am

Lupita #310: “Another thing guerrilla manuals say is that a state cannot win against a guerrilla”

No they do not, but they acknowledge the extreme difficulty.

The fact that you think that is “it is more honest to just accept defeat” has nothing to do with why the conservative establishment and U.S. allies have been distancing themselves from Trump’s remarks about Muslims.

293

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:35 am

LFC #312: “overestimating the COINindistas’ wisdom”

Fair’s article is in regard to Afghanistan. This has nothing to do with how to approach the reality that attacks are continuing in the U.S., Europe, etc., and that many of these attackers appear to hope that they can gather more to their cause, which is classical insurgency technique.

294

LFC 07.24.16 at 12:35 am

Galula was a Frenchman who fought in Algeria, published his book on counterinsurgency in 1964, died in 1967. Petraeus, Nagl, Kilcullen, and the other COINdinistas revived the book, adapting it to their own purposes. The Iraq ‘surge’ of 2006-7, directed by Petraeus, had some success. As far as I’m aware, that’s close to the only clear mil. success these people can claim, at least in the main theatres. The rest seems to have been more like two steps forward, one step back. Afghanistan is different from Iraq, as Christine Fair and others forcefully pointed out, and attempts to apply the strategy there have been considerably less successful.

There are a lot of reasons to vote vs. Trump, but that he hasn’t read Galula is probably not v. high on the list of reasons not to vote for him.

295

LFC 07.24.16 at 12:37 am

L. Arnold @314: ok, that’s a fair point.

296

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 12:37 am

@ 311 These two comments are far from your best. There are plenty of officers and ranks who support Democrats and Republicans. There’s nothing novel or surprising about diversity.

Critically, you miss the really important part of the survey. Bernie Sanders, another non-interventionist, is the favorite Democrat in this informal survey of the US military. The most telling point is that the least favored candidate still in the race at that point is the neocon interventionist. The US military, very sensibly, doesn’t want to be thrown into anymore ill-conceived and poorly executed wars for no clear purpose. Considering the same people voting are the same people being asked to fight the wars, this vote shouldn’t come as a surprise.

What is truly staggering to me is the evidence that Sanders’ message is radiating and resonating so strongly and effectively in the military community.

So, what do establishment Dems do? Push Sanders aside and promote the least popular candidate among the military.

The neoconservatives in both parties support Clinton, of course, so it’s no surprise to see Marshall cheering more bloodshed in Syria and all the Clinton wars to come.

Change!

297

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:42 am

LFC #315: “There are a lot of reasons to vote vs. Trump, but that he hasn’t read Galula is probably not v. high on the list of reasons not to vote for him.”

That is another point entirely.

That fact is that if you read Galula or Mao, you will find that it is emotional common sense, to begin with.

My point was that this lack of understanding is unprecedented, particularly for a Republican nominee and his supporters. The response of the old-line Republican establishment on the issue confirms this. They have called him “dangerous”.

298

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 12:43 am

Lee A. Arnold @ 301 (11 pm, 7.23): Trump’s irresponsibility is indeed unprecedented, coming as it does from a Republican nominee.

Lefty liberals are quite unlikely to understand why. But what is amazing is that none of Trump’s supporters understand why, either. (This is another thing that is perhaps unprecedented). Or else they couldn’t possibly support him.

Why would you think “Trump’s supporters” would understand much of anything? I’m pretty much OK with your thinking that Lefty Liberals are dumber than Trump supporters. But, what don’t you understand about “Trump supporters” that would lead you to be amazed at their failure to understand something about their guy? You think his supporters do not know he is a reality teevee star or that being a reality teevee star is not necessarily great preparation for one’s first foray into high office?

Speaking as a lefty liberal, whose puny powers of understanding are surely too stunted to understand why you would type out this tripe, I will say I am old enough to remember Lyndon Johnson’s opponent Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush and his son, George W Bush as well as Bob Dole and John McCain. Of those, George H W Bush had possibly the strongest portfolio of foreign policy experience of any President since John Quincy Adams. Reagan had one of the weakest, but for a bad actor timing is everything. For the damage he did to the interests of the United States in foreign affairs, not to mention butchers’ bills, I think I would hold the hyperbole as long as George W Bush’s name remains inscribed in the history books. John “♪ bomb, bomb, bomb Iran ♫ ” McCain has a long record as stupid and irresponsible; his role in undermining Clinton’s deal with North Korea was a pretty typical demonstration — small potatoes compared to Richard Nixon’s early work as a red baiter and later efforts to prolong and escalate the Vietnam War, but worth considering in your comparative litany.

As for whether Hillary Clinton’s support for invading Iraq, surging in Afghanistan, sustaining the coup in Honduras, bombing Libya, or her tireless efforts on behalf of Frank Giustra demonstrates even a passable level of competence against the measure of criteria you propose, it seems altogether dubious to me.

Sure, there are all kinds of things no one who wants their “seriousness” in Washington to be confirmed is supposed to say. Mostly, these taboos protect the incompetent and corrupt. America’s military cannot win a war; they cannot even bring one to an end in any finite period of time. The CIA’s covert operations wing is wholly incompetent, to the point of committing unprosecuted crimes on a regular basis.

Trump’s a clown. People who pretend he isn’t are indeed fools; pretending he is the worst thing evah to redeem Clinton from her arrogant and bloodthirsty corruption may be even more foolish, if that’s possible.

299

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:48 am

Kidneystones you remain unreal. Of course there are military who vote Democrat, just not as many. Trump will be up to his ears in wars.

300

RNB 07.24.16 at 12:51 am

@307 Josh Marshall:Donald Trump as Karl Marx: Lord Palmerston.
Well Marshall is being more careful than Marx was.

301

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 12:55 am

Lupita: “I think it is more honest to just accept defeat instead of talking about less winnable or more winnable unwinnable guerrilla wars.”

But everyone knows that George W. Bush, who actually was “careful” about not blaming all Muslims, won that guerrilla war. It’s over.

I think the thread has reached the dark comedy stage, as these CT threads are likely to do. Here’s a scene from Fawlty Towers:

Basil Fawlty (greeting Muslim guests): “Please allow me to introduce myself. I am the owner of Fawlty Towers. And may I welcome your war… your war… you wall… you all… you all, and hope that your stay will be a happy one. Now, would you like to eat first, or would you like a drink before the war… AHH! Er… hostages will be blown up with detonating wire… SORRY, SORRY!”

Guest (sobbing): “Please stop talking about the war!”

Basil Fawlty: “You started it! You crashed a plane into the Twin Towers! Here, I’ll do my Osama imitation–“

Polly Shearman: “No, Mr. Fawlty! Do Jimmy Cagney instead!”

Basil Fawlty: “What?”

Polly Shearman: “Jimmy Cagney. You know. ‘You dirty rat–‘”

Basil Fawlty: “I can’t do Jimmy Cagney. ” [to the guests] “Watch. Who’s this, then?”

[He pantomimes wrapping something around his head and shouts in mock Arabic, which makes the guests cry even more.]

Polly Shearman: “No, Mr. Fawlty! Oh, we would have won the world guerrilla conflict if you just hadn’t talked about the war!”

302

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 12:57 am

Darn it, comment in moderation. Oh well it was the scene from Fawlty Towers “don’t mention the war” re-written slightly.

303

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 1:01 am

Bruce Wilder #319: “I’m pretty much OK with your thinking that Lefty Liberals are dumber than Trump supporters.”

I didn’t write that either.

But Lefty Liberals do not deign to think about military affairs from the rightwing cognitive bias which is the sine qua non of military risk assessment. On the other hand, Republican op-ed writers in the past have tended to be a little more savvy about the basics of military strategy. So therefore I would have thought that the Republican base at large would be a little more savvy, too. This is clearly not the case.

But again, I am just talking about military strategy and tactics, not the laundry list of foreign policy errors which they have often been put into the service of.

As to the allegations of Hillary’s “bloodthirstiness”, both you and Kidneystones are nuts.

304

eddie 07.24.16 at 1:04 am

“the defenders of freedom and pluralism would, possibly will, reduce the world to a glowing cinder…for Latvia.

Well, Latvia is a sovereign country and a member of the EU and NATO.”

and yet

“Should, next time, large majorities there demand quitting the EU and NATO, and integrating (or, god forbid, joining) with the Russian Federation, German troops being deployed there will certainly come handy: they know the terrain…”

Is Latvia sovereign or not?! Sheesh!

305

eddie 07.24.16 at 1:05 am

And stop whining that trump is saying out loud what you’ve been dog-whistling for decades. You’re really only pissed he’s letting the cat out of the bag.

306

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 1:06 am

Phenomenal Cat #308: “Care to explain how the US hasn’t been punishing them since 2001?.. your faith in the musings of the war profiteers and chaos…”

You are another misreader. I am not defending the US’s wars. Is everybody here drunk or stoned?

307

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 1:12 am

@ Like many I served in the military, so I’ve some grounding in reality. And, whilst I read some theory many, many years, ago (Clauswitz and Napoleon, Mao, Ho, and Ché), your poorly-argued assertion that you understand more about fighting and winning contests than Donald leaves you seriously exposed to any number of attacks.

There are literally so many holes in your feeble effort to imagine yourself a conservative general its frankly a waste of time to detail them all. (BW and LFC nail some).

The parallels between business and war are far from new and limited to Trump. If we extrapolate from the economy and success of Trump’s campaigns against the GOP, and his ability to apply the lessons he learned in business and in entertainment to politics, the burden of proof falls upon you to demonstrate his incompetence and inability to shape and adapt to a rapidly changing battlefield/war being fought on multiple fronts.

You remind me of the Obama critics during the 2007 primaries who managed to persuade themselves that each new victory provided fresh evidence of Obama’s immaturity and lack of political ability.

So, step up, Lee. My own view is that Trump is far less likely to end up in a proxy war with Russia and China than Clinton and I’m prepared to advance some modest arguments to support my claim. You, on the other hand, have boldly declared that Trump will be up to his ears in wars. The next president will inherit four – Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, at least. Eliminate these from your scare list.

Where will Trump be fighting his own wars of choice/ineptitude?

Choose just 3 from your very long list.

308

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 1:32 am

Good luck with convincing the members of the Republican establishment that have turned away from Trump that he knows how to stay out of a war!

309

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 1:53 am

@ 328 You’ll be supporting a place-holder puppet of Wall St. in a dress, rather than helping Trump destroy the part of the Republican party all normal people should abhor. No, surprise there. The neocons love Hillary! You understand what the neocons want, yes?

Finally, you dare challenge BW and I over HRC’s bloodthirstiness? With her longstanding support of wars, regime-change, drone strikes, kill lists of US citizens?

Did you actually watch the video of your candidate laughing about taking life?

You need to watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlz3-OzcExI

310

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 2:00 am

@ 328 pt. 2 I take it that you’re retracting all your previous claims about Trump, his skills, and his wars. Good.

A vote for HRC is a vote for fixed elections and primaries, disenfranchising members of the Democratic party, and corruption and collusion at the highest levels.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/bernie-sanders-campaign-chief-accountable-dnc-emails-show/story?id=40825318

311

Anarcissie 07.24.16 at 2:13 am

I believe it is incorrect to conflate terrorists and guerrilla fighters. In the recommended work on guerrilla warfare by Mao, the irregulars and their organizations are seen as inchoate or quasi-state operations. For instance, Mao writes of guerrilla forces, ‘They withdraw when he advances; harass him when he stops; strike him when he is weary; pursue him when he withdraws.’ This is a fundamental martial-arts technique called (on some quarters) ‘sticking’, and requires that the insurgents maintain a continuous presence and level of activity, just as a state does. The guerrilla forces are also supposed to secure bases of operations and cultivate structures of political support among the general population, just as a functioning state does. The point of guerrilla operations is to work the combat forces up to the level of regular army units which can seize, hold, and administer territories and populations, and behave in other state-like ways. There is also a focus on specifically defeating and destroying the forces of the opposition, that is, their leadership is interested in effective strategic operations.

Terrorists, generally, do not need to do any of these things. Indeed, they are usually too weak to do them. Hence their preference for striking soft targets of no strategic value. They do not need much support, so they may be largely disconnected from the population. Their aims may be vague or senseless. One of the major errors of the American imperium has been, I believe, to constitute populations from which terrorists emanate as quasi-state entities and make state-level war on them. That is, it’s a mistake if there was an actual desire to reduce terrorism. ‘Fighting terrorism’ and the ‘war on terror’ have proven to have enormous political and financial value for some people.

312

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 2:16 am

Kidneystones, good golly, instead of all this dancing around your avoidance of the issue, just explain to us WHY Trump’s demonization of Muslims is a good idea, and also explain WHY it shows that Trump can be trusted to be a thoughtful leader.

313

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 2:34 am

RP @ 266: Shouldn’t we attempt to fix a complex system rather than go for simplification via destruction?

Ronan(rf) @ 289, 300
LFC @ 294

Re: An article (book review?) by Helen Summers published in The Hedgehog Review: Summer 2016, theme: “Meritocracy and its Discontents”. U of Virginia, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture
cited and linked above by Ronan(rf)

I read most of the article. Rhetorically it had some passably good bits, but this wasn’t just a “different twist” from Corey Robin’s OP; this was a prime example of Corey Robin’s bête noir, a reactionary arguing for creating an aristocracy. Really, at the end, she advocates transforming the failing meritocracy into an aristocracy. As a remedy.

She doesn’t argue that end at any length, but, in addition, to David Gelernter, she managed a positive reference to Charles Murray (and possibly some other horribilēs already slipped my mind).

Some of the best parts are early on when she arches her eyebrow at a number of books decrying the already decadent nouveau, meritocracy.

. . . Toby Young found himself at a loss for solutions, as all modern critics of meritocracy seem to do. The problems they describe are fundamental, but none of their remedies are more than tweaks to make the system more efficient or less prejudicial to the poor. . . .

When an author caps two hundred pages of rhetorical fire with fifteen pages of platitudes or utopian fantasy, that is called “the last chapter problem.” When every author who takes up a question finds himself equally at a loss, that is something else. In this case, our authors fail as critics of meritocracy because they cannot get their heads outside of it. They are incapable of imagining what it would be like not to believe in it. They assume the validity of the very thing they should be questioning.

It seems to me that she could have done something outlandishly interesting there, but, of course, she didn’t. She was somewhat clever with words, but not brave let alone foolhardy. She traces meritocracy historically to the introduction of competitive examinations for the British civil service, but doesn’t do much with that history. Partly this is because she is too reactionary to, say, call for two cheers for bureaucracy or note its many achievements alongside statistics for its phenomenal rate of growth in the 19th and 20th centuries. Herbert Spencer, who feared the City of Birmingham Public Works Department signalled a return to feudalism, gets a quote. Not Weber. Not Veblen. Not Chandler.

She quotes some young whipper snapper claiming he knows how to think bigger. Well, thinking bigger in this context would require Weber’s horizons: meritocracy is all about the move to governing the political economy with a bureaucracy, which, in turn, is all about moving away from animal energy and muscle as the foundation of all activity.

Meritocracy can not be separated from bureaucracy, from technology and scale, from the industrial revolutions and from globalization.

One way to see the problem of “amnesia” in the OP is that we are having a hard time getting a proper perspective on where we are in history. Everything isn’t unprecedented, but sometimes it feels that way, feels as if history is just a catalog of obsolescence. Maybe, we are at the top of the roller coaster and it is time to come down.

If someone does hold a gun to LFC’s head, demanding a list of Chinese dynasties, legendary and historical, I hope he has the presence of mind to use Wikipedia on his smart phone to correctly answer the question.

Some aspects of knowledge worth having are obsolete, and we must adapt. Some folks will shout at the kids to get off the lawn, even when there is no longer a lawn. Take comfort in that.

314

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 2:48 am

Lee A. Arnold: Lefty Liberals do not deign to think about military affairs from the rightwing cognitive bias which is the sine qua non of military risk assessment. On the other hand, Republican op-ed writers in the past have tended to be a little more savvy about the basics of military strategy.

Has it ever occurred to you that that “rightwing cognitive bias” is often a recipe for epic incompetence? That the entire history of the last 15 years of American military adventure has been a series of catastrophes?

Republican op-ed writers? I am flashing on Robert Kagan. Oh, feel the savvy!

315

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 3:04 am

@ 332 That’s the goofiest and most poorly grounded part of your comment. I watched a clip with Newt at the RNC describing discussions he was having with Muslims in attendance. Muslims are not all alike and the degree to which they are aware of differences between Democrats and Republicans varies a great deal. Ahem.

You treat this diverse and largely peaceful community of faith as a body of ‘others.’ Those on the receiving end of drone strikes and love bombs from Hillary and Obama learned that there’s little difference between being bombed by a Bush, or an Obama. Indeed, in some parts of the Muslim world US popularity is lower today than it was under Bush.

I noted earlier that Trump is indeed engaging in ‘dog whistle’ politics and will continue to do so. The actions the next president takes will be of far greater consequence.

The Kaine pick is a victory for Clinton and for Wall St., as well as a telling sign that HRC is counting on fear of Trump among Hispanics to get her over. What private polls reveal we can only guess. But I’d say they don’t look good.

Trump is ahead by 1 and 2 nationally in the most recent polls. His hostile takeover of the GOP has largely succeeded. Goldman Sachs, K Street, and the big money machine RNC are retrenching and preparing a counter-assault. Trump as president will be fighting them for the next four years.

Progressive voters and Sanders supporters can either make a difference, or get nothing. The Kaine pick confirms that all Sanders and his supporters fought for gets them nothing in Clinton world. Twas the same in 2008 and 2012. More nothing.

Helping Trump rip up the GOP seems a far better and more satisfying option. I’d like nothing more than to see Ted Cruz and the racist, Christian bigots in the GOP crushed by Trump and the new Republican party over the coming months.

Ideally, Cruz and his allies will be forced out, along with all the racists, war mongers, and crony capitalists who’ve made life so miserable for so many. The neocons, as we know, have already joined Hillary and their other allies in the Democratic party, like Biden.

That would truly make this election historic. Won’t happen without changing minds.

316

J-D 07.24.16 at 3:13 am

Anarcissie 07.22.16 at 11:48 pm

Right. I’m just working with the stuff from your side, and I know that the US government and media lie, conceal, and obfuscate routinely, so I’m very conservative about what to believe. But the violent coup stuff, the funding, and so on, is what was reported in the Western media available to me, along with the usual propaganda. Not RT, not al Jazeera, not Xinhua, but the Times and WaPo and the rest of them.

If you ‘know that the US … media lie, conceal, and obfuscate routinely’ and you are therefore ‘very conservative about what to believe’, why do you immediately go on to cite ‘what was reported in the Western media … the Times and WaPo and the rest of them’?

317

J-D 07.24.16 at 3:19 am

kidneystones 07.23.16 at 1:04 am
… Trump is literally ripping the GOP from their tawdry, bigoted mitts and remaking it as a LGBT and minority-friendly party of empowerment and pride …

The Log Cabin Republicans have denounced the Republican platform as ‘the most anti-LGBT platform the Republican Party has ever had’.

That’s a Republican group. The non-party GSM reaction to Trump is harsher.

318

gocart mozart 07.24.16 at 3:23 am

Interesting discussion but nobody has yet brought up Trump’s novel approach to reducing debt. A tactic no doubt learned in the business world and what many regard as insane as applied to U.S. economic policy.

He said on CNBC on Thursday that as president he would find ways to renegotiate the public debt and pay less than 100 cents on the dollar if the economy went bad. “I’ve borrowed knowing that you can pay back with discounts,” he said. “I would borrow knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-treasury-haircut-idea-insane-2016-5
http://www.npr.org/2016/05/09/477350889/donald-trumps-messy-ideas-for-handling-the-national-debt-explained

319

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 3:36 am

@ 337 Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day.

Progressives have a simple choice, do nothing, or vote for TPP, globalization, and more wars from Dem Neocons – in short, everything many here detest.

Or, pick up a torch and do something real: help Trump burn Ted Cruz’s GOP to the ground, once and for all.

320

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 3:41 am

Wait until someone tells him what a large portion of the national debt is owed to the government entities. Or, that the government gets back the money it pays for debt held by the Federal Reserve. Or, that it is legal to mint coins of any denomination to either buy the debt or deposit as an offset with the Federal Reserve.

The education of Donald Trump will be a mind-blowing experience for him.

But, NPR never complains when some right-wing Republican wrings his hands over the size of the national debt and how we cannot afford Social Security. George W Bush never complained that the Social Security trust fund was just pieces of paper, suggesting the U.S. should default, because he was a responsible Republican — NOT!

321

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 3:52 am

Lee A. Arnold

What’s the military risk assessment on Abu Ghraib? Guantanamo?

Donald Trump is too late to matter.

322

Anarcissie 07.24.16 at 4:22 am

J-D 07.24.16 at 3:13 am @ 336 —
As far as recent events go, I don’t have much else to work with. Eventually, one can read history, and then compare that to how the same events were reported in their own time. One can also compare what is said about great leaders and great matters with daily life, and judge whether the behaviors described about the great are likely or even possible for humans, going by what one observes at work or in one’s neighborhood. By these procedures one can not only sense when lying, bullshitting, obfuscation, or concealment are going on, which in the case of governments, political parties, corporations, churches, and other major institutions is ‘usually’, but also at times read between the lines and get some idea of what’s really happening.

323

J-D 07.24.16 at 5:13 am

Yan 07.23.16 at 3:17 am
“to repeat the division on the left of the 1932 German elections.”

“to repeat the division on the left of the 1932 German elections.”

Sincere question: is this a commonly agreed upon explanation? I honestly don’t know the details. My impression from casual reading was that the problem was a division of too many parties period (not of the left), plus proportionally allocated parliamentary seats, making a majority government difficult. My impression was that the public, which was split between wanting to go far left or far right grew frustrated by a gridlocked centrist government and so many leftists switched to the authoritarian right.

Maybe that’s wrong, but I’m curious if there’s a consensus, since my impression suggests that insisting on a unity that pulls to the center is precisely the worst possible path.

Other comments suggest there’s no consensus; but perhaps there’s a partial consensus.

Some might have thought (at the time and since) that the position taken by the KPD was misguided and that they should have modified it in order to work together with the SPD, while other might have thought (at the time and since) that the position taken by the SPD was misguided and that they should have modified it in order to work together with the KPD. But can we at least agree that the positions adhered to by these two parties were irreconcilable, whether we blame the SPD, the KPD, both, or neither?

Also, as has already been pointed out, even a combination of the SPD and the KPD would not have constituted a majority; it would still have needed support from other parties, and the distance between those other parties and the KPD was even greater than the distance between the SPD and the KPD.

Majority multi-party governments have been common in several countries, including Germany — both in the Weimar period and in current times. The problem of Germany in 1932, it seems to me, was not simply the division of the vote between many parties, but more specifically the division of the vote between many parties with irreconcilable positions.

324

J-D 07.24.16 at 5:16 am

kidneystones 07.23.16 at 6:00 am
@ 214 I suspect, or rather hope, that the difference is strikingly clear. Perhaps not, sad.

Your suspicion or your hope, whichever it may be, is utterly unfounded, but it’s not clear to me how that’s supposed to be sad.

325

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 5:40 am

@ 344 Life is full of small mysteries, isn’t it. Good luck!

Nap time.

326

J-D 07.24.16 at 6:34 am

Ze K 07.23.16 at 8:28 am
@176 J-D “I can tell you’re dreaming because your suggestion is unrelated to any observations of the waking world; but it’s unsurprising that my recognition doesn’t help you.”

Your arrogance knows no bounds, does it?

That’s not for me to say; but being arrogant is no evidence of being wrong, just as being humble (if anybody ever is) is no evidence of being right.

327

J-D 07.24.16 at 6:40 am

Yan 07.23.16 at 8:23 pm
@283

I confess I doubt you’re trying that hard. I have decided on principle to do something that is loathe some and depressing and nauseating in practice, making it hard to find the will power to do it. The entire left and mainstream media is screaming at each 24 hours a day telling me how great it will be and how I’m worse than Hitler if I don’t do it and throwing each other you’re so great I love us award ceremonies for each other’s efforts. Yeah, it hurts the will power, go figure.

I recommend you consider the option of consuming less mainstream media, on the basis that I have found it works for me.

328

Alex K--- 07.24.16 at 6:53 am

The Euromaidan protest was a large-scale, mostly non-violent movement that lasted for about two months, from November 2013 to February 2014. At the peak, there were at least half a million people in the streets demanding that Yanukovych either resign or sign the EU association agreement.

The peaceful standoff culminated in clashes with Yanukovych’s special forces – it’s still not quite clear who fired the first shot – at which point it was only natural that the more violence-prone protesters would take the initiative. That’s the universal logic of revolutions: the fringes ready to resort to violence play a disproportionately large part during the decisive stage – but as a rule, they don’t get to define the post-revolutionary agenda. At first, Svoboda managed to get a few cabinet posts but in the parliamentary election in October 2014, Svoboda and the Right Sector only won seven seats out of 450 in the Rada. Back to the fringes.

Saying that Ukraine is ruled by oligarchs more than ever before, regardless of the truthfulness of the statement, does not tell us anything about the nature of the Maidan revolution. Judging the logic of revolts by their consequences is poor history. In February 1917, Russia went through a liberal-democratic revolution. By the end of 1918, it was engulfed in Red and White terror and a bloody civil war. Does it mean the February revolution was an uprising of bloodthirsty terrorists?

BTW, the DNR and LNR have not expropriated Renat Akhmetov, but there have been reports of ordinary people getting relieved of their cars and apartments by thugs running the show.

329

William Timberman 07.24.16 at 6:55 am

Who are Trump’s historical predecessors? Hard to choose between Mussolini and Pantalone, no? So if God should actually see fit, in a moment of inattention, to anoint him President, that huge cloud of dust rising at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue will be the Donald disappearing under a mountain of the assorted parasites that Washington can supply in any number necessary to counter the perceived threat to business as usual. With Hillary, no worries. She already knows what she’s supposed to do, and because she’s had even more experience at it than her predecessor, she’s probably even more adept than he was at pretending she isn’t doing it. Either way, order will be restored. Suck on that!

330

J-D 07.24.16 at 8:08 am

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 12:57 am
Darn it, comment in moderation. Oh well it was the scene from Fawlty Towers “don’t mention the war” re-written slightly.

I was thinking of quoting Fawlty Towers earlier, but not that scene, or even that episode; I was thinking of the ‘Waldorf Salad’ episode. Near the end the American guest Mr Hamilton (the one who ordered the Waldorf Salad) suggests that Fawlty Towers is the shoddiest and worst-run hotel in western Europe. Major Gowen, the hotel’s longest resident, makes a characteristic intervention. ‘No! No, I won’t have that!’ he protests vigorously. ‘There’s a place in Eastbourne …’

331

faustusnotes 07.24.16 at 8:08 am

Rich I have known leavers in the UK for a long time and they are not being “failed” by the state. For example, my grandmother who is living on a state pension, married to a man who had a military pension and worked for the government, living in state housing. Or my wife’s uncle who has a military pension, a good government job, owns his own home, his wife works for the government too – he likes to refer to low-paid Eastern European workers as “Polish scrotes.” Or my Father, who, yes he was sacked when he was 55 and couldn’t get another job but he managed by benefit fraud to get the state to pay for his mobile home (my Father is trailer park trash), lives on a state pension and has special disability benefits. All these people get free health care and various other perks by dint of being British citizens. The state hasn’t failed them, and they were racist before the EU was a matter of serious debate in the UK – before Eastern European migrant workers they were concerned about Asians, or “Pakis” or travellers or whatever the Daily Mail’s victim du jour happened to be. But here you are flailing around trying to explain their “very real concerns” in terms of a backlash against neo-liberalism by people who’ve never heard the term and couldn’t give a flying rat’s arse about whether young people are being screwed out of a house by the modern banking system.

15 years before free movement was introduced into the UK these people were complaining about “undocumented asylum seekers” and believed that refugees were jumping the housing queue. Then the Daily Mail took up the cause of blaming everything on Lithuanians and suddenly all the leavers I ever met are concerned about Lithuanians. Sure they have “very real concerns”.

The same thing applies to these people supporting Trump who’re supposedly “angry.” They’re not angry, they want to deport Mexicans and stop black people having the same rights as whites, and Trump has decided to give them exactly that. And just like the Brexiters, after Trump deports all the low-paid Mexican labourers these people won’t be able to find someone to clean their gutters for less than minimum wage, and they’ll find a way to blame that on foreigners too.

It’s precisely because the left in the UK was unwilling or unable to take on the very real racism underlying Euroscepticism that Brexit succeeded. For the same reason idiots like Klein failed to drag Republican racism out into the light and put a stake through its heart 10 years ago, and now the whole country is paying the price.

332

J-D 07.24.16 at 8:13 am

Anarcissie 07.24.16 at 4:22 am
J-D 07.24.16 at 3:13 am @ 336 —
As far as recent events go, I don’t have much else to work with. Eventually, one can read history, and then compare that to how the same events were reported in their own time. One can also compare what is said about great leaders and great matters with daily life, and judge whether the behaviors described about the great are likely or even possible for humans, going by what one observes at work or in one’s neighborhood. By these procedures one can not only sense when lying, bullshitting, obfuscation, or concealment are going on, which in the case of governments, political parties, corporations, churches, and other major institutions is ‘usually’, but also at times read between the lines and get some idea of what’s really happening.

It’s not clear to me how you apply these generalities to the specifics under discussion. If you accept what media sources say as reliable when it’s discreditable to the United States government but reject it as lies and obfuscation when it’s not, you have effectively ruled out in advance any possibility of revising your conclusions about the United States government in the light of new information; but if that’s not what you’re doing, it’s not clear to me what you are doing.

333

Hidari 07.24.16 at 8:40 am

How can you all sit and discuss this all so calmly? Slate magazine has discovered a conspiracy to destroy the West!!!!

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html

Clearly only blind unthinking xenophobia can save us now, and it’s our patriotic duty to give in to that xenophobia. Its the only way Trump can be defeated.

334

Hidari 07.24.16 at 8:48 am

I don’t know whether it’s “a conspiracy so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. A conspiracy of infamy so bleak that, when it is finally exposed, its principles shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all liberal men” though. Perhaps we will have to wait and see till the fearless truth-tellers of Slate finally unmask the guilty men.

335

Igor Belanov 07.24.16 at 8:51 am

JD @ 343

‘The problem of Germany in 1932, it seems to me, was not simply the division of the vote between many parties, but more specifically the division of the vote between many parties with irreconcilable positions.’

I think it’s a mistake to focus too much on party politics and narrow constitutional matters when it comes to the demise of the Weimar Republic, particularly as late as 1932 when it had already been appropriated by the traditional elites (Papen, von Schleicher, Hindenburg) who were trying to find a way of maintaining their own position while manipulating Hitler’s wider popular support.

The broader problems in Germany date back before World War One, but Weimar never really established itself as a regime because it didn’t deal decisively with those problems. The German ‘Revolution’ of November 1918 was very incomplete. The Kaiser had been forced out, but the bureaucratic, economic, military and judicial traditions and personnel of Wilhelmine Germany were very much alive and kicking. You only have to consider the feeble reaction to right-wing political assassination and violence, the indulgence in secret (and not-so-secret) programmes to evade Versailles military stipulations, and the continued importance of Junker agricultural ‘feudalism’ and the military-industrial complex (Krupp and Thyssen). Left-wing intellectuals like Tucholsky and von Ossietsky were warning of this over and over at the time.

336

Hidari 07.24.16 at 9:10 am

@358
This ‘terrible something’ of course is smelly unwashed ordinary people wanting to have some say in the way their countries are governed.

Luckily establishment rags like the Telegraph (and Slate) will always be prepared to stand up to this appalling threat.

337

J-D 07.24.16 at 9:37 am

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 3:36 am
@ 337 Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day.

Progressives have a simple choice, do nothing, or vote for TPP, globalization, and more wars from Dem Neocons – in short, everything many here detest.

Or, pick up a torch and do something real: help Trump burn Ted Cruz’s GOP to the ground, once and for all.

Hebrews 11:1

338

Ronan(rf) 07.24.16 at 9:43 am

Corey robin and Helen summers are both identifying the same “problem.” They might offer different solutions and trace different causes, but both are highlighting an ignorance at the heart of our “meritocratic classes.” Corey calls this historical amnesia, summers implies it’s closer to historical illiteracy. Corey says Klein et al don’t have a feel for history, summers would say they don’t even know they’ve been born. Summers wants to reform the meritocracy into a competent aristocracy, I don’t know what Corey would do, precisely, but would imagine it would be to do away with the meritocratic classes. Helen summers identifies the root of this problem in the fact that the meritocratic classes encourage a specific type of intelligence, and so the manner in which theyve been educated (with no real cultural or moral depth or sophistication) is at the heart of the problems with the current meritocratic classes. I would imagine Corey would argue something broadly similar, but would have a different take on the specifics.
Helen summers does quote Charles murray favourably, but more specifically she mentions his book coming apart, which is a pretty insightful read. Murray’s problem in this book (according to multiple left reviewers) is that he wrote a book that was 4/5s excellent, but 1/5 ridiculous. The fifth that that was apparently ridiculous was that the solution he offered to increased class division in the US, and the development of a frivolous failing underclass. Murray’s solution was for the upper class to take an explicitly paternalistic role in Society and show the lower classes how to live. Unsurprising that Helen summers would support this idea, and that Murray’s leftist reviewers, while agreeing with 4/5s of the book, would find it outrageous.

339

Daragh 07.24.16 at 10:05 am

Hidari @359

Sorry to burst your bubble but Corbyn is historically unpopular with the electorate at large. It’s the Labour selectorate that’s out of sync with popular opinion – remember, your opinions are YOURS, not everyone else’s.

340

Peter T 07.24.16 at 10:48 am

kidneystones:

Trump is ahead by 1-2 points in the most recent polls.

Huffpost aggregation of polls updated 9 hours ago – HRC +4

Princeton Election Consortium – HRC met-margin + 2.5

Daragh: Corbyn is historically unpopular with the electorate at large.

Observer poll: Among current Labour voters Jeremy Corbyn is the preferred choice of 54%
UK poll average: Conservative lead + 6

I guess historical and other forms of amnesia have spread from journalists to CT commenters.

341

Walt 07.24.16 at 10:50 am

Thank God we have Trump to give the smelly, unwashed masses the opportunity to mass-deport Muslims. Truly a triumph for democracy. Vox populi, vox dei.

342

Hidari 07.24.16 at 10:59 am

@365
Don’t worry, the grotesqueries of the American political system (from the Electoral College, to the unelected Supreme Court, to the imperial Presidency, to the massive campaign currently underway to disenfranchise ethnic minorities and the poor, was literally set up to ensure that ordinary people would have no input into American elite decision making. And this will not change anytime soon.

Despite the hysteria, it is very very unlikely that anyone other than Hilary Clinton will win the next Presidential election, and rest assured, ordinary people will have no say in her government, whatsoever.

343

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 11:00 am

Kidneystones #335, We all already realize that you are a political campaign operative. Stop all the Gingrichian blather and answer the question straightforwardly.

344

Daragh 07.24.16 at 11:04 am

Peter T –

“Among current Labour voters Jeremy Corbyn is the preferred choice of 54%”

So Corbyn can muster the support of barely HALF of Labour voters and you think that’s a sign of his popularity?

But then again, that’s just Labour voters, not the electorate at large which was what I was talking about. Let’s see what they say, shall we?

Corbyn approval rating – Negative 41.

Worse than Foot. Far worse than Miliband (under whom Labour enjoyed a solid lead at this point in the cycle). Indeed, worse than any other Labour party leader we have comparable data for. So yes, in any meaningful sense of the words, Corbyn is ‘historically unpopular’ with the electorate.

345

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 11:10 am

Bruce Wilder #334: “Has it ever occurred to you that that “rightwing cognitive bias” is often a recipe for epic incompetence?”

How can you be so dumb? Probably half of my comments here over the last several years are concerned with this very issue.

I think I was the first person to comment at Crooked Timber and elsewhere that Bush-Cheney’s institution of torture in Iraq was not only horrifying, immoral, and useless, but it would ensure an endless future of blowback. Mission accomplished!

I think I was the first person to comment anywhere that the right-wing cognitive bias’ denial of global warming may END CIVILIZATION within a few decades, if the thawing of the permafrost causes a huge methane degassing, which would certainly create a sudden huge heat-spike that destroys world agriculture. How’s that for “epic incompetence”?

What occurs to me now is how the LEFT wing cognitive bias similarly entrains its intellectual thoughts to emotional drives — and shoots itself in the foot with facile comments that are more about one’s own feelings, than about the immediate practical course ahead — particularly directed to younger people who may still care about the world.

Your observation, “Donald Trump is too late to matter” (#341) is an unfortunate example. This sort of thing needs demands a new adjectival, perhaps something like “cleveristic self-defeatism”.

346

Igor Belanov 07.24.16 at 11:19 am

Daragh @ 369

‘So Corbyn can muster the support of barely HALF of Labour voters and you think that’s a sign of his popularity?

But then again, that’s just Labour voters, not the electorate at large which was what I was talking about. Let’s see what they say, shall we?

Corbyn approval rating – Negative 41.’

Reminds me of this from the Simpsons:

‘Kent Brockman: [Rounding out a news story on Homer’s sexual harassment scandal] Now, here are some results from our phone-in poll: 95% of people believe Homer Simpson is guilty. Of course, this is just a television poll which is not legally binding. Unless proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.’

In fact, that whole episode is similar to the media’s treatment of Corbyn. I’m expecting the BBC to report shortly that a member of the PLP has accused Corbyn of stealing their milk from the office fridge.

347

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 11:22 am

ZeK #350: “Actually, the first thing you do NOT do…”

Well if we are going to play a gotcha game, then in this case, the first thing you do NOT do is start over a hundred years ago to plunder the Middle East for oil.

Then, they might all be thriving secular democracies right now, with a fat and happy Israel sitting in the midst of them too. And all of them with critics who fulminate hemorrhoidally about their obvious, dastardly neoliberal proclivities.

348

Daragh 07.24.16 at 11:33 am

Igor Belanov @371

Yes, yes, I know, reporting objective reality instead of acknowledging the undisputed greatness and messianic splendour of the Corbyn is just so horribly biased.

349

Hidari 07.24.16 at 11:34 am

I see Daragh has moved away from talking about Trump (a subject that obviously does not interest him) to his preferred subject of how awful Jeremy Corbyn is. Good for him: not letting trivialities like the topic of the OP distract him from his Holy Crusade.

350

Ronan(rf) 07.24.16 at 12:01 pm

I am unsure why Lee Arnold thinks anyone here would be surprised to hear Mao wrote a counterinsurgency doctrine, an insight open to any well read teenager. Or why trump’ s supposed lack of knowledge of contemporary counterinsurgency strategy is his greatest failing. Or why the most important consequences of an expressed desire to deport American Muslims is that it would undermine American counterinsurgency strategy.
It seems Lee Arnold has read a few books by David kilcullen and developed an idiotic theory of everything, the sophistication of which those emotion driven leftists among us couldn’t possibly grasp.

351

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:07 pm

Ze K #375, You forgot to mention that in 1953 the CIA overthrew Mossadegh and installed the Shah. And the zillions of other violent things have happened both before and after.

I have no idea how you “admit there is a problem” without “getting the Donald” off the world stage, so I will leave it to your powers of logic to tell us.

352

Daragh 07.24.16 at 12:08 pm

Hidari @374

Well the conversation had moved on a bit, and I was responding to people who called me out directly on a different topic. I also think Corey is perfectly responsible for policing his own threads.

