Philadelphia Stories: From Reagan to Trump to the DNC

by Corey Robin on July 30, 2016

So Donald Trump Jr. went to the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi this week, where he said, vis-a-vis the Mississippi state flag, which is the only state flag that still invokes the Confederacy, “I believe in tradition.” Those Neshoba County fairgrounds are just a few miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi. The place indelibly associated with the murder of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in 1964. So that tells you a lot about Donald Trump. Junior and Senior.

But it also tells you a lot about the Republican Party. Thirty-six years ago, almost to the day, Ronald Reagan, then a candidate for the presidency, also went to the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi. There, he said, “I believe in states’ rights.” That, of course, had been the slogan for decades of racial segregation and Jim Crow. Like father, like son; like Reagan, like Trump.

But it also tells you something about the Democratic Party.

For Ronald Reagan is the man whose name improbably electrified the Democratic National Convention meeting this week. In another Philadelphia.

On Wednesday night, Barack Obama said:

Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix.

On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton said:
He’s [Trump] taken the Republican Party a long way…  from “Morning in America” to  ”Midnight in America.” He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.

And just in case the point wasn’t clear, a former official from the Reagan administration enchanted a crowd of screaming Democrats with this one-liner (itself a nod to another DNC one-liner; there’s more intertextuality at a political convention than there is in a grad school seminar):
Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan.

So does any of this matter? Why do I keep harping on the non-newness of Donald Trump, why do I keep resurrecting the multiple precedents for his candidacy against those who would argue for its novelty and innovations?

Part of the reason is that it is an offense against history and memory to pretend that the GOP of the past was somehow a party of reasonable men, clear-headed and basically decent moderates who were taking the car out for a Sunday spin when it all of a sudden it got hijacked by neighborhood toughs and crazed yahoos.

This is not a new argument with me. I’ve been trying for years to explain to dubious liberals and skeptical leftists that Trumpism is what this party is all about, that the “rational, prudential conservatives they think they know are in fact ultra-revanchist songstresses of domination and violence.”

But as I’ve thought about it some more these past few days—why do I keep insisting on these precedents?—it’s occurred to me that there is a less historical, less intellectual and scholarly, reason for my claim.

In this election, we have the opportunity to repudiate not only Donald Trump but Trumpism, and not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment. That apparatus is the Republican Party and the modern conservative movement. The movement and the party that gave us the Southern Strategy, that made white supremacy the major dividing line between the two parties, that race-baited its way to the free market as the dominant ideology of our time, that made hysterical, revanchist militarism the common sense of bipartisanship, that helped turn the Democratic Party into the shell that it is today (with plenty of assistance of course from people like Bill Clinton), that gave us Donald Trump.

When we pretend that Donald Trump is an utter novelty on the American political scene, when Democratic presidents and Democratic presidential candidates invoke the reverie of Ronald Reagan against the reality of Donald Trump, when liberal journalists say the contest this year is not between the Republicans and the Democrats but between a normal party and an abnormal growth from an otherwise normal host (with the implication being that if only we could go back to the contests of 2008, 2000, 1992, 1980, 1972, all would be well), we not only commit an offense against history and memory; we not only betray a woeful ignorance of how we came to this pass (and thereby, as the cliche would have it, ensure that we will come to it again); we help shore up, we extend the half-life, of a party and a movement that should be thoroughly smashed and repudiated. (That, incidentally, is what all the great realignments do: they shatter the old regime, they destroy the ideological assumptions and repudiate the interests that have governed for decades, they send the dominant party and its leading emblems into exile, where they wander in the wilderness for decades.) We make plain our intention to give that party and that movement, even if they should lose in November, a second chance to make their malice and mischief all over again.

Seems like a bad move to me.

{ 439 comments }

1

kidneystones 07.30.16 at 5:57 am

“There were three great mitigating elements to his (who’s that?) acceptance speech: First, he did not refer to God, who got through the Republican convention undisturbed, neither over-invoked nor made the subject of an intrusive witch-hunt, of the sort that was inflicted on the tired accused atheist Bernie Sanders…(By the DNC?)

Second, Donald Trump did not utter the words “climate change,” or anything like them. (that’s bad, right?)…

Third, he did not utter one word about a shining city, a beacon, an inspiring example, or an inexhaustible source of benign American exceptionalism.”

http://www.conradmblack.com/1217/trump-seizes-the-day

And with Robert Kagan already praising fellow neocon HRC as the kind of leader all good neocons can love (Kristol) we arrive at where we are. Democrats getting all weepy for Jesus, shining cities, and American exceptionalism and a vulgarian race-baiter carrying the flag of states’ rights.

Change!!

2

js. 07.30.16 at 6:06 am

Corey Robin: Meet Meet Richard Yeselson.

3

js. 07.30.16 at 6:07 am

Oh great, a typo. I hate those more than Trump.

4

RNB 07.30.16 at 6:33 am

js, you do see what Corey Robin’s problem is, don’t you? He can’t tell the difference among colored people; they or we are all the same to him.

So he talks about the history of anti-black racism which of course has a long been a reason for the dissolution of the Republican Party; but that does not mean Trump has not introduced something new to the prejudice of the Republican Party. In fact anyone actually listening to what is happening would know that Trump has not been saying invidious things exclusively about black people, but that is the only history of prejudice Corey Robin recognizes in the OP.

As many people realize, Trump has broken with recent Republicans by attacking religious liberty for Muslims (one would think that he would have noticed the crisis among conservatives that this is causing, but it actually does escape him); and while W. and McCain were for immigration reform and Romney called for penalties on employers of illegal immigrants and wished for self-deportation, Trump has actually called for the creation of a special deportation force to remove 11 million people.

It would seem to me that Trump has made a leap forward from the last several decades in nativism aimed at Latinos and religious intolerance aimed at Muslims. In both cases the rhetoric has bordered on the *exterminatory*, though that kind of rhetoric has not been focused on black people; but nothing new here to see for Corey Robin.

Trump is actually keeping his virulent anti-black racism on the down low. It is not the spear-head of his prejudice.

But Corey Robin refuses to look at people of color as heterogeneous and subject to different kinds of discrimination and to write a nuanced analysis of the different kinds of prejudice Trump is trying to unleash and compare them carefully to what recent Republican nominees have said.

Do you agree with me?

5

merian 07.30.16 at 6:37 am

“Novelty” vs. “same-old” belongs IMHO in the false equivalencies — or maybe rather false dichotomies — bin. Of course fascistoid, quasi-fascist, outright fascist tendencies are nothing new. Of course such authoritarian overtones have existed for a long tim on the right and aren’t completely unknown on the left. But I also believe that these things progress by steps that can make a qualitative difference. When I hear someone say what was for me the scariest of the many scary passages of Trump’s acceptance speech:

I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.

… then my stomach gets queasy.

I am way to the left of the Democrats or any Western European social-democratic party, though sometimes I’m seen as weirdly centrist because I’m also a pragmatist and believe that many solutions to problems aren’t particularly partisan. I do, however, believe that pluralistic democracy is a good form of government (or the least harmful, or the best out of a set of imperfect ones…). Pluralistic democracy requires some sort of shared core beliefs. These are negotiable, and subject to change, but the very process by which they change is part of the democratic culture. (I am, of course, describing a toy model that works better than these things work in practice.)

Trump not only chips away at this core, not only weakens it, not only plays to people’s lower instincts and sense of being wronged, not only slips in occasional lies to make himself look a little better. All these things are practiced, as you correctly point out, by many politicians. (And not just from side of the aisle either.) But he throws the rules overboard entirely. The only thing that keeps him from being a full-blown fascist is that he seems to lack a coherent ideology. (I will very well believe that he’s not personally anti-semitic the way a Nazi would have been. Or even racist, thought that DOES seem to be more of a recurrent trait. He clearly pushes the career of his Jewish daughter. He seems to have a coterie of rich, very right-wing, very anti-democratic gay men . Yet his presidency would be terrible for gay people, non-white people, Muslims, Jews, you-have-it).

I see him as the nihilistic kind of fascist. Doubling down, winning, crushing your adversary seems, in any event, of higher importance to either any classical fascist ideology or, for that matter, commitment to a democratic process.

6

RNB 07.30.16 at 6:44 am

@5 great point Merian. That most disturbing quote may well be a coded statement to have the state crush black communities with a level of violence not countenanced since Nixon. And it does seem to represent a qualitatively more violent authoritarianism than recent Republicans have supported. Is there a politics behind refusing to recognize the qualitative difference that Trump represents?

7

bruce wilder 07.30.16 at 6:53 am

merian,
I am pretty sure historical fascism was never a coherent ideology

Also, it is also true that Clinton chips away at the core of democracy, playing on people’s sense of being wronged, slipping in occasional lies, throws the rules overboard.

Invoking St Ronnie the Reagan isn’t a good sign.

8

bruce wilder 07.30.16 at 6:55 am

but I know merian, that you are ready to celebrate with RNB when Hillary announces that she’s rebranded the TPP and it is now the good kind of free trade agreement that she can support.

9

heckblazer 07.30.16 at 7:01 am

Mississippi isn’t the only state flag to invoke the Confederacy. Georgia’s flag is based on the Confederacy’s first national flag.

And I’d say Corey’s absolutely right that there are political threads that lead into Trump. He combines Buchanan’s racism and autarky, Nixon’s vindictiveness, W. Bush’s ignorance and laziness and Goldwater’s aggression. What I think is unprecedented is how Trump manages to combine all of that nastiness into one package, a sort of grotesque Republican Frankenstein’s monster.

10

AH 07.30.16 at 7:04 am

What the fuck are you talking about RNB? Do you remember the reaction to “the ground zero mosque”? The GOP is a pro immigration party? Seriously hard to take your seriously when you spew BS like that.

11

bob mcmanus 07.30.16 at 7:04 am

On Wednesday night, Barack Obama said:

Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix.

Goddamn, that’s disturbing. I am so glad I didn’t watch any of the convention. Of course, the question of Obama’s admiration of and affinities with Reagan go back to 2007-2008, and pretty clearly go way beyond an expropriation of the Reaganite rhetoric style. I would point out for a mere beginning that gov’t spending and gov’t employment has utterly crashed during the Obama administration; and would invite people to look at the parallels in foreign and military policy.

As far as the rhetoric goes, I am going to revisit Daniel Rogers Age of Fracture this weekend, and maybe find a quote. In the meantime, here is a link to a Naked Capitalism analysis of the speeches of Sanders, Obama, and HRC:

Contradictions a the Kitchen Table

So where Sanders exposes the power imbalance between labor and capital — might even be said to enact it in the intellectual and rhetorical concessions in part two of his speech — Obama carefully erases it. He does so by pushing out the horizon for hopes to be realized (“not yet felt,” not “even in one lifetime”,) and minimizing our expectations for change. Look at his adjectives: “more work,” “sturdier ladder,” “safer,” “fairer,” “more secure,” “more peaceful.” It’s like the soft inverted totalitarianism of low expectations. This after a candidate explicitly calling for (dread word) socialism — which, for those who came in late, is all about the power imbalance between labor and capital — took 45% of the Democrat vote in a grotesquely rigged primary!

12

RNB 07.30.16 at 7:09 am

We are talking about Presidential nominees or Presidents, AH. W. spoke against discimination against Muslims after 9/11 and made some gestures to underline that the US was not at war with Islam. Of course it was a time of frightening anti-Muslim bias as I as Jain know. But W. was not Trump. Reagan supported amnesty; so did W. and McCain. Romney did not, but he did not call for the deportation of well over 10 million people. Plus, Buchanan was not the Party’s nominee; but this time the Republican Party has unleashed an even more evil voice.

13

AH 07.30.16 at 7:13 am

I am sick of the straw man that Yeselson is alluding to that somehow not saying Trump is a unique is the same as not fighting against Trump. The majority left is fighting trump, full stop.

The Bernie or Bust crowd has been hugely exaggerated by moderate liberals in order to attack the left and the shear contempt displayed toward Bernie supporters is the opposite of Yeselson’s imagined united front.

14

RNB 07.30.16 at 7:18 am

This is going to be a close election. Those who want Trump defeated will fight against Bernie and Bust BS (as Bernie himself will!), not because they want the left silenced but because they want the left to have the extra-parliamentary space to develop that Trump will eliminate and because there are huge advantages to the left being able to say it was the force that put the Democrats in power and saved the country from crypto-fascism.

15

js. 07.30.16 at 7:19 am

RNB — I about 85% agree with you. But the 15% also matters. In any case, (a) it’s rather late where I am, and (b) I find CT threads so depressing at this point that I probably won’t spell out the 15%. Apologies, honestly.

16

merian 07.30.16 at 7:24 am

bruce wilder @7

Also, it is also true that Clinton chips away at the core of democracy, playing on people’s sense of being wronged, slipping in occasional lies, throws the rules overboard.

Well, yes, that’s what I fucking said. So did Romney (43% of moochers…) So, to a larger degree, did Reagan.

As for the rest, pretty irrelevant.

17

js. 07.30.16 at 7:36 am

JESUS! Electronic trackers for all Muslims or TPP.* Impossible fucking choice.

I will (a) obviously regret this comment tomorrow, and (b) go back to not looking at CT threads. But in the meantime: Fuck you.

*N.B.: Both have been defended by surrogates, at least one has been rejected by the candidate.

18

Hidari 07.30.16 at 7:43 am

@12 True but irrelevant. We are not talking about George Bush or Romney. The choice the GOP gave was between Trump and others who, essentially, share his worldview.

Remember if it hadn’t been Trump, it would have been Ted Cruz .

19

merian 07.30.16 at 7:46 am

My brain continued to ruminate this, for the most part because while I’ve said my piece, I’ve not actually responded to Corey’s central point, which is this:

In this election, we have the opportunity to repudiate not only Donald Trump but Trumpism, and not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment.

As a former engineer, the term that comes to my mind is a drink-the-ocean solution. That is, a solution that is so utterly all-encompassing that it has no chances whatsoever to getting implemented.

I’d love to get to the “apparatus that gave us this man”, and to a certain extent we’ll probably have to hash out what it is and more importantly what changes to make. I’ve argued in the blog post I lined in another thread that we’ll need to also offer those tempted by fascism — those among them that have actual grievances — a path into a good life. To pull the rug out of the racist temptation so that whatever racist there will remain, will be so marginalised that some might want to put them inside a museum as a case study.

If we had Sanders head the D ticket, we’d be a small amount closer to that. However, we might not be in an overall better position given how he fell on his nose at the task to build a coalition with the existing social movements, above all those affiliated with BLM, social justice, criminal justice reform, and classical civil rights struggle.

This primary, whatever the outcome, was always going to be at best one wave in a long struggle.

Now Clinton has an election to win. One commentator put it, has to fight the fight of her life to save us from the madman. Leaving aside the religious overtones, she’s not going to have the leisure for long deep-thinking sessions to change her deep convictions. (Indeed, she strikes me as a particularly un-ideological politician. A wonk, not a true believer.)

No, no one will have the bandwidth for a deep re-thinking of political attitudes between now and November. I’m myself a little unhappy at watching the DEC and Hillary electoral machine emitting a sigh of relief that the Sanders topic is over, and kicking into gear. It’s ultimately wrong. And it’s a good thing people like you keep the world honest and point out that there is so much more to do than to win this election. But, basically, we’re in a football (soccer) championship and have made it, slightly bruised, out of the group round. The play-offs are a time for tactics and short-term strategy. You only have the players you have. Introducing them to a whole new way of playing the game — even one that is in the greater scheme vastly superior — isn’t going to help.

But I sure as hell hope everyone reemerges in November.

20

js. 07.30.16 at 7:53 am

This used to be my favorite site on the entire internet. No joke. The fact that CT mods have allowed it to become a place for Trump apologetics is beyond fucking sad.

21

merian 07.30.16 at 8:03 am

JS: Who exactly is the Trump apologist?

22

bob mcmanus 07.30.16 at 8:05 am

Those who want Trump defeated will fight against Bernie and Bust BS (as Bernie himself will!), not because they want the left silenced

Sorry. Without even going back to the sixties, back when Humphrey was an actual liberal rather than a conservative with liberal rhetoric and veneer of of meritocratic inclusion, I was around when the Gingrich Congress was the greatest threat ever, and Clinton gutted welfare, killed Glass-Steagall, and starved Iraq. I was around when Bush was a threat to Western Civilization, and HRC and Democrats let the tax cuts and bankruptcy bill through, and HRC voted for the Forever War and Surveillance State. I was around when the Republican Congress obstructed everything (including the Bankster Bailout: civilization was threatened again), and Obama passed neoliberal healthcare control, decimated gov’t, made the temp Bush cuts permanent, and made the Forever War and Surveillance State permanent.

Time for you to change your rhetoric, and start acting like these “lesser evils” are actually evil rather than good. Start attacking the center like you mean it, and the left might start to listen again. I will vote against the fascists, and critique the liberals and fascist enablers without rest or mercy.

I don’t trust you.

23

js. 07.30.16 at 8:07 am

I’m not going to name names. But I do take an assertion of equivalence between the candidates as an apologia for Trump.

24

RNB 07.30.16 at 8:13 am

Long post, but totally unresponsive, bob macmanus. Assuming by the left you don’t mean people making laundry lists filled with inaccuracies but real groups that depend on civil liberties–unions, a left press, and protestors– I would insist that those who do not see the importance of keeping out of office a crypto-fascist who says he will eliminate all disorder on Day 1 of his Presidency should not be trusted.

So I don’t trust you, bob macmanus. By the way, I find your understanding of the Marxist literature which you pretend to know risible.

25

merian 07.30.16 at 8:16 am

Hidari @18: Trump and Cruz don’t share a worldview. Cruz is a theocrat. Trump is a nihilist. With Cruz, I have near 100% difference in political positions, and I know what to expect if he is elected. With Trump, I don’t even know how to start measuring positions. He utterly doesn’t care about the content of his affirmations, but only about their effect. In D&D terms, Cruz represents Lawful Evil, Trump Chaotic Evil.

Cruz won over Trump in the state where I live, and it’s an odd feeling. Should I be… happy they preferred a theocrat over a nihilistic fascist? This said, other than moderate Republicans, Trump supporters have been the group among Republican voters who are in my experience most likely to reject Trump. This American Live interviewed a Christian radio show host. I have neighbours of this persuasion (who either won’t vote or vote for Johnson, despite not being Libertarians). And here is a podcast with a long interview with a Cruz delegate from Utah. Who’s pissed (or would be if she wasn’t so polite and wholesome). I would hate to live in a country where her preferred politics was the law of the land, but I acknowledge that we share a democratic space. I don’t share one with Trump.

26

merian 07.30.16 at 8:18 am

ARG. I meant to say that *Cruz* supporters have been shown remarkably resilient to voting for “any warm body with an R next to his name”.

27

Hidari 07.30.16 at 8:19 am

Incidentally, here’s an interview with Jill Stein, Green Party Presidential Candidate. Important points emphasised.

‘Nature doesn’t care about renewable energy – people care, but nature doesn’t. So yes, all of the above gave us more renewable energy but it massively increased the output of fossil fuels and, in fact, the rate of increase of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere actually got a lot worse and is accelerating under a decade of Democratic policies. The Democrats promote fracking and “Drill Baby Drill” under all of the above. And by the way, we did have two Democratic houses of congress – why did they flip? Because Obama turned out to be a lesser evil president. He chose to bail out Wall Street. He chose to bring back Larry Summers, the architect of the Wall Street meltdown. That’s why people went from blue to red. That’s what’s stimulating Donald Trump. If there’s ever to be any hope of defeating Donald Trump, it’s not gonna come from a Clinton neoliberal White House….Hillary Clinton gets into office and she has a Congress that’s going to work with her. She’s going to take us into an air war with Russia over Syria. She wants to start a no-fly zone. She wants to go head-to-head with a nuclear-armed power that Hillary’s done a pretty good job of provoking these days. So we could slip into nuclear warfare like that, given Hillary Clinton’s judgment and track record and her militarism. I think that is as realistic a scenario as anything….I’m terrified of Donald Trump. I’m terrified of Hillary Clinton. And I’m most terrified of a political system and people who apologize for it. I’m terrified of people who tell us that we have two deadly choices and we must pick our weapon of self-destruction. We should not resign ourselves to a trajectory that is making a beeline for oblivion. The day of reckoning on climate is coming closer and closer, and I don’t regard Hillary Clinton as one iota safer than Donald Trump on the climate…. We are the only campaign that can stop Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders could have stopped Donald Trump. He was beating him in every poll? Why did the DNC take him down? We are the only campaign that can stop Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders could have stopped Donald Trump. He was beating him in every poll? Why did the DNC take him down? If Trump prevails, we have the DNC to thank for it.

http://www.salon.com/2016/07/28/chasing_the_third_party_rainbow_jill_stein_on_sanders_the_two_party_system_and_the_equivalent_evils_of_trump_and_clinton/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

28

bob mcmanus 07.30.16 at 8:25 am

Bill Clinton is evil
Hillary Rodham Clinton is evil
Barack Obama is evil

The “lesser evils” are evil, and the desperate HRC boosters have yet to make me believe that they believe and understand that, and are actually willing to resist the incremental evil that our nation has been moving through under Democratic governance.

Trump is worse, and I will vote a straight ‘D’ like I have for fifty years. I don’t think you have any freaking clue or appreciation as to the level of sacrifice and horror that that vote entails, nor do you provide an iota of hope that politics and conditions will ever improve.

29

merian 07.30.16 at 8:33 am

I don’t really… believe in evil. Not as a widespread trait. I’m not a believer, I don’t have religious references that amount to faith, though I’m culturally a Catholic and married to a conservative Jew.

I believe that there are areas, important areas, in which Clinton and Obama are wrong. I think that Bill Clinton is in crucial aspects a weak man who sacrificed principle for expediency, much weaker than Hillary Clinton and Obama. I also think that there are people, and I count Obama and Hillary Clinton, and also people from other ends of the political spectrum (heck, let’s just throw out Tim Kaine’s father in law, and the governor of Alaska) who are motivated, in addition to a good portion of personal ambition which is probably a prerequisite, by a desire to work in the public service. They may be wrong, utterly wrong, dangerously wrong, criminally wrong. But not evil.

30

merian 07.30.16 at 8:34 am

(Oh, and Trump falls into the category of “not even wrong”. Maybe evil, I’m not sure. As I said, I really don’t quite believe in evil, though I may be wrong.)

31

Frederick 07.30.16 at 8:45 am

Here is an interesting perspective on the wall-to-wall horrors of the Reagan years. The author is of a liberal persuasion. He was associated with Michael Lerner from Tikkun Magazine.
http://www.psychohistory.com/books/reagans-america
The Psychohistory Journal publishes some very interesting stuff re how we dramatize our individual and collective madness on to the world stage.
Also The Man Who Sold The World – Ronald Reagan & The Betrayal of Main Street America by William Kleinknecht

32

bob mcmanus 07.30.16 at 9:23 am

29: Consider “evil” a rhetorical device making seriousness and commitment explicit. “Wrong” is inadequate for radical or effective politics, which is always about designating enemies, burning bridges, and going to war.

And my point in 22 is that the Manicheanism of election season necessarily extends into the policy and legislative seasons, and the insistence that Obama (or HRC) is a “good guy” besieged by nihilist barbarians will always tend to make opposition to his policies lukewarm, defensive, affectionate, guarded and wholly ineffective, since it is only marginal and arguable differences between friends and allies. How bad can this bill be? Obama signed it!

But enough. Rogers has a very interesting chapter on Reagan’s rhetoric that I want to compare to Obama’s, thanks Corey, and I need to finish Tanaka Mitsui’s defense and support for Nagata Hiroko, because nostalgia for authentic politics.

33

kidneystones 07.30.16 at 9:59 am

@ 21 I’m not a Trump apologist. I’m Trump advocate. Is there a difference?

Hidari is right, Sanders is/was the real deal and the only candidate who offered real change. I can’t see Trump accomplishing 1/10th of what he’s promising. But it shouldn’t matter. The fix is in for HRC. Romney seems to be teetering closer to supporting Trump. Given all the GOP ‘purists’ are motivated exclusively by self-interest others may jump on board if they really sense a win.

The economy is sinking, Zika is spreading, government isn’t working well enough for most people, and the Dems are depending very heavily on being able to push the shocking rise in healthcare premiums beyond their scheduled due date of November 1st. Dems avoided the toxic topics of terror and foreign policy success for obvious reasons.Third party attrition will affect both candidates. Good time to trash Sanders supporters, I guess.

The election is Hillary’s to lose and I see plenty of evidence she might!

34

Hidari 07.30.16 at 10:02 am

In case we are in any doubt as to what a Hilary Clinton Presidency will mean.

‘Hillary Clinton will order a “full review” of the United States’ strategy on Syria as a “first key task” of her presidency, resetting the policy to emphasise the “murderous” nature of the Assad regime, foreign policy adviser with her campaign has said.

Jeremy Bash, who served as chief of staff for the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, said Mrs Clinton would both escalate the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and work to get Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, “out of there”. ‘

In other words, Ms Clinton is explicitly promising that, if it is up to her, in a few years time, Syria will look like Libya does now.

So….there’s that.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/29/hillary-clinton-will-reset-syria-policy-against-murderous-assad/

35

Lee A. Arnold 07.30.16 at 10:15 am

“Lesser evilism” is the lesser evil, so I say, “Vote Less Evil!”

36

Lee A. Arnold 07.30.16 at 10:29 am

Hidari #34: “In case we are in any doubt…”

Hidari, 1. Do you think this statement by the Clinton campaign is any different than current U.S.-Europe policy? 2. Do you think that Trump will do anything differently? 3. What do you, YOURSELF, think should be done about Syria?

37

Faustusnotes 07.30.16 at 10:58 am

Jesus Christ so many misrepresentations by the trump apologists.

Jill steins statement (bolded) is wrong: greenhouse gas emissions declined Under Obama, this is trivial thing to check and the decline has been regularly noted in the media. Yet hidari believes her – why?

Bob McManus complains about neoliberal healthcare control, which is a literally meaningless contradiction, but refuses to mention the Medicaid expansion or obamas call for Clinton to introduce a public option.

Several people take the appropriation of “morning in America” to mean the dems want to adopt Reagans policies even though this is acknowledged as the most left wing platform in history (why oh why won’t you trump apologists admit that). If Ted Cruz said “Clinton is no Gandhi” you wouldn’t be saying oh look teds turned pacifist, you’d be saying even the republicans think Clinton is a warmonger. Your dishonesty and desperate attempts to twist everything into an attack on clintons values is clear for all to see.

Someone complains that under Clinton Syria will “become like Libya” wtf do you actually watch the news it is already worse.

Somehow Syria is clintons fault not assads, and trump is the dnc’s fault not the gop’s wtf.

Clinton voted to starve Iraq – just like sanders, who also voted for the invasion. Why won’t you Bernie bros admit to that little piece of warmongering by your fav uncle? Why is this an issue for Clinton but not for sanders?

You are behaving like a pack of ahistorical, amoral, wild dogs. You either never understood anything about the political events of the past 20 years or you are being thoroughly, deliberately dishonest. Which is it ?

I am with js, it’s depressing what has happened to crooked timber this year.

38

Rich Puchalsky 07.30.16 at 11:44 am

faustusnotes: “You are behaving like a pack of ahistorical, amoral, wild dogs.”

Luckily we’ll shrink away from the light like the inhuman vermin that we are when it’s Morning in America.

Back to the OP:
“In this election, we have the opportunity to repudiate not only Donald Trump but Trumpism, and not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment.”

This election can’t repudiate that apparatus. The contemporary GOP and the contemporary Democratic Party are coevolved, if I may use a dubious metaphor. The Democratic Party as it is now is based on being the electoral opponent to the GOP of the Southern Strategy. In a two-party system, you can’t simply repudiate one, only the above-mentioned realignment and replacement of at least one of the parties can do that. And that did not happen in this election.

I basically agree with John Quiggin’s model of U.S. (and to some extent, global) politics as having three parties: left, neoliberal, conservative. The neoliberals are better than the conservatives, so HRC is better than Trump. But leftism and neoliberalism are not really going to fit in the same party no matter how much the mathematics of how U.S. elections tries to get people to force them to.

There are a number of different possibilities going forwards. I don’t see any point in discussing them here.

39

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 11:59 am

I think it’s to CTs credit that it’s become a den populated by trump curious leftists. Of course these critiques are largely moronic, but this is also true of the Clinton faction, who are no more rational, no less emotional and no more capable of making intelligent, logically consistent arguments. I’m of course including myself in this, and lee Arnold , and various other gibshites. The sooner we accept the imbecility of our political convictions and the fact that they’re almost Completly the result of tribalism and emotion, the happier we’ll all be and the better we’ll get on.

40

Layman 07.30.16 at 12:14 pm

Hidari: “Incidentally, here’s an interview with Jill Stein, Green Party Presidential Candidate.”

As far as I can tell, Jill Stein is completely irresponsible. She’s doing her best, apparently, to be a useful idiot for a Trump victory. I suppose Johnson is the same, but in his case I haven’t seen the sort of mind-numbingly stupid statements about HRC and her campaign that Stein comes up with. Does anyone actually think Stein has the intellect and temperament to govern if (on Earth 2) she actually managed to win an election?

With respect to the OP, I think Corey Robin is right that Trump emerges from a Republican Party committed to Trumpism for decades; and that the view that Reagan (and Nixon and Bush and Romney and McCain and Palin and Giuliani and Santorum and Gingrich and Cruz and Perry and Walker…) as a reasonable, sensible moderate is wrong-headed and dangerous. The chief distinction between Trump and the others is that he says plainly, out loud, what they hint at with coded messages and dog whistles.

It was not Trump who spoke of ‘welfare queens’ and ‘young bucks’ who buy T-bones with their food stamps; who rejected convention and asserted authority over even the most trivial things (“I paid for this microphone!”); who launched a secret war in Central America in direct violation of the law, and established the era of executive bellicosity and Congressional compliance; who set out to destroy public employee unions; who bargained with the Iranians to delay the release of American hostages for political gain; who launched the economic regime which has led to the greatest level of economic inequality since the gilded age, and set the stage for the second Great Depression.

Reagan is the man who secretly ratted out friends and colleagues to HUAC; the spokesman of the GOP campaigns against Medicare and for Goldwater; the Governor who used the State Police and National Guard to attack protestors; the author of the racist war on drugs that has turned the US into the premier carceral state in the world.

It is a mistake to say that recognizing this makes one an apologist for Trump. It can be true both that Trump springs from a deeply toxic Republican Party ideology that has persisted for decades, and that he embodies its toxicity more openly than many prior Republicans. Trump is a deeply frightening man, but all would not be well if he were suddenly replaced as a candidate by Romney, or McCain, or Cruz, or Jeb Bush, or Ryan, or indeed anyone you could name from the current or recent ranks of the party.

41

Lee A. Arnold 07.30.16 at 12:15 pm

Ronan(rf), What would you do about Syria?

42

Cheryl Rofer 07.30.16 at 12:19 pm

I watched the speeches and took the references to Ronald Reagan to be a rebuke to the Republicans, not an endorsement of Reagan. Pointing out that he who is so easily invoked by the Republicans would probably vomit at the thought of Trump.

I tend to agree with Corey that the Republican Party has been toxic for a long time. It’s also been true that some of the preferences and programs of the two parties have overlapped at various times. Politics in a diverse country with two major political parties is like that. And now, as a number of commentators pointed out on Twitter, since the nominees are sane versus non-sane (whatever other differences one may have with Clinton), the Democratic Party has become a very big tent indeed ideologically. That won’t last after the election, but I hope it does until then.

43

Corey Robin 07.30.16 at 12:26 pm

RNB at 4: “So he talks about the history of anti-black racism which of course has a long been a reason for the dissolution of the Republican Party; but that does not mean Trump has not introduced something new to the prejudice of the Republican Party. In fact anyone actually listening to what is happening would know that Trump has not been saying invidious things exclusively about black people, but that is the only history of prejudice Corey Robin recognizes in the OP.”

Back in March, I wrote in Salon (linked in the OP):

Though Burke believed in aristocratic leadership and spoke to and for a mostly aristocratic polity, he understood that conservatism had to appeal to the commoner. Otherwise, the lower orders would defect to the other side. In a liberal democracy, where the lower and middling orders have the vote and often bridle at their burdens, that is a difficult task. To make privilege popular, Burke’s successors have had to conscript these lower and middling orders into their armies of inequality.

Since the 19th century, nativism, nationalism and racism have been been ideal recruitment devices. “With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and the poor, but white and black” declared the slaveholder statesman John C. Calhoun; “and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.” Men and women at the near bottom of society have little money and even less power. But no matter how low they are, they always can lord their status and standing over those even lower than they. As John Adams so brilliantly recognized in his “Discourses on Davila”: “Not only the poorest mechanic, but the man who lives upon common charity, nay the common beggars in the streets…plume themselves on that superiority which they have, or fancy they have, over some others.”

For Nixon and Reagan, these others were blacks (sometimes coded as criminals or welfare cheats). For Trump, they’re Muslims and Mexicans.

One more thing: When liberals and leftists opposed fascism during the lead-up and fighting of World War II (and then in the aftermath of the reconstruction of Western Europe, particularly Germany, and Japan; read John Dower on the latter), they understood that to fight fascism you have to have an analysis of its origins. You have to see that it didn’t just materialize out of nowhere, but had a long gestation in the states and civil societies of these nations.

It seems really weird to me that claims about the historical sources of Trumpism are somehow greeted (by people who are so historically uninformed that they would say “Trump has broken with recent Republicans by attacking religious liberty for Muslims”) as Trump apologetics or a denial of Trump’s dangers. I understand, I think, why people whose sole objective is to beat up on Sanders supporters would do that (though it’s a not terribly persuasive or electorally effective argument). What I don’t understand is why people who claim they know and comprehend — and want to oppose — Trumpism would do that.

