An observation and a conjecture about HRC’s health

by Harry on September 13, 2016

1. Walking pneumonia is really not a big deal any more. I’ve had it maybe 10 times; it is very annoying indeed, but, normally, like HRC, I have not bothered telling anyone about it. Indeed, whereas she apparently told close friends and family, I sometimes don’t bother (its not as though anyone is going to have any sympathy—“Go get antibiotics and steroids, now, you idiot”). [1] Her failure to tell the world she has a minor ailment is not part of a pattern of secrecy.

2. Or maybe she doesn’t even have the ailment. Could it be that there is nothing wrong with her, and this is just a rumour spread by her campaign i) to make her seem a bit more like a normal person and ii) to panic people (like the Bushes, for example[2]) who think they can sit this out without having to take responsibility for the deranged performance artist becoming President, and move them into positive action?

[1] A tip—Since I started getting a regular 8 hours sleep the colds that previously would turn into pneumonia occur about 1/4 as often, and last about half as long. Another tip: avoid children.

[2] with apologies to the excellent senior Mrs Bush, who has made it clear that she is not going to stand by.

{ 844 comments }

1

Nick 09.13.16 at 2:22 pm

Unfortunately, a tidal wave of castigation for Clinton’s failure to observe tip#1 is the next likely stage of this bullshit.

2

Layman 09.13.16 at 2:30 pm

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that 45% think she’s lying about the pneumonia, hiding something.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/13/us-voters-doubt-clintons-pneumonia-explanation-for-911-collapse-poll-shows?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

3

Lynne 09.13.16 at 2:31 pm

I’ve been imagining the different spin this would have had had she been a man: it would have been somehow put down to his dedication and toughness that he didn’t “give in” to the illness, and even that he drove himself hard enough to get sick in the first place.

4

BenK 09.13.16 at 2:42 pm

Or that she’s trying to distract from calling 25% of the electorate deplorables, not real Americans, who shouldn’t be paid any mind; not specifying which 25% too particularly, so that at least 50% have the sense she meant them; and doing it in front of several wealthy, paying crowds of people who do despise at least 50% of the electorate, such that Clinton was trying to suggest – as an aside – that her paying supporters’ attitudes toward most Americans were making the election harder, not easier, to win.

5

Trader Joe 09.13.16 at 2:46 pm

@2
That’s really the problem about earning trust – once you’ve decided not to believe someone, its really hard to know when to turn off your disbelief. That goes for your friends as well as your politicians.

I still prefer the one who might be sick to the one who makes me sick, but expect to hear at least 4 more years of amateur medical analysis if she wins.

6

CJColucci 09.13.16 at 2:55 pm

Let’s leave aside the comparative transparency issue, which should favor Clinton heavily. My question is: what plausible physical health issue could either candidate have that would be a legitimate reason for a Clinton voter to vote for Trump, a Trump voter to vote for Clinton, or an undecided voter to lean toward one or the other?

7

oldster 09.13.16 at 2:56 pm

My children’s childhood–luckily 30 years in the past now–led me to get walking pneumonia many years in a row. Kids are the worst for disease–it’s not only the contagion they bring, it’s the sleep-deprivation on top of it.

I haven’t kept track of who you are, BenK, but now I know that you are a liar:

“not specifying which 25% too particularly”

No, she was quite particular about which half of the 30%-40% of Americans (Trump has never had anywhere near half of America supporting him) whom she was deploring: it is the 15%-20% of Americans who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic”.

And she is dead right on this, as poll after poll has confirmed. They are deplorable, and ought to be deplored.

8

Sebastian H 09.13.16 at 3:08 pm

CJ–if there really were a long term serious medical issue you’re asking the wrong questions. The right one would be: which conditions would have caused HRC supporters to vote for Sanders in the primary.

9

CJColucci 09.13.16 at 3:09 pm

OK, Sebastian, what’s the answer to that question?

10

Mercurius Londiniensis 09.13.16 at 3:12 pm

Although my American friends assure me that HRC is still bound to win, I am starting to worry. The sight of her keeling over on a New York Street brought back memories of the First President Bush puking into the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister in 1992, and of Senator Dole collapsing from a podium in 1996. In each case, the ‘medical episode’ heralded defeat. Most of us abroad would prefer even a zombified HRC occupying the White House (with Bill C as President de facto) until Veep Kaine is ready to take over. But will the US electorate see it that way?

11

rea 09.13.16 at 3:18 pm

Exactly, Mercurius Londiniensis, why should your imagination be constrained by evidence?

12

Dave Maier 09.13.16 at 3:25 pm

Mercurius: I don’t remember GHWB’s health being an issue in 1992, as I think pretty much everyone recognized that he had just had some bad sushi or something. (Not sure about Dole, who always looked a bit frail.) About HRC, I think plenty of Americans think that that she is “bound to win” is too strong. She’s ahead with 7-8 weeks to go, that’s all.

About her health in particular, I learned yesterday at the supermarket, where many fine publications are available for perusal while you wait at the checkout, that not only has she had three strokes, but that she has Alzheimer’s as well. (The accompanying photo was quite remarkable.)

13

harry b 09.13.16 at 3:33 pm

Well you’d expect that kind of nonsense from supermarket tabloids. The ‘mainstream’ press, though, is really scandalous (I’d include NPR in that, which often sounds like they make up their daily agenda from some memo sent by the Trump campaign).

14

someguy88 09.13.16 at 3:43 pm

Before reading this thread I was 99.9999999999% certain god did not exist.

Working under the assumption that a non existent god did not strike dead the commentator that actually wrote

‘Let’s leave aside the comparative transparency issue, which should favor Clinton heavily.’

I am now 99.9999999999999999% certain that god does not exist.

15

kidneystones 09.13.16 at 3:54 pm

I’m traveling at the moment. Every news program and every ‘informed’ round table on every station since the tumble spool the entire sequence from beginning to end in slow-motion and in real time over and over again.

So, irrespective of the assurances from the Clinton camp and their advocates here and there regarding the non-debilitating effects of ‘walking’ pneumonia, the world has been watching, parsing, contemplating, and generally mulling over the prospect of a leader who tips over and has to be rescued from further concussions and blood clots, before she’s faced the rigors of the first-day in office.

Frankly, I feel her fainting is much more worrying than Jimmy Carter’s iconic stumble and collapse, and nowhere near as worrying as Ronnie’s glib ‘morning in America’ baffle gab. Her actual physical condition is not necessarily disqualifying. But, few would argue she’s a portrait of health, even as a senior.

She tips over with little warning. Every step she takes is gamble, especially for someone who’s already suffered from concussions. Then, there’s the whole truthfulness of her actual state. It’s as likely that the Clinton camp has been any more candid about the candidate than any other. Unfortunately, her persistent prevarications and half-truths make her personal assurances of ‘I am fine, really’ far from re-assuring.

When the normally sensible harry b ascribes the current coverage at the NPR to ‘pro-Trump’ bias, perhaps ‘liberals’ might wish to revisit the notion of rational analysis. Tipping over is a big-deal across the globe on serious news programs and in tabloids. It’s news and very important news in the eyes of a great many people around the globe.

Trump skates over the finish line, unless he too takes a header.

16

CJColucci 09.13.16 at 4:28 pm

someguy88:

God, if He exists, can probably read. If so, he can compare what Hillary has already put out about her health and what the Donald has put out. So can I, so I won’t be watching out for lightning. It’s an astonishingly excellent day here without a cloud in the sky.

17

Anarcissie 09.13.16 at 4:34 pm

I think Scott Adams has it about right. What matters to voters, 95% of whom do not vote rationally, is intuitive perception, not evidence and rational analysis. He recently wrote:

If humans were rational creatures, the time and place of Clinton’s “overheating” wouldn’t matter at all. But when it comes to American psychology, there is no more powerful symbol of terrorism and fear than 9-11 . When a would-be Commander-in-Chief withers – literally – in front of our most emotional reminder of an attack on the homeland, we feel unsafe. And safety is our first priority. Hillary Clinton just became unelectable.

I am not entirely in agreement with this, because the ways in which fear may drive people are unpredictable. But I do think the videos I have seen are pretty close to fatal.

I am surprised to hear that the media are anti-Clinton. I occasionally read the news through the Google aggregator, and I’ve perceived most of the boss media as solidly, overtly, shamelessly pro-Clinton. I know Google is supposed to be in the tank for Clinton, but even so, they’re pulling the articles from somewhere, and the attributions read New York Times, Washington Post, and so on — the usual suspects. Clinton’s ‘deplorables’ gaffe and her collapse at the World Trade Center seem to have the elite media in a frenzy of rationalization and exculpation, which is, of course, a tactical mistake if they’re trying to get their candidate elected. Although at this point I suppose what they say doesn’t matter very much.

18

Lee A. Arnold 09.13.16 at 4:36 pm

Everyone has chosen a side, and nobody is changing their minds about anything in this election. This is all about emotions, all the way down the line. Emotions get boring in about two days. Hillary comes on stage in the debate and the first thing she says is, “Glad I have health care! Let’s make sure everybody does!”

19

Yankee 09.13.16 at 4:40 pm

I think she might be going too far with this Apology Tour stuff just as Obama went too far trying for a centrist compromise. What would Margaret Thatcher do?

20

someguy88 09.13.16 at 4:48 pm

CJColucci ,

Please top. I am a conservative with a small c. If it was up to me I would pick the known conventional evil over a deranged Amway salesman. But every time people like you talk I have to fight off small urge to spite you by voting for the chump.

But using transparency and Hilary Clinton in the same sentence as a positive? That is like saying Stalin was more human than Hitler. It may technically be true but is still utter nonsense.

Assuming an existent god would be just, she would strike you down for what you wrote. Hence no god.

21

Sebastian H 09.13.16 at 4:56 pm

CJ–the number of possible medical issues which might cause a voter to switch from Clinton to Sanders is numerous but might include things like:

Certain recurring seizures;
Any cancer with difficult long term treatment problems;
Any permanent brain injury;
Any recurring disease which causes serious fatigue.

22

Patrick 09.13.16 at 5:06 pm

This is a long term non issue. The only people who will be talking about this in a month are the ones who keep claiming that HRC is a sociopathic murderess with a body double and a long term plan to sell us out to the Muslims on behalf of her Secret Muslim boss/patsie Obama that can only be thwarted by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, who will do so with nothing more than Strength and Grit and a 100 yard stare. And 1) those people were never going to support her either way, and 2) every political argument they make becomes less credible in the eyes of the rest of the country just because they’re the ones making it.

Or TLDR certain relatives of mine will be lighting up my Facebook feed for weeks over this but who cares.

23

Other Patrick 09.13.16 at 5:35 pm

Pneumonia or not, the optics of it were really bad. She couldn’t stand. The secret service had to hold her up and it got caught on video. The video is probably worth more than the 10 million words that have already been written about the event.

From a strictly rhetorical standpoint she said “steadiness” is the most important quality for a president at the commander-in-chief forum and that video showed exactly the opposite.(even if yes, she probably didn’t mean “steadiness” literally)

24

JimV 09.13.16 at 6:13 pm

No politician, probably no human being including Mother Teresa, wants to be totally transparent. Otherwise we might walk around naked in good weather. But what with disclosed tax returns, a family charitable foundation with a searchable list of donors, three Republican special prosecutors’ investigations which found nothing actionable, and hours of testimony in front of hostile congressional committees, HRC might be the most transparent politician of all time. Odd that opponents who claim to know her innermost, evil thoughts would also claim her to be opaque.

Yes, she has so far refused to give transcripts of private, paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sach employees, as a private citizen. Nor has any other consultant or motivational speaker that I know of. We do know however, the most important facts: that she gave speeches to employees of a Wall Street business and was highly paid to do so – thanks to the transparency of her financial records.

25

bruce wilder 09.13.16 at 6:21 pm

Transparency is a poor substitute for integrity or probity, let alone righteous conviction.

26

bexley 09.13.16 at 6:24 pm

@ BenK

She said half of Trump’s supporters were deplorable for being racists, xenophobes and misogynists. Bring out the fainting couches because somebody didn’t pussyfoot around the nastiness in the heart of the Republican base.

27

someguy88 09.13.16 at 6:25 pm

HFS.

‘ HRC might be the most transparent politician of all time’

LOL on so many levels. Again if the decision was between her and Trump and I decided I would put her in the White House. But she did not turn 1,000 dollars into a 100,000 because of her transparency.

That she has been above law does not make her an honest citizen. I mean better outr SOB than that Demented SOB is a good argument. Hilary is honest is debasing.

28

PatinIowa 09.13.16 at 6:36 pm

Jesus, we live in a country that elected a man with Alzheimer’s. His dementia was visible by 1984; many of us just chose not to see it. (This is retrospective, but I remember at least one contemporaneous article by a couple of (widely derided) neurologists http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/ronald-reagan-alzheimers-presidency/story?id=12633225)

Anything’s possible, there being no god and all.

29

medrawt 09.13.16 at 6:44 pm

someguy88

She turned $1,000 into $100,000 in large part by being an extremely famous political figure who took money for giving speeches and writing books. In the ranks of “how did THIS politician get rich, exactly?” the Clintons are low on the scale of mystery.

More generally: what do you think you know about the typical famous politicians that you think is unknown about the Clintons?

30

someguy88 09.13.16 at 6:59 pm

medrawt,

Are you seriously that ignorant?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_cattle_futures_controversy

Again I understand that she would gleefully strip away my 1 and 2 amendment rights, personally I only care about the 1st but I respect other peoples concerns about the second, and yet if it was my choice I would pick her over the hair.

Just please stop debasing your selves and me by lying about what and who she is.

31

MPAVictoria 09.13.16 at 7:03 pm

“I think Scott Adams has it about right. “

Nothing good ever started with that sentence. Scott Adams is BEYOND bonkers and has been for years now.

32

Anarcissie 09.13.16 at 7:51 pm

MPAVictoria 09.13.16 at 7:03 pm @ 30 —
Adams was pretty accurate in predicting the rise of Trump when most other professional commentators discounted him. A more general view of the nonrational way people vote can be found in Louis Menand’s The Unpolitical Animal. While I have not personally checked Menand’s sources, the gist of the article corresponds with what I observe in daily life, and to the extent I can observe our national political life through the haze of lying and propaganda that constitutes the official media, with that as well. Applied to the present situation, we must expect people to vote according to tradition, tribal identity, perceived immediate self-interest, the weather — and image. In regard to image, Adams noted some time ago that Trump was taking occasional potshots at Clinton’s health and physical vigor, and hypothesized that this was a well-considered tactic rather than the random burbling which is usually attributed to him, and would pay off if Clinton gave any overt sign of illness or fatigue, which he or someone on his team apparently expected her to do. They seem to have hit the jackpot, although the payoff may not be as conclusive as Adams expects. I don’t see anything ‘beyond bonkers’ in his reasoning.

33

CJColucci 09.13.16 at 7:56 pm

Sebastian:

And it’s possible that her brain is rotted from syphillis picked up from her randy husband, or that her heart closely resembles FDR’s in 1944. That’s why I said “plausible” in the first place. What reason does anyone have to think any of these scenarios are likely?

34

medrawt 09.13.16 at 7:58 pm

someguy88 –

Apparently I seriously am that ignorant, because if I’ve ever heard anyone talk about Clinton and cattle futures, it must have been in 1994 and not since that time. So I didn’t understand your specific reference and misinterpreted it as a general statement along the lines of “how the hell did so and so become rich?” (Like: when did Denny Hastert become a millionaire? Oh, when his rich friends were improbably generous to him in the course of a semi-crooked land deal.) Oddly I continue to see and hear people cite Whitewater against the Clintons, rather than possible rulebreaking in the trading of cattle futures. I’m also willing to believe that she did, or allowed something to be done on her behalf, which was against the law.

On the other hand, there’s a mountain of public evidence suggesting that the Clinton Foundation is run on the up and up, and a growing mountain of misleadingly-headlined evidence suggesting that donations to the Clinton Foundation got pretty much nothing in the way of special treatment from the State Department. The next allegation that a Foundation donor got a meeting or a favor from the US government that they wouldn’t have plausibly gotten anyway based on their position/resume will be the first. I’m not the one combing through the data, so maybe there’s something there. In addition they’ve released years and years of tax returns. Relative to the typical politician they appear to be relatively forthcoming on these issues.

What distinguishes the Clintons appears to be not the level of dirty dealing in which they have been engaged, but the level to which they have been investigated for dirty dealing without anybody finding hard evidence. So either they’re criminal masterminds, or they’re actually not uniquely corrupt. Which doesn’t make them saints. Really, comparing them and their behavior to politicians (a widely despised class!) is too specific and plays too much into general cynicism about politicians. The Clintons are rich and influential people with rich and influential friends, and they appear to operate the way most rich and influential people with rich and influential friends do in this country. The rules are too lenient and too leniently applied to such people, but that’s a problem enormously bigger than this election.

35

CJColucci 09.13.16 at 7:58 pm

Someguy88:

If it was up to me I would pick the known conventional evil over a deranged Amway salesman. But every time people like you talk I have to fight off small urge to spite you by voting for the chump.

Funny, I don’t have analogous urges on serious matters, and few people I know do. Are you sure it’s a good idea to admit to this?

36

Ben 09.13.16 at 7:59 pm

“the excellent senior Mrs. Bush”

No

Remember “some of [the people trapped in the Astrodome during Katrina] have never had it so good in their lives”? She has the patrician horror of boorish new money taking over the country club, nothing more or less.

37

bruce wilder 09.13.16 at 8:08 pm

medrawt @ 33

Yes, it is all just the new normal. Nothing to see here. Move on.

38

medrawt 09.13.16 at 8:19 pm

bruce wilder –

what was the old normal?

39

MPAVictoria 09.13.16 at 8:24 pm

“I don’t see anything ‘beyond bonkers’ in his reasoning.”

Read anything he has posted on women. For example, his comments on V Neck Sweaters. The guy is a MRA Nut.

Also he claims he is supporting Clinton because he is “worried about his safety”. As in someone would assassinate him if he said he supported Trump. Sure

40

Suzanne 09.13.16 at 8:27 pm

@ 35: Yes. Trump rudely interfered with plans for the Second Restoration and also was impertinent enough to point out that not only did George II not keep us safe, he placed us in greater jeopardy. (Trump did do the state some service in the primary season, I’ll grant him that.)

Observations from the late Louis Auchincloss, traitor to his class:

https://www.ft.com/content/1925961a-67e4-11dc-8906-0000779fd2ac

“I just think the Bushes are a big family of shits,” he says with a sibilant hiss, “they might have existed anywhere.”

41

Layman 09.13.16 at 9:38 pm

@ someguy88

I wonder, do you ever stop to consider that Republicans have been trying to pin a crime on the Clintons for some 24 years now, during which time they have exercised substantial control over various branches of government, and for 8 of those years, complete control over the executive branch, which includes the Justice Department; and yet, despite that effort and those advantages, they have only succeeded in entrapping one Clinton into a vague lie about sex under oath, while they’ve failed to pin anything at all on the other one? Or ponder the most obvious explanation as to why they’ve failed?

42

Anarcissie 09.13.16 at 9:41 pm

MPAVictoria 09.13.16 at 8:24 pm @ 38 —
I gather that a good deal of what Adams writes is designed to provoke or annoy, and is less than earnest. For instance, his assertion that he must support Clinton because he fears that outraged Californians will otherwise assassinate him, which is clearly designed to yank the chains of progressives who believe they are inherently more virtuous and less violent than conservatives. It’s a kind of trolling, in other words. I can’t comment on his writings about Men’s Rights Advocacy or V-neck sweaters because I haven’t read them, having no interest in the subjects.

43

CJColucci 09.13.16 at 10:03 pm

do you ever stop to consider

No. This has been another installment of …………

44

bexley 09.13.16 at 10:17 pm

@ Anarcissie

Here are his deep thoughts on v-necks:

Perhaps the biggest unreported story of this presidential election is the humiliation of the American male. Unless I’m blinded by confirmation bias – which is entirely possible – it seems to me that the humiliation of American men is now institutionalized in the media.

Check out this commercial for dishwasher detergent. And take careful note of the American man’s v-neck sweater. That’s the uniform of a man who is owned by a woman.

In the realm of presidential politics Scott Adams endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 on the grounds that he thought Romney would be less harsh in prosecuting marijuana usage. That was after a Romney spokesman said “He opposes legalizing drugs, including marijuana for medicinal purposes. He will fully enforce the nation’s drug laws, and he will oppose any attempts at legalization.”

There are small children with a better understanding of US politics than Scott Adams.

If the best defence of him is that he is trolling or trying to provoke and annoy I’m not sure anyone needs to pay attention to his musings on the 2016 election.

45

someguy88 09.13.16 at 10:23 pm

Layman,

There was nothing vague about Bill’s lie. It was just straight forward not very clever lie for which he was disbarred.

People get away with all sorts lies and crimes for years. Mob bosses go to the grave unconvicted. How many Tour De Frances and drug tests did Armstrong pass?

Again I have no Clinton animus. Bill presided over good times. If it was up to me I would pick Hilary over Trump. But idea that the Clintons are anything other than venal, petty, and corrupt on an industrial scale is nonsense.

46

Layman 09.13.16 at 10:30 pm

“But idea that the Clintons are anything other than venal, petty, and corrupt on an industrial scale is nonsense.”

This idea of corruption comes from somewhere. Where? Which are the crimes you suspect, which lead you to this conclusion? Be specific, please.

47

Some Guy 09.13.16 at 10:36 pm

I don’t follow the logic from the post.

If walking pneumonia is no big deal, then why did Clinton pass out? Isn’t this worse news (Clinton is so unwell that even a routine bug knocks her out).

And if the answer is that it’s not a big deal if you can rest, but is a big deal if you have to undertake arduous tasks in the public eye, then it renders point 1 moot.

Sure, you don’t tell people you have it normally, but if you had to attend a formal event and needed to request a chair or risk passing out, you might explain that you were unwell.

Pushing yourself so hard that you pass out because you aren’t willing to publicly admit you are unwell is obviously not a good choice. Personally, I would put this particular incident down to a strong will to win, not a desire for secrecy for it’s own sake, and being sick at 9/11 is obviously a particular challenge, since that is a hard one to sit out, but that doesn’t mean this post makes sense.

48

someguy88 09.13.16 at 10:43 pm

Layman,

I was. You do not honestly turn 1ooo dollars into 100000 trading in futures you know nothing about.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_cattle_futures_controversy

The odds are like worse than a billion to one. Honestly the global warming deniers have a better chance of being right that HRC having honestly turned 1000 into 100000. Again I prefer her to Trump.

49

Ben 09.13.16 at 10:47 pm

Suzanne,

Thanks for that link. It is wonderful.

“I used to say to my father,” he says, “ ‘If my class at Yale ran this country, we would have no problems.’ And the irony of my life is that they did.”

50

lathrop 09.13.16 at 11:01 pm

“But idea that the Clintons are anything other than venal, petty, and corrupt on an industrial scale is nonsense.”

“Industrial scale”? This marks the comment as clueless about the scale of corruption, or obsessive about the Clintons, or (more likely) both.

51

Anarcissie 09.13.16 at 11:11 pm

The best defense of Adams in regard to Trump’s prospects and related matters is that he was (sort of) right and almost everyone else was wrong. Maybe his improper views allow him to pick up sympathetic vibrations from the folk imperceptible to us on higher planes.

52

someguy88 09.13.16 at 11:14 pm

lathrop,

Again I am not big fan of this incarnation of Hilary. But Bill I was ok and I prefer Hilary to the to the unhinged Amway Salesman. Everybody does it but when you sell Lincoln’s bedroom you are engaging in corruption on an industrial scale. That is how you make 100 million in America today. Why do you insist on debasing me by pretending otherwise? Serious question.

53

Layman 09.13.16 at 11:16 pm

“The odds are like worse than a billion to one.”

I’m guessing you have no idea how to calculate the odds, but never mind that. You posted a link which tells me this matter was investigated and no one was charged with a crime. Yet you say there was a crime. Why is that? And, in light of it, what would convince you that there was no crime?

54

bruce wilder 09.13.16 at 11:58 pm

You refuse to hear the answer to your question. The answer is repeated several times, each time at greater volume. Then, you complain that your interlocutor is shouting.

55

bruce wilder 09.14.16 at 12:07 am

“this matter was investigated and no one was charged with a crime”

Put that on a Clinton bumpersticker.

56

Lee A. Arnold 09.14.16 at 12:17 am

Golly, the Clintons must be “corrupt on an industrial scale” because the right wing meme machine can’t have been wrong for over 25 years!

57

faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 12:36 am

someguy88 you pasted that cattle futures link twice, and it contains nothing. Can *you* tell us what crime Clinton committed in making 100,000 in 10 months?

CT is infested with this rubbish at the moment. It’s very disappointing.

58

harry b 09.14.16 at 12:44 am

faustusnotes – good grief, its USA general election season, what do you expect??

59

Cian 09.14.16 at 1:17 am

It is possible to loathe Clinton and still think Trump is worse. Not sure why this is so hard for some to grasp. Particularly as this seems to be the position of most of the country.

Clinton’s success as a neophyte in the notoriously difficult world of commodities futures trading is astonishing. The fact that she received help from Tyson’s attorney, a company that Bill did lots of political favors for, is probably just one of those unfortunate coincidences that do seem to dog the Clintons. Just like those unfortunate connections between Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation. Or UBS paying Bill Clinton so handsomely for those speeches, while Hillary helped UBS with their pesky IRS problem.

I mean what are the odds?

60

faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 1:42 am

It should also be possible to loathe Clinton and be able to give an actual reason why, rather than aspersions along with links to websites that state nothing bad happened. It should be possible to provide a critique of Clinton that isn’t obviously transparently rehashed right wing blogosphere talking points.

But it doesn’t happen.

61

bruce wilder 09.14.16 at 1:45 am

No, that $21 million she made in speaking fees is all nothing bad happened . . . yet.

62

faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 1:46 am

Do you agree that nothing bad happened, or is there something bad that happened that you want to tell us? If something bad happened, why is it that we’re 61 comments in and no one can say what it is?

63

bruce wilder 09.14.16 at 2:00 am

What cannot be heard might as well not be said.

64

faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 2:10 am

And what is not said cannot be heard, obviously.

65

Anon39 09.14.16 at 2:40 am

No, the odds of Hillary succeeding that well in futures trading was 1 in 31 trillion.

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/09/one-reason-why-the-press-doesnt-give-hrc-the-benefit-of-the-doubt.html

So we’re faced with a choice, my dear people that believe in rationality and science. Bayesian Logic dictates we say that global warming is almost definitely caused by humans and that Hillary is almost definitely corrupt as all hell. Let’s choose reality over fantasy.

The argument that all of you should be making is that corrupt or not, Hillary is a known entity. Trump might cause a world war. If Obama went on CNN tomorrow and said yes, Hillary Clinton is corrupt, but hey she won’t start a nuclear war, we could end this election easily.

People don’t like to be lied to, and the insistence that Hillary is above board and honest, when anyone with half a brain knows it’s the opposite, is causing this election to be a lot closer than any of us had hoped.

Cheers

66

bruce wilder 09.14.16 at 2:59 am

Then, we consider Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record and we . . . punt.

67

lathrop 09.14.16 at 2:59 am

“when you sell Lincoln’s bedroom you are engaging in corruption on an industrial scale”
Again, clueless hyperbole. How much did the bedroom sell for, and where has it been moved?

Who wouldn’t stipulate that few if any successful politicians are entirely “above board and honest” — if that means never taking personal advantage of their connections and opportunities?

Dispute this if you will, but it is my belief that the truly hyper-wealthy Masters of our Universe and their operatives are venal and corrupt on a scale that puts the yet-to-be-proven Clintonian malfeasance on the scale of fixing that parking ticket. So stop the pearl-clutching, etc.

68

Anon39 09.14.16 at 3:17 am

Cool, lathrop.

We can finally legalize insider trading then. i agree. It will be all out in the open and as you said no one will bother to clutch pearls. It will also make the market more efficient and add valuable pricing signals. Everyone wins.

69

faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 3:24 am

Haha Anon39, your link leads to a citation from the previoulsy linked Wikipedia article – except that the wikipedia article no longer contains the text about 31 trillion and the reference has been removed. I wonder why that might be? Could it be because it was wrong? Hmm, why don’t you dig through the talk page and find out what the problem was with that piece of wisdom?

We’re now 68 comments in and still no one is able to present any claim about what she actually did. You can’t even say without evidence what she did wrong, let alone provide any evidence of an actual wrong-doing. Even your where-theres-smoke-theres-fire mumblings are weak sauce.

Could someone once just say clearly what the corruption is, instead of this slimy allusion game?

70

js. 09.14.16 at 3:29 am

[Scott Adams] was (sort of) right and almost everyone else was wrong. [emph. added — js.]

This is manifestly false. Here’s a list of people off the top of my head who were right about Trump (winning the nomination). Jeet Heer and Brian Beutler at TNR, Josh Marshall at TPM, Paul Campos at LGM, Sam Wang at PEC, and I think Krugman. Again, that’s just off the top of my head; if I actually looked into it, I’m sure I could easily find twice the number of mainstream liberal columnists who were right about Trump.

71

Anon39 09.14.16 at 3:35 am

Well at least we know now that Faustus doesn’t work in the financial industry, have a finance degree, engage in trading, or have an MBA. Otherwise he’d understand how commodities trading works. And how options work…and how margin calls work…and how trading in general works…

But hey, let’s support the one who isn’t racist and crazy. We can agree on that much whole heartedly.

I do have to say it was quite a brilliant way to move money. Puts real estate laundering to shame.

She’s still not trump.

72

JimV 09.14.16 at 3:42 am

I suspect the 1 in trillions number was a biased analysis, similar to creationists arguing against evolution, since, as the link said, many other people made bigger profits on cattle futures at the same time. The Wikipedia article cited in the link goes on to say,

“After the Rodham trading matter became public, Leo Melamed, a former chairman of the Mercantile Exchange, was brought in by request of the White House to review the trading records. On April 11, 1994, he said that the whole matter was “a tempest in a teapot” and that while her brokers had not required her to provide typical margin cushions, she had not knowingly benefited.[9] On May 26, 1994, after the new records concerning the larger Blair trades came to light, he said “I have no reason to change my original assessment. Mrs. Clinton violated no rules in the course of her transactions.”[14] But as to the question of whether she had been allocated profits from larger block trades, he said of the new accounting, “It doesn’t suggest that there was allocation, and it doesn’t prove there wasn’t,”[15] an assessment of uncertainty shared by Merton Miller, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if her friends who were making a lot of money in futures trading (and later lost it all after HRC decided to cash out) cut her in on some of their profitable trades, with or without her knowledge, but there is as yet no proof of that and as far as I know, no allegation that those friends received any corrupt favors.

HRC so far has done nothing to make me fond of her, the way I was of my childhood heroes JFK and Mickey Mantle, who turned out to be corrupt. I won’t be as surprised and disappointed if good evidence of her corruption finally is found. It seems to be part of the human condition.

73

Faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 3:57 am

I guess you don’t work anywhere relevant either, anon39, and neither do any of the people who have investigated these trades and found nothing to criticize?

Or perhaps you do, and in your very next comment you are going to say exactly what she did wrong and how she did it and why it is corrupt?

I put the odds of that somewhere below 1 in 31 trillion

74

medrawt 09.14.16 at 4:28 am

So far as I can tell the evidence that Clinton(s) are uniquely corrupt, on an industrial scale, to such a degree that to credit them with being massively more transparent than Trump and many other politicians besides is rank lunacy, is that their malfeasance is so transparently obvious that the failure to actually nail them on any of it is evidence that their corruption is so thorough that even the systems we would expect to uncover it have been infiltrated.