But if you really want to move it onto Trump – I’m not particularly worried about him. He’s a raging narcissist and serial liar with only the loosest grip on objective reality. He surrounds himself exclusively with sycophants who never challenge him, and is incapable of engaging with or convincing anyone who isn’t already 100% signed up to his politics. His idea of opposition politics is engaging in vacuous sloganeering while launching vicious, utterly self-defeating and unnecessary inter-party feuds at the drop of a hat. His supporters, unable to win arguments with words, resort to thuggery and intimidation, to the revulsion of the electorate at large. This behaviour receives tacit encouragement and approval from him and his team, covered by only the thinnest patina of weasel words. He clearly has very limited interest in actually governing, and his entire campaign seems to be nothing more than an exercise in narcissistic self-aggrandisement. On top of all this, he is staggeringly incompetent at the most basic aspects of political campaigning and only got to where he is due to a divided and weak opposition in his own party and quirks in the electoral process by which it selects it’s leader. When the general election comes I have no doubt he will lose, and lose hard, the only question being how his fragile psyche will adapt to this rude intrusion of reality into the fantastical bubble he has constructed to preserve it.

Any similarities to the current leader of the Labour party are, of course, entirely coincidental.

353

Daragh 07.24.16 at 12:09 pm

Sorry – ‘perfectly capable of’ not ‘perfectly responsible for’.

354

Hidari 07.24.16 at 12:12 pm

Daragh
I personally will never tire of you making exactly the same points about Corbyn in a shrill and obsessive manner over and over again. Please, take over the thread, be my guest.

(Sits back, reaches for popcorn).

355

Hidari 07.24.16 at 12:19 pm

On an unrelated topic, Trump has not given his word to defend Nato countries if they were attacked by Russia, and the world has shuddered in revulsion.

I mean it would be awful if the Americans didn’t immediately help any Nato members that were attacked by outlaw terrorist states.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0125/Turkey-releases-report-on-flotilla-incident-accusing-Israel

356

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:24 pm

Ronan(rf) #377: ” Or why trump’ s supposed lack of knowledge of contemporary counterinsurgency strategy is his greatest failing. Or why the most important consequences of an expressed desire to deport American Muslims is that it would undermine American counterinsurgency strategy.”

But once again, I didn’t write that! I pointed out that his SUPPORTERS ignore current strategy, yet they tout their superiority in thinking about matters of military security. I haven’t written what I myself think we should do. So if you are one of the “driven leftists among us”, there is indeed a problem of grasp.

357

Igor Belanov 07.24.16 at 12:31 pm

Daragh’s favourite phrase appears to be ‘objective reality’. This seems to be a bit strained at the moment, as the ability of certain elite groups to assert their ability to define ‘objective reality’ in politics is under question. Thus we see them increasingly keen to resort to blatant lies and scare stories to buttress their position as holders of ‘the truth’.

They found themselves completely annihilated on the fabrication and manipulation front when it came to the EU referendum, as ‘leave’ were consummate players when it came to lying and alarming people. In the current Labour Party crisis the elites are taking things to new levels, but despite Corbyn’s relative scrupulousness and unwillingness to fight dirty, they don’t appear to be getting very far as yet.

358

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 12:36 pm

@ 368, 370, 372 You forgot to add: ‘I demand you comply!!’

I suggest you lie down. Then, when you’ve had a chance to regain some equilibrium, read over this series of comments, especially 370. Deciding the comment needs all caps twice is usually a reliable sign I need to step away from the keyboard.

As for being a political operative?!? How would that work precisely? I mean, given that I’ve made it clear that I’m a Canadian living and working in Japan. You’re beginning to sound like RNB.

I’m quite sincere and serious about supporting Trump and you have only yourself to blame. Twas you, after all, who put that link to a Trump speech in a comment last fall and suggested we take a look. I simply took you up on your suggestion. And then I watched more as it became clearer and clearer that Trump really is set on destroying the old order GOP. (William @349 certainly has a point) The establishment GOP and their servile minions in the press know their time may well be over, too. The neocons see Trump as a threat and HRC as a savior. So, you decide that means you better vote for HRC? Everyone from the Kochs to the Bush bundlers are crapping themselves that Trump has seized control of the party.

As for your goofy assertions that Trump’s rhetoric is going to shape outcomes, the less said the better. Obama believed that his rhetoric would do what? Stop the oceans rising, bring America together? You sound like a moron, or a neocon, believing that if we tweak things just right, we can get people on the other side of the world to think and act they way we like, just the right mix of cash, torture, precise drone strikes, and feel good speeches and lookee, the brown folks are all acting according to our plans! Guess what? People around the world actually make their own decision based on their own interests, not on what US politicians say. Hard to believe, I know!

I’m not optimistic a rest will actually do you much good. I fear you’ll simply cough up another bombastic claim to some dubious CT distinction as preface for your own unique reasons behind the fierce urgency of putting another neocon Wall St. stooge in the WH, again,

That’s your answer. Happy?

Peter T. Thx for this. I get my polling info from http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html

You could have added that HRC is up in all/most battleground states. Given that she’s outspent Trump 40:1 in at least one of these states, I’m happy to argue she looks extremely weak, especially considering the fact that Trump hasn’t spent much and is campaigning against the media and the political establishment of both parties.

I called it for Trump last week and noted then that all evidence suggests Trump should lose.

Happy now?

359

Daragh 07.24.16 at 12:44 pm

Hidari – you are beyond parody. BTW – I don’t seem to remember article five being invoked over the flotilla incident, but then, I actually know what I’m taking about.

Igor Belanov – so, despite all objective evidence to the contrary, Corbyn is actually super popular because leave won the referendum by a narrow margin. Gotcha.

360

Layman 07.24.16 at 12:47 pm

kidneystones: “Indeed, in some parts of the Muslim world US popularity is lower today than it was under Bush.”

I’ll bite. I can’t find anyplace here where this is obviously so. Other than Russia. Did you mean Russia, or do you have some other data?

http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/06/23/1-americas-global-image/

361

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 12:51 pm

Kidneystones #385, You are adopting the rhetorical strategy that we should go and parse your previous belchings, because the answer is in there, somewhere.

I’m sure someone, someday, somewhere, will be fooled by this!

I am also sure that someone besides you does NOT think that Trump is also a neocon Wall St. stooge. Look at all his voters! But at Crooked Timber you are barking up the wrong tree. Trump was in favor of invading Iraq. Trump is a commercial real estate bankruptcy artist.

We need better campaign hacks around here!

362

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 1:03 pm

Hi Layman, I was working from memory and think Egypt was on the list. With Lee in the middle of nervous breakdown this is my last for a bit.

No more all caps until you’ve had a nap, Lee! The answer is in @ 385. Trump’s rhetoric is meaningless. That’s all I’m willing to add to your puddle of drool

Layman, here’s your search string for google: US Less popular in Egypt than under Bush

Go crazy.

363

Layman 07.24.16 at 1:07 pm

@ Daragh, is there a poll which indicates a Labour MP & potential leader with a higher approval rating than Corbyn? I can’t find one.

364

Igor Belanov 07.24.16 at 1:13 pm

Daragh @ 386

‘Igor Belanov – so, despite all objective evidence to the contrary, Corbyn is actually super popular because leave won the referendum by a narrow margin. Gotcha.’

Yes, clearly that’s exactly what I said. For someone so keen on ‘objective reality’ you do have a clear instinct for distorting it for your own purposes. My point is that this kind of process doesn’t seem to be working for your sort at the moment. I’m sure they’ll move on eventually to the idea that it is better to repeat a smaller amount of really big lies than a constant feed of smaller ones.

365

Layman 07.24.16 at 1:17 pm

@ kidneystones, if you meant to write ‘Egypt’, why did you write ‘some parts of the Muslim world’?

Also, too, I can’t find a poll which makes the clear case about Egypt. You can cherry-pick comp years to get that result, I suppose.

366

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 1:27 pm

367

Hidari 07.24.16 at 1:30 pm

Yes more horrors doubtless caused by Trump: Nato tells a Nato member that it will not have allowed to trigger Article 5.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3455934/Nato-warns-Turkey-t-count-support-conflict-Russia-tensions-escalate.html

368

Lee A. Arnold 07.24.16 at 1:31 pm

Kidneystones #389: “Trump’s rhetoric is meaningless.”

So here it is: Trump’s “rhetoric is meaningless”. Boy, that’s a ringing, convincing campaign endorsement! (And of course you indeed had better go take a break, after being forced into this defense.)

But golly, you still have a problem here. Much of the rest of the world sees statements like “ban all Muslims” and “kill the families of terrorists” a BIT DIFFERENTLY. Including, it would gravely appear, U.S. allies. No doubt you shall be able to convince them, that it’s all just meaningless words!

369

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 1:42 pm

faustusnotes: “Or my Father, who, yes he was sacked when he was 55 and couldn’t get another job but he managed by benefit fraud to get the state to pay for his mobile home (my Father is trailer park trash), lives on a state pension and has special disability benefits.”

“faustusnotes calls his dad trailer park trash” tells me something about faustusnotes family dynamics but not much about British politics. But I’ll take this at face value for a moment. You’re describing someone who was sacked when he was 55, lives on a pension and disability benefits, and through “fraud” got the state to pay for his mobile home. And this is the person for whom we are supposed to feel contempt, the person who is justifiably supposed to be — to put it plainly — regarded as our political enemy.

Sadly, I didn’t get into the left in the first place in order to put down racist benefit-frauding unemployed trailer trash. Instead the last slogan that I chanted just before police crushed our movement was something about the 1%. Maybe I should get with the times. Maybe this means that the left was never what I thought it was. Or maybe — just maybe, although it seems inconceivable — a left that regards this guy as secure and doing fine and the enemy isn’t really a left at all.

370

Layman 07.24.16 at 1:43 pm

@ kidneystones

Hell, the most recent poll there is 3 years old, and it shows Egyptians have more confidence in Obama than they did in Bush. Maybe you should check before running your mouth?

371

Anarcissie 07.24.16 at 1:55 pm

J-D 07.24.16 at 8:13 am @ 354 —
I am mystified by your mystification. Don’t academics, readers of avant fiction, Kurosawa fans, and corporate apparatchiks have this problem all the time — the problem of the unreliable narrator? And unreliable perceiver as well? Surely you don’t try to solve it by trusting what you read in the New York Times? Surely you compare one statement with another from a variety of sources, and with what you know of physical reality and its history? As for picking on the poor little old United States, or rather its poor little old ruling class and dominant culture, it’s what I know because it’s rubbed in my face every day. If I lived somewhere else I’d have different concerns and criticisms. Also there are already plenty of people around to harangue you about Putin and other official devils, because that is the side of their bread the butter is on.

372

Layman 07.24.16 at 2:08 pm

Ze K: “A fair part of the rest of the world (or of the US, at least) sees these statements as ‘fuck the establishment’.”

You make these sort of pronouncements all the time, but you don’t offer much explanation of how you determined they were true. Care to offer something now? How, exactly, did you determine what ‘a fair part of the rest of the world (or of the US, at least)’ thinks of those statements?

Here, for example, is a poll which show that half of American voters support Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US. Do you believe these people think Trump isn’t serious about this ban, while at the same time they support the ban? Isn’t that an odd thing to believe?

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/274521-poll-half-of-american-voters-back-trumps-muslim-ban

373

faustusnotes 07.24.16 at 2:20 pm

Rich, I wasn’t asking you to feel contempt for my Father. Why is it that whenever anyone raises the issue of racism or the political hypocrisy of brexiters on these threads so many people assume we’re making a call to dehumanize these people or show contempt for them? Did I say anything about that? No, I think you’re projecting. What I said was that my father was protected by the state from the negative effects of losing his job. He was a typesetter, it was inevitable he would lose his job – which fact, you might be aware, is to do with markets and not the state (though in his case his union didn’t protect him because the leader he voted for, Thatcher, destroyed it in Wapping) and he (rightly, in my opinion) refused to do unskilled labour, instead choosing to go on the dole. And despite being on the dole he gets free healthcare, has a car and a home of his own. The state didn’t abandon him. I’m not asking you to abandon him. I’m asking you to understand the real reasons he voted to leave an EU that never in any way affected him except positively (my father is a polio survivor, so the human rights act affects him personally, and the EU is for people like my father an almost entirely positive force).

I didn’t get into the left in order to put down racist benefit-frauding unemployed white trash. Unfortunately, unlike 99% of the people I have ever met in the left, that ‘s my family background. Having been around that background I think I’m speaking from some degree of authority when I say that these people were racist before the state “abandoned” them, and because they’re white, right wing parties actually put a lot of effort into attracting their vote. And you know how they do that? By appealing to their racism. You may have got into the left to change the world (though most of the time it seems to me your politics is just posing), but you won’t change anything if you don’t understand that the people you aim to protect are often racist hypocrites. Once you accept that, maybe you can find a rhetorical style that will work with those people. I know I have, but I doubt you have any clue how to talk to them. Which is why Britain is leaving the EU, and why my family are going to suffer as a consequence.

374

Layman 07.24.16 at 2:24 pm

“You may have got into the left to change the world (though most of the time it seems to me your politics is just posing)…”

Bravo! Well said, not just this, but the entire post.

375

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 2:30 pm

faustusnotes: “Why is it that whenever anyone raises the issue of racism or the political hypocrisy of brexiters on these threads so many people assume we’re making a call to dehumanize these people or show contempt for them?”

novakant: “let’s make this simple: if they are racists I have contempt for them, it’s personal – don’t you?”

Layman: “Bravo! Well said, not just this, but the entire post.”

What a twit. I knew that I shouldn’t have answered Layman seriously.

376

Daragh 07.24.16 at 3:11 pm

Layman @390 – That’s because there isn’t one. Unfortunately the average member of the public barely knows who other prominent Labour MPs are, let alone have an opinion on them. They pay attention to the leader. Sad in a parliamentary democracy, but true. Having said that, if they were widely known, and DID have ratings similar to Corbyn, it would be an indicator that the Labour party itself is totally irrecoverable.

377

Daragh 07.24.16 at 3:17 pm

Hidari @394

From the article you cite – “Asselborn also stressed that Article 5 can only be invoked when a member state is clearly attacked.”

In other words, other NATO states were warning Turkey that if it became engaged in a war with Russia due to a military invasion of Syria, or some other aggressive action on Ankara’s part, it would not be an Article 5 scenario. Trump, by contrast, was saying that he might not defend Estonia if Russia launched an unprovoked attack.

This is not an example of hypocrisy or double standards. It’s an example of you not understanding how NATO and collective defence actually work, and having absolutely zero interest in finding out.

378

T 07.24.16 at 3:56 pm

kidneystones —
I get the distinct impression that you’re not American, have spent little time in the States, and gain your knowledge of US politics by reading US newspapers, think tank surveys, blogs, and the like. Please disabuse me of my misconceptions if I’m in error.

379

novakant 07.24.16 at 4:00 pm

So Rich, do you not have contempt for racism?

380

Asteele 07.24.16 at 4:02 pm

When Russia annexes half of Latvia, and president Hilary Clinton announces that do to some hidden evidence were totally sure that Latvia had started it and so we won’t be allowing them to invoke article 5. I promise on, CT alone, to not comment on how the US isn’t fuffilling its treaty obligations, as that would evidently break the charming faith some of the posters have.

381

Lupita 07.24.16 at 4:22 pm

@ Z Ke

Grant-eaters

I like that term. It is very evocative of the mindless, MA degree holders I have met who receive a paltry income from Americans for handing out ill-translated brochures to poor women about “empoderamiento” and to agricultural workers about how to “preventate de AIDS”, then filling out tons of paperwork to prove their effective strategies, positive outcomes, and charitable intentions, for the tax-deductible purposes of US corporations. They know it is a meaningless charade, but they need the income and can do most of the work in high heels and without smudging their lipstick.

382

Layman 07.24.16 at 4:25 pm

Ze K: “Here, the first link when I google Trump+”protest vote”:”

From your link: “Pollsters don’t know how many of these voters are out there…”

So, again, how did you determine that ‘a fair part…of the US’ has these views?

383

Layman 07.24.16 at 4:28 pm

Rich P: “I knew that I shouldn’t have answered Layman seriously.”

Look, Rich, you routinely ignore the broader point of an entire post, in order to find just one thing in it you can denounce. This is precisely what you have done, right now, in this response to faustusnotes. If you don’t like it that people think you’re striking a pose, well, don’t strike a pose.

384

Layman 07.24.16 at 4:33 pm

Daragh @ 405, I hope you understand that the argument that Corbyn should go because he is unlikely to win, so he can be replaced by someone even less likely to win than he is, despite the fact that he enjoys the support of a majority of the Labour Party membership, is less than compelling. I really don’t get why you insist on making it.

385

Daragh 07.24.16 at 4:55 pm

Layman @413

” so he can be replaced by someone even less likely to win than he is,”

Sorry, what evidence do you have to support that? I’ve just pointed out why polling Corbyn against a counterfactual Burnham/Cooper leadership, or a shadow cabinet member without the same public profile isn’t a realistic proposition. Nevertheless, Corbyn is at literally historically unprecedented lows of support among a) the general electorate b) the LABOUR electorate, c) his own parliamentary party. Unless you’ve got secret polling data on Owen Smith that literally no-one else has seen, you’re now just making stuff up.

For anyone to do WORSE than he is right now (against a Tory government that wasn’t particularly popular to begin with and is about to be faced with hugely tricky Brexit negotiations and a self-inflicted recession) would be a massive accomplishment in and of itself. And if that person managed to do so, I’d be making the same argument. And it’s important to note that in a parliamentary system, even if Labour has no means of winning the next general election, the margin of defeat matters, a lot. I’d rather have a loss that looks like 2015 and leaves the Tories with a slim majority than an epic meltdown.

And as to the blessed Labour party membership – they’re one part of the party, and a part which tends to have political views that are vastly out of step with the country at large, and whose devotion to Corbyn has all the attributes of an unquestioning cult of personality. More to the point, they’ve consistently engaged in pretty nasty tactics of intimidation against their internal party opponents, with nod-and-a-wink encouragement from the top, driving out other members with different viewpoints who don’t particularly like being shouted at meetings and told their red Tory traitor scum. If you think that their views should preferenced over those of the electorate at large,well, that’s your right. But it does rather undermine your standing as a judge of which arguments are and are not ‘compelling.’

386

Layman 07.24.16 at 5:46 pm

@ Ze K, repeating my question @411. Please respond.

387

Ronan(rf) 07.24.16 at 5:48 pm

“Malik Obama, president’s brother, says he’d vote for Trump”

Huge news if true.

388

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 5:57 pm

Someone who called Muammar Gaddafi his best friend endorses Trump.

Will wonders never cease!

389

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 6:05 pm

Ukrainian independence day is August 24

390

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 6:09 pm

Daragh, you are a Tory. Accept this, embrace this reality and leave the Labour Party to sort itself out. You will be happier. OK, maybe not happier but certainly less confused.

391

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 6:15 pm

Layman: Look, Rich, you routinely ignore the broader point of an entire post, in order to find just one thing in it you can denounce.

He is sometimes pretty good at locating and identifying the rubbish.

I can see why that would annoy you.

392

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 6:39 pm

novakant: “So Rich, do you not have contempt for racism?”

Actually, your statement was “if they are racists I have contempt for them”, so you weren’t talking about contempt for racism as a kind of abstract principle, but why don”t you argue it out with faustusnotes? He can explain to you that trailer trash and white trash are not expressions of contempt, they are merely examples of the rhetorical style that he knows how to use with lower class people now that he’s moved up from that class himself. Then you can tell him that he *should* have contempt for his dad the racist who uses shocking expressions like “Polish scrotes”. Then you can both agree that being unable to find a job at 55 and having to defraud the state to get a place to live isn’t precarious at all, and there’s no reason that this guy shouldn’t be desperately holding onto a social place that requires that he find somebody to look down on.

393

bianca steele 07.24.16 at 6:43 pm

Weird sense of Deja’s vu from the discussion of Murray which IIRC involved some of the same people over at LGM last time it happened; I googled a bunch of books on Philadelphia history that time, which I never got around to reading; but no the book is not 4/5 good, and as I remember, the argument is not that rich people need to take care of working class and poor people, or that rich white people have rejected working class white people, but that white working class people have been corrupted by the morals or black people. The argument rests on the assumption that in our grandparents’ day, the vast wasteland extending up along the Delaware was a fortress of morality, and on ignorance of the prevalence of racism, violence, and organized crime. Those in the discussion seemed unaware even if those neighborhoods were traditionally white or black, welcoming of non-Christians, non-Protestants, non-Catholics, or what.

394

novakant 07.24.16 at 6:45 pm

Well, racism doesn’t exist without racists so your point is rather silly and you haven’t answered my question. I guess it’s something like: ‘it’s OK for poor people to be racist but feel free to enlighten us.

395

Ronan(rf) 07.24.16 at 7:05 pm

” but that white working class people have been corrupted by the morals or black people. “

No, it was explicitly about class differences among whites, and the (claimed) class segregation that was removing lower class whites from their potential upper class role models.

“Note: Murray is describing white America. In his main analysis, he omitted Latinos and African-Americans to debunk the notion that the country’s serious social problems are just the result of immigration or the stubborn legacy of slavery and racism. Murray finds America’s evolving class structure threatening in two ways. First, it’s bad for the people involved. The lower class is less capable of caring for itself. The powerful elite is disconnected. Second, the new classes subvert social cohesion by weakening shared values that Murray calls America’s “founding virtues” — industriousness, commitment to marriage, honesty and religion.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-real-class-warfare/2012/02/24/gIQALdFdcR_story.html

396

bianca steele 07.24.16 at 7:16 pm

Ronan,

Murray took a neighborhood that had been segregated by class for at least a hundred years. He explicitly claimed that previous generations had gone to church and current residents did not; that previous generations had been functionally sober and married before childbirth, and current residents used drugs and cohabited without marrying; and that these were “the same people,” that is, that the neighborhood had not become “poorer” through economic decline or migration, but that the community was functionally the same and that the younger generation was simply less moral. Needless to say, he based his “history” entirely on present-day observations.

The idea of a sudden change is the entire basis of the book; the idea that white poor people in particular are “normally” treated quite well by white rich people, and can be brought back to prosperity if the rich behave morally, is the core of his argument.

397

Alex K--- 07.24.16 at 7:18 pm

@406: “Trump, by contrast, was saying that he might not defend Estonia if Russia launched an unprovoked attack.”

On a third reading, I’m not even sure that Trump was saying that. At first he went, “I don’t want to tell you what I’d do because I don’t want Putin to know what I’d do,” which is pretty smart if you consider Moscow’s ways: their strategy is based on the assumption that the West would play by the rules known by both sides in advance. Trump might well have meant, “We won’t start a conventional war against Russia but we have safer ways of retaliating that cannot be discussed at this point for obvious security reasons.”

Then Trump added, “If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes,” we’ll protect them. So far so good. And if not? “Well, I’m not saying if not. I’m saying, right now there are many countries that have not fulfilled their obligations to us.” This bit is not particularly encouraging or convincing, agreed, but one should be reading it together with the first bit about not telling Putin. For all I know, Trump is not concerned about Estonia not paying its fair share – he’s concerned about Germany and Japan not doing that.

398

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 7:19 pm

fn: “ . . . idiots like Klein failed to drag Republican racism out into the light and put a stake through its heart 10 years ago, and now the whole country is paying the price.

Apparently, fn thinks his father is a vampire. Or something.

n: . . . racism doesn’t exist without racists so your point is rather silly

Stake thru the heart is it? (Not that such an astute recommendation could be confused with a pose.)

399

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 7:20 pm

novakant: “but feel free to enlighten us”

No. If I can write that and you can’t understand what I mean, then there’s no point in writing more. Except to make fun of the don’tgetit people, and even that is getting kind of old.

400

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 7:22 pm

Ze K

It was only a drink, then?

I would have thought I was being asked to strike a greater blow for independency than that!

401

Alex K--- 07.24.16 at 7:30 pm

Ukraine’s independence day has to be a few days after August 21, the last day of the failed coup in Moscow in 1991. August 24 makes sense.

@410: “mindless, MA degree holders I have met who receive a paltry income from Americans for handing out ill-translated brochures… they need the income and can do most of the work in high heels and without smudging their lipstick.”

Do you think they would ever spend days in a mass protest in a crowded square, eventually risking their lives when government forces start firing in the crowd? Do you think that hundreds of thousands of Kiev teachers, doctors, students and minor business people had been living on US grants? Seriously?

The word is actually “grant-suckers.” It was invented by professional Putinists to smear the Russian opposition.

402

Igor Belanov 07.24.16 at 7:31 pm

Daragh @ 414

‘And as to the blessed Labour party membership – they’re one part of the party, and a part which tends to have political views that are vastly out of step with the country at large, and whose devotion to Corbyn has all the attributes of an unquestioning cult of personality. More to the point, they’ve consistently engaged in pretty nasty tactics of intimidation against their internal party opponents, with nod-and-a-wink encouragement from the top, driving out other members with different viewpoints who don’t particularly like being shouted at meetings and told their red Tory traitor scum.’

More hysteria. The Labour Party bureaucracy and the PLP, on the other hand, have done their best to stop Corbyn actually contesting a challenge to his own leadership, then trying to gerrymander the election to stop people who have joined the party in the last six months voting for Corbyn. Your attitude to the Labour Party membership, who outnumber the other parts of the party by more than 1000 to 1, reminds me of this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_L%C3%B6sung

403

Daragh 07.24.16 at 7:47 pm

Igor @434

You do realise people vote for MPs, right?

404

Igor Belanov 07.24.16 at 8:11 pm

Daragh @ 436

‘You do realise people vote for MPs, right?’

Yes, and they’re free to vote for whoever stands. If the anti-Corbyn MPs have such faith in their own popularity and such contempt for their own party members, there’s nothing stopping them from forming SDP Mark II and winning a sweeping parliamentary majority.

I suspect the reason they haven’t done this is that they have realised that they’re essentially nobodies who wouldn’t be MPs without the ‘Labour’ tag, and that there is very little room on the political spectrum for them.

405

Collin Street 07.24.16 at 8:13 pm

Daragh, you are a Tory. Accept this, embrace this reality and leave the Labour Party to sort itself out. You will be happier. OK, maybe not happier but certainly less confused.

Look.

People become conservatives because they want to tell people not only what they should do but what they should want. It’s simply not a position you can come to if you’re not entirely full of yourself, and if you’re entirely full of yourself occasionally some will… spill out. If Daragh were capable of not pontificating on stuff on which he knows nothing, he never would have become a tory in the first place.

[your personality shapes your politics, obviously, but this has larger consequences. To oversimplify, putting the whole thing into max contrast and wiping out huge grey areas: people with shitty politics are so because, in person, they’re arseholes.]

406

Daragh 07.24.16 at 8:21 pm

Hmmm, and here I thought my problem was that I was a leftish social democrat who would really like to see a Labour government and am frustrated by the inability of Corbyn or his leftier-than-though following to make that happen. As it turns out, my inability to recognise the glory of the Corbyn is because I’m actually a Tory, despite disagreeing with virtually all of their platform.

I know it’s great fun for political purists to denounce anyone who doesn’t sign up to their platform in it’s totality and adopt the appropriate doctrinal slogans as a heretical enemy but, surprisingly, it’s not actually a route to power. Quite the opposite actually. Which I suppose I explains why it’s such a popular rhetorical strategy among the kind of comfortable ‘left-winger’ who couldn’t give a toss about the actual damage inflicted on the living standards of actual working class people so long as everyone at the next dinner party can spend an agreeable evening agreeing with each other about how awful Theresa May is…

407

Daragh 07.24.16 at 8:25 pm

Collin Street @438

Similarly ‘People become Tories because they’re BAD PEOPLE WHO ARE BAD!’ is perhaps, a comforting thought for the kind of emotional juvenile who can’t cope with the idea that other people might have different opinions to them without being hideously evil, but it’s neither a) a rhetorical strategy likely to build the kind of electoral coalitions needed to effect positive change in a democratic society b) likely to do anything to make 99% of people think you’re anything other than an intolerant, self-righteous prick.

408

Daragh 07.24.16 at 8:26 pm

Igor – ” there’s nothing stopping them from forming SDP Mark II and winning a sweeping parliamentary majority.”

Except that little matter of the FPTP electoral system. But then, you’re more interested in stamping your foot about what awful insignificant little weasels the dear leader’s critics are, rather than engaging with that objective reality thing I was telling you about earlier.

409

LFC 07.24.16 at 8:38 pm

Ze K @416
Whoa, Malik Obama, president’s brother, says he’d vote for Trump

This made me chuckle out loud. Not only does no one care, I’d guess the majority of the electorate doesn’t know who Malik Obama is or in what country he lives.

410

Collin Street 07.24.16 at 8:39 pm

Why did you become a tory, then? Floor is yours: tell me your story, prove me wrong.

411

LFC 07.24.16 at 8:41 pm

In other words, that Ze K comment smacks of desperation. (At least I suppose it constitutes news of a sort, as opposed to the ‘news’ about the DNC, which isn’t really news b.c no one thought the DNC was neutral to begin with.)

412

Collin Street 07.24.16 at 8:49 pm

> Except that little matter of the FPTP electoral system.

Could you expand on this, please?

413

Daragh 07.24.16 at 8:58 pm

“Why did you become a tory, then? Floor is yours: tell me your story, prove me wrong.”

Well given that I’ve a) never been a member of the Conservative party, b) never voted for the Conservative party (save for one council election in which a close, albeit ideologically dissimilar, friend who I nevertheless thought would be a decent local representative was running) c) do not agree with the the vast majority of the Conservative party’s policies or principles, I’m kind of struggling to figure out how I ‘became a Tory’ myself. It’s all rather confusing.

As to your comment @436 – if you’d like an explanation as to why splitting electoral coalitions under FPTP tends to result in both sides of the split losing quite spectacularly, there are many excellent primers on-line that you can google yourself. I doubt Corey would appreciate this thread being given over to a seminar on the mechanics of electoral systems.

414

Collin Street 07.24.16 at 9:10 pm

As to your comment @436 – if you’d like an explanation as to why splitting electoral coalitions under FPTP tends to result in both sides of the split losing quite spectacularly

It’s an electoral coalition? I thought corbynites were irrelevant in numbers: which is it?

415

Daragh 07.24.16 at 9:24 pm

Collin @447

If your margin of victory is, say, 5%, it doesn’t take a lot of people abstaining/swinging elsewhere for you to lose. See Bush/Gore 2000. I doubt that a hard left, Corbynite party could win more than 8-12% of the national vote (at very best), but that’s enough votes to basically deliver the country to the Tories in perpetuity.

And you’ll note this is a scenario I’d like to avoid (otherwise I’d be advocating a split). Care to explain to me how that makes me a Tory?

Then again, perhaps I’m making the mistake of presupposing you’re arguing in even the shadow of a semblance of good faith.

416

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 9:27 pm

LFC @ 444: At least I suppose it constitutes news of a sort, as opposed to the ‘news’ about the DNC, which isn’t really news b.c no one thought the DNC was neutral to begin with.

Atrios:

I was pretty shocked by the behavior of DWS’s DNC during the primary. It was a “not even trying to hide it” kind of thing going on, and then people were all confused (or pretended to be) when Bernie was pissed. He had reasons, and they were rather obvious. There were beats to sweeten, because there’s nothing like a beat so sweet.

Still it’s all that commie Putin’s fault.

Sometimes, we forget that futility and cynicism are beating Clinton and Trump by a mile and that’s not a good thing. Not a new thing, either, I guess. So, no hyperbole, nothing to see here, no personal testimony about being scared for the first time in a twelve minute career or having a vampire father living in a stolen trailer. Just business as usual.

417

bruce wilder 07.24.16 at 9:35 pm

Daragh: . . . it’s not actually a route to power. Quite the opposite actually.

Because the world needs a Pfizer Rep as Labour PM, privatizing the NHS, promoting academies, renewing Trident, sending the British Army wherever America’s wars take them, but, of course, opposing those unnamed parts of the Tory agenda not marked in red, “me, too”.

418

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 9:37 pm

Layman@397 I write: “You [Lee] treat this diverse and largely peaceful community of faith as a body of ‘others.’ Those on the receiving end of drone strikes and love bombs from Hillary and Obama learned that there’s little difference between being bombed by a Bush, or an Obama. Indeed, in some parts of the Muslim world US popularity is lower today than it was under Bush.” Each of the three links supports my argument.

Lee @395 You offered this to support your ‘claims’ about Trump:

“The first thing you do NOT do, is to demonize the entire population, as Trump did with Muslims. This makes the war less winnable, not more winnable. It is exactly what guerrillas want you to do. Trump has since tried to soften his statements, but there is no “walking it back” which saves him from being an unreliable, self-absorbed fool. The entire globe has already heard Trump’s statements. Electing him would only say to the world, and to U.S. allies, “Yes, the U.S. hates all Muslims, and it will punish them.” And, now that we have some of the basics down, here is the effect that THAT would have, from a military point of view”

The polls cited above confirm that actions have consequences, irrespective of the words. Obama’s drone strikes, expansion and entrenchment of the Cheney security apparatus at home and abroad have rendered all his rhetoric meaningless. As for allies, that’s more complex. The US is the principal power in the world. ‘Allies’ can resist US demands – witness Turkey in 2003. However, the Mexican president in a press conference emphasized that Mexico would work with Trump, should he win. Would the world and many in the US prefer less of the rhetoric Trump spouts? Perhaps.

The polls confirm Trump’s presidency will be evaluated by actions, however, rather than words. Nothing exceptional about that. As for his boasts, Trump sounds to this foreigner pretty much like the current US president and a great many of his supporters.

T @407 You’re not wrong.

419

J-D 07.24.16 at 9:44 pm

Anarcissie 07.24.16 at 1:55 pm
J-D 07.24.16 at 8:13 am @ 354 —
I am mystified by your mystification. Don’t academics, readers of avant fiction, Kurosawa fans, and corporate apparatchiks have this problem all the time — the problem of the unreliable narrator? And unreliable perceiver as well? Surely you don’t try to solve it by trusting what you read in the New York Times? Surely you compare one statement with another from a variety of sources, and with what you know of physical reality and its history? As for picking on the poor little old United States, or rather its poor little old ruling class and dominant culture, it’s what I know because it’s rubbed in my face every day. If I lived somewhere else I’d have different concerns and criticisms. Also there are already plenty of people around to harangue you about Putin and other official devils, because that is the side of their bread the butter is on.

It interests but does not mystify me that you don’t provide a clear answer to the following question, a question which might be thought to follow logically from the previous comment of mine to which you responding.

When you are making your comparative evaluation of the reliability of different reports you read, hear, or see, is the following one of your guiding principles —

‘Believe anything which would be to the discredit of the US government and disbelieve anything which would be to the credit of the US government’

— or is your guiding principle different from that in some way?

420

Daragh 07.24.16 at 9:47 pm

Bruce Wilder @450

It’s quite easy to win the argument when you construct a cartoonish straw man of your opponents and then savagely beat them to death, isn’t it?

421

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 9:48 pm

Hillary Clinton’s fingerprints are emphatically not all over the DNC’s year-long effort to discredit Sanders. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/top-dnc-staffer-apologizes-for-email-on-sanders-religion-226072

DWS goes under the bus! Problem solved! To be clear, if Sanders had not been screwed and had he not surrendered so meekly, I’d be cheering for him, not Trump. Bernie’s ‘good manners’ carried him a long way. Sad.

Good thing HRC wiped her own hard drives. There goes the evidence!

422

Layman 07.24.16 at 9:49 pm

kidneystones: “Each of the three links supports my argument.”

In fact, they don’t.

The Pew story you link, from 2013, contains a chart which shows Egyptian confidence in Obama well above the level expressed for GWB. It contains no other data points.

The other two are 5 and 6 years old, respectively, and have nothing to say about attitudes today.

423

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 10:05 pm

@ 455 It takes someone with your unique reading skills to take a study titled:”under-obama-egyptians-views-of-us-worse-than-under-george-w-bush-presidency/” as a statement of the opposite.

Send them an email. Tell them Pew doesn’t meet your standards. As for the other two, the dates are irrelevant to my larger point – which is that actions matter far more than words.

What we learned from our exchange:

a/ you’re incapable of locating evidence using a basic google search string.
b/ you don’t know how to read the evidence once you get it.

You add nothing to this discussion. Thanks for clarifying what others already know.

424

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 10:12 pm

Another meaningless poll http://96.127.53.23/election/

425

Layman 07.24.16 at 10:21 pm

“It takes someone with your unique reading skill…”

It means I read the actual story, not just the headline. And your other links are relevant how, exactly?

426

RNB 07.24.16 at 10:40 pm

Well Sanders knows that he did not lose because a question about his atheism in states that he was sure to lose (WV, KY) was apparently NOT asked in a town hall; and he knows that he was going to have his atheism tested in a general were he to become the nominee. It’s not like Clinton was not being tested.

Sanders also knows that he did not lose because of the super delegates.

Sure he think he earned a right to more debates, but Clinton did not want them. And after he lost Ohio, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri on Super Tuesday, he probably could understand why even a neutral DNC would not be interested in any damage to its almost certain nominee whose victory is its primary job to ensure.

At the same time one can understand why Sanders was itching to have more opportunities to express his vision in more debates. And he was frustrated that the DNC was not working harder to make Clinton debate more. This seems to me the real issue, and it was known before wikileaks.

But after Clinton’s big super Tuesday win, she stood to lose more by more debates than possibly gain. She played it cautiously; it’s not clear to me that DNC was primarily responsible for there not being more debates and debates at the time Sanders wanted them. This was Clinton flexing her muscle, I think.

At any rate, since Sanders is getting movement on his big issues, he will not withdraw his enthusiastic support for Clinton.

Sanders is not selling out. He already had Clinton’s acquiescence in DWS’s ouster before wikileaks.

427

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 11:06 pm

@ 458 The Pew Research is a study, btw, not a ‘story.’ The evidence in the Pew studies allows for a number of interpretations, but in total certainly supports my claims. The Salon piece is much more biased, but nonetheless is built on hard evidence. My best advice now: Read all three again – review my point – actions matter more than words – and if you still don’t understand how the three links support this highly unremarkable observation, ask someone with more time to waste than I to explain it all to you.

428

RNB 07.24.16 at 11:13 pm

Trump has to win a lot of white men to make up for the minorities and women who are going to turn out against him. I am wondering how this Putin/tax issue will play out. Tim Kaine has already made it clear that the Democrats intend to hit Trump hard about his refusal to make full disclosures in light of suspicion that his Russian financial relations may bias his foreign policy in favor of Putin’s Russia against US and allies’ interests. The Democrats, on the other hand, may get a bump if they appear to have been targeted by Putin for whose cyber operations there seems to be some admiration in the US national security agencies.

At any rate, Trump won’t release his long form taxes. I don’t think he is waiting to turn them over at just the right time to get a huge boost due to huge charitable donations or the like. He just won’t turn them over. How will that play out with his white male base who is convinced that Hillary Clinton is crooked, and thinks she is above the law?

If he does disclose, I think what comes out is that he is very wealthy, but not as wealthy as he says; that he has a lot of foreign investors, but tons of write-offs due to bad investments and expenses things that most people can’t–the famous hairstyle being part of his brand and for which he may be claiming a $100K write-off a year. That would end his candidacy, not the racism or demagogy or sociopathy.

429

Faustusnotes 07.24.16 at 11:17 pm

If Rich has a power to identify the part of the post that is “rubbish” I’m intrigued that he focused on the part where I said calling something racist doesn’t necessarily require contempt or exclusion. Like i said, he’s projecting: his response to racism is scorn and disgust, he therefore he can’t handle the idea that the people he claims to want to help are racist, since that would make them beneath his contempt. The same for Bruce wilder, who also seems to have lost the ability to read (I did not say my father was a vampire Bruce).