44

SamChevre 07.30.16 at 12:29 pm

[destroy] not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment

I actually hope this is not true–it’s the first good reason I’ve yet seen for voting for Trump.

Because make no mistake: the entire apparatus is the idea that we have a government of laws, not men, that gets its just powers by the consent of the governed. Both parties, but mostly the Democrats, have spent the last 50 years saying “we have the courts to claim anything we like is law, and the army to try out our ideas and suppress protest–what’s this democracy thing?”

If the effect of a Clinton presidency is to cement that the courts and the bureaucracy, not the states and the legislature, are where power resides–that seems like a good reason to vote for almost any alternative.

45

Corey Robin 07.30.16 at 12:38 pm

Rich: “This election can’t repudiate that apparatus. The contemporary GOP and the contemporary Democratic Party are coevolved, if I may use a dubious metaphor. The Democratic Party as it is now is based on being the electoral opponent to the GOP of the Southern Strategy. In a two-party system, you can’t simply repudiate one, only the above-mentioned realignment and replacement of at least one of the parties can do that. And that did not happen in this election.”

I can see why it wasn’t clear from my OP, but I totally agree with that. My point in invoking a realignment was to make that point (I realize, a bit obliquely.) But here’s what I said to a friend of mine on Facebook who raised, rightly, the same issue you did:

“My strategy here is to get us to move in steps. First, admit the connection between Trump and Trumpism and the GOP. Second, decide to shred that apparatus. Third, confront your own collusion in that apparatus, and be forced to make a choice: get rid of the apparatus and therefore reform yourself from the ground up OR decide you want to hold onto your collusion and thereby be consigned, when the time comes, to the dustbin of history….You might even say that was one of the, long term, purposes of my book on conservatism: to finally get liberals and the left to realize what conservatism was really all about, and thereby to see that to fight it, you’d have to transform yourself into an anti-capitalist party that would make anti-domination, freedom and equality, in all spheres of society (not just the economy), the centerpiece of your argument.”

46

awy 07.30.16 at 12:46 pm

when someone says, we need to invest more into public services, so the communists can’t recruit, that’s sort of the same offense right?

why does ‘repudiation’ have to be every little aspect? capture the important part, turn it against itself. something dialectic something?

47

AnonPhenom 07.30.16 at 12:49 pm

You are 100 % correct, Sir.
But this is America, Sir. Where, when the the legend becomes fact, we roll with the legend.

48

Layman 07.30.16 at 1:06 pm

Further to #40, consider the Republican who was the choice of ‘sensible moderate Republican’ elites: Marco Rubio.

Rubin’s entire argument for his candidacy comes down to two things: That, unlike his peers, he realizes that Barack Obama is secretly working to destroy the United States and strengthen its Islamist enemies; and that the only counter to this grave danger is to wage war against Islamism throughout the world. Ladies and gentlemen, Marco Rubio, the sensible Republican alternative to the madman Trump!

49

Layman 07.30.16 at 1:21 pm

@ Lee Arnold, respect to Syria, can I suggest two alternatives:

1) That instead of spending $5 to kill Syrians for every $1 we spend to help them, we reverse the expenditure; or, better yet, spend all $6 helping them; or

2) Since it is probably futile to convince Americans to help people with anything other than bombs, we do nothing at all. We seem to be able to stomach that when it comes to other places and people mired in misery.

50

Layman 07.30.16 at 1:26 pm

“I watched the speeches and took the references to Ronald Reagan to be a rebuke to the Republicans, not an endorsement of Reagan.”

I don’t have time to look it up now, but I’m sure I recall being annoyed with the part of Obama’s speech where he validated the Republican position as within the norms of acceptable ideology – something about how it was good for Republicans and Democrats to disagree and compete, that it was healthy, which would make sense were it not for the unhealthy nature of Republicanism as it exists in the real world.

51

Rich Puchalsky 07.30.16 at 2:00 pm

Corey Robin: “”You might even say that was one of the, long term, purposes of my book on conservatism: to finally get liberals and the left to realize what conservatism was really all about, and thereby to see that to fight it, you’d have to transform yourself into an anti-capitalist party that would make anti-domination, freedom and equality, in all spheres of society (not just the economy), the centerpiece of your argument.”

I think that liberals have really already seen, and decided to not do that. Conservatism is, according to liberalism, ever-present, and the way to deal with it is with a kind of everlasting standoff in which the center point hopefully moves slowly to the left. And if conservatism wins some times, as it inevitably will, well that’s the diffusion of power in e.g. the American political system is supposed to be about — one political victory can not be transformed into full political control.

So the every-four–years “This conservatism is the worst ever!” isn’t supposed to be taken seriously: it’s in bad faith. Really what people are talking about it that in four years they expect to be saying that the conservative candidate then is the worst ever, that they expect the same basic conflict to be there every four years. If they thought that the elements of the worst-ever conservatism were actually bad, they’d have to repudiate them themselves, and they can’t.

The idea that seeing historical connections would transform liberals into anti-capitalist leftists en masse seems over psychoanalytic, if I’m using that term in a correct sense. It’s the idea that by seeing a truth, people see that they have to change. But that hardly ever happens. Changes comes through practice.

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William Timberman 07.30.16 at 2:55 pm

Rich Puchalsky @ 50

Changes comes through practice.

Consider how far the practice necessary to create the kind of changes we need diverges from the practice that creates a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton — or a js or faustusnotes, for that matter. Consider how it is that bob mcmanus’s understanding of the ways our immersion in things-as-they-are affects our cognitive development, or bruce wilder’s analysis of the sine curve of institutional growth and decay, are disdained by the partisans here as the cynicism of grumpy old white men, or a nihilistic attempt to equate the obvious (to them) promise of Hillary with the certain (to them) Trumpian apocalypse.

Sadly for us, it’s not bad faith driving this disdain, it’s an avoidance of precisely that practice which alienates before it reveals, isolates before it offers any viable path toward effective political engagement. As for Trump and what he represents, suffice it to say that the warbling in the depths of our coal mine won’t always be coming from a canary.

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faustusnotes 07.30.16 at 2:56 pm

Rich can you ever even just once address an argument put to you? Could you try just once to address the claims that this election the Dems are presenting the most left wing platform in generations? What does that mean for your opinion that everyone at the top of the Democratic party is a secret Reaganite?

Sam Chevre, are you kidding? The Supreme Court rewrote Obamacare at the behest of the GOP but you spin this line that it’s the left who use SCOTUS to subvert democracy? You’re completely unhinged from the facts.

I’m not sure why RNB takes issue with the OP (and previous OPs on the same topic). It’s possible for Trump to be a new, exceptionally bad manifestation of Republican crazy, and also to be a natural development of their history of devious racism and destructionism. He’s the endpoint of a 50 year arc of Republican self-stupidification, and we’re lucky that Clinton is against him and not a much more intelligent, controlled, sinister version of the same.

54

kent 07.30.16 at 2:58 pm

I’d love to take a poll. How many of the left commenters on here have read through all of the slides in this 4-part series?

https://ourworldindata.org/VisualHistoryOf/Poverty.html#/title-slide

55

js. 07.30.16 at 3:04 pm

Oh hi Ronan. Here’s a logical, consistent argument. I don’t want people in my family, people I dearly love to have to wear electronic trackers. That’s enough of an argument for me. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

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stevenjohnson 07.30.16 at 3:18 pm

“In this election, we have the opportunity to repudiate not only Donald Trump but Trumpism, and not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment. That apparatus is the Republican Party and the modern conservative movement. The movement and the party that gave us the Southern Strategy, that made white supremacy the major dividing line between the two parties, that race-baited its way to the free market as the dominant ideology of our time, that made hysterical, revanchist militarism the common sense of bipartisanship, that helped turn the Democratic Party into the shell that it is today (with plenty of assistance of course from people like Bill Clinton), that gave us Donald Trump.”

If the Southern Strategy is supporting southern racists in things like segregation and blocking anti-lynching laws in order to win national elections by carrying the South, then Wilson and FDR had a Southern Strategy. The “Cold War” which includes outright wars as well as a multitude of interventions, subversions and deceits was the common sense of bipartisanship from the days of Harry Truman. The process of turning the Democratic Party into a hollow shell began with the replacement of Henry Wallace, followed up by the Red Scare. The Marshall Plan, The Americans for Democratic Action, the purge of labor unions, schemes for counterinsurgency, the conjoined twins of the Great Society and the Vietnam War and many more were ever more relentless attacks on the left here and abroad.

As for the notion that the modern conservative movement is something modern, think again. Reagan’s political roots go back to the virulently anti-Communist John Birch Society. Nixon the McCarthyite star before he became the Southern strategist in chef. His administration was the school of Republican politicians for decades. Even the supposedly dissident libertarian wing traces roots back to interwar right wingers like von Mises, von Hayek and Ayn Rand, who earned their bones propagandizing against Communism. These supposed extremists got into the mainstream because the mainstream was defined by anti-Communism. At the very least, there is no fighting Trumpism without repudiating the acceptable politics of the last 72 years, from Harry Truman on.

The entire political spectrum of allowed elite opinion has been united on this, for decades. Their politics are still premised on the desirability of the counterrevolution so fervently purchased with the blood, sweat and tears of millions of other people, across the country and across the world. There is no counterrevolutionary left, never was, and never will be. It is not fashionable to talk of the great crusade against totalitarianism. Nonetheless it is the supposedly left or dissident element who are most relieved at the (capitalist, imperialist, bourgeois but don’t say so!) victory. And they are just as determined to keeping the left beyond the pale as any committed reactionary. Left is when the bourgeoisie loses, as in regime change in the US instead of R2P. Left is when the imperialists lose, not when “we” save the north Koreans from themselves.

“When we pretend that Donald Trump is an utter novelty on the American political scene, when Democratic presidents and Democratic presidential candidates invoke the reverie of Ronald Reagan against the reality of Donald Trump, when liberal journalists say the contest this year is not between the Republicans and the Democrats but between a normal party and an abnormal growth from an otherwise normal host (with the implication being that if only we could go back to the contests of 2008, 2000, 1992, 1980, 1972, all would be well), we not only commit an offense against history and memory; we not only betray a woeful ignorance of how we came to this pass (and thereby, as the cliche would have it, ensure that we will come to it again); we help shore up, we extend the half-life, of a party and a movement that should be thoroughly smashed and repudiated. (That, incidentally, is what all the great realignments do: they shatter the old regime, they destroy the ideological assumptions and repudiate the interests that have governed for decades, they send the dominant party and its leading emblems into exile, where they wander in the wilderness for decades.) We make plain our intention to give that party and that movement, even if they should lose in November, a second chance to make their malice and mischief all over again.”

If this is saying that criticizing Trump from the right is reactionary politics, this is correct. It’s also correct that criticizing Clinton from the right is reactionary politics. This is probably most obvious when someone pretends to think it’s Clinton who’s the big liar. Sincere or not, that’s singing from the Mighty Wurlitzer songbook. Anyone who really is worried about simple honesty worries most about Trump. Or, they’re like a doctor who warns about an ingrown toe nail while ignoring a baseball sized tumor on the patient’s neck. No, the case against Clinton is that she will do as she says she will, and try to give us more of the same. (Carefully limited reforms, like adding a drug benefit to Medicare or college tuition of a kind, is more of the same.) Both Democrats and Republicans have been part of the movement the OP calls malicious and mischievous. (Mischievous?)

It is typically confused to celebrate the prospect of destroying the dominant party in a realignment election, without quite admitting which party the OP wishes to win in a landslide election. No doubt there is much political advantage in playing it both ways. Nonetheless, Trump has at this point pretty much wrecked the national Republican Party. All the national party figures are trying to do is survive. The thing is, you see, is that the Donald is not another politician, he’s one of this country’s owners. His program is being the boss, implicitly doing away with politicians and politics. He’s not telling us what he’s planning to do, but we do know how: He’ll be the effective decider in chief, not the low rent pretender. It is possible that Trump’s victory will finally destroy the party, as it faces the question of whether to impeach and convict Trump. (On the state level, the Republicans are the dominant party and it would take a huge Clinton landslide to change that. But how do you get a landslide when reaction depresses turnout? The endless stream of right wing criticisms will have an effect. The chances of a realignment election are pretty minimal I think.)

The OP is correct that this is not unprecedented. Nixon had a Plan too. Like the Donald, he too wanted to change things so that it could never be put back like it was before. Nixon was finally stopped by the immense media and political campaign labeled Watergate. Accepting Trump as just business as usual is very much like claiming a full second term for Nixon wouldn’t have made any difference. Well, it is a strange and wonderful world. And counterfactuals are heuristic, not probative. Still, that does seem a strange proposition to make.

There is a big difference now: The media support Trump, giving him billions of dollars of free publicity, especially about how he’s not going to play politics as usual. Only right wing criticism is allowed. His claims to support Social Security and reindustrialization and protection are unquestioned, despite his notorious dishonesty. You can call him a demagogue, because that hints at him playing a Chavez, taking from the rich to give to the undeserving. (As in supporting Social Security and reindustrialization and protection.) And charges of demagogy are useful for promoting racial divisions. Divide et impera, isn’t it? (And the military supports Trump too, which is why Clinton is working so hard on trying to appease them, like floating Stavridis as VP, and picking Pence.)

Apparently Mitch McConnell had something typically obtuse and reactionary to say about making sure Trump follows the bipartisan line of malice and mischief aimed at the expense of humanity. Something about a military coup? Yes, sure sounds like politics as usual.

57

harry b 07.30.16 at 3:26 pm

Faustusnotes — You’re being unfair to sam chevre. I’ve lived here 30 years, and I think it is fair to say that Democrats (esp liberal ones) have consistently emphasized that they want the courts to strike down laws they disagree with (most notably around reproductive freedoms, but not only those). The fact that the Supreme Court has been right-leaning for a long time means the Republicans have had more luck with that lately (thank goodness, democracy was allowed to prevail on health care). The key moment in this, for me, was Bork (soon after I moved to the US). But, yes, both wings are entirely happy to use unelected judges to strike down laws they don’t like. Me, I’m happy that we have same-sex marriage, but sorry we didn’t get it through democratic means as other countries have.

js etc — please don’t despair. My lack of enthusiasm for HRC has been eroding and these threads have played a vital role in that!!

58

Lupita 07.30.16 at 3:32 pm

That, incidentally, is what all the great realignments do: they shatter the old regime, they destroy the ideological assumptions and repudiate the interests that have governed for decades, they send the dominant party and its leading emblems into exile, where they wander in the wilderness for decades.

Focusing on the relative privileges of different Western demographic groups is the equivalent of aristocrats arguing about the differences among counts, marquis, and dukes while the Bastille is being stormed. The original left was anti-monarchist; today’s is anti-imperialist. The old regime would be Western hegemony, the great realignment would be the emergence of new global powers, the ideological assumption is US supremacy, and the dominant party would be the sum of all Western parties in power, their opposition, and their lackeys in the 3rd world.

The old world is shattering, with or without Trump. Focusing on details such as state flags and Reagan quotes is missing the forest for the trees. It’s over, Westerners, whichever way you vote.

59

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 3:33 pm

Js, logically, even with a trump win, this is very unlikely to happen. Unless we’re now ignoring all institutional and party political theories of the presidency, and going full green lantern

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js. 07.30.16 at 3:38 pm

Ronan — Let me ask you — What is the “intelligent, logically consistent” bet for Muslim communities to make. Sit back and be like, oh well, it won’t be that bad! Or actively support Clinton’s presidency?

While we’re at it? What is the “intelligent, logically consistent” bet for Latino communities to make? Etc.

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RNB 07.30.16 at 3:38 pm

Oh wow! Corey Robin finds one line where he recognized that Trump is targeting Mexicans and Muslims. He wrote it somewhere at some point. Not in this post though.

But what is his argument? Trump is nothing but more of the Republican same on prejudice. Is that true?

Well, no. he is new as a President candidate on several fronts.

First, W., McCain and Romney all at least professed respect for religious liberty and underlined that the US was not at war with Islam (I am not talking about Congressmen like Stephen King or failed nominees like Giuliani–we are talking Presidential nominees and Presidents).

Trump is so much at war with Islam that he incites eliminationist hatred against American Muslims by saying that they celebrated 9/11 and promising to ban the immigration of all Muslims and thus introduce a religious test for national belonging (the absence of religious tests being built into the Godless US constitution).

Now remind me which Presidential nominee or President has done this in recent times? I have been asking about this for the last few days, and there is no response.

Robin says that Trump is targeting Mexicans, which of course is just ridiculous understatement, all part of his attempt not to understand the historical roots of Trumpism but to normalize him as an ordinary Republican. Trump is calling for a special deportation force to remove 11 million people from their home. The historical precedent here is Operation Wetback as former LA Mayor Villaraigosa noted, but that was more 50 years ago, and smaller in scale.

Now since then Reagan supported amnesty; so did W. and McCain. Romney did not but hoped for self-deportation and actually banked on tougher sanctions of employers hiring undocumented workers. Calling for a special deportation force that is going to round up 11 million people far exceeds what any Republican President or Republican nominee has called for in the last several decades (reminder: Buchanan did not win the nomination). Again Trump is an eliminationist.

Finally Robin is deaf to Trump’s authoritarian and chilling call that he will end all disorder on Day 1 of his Presidency. Of course the Republicans are the Party of law and order, but this is an incredibly violent statement that at the very least Romney, McCain and W. were not issuing. Maybe Nixon. But then there is no argument for historical continuity.

Robin is not trying to understand the historical roots of Trumpism (he seems to know very little about the history of Latino immigration or anti-Muslim prejudice in the US since 9/11); he is trying to normalize Trump as more of the Republican same. But he is not.

On the front of domestic prejudice not only has he focused more on religious minorities and immigrants than blacks than other recent Republican nominees and Presidents, he has escalated the level of prejudice to a more violent and actually eliminationist level.

As such a threat, all people of good faith should oppose him even if this means supporting a candidate who as a Senator supported work stipulations in welfare for $ 8 billion more spending on child care for welfare recipients or who wanted to eliminate sentencing differentials but not retroactively; or as a Secty of State supported strikes on Qaddafi along with Sanders and President Obama or wanted to support the Syrian Free Army when it had a chance against Assad (see Aleppo today); or did in fact wrongly give W. war authorization in Iraq to provide him leverage in the inspections process while requesting that he not go to war before the inspections were complete and he had actual international support.

She has apologized for past errors and agreed to a most progressive platform, as faustusnotes clarifies. She is confronted by Trump who unlike Romney, McCain and W. has a crypto-fascist program to carry out in the US.

But Corey Robin has told us that he will not support Clinton in the fight against Trump’s fascism.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.30.16 at 3:42 pm

js.: “I don’t want people in my family, people I dearly love to have to wear electronic trackers. That’s enough of an argument for me.”

I know that I said I wouldn’t reply to js., but — have you ever thought about what this kind of thing sounds like from a Jewish perspective? We fled actual extermination to go to Israel in part because of religion, but in part because no other country would take us in — large numbers of non-religious Jews wouldn’t have gone there otherwise. Once there it became the age-old “If it’s a choice between my family suffering and your family suffering, then your family is going to suffer.” But the left doesn’t seem to be notably sympathetic to this.

So by all means protect your family, defend your family. Did you defend anyone else’s family when the Obama administration was deporting them? I don’t think that you did, particularly. So of course to you this is shocking. Now it’s your family. But everyone else has had long practice at shrugging and saying that that’s politics. Are they going to defend your family? No they are not, not any more than you defended anyone else’s.

I’ve seen with bemusement the jokes about how Sanders can’t be a Jew because he’s an atheist — those are coming from the putative defenders of js.’s family. And yeah, I’ll help to work against Trump insofar as I can. But there is no way in which that help will ever be reciprocated.

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js. 07.30.16 at 3:42 pm

And Harry — Thanks. I’m not the biggest HRC fan either, but I also think she’ll make a
better president (on most things, tho not all) than a lot of people on the left expect.

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js. 07.30.16 at 3:42 pm

Rich — Please don’t respond to me.

65

Patrick 07.30.16 at 3:44 pm

You aren’t going to get a repudiation of the entire Republican apparatus and ideological perspective because the anti Trump revolution you’re hoping to have is, by demographic necessity, going to have to include a lot of Republican and Republican friendly voters. In order for them to conclude that Trump is awful, they’re going to have to do so based on a perceived difference between their values and institutions (the things you want repudiated) and Donald Trump the candidate.

This is fairly straight forward political science. HRC and the DNC know this, which is why they kept mentioning Reagan.

66

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 3:47 pm

Js, there’s obviously no logical reason for anyone here to vote trump, but no one here bar kidneystons is saying they would

67

bianca steele 07.30.16 at 3:47 pm

@merian

Earlier in the election, I read supporters of Cruz and other “theocrats” saying that they believed their candidate was wrong, unchristian, ungodly, and immoral, but they would vote for him because he was “saved” and therefore they knew whatever he did was God’s will. A few months later, I read those same people saying they supported Trump because, though they didn’t believe he was a Christian in their terms (though there’s at least one guy going around saying he has it on good authority he was on the path), they believe God wants him to be the leader of this country, and they believe he will make it easier for them to behave in their little circles of the world like the reactionaries Corey deplores in his book. I no longer believe we share a democratic space. They see Trump as another way to get what the want, and I’ll take them at their word.

I’m curious about this post, as addressed to this audience. What have CT commenters done to advance the cause of the Trump? I have scrutinized my conscience, I think sufficiently, and I’m not seeing it.

68

RNB 07.30.16 at 3:49 pm

Also as a political strategy in a tight election what Corey Robin is saying is hugely irresponsible. What Clinton should be doing is emphasizing the ways in which Trump breaks with Republicans to get cross-over and independent votes. She should not be saying that Trump is basically Reagan. She should say that Republican Presidents have valued religious liberty as a core American value and that Reagan supported amnesty for hard working immigrants without papers. And Trump blows all this up.
But this all assumes that you want Trump defeated. And if you don’t want him defeated, you’re not progressive, or on the left.

69

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 3:54 pm

Sorry, I see you said “actively support Clinton.” Again, very few are actually saying they won’t vote Clinton. I’m not sure what “actively support” means or even what non aesthetic practical outcomes it could serve . If I was American id actually prefer clinton to sanders, such are my preferences, but this entire primary season has been little more than bad faith argument and hyperbole , particularly from Clinton fans. Afaict

70

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 3:54 pm

.. Not by you though, js. You’re a good dude. IMO

71

bianca steele 07.30.16 at 3:55 pm

No one remembers what the heck Reagan stood for anymore anyway. They know he was popular–he was so wildly popular even I remember how remarkable it was. Obama represented a last-gasp effort to take his heirs to be serious people who have to be taken into account as at least (at the VERY least) having ideas that need to be reckoned with; I have every reason to think HRC doesn’t still believe they are. If some part of the GOP realizes they’ve been coasting on fumes, dating back a century or more, and the willingness of their opponents to clean up their messes, that probably can’t be a bad thing. If they think they can survive a Trump presidency, they’ll never figure that out.

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js. 07.30.16 at 4:02 pm

Ronan — Whether it’s voting or actively supporting on some manner beyond that is besides the point. I was and am arguing against the idea that there are no good arguments on either side. The idea that “the Clinton faction” (I guess I’m not sure what that means, but on an obvious reading, it can mean people who support Clinton, e.g. insofar as they vote for her) are “no more rational”, “no more capable of making intelligent, logically consistent arguments.” This is obviously, incredibly wrong.

73

Anarcissie 07.30.16 at 4:02 pm

Lupita 07.30.16 at 3:32 pm @ 57:
‘The old world is shattering, with or without Trump. Focusing on details such as state flags and Reagan quotes is missing the forest for the trees. It’s over, Westerners, whichever way you vote.’

‘The Devil rages because his time is short,’ indeed, but, ‘Beware the lash of the dragon’s tail as he dies.’

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Lupita 07.30.16 at 4:03 pm

And if you don’t want him defeated, you’re not progressive, or on the left.

The left wants US imperialism defeated together with the neoliberal practices imposed around the world by the IMF, free trade agreements, and bombs. Trump is irrelevant other than as an indicator of the erosion of Western hegemony. It is very self-centered and parochial to define the left in terms of opposition to a US presidential candidate.

75

Yan 07.30.16 at 4:13 pm

Bob McManus 32: “Consider “evil” a rhetorical device making seriousness and commitment explicit. “Wrong” is inadequate for radical or effective politics, which is always about designating enemies, burning bridges, and going to war.”

Anyone know the history of the specific phrase “lesser evil”? I’m wondering if it’s paradoxical character was originally intentional. In a theological sense of “evil,” the phrase “it’s good to do the lesser evil” may not be so much false as gibberish.

But in non-theological usage, as bob points out, the entire rhetorical point of retaining an “evil” vs. “bad” distinction is to draw some sort of strong practical line beyond witch action becomes either obligatory or prohibited.

So, in some sense, to even entertain the question lesser evilism asks is already to deny any strong or meaningful distinction between “evil” and “bad”–whether or not that’s a mistake. Maybe that’s why those who support the view don’t see a problem with not equally emphasizing that the lesser evil is still evil–they don’t really thinks so, the only kind of goodness just *is* being relatively better.

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RNB 07.30.16 at 4:20 pm

Yes Patrick @64 makes the point that I am getting at @67. Agree with Patrick and agree with what js has been saying of course.

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js. 07.30.16 at 4:34 pm

FWIW, (a) I don’t think Corey Robin or Layman is a Trump apologist, (b) the only comment of mine relevant to the OP was the first, and (c) the only point being made there is about the logic of a “popular front” response to Trump. To think that this implies a refusal to try to understand the origins of Trumpism is obviously baseless.

78

Layman 07.30.16 at 4:56 pm

Ronan(rf): “…logically, even with a trump win, this is very unlikely to happen…”

I’m afraid I can’t easily rule it out.

At a time in our history when a Democratic President asserts the power to order the extrajudicial execution of an American citizen because of what he says and what he might do;

while the Republican Congress, who otherwise want to claim that the President is a tyrant, sit on their hands and do nothing, because, after all, we’re talking about a Muslim here, not a real American citizen;

I confess I don’t find it hard to believe that Trump could carry out some of his anti-Muslim suggestions, by fiat and with the acquiescence of a Republican Congress.

Sure, eventually a court might stop him – Ooops! so sorry about those American Muslims who got screwed in the interim! Our bad! – or, on the other hand, he added a couple more Scalias to the court along the way, so, maybe not so much with the courts to the rescue.

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cassander 07.30.16 at 5:03 pm

How many republican votes knew where Neshoba county is, or what Reagan said there? If it was as many as 1 in a 1000, I would be surprised.

Reagan would go on to win 44 states. Are you claiming that he won Massachusetts, New York, and California by starting his campaign in an obscure southern town? Why on earth do you let this irrelevant detail that almost no one knows about define not just the republican party, but the democratic party as well? Do you think that you might just be overfitting the curve here?

80

Jim Harrison 07.30.16 at 5:14 pm

Aside from singing the Beasts of England once and a while, the leftism of most people who turn up in these comments comes down to support for a set of social democratic reforms. I heartily endorse this stance since I don’t have a coherent radical ideology either, but I see an awful lot that needs to be done. If accomplishing these things or at least some of ’em requires welcoming non-crazy Republicans to the fold I’m up with it. A fortiori, If saying nice things about Ronald Reagan is what it takes to defeat a genuine fascist, let’s win one with the Gipper even it requires a grossly charitable reading of the historical record. If there were some lefty utopia on offer, it might make sense to hold out for ideological purity. What Clinton is proposing is already quite drastic by the lights of much of the country. Trump’s odiousness makes redistributive policies palatable to moderate Republicans in much the same way that the threat of Communism made New Deal-style reforms sound like sensible insurance to earlier moderate rightists. The orchestra doesn’t need an uncertain trumpet just now. We can play lefter than thou later.

81

Oxbird 07.30.16 at 5:16 pm

Corey, I do not take issue with your history or your analysis of the changes, or lack of changes in the doctrine of the Republican Party. It is important that this history be remembered. Krugman has written a number of pieces to similar effect. But I do take issue with your views concerning the references at the convention to Reagan. Obama, Clinton et. al. were speaking in an effort to win an election and attract independents and Republican voters, not to contribute to an intellectual history of Republican thought. That type of history is important, and there is a cost to putting strict accuracy aside in these types of events, but I believe attracting votes and winning the election is much more important, particularly given the risks presented by a Trump victory.

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KA 07.30.16 at 5:46 pm

So are you… “getting bored” of American politics, Corey?

83

merian 07.30.16 at 5:48 pm

bianca s, @66

You may very well be right that this is the prevalent attitude. My sample is minuscule, and maybe I’m over-stating anecdotes. Also, I think it’s entirely possible that the people I’ve heard, a majority of them, are indeed going to vote for Trump. There are a lot of mechanism at play to convince oneself, even if one’s original assessment of Trump was, correctly, that he’s an unfit, inexperienced, narcissistic show-man. You describe one mechanism, and across the Republican party there’ll be many who’ll end up voting for any warm body with an R next to the name (Supreme Court Justices!).

Those who resist, though, I still see a potential for shared democratic space, maybe naively. Specifically, the woman in the podcast, at that point in time. I overall think, at the difference with a good bit of the commentatorship here, that vigorous political fight should reserve demonisation as a special weapon for exceptional circumstances. If it comes out at every election and against every candidate, it blunts. Even if Corey is right and racism is deeply rooted in the bones of the Republican party, it is nonetheless clear that there are a good number of Republican politicians who’d *love* to be able to attract non-white voters, who start crying when they see the breadth of diversity of who spoke at the DNC convention. Heck, they even did a strategic paper on it. Also, some seriously believe in tenets that we on the left correctly assess as racist (or generating racism, or conducive to racism) — I’d call those the John Roberts colourblind racists (“if you want to stop racial discrimination you need to stop discriminating by race” — nice rhetoric there! effective!). It would be a level of intellectual condescension I don’t want to assume, to believe that people who say this sort of nonsense must be using it as a figleaf.

84

Howard Frant 07.30.16 at 5:52 pm

Yan @74

There has been an immense amount of gibberish spoken on the left about “the lesser of two evils.” The word “evil” as it was used even a hundred years ago might have had a moral/theological overtone, as today, or it might have simply meant a bad thing. If your roof leaked that was not evil, but it was an evil, that is, a bad thing. So to talk about choosing the less bad of two bad things seems like common sense, not some complicated moral choice.

The other point, of course, is that there are only two choices. People on the left want to pretend that life isn’t really that difficult, and they can make a third choice that will preserve their purity. No. The greater of two evils is also an evil, and it’s, you know, worse. Either Trump or Clinton will become President, and you have to decide which you prefer.

Hidari@34

“In other words, Ms Clinton is explicitly promising that, if it is up to her, in a few years time, Syria will look like Libya does now.”

I’d vote for that. W hat the hell do you think Syria looks like now? There have been something like 400,000 people killed in Syria in recent years. Very few of them have been killed by the US. The vast majority were killed by the Assad regime. If that escaped your attention, possibly you noticed that there seem to be an awful lot of refugees. Sorry, anti-militarists, but if Obama had chosen to punish Assad for his use of nerve gas by destroying a large part of his air force, it probably would’ve saved tens of thousands of lives.

Bob McManus @28

“Bill Clinton is evil
Hillary Rodham Clinton is evil
Barack Obama is evil

What planet are we on here? No, they’re not.

This business of labeling people who are insufficiently pure as “evil” is anti-democratic and ultimately totalitarian.

85

merian 07.30.16 at 6:06 pm

Still bianca s., @66, and Corey R @43 and 45

I’m curious about this post, as addressed to this audience. What have CT commenters done to advance the cause of the Trump? I have scrutinized my conscience, I think sufficiently, and I’m not seeing it.

I wasn’t sure if you meant the OP or this was still re: me. I guess the OP. And it goes with

The whole thing reminds me of a problem of scale. Of course, if you zoom out and look at deep political motivating principles at work, you see the seeds of Trump-style nihilistic fascism in the GOP, and you see the Democratic, specifically the pro-market and the American-strength factions that play into the same hands. Is there a tilt and zoom level from which HRC looks closer to Trump than closer to an ideal future state where a left-wing activist or thinker might want to see the US go? Sure. Is this a mid-term (our lifetimes) realistic goal? Hardly, but ok, let’s go for it! But I have the feeling those who think this intellectual game is relevant here and now, in the second half of 2016, vastly misestimate the placement of Sanders on this scale.

I spoke above how I think few are actually personally evil, but to extend that: no one is good either, and if you’re an American politician, you likely have blood on your hands.

Corey @43

One more thing: When liberals and leftists opposed fascism during the lead-up and fighting of World War II (and then in the aftermath of the reconstruction of Western Europe, particularly Germany, and Japan; read John Dower on the latter), they understood that to fight fascism you have to have an analysis of its origins.

Well. One of the reasons the pre-WWII opponents of Nazism failed so miserably in actually preventing Nazism was that they disagreed among each other about the diagnosis and the remedy. Before they had a chance to kick their adversaries from the ballot (starting in 1933), the NSDAP vote peaked at just over 37%. It was down to 33% in the last election of 1932. A unified left and center-left coalition as urged by left-leaning intellectuals could have prevented it. (No, that doesn’t mean I blame the commies for Nazism, blah, blah, blah.)

So, yes, we need to understand causes, but there are moments when, as we say in tech, operational needs trump long-term strategic thinking. When I’m out berry picking and see a bear in full tilt coming in my direction, I’ll not pull out my phone and call the wildlife managers for an analysis of why the bear population unexpectedly extended into my berry patch.

Here’s something else that happens occasionally. Consider many of the post-WWI pacifists, especially in France. They were done with the horrors of war. And they had made figured out that there’s a trade-off between peace and justice sometimes. And went for peace. And collaborated with the Nazi occupiers. The doers and the thinkers don’t always live harmoniously in the same body.