I am wholly willing to believe that the Clintons profited from unlawful trading in cattle futures to the tune of $100,000 nearly forty years ago (about $370,000 in today’s money). Have you met the United States Congress?

75

phenomenal cat 09.14.16 at 4:32 am

I don’t know OP. It may be she’s just a tired, stressed, walking pneumonia-ed, 68 y.o. presidential candidate and nothing more, but it doesn’t look good–and hasn’t for a while. And I do not mean it doesn’t look good in the “optics”, how is this gonna play on a 3-day cable news cycle, what will we next week’s polls look like, high-dollar campaign consultant strategery kind of way.

I mean it doesn’t look good in the she actually may be seriously ill kind of way. Has anyone here seen the episode from a while back when she had a 10 second neurological fit in the middle of a press gaggle? It is frightening to watch. Now this. Maybe she’s just fine and the instances of her appearing unwell are strictly coincidental, but hypothetical #2 is highly unlikely. I doubt her campaign bots are either that smart or that dumb.

Does anyone know of a precedent, if she were genuinely ill at this late date? Would Tim–I can’t open my mouth w/o emitting some maudlin nonsense–Kaine automatically become Jesus’s political right-hand man here on earth or what?

76

phenomenal cat 09.14.16 at 4:35 am

dammit. should read, “what will next week’s polls…”

77

bad Jim 09.14.16 at 9:09 am

In 2008 the choice between Barack and Hillary was a coin toss. There’s no similar choice this time; there’s nothing else on offer.

When the economy collapsed, the American electorate took the “In Case of Emergency Break Glass” option and applied the traditional remedy: elect a Democrat. Conventional Keynesian methods worked; the stimulus was perhaps a fourth of what it should have been, but most other countries elected conservatives and were punished with austerity.

The choice is nearly never between good and better. It’s usually stupid or sensible. The US did better by choosing Obama and his traditional Keynesian remedies than Europe and the UK did with their policies of austerity. Wonderfulness is never on the menu. You’re lucky if “not completely screwing everything up” is an option.

78

Manta 09.14.16 at 9:42 am

I don’t understand why (strictly regarding foreign policy) Clinton is considered the “safe” choice, the one less likely to go to war.

She is aggressive towards both China and Russia; she wants more military intervention in Siria.
On the other hand, Trump is widely considered more cozy with Russia and isolationist.

If someone’s main worry is wars and he believes the above characterization, he should prefer Trump over Clinton.
(Of course there are many other things that one cares about, and one should not be too ready to believe a politician’s promises).

79

Lee A. Arnold 09.14.16 at 9:52 am

It’s all a neoliberal conspiracy plot!

80

reason 09.14.16 at 10:17 am

I regard this all as completely unimportant nonsense, but why are all the candidates so old this time. Is the US a gerontocracy?

81

Layman 09.14.16 at 11:05 am

“…is that their malfeasance is so transparently obvious that the failure to actually nail them on any of it is evidence that their corruption is so thorough that even the systems we would expect to uncover it have been infiltrated…”

…even when those systems are controlled by the Republicans who want to pin a crime on her. It’s amazing, the power of her corruption!

82

J-D 09.14.16 at 11:08 am

phenomenal cat 09.14.16 at 4:32 am

Does anyone know of a precedent, if she were genuinely ill at this late date? Would Tim–I can’t open my mouth w/o emitting some maudlin nonsense–Kaine automatically become Jesus’s political right-hand man here on earth or what?

On John Quiggin’s blog somebody asked this question:

If Hillary bows out before November poll, is her nominated VP running mate ‘the main man?’
Or does Bill get another gig?

I gave this response:

The Democratic National Committee would be responsible for choosing a new official party nominee. They might choose Tim Kaine or they might choose somebody else; they couldn’t choose Bill Clinton, because after being elected President twice he’s no longer eligible to be elected to the position.
The closest thing to an actual precedent is what happened in 1972, when it was the Democratic National Committee that officially named Sargent Shriver to replace Thomas Eagleton as the party’s vice-presidential nominee, but in that case they were really only formally ratifying a decision actually made by presidential nominee McGovern.

In response to this follow-up question

At the back of my query was the issue …would the DNC have time to convene and determine who’s next? Unprecedented it would seem.

I made this further comment

Correct that there’s no direct precedent; it seems to me that the DNC would be very highly motivated to treat it as a high priority and act with dispatch, but we won’t know for sure until the situation actually arises. (The same applies equally to the Republican National Committee if they had to deal with a corresponding situation.)
In 1872 Horace Greeley, nominated by the (dissident) Liberal Republicans and endorsed by the Democrats, died between the casting of the popular vote and the voting of the electoral college; but the popular vote had already chosen electors a majority of whom were pledged to vote for incumbent Republican President Grant, so it made no difference who the Democratic electors voted for and the party did not designate a single official substitute candidate. The largest number of the Democratic electors voted for Greeley’s official vice-presidential running mate, some for other people, and a few for Greeley even though he was dead (the Congress, which has the official responsibility for receiving and tallying the votes of the electoral college, rejected the votes for Greeley as invalid).
Although that’s not an exactly parallel situation, it’s worth noting that Democratic and Republican candidates for electoral college positions have been nominated and those who are elected to the college would have the same constitutional right to exercise their votes even if their party did not have an officialy designated candidate for the Presidency.

83

Layman 09.14.16 at 11:09 am

“I mean it doesn’t look good in the she actually may be seriously ill kind of way.”

To hell with that – she might be a Martian! What about that frightening possibility?

(FFS, really.)

84

krippendorf 09.14.16 at 11:13 am

Clinton’s only long-term medical condition is that she’s female. Unfortunately, for many Americans, that’s disqualifying.

85

Trader Joe 09.14.16 at 11:30 am

@73
I can’t say for sure what she actually did, but I bet Vince Foster knows.
If only he could tell us.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_of_Vince_Foster

86

TM 09.14.16 at 11:38 am

84: +1

87

Cian 09.14.16 at 12:45 pm

To push back a little on the pneumonia thing:
1) I know a couple of people who did the push through pneumonia thing and nearly died. Not necessarily the smartest thing to do.
2) Pneumonia is a lot more serious for a 68 year old man/woman.

With the health thing generally I don’t think it’s completely illegitimate to question the health of a 68 year old woman (or a 70 year old man). I mean the Clinton administration tried to do it to Sanders.

88

Cian 09.14.16 at 12:46 pm

Clinton campaign, not administration. Need coffee…

89

Cian 09.14.16 at 1:04 pm

…even when those systems are controlled by the Republicans who want to pin a crime on her. It’s amazing, the power of her corruption!

Maybe. I’ve always felt that the Republican investigations have been hampered by two things:
1) Their staggering level of incompetence at anything other than vote rigging.
2) Their reluctance to investigate things that would also reflect badly on Republican politicians.

An argument that has come up again on this thread is that Clinton is no worse than many other politicians. Which has never struck me as the strongest argument (though my kids are fond of it when they get in trouble). And it’s true – except that generally the other politicians are Republicans. The Clintons engage in behavior that is fairly typical of Republicans, and are very good at it (for example was the UBS speech a bribe to the Clintons? Probably. Could this be proven. No). The Clinton Foundation does very little charitable work, but it does provide employment/sinecures for Clinton cronies, as well as operating as an extremely effective political network of international political and corporate elites. Is this illegal. Mostly no (some of the donations are extremely questionable – but may skirt the law). They’re about power and elites. If people want to vote for that – fine. It’s the pretense that she’s somehow progressive that annoys me.

And yes, Trump is worse. Of course he is. But that’s the problem. This is where lesser evil politics has got us.

90

Cian 09.14.16 at 1:09 pm

In 2008 the choice between Barack and Hillary was a coin toss.

Not sure I buy this. Barack Obama ran a very good campaign, is good at politics and is pretty scandal free.

Hillary Clinton ran a terrible campaign, is terrible at politics and seems incapable of staying away from scandals (even by a charitable reading, the email thing was bloody stupid).

In terms of their politics they’re broadly similar save on foreign policy (where Hillary is astonishingly hawkish for a Democrat, or even a Republican).

91

mds 09.14.16 at 1:18 pm

TJ @ 85:

I refuse to follow that link, because it clearly says “Suicide” in the title. It was murder. Foster was about to go public with the name of the factory where the Clintons were producing their industrial corruption. Ordinarily, Bill would have just put the Secret Service Enemykill Unit on it, but because Foster had been Hillary’s lesbian lover, she took it personally, and wanted to do the job herself. So she lay in wait until Foster took his regular midnight pleasure walk through an eel-infested park. Then she struck from the shadows, taking all the incriminating Whitewater evidence that a Congressional investigation had failed to turn up, and stuffing it down Foster’s throat until he choked. Then she destroyed the corpse by burning, and replaced it with a virtually identical corpse from the same firm that currently supplies her own body doubles.

That’s not the worst of it, though. Years later, Hillary gave speeches. In exchange for money.

92

harry b 09.14.16 at 1:25 pm

mds — I was about to shut this down after reading your first line… well done, for about 3 seconds I genuinely thought you’d lost it!

93

Sebastian H 09.14.16 at 1:28 pm

“I guess you don’t work anywhere relevant either, anon39, and neither do any of the people who have investigated these trades and found nothing to criticize?”

This is a very strong overstatement. Front running was very difficult to conclusively prove in that era even though it was completely illegal. On the political corruption side it was very difficult to prove that she was getting a payoff because Bill was broadly aligned with them and therefore the payoff couldn’t be linked to the change in any particular decision.

That isn’t at all nothing to criticize.

94

harry b 09.14.16 at 1:35 pm

Cian

yes, pushing through it was stupid (and the one time I pushed it too far got me uncomfortably close to hospital). And it displays an unappealing (and possibly dangerous) character trait. And I agree, obviously, it is more serious in a 68 year old. But she is extremely energetic and hardy, and manifestly so, and has and will have excellent medical care. I don’t fault the Trump campaign for making a big deal, but the press for allowing his campaign to set the agenda.

He, by contrast, seems to have a personality disorder of a fairly serious kind, and its hard to see high quality health care doing much about that. I think people’s suspicion that he is mentally unbalanced (which, of course, he may not be, but which he quite flagrantly gives the impression of being) accounts for why, despite the fact that liberals who think about it probably suspect that his attitude to intervention probably matches theirs more than HRC’s does (isolationist), she still wins hands down on foreign policy. Unless this is all some elaborate act on his part (which it might be!) the world is safer with a hawkish liberal than with a manifestly spectacularly ignorant and quite possibly unbalanced Dixiecrat.

Of course, in the long run we’re all dead, so it doesn’t matter than much!

95

Faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 1:40 pm

Cia says above that the clinton foundation does very little actual work and is a sinecure for Clinton cronies. This is absolute bullshit and anyone who has been trying to understand this issue would know this. The Clinton foundation gets an A rating and spends 88% of its revenues on charitable works. I’m not a fan of the charity model of social engagement but within that framework the foundation is genuinely good, and it’s work is genuinely positive. But to cian – and to so many other supposedly informed people who feel their actually completely ignorant opinion on this election really matters – the blessings and lies of right wing media are all they need to know to judge the clintons. I mean seriously, could you have even tried slightly to check the facts before you spouted such junk?

We have to put up with this litany of lies and bullshit until November. Even on crooked timber. What a joke.

96

Anarcissie 09.14.16 at 1:50 pm

js. 09.14.16 at 3:29 am @ 70 —
Of the stuff I read, those believing Trump would succeed in any way were definitely in a small minority. That’s why I noticed what Adams was writing; as I said, I’m not interested in the meaning of men’s V-neck sweaters.

97

Layman 09.14.16 at 1:54 pm

Sebastian H: “That isn’t at all nothing to criticize.”

Yes, this is more or less the disingenuous position: We couldn’t prove a crime, but that doesn’t mean there was no crime. Tell me, when would that criticism not apply, to anyone? You, for example?

98

Faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 2:24 pm

97 comments in and still not a single direct assertion. Sebastian H: what did she do, how did her connections help her do it and how did she hide it?

There are half a dozen major scandals involving trump where very aspect of the behavior is documented with evidence. But here we are talking about a scandal which has been twice investigated and turned up nothing, entirely on the basis of a profit that other people have been shown to have made. If you can’t see you’re being played for a chump here, it’s because either you’re deeply stupid, or you want to be that chump.

99

JimV 09.14.16 at 3:26 pm

“The Clinton Foundation does very little charitable work …”

I see faustusnotes has already covered this. In the Age of Google, proof by assertion is no longer a viable technique, at least for those of us who use computers and can easily open another tab to search. Maybe smart phones are different.

Try googling Trump’s Foundation. (Yes, Lesser Evilism has reared its ugly head again.)

100

Trader Joe 09.14.16 at 3:45 pm

@91
One can never have too much disinformation. Besides, I’m sure the ‘machine’ is more than capable of fixing Wikipedia whenever its needed. Its how Arkansas’ Red River gets its name.

101

kidneystones 09.14.16 at 3:50 pm

Here’s a 2006 article from that famously pro-Trump site Slate on pneumonia and the elderly a decade before the topic became such a hot issue. Again, the risks fainting presents are considerably greater for those who’ve already suffered concussions. That’s why boxers and athletes who’ve suffered concussions are encouraged to quit. Nobody, including doctors, can safely predict what the consequences of the ‘next concussion’ may be. Then factor in age and the damage even mild pneumonia does to the immune system of an older person. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2006/12/pneumonia_vs_the_elderly.html

She’ll only make it to the debates with a great deal of help. As noted up thread, I don’t believe her health disqualifies her, but the actual state of her physical and mental condition is certain to remain a topic of concern whether she makes it through the debates to the election and after. As it should. Apologies for returning to the OP.

102

Cian 09.14.16 at 4:21 pm

#95

> The Clinton foundation gets an A rating and spends 88% of its revenues on charitable works.

This just means it spends 12% of its revenues on fundraising. What I was criticising is the way it spends that 88%.

> I’m not a fan of the charity model of social engagement but within that framework the foundation is genuinely good, and it’s work is genuinely positive.

Really? In Haiti it was a disaster. Awful, wretched. On Aids it hasn’t achieved a whole bunch given the resources available. It has allowed a fair bit of greenwashing for corporations. What are its achievements?

What it does do is create a global network of powerful people, that is controlled by the Clintons. Which is brilliant btw. As a political operation it is genius, and it greatly increases the reach and importance of the Clintons. It also provides good PR, which is what the powerful get for participating (plus to get a little of the Bill Clinton magic). In addition, it provides employment to Clinton’s people that allows the Hillary operation to keep operating when they’re out of power, as well as funding her, Bill’s and other key personnel’s non government trips abroad. Much better than your people going to universities, or think tanks.

I am in two minds about Hillary. I loathe her politics and what stands for, but I do really admire her ability as a bureacrat. She (and Bill) molded the Democrat party into it’s modern, corporate friendly, upper middle class form. In 2016 the entire party backed her, because she had manipulated the levers of power s.t. pretty much everyone either owed her, or needed her, or was one of her people. And she created a permanent team of people that she can rely upon. It’s just a shame that her core values are American corporatism.

103

Cian 09.14.16 at 4:32 pm

Faustus Notes/JimV – if your argument is that Hillary Clinton is a bit better than notorious scam artist and huckster Donald Trump. Well sure, no argument.

But if you’re arguing that Hillary is better than that very low bar – Trump is irrelevant.

104

Tom M 09.14.16 at 4:33 pm

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2016/09/what-an-actual-scandal-looks-like

WaPo investigation of Trump Foundation. Using OPM to pretend you are donating to charity. I know of Trump from 20+ years ago from bank group in Trump Plaza, Trump Shuttle and the NJ casinos. Fun times. Better fun for Citi.

105

Cian 09.14.16 at 4:45 pm

If you want to reward, or bribe, someone, and you’re smart, the Clinton commodities trade has always been the smart approach. There are two methods:
1) Front Running, or insider trading.
2) Allocating profits from larger block trades.

The reason these are good methods, are that they were hard to trace (you can do similar things for money laundering purposes), and it’s hard to prove malfeasance (particularly if the participants are reasonably sophisticated). So nothing was ever proven, but it’s unlikely if she was guilty of something that it would have come out.

The most plausible explanation (sorry) is that it was a financial favour of some kind. Maybe to a political friend (Clinton was notoriously friendly to Tycho), maybe a bribe, maybe just an initiation into a local network of back scratching. The least plausible explanation is that Hillary played at commodities futures for a little while (on virtually no margin [more rules bending], in a notoriously brutal market) and made out like a bandit. Sure it’s not impossible – it’s just not likely.

The other aspect of this story is it illustrates how avaricious the pair of them are (something they shared with Tony Blair – does seem to be a trait of third politicians). They were actually earning a very good income at the time. It just wasn’t enough. And maybe it’s just me, but that’s not what I look for in politicians.

> Yes, this is more or less the disingenuous position: We couldn’t prove a crime, but that doesn’t mean there was no crime. Tell me, when would that criticism not apply, to anyone?

Hmm. Except the problem is that the things that Hillary has been involved in have generally been things that are suspicious. She has a history of this. Market innocents do not typically make huge sums engaging in cattles futures trading. Some might say that if one has just saved UBS from a huge (and entirely justified) tax bill – the large sum of money that they gave your husband looks like a nice bribe. Is it illegal? No. Does it look corrupt? Absolutely.

Or take the email thing. Best case explanation. The very best case. Is that she did it because she wanted to shield her governmental emails from Freedom of Information requests. That’s no trivial thing.

But okay, let’s set that aside. She was on the board of Walmart. This great feminist hope was on the board of Walmart. No she’s not Trump, but she’s pretty bloody terrible.

106

phenomenal cat 09.14.16 at 4:47 pm

Thanks for the historical view, J-D @82.

Layman, as always, your wit and insights are deeply appreciated.

107

Suzanne 09.14.16 at 4:55 pm

@80: Trump’s is a stunt candidacy that got way out of hand, although it is true that the GOP tend to nominate their presidential candidates on the basis of “it’s his turn,” which is why oldsters like Dole and McCain get the nod. The Democratic bench of contenders was not that strong, because the party has stagnated at the state and local levels during the Obama years. Those who might have considered a run, like Cuomo and later Biden, were frightened off by Clinton’s organization; she was in a much stronger position in 2016 than she was in 2008.

108

J-D 09.14.16 at 10:01 pm

Is the possibility of death (or incapacitation by illness) while in office something that should count against somebody’s suitability for the Presidency? Anybody might die or be incapacitated by illness. At what point should it become issue? when the actuarial probability is greater than 1%? or 5%? or greater than the probability for the rival candidate? or what?

I fully understand that people will be concerned about this sort of thing; my view is that it’s a silly concern.

You might elect a President in perfect health who develops brain cancer in office and dies. Then the Vice-President would become President. That’s what you have a Vice-President for. If you think the Vice-Presidency is a bad idea, that’s what you should be worried about. (If you think the Twenty-fifth Amendment is a bad idea, that’s what you should be worried about.)

109

Faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 10:40 pm

More assertions without evidence. Perhaps cian doesn’t know about the CHAI or the role of ART in HIV prevention, or perhaps cian has been drinking right wing kool aid again, but we see – of course – no explanation of how the Clinton foundation was terrible on HIV. We hear nothing about what went wrong in Haiti, but perhaps we can infer that cian thinks the UN did a great job there? And of course we get no names about who the powerful people in its global network are, and how they are controlled. What are the powerful positions they are in? Whore they, and how does the foundation control them?

Really this is x files level stuff here. We’re more than 100 comments in and not a single name, not a single process described, no facts or references, just a lot of insinuations based on nothing. But I note that when I google any of these things I immediately find a host of right wing websites all publishing the same conspiracy theory rumor – WND type sites really at the bottom of the right wing food chain – all with the same fact free assertions and sinister implications. Is this where you are getting this rubbish from?

110

Sebastian H 09.14.16 at 11:01 pm

“Sebastian H: “That isn’t at all nothing to criticize.”

Yes, this is more or less the disingenuous position: We couldn’t prove a crime, but that doesn’t mean there was no crime. Tell me, when would that criticism not apply, to anyone? You, for example?”

I don’t agree. Politicians made the anti-bribery LAWS and as such they are really hard to hit politicians with. That doesn’t mean that serious corruption doesn’t happen that just means that much of it isn’t illegal.

As for Trump, he is pretty clearly even more crooked than Clinton. That doesn’t mean the Clinton’s level ought to be considered ok.

111

Faustusnotes 09.14.16 at 11:06 pm

You don’t seem to be able to give any evidence of clintons level though.

112

bruce wilder 09.14.16 at 11:19 pm

J-D @ 107

I agree. I don’t see how health is a legitimate disqualification. A lot of Presidents (and Presidential candidates for that matter) have had serious health issues. That’s what we get by electing mature mortal human beings. Maybe in the future, our corporate citizenry will nominate a self-driving Uber car, but until then we’re stuck.

I do think issues of mental acuity might become a problem, if they manifest in public. (Think of the Texas governor who went on teevee addled by pain killers — bad move for someone who wasn’t that bright sober.) Short of an undisputed public display, I do not see how raising such speculatively is any thing but a Republican dirty trick.

113

Chris G 09.14.16 at 11:25 pm

> I’ve had [walking pneumonia] maybe 10 times

That’s no good. Walking pneumonia isn’t as big a deal as it once was but anything you need to take antibiotics for is not a minor ailment. Readily-available antibiotics lead us to downplay the significance of afflictions which require them but ailments which require antibiotics are still a big deal. (Afflictions which don’t require antibiotics but which we get antibiotics for anyway are a different story. Over-prescription of antibiotics is also a big deal.)

> Since I started getting a regular 8 hours sleep the colds that previously would turn into pneumonia occur about 1/4 as often, and last about half as long

Keep doing that. Think back to when you were getting n<8 hrs sleep. With the benefit of hindsight, was anything you were doing in those 8-n hours worth your health? Stay healthy!

114

harry b 09.14.16 at 11:44 pm

Chris G – thanks! Oh, no, I’ll never go back to not sleeping properly (if I can manage it). It was never really by choice, but after years of mild sleep deprivation due to children, it was very hard to relearn proper sleeping habits…

115

Sebastian_h 09.14.16 at 11:53 pm

Faustusnotes– you don’t seem to take statistical unlikelihood as evidence. That’s a bit off beat, but that doesn’t mean evidence hasn’t been presented to you. The investigations showed that the profits were almost certainly not due to her skill as a trader. They were unable to definitely prove the precise method of manipulation so there were no criminal charges under insider trading laws. There was no direct vote linked to the money so there was no prosecution under bribery laws. That’s why you get to say that it wasn’t technically illegal.

Great. I’m not saying it was illegal. I’m saying it was corrupt (and additionally the fact that it isn’t illegal says more about the too high levels of corruption politicians are willing to gain from when they write the laws on themselves.)

You can argue that giving hundreds of thousands (inflation adjusted it would be just under a million) of unearned dollars to the wife of a politician doesn’t strongly hint of corruption if you want. That’s fine. Others disagree and I’m one of them.

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Faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 12:02 am

Sebastian, I don’t take statistical unlikelihood as evidence because 1) it’s not, 2) the “statistical” calculation is no longer being used in the wiki so you actually don’t even have evidence that it was statistically unlikely, and 3) Google Sally fields and get back to me with stats as evidence. There’s a reason we don’t accept statistics as evidence, especially the kind of body stats people are waving around here.

You say corruption but you can’t tell me who benefited or how. You say technically illegal but you can’t even tell me the chance that she could have made the money by chance, and you can’t give any rebuttal of the inquiries that found she likely did nothing illegal. So I sun you’re waving around an unspecified improbability you don’t even know how to calculate, of something that you claim is highly unlikely but which we know other people did, that ha been inquires into twice and found to have been okay, that used unspecified illegal strategies by unspecified people who benefited in unspecified ways through unspecified politics actions taken subsequently I pursuit of unspecified goals.

That’s not evidence Sebastian, it’s conspiracy. When you can tell me how it differs from global warming denial (a cabal of scientists are collaborating to hide data so successfully that 20 years of skeptical inquiry can’t pin anything on them) or birtherism, get back to me.

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Peter T 09.15.16 at 12:21 am

I think the implicit standard for corruption here is deeply unreal, especially if applied in the US. Patronage, favours and cronyism are embedded in the US system at all levels – are,indeed, institutionally part of the system. Executive appointments to the public service? Decentralised power, often locally elected? Checks and balances, with the accompanying need to trade between factions to get anything done, at all levels from dog-catcher to White House? Party registration public and a two-party stranglehold reinforced by law? And all that before we start on lobbying or corporate power or PACs. The US is, to put it mildly, very different. Just as there are places where a certain amount of “corruption” is essential not only to obtaining a service, but also to keeping the populace fed, housed and safe, so in the US a certain amount of “corruption” is essential to keeping the government running.

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Charles S 09.15.16 at 12:36 am

Cian: “Or take the email thing. Best case explanation. The very best case. Is that she did it because she wanted to shield her governmental emails from Freedom of Information requests. That’s no trivial thing.”

The best case explanation (and the obvious one) is that she didn’t want to have to carry two devices and she didn’t want to send personal email from a .gov account. If she had been trying to avoid FoI requests, she would have destroyed her government emails after she left office (like Bush and Cheney did with their private server, and as Powell did with his non-.gov account). She would also have made sure the people she was communicating with also didn’t use .gov accounts (as Bush and Cheney did, as Powell did in emailing foreign heads of state from his private email). Instead, she only destroyed her personal emails and she communicated with .gov accounts, exposing the existence of her account.

So your “best case” is actually the worst case and not supported by anything real, just Clinton-hate.

119

Charles S 09.15.16 at 12:40 am

*heads of state* should be *dignitaries*

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Faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 12:53 am

Chan’s best case ask allows for the real possibility of worse cases that are dark and sinister and broody (like intentional treason) as the “more likely” option.

It’s funny how so many people accept vague statistical evidence that Clinton is a monster, but reject the strongest statistical evidence that co2 is warming the planet. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, but these clowns can’t even manage to be right once. Ever.

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bruce wilder 09.15.16 at 12:59 am

The U.S. government does not run. This isn’t greasing the proverbial gears; this is throwing sand in the gears.

In many respects, the corruption is aimed at preventing routine prosecution for economic crime and executive malfeasance — possibly Obama’s most important legacy being the blanket immunity given to banksters. As executive level leadership pays itself more and more — and the numbers have been staggering for quite a while — the money has to come from somewhere, and it often comes from looting institutions. As the high standard for executive pay has spread out from large business into non-profit sectors, the looting has disabled some institutions for which people have had genuine affection. The erosion of integrity in educational institutions is widely felt. Quite a lot of people are trapped in debt peonage by student debt or are experiencing the continuing deterioration of American health care and insurance under the pressure of high costs driven by greed and for-profit strategies.

There’s still a high-level of ethical inertia in American society I think, but it is eroding and with it the legitimacy of institutions. Sometimes, it seems like there’s just enough ethical inertia that scandals are exposed along with the political failure to respond proportionately, so the corruption is not contained but the popular disillusion is fed a steady diet.

With both candidates for President widely reviled for their dishonesty, it feels like this trend of declining legitimacy has the potential to get much worse or even reach a critical point. Certainly, the traditional two-party remedy of rotation in office is seriously blunted by the foreclosure of options.

I am inclined by temperament to be doomsayer, so I am not always a good barometer, but I sense a growing unease about financial and business stability — I am not talking about anything more than a routine recession, except that these circumstances make the potential for precipitating a political crisis of legitimacy from even a mild recession seem to me quite significant.

The inability of the U.S. military to win a war, or just end one cleanly, is also hanging out there after 15 years.

Even if you take the pejorative of “corruption” out of the analysis, the performance of U.S. elites on behalf of the country’s general welfare and their apparently insatiable demands for an increased share of income and wealth seems unsustainable.

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Faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 1:02 am

Obamas most important legacy was obamacare. As usual you failed as soon as you started.

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Sebastian_h 09.15.16 at 1:19 am

She won 100x her investment by short trading futures that were in the middle of a bull market. That’s unlikely for a neophyte. Very unlikely. But we’ve drifted way off the topic of health so I’ll leave it alone.

On the topic of health, for those focused on the theoretical question, you seem to be over weighting death as a concern as opposed to severely diminished capacity. (See for example Reagan). Death gets a clean transition to the VP. Diminished capacity opens up unsavory power plays from weird angles.

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bruce wilder 09.15.16 at 1:19 am

I am not going to engage with you, Faustusnotes. I am pretty sure your moral sense is broken.

As for Obamacare, anyone can read the headlines on healthcare inflation and the planned withdrawal of the mega-insurers from state exchanges, just as they can the continual dribble of stories about big bank malfeasance.

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Helen 09.15.16 at 1:42 am

Thanks for bringing some sense into this Thread O’Doom, Faustusnotes.

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Layman 09.15.16 at 1:45 am

Cian: “Really? In Haiti it was a disaster.”

Actually, I’m guessing you don’t have the slightest fucking idea how well it worked in Haiti, but that you are acquainted with a web site who describes it in the way you want to hear.

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anon1 09.15.16 at 2:18 am

Pneumonia?

I thought it was over heating or something like that. Oh yeah, that was the FIRST explanation. Now it is bacterial pneumonia.

Anybody see why there might be just a tiny trust issue with that?

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Faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 3:23 am

Anyone can also read about the 10 million people who got Medicaid and how it could have been 20 but for the stacked court; can read about the record low levels of uninsured, and satisfaction with plans, and the effective cost controls of the first two years; about the reduction in unnecessary hospitalization and post discharge deaths. Or we could give in to right wing scaremongering about how a couple of vindictive companies dropped out of some markets after Obama refused to give them a monopoly.

But it’s my moral sense that is adrift …

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Val 09.15.16 at 3:24 am

bruce wilder @ 123
I am not going to engage with you, Faustusnotes. I am pretty sure your moral sense is broken.

I used to have a lot of time for your contributions when I first started reading CT, but man you have really lost the plot.

If you are now prepared to say that somebody disagreeing with you is a sign that their moral sense is broken – words fail me.

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Val 09.15.16 at 3:29 am

And my American (or dual citizenship now) friend here is telling me the polls are now showing Trump closing on Hillary, and that really she now wonders if she’ll ever go back …

But just keep on with the Hillary hate BW (et al) – nothing really bad could happen (could it?)

It’s not like you’ve got a candidate who’s buddying up with Putin while threatening China, or anything like that

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Matt 09.15.16 at 3:41 am

Let me second comments by Val and Helen here (and so indirectly second Faustusnotes, who has done good work – some others, too.) But, while there is work to do, I don’t think it’s necessary to get too worried yet – Sam Wang, who has done better work on this stuff than anyone, still gives Clinton a 90% change of winning:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/sam-wang-wants-everyone-settle-down

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JimV 09.15.16 at 3:47 am

I wonder how many of us moralists would have been the first African-American president and used that position to try to send a lot of powerful white men to jail? I wished a lot of them could have gotten their just deserts but I wasn’t surprised that PBO, who campaigned with a promise of non-partisanship, did not want to walk into that firestorm.

The percentage of uninsured recently dropped to 8.6%, compared to about 20% when PBO took office, and health cost growth has slowed. No doubt we moralists could have done a lot better, against Republican opposition.

Why do I bother to type this and submit it? It’s all common knowledge which has already persuaded the persuadable. I guess in case PBO should happen to read this thread and find one more sympathizer.

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js. 09.15.16 at 4:09 am

JimV — If nothing else, there are other pseudonymous commenters that sympathize.

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efcdons 09.15.16 at 4:10 am

Faustusnotes @119

“It’s funny how so many people accept vague statistical evidence that Clinton is a monster, but reject the strongest statistical evidence that co2 is warming the planet. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, but these clowns can’t even manage to be right once. Ever.”