In picking out this part to highlight my disagreement with novakant, rich managed to avoid addressing any of the following: why these racists were racist before they ever lost their jobs or the state ever failed them; why their racist concerns shift so perfectly to match the anointed targets of the Tory press (eg they never cared about the Eu 20 years ago but they were still spouting fears of migrants taking housing); why the people most affected by the state’s abandonment of them voted remain; the breaking point poster (you guys really don’t want to deal with that one do you?); the obvious comfort and wealth of many of the people riding this racist train; the complete lack of interest these people have I “taking back control” from their own elites or from a government you claim they know has betrayed them.

I don’t expect you to respond to these things – you’re striking a pose after all, not offering any kind of sensible analysis, and any coherent interpretation of the trump and brexit phenomena will dispense with the idea that they’re reacting to neo like realism really quickly. But that would mean softening your play school Marxism with some attempt to understand culture and history, and giving up on the idea that working class people are always and everywhere the perfect victim.

430

kidneystones 07.24.16 at 11:28 pm

Clinton steals the nomination from Bernie (what about that seven in a row coin toss to win Iowa?) and Clinton apparatchik George Stephanopolous dutifully does his part by keeping Bernie’s ire focused directly at fall-girl DSW, rather than the principal beneficiary of the crime. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/07/24/sanders_i_told_you_a_long_time_ago_that_the_dnc_was_not_running_a_fair_operation.html

Bernie is too polite to buck and point out that this fresh proof of DNC/Clinton collusion to fix the primaries confirms beyond all doubt voter perceptions of Crooked Hillary. She is the principal author of her misfortune, as her near pathological incapacity to tell even ordinary truths – ‘I landed under sniper fire in Bosnia’ is making enemies out people who might otherwise support her, as I once did. Too many lies, too much cash, and too many wars.

431

RNB 07.24.16 at 11:34 pm

If Catherine Rampell is right as I quoted at length above, a lot of Trump’s supporters may not expect or even want him to actually deport millions of people or to carry out a USexit the global economy (most of his supporters are not actually suffering from trade). His supporters understand what the anti-trade and anti-immigrant rhetoric really means, which is the assertion that that this country is really for white Americans first, so the colored others should acquiesce in their promotions, bids and claims on public resources being lost to real white Americans. They know that Trump is just disavowing David Duke out of political correctness. I think Clay Shirky who sometimes contributes here has been all over this on twitter.

432

LFC 07.24.16 at 11:48 pm

@B.Wilder
Ok, so Atrios was shocked. I wasn’t. I prob. should have restricted the comment to my own reaction, rather than the sweeping “no one thought…”

433

Rich Puchalsky 07.24.16 at 11:49 pm

faustusnotes: “the trump and brexit phenomena”

faustusnotes’ comment is a symphony of hilariously bad readings, so much so that I’m tempted to give him parts of it to pass along to various other people (he gets to tell novakant that I feel scorn and disgust for racists, he gets to tell bob mcm that I’m a Marxist, he gets to tell engels that I always think the working class is the victim, etc.) But the only part of this that seems to have any general interest is this repeated pairing of Trump and Brexit.

As I wrote above, the GOP is organized around racism. They’ve had repeated attempts to broaden their coalition, most notably with GWB and Latinos, but these attempts failed and will always fail because their base is racist, insists on racist tropes, and this means that non-white people can’t stay in the party in significant numbers. And demographics make this a worse and worse arrangement — the country is getting less white. The GOP works by elites providing the money, the base providing the votes, the elites getting paid in the benefits of elite-controlled politics and the base getting paid in the (mostly psychological) benefits of racism. Sure, the GOP is still going to win sometimes, but this deal is getting harder and harder for them to deliver on. The Democratic Party is already becoming the favored party of the wealthy, because it can deliver.

For Britain, when they have a xenophobic outburst like Brexit, how does that change their politics? Let’s say that people really hate Polish plumbers. OK, the bad guys win, the Polish plumbers leave. But Polish citizens never got to vote in the UK. So there is no voting base that the xenophobes are driving into permanent attachment to a left-of-center party.

434

LFC 07.24.16 at 11:56 pm

RNB @459
he knows that he was going to have his atheism tested in a general were he to become the nominee.

Fwiw I heard a clip of Sanders today saying he is not an atheist (I haven’t followed the details of this, I think it’s so moot and irrelevant at this pt.). Also reiterated his support for HRC in the general.

435

RNB 07.25.16 at 12:12 am

Sanders is not an atheist? Then why were people here supporting him! By the way, Philip Kitcher’s book on secular humanism has some beautiful passages in it.

436

Layman 07.25.16 at 12:22 am

@ kidneystones, I really think what you’re looking for is something like this:

http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/1/group/6/

Spend some time looking it over, then let me know which Muslim countries you think can be said to have a dimmer view of the US than they did during the Bush administration. I’ll wait.

437

Anarcissie 07.25.16 at 12:30 am

J-D 07.24.16 at 9:44 pm @ 452 —
I generally expect governments and other major state institutions like corporations to lie and otherwise act badly, should their masters find any interest or benefit in doing so, which they often seem to. Didn’t I say something like that already? Yes, one of them might do something creditable — by accident, or because people were watching, or because of some existential crisis.

The US government and corporate institutions just happen to be the ones I know the most about and am most concerned with. If you’re trying to prove I ‘hate America’ or something like that you should find another tree to bark up. I belong to this circus. How could I hate it?

438

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 12:53 am

@ 474 Nope! Were you able to understood how to read the Pew studies I cited, you’d find plenty of evidence confirming that in a number of Muslim nations support for the US has fallen dramatically as a result of Obama’s policies despite the best rhetoric Clinton, Kerry, Powers, and Obama could muster. So dramatically, in the case of Egypt, that the US became even less popular than it was under Bush, which is probably why the Pew folks decided to put this fact in the title of their 2013 study – you recall – ‘the story’ you say you read.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/04/under-obama-egyptians-views-of-us-worse-than-under-george-w-bush-presidency/

And with that gentle reminder and explanation I have to inform you that you’ve now used up all your allotted requests for assistance. Really.

439

Peter T 07.25.16 at 1:24 am

I would have expected CT commenters to be interested in the nuances of race attitudes and the differences from country to country. But apparently not so.

If we are waiting for people generally to stop feeling that their group is better, we’ll be waiting a long time. If we are waiting for “race” as a category to be less salient as a marker of otherness, we’ll also be waiting a very long time in the US. Probably less so in other places, where it has to compete more with other markers (class in the UK, culture in France and so on) – unless US attitudes spread. Awareness of race is not the same thing as expression of generally discriminatory attitudes, which are not the same thing as personally discriminatory attitudes (many people who make general discriminatory remarks would not dream of discriminating against the actual people they meet), and discrimination can range from avoidance to violent aggression.

This is all pretty obvious, but the discussion seems always to start from the rather extreme US position.

440

faustusnotes 07.25.16 at 1:39 am

kidneystones, that graph shows an increase in confidence since Bush left office, and a decrease in no confidence. Confidence now is twice what it was under Bush (26% vs. 11%). Why do you think it says otherwise?

441

RNB 07.25.16 at 1:47 am

Peter T,

You make an important point.

Here is a contrast to American “race” dynamics where “purity” and symbolically devalued “labor”, rather than race in the quasi-biological American sense, are the markers of invidious difference.

http://qz.com/738758/indias-dalits-strike-back-at-centuries-of-oppression-by-letting-dead-cows-rot-on-the-streets/

And in the UK the dynamics of Empire make the discourse of ‘race’ different than it is in the US

http://discoversociety.org/2016/07/05/viewpoint-brexit-class-and-british-national-identity/

442

Kidneystones 07.25.16 at 1:49 am

@ 478 I blame your racist relatives.

443

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 2:23 am

For the digitally feeble and other illiterates: Paragraph two of July 4 2013 study authored by Richard Wike director of global attitudes research at Pew Research Center and titled “Under Obama, Egyptians’ views of U.S. worse than under George W. Bush presidency” :

“Roughly eight-in-ten Egyptians (81%) expressed an unfavorable opinion of the U.S. in a poll conducted this March by the Pew Research Center. Today, the U.S. gets even more negative ratings in Egypt than it did throughout much of the Bush presidency.” The word ‘poll’ is a hyperlink leading to the March data published May 13, 2016, in which we find on page 6 Chapter 5 Views of U.S. and Israel the relevant data on US graphed:

“About eight-in-ten Egyptians (81%) express an unfavorable opinion about the U.S.; just 16% are favorable. While this is virtually unchanged from recent years, attitudes are more negative today than at the start of President Barack Obama’s tenure in 2009, as well as somewhat more negative than they were during much of President George W. Bush’s time in office.”

http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/05/16/chapter-5-views-of-u-s-and-israel/

That was easy. Please direct any comments and complaints to Richard Wike.

444

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 2:26 am

Sorry, that should be published May 16, 2013. I’m on the train.

445

RNB 07.25.16 at 2:36 am

If Trump’s real estate business is heavily focused on selling high-end real estate to Chinese and Russian elites who invest in his business–and this even Josh Marshall’s critics such as Jeffrey Carr seem to concede– then Trump does have a vested interest in their wealth and power. This would seem to create a conflict of interest for the President. It’s incomprehensible to me that he has gotten this far without full financial disclosures. How has he gotten away with this? Do people just not want to come off the racist high? Is he just too good for media ratings that they don’t want to bring him down?

446

T 07.25.16 at 2:38 am

Kidneystones@456
I would caution you that a lot what’s required to understand a country requires understanding its subcultures. While not impossible, it’s very hard to do without interacting with those subcultures. Many Americans have no clue about major US populations. It’s even harder for a nonresident. You tip yourself off quite often. I’m not going to go into details, but modesty about another country’s culture(s) is a good place to start. Maybe ask a question on occasion.

447

faustusnotes 07.25.16 at 2:41 am

Oh I see the problem is you don’t know how to link. First you point us (twice!) to a poll showing increased confidence in the US, claiming it shows the opposite. After repeatedly being told you’re wrong, you dredge up the favorability ratings instead. There you quote someone saying they’re “somewhat more negative than they were during much of President George W. Bush’s time in office.” What you don’t show is the actual data, which only goes to 2006 – so doesn’t cover “much of” Dubya’s time in office at all, and certainly not the key bit where he invaded Iraq.

Maybe you can blame a Mexican for this mistake?

448

Lupita 07.25.16 at 2:51 am

We exist to be blamed.

449

Anarcissie 07.25.16 at 2:56 am

RNB 07.25.16 at 2:36 am @ 483 —
Ah, Moscow Gold.

But surely politicians’ lack of enthusiasm for disclosing their own, their colleagues’, or their competitors’ sources of funds cannot be very mysterious.

450

F. Foundling 07.25.16 at 3:05 am

@Alex K— 07.24.16 at 7:30 pm
>Do you think that hundreds of thousands of Kiev teachers, doctors, students and minor business people had been living on US grants? Seriously?

Well, usually it seems to work like this – first, there are the actual shills (in Eastern Europe, this often does mean receivers of Western grants, since the local resources are modest in comparison), then there are many more who aspire or hope to become elite shills one day, then there are those who just like imagining that they are partaking of the shills’ elite status by siding with them (since the shills’ ideology has become identified as an indispensable attribute of elite status), and those who are just fooled and sincerely believe the shills’ propaganda. And if you replace ‘shills’ in the above statement with ‘elites’, you get a recipe for right-wing politics in general. In fact, right-wing politics is precisely what ‘teachers, doctors, students’ in post-Communist countries (a class I belong to myself) normally espouse – namely, neoliberalism, classism (as well as racism), and support for Western imperialism. As for ‘minor business people’, they are one of the groups most easily convinced to join them in this.

>Do you think they would ever spend days in a mass protest in a crowded square …

Yes, well-known shills and their dupes do organise mass protests. Duh. I’ve seen it happen quite a few times already.

>The word is actually “grant-suckers.” It was invented by professional Putinists to smear the Russian opposition.

As a matter of fact, both грантосос (grant-sucker) and грантоед (grant-eater) exist in Russian, along with various other tender appellations; my most recent favourite is ‘Les enfants du capitaine Grant’. In any case, whoever invented the terms, the phenomenon they refer to is absolutely real and has existed in Eastern Europe ever since the fall of Communism, long before Putin appeared on the stage. Its exact nature may vary: on the one hand, there are the actual shills – networks of NGOs, think tanks and individuals sponsored by Western governments or donors specifically to promote the policies and regimes that the sponsors want. Of course, the objectives are typically described as ‘democracy’ and such like, as in ‘National Endowment for Democracy’: http://portside.org/2015-10-31/how-national-endowment-democracy-manufactures-regime-change-around-world; as for how this financing worked in Ukraine, here is a partial, but informative and telling (as well as approving!) description: https://pando.com/2014/02/28/pierre-omidyar-co-funded-ukraine-revolution-groups-with-us-government-documents-show/. On the other hand, there is the rise of an entire elite intellectual stratum that gets its copious funding primarily from the West for various activities, not necessarily nefarious albeit often ineffective ones (stuff like what Lupita mentions at 410), but which is, consequently, naturally inclined to take ‘pro-Western positions’ and whatever stances are advocated by the first group.

To avoid misunderstandings, I suppose I should also point out that Putin is a scumbag, too. So is Trump. So is HRC and the neolibs~neocons. These should be pretty trivial observations, but I’m getting the worrying impression that even most of the non-shills here are really uncapable of keeping these facts in their heads at the same time.

451

roger gathmann 07.25.16 at 4:12 am

I’m surprised that there’s been no mention of the madman theory that Clinton’s friend, Kissinger, heard from Daniel Ellsberg and it is said employed in Vietnam. The 1972 christmas bombings were, supposedly, inspired by the idea that if Kissinger could convince the Vietnamese that Nixon was mad, he could get them to negotiate. This is irresponsibility elevated to a dogma of foreign policy.
I fail to understand the ruckus about NATO, an organization that should have dissolved in 1992. I might fail to understand the high and mighty, but I don’t see Europe sacrificing its population to the nuclear bomb in order that Latvia might go on being nationalistically anti-Russian, even to the extent of extolling collaborators with the Nazis. Maybe I missed the massed troops moving out when Crimea was annexed. I have noticed, though, that since that time, a dark age has fallen and man is no longer free. Sorta Tolkeinesque, this twilight world in which we strive feebly against the fall of the tyrannous Putin dark.
In my opinion, the only thing useful about the GOP throwing away the election on Trump is that at least we will talk about foreign policy beyond the polite and to my mind insane conventions that govern it right now. Hell, we might even question the freedom love of our democratic ally, the Saudis.

452

RNB 07.25.16 at 4:35 am

C’mon, Roger, if you think NATO has over-expanded, you say that you would work to scale it back without creating a vacuum for chaos in the process. That is, you wouldn’t blurt out that you may not once in office come to the assistance of an ally if you come to the conclusion that it had not been paying its fair share. That is an invitation to rivals’ aggression to which an embarrassed Trump who was not expecting humiliating condemnation for the aggression that he would stand accused of having incompetently encouraged could respond in a truly maniacal way.

I continue to be astonished that anyone would want to minimize or normalize Trump’s irresponsible rantings. He’s not running to be a star on a struggling cable news network.

453

bruce wilder 07.25.16 at 4:43 am

LFC @ 470

I was trying to draw attention to the way you were eliding surprise and scandal.

Atrios, clearly a news junkie who follows politics fairly closely, acknowledges that the DNC’s bias was widely known. In that sense, you were perfectly accurate in asserting “no one thought . . . ”

The thing is, the DNC was supposed to be neutral. Its members — and especially its chair — had an ethical imperative derived from the institutional mandate.

You took common knowledge (admittedly somewhat vague and unconfirmed on some specifics) and you made it into moral indifference.

I am not trying to criticize you personally for that. I am not attributing it to some particular shortcoming in your character. As far as I can tell your character is just fine. But, I do think it reflects a troubling aspect of our times, that we have some trouble mustering some feeling about the ethical shortcomings of our lords and masters. Just because we’ve come to expect it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

454

bruce wilder 07.25.16 at 5:03 am

RP @ 471: “But Polish citizens never got to vote in the UK.”

It is rather complicated, but that’s not actually true. I was interested a couple of years ago to learn that Polish plumbers could vote for the Scottish assembly as well as in local elections and that Irish citizens resident in Britain can vote in all British elections. Resident Commonwealth citizens in many cases also have a right to vote in Britain. My understanding is that England and Wales keep two elections registers — one for Parliament and a different one for local and European elections and the Polish plumbers are eligible for the latter.

455

Igor Belanov 07.25.16 at 7:20 am

@ Daragh

‘I doubt that a hard left, Corbynite party could win more than 8-12% of the national vote (at very best), but that’s enough votes to basically deliver the country to the Tories in perpetuity.’

That’s the crux of the argument for the Labour right. Even if we accept Daragh’s dubious electoral mathematics, that’s a big chunk of politically conscious, committed people who have a ‘duty’ to vote for and support the Labour right who hold their opinions in utter contempt. This also has the effect of stifling any arguments for socialist ideas and opinions, because you have to accept the discipline of the party when the leader is from the right of Labour. Why should socialists behave in this way? Oh yes, our old friend ‘lesser evilism’ again. The only problem now is that increasing numbers of people are looking from pig to man, and man to pig, and not really seeing the difference.

456

TM 07.25.16 at 7:55 am

faustusnotes 358: Thanks for a rare dose of realism. There is plenty of evidence that the “voters who fall for racist demagogues are globalization losers failed by the system” meme is false or incomplete at best. “Empathy” a la BW (296) sounds good but beware of trying to empathize with a straw man built up by your own fantasy.

And more to BW 297: “It implies that arguing that he’s irresponsible in some supremely unique way that justifies support for Ms Lesser Evil is ill-conceived. Trump is filling a space that has been created in large part by the smug, complacent, corrupt politics of Clinton and the Democratic establishment.” You could have said the same kind of thing about Hitler (*). It is very poor reasoning indeed to say that because Trump is a result of the existing system (what isn’t a result of the existing system?), he’s no worse than the existing system.

(*) RP 302 do you need a lesson in logic? If your argument meant to show that Trump is not particularly dangerous could equally be used to show that Hitler wasn’t particularly dangerous, then it’s probably wrong.

457

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 8:06 am

@ 485 No. Actually, I do know how to link. You are still evidently unaware that Richard Wike included the link in the article I unearthed in about 3 minutes after that other functional illiterate, Layman, began whining that he couldn’t perform a basic google search. Indeed, I included three articles which had you and he read the first clearly, as Wike obviously assumed you would, might have saved you this additional humiliation.

Wike’s failure, of course, and to some degree mine, was assuming a readership familiar enough with hyperlinks of the kind we find, for example, in the OP above to be able to click on the link without specific instructions. What Wike failed to appreciate is that there’s always a dunce, or two, in every crowd. Thanks to you, we’re now reminded that Layman isn’t the only one commenting here unable to read Wike’s Pew study. There may be others, but they are at least wise enough to advertise the fact.

You’ll be gratified to know that I referenced the challenges Wike’s document provided you and Layman with my research students today. I reminded them that we can never make our presentations too simple, or too clear. And that quality data must be the foundation for any good presentation. Know the literacy of the audience – and here you and Layman are to remind us and everyone who reads this thread at any time in the future, that there at least two commenters here unable to locate a Pew study, and when presented with the study, will not understand how to read it. Thanks for that!

Which leads to

484 @ T Thanks for this.

458

TM 07.25.16 at 8:11 am

Re the KPD: It is true that KPD and SPD together were still a minority and couldn’t on their own have saved the Republic. It is also true that the hostility of the KPD towards the Weimar system and the disunity of the left helped (together with other factors) doom it. Now the KPD had very good reasons for hating the system and for not wanting to work with the SPD. After all, the SPD had betrayed the 1918 revolution and had helped murder Karl, Rosa and other communists. How could the KPD not hate the system? It’s hard to blame them. The historical result nevertheless was that the KPD helped destroy the chance of a liberal democratic system to stabilize and helped bring the Nazis to power, who would then destroy the KPD.

In the 1925 election, the centrist candidate could have won against Hindenburg if the KPD voters had supported him. Of course, the idea of voting for a “lesser evil” system candidate must have seemed ridiculous for communists who believed that the system was doomed, history was on their side and communist revolution would sooner or later prevail. Unfortunately they were right on the first count but wrong about the rest.

459

TM 07.25.16 at 8:28 am

RP 401, 409: I think you have seriously disqualified yourself. You have also disqualified yourself at 302 (failed the basic logic test). Sorry you wasted your Sunday like that.

460

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 8:43 am

@ 497 Should read ‘not to advertise.’ Let’s hope this really does lay the matter to rest.

461

novakant 07.25.16 at 8:52 am

Regarding “it’s personal” above and ‘contempt’ in general: if somebody is threatening your family, friends and livelihood then nativism, xenophobia and racism cease to be abstract concepts that one might want to have a nice dinner table discussion about. The UK has been irreversibly transformed already no matter what the eventual political and economical consequences will be and that is just a very sad – “this is our country now”…

462

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 9:30 am

Oh yeah, with all the parsing forgot the news from work. An American colleague announced for Trump. Bi-cultural and speaks at least two languages. Tiniest possible sample, but how many more are there not yet out. And, yes, he doesn’t mind Trump, but ‘something about Hillary gets up his nose.’

The topic of DWS and rigged primaries came up repeatedly. Among my American colleagues, I just drank it all in. Talk like that in some ‘free speech’ campuses could cost a low-level employee her/his job.

Imagine how some here might react -Klan!!!! the shunning, the whisper campaign, and then dismissal. Naw, that could never happen.

463

J-D 07.25.16 at 9:34 am

bianca steele 07.24.16 at 7:16 pm
Ronan,

Murray took a neighborhood that had been segregated by class for at least a hundred years. He explicitly claimed that previous generations had gone to church and current residents did not;

So maybe at least some things have been getting better.

464

casmilus 07.25.16 at 9:47 am

We need a candidate who can heal these historically vicious divisions in CT.

In the meantime, can we please ban all use of these formations:

(1) “You know _____, right?”
(2) “Where to begin…”
(3) “Yes, that’s definitely what I said…” [or some variant form of heavy-handed sarcasm]

That’s Guardian Comment BTL-speak. This is supposed to be for a better class of person.

465

TM 07.25.16 at 10:27 am

Hi casmilus. Could you enlighten us what you meant by “Now that someone has put the Buchananite end-the-Empire stuff into the mainstream …” (63) Where has Trump, a candidate with the slogan “Make America Great Again” (apparently copied from Reagan 1980), disavowed Empire?

466

Layman 07.25.16 at 10:59 am

kidneystones: “So dramatically, in the case of Egypt…”

Right. So when you wrote “Indeed, in some parts of the Muslim world US popularity is lower today than it was under Bush,” what you meant by ‘some parts of the Muslim world’ was, well, Egypt. Got it.

467

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 11:04 am

BW: “My understanding is that England and Wales keep two elections registers — one for Parliament and a different one for local and European elections and the Polish plumbers are eligible for the latter.”

OK, I’ll modify what I wrote slightly: they are able to vote in local and European elections. But these aren’t the elections that control national policy (and if the UK does leave the EU, they will be even less important). And xenophobia still tends to either drive legal migrants and job-seekers out or remove legal avenues for them and convert them into illegal ones (who presumably have even more difficulty voting). The end result is that the racist coalition does not create a strong anti-racist voting coalition as happened in the U.S. The U.S.. has a long history of getting around this through Jim Crow and then voter suppression / the incarceration industry, but that’s been driven about as far as it can go given that the anti-racist party is getting stronger.

One of the ways in which this is obscured is the growing use of “racism” as a bad-person-word that is supposed to mean any kind of prejudice except for homophobia and sexism. So you get things like “my father hates Poles, therefore my father is a racist”, and xenophobia and nativism are deemed insufficiently evil-sounding for general use. (Cue the wail that racism and the whole category of race is a social construct. Of course it is, but not all social constructs are the same.)

468

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 11:08 am

Layman #474: “I’ll wait.”

You are going to be waiting a long time! Consider the full inferential attempt here: Because there is a 12-point rise in unfavorable view of the U.S. in a foreign country, therefore Trump’s demonization of Muslims is “meaningless” to the affected parties. Both ends of this syllogism come from through the looking-glass, then they are linked by faulty logic. The proof is verified by the Trumpian strategy that sheer repetition makes it stand: “What I tell you three times is true!”

469

Brett Dunbar 07.25.16 at 11:13 am

The KPD were guilty of attempting to do what the NSDAP actually accomplished. They were a directly malevolent body attempting to destroy the liberal democratic Weimar regime and replace it with a murderous despotism. In Russia Lenin had established a totalitarian regime that was much worse, than the Tsarist regime had been.

The KPD were bad guys, the party was fundamentally evil, like the NSDAP. Voting for the KPD was voting for despotism and political murder.

470

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 11:28 am

Yes, you missed that they already know what’s going on.

471

Layman 07.25.16 at 11:30 am

“In Russia Lenin had established a totalitarian regime that was much worse, than the Tsarist regime had been.”

I imagine that the judgment ‘much worse than the Tsarist regime’ rather depended on who you were. The Tsarist regime was not a stroll in the park with a parasol for most people.

472

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 11:31 am

@ 506 No, you don’t. That was in 2013. Your quibble about ‘today’ was the only part you got right in that sorry exchange. And you’ve already forgotten. Hang on to it! As for your miserly concession and absolute lack of gratitude, consider this:

‘Well, Egypt’ with a population of over 90 million is the 15th largest nation in the world by population. ‘Well, Egypt’ is 5th largest Muslim nation in the world. ‘Well, Egypt’ is also the largest Muslim nation in the Middle East and Africa. That’s 81 percent of the polled population of the largest Muslim nation in Africa with a lower opinion of the US under Dem leadership, than under Bush.

The smiley face painted on US policy lasted exactly 1 year in ‘well, Egypt.’ From 2010 to 2013,under Obama, support for the US remained below lower than the levels of support for the US during the final two years of Bush’s presidency in ‘well, Egypt.

That’s not a blip. And not when that not a blip persists for 3 years leading to a low of 16 points from 27, a decline of nearly 50 percent. No, at that point, it’s very safe to say that there’s not much left of that smiley face among the largest population of Muslims in Africa and the Middle East, I mean ‘well, Egypt.’

You’re not worth assisting and will get no further help from me. Understand? Hope so.

Try not to lose this.

http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/05/16/chapter-5-views-of-u-s-and-israel/

473

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 11:43 am

On to cheerier topics. What about that DWS resignation? How is her resignation anything but a huge FU to Sanders and his supporters? Screwed you! Yup! Sanders was right all along! So Fing What! Nominations are closed, baby!!!

Too late to do anything about it now, of course, other than to have you ‘Suck on this’ and vote for the candidate who colluded with DWS to disenfranchise the voters. In. Your. Face.

Donna Brazille is the replacement for DWS? Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with GOTV and keeping HRC Inc. intact. Booouuund to impress unhappy Sanders supporters. Not!

Meanwhile, what about selecting Mr. White Bread Goldman Sachs as her running mate? That’s nothing if not a square kick in the teeth to the progressives in the Dem camp. If anyone has any doubts about what the next four-eight years of HRC in the WH will be like, we’re looking at it right now: Collusion, corruption, behind-the-scenes deal making, all papered over with the most transparent and timeworn lies.

Change!

474

Layman 07.25.16 at 11:46 am

@ kidneystones

Can you name another Muslim country with a dimmer view of the US now than under Bush? Your original claim implied as much – Egypt is not ‘some parts’, it’s ‘one part’.

Or do you amend your claim to only include Egypt? For which you cite a 3-year old study, one that offers the somewhat weak claim that views are as ‘somewhat more negative than they were during much of President George W. Bush’s time in office’, while at the same time acknowledging that Egyptians have a more favorable view of Obama than they did of Bush? After all, wasn’t the point of your original claim to deride Obama’s handling of relations with the Mulim world?

It’s easy enough to be wrong. ‘Determinedly, stridently, pigheadedly wrong’ takes talent!

475

Faustusnotes 07.25.16 at 12:00 pm

Rich, the racist coalition would start a coherent anti racist coalition if left wing activists were actually willing to engage with the racists. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to do that if large slabs of supposedly left wing people either don’t understand what racism is, think someone like trump or bojo isn’t racist because they’re anti neoliberal haha, or refuse to call racism what it is out of some kind of generalized fear of offending the racists (or worse still, out of a misguided notion that, for example, “British values” include tolerance).

I’ve seen all of these things on these brexit and trump threads, and desperate mental and rhetorical gymnastics to avoid admitting some glaringly obvious facts. I just hope the rest of the American electorate is not as addicted to this both sides are equally bad nonsense, or the world is going to be in deep shit very soon.

476

Brett Dunbar 07.25.16 at 12:10 pm

The Tsarist regime had mostly exiled or imprisoned political opponents, it was a deeply unpleasant authoritarian dictatorship, but it didn’t really go in for murder the way the USSR did. Lenin was far more inclined to have opponents murdered and as well as a secret police much larger and more brutal than the Tsarist secret police there was systematic mass murder of peasants as part of war communism and deliberately causing famine.

Basically a bad regime (Tsarism) was replaced by a much worse one (Lenin), and that was itself replaced by a much worse one (Stalin).

477

novakant 07.25.16 at 12:10 pm

478

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 12:11 pm

@ 516 Ignorance, illiteracy, and bad faith arguments make you a waste of my time.

I was actually surprised to discover you add nothing to any discussion. But I’m afraid I’m right. Chime away,

479

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 12:20 pm

ZeK #514: “So, that’s it then; this tremendous outrage you feel…”

I said nothing about my own feeling or my own opinion in this whole chain of comments. You are out of touch.

Other things Trump has said?

“Islam hates us.”
“When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”
“I’m in total support of waterboarding. It has to be within the law, but I have to expand the law.”

Some quick googling. And God knows what he’s said in private.

Now he’s announced his foreign policy team, so there may be an accessible cornucopia of idiocy.

And again, Trump is not going to do anything differently. This is all just to get elected. He’s just saying this stuff to get the votes of boneheads. Trump is not going to change much of anything at all.

EXCEPT to do damage to the “war of terror”, according to the principles of counterinsurgency. This is not the way you prevent Muslims from becoming terrorists; quite the reverse.

Which, again, is why the conservative Republican establishment is aghast.

Further, it shows that he is a bad pick for the White House due to serious lack of judgment, because this is merely for his own electoral gain. You can say things that whoop up the voters, but you do not say things that can’t be put back into the bottle. Which, again, is why the Republican establishment is mortified.

Which was MY comment. I attempted to explain the conservative Republican reaction to this, from their own explicit statements: It’s dangerous.

480

kidneystones 07.25.16 at 12:26 pm

Another meaningless poll: Josh Marshall smells the coffee. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/polltracker/trump-takes-lead-clinton-cnn-orc

All kinds of HRC bad news and that’s before the DNC debacle.

Trump takes lead from Clinton in CNN/ORC poll 48-45 Will he break 50? If so, when?
Trump favorables up 7 pts.

If Clinton is expecting a bounce from this convention, I’m not sure where it’s coming from. Certainly not from the Sanders crowd.

The DWS resignation is a de facto admission of guilt – yes, the evidence is incontestable – HRC stole the election. Scratch that. HRC is completely innocent of all wrong doing. As she says, she’s never lied about anything. In fact, HRC is the victim, a victim of a great conspiracy involving DWS, Putin, Trump, and Trig Palin. No, wait..Did I mention the Koch brothers. Or, maybe, maybe… David Brock. Scratch that, Brock works for me now. Rush? What a mess. Don’t worry. Forget those Goldman Sachs speeches. The Armani jackets? Borrowed them. Hey, lookit, I wore this cheap 380 dress. I’m one of you, really. Look everyone!!! I’m Bernie Sanders. Fist Bump!! Yeah!!!

481

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 12:53 pm

Ze K, What is your plan for stopping terrorism?

482

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 12:58 pm

“Rich, the racist coalition would start a coherent anti racist coalition if left wing activists were actually willing to engage with the racists.”

That is self-flattering nonsense. It casts anti-racism as an activity that activists do because they are good people, rather than anti-racism as an activity that people do primarily because racists are making their lives miserable. If the racists / xenophobes / whatever can either drive people out of the country or make them “illegals” and therefore without citizenship rights / powers, there can not be an anti-racist coalition that can be a linchpin of a first past the post political party as has happened in the U.S.

As for “both sides are equally bad”, I really have no idea who you are addressing. Of course an HRC victory would be better than a Trump victory by far. That doesn’t mean that we have to falsify history or deny the facts about who HRC is or pretend that the greater and greater concentration of wealth and income isn’t driving popular unrest that’s going to show up as racism, xenophobia and other things if there is no credible left alternative.

483

TM 07.25.16 at 12:59 pm

521: You are wasting your time (surprise surprise). He already stated that “They are rapists” was nothing racist against Mexican immigrants.

484

casmilus 07.25.16 at 1:23 pm

@505

“”Japan is better if it protects itself against this maniac of North Korea,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday. “We are better off frankly if South Korea is going to start protecting itself … they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.””

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/31/politics/trump-view-from-south-korea-japan/

Pat himself is delighted that there is a candidate playing his old tunes:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/01/pat-buchanan-donald-trump-is-running-as-me.html

and on foreign commitments:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/will-trump-put-america-first/

485

faustusnotes 07.25.16 at 1:27 pm

Rich are you saying that we shouldn’t challenge racists unless they directly direct their racism at us? That seems to be the implication – that only the victims of racism can form a movement against it, and those of us who are from the in group should just sit around and ignore it?

486

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 1:29 pm

If the only two choices are neocon “Yay Empire!” or paleocon end-the-Empire, I know which one I prefer. People hate isolationists but that’s better than what pacifists get.

My own preference would be to not have a choice because we wouldn’t have a standing military machine ready for aggressive war, like most of the First World.

487

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 1:41 pm

faustusnotes: “That seems to be the implication”

Characteristic inability to distinguish structural from moral implications. People can’t read, etc. etc.

Look at how the U.S. Civil Rights Movement worked. There were a substantial number of white activists who were Freedom Riders and who died along with black activists and so on. Were white activists important participants in the movement? Yes. Were they capable of forming a movement? No. This has nothing to do with “allyship”. The Civil Rights Movement could not have worked if there hadn’t been a huge group of black people who had to be committed to the movement because racism was such an important part of their lives and who could (just barely) not be dismissed as unpeople because they were in theory citizens.

488

Layman 07.25.16 at 1:51 pm

“Were white activists important participants in the movement? Yes. Were they capable of forming a movement? No.”

Yes. Similarly, only slaves, who suffered from slavery, were capable of ‘forming a movement’ and ending slavery. Those white fellows in uniform were just important participants tagging along.

489

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 2:15 pm

Ze K #530, Well, Russia is dealing with the problems in Syria, and the Obama Administration appears to be on board with it. The US has been dealing more with the ISIS area, by trying to help a shaky coalition with backup. If you take the Syrian & Iraq situation as a whole, there are 11 or 12 various interests from inside and outside involved. Remember that the US tried not to “meddle”, ISIS arose, and then the U.S. Administration caught hell for it. If the US doesn’t do this, ISIS will slaughter the Kurds and almost everybody in Baghdad. Do you want the US to stop “meddling” in this particular case? What would you do differently?

490

TM 07.25.16 at 2:16 pm

527: Buchanan gives no evidence of Trump questioning the American empire because there isn’t any.

Has Trump made any noises at all about closing overseas bases, stop the meddling in other countries’ affairs, etc.? Answer is no. He said he would charge the host countries for the US bases there. Rejection of empire or request for more tribute?

It looks like a lot of people are hearing what they want to hear. What I’ve been hearing is for eample:
* “We will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally — the state of Israel.”
* “I will…quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS, will rebuild our military and make it so strong no one — and I mean, no one — will mess with us.”

Or what about this: “I would get China to make that guy [Kim Jong Un] disappear in one form or another very quickly.” Get China to do what America wants? Not realistic of course but also hardly a disavowal of empire.

491

TM 07.25.16 at 2:22 pm

For chrissake, let Ze K have his own thread and leave the rest alone!

492

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 2:25 pm

ZeK #533: “And you still think Muslims are going to be mad at the US because the Donald said something?”

Again, I did not say what I think. And the issue is not “Muslims are going to be mad”, but the expectation of effects on (e.g.) ISIS recruitment. They are losing, so they NEED remarks like Donald’s.

493

Ronan(rf) 07.25.16 at 2:29 pm

Some of the main characteristics of trumps base; southern, nationalist, anti foreigner. Afaik, support for and having served in the military also feature quite strongly ?
Whatever about trumps personal preferences, how would having a base of white, southern, militarist nationalists make him plausibly less interventionist, let alone “isolationist”? It might effect the kind of wars he would fight, but make him *less* likely?

494

Ronan(rf) 07.25.16 at 2:30 pm

Lee, do you actually believe the reason republican elites turned against trump is because his rhetoric was undermining counterinsurgency strategy ?

495

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 2:38 pm

Ah, we’re back to “we could win a guerrilla conflict if we just stop blaming all Muslims.” Luckily my comment up at #326 has come out of moderation.

Cue “But are you saying that it’s a good thing to blame all Muslims? You must support Trump!” etc.

496

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 2:46 pm

Ze K #536: “Yes, I definitely want them to stop meddling, and let countries in the region to work things out.”

And when The Donald accedes to your request, and if tens of thousands (or more) innocents are killed thereafter, you (and their survivors) won’t be blaming The Donald for this?

497

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 2:48 pm

Ronan(rf) #540: “Lee, do you actually believe the reason republican elites turned against trump is because his rhetoric was undermining counterinsurgency strategy ?”

And the COIN strategy of U.S. allies, yes. That is the indication of their statements about his Muslim comments. They certainly don’t mind demonizing other segments of populations, when it is convenient.

Plus the fact that such a needlessly stupid set of statements shows that putting him in the Oval Office runs a big risk of further unpredictable eruptions of stupidities.

His supporters’ view that it is because he is against the elites is bogus. The elites could deal with him just fine. Indeed if he were elected, they would receive a huge cache of rich goodies! And his supporters wouldn’t even find out about it.

498

casmilus 07.25.16 at 2:58 pm

@535

“Has Trump made any noises at all about closing overseas bases, stop the meddling in other countries’ affairs, etc.? Answer is no. He said he would charge the host countries for the US bases there. Rejection of empire or request for more tribute?”

Well, the actual quoted words were:

“”Japan is better if it protects itself against this maniac of North Korea,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday. “We are better off frankly if South Korea is going to start protecting itself … they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.””

That’s a disjunction there: either they pay us, or protect themselves.

Disengagement from South Korea is a very old Buchanan demand. He’s done endless articles saying the US shouldn’t have thousands of troops in a country that already has its own advanced military. And there is Donald, out of his own mouth, saying he doesn’t like it either.

Here’s some more of what he’s said, though it’s from 2015:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/13/donald-trump-foreign-policy-doctrine-nation-building

“Trump also registered his admiration for infrastructure in other parts of the world and his worry that the United States was lagging. “We have to spend money on mass transit,” Trump said, delving into domestic policy. “We have to fix our airports, fix our roads also in addition to mass transit but we have to spend a lot of money.”

The Republican frontrunner noted: “China and these other countries, they have super-speed trains. We have nothing. This country has nothing. We are like the third world but we will get it going and do it properly, and, as I say, make America great again.””

“Make America great again” = fix the chronic domestic problems. Not a further wave of imperial expansion.

499

faustusnotes 07.25.16 at 3:01 pm

I didn’t say anything moral, Rich. Why do you think I drew a moral implication? I assumed you were getting at the point you subsequently made, it just wasn’t clear.

The point you subsequently made is, in the case of Brexit, completely wrong. The leaver vote was strongest where there were no foreigners to contest it. In those areas it was young British people contesting the racist views of their older families, trying to keep the UK as part of a polity that functions for everyone rather than just the rich and the elderly. In this case, where the biggest victims of the movement (young people and foreigners) can’t vote, it’s very important for those who can to take responsibility.