Otherwise, I like your strategy in @45. I’m pretty much on board, a quibble here and there. You’ll just get more pushback for the next few months, I wager.

86

bianca steele 07.30.16 at 6:12 pm

Those who resist, though, I still see a potential for shared democratic space, maybe naively. Specifically, the woman in the podcast, at that point in time. I overall think, at the difference with a good bit of the commentatorship here, that vigorous political fight should reserve demonisation as a special weapon for exceptional circumstances. If it comes out at every election and against every candidate, it blunts. Even if Corey is right and racism is deeply rooted in the bones of the Republican party, it is nonetheless clear that there are a good number of Republican politicians who’d *love* to be able to attract non-white voters, who start crying when they see the breadth of diversity of who spoke at the DNC convention. Heck, they even did a strategic paper on it. Also, some seriously believe in tenets that we on the left correctly assess as racist (or generating racism, or conducive to racism) — I’d call those the John Roberts colourblind racists (“if you want to stop racial discrimination you need to stop discriminating by race” — nice rhetoric there! effective!). It would be a level of intellectual condescension I don’t want to assume, to believe that people who say this sort of nonsense must be using it as a figleaf.

I agree with this. What worries me (and what I agree with in the OP) is the tendency to say, well, communities with lots of racism (deliberate or structural, or whatever you prefer to call “not deliberate”) also have some people who aren’t racist, and are sincerely anti-racist–and therefore we should say racism (or Trumpism) is actually UNPRECEDENTED.

Or that it’s unfair to the few anti-racists in the community, or the party, or the group of partisans, to call out the racism that’s actually pretty prevalent there. Or to insist that victims of racism must ignore the existence of racism, and pretend anti-racism is actually in the saddle. We can agree that they’re sincere anti-racists and still insist they’re supporting racism. (And in the case of Roberts, I suspect he’s too smart to really believe it).

87

bianca steele 07.30.16 at 6:18 pm

merian,

Yes, it was addressed to the OP, not to you. I know enough about Corey’s politics, and what he thinks we all can do, to guess at what he means by that. I just don’t think it stands alone.

88

Lupita 07.30.16 at 6:20 pm

if Obama had chosen to punish Assad

Obama is not free to choose, he just heads a global system called Western hegemony which lost much of its legitimacy and support when Bush exercised his freedom to choose to invade Iraq with no evidence of WMD. I agree that we do not gain anything by calling Western heads of state “evil” when supremacist will do. It is best to use political terms to describe political realities and leave the freedom to choose theology to Protestant ministers.

89

root_e 07.30.16 at 6:31 pm

So looks like all my posts disappear. Enjoy the Trump supporters.

90

Layman 07.30.16 at 6:36 pm

Howard Frant: …”if Obama had chosen to punish Assad for his use of nerve gas by destroying a large part of his air force…”

History suggests this would not go as planned. It seems nearly every day that we’re treated to another news report that a bombing attack has gone awry, and we’ve killed more people who didn’t deserve to be killed. This is the nature of bombing attacks. Surgical precision in bombing does not exist. Targets are misidentified, or are dangerously intermingled with bystanders, or become thus dangerously intermingled after being identified, routinely; and the margin of error of the weapons used is substantially larger than we like to pretend. There isn’t any evidence I can think of which suggests bombing other people is a necessary and effective step to helping them improve their lives. It did not work in Iraq, either time. It did not work in Libya. It has not worked in Lebanon. It will not lead to peace and prosperity in Syria. There are limits to the effective use of military power, and it is long past time that we learned them.

91

root_e 07.30.16 at 6:42 pm

“Js, logically, even with a trump win, this is very unlikely to happen. Unless we’re now ignoring all institutional and party political theories of the presidency, and going full green lantern”

Von Pappen and Hindenberg will prevent them from going too crazy. The important thing is to critique social democrats for their lack of correct ideology!

92

Rich Puchalsky 07.30.16 at 6:43 pm

“Evil” is four characters while “imperialism” is um 11 characters. Twitter!

But yes, “we” in America get to choose — actually, the President gets to choose — whether to punish or not punish, because we have a massive military machine that can attack anywhere in the world. I think that the prevailing idea is that since we built this machine, we get to use it however we think best.

93

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 7:38 pm

Root e, the contemporary United States is not interwar Europe. No need for the melodrama

94

JimV 07.30.16 at 7:40 pm

Say what you will about Republicanism, at least it’s an ethos. Trump believes in nothing.

(Slightly misquoted, but I like it better that way.)

As for Reagan, you can choose to look at him two or more ways:

1) A basically decent person who grew up with some prejudices and false notions (among those that he was qualified to lead the USA) who made a lot of wrong moves in office but tried to do right as he saw it.

2) Almost as big a phony and narcissist as Trump who hid it a lot better.

I’m inclined to 2), but know some otherwise decent people who believe 1) or better. These same people see Trump for what he is, and plan to vote Democratic at the top of the ballot for the first time in their lives – unless something happens to change their minds between now and the election. This is in western NYS, so it won’t affect anything but the margin here, and may not translate elsewhere, but it’s a step forward. Evolution is slow.

“Don’t try to drink the ocean” – my first boss used to say that too.

95

Raven Onthill 07.30.16 at 7:40 pm

This morning from Trump on the Muslim vet at the DNC:

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” he said, on national television. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

Yesterday:

“You know it’s interesting. Every time I mention [Hilary Clinton], everyone screams ‘lock her up, lock her up.’ They keep screaming. And you know what I do? I’ve been nice,” Trump explained to his supporters in this evangelical bastion of Colorado Springs. “But after watching that performance last night — such lies — I don’t have to be so nice anymore. I’m taking the gloves off.

Nixon thought such things (only he thought them about Jews); Reagan might have. But, damn, they didn’t say them, and they didn’t say them from the bully pulpit of the Presidency. Trump is already inciting anti-Islamic violence; what would he do if he became President?

“we have the opportunity to repudiate not only Donald Trump but Trumpism, and not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment.”

And, if Clinton wins, is that not enough of a repudiation? If not, how do you propose to do so? Lay out a strategy! Which people will support you? What states will they vote in? My best hope, as I keep saying, is that the Republicans will collapse, and a new party, perhaps founded by the Sanders movement, will move in on the left, but hope is not a plan. And we must not risk a Trump victory in this election, not even a little bit.

96

roger gathmann 07.30.16 at 8:11 pm

Corey, I’m glad you are continuing in this vein. The “old” or establishment GOP, the one consisting of perfectly fine members of the same country club that the publishers and editors of our respectable newspapers go to, can get away with ‘dogwhistling’ w/o really meaning it, infuriates me. As does the idea that a GOP president who replied to the insurgents blowing up American GIS, “bring em on”, is a model of decorum and dignity beside Trump, is also infuriating.

97

Lee A. Arnold 07.30.16 at 8:12 pm

For years Assad has prevented humanitarian aid and the Syrian Army has been targeting doctors.

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RNB 07.30.16 at 8:20 pm

Well, roger gathmann, it’s hard to think of past Republican nominees or Presidents not acknowledging the loss of a grieving mother of a fallen soldier while insulting that mother that she must be a willing slave of a despotic man as all Muslim women are. But then again the past Republican Presidents and Presidential nominees have not expressed their desire to eliminate Muslims from US territorial space. But you and Corey Robin are right: nothing new here at the top of the Republican ticket. Same old, same old.
ps thanks Raven for the last message.

99

Layman 07.30.16 at 8:21 pm

@ Lee Arnold

Then give it up. $5 billion per year spent in humanitarian aid somewhere else will save many more lives than $5 billion per year spent bombing Syrians. There’s no shortage of misery in the world; there’s just a shortage of American will to ‘help’ people in ways that aren’t pyrotechnic.

100

root_e 07.30.16 at 8:28 pm

“Root e, the contemporary United States is not interwar Europe. No need for the melodrama”

If you want a more American response: Why that would be as unthinkable as the possibility that a much beloved liberal US President were to imprison all Japanese Americans without trial while their property got looted by their neighbors.

How’s that? That should reassure these hysterical people. Or we could do: “Why you might as well suggest a modern President could order a US citizen to be abducted from an airport with a black hood over his head and imprisoned without habeaus corpus in a Navy brig until he lost his mind”

101

merian 07.30.16 at 8:34 pm

bianca s. @84.

I agree with you and Corey on that. The racism isn’t unprecedented, and neither is the nihilistic will-to-power (which I prefer to “Trumpism”[1]).

But racism isn’t a constant. It’s always there, alright, but from the POV of a Latinx, African-American, Native person, GLBT person, etc. there’s a qualitative difference between the expectation we could reasonably have when facing, say, a Romney presidency (a prospect we pretty much mentally prepared for 4 years ago, at least in my household), and the current Trump spectacle. (The same is true if you replace Romney with McCain or most of the Bushs.)

The first means incremental deterioration of race relations and segregation, incremental increases of law and order, incremental deterioration of the living condition of the poorest, no action on causes of social justice, ever increasing inequality and enrichment of the 1%, and some culture wars triggered by severe measures (certainly a war around same-sex marriage — Windsor was decided in 2013, and it’s impossible to say how it would have come out without the support of the Sollicitor General; not sure whether he’d have had a chance to select a new judge — probably around abortion, certainly around “religious freedom”.) The second means that my Latino friends can expect to be thrown into the misery of immigration woes, my Muslim friends hear about ideas about mandatory electronic tagging, and my black friends expect police shootings to just increase and increase, and ever more of their own to go to prison. And to say that many of those policies may be impossible to implement is to neglect that the very expression of these ideas is a form of violence — and of course it encourages physical and verbal assaults all over the country.

Beyond that, though, the racism of one’s neighbor (and employer, and local official), that is, the racism that expresses itself person-to-person, is something that isn’t constant. I’m German. My ancestors weren’t any worse people than if they had happened to be English or French. I often encounter the attitude (here in the US) that there must have been something fundamentally different about Germans for them to do (as a people) what they did. I don’t believe there was, not much at least. I think they had their ethical values warped by too-widespread economic strife and relentless appeals to tribal instincts. And opportunism. And the desire to stick it to the powerful. (My thoughts from right after the Trump-Mordor convention are here. I’m only lightly pseudonymous here, though by now it probably doesn’t make a difference if I return to posting under my real name…)

[1] I still wonder if the whole thing isn’t just, or partly, a business stunt. Become president and … profit! Seems like Ivanka Trump’s company strategically tweeted out where to buy her dress (for a relatively affordable price, too — less than $200), and some of her slogans repeat the title of her upcoming book. It’s in a way the apotheosis of capitalism, isn’t it?

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RNB 07.30.16 at 8:39 pm

@99 great comment, merian; but it may be outdone by @19, which you also wrote.

103

Howard Frant 07.30.16 at 8:39 pm

Lupita@86

No, Western hegemony does not make decisions or bomb people. People do.

Layman@88

Probably some bombs would go astray, and kill civilians. Most would not, and would severely damage the Syrian Air Force. Would this bring about the government that we would like to see in Syria? No, all it would do is put a crimp in Assad’s ability to massacre civilians. (And also reduce the ability of Sunni terrorist organizations to recruit off Assad’s actions, but leave that aside.) Many fewer civilians would be killed. But a few would be killed by us.

Rich Puchalsky @90
“Evil” is four characters while “imperialism” is um 11 characters. Twitter!

Yes, if someone is going to use meaningless but emotive abstractions, might as well use short ones.

I agree it seems unfair that we get to bomb Assad and he doesn’t get to bomb us. To me that seems less unfair than the fact that Assad gets to bomb his citizens and they don’t get to bomb him.

104

Ronanfitz(rf) 07.30.16 at 8:40 pm

The US has not come out of a huge continental war which destroyed the legitimacy of the political class, institutions and ruling ideology . It hasn’t had post war paramilitary war. A comparable economic crisis to the Great Depression. There hasn’t been the same level of political illegitimacy and institutional collapse. President trump would be awful, but he’s not going to start deporting Mexicans in the millions, sending muslims into camps and bombing china . Bruce wilder, corey robin et al are hyperbolic in the extreme about the threat posed by Hillary , but why use the same apocalyptic rhetoric ?

105

Ronanfitz(rf) 07.30.16 at 8:42 pm

Root e my reply is in moderation, might come out later

106

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 8:43 pm

(Sorry, ignore comments in moderation )

The US has not come out of a huge continental war which destroyed the legitimacy of the political class, institutions and ruling ideology . It hasn’t had post war paramilitary war. A comparable economic crisis to the Great Depression. There hasn’t been the same level of political illegitimacy and institutional collapse. President trump would be awful, but he’s not going to start deporting Mexicans in the millions, sending muslims into camps and bombing china . Bruce wilder, corey robin et al are hyperbolic in the extreme about the threat posed by Hillary , but why use the same apocalyptic rhetoric ?

107

RNB 07.30.16 at 8:53 pm

To supplement my @96, I see that Ezra Klein has already understood the obscenity of what Trump has said. http://www.vox.com/2016/7/30/12332922/donald-trump-khan-muslim

Of course Klein is the leader of that Vox generation that Corey Robin thinks he has to school, as some elder of leftism.

108

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 8:54 pm

(Above was to Root e) another way to put it, burden of proof is on you . Explain how president trump would be significantly worse , in practice , than a bog standard republican. Considering the limitations of the presidency , division of powers across other institutions, possibilities for presidential policy making .. What potentially could trump do ?

109

RNB 07.30.16 at 8:55 pm

root_e, very much appreciate the historical precedents that you have discussed

110

merian 07.30.16 at 9:02 pm

RNB, thanks, appreciated.

Ronan(rf): It is already worse.

111

root_e 07.30.16 at 9:08 pm

I wish I could say I admire your faith in the durability of American institutions and your willingness to assume that in the nation of lynch law, internment, and pandemic police violence, the chief executive in command of the FBI and Military, with a recent precedent of what Bush did during Katrina and at Abu Ghraib still fresh, would be constrained to respect the rights of minorities and dissidents, especially during the economic collapse and social disorder that would follow him into office, but I can’t.

112

mrearl 07.30.16 at 9:09 pm

Frankly, I don’t see how any of you could seriously entertain the idea of doing anything, including not voting, that would increase the prospect of Donald Trump’s election. “The choice is clear,” Mrs. Clinton says, hearkening back to 1964 and LBJ v. Goldwater. To that we might add another slogan from that election: “In your guts you know he’s nuts.”

It’s not necessarily irrational to consider both candidates evils. Perspectives can sensibly vary. The important difference is, one of them is insane and represents a clear and present danger. Perspectives cannot sensibly vary on that.

113

root_e 07.30.16 at 9:15 pm

thanks rnb
and also good comments merian

Imagine the Bundy takeover with the DOJ taking the position that they were right and encouraging militia actions. The cops don’t have to impose a tyranny, they just have to stand by and protect the SA.

114

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 9:16 pm

Root e, your examples are bad enough in their own right, so There’s no need to imagine the sort of violence snd political dysfunction that comes with actual state breakdown. So what are the actual consequences of a trump presidency ? Away from the hyperbole.

115

Anderson 07.30.16 at 9:21 pm

Thank goodness, if I want “Trump = Clinton” narcissism, I have no further to look than Crooked Timber.

Deeply despicable people.

116

Lee A. Arnold 07.30.16 at 9:22 pm

Layman #97: “Then give it up”

Then give what up? Assad is a killer.

117

mrearl 07.30.16 at 9:26 pm

Again, we can Scylla-and-Charybdis all night long about this election, but one candidate proves in public every day–Every. Single. Day.–that he is not dealing with the same reality that you and I, or most of us, are. Here’s today’s pathetic news:

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/donald-trump-questions-army-father-s-dnc-speech-wife-s-n620241

Only children, or their mental equivalents, could want this man anywhere near nuclear weapons.

118

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 9:33 pm

Of course no one (except, perhaps, kidneystones ) has said trump = Clinton, but as the idiot brigade couldn’t even understand basic polling that showed sanders and his supporters would support Clinton, how can they be expected to understand basic English. From this outsiders perspective , the Clinton lobby have been the most self righteous , patronising, divisive demographic in this campaign.

119

Rich Puchalsky 07.30.16 at 9:44 pm

The mutual congratulation society should feel free to confront actual Trump supporters somewhere if they think that’s what they should be doing. There is one guy here, kidneystones, who is a “Trump advocate” whatever that means, and literally everyone else who has commented has said that they either aren’t going to vote for Trump or can’t. As for Trump = Clinton I put that at maybe one more person. All the rest of us are supposed to be supporting Trump by showing insufficient enthusiasm for HRC.

Some people have been warning us about the dangers that lead to Trumpism or whatever it is for some time. The imperial Presidency, something which would let a demagogue have far too much power. The ethos of foreign “humanitarian” intervention, which lets the President declare war at will and on shaky evidence. The dangers of the secrecy, security, and surveillance state. The problems of neoliberal economics, which concentrate wealth and oppress the poor, leaving a population ripe for demagogic appeals.

The response from the mutual congratulation society was “how dare you say these bad things about President Obama”. So yeah, now they’re worried. And their reaction is the same as it always was: those horrible leftists! They must be saying that Obama is as bad as Trump would be! (Obviously I think that Obama is much, much better — I need to write that for the nonreaders here.)

So yeah, good job on getting worried about something. But when you did, you brought your same selves along with you.

120

root_e 07.30.16 at 9:49 pm

Ok, I should mention that I largely agree with what I read of Corey’s post – which is unusual. His remarks about Obama and Hillary mentioning Reagan are just I guess reflex and confusion between the operation of political rhetoric and academic writing.

As for Rich: “The response from the mutual congratulation society was “how dare you say these bad things about President Obama”.”

You should try, for once, to read what other people write.

121

RNB 07.30.16 at 10:01 pm

Says the person Rich Puchalsky who was laying out the upside of a Trump victory as setting the left free to widen its agenda. Seriously what’s with crying about the mutual admiration society? You and Corey Robin mutually admire each other. He doesn’t find that depressing.

By the way, you do know that Kaine, unlike Pence and Trump, has been one of Obama’s most vocal critics in regards to war powers, no? And you do know that Clinton, unlike Pence and Trump, is explicitly defending sizable public sector investments. So not fully neoliberal; plus she supports a much higher minimum wage and paid parental leave and early childhood education. All not neoliberal. Yes, as I the putative Clinton shill noted already, Clinton is not looking for legislative action to cap executive pay, and she is not calling for consumers and workers to be on corporate boards. In this way she is neoliberal compared to Theresa May.

And then Ronan (rf)

Kind of surprised that you are paying so much attention to an election in which you don’t vote, but you write:

“the Clinton lobby have been the most self righteous , patronising, divisive demographic in this campaign”

Still we rise:)

At any rate, some people here refusing to vote for either evil as they put it, which implies that for them trump=Clinton because (I don’t know) they have a pre-Cantorian sense of the political infinite, and don’t understand that one infinite evil can be more evil than another infinite evil.

122

root_e 07.30.16 at 10:03 pm

This is a great example from Rich where he notes that he has been bravely warning about ” The problems of neoliberal economics, which concentrate wealth and oppress the poor, leaving a population ripe for demagogic appeals.” despite the oppressive booing from us Obots. Meanwhile in the real world, even Larry Summers, has been warning about how wealth inequality destroys the social compact – since 2000 or earlier. Here’s Hillary Clinton in 2014

“Clinton told the audience that middle class incomes had stagnated over the last decade even as the average worker’s productivity had increased significantly in the same period. She pointed to studies that showed 4 out of 10 children born into the lowest rung on the economic ladder remained there as adults.

She cited troubling statistics indicating that many younger African-American workers were falling out of the middle class. She noted that life expectancies for lower income women were dropping. She warned that news that middle class Canadians now enjoyed better wages, hours, and government benefits than their American counterparts was a “wake-up call.”

“And where is it all going?” Clinton asked. “Economists have documented how the share of income and wealth going to those at the very top, not just the top 1 percent but the top 0.1 percent, the 0.01 percent of the population, has risen sharply over the last generation,” she said. “Some are calling it a throwback to the Gilded Age of the robber barons.”

So here is Rich, bravely making Larry Summers argument, but pretending that he’s a victim of neoliberal Obama fanatics who refuse to admit there is a problem. This is an issue here I have noted before. The Obama era Democrats are moderate social democrats who work within a deeply flawed political system of an empire. They are open to criticism – but criticisms that simply ignore both what the Democrats say and what they do are just exercises in pointless yelling.

123

bruce wilder 07.30.16 at 10:06 pm

RP @ 38: This election can’t repudiate that apparatus. The contemporary GOP and the contemporary Democratic Party are coevolved, if I may use a dubious metaphor. The Democratic Party as it is now is based on being the electoral opponent to the GOP of the Southern Strategy. In a two-party system, you can’t simply repudiate one, only the above-mentioned realignment and replacement of at least one of the parties can do that. And that did not happen in this election.

The mythology of the Democratic Party is that it is the electoral opponent to the GOP of the Southern Strategy.

But, as far as repudiating the “apparatus” of Reagan, the neoliberals who dominate the Democrats’ Presidential Party, have staged a friendly takeover. They are giving it a new coat of anti-racist paint is all.

The Republican Presidential Party continued to evolve and degenerate after Reagan. As Kevin Phillips, a prophet of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, cogently argued, it had become a coalition of Theocrats and Bad Money by the younger Bush’s Presidency.

The policy success of Reagan — the unleashed forces of economic domination, economic predation and parasitism — meant that New Democrats could compete to do the bidding of those forces, advancing their cause and so they have.

This is how the ideological shuffling of Party realignments work: they try to bring new groups into the coalition without repelling old groups out, at least not too fast. FDR welcomed progressive Republicans into the Democratic Party as liberals. This is the same thing, only upside down: Clinton is welcoming neocons and unrestrained economic domination into the Democratic Party.

Obama and Clinton have demonstrated that they can be effective representatives of the interests of globalized big business and the financial sector, effectively dampening the emergence of political resistance with a ruthless inside game and relatively inexpensive policy promises, coupled with sincere anti-racism.

So, now we wake up and find the Reagan apparatus of economic domination, predation and parasitism grown larger than he would have imagined possible. Where he sold it with the dog-whistles to racism and nods to resentment, the Democratic neoliberals are selling it with righteous sincerity and the passionate testimony of personal identity.

124

Glen Tomkins 07.30.16 at 10:09 pm

Our political discourse has indeed become hopelessly, impenetrably artificial. Of course Reagan is held up by Dems as a role model. He was sunny. He brought Morning to America. Jim Crow content to things he said? Irrelevant. Content is irrelevant. We had settled into all being for “securing our borders”, but also for a “pathway to citizenship” before Trump just chucked those formulations, both of which mean absolutely nothing in real terms, for proposals that cover this ground, only with solutions that actually promise something, ethnic cleansing and a border wall. Of course the rest of us want it to be morning in America again, well, morning for those of us who won’t have to keep on living in citizenship limbo as illegal aliens. We want to go back to pretending there’s no problem here, that we can make the undocumented and the nativists both happy.

Our politicians do messaging instead of saying things that have any public policy content. Actually saying anything is considered a gaffe, and a big part of the messaging operation in a conventional campaign is damage control to clean up after any actual content that a candidate might inadvertently utter in the course of the public appearances and public statements that tradition still unthinkingly requires.

Trump’s entire appeal is that he has thrown all of this over. It’s not that what he says has any public policy content either, but that’s because it has apparently never entered his head to have any public policy thoughts. Reagan did well saying things with savage content with a smile because he had Alzheimer’s. Trump is scoring with a big segment of the electorate because he gaffes on purpose and makes no attempt to clean up after himself. He serves up the racism and the nativism unvarnished by code words like “states’ rights” or any other sort of dog whistle, and they love him because someone is finally throwing over all the artificiality and pretense.

Will the people happy about crashing the artificiality stay happy with that long enough to actually vote for him? Are there enough of them to outvote the less adventurous among us? If elected, will he actually go ahead with ethnically cleansing 11 million of us? Who knows. We’re in uncharted waters.

125

Layman 07.30.16 at 10:18 pm

Lee A. Arnold: “Then give what up?”

I think you understood me. Few of a society’s problems are amenable to repair through a bombing campaign. Accept that you’re not going to make things better by bombing those poor people. Find someone else you can help, with something more helpful than bombs.

126

Layman 07.30.16 at 10:22 pm

Rich P: “So yeah, good job on getting worried about something. But when you did, you brought your same selves along with you.”

This is Rich to a T; always ready to shit on someone for agreeing with him.

127

Ronan(rf) 07.30.16 at 10:35 pm

“Kind of surprised that you are paying so much attention to an election in which you don’t vote, but you write”

It’s nearly impossible not to pay attention ! I wish more attention was paid to the lack of social housing and cancer treatment in Irish cities and regional towns , but we all have to serve our time with the trumpapocalypse , so what can one do ?

128

Lupita 07.30.16 at 10:42 pm

Clinton, unlike Pence and Trump, is explicitly defending sizable public sector investments. So not fully neoliberal; plus she supports a much higher minimum wage and paid parental leave and early childhood education. All not neoliberal.

Neoliberalism is a global system, with the US at its helm, in which capital, resources, labor, and drugs flow from poor countries to the rich west and the bombs, torture, toxic waste, and military occupations flow the other way around . Distributing the plunder more equitably among the western populations in order to secure their continued support is indeed part of the neoliberal system, if necessary. Bread and circus does not mean Rome was not an empire. But then, you know exactly what neoliberalism is, you are just pretending in order to shill for Clinton and US supremacy.

129

kidneystones 07.30.16 at 10:43 pm

Trump does not equal Hillary. Trump is better on the two issues that matter to me:

a/ anti-TPP – technology transfers – outsourcing manufacturing to slave labor states

b/ illegal regime change

HRC promoted TPP until her campaign flip-flop. HRC participated in Libya, Syria, Iraq.

Trump does not equal Hillary and certainly has much, much, much less blood on his hands.

https://youtu.be/Fgcd1ghag5Y

130

Bernard Yomtov 07.30.16 at 10:46 pm

I’ve been trying for years to explain to dubious liberals and skeptical leftists that Trumpism is what this party is all about,

This is rather self-congratulatory. That particular opinion is in fact widely held among liberals I know, most or all of whom have never had a conversation with Corey Robin.

131

merian 07.30.16 at 10:57 pm

harry b@56: As a newcomer to the country, I agree with you, mostly, and I was surprised to find my (American) spouse to be a lot more hard-nosed about it. Me, I’m absolutely fine with narrowly sticking to constitutional principles when having to decide matters that will, in effect, create new law.

But I think the hard-nosedness comes in part from the overall ineffectualness of the legislative process. Every president seems to be getting one major legislative social policy project per 8-year 2-term period. And like the ACA, some just barely end up recognizable from the mandate at the start. (Others, of course, ended up cesspools of mostly unmitigated disaster, especially under Bill Clinton.)

So it’s not an absolute. It would have been preferable, I agree, if the US legislative process had ended up legalising same-sex marriage. But hearing “our understanding of the 14th amendment equal protection clause implies that same-sex couples need to be given this opportunity” was, as someone whose life was affected by it, full of gravitas and power. I think it made the decision a lot stronger than if they had waffled their way through the commerce clause, even if the result had been the same. And even in countries where legislation ended up taking up the matter, they did it after courts had pointed to incontrovertible defects in whatever the situation had evolved to (usually a checker-board of local or regional/state-level recognitions and bans). The courts intervened in Canada and several Latin American countries. They played a smaller role in the UK and even France, and has led to Germany’s registered partnerships to be put on the same footing as marriages.

Of course it would be nice if everyone was Ireland.

132

Lee A. Arnold 07.30.16 at 10:57 pm

Layman #120: “bombing those poor people”

What exactly are you talking about?

133

UserGoogol 07.30.16 at 11:08 pm

I think The Reactionary Mind doesn’t send the signal you intended it to. The message I got is that the love of conflict and the love of inequality are fundamentally tied. The lesson is not for the left to embrace conflict to fight back, but to reject conflict so as to undermine the underlying principles of reactionaryism. Progress comes from reason and social forces which supervene over any individual actions we might take. The idea that we can simply remold society is profoundly Nietzschean: you’re calling for people to be ubermensch.

And at a different level, the idea that reactionaryism can be smashed just seems absurd on its face: there’s been reactionaryism for as long as there has been modernity. It’s just an inevitable psychological response, where some people find equality quite nice while people with a more reactionary mind find it horrible, and latch onto whatever reactionary political movements seem convenient. Reactionaryism, after all, doesn’t even come from the powerful, but from people who feel entitled to have power. If you’re powerful but don’t have a superiority complex, you can happily allow progress to happen around you, since hey, things have worked out for you pretty well so far. But if you’re powerless and feel entitled you’ll latch onto whatever scraps of privilege you have and kick at anyone who tries to dismantle them.

134

js. 07.30.16 at 11:26 pm

135

kidneystones 07.30.16 at 11:26 pm

Koch Konspiracy Tales – Kochs’ Secretly Support Trump!!!!!

http://www.wmtw.com/politics/speaker-paul-ryan-and-other-top-republicans-to-address-koch-group/40962338

Actually, no…”The powerful political network helmed by Charles and David Koch is ruling out running advertisements intended to hurt Hillary Clinton…”

I blame Trig Palin

136

Lee A. Arnold 07.30.16 at 11:42 pm

Wow, the Houston Chronicle endorsed Hillary Clinton.

137

Yan 07.30.16 at 11:42 pm

Js 129, that topic has been talked to death on another thread so you might see what was said there before raising it again.

But no one hear thinks it’s all about economic anxiety. The disagreement is about whether we have underestimated or overestimated the role played by economic anxiety in the aggravation of racist and xenophobic sentiments.

If you think it does not play a significant role, then what do you think causes and or inflames hatred of races, ethnicities, and religions? (To my mind this is a question about human nature: I think we’re not very rational and driven mostly by perceived personal and group interest. So what is the perceived interest in these sentiments, what do they think they’ll get, and is it really unrelated to economic and broader social status?)

A second question: if economics doesn’t play a major role, how do we fix it? What distinct cause of racism and xenophobia, other than previous racism and xenophobia, can we work on to reduce it? Or is the only thing we can do is “call it out”, feel superior, and feel bad about it?

138

Omega Centauri 07.30.16 at 11:52 pm

Somewhere above was asked, who on the left did things that supported Trump. The reality is that many in the working class have felt dissed by the elites of both left and right leanings. We just don’t take their opinions seriously, as they aren’t well thought out and are crudely articulated. So the current fashion is that since the elites in power have let them down, anything smacking of elitism is bad. So loudly displaying complete disdain for expertise is a huge part of Trumpism. To Trump, (I think no one knows for sure), its all just a show, he has researched what buttons to push to capture this demographic, and he never tires of pushing them -and trying new buttons all the time.

Above the question arose, how could Jill Stein get the carbon emissions trajectory so wrong? Well a lot of commenters on RealClimate, who ought to know better are making the same mistake, taking the last couple of years spike in CO2 as indicative of human emissions only or primarily. The case that short term climate noise can make a short term signal a poor indicator of underlining longterm trends is dismissed.

Defeating Trumpism whatever that means isn’t going to magically happen if he loses in a landslide. Some of the ideas associated with Trump will become unpopular, simply because they are seen as non winning. So there is that. But, in reality Trumpism is about the exploitation of anger and resentment, and that is always something that wannabe Demogouges specialize in.

139

Alan White 07.30.16 at 11:55 pm

Just insert Trump for Kirk in terms of histrionics beyond the pale:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajsNJtnUb7c

Except Kirk was oddly enjoyable. Trump is just sub-human in his ego-bubble reaction to the death of an American Muslim soldier.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-father-fallen-soldier-ive-made-lot/story?id=41015051

140

kidneystones 07.31.16 at 12:02 am

The ‘adults’ in the room have spoken Pro-war press endorses Clinton.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

‘We came, we saw, he died.’ equals ‘temperament’ to be President.

Good times, ahead!!

141

John Quiggin 07.31.16 at 12:31 am

RNB @116 “Kind of surprised that you are paying so much attention to an election in which you don’t vote, but you write”

Like Ronan, I’m always humbled when Americans complain about the constant tendency of Irish, Australian and other foreigners to comment on their domestic affairs. It’s particularly unfair because Americans never opinionate about the affairs of other countries, let alone interfere in their democratic processes. But, we just can’t help ourselves, it seems.

142

kidneystones 07.31.16 at 12:38 am

133 Agreed! And the best way to honor the families of the fallen is to put even more destructive power into the hands of the only candidate still in the race who played any part in getting Khan and hundreds of thousands of others killed in Iraq, Libya and other nations luck enough to earn the benevolent attention of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Khizr Khan lost his son, Captain Humayun Khan, when the younger Khan died while protecting his Army unit in Iraq in 2004.” Vanity fair on the speech. My edit…

“Khizar Khan and his family, like thousands of others, lost his son in an a wholly illegal, vainglorious attempt to violently remake the Middle East in America’s image appeared at a political rally in support of one of the key architects of America’s illegal ME wars.

If you’ve never served the military in Hillary Clinton’s America, you’re not a patriot!

Trump had nothing to do with Khan’s did, HRC did.

So, let’s blame Trump.

143

franck 07.31.16 at 12:53 am

Lupita,

Is the left fine with non-US imperialism, as you understand it? So Russian, Chinese, etc imperialism is fine and dandy?

144

root_e 07.31.16 at 1:04 am

“So loudly displaying complete disdain for expertise is a huge part of Trumpism.”

The USA once had a party called the “know nothings”

In any case, it’s fascinating to see this constant theorizing that people who hate and distrust elites are putting their faith in a man was born rich, lives in a castle and has made opulence and overbearing behavior his trademarks.