To whom on this thread are you referring? The imaginary global warming denying, Clinton hating leftists?

Anyway. Clinton was in a tough situation with her health “issues”. She couldn’t acknowledge being sick or look like she was ill in any way, what with the looking back on it, pretty diabolically clever groundwork Trump and his people laid with their constant low level grumbling about her health. But she also reinforced the narrative about her trustworthiness by not being completely honest and then being put on the spot with such a dramatic incident (the pretty scary looking way she passed out). Now she looks sick and untrustworthy. In hindsight it might have been better to have been more upfront about the pneumonia from the beginning. She would have still looked sick, but at least she wouldn’t be validating the “untrustworthy” storyline.

What is scary is her campaign has been basically predicated on being the serious, trust-me-with-the-nukes, “adult” option compared to Trump. I’m in Georgia and I have seen a lot of Clinton ads (which is new for a Democratic presidential candidate, at least since I moved here in ’07) but none of them have ever, not once, mentioned anything Clinton has done, plans to do, or anything like that. Maybe that’s because in GA she is trying to get GOP voters who won’t vote Trump (the ads are mostly Republicans talking trash about Trump) to vote for her.

If she is running as the anti-Trump option rather than talking about how she will be a good Hillary, she needs to actually look better than Trump. And this last week or two she hasn’t looked healthier than Trump. She has looked just as untrustworthy as Trump in a very facile, surface kind of way (It’s impossible to be more untrustworthy). She has looked as incompetent a campaign strategist as Trump and his team.

I think they need to get to ramping up the GOTV effort and rallying the base sooner rather than later. With Trump tamping down his buffoonery and her inability to, at the moment, project competence, the focus on the soft GOP voters to be With Her as the least bad option strategy is looking less viable every day.

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js. 09.15.16 at 4:15 am

By the way, did RNB get banned (which would be pretty unfair), or is he just taking a break?

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efcdons 09.15.16 at 4:16 am

Val @128

If anywhere was a “safe space” to engage with Clinton without endangering her candidacy by airing dissatisfaction (however valid one might think the criticism may be) it is here.

I’m pretty sure the GOP research teams aren’t trawling left wing philosophy and ideas blogs looking for a hot take to splash on the front page of the National Review or feed to their cronies on fox news.

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js. 09.15.16 at 4:19 am

Also, @96 — So when you said “almost everyone was wrong”, you meant “only a small minority of the people I read was right”? Maybe it’s just my poor grasp of English, but those don’t seem identical to me.

138

Peter T 09.15.16 at 4:20 am

bruce

Your often justified indignation is overwhelming your critical sense. “The U.S. government does not run” is hyperbole. The government encompasses a great deal more than high policy, and any government – indeed any large organisation – always has patches of inefficiency or failure. A country with thousands of governments will have more such areas than most (the US has 9,000 plus police departments; Australia has 8).

In many areas the US is not doing well, in others it does a reasonable job; in many other areas (eg much local government) it has never done well, probably never could do well, and does not mean to do well, if by “well” one means working towards the welfare of all citizens.

Brutal incompetence has been the foreign policy norm since at least the 50s. A new FDR is not on the horizon and would not have the same level of political support anyway. Even the original could not deliver good government in Alabama, and doubtless traded in favours every day.

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faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 4:21 am

efcdons, I was referring to the vast web of right wing conspiracy websites from which supposedly intelligent people on this thread are getting their supposedly definitive information. These same websites all deny global warming and in the past have spent a lot of effort on looking for the smoking gun that shows it isn’t happening and it’s all a conspiracy.

Your concerns about Clinton are, quite simply, the response to years of pre-conditioning by the media. With any other candidate they wouldn’t exist, but because of years of saturation-level accusations of dishonesty and corruption, no matter what Clinton does she will look suspicious to you. If she hadn’t collapsed but had released her health records (as she did today) and they contianed a diagnosis of pneumonia we would be seeing all the same accusations of dishonesty and lack of transparency. This isn’t about her actions, but about the environment in which they happened.

Just this last week, I have seen three examples of how coverage of everything about her is intended to deceive:

1) Matt Lauer’s obvious bias
2) A long Vox article about Bill’s speaking gig for a private college. This college performs no worse than most public colleges, and to all appearances is a real and actual college, but the article carefully distorted all language to make sure that every positive assessment of the college’s superiority relative to the rest of the private college industry was buried beneath an atmosphere of suspicion. Finally, the article stated with a straight face that Bill was hired for the job because he was the husband of the Sec of State. This is obvious, bald-faced bullshit, and yet there it was in print from a website I think we all agree is more sympathetic to clinton than most.
3) Politico coverage of one of Clinton’s emails, which contained a 7 page report from Chelsea about aid efforts in Haiti. This report was obviously Chelsea’s assessment of the totality of aid efforts by all organizations and the situation on the ground, and there was nothing in it about the Clinton Foundation at all, but the politico site still managed to write hte entire article as if this email contained a damning indictment of the Clinton Foundation’s efforts by Chelsea, that of course her mother supposedly subsequently buried.

If you are exposed to this level of biased reporting on one woman for 20 years, of course everything she does is going to seem suspicious.

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J-D 09.15.16 at 4:33 am

Sebastian_h 09.15.16 at 1:19 am


On the topic of health, for those focused on the theoretical question, you seem to be over weighting death as a concern as opposed to severely diminished capacity. (See for example Reagan). Death gets a clean transition to the VP. Diminished capacity opens up unsavory power plays from weird angles.

Actually I have already referred to incapacitating illness as well as death in an earlier comment, but I’ll repeat myself.

Is the possibility of capacity diminished by illness something that should count against somebody’s suitability for the Presidency? Anybody’s capacity might be diminished by illness. At what point should it become issue? when the actuarial probability is greater than 1%? or 5%? or greater than the probability for the rival candidate? or what?

On this point there is one historical precedent. Probably nobody knows for certain, or ever will, the extent to which Woodrow Wilson’s capacity was diminished by his stroke in 1919, or the extent to which decisions about running the country were actually made by his wife. But also nobody foresaw that situation when he was running for election in 1912, or for re-election in 1916. Somebody in 1916 who said ‘We shouldn’t vote for the candidate who might have a severe stroke’ would have had no way of knowing whether that was more likely to be Wilson or Hughes. ‘Because the candidate might have a serious illness in office’ would not have made sense as a reason not to vote for a candidate in 1916, and it doesn’t now in exactly the same way.

The Wilson precedent is part of the reason the Twenty-fifth Amendment was adopted, providing a mechanism for dealing with similar situations. Possibly it’s an inadequate mechanism, but if you think so then it’s the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment which constitute your problem.

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harry b 09.15.16 at 4:51 am

Personally, I am annoyed with Faustusnotes for eroding still further my lack of enthusiasm for HRC. If this continues, I’ll be have shed my unenthusiasm completely by November.

And levels of unenthusiasm matter. I’ve had a number of people who wouldn’t dream of not voting for HRC ask me to make them feel more enthusiastic, because they think I’ll be able to give them reasons, and they know that if they (genuinely, authentically) feel more enthusiastic they’ll be better able and more inclined to persuade others. But that kind of enthusiasm cannot be engineered from inside, it needs to come from engagement with reasons (at least for my, apparently cerebral, correspondents).

JimV — I disagree (about it not being worth saying things that people should already know). People take time to change their minds, and making arguments over and over, in slightly different ways, with different tones (and from different people) has value, even though it seems kind of pointless when you are doing it. There’s a lot wrong with Obamacare (there is, really!), but it is a spectacular achievement in a crappy situation. Maybe it could have been better, but none of us would have had the skill to get a much worse version through, let alone a better one. So, thanks for saying what you said (and Faustusnotes too).

I know a really good HRC joke that dates back to 1992, and sounds, throughout, as though it is going to be sexist and against her, but isn’t either (its basically a pro-HRC joke, which has even more force now than it did then). I know another really joke that I heard in 1974 from a primary schoolmate in provincial England, about a black guy from the deep south that sounds, throughout, like it is going to be racist, and isn’t, and which no American I have told it to has ever heard. (In that case, I regularly marvel at where the hell a working class Aylesbury 11-year old boy got it from). I love telling both of them in liberal company, because I love how uncomfortable they get as the punchline nears. I don’t know why I’m telling you this!

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efcdons 09.15.16 at 4:53 am

faustusnotes @137

I don’t know how you got in my head. Otherwise how would you know what I’m thinking versus what I think “people” are seeing? Are you denying the way this has played out in the media, for whatever reason, is Clinton’s health has become an issue and her reputation for being untrustworthy (deserved or not) has been reinforced?

What’s kind of a little interesting is a comparison with the the way Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Clinton here have been treated by the media, the reaction of their supporters, and the reaction to the reaction of their supporters.

Both have been been treated very unfairly with the media being biased toward negative stories and giving any tom, dick, and harry a platform to say what they want about them as long as it’s negative.

Their supporters have complained about how unfair it is, but for Corbynites the reaction of the Serious types have been “suck it up, everyone knows the media would be against him, that’s why he is such a bad candidate, and he deserves it too.” But for Clinton the “how unfair!” moaning has been treated as a legitimate complaint which reflects more on the sorry state of our media rather than on the candidate. And I’m not comparing them as candidates, politicians, public figures, their relative accomplishments, or anything like that.

In the primary (I’m probably going to regret going back there) one of the arguments was whether Clinton, with her long reputation and years of rough media treatment, would be in a sense inoculated from her reputation or media treatment getting any worse because what else could they say about the person who has had to deal with what she has dealt with and has had the type of media scrutiny she has faced over decades. Or if her long history and the years of her every move being under the spotlight would make the horse race media coverage even worse for her because of the way the past would be used to contextualize anything that happened in the present in a way that served to reinforce her negatives (which were known from the beginning).

It looks like it will be (2). Her media “immune system” hasn’t been strengthened through previous exposure. It has seemingly been weakened.

When you say “With any other candidate they wouldn’t exist, but because of years of saturation-level accusations of dishonesty and corruption, no matter what Clinton does she will look suspicious to you.” you are pretty much admitting it too.

And what does moaning about the unfairness of it all do other than maybe serve to work the refs a little (which I suppose is a legitimate strategy)?

Whether her treatment is unfair, sexist, biased, whatever, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the way she responds. Thankfully she isn’t taking a page from your book and accusing everyone who even notices how she might be being perceived as having some sort of false consciousness born from “pre-conditioning”. What’s next, is the media going to force life long Democratic voters to vote for Trump with a pre-conditioned code phrase? The Manchurian voters!

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phenomenal cat 09.15.16 at 5:02 am

faustusnotes–
“Your concerns about Clinton are, quite simply, the response to years of pre-conditioning by the media.”

You are literally insulting the intelligence of your interlocutors.

“A long Vox article about Bill’s speaking gig for a private college. This college performs no worse than most public colleges, and to all appearances is a real and actual college, but the article carefully distorted all language to make sure that every positive assessment of the college’s superiority relative to the rest of the private college industry was buried beneath an atmosphere of suspicion. Finally, the article stated with a straight face that Bill was hired for the job because he was the husband of the Sec of State. This is obvious, bald-faced bullshit, and yet there it was in print from a website I think we all agree is more sympathetic to clinton than most.”

This is a very poor summary of the article that calls into question whether you actually read it. Be that as it may, the “college” in question is not private. It is a network of for-profit colleges. Private and for-profit are very, very different models for higher-learning (at least they used to be, but you know, general institutional crapification being what it is these days the line is getting blurrier all the time). Clinton (William) graciously accepted a cool 18 million to act as a “honorary chancellor”, according to the article. I’m sure he earned it– or if not, the sum was surely merited. We live in a glorious meritocracy after all where everyone, especially people like Bill Clinton and David Patreus and Eric Holder and Rahm Emanuel and Colin Powell–should I go on?, gets what they deserve.

It is interesting though. JQ has been banging about tribalism for while now here at CT. I’ve always thought the the term/concept was sorely lacking in the anthropological and analytical subtlety necessary for interpreting the current political scene, but it seems a goodly number of CT commenters are dead-set on proving me wrong.

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J-D 09.15.16 at 5:24 am

Matt 09.15.16 at 3:41 am

Let me second comments by Val and Helen here (and so indirectly second Faustusnotes, who has done good work – some others, too.) But, while there is work to do, I don’t think it’s necessary to get too worried yet – Sam Wang, who has done better work on this stuff than anyone, still gives Clinton a 90% change of winning:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/sam-wang-wants-everyone-settle-down

As I recall it, after the 2012 election Sam Wang conceded that he had been slightly out-performed by Drew Linzer, and mused publicly about getting out of the business as a result, although (as is evident) he didn’t. And Drew Linzer’s also still going, and currently giving Hillary Clinton a 77% chance of victory.

(Drew Linzer’s latest figures here:
http://elections.dailykos.com/app/elections/2016;
Sam Wang’s latest figures here:
http://election.princeton.edu/)

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faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 5:38 am

efcdons and phenomenalcat, I’m not attempting to insult your intelligence or doubting it. I’m simply observing that 20 years of saturation coverage of lies and insinuations changes the way you think about a person, and it’s really obvious that this is happening to a lot of people in the USA. This has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with feelings. I think a lot of people can’t see how the coverage is affecting them, but if you pause to think about what level of detail you’re getting, where the criticisms of her originate, who is pushing them and how they’re being presented, you’ll realized you are in a political culture that is literally steeped in hatred of her. Hence your weird and completely non-cerebral reaction to the simple fact of her getting a disease that 68 year olds often get, and not telling anyone about it (did it occur to you at any point that she might not have known?)

Phenomenalcat yes I definitely did read the Vox article in question, and if you don’t think that the language is twisted and weird then all I can say is yes, you are so steeped in the culture that you’re starting to lose your appreciation of how weird it is. What about the part where they say he was hired because he was the husband of the secretary of state? Where on earth do you think that comes from except a really weird and twisted perspective on the Clinton family? What about the weird language that attempts to bury every positive assessment of the college? It immediately struck me as weird and twisted, just like the politico article (which I note you haven’t responded about) was obviously a laboured attempt to manufacture evidence of nothing.

Also I’m not saying “this is unfair!” Where did I say that? I’m talking about how people interpret news and why they need to think twice about kneejerk judgments, not about whether the media reporting is unfair. I’m not giving clinton advice about how to deal with the negative press she gets – she’s got 20 years’ experience of that, I’m sure she can do fine. I’m suggesting to you that you need to revisit the way you assess Clinton’s actions and your opinion of her in light of the constant dripfeed of negative lies you’ve been mainlining for the past 20 years.

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Alex K--- 09.15.16 at 7:38 am

Clinton’s underlying condition could be trivial to non-existent, as the OP suggests. It’s the handling of the issue by her campaign and the campaign-friendly media (such as the WaPo) that leaves a taste of cover-up. (Which is perfectly compatible with a scenario in which there was precious little to hide from the beginning.) Blanket denial and accusations of right-wing tinfoilery was the party line until the latest episode, when the “me or your lying eyes” approach finally failed.

Trump has not released his medical records either, but his tight campaign schedule has been signaling that he is in good shape: short-term fitness if not long-term health.

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TM 09.15.16 at 8:14 am

There have been some interesting comments on corruption in US politics. To me, the measure of the moral if not monetary corruption in US politics is Flint. Here, a government knowingly proceeded to poison thousands of its minority citizens in order to save a trivial amount of money. And the politically responsible governor is still in office, after the full measure of the facts have come out. I can’t think of many countries other than the US where this could have happened. Even in some of the more obviously corrupt places, at least the governor would have been forced to resign if not been charged criminally. Furthermore, in most countries, such a scandal during a national election campaign would be a constant front burner. In the US it’s ghostly to what extent it is a non-issue, completely forgotten during the heat of one of the bitterest election campaigns in which all kinds of trivial matters get exposed at length. I don’t know what explains this but I find it spooky.

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Z 09.15.16 at 8:41 am

Lynn @3 “I’ve been imagining the different spin this would have had had she been a man”. In fairness, when Sarkozy (then president and as macho and right-wing as ever) collapsed from a vasovagal syncope, he was broadly ridiculed for it in the media.

On the whole “crooked Hillary” theme, the advantage of being a foreigner is that you have a nice epistemic test. God knows that I am no fan of Hillary, to the point that I can see serious reasons (extreme hawkishness with a cynical disregard for human lives, almost absurd disregard for the most basic procedural tenets of democracy…) not to vote for there even when the alternative is so manifestly an order of magnitude worse, but until today (this thread included) I have never learned anything interesting from the proponents of the “industrial scale corruption.”

I mean, I am all for learning something about bad about her, but a link to a Wikipedia article about fishy trading to the tune of 100,000$ (probably to be said in Austin Power’s voice) that did not even lead to an investigation and which occurred before I was born? Really?

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harry b 09.15.16 at 12:26 pm

Well, the health issue people worry about with Trump is mental health. But its unlikely that he has the self-insight to have sought any help with that, so his records are kind of irrelevant.

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Layman 09.15.16 at 12:42 pm

‘Clinton (William) graciously accepted a cool 18 million to act as a “honorary chancellor”, according to the article. I’m sure he earned it– or if not, the sum was surely merited.’

Former President gets paid money and given honorary title because he’s a former President. Alert the media! In other news, dog bites man.

24+ years of attacks, and still no crime discovered. What can it mean?

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Layman 09.15.16 at 12:57 pm

“In fairness, when Sarkozy (then president and as macho and right-wing as ever) collapsed from a vasovagal syncope, he was broadly ridiculed for it in the media.”

Maybe, but if you google ‘general fainted’ you’ll find links to at least 7 different US military general officers who fainted or collapsed in public in recent years. The list includes Republican Saint General David Petraeus, who actually fainted while testifying before Congress. Will Republicans say Petraeus suffers from a secret malady which disqualifies him for high office? The answer is obvious.

This of course leads to another question with an obvious answer: Will Republicans say that Petreaus’s selling of state secrets to a journalist disqualifies him for high office?

152

Sebastian_h 09.15.16 at 1:35 pm

“I’m not attempting to insult your intelligence or doubting it. I’m simply observing that 20 years of saturation coverage of lies and insinuations changes the way you think about a person, and it’s really obvious that this is happening to a lot of people in the USA. This has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with feelings. “

I know you can’t be held responsible for the whole world, but it is very jarring to be confronted with this argument when so recently we were vigorously hectored that we should be scared of voting for Sanders because he might have something scary the media hadn’t latched on to while Clinton had already had her past inspected so she was safer.

153

Trader Joe 09.15.16 at 1:44 pm

@143faustnotes
I agree with your point about anti-HRC bias having marinated for decades. That said, for the vast majority of swing voters – and really that’s all its about at this point, base voters are base voters – perception is reality.

If every media outlet says HRC is ill, you should worry, there’s only a tiny fraction of voters who are going to take your advice and step back from the noise and quietly reflect on why that’s the case.

Do I think its a big deal – no. Does swing voter X in Ohio think it is? Probably, since more likely than not the reason they are a swing voter is that they don’t spend a lot of time thinking deeply about issues and gathering facts – that’s a trait associated with base voters. Swing voters are moved by impressions or motivated by positions on very particular issues or form an impression completely independent of political stance and vote based on unmeasurables such as likeability or trustworthiness both of which are created impressions, not facts.

The swing voter is the one who’s deciding this election so while you may be absolutely correct that its all lies, spin and propaganda that won’t be a lot of comfort when the Donald puts his hand on the bible and says the oath of office.

154

Faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 1:52 pm

Absolutely Joe . But I’m not arguing here with average voters (I have argued this with my gaming group and as the election closes in they are getting increasingly angry that I am right – but they are not American). I am arguing with ostensibly left wing people, who are buying into a bunch of right wing bullshit because obamacare isn’t perfect and something something war I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Hilary is female nothing nothing at all. This just happens to be the one time in history that right wing bullshit was 100% correct …

I really don’t have any suggestions for how Americans should deal with this, but I do have a suggestion for American leftists posting here: grow the fuck up.

Sebastian, I don’t think I ever said anything about Bernies health. But if I’ did I deserve a thorough spanking.

155

Manta 09.15.16 at 2:37 pm

Val @128

A candidate that is threatening China (in a military way, not in the merely economic way that seems the favorite sport of US politicians from both sides of the aisle) is Clinton: and she’s quite proud of it.

See for instance http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/92b23c8e-7349-11e6-bf48-b372cdb1043a.html
“For some US officials, including a few angling for senior positions in a future Clinton administration, the Hanoi meeting is evidence that she would be prepared to adopt a tougher approach to China. In Beijing, the meeting reinforced the impression that she was the principal China hawk within the Obama administration.”

I don’t follow US election so closely to know if Trump is also threatening China.

156

Ben 09.15.16 at 2:54 pm

harry b,

what’s the joke??

157

Layman 09.15.16 at 2:55 pm

@ Manta, nothing in the bit you quoted shows HRC ‘threatening China in a military way’. It says some unnamed people who aren’t Hillary Clinton and don’t work for Hillary Clinton think she might be ‘tougher’ on China, without saying what ‘tougher’ means,

158

Faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 3:06 pm

Another great example of what is happening in the media: manta knows nothing about trumps China policy (ha!) but has already heard that Clinton is going to invade China, having read a dishonest article in a major newspaper. I wonder how it is that this dishonest stuff always manages to leak out even as far as overseas observers…? What a coincidence that it happens to a woman who has been the subject of vicious right wing attacks for 20 years … How can this coincidence possibly have come about?

159

Manta 09.15.16 at 3:15 pm

Layman @155, read the article

160

Manta 09.15.16 at 3:19 pm

faustusnotes, please support your claim that the article is dishonest.
It seems pretty clear that Clinton is quite aggressive towards China, and not shy about it: but if you have credible sources that it is not so, please quote them.

See also http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/11/china-fears-hillary-clinton-focus-on-south-china-sea-human-rights-far-more-than-it-does-donald-trump.html

161

Manta 09.15.16 at 3:42 pm

“A year later, Clinton did a 180, and the dialogues have mattered little since. In a 2010 speech delivered in Hanoi she declared the South China Sea a “vital national interest” and asserted that the U.S. would mediate talks on questions of sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction. This was an open challenge to the Chinese, who had been pursuing bilateral settlements with their neighbors.”

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2016/07/25/Why-Clinton-s-China-Policy-Puts-More-Risk-Trump-s

But I suppose that for Faustusnotes it is only more proof of the fact that the press hates Hillary: talk about confirmation bias…

162

Layman 09.15.16 at 3:57 pm

“Layman @155, read the article.”

Manta @ 157, it’s paywalled, and I assume you’re competent enough that if you’re going to reproduce a quote, it will be a representative and damning quote. If I’m wrong, oh well.

163

Suzanne 09.15.16 at 3:59 pm

@150: Some may have hectored to that effect, but I think the legitimate point was that Sanders had hardly been vetted because no one thought he was going to win. The press did not examine him very closely, Clinton consistently pulled her punches, and Republicans were generally pleased that he was around to give HRC heartburn. He was never even given a particularly hard time about stalling over his tax returns, a position he shares in recent history with only Romney and Trump.

@144: Trump’s campaign schedule to date has been lighter than Clinton’s, despite his claims to the contrary. (He can’t even be bothered to call donors, although I don’t imagine that’s due to a weakness in his arm.) Clinton has released more details about her medical history than Trump, who until this week had provided only a rather bizarre letter from his bizarre doctor, who composed his missive in a few minutes while his patient waited in the limo. Your assurances that he looks robust to you do much to reassure me, however.

164

efcdons 09.15.16 at 4:02 pm

Faustusnotes @152

“(did it occur to you at any point that she might not have known?)”
Clinton’s incident happened on Sunday, 9/11.

On that same Sunday – “Several hours later, the campaign released a statement saying Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.”
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/295493-clinton-campaign-manager-dodges-on-pneumonia-timeline

She knew on Friday she had pneumonia. She decided to push through, which was an entirely reasonable decision. If she hadn’t collapsed the whole thing would have been a non-issue. Unfortunately she collapsed in a dramatic fashion that was caught on tape. She gambled and lost.

” If she hadn’t collapsed but had released her health records (as she did today) and they contianed a diagnosis of pneumonia we would be seeing all the same accusations of dishonesty and lack of transparency.”

Would we? It’s much easier to claim the pneumonia was a non issue when you don’t collapse and get literally dragged into a van by your security detail. That it’s barely worth mentioning but for the purposes of full disclosure and because Clinton believes so strongly in transparency she will. Nothing is going to placate the deplorables. But do you think WaPo would have had an article with the headline “Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign”?

The issue is the other 150 million odd registered voters and what they might do and how they might be feeling in reaction to all of this. I know that’s my frame for this conversation. I can’t speak for other people.

I will agree with you that the public perception of Clinton has been skewed by a multi-decade campaign of lies, smears, and innuendo directed at Bill, Hillary, Chelsea, as well as Buddy and Socks. So what should she do about it in this campaign in 2016?

165

Layman 09.15.16 at 4:09 pm

Manta: “It seems pretty clear that Clinton is quite aggressive towards China…”

Yet the linked article contains not even a hint of HRC ‘threatening China in a military way’.

Manta: “…talk about confirmation bias…”

Indeed, as you’ve just cited yet another article which does not report Clinton ‘threatening China in a military way.’

166

bruce wilder 09.15.16 at 4:43 pm

The issue is the other 150 million odd registered voters and what they might do and how they might be feeling in reaction to all of this. I know that’s my frame for this conversation. I can’t speak for other people.

hmmm

167

JimV 09.15.16 at 4:54 pm

Harry B @139, thanks very much for your reply. I agree that Obamacare can be greatly improved (in an ideal world). I would have been astonished if it could not be, believing as I do that, just as in biology, science, technology and all the useful works of humans proceed by an evolutionary process, i.e. mostly by trial and error from a basis of what has worked (and not worked) in the past. The only things that can stop that process are 1) refusing to try anything new such as Obamacare was (on a national scale), or 2) biasing the (natural) selection process so that evidences of success or failure are ignored.

Given that philosophy, it seems to me that people should be judged mainly on whether their cumulative efforts have produced progress, not so much on what they might have done better. Lincoln was willing to compromise on slavery and had a lot of very angry detractors (during his career). FDR did some questionable things. In the end they left things better than they found them. I don’t believe Trump will. I think Obama has, and HRC has a chance to.

168

PGD 09.15.16 at 5:22 pm

Obamas most important legacy was obamacare.

It is not a very impressive legacy. Yes, uninsurance is down from 15.7 to 9.1%, which is far less than promised, but it’s something. But the proportion of people driven into poverty by health costs has not declined, overall health spending is edging back up, household health costs have apparently not declined due to increases in co-pays and deductibles, and every American knows the system is as complex as ever. It accomplished something but it’s hard to see that the massive Obamacare apparatus has done more than could have been achieved by targeted expansions in Medicaid and Medicare and some cost control measures aimed at e.g. pharmaceutical costs, carefully left untouched in Obamacare. More modest and targeted efforts like that would not have carried the enormous downsides of the Obamacare push, which included immobilizing the Democratically controlled US Congress during the worst of the recession and losing any hope of Democratic Congressional control for at least a decade (the House will likely not be recaptured until 2020), which utterly immobilizes fiscal policy.

In some ways, Obama’s Iran agreement was a more impressive legacy, yet it is one of the legacies most under threat from Hillary, whose foreign policy record is truly frightening.

169

Suzanne 09.15.16 at 5:46 pm

@166: I rather doubt that the Iran agreement is in any danger from Clinton, since she is happy to take credit for laying the groundwork for it. Rhetorically she is reminding the Iranians not to take anything for granted while shielding her right flank from GOP attack as being too soft on Iran.

170

Manta 09.15.16 at 6:44 pm

Layman, it’s better if we agree to disagree then: people can read the articles themselves (about territorial disputes in the South China Sea) and reach their conclusions.

171

Suzanne 09.15.16 at 6:52 pm

@166: Given that HRC has been happy to take credit for laying the foundations of the Iran agreement, I doubt that she’s likely to want a debit for trashing it.

172

Layman 09.15.16 at 7:14 pm

Manta: “…it’s better if we agree to disagree then…”

No, it would be better for you to say “I can’t produce evidence for my claim that Clinton ‘threatens China in a military way’, so I should not have made that claim and I withdraw it,” since that is the actual state of affairs, but of course that would be too much for you, wouldn’t it?

173

Manta 09.15.16 at 7:18 pm

Layman @169, as I said, people can read themselves the articles, and reach their conclusions: this is the last thing I will write on the topic to you.

Regarding Suzanne@168, I agree with her: the Iran agreement (together the Cuba one) is probably the most important legacy of Obama’s foreign policy, and Hillary would be unlikely to reverse it (having been Secretary of State of the Obama administration).

174

phenomenal cat 09.15.16 at 7:52 pm

“It immediately struck me as weird and twisted, just like the politico article (which I note you haven’t responded about) was obviously a laboured attempt to manufacture evidence of nothing…I’m talking about how people interpret news and why they need to think twice about kneejerk judgments, not about whether the media reporting is unfair… I’m suggesting to you that you need to revisit the way you assess Clinton’s actions and your opinion of her in light of the constant dripfeed of negative lies you’ve been mainlining for the past 20 years.” faustusnotes @143

I referred to the Vox article b/c I had read it previously. I didn’t read the Politico article. Your last paragraph certainly may apply to any number of people–mostly those occupying the right-ish spectrum on our lovely human rainbow–but it doesn’t to me. Can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t appear to apply to others who have expressed various forms of Clinton skepticism here. Again, you are basically saying CT Clinton skeptics are ideological dupes who’ve been tricked into personal animosity of Clinton(s) by dubious and cynical propaganda–it doesn’t wash.

-I harbor no ill will toward the Clintons and never have. But I do find both of them, many of their policies, and the arc of their careers illustrative of the dominant sociopolitical order–it ain’t a good look. Layman would have us believe that an 18 million payday from a for-profit college for doing nothing is no biggie, presumably just like the Wall Street speaking gigs were no biggie. And that is also highly illustrative. There is precious little the governing class will not stand for–if the money’s right. The fundamental imbalance and grotesque inequality implied by this is one thing. The fact that Clinton or just about any other politician can’t even show the slightest inclination to stake out positions which might oppose moneyed interests or overly concentrated nodes of power means institutional capture is more or less an ontological condition at this juncture.
-Clinton theoretically could have staked out any number of semi-bold positions in the campaign. It would have intensified hard-right opposition (but who cares, that’s inevitable) and likely broadened and solidified her base of support, given current socioeconomic conditions and mood. Instead she’s thrown a few gnawed bones to the Sanders wing and primarily courted the Republican-lite vote–she’s got Robert Kagan’s and Eric Schmidt’s vote, thank god. The bathetic, conformist, status-quo protecting nature of the Clinton campaign has ensured that the Buffoonist remains within striking distance. That’s on her and her campaign–and it is also illustrative (see ontological condition above).
-Maybe systemic rot is an inevitable problem of scale as Rich P. keeps suggesting. I don’t know. I am, however, pretty sure Clinton’s lackluster lead in the polls and her tepid campaign is indicative of the utter insularity of governing class consensus. More of the same while nibbling politely on the margins is no longer an acceptable or convincing argument for the majority. Liberals and centrist boosters can continue to get on their high horse and go moralistically stampeding across the hordes of unwashed and bigoted masses, but it is a tactic that will only hasten defeat. The great political problem now is not rank partisanship, but the unquestioned consensus of the political-economic elite. Brexit was the first major signal. The potential election of Trump, the odds of which I put at over 50%, is the next.
-Really, there are signals everywhere yet the Clinton campaign has demonstrated little awareness. Why? I assume the lack of responsiveness is indicative of what pays and what they are paid to do. The cost may be very steep come November though.