As a foreigner living in a country with a small but fairly animated racist component, and a small foreign community, I find the idea that only I am able to protect myself from racism to be … uninspiring, at best. It’s the attitudes of the vast majority of reasonable Japanese adults that keep their lunatic fringe in check, not the actions of people like me and kidneystones. If the lunatic fringe gets mainstream support, we don’t have a chance. The thought of that mainstream deadweight of anti-racism (or at least, of anti-extreme racism) just standing back and letting the conflict play out between its key antagonists is quite terrifying. Do you not ever think about this debate from the point of view of the people at the pointy end of the issues?

This idea is also wrong because if we follow it, the left ends up debating with Trumpeters and Brexiters on issues they fundamentally don’t care about, while their (white!) leaders feed them a constant diet of rhetoric that inspires them. While people like you and Bruce are arguing with them about neo-liberalism and the banks and the power of international capital, Trump is telling them that Mexicans will rape their daughters, or BoJo is telling them that the NHS is screwed because its full to the brim with foreign benefit scroungers. They’re not listening to your silly theories. And the only people trying to fight the rhetoric they are listening to are being told to shut up by people like you, because they’re showing contempt with all their talk of racism and prejudice.

If you think it’s contemptuous to tell someone they’re a racist for believing a man who thinks Mexicans are rapists and murderers; if you think someone’s wrong to point out the main animus is race, when the leader of the movement is standing in front of an openly racist poster, or promising to solve all the world’s problems by deporting 11 million people, or refusing to disavow openly Nazi supporters, or recycling images from Nazi organizations; you have lost any sense of how the social order is constructed.

500

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 3:13 pm

Ze K #541: “People are not that stupid.”

You must be 12 years old. It has nothing to do with stupidity. This is a religion conviction and heritage. Discriminating against that, is often grounds for further violence. It incites people who were previously peaceful. Trump has since issued several policy changes — he will now only restrict people from troubled ares, etc. (which of course the U.S. is ALREADY doing) — so obviously someone else finally got into that 70-year-old brainpan that he was being a dangerous jerk. You should do the same.

501

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 3:15 pm

faustusnotes: “In those areas it was young British people contesting the racist views of their older families”

Whee it’s a politics based on “I’m ashamed of dad now that I’m upwardly mobile”.

“If you think it’s contemptuous to tell someone they’re a racist for believing a man who thinks Mexicans are rapists and murderers [list of atrocities deleted]”

Don’t forget calling people Polish scrotes. That dastardly example of racism is one of the reasons why you called your father trailer trash, which isn’t contemptuous at all.

502

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 3:24 pm

faustusnotes: “Do you not ever think about this debate from the point of view of the people at the pointy end of the issues?”

Oh and I missed that one. No, as a Jew, I never do that. It’s just not part of my family, cultural, and personal background at all.

503

TM 07.25.16 at 3:33 pm

RP 548 what an asshole

504

RNB 07.25.16 at 3:39 pm

There is what Trump intends to do, and there is how Trump will react to the chaos that he did not necessarily intend to create. And those reactions will likely be maniacal. What the OP forgets is that Trump has twice mused about using nuclear weapons not in response to their being used against the US or an ally but in the heat of conventional warfare in Europe or against ISIS. Is my memory off here?

So the real problem about amnesia is not what the Corey Robin says in regards to the last forty years of Presidential nominees but about how people are forgetting or perhaps just can’t remember all the insane things Trump has said in just this election cycle.

For no reason at all, Bobby Knight the basketball coach who once counseled a rape victim to try to enjoy the experience told us that Donald Trump would be the candidate to have used nuclear weapons in Japan again.

Yes, Donald Trump is the most sociopathic person to have been nominated for the American Presidency in a very long time. Corey Robin is underestimating just how reckless and awful he is, and this is tragic given that Trump has a real shot to win.

505

RNB 07.25.16 at 3:54 pm

I am hoping that Henry Farrell will use his expertise in cyber issues to discuss what needs to be discussed about this Presidential race. Of course I have the Clinton accusation of Russian hacking on behalf of Trump’s candidacy in mind.

506

Daragh 07.25.16 at 3:58 pm

Not a Clinton ‘accusation’ – the conclusion of an investigation by several cyber-security firms prior to Wikileaks dumping the files.

507

RNB 07.25.16 at 4:00 pm

Yes, thanks for the correction, Daragh.

508

TM 07.25.16 at 4:02 pm

“COOPER: So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them too?

TRUMP: Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely. But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them.

Now, wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?”

http://www.vox.com/2016/3/30/11332074/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-japan-south-korea-saudi-arabia

509

TM 07.25.16 at 4:03 pm

“COOPER: So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them too?

TRUMP: Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely. But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them.

Now, wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?”

http://www.vox.com/2016/3/30/11332074/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-japan-south-korea-saudi-arabia

510

Yan 07.25.16 at 4:49 pm

Classic KGB trick. Always leave a signed calling card when secretly destroying American democracy.

511

The Temporary Name 07.25.16 at 5:13 pm

DWS has apparently been a headache to Democrats for a while: why Russians would want to make the DNC a more effective organization by removing its greatest liability is something to ponder, particularly when they’re so interested in Trump.

512

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 5:28 pm

No opinion on whether the HRC campaign hack was officially Russian or not. I did find this paragraph from the vice.com piece curious:

This tactic and its remarkable success is a game-changer: exfiltrating documents from political organisations is a legitimate form of intelligence work. The US and European countries do it as well. But digitally exfiltrating and then publishing possibly manipulated documents disguised as freewheeling hacktivism is crossing a big red line and setting a dangerous precedent: an authoritarian country directly yet covertly trying to sabotage an American election.

Think about that one for a minute. According to that paragraph it’s perfectly legitimate to break in and copy documents if you’re a government. Governments do it all the time. But what’s really scary and dangerous is then publishing the stuff so that the general public knows it. Hmm.

513

Hidari 07.25.16 at 5:55 pm

Amazing how totally and completely predicatable and controlled the corporate media are. I am old enough to remember ClimateGate, which almost certainly was the work of the Russians, although that accusation got almost no traction in the corporate media with all of them (including, of course, the Guardian) spending huge amounts of time covering this non-story and ignoring possible/probable Russian intelligence/mafia illegal hacking of a secure university server. With the worst possible motives, I might add.

Now of course Saint Hillary of Clinton is being revealed as being rather less than saintly the corporate media are functioning, as usual, as one, to move attention away from the internal machinations of the ironically named Democratic party, to the idea that the villains du jour (Trump, Assange) are in the pay of Putin. On the basis of rather flimsy evidnence, I must say.

However, I hope we are all united in opposing (what is allegedly) Putin’s dastardly plan of revealing to Americans the reality of how the United States has its leaders elected for it. The bastard!

514

phenomenal cat 07.25.16 at 5:58 pm

“Which, again, is why the conservative Republican establishment is aghast.” Lee Arnold @521.

Again Lee, I fail to see how this works as an argument against Trump. Of all the multifarious and interlocking interests that comprise the conservative Republican establishment which have reasons to be aghast at Trump–that you light upon this segment (the Patreus-Kagan-Bolton-Nuland-Mccain-Leiberman war is peace wing) is truly baffling. Are you arguing for the policies that emanate from these people? Or maybe the argument is the FP on offer from these people is homicidal and lunatic so if they’re up in arms about Trump one has to know he’s crazy–is that it?

It’s not convincing. It makes negligible difference that Bush the Lesser spouted the calculated discourse of “we’re not at war with Muslims [and] Islam is a religion of peace” when any fool with eyes can see US policy re: Palestine, US hostility to the few secular regimes in the region (Syria, Iraq, Iran pre-revolution), US regional allies (Wahhabist S.A., the Gulf State autocracies, etc), three ground wars in Muslim countries in the last 25 years, the US penchant for drone striking wedding parties in the last 8 years, and god knows what sorts of covert disruption and meddling of which we are unaware.

I’m more inclined to take seriously the naive and touchingly hypocritical anguish of many evangelicals who cannot believe the Holy Ghost has allowed someone like Trump to take over the Lord’s earthly political arm. At least their befuddled reaction is honest, if painfully ignorant of the reality their politics generate.

Whatever–as I’ve said before, Trump is a symptom of the disease that has been rotting our socio-political order for quite some time now. So is Clinton. The etiology will read differently, sure. The outward manifestations will erupt at different locations on the body politic depending on which is elected, but the disease will have to run its course. There is no getting around it.

515

bianca steele 07.25.16 at 6:25 pm

@562

This is just the cyber version of the idea that the mark of a legitimate soldier is that they’re wearing uniforms. It would be nice to be able to complain about hacking even from legitimate governments, but the game is that everyone does it and therefore it’s not cricket to go there. Also it marks you as naive. So they limit themselves to complaining about things that aren’t agreed to be part of the game.

516

Daragh 07.25.16 at 6:36 pm

Ahhhh yes, Vice, that personification of the corporate media and it’s relentless stoogery…

Y’know Hidari, it is just possible that the tech professionals and journalists involved here are acting in good faith, and that the failure of even the leaked e-mails to support your paranoid beliefs is an indicator that you are incorrect in your assumptions. I mean, I know that’s less plausible than the existence of a massive conspiracy that only you can discern, unlike the rest of us sheeple. I’m just saying it’s possible…

517

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 7:00 pm

Ze K #549: “Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone working himself up into a rage against a neutral entity.”

Lack of imagination. If you are a U.S. Muslim whose friends or family are killed in the Middle East, yet President Trump might have done something to try to protect them, then you wouldn’t be angry at him?

518

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 7:01 pm

Ze K #551: “inciting people who were previously peaceful does not require translating words ‘Islam hates us’ uttered by some old guy with funny hair.”

And yet, your funnyhaired hero seems to have reconsidered that it might! Obviously somebody in the GOP got it through Trump’s thick skull that it is a bad idea to demonize Muslims. Because surely didn’t try to change his tune a little, to pacify all the namby-pamby, terr’rist-luvin’ libruls out there.

But does it change the reality of his unpreparedness, and lack of emotional judgment?

And that seems to be at the basis of the extreme distrust of him. He SHOULD have had the emotional common sense. If you were to read anything about counterinsurgency, read Galula or Mao, you will come away with the feeling that, “I already knew this.” It is obvious emotional common sense. There is no great mystery about what to do.

So then the next thought is, Why didn’t a 70-year-old already know this?

And what happens when he’s in the Oval Office, and an unforeseen crisis calls upon his lack of judgement?

Oh wait a minute, I know! Trump can just let everyone take care of everything by themselves! We can’t blame him if he’s a Swisslike neutral entity on everything! It’s a brilliant plan!

519

rob cyran 07.25.16 at 7:38 pm

One of the bigger reasons for the Korean war was the Truman administration’s secretary of state (Acheson) made statements that appeared to say S. Korea was not behind the U.S. defensive perimeter. N. Korea (and its backers) thought the risk of U.S. intervention was therefore minimal, and invaded the South.

520

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 8:00 pm

Ze K #568: “Oh, what can I say…”

Just about anything to avoid losing face, it appears! Now we are to believe that Trump is really an isolationist. And we are to accept that wanting to protect innocents is just hubris, pride, arrogance, a deadly sin.

521

Corey Robin 07.25.16 at 8:08 pm

I’ve got a piece in the New York Times today expanding on some of the themes in the OP.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/07/25/is-trump-foreign-policy-really-that-unreasonable/trump-is-right-we-are-flawed-messengers

522

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 8:40 pm

The topic is whether Trump is unprecedented in his comments on treaties. The general consensus is, of course not.

I pointed out that he is unprecedented, for a Republican, in his lack of attention to operative military strategy.

But is he going to be an isolationist? I don’t believe it for a minute.

523

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 8:47 pm

Ze K #576: “Wanting is okay, I don’t mind.”

If you want to help innocents, and you have the ability to help innocents, but you do not, then what are you?

524

RNB 07.25.16 at 9:15 pm

@574 Corey Robin’s headline reads Trump is Right.. Way to go, Crooked Timber! Shining moment for this blog to have this piece now in the New York Times. Of course Robin completely misses the point about why Trump says the US can’t lecture people about civil liberties. Trump is saying that because civil liberties lead to police killings in the US (sic), they don’t have real value; and the US should not espouse them. A completely reactionary, authoritarian and chilling position. There can be no doubt that this is what Trump means after the Convention last week. But Robin still says Trump is right, as if he is someone telling Americans uncomfortable truths about itself.

Here is what Mary Dudziak who actually understands the relation between the Cold War and civil rights said about Trump’s comments in the NYT. What she says is responsible:

‘If American values of justice don’t matter to diplomacy, they appear to matter even less at home. Rather than promoting a resolution of the racial tensions that prompted the Black Lives Matter movement, Mr. Trump has called the protesters “a disgrace” and told Fox News Channel that “I think they’re looking for trouble.”

Mr. Trump’s war on American values, and his effort to hollow out the nation’s image in the world, was, of course, already apparent in his rhetoric about Mexican immigrants and Muslims. As the world looks at the United States’ election this year, it is ultimately the American electorate that will have a final say about whether we, as a nation, are ready to embrace the idea that American democracy has nothing to offer the world.’

No suggestion here that Trump who is an existential threat to the Republic is right about anything.

Are any of the people who write the other OP’s for Crooked Timber embarrassed by what Robin is putting up on your blog? Will it continue for the rest of the election cycle–more stuff about how Trump is right? I note above that Crooked Timber stalwart Walt who has rarely agreed with me about anything told Robin that his response to me was unwarranted by what I had actually written.

Then Robin seems not to understand why what Trump said was terribly reckless. Simply put, Trump is creating the impression of allowing for a vacuum in the interstate system and encouraging challenges to that interstate system that his his history of sociopathic comments indicates he would respond to maniacally. For example, he has countenanced the use of nuclear weapons in the course of conventional wars in Europe and in Iraq and Syria against ISIS.

525

bruce wilder 07.25.16 at 9:17 pm

LAA: And we are to accept that wanting to protect innocents is just hubris, pride, arrogance, a deadly sin.

Considering the source of such advocacy, convenient deceptions and the rankest hypocrisy would be a reasonable hypothesis.

LAA: I pointed out that he is unprecedented, for a Republican, in his lack of attention to operative military strategy.

George W Bush is precedent enough, I would think. Do you have the memory of a gnat?

526

Hidari 07.25.16 at 9:24 pm

‘ it is just possible that the tech professionals and journalists involved here are acting in good faith’.

Cui Bono.

‘Follow the Money.’

527

RNB 07.25.16 at 9:25 pm

Trump may be rattling the cage that he won’t free people from, but there are a few Sanders intellectuals who are leading people into a cage by pretending that a demagogic Trump is actually capturing some of the genuine and authentic class rage that Hillary Clinton (not Republican Congressmen) is responsible for and thereby treating them as equivalents from their own theoretically uninformed leftist position.

528

Hidari 07.25.16 at 9:31 pm

@568
Well possibly. But I remember well the corporate media’s coverage of that ‘scandal’ and what was interesting about it was that there was scarcely any interest in the source of the leak. even though it was clearly criminal. Instead there was much blather demonstrating that innocent phrases, wrenched out of context, could be made to sound sinister if looked at with a jaundiced enough eye (‘hide the decline’ etc.). And this fitted in with dominant media narratives of the time.

On the other hand, the corporate media has been desperate to paint a genuine scandal (the DNC stabbing Sanders in the back) as ‘really’ a story of how Putin controls Trump, or something.

529

Hidari 07.25.16 at 9:39 pm

Incidentally, Clintonites, the key reason for pushing forwards Clinton as opposed to Sanders was on the basis of her ‘electability’ (it couldn’t be because of her principles, because she doesn’t have any).

How’s that theory working out for you?

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/fivethirtyeight-trump-winning-226114

530

Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 9:39 pm

Bruce Wilder #582: “George W Bush is precedent enough, I would think.”

Bush said things that contradicted military strategy as candidate for President? What were they? The only thing I can remember is that he said he was against “nation building”. Which wasn’t strictly a part of military strategy. But he did manage to make the U.S. stumble into a nation-building task that is going to go on for many decades more, and so he forced the military into incorporating it.

531

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 9:41 pm

Wow, CR’s article has provoked RNB into even more tooth-gnashing than usual. Talk about rattling cages. I particularly like “Are any of the people who write the other OP’s for Crooked Timber embarrassed by what Robin is putting up on your blog?” Oh please please get a petition together to demand that they kick Corey Robin out or at least chastise him sternly. If RNB wants to write it I will patriotically assist him by sending it to John Holbo, John Quiggin, Henry Farrell etc. for free if only so that I could perhaps be included in the resulting Email exchange.

The Corey Robin article mentions the dreaded chickenhawk word. But the liberal imagination really does not run to imagining themselves as the person who fights and dies in a war, or even the person who dies from a nuclear exchange behind the lines. The liberal imagination immediately puts the self in the place of a technocratic decider: the detached viewpoint that considers policy coolly and comes up with the best course of action. This bears the same relation to reality that playing Monopoly has to most people’s experience of high-end real estate speculation, which is part of its attraction.

532

RNB 07.25.16 at 9:41 pm

Any chance that Crooked Timber will publish pieces about the American election by Eric Rauchway, not just Corey Robin? From his twitter account Rauchway seems to be living in the real world and will actually clarify what is at stake in this election.

533

RNB 07.25.16 at 9:45 pm

@588 First, what TM has said about you, RP, is true.

Second, you offer no defense of Robin’s irresponsible comment that Trump was speaking the truth about why the US cannot lecture others on civil liberties. Note no one here has said that Robin gets Trump right here. Not even you.

Third, you are missing the point about why what Trump said was reckless–it was exactly the kind of thing that could start a war which a sociopath like Trump would turn into an unimaginable catastrophe. I bet you that even Stephen Walt who wants to roll back NATO would agree.

534

Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 9:52 pm

Hidari: “Incidentally, Clintonites, the key reason for pushing forwards Clinton as opposed to Sanders was on the basis of her ‘electability’ (it couldn’t be because of her principles, because she doesn’t have any).”

Cue Kidneystones taking back all the bad things he said about Nate Silver.

As everyone says, it’s HRC’s election to lose. Trump is the worst candidate in quite some time, so if she loses, well — let’s break down the possibility tree here:

Possibility #1: HRC wins big
See no one needs the left after all! Stupid Sanders supporters were just a bump on the road to victory. Now we have a mandate for neoliberalism. (This is the best of the possibilities, I guess.)

Possibility #2: HRC barely wins
Wow that was close! HRC had better govern to not possibly lose one conservative-leaning independent vote. It’s triangulation time.

Possibility #3: Trump wins
Sanders supporters stabbed us in the back! If they’d been more enthusiastic, hadn’t damaged HRC, we would have won! Then Trump proceeds to do whatever crazy things he has in mind.

At least with possibility #3 the Democrats will suddenly rediscover that War is Bad, along with torture, surveillance, repression of protest, the carceral state, and all of the other things that are part of Obama’s program which we’d better not criticize.

535

RNB 07.25.16 at 9:58 pm

And there you have it–Robin’s big supporter and respected interlocutor in this comments section Rich Puchalsky telling us about the upside of #3, Trump winning.

536

Yan 07.25.16 at 10:05 pm

@589, 590, etc (why always in pairs?)

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do…

537

bruce wilder 07.25.16 at 10:18 pm

I loved the NYT op-ed. Not that anyone should care that I appreciated, but attaboy!

538

Faustusnotes 07.25.16 at 10:40 pm

After 548 I see no point further engaging with you rich. You appear barely able to read, and a living caricature of a Berniebro. Clearly you’ll be fine no matter who wins the election, so it’s easy for you to posture to others about how impure their liberal thoughts are without any regard for the consequences. I hope we don’t get to experience the effects of a trump victory that you clearly dream of, but I doubt if we do that the dems will suddenly discover their left wing principles. No doubt if that happens you’ll find a black man, a woman or a young person to blame scornfully for the train wreck that follows.

539

LFC 07.25.16 at 10:45 pm

RP @588
the liberal imagination really does not run to imagining themselves as the person who fights and dies in a war, or even the person who dies from a nuclear exchange behind the lines. The liberal imagination immediately puts the self in the place of a technocratic decider: the detached viewpoint that considers policy coolly and comes up with the best course of action. This bears the same relation to reality that playing Monopoly has to most people’s experience of high-end real estate speculation, which is part of its attraction.

C’mon Rich, you can do better than this caricature. I had my say on the ‘chickenhawk’ word over at Corey’s blog so won’t repeat here.

540

LFC 07.25.16 at 10:51 pm

Corey’s NYT piece is very short, about the length of a medium-size blog post. So I’m not sure teeth-gnashing in either direction is indicated. It’s not a full-throated or even half-throated defense of Trump, the headline notwithstanding, rather a critique of the lib. Dem. reaction to a couple of his statements.

To repeat/paraphrase something I said at CR’s blog just now, I found Trump’s acceptance speech at the convention, which I listened to the entirety of, profoundly disturbing. The mixture of Buchanan and Reagan, coupled w his ridiculous promises to do everything on his agenda “very quickly,” suggests someone whose connections to reality (speaking of reality v. Monopoly) are very very tenuous. It might be nice if Corey were to turn his considerable skills as an analyst of political rhetoric to a deconstruction and critique of Trump’s appalling and nauseating acceptance speech.

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Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 10:54 pm

Corey, I rather doubt that the “liberal silence” in response to Trump indicates the “indifference of U.S. elites” to how “police brutality plays on the international stage”.

Liberal silence? The head liberal elitist, Obama, has said things like the U.S. should not lecture others on this topic, and other topics, several times. He’s delivered major foreign addresses on the subject of American arrogance. And then, the Right went into a flame war: Obama hates America! Trump’s a bit late to this lecture, don’t you think? Will the Right ask, “Why does Trump hate America?”

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Lee A. Arnold 07.25.16 at 10:57 pm

Ze K #580: “You can help, send them food or something. I’m sure there are unobjectionable ways to help. But you’re talking about ‘counterinsurgency’.”

Well, the counterinsurgency strategy is predominant currently in trying to stop domestic attacks. But it seems to me that you are trying to draw an imaginary line to help yourself feel pure.

Look, the U.S. Left was against the Iraq War, because Bush & Cheney lied about the reason for it and because people would die, although it turns out that it wasn’t as many people killed as Saddam himself killed back in his day, when the U.S. was more “neutral”.

The Right is now against the Iraq War, because it is perhaps the biggest foreign policy mistake in U.S. history, and ensures the need for “nation-building” and police action for decades more, maybe a hundred years. It does not matter to the U.S. Right (much less to the Left) that the war allowed free self-determination for 60-70% of Iraqis — who of course promptly voted into power a gov’t that leans toward Iran, which is what that majority wants.

Donald Trump was in favor of the Iraq War, although now he lies about it and says he was against it, because he wants to be elected U.S. President. In addition, he doesn’t want to help anybody unless they “pay for it”, even though in this area, the U.S. caused this problem.

Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the Iraq War and has publicly said that was a mistake and apologized — one of the only politicians in the U.S. to have done so! Moreover she is in favor of nation-building by coalitions, to help protect the innocents and help with a way into the future. And so she is attacked, on her Left and Right, for being “interventionist”.

I am astonished. The whole thing has flipped around once or twice. All the critics manage to be hypocrites, and the only constant is the self-absorbed American, most of them hoping to remain pure by judging the “source of the advocacy” (Bruce Wilder #582) to evaluate it: this is the baseline strategy, a tell-tale clue, of “motivated cognition” or the “social cognitive bias” whether of the Left or Right.

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LFC 07.25.16 at 11:01 pm

L. Arnold @598
That’s a valid point, I think. Obama has taken a more circumspect rhetorical stance here, and the Repubs have gone nuts about it. Trump’s acceptance speech contained “America first” language straight from Buchanan (and before that, I guess, harking all the way back to Lindbergh).

Actually Trump on these matters is an incoherent bundle of conflicting poses: (1) Obama has weakened the military, we must have the strongest military; (2) we must defeat ISIS “immediately”, but (3) if a NATO member is attacked, hmm, we’ll have to think about that. It’s just a bunch of incoherent, stupid posturing that makes close to zero sense. He has no coherent approach to the world b.c he hasn’t thought about it and doesn’t really care about it. His whole campaign is basically like this.

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LFC 07.25.16 at 11:04 pm

And no mention in Trump’s speech of the world refugee crisis (and of close to 3,000 people dying just this year alone trying to cross from Africa to Europe in the Med.); if it doesn’t directly affect the U.S., he doesn’t care about it.

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RNB 07.25.16 at 11:14 pm

@597 so you are saying that Robin wrote a critique of the liberal democratic reaction to the truth spoken by Trump who therefore should not be dismissed as “unreasonable”. Those are Robin’s words, and they are outrageous. There was nothing reasonable about what Trump was saying about civil liberties, which is that authoritarians abroad are right to be skeptical of us for valuing them given the chaos that they lead to in this country.

Just as outrageous as the accusation that the Hillary Clinton’s of the world have been silent on racist policing. Robin: “The liberal silence around Trump’s claim points to a bigger problem: the indifference of U.S. elites, now that the threat of communism is gone, to how police brutality plays on the international stage.”

Isn’t Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton featuring the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner at the Convention? What is Robin doing but trying to creating leftist rage at the opponents of Trump? Outrageous.

Let Robin’s comments wither away on his blog. Crooked Timber should not be featuring them. The stakes are high.

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Suzanne 07.25.16 at 11:23 pm

@586: I don’t know what you think you have proved. The polls that Sanders waved around to demonstrate that he was more “electable” were meaningless, because Clinton never hit him really hard. Should Clinton lose this election, it will still do nothing to demonstrate that Sanders would necessarily have done better.

Personally, I supported her over Sanders because he was a familiar quantity to me and there was nothing there to convince me that he would do better either as a campaigner in the general election or as a president. Sanders’ actions and statements in the later stages of the primary season only confirmed this for me.

Some here might also want to consider that the election of Trump, aside from the more glaring aspects of its awfulness, would also elevate Mike Pence, stalwart Iraq war supporter, enthusiastic interventionist, convinced free trader, and scourge of the homos and the babykillers, to what will likely be a Vice Presidency even more powerful than Dick Cheney’s.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.25.16 at 11:41 pm

LFC: “It might be nice if Corey were to turn his considerable skills as an analyst of political rhetoric to a deconstruction and critique of Trump’s appalling and nauseating acceptance speech.”

What is there to deconstruct and critique? As you say, Trump’s connection to reality is tenuous. Although I’m sure that John Holbo will write a post on it eventually. It will go something like this. First, it’ll say that Trump’s speech is an incoherent mish mosh. Then it’ll say that if there was consistent thought in the speech, the assumption A would lead to contradictions B.C, and D. And then there would be some kind of amusingly outlandish and ridiculous implication E that would have to follow from A if the intervening steps were rational which they are not.

Suzanne: “Some here might also want to consider that the election of Trump, aside from the more glaring aspects of its awfulness, would also elevate Mike Pence, stalwart Iraq war supporter, enthusiastic interventionist, convinced free trader, and scourge of the homos and the babykillers, to what will likely be a Vice Presidency even more powerful than Dick Cheney’s.”

Someone here *who*? Everyone here is an HRC supporter. With perhaps one exception, Ze K, who I’m not sure can actually vote in U.S. elections, and maybe two of other people who I think can’t. All of the rest of us are being accused of insufficient enthusiasm, not following the party line, and generally not clapping when we’re told to.

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bianca steele 07.25.16 at 11:54 pm

Actually Trump on these matters is an incoherent bundle of conflicting poses: . . . . He has no coherent approach to the world b.c he hasn’t thought about it and doesn’t really care about it. His whole campaign is basically like this.

Actually, it’s all too consistent. Each of those poses makes him impervious to a certain kind of criticism: you can’t call him weak; you can’t say he wastes time or that he has to ponder alternatives, rather than immediately choosing the right thing to do; you can’t say he believes he (or anyone) can get something for nothing or less than its fair value. All it needs is a couple of additional “facts,” like “we are at war with Islam,” and it follows like a tableful of dominoes.

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bianca steele 07.25.16 at 11:57 pm

Everyone here is an HRC supporter.

I think Rich P. has discovered the contrapositive to “lurkers support me in comments.”

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 12:14 am

First, congratulations to Corey. RP, thanks for the swipe re: Nate Silver, which seems to me gratuitous and adds ? to your discussion. Duly noted. One reason, I don’t rely on Silver is that I seem to read and watch more broadly than many commenters. CT readers are, I assume, much more literate and I’d like to offer an apology to this group for folding the two together.

The Progressive Case for Donald Trump from Paul Glastris and Melinda Henneberger 8/24/15 http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/36596?in=31:05&out=38:02

RNB deserves sympathy. I’m personally glad he’s posting here so often because each of his posts on the election is a snapshot illustrating Clinton is imploding, and why she is such a poor and unattractive candidate for office.

RNB posts as a guest and campaigns to have the moderator/host kicked out of his own forum. Read “Let Robin’s comments wither away on his blog.” Fair enough. “Crooked Timber should not be featuring them.” WTF?

And that’s the Clinton argument for election in a nutshell.

HRC and her advocates decide what can be said and where. RNB, not Corey, gets to decide what Corey writes about and where. Any sense of decorum or (ahem) respect for proprietary gets tossed, as our moral superior dictates the terms and content of discourse. All discourse must be submitted to Clinton scrutineers and approved before publication. Failure to comply will result in being denied the right to post in the public square.

On being regularly and spectacularly wrong –

On information, this short weekly series from the Washington Monthly http://bloggingheads.tv/programs/washington-monthly is an excellent weekly discussion of issues running just three months 7/15-10/15 during this critical period in American history, from Paul Glastris, Ed Kilgore, and guests such as Nick Confessore from the NYT, and others, highly informative.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 12:20 am

“RP, thanks for the swipe re: Nate Silver”

It was called “a joke”.

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 12:21 am

Both Paul Glastris and Melinda 8/24/2015 emphatically affirm Trump could well be the Republican nominee in the closing exchange of this illuminating discussion. http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/36596

Who could have imagined?

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 12:23 am

@ 608 Hi Rich, thanks for the quick reply. Understood. I think you add a lot to these discussion, really.

Cheers.

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RNB 07.26.16 at 12:27 am

It’s the choice of the Crooked Timber collective who together write the OP’s for this site whether they want to feature Corey Robin whose arguments are ridiculous. If they want to keep on doing it–just as they don’t have a single non-white person who writes their OP’s–that is their choice. It’s not very welcoming to those of us who feel attacked at an existential level by what the Trump campaign represents, but it is their choice.

I have made an argument as to why this would not be a good idea on the basis of the dubious nature of what he is writing, but again it is not my choice. At the very least, I have requested that he not be the only one here writing the OP’s on US presidential politics. Corey Robin may be happy to see that you, Bruce Wilder and Rich Puchalsky highly value what he has written; if it were me getting such praise, I would be the next victim of the opioid crisis that people were talking about the Convention.

555

Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 12:40 am

RNB’s #611 above is a masterful example of his art. a) Badthink is so bad that it contaminates the whole site. b) If you don’t agree with me, you’re a racist. c) I may seem like I’m trying to bully a poster off of a blog, but I’m a victim! d) Let’s choose sides.

I wonder whether RNB has ever convinced a single person of what he’s ostensibly setting out to convince them of? I could never tell whether he was some kind of false flag operation that was supposed to depress HRC’s turnout among Sanders supporters.

556

RNB 07.26.16 at 12:46 am

RP, you did notice that you just had two people (faustusnotes and TM) not only disagree with you but disqualify you from the realm of rational discussion. You should attend to your own problems rather than worry about my argumentative skills.

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 12:48 am

@ 611 So, after you get Corey kicked out of CT (an extremely unlikely eventuality, I’d hazard) what’s next? CT reaches a relatively small audience. If dissemination of ‘ridiculous’ arguments is grounds for expulsion from CT, what about Corey’s right to contribute to the NYT? That’s the next community Corey is to be expelled from, right? And if not, why not?

What’s really and truly remarkable is that even with your obvious intelligence, sensitivity, and literacy you seem utterly unaware of how offensive and politically noxious this position is. It plays into all the worst memes about Clinton and her supporters in the Dem party, and about safe-spaces on campuses, censorship, etc.

Listen, if you will, to some of the podcasts/diavlogs I posted above. Glastris, Kilgore, and his guests discuss, then, the consequences of a DNC managed coronation, the risks of allowing the Clintons to push out Cuomo and other possible contenders from the Dem field, so that HRC could run unopposed.

Most of your comments here boil done to one statement: “Shut-up and vote for HRC.

I don’t think you are at all stupid. However, your inability to make a positive case for HRC and to focus on making that your message is truly perplexing, to say the least. It’s a hard case to make, I concede. But voters want a positive message. Your own biases and fears prevent you from hearing the ‘positive’ dimensions of Trump’s message. There are extremely compelling reasons that have nothing to do with xenophobia and racism that drive support for Trump.

Trump is the anti-Hillary – always accessible to the press, unguarded and unscripted, confident, brash, and glib, – and always ready to scrap and adapt.

People like that in a politician.

558

Layman 07.26.16 at 12:48 am

Wow, a narcissus-off between Rich P, RNB, and kidneystones. Pass the popcorn!

559

Asteele 07.26.16 at 12:57 am

To be fair Rich and Bruce are literally the only commenters here worth reading.

560

RNB 07.26.16 at 12:59 am

Oh I am the one censoring? This blog does not allow any minority to write an OP about how the Trump candidacy is an attack on our very being but features Corey Robin on what not’s unreasonable about Trump. And his post is very poorly argued. In fact, it’s outrageously wrong. I am to respond to people who tell me why arguments on this are wrong.

Either diversify the OP’s that set the discussion about US presidential politics or let Robin blog on his own. But don’t let him be the only one to tell us what to talk about in regards to Trump. It’s not fair. It’s not an open discussion. It’s a white boy love fest.

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LFC 07.26.16 at 1:06 am

@R Puchalsky
I’m sure that John Holbo will write a post on it eventually.
Holbo is a nice guy (online, I don’t know him in person) and I’m sure he is a good philosophy professor and he writes insightful things, but we both know the kind of voice he adopts at CT and I don’t think it’s esp well suited to what I have in mind here.

I think Corey has taken his swings at Trump’s critics and now he shd turn his attention, at least for one post, to Trump himself. He wrote a whole book about conservatism and the reactionary mind and you’d think he’d have something to say about Trump, but most of his writing about the campaign has not focused on him (I’m sure there’s been some, but I’m talking about the preponderance). There’s stuff to be said about T’s rhetoric that I wd think Corey wd be interested in addressing. But obvs it’s just a suggestion and obvs he will write what he wants.

562

Layman 07.26.16 at 1:10 am

“To be fair Rich and Bruce are literally the only commenters here worth reading.”

Hell, I read everything they write, and learn a good deal from it. Doesn’t mean they aren’t frequently insufferably full of themselves. I imagine that’s a pose they adopt.

563

LFC 07.26.16 at 1:11 am

@RNB
This blog does not allow any minority to write an OP about how the Trump candidacy is an attack on our very being

Write a post, send it to Henry Farrell, ask whether they’ll run it as a guest post. You might be surprised. And it wd set off another 1,000 comment thread, no doubt.

564

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 1:25 am

@ 617 Deploying the race, gender, and victim card. Nobody could have seen that coming.

You don’t want to live in Trump’s America. Right. I (we) get that.

Face up to the facts – your candidate may lose, and a large part of the reason your candidate will likely lose is that more people would much prefer to live in Donald Trump’s America than in the one you put on display practically every time you post here.

You show up on Corey’s OP and fail completely to engage on any reasonable level with Corey, and hurl abuse at the community in general as a ‘white boy love fest.’

Keep it up – every time you post you make a Trump presidency a tiny bit more likely.

On that note, check out the tone-deafness of the WP reaction to the near riots inside the DNC this weekend:

“Who endorses whom when, where and why, who’s the chair of the DNC — it really doesn’t matter,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters at a Bloomberg Politics event. One Democrat close to the Clintons, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said of the Wasserman Schultz episode, “I think this is much of a tempest in a teapot, but it’s the heat of politics, and the teapot is whistling.”

And this bit of wishful thinking: “The Sanders contingent felt vindicated (in your dreams) having long seen Wasserman Schultz as a Clinton agent masquerading as an impartial referee. (No kidding? Next word should read ‘Yet,’) Even as the senator from Vermont urged his followers to unify behind Clinton, ( anti-Clinton Democrats ignored their former champion and ) they displayed remarkable dissent all afternoon, and the convention was awash in anti-Clinton and anti-trade chants.”

What a debacle. This is what the media was praying for in Cleveland. Sweet.

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 1:34 am

Facebook and Twitter both busted for blocking links to DNC email story.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/07/dncleaks_is_briefly_pulled_by_twitter_from_trending_topics.html

http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2016/07/25/facebook-wikileaks-links/

The fix is in for HRC – this is why and how Trump wins.

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Anarcissie 07.26.16 at 1:50 am

In regard to lefties vis-à-vis racism and racists (somewhere far above), Christians have told me that we are supposed to hate the sin but love the sinner. This might indicate a first step for the lefties, even if it does come from a suspicious source. I am pretty sure contempt and other tribal feelings are not going to do the trick. Conceded, it’s a mighty long shot, the world being as it is.

567

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 1:51 am

‘Could you see yourself voting for Hillary Clinton? Absolutely not.’

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/07/25/pro-sanders_protester_i_prefer_donald_trump_to_hillary_clinton_trump_is_less_dangerous.html

News from the ‘teapot’ ‘Trump less dangerous.” Not Hillary Dems ignore Pelosi.

Surprise!

568

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 2:45 am

OP on DNC debacle? Here’s the Japan Times coverage of the DNC mess via Reuters. Check out the image cause that’s what the world is looking at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/26/world/politics-diplomacy-world/sanders-disciples-rebel-tries-keep-dnc-message/#.V5bNmY7eP6g

If we’re looking for a little balance, maybe CT can do a post connecting Corey’s OP here on how the world looks at America. Because the international media is absolutely treating the HRC/DWS corruption scandal the same way it would treat any third-world election theft.

Time for my nap.

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 3:00 am

This video from TPM is too grim to resist: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/sarah-silverman-bernie-or-bust-dnc

Sweet dreams.

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LFC 07.26.16 at 4:19 am

RNB @602
@597 so you are saying that Robin wrote a critique of the liberal democratic reaction to the truth spoken by Trump who therefore should not be dismissed as “unreasonable”.

I don’t think that’s what I said. However, as it’s late I’m going to let it go, for now at any rate.

571

Corey Robin 07.26.16 at 4:39 am

Sorry to interrupt the 15 minutes of hate — I’ll let you all carry on in a minute with this fascinating discussion of whether I should be allowed to post on the blog of which I am a member — but if anyone in the reality-based community is actually interested in what I’ve had to say about Trump, beyond this one post, I suggest you look through some of my earlier posts here at the blog, or do a search for “Trump” at my blog (link below), or check out my Salon piece on Trump. Okay, carry on.

http://coreyrobin.com/

http://www.salon.com/2016/03/13/this_is_why_the_right_hates_donald_trump_he_doesnt_question_their_core_beliefs_but_they_still_see_the_danger/

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 4:57 am

Corey, I think you spelled “Vote For Hillary”, wrong. Your stuff is excellent and only a lunatic could read you and see you as a Trump supporter. And I say that as one.

“And this, in the end, may be why Trump is so dangerous. Without the left (bad you), no one has any idea when his animus will take flight and where it will land. While counterrevolutionaries have always made established elites nervous, those elites could be assured that the wild Quixotism of a Burke or a Pat Buchanan would serve their cause. As today’s Republicans and their allies in the media have made clear, they have no idea if Trump won’t turn on them, too. Like Joe McCarthy in his senescence, Trump might try to gut the GOP. At least McCarthy had a real left to battle; Trump doesn’t. (You’re not supposed to say that)”

I really do hope, btw, that someone does do a post on the DNC debacle, cause the collusion in the party by party elites, and their failure to police their own and ensure a fair primary process, rather than a coronation, is certain to be a much-studied development in the decades to come. Especially, if this dishonesty helps Trump win the WH (and possibly transform the Republican party).