145

LFC 07.31.16 at 1:12 am

@kidneystones
You need a break.
The issue, as I understand it, is that Trump highlighted the fact that Khan’s wife appeared w him at the podium but didn’t speak, suggesting she was perhaps muzzled. Did it occur to Trump that maybe she didn’t feel comfortable speaking in that setting? I mean this (Trump’s take) carries stupid to a whole new level, or would do if that were still a possibility for him given what he’s already said.

146

RNB 07.31.16 at 1:32 am

135 very interested in foreign views on nato trade intervention dollar politics and more. Surprised that Ronan’s interest primarily in rhetoric of some Clinton supporters

147

kidneystones 07.31.16 at 1:38 am

@ 139 Don’t like being reminded that HRC helped kill Khan and hundreds of thousands of others much, do you? I’ll bet you wish you could just shut out the fact that Khan’s blood is on HRC’s hands, and Biden’s, and McCain’s, and Bush’s, and on the editorial boards of most of America’s newspapers, but most emphatically not on Obama’s and not, inconveniently, on Trumps.

She’s the war candidate and proven regime change advocate captured on video in the links above laughing about her illegal war in Libya. Plenty of experts have lined up to denounce Trump. But not all. From Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/23/only-donald-trump-raises-five-fundamental-and-urgent-foreign-policy-questions-stephen-f-cohen-bemoans-msms-dismissal-of-trumps-queries/

And, more recently, on CNN: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/07/30/russia_expert_stephen_cohen_trump_wants_to_stop_the_new_cold_war_but_the_america_media_just_doesnt_understand.html

No doubt our own Russia expert will pop up to explain how Cohen doesn’t really have the gravitas and expertise of say, Chris Mathews.

You support a killer, a neocon with a proven track record of needless death, capricious destruction, and the architect of what her own boss calls her ‘shit show’ of mess in Libya.

So, no. I’m not going to shut up, or stop doing what I can to prevent more illegal US wars, or the kind of nuclear conflict with Russia that Cohen envisions with HRC in office. Nor are many, many others I suspect. Or, are we supposed to start clapping for the regime-change-maker cause she’s a Dem. Please help us ignorant foreigners who have to live in the world the US shapes understand why Dem regime change agents are good, but Republican regime change advocates are bad.

The same assholes who lined up to support Bush and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, on both sides of the aisle, are now lining up to support the candidate of death. Nothing to see here!

She laughs about the people she’s helped kill.

Does that fact even register with you?

148

Lupita 07.31.16 at 1:38 am

Is the left fine with non-US imperialism, as you understand it? So Russian, Chinese, etc imperialism is fine and dandy?

The left is anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist. As to other imperialisms emerging in the wake of American decline, I guess we must beware the lash of the dragon’s tail as he dies, as Anarcissie says upthread.

149

F. Foundling 07.31.16 at 1:42 am

Faustusnotes @37
>just like sanders, who also voted for the invasion.

He voted against the use of force in 2002 and against the invasion in 2003. What he did vote for was supporting efforts for regime change in 1998, and financing the US military in 2006-2011. Check e.g. votesmart.org. Still wrong from my perspective, of course.

js. @17
>Electronic trackers for all Muslims
js. @ 54
>I don’t want people in my family, people I dearly love to have to wear electronic trackers.

Look, I’m *not* advocating for Trump, but one should keep one’s facts straight: the article says ‘for all Muslims *on the terror watch list*’, following a similar French law. Certainly, the very mention of religion still makes it discrimination, assuming that Giuliani doesn’t want the same thing to apply to *non-Muslims* on the terror watch list.

150

RNB 07.31.16 at 1:44 am

Trump who wants to run a better protection racket on NATO is not the one to reverse expansion. He is more likely to trigger nuclear war than those in the Obama WH that will carry over to Clinton. Trump supported intervention in Iraq and Libya. Not an isolation slits. Supports 30K troops in Iraq. Trump is lying. And too unstable for nuclear codes. Stephen Cohen thinks he can use contradictory mutterings of trump to push new detente. No way he wants him in the WH

151

RNB 07.31.16 at 1:47 am

Lots of innocent people on list according to article. And no reason to believe it would stop terrorism. Could increase risk if alienates people who would otherwise give alerts

152

F. Foundling 07.31.16 at 1:50 am

Re Syria @37, 41 etc., it’s very simple – no country, including the US, has the right to declare the government of another country illegitimate, invade the country and depose it – or even support rebels there, which the US and its allies have been doing. At most, you can place sanctions. If you want to establish an internationally recognised mechanism for investigating and outlawing particularly tyrannical or brutal governments, by all means try to do that (the closest thing at present seems to be f2p, which requires Security Council approval). But if individual countries such as the US are allowed to decide that on their own, they will be guided by their own geostrategic or economic interests, and their media will help by furnishing the humanitarian justification.

153

js. 07.31.16 at 1:52 am

Go on and defend the “terror watch list” then, F. Foundling. I’ll wait.

154

RNB 07.31.16 at 1:54 am

Trump did not recognize loss of khan family and instead insulted them. On Iraq war he supported. Clinton apologized for giving bush authorization. Trump so unstable cannot be trusted. Gen John Allen criticism devastating

155

Steve Williams 07.31.16 at 2:00 am

kidneystones @136:

‘And the best way to honor the families of the fallen is to put even more destructive power into the hands of the only candidate still in the race who played any part in getting Khan and hundreds of thousands of others killed in Iraq, Libya and other nations luck enough to earn the benevolent attention of Hillary Rodham Clinton.’

You’re being a bit obtuse. Mr Khan attended the DNC to complain about Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, not to re-legislate the Iraq War. As it happens, I agree with you about both the Iraq War and Hillary’s aggressive foreign policy, but let’s be honest. Whatever Mr Khan’s view of Iraq, he considered opposing the Muslim ban to be more important.

I also think you’ve hung your hat on the wrong candidate if you’re looking for a restrained, realist foreign policy. I say this not to defend Clinton, but to note that Trump is every bit as bad. It’s a horrible election for those who care about foreign policy restraint.

156

Alan White 07.31.16 at 2:03 am

RNB @ 148

Yes.

157

F. Foundling 07.31.16 at 2:15 am

On Trump – he may seem less likely to enter or escalate the conflicts with Iran and Russia in Syria and Eastern Europe at the moment, and in that respect he appears to be preferable to HRC – although it’s difficult to predict what he will do in practice. The problem is that he is also the candidate who, among other things, boasts that he will kill combatants’ families, resort to torture and will not rule out using tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East. US presidents who *de facto* kill people and commit atrocities, of the kind that HRC is likely to be, are a familiar evil; electing someone who also openly *campaigns* on committing atrocities and on blatantly xenophobic policies in general will change the political landscape and send a terrible signal, energising the worst forces in the US and globally. Symbols do matter.

158

kidneystones 07.31.16 at 2:26 am

@ 149 You could be right both on the points of ‘hanging hats’ and on the point of Mr. Khan’s participation. Trump has certainly exploited the suffering of others. He’s a race-baiting vulgarian worthy of contempt for any number of well-grounded reasons.

That’s the problem: his only opponent has a proven record of death and destruction that has been elided from any discussion of the risks of placing even more power in her grasp. She doesn’t press conferences. She’s secretive and elusive. When confronted with the statement of the FBI director on her ‘extreme carelessness’ she flatly denies he ever made the remarks.

I opposed the wars and the interventions she advocated and I will continue to oppose her candidacy. I’m just as opposed to outsourcing jobs to slave labor nations. Others are welcome to focus on Trump’s objectionable rhetoric. I visit his website fairly often and the policy papers on Muslims and on other issues are markedly different from the comments here. I just googled ‘Trump electronic trackers Muslims’ and came up with a bunch of 2015 news stories on Trump calling for a database of all Muslims. If we address just this question rationally, what Trump is calling for, perhaps, is a dedicated database.

Google, FB, and Apple all have vast databases on everyone they can track. Any sense of ‘privacy’ we hope to enjoy disappeared a very long time ago. I’m mildly sympathetic to those here who are Muslim, or have family members who are Muslim.

However, I live in a nation where I’m tracked, and where I’m profiled because I’m not a citizen and come from a different group than the nationals, who absolutely have a hierarchy of value based on ethnicity. I live with it.

I cannot support under any conceivable circumstances HRC: the candidate of war.

159

roger gathmann 07.31.16 at 2:36 am

96, oh, I can imagine GOP candidates doing many vulgar things. Here’s one. In 1998, Karla Faye Tucker appealed to the governor of Texas, one George Bush, to reduce her sentence from death to life in prison. She even gathered the signature of the brother of her murder victim on her appeal. Bush didn’t just turn her down. but mocked the plea, imitating a woman’s voice saying oh please don’t kill me. This was reported by a Bush supporter, Tucker Carlson.
I’d say Trump has a pretty high bar here. Mocking someone who he sends to the death house – this is a bit more than Trump steaks.
As we know, Bush went on to be exactly that type of president. So yeah, the GOP has been like this for a long, long time.

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John Quiggin 07.31.16 at 2:39 am

Going back to the OP, I don’t think a comparison of policies is the critical point. Trump is unpredictable, and there’s a lot of variance, but all in all he’d probably be no worse than Cruz in that sense.

What’s new about Trump is that he takes to its logical conclusion the longstanding drift of the Republican Party towards an irrationalist tribalism. As he says, he could kill someone in the street and his supporters would still back him, because he stands for their tribe. The willingness of most Repubs to swallow whole his friendship with Putin is an example of this, as is the fact that they would all back him if he suddenly announced he wanted to go to war with Russia.

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Lupita 07.31.16 at 2:41 am

He is more likely to trigger nuclear war

Vote for Clinton! Less likely to trigger nuclear war!

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kidneystones 07.31.16 at 2:48 am

153@ Goody! That episode burned into my memory, too. Although, not a sharply as the lack of attention Bush as governor invested in reviewing death-penalty executions.

Imagine, Bush joking about Karla Faye Tucker in a CBS interview and the political fallout from that.

Now, imagine Hillary Clinton laughing about killing a foreign leader in a CBS interview.
She supported the same wars, has the same love of regime-change, the same callous indifference to the damage she’s caused – and same grotesquely sick sense of ‘humor.’

And now you all want to her the same authority as Bush. WTF?

Thanks America!!!!

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Dr. Hilarius 07.31.16 at 2:57 am

I find it bizarre that anyone could think Trump has actual policies, as opposed to statements that garner attention and votes, or that he would stick with them if elected.

Someone up threat asked how Trump would be worse than Clinton. Let’s set aside the Supreme Court and foreign policy for a moment. Imagine the Dept. of Interior headed by someone who favors selling off the national parks and clear cutting the national forests. Forget any protection for endangered species. How about the FDA run by nutritional supplement scammers? The CDC told to back off of Zika. The National Science Foundation funding studies to prove homosexuals are pedophiles. The DOJ supporting police departments that shoot unarmed suspects. Lawyers for the indigent? Forget that. Voter rights? No, states’ rights. The list of possible horribles is endless. Administrative agencies are not sexy but they have a huge impact on how we live or die. Trump and his cabinet would be open up the country to be plundered at every level. Trump may not have a political track record but his business record speaks clearly. And if you think Wall Street corruption is the equivalent of what a Trump administration might do, you lack all imagination.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:00 am

@153 I can also imagine a Democratic President imposing or acquiescing in the death penalty of the 50 people or so each year killed and saying grotesque things in the process.

But you are not answering my question. Which Republican nominee has called for the “cleansing” (sic) of the United States of *11 million* people and wanted to impose an a priori immigration ban on over *1 billion* people on the basis of destroying the principle of religious liberty on which this country is founded. In fact Quiggin is wrong. Cruz’s constitutionalism would have served as some protection here. E.g. he downplayed deportation force and called for 3x border patrol. And Cruz opposed Muslim ban. Getting this from 20 second google search.

You (roger gathmann) think the grotesque comment about the death penalty you served up here is equivalent to these “cleansing” operations involving well over 10 million people? And can you tell me which Republican nominee or President was willing to ratchet the level of domestic prejudice against Latinos and Muslims to this level?

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root_e 07.31.16 at 3:00 am

Root’s rule: The primary function of the US left so far in the 21st century is to assist Republicans in taking and keeping power.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:01 am

@157 not a hilarious thought but correct.

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kidneystones 07.31.16 at 3:04 am

154@ You’ve made some very useful contributions to the discussion on tribalism – conservatives, liberals and the left.

Trump’s appeal crosses traditional political lines. Record numbers of Democrats registered as Republicans to ensure he won primaries in Pennsylvania and other states in landslides.

On the point of Trump loyalty, I very strongly disagree. That loyalty will last up to the election and then begin to fade very quickly I suspect, as his promises to ‘save’ America encounter the well-entrenched interests currently lined up behind HRC. These forces, the Kochs and their allies on Wall St., the Club for Growth, et al aren’t going anywhere, as the linked article confirms. Indeed, the Koch network plans to invest very heavily in the coming election to ensure that HRC has plenty of Republican allies to help her carry TPP over the finishing line, or to block Trump if he prevails.

I very strongly suspect that he’ll be unable to deliver on 1/10th of what he’s promised and when all that’s left is rhetoric from a politician, because he won’t be able to escape that tag by then, voters will turn on him just as quickly as they do all the other politicians.

Given HRC’s war credentials and the backing of the FP elites, I find it far more likely that HRC will be able to convince America to go to war, again. It’s not like she hasn’t had plenty of practice selling this brand of ‘peace.’

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:07 am

Funny, root_e! But you are talking about a theoretically uninformed left that wants more occasion to write “critical criticism” with the possibility that people will finally take them seriously. This is the only kind of “left” that would risk putting Trump into power on the grounds of his equivalence to Clinton or tell people Clinton’s victory is already in the bag and not to bother actively supporting her. The actual left and actual progressives not what is at stake, and that includes Bernie Sanders.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:08 am

sorry typo: The actual left and actual progressives KNOW what is at stake, and that includes Bernie Sanders.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:16 am

@155 Putin is the one likely to respond to hostilities with nuclear weapons, not NATO. Well that assumes Trump is not President. Trump has said that he would not rule out the use of nuclear weapons in Europe, and he did not say that he could use them but only in response to a nuclear attack as part of MAD. He simply said he would not rule them out in Europe. He’s not suited for the job.

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Lupita 07.31.16 at 3:22 am

equivalent to these “cleansing” operations involving well over 10 million people?

Mexico really isn’t that bad. We have pyramids, excellent food, tourist resorts, two-storied highways, the safest nuclear plants on earth, piñatas, socialists, literature Nobel prize-winners, and much, much more. Furthermore, the people being deported speak the language and have family and friends here. I think it’s a bit hysterical, and insulting, to say that returning home to Mexico, albeit reluctantly, is the equivalent of “cleansing”.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:25 am

Great stuff, Lupita. We’ll praise Mexico by deporting ten or so million Mexicans who have build lives here, often from a very young age. This will show our respect for Mexico. As Trump very much wants to do, show his respect and admiration for Mexico. He loves taco bowls, by the way .

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merian 07.31.16 at 3:26 am

I was already dropped out of this thread, as I do when the trolls get thick on the ground and the level of spiteful gotcha rises. But.

1. If you think that Trump would be less war-like than Clinton, and/or better for world peace, you must be out of your ever-loving mind. Torture, killings of known innocents as official policy, bombing oil fields… The man even threw out, in public, ideas I last heard on Nixon tapes and to which Kissinger reacted with semi-concealed horror (casually contemplating the use of nuclear weapons).

2. If you think that Trump can be measured on his promises, you haven’t paid attention. Sure, he’d drop the half-negotiated thing that goes by the name TPP, but he’ll implement whatever benefits his class when he can, and sees fit. His commitment to the American worker may better be judged by his actions. The latest news is he applied for another few dozen visas to staff his resort in Florida because he doesn’t pay enough for locals to live on.

3. If you think that Sanders could have made more than an infinitesimal difference pitted against the shadowy US “foreign relations” establishment in place, I just say, oh you sweet summer child. And I’m saying this as someone who has a strong preference to his attitude to war compared to Clinton’s. But a few votes don’t tell me he would, or even could, have turned around policy.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:26 am

But Lupita why are you so insistent on humiliating the people who have risen to your defense over the last few months here? It must be a special pleasure for you.

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kidneystones 07.31.16 at 3:27 am

Four or five years ago, an Brit Oxbridge political science graduate, upbraided me for taking the name of Barack Obama in vain.

In his sputterings, he blurted out: ‘You’re the first person I’ve ever met who’s disparaged his Ivy league ‘accomplishments.’ I was absolutely chuffed, of course. Political science?

That’s what it must be what it’s like in Berkeley bubble-land.

Close your eyes really tight, imagine the worst possible things possible about the evils, then open your mouth and start spewing. Call these visions ‘reality.’

HRC never killed anyone, never supported regime change, is against TPP, always tells the truth, and is open and honest at all times.

Last press conference 200 plus days ago and counting!!

Change!!!

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Lupita 07.31.16 at 3:35 am

We’ll praise Mexico by deporting ten or so million Mexicans who have build lives here, often from a very young age. This will show our respect for Mexico.

Show respect for people who have actually been “cleansed”. Massacring people and having people return to their country of origin are not equivalent. Not remotely.

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js. 07.31.16 at 3:37 am

merian — Your comments on this thread have been excellent. If I were less angry and more articulate, they’re what I would’ve liked to express.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:38 am

And there were those here who thought that Lupita was not a concern troll? Let the record show that I always knew it.

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F. Foundling 07.31.16 at 3:40 am

@js. 07.31.16 at 1:52 am
> Go on and defend the “terror watch list” then

I’m sorry, perhaps I’m missing something, but I really don’t see what’s wrong with having a terrorist watchlist (the official name seems to be the Terrorist Screening Database). That’s not the same thing as the famed ‘database of all Muslims’ that Trump apparently is neither calling for nor willing to rule out, according to Politifact, and which I obviously can’t defend.

Anyway, I’m sorry that you and your family have reasons to fear discrimination by Trump. Still, I should point out that the problems highlighted by others here, including the wars and the regime change, aren’t some kind of hippie conceit either, but also affect real people in very real ways and should not be taken lightly. And while defeating Trump is important, I don’t think this should – or needs – to be done by automatically using or agreeing with each and every possible argument against him regardless of how reasonable it is, or by approving of all pivoting to the right all the way to Reagan.

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Alan White 07.31.16 at 3:44 am

merian @167

And yes again.

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Donald 07.31.16 at 4:01 am

Never thought I’d say it, but for the duration of the election this blog would be better without a comment section. On anything involving the American election, that is.

Or I could just stop reading it and have the sense not to contribute, but I lack self discipline or common sense or both.

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Donald 07.31.16 at 4:01 am

Reading the comment section, that is. The front page posts are fine.

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Howard Frant 07.31.16 at 4:43 am

kidneystones:

I am baffled by all these people bemoaning US bombing in Syria. I heard little from these people through the years of *Syrian* bombing in Syria which killed something like 400,000 people and of course created hundreds of thousands of refugees (from what started out as nonviolent protest). But I guess blood on other people’s hands is OK as long as we keep it off ours. And we don’t want to violate other countries’ sovereignty, so let’s not even give people arms to defend themselves. Let’s just keep that maniacal killer Clinton out of power, or who knows what could happen?

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F. Foundling 07.31.16 at 4:43 am

@merian 07.31.16 at 3:26 am

>1. If you think that Trump would be less war-like than Clinton, and/or better for world peace, you must be out of your ever-loving mind. … Torture, killings of known innocents as official policy, bombing oil fields…
>2. If you think that Trump can be measured on his promises, you haven’t paid attention.

Your # 2 is the main reason why some wouldn’t be completely convinced by your # 1. Can we count on him truly torturing and killing innocents, or are those just sweet lies meant to make us happy? The optimistic view, as represented e.g. by BW, I think, is that he is a dog that barks, but doesn’t bite; he is a professional con man who is, this time around, promising to be Hitler incarnate, because Hitler incarnate is what the American people want, but, as always, he won’t actually deliver on the promise. Trump talks big, but Hillary has walked the walk, so the argument goes. This doesn’t seem entirely unlikely, but there’s always the very real danger that he will do at least some little part of what he’s saying, and, what’s more, in politics and in elections specifically, what you bark actually matters a great deal. If the nation elects a president with an explicit mandate to be Hitler, this changes everything, regardless of what the specific individual ends up doing with that mandate.

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merian 07.31.16 at 5:01 am

@178 F. F. My writing may be embarrassingly in need of editing, but I intentionally wrote promises, not plans or program statements. Promises and threats aren’t the same thing. His incentives for at least trying to implement his threats are quite different from those for his promises. (And I am quite aware that actually coming through with some of the threats is materially impossible. He won’t be building a wall for the money he budgeted, nor will Mexico pay for it. He won’t round up 11 million people.) One thing though is that you don’t need to implement your threats for them to cause harm. Like, this very minute. You don’t even have to be elected yet.

When someone announces their intention to commit untold injustice, I think history (late 20th/early 21st century history included) shows that it’s prudent to take them at their word.

Furthermore, since when is “his plans are complete nonsense” a recommendation? I am unhappy with the trajectory of my plane so I’m firing the certified pilots and hire a circus clown?

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kidneystones 07.31.16 at 5:09 am

@ 177 Hi Howard. Not a bit. As I noted elsewhere, were Cruz the nominee I’d be compelled to make tiny noises in opposition to his candidacy to the same probable effect as I am now contra Clinton. I’m a hopelessly committed to peaceful resolution of all conflicts and don’t support any non-UN sanctioned military activity, certainly not invasions of the kind we’ve already seen from HRC.

The Syrian conflict, in my limited understanding, is an extension of post-colonial, cold war politics with the Baath Socialist party using left-leaning nationalist and socialist policies to justify enriching their own at the expense of others. Given the love of violent solutions by various religious.ethnic factions in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, I see very little chance of peace. We’re living with the consequences of violent regime change. I’ve known Iraqis and Libyans who worked in the west under the dictators the west deposed. What they describe did not sound ideal, but they were not being bombed. I do not see Russia, or the former Soviet Union, as a benign force for peace.

We either disavow regime-change through violence and try to sort through the mess peacefully, or we don’t. Whatever measures are taken against Assad, I will not support any that involve killing more Syrians or others living in the region. Institutions exist for peaceful conflict resolution. Yet, many act here as though they don’t exist at all. The US/British/French intervention in Libya was illegal and produced catastrophe.

I’ve made my feelings on this topic clear before. If the US wants to elect the candidate favored by Kagan, the Kochs, and war-loving US press, there’s nothing much the rest of the world can do. Trump has yet to kill anyone, but don’t let that fact get in the way of choosing the ‘lesser evil.’ As for F. Foundling above. Yes, words matter. Actions matter more.

HRC helped bomb the crap out of Libya, and then laughed about the killing after.

Which is more obscene? Ask the wounded, the refugees, and the families of the dead.

But Trump said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nap time.

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Ben 07.31.16 at 5:22 am

What is all this chuff about what Trump would do? Multiple parts of the Trump campaign have said in various ways that Trump if elected won’t be involved in policy-making, foreign or domestic, and the VP would handle most of it.

Pence is the Theocrat’s Plutocrat, and that’s what we would get: Trump embarrassing everyone with his lack of decorum and causing minor political headaches for the WH staff while they build Gilead. It’s not even subtext, it’s text.

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F. Foundling 07.31.16 at 5:34 am

@179 merian

>Promises and threats aren’t the same thing.

What’s a threat to one man is a promise to another.

>I am unhappy with the trajectory of my plane so I’m firing the certified pilots and hire a circus clown?

Well, it depends on just how unhappy you are with the trajectory – some of us are more unhappy than others. Let’s assume your certified pilots are flying straight into the World Trade Center, for instance. For me, to take an example, the development of the relations between the West and Russia, as steered by the competent and experienced establishment, has evoked such catastrophic comparisons for some time now. As I said, all things considered, I think Trump is worse nevertheless, but I’m not an optimist in either case.

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F. Foundling 07.31.16 at 5:45 am

@Howard Frant 07.31.16 at 4:43 am @ 177

>But I guess blood on other people’s hands is OK as long as we keep it off ours.

Umm… yes? You *are* obliged not to kill. You are *not* obliged to be the world’s policeman and decide who should be killed in order to save somebody else. Apart from r2p, approved by the UNSC, etc.

>And we don’t want to violate other countries’ sovereignty, so let’s not even give people arms to defend themselves.

Umm… yes again? Sovereignty does mean that you don’t arm people fighting against the government of the country. ‘Giving people arms’ means, in this case, mostly arming Islamic fundamentalists who will use the weapons not just to defend themselves, but rather to overthrow said government and very possibly to massacre non-Sunnis en masse.

> I heard little from these people through the years of *Syrian* bombing in Syria which killed something like 400,000 people and of course created hundreds of thousands of refugees (from what started out as nonviolent protest).

Actually, during all this time, some of us have been objecting to the fact that the West and its allies are supporting, financing and arming the now-violent ‘protest’, without which no bombing would be taking place. I am not absolving anyone of responsibility for bombing civilian targets, and I am fully prepared to believe that the Syrian regime is indeed doing that (as are the rebels, when they can); on the other hand, I have to remain agnostic about the exact degree, because the regime has been regarded as an enemy by the West since before the war, and consequently Western reporting about it can’t be taken exactly at face value. All of that might mean that Assad should be tried for war crimes at a neutral tribunal, but it doesn’t make aggression legal.

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js. 07.31.16 at 6:01 am

I really don’t see what’s wrong with having a terrorist watchlist

Come back to me when you’ve learnt a bit more about the actually existing “terror watch list”. Then we’ll talk.

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faustusnotes 07.31.16 at 6:44 am

This thread is so deeply, deeply depressing. I would say that I can’t wait for this election to be over so that crooked timber can return to rational programming, but I know that then we will have a couple of months of Hilary-hate from all the BernieBros who have missed their opportunity to heighten the contradictions (that affect everyone except them). I guess I should refrain from reading CT until a few months after Obama has been appointed to the Supreme Court.

I won’t of course, because I’m an idiot and I am looking forward to the opportunity to gloat: at RNB for thinking this election would be close (it won’t); at the Trump apologists as the election nears and he does dumber and dumber things (I’m expecting him to use some really foul sexist language on Clinton during a debate; just wait for his support to tank then); at kidneystones for having hung his hat on Mussolini-lite and spent months embarrassing himself only to see a clean sweep by his hated Clinton; and at all the BernieBros as they get to see every thing they wanted implemented by a woman, and refuse to admit it.

And of course at the GOP, who are going to be so thoroughly crushed in this election that they won’t come back for a generation. Which is good, because I have bet a case of craft beer with a Polish friend that the GOP are out for a generation, and Trump’s smashing defeat will maybe be enough for my friend to cave in and send me that case 20 years early…

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J-D 07.31.16 at 8:46 am

faustusnotes 07.31.16 at 6:44 am

I won’t of course, because I’m an idiot and I am looking forward to the opportunity to gloat: … at kidneystones for having hung his hat on Mussolini-lite and spent months embarrassing himself only to see a clean sweep by his hated Clinton; …

You’re dreaming. Of course, if Trump wins we can expect ‘I told-you-so’ gloating from kidneystones, but if Clinton wins we can expect flat denials of ever having predicted a Trump victory. kidneystones’s comments are a fairly transparent example of setting up to be right either way.

193

bob mcmanus 07.31.16 at 9:40 am

185: President T’Gatoi will protect you, faustus. She will make you feel safe and secure, empowered and responsible, generous and dependable, kind and kinda special. And as the next generation of billionaires and generals eat their way out of your belly, you will know you have loved and been beloved.

I wake up in the morning from dreams of the throats of the bosses, all the bosses, fading from my teeth. I have never and will never let the seductions of power, especially benevolent and nurturing power, make me their slave.

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root_e 07.31.16 at 9:49 am

“Furthermore, since when is “his plans are complete nonsense” a recommendation? I am unhappy with the trajectory of my plane so I’m firing the certified pilots and hire a circus clown?”

The arguments for Trump or for “it doesn’t matter” are so incoherent and self-contradictory and so far from anything ever historically associated with “left” that you have to assume that the underlying purpose is to assist the Republicans. The motivation may range from actually sharing Republican values to vanity, to racism, to simple bitterness, but I doubt that matters.

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faustusnotes 07.31.16 at 10:12 am

No bob, president Clinton will do none of those things – she’s a politician not my first and only love. She’ll enact the platform she was elected to, where she can, probably fail on some parts and squib on others, and when she’s done America will be slightly better or no worse off than it is now – and much better than it would have been under the person who will inevitably take power if she doesn’t.

When Clinton wins the senate and sets up a public option in Obamacare, will you then admit that she was better than Trump? Or will you continue to insist that until your perfect leader falls naked from the sky, the sun shining out of his white arse, every leader is equally terrible?

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root_e 07.31.16 at 10:19 am

” I have never and will never let the seductions of power, especially benevolent and nurturing power, make me their slave.”

I’m curious about how you do that. When Trump has BlackWater on the streets rounding up your Muslim neighbors, if you have any, are you going to use your superpowers of not-slaveness to intervene or will some comments about imperialism on the internet suffice?

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Layman 07.31.16 at 11:46 am

kidneystones @ 139: “Khan’s blood is on HRC’s hands, and Biden’s, and McCain’s, and Bush’s, and on the editorial boards of most of America’s newspapers, but most emphatically not on Obama’s and not, inconveniently, on Trumps.”

‘In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”…
Trump’s comments on Stern are more in line with what he wrote in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, where he advocated for a “principled and tough” policy toward “outlaw” states like Iraq. “We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I’m no warmonger,” Trump wrote. “But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.”’

https://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/in-2002-donald-trump-said-he-supported-invading-iraq-on-the?utm_term=.ralXdYOpA5#.kgyrRoX4E5

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Steve Williams 07.31.16 at 11:50 am

faustusnotes@185:

‘This thread is so deeply, deeply depressing . . . I am looking forward to the opportunity to gloat . . . at all the BernieBros as they get to see every thing they wanted implemented by a woman, and refuse to admit it.’

I find it hard to regard this as anything but posting in bad faith. Perhaps you ought to consider, if you find the thread ‘depressing’, whether you’re doing anything to improve it.

On a separate note, I also don’t see what you base your certainty that the election ‘won’t be close’ on. Polling evidence doesn’t suggest a walk-over.

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Layman 07.31.16 at 11:52 am

F Foundling: “Look, I’m *not* advocating for Trump, but one should keep one’s facts straight: the article says ‘for all Muslims *on the terror watch list*’, following a similar French law.”

Unless you’re able to describe the process by which one ends up on the terror watch list, and validate that there are effective checks and balances by branches other than the executive branch, and explain how one can be removed by from the list, I think this clarification is, well, meaningless. Nelson fucking Mandela couldn’t get off the damned list.

200

Steve Williams 07.31.16 at 12:05 pm

RNB@158:

‘You (roger gathmann) think the grotesque comment about the death penalty you served up here is equivalent to these “cleansing” operations involving well over 10 million people?’

I have to agree with Lupita that this language is unwarranted. ‘Cleansing’ (as in ethnic cleansing) has a specific meaning, and that meaning is not the same as ‘deporting people in the country illegally’. Maybe you are looking for ‘forcible repatriation’ or something. I agree with you that Trump’s plans are disgusting and anti-human, but let’s keep the language in line with the reality.

201

Layman 07.31.16 at 12:07 pm

Howard Frant: “I am baffled by all these people bemoaning US bombing in Syria. I heard little from these people through the years of *Syrian* bombing in Syria which killed something like 400,000 people and of course created hundreds of thousands of refugees (from what started out as nonviolent protest). But I guess blood on other people’s hands is OK as long as we keep it off ours. “

I think you’re making an extraordinary effort to be baffled. Me, I’m baffled by the fact that I’ve heard nothing from you about the people being killed in Kurdistan, in Somalia, in Northwest Pakistan, in Mexico, in Sinai, in Sudan, and in other places currently experiencing civil wars. Despite that, I’m not ass enough to conclude that you’re sanguine about their deaths because the blood isn’t on your hands.

202

otpup 07.31.16 at 12:10 pm

Please correct me if you disagree but, afaict, presidential candidates are more likely to try to enact their campaign promises/rhetoric (and even that not so much) as opposed to the DP platform, which is an empty symbolic exercise that no one is accountable for and has very little impact on the consciousness of voters. (Maybe the last clause is arguable…)

203

Layman 07.31.16 at 12:18 pm

@ Steve Williams, @ Lupita

“Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous.[1] The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), intimidation, as well as mass murder and genocidal rape.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_cleansing

Why doesn’t the forced removal of 11 million Latinos count?

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Steve Williams 07.31.16 at 12:23 pm

The ‘with the intent of making it ethnically homogenous’ bit.

205

Layman 07.31.16 at 12:37 pm

Is there any doubt that the goal is more ethnic homogeneity? Otherwise, what you’re saying is that failed ethnic cleansing isn’t ethnic cleansing, because it doesn’t produce homogeneity.

206

Steve Williams 07.31.16 at 12:51 pm

The problem with your argument, it seems to me, is that Obama has also increased the rate of deportations. Is he also guilty of ethnic cleansing?

I’m not supporting Trump, or defending him. His policy is immoral, needless, will create a vast amount of human misery if it is ever implemented, and would be extremely impractical in any case. I just don’t think you can usefully call his deportation policy ‘ethnic cleansing’.

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Rich Puchalsky 07.31.16 at 12:52 pm

There are a few different goals of this kind of appropriation.

First, actual extermination is put on the same level as theoretical, possible extermination if somehow the President became a dictator rather than having any political limits. That’s what Trump = Hitler is about, and it’s why people can write that they are terrified of exterminationist violence against them as a cudgel against people who have actually had substantial parts of their family tree wiped out by extermimationist violence. The whole “atheist Jew”, “those pushy BernieBros” subtext is rapidly becoming anti-Semitic text.