175

Layman 09.15.16 at 8:06 pm

“Layman would have us believe that an 18 million payday from a for-profit college for doing nothing is no biggie, presumably just like the Wall Street speaking gigs were no biggie. “

No, that’s not what mean. I’m making the distinction between one argument (is the system corrupt?) and another argument (is this particular candidate especially corrupt?). I fully agree that free money for ex-presidents is corruption; I just don’t think it is extraordinary news when a system which rewards ex-presidents does so in this particular example. Further, corruption may be contagious, but is not necessarily transmitted by marital vows. Does Bill’s payday show that Hillary is corrupt? No, not necessarily. Even if it did, does it show that she’s more corrupt than her opponent? No.

176

Manta 09.15.16 at 8:10 pm

@171 phenomenal cat

“The fact that Clinton or just about any other politician can’t even show the slightest inclination to stake out positions which might oppose moneyed interests…”

From what I’ve read, the Obama administration has done some decent work against moneyed interests in education (and some bad work too, though).

177

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.16 at 8:41 pm

In my blue collar neighborhood here in New Jersey, I just had a long conversation with 4 Trump supporters at the gym, ages approx. 40-75 years. They all conceded that:

1. Trump could start another big war;

2. Trump will probably extend the “War on Terror” another 50 years, due to demonizing of Muslims;

3. Trump is probably as crooked as Hillary; and

4. disliking Hillary because she has a stiff personality on camera, is similar to voting for Bush over Gore — and all we know where that got us!

I’m not kidding: I got them to nod their heads in agreement to these points.

It still doesn’t matter… They are fed-up with politicians; politicians are all bad people; and this is a “change election” (their words).

It is emotion all the way down the line.

178

kidneystones 09.15.16 at 9:13 pm

Bill Clinton: Hillary ‘frequently’ faints. (Did I just say on camera that to Charlie Rose? Fuck.) ‘No, not frequently, umm rarely, on more than one occasion over maaaany, maaany years..But definitely not frequently.

CBS helpfully edits out Bill’s confusion. CBS edits transcript to assist Liar 1 lie to cover spouse Liar 2, running against Liar 3. Liar 1 and Liar 2 attended the wedding of Liar 3. Liar 1 and Liar 2 routinely request cash from Liar 3, who happily forked it over, but not for influence, of course. But because back when Liar 3 was donating to Liar 1 and Liar 2, Liar 3 had a big heart. Now, of course, Liar 3 is Hitler and Liar 1 and 2 are both Mother Theresa.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/kristine-marsh/2016/09/13/cbs-edits-out-revealing-verbal-slip-bill-clinton-hillarys-health

179

bruce wilder 09.15.16 at 9:23 pm

Without planning to, I have been making of a habit of quizzing Trump supporters I meet — if they seem amenable to responding in a reflective way — and I have yet to encounter any one who is “fooled” by Trump. This is obviously my subjective standard of “fooled”, but what I have in mind is someone who sends televangelists money or who thinks, say, that Trump as a “successful” business person would know how to run the government.

I don’t press for “predicting the future” rationales or challenge them with that kind of thing, and I don’t get many “predictions” spontaneously. “he does not talk like a politician” is the closest I’ve ever gotten to clarity. I’ve encountered a couple of people who are pretty sure Trump wouldn’t be able to do anything in office, because he wouldn’t know how, and they think that would be a good thing.

I’ve yet to run into a passionately enthusiastic Trump supporter — maybe that would be different — but as my sample size grows, I am beginning to question whether there is a Trump supporter (other than the man himself) who believes in Trump.

180

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.16 at 9:26 pm

No. In the unedited tape, Bill Clinton says that every time Hillary Clinton has been severely dehydrated, she has fainted. He uses “frequently” erroneously to mean “every time”, and corrects himself mid-sentence.

If you are going to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on his many manglings of language, you are going to have to give it to the Clintons, too.

181

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.16 at 9:30 pm

Another thing I got the guys at the gym to assent to, is that Trump is unlikely to do anything very differently than Hillary would, because the system is too complicated to change.

Almost all of them “believe in” the fact that he is “straight talking”, unlike politicians.

182

kidneystones 09.15.16 at 9:44 pm

No. I’m not giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, thanks, including you and your ‘everybody’ but me regards life through the prism of emotions.

Lee A. Arnold is our sole source of objective, rational neutrality. I’m surprised you feel the need to keep reminding us.

I’m not American and I don’t believe politicians, especially presidential-level prevaricators, tell the truth. In fact, I’d argue that the inability to lie effectively with a straight face is one of principal grounds for disqualification. That and an unwillingness to take money.

You want to believe that in this case Bill is telling the truth about a woman he’s involved/not involved with?

Go for it. Cause there’s clearly nothing partisan, or emotional in that kind of argument. Bill’s proven to tell the truth on the question of women, especially. All Democrats are – just as Jesse Jackson who ‘prayed’ with Bill over his zipper problem. Lying and politicians are synonymous, except to the donkey-loving dunces. Not you, of course!

You’re the exception.

183

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.16 at 9:51 pm

Kidneystones, I am no one’s source of objective, rational neutrality, but I think that I may be able to speak for everyone in observing that you are an emotional idiot.

184

Layman 09.15.16 at 9:54 pm

Seconded.

185

kidneystones 09.15.16 at 10:07 pm

‘I may be able to speak for everyone’ I’m delighted you feel you can. Now that you’ve conceded that you too belong to the human race, always a welcome admission, perhaps we can now place your ‘conversation’ with the Trump supporters in its proper context.

You did not, of course, lead the conversation in any particular direction in order to elicit any particular responses; The conversation flowed naturally over the course of several exchanges. You’re not neutral, you’ve been committed over the years to one political party, and have rarely (please correct me on any of these points) voted for a republican candidate, at least in the last thirty years.

In other words, you’re about as far from a neutral, emotionally detached interviewer as we might hope to find. All you need is neverTrump button to make it official. So, there’s not a hint of confirmation bias in your analysis.

Thanks!

186

Manta 09.15.16 at 10:38 pm

kidneystones,
1) Bill Clinton *may* be lying about his wife health, but the evidence in the interview is pretty weak in that regard (far more damning is the fact that CBS edited the interview in the way they did: but damning about CBS and its subservience to the cause, not about Hillary health).
2) Lee A. Arnold @174 did not give me the impression to say or imply that *he* is not biased too.
By the way, about his anecdote I am a bit surprised that 3 out of 4 remarks were about foreign policy: any explanation for that?

187

Faustusnotes 09.15.16 at 10:56 pm

Clinton supports a public option for obamacare, which one would think counts as staking out a “semi bold” position. Does anyone here even know this fact?

188

phenomenal cat 09.15.16 at 11:09 pm

Layman:

I got your drift, but beyond the obviousness of the problem, which you allude to, is Clinton’s seeming obliviousness. It’s why I claim that she is illustrative of elite political dynamics that are systemic. Set aside participation, just the inability or unwillingness to acknowledge the obscene accumulation of wealth and power happening at the top of the pyramid is enough to royally piss off a plurality of people at this historical juncture.

And this goes to Lee’s and wilder’s field research among the natives: yeah sure, Trump’s in on the racket, but that he’s willing to take random potshots at some consensus arrangements is enough for many people. One can think that misguided or even stupid, but it doesn’t change the state of play. I’m pretty sure the Clinton campaign thought they could play it close to vest, do a little triangulating here and there, let Trump trump himself, and skate on through to the Oval Office. And maybe it will work yet. I wouldn’t put money on it though.

I would put money on the strategy–coordinated or not–of corporate and government elites emerging from the woodwork to say, “trust us, you’ve got to vote for Clinton” being a guaranteed loser. Just further evidence of their extreme insularity and incapacity to sense, let alone properly assess, prevailing socioeconomic conditions and mood.

Manta:

I know very little about what Obama’s done re: education policy. I will second what others upthread have said about his FP. He’s done moderately well in his second term parrying the lunatics that would have the U.S. invading Syria, bombing Iran, and ramping up to a good long fight with Russia. Too bad he didn’t show more initiative on that front in his first term, but I think it’s very difficult to overestimate the concentrations of inertia and power located within the FP establishment and military-industrial complex. I always got the impression he was not really prepared for what he encountered in that arena and was led around by the nose for a while as a result.

189

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.16 at 11:27 pm

Kidneystones #182: “You did not, of course, lead the conversation in any particular direction in order to elicit any particular responses; The conversation flowed naturally over the course of several exchanges.”

I did not lead the conversation. You are correct.

They would find your implication (that I could lead the conversation into elicited responses) to be laughable. These guys are a whole lot savvier than you.

I do not have any emotions invested in the outcome of this election. You think I am like you, but I am not. You are easily emotionally excited, and then you make intellectual mistakes on account of it.

I have said repeatedly (and I told my friends at the gym; they know all about me!) that the reason I could never vote for Trump is because the demonization of Muslims is a major security mistake.

I have written here several times that I think Trump’s effectiveness will be almost identical to Clinton’s: i.e., not very effective. This follows from the fact that the world is a complicated place, and the President of the U.S. almost always ends up with half of the country in opposition.

(I know that Clinton supports the public option. What is unclear is whether Trump does or not, because he will say anything.)

190

kidneystones 09.15.16 at 11:30 pm

183 1/ Agreed. You’re right to point to the editing to remove the damning adverb ‘frequently.’ The cause of her collapse, of course, matters. That she ‘frequently’ faints when dehydrated points to a more troubling pattern of ignoring basic health requirements, especially considering she was hospitalized in the past and has suffered at least one concussion. The CBS is colluding with the campaign to edit interviews is not in the least surprising, and perhaps a more reliable data point than any other in explaining the success of both Sanders and Trump.

2/ Lee deserves credit for making commenters here aware of Trump early on. He’s not free from bias. I’m not that curious about his interactions with Trump supporters other than to know (same for BW) whether he actually announces his preference for Clinton (tribal antipathy towards Republicans) at the outset of his own discussions. I make my own pro-Trump biases clear in almost all cases. But I’m not really interested in why people vote for Clinton, so I don’t ask.

Re: the foreign policy questions? My guess is that Lee was attempting to ‘demonstrate’ to Trump supporters that he’s likely to be every bit as reckless as HRC. Trump indeed may.

But, as I discussed with my son last night, Trump has yet to bomb anyone. HRC, on the other hand (who I liked) has left a bloody trail of broken bodies and destroyed societies from Libya to Mosul, and that’s after ‘realizing the error’ of supporting interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trump may become the candidate of the donor class and the neocons. The former SecState is and has been the candidate of the donor class and the neocons. Trump is not particularly ideological, or honest. The first is a plus, and the second goes with the territory. He’s capable, at least on some level, pragmatic, and clearly a keen student willing to adapt and learn on the fly.

There’s ‘We came, we saw, he died’ and another candidate. That candidate isn’t Ted Cruz, or Jeb Bush, so for a neutral who opposes bloody regime-change there’s not much to discuss. I also think African-American urban communities should be able to choose charter schools without fighting their Dem rulers. But that’s on the domestic side.

To conclude: she tips over and on at least on occasion her ‘fainting’ led to severe concussion and hospitalization. She’s 68, stubborn, arrogant, and secretive by nature.

No wonder she’s so popular.

191

phenomenal cat 09.15.16 at 11:33 pm

faustusnotes:

That’s one of those “gnawed bones” thrown at Sanders supporters I mentioned upthread. I’ll reserve judgement on how serious her administration would be about pushing it through.

Maybe she’s still talking about it in her campaign and I have missed it–entirely possible–but she seemed to be talking about it a lot more when Sanders was a perceived threat, before the inevitable pivot toward that hallowed “middle” the media and pollsters are always fretting over.

192

kidneystones 09.15.16 at 11:34 pm

@ 186 Thanks for the clarifications.

I don’t think we get a choice about emotional investments, for the most part, or about tribalism, or theologies. You claim the power to master all three.

Kudos!

193

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.16 at 11:38 pm

Phenomenal cat #185: “I’m pretty sure the Clinton campaign thought they could play it close to vest, do a little triangulating here and there, let Trump trump himself, and skate on through to the Oval Office.”

I don’t think so, exactly. It is imaginable that they waited to see how Trump would fare, but the smart money was always on a tightening race. They probably have a Plan B for the end game.

Hillary’s main problem is that her stiffness on camera reinforces the perception that she is not forthcoming. Camera personality is a very difficult thing to fix. I think she ought to try doing the debates as a low-key, conversational policy wonk, and stop putting emphasis on every assertion. Sort of do it as a teacher relating the various policy histories of the Untied States and what the options are now, and DO NOT be political about it. Stop being a politician, and show the vast knowledge she has.

194

Lee A. Arnold 09.15.16 at 11:53 pm

Kidneystones #187: “preference for Clinton (tribal antipathy towards Republicans)”

They know my preference for Clinton — and that I do NOT have antipathy to Republicans! Half of my close friends are Republicans! But I am fascinated by the etiology of the tribalism on both sides.

195

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 12:04 am

@190 Stop being a politician? That should be easy. ‘Sort of do it as a teacher…’

Great idea! Here’s how Hillary tested in 2006 before she earned her reputation as ‘crooked Hillary.’ Hot mic between Matthews (suck-up to the powerful) and Tom DeLay.

Matthews: ‘Oh of course it was. We went on the air as fast as we could … Have you seen this new focus group stuff on the candidates?
DeLay: No I haven’t.
Matthews: It’s great stuff!
DeLay: Really?
Matthews: I’ll send it to you. It’s great, it’s great stuff.
DeLay: Really?
Matthews: Hillary, John Kerry, all these guys … Frank Luntz did it. [Matthews is referring to the conservative pollster.]
DeLa: Oh, I like Frank Luntz.
Matthews: Hillary did not do well.
DeLay: Really?
Matthews: Kerry did well.
DeLay: You’re kidding!
Matthews: I am not kidding. They didn’t like [John] Edwards, they thought he was a rich lawyer pretending to care about poor people.
DeLay: Too slick.
Matthews: Hillary was know-it-all.
DeLay: Nothing worse than a woman know-it-all.’

‘My name is Hillary Rodham Clinton, remember me? I know better than you what’s best.’
Hillary Clinton lecturing America on the deplorables. That’s a winning strategy!

Let me introduce myself, again, and again, and again. Ok.

Her best strategy is to lie, lie, lie, and lie with big smile and let the ‘moderators’ and Dem media allies attack Trump and then misrepresent everything he says.

That’s your Plan B.

Same as Plan A.

196

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 12:05 am

Oh yeah, the link via Salon: http://www.salon.com/2006/04/05/matthews_13/

197

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 12:08 am

@ 191 So, you’re not pretending to be a master of mind-control, your own emotions, tribalism, theologies, and your own prejudices? If not, good for you.

Am I wrong about you being a life-long donkey supporter who’s never voted for a Republican? Could be.

Cheers, time for my nap.

198

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 12:19 am

Kidneystones, the reasons why you would think that everybody will think like you may remain an eternal mystery.

Back here in Reality, citing the Matthews-DeLay snorer as indicative of Hillary’s problem is only indicative of you, once again, being an emotional idiot. Beyond that, citing DeLay about anything is crazy.

Taking a nap is exactly what will not fix any of these problems.

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kidneystones 09.16.16 at 1:04 am

@ 195 I won’t be napping, actually. That’s a polite way of saying ‘other things to do.’

You’re making a huge leap from a 2006 set of responses to HRC and my own views. I’ll thank you not do it. Surely, my own views stated here offer plenty to attack. I don’t believe ‘everybody’ thinks like anybody, least of all me. I believe your confirmation biases blind you to the fact that many outside your tribe hear Trump’s words differently than you. To your credit, you often implicitly acknowledge as much. You’re not just trying to change minds, you’re engaging with Republicans to learn, even if the former requires the latter.

As it happens, I tend to enjoy ‘know it all women’ unafraid of ruffling male feathers. I’m aware, however, that a sizeable portion of the male world does not (and in many cases, the female world, too). I supported both Bill and Hillary. That support began to erode when I learned more about Bill’s domestic and foreign policy decisions. His/her sex life is immaterial.

Reviewing your 195, I suspect you did not actually read the Salon off-air discussion. In the exchange, it is Matthews making the claims, not DeLay. DeLay is simply responding. Had you read just the final two sentences you’d figure out that much. Both are responding to Luntz and his focus groups.

Worse, you badly represent historical hostility to Hillary and its causes. Hillary Clinton did not run for President in 1992, and was a political neophyte prior to being appointed by her husband, no less, to a leadership position in a task force dedicated to upending the entire way states and the nation conducted health care.

Bill finessed his way into the WH with a mere 43 percent of the vote, thanks to Ross Perot. Bill’s ability to claim support for any of his policies very much in question.

Yes, lots of men, and some women, used the appointment of HRC as vehicle for women-hatred. That does not change the fact that her own financial and personal history was a full of holes as that of any male politician. She did make a small fortune very much against the odds in futures, despite having no prior aptitude for the practice. Like many I watched the painful 60 Minutes interview in which Bill and Hillary claimed undying love despite separations and numerous Bimbo extravaganzas the like of which sank the career of Gary Hart. At the time, I didn’t care. I simply didn’t want H.W. Bush, or Perot, in the WH.

Hillary very clearly lacks Bill’s charm and personal skills, or those of Obama. Michelle is better and may very well become the first female and the first African-American female president. She’s unlikely to follow that route, but who knows.

Hillary earned her reputation in 1993-4 as ‘know-it-all’ woman because she wonked-up to understand health-care and then proceeded to lecture a great many people who a/did not vote for her husband – the president; b/ did not want healthcare reform of the kind Hillary was selling; and c/ did not like being lectured on the topic by an individual who clearly owed her entire position to family connections. The fact that the lectures were delivered by a highly-intelligent woman utterly unable to charm, or persuade left a largely indelible impression on large sectors of the electorate.

Ironically, she owes her entire political comeback to Monica Lewinsky. During the discussion of impeachment and Bill’s many public prevarications, Hillary slipped easily into the role martyred wife, rather than her former identity as corrupt and cynical political operator. Monica, lest we forget, was far from the first of Bill’s many flings. Hillary cannot have been shocked or surprised.

Hillary stood by her man in an act of political theater worthy of any family values political survivors. Here we are two decades later listening to Bill and Hillary claim undying love and utter transparency.

Voters are right not to trust her.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 2:00 am

Kidneystones #196: “You’re making a huge leap from a 2006 set of responses to HRC and my own views.”

No, YOU made that leap. The rest of this comment #196 is more explanation, justification and defense of your emotions. The only people who care, who will find it intellectually valid, are trapped in the same emotions. Otherwise it is all palpable nonsense.

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faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 2:11 am

Clinton supports a public option. Obama proposed reviving it in his JAMA article and the plan was discussed again in this week’s NEJM. It’s on her website and she talked about it. This isn’t just some “gnawed bone,” it’s the next step in Obamacare and if the Democrats win big it’s going to happen.

More generally, if you’re not sure what the policies of the two contenders are, you can check their websites. Rather than waffling on here about “I don’t know whether Trump would introduce a public option,” you can check his healthcare policy and you’ll find it doesn’t include any such thing, and is actually just a classic republican non-plan. If you ever have any doubt about whether this blustering, idiotic, narcisstic, authoritarian racist has a plan to help poor people, here’s an easy answer to your question: he doesn’t and he never will. If you are considering this possibility while trying to see through the murk of his pronouncements, the problem is not his personality or his confused speeches but your ability to judge politicians. This man will never help poor people in any way, and if you don’t understand that you have no idea how politics and power works. Which is why seeing people like Bruce Wilder equivocating on these kinds of things is so hilarious.

And why it’s also weird that people don’t trust Clinton to do things she has repeatedly said she will do, but can’t be sure whether Trump might do a thing he has never said he will. Once again I point you to the history of lies and slanders directed at Clinton, and ask whether you’re making a serious, balanced judgment of her or whether you’re unconsciously (or in the case of some people here, consciously) being biased by 20 years of media lies and deep-seated misogyny. Because right now running for president we have a competent woman who is mildly left wing (by America’s pathetic standards), who is serious about doing things to help women and poor workers, and who is basically human; and a radioactive turd in a suit who is a pathological liar, a known fraud and con artist, a failed business man, an out-and-out-racist and probably stricken by several florid personality disorders. If you can’t tell the difference in honesty, integrity and commitment between these two people, you have serious problems making any political judgments at all.

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Val 09.16.16 at 2:34 am

Just to add a mild addendum to fn’s wholesale condemnation (is it needed? Oh well) the thing that amazes me, as a non-American, is that much of the criticism of Hillary is about her being too close to corporate financial interests. Which is, ok, fair enough, I can see the problem but have you noticed the elephant candidate in the room?

He isn’t ‘too close to’ corporate financial interests etc etc – he is a corporate financial interest. As the recent investigations (from the Washington Post? But they are appearing in the Guardian as well) show, much of his income is now coming from licensing arrangements with developers and construction companies in places like India or the UAE. The whole thing is an absolute example of high corporate capitalism – you have extremely low paid construction workers, often like a form of indentured labour, and profit taking corporations using them, and then Trump Corp takes the easiest profit whack of all by the licensing of the ‘brand’. It is high, global, corporate capitalism at its most blatant, and yet somehow, for some people here, Hillary is the one who’s ‘too close’ to financial interests.

I’m not saying she isn’t too close, just as I agree she’s too hawkish, but if you’re really worried about global corporate capitalism, then perhaps opposing global corporate capitalism should be the main game?

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Val 09.16.16 at 2:35 am

Oops sorry italics fail – should have just been ‘is’ in italics. Don’t know how that happened :)

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Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 3:03 am

Faustusnotes #198: “Rather than waffling on here about “I don’t know whether Trump would introduce a public option,” you can check his healthcare policy and you’ll find it doesn’t include any such thing, and is actually just a classic republican non-plan.”

Trump has been in favor of a single payer or something like that in the past. Rather than waffling on here about what Trump says he will do on his website as a guide to anything at all, you might have noted that in your very next paragraph, you will go on to point out that he is a pathological liar: So, is he telling the truth on his website, or not?

How can anybody know? What we do know is that he is an unpredictable and unprincipled commercial real estate debt & bankruptcy artist whose subcontractors take a bath while he gets out with millions — a veritable poster-boy for the financial crash, willing to consort with racists, unfit in temperament to be in the Oval Office.

205

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 3:51 am

ks @ 187

In gently questioning people about their support of Trump, if they ask, I say that I will vote, but not for either Trump or Clinton: Clinton’s hawkishness frightens me, and I do not understand Trump’s appeal. That’s truthful without being confrontational; it downplays my revulsion vis a vis Trump. I am not sure how interested I am in persuading anyone that a third-party protest vote is a valid option for political expression in California, where Clinton is 99% sure to win the state’s electors.

206

Faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 4:07 am

Lee, why would I believe something a liar says over something a liar writes?

207

js. 09.16.16 at 5:07 am

CT comment threads are now home for high-brow proponents of herrenvolk democracy. It’s sort of lovely, in a manner of speaking.

208

J-D 09.16.16 at 5:11 am

kidneystones 09.15.16 at 11:30 pm
… The cause of her collapse, of course, matters. …

Of course? No, it doesn’t.

It is possible that people’s votes will be affected by concerns about her health, but it’s silly for them to be so affected. See earlier comments, mine and others.

209

J-D 09.16.16 at 5:13 am

kidneystones 09.15.16 at 11:30 pm

Trump may become the candidate of the donor class and the neocons. The former SecState is and has been the candidate of the donor class and the neocons. …

Trump is the Republican candidate. The Republican Party is the bosses’ party (not only the bosses’ party, but always the bosses’s party), so Trump is the bosses’ candidate.

210

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 6:33 am

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for this. Nothing wrong with lost causes. I just spent a few days in a community of people who absolutely reject a wide swath of what passes for ‘accepted wisdom’ in your neck of the woods. No justification for military aggression for ‘defensive purposes’ or to meet FP objectives, and no affirmative action without ensuring those on the receiving end have all the skills they need to succeed. California sounds like a great place for some real dissent. You’re right to be frightened, given her track record and the lunatics lined up to help her win. She sounds normal, but acts crazy. I see Trump as the opposite. I fear many will never forgive Trump for hiring women in the construction industry when no others would and other transgressions. It’s all about what he says.

For many, actions speak far less eloquently than words. That’s not good.

211

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:08 am

Trump is one of the oldest people to stand for the Presidency. He does not look healthy. He is considerably overweight, and what is with that orange color? And…he is male. His life expectancy is shorter than Clinton’s, for that reason alone. Overweight, male, ruddy…if he doesn’t have hypertension and significant atherosclerosis I would be surprised.

And then there are his speech patterns. He sounds impaired. Perhaps he is, perhaps his peculiar incantory speech, that speaking in triplets, is in fact a result of some sort of mild aphasia. He has other oddities: he believes that Barack Obama is not a US citizen and has held to that belief despite all evidence. This is delusion.

Now, I realize that everyone is looking desperately to find something wrong with Clinton, but the threat that Trump presents is yuge and it deserves attention.

Val@199: “if you’re really worried about global corporate capitalism, then perhaps opposing global corporate capitalism should be the main game?” You are making sense. Is that allowed during this election.

Anarcissie@17: voting behavior is (you might guess) a heavily studied topic in political science and, indeed, it is a modest minority of voters who make their voting decisions on policy. This is too big a topic to dig into here, but, in Converse’s 1964 paper “The nature of belief systems in mass publics” roughly 45% of voters voted on identity (what JQ calls “tribalism,” and note that most of these are some sort of white), 39% on things mostly unrelated to politics (we now call this group “low information voters”), and 16% on policy, however poorly understood. There is no need to rely on questionable Scott Adams’s questionable intuitions when we know. As for Clinton and the press, consider that we are discussing her fairly common and treatable disease rather than Trump’s obvious ill health, odd speech patterns, and delusions. Something has gone badly wrong with reporting here.

212

TM 09.16.16 at 7:36 am

LAA: Because Trump is a pathological liar, we can’t exclude the possibility that he is a secret socialist planning to introduce socialized health care? Yeah that sounds about right.

213

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 7:37 am

I realize that everyone is looking desperately to find something wrong with Clinton

That’s what “everyone” is doing? Finding fault where there is none, can be none.

Interesting assessment.

214

TM 09.16.16 at 7:38 am

And 198 kudos fn for taking up with this.

215

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:56 am

Bruce, don’t you think we ought to be talking more about Trump’s health instead of picking nits?

216

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 8:09 am

Faustusnotes@198:

Because right now running for president we have a competent woman who is mildly left wing (by America’s pathetic standards), who is serious about doing things to help women and poor workers, and who is basically human; and a radioactive turd in a suit who is a pathological liar, a known fraud and con artist, a failed business man, an out-and-out-racist and probably stricken by several florid personality disorders. If you can’t tell the difference in honesty, integrity and commitment between these two people, you have serious problems making any political judgments at all.

Many people do. It’s a propaganda saturated environment, and it is hard to think clearly in it. On the left, a lot of us think too hard, and complicate a simple choice. There is not a fault that Hillary Clinton has that Donald Trump does not have in yuge, and yet Clinton’s faults are thought large, and The Donald’s, small.

217

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 8:39 am

Let us keep silent about Clinton’s presumed faults until we are through this election and after, until it is no longer necessary. The fragile imperfect peace we won after World War II, is being torn apart in a wave of reaction, and we have to fight for that. We have, in the high income world, had perhaps two generations of peace, and it has changed us more than we know. A huge number of people no longer believe that war is normal and healthy. Is that not an objection, a constant and wearying objection, of our reactionaries, that there is not enough conflict to toughen us, to make men of us? (And all the while we fight distant wars for no good reasons.)

I am seeing complaints that Hillary Clinton is a warmonger. Well, perhaps. But Trump? The very basis of his campaign is hostility to non-whites, non-Americans. Someone, anyone, here who is defending him, can you honestly write that Donald Trump is a man of peace? We all know he is not!

Please, everyone, it is direly important that we stand for the future.

218

Alex K--- 09.16.16 at 9:00 am

@161: Trump had over thirty public events in August vs. Clinton’s dozen. The public doesn’t get to observe secret donor meetings: it can only judge candidates’ stamina from their public appearances at physically demanding events such as rallies. In that respect, Trump has done his signaling pretty competently. It doesn’t mean he’s genuinely healthy, of course, although he might as well be.

Likewise, Dr. Bornstein’s letter is consistent with both the hypothesis that Trump is virtually as healthy as humanly possible for a 70-year-old man and the hypothesis that Trump is hiding some serious condition so far undetected by the public. On the other hand, the Clinton campaign’s approach to medical disclosure does not fit well with the assumption that it has nothing to hide. Sometimes it makes sense to keep innocent facts private because the public is bound to misconstrue them and no amount of honest explaining will help. But sloppiness is not a virtue and vagueness may hurt more than help.

Consider Dr. Bardack’s statement. The internal contradiction in the CT/CTA line was most likely caused by a typo. But it’s the kind of typo one should avoid because it gives rise to all sorts of suspicions.

The “non-contagious bacterial pneumonia” diagnosis prompts the question: “how do you know it’s non-contagious?” One obvious answer is that it’s possible to estimate the degree of contagiousness when more information is factored in – the info apparently missing from the release. Again, this lays fertile ground for speculation. Why wasn’t the “non-contagious” label omitted altogether? It would be easy to explain, later on, that bacterial pneumonia does not transfer nearly as easily as its viral cousin and that antibiotics all but kill the chances of contagion.

219

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 9:08 am

@ 214 Thanks for going to bat for the one candidate who is drenched in blood and demanding we all pretend that she had nothing, nothing, nothing at all to do with Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya. HRC is an innocent bystander even as she served as the principal US actor in the Libya debacle, if reports of O’s lack of interest are to be believed.

Sarkozy, Cameron Obama/Clinton pushed for violent regime change in Libya and only an idiot would believe that someone involved in at least two violent regime changes is the candidate of peace.

But, that’s how some folks prefer to see it.

220

dax 09.16.16 at 9:11 am

Reading through comments and got to this, which made me gag…

“He’s done moderately well in his second term parrying the lunatics that would have the U.S. invading Syria, bombing Iran, and ramping up to a good long fight with Russia. “

OK for the first two, but on the last, Obama *is* the one who ramped the U.S. up for a good long fight with Russia. Ever since Russia refused to hand over Snowden to the Americans, Obama has made Russia enemy number 1, and it’s his actions – and no one else”s, not even Putin’s – which has the world lurching to a second cold war.

221

dax 09.16.16 at 9:38 am

“The very basis of his campaign is hostility to non-whites, non-Americans. Someone, anyone, here who is defending him, can you honestly write that Donald Trump is a man of peace? We all know he is not!”

You’re using peace in terms of society rather than the opposite of war between nation-states. In your sense you are entirely right; Trump is not a man of peace, while Hillary is a woman of peace.

In terms of war between nation-states IMHO it is less clear. Trump is more isolationist, and so for the mid-range of risks, he is probably more a man of peace than Hillary. However he is clearly more volatile, and at the tail end of the curve, he’s likely to be less restrained i.e. more warlike (even if this means nuclear war) than Clinton.

222

Daniel H 09.16.16 at 9:43 am

@57 Faustnotes
>>someguy88 you pasted that cattle futures link twice, and it contains nothing. Can *you* tell us what crime Clinton committed in making 100,000 in 10 months?<<

It works like this Faustnotes. You are a broker. You want to bribe the Clintons, but you want to plausibly cover your tracks. You say, "Give me $1,000 and I will invest it for you". You, the broker, take both sides of a contract. The winning contract you park in Hillary's account. You do it again, and again and again and again ($1,000, $2,000, $4,000, $8000, $16,000, $32,000, $64,000, $128,000). In eight days Hillary has gone from $1,000 to $128,00 thanks to her broker parking the winning bets in her account and eating the losing bets for himself. There were no computers back then. Everything was written down in spiral notebooks. Impossible to pin on the players, but anybody with half a brain can figure out what went on. Hillary Clinton is rotten, corrupt, degenerate individual. She is responsible for hundreds of thousands dead and displaced persons. She is a wretch. Liberals will still vote for her, because liberals are thoroughly corrupt in their souls. You deserve all the bad stuff that you will get if she becomes president, and things will be very bad.