573

RNB 07.26.16 at 4:58 am

Sorry to interrupt your attempt to not respond to what I have said about what you have written here, i.e. your utter failure to understand why what Trump said was terribly reckless, and could get a lot of people killed.
ByJOSH MARSHALLPublishedJULY 25, 2016, 10:11 PM EDT
3956Views
Tonight Donald Trump told a crowd in North Carolina that to show our NATO allies how it’s going to be, we’ll have to leave the alliance and force our allies to bring us back with offers of more money. “We have to walk,” Trump said. “Within two days they’re calling back! Get back over here, we’ll pay you whatever the hell you want.”
____________

Do you understand why people were right to respond to the unbelievable irresponsibility of what Trump is saying about his shakedown of NATO allies for his protection racket? Do you understand how this could lead to war? Are you upset with yourself for not explaining this to your readers who do need to understand the grave threats to global peace that Trump represents? Do you stand by your defense of why Trump gave a good reason why the US should not lecture other people about civil liberties? Have you yet grasped the authoritarian agenda behind his apparent humility in regards to not espousing civil liberties to others?

574

RNB 07.26.16 at 5:32 am

OK so the actual arguments will ignored by those who think I want to censor voices that I can’t argue with. It is obvious to everyone here that I am more than willing to argue. I don’t need anything censored for my safety. I do not need any trigger warnings. That is not the point. The point is what minimal standards an OP should have to pass to organize our discussion here. And I am arguing that Robin’s post does not meet those minimal standards and this kind of blogging has terrible political consequences in incendiary times.

So it remains that after 630 posts there has been no response to my argument that

1. Robin has evinced no understanding of why what Trump has said about NATO is unbelievably reckless, which it in fact was (and he double downed on that today);

2. Robin did not reckon with the evidence of Trump’s sociopathy and mental instability which coupled with his shakedown schemes do pose arguably graver threats to the international system than we have seen in several decades;

3. Couple this with Trump’s open musing about using nuclear weapons in ground wars in Europe and Syria/Iraq; and Trump may well be more dangerous than any other Presidential nominee over the last several decades;

4. Trump was not saying anything reasonable about civil liberties; his refusal to espouse them on the global scene derives from his authoritarian agenda to eliminate them. And Robin simply does not see this.

5. Robin is simply wrong that the liberal Democrats who were angry about Trump’s comments are trying to sweep racist police brutality under the rug. Hillary Clinton is featuring the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner at the Convention.

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kidneystones 07.26.16 at 5:42 am

@ 630 What Europeans think of Trump’s outrageous, irresponsible statements:

“Kurt Volker, who was U.S. ambassador to NATO under both Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama, said it was inadvisable to create doubts in adversaries’ minds about the consequences they would face if they invaded a country. “Putin loves it,” Volker said.

But he said the general European attitude was to take Trump’s pronouncements with a grain of salt. “Everyone knows it’s an election campaign,” he said.”

Make that “almost Everyone…”

576

RNB 07.26.16 at 5:49 am

Putin loves what? The Europeans should not take what Trump is saying cum grano salis. He is actually deranged.

Just to add to the previous post

6. If the argument is that Trump does not represent any kind of qualitative leap backward in terms of racial repression, well Robin has not shown anything from Nixon-Romney that (a) is the equivalent of a special deportation force to forcibly remove 12 million people; (b) incited *exterminatory* hatred in the same way that his claim that thousands of American Muslims celebrated 9/11 and possibly in the way he is focused on the *murder* of citizens by illegal aliens, making it seem as the typical form of homicide in the US (there is more precedent for this of course); and (c) is equivalent to a complete ban on the immigration of people of a specific religious faith.

This seems to me a qualitative (backwards) jump in racist authoritarianism. It may not be. But then argue the damn point.

577

RNB 07.26.16 at 5:51 am

Perhaps we need a post about Pence’s positions on reproductive rights and LGBT rights. As Suzanne noted above, Pence will likely be calling the shots here.

578

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 5:57 am

@ 633 Europeans are crazy because they don’t agree with you, Corey should be banned from his own blog, CT is a ‘white-boy-love-fest, you’re currently being compared to a computer program, and now this list of demands?

You’ve allowed that you’re not sleeping well. Please take better care of yourself. For all your lay diagnosis, you don’t sound much like a poster child for mental health yourself.

579

RNB 07.26.16 at 6:06 am

Where did I call Europeans crazy? I said that they should not think Trump’s pronouncements are just campaign propaganda and thereby take them with a grain of salt. He is serious. He is deranged enough to actually try to carry out his protection racket in the way that he says he will. I am calling Trump crazy, not the Europeans. Don’t worry about my mental health; do worry about your reading comprehension. And Corey Robin should worry that you have decided to become his defender. A pretty depressing situation for him, I would think.

580

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 6:14 am

@ 636 True, you merely implied they were either stupid, or crazy. If we add irresponsible/racist/authoritarian to the mix we have a pretty accurate summary of all the possible ways you respond to disagreement.

I really do encourage you to read your own comments more carefully. I’m flippantly contemptuous of some commenters here, but as I noted above, the literacy level of the CT readers is a different matter entirely. Do you really believe the CT readership to be in need of some explication of Corey’s fairly straightforward remarks? Are the CT readers incapable of accessing source materials on they’re own?

As for me, I’m flattered. Were I publishing in the NYT I’d certainly try to be gracious to anyone commenting on one of many, many blogposts I might make. I’m not sure I’d take any comment by anyone on a blog too seriously.

Take my point?

581

RNB 07.26.16 at 7:10 am

An ardent Sanders supporter, the great philosopher Robert Paul Wolff (just read his Mr. Moneybags Must be So Lucky) argues that Trump poses a great danger of a civilization ending nuclear war:

“Clinton would clearly be rather more belligerent than Obama, rather less than George W. Bush. She would resist Putin’s expansionist efforts, and would deploy American forces and weaponry in that resistance. If she did not, Putin would push further. Let me emphasize this point, as it is crucial to everything I am saying. It is a left-wing fantasy to suppose that the United States is the source of conflict in the world, and that if it were to give up its imperial project, the world would be a peaceful multi-polar harmony. Whatever room America leaves for Russia’s imperial expansion Russia will take. And whatever room Russia leaves for America’s imperial expansion America will take. And should both America and Russia, in a fit of self-abnegation, retreat from the field of imperial struggle, China and other nations will take their place.

Both Clinton and Putin, I think it is clear from the available evidence, would be as careful as possible to avoid a nuclear confrontation, but I am well aware of the dangers of miscalculation. Clinton would not act rashly, precipitously, or without thorough consultation with the military. Everything we know about her makes that clear. Would she be more likely than Obama to start small wars? Pretty clearly yes, but that is not the subject of this discourse. It is not small wars against real or imagined enemies that risk nuclear war. The threat comes from a miscalculation by Clinton or Putin in a confrontation involving American and Russian troops.

What then of Trump? This is a much more difficult problem to work out, and that fact by itself is significant. When it comes to nuclear confrontations, uncertainty is an even greater danger than belligerence. Trump has no ideological commitments or beliefs on the basis of which we might make a prediction of his behavior, and he has no track record on these issues, nor any experience on which he could draw as president in making decisions. He is vain, ignorant, and narcissistic, and exhibits no capacity for impulse control even when it is in his self-interest to rein in his impulses. He is desperately in need of constant ego-reinforcement, and what is more, he is in hock financially to Putin. I find this combination of traits and defects terrifying.

Nor can we calm our fears by telling ourselves that the civilian and uniformed leadership of the military would not permit Trump to make disastrously dangerous decisions. That is a fantasy that ignores the realities of the bureaucratic character of American government. A President Trump could quite well plunge us into a civilization ending nuclear exchange.

Therefore, I am for Clinton. I look forward to hearing Robert Shore’s reports of his experiences on the campaign trail in New Hampshire working for the election of Trump.”

Robert Paul Wolff recollects his arguments with Kissinger in the Harvard Yard. He has seen a lot. The gist of his piece is that Trump does raise the risk of nuclear war more than any recent nominee since Nixon. It’s the thesis that Corey Robin was throwing cold water on. And Robin’s wrong on a matter of greatest consequence.

582

TM 07.26.16 at 7:32 am

CR wrote: “Trump’s comment [about the US being a bad messenger of civil liberties] — and its reception on the left — inadvertently reveals the challenges movements like Black Lives Matter face, across the political aisle, now that the Cold War is over.”

Honest question: What is the “reception on the left” to this particular statement? I’m not aware that anybody on the US left said “Oh no Trump is wrong we are definitely a beacon of civil liberties of course we should lecture the rest of the world” etc. Maybe I missed it. Happy to be enlightened.

(What I do hear from parts of the “left” on civil liberties is that people shouldn’t make such a fuss about racism and stop “sacralizing” race. But that’s just CT I assume.)

583

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 10:38 am

Here’s a stunning clip of the open insurrection on the DNC floor, really, really great

584

Lee A. Arnold 07.26.16 at 11:15 am

Ze K #638: “The line is not imaginary.”

If there are domestic attacks incited or aided by foreign actors, then the military response will be formulated to work on both ends. Where is the line?

1. Guerrilla war, insurgency and counterinsurgency etc. are defined by strategy and tactics, not the geographic origination or arena of action.

On the domestic end, you do domestic spying and police work, and you also try not to make others in your country who were peaceful join into the attacks against their fellow citizens. You do this by respecting them and helping them.

At the foreign end, you are invading, so you are either A. attacking a standing army or B. involved in a foreign war against a hidden foe that is flourishing because of the weak, (or non-existent, or collusive,) foreign gov’t.

In this last case you ALSO try not to make others who were peaceful join into the attacks, by respecting them and helping them (which, in a poor area that needs basic services and infrastructure, is also called “nation-building”, and continues afterward with foreign aid, etc.).

On both ends, therefore, you do NOT demonize the religion or race of the peaceful ones. This then becomes a current military principle, quite in addition to the fact that it is an enlightened spiritual virtue, a principle of the Constitution, etc. which your own people believe in.

2. The second, alternative response is to close your borders for an indeterminate period of time (because you won’t know when your war is “won”).

In this case there is a foreign war that you are not a part of, and you can try to feel all clean and pure, even if the foreign guerillas kill all the foreign peaceful people who might have been your friends, on their way to organizing into a foreign hostile state with a standing army.

A state which may, after a decade or two, become a responsible world actor with regular diplomatic relations to deal with things like trade and climate change — or else, remain a hostile country sending out hostile secret agents, etc. You don’t know which will happen. So that’s why you won’t know when your war is “won”, nor how much this is ultimately going to cost.

However in this second response, you yourself also run the greater risk of domestically turning into a bigger more aggressive police state. Why? You need to control your borders much more closely for an indeterminate period of time; and to bomb or invade the foreign areas more often to prevent the arising of hostile threats into states that may be harder to deal with later. They could get nukes, who the hell knows. You force your allies and peaceful diplomatic partners into the same positions. All of it may cost as much or more in terms of “blood and treasure” for you, your allies, and peaceful non-aligned, and you end-up with an even larger, more powerful security state yourself.

This, anyway, is the purely military thinking about it, so far as I care to determine.

On the purely political-economic side, the second response, toward isolationism, is also not better. The simple math is that it reduces the size of the global pie for everyone. It may boost your domestic jobs growth in the very short term, but at the cost of reducing the future standard of living and consumer welfare. It will also strengthen the domestic hierarchy of ownership, which in turn will be more tightly integrated with your domestic police state. You will end up spending a lot more money on defense and security. In the very long-term it also reduces the standard of living by decreasing the available rate of good innovation, because that ultimately depends upon the number of free individuals everywhere in the world, and upon having open, peaceful trade with them.

Some of the political economic effects of this second response of isolationism are mitigable in the medium term, and also can be hidden from view by propaganda and individual delusion. So you can feel pure and easy, and hide behind your comfy cushions.

585

Layman 07.26.16 at 11:35 am

Suggestion to those of you on medication – you know who you are! The beneficial effects of what you’re taking fade as you approach the end of the dosage interval. Do not post at these times! That is all.

586

Lee A. Arnold 07.26.16 at 11:40 am

It seems to get emotionally pot-stoned through the day, then segues into scattershot drunk.

587

Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 12:06 pm

If anyone is interested in the actual subject of the risk of nuclear war, well, I mentioned upthread the Non-Proliferation Treaty which has as one of its provisions that the nuclear countries are supposed to be worked towards disarmament. They are not. Moreover, they did not after the USSR fell, an event which removed the main reason why large armories of these weapons had been built in the first place. All that was done was to successfully remove some weapons from ex-USSR satellites.

I also mentioned upthread the NATO alliance and how it, also, seems to have lost its primary purpose since the USSR fell. It too was kept, and it represents a risky bet. The alliance lowers the chance of conventional war in exchange for a small but increased risk of nuclear war, and this chance uncontrollably goes up the closer NATO pushes towards Russia’s borders.

These weapons and this alliance were kept for variety of sordid reasons, mostly involving benefits to the military-industrial complex. Even if you think that we need nuclear deterrence, it seems as if this deterrence could be accomplished with perhaps ten weapons or something like that. But for whatever reason, Russia was formally continued within the system as a Great Power enemy and lo and behold after being treated as one now as it stabilizes it has fit into its role.

What was one of the main risks leading to nuclear war? A crazy leader. Over a long period of time you can’t guarantee that social systems will remain stable and that leaders will always be reasonable.

So now, uh oh. And now as usual people come running demanding that the hippies pitch in to somehow unshit the bed. (RNB did call Sanders supporters hippie peaceniks or something like that, I forget.) Well, no. *You* unshit the bed. People want to reconstruct the system exactly as it was, but with no crazy leader. If you’re that desperate about it, what are you going to do to actually get the hippies on your side if you actually need them for anything which I doubt? Are there going to be actual political changes of any kind?

588

Lee A. Arnold 07.26.16 at 12:09 pm

Ze K #646: “How come there are countries that simply manage not to get involved…”

We have to do your homework for you? Answer: History, geography, protection by others. Swiss depended upon banking by foreign principates, therefore depended upon foreign military strength to fight foreign wars quite removed from the Swiss locale, depended upon free trade and depended upon high mountains. Canada was part of British imperium and remains friends with a big next-door neighbor. History of Scandinavia is replete with war, empires, and invasions, for like a thousand years, or something. Tibet & Taiwan may disagree with you about China.

589

Lee A. Arnold 07.26.16 at 12:12 pm

There was the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, which was on the verge of bankruptcy and started a war, just to lose, and get the foreign aid!

590

Layman 07.26.16 at 12:19 pm

Shorter Rich P: Punched hippies like me say ‘fuck you world, bring on Armageddon.’

591

TM 07.26.16 at 12:44 pm

RP: “*You* unshit the bed.”

Great line but who is it directed at? CT commenters, that’s who! Yes we are guilty, we have failed to bring about nuclear disarmament. It’s our fault.

Meanwhile in the real world, the GWB administration actively helped India become a nuclear power. The Obama administration got an agreement with Iran that at least made that country becoming nuclear less likely, which Trump has called “disastrous”, calling for more sanctions against Iran instead. Meanwhile, Trump has suggested that many more countries should have nukes (558). But he’s not irresponsible, at least no more than anybody else, no more than us CT commenters I guess who shamefully failed to bring about world peace.

592

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 1:00 pm

@ 651 No, actually India was a nuclear power long before GWB came to power. A more interesting story is how Reagan helped Pakistan become a nuclear power, but that’s for another time.

What Dubya did do was promote an agreement with India that allowed India to expand its military program, in 2006, from memory. Three guesses who made that happen?

Senators Biden, Clinton, McCain, and Obama were among those who voted to support Dubya.

You’re quite right, however, to point out that it’s silly to blame folks here.

593

Daragh 07.26.16 at 1:19 pm

kidneystones @625

“Because the international media is absolutely treating the HRC/DWS corruption scandal the same way it would treat any third-world election theft.”

No, they aren’t, mainly because there’s absolutely nothing in the DNC e-mails that amount to anything like that. Indeed, given that a) primaries are generally administered by state parties and have little to do with the DNC b) the reverse holds with caucuses c) Sanders dominated the caucuses and HRC the primaries there’s not even an outcome that would cause a reasonable person to suspect that. Most international media sources are also fully aware of the Russian angle, and are not credulous and stupid enough to take Kremlin directed leaks at face value.

Additionally – I rarely agree with Corey on much, but rants about who should post what and when on a blog, by people in the comments section who are guests of that blog, are really incredibly rude.

594

Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 1:24 pm

If no one here is responsible for anything, then spare us the lectures about how we have to do anything. I’d be happy with that since in fact I don’t think that anyone here is responsible for anything in any society-wide sense. If we are going to get lectures about how to solve problems as if our individual actions are meaningful, or as if we represent larger groups of people or something like that, then piss off. If I have somehow been deemed to be a local representative of the hippie peaceniks who are now yelling at people at the Democratic convention, then no I see no reason why anyone should help to reconstruct a broken system as it was before. In the long term, that is more risky, as should be obvious from what I’ve written above.

So again, if you think that you need Sanders supporters, what are you going to give them exactly? Politics is about negotiation. Why don’t you double your initial offer since Trump = Hitler. Wait, your initial offer was nothing.

595

Lee A. Arnold 07.26.16 at 1:39 pm

No, “destiny” is something else.

596

Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 1:49 pm

Daragh: “rants about who should post what and when on a blog, by people in the comments section who are guests of that blog, are really incredibly rude.”

Normally I wouldn’t bother, but since CR also used the plural (“I’ll let you all carry on in a minute with this fascinating discussion of whether I should be allowed to post on the blog of which I am a member”) I should mention that there is no plural: it’s one guy. Anyone else discussing it with him is actually making fun of him, or at least that’s what I was doing.

597

TM 07.26.16 at 1:59 pm

Nobody is lecturing you Rich. Get off it you are insufferable like that.

598

TM 07.26.16 at 2:02 pm

Forgot to mention that the only one who appointed you “hippie peacenik” is yourself and I would appreciate if you would refrain from speaking for others.

599

Layman 07.26.16 at 2:07 pm

“… I should mention that there is no plural: it’s one guy. Anyone else discussing it with him is actually making fun of him, or at least that’s what I was doing.”

This is of course absolutely correct.

600

LFC 07.26.16 at 2:08 pm

@RP
If anyone is interested in the actual subject of the risk of nuclear war, well, I mentioned upthread the Non-Proliferation Treaty which has as one of its provisions that the nuclear countries are supposed to be worked towards disarmament. They are not. Moreover, they did not after the USSR fell, an event which removed the main reason why large armories of these weapons had been built in the first place. All that was done was to successfully remove some weapons from ex-USSR satellites.

Both Russia and US have fewer nuclear weapons in the arsenals now than when the USSR collapsed. Still far too many, but there have been some reductions. Latest in 2010 New START treaty.

As I mentioned upthread, linking a Feb. 2016 Center for American Progress paper co-written by Lawrence Korb, a former Reagan admin Pentagon official btw, the current cycle of nuclear-weapon modernization is a chance to streamline the US arsenal and make it less redundant, wasteful, and expensive. (Various interests are against this, needless to say, and on the whole I’d guess it’s unlikely to be carried through.) Also it’s the sort of technical issue that doesn’t come up in campaign debates. All of which is too bad.

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LFC 07.26.16 at 2:20 pm

My view on NATO post-Cold War, not that anyone cares, is that the best solution, though it wd have been bureaucratically and otherwise difficult (which is partly why it didn’t happen), is that NATO shd have declared its mission over when the 1990 Charter of Paris, usu. taken to mark the official end of the CW, was signed. Then shd have been disbanded. If there was a felt need for a replacement of some kind, the replacement org. shd have been set up and membership shd have been opened widely, incl. to Russia (there were initially some NATO noises about Russian inclusion via the so-called Partnership for Peace, but nothing much came of it).

Btw there is evidence, discussed in a recent article in the journal Intl Security, that reps of Western govts suggested to Russia, w/o actually explicitly saying it or putting it in writing, that after the Warsaw Pact was gone and the rival blocs’ mil. establishments reduced on the continent in connection w the ’90 treaty, NATO wd not expand but stay where it was (or maybe even disband). I’ll have to re-check the article’s abstract but that is my rough recollection of it. Now it’s mostly just of historical interest, given the present situation.

602

LFC 07.26.16 at 2:31 pm

Am mostly in agreement w R.P.Wolff as quoted by RNB @639. The beginning of the quote is a somewhat too dire picture of rival ‘imperial’ powers, but on the dangers of Trump as pres. in respect of the nuclear danger R.P.Wolff is right. The key pt is that the risk of miscalculation and inadvertent escalation goes up when the Pres. is erratic, unpredictable, and (as Wolff says) has poor impulse control. That doesn’t mean it’s likely. But if the risk is, say, .001% w Clinton and 1% w Trump that’s a significant difference when we’re talking about a nuclear exchange. There is no need to paint an apocalyptic civilization-ending scenario in order to conclude that the lower-risk option is preferable.

603

Anarcissie 07.26.16 at 2:43 pm

LFC 07.26.16 at 2:31 pm @ 663 —
Clinton’s war freakery seems ‘erratic’ enough to me to cause the same kind of concern. You could explain her 2002 vote for war as a cold and rational, if immoral, calculation, but the crowing about Qaddafi (for instance) is pretty disquieting.

604

Yan 07.26.16 at 2:46 pm

@250

“Shorter Rich P: Punched hippies like me say ‘fuck you world, bring on Armageddon.’”

Keep seeing variations of this democratic criticisms of the left. It’s true, but I don’t get why it’s supposed to be a point in their favor. Yes, when you put people in a corner and punch them whenever they try to get out, you get nihilism. You get Islamic terrorism, you get Brexit, you get Trump, and you get Bernie or Bust.

So what’s the point? Are you celebrating the fact that you’ll get to be the one who’s still morally superior as you continue to bring on the apocalypse by continuing to elect people who ignore the source of the problem?

Because the usual claim is we’re supposed to put aside our selfish concern for our own purity in order to save civilization from certain doom. How does cheering for the nihilist-punchers figure into that strategy?

605

Yan 07.26.16 at 2:54 pm

Kidneystones,

You might want to check footage of the convention from multiple sources, including CSPAN and NPR. I’ve heard reports that the protesters were a small group, much less noticeable their than on the MSM feeds, which sought them out. Reports from the floor also suggested that the protesters weren’t that loud or numerous.

Personally, I’d have found a bit of real chaos darkly refreshing, but polls have 90% of Sanders supporters voting HRC, and a quick glance at social media suggests the dissident left is largely assimilated or effectively cowed.

The holdouts here will probably be a rhinoceroses within a month or two.

606

Anarcissie 07.26.16 at 3:04 pm

Lee A. Arnold 07.26.16 at 11:15 am
‘If there are domestic attacks incited or aided by foreign actors, then the military response will be formulated to work on both ends. Where is the line?’

In the present world, there are nation-state boundaries recognized by most people as forming important lines which can’t be passed legally as easily as intrastate boundaries. This means, or one would think it would mean, that a community whose governors believed in legality would have to behave differently about in-territory and out-of-territory (supposed) bad actors. In order to legally proceed against out-of-territory bad actors, the leaders would have to observe existing treaties, agreements, and supranational organizations of which their state was a member. If these failed, then one might conclude that the leaders had the right to make war, although they would still be morally constrained by the principle of least practical harm. Thus a commando operation to extract bin Laden from Afghanistan might have been legal (had he actually been there, and had there been evidence that he had committed the crimes of which he was accused, and so on). That is, the military response would be affected by legal (and political and moral) considerations which wouldn’t be present in domestic operations.

Of course in recent history (Afghanistan, for example) all that sort of thing was simply brushed aside, which is why my note here seems so naïve.

607

Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 4:07 pm

Yan: “How does cheering for the nihilist-punchers figure into that strategy?”

I take mild objection to this description of “nihilists”. People have alternate projects. Those projects do not include putting the system back just as it was so that everyone can feel safe until next year when an even worse demagogue comes along because no problems have actually been addressed. To people who primarily want to put the system back as it was, this looks like nihilism, but it really isn’t.

I do wonder a little bit how the “it’s all racism — there are no real problems that people are responding to” people are going to explain this. Have white people in the U.S. just gotten a lot more racist in the last year? It looks like there’s supposed to be wildly increasing racism everywhere and that’s supposed to have nothing to do with wildly increasing wealth inequality everywhere.

608

TM 07.26.16 at 4:15 pm

665: “Yes, when you put people in a corner and punch them whenever they try to get out, you get nihilism. You get Islamic terrorism, you get Brexit, you get Trump, and you get Bernie or Bust. “

Hippy peaceniks are hardly the ones who have turned to nihilism (it’s interesting to look at how the Religious Right with all its values talk has learned to embrace nihilism). And the spiel about reactionaries being victims of the system that keeps punching them doesn’t get any less faulty from endless repetition. But those who make the claim rarely want to know what it is that really animates right wing rage. It is true that they imagine themselves victims, and they kept fantasizing victimhood during the whole GWB years when their side was calling the shots – all the shots. Didn’t matter, it was still the liberal media here, liberal academia there that kept oppressing them. Now they have been punched in the face by having to watch a black president on TV, seeing footage of gay couples marrying, and next being unable to keep a woman – that woman! – out of the White House. Their nihilism is fueled by rejection of liberal society, all right, but it’s their rejection, not liberal society’s rejection.

609

TM 07.26.16 at 4:17 pm

“Have white people in the U.S. just gotten a lot more racist in the last year?”

The question answers itself: 8 years of a black man in the White House. Of course that’s hard to swallow for racists. You don’t deny racism is a factor so why would you be surprised that racists respond to a black president with increased anger and hatred?

610

Walt 07.26.16 at 4:26 pm

Obviously people didn’t suddenly get more racist over the last year. There has been a readily-visible faction within the Republican party since Nixon that has been harnessing racism for political gain. There was also an elite that had the whip hand, but this is the year that they lost control. Their loss of control was no secret, but clearly visible over the course of the primary season.

On the flip side, inequality has been increasing for 40 years, but suddenly people only noticed in the last 12 months? Why now? Did they start printing paystubs in a bigger font?

611

TM 07.26.16 at 4:35 pm

Also RP, how about the opposite question: have the “real problems” that right-wingers supposedly respond to gotten a lot worse in the last year? You can always pick evidence that suits you but by most measures, the economy has improved, crime rates have fallen. Even the trade balance has gotten much better under Obama than Bush (if anybody really cared) and the number of illegal immigrants has declined. On the economy, the demographic that supports Trump has survived the economic crisis much better than those that don’t. So by your logic, why is the economy more plausible than racism as an explanation for Trump’s attraction?

612

TM 07.26.16 at 4:41 pm

And I should finally add that some of the most serious problems, problems that people should really be furious about, like Climate Change and other environmental issues, are ignored or denied by Trump AND his base.

613

Suzanne 07.26.16 at 4:48 pm

Talking about the latest news, what I don’t understand is why Mrs Wasserman-Schultz resigns and Mrs Clinton keeps going. Certainly, if there is a sufficient reason for someone to resign, it would have to be the boss who benefited from the improprieties, not a minion… Right? What am I missing?

@641: Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s resignation was long overdue for any number of reasons and Clinton is not her boss – until recently that was Barack Obama, who reportedly didn’t like her but couldn’t be bothered to get rid of her, despite the urging of Clinton’s people. Party considerations have never been big with him, I’m sorry to say.

614

Yan 07.26.16 at 5:01 pm

Rich @669

Agreed. I was trying to figure the logic from the perspective of those who see these protesters and others who refuse to fall in line as nihilists. I think both sides are right: there are purely self destructive nihilists among those who refuse to fall in line, and increasingly so, but there are principled, reasonable dissidents, too, and it’s the line-keepers who are most responsible for inflaming this nihilistic trend.

TM 670-671,

It shocks me that so many smart people on the left don’t find this argument contentious, not to say bewildering. Where does racism come from? Why from earlier racism, of course! What were the roots of that racism? Earlier racism, of course! It’s like racism is this supernatural ex nihilo force that magical exists just so that we can refuse to take complaints of injustice, poverty, or suffering seriously when they come from “trash” people.

TM,

I have to admit that you sound like someone who doesn’t personally know or care about many people on that side of the political spectrum, which also happens to overlap with a cultural and economic spectrum (more rural, more remote, fewer educational and cultural advantages and opportunities). If you did, you’d know your generalizations about angry right wing voters is deeply misguided, unfair, and vicious. I know a lot of these people, and many of them have much more difficult lives than any of the enlightened lefties I know, and most of them have justified anger that they for the most part express responsibly.

But like the nihilistic segment of the left, the tendency to see them the way you do is creating the monster you pretend to abhor. And increasingly I suspect the democratic and moderate left wants to cultivate this monster and try to cage it as a permanent scapegoat for its continued failures.

615

F. Foundling 07.26.16 at 5:05 pm

I see that 278 was left unaddressed, so, to have yet another example of Daragh’s usual level of reliability:

@Daragh 278, responding to ZeK 277:

>>”Yanukovich signed a deal with the opposition, supervised and approved by foreign ministers of 3 EU states, and then, in the evening of that same day, neo-nazi militants took over the government quarters. Svoboda, which is nowhere near any ‘inspired middle-class’, got 5 (iirc) cabinet posts in the putschist clique…”

>Literally none of this is true. Except, maybe, for Yanukovych signing the deal.

Actually, in terms of facts, all of it *is* true and not even disputed by anyone (with no ‘maybe’s). One might say that the *formulation* is somewhat rhetorically slanted in that the militants were not *exclusively* members of known far-right organisations and that it omits the fact that Yanukovych’s security forces withdrew in panic *before* the militants moved in to take over the government buildings. Here’s the English-language Wikipedia, which has an anti-Russian slant if anything:

As for: ‘got 5 (iirc) cabinet posts in the putschist clique’:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Yatsenyuk_government#Composition:

‘Party key:
Batkivshchyna: 6
Svoboda: 3
Non-partisan/Undisclosed: 9′

As for: ‘in the evening of that same day … militants took over the government quarters’:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Ukrainian_revolution#Deal.27s_aftermath:

‘By late afternoon, hundreds of riot police officers guarding the presidential compound and nearby government buildings had vanished. … After the riot police vanished, Andriy Parubiy reported that Euromaidan self-defence had peacefully gained control over Kiev and its government buildings.’

As for: ‘neo nazi militants’:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromaidan#Self-defence_groups:
‘Head of Self-defence is Andriy Parubiy. … The groups are divided up into sotnias… Pravy Sektor coordinates its actions with Self-defence and is formally a 23-rd sotnia.’

‘Second sotnia (staffed by Svoboda’s members)’

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andriy_Parubiy:

‘In 1991 he founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine together with Oleh Tyahnybok;[10] the party combined radical nationalism and some neo-Nazi features … In 1998–2004 Parubiy led the paramilitary organization of SNPU, the Patriot of Ukraine.’

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party):

‘It is widely considered a fascist and/or anti-semitic party’

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Sector

‘Right Sector (Ukrainian: Правий сектор, Pravyi Sektor) is a far-right Ukrainian nationalist political party that originated in November 2013 as a paramilitary confederation at the Euromaidan revolt in Kiev, where its street fighters fought against riot police.’

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Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 5:05 pm

Walt: “There has been a readily-visible faction within the Republican party since Nixon that has been harnessing racism for political gain. There was also an elite that had the whip hand, but this is the year that they lost control. Their loss of control was no secret, but clearly visible over the course of the primary season.”

Sure, I agree, but this explains why Trump could win the primary, not why he has a chance of winning the general. For him to have a chance of winning the general election sizable numbers of people need to vote for him who are not in the GOP base. Did those people after voting Obama easily into a second term suddenly say “yay racism”, or are there well-documented reasons for them to be unhappy with the system at it exists?

617

LFC 07.26.16 at 5:12 pm

Scattered notes
— India-US nuclear deal under GWB was civilian power; took ages to implement b.c of various complications; by the time implemented (if it even fully has been yet) had long passed out of the news cycle. Opponents claimed among other things it wd indirectly allow India to put more resources into the mil side of its nuclear program and also in effect reward rather than sanction India for never having signed NPT and for its May ’98 nuclear tests. Whether the first of these consequences (diversion into mil. program) occurred I’m not really sure. Certain US businesses liked the deal b.c it promised to give them a bigger entree into India’s civilian nuclear power sector. (Btw India buys a lot of conventional mil. hardware from various countries, to the tune of an estimated $100 billion in the 2011-2021 period.)

— Re Anarcissie on OBL in Afghanistan: Extraction operation wd have been legal. He was in Afghanistan, and at that pt he had already admitted responsibility for Sept.11, as I recall.

618

F. Foundling 07.26.16 at 5:24 pm

Stuck in moderation, so, for anyone inclined to trust Daragh on anything and specifically on his assertion (at 278) that ‘literally all’ the facts on Ukraine mentioned by ZeK (at 277) are false, I can only recommend checking the English-language Wikipedia, not exactly known for its pro-Putin slant:

Svoboda cabinet posts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Yatsenyuk_government#Composition
Militants’ takeover of government buildings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Ukrainian_revolution#Deal.27s_aftermath
Fascist groups within the ‘Self-defence of the Maidan’: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromaidan#Self-defence_groups
Fascist background of the leader of the ‘Self-defence of the Maidan’: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andriy_Parubiy
Fascist features of ‘Svoboda’: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)

But hey, it all happened with US financial and political support under Obama’s watch, and was part of Hillary’s Cold War agenda, so it must have been good! ‘We leftists’ must get Hillary elected, and since Hillary is a mainstream imperialist warmongerer determined to press on against Russia, ‘we leftists’ must convince ourselves that mainstream imperialist warmongering and pressing on against Russia is a good thing (and objecting to it is, at best, ‘petty squabbling’ as per 199 and 222)! Look, there are sensible arguments to be made in favour of the position that, all things considered, Clinton is still somewhat better than Trump in the same way as holera might be better than the plague or breaking at the wheel might be better than burning at the stake. A corporation-serving, imperialist cold warrior on a collision course with the world’s other nuclear superpower might still be argued to be better than a mentally unstable, feeble-minded, thuggish, crooked, openly retrograde, racist and authoritarian, wannabe fascist dictator – have fun choosing. However, actually transforming yourselves into Clinton-like neolibs~cons in order to support her is a complete moral, political and intellectual bankruptcy.

619

Layman 07.26.16 at 5:32 pm

Yan: “So what’s the point? Are you celebrating the fact that you’ll get to be the one who’s still morally superior as you continue to bring on the apocalypse by continuing to elect people who ignore the source of the problem?”

No, I’m pointing out the basic craziness of the notion that that the hippies (of whom I’m one, BTW) should refuse to help prevent us from going over the brink, out of spite at their prior ill treatment. I shouldn’t have to point it out, it should be self-refuting. The whole ‘perhaps what we really need is a good dose of fascism to wake people up, so my protest vote for the Green Party will help either way!’ nonsense.

620

F. Foundling 07.26.16 at 5:33 pm

The wonderful CT software has blocked twice my posts containing links to several Wikipedia articles, so I’ll try a repost with just the links replaced with the titles of the articles:

For anyone inclined to trust Daragh on anything and specifically on his assertion (07.23.16 at 6:49 pm) that ‘literally all’ the facts on Ukraine mentioned by ZeK (07.23.16 at 6:31 pm) are false, I can only recommend checking the English-language Wikipedia, not exactly known for its pro-Putin slant:

Svoboda cabinet posts: article ‘First Yatsenyuk government’, section ‘Composition’
Militants’ takeover of government buildings: article ‘2014 Ukrainian revolution’, section ‘Deal aftermath’
Fascist groups within the ‘Self-defence of the Maidan’: article ‘Euromaidan’, section ‘Self-defence groups’
Fascist background of the leader of the ‘Self-defence of the Maidan’: article ‘Andriy Parubiy’
Fascist features of ‘Svoboda’: article ‘Svoboda (political party)’

But hey, it all happened with US financial and political support under Obama’s watch, and was part of Hillary’s Cold War agenda, so it must have been good! ‘We leftists’ must get Hillary elected, and since Hillary is a mainstream imperialist warmongerer determined to press on against Russia, ‘we leftists’ must convince ourselves that mainstream imperialist warmongering and pressing on against Russia is a good thing (and objecting to it is, at best, ‘petty squabbling’ as per Raven Onthill 07.23.16 at 1:56 am, 07.23.16 at 6:24 am)! Look, there are sensible arguments to be made in favour of the position that, all things considered, Clinton is still somewhat better than Trump in the same way as holera might be better than the plague or breaking at the wheel might be better than burning at the stake. A corporation-serving, imperialist cold warrior on a collision course with the world’s other nuclear superpower might still be argued to be better than a mentally unstable, feeble-minded, thuggish, crooked, openly retrograde, racist and authoritarian, wannabe fascist dictator – have fun choosing. However, actually transforming yourselves into Clinton-like neolibs~cons in order to support her is a complete moral, political and intellectual bankruptcy.

621

TM 07.26.16 at 5:47 pm

Yan 676, debate tends to be more productive when commenters refrain from guessing what other people know or care about. Btw I wasn’t trying to explain where racism comes from. But there is plenty of evidence that many racists have responded to the black man in the White House by becoming even more racist.

“I know a lot of these people, and many of them have much more difficult lives than any of the enlightened lefties I know, and most of them have justified anger that they for the most part express responsibly.”

Everybody has difficult lives but feel free to elaborate on how the right wing people you know “responsibly” express their “justified anger”.

622

Yan 07.26.16 at 5:55 pm

I still don’t see the point. “I poke the bear and it bites! That’s crazy!” I don’t think spite is crazy. I think it’s one of the primary things the misbegotten human machine was hardwired by a brutal and indifferent nature to do. If I had to give an Aristotelian definition of the human essence, I’d go with “featherless hurt feelings machine, not always two-legged.”

But even if I did find it crazy, if my goal was to win an election, I’d stop trying to make people I think crazy act non crazy, maybe even stop jabbing them with my Crazy Stick and laughing and or sputtering, “stupid, crazy, evil bears!” I’d instead focus on things that might win the election. Like bribing or flattering, even to the point of lying to, the bears. Or maybe something really crazy, like trying to win undecided voters rather than principled abstainers.

Layman 07.26.16 at 5:32 pm
Yan: “So what’s the point? Are you celebrating the fact that you’ll get to be the one who’s still morally superior as you continue to bring on the apocalypse by continuing to elect people who ignore the source of the problem?”

No, I’m pointing out the basic craziness of the notion that that the hippies (of whom I’m one, BTW) should refuse to help prevent us from going over the brink, out of spite at their prior ill treatment. I shouldn’t have to point it out, it should be self-refuting. The whole ‘perhaps what we really need is a good dose of fascism to wake people up, so my protest vote for the Green Party will help either way!’ nonsense.

623

Yan 07.26.16 at 6:06 pm

TM @681

“I wasn’t trying to explain where racism comes from. But there is plenty of evidence that many racists have responded to the black man in the White House by becoming even more racist.”

I suspect almost everyone agrees that racists grew mor virulent in response to Obama. But the context of the point was about root causes of racism. As I interpreted the discussion, at least: Those criticizing the democrats suggested that Trump and Bernie supporters are angry about real acing mic problems, and that some of the excesses of that anger, including racist sentiments, are rooted in or at least aggravated by those real problems. So, it appeared that you expressed skepticism about that view, and gave Obama as the alternate explanation.

“Everybody has difficult lives but feel free to elaborate on how the right wing people you know “responsibly” express their “justified anger”.”