Second, it separates what has been increasingly “normal’ American practice from what would occur in the future and therefore decouples any criticism of future dictators from favored current politicians. Look at this graphic deportation numbers, for instance. If previous deportations of illegal immigrants are deportations while future ones are “cleansing”, a break has been established where there is no break.

Third, it allows for separation right in the current day. Thus people can talk about the problems of the terrorist watch list at the same time as they join in with the latest Two Minute Hate on wikileaks.

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Layman 07.31.16 at 1:07 pm

@ Steve Williams, I’d say there’s some point at which deportations become ‘ethnic cleansing’. Is deporting 1 person cleansing? Probably not. Is deporting 11 million? Yes, I’d say so. Where does one cross the line? I don’t know, but half a million a year is a lot of people, so, maybe yes, Obama is guilty of ethnic cleansing.

If another country announced a policy of deporting en masse 11 million people, long-time de facto residents of the country, but ethnically distinct from the majority population, what would you call it?

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Layman 07.31.16 at 1:10 pm

Howard Frant: “I am baffled by all these people bemoaning US bombing in Syria. I heard little from these people through the years of *Syrian* bombing in Syria which killed something like 400,000 people and of course created hundreds of thousands of refugees (from what started out as nonviolent protest). But I guess blood on other people’s hands is OK as long as we keep it off ours. “

I think you’re making an extraordinary effort to be baffled. Me, I’m baffled by the fact that I’ve heard nothing from you about the people being killed in Kurdistan, in Northwest Pakistan, in Mexico, in Sinai, in Sudan, and in other places currently experiencing civil wars or violent strife. Despite that, I’m not ass enough to conclude that you’re sanguine about their deaths because the blood isn’t on your hands.

(A previous version of this response is in moderation, probably because I named The Country Which May Not Be Named)

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Faustusnotes 07.31.16 at 1:22 pm

I think it says a lot about the state of modern America that you are debating whether a presidential candidate’s policies count as ethnic cleansing or not. I also think there would t be a seconds hesitation to call it ethnic cleansing if a European or Asian state was proposing it.

Steve Williams I don’t comment here in bad faith. I was just trying to think of reasons why I will keep reading and commenting on CT even though it had become a shit show BTL.

But since you ask, Clinton has this election in the bag because by November trump is going to alienate every voter except religious conservatives and the Altright. He will keep revanchist sand confederate revisionists and the Christian Right but lose all other white people, all women and all minorities. Not only that, he has already aggrieved a whole bunch of minorities to the point that turnout will be very high. Furthermore, mainstream Christians who might not usually vote for a pro choice candidate will this time to keep out someone so blatantly and obviously sinful. He hasn’t even got started on his alienation strategy and Clinton hasn’t even got started on deconstructing him. She is a tough cookie and her team know how to bait him – which is what she will do during the debates. He will lose his cool with her at some point and seal his own fate. Even better, by turning off the majority of non-committed conservatives and country club republicans he will ensure record low turnout from the republican base, so Clinton can get the senate too.

This is the country that elected a black man for president twice. It’s not going to vote in a fascist. The only question is how deep down ticket the collapse will go. If the dems can win the senate and some unexpected state houses America will change significantly for the better. Whatever your reservations about the dems this is the perfect time to really push for generational change – which is why I get so frustrated with these comment threads where holier than thou leftists ignore the actual democratic policy platform and the actual achievements of the Obama administration I favour of both sides are evil madness.

And can I remind you all once again that the rest of the world is waiting for you to get your shot together on climate change? You fluff this election and you can say goodbye to industrial civilization.

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Lupita 07.31.16 at 2:29 pm

When the Mexican population in the US was growing, say by 100,00 per year, this did not mean that 100,000 were emigrating per year, it was more like 1,000,000 left while 900,000 returned, leaving a net increase of 100,000 in the US. Now, those numbers have reversed: 900,000 leave, a million return, leaving a net decrease of 100,000. My point is, emigration, for Mexicans, is a short time measure, maybe two years, to save some cash and return to their normal lives. My second point is, the majority return willingly, only about 15% are deported. Are Mexicans practicing ethnic cleansing on themselves?

The real problem is NAFTA, which triggered mass emigration in the first place. And the solution lies primarily in the hands of Mexicans, to renegotiate a treaty that protects agricultural workers, rural communities, and the poorest of the poor. If the US population becomes less diverse in the process, that is the least of it. I fail to see how having millions of illegal workers, with no labor protections, who are there out of economic desperation, makes the US any less racist.

The problems of mass emigration and economic exploitation in Mexico are real problems that must be confronted head-on by Mexicans, not a talking point in a hysterical political debate in the US.

Finally, Mexicans are not an American ethnic group. We are a foreign (from a US perspective) nationality.

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Layman 07.31.16 at 2:41 pm

“My point is, emigration, for Mexicans, is a short time measure, maybe two years, to save some cash and return to their normal lives. My second point is, the majority return willingly, only about 15% are deported. Are Mexicans practicing ethnic cleansing on themselves?”

It’s my impression that a substantial number of these 11 million people are resistant to the idea of being deported from the US. I admit that’s an impression – is there any data? – but if it’s so, that’s hardly consistent with the idea that the deportation only speeds them along the way of their voluntary departure.

“Finally, Mexicans are not an American ethnic group. We are a foreign (from a US perspective) nationality.”

Well, by definition ‘Mexicans’ are not ‘Americans’ (with apologies for the unfair historic co-option of ‘American’ to mean USans). But we’re not talking about ‘Mexicans’, are we? Are those 11 million all Mexican nationals? Further, ‘those people are not really ____ians sounds exactly like what ethnic cleansers always say’.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 2:54 pm

HaHaHaHaHa. “Lupita” does not think it is disgusting or anti human, to use Steve William’s accurate language, for Trump to cleanse the US of or forcibly repatriate (as he prefers) as many Latinos as he can in his white nationalist agenda. In the case of Latinos many have been here for many years, built careers and families and friendships here. Some have been raised here from the earliest age.

Thanks for defending the language, layman; but Steve Williams should note that the concern troll “Lupita” was denying that what he may want to call the forcible repatriation of 11 million people (and the chaos this would create for all brown people in the US) is disgusting or anti-human.

On Obama’s deportations, have already noted that they have increased because catch and release at border has been reclassified as deportation; at the same time the deportation of people who have resided in the US has dropped sharply under Obama. Plus, Clinton has pledged not to deport Central women and children who have been denied asylum.

Please note that Trump has never been asked to calculate the cost and opportunity cost of his program to deport 11 million people with his goal of eliminating the murders of citizens that illegal aliens “roaming the country” commit. So I made a rough calculation. The cost here would that it would take $800 million to save each of the lives that illegal aliens take, but an expenditure of $800 millions dollars on better roads, mental health clinics, better prenatal and perinatal care, better health services generally should save at least 50x that lives.

I think we can roughly estimate that the opportunity costs of his deportation program in the lives of US citizens would be at least 7500 American citizens. But this is the price that he is willing for his supporters to enjoy the spectacle of rounding up a lot of trembling brown people (some of whom will doubtless be citizens).

Remember “Lupita” is saying that this program would not be disgusting or anti-human. And think of the time “Lupita” has wasted on this list.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 2:56 pm

Yes there are rough estimates of how the undocumented population breaks down in terms of years being in the US if anyone wants to run down the data.

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Lupita 07.31.16 at 2:58 pm

@ Layman

It’s my impression that a substantial number of these 11 million people are resistant to the idea of being deported from the US.

The situation of Mexican migrant workers (who work in the US and return to Mexico periodically to be with family) changed substantially after 9-11, when crossing the border became much more difficult. Many workers were afraid to return to Mexico for fear of not being able to re-enter the US, essentially trapping them in the US. The result has been that, before 9-11, the typical Mexican worker was a young, single man and now he is a middle aged, married father of little US citizens. So yes, a substantial proportion have established lives in the US and wish to remain.

Are those 11 million all Mexican nationals?

About 7 million are Mexican. The other big groups are Chinese and Indian.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:01 pm

kidneystones who I believe is genuine in his paranoid defenses of Trump over Clinton has probably not convinced anyone of anything as long as he has been on the list. He probably should just be in private correspondence with that Dilbert cartoon guy who I think is sould mate.
A man who writes this thinks he has found his man in Trump: “I’m a hopelessly committed to peaceful resolution of all conflicts and don’t support any non-UN sanctioned military activity, certainly not invasions of the kind we’ve already seen from HRC.”
HaHaHaHaHa. And do you the history of UN resolutions on military action in Libya?

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RNB 07.31.16 at 3:04 pm

“Lupita” writes: “About 7 million are Mexican. The other big groups are Chinese and Indian.” Oh sure, if you think all Latin Americans are Mexicans , a mistake Lupita from Mexico is sure to make.

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bianca steele 07.31.16 at 3:09 pm

@209

But Trump is going to call the other world leaders on the phone and negotiate with them! He’s strong enough to do that! He doesn’t need guns because he has real strength! (Probably no one in Syria he considers strong enough to negotiate with him, but people there will probably be better off when they stop kicking against the traces and let themselves be peacefully led by him and the other big guys.)

I mean, are you going to stick to your stale Constitutionalism and your gridlock-producing partisanship when you could choose a real, healthy leader with checkmarks on ALL the Maslow levels?

(Just in case: that is sarcasm.)

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Faustusnotes 07.31.16 at 3:42 pm

Obama deports about 400,000 people a year but his executive action ensured 4.7 million could stay, “mostly parents of undocumented children”. These are the people trump aims to deport. This was a big issue amongst conservative conspiracy theorists a year or two ago when Obama enacted this legislative decision and when trump talks about deporting people it’s these people he is talking about – the Altright and fascists who support him, and the Christian fundies, know this is what he is talking about.

Deportations in the USA are mandated by congress which appropriates funds to finance the ICE to do the deportations. Obama used his executive authority to ensure that the money was spent on prioritizing convicted criminals and recent entrants to ensure that families could have some security. When he was challenged on this law by the republicans (becuase of course they think it’s unconstitutional for a black man to use the powers the constitution gives him) he responded by telling them to provide the department with more money; until they do he set these priorities (do you people read right wing websites? This was huge news amongst the pantswetters a year or two ago!)

Most of the people at risk of deportation are from central or South America but I think a lot come from countries like Honduras or Nicaragua (just another of trumps racist details is that they’re all just Mexicans to him). I believe Obama when he says he doesn’t want to deport unaccompanied children back to violence and poverty, but I’m sure rich will tell me that this is incredibly naive.

Note that if trump wants to deport all 4.7 million people and their children, he doesn’t need a special border patrol force or anything – he simply needs to strong arm the senate into coughing up the money. If anyone here thinks a republican senate is going to retain its deficit terror when a republican is in the White House well, I have a nice house built by slaves to sell you. It is the case of course that it will be hard to assemble the personnel to do this quickly but layman is on the money here – blackwater will do it for a reasonable fee. Of course deporting 4.7 million people is a logistical challenge that will require camps and door to door searches by uniformed thugs and there will be dogs and buses packed with scared children and their parents. No doubt accidents and deaths will happen. But hey, rounding up 4.7 million people largely of one race, packing them into camps and driving them out of your territory – with a few unfortunate deaths along the way – isn’t ethnic cleansing! They want to go back! And only bad countries do ethnic cleansing. Right?

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bianca steele 07.31.16 at 3:54 pm

I have a nice house built by slaves to sell you.

Every time I hear this lately, I want to replace it with “I have a condo in an undersubscribed Trump building to sell you” because at one point I know people who’d bought into Trump Tower and were trying to sell would be harassed and IIRC surveilled by Trump and his lawyers because he hadn’t found first buyers for all of the units yet. I know, people who bought condos in Trump Tower, I just had a classmate in college whose sister was in that situation.

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bianca steele 07.31.16 at 4:05 pm

He had a Turkish or Urdu name, now that I think of it. Probably not related.

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otpup 07.31.16 at 4:18 pm

Just as I thought. Assuming it wasn’t troll bait, I know who to safely ignore (on grounds other than trolling).

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Cranky Observer 07.31.16 at 4:26 pm

Bill McClellan has a good essay in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the situation of migrant-workers-turned-stuck-immigrants :

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/bill-mcclellan/mcclellan-a-life-in-the-shadows-becomes-a-campaign-issue/article_1599ce61-1109-514f-adad-4dcb68718746.html

Unfortunately this is behind the PD’s premium paywall at the moment but if you have access to it it is well worth a read.

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bianca steele 07.31.16 at 4:32 pm

Lupita,

As at least one of the speakers at the D convention noted, the Mexican border used to be significantly farther to the north than it is now, and migration has been permitted and prevented at different times over the last 150 or years, so it’s complicated, though I don’t think “Mexican” as opposed to “Mexican-American” or “Chicanx” is the word they use. To say “Mexican is not a US ethnic group” sounds odd to my ears.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 4:36 pm

I think some on the so-called left are badly misreading the Khan’s family statements as implying that one must sacrifice through military service and cheerleading for war to achieve authentic citizenship. In fact the Khans are explicitly saying that by sacrifice they do not mean only military service to the country (see interview on the Lawrence O’Donnell show).

I think by sacrifice they mean what the philosopher Philip Kitcher calls psychological altruism, and they are saying that Trump displays too little outside his kin relations. So when Trump says he has sacrificed by hard work that had made him rich, he is not speaking to their meaning of sacrifice, which I think has some resemblance Kitcher’s psychological altruism.

So what do we mean by sacrifice? I think this is one of the important discussions that the Khan family has raised for us Americans in addition to the value that we put on religious liberty. They have given us occasion to reflect and think on what it means to live together.

Here is the precis of Kitcher’s book on ethics.

See here http://www.nordprag.org/papers/Kitcher3.pdf

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Yan 07.31.16 at 4:49 pm

RNB: “I think some on the so-called left are badly misreading the Khan’s family statements as implying that one must sacrifice through military service and cheerleading for war to achieve authentic citizenship.”

Why do you think this? Where have you seen it? I’ve only seen the left pointing out that the Khans’ moving and admirable critique of Trump is hardly a reason to support the candidate who sent their son to his death to boost her presidential resume.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 5:10 pm

Brad DeLong links to these tweets https://storify.com/delong/origins-of-trumpism#publicize
that support js links to Philip Klinkner’s tweets above.

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krippendorf 07.31.16 at 7:03 pm

@203. Trump’s efforts to woo Evangelical voters doesn’t seem to be a universal success, either. Yeah, he’s got Falwell on board, but the Christian Post — for the first time in its history — wrote a <a href="http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-scam-evangelical-voters-back-away-cp-editorial-158813/"scathing denouncement of Trump.

And this was before he tried to play nice with the LGBT community to justify his anti-Muslim platform. Hard to imagine that didn’t lose as more anti-LGBT Evangelicals as it gained him LGBT voters.

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krippendorf 07.31.16 at 7:04 pm

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merian 07.31.16 at 7:25 pm

RNB: I saw those DeLong tweets, and nearly tweeted back at him. On the one hand I think it’s right to point to historical continuities. On the other hand I have a problem with treating racism and frustration about economic decline as if they were two perfectly independent variables, and especially the stand-off that seems to be implicit in point 25.

The left has to talk with people that are under pressure, even if racist sentiment is high in their community, if only to figure out how exactly people are living, what will work and what won’t and to get people involved in economic development. And no, you don’t have to give expressions of racism and xenophobia room to do this. It’s after all quite feasible to say “Look, I’m not going to listen to how all those other people are at fault, tell me about how you think this area could offer good get good jobs again / why farming doesn’t work for you any more / what you hope for your kids and grandkids”. And you’ll find pretty thorny conflicts — the real ones, not the scape-goat ones — which it is politic’s job to resolve. And a resolution will not work without hacking off some of the tentacles of neo-liberal approaches.

And, last point, you can’t just do it in the places where short-term electoral considerations make it worth your while.

In the US I tend to blame the Republicans more for fostering racism and creating Trumpism than I do the Democrats, but for the analogous developments in Europe I pretty much firmly blame the left for abandoning de-industrialised regions to xenophobic demagoguery. But in either case, there’s enough blame to go around. The Democrats do better than many in the European left on some groups, especially on diversity and anti-racism, but it’s still an open task to reach some they should be offering a vision to. “Good government” works. And the deep-rooted racists can at least be silenced, and will die off, if their offspring are socialised into a world that works for them and into values they have come to embrace.

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Suzanne 07.31.16 at 7:33 pm

I thought the appropriation of Reagan’s name and famous line were part and parcel of the DNC’s tactic this time around of happily assuming the mantle of optimism and patriotism – chauvinism might be the better word at times – that the Republicans usually like to flourish and Trump had so conveniently dropped (he never even got around to mentioning the troops, just as Romney had forgotten to do). More a dig at the GOP than anything else. It would have been pretty dense of them not to take advantage of the opening.

@11: Yes, Obama’s affinity for Reagan goes way back:

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/us/politics/21seelye-text.html

“He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people just tapped into — he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing. “

Ah, those “excessive” 60s and 70s. Sigh.

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merian 07.31.16 at 7:42 pm

krippendorf, the significance of that bit about protecting LGBTQ citizens from the evil Mus^H^H^Hforeigners isn’t attracting LGBTQ votes (ha ha ha), sure, but making his supporters feel not homophobic. He’s good at that. Ask them – they don’t feel racist either.

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RNB 07.31.16 at 8:04 pm

merian,

I read the James Surowiecki’s tweets not so much as a criticism of treating as racism and economic concerns as independent variables in accounting for political behavior, though I agree that they can never be disentangled in fact even if can present them as independent of each other in a multiple regression equation.

There is a historical-temporal aspect to Surowicki’s interesting tweets, which is

racism at t0<=economic decline at t1 + neoliberal dismantling of working class institutions at t2

so racist commitments in these neighborhoods predate what's on the right side of the causal arrow, and cannot thereby be explained by them.

234

RNB 07.31.16 at 8:08 pm

But Krippendorf Trump did not lose the Christian Post editors due to his opposition to homophobia, right?

235

root_e 07.31.16 at 8:13 pm

It’s weird how poverty doesn’t cause black racism. Maybe white people are just uniquely stupid.

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bruce wilder 07.31.16 at 8:37 pm

Obama staged a friendly takeover of the whole Reagan program of government in service of economic domination and predation by the 0.1%, slapped a coat of antiracist paint over it to obscure its essential purposes, and now bequeaths the vehicle all shiny and running great, to Hillary Clinton, who is most grateful, I’m sure.

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Layman 07.31.16 at 8:46 pm

@ bruce wilder, there are some kids on your lawn.

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J-D 07.31.16 at 8:52 pm

Lupita 07.31.16 at 2:29 pm

Finally, Mexicans are not an American ethnic group. We are a foreign (from a US perspective) nationality.

There were Mexicans long before there was such a thing as Mexican nationality (also long before there was such a thing as the US).

239

root_e 07.31.16 at 8:57 pm

So we have things like Bruce Wilder’s statement of faith above and then we have actual empirical reality like:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/01/obamacare-and-inequality

But we can’t deal with the real world if we are going to cling bitterly to the illusion that our dyspeptic anger is some kind of ideological and moral purity.

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Lupita 07.31.16 at 9:42 pm

@ bianca steele

As at least one of the speakers at the D convention noted, the Mexican border used to be significantly farther to the north than it is now, and migration has been permitted and prevented at different times over the last 150 or years, so it’s complicated

I think those speakers were trying to muddle the issue, it is most definitely not business as usual. Mexican migration has taken a totally different character during the past three decades in the sense that it is now mass migration; in world terms, it is the most massive of them all. Mexico is the number one country in terms of expelling its citizens. Furthermore, the difference between both the GDP per capita and manufacturing wages of the two countries has increased despite productivity growing at a faster rate in Mexico. We definitely have a novel situation here, neoliberalism, with Mexico being the subaltern country that provides cheap labor, both in Mexico and the US, while the US gets to keep the profits, depress wages, and maintain SS afloat.

To say “Mexican is not a US ethnic group” sounds odd to my ears.

My point is that mass migration is a problem that ideally should be analyzed from both emitter and receptor countries, as a bi-national issue, not as an internal issue, solely from an American perspective, and discussed in political terms that are unique to the US, such as race/ethnicity. Americans may well elect a president who acts unilaterally, but take note that Mexico may well follow the South American trend by electing a socialist. I am referring to López Obrador, from Morena, ex-mayor of Mexico City and twice presidential candidate. He’s pretty much a Mexican Chávez and as alien to US political culture and un-American as they come.

Bi-national cooperation or Trump vs. López Obrador, we will see.

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bruce wilder 07.31.16 at 9:57 pm

“It should not come as a shock that to many Americans talk of economic recovery rings hollow. The top 1% of families saw their income grow by 37% between 2009 to 2015, from $990,000 to $1.36m. The incomes of the other 99%, however, grew by just 7.6% during that time – from $45,300 in 2009 to $48,800 in 2015.”

“In 2015, the income of the 99% grew by just 3.9%. After factoring in inflation, Saez calls it: “the best real income growth in 17 years”. And the rich? At 7.7%, their growth was twice that.”

The Guardian, July 6, 2016, The 1% are recovering from 2008 recession while 99% are still waiting

It is not a contradiction that politicians mediate and moderate at the margin the predation that they, in the main, facilitate, nor that they present themselves as “fighters for the common people”, no matter how hypocritical that may be. The most useful pretence may well be to pretend to fight the good fight and then lose.

Even if you are one of the 0.1%, you might recognize that there are limits to how far one can push economic predation before a crisis, a collapse or a political backlash undoes your gains. Being rich and greedy doesn’t mean your political assessment is a particularly astute one, but some degree of caution will make sense and you may well see reason in having a master politician like Obama in place, who can separate your class from the mob with pitchforks and neutralize the accumulating anger and resentment.

The neoliberal faction of the Democratic Party sell themselves to the globalized 0.1% and to the supporting cast of the managerial classes as best able to manage and contain the political pressures developing in the aftermath of the GFC of 2008 and in the march of the perpetual war on terror. George W Bush was very useful to them and highly successful on several fronts, but his credibility ran out and a couple of wave elections threatened a change of policy driven by the change in political personnel. Obama squelched that successfully. He continued war on terror, surged in Afghanistan as Bush had surged in Iraq, prosecuted practically no one in the greatest financial crisis since 1929, and ensured that financial reform legislation did not require restructuring or de-concentration of the financial sector.

So, here we are. One Party offers the experienced neoliberal Clinton, who can be counted on to continue the neoliberal policy program, with minor meliorating tweaks that don’t get in the way of the gravy train flowing from the bottom to the top. More free trade, maybe with the plausible deniability of an added sticky label that says, “labor protections”. Controlled backing away from any structural reform of the financial sector. More blowing up rubble in the Middle East, while we look for the moderate freedom fighters.

The other Party offers the absolutely unbelievable Trump, a more unlikely champion of economic justice than even Romney and, as a bonus, an unlikely champion of peace and comity in international affairs. It took a singularly unheroic effort by the Republicans to find a candidate benchmark certain to make Clinton’s evil, lesser, but they found someone. Bring on the Millennium!

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root_e 07.31.16 at 10:06 pm

Should have kept reading:

But when a broader definition of income is used, including the value of health subsidies and taxes, Obamacare has a bigger impact. Americans in the bottom 10% of income distribution will see an average jump of 7.2%; those in the second decile will see their income jump by 5.3%. For the top 80% of Americans, income will drop. The biggest percentage declines come from the middle class, rather than the very rich, though Mr Burtless points out that the wealthiest Americans would probably see a bigger drop if he and Mr Aaron had better data on their investment income.

Also love the “coat of anti-racist paint”, because the real lives of real working class black people in Ferguson, having the DOJ sue to free them from police oppression just doesn’t matter.

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js. 07.31.16 at 10:16 pm

root_e — Only white people count as working class. This is something I learned on CT threads.

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bruce wilder 07.31.16 at 10:54 pm

root_e: Also love the “coat of anti-racist paint”, because the real lives of real working class black people in Ferguson, having the DOJ sue to free them from police oppression just doesn’t matter.

It is good that we have race left to us, because it is an effective point of leverage in trying to oppose the creeping authoritarianism across the board in American society, apparently the only point of leverage left to us.

I fear that when we have eliminated the racial disparities, we will then have the authoritarianism in pure form because we only argued race.

But, in the meantime, sure, if race is what gets attention to police violence or judicial predation, then, sure, go with it.

Just don’t imagine that the constitutional law professor who thinks he has the right to murder people by drone after a committee meeting — with input by cellphone from Ms Lesser Evil — is going to be your reliable champion.

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LFC 07.31.16 at 11:30 pm

The Afghanistan surge was a difficult call, but I think Obama might have regretted it in retrospect, as he obliquely suggested in the Jeffrey Goldberg interview that ran in The Atlantic last April, when O. indicated that his reluctance to act more forcefully and earlier on Syria derived partly from experience during the Afghan surge debate (i,e, too much deference on his part to the view of the Joint Chiefs). Syria also a difficult decision, not easy to say what the right course wd have been. Even if the Afghan surge was a mistake (as I’m inclined to think), there was still a case, though hardly an airtight one, for an early intervention, i.e. destruction of airfields, vs Assad. It might have prevented a lot of suffering. Hard to say, and it’s a moot pt. now.

So I put the Afghan surge and Syria in the category of very difficult decisions that did not have an obviously correct answer. I don’t view them for that reason as either obvious pluses or minuses for Obama.

However, on the plus side I put the Iran deal, opening to Cuba, more aggressive DOJ defense of civil rights, Affordable Care Act, Paris climate agreement, EPA action on emissions from coal plants, exec orders mandating equal pay for women in the fed. workforce (I think I’m recalling that correctly).

On the negative side: didn’t prosecute the top bank officials, didn’t break up the banks, TPP, and a couple of other things.

BW voted for O. in ’08, became disillusioned, didn’t vote for him in ’12, and has devoted a sizable portion of his CT activity to dissing O. as a sellout, neoliberal, etc etc.

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js. 07.31.16 at 11:58 pm

On the negative side: didn’t prosecute the top bank officials, didn’t break up the banks, TPP, and a couple of other things.

It’s interesting that that’s your negatives list. I’d have put civil liberties/whistleblower prosecutions/expansion of executive authority as number one on that list. Basically because that was entirely unforced. I think breaking up the big banks is a sideshow (which Mike Konczal, among others, has been hammering on). Would’ve loved to see bankers prosecuted, but I genuinely think that was maybe more difficult than we imagined. I think I’d put prosecutions for John Yoo types higher on the list. So for me, “drone warfare”, etc. for place (only because here you’re dealing with the imperatives of an imperial state, vs. civil liberties-type issues, where I do think the chief executive has more leeway), and a toss up between TPP and fucking up the ACA negotiations for show. Despite that, and with the proviso that we’re talking about the head executive of an imperialist state (so, reasonable expectations and all that), I think the positives pretty easily weigh out the negatives.

(Just trying to get everyone pissed the fuck off at once, is all.)

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js. 08.01.16 at 12:05 am

By the way, I almost said John Woo there. Yikes!

Also, once at a bar, rather fucking drunk, I argued for half an hour that Rick Rubin should be tried for treason for fucking up the US economy, while my friends looked at me, uncomprehending and aghast. This really actually happened.

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roger gathmann 08.01.16 at 12:22 am

235 – you are looking at the wrong class. The upper class, though, is the most segregated and white place in america – unsurprisingly, it is also the place that our political leaders inhabit. The number of households in the top 1 percent amounts to 1.2 million. Of that number, only 16,800 households are black. 96.1 percent of the number is white.
The upper class is a sort of vast legacy of the slaveholding, jim crow country we call America. Since the upper class not only owns the media, but is the class to which advertisers aspire to attract, it is not surprising that our “struggles” about race, in the glossies and the national news pages, are all about cultural issues, and we have a surprisingly durable meme that racism is all about the white working class. Serious questioning of the whiteness of our plutocrats is beyond the pale.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 12:26 am

Canadians are a U.S. ethnic group too. Look at how that border has moved around in recent years. I’m not racist against Canadians though: I had a girlfriend in Canada.

For the “it’s about racism / religion” thing:

* if it is, then you can’t simultaneously say that the U.S. has gotten less racist *and* that you’re worried about Trump winning. Trump can only win if he picks up more than the GOP base.

* Pointing out that many racists aren’t poor and that some communities have long-lasted cultural racism are true, but they don’t have anything to do with this question. Again, how can Trump win? By picking up more than the GOP base. The GOP base already includes middle-class racists and long-standing cultural racists. If racism is what Trump is offering, then what’s important are the marginal racists who weren’t particularly racist before things went badly for them.

* Asking why some people don’t become racists when they go through economic oppression or precarity just makes this into an individual, moral question, which people here love. But that isn’t important in this context — in this context, what’s important is large numbers of votes. If people break half and half then what’s important is not why any particular one went one way or the other, what’s important is the size of the resulting Trump vote.

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LFC 08.01.16 at 12:53 am

@js.
Yes, agree that overuse of drones and the whistleblower prosecutions go on the negative list. (I was writing quickly and also w BW’s post fresh in mind, not that that’s really an excuse.) Drone use declined somewhat in the second term, but remained too high, imo. There are obviously bigger lists that cd be compiled on both pro and con, but not able to do that rt now.

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js. 08.01.16 at 12:54 am

roger gathmann @240 — Are you responding to me? I don’t think I understand what you’re saying. Honestly, this is not snark. Just be to clear, I was being sarcastic at 235, (obliquely) noting how when people talk about about the “working class”—here and elsewhere—non-white sections of the working class get obliterated.

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js. 08.01.16 at 12:56 am

LFC — I didn’t mean to be particularly critical. Your post made me think of how I’d mark my virtual ledger, is all.

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LFC 08.01.16 at 12:57 am

Also, once at a bar, rather fucking drunk, I argued for half an hour that Rick Rubin should be tried for treason for fucking up the US economy, while my friends looked at me, uncomprehending and aghast. This really actually happened.

Clearly I need to go beyond a couple of glasses of cheap wine to something more potent.

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faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 1:46 am

I don’t see any difference between drones and normal jets. If anything drones probably enable better target selection because they move slower and the pilot doesn’t feel any risk (the latter is hardly a glowing recommendation for the USAAF, given that drones seem to target mostly weddings).

Someone upthread, otpup I think, asked if the Dem platform is legally binding. THis is a strange notion – there is no political party in the developed world that has a legally binding policy platform, as far as I know. What would this mean – that if Clinton doesn’t enact all the policies in the platform within 2 years she is sacked? It doesn’t make sense. Party platforms are always non-binding on the leader and they are always enforced through party pressure. In this case Clinton risks a destabilizing primary challenge from a popular candidate (e.g. Elizabeth Warren) if she doesn’t deliver by 2020, and Sanders has formed a whole movement that is breathing down her neck. She has a lot of pressure to deliver, and this is way better than having a sympathetic leader in the white house who buckles under external pressure.

I saw Sanders on the Bill Maher show the other night, he’s still hugely popular. He talked about turning his movement and its funding into a movement to get young people engaged in politics, and to help them run for local governments and school boards. If that plan works, four years from now the Democrats will be even more left wing than they are now. Sanders said clearly that the change we’re looking for doesn’t happen overnight. He understands how politics works. It would be good if people like Rich and Bruce Wilder would listen to him instead of concocting wild fantasies about how the Democratic party works.

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js. 08.01.16 at 2:01 am

FWIW, if Obama were using normal jets vs. drones, *that* would’ve been #2 on my list.

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 2:06 am

House of Commons Unanimously Backs Deployment to Libya. Ottawa 2011.

“We are compelled to intervene, both [as]a moral duty and by duty [to]NATO and the United Nations,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay told the House of Commons Monday, opening debate on a motion supporting the deployment. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois unanimously supported the Conservative motion.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/commons-unanimously-backs-canadas-deployment-to-libya/article573406/

http://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10200.doc.htm

Thank, RNB, for drawing attention to my egregious errors.

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root_e 08.01.16 at 3:01 am

“. If racism is what Trump is offering, then what’s important are the marginal racists who weren’t particularly racist before things went badly for them.”

You keep assuming the conclusion. How about: marginal racists who find BLM and a black guy in the White House for 8 years absolutely infuriating? Or marginal racists who are susceptible to Trumps rhetorical appeal? Or marginal racists whose racism does not determine how they vote but predisposes them?

Here’s the interesting question – why are all these populist anti-oligarchy people so opposed to ACA, to free community college, to an infrastructure bank, to a higher minimum wage, to any of the many initiatives the Obama administration and HRC proposed and tried to or succeeded in implementing? Why did Kentucky voters destroy their very popular much needed Obamacare plan?

Another point that puzzles me is why our leftists don’t get that the Republicans are deliberately attempting to make the country ungovernable and increase poverty and misery. Note how many Red State governors refused to expand medicare at no cost. This Chile strategy is from the books, yet our left blames the Allendes for right wing sabotage.

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root_e 08.01.16 at 3:23 am

” Asking why some people don’t become racists when they go through economic oppression or precarity just makes this into an individual, moral question, which people here love.”

And yet nobody asked that question. The question was why black people, in general, are not as susceptible to the link you claim exists between poverty and this kind of pull-it-all-down racism. That is, this is not an individual moral question at all.

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merian 08.01.16 at 4:13 am

root_e, you keep starting out asking a reasonable question (“what prevents or triggers whether an economically disadvantaged community turns to racism?”) but then turn to what looks like la-la land to my by wondering about *black* communities (or people). You might have noticed that black people are… black! What advantage would racism get them?! Racism, after all, isn’t just believing into racial superiority of your own kind of people. Racism draws its force from the affiliation with the culturally and politically *dominant* ethnic group of people. So while racism is a path to borrowed self-esteem for white people it isn’t, or to a much much lesser degree, for non-white people.

Second, poor or not, non-white people already know they aren’t at the top of the heap. Heck, black parents can’t even teach their kids that the nice police officer is someone who can be expected to help them. So they don’t tend to consider an economic downturn as a racially coded fall ins ocial status.