223

Manta 09.16.16 at 10:02 am

Val @199

Much of the criticism on left-wing blogs (e.g. lawyersgunsandmoney, or Kevin Drum) on Trump was that he is a very bad campaigner because (unlike Clinton) he’s not able or willing to get money from donors.

224

Manta 09.16.16 at 10:09 am

dax @217 and @218 and seems right to me.

Unfortunately, Hillary seems to be quite more hawkish than Obama (which deserves great credit for his handling of Iran and Cuba): in FP, she takes the most belligerent positions of the Obama administration as the starting point.

225

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 10:24 am

Here’s a timely take on the results of HRC’s mature FP vision. The target of the piece is Cameron. The worst part of this sordid tale is that France and Britain could have handled the killing without US involvement.

Hillary and O wanted to be in on the fun. As Hillary joked on camera ‘We came, we saw, he died, ha, ha, ha!!’ Ahem.

Five years on? Millions of deprived young people waiting for the adults to remember the golden rule of interventions: you break it, you own it. In HRC’s world it’s called, ‘break it and walk away.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3790721/Life-Libya-worse-David-Cameron-s-ill-conceived-military-action-against-Colonel-Gaddafi-created-six-million-little-Gaddafis-turned-ISIS-hotbed-say-people-HATED-feared-dictator.html

226

Val 09.16.16 at 10:27 am

Ok, once more with feeling – Hillary Clinton is too close to global, corporate, high capitalism – yeah, I don’t disagree with that. But Donald Trump IS global, corporate, high capitalism. He makes a lot of his money from licensing agreements with developers and construction companies who are exploiting pretty much indentured workers from poor countries – and Trump creams his profit off the top, because that’s the way high capitalism works now – it’s the BRAND.

I feel like some people here are in theory opposed to global capitalism but actually have no fucking idea what you’re actually talking about – because you would never focus on Hillary Clinton if you were really concerned about that. You would focus on Trump. Know your enemy, people.

(Ravin Onthill, thank you. You may be right but I have to keep trying. By your own posts, you feel the same. It matters, we have to try. After the election, if Hillary wins, do everything you can to shift her to the left. But now, defeating Trump is what matters. Best wishes to all engaged in this effort.)

227

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 11:03 am

People and policies. Let’s forget Bill’s lack of foresight paved the way for the greatest setback to African-American incomes in modern history:
“In fact, the financial crisis might not have happened at all but for the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall law that separated commercial and investment banking for seven decades. If there is any hope of avoiding another meltdown, it’s critical to understand why Glass-Steagall repeal helped to cause the crisis. Without a return to something like Glass-Steagall, another greater catastrophe is just a matter of time.”

Let’s forget Bill making NAFTA law. Let’s forget the role Hillary played in TPPP, her ‘gold standard’ of trade agreements. Instead, let’s focus on one of the many rich folks who profited and profits from inequalities. Without a doubt, Trump has and does. Concerns about this topic are real and legitimate. Trump may very well try to line his own pockets.

The fact remains, however, that Trump is running on ending TPPP and slapping a 35 percent tariff on goods produced by companies that relocate out of the US and try to import products back to American consumers. Yes, Trump belongs to the donor class. He understands the system well, and he may NOT do anything to end it.

But he’s running openly and emphatically on returning American jobs to America. He might do it. HRC won’t. She’s too deep in hock to the Goldman-Sachs crowd.

There are risks with both candidates. Bill and Hillary have a proven track record in government of consistently favoring people like Trump, over everyone else. Both lack the resources to do anything else. If more of the same only worse sounds good – more wars, more globalization, more inequality, and fewer jobs then Clinton is your best bet.

Trump may be far worse, but he’s yet to have anyone killed, or sign laws wrecking the safeguards in the banking system, or actively engage in regime change.

HRC is more death, more regime-change, and more laws written for rich pricks like Trump.

Guaranteed. Cause why else would the donor class line up so strongly for HRC? Answer, they wouldn’t. She was bought long ago, like the rest of her class, by folks like Trump.

228

faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 11:05 am

Jesus christ you people. Now dax is an armchair doctor, who has been prompted to the question “how do you know it’s not contagious?” Which question of course is absolutely the most important thing we must know about this election (hint, pneumonia is caused by S. pneumoniae, which is almost always non-contagious, or sometimes as a consequence of contagious viral infections). Now everyone is second-guessing a doctor on a common and medically well-understood phenomenon, because whaddyaknow, even a bacterium becomes a suspicious and non-transparent corrupt entity once it gets into Clinton’s orbit.

And as for not a war-monger … Trump not only supported the war in Iraq but he “wished they had done it properly the first time.” i.e. he wanted to create ISIS back in 1991.

Are you people paying any attention to how completely ridiculous you sound?

229

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 11:44 am

TM #209: “LAA: Because Trump is a pathological liar, we can’t exclude the possibility that he is a secret socialist planning to introduce socialized health care? Yeah that sounds about right.”

It is this lack of attention to the logic and details of argument, while implying malice on the part of another, that makes me skip over your comments without reading them.

Here is the progression onto which you now append:

1. I write that Trump said in the past that he wants a single payer but now says that he wants to end Obamacare. –Why? Because the guy will say anything; you can’t believe what he says. (#186)

2. Faustusnotes writes that Trump’s website has the “classic republican non-plan” on healthcare, and immediately follows with, “If you ever have any doubt about whether this blustering, idiotic, narcisstic, authoritarian racist has a plan to help poor people, here’s an easy answer to your question: he doesn’t and he never will. If you are considering this possibility while trying to see through the murk of his pronouncements, the problem is not his personality or his confused speeches but your ability to judge politicians.” (So now, I may be “considering this possibility”, and cannot judge.) In his next paragraph, Faustusnotes writes that Trump is a pathological liar. (#198)

3. I point out that maintaining Trump is a pathological liar while at the same time believing what his website says, is illogical. (#201)

4. You, TM, write that this reveals that I believe that “we can’t exclude the possibility that he is a secret socialist planning to introduce socialized health care.”

Well, no, The indication of Faustusnotes’ inability to write logically has NOTHING to do with admitting the possibility that Trump is a secret socialist. Zero, nada.

Thus, both you and Faustusnotes are either 10 years old, or you are entraining your intellects to your emotional priors, too. Worthless to read. You both should join Kidneystones, your blood brother from the other side of the fence, and take a nap.

230

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 11:55 am

What continues to both amaze and frighten me, is that so many people can not distinguish their emotions from intellectual argumentation.

It is possible to support Clinton (I do) and to think that Trump will be bad for the country (I do) — while separating a discussion of that, from the requirements of logical argument and of proper admission of evidence. But it surely is not common, even in comments under an intellectual blog like Crooked Timber.

231

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 12:01 pm

@225 “It is this lack of attention to the logic and details of argument, while implying malice on the part of another, that makes me skip over your comments without reading them. “

Speaking of looking and sounding stupid.

Maybe you should check your own ’emotional priors’ because you just declared you don’t read TM comments and then proceed to quote him. Evidently, you fail to see the lack of logic in your own claim. You are equally unable to insert a simple adverbial modifier of frequency that would make a fairly simple claim sensible.

You can do better.

232

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 12:03 pm

@ 226 Better take a hammer to every mirror in your house.

Oh wait, you don’t actually use mirrors.

233

Faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 12:03 pm

Lee, if you can think of a good reason why I should believe something this ignorant cheeto Jesus babbled once a while back over what is written on his website now, please give it to me. If your argument is that because he is so incoherent that his health “policy” ranges from republican granny-starving to socialist medicine for all, therefore there is a real possibility he supports a public plan, then please make that argument. If your argument is that his incoherent ranting is superior to clintons detailed plan – repeatedly set out, well known to have been a key interest of hers over years, and restated regularly in writing and speeches – then make that argument. But until you can actually make a case for trumps plan, I think TM has you bang to rights.

234

Faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 12:04 pm

Also, using the word “prices” to mean “prejudices” doesn’t make you look smart and being a Bayesian doesn’t make you cool.

235

Faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 12:05 pm

Priors, ffs!

236

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 12:45 pm

What voters think: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2016/democrats_agree_candidate_health_important_but_not_hillary_s

Pretty much everyone agrees that the health of a major candidate is a legitimate concern, except Democrats on the question HRC. Only 17 percent believe HRC tipping over merits attention. Independents and Republicans disagree.

Brave Sir Lee seems to have left the field.

237

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 12:45 pm

Kidneystones #227: “you don’t read TM comments and then proceed to quote him. “

If one of you “deplorables” addresses me or quotes me at the top, of course I read! Otherwise, no!

I am trying to figure out the pathologies by which you are unable to read clearly and to cogitate thereon. That is faster to analyze, when a person is in response to me myself, because I already know what I wrote, of course, and so it is easier to judge whether it is MY fault in writing unclearly (e.g. because so many others misunderstand what I wrote that it must be my fault) or whether it is my interlocutor’s fault.

Honest disagreements are a separate issue from being able to think clearly, yet they are easier to figure out this way, too.

If I tried to understand you by your responses to someone ELSE’s comments, then I’d have to parse two other people. Which sometimes happens, but only if that other person clearly explains, without emotion, what she or he was talking about.

238

Faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 12:48 pm

Lee, better to do what I do and skip all of kidneystones comments. If I was less lazy I would get a kill file (do they exist for phones?)

239

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 12:49 pm

Faustusnotes #229: “Lee, if you can think of a good reason why I should believe something… until you can actually make a case for trumps plan, I think TM has you bang to rights.”

Again, that was not my argument, at all. Now my argument is that neither you nor TM know what an argument is.

240

Alex K--- 09.16.16 at 12:51 pm

@dax:

Obama *is* the one who ramped the U.S. up for a good long fight with Russia. Ever since Russia refused to hand over Snowden to the Americans, Obama has made Russia enemy number 1, and it’s his actions – and no one else”s, not even Putin’s – which has the world lurching to a second cold war.

How so? It was Russia that annexed Crimea and provoked the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine. Obama’s cabinet responded with sanctions, but not nearly as harsh as the Iranian sanctions: Russia was not disconnected from SWIFT and its oil and gas exports were not affected at all. Someone in the Kremlin said, “if you cut off SWIFT, we’ll treat it as a declaration of war,” and Obama backed off. He could have paralyzed the Russian economy overnight but didn’t want to take the risk. Two and a half years after the Russian takeover of Crimea, it’s still Russian and there’s a frozen conflict in the East of Ukraine. With the benefit of hindsight, Obama’s response was the least he could have done and, unsurprisingly now, it also achieved the least.

241

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 12:51 pm

Which Crooked Timber member posted an OP that people don’t know what arguments are? Was it John Holbo?

242

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 12:52 pm

@ 233 Thanks Lee! I was so waiting to be called a ‘deplorable.’ You make a lot of sense on occasion, but lamenting the sloppy argumentation practices here seems a waste of time.

There’s always a lot of straw-manning etc, talking past one another, and name calling.

It’s all good fun. I thought you’d gone for your nap. TM, I fear, won’t care much to be lumped in with me.

That was cruel.

243

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 12:55 pm

The basket of true deplorables may amount to a few bushels — from the tribes on both sides of the fence!

244

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 1:09 pm

Kidneystones #238: “That was cruel.”

I’m not buying it. This is your known M.O.: You write reprehensible crap and accuse people (including commenters here) of all sorts of things, and then after that, you write like you’re hurt at what somebody else writes about you. Then, you write more reprehensible crap. Due up next, from you: reprehensible crap.

245

TM 09.16.16 at 1:10 pm

225: Cheesus, LAA. One can identify a person as a pathological liar and still be able to make inferences as to what course of action that person is likely to take. And I didn’t imply malice on your part, I was making fun of you.

dax: “Obama has made Russia enemy number 1, and it’s his actions – and no one else”s, not even Putin’s – which has the world lurching to a second cold war.”

Really now. How exactly was Russia treated as an enemy? C’est vraiment du n’importe quoi.

246

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 1:15 pm

@ 237 You’re no Holbo, that much is painfully obvious. Or, should be.

In addition, attributing error to the ’emotional priors’ of others leave you badly exposed given your unfortunate habit of making provably false and illogical claims.

“If one of you “deplorables” addresses me or quotes me at the top, of course I read! Otherwise, no!”

Granted, you make your declaration @233 afteryou responded to my @177 both by reading the comment and by watching (it seems) the linked video. But my 177 makes no reference to you, thus rendering your 233 false.

So, once again we have you hurling yourself face first into a pile of your own crap.

Like I give a damn.

247

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 1:21 pm

@ 240 I fear I’ve touched a nerve. True, I do accuse people like you of whining, but only because you do whine. That’s what you’re doing now, and contradicting yourself.

The part about other people being too lazy or dumb to follow their own comments is pure comedy gold. Is it mean of me to point that out?

You’re suggesting you’re more deserving of pity, then, than contempt?

248

Faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 1:24 pm

Give it up TM, we passed the point where factual background is required at comment 2 and there is no going back. Obama attacked Russia and 9/11 was his fault.

249

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 1:24 pm

@ 243. Sorry, that should be ridicule, rather than contempt.

You simply get excited and contradict yourself whilst lecturing others on the need to stay cool, calm, and collected.

Nothing at all contemptible in that. Ridiculous, yes. Contemptible, no.

250

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 2:23 pm

TM #241: “still be able to make inferences”

Faustusnotes’ inferences at #198 as stated are emotional, not logical, and led immediately to the suggestion that I believe something that I do not. I don’t care about me — but what it implies is that #198 ain’t worth reading (unless we want to learn about somebody else’s emotional status), and that an interesting series of views on the election (interesting, sans Kidneystones) has gone astray.

It’s no secret that elections are about emotions, and it’s no secret that (as I wrote way up there at #18) this election is all about emotions, all the way down the line. So, I suppose it was inevitable:

198 was a response to 186 which was a response to 184 which was a response to 174 which was a response to 171.

It’s ridiculous to ask anybody to re-read them, so here are the points that interested me, in forward order:

–Phenomenal Cat’s observation (#171) that Hillary Clinton played it safe in the primaries and is now suffering in the polls on account of it. True.

–my observation (#174) that on Trump’s side of the ledger, his policies have become immaterial to his supporters. True (for most of them).

–Faustusnotes’ observation (#184) that at least Hillary Clinton was bold enough to support a public option for healthcare. True.

–my observation (#186) that Trump’s statements on healthcare or anything else are contradictory anyway (in addition to being immaterial to his supporters). True.

–& then Faustusnotes’ observation (#198) that I was waffling on the certainty of Trump’s healthcare policies and therefore cannot judge politicians.

Okay, so this made logical sense to me until #198.

So (reading further down the comments), I pointed out in #201 that #198 is based on illogic (and avoided mentioning that it is emotional).

It wasn’t until after Faustusnotes’s comment at #203 & your comment at #209 that I pointed out in #225 that you had both gone emotional on the lefty side, like Kidneystones on the righty side.

251

Anarcissie 09.16.16 at 2:55 pm

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:08 am @ 208 —
The reason one might pay attention to disreputable (deplorable?) people like Adams is that he was among the rather small set of pontificators who remembered (or intuited) that people do not vote rationally and thus was able to predict the rise of Trump when so many others could not. Plus, he has a certain trollish or chain-yanking sense of humor. This is a curious election in which the ruling class seems to have lost control, and muted panic is in thé air — cruelly entertaining in a way, but I fear I will have to pay later. So I have actually been doing a bit of the reading.

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bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 3:31 pm

After the election, if Hillary wins, do everything you can to shift her to the left.

If Obama is the relevant precedent, “everything” will be a lot excuses and denial, just as it has been in this thread.

What was it the man said about staring into the abyss? The trouble with supporting a candidate or a Party is that support moves you, not the candidate, not the Party.

The trouble with American politics is its domination by an irresponsible economic oligarchy with global ambition and scope. Hillary Clinton has done everything she can over more than a dozen years to make it crystal clear she is with that oligarchy and to draw that oligarchy into alignment with her. That oligarchy is ambivalent about Clinton and partly in its self-interest some in the oligarchy work pretty hard before and after elections to make sure Clinton’s are constrained to remain in alignment on policy that matters to the oligarchy. The Clintons never feud with their billionaire tormentors and use the Media’s Clinton Rules to their advantage, to conserve with popular sympathy their own base of popular electoral support against the evidence of their policy and fundraising record.

There are no good choices on the America ballot in November. I cannot predict the future well enough that I feel comfortable identifying one of the major Party candidates as lesser evil. I do predict the future well enough that I remain confident Clinton will win.

No individual’s vote matters much. Thinking that it does practically is delusional. First, there is the math. Second, what part of oligarchy did you miss? American politics is responsive only to the interests of large business and the very wealthy on the issues they care about. That is not my impression only; political science confirms as much with detailed measurement.

Letting yourself be mobilised by Clinton does more damage morally to you as a person than it does to meliorate in any degree the politics of the system. Vote as you will; it does not matter. But, don’t invest your faith and twist your moral judgment into knots.

There may come a time when you can join with others and be politically effective if you are available. Be available. Detach yourself from this politics now. It does not need you or want you — that is what is wrong with Clinton’s politics: it does not need you to do anything except to acquiesce in continuing and extending the status quo, a status quo that is slowly destroying civilization to make a few of the rich, richer. It is an ugly, depressing truth, to admit powerlessness in the face of such evil, but it is the truth in this political moment, and as the man said, the truth shall set you free.

253

Tyrone Slothrop 09.16.16 at 3:33 pm

Lee, live long and prosper.

254

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 3:43 pm

I want to be deplorable. Is that deplorable?

255

Layman 09.16.16 at 3:52 pm

bruce wilder: “No individual’s vote matters much. Thinking that it does practically is delusional. First, there is the math. Second, what part of oligarchy did you miss? American politics is responsive only to the interests of large business and the very wealthy on the issues they care about.”

Every time you write this stuff, I wonder: Is Bruce Wilder ignorant of the real-world consequences to millions from such obvious distinctions as, e.g., who gets on the Supreme Court; or does he only pretend to be ignorant of those consequences in order to play the role he’s assigned himself here?

256

Layman 09.16.16 at 3:53 pm

Put another way, is he really deplorable, or does he only want to seem deplorable?

257

stevenjohnson 09.16.16 at 4:32 pm

“How so? It was Russia that annexed Crimea and provoked the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine. Obama’s cabinet responded with sanctions, but not nearly as harsh as the Iranian sanctions: Russia was not disconnected from SWIFT and its oil and gas exports were not affected at all. Someone in the Kremlin said, “if you cut off SWIFT, we’ll treat it as a declaration of war,” and Obama backed off. He could have paralyzed the Russian economy overnight but didn’t want to take the risk. Two and a half years after the Russian takeover of Crimea, it’s still Russian and there’s a frozen conflict in the East of Ukraine. With the benefit of hindsight, Obama’s response was the least he could have done and, unsurprisingly now, it also achieved the least.”

If Putin had been supporting violent resistance to the Kyiv fascists, at the very least Kharkhov and Odessa would be fighting along with Crimea, as well as Lugansk and Donetsk provinces to restore bourgeois democracy to Ukraine. But of course CT and its commentariat support the fascists. What’s especially notable here is the shameless regret that the US did not order its vassals in Europe to boycott Russian gas.

In the recent joint appearance before the military, Trump, unlike Clinton, remarked that there would be new generals pursuing his policies, because the old ones failed. Making America great again means winning the wars, not doing away with unnecessary wars. Anyone who has persuaded themselves Trump is somehow less warlike than Clinton is nuts. Trump has run against the Republican Party leadership on an anti-politics platform and he is running for President on an anti-politics platform. Anti-politics is not anti-corruption, anti-oligarch or anti-imperialist. Anti-politics is against restraint of law, compromise with opponents, seeking the approval of mere local politicians about the national interest (aka consulting Congress,) and, most of all, against pandering to unruly masses. Who you imagine them to be is more or less up to you. Traditionally the usual suspects are African Americans, Latinos, college people, but really that’s something of a Rorschach test. You can imagine it to be pretty much whomever you want.

The thing is, Trumpery will not go away with Trump. It is the prevailing trend among the owners, hence the continuity in numerous extensive, pervasive and every more reactionary policies since 1968.

258

Suzanne 09.16.16 at 4:37 pm

Anyone who wishes to do so should feel free to hop into Hillary’s basket (the first basket, the one with the deplorables, not the second) if that is his or her pleasure. There’s an open spot right next to David Duke.

Failing that, Trump’s campaign, ever ready to flog more campaign swag to the suckers, is now offering appropriately labeled T-shirts.

259

phenomenal cat 09.16.16 at 4:48 pm

“Reading through comments and got to this, which made me gag…” Dax @217

Goodness, I hope you’re okay now.

You may be right to some extent. Certainly some of Obama’s statements about Russia have been a little “provocative.” However, I’m not sure I buy your framing as is. Establishment (State Dept., NATO high command, various “NGO” shenanigans) bellicosity and provocations (see Ukraine) toward Putin and Russia is not necessarily down to Obama’s doings or sayings.

260

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 5:00 pm

When someone asks me to vote for Supreme Court, Layman, I will let you know.

Meanwhile, . . . you might consider the millions affected by dozens of other policies and appointments and votes.

There has been a grave reluctance on the left to admit the extent to which Obama legitimated and extended the Bush Administration. I am not willing to relitigate any of that now. If you cannot see it, you are not going to see why Clinton is so distressing a prospect to me. With friends like Obama or Clinton, the left does not need enemies.

The left’s best moves are often idealistic critiques, but the left has been reduced by support of Obama and Clinton into highly selective memory and normalizing practices it should oppose.

I do not care if you vote for Clinton and rationalize that mumbling about the Supreme Court. There is no good choice on the ballot — I will vote for Jill Stein, but do not think a no-hope Green Party protest vote is a “good” choice either.

What does disturb me is pretending that there is no evidence that Clinton is an unethical, corrupt war-monger and liar or insisting that this level of irresponsible corruption is nothing new, nothing worthy of concern.

261

Ronan(rf) 09.16.16 at 5:25 pm

Hillary is patient zero for a coming pandemic

262

William Timberman 09.16.16 at 5:37 pm

The abyss has been staring into Hillary for decades, and still she soldiers on. If and when her gladness does finally come to pass, less ambitious mortals will have every reason to be amazed. Fortunately for her, if not for us, IBGYBG when the trunkless legs of stone bit makes its inevitable appearance.

263

Will G-R 09.16.16 at 5:59 pm

bruce wilder @ 248: “Letting yourself be mobilised by Clinton does more damage morally to you as a person than it does to meliorate in any degree the politics of the system.”

Just have to to pop in here to say A-fuckin’-men! to that entire comment.

264

Layman 09.16.16 at 6:01 pm

“When someone asks me to vote for Supreme Court, Layman, I will let you know.”

That’s just silliness masquerading as gruffness. There are choices on the ballot, as there were in 2000 and 2008, and there are predictable consequences. It suits you to pretend that there is no difference, but no one else should take that seriously.

I think you should know by now that I’m not someone with a ‘grave reluctance to admit the extent to which Obama legitimated and extended the Bush administration’. This gimmick of arguing with a theoretical person rather than your actual interlocutor is a cop-out.

As for this: “What does disturb me is pretending that there is no evidence that Clinton is an unethical, corrupt war-monger and liar or insisting that this level of irresponsible corruption is nothing new…”, the thing that comes first to mind is a great Paul Newman line, from Road to Perdition: “There are only murderers in this room!”

265

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 6:45 pm

Hillary is patient President ~8 zero for a coming continuing pandemic. The next corrupt nexus of a corrupt system, but not the beginning. If she fumbles badly enough — and given her apparently sometimes terribly faulty judgment of people and situations, she just might — she might mark the end, or — since there’s never a really an end as long as the human species lives and breathes — an inflection point in continuing anacyclosis.

I saw some wag comment the other day that if you are faced with the choice of two evils, you might want to consider taking the worse in the hope of getting it over sooner. Maybe that’s what we are in the process of doing — I don’t know.

There’s been lots of speculation on this blog about the end of Clinton’s particular political style or more broadly, global neoliberalism (if that term doesn’t make your eyes roll back in your head in incomprehension). The long political and economic cycles are interesting to me — like any thing on a large-enough scale, they can be hard to see for what they are, close-up. But, I credit that the feeling that “the system” is crumbling and nearing some kind of crisis is common among voters albeit maybe vague and incoherent in expectation of detail. Certainly, I see frequent blogospheric references to “late capitalism” and “the end of empire” and prospective “imperial collapse” as titular themes for ephemeral commentary on the fine details of some event or other — military economic or political. It is increasingly felt to be the context of our times. I take due note.

Can you talk yourself into thinking that the status quo will continue, staggering on, muddling thru? Sure. Can you want that? Every sensible person wants that. You can only pump your 75 year old fist in the air, sputtering about “Our Revolution” if you’ve never experienced a real one in your lifetime. IBGYBG, indeed.

Back around 2005 or so, I thought we were headed to a kind of beneficent political Perfect Storm that would serve to motivate the reversal of much that had gone wrong in our politics since 1980 (~Reagan). My nostalgia for the New Deal or at least its post-WWII political legacy led me to hope for that Perfect Storm and that reversal. We got the Perfect Storm. Katrina. Losing in Iraq. Financial collapse. Two wave elections sweeping the Republicans from power. We didn’t get the political reversal; we got Obama, who thought the Surge in Iraq merited a similar Surge in Afghanistan, who couldn’t find a bankster worth prosecuting or a whistleblower he didn’t want to torture, who thought help on foreclosures meant helping banks not home “owners”, a Constitutional scholar who supported the 2nd Amendment and murder-by-drone, a master of electoral politics who conceded control of Congress and most States for at least a decade, and whose legacy is a health care reform focused on shoveling more money into for-profit health insurance in the country with the highest health care costs and most mediocre record of population health in the developed world. But, never mind, I’m an impractical who doesn’t understand the importance of securing a Supreme Court seat for . . . Merrick Garland, a sixty-three year old pro-prosecution centrist.

So, now we’re back for another bite of the apple. Instead of the economic system cycle reaching crisis — the economic cycle that started in the 1930s and turned in the Nixon’s day, and reached crisis right on schedule in 2008 — we get to witness the crisis of the post-WWII international economic and political order, which turned in Reagan’s day.

Only now, recent experience says that the oligarchy has a firm grip. This is likely to get ugly. I am not so sure I will be gone soon enough.

266

JimV 09.16.16 at 7:02 pm

I agree with Bruce Wilder about the problems the USA has, but I don’t think it means we are at some extraordinary low point in history. I think that, except for some consequences of technology, we have always had such problems (or would have had them in other generations if they had our technologies) – along with others, some of which we have left behind. The only way I see such problems going away is by one small step at a time, always making the best choice available. For me, that seems to be HRC, mainly due to her experience. As Niels Bohr said, “An expert is someone who has made every possible mistake in a narrow field.” (And so may not make those mistakes again.) That accords with my philosophy that we learn mainly by trial and error. HRC learned from the Rwandan genocide what happens when powerful countries do not intervene against injustices, and from Kosovo, Iraq and Libya (which are not identical cases) what can happen when they try to.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit into evidence LBJ, a very corrupt politician who gave us the Civil Rights Act and some anti-poverty legislation, thanks to his political experience, and got mired in the Vietnam conflict along with a Secretary of Defense and generals who did not understand the situation very well. (The Domino Theory, like most theories which aren’t well-founded on experience, was a trial that erred.)

267

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:12 pm

(Alex K@215) Trump’s weight, color, and manner of speech are signs of poor health in a man of his age. If he is healthy, let him release medical data showing it. But he’s not going to; if he was healthy he would be Trumpeting it all over the place.

(kidneystones, dax) Trump’s rhetoric is already encouraging violence against Muslims and Latinos, and he has no actual governmental power as yet. Should be become President, that violence will continue, backed by the compliance if not outright force of the state. If President Trump continues with the racist and xenophobic rhetoric it is likely, even, that renewed domestic violence will not be enough to slake the thirst for blood he is raising; Trump will take the USA to war. It is as I said: every fault of Clinton’s, Trump has in 100-fold form.

(kidneystones) Trump is on record as a goldbug, and Paul Ryan is on record as a quasi-goldbug. If this is made policy, the USA and the world will see a crash which will make 2008 look like a minor blip. But even if that is not done, Trump’s tax and spending proposals will impoverish the USA in the way that extreme Republican policies have impoverished every state in which the extremists of that party have come to power.

(kidneystones) Rasmussen polls have a well-known right-wing bias.

268

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:17 pm

Anarcissie, it’s more that one faction of what you call the ruling class has lost control. But Trump is part of the most reactionary and dangerous faction: remember that he is actively seeking the white supremacist and misogynist vote, and he has adopted many of the policy proposals of the extreme right.

Bruce Wilder, Two of the best public poll analysts, Sam Wang and Nate Silver, say that Trump has a significant chance, and his chance is improving. All signs point to a close election and so we need the participation of all. I would rather be morally damaged by supporting Clinton and have prevented World War III or a new global depression than be morally damaged by complicity in bringing them about by opposing Clinton.

269

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 7:26 pm

LBJ was trapped by his generation’s political experience of pre-WWII appeasement, the precedent of Korea, the Red Scare experience of “losing China”. Neville Chamberlain was trapped in appeasement by the experience of WWI. And, on it goes.

We will always have problems. And, sure, people tend to myopically make their choices, one small step at a time. The political order never stops changing — aging if you can stand to stretch the organic metaphor far enough.

We don’t know much of anything really, though maybe we know a bit more than our ancestors. Uncertainty is vast and unfathomable. That’s part of the fundamental reason there are political and economic cycles. People come up with a political and economic order as a solution to manifest problems on the basis of their own experience and the solution is not perfect — duh — but it changes the experience of the next generation. In economics, we tend to model the economy as linear, because linear models are tractable. In physics, they tried to do relativity with Euclidean geometry for the same reason. But, at some point, the world departs from the trend line far enough and problems arise for which the existing order is more cause than solution.

Given the more (or often less) steady pace of generational change, the critical shifts in political order are surprisingly predictable in their timing though maybe not their content.

I wish I had your confidence that Hillary Clinton has learned anything useful or wise about anything. After Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Libya, Ukraine, I’m not seeing progress. I am seeing someone who is ready to double-down on fomenting suspicion of Russia just to cover for her own email security failings. That’s taking myopia to a whole ‘nother level, imho.

270

Suzanne 09.16.16 at 7:29 pm

@261:

Merrick Garland looks like William O. Douglas next to any conceivable Republican nominee, not to mention the murderers’ row of reactionaries that Trump proposed early in his campaign to placate suspicious conservatives.

Leaving that aside, Garland was chosen this time around because of the Republicans’ blanket refusal to accept any nominee put forward by Obama this year. Under ordinary political circumstances, Garland is indeed too old and too centrist to be a likely Democratic nominee in the current party environment. He was chosen precisely because he’s such a white-bread middle-of-the-road pick in an attempt to embarrass the GOP. You can argue about the political smarts of that decision, but there are reasons why Garland spent so many years on the short list without being selected.

It’s my hope that Obama will withdraw the nomination if Clinton is elected and also my hope that she chooses someone else. She will certainly be under pressure to do so and I think it will be her inclination to make her own selection as well, depending on how the Congress looks.

The Roberts Court had a lot of plans for 2016. The nation dodged several bullets because of, and only because of, the timely demise of Antonin Scalia.