I sincerely don’t know how to interpret this, and my every attempt leaves me flabbergasted. Are you implying that the proper response to any claim of excessive or undeserved suffering is “yeah, life’s a bitch”? Are you implying that all people who don’t share your politics are machine gunning racism spouting lunatics? Where do you live? There are a lot of profoundly, unfairly suffering people in this country and mindbogglingly, yes, some are even on the political right.

624

TM 07.26.16 at 6:07 pm

Interesting but unsurprising that both Yan and RP have nothing to respond to my questions at 673 (and Walt’s at 672).

Reminder for RP 677: US presidential elections are decided by a margin of a few percentage points. Obama won 51% of the vote in 2012. And not every Trump supporter must be a racist to make racism a significant force among his base.

625

TM 07.26.16 at 6:11 pm

“But the context of the point was about root causes of racism.” No, the context was this question by RP: “Have white people in the U.S. just gotten a lot more racist in the last year?”

626

bruce wilder 07.26.16 at 6:11 pm

Suzanne: . . . I don’t understand is why Mrs Wasserman-Schultz resigns and Mrs Clinton keeps going. Certainly, if there is a sufficient reason for someone to resign, it would have to be the boss who benefited from the improprieties, not a minion… Right? What am I missing?

C-L-I-N-T-O-N

627

TM 07.26.16 at 6:17 pm

“I sincerely don’t know how to interpret this”

Just answer a simple question? Again, you have this knack for guessing what goes on in other people’s heads. Get off it. I’m interested to hear what you mean when you refer to right wingers who “responsibly” express their “justified anger” (anger at what? justified by what? how do they express it?).

628

Yan 07.26.16 at 6:49 pm

TM 685, the immediately preceding sentence is “do wonder a little bit how the ‘it’s all racism — there are no real problems that people are responding to’ people are going to explain this.” You responded with “what it is that really animates right wing rage.” The context isn’t the root of racism as such, but the root of the racism of the non urban white working class, especially as manifested recently by Trump and Brexit supporters. The context is I’m saying that racism is enflamed by real problems, and you seem to think that racism already existed and was enflamed by Obama somehow shows it wasn’t also due to real problems.

As to your questions. I can follow Faustusnotes’ honorable lead and give you anecdotal data about my “trailer trash” relatives if you like, but to what end? What do you want? What am I supposed to be proving or explaining by doing so?

629

TM 07.26.16 at 6:49 pm

“Have white people in the U.S. just gotten a lot more racist in the last year?”

Also: Black Lives Matter. Protests, riots, blacks demanding an end to racist policing and much more. Then police officers killed by blacks upset that nothing has changed (for once, the “when you put people in a corner and punch them whenever they try to get out, you get nihilism” theory has some plausibility). How are racists – overt and latent – likely to respond to such events? There’s really not much of a mystery.

Your turn.

630

Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 6:50 pm

TM: “Interesting but unsurprising that both Yan and RP have nothing to respond to my questions at 673 (and Walt’s at 672).”

I have no response to your questions because you just called me an ahole and because your comments are, as always, idiotic. For instance, you reply “not every Trump supporter must be a racist to make racism a significant force among his base” in a comment in which I agree that his base is racist and then write “For him to have a chance of winning the general election sizable numbers of people need to vote for him who are not in the GOP base.”

Don’t expect me to answer your questions in the future.

631

RNB 07.26.16 at 6:51 pm

@680 On Clinton/Putin bad blood

http://time.com/4422723/putin-russia-hillary-clinton/

Of course Putin would very much want a US President who is too busy eliminating civil liberties and voting rights at home to raise concerns about what is happening abroad.

All that said, there is no doubt that, among others, Stephen Cohen’s and Katrina vanden Heuvel’s criticisms of NATO over-expansion and provocation are most important, and Clinton who unlike Sanders has consistently supported NATO expansion needs to be grilled about her commitments here and her understanding of Putin’s propensities which may be at least partially justified.

Of course Putin’s apparent cyber attack on the DNC is only going to strengthen Clinton’s position at this point. He has probably brought hell down on himself.

Interestingly Sanders never made NATO expansion an issue as far as I remember; and neither did the media. But it has clearly become Putin time in American politics.

632

TM 07.26.16 at 6:56 pm

“The context is I’m saying that racism is enflamed by real problems, and you seem to think that racism already existed”

How does it happen, that “racism is enflamed by real problems”? You have already made an impressive number of assertions none of which is backed up by any evidence or any kind of argument. I have tried to engage with your comments but if you are not willing to offer an argument, I’ll have to say this is useless.

633

Yan 07.26.16 at 6:59 pm

TM 684 and 673,

“have the “real problems” that right-wingers supposedly respond to gotten a lot worse in the last year? You can always pick evidence that suits you but by most measures, the economy has improved, crime rates have fallen”

I’m surprised this isn’t clear. I can’t speak for RP, to whom you addressed the question, but I took for granted that the real problems at issue were those of the past 30 years at least, the large scale slow but steady downward trajectory of middle and working class wealth and wages and the steady increase in the gap between rich and poor that is reaching gilded era proportions. I didn’t think it necessary to say since every major media source, especially left leaning but across the spectrum has been regularly reporting on this for the last ten years, and it’s been front page news since at least OWS.

At I didn’t bother makng the following point because I thought it too obvious: a small improvement in the economy under Obama doesn’t remotely suggest that a thirty year fall, along with a steady chipping away at unions and progressive measures that largely protected the working class, is no longer a sufficiently real a problem to get people reasonably angry.

634

TM 07.26.16 at 7:03 pm

RP, good to know that you are still full of yourself.

635

TM 07.26.16 at 7:07 pm

I have already pointed out that my retort at 673 was a response to RP 669 where he asked rhetorically whether racism got much worse “in the last year”. He didn’t say in the last 30 years. Now RP isn’t responding but don’t blame me for that.

636

LFC 07.26.16 at 7:28 pm

BW 686
Those are Ze K’s words, I think, that Suzanne was quoting before responding to them. She just inadvertently omitted the quote marks or italics.

637

Yan 07.26.16 at 7:31 pm

TM 693

“How does it happen, that “racism is enflamed by real problems”?

I still have a hard time believing you’re asking this seriously. My view here isn’t highly unusual or original, I didn’t think it required detailed explanation,

Here’s an oversimplified example of the mysterious mystical transformation of economic problems into racism (which for some reason is more in need of explanation and defense than the refusal to consider economic roots of racism, with its mysterious implication that racism just *is*, like original sin, and some of us just are the preordained non-racist elect):

Working class white man with no degree loses job
decline in middle class makes it impossible to find another for years
Gets three of the to make a barely living wage for a family, while father can’t retire and must work at Walmart
Sees dramatic increase in immigrant population in town, the television and the boss who’s shipping his job overseas tells him Mexicans are stealing jobs
He feels resentful.
Repeat.

638

Yan 07.26.16 at 7:39 pm

Oh my god we are awful:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/crying-peter-pan-bernie-delegate-000000861.html

“he’s not a privileged “Bernie Bro” who hates Clinton, as some on social media branded him. He said he was raised by a struggling single mom and will vote for Clinton in the election…. This is not Kehren’s first brush with internet fame. “Two months ago I pulled a woman out of a burning car,” he said. (He helped save the woman’s life by bravely removing her from the car.) And he understands why people with more distance from the impassioned Democratic primary think the photos are funny.”

639

Rich Puchalsky 07.26.16 at 7:48 pm

Yan: “Oh my god we are awful”

The dude’s white and voted for Bernie, so he’s probably a racist.

640

Ronan(rf) 07.26.16 at 7:50 pm

The problems with global politics at the minute are not caused by “nihilism”, they are caused by people who are too emotionally and morally engaged, by people (left and right) who care too much. We could do with a few more nihilists.

641

hix 07.26.16 at 8:05 pm

Grouphug maybe?

642

Lee A. Arnold 07.26.16 at 8:07 pm

John Kasich has launched a new campaign:

Trump-Putin 2016: “Make Tyranny Great Again”

643

LFC 07.26.16 at 8:10 pm

Yan @699 —
Without your comment I would not have known about this, as I don’t spend time on Twitter and hadn’t run across it.

That people on social media were making fun of this guy is really quite sickening. Twenty-two years old, a delegate, his candidate making a last appearance after a long, hard campaign. Of course he’s going to be emotional.

The people making fun of him either don’t remember what’s it like to be twenty-two and involved in a political campaign, or they’ve never been active in a campaign, or they’re just jerks.

644

TM 07.26.16 at 8:21 pm

Yan: you omitted the part where the white unemployed guy who feels resentful towards Mexicans because his boss told him they are stealing his jobs “responsibly” expresses his “justified anger” (at the Mexicans, which is justified because television?). You are also – but that is really nit-picking – omitting the part where you offer empirical evidence for your caricature. (Trump supporters are less educated, true, but the poor unemployed story is quite a fantasy).

645

TM 07.26.16 at 8:32 pm

RP 702: What a dumb strawman. Your methods of derailing any attempt at debate are disgusting and I’ve had enough of it.

646

Yan 07.26.16 at 8:42 pm

Ronan 703, fair enough. Again, I was describing it from the crtitic’s point of view, and I think someone upthread characterized them that way. We might distinguish active from passive nihilism, and, yeah, a bit of the latter might be a refreshing change of pace.

Ze K 705, the resentment isn’t racism, but develops over time with the “repeat” part. Day after day the tv tells me they’re taking my jobs and trying to blow me up. Day after day I see more friends and family struggling to get by, I see more and more immigrants (in my family’s case, their tiny town where the family had lived for 3 generations went from something like 1% to 10% Hispanic population in a decade), and eventually I start to believe the stereotypes: they are taking jobs, that are criminals, none speak English, etc.

That’s the point where feelings and dispositions turn into conscious ideology. Though I’m willing to say we are also all in a broader sense “racist”, maybe adjusting my definition of human to “hurt feelings generating, disgust at differences generating machine.”

To add a fun complication to the simplistic “white racism, not real problems” line, in the case of my own relatives who faustusnotes would likely call “trailer trash”, one side is second generation browsn immigrant, the other has four siblings adopted from South America. They all, brown and white, occasionally show small symptoms of racist feelings and dispositions, and I think will vote Trump.

647

Ronan(rf) 07.26.16 at 8:42 pm

Fwiw, I hadn’t seen yans link when I commented above , so wasn’t responding to that situation.(which I hadn’t heard about. Or really care much about, tbh)

648

Ronan(rf) 07.26.16 at 8:44 pm

I Crossposted with you there yan.

649

Suzanne 07.26.16 at 8:53 pm

LFC @ 699: Yes, thank you. I had omitted the quotes, sorry for the carelessness.

650

TM 07.26.16 at 8:57 pm

710 (1) Trump’s base is by all accounts very white. Not many brown people seen at his rallies (except for the protesters).
(2) When white people suffer hard times, it just so happens that they “start to believe the stereotypes” about Mexican rapists and what not. Of course they express their stereotypes “responsibly” and it’s really justified anger even though the stereotypes are baseless. And that is the version that is supposed to show respect and empathy with the poor white dudes – they “start to believe the stereotypes”, it’s just in their nature. That really explains where racism comes from.

651

Yan 07.26.16 at 9:08 pm

TM, I’ll try answering that but then we’re probably best off quitting, because either we are completely failing to understand each other or you’re not arguing in good faith.

The justified anger is for the economic problem, which leads to unjustified racism. The fact that his newly acquired racism isn’t justified does not of course make his anger about his economic situation suddenly unjustified, so there’s still a “real problem” deserving our concern. Indeed doubly deserving, if treating it is a good causal mechanism for slowing the spread of racism.

As for the responsible expressions and empirical evidence, see my post about my relatives. They control their resentment, usually only occasionally letting slip an occasional troubling comment. For example, my South American uncle is a cop who watches Fox News. He gets uncomfortably close to racist stereotypes when the topic of police violence comes up. My mother, married to a brown man and with four South American siblings, sometimes gripes about people speaking poor English (which her inlaws never did fluently) and suggests rises in crime are due to illegals.

But in the end, they treat people kindly even more generously than most in person and in deed. They’re the kind of people the “shirt off your back” cliche was invented for. They indulge in for style complaints about commie Europeans, but last year they pick up a European kid hitchhiking and drove him halfway across the country. When they found out he was broke, they let him live in their house for a week.

They have anger, resentment, and some racists sentiments. But they mostly deal with it by working, by going to church, by spending time with their families, and by sending money to their favored organizations and voting. Sometimes they vent with like minded people on the Internet, or in their church, or in their family.

And yes, many of them have had poverty and employment problems. I’m not sure what planet you live on that enables you to find that incredible. You at least admit many right wingers are underemployed?

652

Yan 07.26.16 at 9:25 pm

Ze K,

I don’t follow. My imaginary story ends with people have conscious pejorative beliefs about race, of the “black people are inherently more disposed toward crime” variety. How is that a mistaken usage?

In any case, give me an example of your definition. We can still probably imagine a plausible scenario where economic problems make one more disposed to exemplify it. I’m also curious what’s apt stake in this debate for you, since you don’t seem to agree with TM. Does some other point of disagreement hinge on this?

653

Yan 07.26.16 at 9:32 pm

TM 714

My reply to your previous question is in moderation. On this point, rallies won’t necessarily directly reflect a candidate’s voters. Not all voters wear ridiculous foam hats for example. Trump rallies attract a very particular subsection of Trump voters. And, at the risk of overgeneralizing, as a brown person, I’m inclined to say we are statistically rather averse to loud, noisy, crowded events like political rallies.

654

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 10:17 pm

Third Party – Bernie voters at convention unlikely to vote for Clinton, or Trump. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/07/25/convention_uproar_over_wasserman_shultz_sanders_protest_131312.html

@ 666 Yan Thanks for this. Agreed. And let’s not forget the next few weeks/days/hours could flip all this on its head one more time. Hillary could win in a landslide, Trump may win – but to restate the obvious – there’s little point in getting too wound-up about any of it, yet. Sanders, as much as I like him, is starting to look an awful lot like Dennis Kucinich, and I expect Warren is going to pay a price for signing off on the coronation, too. Her, I never liked. But, we’d expect that, right?

@ 653 Daragh – Actually they are – based on the samples I read yesterday. Why I bother with you I don’t know.

655

Faustusnotes 07.26.16 at 10:17 pm

Yan and RP seem to have internalized the right wing talking point that liberals and lefties are all wealthy, comfortable academics living in homogeneous white areas with low crime, while the racist GOP base/ brexiters are “real” people with non-elite jobs suffering at the bleeding edge of neo-liberalism’s rush to the bottom, their lives hanging from a precarious thread that a lower paid illegal immigrant will snap any day now.

In this narrative racism doesn’t spring from a culture of racism – in this narrative brexiters aren’t aging, comfortable whites with a romantic nostalgia for colonial surety – but is a misguided response to economic conditions. These people really love foreigners, but their economic insecurity has been turned against their own class! They don’t *really* believe the judge is biased against trump because his dad was Mexican or that’s all bankers are Jewish, it’s just that they’re struggling so much harder than us comfortable rich lefties so they get confused.

This narrative is completely wrong about which people with which beliefs come from which class. Why would any self respecting leftist absorb this bilious right wing trash talk?

This narrative doesn’t explain why so many people in the same situation reject racism. Why did these people misdirected their anger while others didn’t? Why were they so vulnerable not just to the inchoate rage of the racist whose job is at risk, but to the entire overarching narrative of lost empire, liberal conspiracy, Jewish bankers? How come they always get the dog whistles? It’s as if they’ve been prepared by some cultural underpinnings…

I grew up with racists and spent my childhood surrounded by them. Their racism was the one fixed pointin their situation. Move countries, change jobs, improve your financial situation, lose everything – it doesn’t matter, the foreigners are always to blame for all the worlds problems and a persons race is always the most important thing about them. If you can’t understand racism you will never beat it.

And if you internalize this right wing lie about all liberals are comfortable and all racists are struggling, you’ll never make any progress for the left at all.

656

kidneystones 07.26.16 at 10:32 pm

Bad kabuki or photo of the year? http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/bernie-sanders-revolution-hillary-clinton-democrat-convention-what-did-he-say-unleashed-revolution-a7156106.html

Definitely one of the most eloquent encapsulations of power dynamics produced in recent memory. Rigged out of the gate – first race stolen via seven straight coin-toss victories ends up with Bernie very closely resembling a dog – head bowed unable to bear the degradation – clutching the podium for support. Poor Bernie. No wonder his supporters are promising 3rd party. Yes, I’ve seen the same polls, but this image isn’t going to go away easily or quickly.

Ripped off – and the thief smiling thinly as it all goes down.

657

Yan 07.26.16 at 11:26 pm

TM, I’ll try answering that but then we’re probably best off quitting, because either we are completely failing to understand each other or you’re not arguing in good faith.

The justified anger is for the economic problem, which leads to unjustified racism. The fact that his newly acquired racism isn’t justified does not of course make his anger about his economic situation suddenly unjustified, so there’s still a “real problem” deserving our concern. Indeed doubly deserving, if treating it is a good causal mechanism for slowing the spread of racism.

As for the responsible expressions and empirical evidence, see my post about my relatives. They control their resentment, usually only occasionally letting slip a troubling comment. For example, my South American uncle is a cop who watches Fox News. He gets uncomfortably close to racist stereotypes when the topic of police violence comes up. My mother, married to a brown man and with four South American siblings, sometimes gripes about people speaking poor English (which her inlaws never did fluently) and suggests rises in crime are due to illegals.

But in the end, they treat people kindly–even more generously than most–in person and in deed. They’re the kind of people the “shirt off your back” cliche was invented for. They indulge in Fox style complaints about commie Europeans, but last year they picked up a European kid hitchhiking and drove him halfway across the country. When they found out he was broke, they let him live in their house for a week.

They have anger, resentment, and some racists sentiments. But they mostly deal with it by working, by going to church, by spending time with their families, voting, and by sending money to political and religious organizations. Sometimes they openly vent with like minded people on the Internet, or in their church, or in their family.

And yes, many of them have had poverty and employment problems. I’m not sure what planet you live on that enables you to find that incredible. You at least admit many right wingers are *under*employed, don’t you?

658

root_e 07.27.16 at 1:22 am

#598
Robins doesn’t read President Obama’s speeches or listen to them, he doesn’t need to since he already knows everything.

659

root_e 07.27.16 at 1:28 am

#719

You appear to think this is about the real world and not about the curdled grievances of failed intellectuals. All the left geniuses here are morally and intellectually superior. Ask them – they’ll tell you themselves.

660

kidneystones 07.27.16 at 1:53 am

@F. Foundling @ 36 Donald Trump Moosebrugger.

I’m replying here to F Foundling here for three reasons: first, because I really do want to preserve the integrity, to the degree I can, of the discussion of David’s excellent OP; second, to thank F Foundling for his very informative comment here on ‘grant-suckers,’ a wholly unknown breed in western academia, and finally because I’ve never read a description that captured my modest contributions and immodest persona quite so accurately before. Many thanks!

I very much

661

TM 07.27.16 at 7:32 am

Yan: “The justified anger is for the economic problem, which leads to unjustified racism. The fact that his newly acquired racism isn’t justified does not of course make his anger about his economic situation suddenly unjustified, so there’s still a “real problem” deserving our concern.”

It’s good that we agree that the racism is unjustified. It’s also good that we agree that the racism is real. There has been a lot of back and forth about whether it shows contempt to point out the racism among right wing voters. I hope we have at least settled that.

662

TM 07.27.16 at 7:33 am

CR wrote: “Trump’s comment [about the US being a bad messenger of civil liberties] — and its reception on the left — inadvertently reveals the challenges movements like Black Lives Matter face, across the political aisle, now that the Cold War is over.”

Honest question: What is the “reception on the left” to this particular statement? I’m not aware that anybody on the US left said “Oh no Trump is wrong we are definitely a beacon of civil liberties of course we should lecture the rest of the world” etc. Maybe I missed it. Happy to be enlightened.

I’m reposting this from 640. Corey perhaps can’t respond to everything but I do hope he will find time to respond because the parenthesis about “reception on the left” is the key argument Corey offers in the OP and it doesn mater whether it’s more than just a rhetorical flourish.

663

TM 07.27.16 at 7:33 am

“it DOES matter”

664

kidneystones 07.27.16 at 9:06 am

@ 729 Nice use of caps. Pointing out that GWB in fact did nothing to help India become a nuclear power really smarted, huh?

I could have been rude, but I saw no need to rub your nose in it.

No need to say thanks.

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TM 07.27.16 at 10:20 am

You realize the use of caps was to correct a typo do you?

GWB helped regularize India’s nuclear program. The criticism at the time was that he effectively rewarded India for flouting the non-proliferation treaty. You haven’t responded to the rest of 651, not I cared but speaking of rubbing noses…

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Faustusnotes 07.27.16 at 10:32 am

Bush lifted sanctions on India

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 11:23 am

Yan: “The justified anger is for the economic problem, which leads to unjustified racism.”

I also tend towards an explanation loosely based on W.E.B. Du Bois: the psychological wages of racism. There doesn’t necessarily have to be conscious anger at economics at all. People in a precarious situation near the bottom of the social order are highly motivated to look for anything that will keep them — at least psychologically or socially — a step up from the bottom. Racism does this because whiteness supposedly can’t be taken away.

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kidneystones 07.27.16 at 11:38 am

@ 732 You’re proven yourself a reliable source on your racist relatives and little else, I’m afraid. Consider our conversations largely over.

@ 731 Is that a thank you? Close enough. And close enough on the basics in 651. Nuclear treaties, especially with a nation like Iran are complex documents, and I’m not convinced that the deal is a good one, nor am I saying it’s not.

The Reagan-Pakistan reference is important to both Iran and India, imho, because this was a case of the US indirectly/directly assisting a non-nuclear nation become nuclear in much the same way as the west assisted Israel and India to go nuclear in each case in defiance of the non-proliferation treaty. This context is important for two reasons and gets, I think, to the heart of our differences. You belong to team-donkey and I’m apostate. I can assure I spent years writing diatribes denouncing the racist Republican right. I’m not a pacifist, but I’m absolutely opposed to the spread of nuclear weapons and wars of all kinds. Hence, our problem. You and some/many of the others here turn too blind an eye to the role your donkey masters play in screwing up the world. I expect Reagan to pull some asshole stunt like arming Pakistan.

I’m horrified when Biden, Clinton, and Obama sign off on the Bush deal with India. And I’m going to point out that Bush could not have created any of the mayhem of his tenure, including this deal without the active aid and, in some cases, the enthusiastic support of Dems like Clinton, Biden and ‘present.’ Obama signed the India deal. He didn’t need to. Russ Feingold didn’t. That’s our difference, for whatever that’s worth.

I’m glad I checked in to respond to your semi-civil reply. I’ll take 50 percent of the responsibility for any past acrimonious exchanges. I’ve got several projects to finish and this is a pleasant way to wish you all well.

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kidneystones 07.27.16 at 11:41 am

Sorry, second reason is that Iran is surrounded by five nuclear neighbors, three of which developed nuclear programs with the indirect, or direct, assistance of the west. Hence, the challenges of convincing Iran they should a/abide by treaties and b/resist the desire to get nukes.

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Layman 07.27.16 at 12:20 pm

“Sorry, second reason is that Iran is surrounded by five nuclear neighbors, three of which developed nuclear programs with the indirect, or direct, assistance of the west.”

Which are the 5 nuclear neighbors by which Iran is surrounded?

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Anarcissie 07.27.16 at 12:40 pm

LFC 07.26.16 at 5:12 pm @ 679 —
Well, you can take my verbs out of the subjunctive then. I thought he had departed long before anyone started looking for him, and I thought that was intentional, since he could be saved for a show later (as it worked out). The Taliban offered to extradite him if the US presented evidence of his material complicity (as opposed to cheerleading from the bleachers) but the US preferred trial by ordeal, in this case the war(s) still proceeding — for, I am sure, domestic political reasons plus whatever neocon plots Bush, Cheney, and company were already hatching.

What I was hoping to get around to was my belief that, if a state is going to intervene in the affairs of other states, and wants to believably pretend it’s a legal proceeding and not just an exercise of imperial fun and profit, it has to be within a legal structure to which the intervening state itself submits. Thus, if it is all right for the US to use a commando raid to seize a malefactor in Pakistan, it should be all right for Pakistani commandos to seize malefactors in New Jersey. Of course we would not want them to do so just on the say-so of the king of Pakistan, we would want some kind of hopefully unbiased court system overseeing the proceedings from on high. Then we could have legal interventionism instead of the rank imperialism we now observe. Just an idle fantasy, I know.

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TM 07.27.16 at 1:29 pm

733: Not disagreeing but pointing out that people don’t have to be “at the bottom” in order to find value in the “psychological wages of racism”.

734: Don’t worry, I can handle being corrected. And yes one can have civil exchanges even on CT. I would object to your claim about “turning a blind eye” to Democratic complicity in war-mongering. We could gladly have a thread on that, I’m just not going to accept that because Democrats also do bad stuff that proves that Trump isn’t worse.

The deeper problem is that the whole nation minus a small minority is complicit in war-mongering. The voters want it and reward it and if they elect Trump, you bet it wouldn’t be because they mistake him for a pacifist (or even isolationist). The demise of the American Empire will happen regardless of what Americans and their leaders want but it will matter a lot whether the leaders in place are halfways sane and responsible.

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LFC 07.27.16 at 2:12 pm

@Anarcissie
if a state is going to intervene in the affairs of other states, and wants to believably pretend it’s a legal proceeding and not just an exercise of imperial fun and profit, it has to be within a legal structure to which the intervening state itself submits

Agree w this as general proposition and w the implication that powerful countries don’t always apply to themselves the principles their leaders publicly state adherence or allegiance to — though the fact of the statements is itself arguably of some significance. —-
On OBL, as a footnote, he escaped from Afghanistan into Pakistan after the coalition invasion had begun; so did Ayman al-Zawahiri, a few months later; a brief summary (w some cites to sources) can be found at the end of Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, pp.416-421. Afaik, the exact location of Zawahiri has still not been discovered.

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faustusnotes 07.27.16 at 3:43 pm

I’m intrigued by the numbering going on here – other commenters are up in the 700s but my screen only shows numbers up to 673. What’s happening?

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Tyrone Slothrop 07.27.16 at 4:46 pm

I believe the IPA currently incarnated as Ze K had his ban parole revoked, with the consequence that his 100+ indelible contributions to this thread have been elided.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 4:49 pm

Tyrone Slothrop: “is 100+ indelible contributions to this thread have been elided”

Wow, you’re right. I’d just dismissed the whole thing as people probably getting the numbering wrong.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 5:20 pm

Today Trump has used not anti-black racism as much (though viciously anti-black he is, given his previous history of discrimination, his views on the Central Park rape case, and his despicable comments on BLM protestors) as anti-immigrant nativism (racially inflected of course) and Islamophobia. He has deployed them in more vicious ways than any recent nominee has. Trump has not been much more anti-black than a Nixon and Reagan were; but that is not the only axis of invidious distinction in the United States. And so those who see issues of “difference” in the US as primarily black and white have missed how horrifying Trump is and write dismissively of how much greater Trump’s level of prejudice is, over the last forty or so years of Presidential nominees. And this probably explains why Corey Robin thinks blogging about Calhoun shows how sensitive he is to prejudice. It doesn’t. What he has written above is still dangerous political nonsense, and I note that he never replied to my 576 above. His new blog entry on Calhoun does not serve as any kind of response.

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bruce wilder 07.27.16 at 5:34 pm

RP @ 667: People in a precarious situation near the bottom of the social order are highly motivated to look for anything that will keep them — at least psychologically or socially — a step up from the bottom.

Precarious dependency with low status and narrow experience and horizons can shape personality and attitudes in various ways, but as I often point out, one of the more closely documented and analyzed ways is the cluster of attitudes known as (right) authoritarian follower.

I won’t go into all that, except to make the point that they are followers. Their capacities for self-directed autonomy and critical evaluation of information are compromised. They are peculiarly vulnerable to certain styles of persuasion. It is not just individual self-esteem that they are instinctively seeking, it is membership in a group that will take care of them and their security, provide direction and purpose and cognitive relief.

With training and leadership, authoritarian followers make good soldiers, figuratively and actually. And, organizations like armies, that need a lot of them will be often be designed to meet their needs and expectations, as well as to make use of, say, their willingness to accept convention and practice violence against designated out-groups.

Because they can be demagogued so easily they often are. The demagogues, though, are not authoritarian followers. A lot of the evil attributed to authoritarian followers originates with the kinds of people whose orientation to social dominance finds authoritarian followers a source of critical resources and means.

A Left that refuses to contest leadership of authoritarian followers with the Right and which cooperate with policies that increase fear and dependency, so that the number of authoritarian followers and the intensity of their attitudes increase, is abdicating power.

The propaganda that accompanies the war on terror and the marketing of guns and conservative libertarianism (the government as the source of all evil) is aimed pretty squarely at creating a phase shift in the distribution of personalities / political attitudes in the society in the direction of more right authoritarian followers. Racism is part of that, but only part. And, all is modulated to minimize actual social affiliation or make it seem purely pathological and to trigger social dynamics that arouse authoritarians in predictable ways. (Like no one could predict “Black Lives Matter” would lead to people asking “does my life matter?”, police killings or “Blue Lives Matter”.)

It is almost as if the Left needs a better sociology.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 5:38 pm

Has a single person in the media asked Donald Trump what would be the cost or more specifically opportunity cost of organizing a deportation police force to remove 12 million people? I guess that the media let that slide along with his taxes. He’s good for ratings, and that ironically enough is the real story: the story is that the media have encouraged a sociopath because they stand to benefit from it and cannot report their utter corruption due to the profit motive. The news, like health care, should not be pursued as a profit-making endeavor.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 5:38 pm

“His new blog entry on Calhoun does not serve as any kind of response.”

Aw dude he didn’t reply. You might even think that there was nothing worth replying to, and that people prioritize their replies towards people who seem like they might have some kind of good point, but that is unpossible. Maybe CR is older than 16 years old so he wasn’t crushed by your “white boy love fest” bit.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 5:43 pm

BW: “Racism is part of that, but only part.”

What I’ve been observing with interest is something I’ve alluded to on another thread here, the growing white-on-white disgust with nonworkers. It’s ready-made for all of the same social functions as racism without actually being racism. In particular, it potentially melds badly with the historical left attachment to workers as the important class of people who they should care about.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 5:49 pm

Totally cool with you and kidneystones defending Corey Robin, RP.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 5:57 pm

@642 Thanks Lee for that video. It’s great to see it today in light of the fall out from Trump’s recent press conference.

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root_e 07.27.16 at 6:14 pm

“A Left that refuses to contest leadership of authoritarian followers with the Right and which cooperate with policies that increase fear and dependency, so that the number of authoritarian followers and the intensity of their attitudes increase, is abdicating power.”

So, for example, a left that constantly denigrates any reformers as “neoliberal shills” and any reforms as shams, and one that encourages cynicism and apathy, one that works hard to show that all politicians are equally corrupt (e.g. Bush=Gore) might invite speculation on whether its purpose to abdicate power to the right?

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RNB 07.27.16 at 6:46 pm

Why speculate? Just read #3 at RP’s @534 where Corey Robin’s bulldog lays out what he sees as the upside of Trump’s victory.

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root_e 07.27.16 at 7:07 pm

RP’s summary of what happens when Left’s Favorite Candidate wins is great on two grounds. First, his insight into the effects of defeat on the Democrats is great if you want to completely ignore what happened to the Democrats after Nixon, Reagan, and then Bush Jr all pushed further right. Second, his total disinterest in reading the Democratic party platform or paying attention to what the Democratic President did is inspiring. Why get into those weeds when you already know the answers?

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Yan 07.27.16 at 7:10 pm

BW 678,

“It is almost as if the Left needs a better sociology.”

Might it also be fair to say it needs “ology”, period? That it has abandoned an in principle scientific standpoint for a purely moral one (identifying sin and sinners, sinful communities, conducting confessions and penances), the aspiration (historically failed or not) of scientific sociakism for utopian hopiness?

RNB 682,

I increasingly think that those of us who want Trump to lose should not ignore you but learn from you. I believe your attempts to persuade are in earnest, and that your failures to do so are a revealing mirror of the Democrats’ failures in this election. I believe many who are the public face of the party–the HRC campaign, its more famous proponents, the major media venues and journalists that clearly lean that way–share the overall moral demeanor, rhetorical style, and preoccupations in subject matter and audience of your posts, and that they are failing to persuade and helping to increase the numbers of Trump, third party, and non-voters for similar reasons.

You can save us, RNB. If together we all figure out why your crusade is failing so badly, we can fix the campaign and beat Trump.

688

RNB 07.27.16 at 7:31 pm

Hmm the Republican nominee encourages a strong man abroad to carry out espionage to keep the first woman out of the Presidency, and the Republican Party has not withdrawn all support from their nominee. Has anyone ever explored the gender dynamics of the Republican Party:) This might be a good time.

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Yan 07.27.16 at 7:54 pm

“Has anyone ever explored the gender dynamics of the Republican Party:) This might be a good time.”

I have a hunch that the RP is plagued by pervasive sexism. And that running a finger wagging campaign obsessing over that glaringly obvious, trite observation is a surer ire way to win the election. Periodically shrieking “Russians!” will make it a landslide.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 7:58 pm

Yeah, I have that hunch too. Not sure why, it’s just a hunch.

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Ronan(rf) 07.27.16 at 8:22 pm

I largely agree with RP at 681 – The caricatured hate figure of welfare scrounger in England has always been a white person(family), which is one of the reasons I often find accusations of “racism” in US politics so peculiar. The stereotypical “welfare queen” or t bone steak eater (or whatever its particulars) just has different local variations in different cultures. In England, the welfare dependant white family* living on a (normally northern) council estate; feckless, workshy male figure, overweight female, dysfunctional family environment, criminal children, heavy drinking, racists etc. Whether or not there’s a truth to the stereotype other people can debate, but that’s what it is.
I don’t know how racism became the great thought crime of our times (well, I do know….the domination of US culture and political narratives over the English speaking world). There are a lot of hatreds out there, a lot of them mostly unconnected to “whiteness” or any non trivial definition of racism. Unfortunately we’ve been so consumed by the racism borg, or are so eager to use categories that are pretty specific to the US and African Americans particular place in US society, that we analyse every case of discrimination or oppression under this increasingly useless category. (Ie for example in England, where due to selective immigration a lot of non white demographics outperform whites in schooling, jobs, earning etc. Or contemporary liberalisms increasingly nonsensical political posturing with categories like “poc” which looks to generalise African American (and native American, in some ways Latino) oppression to all non white groups, while at the same time using categories like white privilege to write out of the script any discrimination or poverty suffered by white subgroups.)
This is why some of us (non Marxists) prefer materialist and class explanations and need based economic solutions, even if we accept there’s obviously more to the story than vulgar Marxism.

*this is not a dig at faustnotes, I’ve no real problem with any of his comments on this thread.

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Ronan(rf) 07.27.16 at 8:46 pm

On middle class leftists “not understanding what the lower working class are like.” Well, that might be true. But it’s also beside the point. A “leftist” (although I’m more a conservative social democrat) support for alleviating suffering shouldn’t be dependant on those in need of help having a progressive value system.
And the same could be said about those on the left who so heavily push “the interests” of various non white groups , but really don’t appear to have much interest in what those groups value politically or socially (ie working class African Americans , as a generality, weren’t always exactly pushing progressive policy, “European Muslims” certainly aren’t). Still, we can support Muslim immigration, and oppose surveillance laws and the expansion of the criminal justice system without getting bent out of shape. It’s not that hard.

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Yan 07.27.16 at 8:51 pm

Rich 667:

“There doesn’t necessarily have to be conscious anger at economics at all. People in a precarious situation near the bottom of the social order are highly motivated to look for anything that will keep them — at least psychologically or socially — a step up from the bottom. Racism does this because whiteness supposedly can’t be taken away.”

Agreed. I find interesting that they often phrase their complaints in a way independent of economics that stresses an abstract principle of justice. For example, complaints that protections of minorities and disadvantaged groups amount to unfair advantages or that illegal immigration is like cutting in line.

Think about actual line cutting: the outrage of those in line is often disturbingly disproportionate to the material harm done.

We don’t have to agree that these justice-claims are true, but might seriously consider tha they are earnest, since it might help explain the seemingly disproportionate amount of anger that then seeks a culprit to blame.

Maybe it really is the sense of unfair treatment that angers, and not the economic harm of not having a job. The latter makes unhappy, but doesn’t incite racism or destructive impulses directly. Rather, when that material unhappiness is coupled with perceived unfairness , it twists the economic or material complaint into one focused on a target group, ripe to be provided by racist views.

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Ronan(rf) 07.27.16 at 9:05 pm

As to whether racism and xenophobia were a driving force behind brexit. Well, yes. Of course they was. I’m surprised RP is pushing so strongly against this claim (though I haven’t read the thread closely so perhaps I’m missing the nuance). A few things (1) the institutions to support and use political xenophobia (a virulent anti foreigner media, political organisations/elites pushing explicitly anti immigrant positions) exists in the UK in similar ways that racism and the republican party exists in the US . (In similar ways, though I wouldn’t push it too far) (2) economic failure and regional decline is obviously important, but we’re seeing the rise of a nativist right even in countries with strong, effective states (ie north Europe), so there’s something else in play.
But 52% of the pop obviously aren’t racists, and all those who voted on immigration aren’t necessarily xenophobic. So it’s complicated.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 9:05 pm

@692 yes it seems that are a lot of white men without degrees whom Trump has called the poorly educated who would rather have him to stick it to Mexicans and other brown people (that’s what his anti-immigrant and anti-trade rhetoric mean) than have paid family leave, a $12 or $15 minimum wage, subsidized health insurance, a more favorable NRLB, enforcement of overtime and wage theft laws, good public sector jobs, etc.

They need to be called out for giving in to prejudice, not indulged. They are big boys; they can be called out for their stupidity because really they are being stupid, i.e. hurting others while hurting themselves.

Now some of the upper crust do have a financial interest in the Republicans whose basic function is to ward off the tax state in the context of secular stagnation as tax revenue can’t be raised without progressive taxation. You can only squeeze so much water from a stone.

After Romney lost the last race, the Republican donors were not confident that Bush, Cruz, Rubio or Kasich could win and protect them against the encroachments of the tax state; so they did not go to war against the sociopath Trump, hoping that his nativism and seemingly new foreign policy ideas could put him in the White House where he would protect the well-off from higher taxes.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 9:21 pm

@691
“I don’t know how racism became the great thought crime of our times (well, I do know….the domination of US culture and political narratives over the English speaking world).”
Well we know that the legitimation of anti-racism did not result from disgust at the rationalizations provided for Indian removal, slavery, Leopold’s genocide or what Mike Davis calls the Victorian holocausts.
Anti-racism became the great thought crime as a result of the recognition of what racism had done within Europe (and I am not talking about the Roma and Sinti) by Germans whom the victorious Americans defeated; then the Soviets in the Cold War propagandized on the basis of the US practicing the racism that had resulted in genocide within Europe. That was easy to do since diplomats from the Third World would have to go to a segregated bathrooms in NYC where the UN was located.
The Civil Rights Movement played a double role here, both in embarrassing the US and in reforming it to the benefit of the soft power of the US.
The rationalization of US industry was stymied in part by apartheid, so enough US elites came around to opposition to apartheid and agreed to partially recognize racism for the horror that it was. That helped black people, but not enough. The Civil Rights Movement became radicalized and in the process forged connections with the feminist movement, anti imperialist movements and other ethnic movements such as Chicano and Puerto Rican ones.
A pretty US centric understanding of how anti-racism came to be the greatest thought crime of all. Open to correction and challenge here.

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Ronan(rf) 07.27.16 at 9:27 pm

696, yeah. Youre obviously largely correct there. In its current manifestations it does strike me as overly influenced by US cultural and political references . But I wouldn’t push that too hard as you’re clearly correct on the history.