Furthermore, the Democrats have by and large convinced non-white people that they are on their side. Or at least, if anyone is, the Democrats are their best bet.

So I’m not sure if the false equivalency is just trolling.

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faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 4:31 am

Not this time merian, because in theory black people could turn on illegal immigrant “Mexicans” who have taken the low paid jobs that should offer them financial security. The Republicans have repeatedly tried this logic on black voters but it doesn’t stick, although a small number seem to buy into it. For some reason black people understand that it’s not Mexicans’ fault that their jobs have gone and their situation is precarious.

Similarly, Asian Americans used to vote Republican but now they absolutely don’t – for some reason appeals to racism aren’t enough for them. The likely reason for this is that even though migration politics isn’t important to modern Asian Americans, they understand racist code when they see it, and they understand that it isn’t about economics at all.

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Howard Frant 08.01.16 at 5:47 am

kidneystones

As I understand it, what’s going in Syria is an uprising of an ethnoreligious majority (Sunni) against a repressive minority (Alawite). No doubt you can blame it in part on bad drawing of colonial maps, as in Iraq. As I recall it, it started out non-violent, but Assad wasn’t having any of that.

You keep talking about bombing as though that’s synonymous with US involvement. But my understanding is that the overwhelming majority of the people killed were killed by bombing by the Syrian Air Force–the number in my head is 400,000. That’s a really big number, especially in a country of 24 million people. I don’t think you have to be a rabid war-monger to say that we should arm them enough to discourage the air force from slaughtering them, or to say that we should set up no-fly zones so people don’t have to emigrate to survive.

I don’t see any evidence that the US is trying for regime change in Syria, though we’d certainly like Assad to leave. AFAIK there hasn’t been any bombing of Syrian Army forces. All the bombing that I’m aware of has been of ISIS. Specifically, you say, “…whatever measures are taken against Assad…” AFAIK, the haven’t been any. Russia, on the other hand, is ostensibly fighting ISIS, but can’t resist bombing the opposition once in a while.

When you say, “Invasions of the kind we’ve seen from HRC” are you thinking of any besides Iraq? Because, you know, she didn’t do it single-handed. Actually, Bush did it. He got the votes of 77 Senators. Given that Saddam had previously (in the first Gulf War) fired missiles at Israel, I imagine there was quite a lot of concern in New York about the possibility of him having WMD. (The other senator from NY also voted yes.) So I’m not sure what makes HRC more of a crazed militarist than, say, Dianne Feinstein or John Kerry. As for Libya, I don’t think you can call that an invasion. The outcome hasn’t been great, but are you sure it’s worse than the alternative?

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 7:33 am

@ 261 You’re right. I painted with too broad a brush. My own comment @ 256 is an admission of as much. Reviewing Libya, I was horrified to re-discover the details. (So many wars and interventions, who can keep track?) Suffice to say that when Canadians are flying sorties over Tripoli and dropping over 200 laser-guided bombs, the notion of a UN ‘peaceful intervention’ has pretty much gone by the wayside. I fear I’m equally ignorant of the current body count and reasons for it as far as Syria goes.

I pretty much stopped reading the ‘rationales’ for invasion sometime after your president declared Mission Accomplished in 2009 and moved large numbers of US troops into Afghanistan to bringing justice and democracy to those lucky people. If memory serves, Assad’s father massacred large numbers of devout Muslims/extremists in much the same way as his Baath Socialist buddy did in Iraq.

All that said, I stand by my original critique of the bloodthirsty nature of HRC. The video “we came, we saw, he died” will very likely stand as important historical artifact of the ‘discussions’ western nations have when dealing death and destruction over the little people, all for their benefit. You’re right, I think, to focus on ethnicity and economics in Syria. These two issues, and clan structures, are evidently the driving forces in these communities.

Given the appetite pretty much everyone (including Canadians, I’m ashamed to say) seems to have these days for bombing the shit out of people for disappointing us in some way, I’m far from optimistic that this coming election will bring anything but more of the same only worse, no matter who wins.

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Consumatopia 08.01.16 at 7:55 am

I thought Chris Arnade’s response to Surowiecki was good https://twitter.com/Chris_arnade/status/759524355000897536

Also worth reading is Jacobin’s interview with Judith Stein from a month or so ago. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/white-working-class-new-deal-racism-reagan-democrats/ . Note that Stein’s argument is that in the 80s the non-affluent WWC disengaged from voting rather than that they switched to Republicans, so it doesn’t necessarily contradict the observation that Trump supporters are racists.

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Consumatopia 08.01.16 at 7:55 am

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Val 08.01.16 at 8:02 am

Kidneystones, since you seem to be talking in good faith at the moment (I hope), I will say that I have watched that video and the version that comes up has clearly been edited to take out context. I looked into it, and the context was clearly that the news had just come through and Clinton, in an unguarded moment, made a tasteless but ironically intended comment.

This is certainly no worse than Obama welcoming the news that Osama bin Laden had been murdered by US forces or Bush welcoming the news that Hussein had similarly been murdered. In both cases, the correct procedure would have been to seize them and bring them to the international court (criminal I think) but the us didn’t want them to get any kind of hearing. Cf Nuremberg where SS officers got a trial.

This I think is a deep rooted flaw in US politics, but to suggest that Hillary Clinton is uniquely bloodthirsty is nonsense. JD has rebuked me for drawing parallels with Australia, but this does remind me of how so many men on the supposed left in Australia found Julia Gillard’s failings far worse than the equivalent failings of male politicians.

Also while I’ve broken my silence, I don’t know if anyone else noticed that Rich Puchalsky in an earlier comment, appeared to be suggesting that the reason people are concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims is because they (the concerned people) are anti-Semitic. That’s really going too far, even for Rich Puchalsky, I would have thought.

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Consumatopia 08.01.16 at 8:07 am

“Working-class blacks, like working-class whites, show substantially more support for restrictive immigration policies:”

http://prospect.org/article/how-african-americans-view-immigration-reform

Why WC AA anti-immigration feelings don’t translate into Trump support should be obvious. See also why AA homophobia didn’t translate into GOP support.

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 8:10 am

Daily Mail: “Hillary Clinton joked with a TV news reporter moments after she learned that Muammar Gaddafi had been killed in Libya. She told the reporter: ‘We came, we saw, he died’ as she learned of the dictator’s grisly end. When the TV reporter asked if her recent visit to Libya had anything to do with Gaddafi’s downfall, the Secretary of State quipped: ‘No,’ then rolled her eyes before adding ‘I’m sure it did.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2051826/We-came-saw-died-What-Hillary-Clinton-told-news-reporter-moments-hearing-Gaddafis-death.html

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 8:13 am

CBS News: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed.”

“We came, we saw, he died,” she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi’s death by an aide in between formal interviews.Clinton was in Tripoli earlier this week for talks with leaders of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC). The reporter asked if Qaddafi’s death had anything to do with her surprise visit to show support for the Libyan people.

“No,” she replied, before rolling her eyes and saying “I’m sure it did” with a chuckle.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/clinton-on-qaddafi-we-came-we-saw-he-died/

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 8:19 am

270

dr ngo 08.01.16 at 8:19 am

So much for the assumption that Kidneystones was talking in good faith.

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RNB 08.01.16 at 8:23 am

My replies to everyone’s relief will become increasingly brief as full-time work resumes.

1. Case for Clinton as war-monger and bloodthirsty is weak: a. apologized for Iraq vote, knows it was wrong, b. did not intervene herself but gave Bush the authority to do it, c. I do not think she thought Bush would use it, just as her husband as not used Iraq Regime Change Act, d. on to Libya the UN authorized broad military action, Bush did not have such support, e. she has an argument that Qaddafi would have turned Libya into the bloodbath that Syria is today, f. on to Syria, LFC and Howard Frant are suggesting that had FSA been supported in Syria, Syria would not be the bloodbath that it is today, g. Hillary Clinton’s VP is Tim Kaine who is one of the most vocal critics of Presidential misuse of war powers, so he’ll slow down any march to war. But yes the video after the killing of Qaddafi is horrible, but that does not make her a bloodthirsty war monger.

2. Arnade’s response to Surowiecki is not persuasive, imo. Yes, we can explain in a verstehen mode or understand racism as a response to loss of respect from economic decline and dismantling of working class institutions, but it does not mean that those two things cause racism. Racism need not be the response, as root_e is also emphasizing; and there is no reason it should be indulged by a party making symbolic insults or worse to minorities to entice people responding in a racist way into the party fold.

That is arguably what Bill Clinton did with welfare reform (or could be done by signaling lax enforcement of anti-discrimination law, opposition to AA, or a lot of arbitrary deportations), and Hillary Clinton seems much less likely to make this mistake. And that is in part because of the heat brought on her during the Sanders campaign, but it should be noted that she was signaling this even before Sanders emerged.

3. Read the Judith Stein piece a while back, and just misses how a lot of anti trade sentiment is coded opposition to the cultural ascendance at home of who some Americans think are foreigners. Opposition to trade with foreign countries is just a way of signaling opposition to immigrants at home. Yes that is much of what Trump means by the lousy trade deals: it’s just another way of asserting white nationalism at home. Real white Americans always before foreigners. Many of those who are opposed to trade are not being hurt by it. Jobs are increasingly not being lost to Mexico and China (even Autor said the China shock has pretty much played itself out by now).

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RNB 08.01.16 at 8:31 am

For your purposes kidneystones Libya is not giving you a reason to vote for Trump over Clinton who went through the UN before intervening. Trump wanted to kill Qaddafi and would have marched to war without the presentation and defense of evidence at the UN. Whatever your politics are–and I don’t think you yourself know what yours are–Trump does not fit them. More likely to put fewer obstacles in front of him before he goes to war. Clinton worked with UN.

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 8:37 am

Democrats are much more than Republicans like George W. Bush. A Democratic candidate for President would never laugh, or joke about killing people.

Perhaps the news media has an ‘obligation’ to shield Democrats. Evidently, most do. Because either HRC is in the middle of some sort of nervous breakdown and is behaving entirely out of character, or this is what passes for humor once the cameras are ‘off’.

‘Watch this shot, Brett!’ ‘Please don’t kill me!’ and ‘We came, we saw, he died – ha, ha, ha!’

Historians live to unearth this sort of marginalia. So much more illuminating than the hagiographies. When historians of the future are writing their assessments of HRC, this and all the missing email (which are certain to surface in dump sometime) will play a key part of the factual record. Even for the current president.

“I never said that.”

Mea culpas set us free!

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RNB 08.01.16 at 8:42 am

Hillary Clinton clearly did not know how to express “ownership” of her participation in the UN sanctioned military actions in Libya that resulted in the killing of Qaddafi. She wanted to own it assertively, but she could not act the part; and the result is the horrible video. But she went deliberately through the UN in the march to the intervention. Trump would act impulsively, and could not organize anything diplomatically. He would start bombing maniacally and unilaterally. So Trump is not your candidate.

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 8:45 am

@ 272 The great part about being me is that I don’t smear huge swaths of innocents, smaller groups, and individuals as ‘racist’ in order to silence and coerce.

The simple fact that you do so, guarantees you’ll be never be able to walk back, or apologize to the millions, and millions, and millions of people you branded as ‘members of the Klan.’ I’m grateful for the substantive critique and thank you, again.

You and your fellow smear artists are pond scum.

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faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 8:47 am

Wait what, you don’t smear people to silence and coerce? But anyone who says something you don’t like is pond scum?

Don’t ever change, kidneystones.

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kidneystones 08.01.16 at 9:10 am

@276 A great many people may say things I don’t ‘like.’

What I object to specifically are the statements of naked bigotry of the sort we here voiced with such enthusiasm. Such as: ‘all Republicans are sociopaths,’ ‘Trump rallies equal Klan rallies’ ‘most leave supporters are racists, or xenophobic whether then know, or admit, it.’

Trump frequently engages in bigotry of this kind, but he’s usually careful to add caveats.

As I said elsewhere, unlike you, I take racism seriously, as I do genocide, which means that unlike you and a few others here I’m extremely unlikely to employ the word ‘genocide, extermination, or even ethnic cleansing’ very often.

Because, silly me, I believe ‘pond scum’ to be far less injurious and hateful an appellation/debate tactic than employing the term ‘racist.’ However, when someone such as RNB equates Trump rallies with Klan rallies, I’m going to point out that if RNB really believed most/all Trump supporters are in the Klan, he’d be doing something other than posting at CT.

To his credit, he’s tried to walk his defamatory slurs back. Figure out how to read a pdf, yet, btw? That last Pew document was a real brain-teaser, wasn’t it.

Looking forward to your next on art.

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Val 08.01.16 at 9:35 am

Interesting. Kidneystones has walked back from admitting he can ever be wrong. I don’t make psychological diagnoses of interlocutors on the Internet, but this kind of stuff does make you wonder what is going through someone’s mind. Ah well, windows of opportunity for reasoned debate open briefly and close suddenly. I should go back to lurking. js and RNB I support your attempts to stop this being a debate between white guys about issues that particularly affect POC, even though RNB you are a bit verbose (which you’ve pleaded guilty to). Don’t attack Lupita though, I don’t know where Lupita’s coming from, but wait and see.

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J-D 08.01.16 at 9:39 am

kidneystones 08.01.16 at 9:10 am
… Because, silly me, I believe ‘pond scum’ to be far less injurious and hateful an appellation/debate tactic than employing the term ‘racist.’ …

I absolutely agree that that is an extremely silly thing to believe; but recognising your own silliness is the first step to doing something about it.

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Faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 9:59 am

Kidneystones can you explain the mechanism by which being called racist silences you? Or anyone? What is the mysterious power of this word? After all, you claim to have been called this a lot – as has trump – but neither you nor he will shut up. So how is it that you are being silenced exactly?

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 10:25 am

Val: “Also while I’ve broken my silence, I don’t know if anyone else noticed that Rich Puchalsky in an earlier comment, appeared to be suggesting that the reason people are concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims is because they (the concerned people) are anti-Semitic. That’s really going too far, even for Rich Puchalsky, I would have thought.”

So you can’t read, and therefore I’m going too far.

DWS just got fired (well, stepped down) and was it for anything about campaign finance scandals? No, it was about a staffer musing about how an atheist isn’t a Jew, and how his peeps knew that. You’re an Australian and also kind of clueless, so I don’t expect you to know what it means when people who are supposedly against Trump just can’t stop going on about those aggressive, outspoken Bernie Bros and about the general perfidy of the left long after the primary has been decided.

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Layman 08.01.16 at 10:58 am

kidneystones: “The great part about being me is that…”

Gosh, kidneystones, is there anything you don’t know?

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Faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 11:00 am

I’m afraid you’ll have to spell it out a little more rich. “Bernie bros” is a feminist criticism intended to suggest that the reason for the trenchant refusal to support Clinton is a guy thing. I’ve never read anywhere that it has anything to do with anti semitism. The only person in public life I have ever heard referred to as a Bernie bro is Hal (?) Goodman and I have no idea if he is Jewish or not. At LGM they use it freely and I never saw any claims that they’re anti Semitic. And what does the general perfidy of the left have to do with anti semitism?

DWS’s downfall I thought was due to sexism – it’s pretty clear she’s widely hated on the left of the dems for reasons I can’t understand – But then the emails were leaked by wiki leaks who are now apparently openly anti Semitic (if you can make sense of the symbolism of the use and misuse of the three bracket thing). But the people mostly recognized as Bernie bros have been crowing about her downfall – which doesn’t fit your narrative at all. I confess i didn’t know she was Jewish and I thought the unreasonable hating on her was a gender thing, an opinion confirmed by the triumphalism of the salon types anther downfall. Can you square this circle?

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 11:10 am

I’m still looking for an answer to the question, Why will a dictator’s slaughter necessarily have a better outcome, than when an outside country intervenes?

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Layman 08.01.16 at 11:17 am

“I’m still looking for an answer to the question, Why will a dictator’s slaughter necessarily have a better outcome, than when an outside country intervenes?”

Maybe someone else who likes tendentious questions will answer that one for you.

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Val 08.01.16 at 11:22 am

@281
“… people can write that they are terrified of exterminationist violence against them as a cudgel against people who have actually had substantial parts of their family tree wiped out by extermimationist violence.

people can talk about the problems of the terrorist watch list at the same time as they join in with the latest Two Minute Hate on wikileaks”

– written shortly after js had expressed concern about Muslims being put on the terror watch list. And you now claim it’s about someone and something else altogether, and call me “Australian” (fair cop) and “clueless”. Why don’t you just acknowledge you went too far, and apologise?

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 11:30 am

Why you don’t apologize, Val? I know that you’re incapable of it, but maybe another fake one will work.

Here’s what you wrote two comments up:
“js and RNB I support your attempts to stop this being a debate between white guys about issues that particularly affect POC”

So Corey Robin and I and other similar people have been erased as “white guys”. You see, people can write Trump = Hitler or talk about people going to Klan rallies and hey, I guess that we’d supposedly show up at Klan rallies too because we’re white.

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Layman 08.01.16 at 11:37 am

Rich P: “DWS just got fired (well, stepped down) and was it for anything about campaign finance scandals? No, it was about a staffer musing about how an atheist isn’t a Jew, and how his peeps knew that. “

I’ve read that the Clinton campaign and the White House have long been frustrated by DWS, largely because she seemed intent on using her DNC position for obvious self-promotion and as an arm of her own re-election campaign effort. I’ve read that she would have been forced out long ago, but the White House vetoed the idea because they didn’t want the hassle and drama. I’ve read that the Sanders campaign wanted her out because of her rather obvious bias and preference for a Clinton victory. I’ve read that she resigned because the emails demonstrated that bias had permeated the top ranks of the DNC, and the White House decided it was time.

I haven’t read anything which suggests her ouster was due specifically to the email about Bernie’s possible atheism, or because that email was anti-Semitic, or because DWS was anti-Semitic, or because those seeking her ouster were anti-Semitic.

With respect to the email, I imagine that if Sanders were a professed Christian (or Muslim, or Hindu, etc) while actually being an atheist, the same person would have sent the same email suggesting the same tactic of making Sanders’ atheism an issue, because voters in many places don’t seem to like atheist candidates. Reading the email as anti-Semitic seems overwrought to me.

With respect to DWS, is the contention that she created an anti-Semitic environment and therefore had to go; or that her ouster was an expression of anti-Antisemitism? Or, somehow, both?

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Val 08.01.16 at 11:37 am

Calling people white guys doesn’t erase them Rich, it just says they’re white guys.

I think you should apologise for suggesting that people concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims are motivated by anti-Semitism, and stop trying the divert and deflection tactics.

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Consumatopia 08.01.16 at 11:43 am

“Yes, we can explain in a verstehen mode or understand racism as a response to loss of respect from economic decline and dismantling of working class institutions, but it does not mean that those two things cause racism”

If anyone were arguing neoliberalism was the sole cause of racism then Surowiecki would have a point. Note that you just contradicted him: “It’s frankly preposterous to depict white racism in Parma as if it’s a response to changing economic conditions or social anomie.” Arnade pointed out why that was an idiotic thing to say.

“Read the Judith Stein piece a while back, and just misses how a lot of anti trade sentiment is coded opposition to the cultural ascendance at home of who some Americans think are foreigners. “

That’s a strange response since that interview didn’t spend a lot of time talking about trade as much as deindustrialization and the decline of unions generally. There’s a lot of people and communities out there who have been completely let down by both GOP and Dem politicians, trade is only part of that failure.

In any event, I’m not sure that Judith Stein is right about everything, but if you actually read it before, I’m surprised you would embrace Surowiecki’s simplistic tweets. The history of lower class whites, blacks and unions is a lot more complicated than he lets on.

“Opposition to trade with foreign countries is just a way of signaling opposition to immigrants at home. Yes that is much of what Trump means by the lousy trade deals: it’s just another way of asserting white nationalism at home”

On this issue, you have to drop the “white” part. Lower income African Americans are also skeptical of immigration (and I’d be surprised if they weren’t also skeptical of trade.)

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 11:48 am

No, Val. Normally I wouldn’t mention this, but you’re spent your entirely commenting history here saying that anyone who disagrees with you must do so because they’re a man and an anti-feminist, just as RNB has accused anyone who disagrees with him of being a racist. If you can’t see the anti-Semitic themes in RNB’s and his cohort’s enduring hatred of Sanders and anything associated with him, that’s your problem. I’m annoyed at your tawdry adoption of anti-racism in service of your own goals without any serious commitment to it or principle involved in who you accuse or why.

292

Val 08.01.16 at 11:56 am

Rich, once again, I think you should apologise for suggesting that people concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims are motivated by anti-Semitism.

I won’t say it again, but it would be nice if you could be honest.

293

Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 12:35 pm

Layman #285: “tendentious”

Except that I am NOT “promoting a point of view”, which is the definition of “tendentious”.

I asked Hidari #34 what he would do about Syria, since he won’t like the (supposed) future under Hillary Clinton.

Because of this, or else because I am a Lesser Evilist, Ronan(rf) #39 included me in the “Clinton faction, who are no more rational, no less emotional…no more capable of making intelligent, logically consistent arguments. I’m of course including myself in this, and lee Arnold , and various other gibshites. The sooner we accept the imbecility of our political convictions and the fact that they’re almost completely the result of tribalism and emotion”

Well I would normally say, “Speak for yourself, imbecilic tribalist!” My own Lesser Evilism is NOT a political faction, and it necessarily implies NONE of those other things. But of course it would do no good to say that; Crooked Timber has already become a schoolyard discussion among 10 year olds.

So I asked Ronan(rf), instead: “What would you do about Syria?”

So then you Layman #49 chimed in, saying that we should either send humanitarian aid (without mentioning that the U.S. began with this to the anti-Assad, non-ISIS rebels, while any aid through Damascus have been blocked by the dictator including tons of attempts by the UN) and failing that, we should not bomb (without mentioning that the only bombing that the US has done is in a larger coalition against ISIS positions in Syria).

Which is pretty uninformed, for your part.

Again, I haven’t expressed my own viewpoint about what should be done, at all.

But then, you insist that the US should just walk away:

#49: “since it is probably futile to convince Americans to help people with anything other than bombs, we do nothing at all”

#99: “humanitarian aid somewhere else… there’s just a shortage of Americans will to ‘help’ people in ways that aren’t pyrotechnic”

And this the dictionary definition of “tendentious”. Also adding “fatuous”.

294

bruce wilder 08.01.16 at 12:40 pm

Faustusnotes: reasons I can’t understand

Can’t help you there.

295

bruce wilder 08.01.16 at 1:02 pm

Lee A Arnold

Layman referred to the question as tendentious. I understood what he meant, I think: the question you asked belongs in a broad category of questions to which no sensible answer can be composed. I think I would just call it a stupid question and leave it at that, but if there is some artful term, I would love to learn it.

296

kidneystones 08.01.16 at 1:04 pm

@ 280 You can’t write and you can’t read. That doesn’t leave you with many options. I made/make no claims to the efficacy of the strategy.

I have pointed out often, and with evidence, that smearing large number, or just individuals as racist (in an attempt to coerce, or silence) rarely produces the ‘desired result.’

As for the impact of the fear of being called ‘racist,’ unfortunately there are some examples We could start, perhaps, with this non-issue in Rotheram. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/crime/article4344206.ece

People like you and RNB create a climate in which some people live in genuine fear of losing jobs, or just friends/reputations and in some cases fail to act to protect the helpless.

The first time I was called a racist I was as an Edwards supporter by a supporter of the current president. I confess I was quite shocked. I couldn’t quite believe that those I’d seen as cultural soul mates could level the charge quite so callously and cynically. The practice was widespread and extended to your candidate and her husband. Twas actually part of come-to-Jesus moment. I quickly realized that if we lived in a world where Bill Clinton: America’s ‘first black president’ was a racist, then everyone could be a racist.

And, of course, the best part involved turning the mirror back on me. I discovered that I’d blindly swallowed a great many ‘truisms’ about people I’d never met and slandered them in the most offensive fashion, much as you and RNB do with such ease and enthusiasm. The fact that I was always careful to qualify my smears with the definite article ‘the’ when referring to ‘the racist Republican right’ as if I were maligning just a subset of the Republican constituency is simply further proof of my insincerity and cowardice. My intention was the opposite: to boost team blue as the more moral choice, and facts be damned.

At that point, I realized I had to start treating people as people, even Republicans and conservatives. And guess what, a whole new universe of humanity opened up. The world didn’t look half so bleak because I was no longer populating it with scary cartoon characters produced in my imagination.

As for your dunce pal, “Well, Egypt,” his reading difficulties are even more pronounced and evident than yours.

“We came, we saw, he died” got her bump. You should be tickled – more death on the way!

297

Layman 08.01.16 at 1:23 pm

Lee A Arnold: …without mentioning that the only bombing that the US has done is in a larger coalition against ISIS positions in Syria…”

“Dozens of civilians have been killed in US-led air strikes against areas in Syria held by the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS), a monitoring group said.”

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/led-air-strikes-kill-21-civilians-syria-160719045329897.html

“A day after announcing a formal inquiry into what watchdogs call the United States’ worst civilian casualty incident in its war against the Islamic State militant group, the US military said that more civilians may have been killed in another airstrike around the same Syrian city.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/28/us-airstrike-more-civilian-casualties-manbij-syria?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

If you read what I wrote, you’d acknowledge that this is what I said: That it is not possible to attempt bomb ISIS without also killing Syrian civilians.

298

Layman 08.01.16 at 1:25 pm

@ Lee Arnold

…and, by extension, if it is not possible to bomb ISIS without killing Syrian civilians, how much harder must it be to bomb Syria’s government forces without killing civilians?

299

Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 1:41 pm

Bruce Wilder #295: “a broad category of questions to which no sensible answer can be composed. I think I would just call it a stupid question”

And yet Layman keeps trying to burble out answers to it.

My first question was “What would you do about Syria?” Can a sensible answer be composed for this?

Layman’s answer was, We shouldn’t bomb, because that kills more civilians than the killers (whether Assad or ISIS) will kill.

I will agree with you, Bruce, that is not sensible. So in clarification I asked, “Why will a dictator’s slaughter necessarily have a better outcome, than when an outside country intervenes?”

And you think that this cannot be answered? Is this because you think you get to keep your own nose clean, Bruce?

And Layman added, twice, that “Americans” would rather bomb than send humanitarian aid — and now he won’t address that stupidity either. So would you explain that one too, Bruce?

300

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 1:46 pm

I agree with Val @289 and @292.

301

Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 1:51 pm

Bruce Wilder, what do you think Western (& Russian) policy should be in Syria?

302

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 1:51 pm

I was thinking after posting that about comments about Sanders from Jewish people I’ve heard, mostly from people on the fence, and realized “oh that’s like women who support Sanders and start their arguments with ‘I don’t agree with these older women who are so excited just because a woman could be President’ (that’s the new, expanded version of ‘I wouldn’t vote for someone JUST because she’s a woman, now it’s I’m not even impressed a little bit by the idea of it)”. And oh Rich thinks this is a clever jab at all Hillary supporters.

303

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 1:54 pm

It figures that “bianca” agrees with Val. She’s the one who believes that being Mexican is sort of an extended identity of being American, which is according to her the true identity as long as you are in the U.S.

For the confusionologists, here’s a link that may help. Some advanced questions for the confused: why do you think the article writes:

” (Sanders has, in fact, denied being an atheist — not sure it makes a difference, unless ignorant plus offensive is better/worse than just plain old offensive.)”

Could it have anything to do with who the Jewish community considers to be a Jew? As opposed to the Southern Baptist community.

Second follow-up question for the confused: why do you think that Jews might not show up at a Klan rally? Surely they love Jews, right? After all, Jews are white.

304

root_e 08.01.16 at 1:58 pm

— CT keeps randomly discarding my responses —
“root_e, you keep starting out asking a reasonable question (“what prevents or triggers whether an economically disadvantaged community turns to racism?”) but then turn to what looks like la-la land to my by wondering about *black* communities (or people). You might have noticed that black people are… black! What advantage would racism get them?! ”

That’s my point. Thanks. White people get something from racism. The whole false consciousness rationale (or however you want to call it) fails because in a racist society, racism of the privileged race provides benefits (however revolting). Since Reconstruction, US social justice movements have repeatedly been wrecked by spontaneous or manufactured surges of white racism. When people argue that Trump reflects popular anger at “neoliberalism”, they are both accepting the pervasive racist myth of society (only white people count) and choosing to focus on the secondary issue. The anti-racism movement is not a “veneer” or a “yes but” secondary objective that needs to give way to economics, but the key to getting past the mechanics of reactionary power in America.

305

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 2:16 pm

Rich @281: “it was about a staffer musing about how an atheist isn’t a Jew,”

No it was a staffer musing that they could discredit Sanders by saying he doesn’t believe in God, or follow the commandments. No one said he wasn’t a Jew. In Orthodox terms they were suggesting he was an apostate. He doesn’t go to synagogue. People of any religion have a concept of falling away from a religion, and people of any religion would have understood what that meant.

306

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 2:19 pm

I think I could easily buy a latte at Starbucks if I had a penny for every time someone on CT noted that an atheist could never be elected president in the US. For that matter.

307

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 2:23 pm

Here is what the staffer wrote : “Does he believe in a God? He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

And then “bianca” lectures me that drawing a big difference between a Jew and an atheist doesn’t mean that anyone was saying he wasn’t a Jew because he (supposedly) was an atheist. Interesting!

I wonder whether Jews generally think that Sanders is “has skated” on saying that he has a Jewish heritage? I’m sure that “bianca” will be quick to inform me.

308

Consumatopia 08.01.16 at 2:28 pm

“Layman’s answer was, We shouldn’t bomb, because that kills more civilians than the killers (whether Assad or ISIS) will kill. “

Did he say that? Perhaps he just doubts that our bombs would save more lives than they take–that our bombs would result in any reduction in killing by the sum of all other factions? Given that the Russians are backing Assad pretty strongly (why bother asking what *Russians* should do? The Russians are pro-Assad and anti-ISIS.) it’s quite possible that any serious effort on our part to take down Assad would mean he kills *more* people.

In any event, greater involvement in Syria involves immediate costs to the country getting involved, and with American and Russians operating in the same theater backing opposite sides there would be a potential risk of a much, much larger conflict. Therefore, the default position should be to stay out. It is up to advocates of intervention to make a positive case for why we should get involved despite the cost and risk.

309

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 2:31 pm

Rich, I’ve so far avoided musing publicly on your being a poster child for the scientifically proven educated person who wants to be serious and read social science type stuff, yet gets stumped on understanding what humans mean when they talk about other humans, and decides it’s all crap and can mean whatever he wants it to mean.

310

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 2:43 pm

“bianca steele”: “yet gets stumped on understanding what humans mean when they talk about other humans, and decides it’s all crap and can mean whatever he wants it to mean.”

So the article that I cited was similarly all confused about what humans mean when they talk about other humans. Why, you might say that its writers must be not really human.

311

Layman 08.01.16 at 2:52 pm

Lee A Arnold: “Layman’s answer was, We shouldn’t bomb, because that kills more civilians than the killers (whether Assad or ISIS) will kill.”

This is, quite frankly, a lie.

312

William Timberman 08.01.16 at 2:54 pm

Bruce Wilder, what do you think Western (& Russian) policy should be in Syria?

What do you think Syria’s policy should be toward the United States? Honduras’s? Venezuela’s? Bolivia’s? Iran’s? Palestine’s? Guam’s? Okinawa’s? Diego Garcia’s?

The only one asking such questions explicitly and consistently in these threads is Lupita. The idea that the rest of the world is ours to propose and dispose of in policy may be of pressing interest to careerists in the foreign policy establishment, but in my opinion, asking the question you asked is a symptom of a disease that folks who ask it have no interest at all in curing.

Policy looks forward, not back, I get it. No one in the US will take you seriously if you suggest that the Balfour Declaration was ill-considered, or that maybe the CIA shouldn’t have overthrown Mossadegh, or that Hillary shouldn’t have been quite so hasty in declaring democracy restored in Tegucigalpa, but then a genuine respect for self-determination is so much easier to foster in theory than in practice….

313

Layman 08.01.16 at 2:56 pm

Lee A Arnold: “And Layman added, twice, that “Americans” would rather bomb than send humanitarian aid…”

This, on the other hand, is accurate, and the notion is quite easily supported by simply looking at the budgets for each.

314

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 2:58 pm

William Timberman: “No one in the US will take you seriously if you suggest that the Balfour Declaration was ill-considered, or that maybe the CIA shouldn’t have overthrown Mossadegh, or that Hillary shouldn’t have been quite so hasty in declaring democracy restored in Tegucigalpa, […]”

Doesn’t this really go back to the Monroe Doctrine, if we’re tracing it back historically?

315

merian 08.01.16 at 3:13 pm

Is it worse to be a racist or to be called a racist? Assess both on a scale between 1 and 100… SRSLY?

Being pointed to one’s own racist behaviours as a cause for shock and dismay, SRSLY?

316

William Timberman 08.01.16 at 3:21 pm

Rich Puchalsky @ 313

It does, yes — at least it seems so to me. It was a bit early to be mocking the decaying imperial pretensions of the Spanish and Portuguese, and declaring ourselves the natural successor to a not yet fully established British hegemon, but maybe Monroe was already looking West and considering what mastery of most of the North American continent would one day do for our ambitions. A more charitable interpretation seems plausible also, in that fear of those who burned Washington a decade before made it seem prudent for him to bark before he had any real bite. Actual historians have been all over this for decades, and given that I’m not one of them, please feel free to discount my take on it accordingly.

317

RNB 08.01.16 at 3:23 pm

@291 Rich Puchalsky wrote: “If you can’t see the anti-Semitic themes in RNB’s and his cohort’s enduring hatred of Sanders and anything associated with him, that’s your problem.”
You are as always beneath contempt.