271

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 7:30 pm

Bruce Wilder #265: “I am seeing someone who is ready to double-down on fomenting suspicion of Russia just to cover for her own email security failings.”

Congratulations, you made it to “deplorable”.

272

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:39 pm

Val, Suzanne: thank you. This election seems to be coming down to the women men don’t see vs. the fascists, and I can only hope that there are enough like you.

Faustusnotes, you continue to be a voice of reason. Thank you. I do perhaps suggest that not being drawn into personal disputes is best. Jumping into the fight in the gutter is a fine way to get yourself unprofitably covered with muck.

It’s the gamers and the women and one cranky old bird vs. the crazies. Did any of the Greeks say that sometimes madness can cloak itself in logic?

273

William Timberman 09.16.16 at 7:39 pm

Given my age, my gender, and my questionable genes, I’m damned sure I’ll be gone soon enough to miss the carnage, if not the ideological organ grinders and their monkeys now appearing on every street corner to entertain us while we’re waiting.

Sorry, but I just can’t fathom how pointing to Hillary, smiling, and allowing as how I’m with her could ever be enough to persuade the four horsemen to pass anyone by. Yes, opinions are cheap, and none more so than those acquired in advance of the events which might confirm or refute them. I’m not Nostradamus, and this is just a comments section. But still….

274

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:53 pm

William, In a close election, every vote matters, and every bit of support matters, and all indications are that this will be a close election. You will probably see at least the beginning of the carnage. If Trump wins, I expect disaster in some form or other and it will be relatively quick, within a two years. We are going to have carnage even if Clinton wins: the demons that Trump has raised will not be easily laid.

275

Anarcissie 09.16.16 at 8:19 pm

Layman 09.16.16 at 6:01 pm @ 260:
As for this: “What does disturb me is pretending that there is no evidence that Clinton is an unethical, corrupt war-monger and liar or insisting that this level of irresponsible corruption is nothing new…”, the thing that comes first to mind is a great Paul Newman line, from Road to Perdition: “There are only murderers in this room!”

Surely you don’t think killing, maiming, torturing, terrorizing, and impoverishing hundreds of thousands of people for personal and team advancement is some kind of joke.

276

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 8:19 pm

Raven Onthill: Bruce Wilder, Two of the best public poll analysts, Sam Wang and Nate Silver, say that Trump has a significant chance, and his chance is improving. All signs point to a close election and so we need the participation of all. I would rather be morally damaged by supporting Clinton and have prevented World War III . . .

My feeling is that polls sell newspapers (and attract eyeballs to new media) and therefore the people who pay for polls always want the polls to show how close an election is going to be. Nobody has a stake in polls that show the other guy is in a hopeless position. Trump’s chances are being exaggerated in a news Media that gets a huge payoff (as in beaucoup bucks) from campaign advertising.

This election may turn out to be different, in a “past experience is no guarantee of future performance” kind of way. I do sense that legitimacy issues loom larger this year than usual, but that’s just an extension of my cyclic argument. It would shock me if those issues mature fast enough for enough people to drown Clinton before the election almost as much as it would surprise me if they don’t contribute to drowning her Presidency afterwards.

My argument is not an argument against voting, or against voting for Clinton even, if that’s what your preferences or judgment dictate.

Even if a vote for President wasn’t swallowed up in the math of millions of votes, it would still be an impossible existential choice. You simply cannot project the ultimate consequences of such a choice. Even if you were the only one voting, I would not have confidence that you could possibly understand the consequences of your choice.

That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in democracy. I do, very much, as a good (American social) liberal. Mobilizing people behind a political program or candidate can be a vitally important device for coordinating behavior and expectations in a large-scale society. The existential uncertainty problem gets buried under civic ritual and solidarity; it is not about the person of the candidate, so much as the collective exercise of the franchise, which enables elected officials to rely on political solidarity to enable and support necessary political choices made subsequently.

I am arguing it is not good to be herded in this case by these oligarchic shepherds. The oligarchy does not need the “participation of all” to achieve Clinton’s election. They want the “participation of all” to legitimize that election and the policies that follow. They don’t need your vote so much as the pernicious rationalizations and emotional arguments dampening cognitive dissonance and critical assessment.

I am fine with holding your nose and voting for Clinton as the best of a bad lot. I am against not-holding-your-nose and pretending to yourself and others that she doesn’t stink.

If you think voting enthusiastically for Clinton is going to prevent WWIII, you have not been paying enough attention to who Clinton is. (Yeah, yeah, I get it Trump is volatile and in over his head; don’t disagree.) Clinton is the scariest major party candidate since Barry Goldwater. Her belligerence and bad judgment is staggering.

She may well want to go to war or create provocations. Remember, the post-WWII economic and political order is crumbling — that’s a real thing that’s happening and not a choice she makes. This isn’t Reagan in a peaceful world facing a decrepit Soviet Union waiting for Granada to demonstrate his manhood. Clinton will see the U.S. challenged across the globe and China, the next hegemon, in economic turmoil. These are really, really dangerous times and Clinton does not have a record of good or foresightful judgment. She just doesn’t. The Republicans make a scandal out of the wrong accusations, because they are idiots, but that doesn’t redeem her.

If the left feels it has to defend Clinton as a “normal liberal” President, one of their own, I think that may, in the inevitable crises to come, prove to be a major mistake, a trap, as it has been a trap during Obama’s Administration for so many left aspirations. So, vote for her, if you feel that’s best, but please do it with all the enthusiasm you would muster for Tricky Dick Nixon if you can remember him. Because it may not that far in the future when the “participation of all” may well be necessary to stop Clinton from taking us to the apocalypse.

277

Layman 09.16.16 at 8:20 pm

“Surely you don’t think killing, maiming, torturing, terrorizing, and impoverishing hundreds of thousands of people for personal and team advancement is some kind of joke.”

No, I don’t. And stop calling me Shirley.

278

William Timberman 09.16.16 at 8:22 pm

Trump didn’t raise these demons. He’s a symptom, not a cause. So also are Hillary and Bill, the Bobbsey Twins of go-along-to-get-ahead. You could argue that winning in today’s political context requires a vast influence-peddling and money-laundering machine like the Clinton Foundation, that it requires cozying up to bankers and generals, that it also requires castigating the unnecessariat, winking at mass incarceration, profiting from rent-seeking in the privatization of public education, bombing peasant weddings, etc., etc. This, we’re told, is realism, this is what it takes to win.

And after your nest is feathered, after you win, then what? You remember suddenly that you’re supposed to be the steward of our common destiny? Eye of the needle stuff, if you ask me, not that you did. Mind you I don’t blame Hillary for this. She does what she has to do, given her imperatives. It’s her imperatives that I question…and the system which makes them imperatives in the first place.

279

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 8:33 pm

Suzanne @ 261: Merrick Garland looks like William O. Douglas next to any conceivable Republican nominee . . .

Just noticing this mental process at play. You do realize that comparing Garland to some imagined Republican horrible doesn’t actually make him William O. Douglas? He’s still Merrick Garland.

Ah, David Souter, a nation’s tired eyes turn to you. ;-)

280

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 8:50 pm

Bruce, Sam Wang doesn’t even have a job as a journalist. He is a disinterested amateur with a day job as a neuroscientist. No interest in “horse-race” journalism at all. Silver is a journalist, but one with a good record on poll analysis. And, no, I don’t know the outcome of a Clinton victory, but we can be pretty sure that the outcome of a Trump victory will be disaster. That’s enough for me. Clinton is at least not courting the white supremacist vote.

William, the rest of the Republicans started the ritual, sure. But Trump’s the one who has actually stood up with the staff in his short fingers, stepped into the pentagram, and is chanting the final invocation. And there is no indication that the Clinton Foundation is a money laundering machine, and every indication that the Trump foundation is.

After we win the election, if we do, we keep fighting, what else?

281

Suzanne 09.16.16 at 9:18 pm

@275:
This is really not worth replying to, but………………..yeah, I think my tiny mind can grasp the difference. It’s clear from what I wrote that was not what I meant, but thanks for the clarification.

And these are not “imagined Republican horribles.” Sam Alito is already right there on the bench.

282

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 9:21 pm

Trump supporters http://www.macleans.ca/politics/why-im-voting-for-donald-trump/

“We need to get off the words African-American, Hispanic-American, as we are all Americans. My physicians mostly come from Damascus, Syria. Awesome, I love them.They are legal immigrants.”

Macleans is the media voice of ‘traditional’ Canadian values: pro-efficient civil service, pro-immigration, pro-aboriginal & lgbt rights, very pro law and order. Whilst the NYT is currently running scare stories of Americans moving to Canada, few probably know that Canada’s legal stance on immigration is much, much closer to that of Trump, than of HRC.

The core principals of ‘peace, order, and good government’ are right at the center of ‘Canadian’ values. BW may see this as a love of authority. Perhaps, he’s right. But many Canadians choose Canada because they come from nations where the civil service, the judiciary, the police, doctors, and the politicians are all for sale.

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Will G-R 09.16.16 at 9:44 pm

Raven, surely you can’t be so delusional as to believe Trump “is chanting the final invocation” of anything particularly apocalyptic, à la “Final Solution” which seems to be what you’re going for. Trump saw an opportunity to hop onto the bandwagon of failed presidential candidacy as a road to free publicity, decided that appealing to the GOP’s erstwhile fascist constituency more explicitly than mainstream Republicans generally do would give him enough of a baseline in the polls to remain relevant for a while, and things got out of hand — basically The Producers as a presidential campaign, right down to the deliberate designed-to-fail outlandishness of pretending to be a fascist. But apart from slightly emboldening proto-fascists and getting their ideas talked about by people like Hillary Clinton, it’s absurd to think that if elected he would turn to anybody but the standard list of GOP institutional figures to staff his administration, or that his actual policy agenda would deviate very far from we’d consider the basic comfort zone of a Republican president. In fact, given how lazy he’d likely be in the Oval Office, one couldn’t imagine a more perfect candidate to act as Grover Norquist’s “Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen” to sign bills prepared by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell — think of an early-Alzheimer’s President Reagan plus the Gingrich Congress, and any headline-grabbing Rob Ford- or Silvio Berlusconi-type antics he can play-act would be a wonderful way to keep too much sustained focus off of whatever it is he’s actually signing.

And just to clarify, Trump as an American Berlusconi would be a disastrous scenario for the left, but a Hillary Clinton presidency would be too, for all the reasons leftists keep harping on about. The narrative of Hillary as the Weimar Republic of America’s bulwark against Adolf “Donald Trump” Hitler is a way for neoliberal ideology to obfuscate this point.

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bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 10:00 pm

I like Sam Wang. I have obsessed over polls in past elections and I respect him as one of the best. And, Nate Silver also.

The LA Times had a big front-page article a few days ago comparing polls under some sort of “Trump catches up; disaster looms” headline and there was no there, there. Clinton was doing fine.

I don’t think there’s much information in headlines, ever. By design. They want you to feel that lack of information badly enough to click-thru after all.

All the serious research on U.S. Presidential elections says they are eminently predictable from months out. All the campaigns ever routinely accomplish is to cancel each other, letting incumbency, demography and economic conditions do their usual work. In this case, Trump barely has a campaign with little effective GOTV anyone has been able to detect, so no surprise there is likely.

Presidential elections have rarely been too close to call and this one isn’t now, no matter how motivated Clinton’s campaign may be to make you feel otherwise. And, when it really is too close to call, as in Gore v Bush or Hayes v Tilden or 1824, the fix is put in, so when your vote actually could matter, it isn’t allowed to matter, which really ought to tell you something.

News organizations finance really cheap polling because, frankly, they want noise, because it helps the “exciting” horse race narrative and because they don’t have a lot of spare cash to spend. It is kind of a mathematical miracle that you can get an extremely accurate measurement from a poll of a 1500 people out of an electorate of well over 100 million. Random is random and by chance any one poll may be very, very wrong, but properly and carefully conducted and stratified polls are more narrowly accurate than an ideally random draw and an ideally random draw is pretty good. Cheap polls are aren’t as accurate as they could be, but they are still valuable to news organizations and campaigns raising funds. People like Sam Wang and Nate Silver can distill good information from combining a lot of variously bad polling, which is what they do, insofar as it can be done.

Here’s the dirty secret about modern polling: it is the feedback loop in a process of manipulation and control. The people who devote serious resources to polling (and focus groups and the rest of modern market research) are the campaigns. You don’t get to see their polls. Which in this case means Clinton’s own polls, nor is there much reporting on what the campaign is doing with those polls to get the result they want. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, please.

Obama’s election in 2012 was a monument to precision campaign strategy. He won by an historically narrow margin for a two-candidate race but never ran much of a risk of losing, as Nate Silver’s real-time narrative analysis in the course of the campaign showed.

Clinton doesn’t have some of Obama’s advantages and the staleness of incumbency is working against her though Obama has been using his power to deliver “good news” on economic statistics and policy that makes good arguments at the water cooler (expanding the scope of required overtime pay for example is very good — people understand the politics of policy that puts cash in their pockets, however cynical I might be about a guy who waits for year 8 to do it).

But, Clinton doesn’t have Obama’s reasons for wanting to win narrowly, though she has reasons of her own for not having coattails that might drag too many liberal Democrats into the House or Senate. But, she’s taken care of business as far as that’s concerned, so she’s free to boom some big guns late in the campaign and GOTV.

I could be completely wrong — I have been before. I have watched that Dilbert guy, Scott Adams. He makes some good points and he’s funny, so an entertaining read. He’s selling a book and he’s wrong about Trump in a way that sells his book. Clinton is not a good candidate, not in the way Barack Obama or Bill Clinton were. But, neither is Trump. Trump is a gift to Clinton whose appearances are as likely to lose votes as gain them, because Trump generates even bigger negatives.

I still say it is not healthy to hyperventilate over an election you will personally have no discernible impact on.

285

roger the cabin boy 09.16.16 at 10:00 pm

People at Unfogged complain about Crooked Timber commenters but I’m very happy with this discussion. Thank you Bruce.

286

Layman 09.16.16 at 10:29 pm

“And just to clarify, Trump as an American Berlusconi would be a disastrous scenario for the left, but a Hillary Clinton presidency would be too, for all the reasons leftists keep harping on about.”

Just to clarify, Will G-R, you’re going to get one or the other. It does no good to say that Trump will be a disaster, but Hillary will, too, because it leads nowhere. Decide which one you’d rather see, and why, and make an argument.

287

CRW 09.16.16 at 10:52 pm

Some people (kidneystones) sure seem to fit this description:
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2016/09/trumps-online-deplorables.html

288

faustusnotes 09.16.16 at 11:02 pm

More exhausting bullshit here, as William Timberman joins the deplorable Wilder in airing conspiracy theories:

You could argue that winning in today’s political context requires a vast influence-peddling and money-laundering machine like the Clinton Foundation

Yes, you could argue this – if you were full of shit, didn’t understand how foundations work or what the Clinton foundation does, were happy arguing ludicrous ideas without evidence, and were doped up to your eyeballs on right wing myths and Clinton-hatred.

Or you could argue something sensible and realistic. And step back and take a look at how you’re judging events in this election, and wonder if maybe you have a problem with your own judgment.

289

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 11:21 pm

The entirely predictable Les Deplorables – Les Miserables contre la reine Antoinette

http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-les-miserables-deplorables-miami-2016-9

290

kidneystones 09.16.16 at 11:23 pm

And Deplorables and Irredeemables respond…

291

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 11:35 pm

Decide which one you’d rather see, and why, and make an argument.

It sounds like an earnest assignment for a high school debate team.

Where’s Bartleby?

292

Lee A. Arnold 09.16.16 at 11:45 pm

Trump says one thing, then he says the opposite, he denies the facts, he lies — and it doesn’t matter. His supporters do not care what he says. They are supporting him because he’s their guy, and they hate Hillary. It’s the in-group phenomenon of “motivated social cognition”, the modern tribalism in which facts are secondary, dismissible. It was always active in politics on both sides of course, but the GOP has been basing their message on an increasing number of lies for a few decades now, and Trump has laid it open, and they don’t even care.

If Trump is elected, it will be very bad for the country because he is teaching kids that it is all right to lie.

293

Will G-R 09.16.16 at 11:46 pm

Layman @ 281: “Decide which one you’d rather see, and why, and make an argument.”

I absolutely refuse to do this, for all the reasons Bruce outlined so well @ 248. If anything, the way so many establishment-oriented Democrats have decided to take Trump’s supposed fascism at its word (instead of emphasizing all the totally obvious arguments as to how he’s, y’know, pretending to be a fascist) could be a sign of desperation to keep people’s eyes and ears glued to the circus, which could imply that what they really fear is the ideological delegitimization of mass disengagement from bourgeois political parties in general. If there’s any grain of truth in that, I’d much rather argue for principled nonvoting than for Team Donkey or Team Elephant.

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bruce wilder 09.17.16 at 12:25 am

Lee A. Arnold @ 287

The lying is deplorable.

295

kidneystones 09.17.16 at 1:12 am

The Nation’s take on the Deplorables: https://www.thenation.com/article/in-ohio-trump-rallies-the-deplorables/

“ Trump’s opponents are going to have to offer Ohio’s voters something to vote for, rather than merely someone to vote against. Talking to people, rather than down at them, might be a good place to start.”

Never. Going. To. Happen.

The Daily Mail ensures the Les Déplorables meme gets international coverage and looks to be a stroke of marketing genius all thanks to her majesty: ‘Let them eat confetti!’

No link.

296

LFC 09.17.16 at 2:21 am

What if Ohio votes for HRC in the end ? K’stones will be covered in prognosticatory (if that’s a word) glory.

Speaking of Trump’s lies, I’m reminded of

“These lies are like their father [Falstaff] that begets them — gross as a mountain, open, palpable.”
1 Henry IV, Act II, sc.4

297

Faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 2:50 am

And so inevitably we roll back around to the touchstone position of the holier-than-thou left: that your vote is a precious little flower, and you will only give it to the sweet and genuine person who deserves it, not some manipulative and conniving woman who has the audacity to not agree with you 100%.

Voting isn’t about your conscience, it’s about a political process. It’s particularly funny to see the flag bearers for leftist opposition to identity politics like Bruce wilder making this sudden emotional and inner-conscience based argument. I guess it’s just really triggering for you guys to have to put a ticke next to a woman’s name…

298

Heliopause 09.17.16 at 2:53 am

“Walking pneumonia is really not a big deal any more. I’ve had it maybe 10 times”

Did you ever collapse in public and were it not for the several people physically supporting you, the several Secret Service agents forming a perimeter, and waiting rescue van, you might have seriously injured yourself?

299

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 2:54 am

Shorter Will G-R@281: “After Hitler, our turn.”

Raven, surely you can’t be so delusional as to believe Trump “is chanting the final invocation” of anything particularly apocalyptic, à la “Final Solution” which seems to be what you’re going for.

What he has invoked is American racism and xenophobia. He has called out millions of Islamophobes, Klansmen, Christian Identity believers, neo-Nazis. As to what he plans to do, deporting 12 million undocumented aliens would be within his power as chief executive. The anti-Islamic and anti-Latino violence that the newly emboldened racists and xenophobes have begun would be legitimated and increase; there would be no prosecutions under the various Federal hate crimes laws. His administration would repeal the ACA, denying medical care to millions. His proposed tax cuts, popular with Republican Representatives, would explode the national debt as did Reagan’s and Bush’s; the disastrous results of Republican fiscal policy we see in Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Michigan would be national policy. If he pursued his “hard money” fantasies, he would have support in the House and possibly the Senate; that could plunge the USA into a depression that would make the crash of 2008 look like a minor thing. His vindictiveness would probably embroil the USA in wars which it then could not afford.

No imagination, no imagination.

How much apocalypse would you like?

300

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 2:59 am

Bruce, why didn’t you stop with “I like Sam Wang. I have obsessed over polls in past elections and I respect him as one of the best. And, Nate Silver also.”

And last week, Sam Wang give Donald Trump a 1 in 6 chance of winning and Silver a 1 in 3. Trumps odds are better now, but the new state polls haven’t come in yet. 1 in 6; those are the odds of losing Russian roulette. Care for a game?

301

js. 09.17.16 at 3:11 am

Actually, once you realize that (at least) half the CT commenters give zero fucks about the lives of anyone other than white men, this all makes sense. And also that there’s no point in arguing with them. They know that they’ll be fine under a Trump presidency. And why should they care about anyone else?

302

LFC 09.17.16 at 3:14 am

@Raven Onthill

Obviously B. Wilder doesn’t care which of the two main candidates wins. He’s made that clear here for months, in comment after comment after comment. So what Wang and Silver say is not going to move Wilder in the least.

Note the past tense in Wilder’s comment: “I have obsessed over polls in past elections.” Not now, is the implication.

303

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 3:14 am

Kevin Drum’s coverage of the Clinton Foundation non-issue.

On the other hand, The Trump Foundation is under investigation by NY AG Schniedermann. The Trump Foundation appears to be a shell for evading taxes; we have, for instance, the Foundation’s purchase of a $20,000 painting of Trump and likely bribe of Florida AG Pam Bondi.

304

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 3:17 am

js@299: I fear that is accurate. The actions I described @297 will affect privileged white men and perhaps for that reason they are disbelieved.

305

LFC 09.17.16 at 3:21 am

@js
I notice you asked upthread about RNB. As you may recall, he was banned from Corey’s threads — after inviting or precipitating it by his behavior on that occasion, it seemed to me (but I don’t want to argue about that). I don’t remember whether the ban applied to other threads as well, but he’s evidently decided to spend his commenting time elsewhere.

306

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 3:31 am

And of course President Trump will be Commander in Chief, empowered to order a nuclear strike.

But I guess that doesn’t matter any more.

307

kidneystones 09.17.16 at 3:34 am

Hillary’s Birtherism Blowback – File under things not happening in the CT universe

“Hillary Clinton surrogate Sid Blumenthal personally pitched a reporter on the President Obama “birther” story when she was campaigning for president in 2008, a former Washington reporter said Thursday. The Clinton campaign and the media have consistently refuted Trump’s claim Clinton started the birther movement, which Trump re-upped Friday when he said for the first publicly that he believes Obama was born in the United States. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Trump said, drawing a slew of media fact checks almost immediately. “I finished it.”

But former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher has backed up Trump’s version of events, saying he was personally pitched the story by a Clinton surrogate in 2008.

Clinton had tweeted: “President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.”

Re: white folks. A whole lot of people are unemployed, or underemployed. So, for those who believe that it’s already morning in America, the prospect of electing somebody not named Clinton or Bush doesn’t seem like a necessity. It’s fine to claim Trump is Hitler, it’s probably a bad choice to internalize the meme. Chicago, Detroit, DC, and parts of many other US cities might benefit from a change. Oh, wait African-Americans are entirely reliant on folks like the Clintons. If you think people of color don’t need a white lady who makes millions in the WH, lots of Dems will be happy to correct you.

The best choice is no choice.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/16/washington-bureau-chief-clinton-surrogate-pitched-me-birther-story-in-2008/#ixzz4KTpsPX99

308

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 3:43 am

Kidneystones, you’re quoting f’in Breitbart.

309

William Timberman 09.17.16 at 3:43 am

faustusnotes, I’d have thought that the deplorable Rooskies and that super-deplorable Julian Assange would have put paid to your claims of lack of evidence, but never mind. Compare and contrast:

You can put half of Trump supporters in what I call a basket of deplorables….

and

don’t know. That’s what they offered. Every Secretary of State that I know has done that.

She’s gonna need a bigger basket. So are we.

310

js. 09.17.16 at 3:46 am

Raven @302 — Well, resentment’s not particularly rational, I suppose. And more importantly, the defeat of Clinton would feel like a moral victory to them, which I guess is what they care about.

——

LFC @303 — I guess I missed that. It seems manifestly unfair to me given that 50+% of CT comments these days are mealy-mouthed defenses of white nationalism. But I guess that’s where CT is heading. They should probably ban me too—after all, this more and more seems like a place for white dudes to discuss white dude problems, so I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing here.

311

js. 09.17.16 at 3:48 am

Obviously B. Wilder doesn’t care which of the two main candidates wins.

Supposing this is true, ever why wonder why that is?

312

kidneystones 09.17.16 at 3:56 am

@ 306 There are two news organizations clearly identified in the comment: the Daily Caller and McClatchy and you managed to miss both.

“McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher has backed up Trump’s version of events, saying he was personally pitched the story by a Clinton surrogate in 2008”

Here’s a link to the kind of Pulitzer quality reporting James Asher supervised for McClatchy. http://www.mcclatchy.com/2015/04/20/3690/mcclatchy-washington-bureau-reporters.html

Surely there must be some other kind of prize for your own reporting/reading.

313

kidneystones 09.17.16 at 3:59 am

And here’s McClatchy confirming the Daily Caller story. (Please note, not Breitbart)

“…former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher tweeted Friday that Blumenthal had “told me in person” that Obama was born in Kenya.”

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article102354777.html

314

js. 09.17.16 at 4:06 am

William Timberman

This dude lives in what might end up being a swing state this year, if I remember correctly. But what the fuck does he care about the Latinos, women, etc. in his state and the country that would be harmed by a Trump presidency?

315

js. 09.17.16 at 4:10 am

Sorry, William Timberman, I always really liked you as a commenter. Truly. But this shit is fucking tiring. As fuck.

316

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 4:15 am

The actual tweets are given here: http://www.mediaite.com/online/journalist-says-that-clinton-ally-blumenthal-once-spread-the-birther-rumor-to-me/. They are ambiguous at best (did Blumenthal perhaps want to see those charges refuted?), and in any event the Clinton campaign didn’t lead the birther movement; that was Trump.

Put it away.

317

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 4:27 am

William, over at Esquire Peter Wade checked the numbers on Trump supporter bigotry, and she was pretty much right. By some measures she was even low. See: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a48493/clinton-deplorables/.

Also Ta-Nehisi Coates remarks: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/they-are-all-breitbart-now/499511/.

Chris Hayes interview with Coates: http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/ta-nehisi-coates-on-trump-s-deplorables-763500611817 (6 min video + ads)

318

kidneystones 09.17.16 at 4:28 am

@ 314

Here’s Asher being ‘ambiguous’ in his response to

Hillary Clinton ‏@HillaryClinton Sep 15 (2016) President Obama’s successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period.

@HillaryClinton So why did your man #sidblumenthal spread the #obama birther rumor to me in 2008, asking us to investigate? Remember?

And here’s Asher again, doubling down, on his accusation that Clinton confidant explicitly claimed Obama was born in Kenya:
@jimasher#CNN says #Hillary team in 2008 never raised #birther issue. #SidBlumenthal, long-time #HRC buddy, told me in person #Obama born in #kenya”

James Asher is explicitly challenging and responding to Hillary’s tweet re: birtherism. The use of ‘so’ is the marker.

Given that Asher supervised two Pulitzer finalist investigations, one into CIA torture, and the second into Goldman Sachs and the financial meltdown, as Washington Bureau chief of one of America’s best news services I’d say Asher is a credible source with a professional’s command of the English language.

I’m glad, however, you spoke up because now we know you can’t read, or think.

Thanks!

319

William Timberman 09.17.16 at 4:29 am

js., I live in Arizona, and that was less a question than a provocation. Even so, I’ve commented here on CT long enough for you to know that the answer isn’t the one you’re implying. Vote for Hillary, or stand accused of misogyny, racism, infantile leftism, moral solipsism, old white dudism, and indifference to the fascist apocalypse, is that it? Sounds like you’re gonna need a bigger basket as well.

320

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 4:43 am

William, Your good name doesn’t matter if Trump wins.

Kidneystones, so? Trump is the major figure who kept birtherism alive, not Clinton or any of her staff.

321

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 4:45 am

(left something important out.) William, your good name doesn’t matter if Trump wins; it will be lost.

322

Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 4:50 am

Here’s McClatchy’s own account of the birtherism matter:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article102354777.html

Blumenthal says no, Asher says yes. No idea who is right, or if both person’s memories have faded. What is clear is that birtherism was never central to the Clinton campaign, which everyone here I expect remembers. Sorry, no, that was and is Trump.

323

kidneystones 09.17.16 at 4:51 am

Just read the NYT stenographers on Trump and birtherism. Not a peep about Asher’s tweet.

Yet.

Meanwhile, I figure within about 24 hours James Asher is going to one of the most sought after interviews in the press. Then, within a few days Blumenthal’s links to Hillary are going to be a hot topic.

Question 1: Why did Hillary continue to employ an associate who pushed the ‘Obama was born in Kenya’ story to McClatchy in 2008? The campaign has already confirmed it fired ‘one rogue’ staffer.

Question 2: Why did Hillary discuss top-secret State plans in Libya with the same individual, given the fact that Blumenthal was pushing birtherism?

The answer must be: ‘Hillary knew nothing about it.’

Again. Utterly plausible. No knowledge of the ‘rogue operation’ to promote ‘birtherism’ in 2008 despite her own confident admitting as much.

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js. 09.17.16 at 4:59 am

Yes, WT, you have commented on CT long enough and I have read your comments for long enough, and that’s why I always had immense respect for you. I’m genuinely sorry that it’s fast evaporating. I hope you’ll enjoy 4-8 years of Trump, if it comes to pass.

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js. 09.17.16 at 5:02 am

But since you ask, yes—if you live where it could matter, and you are indifferent to Trump, you are at best indifferent to white nationalism and nastier forms of patriarchy. At best.

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Faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 5:05 am

It’s not an accusation William, it’s an attempt to find an explanation for your irrational insistence on believing every lie and slur against Clinton and ignoring every serious fact about trump. I mean, now you’re quoting wiki leaks, an organization that recently outed a bunch of gay citizens in Saudi Arabia for no reason. An organization that obviously hates Clinton and is run by a rapist (hmm why does this anti feminist hate Clinton I wonder). If you’ve got a better explanation for why the dudes on here hate Clinton and believe every lie and slur about her, while ignoring facts about trump, I’m all ears. Until then I’ll use the explanatory method presented as irrefutable by Sebastian upthread: statistical likelihood.

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Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 5:09 am

kidneystones, it wouldn’t be the first time a subordinate covered for their boss by not telling their boss. We’ll have to wait and see. My guess is that it will turn out to be a minor thing, but we will be hearing about until the election.

My gods, Clinton and all her staff are expected to be saints, while Trump gets a pass on the most egregious abuses. But, hey, it won’t matter.

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kidneystones 09.17.16 at 5:11 am

Boom. And here’s Hillary herself pushing the ‘secret Muslim’ garbage live on 60 Minutes:

KROFT: “You said you’d take Senator Obama at his word that he’s not…a Muslim. You don’t believe that he’s…”

CLINTON: “No. No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know.”

As far as I know…

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also confirmed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind mainstreaming the birther theories. “For Hillary Clinton to come out and criticize anybody for spreading the rumors about Barack Obama when it all started with her and her campaign passing things around in the Democratic primary,” Scarborough said. “Now, listen, the Republicans are wrong for doing what they’re doing. But it started with Hillary Clinton. And it was spread by the Clinton team…

Bloomberg’s John Heilemann—the co-author of the 2008 campaign book Game Change—and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also confirmed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind mainstreaming the birther theories.

There’s actually more. A lot more. Because the above mentioned Heilemann confirmed on MSNBC that the Hillary campaign was behind the birther rumors and that Hillary knew about it, and that Heileman apologized to the Obama people for pushing the smears.

I watched clip. It’s not ambiguous. Asked a direct question on air in 2008: “Was the Hillary campaign behind the birtherism smears?’ Heilemann responds ‘Yeah, the Scarborough-Brezinski version of events is correct.’

This is going to bite.

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kidneystones 09.17.16 at 5:20 am

The only question is how long until the Clinton campaign admitting they were behind birther smears in 2008 makes it into Trump ads.