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Collin Street 07.27.16 at 9:30 pm

They need to be called out for giving in to prejudice, not indulged. They are big boys; they can be called out for their stupidity because really they are being stupid, i.e. hurting others while hurting themselves.

If they were emotionally mature, able to cop to their own poor choices [not that their poor choices largely caused the problems they have], they wouldn’t be racists in the first place.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 9:31 pm

@698 ! Collin. Sadly, a great point.

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Anarcissie 07.27.16 at 10:04 pm

It would be possible to generate the reply numbers so that, once generated, they were static, making referencing previous replies less, uh, dynamic, even in the face of purges.

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Anarcissie 07.27.16 at 10:19 pm

Collin Street 07.27.16 at 9:30 pm —
It depends what you mean by racism, often a rather loosely-used word. I have met and conversed with people who had very strong racial, ethnic, religious and or class preferences and prejudices which they knew were irrational and maybe immoral, but they couldn’t simply excrete them. Moreover, there is a set of behaviors sometimes called ‘objective racism’ in which a community behaves as if they held racist ideas, even though not a single member of the community believes in racism or is conscious of prejudice in themselves or their fellow community members. It also seems to be very difficult to get rid of, even among the enlightened.

By racism I mean a political ideology which holds that (1) there are physical races; (2) some races are ‘better’ than others; (3) we can know precisely which ones are ‘better’, and (4) we should do something political about it, like segregate the bad races, disable them legally and politically, possibly put them in prison camps, send them away, kill them, etc. Not many people, even the highly prejudiced, actually hold these views (I hope).

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 10:27 pm

Ronan(rf): “I’m surprised RP is pushing so strongly against this claim (though I haven’t read the thread closely so perhaps I’m missing the nuance).”

I’ve described Brexit as “a xenophobic outburst” quite a few times by now. Yes, you didn’t read the thread.

The basic disagreement is that some people here think that racism or xenophobia just happen, while I think that racism and xenophobia are predictable consequences of a polity that is breaking down for people in other ways.

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root_e 07.27.16 at 10:40 pm

“The basic disagreement is that some people here think that racism or xenophobia just happen, while I think that racism and xenophobia are predictable consequences of a polity that is breaking down for people in other ways.”

Nobody thinks it just happens, but some of us don’t think that there is a simple mechanism where economic oppression generates racism. In fact, much US racism is a defense of privilege both economic and social status. The people carrying pictures of Obama with a bone in his nose and screaming “Keep government hands off our medicare” were not salt-of-the-earth proletarians dispossessed by uncaring Democratic neoliberals.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 10:59 pm

There’s always been some baseline level of racism or xenophobia. The question is, why is there more of it now? If the answer is that “those trailer trash just think that way”, then I think that the question has basically been answered, although not with the answer that the person thought they were providing.

This kind of thing is even reaching the Thomas Frank level of public awareness. I broke down and am actually reading _Listen, Liberal_ — what can I say, I hadn’t been meaning to but it was sitting right there in a display rack next to the checkout desk in the library — and all of the mysterious things that people here don’t understand are becoming so visible that they’re quickly going to become conventional wisdom. What’s one of the first things he goes on about? The professional-managerial class. The 10%. That’s not really the same thing as what I’ve meant by the global managerial class, but it’s close enough.

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root_e 07.27.16 at 11:13 pm

Is there more of it now? What’s that based on? I think there is less of it now, but it’s more virulent and visible because there’s more media and because the racial privileges of white men are under threat. Racists who are secure in their position don’t need to ride with the Klan.

“You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.” – George Wallace.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 11:18 pm

If there’s less of it now, then why is anyone worried about Trump winning? Why did the Brexit vote go for Leave?

You can’t have it both ways. If you insist that Brexit is xenophobic then there are 52% xenophobes in the UK or at least 52% of people who aren’t really objecting to xenophobia.

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root_e 07.27.16 at 11:25 pm

51% is less than 90%. And electoral majorities are sometimes complex and voters don’t have checklists.

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RNB 07.27.16 at 11:49 pm

‘The people carrying pictures of Obama with a bone in his nose and screaming “Keep government hands off our medicare” were not salt-of-the-earth proletarians dispossessed by uncaring Democratic neoliberals.’
Well-put indeed, root_e.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.27.16 at 11:56 pm

root_e: “51% is less than 90%”

Yes, because saying “why are you worried about Trump winning if there is less racism now” is the same thing as saying “racists are 90% of the population.”

This is not worth my time. I wish that the 5 people whose comments I am interested in would post more. (There’s really more than 5: sometimes a new one turns up.)

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Ronan(rf) 07.27.16 at 11:58 pm

I don’t think there’s more of it now. What there is, more than economic decline, and why it’s happening now, is there’s a cracking up of conventional political party systems, and a moment when different political elites try to shift the terms of debate and build new coalitions. This seems to me to be tied to a number of demographic changes in western countries; the long term decline of labour, the expansion of an educated (multi ethnic) youth, the long term effects of relatively large inward migrations, the combination of regional economic decline and movement out, and self segregation, of the younger and more educated to larger urban areas. The political crisis of the 00s, the economic crisis and (in Europe) migrant crisis have driven these political realignments. After that , why did brexit happen is largely historically contingent. A political struggle within the Tories that cameron was forced into because of changes in the distribution of power in the party and btw political parties in the political system.
It’s similar to the situation in parts of The middle east (1)deeper demographic changes particularly based around age, education and values (2) a crisis and cracking in old political alliances (3) a political struggle to create new political coalitions and ideological positions.
It’s not necessarily a sign of decline, or something deeply wrong, or even a deep dissatisfaction. It’s mostly an inevitability, in its most general form .

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Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 12:11 am

Ronan(rf): “there’s a cracking up of conventional political party systems, and a moment when different political elites try to shift the terms of debate and build new coalitions.”

You write above: “As to whether racism and xenophobia were a driving force behind brexit. Well, yes. Of course they was.” You can complicate the model all that you like, but I don’t think that you can simultaneously say that racism and xenophobia were a driving force behind brexit and also “why it’s happening now, is there’s a cracking up of conventional political party systems”. Maybe you could say that cracking up of conventional party systems allowed a whole lot of previously hidden racism / xenophobia to be expressed, but I don’t think that’s really different from “there is more now.”

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Faustusnotes 07.28.16 at 12:18 am

RP at 704, way to go misrepresenting my arguments. You really can’t handle the idea hat culture generates independent of economic causes can you ?

Ronan(rf) the welfare scrounger hate is a good point, and I would add to it in two ways: 1) the existence of this “get a job” refrain amongst brexiters and trumpeters is a big pointer to the fact that most of them are comfortably in the mainstream, with jobs and a pride in their work, which further undermines the claims of others here that people only turn to racism out of economic insecurity, and 2) almost every racist screed in the daily mail type newspapers includes claims that foreigners are jumping the welfare queue and taking more than locals. In British racist propaganda, welfare scrounger a suddenly become the deserving poor when foreigners are around.

Good to see ze k is gone, though no doubt he’ll be back soon with a new nom de troll.

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Faustusnotes 07.28.16 at 12:21 am

The reason it is happening now is 20 years of a racist ignorant media ( led by just two people) aiding and abetting an openly racist movement (ukip) at every turn, and an opportunistic and incompetent pig fucker giving that movement an open goal.

People are less racist now than when I was a child, and more used to foreigners. This genie was let out of its bottle through 20 years of media effort and Tory stupidity.

714

RNB 07.28.16 at 12:27 am

Will have to go back and read what you faustusnotes and TP have written above. Great stuff.

715

Ronan(rf) 07.28.16 at 12:29 am

“Maybe you could say that cracking up of conventional party systems allowed a whole lot of previously hidden racism / xenophobia to be expressed, but I don’t think that’s really different from “there is more now.”

Yes. I think western societies, by a number of measures, are considerably less racist now than they were 40, 50 even 20 years ago. I think the coming apart of conventional political coalitions has enabled the mobilisation of prejudices that were generally latent. Here you could argue these new political factions (1) generally just represent societal prejudices and prefernces or (2) are manipulating and driving people’s darker instincts. I’m closer to (2).
If this is broadly what “there is more of it now” means, then I guess I don’t disagree.

716

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 12:32 am

Faustusnotes describes his dad as a welfare scrounger, complete with bits about how he defrauded the government to get his trailer trash mobile home, and then comments disapprovingly on the welfare scrounger hate. Judge, don’t give me a hard sentence for killing my parents, I’m an orphan.

As for the rest let’s see. Where was that above? Oh, yes, there at #681:

“What I’ve been observing with interest is something I’ve alluded to on another thread here, the growing white-on-white disgust with nonworkers. It’s ready-made for all of the same social functions as racism without actually being racism. In particular, it potentially melds badly with the historical left attachment to workers as the important class of people who they should care about.”

I wonder who wrote that? Clearly it must be someone who claims “that people only turn to racism out of economic insecurity”.

717

RNB 07.28.16 at 12:37 am

@713 Cameron had political objectives. Trump may not. I think he went batshit crazy today (calling for espionage and wishing to have the powers to hack at his whim) not because he is about to lose the Presidency to a woman (in a pantsuit) but because Hillary Clinton’s Convention is getting better television ratings than his did. I mean, it was Meryl Streep and Alicia Keys against Chachi and Sabato, Jr. Trump couldn’t sleep, forgot to take his medication and just went batshit crazy.

718

Faustusnotes 07.28.16 at 12:45 am

Rich I described three people of my acquaintance, all of whom worked most of their adult lives. One of these (my father) was drummed out of his job in a dying industry in his 50s and then went on benefits. I made clear in those comments that he was racist before he lost his job and nothing changed. I presented the trailer park trash background as a self deprecating comment. I guess it was silly of me to imagine that someone as holier than me as you could understand self deprecation.

Now I have a question I know you won’t answer but maybe someone else will. How come it is “shutting down debate” to accuse anyone of the “thoughtcrime” of racism but it is okay for YOU to repeatedly accuse people of hating the poor, of being condescending to the proles, or of being class traitors or imperialists?

719

bruce wilder 07.28.16 at 12:53 am

Did he “accuse”?

I think he took notice.

720

root_e 07.28.16 at 1:06 am

“Yes, because saying “why are you worried about Trump winning if there is less racism now” is the same thing as saying “racists are 90% of the population.”

Wow that’s weak. I was pointing out that your feeble attempt to manufacture a contradiction is based on an obvious arithmetic fallacy. I am worried about a Trump win and at the same time I think there is a decline in racism. Since you don’t have an actual argument you tried tried to evade. Pathetic.

721

root_e 07.28.16 at 1:09 am

“Now I have a question I know you won’t answer but maybe someone else will. How come it is “shutting down debate” to accuse anyone of the “thoughtcrime” of racism but it is okay for YOU to repeatedly accuse people of hating the poor, of being condescending to the proles, or of being class traitors or imperialists?”

Because, shutup. Of course.

722

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 1:10 am

You write “shutting down debate” and “thoughtcrime” as if they’re quotes. Maybe they are, but they aren’t quotes from me as far as I remember, and they aren’t in this thread as far as my search box can see. I don’t think you’re shutting down debate, I just think you’re foolish and can’t read, and that makes it useless to engage in argument with you.

I also think you’re a hypocrite. You felt free to say that my politics was just posing (an unusual use of the word that seems to combine “being sarcastic” and “commenting on the worst parts of my arguments”), but you seem to think that people have to take your replies at face value.

723

root_e 07.28.16 at 1:15 am

Some things never change:
” For Messer-Kruse, moreover the organizational infighting exposed not merely the character shortcomings of Marx and Sorge; it also revealed, more fundamentally, the ideological rigidities and inadequacies of their materialist interpretation of history, at least as it applied to the mid-nineteenth-century United States. In marked contrast to the more open-minded, non-exclusionary, and racially and sexually egalitarian idealism of the Yankee members of the IWA, the orthodox Marxist commitment to “but one true line of socialist progress” (p. 43) increasingly amounted, in the 1870s, to an altogether misguided preoccupation with wooing the politically conservative, anti-socialist workers of Irish descent who made up a high proportion of the organized rank-and-file. This economist, trade union strategy of Marx, Sorge, and their minions reflected both their dismissive contempt for American political democratic institutions and electoral processes as part of the capitalist-controlled “superstructure,” and their tactical disregard–despite their own nominal commitment to the ideals of racial and sexual equality–of the potential significance of blacks, women, and other segments of unorganized labor as constituent elements of the American left. The German Marxists’ “Irish strategy” proved, in Messer-Kruse’s account, to be as futile as it was ugly.”

724

Faustusnotes 07.28.16 at 1:46 am

Also if racism is a response to economic insecurity and the failure of the state to protect its most vulnerable, why are trump and farage such racists?

725

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 2:09 am

“why are trump and farage such racists?”

To get power. (Or attention, or whatever it is that Trump wants.) Oh dear I guess that the idea that racism increases along with economic insecurity just doesn’t work unless all racists come from the same cause.

Step by step. But there can’t actually be anything step by step because, really, you could have figured out what my answer would be to “why are trump and farage such racists” if you’d thought about it for less than a minute.

That’s the basic difference between an honest interlocutor and a dishonest one. Do people think that BW and I agree? BW is an old-style New Deal liberal who thought I was crazy when we first argued. He still thinks that anarchism is basically crazy. But he doesn’t do this stupid nonsense.

726

root_e 07.28.16 at 2:18 am

Hilarious that the guy who attempted a refutation based on a fake contradiction bemoans the lack of thought in other peoples arguments.

727

Corey Robin 07.28.16 at 5:19 am

Some especially agitated person upthread accused me of not listening to Barack Obama speeches, as if that were a crime; apparently, we now live in North Korea where we’re obligated to listen to the speeches of the Dear Leader. As it turns out, I didn’t listen or watch Obama tonight, but I did read his speech. And interestingly, given the topic of the OP and this thread, this is what he had to say:

“There’s been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America’s lost – people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control. They tell voters there’s a ‘real America’ out there that must be restored. THIS ISN’T AN IDEA THAT STARTED WITH DONALD TRUMP. IT’S BEEN PEDDLED BY POLITICIANS FOR A LONG TIME—PROBABLY FROM THE START OF OUR REPUBLIC.”

On this one, I’m with Obama.

728

RNB 07.28.16 at 5:37 am

Yes but Rudy Giuliani, Stephen King and Jan Brewer–and Donald Trump is more nativist, sociopathic and unstable than each of them–were not actually the nominees of a major Party for the Presidency. So I don’t see your point in capital letters as a very effective defense of your OP.

729

RNB 07.28.16 at 5:49 am

The OP was focused on Presidential nominees, so let’s not switch topics, ok?

While LFC and I agree with Robert Paul Wolff that Trump is more of a threat to start a civilization-ending nuclear war than Hillary Clinton and (I think LFC would agree) the last few Republicans, I am willing to grant that he may be just as much a threat here as Barry Goldwater was. That was more than 50 years ago of course.

But then given his deportation force for twelve million people, rhetoric for exterminatory hatred, and his religious intolerance in the form of an immigration ban, I can’t see who has threatened a more discriminatory presidency in the last several decades. He may be an ordinary anti-black racist for a Republican (I actually think he is hiding his vicious anti-black racism that may even be virulent than Reagan’s and Nixon’s views of black people, but he is trying to keep it on the down low); yet on the nativism and religious intolerance front he far exceeds Romney, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Reagan, and I think Nixon too.

730

RNB 07.28.16 at 6:03 am

Hey, do you think the Bernie-or-bust ‘radicals’ for whom you speak did the right thing shouting down Rear Admiral Hutson and ex-CIA chief Panetta when they were appealing to independents to stand against torture, anti-Muslim bias as wrong and counterproductive, and unstable sociopathy as a character trait with someone with the nuclear codes. Rachel Maddow thought the protest made no sense given what Hutson and Panetta were actually saying, but why not undermine what could be very effective appeals to independent voters worried about domestic security?

We have seen from discussion here that the anti-war protestors can’t even keep the difference between Syria and Libya clear–yes, I am talking about you Rich Puchalsky. We know that quite a few “leftist” Sanders supporters don’t even know what TPP stands for or what is in the “trade” deal, though they have already succeeded in wrecking it. Still mad though. They have been convinced that something has been stolen from them and that they represent a revolution. Sanders has spoken against the madness, the Sanders intellectuals not so much.

731

Faustusnotes 07.28.16 at 6:04 am

So rich no one is a racist because they actually hate other races? This whole idea exists and has existed for thousands of years but nobody really believes it and at all class levels it’s just a cipher for something else. They really just want to get along but they can’t because they’re economically unstable. But some proportion of society sees through this sham (that no one actually believes!) and understand that everyone is just behaving this way because they either don’t have power, or they they do have power.

A really useful theory you’ve got there.

732

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 6:35 am

Duncan Black sends up a warning . ‘Played’ – as in play, or get played.

Given that the latest spew from donkey central is the game-changing shriek: ‘Trump’s remarks on _____ disqualify him,” again, I went back to the immortal ‘escalator ride’ in Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 to try to determine when Donald’s remarks on A first disqualified him from office.

Of course, it was the very same week he announced his presidency with his denunciation of Satan spawn and his promise to build a new wall around heaven. St. Peter, as builder. Lots and lots and lots of outrage, mockery, condemnation, and more outrage, and more mockery and June 24 Trump was n° 2 in the New Hampshire primary after Bush. He’d been a politician for less than two weeks and was leading a pack of governors and senators. What was the political pundit class reaction to this remarkable placing? “Pay no attention. Politico.

So today the latest donkey spew from their own convention is what exactly? Donald Trump, the candidate whose remarks ‘disqualified him from office’ practically every month, or more, just said something so outrageous (yes – it’s that sad and predictable) that he has now ‘disqualified’ himself from ever holding office. Fuck me.

Trump should never have got this far. However, nobody is going to be able to stop him until Dem surrogates (who might they be here?) find something positive to say about HRC, and shut-up about Trump.

Trump, in case you haven’t been paying attention, disqualified himself by his remarks into a 7 pt. lead this week, destroying the advantave HRC maintained going into the convention. Trump did so raising and spending a fraction of the money HRC and the Dems have spent over the last year, not to mention the hundreds of millions defeated Republicans wasted while declaring, like the Dems are now, that ‘Trump has disqualified himself’ from ever holding office. Scrap and adapt – Trump is floating above the fray, driving the narrative and HRC’s feet are nailed to the floor. She’s a fighter, no doubt, and there’s plenty of time left to turn it around.

Right now she looks like a deer staring into the headlights. A bounce puts her back in front. Better hope it’s a big one.

733

RNB 07.28.16 at 7:08 am

The polls are meaningless at this point, from what I understand. The question is whether the Sanders wreckers will allow Hillary Clinton to speak tomorrow. Or will they sabotage her in front of the millions of voters who have to figure out whether they are going to show up to vote and/or for whom they are going to vote. The Sanders wreckers are an actual threat to a Democratic victory; everything Trump says and does redounds to the advantage of Clinton. He is whittling down the Republican base every day. The question is whether the wreckers at the DNC can convince people not to show up for Hillary Clinton or vote Green. Or stop her from making her case to these undecided voters. That’s the biggest threat.

So far those at the Convention who accept the results of the nomination process and now take it as their responsibility to get the Party’s nominee actually elected (after which time the dissent can be revved up again) have not come to blows with the disruptors. That is just the discipline any serious political movement must have. The disruptors may be sharply more disruptive tomorrow. Some of them may imagine themselves as the new ’68 Democratic Convention protestors, though I truly doubt their understanding of foreign policy (what do they want to do in the face of Daesh?) and foreign trade deals (what do they know about TPP?).

Really worried about how this is going to play out. I have little doubt that given how some are belittling the case for the grave threats that Trump poses to the Republic, many disruptors think that it’s worth the risk of Clinton not getting elected to speak their truth to power tomorrow night.

A lot is at stake.

734

TM 07.28.16 at 8:04 am

I don’t see the wisdom of purging past comments (and screwing up our numbering).

735

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 8:30 am

@ 733 “everything Trump says and does redounds to the advantage of Clinton.” HRC had a double-digit lead in mid-June. Now, he’s either tied, or 7 pts. ahead.
You mean that kind of advantage?
” He is whittling down the Republican base every day.” Really? Even Nate Silver isn’t claiming that nonsense. Trump managed his convention perfectly: getting maximum attention, great approval ratings for his speech, and most important – inviting Ted Cruz to ‘speak his mind’ to a national audience, the result of which blew up Cruz’s career and pushed a whole bunch of GOP folks off the bench and solidly behind Trump. Hence his bump. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gop-voters-are-rallying-behind-trump-as-if-he-were-any-other-candidate/

And you think Sanders supporters are you biggest worry? You’re biggest problem is denying facts right in front of you, and your utter inability, it seems, to make a positive case for electing Clinton.

Do you know that might look like? Hint: we don’t get to say anything bad about anyone.

At the moment, it appears somebody forgot to teach you this style of argumentation.

Really.

736

RNB 07.28.16 at 8:54 am

The case for Trump relies on blind prejudice. Once one calculates the cost of expelling 12 million people (assume $10 K for each expulsion in a $120 bn dollar program and guesstimate that expelling illegal immigrants reduces the the number of murders by 150 total per year; that means Trump’s plan costs $800 million !!! to save each life that would have been taken by an illegal immigrant; but the opportunity cost in terms of how that money could be saved may be great, i.e. many more lives could be saved with the money that Trump wants to use on the creation of a special deportation force).

Only a self-destructive nativist and racist–that’s you, kidneystones– could think Trump has any solution to the problems in their lives. He will make everything much worse from the murder and premature death rate to terrorism to the public debt to the health care system.

The positive case for Hillary Clinton is easy: higher minimum wage, expanded reproductive rights, paid family leave, public option, better enforcement of overtime and wage theft laws, much better federal court and S. Ct appointments.

As I said, the polls have not settled down. The email hit will probably dissipate; the Republican convention bounce was to be expected. We’ll know where the polls are at in mid-August. I expect the race to be close; this is why I am dismayed by the confused left that Sanders himself has now disavowed.

737

RNB 07.28.16 at 9:06 am

By whittling down the Republican base, I meant Trump alienating not the base (I misspoke) but the the Party elders and elected leaders and big donors. Of course he could still win on the basis of his huge advantage with white guys without degrees, but that only works if Democratic Party turnout is low and the independent voters turn against HRC as if they were Republicans. This is why I am worried about the disruptors at the Convention. They could reduce enthusiasm and appeal.

738

RNB 07.28.16 at 9:09 am

Oops typo

that means Trump’s plan costs $800 million !!! to save each life that would have been taken by an illegal immigrant; but the opportunity cost in terms of how that money could OTHERWISE be SPENT may be great, i.e. many more lives could be saved with the money that Trump wants to use on the creation of a special deportation force SPENT instead on alternative programs from the improvement of medical care, the repair of the roads, the expansion of vaccination programs, the expansion of mental health centers, programs to buy back guns, etc.

739

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 9:13 am

@ 736 “only a self-destructive nativist and racist… – could think Trump has any solution”

I’m not in the slightest offended to be described in this manner, btw, (it’s a consider the source issue, obviously), but I very strongly suspect that all those real and potential Trump supporters, who are unfamiliar with your mood swings, might take strong offense

There appear to be enough ‘self-destructive nativists and racists’ (your terms) to get Trump elected at the moment. So, keep going.

Worked for Remain!

740

RNB 07.28.16 at 9:18 am

No kidneystones I mean you; I don’t mean all Trump supporters most of whom have not been engaged in discussion where the insanity of what Trump is proposing has been laid bare. But the hope is that as the insanity of what Trump is proposing is exposed now that Republicans are not the main ones criticizing him, some of his supporters will abandon ship.

741

TM 07.28.16 at 9:20 am

RP’s “why is there more racism now” is really impermeable to argument. Do I need to remind you that in the US electoral turnout is low, elections are always decided by a minority of the electorate, and who wins in presidential races is usually a matter of who manages to mobilize their base better? Another point that should be obvious: of course racism isn’t the only ideology of right wing movements. The GOP is also supported by those who oppose Social Security and related policies, for example. But racism allows them to oppose Social Security while also getting votes from people who support Social Security. There is a large block of voters who would never vote for the party of Barack Obama because of racism, and some have switched from voting Democrats all their life to voting GOP because Obama is black, not because of any policy disagreement. That’s a fact.

Also, I have pointed to at least wto factors that are known to fire up the racists – Obama in the White House and Black Lives Matter protesting institutional racism. It’s obvious that these events are perceived as threatening by racists and have a mobilizing and radicalizing effect on them. That effect could be counterbalanced if the BLM movement manages to mobilize anti-racists, or just anybody with a rudimentary moral compass who is outraged by police brutaility and by Trump’s openly racist discourse. But then, RP, BW and friends tell us anti-racist mobilization is counterproductive and we should stop “sacralizing” race and acknowledge the economic injustice that the racists are suffering from.

742

TM 07.28.16 at 9:24 am

root:e 684:“So, for example, a left that constantly denigrates any reformers as “neoliberal shills” and any reforms as shams, and one that encourages cynicism and apathy, one that works hard to show that all politicians are equally corrupt (e.g. Bush=Gore) might invite speculation on whether its purpose to abdicate power to the right?”

Seconded.

743

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 9:28 am

“The email hit will probably dissipate” Not when the DNC get snookered into putting ‘hack, missing email, national security and Hillary’ in their messaging as they are now.

“the Republican convention bounce was to be expected” No shit? I heard the opposite would occur because of Trump’s ‘dark message,’ the ‘chaos,’ and ‘second-stringers’ in Cleveland. Only here you are crapping your pants over the ‘chaos’ in Philadelphia.

“By whittling down the Republican base, I meant Trump alienating not the base (I misspoke) but the the Party elders and elected leaders and big donors.” Fair enough. Except Trump has been trashing the Party elders and elected leaders and big donors from day 1 and winning in the process. With Clinton party elites and donors and elected people lined up to screw Sanders, and guess what – the electorate noticed both.

Hence, your concerns over ‘leftists’ who you evidently believe should bend over and say thank you very much for getting screwed by the nominee and the DNC.

You’re right to be worried.

744

Faustusnotes 07.28.16 at 9:32 am

Those contradictions won’t heighten themselves, comrade!

745

RNB 07.28.16 at 9:32 am

Trump has figured out that he wins on a law and order campaign with all its racial and nativist coding. This depends on 1. exaggerating how much lawlessness and disorder there is, i.e. describing America as a divided crime scene as Obama just put it; 2. suppressing the question of the costs and opportunity costs of his massively expanded police, anti-terrorism and deportation forces; 3. making people fear that a woman leader cannot intimidate into silence those who would threaten peace and quiet in white neighborhoods.

I am pretty sure that this is all he’s got. It may be enough.

746

TM 07.28.16 at 9:41 am

Corey 727: You posted this because you assume it’s news to people on CT? Okaaay.

A response to 662 will still be appreciated.

747

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 9:41 am

RNB – thanks for trying to make it personal – except our exchanges began when you lamented the fact that ‘normal’ people were treating Trump rallies as political rallies, instead of ‘Klan rallies.’ ‘CT is a white-boy-love fest.’ That was yesterday. You make so many accusations of racism and sexism that you can’t keep track of the ones you made here within the last 24 hours.

And the thing about charges of ‘racism?’ With most people I know, especially those who, you know, don’t actually see themselves as ‘racists’ – they never, ever forget. In 2007-8, I had a front-row seat for Ferraro is David Duke in drag and all the other accusations of racism leveled at any and all who refused to support Obama. These were Dems hurling accusations of racism at other Dems.

Your cynicism is transparent. When you run out of arguments, or your are demands are not met – out comes the race card, which you leveled directly, btw, at Corey and the community here yesterday.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

748

RNB 07.28.16 at 9:49 am

Did I miss your defense of the rationality of his deportation program of 12 million people? No. I understand that you could not care less about their lives, but when I point out to you that it would harm legal American citizens in terms of its opportunity cost, you still support Trump though you do not defend the rationality of what he is proposing. So what to conclude but that you just want to enjoy the humiliation of brown people being rounded up and deported and trembling with fear and that you are willing to pay a lot for this spectacle. So draw your own conclusions about yourself.

749

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 9:56 am

Something Hillary hasn’t had the courage to do in 200 days – hold a press conference.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEbMg-JoQ1Q

Trump is taking all the hits at the conference and batting the gnats away. Can’t see ‘feet nailed to the floor ‘ doing anything but trembling into a quivering puddle.

Trump on Hillary – ‘she can’t hold a press conference because she has no answers.’

No press conferences – another reason to vote for HRC

Change!

750

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 10:30 am

RNB: “the Sanders wreckers”

Funny! I guess that RNB really is a Marxist.

751

TM 07.28.16 at 10:39 am

Something weird going on with comments.

752

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 10:43 am

@ 749 I couldn’t care less who wins the election at this point. I supported Sanders – the DNC, the banks, and special interests ensured the 225k a pop neocon clown-princess was proclaimed the changiest change-agent evah exactly as they’d planned all along.

As for your heart-felt plea for the plight of innocent brown people, HRC and her war-loving pals have displaced millions of people in the Middle East and killed tens of thousands more, individuals whose only crime was to be born in the wrong nation at the wrong time. As noted above, when Bush wanted to trigger an all out nuclear arms race in Asia your candidate was right on board with Bush, McCain, her current boss and his creepy side-kick Biden. Her time in office has degraded America’s reputation in the ME to near Bush-levels and try as might you can’t put that mess on Trump.

The worst you can hang on Trump is words and your frankly astonishing range of paranoid insights into his mostest evilest black heart – the most sociopathic candidate to ever run. Huh?

Trump said he’d deport undocumented people from America. Obama is already doing that in record numbers. He said he’d build borders. Most Americans and most people support strong borders. I think the DNC has a wall running right around their complex.
That’s it.

He’s an offensive, race-baiting vulgarian NY liberal who loves himself, his family, his country, and money – in that order. I’ve lived through worse.

We all have.

753

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 10:48 am

Corey Robin: “Some especially agitated person upthread accused me of not listening to Barack Obama speeches […]”

I inadvertently listened to about ten minutes of CNN yesterday because it was on at a dentist’s office. So I saw part of the Democratic convention coverage where people speaking for the campaign (I assume) were reacting to the news of Trump saying that Putin should have his hackers find HRC’s 30 million Emails.

I expected a response on the order of “Trump is a clown. Do you really want a clown for President?” Instead someone immediately said that cyber war was war, and that Russia was our enemy. And that Trump was encouraging our enemies or something like that. Then everyone agreed that Trump was reckless.

And — really? Cyber war is war, and Russia is our enemy? Since when did Russia become our enemy? HRC’s campaign is now declaring that a nuclear power is our enemy and that they just committed an act of war against us?

Let’s assume the maximal case for the DNC hack — that it was personally ordered by Putin in order to affect the U.S. election because he thinks that Trump favors Russia’s interests. Was the opposition research that was revealed stamped “Classified” or “Top Secret”? Did it contain military plans or the identity of spies? No. It seems to have contained pretty obvious stuff about how to do negative campaigning against Trump.

Is there proof that Putin ordered the break in? I’m assuming for the sake of argument that he did, but is there still plausible deniability? There is no proof, and there is plausible deniability. So HRC’s reps are willing to declare that a nuclear armed power is our enemy and committed an act of war against us based on them embarrassing her campaign, with no proof that they did so. And then everyone agreed that Trump was reckless!

Trump gets something of a pass on his statements based on no one knowing whether he’s ramping or incoherent or serious. HRC is supposedly to be serious, and in control of her campaign. What her campaign did was warmongering. As a reflection of what she might do in office, I can no longer say that Trump is more frightening as a warmonger.

I still think that it’s better for the country and world that HRC wins than that Trump wins — none of the reasons for that judgement (which have nothing to do with her or Trump, but with their respective political coalitions) have changed. But HRC is the worst Democratic candidate I’ve seen in some time.

754

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 10:52 am

“ramping” above was supposed to be “rambling”.

755

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 10:59 am

Great graph – another milestone – lowest numbers in decades:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/193913/clinton-image-lowest-point-two-decades.aspx?utm_source=twitterbutton&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=sharing

And just at the right time!

756

Ronan(rf) 07.28.16 at 11:06 am

I thought this , on the various issues if this tread ,was quite good

https://morecrows.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/unnecessariat/

757

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 11:29 am

From the article that Ronon(rf) links to above: “The term [precariat] found favor in the Occupy movement […]”

And the people here talking about poseurs had the same opinion about the Occupy movement, which is why it was crushed. On my blog (I’m not even going to link to it again) there’s a series on Occupy, in which I write about how the crucial moment was when police departments nationwide started to do mass arrests and close down encampments. Did people not in Occupy defend a right to peaceably assemble and to protest? No, they didn’t. Instead it was all the same sentiments that you see here. The people who call most strongly for solidarity have proven time and again that they have solidarity with no one and that it’s just a scam.

The article goes from precariat to unnecessariat, a word that my spellchecker is probably going to do something horrible to. Do people understand this obvious fact about what’s going on? No, they don’t. It’s all nonsense about how could anyone possibly say that there’s a reason for people to turn to racist demagogues like Trump. Racism just is what it is, and their lives are fine so what are the trailer trash complaining about? They get all those government perks!

758

Layman 07.28.16 at 11:40 am

kidneystones: “Her time in office has degraded America’s reputation in the ME to near Bush-levels and try as might you can’t put that mess on Trump.”

I have to say this is the first evidence I’ve seen that kidneystones can correct his own errors. It still overstates the facts and oversimplifies the causes, but it least it isn’t blatantly wrong, as it was the first time he offered it.

“the DNC, the banks, and special interests ensured the 225k a pop neocon clown-princess was proclaimed the changiest change-agent evah exactly as they’d planned all along.”

This, on the other hand, is gibbering nonsense. Once upon a time, HRC lost the nomination to a guy who actually garnered fewer primary votes than she did, despite the near-unanimous backing of the DNC, the banks, and the special interests. This time around, she wins the votes going away – of course it could only be because of the all-powerful, irresistible forces brought to bear by the DNC, the banks, and the special interests!

759

Corey Robin 07.28.16 at 11:45 am

TM: In the NYT piece, I referred to the “liberal silence” about Trump’s claim. I haven’t seen much of a response to it at all in the media. Just two in fact. One response I saw was Jonathan Chait’s, who pretty much just laughed at it. Mary Dudziak had a thoughtful response in the Times, but she didn’t at all take up the question whether Trump’s claim revealed a broader indifference on the part of US elites to world opinion on this matter. She mentioned only his indifference (which I agree with). But that’s much different matter.

Just so we’re clear: the claim here — my claim — is not that US elites are indifferent to police brutality at home. It’s that they are indifferent to the effect of that brutality on international opinion. And I think it’s that latter claim that matters: while I’m sure Democratic elites don’t like to see police shooting African Americans, it’s hard for them, absent a felt pressure on the international scene, to do what it would take to turn that inner feeling into the political will to confront police brutality. During the Cold War, it was different: the State Department, establishment elites, they understood what a disaster Jim Crow was for the US throughout the world. Today, police brutality is something elites feel bad about, but don’t necessarily feel is a disaster for US foreign policy and standing internationally.

And, no, I’ve not seen any liberal really take that claim on at all.

760

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 12:22 pm

Fact-checked by a dunce – DNC email hack confirms DNC supported just one candidate

Democratic Party Presidential Candidates Registered as Democrats *
2008 2016
Senator Barack Obama Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton Democrat
Senator Chris Dodd Democrat
Senator Hillary Clinton Democrat
Governor Bill Richardson Democrat
Congressman Dennis Kucinich Democrat
Senator (retired) Mike Gravel Democrat
Senator (retired) John Edwards Democrat

* Omitted – candidates running as independents/democrats, those who did not win a primary, and those who withdrew before the primaries.

Imbeciles – you’d think being unable to find and read a pdf would be instructive. Wrong.

761

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 12:28 pm

So much for the formatting – readable, but this should be better

2008 – field of 7 Democratic candidates
2016 – field of 1 Democratic candidate

Confirms to a very, very, very, very select few: DNC collusion to fix the race in 2008.

762

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 12:45 pm

763

root_e 07.28.16 at 12:57 pm

“Some especially agitated person upthread accused me of not listening to Barack Obama speeches, as if that were a crime; apparently, we now live in North Korea where we’re obligated to listen to the speeches of the Dear Leader. ”

Talk about overwrought. It’s not a crime to pontificate about things you never bothered to learn about, but you sound like a fool when you do so.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 1:06 pm

“Chaos in Philadelphia”

Uh oh it’s the “wreckers”. Only RNB could unselfconsciously echo Stalinist propaganda.

kidneystones, you’re not batting 1000 either. See the picture of that guy holding up the sign that has three check boxes Democrat, Republican, and Awake, with the Awake one checked? Do you think that if he represents a wider though less active group of people that those people are ever going to vote for Trump? They aren’t. The problem for HRC is turnout, not people to her left going across the aisle.

765

Layman 07.28.16 at 1:07 pm

kidneystones: “2008 – field of 7 Democratic candidates
2016 – field of 1 Democratic candidate”

In fact, there were 10 announced Democratic candidates in 2008, of whom 8 were on the ballot in the Iowa Caucuses; after which 5 more dropped out, leaving a field of 3: Obama, Clinton, and Mike Gravel.

In 2016, there were 6 announced Democratic candidates, of whom 3 – Sanders, Clinton, and O’Malley – were on the ballot after the Iowa Caucuses.

766

TM 07.28.16 at 1:24 pm

Corey, thanks for the response. My take is that liberals shouldn’t necessarily respond to any half-truth uttered by trum. I say half-truth because he hasn’t said police brutality makes the US look bad, he has said protests against police brutality make the US look bad, and that is in line with his general authoritarian outlook – compare his admiration for Putin and his response to the Tienanmen massacre.

“Today, police brutality is something elites feel bad about”.

You give them some credit there. There are certainly fractions of “the elites” who don’t feel bad about it at all.

767

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 1:29 pm

@ 765 You just failed the two-comment test.

You do realize you’re probably the only person on the tubes who thinks the DNC wasn’t/isn’t in the tank for Hillary in 2016. The emails confirm just that, but not to you!

Which, combined with your ‘well, Egypt’ face-plant, makes you this thread’s winner of the gold medal of stupid. Take a bow!

You’re getting worse, not better. Hard to believe.

768

root_e 07.28.16 at 1:38 pm

“Chaos in Philadelphia”

YUGE! Tens of protesters and 7 arrests. Storm the winter palace, man.

769

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 1:45 pm

Here’s Atrios talking about the same obvious thing. Trump’s support has expanded beyond the GOP base. Why? There are a number of different possible answers, but “elites lost control of the GOP so the GOP base was unleashed” is not one of them.

770

root_e 07.28.16 at 1:50 pm

I love that Atrios has found a new topic on which to be expert. His financial crisis predictions of the collapse of US capital markets and vast YUGE losses on the bailouts were so fucking on the mark!

771

LFC 07.28.16 at 2:02 pm

RNB @730
Hey, do you think the Bernie-or-bust ‘radicals’ … did the right thing shouting down Rear Admiral Hutson and ex-CIA chief Panetta when they were appealing to independents to stand against torture, anti-Muslim bias as wrong and counterproductive, and unstable sociopathy as a character trait with someone with the nuclear codes.

A factual point here. I listened to chunks of the convention on radio last night (btw I heard a commenter make a reference to a good speech, earlier in the day, by Jesse Jackson, which I missed but will prob. look up). I heard every word that Hutson and Panetta said. I was aware of some chanting in the background but they were not “shouted down.” To “shout down” someone means to create a disruption on such a scale that the speakers cannot speak or cannot finish their speeches or have to cut them short. None of that happened, as far as I could tell.

772

LFC 07.28.16 at 2:04 pm

p.s. And then M. Bloomberg gave his “I’m not a Democrat but here’s why I’m for HRC and why independents shd vote for HRC” speech and he wasn’t shouted down either.