318

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 3:34 pm

Actually, I think that you are, RNB. Every one of your comments has lead directly to the accusation that people here are racists if they don’t support HRC enough. But I remember that you had this weird dislike of everything Sanders before, during, and after the primary, and even now. And you always go for insinuations about what kind of people must be with the racists, and ask whether people like us could ever know what’s it’s like to suffer from discrimination or eliminationist rhetoric. You and your mob here don’t have the slightest idea why it might be insulting and stupid to ask a Jew if he’s hanging out with Klan members — because they only attack POC apparently.

So yes, no one who has made as many accusations of racism as you have has any standing to complain when people point out your anti-Semitic nonsense.

319

RNB 08.01.16 at 3:44 pm

What the hell are you talking about? I was talking about Trump rallies as having the Klan atmosphere. You are beneath contempt.

320

RNB 08.01.16 at 3:46 pm

Don’t have time for this crap today. But you are not quoting anything I said. You are a terrible person.

321

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 3:53 pm

OK, I’ll quote. From here:

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.

Ooh, who are these mysterious people who you think can afford to have such confidence? Jewish people like Corey Robin? Oh I forgot, we’re subsumed into the category “white”, something which expert Val assures us is not an example of erasure.

322

merian 08.01.16 at 4:08 pm

Rich Puchalsky: Woosh.

Also, what’s it with the derogatory quotes?

323

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 4:12 pm

merian: “Being pointed to one’s own racist behaviours as a cause for shock and dismay, SRSLY?”

Yes, listen to merian, RNB and Val and bianca. Why are you so shocked that I’m pointing this out about you? All of a sudden I’m supposedly a terrible person for pointing out obvious things such as that Jewish people do not consider atheist Jews to not be Jews, or that the DNC Email that was most heavily apologized for was clearly anti-Semitic because it played into long-standing American anti-Semitic tropes, or that treating us as not knowing what American discrimination was about was nonsensical, or that a whole lot of the Bernie Bros stereotype draws directly from anti-Semitic stereotypes. I wasn’t even the first one to point this out on CT.

Is it my responsibility as a Jew to educate you about these things? Interesting!

324

merian 08.01.16 at 4:19 pm

Rich P.: Word… salad… nothing to do with what I said. But I’ll play. Yes, the most heavily apologised for email has anti-Semitic connotations, that’s my analysis too. More importantly, and more generally, it’s about making use of religious affiliations to discredit a candidate, which is a clear no-no. From there to conclude that DWS was fired (let’s call it what it was) because she’s an anti-Semite is ridiculous. (The Jewish Daily Forward disagrees, for that matter.)

The bit you quoted was about pointing out kidneystone’s ridiculous statements about the terrible terrible suffering when being pointed out one’s racism. For the record, being pointed towards one’s own racist or sexist tendencies is a normal experience, which I consider a precious part about growing up into a less racist person.

325

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 4:29 pm

merian: “From there to conclude that DWS was fired (let’s call it what it was) because she’s an anti-Semite is ridiculous. “

And I didn’t say that or believe it. She seems to have been fired in large part because she wasn’t in control of her operation. But the people here didn’t understand what the most salient part of not being in control of her operation involved. As people here illustrate, no one seems to have taken the money part seriously.

And no, it’s not simply about “making use of religious affiliations to discredit a candidate”. It specifically plays up conservative, discriminatory ideas about what Judaism is.

“For the record, being pointed towards one’s own racist or sexist tendencies is a normal experience, which I consider a precious part about growing up into a less racist person.”

Then RNB and Val and bianca should take my comments here as a normal experience for them, which they should consider to be a precious part of growing up into less racist people.

326

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 4:45 pm

I’m Jewish and I don’t think that email is antisemitic, and I’m very surprised merian does. It said there are Southern Baptist Democrats who would answer yes to “would you vote for a Jew?” but no to “would you vote for an atheist?” It was about which label to use for Sanders, not what he is.

Antisemitic would be “let’s call him a Jew A LOT because we know people will vote against that.” Antisemitic would be anything that says “all Jews are the same.”

327

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 4:57 pm

“bianca”: “Antisemitic would be anything that says “all Jews are the same.””

Oh sure, let’s bring up that he’s an atheist and therefore not a real Jew to the Southern Baptists, and that’s not an excuse to talk about him being Jewish. It’s followed by “It’s these [sic] Jesus thing” and then “AMEN”, and there’s no anti-Semitism there at all.

It’s also not anti-Semitic at all to call atheists with Jewish heritage not Jews. Because everyone knows that Southern Baptists should be encouraged to define who is a Jew and who isn’t according to their Christian belief system.

“bianca” can claim to be whatever she likes. She’s not using her real name, and I have no idea who she is.

328

merian 08.01.16 at 5:00 pm

bianca s.: For very vague values of anti-Semitism, admittedly (I wrote “connotations”). As a German married to a Jew I am probably erring on the side of caution. But even adjusting for that, speculations by a non-Jew about the exact status of a Jewish candidate within Judaism as a means of potentially discrediting him is more than just generally distasteful. It is, in a way, using his Judaism against him (even by its absence, ie. as a Jew who is *really* an atheist.)

This said, even without THIS email the outcome would have been the same. It’s not particularly damning, just has a damning passage nicely sewn-up in a quote. Also, my overall opinion is that those emails are barely more than par for the course — it’s a political party, not a Bingo club. (Which probably underestimates the ferocity of controversy in a Bingo club…)

329

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 5:09 pm

Anyone who is seriously confused about who is a Jew can consult wiki. “All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion.”

330

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 5:18 pm

It’s also not anti-Semitic at all to call atheists with Jewish heritage not Jews.

Let’s be clear. As I pointed out, no one said let’s tell people he isn’t a Jew. They said “let’s use the word atheist in campaigns.” This can’t be antisemitic unless you believe all Jews are atheists. Some people do. Do you want to be aligned with people like that?

Let’s also be clear about this: if someone who Judaism would consider Jewish says he doesn’t consider himself a Jew, it is antisemitic to continue to call him a Jew. Are we agreed about this? It isn’t about agreeing with a religion about its tenets.

Let’s also be clear about this: it is not antisemitic to point out that Southern Baptists think of Jews differently than Jews do. It is not antisemitic to point out that Orthodox Jews think of Jewishness and Judaic belief differently from Reform or Reconstructionist Jews. It is not antisemitic to point out that people who consider themselves secular Jews don’t practice the Jewish religion.

I’ve been reading Rich on religion for at least 8 years and I am not sure he is clear on this. It’s okay not to know. It’s not okay to call people, Jews or not, antisemitic because they disagree.

331

Layman 08.01.16 at 5:26 pm

“But even adjusting for that, speculations by a non-Jew about the exact status of a Jewish candidate within Judaism as a means of potentially discrediting him is more than just generally distasteful.”

I think it’s wrong to insist the email be read to mean this.

Americans, when polled, give their highest regard for Jews while having almost the lowest regard for atheists. The lowest regard is apparently reserved for Muslims. Because atheism is so broadly reviled, it is a time-honored tradition in politics to imply that your political opponents are godless rather than faithful. In fact, Trump did that to Clinton just 6 weeks ago:

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/284281-trump-questions-clintons-religion

That’s the point of this email. The author is asking if he can’t let people know that Sanders is an atheist; and saying that voters in his area would respond to that. The author may well be ignorant of what makes one a Jew, but that isn’t in and of itself anti-Semitism. Nor is using a conventional, if execrable, line of attack in which the faith of the target is largely irrelevant – where it only matters that he or she has some espoused or presumed faith to attack. If Sanders were thought to be Lutheran, the same attack would have been suggested.

http://www.pewforum.org/2014/07/16/how-americans-feel-about-religious-groups/

332

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 5:30 pm

“bianca” : “It is not antisemitic to point out that Orthodox Jews think of Jewishness and Judaic belief differently from Reform or Reconstructionist Jews.”

All Jewish religious branches think that someone can be born a Jew. Sanders was born to Jewish parents. Whether he is an atheist or not makes no difference to whether he is a Jew according to any Jewish religious belief that I know of.

Maybe it’s not right to call an ethnic or cultural Jew Jewish if he or she denies that label? But Sanders didn’t. He said that he is proud to be Jewish.

There is absolutely no basis, even if Sanders was an atheist, for this to bear on his Jewish identity. And no, the person sending the Email did not wonder whether they should call him an apostate. He wrote “Does he believe in a God? He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.” They would “draw a big difference” based on an appeal to their idea of what a Jew is — one that no Jew that I know of shares.

333

bianca steele 08.01.16 at 5:36 pm

Rich, I don’t think Sanders’ relationship to religions and his past statements about his belief are secrets, though it would be unseemly to air them here (although they’re not in themselves shameful). If you don’t know Jews who believe a Jew can exclude himself or herself from Judaism by some acts (while still being a Jew) then your acquaintance has been limited. If you don’t know many religious people expect other religious people that have quite definite beliefs about God and morality, ditto. I know Jews who believe Orthodoxy is something like an antisemitic plot itself. Their beliefs are equally crazy.

334

Layman 08.01.16 at 5:36 pm

“My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

Yes, that rather makes my point, thanks.

335

Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 5:41 pm

“bianca” :”It’s okay not to know. It’s not okay to call people, Jews or not, antisemitic because they disagree.”

OK, so if someone literally does not know that it’s false and they talk about one of the blood libels, that’s not anti-Semitic, because they don’t know.

336

Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 5:45 pm

Layman #310: “This is, quite frankly, a lie.”

Do you believe that ISIS should be stopped?

337

bruce wilder 08.01.16 at 5:45 pm

Lee A. Arnold: Bruce Wilder, what do you think Western (& Russian) policy should be in Syria?

I guess that is, at least, an open-ended question and therefore better phrased than the previous: Why will a dictator’s slaughter necessarily have a better outcome, than when an outside country intervenes? The dictator’s slaughter question both makes prejudicial presumptions and seems to call for a logical counterfactual applicable in the abstract.

Asking about the actual concrete case of Syria and doing so in an open-ended way is somewhat less . . . tendentious (?).

But, it does lead to a certain embarrassment of expertise. How detailed and expert can my informed (?) citizen answer be? As a concerned citizen of a nominally democratic foreign (to Syria and its region) power, I am not going to be offering more than general principles that I would want my government to respect while elaborating a policy informed (one would hope) by expertise in elaboration and operation — expertise in principles of foreign policy and international law as well as expertise in political science and political economy, supplemented by expertise and a good deal of information about the situation in Syria and in the region.

It seems to me that a reasonable humility should not be a blind deference. Given the recent run of experience with U.S. armed interventions in the Arabian area (i.e. the region of Syria and Iraq and Yemen) as well as Afghanistan and Libya, I do not think as a concerned citizen I should be counting on the generals and diplomats to actually know what they are doing. Nor am I am inclined at this late date to give much credibility to the public discourse of the neocons like, say, Robert Kagan.

So, approaching the problem of Syria from my admittedly thin information base, what I see is an extraordinarily complex situation: a chaotic civil war within Syria, with multiple belligerents hostile to one another; a multifarious conflict among neighboring regional powers, with civil wars active or barely latent in several neighbors with valence to the Syrian civil war.

One reasonable point, drawn from general knowledge, is that there’s no obvious way to reduce the conflict to a two-sided conflict that might be resolved crisply with one side winning and forming the government within Syria or to create a stable balance of power among the Powers in the Region that might preserve a peace settlement. Several regional powers have strong incentives, in fact, to keep the Syrian civil war from resolving into a two-sided conflict that might be won in a contest of arms. Those interested regional powers have proxy support and/or proxy enemies so to speak already engaged and have an incentive to lean for or against in ways that maintain the chaos.

The American position in relation to all of this is more complex, conflicted and chaotic than that of any other Power. The U.S. is formally allied to NATO member, Turkey; deeply committed to Israel, informally allied and deeply entangled with Saudi Arabia; sponsoring both the Iraqi government and Iraqi Kurdistan (two sides of a latent civil war inside Iraq — notice, too, that the Kurds are involved in a civil war in Turkey and Turkey sponsors Turkmen claims to Iraqi/Kurdish territory and oil), the U.S. has a complex and mutually hostile relationship with Iran, which nevertheless treats the Iraqi government the U.S. supports materially and militarily as an Iranian protectorate; Iran sponsors Hezbollah, which is involved in a latent civil war inside neighboring Lebanon as well as a latent war with Israel and Hezbollah has an alliance of convenience with Assad. Saudi Arabia, our great good friends (sarcasm) from whom the 9/11 hijackers hailed, are sponsoring anti-Assad belligerents in the Syrian civil war. (It may be remembered that the Hashemite Kingdoms of Jordan and Iraq as well as the short-lived Greater Syria of 1920 were founded by refugee royals driven out from the Hejaz by the Sauds.) Saudi Arabia is at war in Yemen, which I am sure has some resonance with Syria that almost no one understands. Russia, with which the U.S. has a complex relationship, and which has intervened in support of Assad and has its own complex history with Turkey and Iran, as well as civil wars, latent and otherwise, in Ukraine and the Caucasus. Finally, of course, ISIL, which has widespread popular support among some margin of the global Islamic world, but which has qualified itself as the one representative of Terrorism in the region without state allies, and, of course, the U.S. is committed to perpetual war against the abstraction, Terrorism.

The complexity of the situation is a consequence of history and political geography; the complexity of the U.S. relationship with the various belligerents and powers is a compound of that complicated history, including palsied British and French meddling during the post-WWI League of Nations Mandates that followed the end of Ottoman rule, and the way U.S. foreign policy and the military power that backs it, is so easily hijacked by corporate business and nationalist lobbies and their think-tank grifters in Washington, including the military-industrial complex’s parasitic hijack of the Pentagon bureaucracy and the ironically named intelligence agencies.

I have been accused of dissing Obama in other policy areas, but I admire his reluctance to intervene in Syria with bombs directed at Assad’s regime. I do not see how he could sit atop the U.S. military and foreign policy apparatus, more fully informed than I, CT commenter, on the details of this chaotic mess and the complex web of entanglements of U.S. actors with the region and not fear the unexpected consequences of permitting the U.S. military to act on the basis of whatever dubious intelligence can be generated about who is where firing at whom sponsored by which belligerent or foreign power.

The usual American pollyanna formula of calling for peace talks and elections seems even further from reality than it usually does. The habit of presumptive American intervention, leading our NATO allies in a late enactment of European Imperialism, with neither well-constrained means or well-identified ends in mind, is not something I believe genuinely thoughtful Americans ought to be encouraging. The blowback of terrorism and the refugee crisis should not lead us to unthinkingly “do something” guaranteed to be massively destructive and lethal, with no achievable end in sight.

So, there’s a long story. And, it seems to me that it leads directly to Layman’s simple formula. Stay out of it and offer humanitarian aid aimed primarily at the refugees.

I do not see what you object to in what Layman said. It seems to be to embody good sense and good will, given the circumstances.

Now, in a more perfect world conforming to my wishes, I’d like to see some efforts to move the U.S. away from the blind self-destructive self-righteous idiocy of impending Imperial Collapse. Like Lupita, I think the apparent political alignment underway in the U.S. Presidential electoral politics has a counterpart in the realignment of the international order, but this comment is too long already. I agree with William Timberman: . . . asking the question you asked is a symptom of a disease that folks who ask it have no interest at all in curing. (Obviously, asking that question here in CT comments is just a symptom of idle time, since none of us are foreign policy pros, but I presume you take WT’s point.)

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 5:51 pm

Well Bruce if you aren’t going to bother offering more than general principles, why bother writing what any of the rest of us could write?

Because “staying out of it” is not remotely an option. It has spillovers into every adjacent country including the EU.

Do you think you are the first person, even in the US foreign policy community, who hasn’t thought of all the applicable rules of thumb, platitudes, and moralizing, just because you don’t like US policy? That is pretty naive. Nobody likes this.

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js. 08.01.16 at 5:59 pm

Sometimes I make sound decisions. It’s always gratifying when that happens. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with all of you.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 6:01 pm

All right, if we’re going to take the “I didn’t know that it was anti-Semitic” bit seriously, I’ll inform people of some things. Then they’ll know.

* Saying that Jewish people have no idea what it’s like to be discriminated against, or to suffer from eliminationist rhetoric, is kind of weird, dudes. You see, even in America there has been a long history of anti-Semitic discrimination and it’s close enough to the present by any standard that Jews are generally familiar with it.

* The Klan hates Jewish people! Who knew? I know, you thought it was all people of color that they hated and that Jews are white. Um…. wiki will help you there, possibly.

* Hitler hated Jewish people! “Trump = Hitler and if you’re not for HRC you must be for Trump”, um….

* Jewish people worry about white racism. Who knew?

* Here are some common tropes about Jewish people: pushy, intellectual, leftist, cosmopolitan, loud, etc. “I thought Bernie Bros was a feminist stereotype”, well, dude, partially.

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Layman 08.01.16 at 6:09 pm

@ Lee A Arnold, given your silly response to Bruce’s thoughtful and complete answer to your question, I don’t see any point in giving it a try myself.

@ bruce wilder: Very well said.

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Layman 08.01.16 at 6:12 pm

Rich P @ 339 is incoherent.

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Layman 08.01.16 at 6:14 pm

“It has spillovers into every adjacent country including the EU.”

My god, man! Can’t you see how the dominoes will fall!

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Layman 08.01.16 at 6:31 pm

“Stay out of it and offer humanitarian aid aimed primarily at the refugees.”

Further to this, when I suggested it earlier, Lee Arnold intimated that we could not effectively provide aid because the Assad regime prevented it. But that doesn’t stop us from aiding refugees.

As one example, there are some 83,000 Syrians living in Zaatari refugee camp, in Jordan. If we took the $5 billion we’re spending this year to bomb ISIS, and used it instead to help these refugees, we could resettle the entire population in the US and have enough money left over to give each person a starting cash stake in the tens of thousands of dollars. We would make an undeniable difference in the lives of these people, and we would do it without killing anyone at all. Heck, we’d even be retaining the stimulus value of the money spent, simply spending it on US transport and local US services rather than on bombs. But we can’t do that, of course, because we don’t really like Syrians enough to do it. We just like bombing bad guys, and we’ll always find money for that.

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Suzanne 08.01.16 at 6:40 pm

@ 254: I would say an obvious difference is that drones are unmanned. This allows their operators to take chances with them that would not be taken with piloted planes. There is also no political risk that someone’s pilot son or daughter will come home in a body bag. Where politicians and their militaries might hesitate to commit a piloted plane they will readily resort to a drone. And while I don’t want to put U.S. pilots at risk, the symbolism of a great power dealing death from above with robot planes is troubling.

In any case, this is one area where I don’t think it matters whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. Obama has been unapologetic about his use of drones and so will his successor be. (It’s not a Sanders v. Clinton issue, not that it matters any more; Bernie is down with drones.)

@ 245: An Obama who really aspired to emulate Reagan from the progressive side and administer a similar shock to the national system would have broken up the banks, but leaving that aside, the Administration could and should have done more to help underwater homeowners as they helped the financial industry. They wouldn’t take the political risk of being perceived as aiding the “undeserving.” A slower recovery and a lot of needless suffering resulted. (Congress shares some of the blame.)

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Val 08.01.16 at 6:40 pm

Rich, I think your further points about the tension between the concepts of whiteness and Jewishness are interesting and valid and I would be happy to look at whether by saying that most commenters here were “white guys”, I unintentionally elided Jewishness.

Unfortunately you are still using this as a diversion tactic from your earlier claims that people concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims are motivated by anti-Semitism. So why don’t you apologise for that, and then we could have the discussion about whether I elided Jewishness in my general description of you, Corey and others and others as “white guys”.

(Although it’s 4.30 in the morning here and I should go back to sleep, so perhaps a bit later)

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 6:52 pm

Layman #340: “given your silly response to Bruce’s thoughtful and complete answer to your question, I don’t see any point in giving it a try myself.”

That will be a relief to all of us.

After 1,228 words we have learned that Bruce would “not be offering more than general principles” due to an “embarrassment of expertise”, he’s not sure that anybody else “actually know[s] what they are doing” because they made errors in the “recent run of experience”, but it is an “extraordinarily complex situation”.

So to make it easy on you, Layman: You therefore think that ISIS cannot be stopped without making even more problems.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 6:58 pm

Oh and of course, it’s easier to give permanent aid to refugees, setting up gov’t & infrastructure systems on an indefinite basis to help them manage the rest of their lives in some place not their home, while all the while they want their home back. Or else invent them a home they can claim historical rights to, like Israel.

Is Bruce going along with this, too?

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Layman 08.01.16 at 7:28 pm

“That will be a relief to all of us.”

It’s not my impression that you speak for very many people, Lee. Shall I ask for a show of hands?

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RNB 08.01.16 at 7:42 pm

None of us has a good sense of how we are*generally* coming across to those who read these comments, including to the people who are reading but not commenting. Except for a few none of us even knows how well read the comments sections are. Have not and will not be reading carefully, but I see Lee asking reasonable questions that came out of the State Dept memo while also noting that almost no one here seems to read Arabic, or has read the best works on what is happening in Syria. I have been reading Gilbert Achcar. There is also Patrick Cockburn and Robert Fisk. It seems to me that Achcar is the more solid analyst, and Lee seems to me to be asking questions that do come of out Achcar’s analysis.

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Layman 08.01.16 at 7:46 pm

“Oh and of course, it’s easier to give permanent aid to refugees…”

Yes, it’s so easy we haven’t done it, preferring instead the more efficacious strategy of killing people from the sky, while refusing to deal with the refugee problem in any substantial way. This is apparently what Americans prefer.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 7:56 pm

Layman #348: “Shall I ask for a show of hands?”

By all means. But does this mean you do indeed think that ISIS cannot be stopped without making even more problems?

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Layman 08.01.16 at 8:03 pm

“But does this mean you do indeed think that ISIS cannot be stopped without making even more problems?”

Anything is possible, Lee. Ask me what I think is likely. There, that’s a much shorter version of BW’s response, maybe you can handle it.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 8:03 pm

Layman #350: “while refusing to deal with the refugee problem in any substantial way”

The UNHCR may not agree:
http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/news/press/2016/7/579127574/un-refugee-agency-grateful-for-latest-us-funding-contribution.html

And there is a long history of taking refugees into the US, though presently one Presidential candidate and his followers have “security concerns”.

But I’m still wondering how you think the whole “permanent” refugee thing would work better than honoring what the refugees themselves want to do, which 9 times out of 10 is returning home.

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 8:09 pm

Layman #352: “a much shorter version of BW’s response”

Bruce’s response was, “Stay out of it and offer humanitarian aid aimed primarily at the refugees…what Layman said. It seems to be to embody good sense and good will, given the circumstances.”

So, do you think that the women and girls who have been raped by ISIS, and the other people whose lives have been smashed, will agree that this “embodies [your] good sense and good will”? (Presuming, that is, that they weren’t murdered when they objected to the brutality.)

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Layman 08.01.16 at 8:10 pm

“The UNHCR may not agree:”

Yes, $5 billion to bomb them, $500 million to help the refugees. Priorities!

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Layman 08.01.16 at 8:14 pm

@ Lee A Arnold, you beastly toad, I’ll offer you the same response I gave to Howard Frant when he made the same inference:

“I think you’re making an extraordinary effort to be baffled. Me, I’m baffled by the fact that I’ve heard nothing from you about the people being killed in Kurdistan, in Northwest Pakistan, in Mexico, in Sinai, in Sudan, and in other places currently experiencing civil wars or violent strife. Despite that, I’m not ass enough to conclude that you’re sanguine about their deaths because the blood isn’t on your hands.”

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 8:42 pm

Layman #356: “the same response I gave to”

And it is as meaningless as the first time you gave it. My own opinion is that we should deal with all of those places. You want to do an economic cost-benefit analysis.

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Collin Street 08.01.16 at 8:54 pm

Oh and of course, it’s easier to give permanent aid to refugees, setting up gov’t & infrastructure systems on an indefinite basis to help them manage the rest of their lives in some place not their home, while all the while they want their home back.

It may well be! I mean, let’s take your words literally, rather than as encoding/acting as proxy for some other point.

For the government of X, building homes for people within X is a pretty straightforward task. You build houses, which is a well-understood task, and you provide a core framework around which a cultural identity and identification can be built — turning houses into homes — which is something that’s less straightforward than housebuilding but still within the capacity of most competent governments [so, not most US states, but otherwise more-or-less within the capacity of everywhere in the west and the more functional parts of the south]

“Letting people go home” is a much, much harder task; it requires fixing their original home so that the reason they left no longer exists. First of all, this will be outside the territory of X, which means it’s obviously going to be much harder for the government of X to do anything about it. Secondly… we can tell that these are pretty intractable problems involving lots

On a cost-benefit / greatest-advantage-for-the-greatest-number metric, it strikes me as pretty obvious that you’re going to get better results for people by focussing on housing and homing people locally rather than fixing “underlying problems”. [not exclusively, some external interventions are pretty cheap and have a good cost/benefit. But most of the money and effort would be spent domestically, I’d think.]

[and it’s not “indefinite”, it’s “as long as they want”, which pragmatically means “permanently, at least as far as planning is concerned”. Making the protection explicitly temporary costs more than it saves.]

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Layman 08.01.16 at 9:03 pm

Lee A Arnold: “You want to do an economic cost-benefit analysis.”

This is yet another lie. I don’t believe the US is capable of successfully intervening in a way which would redound to the benefit of the Syrian people; and I don’t believe it because I’ve seen the results of the other recent ‘humanitarian’ military interventions, which are horrific. You respond to that by refusing to meet the criticism – by, for example, citing an intervention we should emulate because of its good outcome – and instead attribute to me a series of things I haven’t said. I’m tempted to believe you’re 12 years old. Grow up!

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Lee A. Arnold 08.01.16 at 9:58 pm

The fight against ISIS has little to do with humanitarian intervention, horrible as they are. It is an attempt to destroy ISIS using a coalition of local forces who will be able to establish their own control of the areas, if and when the outside powers depart. We haven’t examined the various long-term military threats of a growing ISIS, which you have waved away as a phony “domino” effect. If you think there isn’t enough money for humanitarian aid now, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

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bruce wilder 08.01.16 at 10:10 pm

Lee A. Arnold @ 337: Bruce if you aren’t going to bother offering more than general principles, why bother writing what any of the rest of us could write?

I won’t be curing cancer on this thread either.

Because “staying out of it” is not remotely an option. It has spillovers into every adjacent country including the EU.

By “staying out of it” I meant refraining from bombing Assad’s regime and refraining from the pursuing the usual mirage of “training and equipping the democratic moderates” we found hiding under a rock or flooding Syria with munitions sold by the American arms industries.

I am OK with diplomatic engagement, careful monitoring and diplomacy with the many Parties (which may well be made more powerful not less as long as the U.S. maintains enough distance from any and all the neighboring Powers I named). And, given the scale of the humanitarian disaster, I do think it would be diplomatically useful as well humanely constructive to pour money into humanitarian relief, within and outside Syria. If things can be calmed down, the U.S. might help to finance some UN peacekeepers to police whatever settlement can be reached among parties willing to settle.

Layman: I’ve seen the results of the other recent ‘humanitarian’ military interventions, which are horrific. You respond to that by refusing to meet the criticism

I agree with Layman that Lee A Arnold does not seem to me to be meeting this criticism, and it is, imo, a critical piece of the argument. Experience explains why I am reluctant to defer to a military that wants, for the umpteenth time since Vietnam, to “equip and train and advise” alleged “democratic moderates” found under a rock and spends millions on 50 troops who are defeated within days, a military that brags about its precision and rules of engagement and blows up a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital.

If the situation is anything as complex as what I outlined in my earlier comment, and it is not clear that any use of military force has predictable consequences beyond immediate further destruction and loss of life, I do not understand the eagerness to go down that path, let alone to lead others down that path.

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Howard Frant 08.01.16 at 10:13 pm

“I confess i didn’t know she was Jewish”

Had to chuckle at this one. Not that I don’t believe it, but I can’t imagine a Jew saying that he didn’t know that someone from Miami named Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was Jewish. Doubtless she kept the Wasserman so her constituents would know.

I have extremely sensitive antennae for antisemitism, and I didn’t see any in criticism of Bernie. I read that DNC memo as saying, “Can we get Bernie on atheism? He kind of skated by the question of his religious beliefs by saying he was proud of his ‘Jewish heritage.'” It’s a pretty abhorrent idea, but antisemitic? No.

As for the Bernie Bros, I never thought of them as particularly Jewish. Not everyone who is pushy and obnoxious is Jewish. Shouting down people you disagree with seems more characteristic of the Tea Party, a notably goyish group.

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bruce wilder 08.01.16 at 10:18 pm

Lee A. Arnold @ 360

The U.S. contributed mightily to creating ISIS with its earlier botched invasion and occupation of Iraq. That history alone ought to make the U.S. consider humbly the risks and unintended consequences of massive military interventions, before doubling down.

Clinton should call in Kissinger for advice on how to really screw things up; ISIS has nothing so far on the Khmer Rouge.

365

bruce wilder 08.01.16 at 10:29 pm

If . . . it is not clear that any use of military force has predictable consequences beyond immediate further destruction and loss of life, I do not understand the eagerness to go down that path, let alone to lead others down that path.

Quoting myself above, let me just point out that there are plenty of participants in Syria’s civil war, who are already blowing things up and shooting people. There’s no shortfall I can see, that only the U.S. can make up.

I get that there may be a lot of political pressure, given their association with televised atrocities, to “bomb ISIS” and if the U.S. President feels he has to do that to appease whatever audience or constituency, I suppose I understand even if I do not entirely approve of blowing up sand in the desert without a strategic intent. It is the Manichean storytelling, not an objective evil, that gets us trapped into “doing something” insanely violent and destructive without any real plan for peace. We need to rethink that.

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bruce wilder 08.01.16 at 10:35 pm

fyi: hating Debbie Wasserman Schultz is reasonable

367

Faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 10:41 pm

Howard why do you chuckle at that? Is everyone supposed to be able to recognize people’s heritage by their surnames now? I had never even heard of DWS until a few weeks ago and – this may shock you – I don’t make any effort to guess what people’s heritage is from their surnames. I come from a country (Australia) where Jewish people aren’t very common, they often come from South Africa, people’s religious heritage is almost entirely irrelevant and surnames from any part of the world are common. If I read the surname “Kim” I don’t assume they’re from a Korean background – it doesn’t even occur to me to think about their background. Further,ore in Australia people’s religion is irrelevant to most normal parts of life, it had never even occurred to me that sanders was Jewish until rich started this conversation. I don’t even know which members of the Australian Labour Party are religious let alone whether they’re fundamentalist (ages are) and I don’t know which ones are Muslim or Jewish, or even aboriginal (which matters way more in Australia). I once kick boxed with a dude with what I think is a Jewish surname but the only aspect of his heritage I ever wondered about was whether he might be aboriginal (since he looked aboriginal). Maybe you guys are being parochial because seriously most of the world beer gets an education in “how to identify if someone is Jewish” why the fuck would we?

And what is this thing about “pushy leftist = Jewish”? Seriously? There is no trope for an annoying leftist who won’t back down that isn’t equivalent to saying that person must be Jewish? You guys need to get out more.

(Written on an iPad that doesn’t allow corrections in the box, ages=a few, beer=never)

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Howard Frant 08.01.16 at 10:42 pm

bruce wilder @361

By “staying out of it” I meant refraining from bombing Assad’s regime

A number of people on this thread seem to be assuming that we are bombing to help drive out Assad and are bombing his forces. AFAIK that isn’t true; it’s all aimed at ISIS. (The same cannot be said for the Russians; they sometimes seem to take break from bombing ISIS to bomb other opponents of the Assad regime.) So it’s great to say we should be building more schools and hospitals, but that has little to with ISIS.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 10:46 pm

Val: “Unfortunately you are still using this as a diversion tactic from your earlier claims that people concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims are motivated by anti-Semitism. So why don’t you apologise for that […]”

Nope — there is no reason to apologize for something I never wrote. Here’s what I wrote:

“First, actual extermination is put on the same level as theoretical, possible extermination if somehow the President became a dictator rather than having any political limits. That’s what Trump = Hitler is about, and it’s why people can write that they are terrified of exterminationist violence against them as a cudgel against people who have actually had substantial parts of their family tree wiped out by extermimationist violence. The whole “atheist Jew”, “those pushy BernieBros” subtext is rapidly becoming anti-Semitic text.”

You should by now understand what the “atheist Jew” reference is about. Maybe you understand why Trump=Hitler plus “you’re not scared enough” is kind of problematic, maybe not. People still haven’t figured out “those pushy BernieBros”, but eh. I didn’t really expect people here to be able to figure out anything. None of that has to do with concern about Trump being motivated by anti-Semitism. It *does* have to do with the continuing hostility to Sanders and the reaction to his supporters, long after that hostility has any political valence.

Here’s another comment by RNB. Quoted in full:

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.

Note: Corey Robin is not a “minority” according to RNB. He’s just white.

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.

Poor RNB. He thinks that people who make accusations of bigotry are just terrible.

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Howard Frant 08.01.16 at 11:02 pm

Faustusnotes@366

God, chill, will ya? I chuckled because it struck me as almost outlandish. It’s my narrow-mindedness, not yours, that I was chuckling at. You know how gays are supposed to have “gaydar”? It’s like that. And I suppose for similar reasons.

The point of my comment was that I didn’t see anything particularly antisemitic in the treatment of Bernie, a subject of some discussion on this thread. So really, I’m not sure why you’re blaming me.

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Howard Frant 08.01.16 at 11:02 pm

Faustusnotes@366

God, chill, will ya? I chuckled because it struck me as almost outlandish. It’s my narrow-mindedness, not yours, that I was chuckling at. You know how gays are supposed to have “gaydar”? It’s like that. And I suppose for similar reasons.