Then, how will African-American voters, in particular; women; liberals; Sanders supporters, and young voters voters respond to the business (and it is a business) of placing the mother of birtherism in the oval office?

Stinks, and that’s putting a pro-dem spin on it.

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William Timberman 09.17.16 at 5:27 am

Raven Onthill, my good name is as evanescent, as mortal, as I am myself. If the last century proves anything, from Goebbels to Stalin’s show trials to the industrial-strength character assasination Hillary’s been subjected to for the last 25 years, it’s that no one’s reputation is immune to assault. As public figures — and we’re all potential public figures in the age of Facebook — our existence is largely virtual, and as such, vulnerable to anyone who considers us an impediment to their own interests, and figures that the end justifies the means. It’s enough for me to know who I am, and when called upon, to give an honest accounting of my actions. Like it or not, the rest isn’t up to me.

My opposition to Hillary isn’t governed by any animus except a distaste for hypocrisy, and the perception that the cleverest among us have outsmarted themselves, that the means have become detached from their ends, have in fact come to dominate those supposed ends completely. I shouldn’t have to say, in this company particularly, that none of this makes me a supporter of Trump, but I’ll say it anyway. Whether faustusnotes or js. or you believe it is your affair, not mine.

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js. 09.17.16 at 5:39 am

If Trump wins, I expect disaster in some form or other and it will be relatively quick, within a two years.

I wish this were true, but it’s not, I don’t think. Honestly, if Trump does win, I wish the white motherfuckers who voted him in/allowed him to win would suffer, but mostly they won’t. What will happen is healthcare protections will be rolled back and poor people (overwhelmingly non-white and women) will suffer; reproductive rights will be rolled back and women, esp. poor women, will suffer; lawless and lawful violence against black and brown people will increase and go unpunished; the anti-semitic wing of the right will be empowered, tho it’s unclear what they can/will do (possibly v bad things); obviously, inequality will increase but no one seems to give a fuck about that anyway. But people like Bruve Wilder and William Timberman will make out fine, in all likelihood.

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js. 09.17.16 at 5:41 am

Look, man, it’s about saying you’re not a supporter of Trump. You either do (at least) the minimum to defeat or you don’t. Your words (like mine) count for shit.

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Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 5:58 am

I dug into the “Clinton started birtherism” claim. First, it’s been made and discredited multiple times in the past eight years; factcheck.org, polifact, and AP all published debunkings. Heileman didn’t say it. Scarborough says it’s false and links the factcheck.org article; see https://twitter.com/JoeNBC/status/776699116864798720.

Which leaves Asher. Who is credible … and apparently wrong. Perhaps this is a matter of the malleability of memory. Or just possibly is telling the truth, despite all evidence pointing the other way, but without independent confirmation I don’t credit him.

I’m sure, though, that we will be hearing this from the Trump campaign all the way down to the election.

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js. 09.17.16 at 5:58 am

TFW you forget a negation and your comment makes no fucking sense.

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Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 6:09 am

js: read what I wrote here: http://crookedtimber.org/2016/09/13/an-observation-and-a-conjecture-about-hrcs-health/#comment-691925. Based on what Trump has been saying, things could go bad very fast. The consequences of Trump’s banking and economic policies, if he puts them into practice, will hit hard and they will hit everyone, though they will probably hit people of color and women more than white men. Twelve million deportations … I can’t even imagine what that would be like. We would have trouble bringing the crops in. Oh, yeah, the white folk would feel it.

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William Timberman 09.17.16 at 6:19 am

js. not to worry, I got the point. I’l add useful-idiotism to the list of my crimes against the future. Needless to say, I think you oversimplify the options available. As I once said about Obama, Hillary is at best a placeholder, at worst a part of the enemy’s baggage train. Trump is a commedia dell’arte villain with the potential to become the latest lightning rod for a lot of long-festering, and hence familiar nastinesses eager to have yet another go at our fragile civil society. Perhaps fortunately, a resolution of the underlying political incompatibilities, those which the country has wrestled with since the Articles of Confederation, won’t depend exclusively, or even primarily, on either one of them.

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js. 09.17.16 at 6:51 am

Look, WT, I get the point too. You won’t have anyone try to light your arm on fire while you’re walking down a street in New York; you won’t get punched in the face at a rally for having the wrong skin color; your family won’t be denied entry or reentry into the country because they have a funny sounding name. So of course Trump is a comedic villain to you. I mean, it couldn’t possibly be serious, could it? Why would it be?

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js. 09.17.16 at 6:59 am

Also, and I am really sorry for all these comments, when I say that I really really respected people like William Timberman (etc.), I really mean it. I don’t argue, and never have argued, against idiots like—well, I hope you can guess. This is why this hurts. I really always thought of you as allies.

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Alex K--- 09.17.16 at 8:29 am

@226: The OP is about HRC’s health. The good doctor must have put in “non-contagious” because she honestly believes that all or most types of bacterial pneumonia are non-contagious. Other people may object that you can’t definitely say it’s non-contagious if it’s the “communally acquired” variety, and what about the media reports of campaign staff getting sick? Some subtypes of the disease are almost surely non-contagious though, such as aspiration pneumonia, often a by-product of a more serious long-term condition… In other words, the non-c word should have been avoided.

@255: “What’s especially notable here is the shameless regret that the US did not order its vassals in Europe to boycott Russian gas.” Without endorsing your terminology, Steven, I agree the US didn’t go that far, but it’s understandable because the EU can’t do without Russian gas at the moment. However, the US could have done a lot more to deter Russia, apart from providing arms and intelligence info to Ukraine (which it has not done either): for one, it could block the dollar assets of Russian companies and banks, including the central bank. Obama seems to think that because “Russia doesn’t make anything” and its “population is shrinking,” the Ukrainian crisis will resolve itself sooner or later.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.17.16 at 9:53 am

How hollow all this “words-of-wisdom-from-an-ol’-timer” shtick becomes, in an existential choice. The elders all appear to be juvenile enough to think that their own votes should remain Pure! They must vote “for” something or someone, as opposed to “against” another. Otherwise it’s not philosophically credible or something, or else it will belie the lessons from the previous sad experiences of history.

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faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 9:54 am

Alex K, pneumonia is routinely described as non-contagious. It’s caused by viruses or bacteria that usually don’t cause harm in the host, but occasionally do due to weakness, age, or physical stress. This isn’t some weird new science – if you doubt me, just google the disease and check out any of the major health info sites (the NHS page on pneumonia is good if you don’t want to trust some advertising-funded medical advice page; or check the Mayo clinic, they’re usually good). And now you’re peddling “Clinton staff got sick” rumours. If true what do they mean? Are you implying that Clinton has been spreading some highly contagious disease among her staff? Why? If it is a highly contagious disease, then surely this has no implications at all for Clinton’s robustness – anyone can get a highly contagious disease, by definition. If this is a thing, why is the doctor trying to hide it? Surely from a propaganda perspective “Clinton camp struck down by SARS” is better than “Clinton gets sick of a disease that only weak old losers get sick from”. Are you thinking through any of the things you so thoughtlessly report? And where are you getting these rumours from? Before you so bravely repeddle them here, have you bothered checking to see whether they are in fact just being made up out of whole cloth at some shonky right wing conspiracy website?

Are you thinking at all?

William Timberman, my problem is not with whether or not you’re a racist who’s going to vote Trump, my issue is – as, I think, js. is experiencing – with people on the left who have suddenly decided to turn on a moderate left ally who – despite many obvious flaws – is trying to do the best she can within her world view for poor people and women, who has a history of trying to achieve universal health coverage for Americans, who is obviously serious about politics even if she’s not everything you want, and yet have strangely decided to undersell, underplay, underemphasize, or just plain ignore the huge problems building on the other side. This view that Clinton is a sinister creeping evil while Trump is a comedy – that view is not just loathsome and reprehensible, it is completely incompatible with any kind of left wing politics or indeed any form of compassionate politics at all. If you care about women, black people, the rights of the weakest and most vulnerable in society, you have to understand that Trump is an incredibly dangerous thing. If you care simply about basic things like basic social stability – the ability of people of different backgrounds to just occupy the same physical space in safety, or to have a functioning economy – then you have to understand that Trump is not a clown.

It’s this complete abrogation of these basic responsibilities that I find so repulsive on these threads. It’s not about whether I preferred Clinton in the primaries and now yay! I get to gloat at the berniebros (I didn’t and I don’t); it’s about whether the basic conditions for any kind of social interchange between rival political factions will be possible 2 years from now, and what will happen if it’s not. It’s also, of course, about global warming, a real and imminent threat to industrial civilization. That some of the people posting here, ostensibly from the left, can ignore these basic things because you think Trump is funny and you can’t handle a slightly shifty old woman representing the left for a couple of years – that is really mind blowing for me. I’m sorry but you cannot claim to care about left wing principles or about ordinary people, or to have any compassion for the poor and the downtrodden, if you believe this. If Trump wins, assuming you’re heterosexual, imagine that your partner sees the cavalier way you’ve been dismissing this misogynist arseclown on these threads.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

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kidneystones 09.17.16 at 10:02 am

Let’s get something straight. Anybody with a Muslim family has every right to object to Trump’s comments and to oppose him for just that reason. Trump is using all the dog-whistles and appeals to xenophobia exactly as his critics have charged. The sad part of the birther debacle is HRC used precisely the same tactics and O played upon African-American homophobia to win black votes from Hillary.

I support Trump. Should Trump fail to act in a responsible manner towards minorities, especially Muslims and Hispanics, his particular targets, it’s on everyone who wanted to see Trump win. I wouldn’t support Trump for a moment if I believed he wants policies any different from those in place in Canada and Australia, not perfect, but tight enough to ensure that the authorities have a pretty good idea who is coming into the country and why. It’s on Trump to prove he’s not the bigot he’s made out to be.

HRC is not sick enough to be disqualified from running for President. Period. But her health is a legitimate topic for discussion. I disagree, btw, that the world is especially dangerous at this point in history. The dispute in the South China sea has the potential to become much more dangerous, but right now corporate elites are making far too much money to disrupt the cash flow. Lee Arnold is right when he notes that whoever wins will have to rule under severe constraints.

Imagining the worst about others is something we could well do without. But that’s me.

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kidneystones 09.17.16 at 10:04 am

Then we have those predicting the next apocalypse out of their belly-button lint.

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Manta 09.17.16 at 10:28 am

I remind people that there is also the global warming issue.
Obama has been relatively good (not good enough in absolute terms, but much better than his predecessor, and probably better than the republican alternatives)..

I assume that both candidates will behave as standard members of their respective parties: i.e., that Clinton will at least keep Obama legacy, and maybe improve on it, while Trump will probably try to backtrack on O. promises and surely will not try to build on them : but I welcome corrections from people who have followed this issues more closely.

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faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 10:35 am

Trump thinks global warming is a hoax.

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ZM 09.17.16 at 11:03 am

The Democratic Convention recently improved the climate change policy with a commitment to hold some sort of talks about it after the election, and a war time mobilisation strategy. It’s a pretty good climate change policy now.

One of the former Australian Labor Party people said after the Democrats did that, the Labor Party here will change their policy to a war time mobilisation response too, and it was a question not if if, but when.

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ZM 09.17.16 at 11:08 am

This is a link https://thinkprogress.org/democratic-platform-calls-for-wwii-scale-mobilization-to-solve-climate-crisis-d2f84c22f9ca#.c7s8wlbah

I agree with js about it being a shame to see commenters over looking how Trump’s policies will affect people of non white ethnic backgrounds. Although I am not American so I haven’t followed the details of the policies as much as most commenters from the US.

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Val 09.17.16 at 11:43 am

From https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/economic-vision

“[Targeted for review and likely repeal]
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which forces investment in renewable energy at the expense of coal and natural gas, raising electricity rates;
The EPA’s Waters of the United States rule, which gives the EPA the ability to regulate the smallest streams on private land, limiting land use; and
The Department of Interior’s moratorium on coal mining permits, which put tens of thousands of coal miners out of work.

4. Energy reform—

Rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
Save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
Ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
Make land in the Outer Continental Shelf available to produce oil and natural gas.
Cancel the Paris Climate Agreement (limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius) and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.

Obamacare repeal and replacement—Obamacare will cost the economy 2 million full time jobs over the next decade. Hillary Clinton would expand Obamacare and create fully government-run socialized medicine.”

It’s not hard to find this stuff if you’re actually interested in policy, rather than how much you hate Hillary.

You have a choice, as faustusnotes says, between a mildly left wing Democrat candidate, and a reactionary Republican candidate who will pursue discredited trickle down economic policies, refuse to acknowledge or address climate change and repeal the most basic environmental protections. According to other statements he has made, he also intends to authorise torture, persecute Muslims and deny women the right to abortion in any circumstances.

Why people here refuse to acknowledge all this is beyond me. It’s frightening.

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Layman 09.17.16 at 11:48 am

kidneystones: “And here’s McClatchy confirming the Daily Caller story. (Please note, not Breitbart)”

From your link: “There were the two Clinton supporters, but there is no evidence that Clinton herself or her campaign spread the story.”

kidneystones: “Anybody with a Muslim family has every right to object to Trump’s comments and to oppose him for just that reason.”

What an odd thing to say. Do people without Muslim families lack any ‘right to object to Trump’s comments and to oppose him’?

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Layman 09.17.16 at 11:58 am

William Timberman: “I live in Arizona, and that was less a question than a provocation.”

I understand you offered this in response to a direct statement about where you live, but it is amazing to me how often those who offer what they call the principled argument against voting for HRC eventually come around to admitting they live in a state where their vote for President is more or less irrelevant.

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Marc 09.17.16 at 12:52 pm

It’s amazing that heaping abuse on people counts as effective political persuasion for some. The sheer nastiness and arrogance of Clinton supporters in this cycle has been widespread enough that I think it’s hurting her campaign.

In the normal course of matters you try and convince people that your candidate is the better one; you don’t just go around asserting that anyone who is uncertain or leaning opposed (but perhaps persuadable) is a monster. Given the level of antagonism that this induces, don’t scratch your heads about the closeness of the polls.

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LFC 09.17.16 at 1:14 pm

js. @308

I’m going to vote for HRC, as I’ve said before; I view her as flawed but much preferable to Trump, for reasons many of which have been set out by others here.

I do understand where you’re coming from on this, but I’m not sure it’s that useful or accurate to imply a Trump admin will hurt only or mainly non-whites. There are not simply “white dude problems” (whatever that means exactly) and other problems.

Also, look at it this way: If someone came onto a thread like this and suggested that you, js., don’t care at all about blue-collar workers who have lost jobs in rust-belt or similar areas because you aren’t a blue-collar worker, you might reply that one doesn’t have to be X or have X experiences in order to imagine X’s situation. Similarly one doesn’t have to be African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, Native American etc to understand the particular concerns of those groups. It’s a different sort of understanding from first-hand, but not impossible. After all, the civil rights mvt of the ’40s through ’60s received a lot of support from white liberals and leftists. I know you know this intellectually, but comments implying that white males esp. can’t understand the concerns of non-whites — that if you are not at personal risk of having your arm burned when you walk down a street in NY, you cannot understand or imagine what it might be like to be in that situation — seem to me to contain the poss. of alienating people who might otherwise agree w your position. True, you’re not going to convince, say, Timberman or Wilder, but I mean others who might be reading. (OK, it’s just a comment thread, it doesn’t really matter. But thought I’d mention anyway.) Sorry for length of this. I’m going to have to be offline for a while now.

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Lynne 09.17.16 at 1:25 pm

“comments implying that white males esp. can’t understand the concerns of non-whites”

LFC, fwiw (and js can of course speak for himself) I didn’t read his comments as saying that, but rather I think he was responding to comments by specific commenters (Wm Timberman and Bruce Wilder) and explaining their indifference to a Trump presidency as more or less “well, why would you care, personally since you won’t be one of Trump’s targets”. There is a difference between understanding the concerns of other groups, and feeling the fears those groups fear when they are targeted.

I am surprised so many leftists here are more critical of HRC than of Trump given how he has threatened groups like Muslims. I mean, that is just horrific. The man has to be stopped.

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Faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 1:27 pm

Marc, nastiness? We have a commenter here suggesting some kind of conspiracy in which Clinton is infecting her staff with pneumonia and hiding it. We have people saying she enjoys killing people. Who exactly is being nasty?

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William Timberman 09.17.16 at 1:54 pm

js., my last response to you has been stuck overnight in moderation. Eventually it should become visible @ approximately 337, if you want to see it.

As for Layman, Val, faustusnotes, Lee A. Arnold and the rest of the convinced Hillary supporters, suffice it to say that I disagree with you about what a vote for Hillary represents. I don’t think she’s either a mildly left wing Democratic candidate — that ship sailed long ago — or a slightly shifty old woman, which is a) projection on faustusnotes’ part and b) a caricature of the notion that Hillary is a lot less concerned about the downtrodden than she is about coming out on top in the war of assassins that was unleashed against her decades ago. Briefly stated, I don’t think that vindication for Hillary at any cost is a fair trade for the nonsense that it asks us to accept at face value.

You folks apparently see a clear choice between a dangerous fascist blowhard on the one hand, and a benevolent and dedicated liberal politician who feels the pain of the dispossessed on the other. I see a staged morality play which bears at best a passing resemblance to reality, and I doubt I’d see it any differently if I lived in Ohio rather than Arizona. The forces in play have been at play for a long time. Maybe we’ll reach a significant inflection point this November, and maybe we won’t. If we ask Nate Silver who’s going to win this election, no doubt he’ll have an answer for us. If we ask him what that will mean for the country, he’ll likely prove as clueless as any of the rest of us.

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Anarcissie 09.17.16 at 1:55 pm

Raven Onthill 09.16.16 at 7:17 pm:
‘Anarcissie, it’s more that one faction of what you call the ruling class has lost control. But Trump is part of the most reactionary and dangerous faction: remember that he is actively seeking the white supremacist and misogynist vote, and he has adopted many of the policy proposals of the extreme right.’

I consider the most dangerous faction of the ruling class (that I know about) to be the neocons, who have mostly supported Clinton (or so I read.) Trump has spoken of his desire to commit war crimes, so there is not a lot to choose from. In this area at least, however, there is no indication that Clinton is the sane one, if sanity excludes sociopathic indifference to human life.

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ZM 09.17.16 at 2:31 pm

William Timberman,

But given that you only have these two main candidates its too late to wish you had better candidates, and also some of the problems are inherited problems, and not really the fault of any candidate since anyone who gets elected will inherit them just the same.

Hilary Clinton has already been in government and so she has already got history with those problem areas, but Trump is unlikely to prove any better if he did get elected.

One main problem area seems to be defence and national security, which for America is different than for other countries due to America taking a leading role in global security in the post-War period. This is a highly problematic area for any administration that gets elected. There was post-Cold War idealism I recall that military interventions wouldn’t be needed, but we have seen several military interventions since the end of the Cold War and also ongoing civil wars causing lots of lives to be lost and damage where intervention is avoided, like in Rwanda and Syria now.

America and the other countries need to really think again about global security in the post-Cold War period, since its a complete mess now. But any Presidential candidate is going to inherit that mess.

The other main problem areas people bring up seems to be globalisation and the loss of blue collar jobs. I think this isn’t a Presidential area though really, I suppose if you wanted to reverse globalisation it would be, but if the issue is creating jobs in a globalised economy then its more of a State or City level problem I think.

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Layman 09.17.16 at 2:46 pm

William Timberman: “As for Layman, Val, faustusnotes, Lee A. Arnold and the rest of the convinced Hillary supporters, suffice it to say that I disagree with you about what a vote for Hillary represents.”

Anyone who reads me as a ‘convinced Hillary supporter’ is not paying close enough attention to be offering an opinion on the matter. At least, that’s the charitable view.

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Faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 2:48 pm

Amarcissie, once again (and for those others pathologically incapable of listening to what he actually says): trump supported the Iraq war, and wished it had been done properly the first time. I.e. He wanted ISIS 25 years earlier, and was completely behind the neocon agenda. He is pro torture and thinks it’s funny, and is in favor of killing family me,bets of terrorists. If you think that makes Clinton the insane one, you’re not paying attention.

William, you apparently are a member of the team who just can’t guess what will happen next, but please don’t claim to be “as clueless as the rest of us” just because you can’t read. I know exactly what will happen if trump wins, and you would too if you had bothered to read Val’s comment above. Have you no idea how to read politician’so policy statements? Do you not know what the issues are and how to interpret politicians’ positions? Because trump has made very clear what he is going to do and there is no comparison to anything Clinton has promised, or that she would do in your wildest dreams.

I’m not a Clinton supporter, I preferred sanders, but I have my eyes on one hing I. This election and one only: global warming. I don’t say this often but I guess I’ll say it now since some people on the left don’t get it: we are looking at the end of industrial civilization. This election will decide if we make it or if we don’t. If you are not 100% behind the party that will do something to at least buy time, and ideally go (as Clinton states she will) onto a war footing, you are part of the problem. If you don’t get this, you will be a member of the last generation on earth who had a chance to do anything about it, and you will look back and say you were to blame. Those of us outside America can do nothing about this – we depend on you. It is my opinion that the left should understand this and be acting on it, giving it the priority it deserves, which means supporting a democrat and recognizing that always, always, the republicans are the worst choice. This isn’t about lesser evils anymore – it’s about the future of our civilization.

If you don’t get that you aren’t left wing, and you need to take along hard look at yourself.

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Layman 09.17.16 at 2:50 pm

Marc: “It’s amazing that heaping abuse on people counts as effective political persuasion for some. “

What’s really amazing is how tendentious your comment is. We’re not arguing with undecided people here; and the suggestion that we are is, well, dishonest.

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Layman 09.17.16 at 2:52 pm

William Timberman: “You folks apparently see a clear choice between a dangerous fascist blowhard on the one hand, and a benevolent and dedicated liberal politician who feels the pain of the dispossessed on the other.”

Good fucking grief. This is beneath you; or, I thought it was.

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Marc 09.17.16 at 2:52 pm

My frustration stems from the fact that I want Clinton to win, and that I wish that Clinton supporters could engage in ways that were, if not more effective, at least not actively counterproductive. I say that even though I’m markedly unenthusiastic about her candidacy. I live in the state of Ohio, and people here have to think tactically about what their vote means. I agree with Clinton on most things and with Trump on virtually nothing, to the extent that I believe that he even has policies to disagree with.

I also try to understand the motives of people who disagree with me, and that’s where I think that the left side has gone completely off the rails. If you’re reading the absolute worst motives into people you’re precluding even the idea of dialog; anyone who isn’t scum agrees with you, and the others are outside the pale. And then you look up and see 45-45 polls and wonder how that’s possible.

I think that Trump is a vile demagogue who is trying to appeal to the worst instincts in people, in particular bigotry and xenophobia. It serves his ends to treat his supporters as some undifferentiated mass. Universal appeals, which imply the possibility of redemption (we’re better than this) are the way to go both tactically and strategically.

To people on the left, Clinton is far more likely to respond to pressure from us than Trump ever would; he’d probably do things with the express intent of pissing us off, actually. A George Bush II sort of slow-rolling disaster is a far more likely outcome than the Glorious People’s Revolution. To people on the right: you’re being taken for a sucker by a con man. He’ll screw up things that you care about, as in he could be reckless enough to trash everything from your safety to your retirement income or health care. And you can’t believe a word that he says.

There is always something that’s a bridge too far for some people, and I respect their boundaries even if I don’t agree with them. But taking this election seriously means that I have to take seriously the idea that being effective in my advocacy is more important than indulging myself.

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Layman 09.17.16 at 3:03 pm

Sam Wang notes that the shift in the polls appears to be that previously undecided Republicans are coming to terms with voting for Trump.

http://election.princeton.edu/2016/09/16/is-a-change-in-the-air/#more-17442

You see, this is what people on the right do. While undecided leftists are decrying the evilness of their candidate, and whining how other leftists are being so mean to them, how their fee fees have been so harshed, those on the right come home and vote for their candidate.

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William Timberman 09.17.16 at 3:08 pm

Layman @ 357

I can’t look into your soul, only into your comments. On this thread, at least, they seem mostly concerned with debunking criticisms of Hillary. My apologies if this is an abstract rather than partisan interest on your part.

Faustusnotes @ 358

A misquote. What I actually wrote was as clueless as ANY of the rest of us. Yes, I would include you in that number, despite your expressed certainties.

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Faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 3:11 pm

And like I said William, don’t include me in amongst your gang of clueless idiots. I know what trump will do and I know what Clinton will do – because I read their policies and don’t listen to right wing lies from their hate machine. If you want to pretend that these candidates are equally uncertain then don’t claim to understand politics and don’t pretend to be left wing.

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Layman 09.17.16 at 3:28 pm

@ William Timberman, I think you’d be hard pressed to find much support in this thread for your description of your interlocutors as seeing HRC as ‘a benevolent and dedicated liberal politician who feels the pain of the dispossessed on the other.’

As for me, specifically, I refer you to to 174, 262, 284, as indicators in this thread of my own view, often offered in other threads as well, that HRC is a terrible candidate who merely happens to be by far the lesser of two evils.

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William Timberman 09.17.16 at 3:29 pm

Faustusnotes, prescience isn’t necessarily a virtue. If you don’t believe me, ask Schrödinger’s cat. But enough. I think I’ll peel myself off the CT dartboard and see how much mischief I can get into pulling weeds, now that the monsoon is over here in AZ.

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Faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 3:32 pm

This isn’t prescience, William, it’s basic reading comprehension.

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stevenjohnson 09.17.16 at 3:32 pm

Maybe this is something CTers can understand? Trump is like a member of the board of directors of the university endowment coming into your department to become the chair, except he would also be in charge of the grants. Clinton is like someone who’s in with the dean becoming department chair. It’s certainly true that the dean’s favorite is well thought of by the board members. But is it really reasonable to think there’s no difference?

If you like newspaper analogies, Trump is like the owner coming in to the edit the news articles, not just write the op-eds. And Clinton is like the editor the owner approved. Again, it is really reasonable to think there’s no difference?

The demonization of Clinton, who has never played a major role in policy formation (no, the State Department does not count!) is about whitewashing Obama. It is therefore deeply reactionary propaganda that contributes to the ever more rapid rightward trend in US politics. Obama bragged about sitting in the White House making kill lists. He has trumped Hillary’s wretched joke about Ghaddafi.

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 4:03 pm

My 2 cents

(1) Hillary is not that bad. Not overly inspiring, perhaps, but certainly not Bruce Wilder’s pandemic of neoliberalism.
(2) Neoliberalism isnt (a)that bad (b)really a thing at this level of generality, and the 50s wasnt so great.
(3)Trump isnt going to start deporting ‘people of colour’, harassing Muslims etc. He would probably end up a slightly dumber bog standard Republican. Might encourage the retrograde elements a bit, but fascism isnt coming to the US.
(4)The United States is a developed, first world democracy. It’s not going to revert to failed state, totalitarianism, strongman rule, whatever. Democracy and the rule of law would survive Trump.
(5) All of this reminds me of the post 9/11 atmosphere. People were initially (obviously) genuinely worried about the future, but then something else took over. A realisation that politics wasnt boring anymore, and we could all live vicariously through worse case hypotheticals and hyperbolic claims of civilisational collapse. The desire to escape the drudgery of normal politics led to worse outcomes than the actual, objective threat.

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js. 09.17.16 at 4:05 pm

LFC @350 — What Lynne said. It’s certainly not the case that white people *can’t* understand the concerns of non-white voters or that they *can’t* be effective allies—or that men can’t be effective allies in the fight for women’s equality. There would be no point in being disappointed if that were the case. It’s rather that a certain type of CT commenter, to keep this local, has made it evident that they *don’t* care about the plight of anyone other than white men. It’s their choice and they own it, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.

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Anarcissie 09.17.16 at 4:07 pm

Faustusnotes 09.17.16 at 2:48 pm @ 357 —
I don’t think either of them is sane in the sense I specified. I think the problem is more serious than personal corruption, lying, and other occupational hazards of the politician trade. So, how can one deal with that? My personal choice is to refuse to submit to the terms of this cynical game.

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js. 09.17.16 at 4:44 pm

Raven @333 — Maybe. But I think it’s unlikely. Even a significant fraction of 12 million deportations is barely conceivable. What I think is more likely is increased harassment at the hands of state and private actors, low level background violence, denial of basic services, etc. The kinds of things that employers interested in having a terrified, powerless workforce would be entirely happy with.

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Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 5:02 pm

Ronan@368:

Trump isnt going to start deporting ‘people of colour’, harassing Muslims etc. He would probably end up a slightly dumber bog standard Republican. Might encourage the retrograde elements a bit, but fascism isnt coming to the US.

What is to stop him? He has promised to deport all undocumented aliens in the USA, who are largely Mexicans. If elected, he can, on his own authority, order exactly that; Homeland Security is an executive department and reports to the President.

As Mr. Trump called for shutting down mosques in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and the mass shootings in San Bernardino, California in December 2015, anti-Muslim attacks initially tripled with nearly half of those attacks directed against mosques. – http://bridge.georgetown.edu/when-islamophobia-turns-violent-the-2016-u-s-presidential-elections/

There is every reason to believe he would do it. And, as for this:

The United States is a developed, first world democracy. It’s not going to revert to failed state, totalitarianism, strongman rule, whatever. Democracy and the rule of law would survive Trump.

You haven’t met our militia crazies. But words like this were heard in Germany in the early 1930s. I don’t think the USA will fall quite that far, but the radical-right policies that Trump embraces have been put into practice in Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and in every case have been disastrous. You’ve heard about the water in Flint, surely? That is probably the most egregious single example, but there is much more. All of those states are insolvent or nearly so. They are selling off state property, gutting their universities, and tearing up their social safety nets. The USA, under Trump Republican neo-fascism, would become a much harsher place.

In other words, Ronan, what are you talking about?

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Walt 09.17.16 at 5:07 pm

It’s not clear to me that heaping abuse doesn’t work as well as a persuasion technique as any other. It’s not like carefully reasoned discourse has a particularly stellar record either.

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 5:33 pm

“What is to stop him? “

Politics. International and domestic law. Institutional checks and balances, inter party and Electoral restraints. etc

“You haven’t met our militia crazies.”

Please. Your militia crazies are a walk in the park compared to the remnants of Irish paramilitarism, and the only ones who think this negates Ireland’s status as a first world democracy and/or poses an existential threat to Irish political institutions are a handful of overwrought contrarians.

Trump can be an unfortunate development without being a threat to humanity, just as Clinton can be a bog standard democrat without being neoliberalismrunwild

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Layman 09.17.16 at 5:38 pm

“Politics. International and domestic law. Institutional checks and balances, inter party and Electoral restraints. etc”

You should do some work here, explain how domestic law, international law, institutional checks and balances, electoral restraints, or politics constraint the authority of the President to lawfully enforce existing law. Me, I think you’re blowing smoke here.

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 5:41 pm

No, explain to me how he follows through with his wicked plans. The burden is on you to show the mechanisms that make this happen, and by extension negating 90% of the relevant political science.

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 5:44 pm

I mean you’re not saying anything. it’s all boilerplate or generalisations, Give some specifics of what you see a Trump Presidency leading to and then we can chinwag over that. The only thing I can see above youve been specific on is the Supreme court nomination, so I’ll give you that

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Layman 09.17.16 at 5:44 pm

Seems pretty simple to me. He orders Homeland Security to focus efforts on identifying, locating, arresting, and deporting illegal immigrants. Over to you, Sherlock.

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 5:48 pm

What a break from the norm.

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 5:51 pm

So asked to spell out what the Trumpapocalypse would bring, you give me:

“He orders Homeland Security to focus efforts on identifying, locating, arresting, and deporting illegal immigrants. “

And what would this achieve? Do you believe there are no political limits on how many could be deported? No practical or institutional limits ? Do you imagine Trump himself will be driving the illegals across the border? Or are you saying he would be worse than Hillary on this? If the last, then obviously. But how bad would he actually be.