773

LFC 07.28.16 at 2:12 pm

Corey R. @727
Actually you missed something by just reading Obama’s speech, as it was v. skillfully delivered. On the substance, yes, and that line about it didn’t start w Trump was a prelude to the line in which he mentioned “Communists, fascists, jihadists, and home-grown demagogues” in the same phrase, which I thought, as a piece of rhetoric, was both appropriately harsh and effective.

774

Walt 07.28.16 at 2:22 pm

Trump has lost support among whites with a college degree, and gained support among whites without a college degree, for a net wash in support. The GOP elite always stopped short of full-throated racism because they knew that they would lose some of their support in the first group. I mean, Trump managed to lose Red State, and part of it is his racism

I don’t understand the impulse to respond to a historical event with “This proves me right about everything all along.” Especially a readily-interpretable event like Trump getting the nomination. The best you can say is that an economic crisis can make people more willing to countenance extreme solutions, but there’s no reason to think they’ll be left-wing solutions.

775

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 2:42 pm

Walt : “The best you can say is that an economic crisis can make people more willing to countenance extreme solutions, but there’s no reason to think they’ll be left-wing solutions.”

I think that literally no one is saying that an economic crisis necessarily leads to left-wing solutions. On the contrary, some people have been saying that an economic crisis predictably leads to right-wing solutions.

776

TM 07.28.16 at 3:04 pm

When I google “Chaos in Philadelphia”, I get lots of older results where chaos was predicted or lines like “DNC starts in chaos”, but nothing that actually reports conditions that could be fairly descibed as “chaos”. Interesting. Surely it can’t be the case that those media, all in the tank for HRC, were hoping for bad news for Hillary to make headlines from?

777

TM 07.28.16 at 3:06 pm

Just as a taste, I love this from Politico:

“PHILADELPHIA — Protests outside of the Democratic National Convention turned chaotic and veered into violence Tuesday night in Philadelphia, with at least one fistfight breaking out.
A Black Lives Matter protest of several hundred people — including police officers, journalists and the protesters themselves — had been marching for more than two hours when, just a few miles outside the arena where the convention is taking place, they joined up with another large group of protesters, including supporters of Bernie Sanders and pro-Palestinian marchers. The expanded group drew onlookers and resulted in a combustible dynamic that triggered at least one fist fight, though it was unclear who threw the punches.”

A fistfight at a demonstration outside a party convention? In other countries, they do that in Parliament ;-)

778

bruce wilder 07.28.16 at 3:55 pm

The expanded group drew onlookers and resulted in a combustible dynamic that triggered at least one fist fight, though it was unclear who threw the punches.

The tone of the reporting is pretty funny.

On the other hand, upthread, root_e was quoting Messer-Kruse, a revisionist historian who has been busy refuting the claimed innocence of anarchists railroaded in the Haymarket bombing of 1886. The National Review likes his books a lot.

Just thought you’d like to know your fellow travellers, TM.

779

RNB 07.28.16 at 4:06 pm

@752 Trump wants to deport people who have settled in and work in the US.–12 million of them. Deportations have increased under Obama because catch and release at the border has been reclassified as deportation; but the deportation of people who have lived and worked in the US has dropped sharply under Obama. At least that is what a rash of articles by google search is giving me.

Moreover, Hillary Clinton bravely has run on increasing the slots for Syrian refugees to 65,000 from Obama’s 10,000 and of course Trump’s zero. She also explicitly said that she will not deport Central American women and children who have been denied asylum status. and will break with Obama’s policy here. So Clinton is a clear, humane alternative to Trump.

Again Trump wants to deport 12 million people who have settled and work in the United States. He has never been asked or laid out what the costs of his special deportation force will be and indicated how it will operate. There are huge probable costs in the violations of the civil liberties of millions of American citizens here of course; again Trump has never said how he’ll minimize those. And partially due to that he is set to lose the Latino vote overwhelming.

Just to make sure we are within any sensitivity analysis. Assume that each deportation costs only $10K. It could well be 5x time. Trump paraded the families of murder victims of illegal aliens. He has only mentioned three or so over many years. But say that there are 150 a year, and that his deportation scheme would eliminate those. But then he is paying $800 million dollars to save each life. But $800 million spent alternatively could probably save at least 50x more lives (on the assumption that with $10 million expenditure we can prevent one premature death); so his program may actually cost at least 7500 American lives.

Now on death and destruction in the Middle East, you just have no argument here for Trump who called for Qaddafi to be killed and has called for indiscriminate bombing in Syria and even countenanced the use of nuclear weapons in the prosecution of the war against ISIS.

780

RNB 07.28.16 at 4:13 pm

@771 The stupid chanting–for example while Panetta was criticizing Trump for having called for espionage–definitely in my opinion undermined the rhetorical effectiveness of the speech and threw the speakers Panetta and Hutson off; and if not for the chanting those speeches could have been much more effective with some of those national security independents out there. The confused Sanders left is acting stupidly. And as I indicated the question is whether they’ll become even more disruptive tonight.

781

RNB 07.28.16 at 4:18 pm

@772 That the Sanders left whose main issue is supposed to be economic inequality did not shout down Bloomberg but rather military people making arguments torture, violations of human rights generally and anti- Muslim racism, says all that really needs to be said about how dumb these disruptors are. They are also really angry about TPP, willing to disrupt Clinton’s appeal to independent voters tonight to make their point.

782

bruce wilder 07.28.16 at 4:26 pm

Rich Puchalsky @ 753

I likewise caught a few minutes of an actual Trump press conference where he responded to reporter’s questions about the DNC email hack and Putin and made the comment that he wished Russia would find the 33,000 emails Hillary deleted.

His remarks were brief and to the point. He was on message, as they say, and I thought very effective. It made a big impression on me, because up to now I have mostly only seen the reality teevee star talking like a 3rd grader in an incoherent stream of consciousness looking for crowd response from his moronic supporters. He was being sarcastic, in wishing the Russians would find the deleted emails. He reinforced in rapid succession several of his campaign themes: Clinton is a liar (she deleted those emails), the Media are ridiculous (for running with this bizarre business of Putin hacking the DNC), if true the hack shows just how little other countries respect the U.S. (former Secretary of State doesn’t command respect), he doesn’t know Putin and has never met him, he wishes the U.S. to stop vilifying Russia so that the two countries can cooperate against ISIS. (Granted he didn’t expand his vocabulary to include “vilify” — I’m paraphrasing.)

I absolutely think Trump would be a bad President and I’m not changing my mind. All the stuff about being a lazy, narcissistic sociopath still seems realistic to me. But, I am beginning to believe I might be wrong about Clinton’s ability to win the election going away. The bizarre things Clinton supporters are saying on the DNC email Putin hack seem to me like a campaign gone completely off the rails.

After months of the State Dept private email server controversy buzzing in the country’s unconscious, the last thing the Clinton campaign should want is anything newsworthy concerning email and a mysterious hack. If anyone competent in the Clinton campaign messaging team was awake, they really should never have put out anything suggesting a Putin hack was responsible. Who the hell did that? And, if it did get out there, they should have come back with a story of straight-forward theft: a trusted guy with a thumbdrive. Doesn’t matter if it is true.

This Putin hack story is an unmitigated disaster. Scott Adams may be right; the Pointy-Haired Boss has signed up with Clinton’s campaign; the RNB robo was his idea.

783

awy 07.28.16 at 4:41 pm

the left is just reflecting the insular/provinciality of american politics when its natural reaction to the boy who cries “national security threat” is to dismiss it as fearmongering and attempt at control. the domestic political faction warfare is the overriding framework.

sometimes the threats are immaterial, and sometimes they are real and actually a dire threat to some sort of liberal vision of the world at large, but don’t count on the left to react based on the facts.

784

RNB 07.28.16 at 4:43 pm

Trump has not made financial disclosures; the media should make him look increasingly hypocritical for complaining about Clinton deleting messages about–as she puts it– her daughter’s wedding, her mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends, as well as yoga routines, family vacations: the other things you typically find in inboxes.

From what I understand the FBI was able to pull the deleted emails from her server and agreed that they were personal; and concluded that these deleted emails did not include material that would justify an indictment; and were personal.

But Trump is indicting the integrity of the FBI Director. His choice.

785

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 4:53 pm

BW: “The bizarre things Clinton supporters are saying on the DNC email Putin hack seem to me like a campaign gone completely off the rails.”

I still think it’s more serious than that. The Democratic nominee and likely-to-win President has just said, through mouthpieces, that Russia is our enemy and has committed an act of war against the U.S. If Putin wasn’t really responsible for the DNC hack, what does he do now? Even if he was responsible for it, HRC just escalated. This is a level of Russian-war verbiage that I last remember from the Reagan era.

And what are these assurances from “security firms” that we really know who did the hack? Are these anything like the assurances that we were given that Saddam had WMD? Is there any particular reason to believe this stuff? I’m not a security person but I do know a little bit about computers, and I can’t think of a real proof that would establish that the Russians did this as opposed to a Russian hacker doing this or someone else who wanted to make it look like the Russians were doing it doing it. I don’t find the “the name of a famous Stalinist security guy was in the metadata” bit to be amusing as a bad proof of Russian involvement, not when that’s what is supposed to be conceivably putting us back to official enemy status.

786

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 4:58 pm

RNB: “The confused Sanders left is acting stupidly. And as I indicated the question is whether they’ll become even more disruptive tonight.”

RNB has been encouraging people to read what is now my comment #534 as an example of my perfidy, and I similarly encourage people to go back and re-read it. The HRC supporters are beginning the exact responses that I said that they’d have. If HRC fumbles what should have been as sure-fire a win as you get in politics, it will somehow become all the fault of a few people protesting at the convention.

787

RNB 07.28.16 at 5:07 pm

Not saying that the only reason Clinton could lose is disruption from the faux left. But it could be one reason, and so I am hoping that the Sanders people remember that at this point the Convention is basically about appealing to independents and increasing Democratic turnout, not determining who the nominee will be and what the platform will be. The Sanders dissenters already had success there. I am ok with them putting tape with “silenced” written on it over their mouths. Or hold up an anti-TPP sign. They won that battle. Unfortunately I think. But they won, and maybe it gets some of the Trump voters to cross over.

788

RNB 07.28.16 at 5:10 pm

It’s an open question whether Trump will pay a price for refusing to release his long form taxes. One does want to know how much he is hock to Russian investors. It would provide a basis for US-Russian solidarity a bit different from the reds of old. Again anyone who wants to reverse the expansion of NATO should not choose Trump for this task. He is more likely than any President in recent history to start a nuclear war over his signaling a green light for Russian expansion to which he could respond manically if he is being humiliated in the press about it.

789

bianca steele 07.28.16 at 5:11 pm

Now I have a question I know you won’t answer but maybe someone else will. How come it is “shutting down debate” to accuse anyone of the “thoughtcrime” of racism but it is okay for YOU to repeatedly accuse people of hating the poor, of being condescending to the proles, or of being class traitors or imperialists?

You probably missed the week when RP was arguing that he’s a natural leader because of his ability to shout longer than anyone else in the room.

790

Yan 07.28.16 at 5:12 pm

It is becoming increasingly difficult to believe the HRC campaign and its supporters are truly focused on winning the election. On some unconscious level their side seems to really be focused on one thing only: making the case for their innocence after they lose.

It’s maddening, because it could be an easy win. They definitely don’t need Bernie or Busters. Getting out the base alone almost gets them there. Converting a relatively small bunch of unhappy moderate Republicans, and some independents and working class whites, puts them safely over the top.

In fact I suspect if they shut up and did nothing, they’d win. If, God only if, they’d shut up. Instead, their primary campaign strategy is two never stop insulting Trump supporters and Busters, which I suspect comes across vicariously as insulting to their two most needed demographics: working class whites and young people.

791

RNB 07.28.16 at 5:16 pm

No, it’s never easy to get the Democrats elected. Trump is very effective at mobilizing his base of men who have harassed women at some point and lost a promotion or child custody as a result. That is a lot of men. Those who fear progressive taxation are always opposed to tax-and-spend liberals. They have money and can mobilize people on false issues. The oil and gas industry prefers the Republicans and will spend money to keep Clinton out of office. There are a lot of nativists and racists of course. This election will be close. There is nothing Hillary Clinton can do about that.

792

AcademicLurker 07.28.16 at 5:16 pm

Yan@790 just said what I’ve been thinking lately. It really does seem like some of HRCs hardcore supporters secretly want to lose, so they can enjoy spending the next 4 years being furious at the supposed “traitors”.

The contrast between the optimistic note being struck at the actual convention and the surly resentment of folks online is amazing.

793

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 5:18 pm

bianaca steele: “You probably missed the week when RP was arguing that he’s a natural leader because of his ability to shout longer than anyone else in the room.”

That’s total bullshit, “bianca”. You’ve insisted that people aren’t supposed to respond to you if you don’t want them to respond, and I’ve said more than once that I’m requesting the same from you. But you choose to ignore that because what’s good for you isn’t good for other people. So I’ll feel free to say that you are the bitterest, most spiteful, worst misreading and worthless-content person I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading here. You’re not funny, not insightful, and you’re a complete pain to have in comments because every topic quickly turns into a rage-filled diatribe in which you rehearse stories about how people were mean to you a decade ago and how you still hold a grudge.

794

RNB 07.28.16 at 5:26 pm

You are crazy that I want HRC to lose. Trump is a nightmare that we must avoid. People here really don’t understand what an existential attack Trump is on some of us. Let me tell you about me. I am born to Indian parents in the US. I am married to a black woman. We have two kids. I remember getting bullied in kindergarten and first grade in Torrance California about being a Mexican. I remember my teacher mocking my black butterfly in class, saying that all the other kids knew to make theirs colorful. There were other things going on about tracking, but I don’t want to get into it. I remember my mom’s response to this was to enroll me in judo classes and tell the other kids that the chakra on the Indian flag could roll over their fifty stars.

795

bianca steele 07.28.16 at 5:30 pm

@793

Impressive imagination. Strikingly similar to Yan’s imagining of imaginary people insulting him and his friends, and complaining about them until they leave him alone. I don’t have time to pretend to play along with whatever little drama you’ve decided I have to play out with you. You seem to have decided your time here isn’t worthwhile unless you can combine the role of shouty meth-head who polices the “free” contributions, and leader guy who speaks the sense of the group, in one, you.

796

Yan 07.28.16 at 5:34 pm

I’m still reasonably confident that any hacker whose screen name is “Putin’s super top secret hacker, shh, don’t tell” is a thirteen year old in somebody’s basement.

And like RP, I’m not sure how to evaluate the evidence. I’d add that I’m worried by the fact that the media and public act mysteriously as though thay do know how to evaluate it. I’m reminded of when the Bush admin showed grainy photos of moving vans full of WMD materials, and no one pointed out that it’s the “full of WMD” part, not the moving van part, that requires evidence.

However, even the conspiracy theory is true, it’s an awkward outrage. We’re mad that a foreign power meddled in our elections, where the meddling is giving us information relevant to our decision. It’s bad enough that this plot against our democracy involves making our notoriously low information electorate a little better informed. It’s bizarro that it includes informing them of a conspiracy by one of their parties against its own candidates.

797

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 5:34 pm

Impressive imagination? Shall I find your last interactions here with LFC, Lee Arnold (if I remember rightly), and whoever else? I seem to remember that you went on about LFC commenting on your blog, insisting that he’d commented too long or disagreed with you, and how this was a horrible thing that he’d done. Or the other time when you were raging at someone and accused them of getting you to comment more so that you’d get banned? All of this stuff is right here on CT. Shall we look at it?

798

TM 07.28.16 at 5:36 pm

BW 778: “Just thought you’d like to know your fellow travellers, TM.”

:rolleyes:

Yan 790: “On some unconscious level their side seems to”

That’s what we need, psychological speculation on other people’s “unconscious” – while consistently evading discussion and failing to respond to arguments.

I’m also calling kidneystones’ totally unprovoked insult at 767 (site rules anyone?). The above sums up the level of debate that Hillary-haters at CT are able to muster.

799

Yan 07.28.16 at 5:45 pm

B.S. 795,

I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, but if you do end up accepting Rich’s let’s-not–acknowledge-each-others-existence deal, can I get One with you too? That’d be great.

800

bianca steele 07.28.16 at 5:46 pm

Shall we look at it? Are you suggesting a precedent, or am I so uniquely bad that only I deserve that? Apparently I am uniquely bad, because to hear you tell it, I’m the only one who gets into these disputes, and the only one who’s ever, consistently at fault in all of them. You can do what you like, and see what it does for your audience numbers (as it is, you’ll soon be the only commenter left), as for me, I have two big holes in my roof, so forgive me if I don’t give a damn.

801

Corey Robin 07.28.16 at 5:54 pm

Yan: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to believe the HRC campaign and its supporters are truly focused on winning the election.”

I think those supporters are sincere in wanting to win the election. I really don’t doubt their desire or comment. I do think, however, as you’ve noted somewhere else above, that they often shoot themselves in the foot and/or don’t quite know what they’re doing.

For example, if I were as afraid that Trump was going to win as some people on this thread claim they are—as I’ve argued on multiple occasions, in multiple posts and threads and on social media, I think Clinton is definitely going to win; I’m really not nervous about this—the last thing I’d be doing is arguing on a Crooked Timber thread with three other people. And arguing in such a hapless fashion. Seriously: do these people know how to persuade anyone? All they do is flail around. The only thing they’re good at is pushing people away, which is not a good recruiting device for a cause. As you’ve also noted, Yan.

Instead, I’d be out there, every single hour of the day, either knocking on doors, making phone calls, building organizing committees, neighborhood by neighborhood, to turn out the vote. One of our Clinton-loving friends claimed somewhere upthread that he organized big demos to protest both of the Iraq wars. I have my doubts about that; judging by the erratic and fitful quality of his comments, the guy doesn’t seem like he could organize a backpack. But if it’s true, he really shouldn’t be frittering away his spectacular organizing skills here.

On the flip side, it’s a lot easier to argue on the internet with the straw men you’ve concocted in your own head. On two accounts. First, you don’t ever have to do the work of actually persuading people who don’t share your beliefs or assumptions. Second, if Clinton does lose—and again, I just don’t see it happening—you can avoid asking yourself what you didn’t do (or your favored candidate didn’t do) and instead blame the entire loss on those three people you’ve been arguing with in your own head. It’s a win-win strategy.

Anyone who has any genuine political experience knows this. This is like Organizing 101. People will always avoid doing the harder thing—which usually involves going out and not yelling at people you disagree with but trying to meet them where they’re at and slowly but firmly persuading and pushing them to come around to your point of view—and will opt instead to remain in their comfort zones. For some, that means talking to their like-minded friends. For others, it means sputtering on a comments thread at Crooked Timber.

802

Yan 07.28.16 at 5:55 pm

TM,

I tried in good faith to answer each and every one of your questions and challenges, most of which were based in intentional misinterpretation, red herrings, and non sequitors. you did not try to do the same. I know it terrifies you when people try to “read your mind”, but let me let you in on a little secret. The mind isn’t a little Casper living in your head. It’s in the world. It’s in your words. It’s on this screen for all to see.

If you don’t like claims about unconscious intention (which, by the way, are no less empirical than claims about conscious intentions), I’m happy to change it to: “their side is focused in their words and deeds on one thing only: making the case for their innocence after they lose.”

803

Corey Robin 07.28.16 at 6:00 pm

And I should add, though I think it’s obvious from what I said, that if you’re inclined to ask, what am I (Corey), then, doing on this thread, the answer is that I’m not the one who thinks Trump is going to win or even has a chance. I’ve made my case for months as to why I think he’s not going to win.

804

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 6:02 pm

I’ve often said before that this would be a great get-out-the-vote technique if it actually worked. “Fred, I’m calling you to ask you to vote for Hillary and get you out to the polls if you need help.” “Well, I’m not really sure, Hillary seems a little –” “Is this a white boy love fest, Fred? Are you a racist? Vote for Hillary or you’re a racist.” “What the–! I was a Sanders supporter and –” “Sanders turned his support over to Hillary, Fred. Are you a wrecker? Are you going to lose us the election? I bet that you actually want Trump to win.” “Oh wow I don’t want you to think that! I’ll vote for Hillary after all, get me to the polls!”

805

AcademicLurker 07.28.16 at 6:03 pm

Corey@800: In terms of winning, I think the convention is doing a good job of modeling what winning looks like, by hitting such a confident and positive note. That’s why I observed that the contrast with the atmosphere online (not just here at CT), which seems to be all bile all the time, is so striking.

806

RNB 07.28.16 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for the advice, Corey Robin. But I am sorry to say that I shall continue to challenge your poor arguments here, and they are pretty bad. I appreciate your attempt to teach me how to argue and organize well; I’ll learn what I can.

807

RNB 07.28.16 at 6:12 pm

Just could not pass up this: “Instead, I’d be out there, every single hour of the day, either knocking on doors, making phone calls, building organizing committees, neighborhood by neighborhood, to turn out the vote.I am not knocking on doors to get people to vote against Trump.” I live in Berkeley, as you know. This is really dumb advice.

808

RNB 07.28.16 at 6:15 pm

But of course in the run up to the election I’ll go to Move On meetings and make phone calls as my wife and I always do. And I’ll be ready to make the case for Clinton, don’t you think.

809

Layman 07.28.16 at 6:19 pm

“You do realize you’re probably the only person on the tubes who thinks the DNC wasn’t/isn’t in the tank for Hillary in 2016.”

Of course the DNC was in the tank for Hillary in 2016. But the DNC was in the tank for Hillary in 2008. Apparently, it isn’t enough to be in the tank.

If you’re really trying to make some point here, about a stolen election or something, I think you’re going have to explain what it was the DNC did that caused those votes to end up in Hillary’s tally. Something more concrete than ‘like her more than the other guy.’

810

RNB 07.28.16 at 6:24 pm

@806 I ended the quote one independent clause too late. Sorry for confusion. the point is that I am not going door to door to turn out the vote against Trump…in Berkeley. That is just dumb advice. The town is abuzz with Trump criticism. All that goes on here is a battle of who can insult Trump more (I do have much to learn here) and who is spending more money to defeat him and who will spend more hours making phone calls in Oct/Nov.

811

root_e 07.28.16 at 6:24 pm

Wow, revisionism! Is this nostalgia week?

812

Layman 07.28.16 at 6:35 pm

Yan: “Instead, their primary campaign strategy is two never stop insulting Trump supporters and Busters, which I suspect comes across vicariously as insulting to their two most needed demographics: working class whites and young people.”

I thought this comment was a bit odd. I haven’t seen any sort of concerted effort at the Convention, from the campaign, to insult Trump supporters or Busters. I wondered what I was missing, and I thought perhaps you were talking about commenters here rather than the campaign. But I reread the post, and you’re clearly talking about the campaign.

I guess you could say that Sarah Silverman’s ‘ridiculous’ comment was unnecessary and insulting, but what else are you talking about?

813

TM 07.28.16 at 7:12 pm

“the last thing I’d be doing is arguing on a Crooked Timber thread with three other people”

I definitely second Corey’s point: the amount of time that some of us are spending quarreling on CT is absurd. All of us should have better things to do than that shouldn’t we? Less is more!

814

Yan 07.28.16 at 7:18 pm

Layman 812,

No, you’re right, apart from Silverman’s mild but unhelpful jibe, the official face of the campaign has been positive. My mistake. It’s the party supporters who are the problem. As AcademicLurker has noted, the online impression is very different. For any who doubt it, check Twitter or, better, read the biggest Democratic discussion forums.

Now, the added problem is that I think the online face of the campaign is the dominant one. The main audience of the positive official campaign is the church choir. It doesn’t matter that it’s on track, cause nobody we need to get the message is watching. The main audience of the panic, apoplexy, and demonization campaign is more likely to include the people we need to persuade.

Equally important, even if we assume the positive campaign is reaching beyond the cult, er, choir, is that the stark opposition of the two undermines the message. An undecided voter watches the convention, thinks, yes, love trumps hate, then opens Twitter to read that busters should be shot and anyone in a red state sterilized (actual convention tweets from moderate accounts with huge followings, by the way).

815

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 7:30 pm

Yan: “An undecided voter watches the convention, thinks, yes, love trumps hate, then opens Twitter to read that busters should be shot and anyone in a red state sterilized (actual convention tweets from moderate accounts with huge followings, by the way).”

I’m initially inclined to think that this is the Some Guy With a Sign problem, but you’re right, social media is now important enough so that this really may be what most people see much of than the official convention.

As for whether we spend too much time on here, arguing is amusing, at least sometimes. I guess that there’s always Pokemon Go instead.

816

Layman 07.28.16 at 7:34 pm

@ Yan

I guess my own (online) experience has been different. I’ve seen a lot of vitriol directed at HRC and the DNC, and the shrill claims by Bernie supporters that the primary was stolen. What I’ve seen online elsewhere more or less mirrors what I’ve seen here: That HRC eats babies, that she stole the election, that she’s no different than Trump, that we might even be better off with Trump – heighten the contradictions! – and that no one of any conscience could vote for her. This of course leads to arguments about why one should vote for her or against Trump, which become even less civil (if that can be imagined) on both sides, which leads to the cry that HRC supporters ought to be more civil if they expect help from Busters etc. Repeat as necessary.

Seriously, hyperbole aside, that’s how I see the dialog.

817

awy 07.28.16 at 7:51 pm

is there an expectation that Hillary supporters should be held to a higher standard, compared to inexperienced, immature and passionate Bernie supporters?

818

Layman 07.28.16 at 7:59 pm

@ awy, I don’t think anyone is saying they should be held to a higher standard. I think they’re saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. This is true; but I confess I find it hard to imagine the level of self-absorption involved in supporting Trump because a Hillary fan irritated you on the interwebs.

819

Yan 07.28.16 at 8:01 pm

Incidentally, this negative-positive dichotomy has me wondering. Why has no one, either in a party or protesting a party, tried to organize a form of canvassing for party-dissenters? Why not, e.g., organize lefties who oppose both candidates to go door to door in Trump-likely areas saying, “I’d like to talk to you about supporting my candidate, neither of them”?

There’s no good reason for either side to object to them negatively working against Trump while refusing to positively work for Clinton. At worst it just cancels their vote out. There was that odd moment when Dems weren’t sure how to react to Cruz’s “vote your conscience” line, because they knew it cut both ways. But why not Run with it? Why shouldn’t the party actively encouraged it’s dissenters to persuade Repubs to vote their conscience?

Yeah, quixotic, probably impractical, but the idea amused me. I like the image of an army of ex-sanders voters swarming strategic neighborhoods handing out vote neither buttons.

820

awy 07.28.16 at 8:07 pm

people just want to say what they think, most of the time. i’d say most of the vitriol from clinton people are a direct response to the sanders spam they see everyday. sometimes enough is enough

821

Yan 07.28.16 at 8:10 pm

Layman @816

“I guess my own (online) experience has been different. I’ve seen a lot of vitriol directed at HRC and the DNC, and the shrill claims by Bernie supporters that the primary was stolen.”

Of course, the truth is probably that we’re both wrong: our actual experiences are not so different, we’ve just filtered them differently according to our prejudices, each dwelling on, ignoring, or forgetting different parts of it.

But it amounts to the same. If the people we need to win also, like us, filter their experiences this way, it’s a problem. It suggest we do, in fact, need to hold HRC supporters to a higher bar, so they’ll be look better even after such subjective distortion.

822

The Temporary Name 07.28.16 at 8:13 pm

This is true; but I confess I find it hard to imagine the level of self-absorption involved in supporting Trump because a Hillary fan irritated you on the interwebs.

Indeed. My confidence that HRC will be the next president is really high, but my panic over Trump is such that I think much patience and kindness is needed to drag in every possible vote. A self-absorbed vote is a vote nonetheless.

823

Yan 07.28.16 at 8:13 pm

awy 820,

Even if that were true, would you agree that people on the sanders side would probably claim the exact same thing against your side, possibly in almost exactly the same words?

If so, then the problem remains, and being right doesn’t fix it.

824

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 8:18 pm

“Why has no one, either in a party or protesting a party, tried to organize a form of canvassing for party-dissenters?”

Been there, done that (OK not as canvassing).

In actuality, it would favor the GOP if people actively campaign to not vote. The GOP core is going to vote. For the Democrats to win, they have to get to the polls a group of people who may or may not turn out. I fully expect every GOP dissenter who is NeverTrump to vote Trump, just as I expect every Bernie or Bust person to end up voting HRC — you don’t get that involved in electoral politics and then not have social pressure have you fall in line on the big day. But those are numerically tiny groups of people and they only really have an effect as multipliers — multipliers that the Democrats depend on more than the GOP. Grudgingly voting does not equate to signing up for GOTV efforts.

825

alfredlordbleep 07.28.16 at 8:21 pm

. . . Again anyone who wants to reverse the expansion of NATO should not choose Trump for this task. He is more likely than any President in recent history to start a nuclear war over his signaling a green light for Russian expansion to which he could respond manically if he is being humiliated in the press about it. RNB@788

Shades of Saddam getting the green light to invade Kuwait, eh?

P S Very good point, RNB

826

alfredlordbleep 07.28.16 at 8:28 pm

Sorry, just noticed @#7 (!) already noticed the Saddam “connection”.

827

Layman 07.28.16 at 8:37 pm

Yan: “Of course, the truth is probably that we’re both wrong: our actual experiences are not so different, we’ve just filtered them differently according to our prejudices, each dwelling on, ignoring, or forgetting different parts of it.”

I’m sure there’s truth to this; and further, that we’re actually having different experiences in some cases because we’re looking in different places.

That said, I also want to say that 1) I funded Obama’s campaign in 2008 in part because I think Clinton is a poor candidate who would also be a troubling President, 2) I haven’t changed my mind about that at all, if anything I think even less of her, and 3) I voted for Bernie and hoped, against the odds, that he would win. So, I don’t think I’m possessed of much pro-HRC, anti-Bernie prejudice at all.

“It suggest we do, in fact, need to hold HRC supporters to a higher bar, so they’ll be look better even after such subjective distortion.”

If you mean to say that it would be best if some HRC supporters stopped abusing the people they need to convince, then sure, that would be best. Just as it would be best if some Bernie supporters stopped whining and took a practical view of the situation. Should we not expect that of them, too?

828

RNB 07.28.16 at 8:44 pm

@823&4

Yes it is a very good point, and as you note, medrawts made it at the top of the exchange. So that’s not my point. It’s medrawt’s point along with several foreign policy experts. All I wanted to add is that not only Trump encouraging foreign leaders to test his commitments, he will also likely respond to such a challenge in a terrifying way because he is a sociopath (and that also increases that his intentions will be misread, leading to the possibility of miscalculation as RP Wolff argues and LFC agrees). That’s what Corey Robin does not get. The twitter universe was not lit up about how reckless Trump’s pronouncements are given how he is likely to act in a crisis.

Trump does indeed pose graver risks to the international system than any presidential nominee in the last, say, 36 years. Sadly, Corey Robin who has bragged about his skills as a propagandist (his word) has told us that he is not going to lend what he takes to be his considerable rhetorical skills to the effort to help Clinton defeat Trump because he thinks Clinton already has it in the bag. It’s clear from what I have written who I think can afford to have such confidence.

829

AcademicLurker 07.28.16 at 8:46 pm

Layman@825:

HRC is currently running for president of the United States. Bernie Sanders is not currently running for president of the United States. It is literally impossible for the remaining few* Sanders dead enders to negatively impact his chances of being elected by being poor representatives of the Sanders campaign.

*Few, as in fewer than there were HRC dead enders in 2008, according every poll. I didn’t see Obama supporters obsessing over the remaining Clinton hold outs after he won the primaries.

830

Yan 07.28.16 at 8:48 pm

“In actuality, it would favor the GOP if people actively campaign to not vote. The GOP core is going to vote. For the Democrats to win, they have to get to the polls a group of people who may or may not turn out.”

Damn, that’s probably true. How about a fleet of Berners on Election Day driving Dems to the polls?

831

RNB 07.28.16 at 8:57 pm

Thank you for @815, layman. By the way, the former Mayor of LA Antonio Villaraigosa is right about connecting Trump’s deportation program to Operation Wetback (at the Convention right now).

Now this would in fact support Corey Robin’s point that there is precedent for what Trump is doing. But…

1. this was more than 50 years ago;

2. it was 1/10th in size compared to what Trump is proposing (I think Villaraigosa just said 1M were deported; there were also deportations under FDR that he, as a Democrat, did not mention);

3. given that there is a much greater number of legal citizens who would be afflicted by this now, Trump’s program represents a much greater potential assault on civil rights, and is much greater in size.

832

awy 07.28.16 at 9:07 pm

821

while i would agree with the exhortation for content based communication rather than accusations and attacks, there are two issues with that equivocation.

1. Sanders supporters attacked Hillary/supporters as actors of bad faith. this is pretty much just going to incense people who are genuinely committed to ‘the cause’ even though they see it in a different light/through different ideology. As long as you think the opponent is just in bad faith through corruption, manipulation, cheating etc, there is a unilateral refusal to engage with arguments and content. This is a situation that calls for adjustment on the Bernie people’s side, as a precondition for any further engagement.

2. chronologically most democrats, even hillary aligned, were either supportive or indifferent to Sanders. It’s the behavior and accusative message that really riled people up.

833

RNB 07.28.16 at 9:11 pm

@825 Layman, don’t forget about the super critical critics who are willing to undermine Clinton to get Trump elected because these Saints need a foil that would make them (finally!) look rational and smart and give them occasion to write a lot more of their critical criticism that no one is really reading right now.

834

kidneystones 07.28.16 at 9:26 pm

@TM 767 Fair enough. You fling rather a lot of mud at your interlocutors, not to mention leveling charges of trolling when it suits you. The charge of racist is tossed around here regularly and indiscriminately. Indeed, the comments from RND are a persistent attempt to level such an accusation, a charge that if made seriously is among the most offensive and insulting possible. Indeed, if we did a topic search of several commenters, I’m sure we’d discover that “they/he/she equals racist, I/we not racist” sums up their contributions.

I’m happy to argue that I do not normally abuse people without provocation even in cases of extreme laziness and stupidity of the sort evident in your own ridiculous and easily verifiable assertion that Bush made India a nuclear power. That, despite your generally hostile and negative remarks.

Of course, having spent so many years engaging on board with Democrats as a supporter of Edwards, both Clintons, and Kucinich ((to name but a few) I’ve developed a relatively effective survival/rhetorical jujitsu. Poor sourcing and laziness is something of a red flag, I concede. Beyond that, I’m happy to get along as we together demonstrated just up thread.

835

root_e 07.28.16 at 9:42 pm

“The charge of racist is tossed around here regularly and indiscriminately. “

Au contraire, what is tossed around here regularly and indiscriminately is racism.

836

Anarcissie 07.28.16 at 10:00 pm

root_e 07.28.16 at 9:42 pm:
‘Au contraire, what is tossed around here regularly and indiscriminately is racism.’

I have not observed this. Can you point some out?

837

root_e 07.28.16 at 10:20 pm

I am not surprised.

838

Layman 07.28.16 at 10:29 pm

@ AcademicLurker, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to learn that there aren’t enough Busters to flip the election to Trump.

On the other hand, to me it looks like it could be a very close election. If 10% of Busters sit out, that’s 10% of a bit less than half of the potential Democratic vote. Let’s be conservative and say it costs Hillary 2%. I’m guessing she loses in that case.

Now, if Hillary’s on her way to a landslide victory like 2008; well then, you’re right, it won’t matter.

839

Suzanne 07.28.16 at 10:46 pm

@827: Clinton reined in her delegates with a firm hand, a task made easier because she was dealing mostly with party regulars, and called for Obama to be nominated by acclamation, thus taking care not to risk a convention disruption that would hurt the party. It’s not obsessing to be concerned about the Sanders dead-enders making noise that is possibly out of proportion to their numbers, certainly while the convention is going on. The media love a Dems in Disarray storyline and convention disruptions contribute to that, however minor. And this year, with Trump and Pence in the offing, the stakes are pretty serious. I’m reasonably sure that Clinton will win, but this has been an election year where anything really can happen.

That said, the convention has gone smoothly in general and Sanders himself has come around well enough. It took him too long, but in the end that delay hurt him, not Clinton. I didn’t expect him to put her name in nomination and that was a pleasant surprise. I understand he also talked to his delegates about cooling it. Unfortunately, he set in motion some memes he can no longer control.

And I seem to remember some pretty nasty barbs being aimed at the PUMAs, not that there were many of them to aim at. It wasn’t too bad because it soon became apparent that they couldn’t do Obama any real damage.

840

Rich Puchalsky 07.28.16 at 11:03 pm

awy: ” Sanders supporters attacked Hillary/supporters as actors of bad faith. this is pretty much just going to incense people who are genuinely committed to ‘the cause’ even though they see it in a different light/through different ideology. As long as you think the opponent is just in bad faith through corruption, manipulation, cheating etc, there is a unilateral refusal to engage with arguments and content. This is a situation that calls for adjustment on the Bernie people’s side, as a precondition for any further engagement.”

Interesting! OK, so here we have a situation in which there was *really was* cheating by the HRC campaign — the DNC, an organization that was supposed to be neutral in the primary, was in fact not. This cheating or manipulation or whatever it was was serious enough so that the head of the DNC is gone. Now, your contention is that rather than HRC core supporters being vaguely apologetic to Sanders supporters, since after all HRC did win, that instead this calls for adjustment on the Bernie people’s side. The precondition for further engagement is that they give up on this true factual claim about how there was cheating.

I am in awe of your political skills. HRC’s core supporters are really pulling out all the stops, doing whatever it takes to get her elected. My estimation of human nature indicates that this is really going to work. This is an amazingly good stance to take.

841

awy 07.28.16 at 11:06 pm

wait, what cheating was there?

842

Layman 07.28.16 at 11:10 pm

“OK, so here we have a situation in which there was *really was* cheating by the HRC campaign — the DNC, an organization that was supposed to be neutral in the primary, was in fact not.”

What form, exactly, did this cheating take? There’s no doubt that the DNC favored HRC, but what nefarious deeds did they do as a result? And you get that ‘the campaign’ is not the same thing as ‘the DNC ‘, right?

843

bruce wilder 07.28.16 at 11:10 pm

Rich Pulchasky: I still think it’s more serious than that. The Democratic nominee and likely-to-win President has just said, through mouthpieces, that Russia is our enemy and has committed an act of war against the U.S. If Putin wasn’t really responsible for the DNC hack, what does he do now? Even if he was responsible for it, HRC just escalated. This is a level of Russian-war verbiage that I last remember from the Reagan era.

What the nominee says “through mouthpieces” is the campaign, not the candidate. So, though my own assessment, prior to this episode, is that Hillary is a bloodthirsty war-monger, I’d wait to see what she herself says, if she speaks out. Then, I will update my Bayesian priors on Clinton accordingly, I guess.

I will note that her soi disant advocates in this forum tend to think the blustery Trump is the real war-monger and Hitler-reincarnate. Though Trump himself, as I noted above, took the opportunity to say that he thought that U.S. should stop trying to make Russia the enemy, several commenters have trotted out rationalizations for why Trump is more likely to trigger war than Clinton.

Ultimately, we cannot know the future, so it is not like any of this can be made to turn on actual factual evidence. It spins off into dueling counterfactuals and solipsistic testimonials pretty fast.

In the meantime, what we can observe is the campaigns and campaign messaging. And, this Putin hack story is getting the coordinated attention of a full-court press. Obama comments uncommittedly. Salon publishes an hysterical (worse than Watergate!) story. Josh Marshall — always subtle — has a story reporting Howard Kurtz and others “defending” Trump’s call for Russia to release Clinton’s emails. (What Trump actually said was that he hoped Russia might aid in finding the emails Clint