The point of my comment was that I didn’t see anything particularly antisemitic in the treatment of Bernie, a subject of some discussion on this thread. So really, I’m not sure why you’re blaming me.

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b9n10nt 08.01.16 at 11:11 pm

“So really, I’m not sure why your blaming me”

Have you read this thread? Imagine a super villain developed a ray-gun that vaporized all Charitable Reading and Good Manners.

Also, everyone is stupid and willfully ignorant. Did I mention malicious? Everyone’s malicious, too.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 11:11 pm

Faustusnotes: “it had never even occurred to me that sanders was Jewish until rich started this conversation.”

What a wonderfully informed commenter on American politics.

Anyways, we have this in America too, where some people are proud to not know what anyone’s background is because that stuff doesn’t matter and no one has to care. In the U.S. it’s usually called”white privilege”.

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Faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 11:24 pm

No rich, that’s not the same stuff. In Australia I think it really actually doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish. I don’t think I’m clueless about forms of discrimination that matter in Australia (e.g being aboriginal, the newest wave of migrants etc) but anti Semitism isn’t a big issue in Australia and doesn’t exercise any side of politics very much. For example when the media get into a round of banker bashing you don’t usually find anyone pointing out it has an anti-Semitic angle and most Aussies would be surprised, I think, to discover that it has that subtext. I’m happy to be disabused of this notion (by an Australian; perhaps Bianca can chime in) but this knowledge of surnames to which people allude, or this ability to tell sanders is Jewish without him telling me? It’s not something I’m familiar with.

For what it’s worth, even not knowing that Corey robin was Jewish, I found RNB’s comments on the lack of minorities in the OP or robins ignorance of racism outside of anti black racism to be in poor taste. But then, so is your implication that only anti Semites care about Muslim deaths.

Howard sorry, there are no chill pills that work against this thread.

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Faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 11:25 pm

Also I’m not “proud” to not know people’s backgrounds; I’m pointing out my ignorance. Sheesh.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 11:27 pm

“And what is this thing about “pushy leftist = Jewish”?”

Jill Stein is Jewish, too. Although she’s an agnostic, could quite reasonably say that Southern Baptists would draw a big difference between a Jew and an agnostic, “it’s these Jesus thing”, “AMEN”.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.01.16 at 11:32 pm

Faustusnotes: “But then, so is your implication that only anti Semites care about Muslim deaths.”

Ooh, you’re really horrified about something that you made up (actually, that Val made up with her usual misreading and accusation skills). Actually I think that you’ve put a new power of invention into it that’s purely your own.

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bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 12:06 am

Howard Frant @ 367

Attacks on Assad’s forces by the U.S. have been proposed, to various ends. Secretary Clinton back in the day seemed to want to move to Chapter 7 sanctions at the UN, to force a transition on the Assad regime that would depose Assad and bring elements of the opposition into power. There was a brief campaign, you may recall, surrounding allegations that Assad had used chemical weapons to kill civilians, which it was argued “crossed a line” that should compel the U.S. to attack Assad. The Russians got Assad out of that pickle with some diplomatic finesse. There was also a dissent memo subscribed by State Dept staff and leaked that argued for action against Assad’s regime to weaken him and force him to negotiate.

The Russians are explicitly there as allies of the Assad regime. They have a rationale for their military actions that I could not explain, but it is not exclusively aimed at operations against ISIL, in contrast to my understanding of current NATO operations. Turkey has been known, I believe, to hit Kurdish forces and Turkey shot down a Russian plane at one point. The Kurds are leading an autonomous region they’ve dubbed Rojava.

Complaints made into the news less than two weeks ago that U.S. airstrikes in Manbij in support of the Syrian Democratic Front (whatever that may be) were killing a lot of civilians mistaken for ISIL forces.

379

bianca steele 08.02.16 at 12:07 am

fn,

I’m not Australian; do you mean Val? I live in Massachusetts. I’m practically Rich’s neighbor, I think, less than 100 miles away. I tried to come up with a joke to explain how Aussies just don’t understand how staid and emotionless Yankees are, or the reverse, or something, but gave up.

380

Raven Onthill 08.02.16 at 12:07 am

Lupita, how exactly do you expect Mexico to absorb 7 million refugees? They would end up in camps. Many would die. Many brown-skinned US citizens would be swept up in the wave of deportations and the force which executed those orders would go on to become a brutal internal security agency, putting all US citizens at risk. Likely more and more brutal international wars would follow.

This, about everyone in this discussion willing to use lives as pieces on a Go board: every now and again I learn something new about political thinking. What I learned in this discussion is that some leftist radicals are every bit as willing to sacrifice innocents as any conservative advocate of realpolitik. I had thought that question settled by the horrors of the 20th century, but it seems the lesson is not yet learned; without compassion we are no better than our opponents.

The reality of this election is that if there is a path forward for the left it is through a Clinton victory. There is no reason to believe that a Trump victory is unlikely, or that it would be anything but a global and national disaster, and actions taken that increase the odds if a Trump victory are akin to those if one of those high-flown suicides who want to take others along with them and survivors of such attempts almost invariably regret them the minute the moment of decision is past. (Which also explains many of Trump voters who wish to “shake things up.”)

No. I reject this.

381

Faustusnotes 08.02.16 at 12:12 am

So because stein is leftist and Jewish, that proves it?

What about the puma thing in 2008? Why didn’t anyone say that was about anti Semitism?

382

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 12:15 am

BW: “The Kurds are leading an autonomous region they’ve dubbed Rojava.”

Weirdly enough, Rojava is officially an anarchist society organized along lines influenced by Murray Bookchin, a libertarian socialist from New England U.S. I’d discuss this more among a group of people who I trusted.

383

William Berry 08.02.16 at 12:40 am

What, you guys aren’t all dead yet?!

If you’re going to to do the leftist circular firing squad bit, I guess electronic bullets are better than the real kind. Only feelings are hurt.

Lots of hurt feelings in this thread. If I hadn’t left my violin back home in Missouri when I left for Peru to visit the in-laws, I’d play you all a sad song.

Boo-hoo! What a bunch of fucking cry-babies.

Also, too, what Raven Onthill @379 said: +1,000.

384

kidneystones 08.02.16 at 12:47 am

@ 377 This Atlantic article on Putin, Assad, Syria, and the Ukraine is readable and well-sourced.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/10/navy-base-syria-crimea-putin/408694/

385

faustusnotes 08.02.16 at 1:08 am

William what do your Peruvian in-laws think of Trump? (We can of course assume they’re paying attention because USA!USA!USA!)

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William Berry 08.02.16 at 1:16 am

@faustusnotes:

Anywhere I’ve been in Latin America (CR, Nica, Panama, Col., Peru) he is viewed as a malicious idiot. The anti-immigration thing is what makes him scary enough that he isn’t thought of as just a clown.

My in-laws don’t pay a great deal of attention to politics outside of Lima, but it’s impossible to miss the Donald. They know and detest him for what he is.

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Howard Frant 08.02.16 at 1:47 am

bruce wilder @377

Well, the use of chemical weapons against civilians, or anyone else, does cross a line. For one thing, it’s a war crime. The line was especially clear-cut because Obama had announced in advance that it was a line that Assad shouldn’t cross.

Being a bloodthirsty monster like Clinton, I think we should’ve bombed. Two reasons: (1) It helps preserve a principle worth preserving, that you shouldn’t use chemical weapons. (2) Inflicting serious damage on the Syrian Air Force would probably have saved tens of thousands of civilian lives. Notice I’ve said nothing about regime change.

Recall, too, the historical context. There were massive non-violent protests against the Assad regime. Those were brutally suppressed. A civil war broke out. It was clear that the Assad regime was teetering. In that context Obama said it was time for him to go. Certainly no one expected him to last this long.

Russia’s motives seem pretty transparent to me. They are trying to prop up an ally.

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faustusnotes 08.02.16 at 3:02 am

What William reports in 385 is pretty amazing. Most countries are hideously embarrassed if a fringe politician says the kind of things Trump says, and is viewed by their neighbours the way Trump is viewed. I remember in 1996 when Pauline Hanson rose from the swamp in Australia, people were shocked and really embarrassed by what our Asian neighbours thought. We were really embarrassed when Japan made a manga explaining her, even though everyone understood Japan’s views on foreigners weren’t exactly models of correctness. To have a candidate for one of your major parties being seen this way is a truly terrifying thought.

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bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 3:03 am

Some people seem to think Assad may have been set up.

One of the problems with becoming policeman to the world is to find judge and jury to try the evidence.

If the world thinks the mighty engine of American military vengeance will show up more or less automatically whenever a terrorist or new Hitler shows up, WMD in hand — or not in hand, maybe six months or 3 years or ten years in the future — whenever someone presents the bloody shirt of some atrocity, some violation of the rights of women, say, or illustrations of mobile weapons vans imagined by clever artists, then the foreign policy of the U.S. has been ceded to the control of grifters and opportunists.

The people in charge of American foreign policy pose as serious, but they aren’t. And, the result is the absence of deliberate and reflective control for public purposes. That people like Rumsfeld or Madeleine Albright are careless of lives is a tell. The problem is not just that they are morally obdurate about lives; they don’t know how long you have to put off the lies, to be smart.

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LFC 08.02.16 at 3:08 am

Rich P. @368
Note: Corey Robin is not a “minority” according to RNB. He’s just white.

I think it’s very reasonable to say — although I’m sure Rich P. will disagree — that most American Jews (or Jewish Americans, if you prefer that terminology) are considered “just white” in U.S. society today, as are, for instance, most Irish Americans, Polish Americans, Norwegian Americans, German Americans, and so on. It’s one measure of the degree to which American Jews, like some of these other groups, have been a success story of assimilation into the mainstream of U.S. society. That’s not to deny, of course, that there has been significant anti-semitism in the U.S. (vestiges of which still exist), though it took on the whole a different and less virulent form here than in Europe.

p.s. Can’t claim to have read every word of this thread, but this whole anti-semitism meme/discussion strikes me as an enormous red herring. I’ve read RNB’s comments across a number of threads, and while I haven’t always agreed with everything he’s said and haven’t always agreed w his somewhat combative approach to commenting, nothing that he’s written that I’ve read would I consider to be even remotely anti-semitic.

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LFC 08.02.16 at 3:12 am

In fact, iirc, someone has written a book on the status of Jews as ‘white’ in the U.S. , but I’m too tired to look it up just now.

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William Berry 08.02.16 at 3:22 am

B.W.: “The people in charge of American foreign policy pose as serious, but they aren’t.”

What?! Don’t they write articles in FP? Now that’s some real serious shit right there. ;)

Further to LFC: Yes. If Ethiopian or North African Jews experienced discrimination in the U.S. (and I am sure they do) I would bet it would have more to do with their skin color and “funny” way of talking than anything else.

As to RP, I knew he was Jewish because he has said so before, on more than one occasion, but when I saw a pic of him reading one of his poems in a coffee shop or something, he just looked like a chubby white boy to me! (rim-shot)

OK, a couple of extra glasses of cab after an excellent dinner here in Lima. Probably time to think about going to bed!

393

Lupita 08.02.16 at 4:03 am

Lupita, how exactly do you expect Mexico to absorb 7 million refugees?

Mexicans in Mexico are not refugees, they are citizens, most with families, friends, a community, command of the language and traditions, and homes. They most certainly would not be placed in camps because nobody can tell them apart from the rest of the population.

As to how Mexico can absorb a sudden influx of 7 million workers and, given the political situation in the US, it should surprise nobody that this topic is of great relevance in Mexico at the moment. It would be by adopting a development program different from the one responsible for expelling the same 7 million workers from the country, namely, NAFTA with its erosion of wages and labor and social rights. Currently, there are one million children who have returned with little command of Spanish plus behavioral problems. Much can be done to ease their transition into society and school, including bilingual education. Mexico is also expecting an influx of many elderly workers, sick, and with no pension. We definitely need a system that privileges social justice, weans the economy from its dependence on remittances, something far to the left from what it is now, and not the current corrupt, narco-state. We also need for the US to not bomb us, please. And for RNB to stop calling us poor, little, trembling, brown people.

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William Berry 08.02.16 at 4:46 am

“We also need for the U.S. to not bomb us please.”

Oh, FFS. Stop with the melodrama already.

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Lupita 08.02.16 at 4:51 am

We could also make a deal with Trump if he wins. Return our 7 million workers in exchange for all our Harvard-educated economists and government officials. It’s a good deal since they’re millionaires and would make an excellent addition to Goldman Sachs’ speakers list.

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Lupita 08.02.16 at 4:55 am

Oh, FFS. Stop with the melodrama already.

I added that bit in case Kissinger is reading this thread.

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RNB 08.02.16 at 5:13 am

@389 Thank you LFC. I was charged with teaching an intro to social theory course and broke a bit with the canon to teach Enzo Traverso’s Origins of Nazi Violence. I would not who I am as a person if I ever found myself anti-Semitic.

398

phenomenal cat 08.02.16 at 5:20 am

“Lupita, how exactly do you expect Mexico to absorb 7 million refugees? They would end up in camps. Many would die.” Raven Onthill @379

What are you talking about? Do you actually know, even faintly, what you are talking about? Taking your prophetic certainty of our dystopian future as given, have you actually read any literature on Mexican (or Latin American) migration and return? Are you aware of the social and economic complexities, not to mention the deeply personal ambivalence, that pervade the life of Mexicans who leave and return (or not) to Mexico? Do you know any migrants? Have you talked to them? Do you really know why they are here? How many do you think would be here, if they had a viable choice to remain home?

So, in the end, you don’t support economic migrants and their offspring being forcibly removed from the U.S.? Bravo, you can pick up your merit badge on the way out. But then you follow it up with…

“This, about everyone in this discussion willing to use lives as pieces on a Go board: every now and again I learn something new about political thinking. What I learned in this discussion is that some leftist radicals are every bit as willing to sacrifice innocents as any conservative advocate of realpolitik.”

…which indicates that you haven’t learned much at all, not from this thread anyway. Now, to be fair there’s not much to be learned from this thread, except that intelligent people can be very stupid which is a lesson that doesn’t bear repeating.

“And there were those here who thought that Lupita was not a concern troll? Let the record show that I always knew it.” the inimitable RNB @178– and pretty much everything before and after

RNB: you probably don’t have to be, but you are overweeningly self-satisfied and small-minded–like a caricature from a Roald Dahl book come to life.

399

RNB 08.02.16 at 5:24 am

I’ll live without your admiration, whoever you are, as long as you give me my well-deserved merit badge.

400

Val 08.02.16 at 5:42 am

I would have persisted with my campaign to get Rich Puchalsky to take responsibility for his suggestion that people who are concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims are motivated by anti-Semitism, but I have other things to do.

401

Raven Onthill 08.02.16 at 6:02 am

Lupita, no. Yes, it is true that these people are citizens, but seven million returning in the space of a year? That would tax the abilities of a well-run government and the Mexican government is — you know — a corrupt muddle. There would be a scramble for already scarce employment and enormous resentment from Mexicans who had not left. The last time this was done, 1954, Operation Wetback, with the cooperation of the Mexican government, no-one knows what happened to most of the deportees. The Mexican government transported them…somewhere…where it would be hard for them to return. There seem to be no records of where; at least I cannot quickly find accounts on line. Is it known in Mexico?

“It would be by adopting a development program different from the one responsible for expelling the same 7 million workers from the country, namely, NAFTA with its erosion of wages and labor and social rights….We definitely need a system that privileges social justice, weans the economy from its dependence on remittances, something far to the left from what it is now, and not the current corrupt, narco-state.”

But how is this to be accomplished, especially with US drug warriors and right-wingers running amok and pressuring Mexico? More likely, I think it would be a humanitarian catastrophe that would dwarf the failure of Wetback. Consider also that Trump’s Latin American policy is likely to be brutal and capricious. It is not only in the USA that there is reason to fear a Trump Presidency.

402

Howard Frant 08.02.16 at 7:19 am

Vey iz mir! Enough already with the antisemitism discussion! You could plotz!

403

Howard Frant 08.02.16 at 7:19 am

Vey iz mir! Enough already with the antisemitism discussion! You could plotz!

404

Howard Frant 08.02.16 at 7:21 am

Sorry–I don’t know why my posts are doubling. I’m only hitting the button once.

405

Val 08.02.16 at 7:56 am

@401
If that was directed at me, Howard, I think you are missing the point. Think of CT as a seminar and me as someone who is trying to get Rich Puchalsky to abide by the rules of civil, honest, reflective discussion.

It would improve the tone a lot!

406

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 10:51 am

Val: “I would have persisted with my campaign to get Rich Puchalsky to take responsibility for his suggestion that people who are concerned about Trump’s attitude to Muslims are motivated by anti-Semitism, but I have other things to do.”

Aw, Val still wants to do her smear campaign. If you read the original comment, it was obviously about why some people still can’t let it go about Sanders and Bernie Bros, even when letting it go is the right thing to do to oppose Trump. But by restating it Val figured that she could get the usual suckers here to chip in. That’s what she does.

The “are Jews white” thing might be interesting with a group of people who knew anything about it, but for now I’ll just note that people routinely talk about anti-Muslim “racism”. Mostly the “Jews are white” thing seems to come down to “But you can ‘pass’, so you don’t have to care about the racists” which is insulting in its own special way. RNB is doing this on the newest thread where he talks about religious discrimination in America and then says white people don’t understand, in response to Corey Robin.

But yeah, I’m being “uncivil” by pointing this out. Weirdly enough and contra merian’s comment, people don’t like having this stuff pointed out, not unless they’re the one accusing someone else.

407

bob mcmanus 08.02.16 at 11:00 am

381: Murray Bookchin New Life

Jacobin, 7/11/16

Course following Jacobin, I read it when it posted, and knew a little about MB from the 1 or 2 anarchist books I’ve read. Curious bout his fights with Sanders, and how crazy was Burlington?

408

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 11:18 am

About fights with Sanders, do you mean this? I’m not sure whether there were plural fights, although I know nothing about the Burlington scene.

I could go on about MB, but a) no one here really cares, b) I don’t know enough about him to really say anything that useful. I’m amused by anarchists’ conflicted relationship to his work: you’ll generally only read about him in anarchist books, but he disavowed anarchy. The story about how he became principle theorist of Rojava is a completely strange one that will gladden the heart of prison librarians around the world, but I really don’t know how to place it as a fact rather than a story.

409

Lee A. Arnold 08.02.16 at 11:25 am

Bruce Wilder #361: “I won’t be curing cancer on this thread either.”

Yet you don’t go on, for thousands of words, telling us we don’t know that cancer is bad!

You and Layman are doing the equivalent of telling us that cancer is bad. Again and again and again.

We know this already! But, you imply, we must NOT know this already, because the past attempts to cure it have failed! So instead, you tell us, we ought to stay away, and try to work diplomatically, and try to provide aid to ease the pain.

Which neither of you understands has ALREADY become the major tactic in the Middle East and in most other areas of violent strife.

Well, you reply, this must NOT be the major tactic, because there are still military tactics being used! You: “I do not understand the eagerness to go down that path, let alone to lead others down that path.”

Yet there are very, very few people, even in the military, who are “eager” to go down the military path.

To which you tend to reply something like, “Well, that cannot be true, because of the examples of Vietnam, Iraq, etc. People never learn the lesson. US created ISIS, therefore ought to be humble and maybe sit it out. Because, evil.”

Except it’s pretty evident, in the post-Iraq Western foreign policy, including Obama’s, that people are well aware of the lessons, well aware of the complexity of the situation.

You and Laymen appear to be unaware of the foreign policy and military analysis of this area, at least insofar as it can be pieced together by we observers on the internet. You might at least research this yourself, before holding forth on what almost all of us, indeed most of the human race, already knows and feels about the disasters of war. And insisting that we must NOT know it, must not feel it, because of examples A, B, and C, does you no credit at all. I am afraid that at this point we might learn more on this thread if you attempted to cure cancer, instead.

410

Layman 08.02.16 at 11:44 am

“hating Debbie Wasserman Schultz is reasonable”

Hell, it’s almost a moral imperative.

411

Layman 08.02.16 at 11:57 am

Lee A Arnold: “You and Laymen appear to be unaware of the foreign policy and military analysis of this area, at least insofar as it can be pieced together by we observers on the internet.”

Again with the ‘we’ stuff. It’s a pretty interesting rhetorical tic. You’re asserting a better understanding of the situation, but instead of demonstrating that understanding, you just claim to be part of a crowd with a better understanding. I haven’t seen anything you’ve written on this subject that could be called insightful – in fact, you’ve said yourself that you’re not offering any prescription, just asking others to offer theirs. That, and offering gems like this:

“Which neither of you understands has ALREADY become the major tactic in the Middle East and in most other areas of violent strife.”

Yes, I’m sure that the Afganis and the Iraquis and the Libyans and the Yemenis and the Syrians would all say of the US that what we do is ‘stay away, and try to work diplomatically, and try to provide aid to ease the pain’.

412

Val 08.02.16 at 12:01 pm

@ 405 I was not talking about the Bernie Sanders issue as you can clearly see from my first comments about this. The comments you made were in a context where someone else (who has wisely chosen not to get involved in this) had expressed dismay about proposals that Muslims on the terror watch list have to wear wrist bands and be continuously monitored. Your original comment clearly referenced that, and no matter how selectively you choose to quote it now, the evidence is there. The other stuff you referred to about berniebros etc etc, I’m not concerned with and I haven’t discussed. But to suggest that Muslims who are concerned about the proposals of Trump and his ilk are motivated by anti-semitism, was going too far even for you. You can obscure the issue as much as you like, and you can call me names and accuse me of whatever, it doesn’t change what you did. Finished.

413

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 12:31 pm

I’d say more about that, but the person involved has asked me not to. You could bother to read the original comment again, but I know you won’t. I have to say that I admire your persistence: most people wouldn’t develop a whole pseudo historical academic theory just to justify their self-righteousness.

414

J-D 08.02.16 at 12:47 pm

Faustusnotes 08.01.16 at 11:24 pm
No rich, that’s not the same stuff. In Australia I think it really actually doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish. I don’t think I’m clueless about forms of discrimination that matter in Australia (e.g being aboriginal, the newest wave of migrants etc) but anti Semitism isn’t a big issue in Australia and doesn’t exercise any side of politics very much. For example when the media get into a round of banker bashing you don’t usually find anyone pointing out it has an anti-Semitic angle and most Aussies would be surprised, I think, to discover that it has that subtext. I’m happy to be disabused of this notion (by an Australian; perhaps Bianca can chime in) but this knowledge of surnames to which people allude, or this ability to tell sanders is Jewish without him telling me? It’s not something I’m familiar with.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry complies annual reports on anti-Semitism in Australia, accessible on their website. I haven’t studied these reports and so can provide no evaluation of their merits, but they do include descriptive reports of specific anti-Semitic incidents. If you want to know more about the subject, these reports seem an obvious starting point for further research:
http://www.ecaj.org.au/annual-reports/

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Lee A. Arnold 08.02.16 at 1:20 pm

Layman #410: “in fact, you’ve said yourself that you’re not offering any prescription, just asking others to offer theirs”

Ah, after all your high moral tone, you finally ASK somebody ELSE what they think.

I think the current Western strategy is about as good as it can be, right now. The best of a bunch of bad options. I don’t expect Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to change it. Nor would Bernie.

Whether you 1. KNOW what “the Afghanis and the Iraquis and the Libyans and the Yemenis and the Syrians would all say,” — notice that little word “all”, it may not cover Iraqi Yazidis at the hands of ISIS, to take only one of dozens of examples — and in a very different question, 2. WHY what they say, would have any bearing on a proper description of Western policy and tactics in this area, remains to be demonstrated.

416

Layman 08.02.16 at 1:51 pm

Lee A Arnold: “…after all your high moral tone…”

This is damned funny, coming from the man who wrote these gems:

“Then give what up? Assad is a killer.”

“Why will a dictator’s slaughter necessarily have a better outcome, than when an outside country intervenes?”

“And you think that this cannot be answered? Is this because you think you get to keep your own nose clean, Bruce?”

“So, do you think that the women and girls who have been raped by ISIS, and the other people whose lives have been smashed, will agree that this “embodies [your] good sense and good will”?”

“You want to do an economic cost-benefit analysis.”

And then you write:

“I think the current Western strategy is about as good as it can be, right now.”

Cancer is bad! Let’s attack it with platitudes and generalities!

417

Lee A. Arnold 08.02.16 at 2:14 pm

good luck with this!

418

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 2:40 pm

Why, it seems that Layman is accusing Lee of being a bad interlocutor. How could you, Layman? Just because Lee writes answer like 337 to BW’s 336 serious attempt to answer his question doesn’t mean that he’s a bad interlocutor! You’re arrogant, posing (whatever that means) etc.

419

Lupita 08.02.16 at 2:48 pm

@ Raven Onthill

seven million returning in the space of a year? That would tax the abilities of a well-run government and the Mexican government is — you know — a corrupt muddle.

Americans have the options of expelling, not expelling, or expelling some, so the debate seems to be between Mexicans being rapist, drug-dealers or trembling brown people, depending on your position. In Mexico, however, we are not deciding whether these workers will return or not and at what rate, just more or less preparing for the event. All I can say from the perspective of a socialist, is that NAFTA and the neoliberal system it sustains, is crumbling and our best option is to elect more or less honest socialists to government. I am not arguing that receiving 7 million workers would not be chaos or that the current government is not corrupt. Still, it would not be like receiving foreign refugees from a war-torn country.

The Mexican government transported them…somewhere…where it would be hard for them to return. There seem to be no records of where; at least I cannot quickly find accounts on line. Is it known in Mexico?

I can only speak of the people I have met who participating in this program. They are normal people with normal families and normal jobs. They did not speak of trauma, just that they were promised SS payments when they reached old age and had not received them. Some told me of returning to the US to argue their case, to no avail. They thought the US government had lured them with false promises into working in the US. They spoke of their time in the US as a job they had had when they were young and adventurous.

420

Ronan(rf) 08.02.16 at 3:12 pm

I didn’t think Rich Puchalsky’s point was overly difficult to comprehend; that saying to someone from a Jewish background that they are deaf to eliminationist rhetoric because they are white is*…. at least ahistorical solipsism. As a general matter, someone coming from a cultural/ethnic group that was subject to attempted extermination, and a familial background where members of their family were murdered, is probably going to be sensitive to such rhetoric. But we’re not even talking at a general level here, RNB’s ‘critique’ was aimed at a specific person, ie Corey, who has written extensively about the history and collective memory of the Holocaust, its contemporary rhetorical political uses etc. Worse than being offensive, RNB’s argument is idiotic.

* this is not saying anything about whether the Jews were once ‘not white’. They were obviously racialised, as were many groups, but the unfortunate tendency to look at everything through the lens of ‘whiteness studies’ and contemporary identity politics leads to the sort of analytical clarity displayed by the average RNB comment.

421

js. 08.02.16 at 3:24 pm

422

Rich Puchalsky 08.02.16 at 3:46 pm

Ronan(rf): “at least ahistorical solipsism.”

I’m sorry, Ronan(rf), but your comment shows an ability to read and is not quite suitable for this forum.

Ronan(rf) is being charitable. A Jew usually calls it something else when someone aggressively race-baits them. When someone starts going on about how someone is threatening extermination and Jews don’t understand because they’re white, is it really unconnected to them being Jewish?

423

bianca steele 08.02.16 at 4:29 pm

js.

I think the moral to draw is actually “what worries people doesn’t matter (to whoever) unless it affects the next election.”

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to prioritize anti-Muslim prejudice over antisemitic prejudice right now. Drawing Jewish voters to the right because they are uncomfortable with Islam for geopolitical reasons, or because they want to align themselves with Christianity against what they see as its opponent, or for whatever other reason, is an issue.

But so is old guys like my dad (who preferred teaching working class AA kids to the middle class white kids in our neighborhood, except for the commute) saying “I grew up working class and discriminated against by the ethnic gangs in my old neighborhood, and it’s insulting to think I don’t have advice to give to people of color today.”

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js. 08.02.16 at 11:03 pm

bianca steele @422 — I admit that some of my comments in this thread have been a little cryptic, but I wasn’t really speaking to whether we should prioritize Islamophobia over antisemitism (more below, maybe). The thing that Rich Puchalsky is talking about I have no desire or intention to engage with. (Actually, that’s a standing sentence.)

I’m mostly trying, e.g. in my last comment, to provide evidence against the view — often defended here and elsewhere — that support for Trump is an expression or result of economic anxiety, worsening prospects for middle (or other) classes, etc. It seems to me that this is very far for clear. (N.B. This isn’t to dispute the fact of economic anxiety, worsening prospects, at least in certain regards, etc. The question is simply what bearing this has on support for Trump.) I think there’s a complicated story to be told about changes in the social order and support for Trump but I don’t think “economic anxiety + (what some people call) neoliberalism” really gets at it. A lot of my cryptic comments are getting at that, basically.

But leaving all that aside. I often mention Trump’s Islamophobic proposals because they affect me somewhat directly. But if anything, his “plan” to deport of millions of people (presumably Latinx) is if anything more horrifying. And then the antisemitism of a lot of his fervent supporters is alarming and should absolutely be paid attention to. That’s not quite what you were talking about, I realize. But just by way of saying that these things come as a package and should be recognized as such, I think.

(I’m really, really hoping that the center of commenting gravity has moved to the newer Corey post and this will be safely ignored, at least by some.)

425

js. 08.02.16 at 11:07 pm

Oh, also. This is a good series of tweets, if you scroll up. And relevant to the OP.

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bianca steele 08.03.16 at 12:27 am

I’m mostly trying, e.g. in my last comment, to provide evidence against the view — often defended here and elsewhere — that support for Trump is an expression or result of economic anxiety, worsening prospects for middle (or other) classes, etc.

Yeah, I shouldn’t have made those paragraphs all one comment, sorry. My point was only that the assumption seems to be that people of color will all vote for the Democrat, so the question what makes a white person vote for a Democrat becomes an issue. There’s probably also trying to get some more mileage for the questions that drove the Sanders campaign, which is easier if they’re going to affect the election (I would agree if you argued the economic anxiety as an explanation for right-wing behavior has been driven into the wall by now). Corey obviously sees the two major candidates as a lot closer than I do, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he thinks they’re close on race relations too, or at least that no ankle monitors could ever possibly be approved (if only, as he says, because Clinton’s bound to win), and so it isn’t a real worry (but I shouldn’t put words in his mouth, I’m guessing here).

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js. 08.03.16 at 1:27 am

Corey obviously sees the two major candidates as a lot closer than I do

This coupled with the view that Sanders was much further apart from either is something I continue to utterly fail to understand (on rational grounds, I mean). But we all already knew that.

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engels 08.03.16 at 2:03 am

Has the ratio of information and argument to empty personal abuse sunk even lower while I’ve been away or do you just notice it more when you’re not commenting yourself?

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faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 2:21 am

Engels: a little from column A, and a little from column B.

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faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 2:23 am

In debate about this election I’m reminded of the Asterix issue where the Romans decide that the best way to destroy the Gauls is to send in this weird horrible guy who has a personality disorder that causes everyone around him to argue and fight, in the hope that the Gauls will destroy themselves. I remember in the English translation he was described as having a “green eyed monster that follows him around.” Asterix had to escort him for some reason, and he and Obelix and Getafix and even Dogmatix had huge fights.

Trump is like that character, and this election is like that Asterix story. And kidneystones is CT’s own personal version of that character.

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bruce wilder 08.03.16 at 2:28 am

engels @ 428

sinking

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faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 2:32 am

Here it is, Asterix and the Roman Agent.

But I think that Roman Agent was actually smart.

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TM 08.03.16 at 1:27 pm

91 and 111.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.03.16 at 1:44 pm

TM: “91 and 111.”

Yet another “Jews just don’t understand how this is just like the Nazis” person heard from. Thanks!

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J-D 08.03.16 at 9:48 pm

faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 2:23 am
In debate about this election I’m reminded of the Asterix issue where the Romans decide that the best way to destroy the Gauls is to send in this weird horrible guy who has a personality disorder that causes everyone around him to argue and fight, in the hope that the Gauls will destroy themselves. I remember in the English translation he was described as having a “green eyed monster that follows him around.” Asterix had to escort him for some reason, and he and Obelix and Getafix and even Dogmatix had huge fights.

By various devices, including offering Asterix a valuable present, he sows suspicion and jealousy of Asterix in the minds of the other villagers. Asterix (with Obelix and Getafix) announces that if the villagers think that they have betrayed the secret of the magic potion to the Romans, then they don’t want to stay there any more. When the Romans learn they’ve left the village, they prepare to attack; but the Gauls have a last-minute reconciliation and defeat the Romans as usual. Asterix and Getafix then give presents to the Roman agent and congratulate him on what a good job he’s done for them, and the Roman commander believes that the villain is a double agent and sends him back to Rome for punishment.

But the line I remember best comes before that, when the agent has not yet made his appearance and his qualities are being described to Caesar:
‘When they put him in the arena, the lions ate each other.’

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Faustusnotes 08.03.16 at 10:28 pm

I love that line too J-D! I think I need to reacquaint myself with asterix and the little known Arabian nights that the same guys wrote…

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TM 08.04.16 at 9:28 am

RP’s intellectual decline is a sad spectacle to behold.

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Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 4:23 pm

What amuses me about this whole subthread is that people here are doing exactly the “right-wing guy shocked at being called a racist” thing. Officially, the process is supposed to be something on the model of how merian responds to kidneystones above — it is supposedly much worse to actually be a racist than to be told that one is a racist, so one should take it as an opportunity for reflection and self-correction. In practice, obviously everyone prefers to actually be a racist than to be told that they’re a racist. The same thing with “If a member of a disadvantaged group tells you you’re doing something wrong, you should check your privilege rather than immediately dismissing it” etc.

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TM 08.05.16 at 2:11 pm

What amuses me about this whole subthread is … nothing.

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