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Layman 09.17.16 at 5:57 pm

Hmm. A department with a budget of some $42 billion operating under a President who is actually interested in deporting otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens, unlike the current one? I’d say there’s a lot of room for escalating misery there.

But you’re the smart one, Sherlock. You tell me: How would international law, domestic law, institutional checks and balances, electoral restraints, or politics stop him? You said they would, tight?

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 6:12 pm

You’d have to assume the Dept of homeland affairs wouldn’t want to commit significant resources to deporting 11 millions people, or deal with the logistical nightmare of such a policy choice. You’d have to imagine the same is true for a lot of local police forces. So the demand comes down from Fuhrer Trump, and then what happens? Internal debates and pushback within the Depts. Political pressure from Democrats (and some Republicans), challenges from civil society organisations and in the courts, political blowback from moderates in the electorate, international opprobrium.
So what gets through this morass, in laymanland? I dont deny there’s room “for escalating misery.” Who could argue with such a trite point? I’m asking what specifically are the consequences here that justify the hyperbole above?

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Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 6:15 pm

Trump’s deportation policy is popular, as is his Islamophobia. A vast expansion of Homeland Security has a good chance of making it through Congress; the House majority would support it, and enough Senators could probably be found to vote for it.

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Ronan(rf) 09.17.16 at 6:20 pm

His deportation policy, last i looked, didnt even have majority support among Republicans.
Here are 2 random articles Ive found from reputable sources

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/27/donald-trump-deport-11-million-migrants-is-that-even-possible

https://www.thenation.com/article/how-many-presidents-does-it-take-to-deport-11-million-people/

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Yan 09.17.16 at 6:28 pm

I always found it strange that Clintonists were so skeptical of Sanders achieving any of his ambitious agenda, but show almost no skepticism about the practicalities of Trump’s. I’m not willing to risk it, but the odds of success seem slim.

I also find it strange that there’s been more uproar over the word “deplorables” than the word “irredeemable.”

Not only is the latter far more offensive (I think the majority of strong supporters in both camps are deplorable), it also highlights the way Trump paranoia has pushed both the rhetoric and the psychology of the Democrats into a religious rather than political frame.

This election is about the “apocalypse.” Opponents are beyond “redemption.” Only Hillary can “save” us. Rather than persuade opponents on the left or right to vote for us, we need to “call them out,” make them confess their sins or mark them for guilt if we lose.

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Raven Onthill 09.17.16 at 6:36 pm

Lulled by a period of stability which had seemed permanent, they find it nearly impossible to take at face value the assertion of the revolutionary power that it means to smash the existing framework. — Kissinger, A World Restored (1957) quoted by Paul Krugman

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LFC 09.17.16 at 6:48 pm

js. @369
Ok, I guess I overread yr comments. Or maybe I was reacting more to tone than substance, which, to be sure, is not a defense for overreading.

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Will G-R 09.17.16 at 6:50 pm

Jesus, these comments deteriorated into a run-of-the-mill Democratic Party circlejerk rather quickly.

Just to clarify, Raven, I’m genuinely terrified of American nationalism and the racism and xenophobia that come with it. I’m terrified because it’s had almost two and a half centuries to fester on the soul of humanity like an open wound, with a powerful ruling class egging it on and a chain of historical events that’s never brought it to terms with what should be the obvious fact that nationalist myths are myths. I’m terrified that when the inevitable time comes and US nationalism is finally forced to confront its own historical mortality — the way various Balkan nationalisms have been throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, or the way German and Turkish nationalisms were after WWI, for example — all this bullshit about Founding Fathers and manifest destiny and shining cities on a hill and all that (which even some of the people denouncing Trump on this very thread no doubt still buy into) will lead to a genocidal fury the likes of which the world has never seen in the history of modern nationalisms. This is something we, and by “we” I mean all of humankind, are right to be terrified about.

But… what I’m not terrified of is the specific figure of Donald J. Trump himself as some kind of postmodern American Hitler. Raven, you’re absolutely right that Trump has “called out” the people who when the time comes probably will be the brownshirts of American fascism, and he’s called them out without many of the dog whistles Republican candidates typically use in calling them out, but he’s not really their guy and it’s not really their time. It’ll take an economic and political crisis deeper than anything the US has ever faced, deeper than the Great Depression, and even the potential US fascist currents of the ’30s were nothing a little Keynesian economic duct tape and a little “safe” nationalist war fever couldn’t force back under the surface. I have no doubt that a crisis big enough to is some combination of possible/likely/inevitable, especially since neoliberalism seems to have learned approximately nothing from the crisis of 2008, but we’re not in it yet and probably won’t be for a while.

You even tacitly admit this yourself, Raven, in that the rest of your complaints against Trump @ #297 are pretty much without exception the exact same complaints that could be and have been thrown at just about any Republican presidential candidate of the past 40 years. They’re not incorrect complaints either, even if a bit overexaggerated. (No, a return to the gold standard isn’t seriously on the agenda; no, Trump isn’t going to get the US into any wars not already planned by the neocon foreign policy “Blob”; no, he’s not actually going to deport undocumented immigrants by the millions unless it’s in the interest of the people and businesses who rely on their labor.) But either you argue that Trump is something exceptional among GOP figureheads as an actual maker of policy and not just as a bright flashy neon Vegas sign, which seems questionable, or else you’re trapped in the same problematic as Romney vs. Obama, or McCain vs. Obama, or Bush vs. Kerry, or Bush vs. Gore, or Dole vs. Clinton, or Bush vs. Clinton, and so on, which boils down to the simple question: at what point does choosing the lesser of two evils ever conceivably lead to a situation where the choice itself is less evil?

Bruce @ [formerly 248, now 250] had it exactly right in his last paragraph: it’s depressing to admit that this system isn’t offering us a choice that will actually avert the slide toward fascism, but that’s the truth. Short of letting ourselves be duped by the Democratic Party because it feels good, and sliding into fascism anyway, the only option is to search for choices this system isn’t offering us.

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js. 09.17.16 at 6:55 pm

Like I said, for white dudes who care about nothing but what directly affects white dudes, Trump and Clinton are just the same. If millions of women lose access to reproductive rights, what’s it to them?

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Yan 09.17.16 at 7:00 pm

@383 Why exactly do you think it’s likley enough in both House and Senate would support it. Your comment about the popularity of Trump’s agenda (which seems questionable) implies congressional support *because* of popularity.

Are you assuming the US is a functional democracy in which their is a strong correlation between policy and popular will? Are you assuming that the non-democratic political and economic incentives that drive policy are at all compatible with Trump’s agenda?

@386 A stern warning from Kssinger via Krugman. We have reached peak Hillarism.

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LFC 09.17.16 at 7:02 pm

Re Trump and immigration: I listened to most of his long speech on immigration a while back (on radio). This was right after his mtg w the Mexican president. The speech appeared to have been written by a committee of discordant minds. Some v. assertive/aggressive passages, followed toward the end by what appeared to be some softening or qualifications, and by the end I was saying ‘WTF is going on here’, b.c even at the level of ‘I will propose X’ the speech was a mess and lacked clarity. Maybe the papers on his website are clearer, I don’t know.

He’d prob issue some immigration-related exec orders in the first month, if elected, and they’d be challenged in ct, there wd be demos, etc. How much and exactly what he wd be able to achieve of his ‘agenda’ is unclear. But the initial exec orders, or so I gathered from the speech, wd focus on undocumented aliens deemed dangerous/criminal and perhaps on visa overstayers.

What many don’t know, I think, is if someone is deported and attempts re-entry illegally, that person is almost certainly prosecuted for a federal offense and put in an often run-down prison under bad conditions, often run by contractors, w very substandard or nonexistent medical care (there was some investigative reporting recently on this — not taking time to find the cite, I think it appeared in The Nation). I think DOJ recently took steps to get the contractors out of this branch of the prison business, which is a step in the right direction. Focused efforts on denying re-entry to those who have been deported *for reasonable cause*, so they don’t tie up prosecutorial time and prisons, where they may be subject to all kinds of mistreatment, might well make sense. That’s different from a blunderbuss “deport all undocumented immigrants who have criminal records of whatever kind” approach.

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LFC 09.17.16 at 7:12 pm

Krugman should not be quoting Kissinger, no matter the context. No one on the (vaguely or otherwise) progressive side of things shd be quoting Kissinger now. (Or ever, most probably, but esp. not now.)

If Krugman wants to read A World Restored in the privacy of his study because Krugman has suddenly developed a burning interest in Metternich, that’s one thing. But find someone else to quote to make his pts.

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js. 09.17.16 at 7:14 pm

There’s a story in the NY Times right now about how hate crimes against Muslims are at their highest level since the immediate aftermath of 9/11. But Will G-R is perfectly safe and will remain safe, so he’s happy to increase misery for other people so that, magically, we’ll confront the founding myths of the American Republic. Just like we did in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

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JimV 09.17.16 at 7:16 pm

I was worried when GWB was elected, because he seemed like an idiot (by my personal definition: not with an IQ below 100, but someone who has no realization of his cognitive limits), but I reassured myself that there were plenty of experienced advisers and administrators who would keep him on track. Then I got 9/11 (which he dismissed warnings of), supply-side economics, the Iraq invasion, an attempt to destroy Social Security, SC Justice Alito, and the Great Recession. And I if I had to chose between him and Trump I would chose him – with very great reluctance.

Look, I saw this over and over at GE: most of the nicest people don’t want to be managers; the worst all do. You have to hope you at least get someone who knows the product, knows the systems, works hard, and wants to be effective.

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Marc 09.17.16 at 7:22 pm

TNot believing that Trump could achieve radical ends is not the same as not caring about others because you only care about white men. Js, that’s a really nasty set of claims to sling at other people in the thread with absolutely no direct evidence of bigotry in what they are saying.

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js. 09.17.16 at 7:30 pm

You should get the mods to ban me. Because of course, pointing out evident indifference to violence against minorities is what’s really nasty.

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William Timberman 09.17.16 at 7:39 pm

Apologies for sticking my nose into the thread again, js., but it doesn’t look as though my earlier reply to you is ever coming out of moderation, and since it’s relevant to the point you’re making, I’ll try repeating it again (slightly edited) here:

—————–

js., President Obama has been in office for eight years, and all of the horrors you list were taking place when he came into office, and have continued to take place throughout his term. It’s hard to imagine that the situation would improve significantly with a President Clinton in the Oval Office.

I repeat, Trump is a symptom, not a cause. The causes, from 150 years of white supremacy and Dixie irredentism, the last fifty of which were exacerbated by Republican electoral strategies, to the globalization, casino capitalism and wage suppression rampant since the Eighties, won’t necessarily be ameliorated by changing the occupant of the White House.

Trump is unpredictable, I’ll give you that, but he’s also likely to be as hobbled by the inertia of the institution he’ll be parachuting into as every President has since LBJ. I suspect Hillary would undoubtedly get a lot more done, but given her attitudes toward policy in general, and foreign policy in particular, I’m not as comforted by that as you think I ought to be.

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LFC 09.17.16 at 7:42 pm

There are no grounds whatsoever for banning js.

(Although js. shares some of RNB’s views [as did/do I, come to think of it], js’s commenting here is very different from that of RNB, who was, among other things, personally very insulting on more than one occasion to someone who happens to be a front-page poster and thus had power to ban him. Which, predictably, is eventually what happened.)

401

Manta 09.17.16 at 8:30 pm

Marc @349
“It’s amazing that heaping abuse on people counts as effective political persuasion for some. The sheer nastiness and arrogance of Clinton supporters in this cycle has been widespread enough that I think it’s hurting her campaign.”

Heh, but it’s aim (obviously) is not persuasion, and nobody in good faith would claim that he’s engaging in such behavior in order to persuade.

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Will G-R 09.17.16 at 9:49 pm

js, what if I was a woman or person of color who doesn’t happen to be lucky enough to live within the borders of the United States of America? What if I was a woman/POC who lives in China and works for Foxconn assembling the computer you’re typing on? What if I was a woman/POC who lives in Bangladesh or Vietnam and stitches the clothes on your back? What if I was a woman/POC in India who endures everyday racist violence at the behest of the US-sanctioned Hindu nationalist Modi government? What if I was a woman/POC from India who migrated to a Gulf Arab oil state for work and still endures everyday racist violence at the behest of a US-sanctioned misogynist/racist monarchy while I work off the cost of the return trip before my employer will give me my passport back? What if I was a woman/POC who lives in Honduras facing death squads at the behest of a US-sanctioned military coup regime for organizing against hydroelectric projects that would drive my people from their homes? What if I was a woman/POC who lives in Yemen getting my home blasted to pieces by US-made bombs, bought with money from the gas in your tank by some Saudi prince who clinks cocktails with Bill and Hillary at their Foundation shindigs? What reason would I have to give a rat’s ass about the difference between Clinton and Trump then?

Honest question and I’m genuinely curious to see your answer, because if you don’t have a good one and you’re relying on the premise that people outside the United States of America are somehow beyond the same kind of concern you show for people within the US, then the ideological difference between you and Trump’s “deplorables” is a matter of degree, not kind.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.17.16 at 10:57 pm

Will G-R #399: “what if I was a woman or person of color” etc.

Well you wouldn’t like U.S. policy no matter who was elected if you believed that the US was the cause of your plight. But you might think that the US election of a clown who espouses nativist & racist rhetoric and policy inside the domestic US is scarcely in your interest either, for a number of different reasons!

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Manta 09.17.16 at 11:23 pm

Accusing people of not caring about anything that doesn’t touch “white men”, in a forum where a good chunk of the participant are not from USA , is a bit silly. I hope that js can forgive those of us non-Roman-citizens living in the periphery of the empire that don’t give much of a fuck about the distinction among patricians and plebeians.
Strangely enough, different people have different priorities, and yours are no better (or worse) than others; but I suppose that without accusing others of not being passionate enough about one’s pet issues is the mark of a true leftist.

As for me, the only part of the policies of the candidates I care about are FP (including commerce treaties) and global warming. On global warming, Clinton is the better candidate. On international commerce, Trump is the better one (from my point of view). On wars, they are good or bad for different reasons (e.g., Trump is less likely to go to war with Russia, Clinton with Iran).
(The usual caveats about not believing a word a politician says apply).

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Lee A. Arnold 09.17.16 at 11:28 pm

Manta #401: “On international commerce, Trump is the better one”

Why?

And why do you believe that anyone is going to war with Russia? There is rhetoric, but there is also reality.

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js. 09.18.16 at 12:01 am

Will G-R @399 — That’s a fair response. A few points:

1. Of course if you were someone in one of the positions you describe in the first paragraph, you wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about the US election. Why would you, and why would anyone expect you to? But if you are a relatively comfortably off person in the US who is adopting the mantle of caring about the Foxconn worker to absolve yourself of doing a tiny little bit to help vulnerable groups in your own society, then I find that deeply unpleasant and deeply problematic. In fact, under the guise of anti-imperialism, you’re adopting a deeply imperialist attitude whereby it’s the responsibility of the white man to solve the problems of benighted people in far flung lands (which you honestly can’t do much about) while neglecting oppression closer to home where you could make a *marginal* difference.

2. The US is an imperialist country which fucks over poor people across a lot of the world. This fact would continue to be true whether Trump, Clinton, Sanders, or anyone else became president. (a) If you think that with a Trump presidency, this would somehow be dissolved and we would all come out better on the other side, I think that is laughably naive. All that’s on offer under a Trump presidency is more and harsher oppression, at home and abroad. (b) If you think that simply by not voting while you continue to live in the US (assuming you do) and enjoying the material fruits of US imperialism—that simply by not voting you can stop being implicated in US imperialism, that is again laughably naive.

[I got one more point, but I need a short break.]

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js. 09.18.16 at 12:10 am

Interlude — Honestly, this is not the kind of thing I should have to point out on a CT thread, but this happened. You want to stop the “slide into fascism”, this is a pretty good start. On the other hand, maybe the Census Bureau was duped by the Democrats.

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Val 09.18.16 at 12:13 am

There’s several people on this thread who seem to be ignoring the points I made (based on evidence) about Trump as an exemplar of global, corporate high capitalism and about Trump’s policies on environment, health care, economics and abortion. Now you may have legitimate reasons for that, I don’t know, but what it looks like is ‘I don’t care what some stupid woman has to say about this debate’.

Tends to reinforce the points js is making, I’d say.

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Val 09.18.16 at 12:18 am

Is this the thing you are talking about js? Your link didn’t go directly to this page but I guess this is it. Pretty interesting.

“[in the US] Real median household income increased 5.2 percent between 2014 and 2015.1 This is the first annual increase in median house- hold income since 2007.
• The number of full-time, year- round workers increased by 2.4 million in 2015.
• The official poverty rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points between 2014 and 2015.
• The number of people in poverty fell by 3.5 million between 2014 and 2015.”

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bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 12:34 am

There’s several people on this thread who seem to be ignoring the points I made . . .

Isn’t that pretty much universal, Val? If I’ve successfully ignored your comments, I do not even need to comment myself to feel I’ve struck a blow for sense and sensibility. I imagine ignoring you is a source of quiet satisfaction to untold legions of lurkers.

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js. 09.18.16 at 12:35 am

3. This starts out as a bit of a tangent, but. This list of things mentioned in 399 is an odd mix. Some of them are clearly functions of US imperialism (Honduras, e.g.), some are partly that and partly something else, and some of them have really nothing to do with US imperialism. Like, e.g., the rise of Hindutva. I love blaming things on US imperialism, and there is no plausible story in which the rise of Hindutva is a function of US imperialism. Seriously, I know a little bit about this—my first memory of a political event is my mother, eyes bloodshot, picking me up from kindergarten in the middle of the day because—I later learned—Indira Gandhi had just been shot. I remember being picked up from school when violence broke out during the Ram Rath Yatra. I can bore you with (much) more of this, but my point is—Hindutva is a home grown problem. If you want to blame one institution for the rise of Hindutva, it’s the fucking Congress party. They coddled the right-wing nationalists hoping to leech off some votes, and it blew up in their face.

I bring all this up because as I see it, you’re making an implicit argument that the current day Democratic party is analogous to the Congress party of the 80’s and 90’s. But this is completely wrong. Given the current Dem coalition, if they tried to do what Congress did back then, they’d be electorally finished. Really fast. The right analogy for the 80s/90s Congress party is “repectable” Republicans like Paul Ryan, John Boehner, John McCain, etc. If you really want to stop the “slide into fascism”, elect Democrats and push them to the left. As we’ve seen in the last 10-12 years, they can in fact be pushed to the left. If you can’t see this, I can’t help you.

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js. 09.18.16 at 12:49 am

Also…

LFC — Thanks for the vote of confidence; I still think banning RNB was manifestly unfair.

Val — Sorry, kind of have my hands full here; but do agree with what you’re saying. And yes, that is what I was pointing to. I linked to the full report so no one could say I was cherry picking.

Manta:

The usual caveats about not believing a word a politician says apply

There’s good evidence showing this is false. I’m sure you can find it :)

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bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 12:51 am

. . . maybe the Census Bureau was duped by the Democrats.

We have a winner!

The first clue that this gain in median household income, the largest since the series began in 1967, might be artifactual is that the gains for men are 1.5% and women, 2.7%. Try making that add up. Changes in gas prices apparently boosted calculated “real” income. The period reported was mostly in 2015. But, the big difference was how interview questions were asked and coded, implemented in 2013.

For income, there were statistically significant differences for many key measures between the redesigned and traditional questions. For example, median household income calculated by using the redesigned questions was 3.2 percent higher than the median income found using the traditional questions.

As a result, it is difficult to assess whether an apparent change in median household income relative to previous years was a “real” change in income or an artifact of changes to survey questions.

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Layman 09.18.16 at 12:57 am

“Then I got 9/11 (which he dismissed warnings of), supply-side economics, the Iraq invasion, an attempt to destroy Social Security, SC Justice Alito, and the Great Recession.”

This leaves out so much. Torture. Katrina. Emboldeningment. Scooter Libby and outing a CIA agent. Swift-boating. Putin’s eyes and soul. Merkel-rubbing. Vice-Presidential face-shooting. Harriet Myers! Is it really possible all this happened?

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js. 09.18.16 at 1:04 am

Well, I’m not going to argue with lunatics.

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Yan 09.18.16 at 1:51 am

These days CT threads are like Platonic dialogues, if every character were really Thrasymachus and every character believed they were Socrates. No, that’s not it. These days every political conversation…

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Faustusnotes 09.18.16 at 2:09 am

If you are a woman of color at the sharp end of the US’s outsourced global supply chain your best hope is a us president and ruling party that is amenable to union and social pressure, willing and able to nominate members of the NLRB who might consider your needs, and vulnerable to pressure from consumer advocates and workers groups. Given the amount of offshoring to Mexico that means someone who is at least slightly capable of listening to groups from that country both domestically and internationally. If you’re a garment worker in Mexico you probably don’t want 12 million of your country folk being repatriated to compete for your job, and there’s a good chance you are receiving remittances of some kind from the us.

Will G-R, if you think that any poor workers overseas will benefit from trump, and that their issues are not best handled by a democrat, you are very naive at best. As I said above, if you ever find yourself wondering which of these candidates might be better for the poor and disenfranchised, you have already lost your way. Trump will never ever do anything for the poor.

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Layman 09.18.16 at 2:30 am

“You’d have to assume the Dept of homeland affairs wouldn’t want to commit significant resources to deporting 11 millions people, or deal with the logistical nightmare of such a policy choice. You’d have to imagine the same is true for a lot of local police forces.”

Why on earth would you have to assume anything of the kind? What happened the last time a President gave an agency it’s new marching orders? Why, they tortured people to death, then destroyed the evidence and got off scott-free. They bugged every cell phone they could find, and still do today. They kidnapped people on the streets of foreign cities, and disappeared them more or less forever. They developed a scheme for killing people using flying robots. They killed an American citizen for the crime of talking. You think they’re somehow reluctant to use new-found authority and power? Don’t be fucking naive.

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Will G-R 09.18.16 at 2:37 am

@ js, IMO the best take on “doing a tiny little bit to help vulnerable groups in your own society” is still Oscar Wilde’s (emphasis mine):

The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.

They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.

But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good; and at last we have had the spectacle of men who have really studied the problem and know the life – educated men who live in the East End – coming forward and imploring the community to restrain its altruistic impulses of charity, benevolence, and the like. They do so on the ground that such charity degrades and demoralises. They are perfectly right. Charity creates a multitude of sins.

There is also this to be said. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.

All I’d add to that is, since we live in an imperial capitalist world order where people and countries from all over the world are implicated in the same processes of economic production, what is and isn’t “our own society” is at least highly debatable. This idea that there’s some sort of natural or inevitable distinction between what’s part of our society and what’s foreign to it is a form of cultural essentialism that belongs in the same garbage bin of social pseudoscience as “race realism”, and the only people wallowing in that bin should be the fascists.

As far as (2), I’ll repeat what Bruce said earlier: “There may come a time when you can join with others and be politically effective if you are available. Be available. Detach yourself from this politics now. It does not need you or want you — that is what is wrong with Clinton’s politics: it does not need you to do anything except to acquiesce in continuing and extending the status quo.” Of course we can debate how possible leftist mass politics is at all in First-World societies as presently construed, given the pressure imperialism exerts toward nationalism and fascism. Until a critical mass of white workers are willing to work from the premise that even a strictly “white” and/or “American” capitalist class will never despise them any less than it despises their darker-skinned and/or documentation-lacking fellow workers (e.g.) it seems to me that First-World leftists will be a perpetual minority in their society unless “society” is conceived in a truly global way.

Which brings us to (3), although I wouldn’t claim any significant knowledge of Indian politics apart from general alarm at the rise of Hindu fascism. But as far as US politics it’s absolutely true that the Democratic Party has “coddled the right-wing nationalists hoping to leech off some votes” on any number of levels, from the hollowness of their anti-racist praxis next to the economic priorities of the white liberal professional class (which is clearest on issues the US federal system leaves to state and local politics, like education or housing) to their indistinguishability from the GOP in practice on issues of military aggression and neoliberal “globalization”. And no, apart from identitarian victories that may be substantial but that don’t challenge the national or global economic class structure, for at least the past half century Democrats aren’t at all draggable to the left, but as best evidenced by the reaction to a health insurance bill that could have been written by Heritage in the ’90s and would have been much too market-driven for Nixon in the ’70s, expectations are eminently draggable to the right.

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Val 09.18.16 at 2:46 am

bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 12:34 am
“There’s several people on this thread who seem to be ignoring the points I made . . .

Isn’t that pretty much universal, Val? If I’ve successfully ignored your comments, I do not even need to comment myself to feel I’ve struck a blow for sense and sensibility. I imagine ignoring you is a source of quiet satisfaction to untold legions of lurkers.”

The points I made were based on evidence, but don’t let that bother you. Why worry about evidence or truth, when you have the chance to be a complete arsehole to someone in the Internet.

That was really incredibly nasty. Maybe I’m a demon for punishment, but let’s see if there’s anyone who wants to support you on saying shit like that to other commenters?

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Will G-R 09.18.16 at 2:46 am

Faustusnotes, are you proposing that Hillary Clinton would nominate international socialists to the NLRB? And that once she does, there would be some way for the global working class to bring its interests before the National Labor Relations Board? What were you saying about naïveté?

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phenomenal cat 09.18.16 at 2:48 am

“There’s several people on this thread who seem to be ignoring the points I made (based on evidence) about Trump as an exemplar of global, corporate high capitalism and about Trump’s policies on environment, health care, economics and abortion.”

Because, Val, dissatisfaction with Clinton does not thereby entail a defense of Trump.

Moreover, I don’t really buy the “Trump is an exemplar of global, corporate high capitalism” bit either. Sure, he’s (purportedly) a billionaire with similar economic interests to others equally wealthy, but he’s not an exemplar. He’s a jumped-up New York real estate developer who markets marketing. To call him an exemplar in a room full of actual exemplars would induce schoolboy giggling. You think Jamie Dimon or even Lord Vader of right-wing corporatism himself, David Koch, are voting for Trump? Please. As I’ve said before, all the corporate and government elites swooning at the thought of Trump and pleading for Clinton is a tell. If you or others can’t see it for what it is then I’ll leave it to someone more eloquent than me to explain– and, by the way, the educated and the enlightened may not notice the quasi-class dynamics at play in the elite disdain for Trump, but the peons do.

On the other hand, Clinton has operated deftly and comfortably at the transnational super-nexus of corporate/government power for the last 20 years. You think she’s made all that dough by chance, by dumb luck, or b/c she is just that good? You think the ginormous donations made to the Clinton Foundation by the globally connected are indicative of the altruism of the parties involved? Trump is an uncouth, Bronx hustler who is viewed similarly by those you’re claiming he’s an exemplar of. He’s an outsider– a usurper–in the life and death micropolitics of the global .0001%. Clinton networked and techno-managed her way into that circle after her husband became president. Trump W.C. Fielded his way in b/c of disillusionment with the Republican establishment.

Which one is exemplary?

As for the rest of the Trump litany: there’s nothing there to defend, support, or explain so far as I’m aware.

And for everyone’s benefit, hoisted from a 9/2/2016 post by B Delong (formerly of the W. Clinton Administration) on JQ’s recent After Neoliberalism post. To wit:

“Must-Read: Speaking as a card-carrying neoliberal and as a proud member of the Rubinite wing of the Democratic Party, I say that back in the early and mid-1990s we had a theory of why (major increases in top marginal wax rates, the expansion of the EITC, and the push for universal health insurance aside) we prioritized growth over (further) redistribution: we thought that slow growth would further empower right-wing identity politics, while fast growth would create a more generous and cosmopolitan electorate.
I still think it would have worked, too, if not for the Supreme Court electing George W. Bush 5-4. O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, you have a lot of explaining to do. And the circumstances of the late 2010s and very different from those of the early 1990s. So I think John Quiggin is wrong when he says that the left needs to “assert their dominance… within the centre-left coalition of leftists and soft neoliberals”. To the contrary, the left needs to cure itself of its herbal teabaggerism and to think hard about what are smart things to do, and how to do them.”

It says it all really. To beat down the right-wing crazies Neoliberal restructuring was deemed necessary and sufficient–and it would have worked had the right-wing crazies not gotten in the way. Boggles the fucking mind. Yet what is even more boggling is 20 years later we’ve got another Clinton as the D nominee and the same rationale, more or less unchanged, trotted out as to why we must elect her: the right-wing crazies. Forget fair distribution of wealth and power, we don’t have time for that. We’re in a state of emergency with a lot of hard, extended, careful thinking to do what with all the ghouls and zombies that need killing and all the cosmopolitans that need protecting.

No need for change. Just hold the line for a while, keep the status-quo intact, the smart people need some time to think.

No one really need wonder why Clinton is neck and neck with a 5th rate Cesar Borgia. But for the slower among us I’ll leave a hint: it’s not 1996. We’re living in the aftermath.

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JimV 09.18.16 at 2:54 am

Layman @ 411: I was planning to hit just the high (low) points, but after submitting I realized I had left out torture, for which I deserve censure. Thanks for pointing that out. I am not sure that Harriet Myers would not have been an improvement, though.

Further to Val’s valid points, I liked this at Balloon Juice:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/09/17/facebook-feud-fodder-non-football-open-thread/

(“I don’t see it as voting for Clinton. I see it as voting for the EPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Social Security, Medicare, Voting Rights Act, Minimum Wage, …”)

There have been some valid points on the other side also. HRC has some red in her ledger and is not a very good campaigner and does not have much charisma. But she is what stands between us and Trump. I cannot conceive that four years from now I will wish I had voted for Trump.

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Faustusnotes 09.18.16 at 3:03 am

Will, unions are the strongest advocates for labour, and this includes overseas labour and supply chains. It’s much easier for unions to operate in the interests of foreign labour if they aren’t being crushed domestically, and if their members are secure and empowered. The NLRB is important to that struggle, as part of a complex of labour rights. I know you knew this and are just playing with cheap gotchas.

Of course there are some people here who would like to see this whole apparatus dismantled so that the working class is forced onto a full war against the boss class. Trump might give them their wish but I suspect they won’t be in the class of labour era or the strata of American society who have to suffer through (and ultimately lose) that war.

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js. 09.18.16 at 3:43 am

Will G-R @416 — I guess my first instinct was right. Seriously, leave aside everything else, if you think providing access to affordable birth control and abortion to over 50% of the population is an “identitarian victory” (jesus christ, that’s a horrible word), you and I have nothing to say to each other.

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Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 4:03 am

I was thinking over mass deportations, and I realized that, given the powers of the Presidency and funding from a complaisant Congress, yes, it could be done. The Federal immigration authorities do not need the support of local law enforcement, so all that would have to be done is hiring enough people and getting people to turn in the immigrants, and there’s always someone who wants to be the bully and someone else to snitch. Millions in the basket of deplorables; some of them would love a government salary.

And when they’re done with the immigrants, they can start protecting the rest of us.

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Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 4:09 am

Some Trump tweets, selected and with comments from Digby:

In four months this man could be the commander in chief of the world’s only superpower: “Never met but never liked dopey Robert Gates. Look at the mess the U.S. is in. Always speaks badly of his many bosses, including Obama.”

The Department of Justice could very well be under this man’s authority four months from now: “My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting”

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Val 09.18.16 at 4:11 am

Phenomenal cat @ 419

… I don’t really buy the “Trump is an exemplar of global, corporate high capitalism” bit either. Sure, he’s (purportedly) a billionaire with similar economic interests to others equally wealthy, but he’s not an exemplar. He’s a jumped-up New York real estate developer who markets marketing. To call him an exemplar in a room full of actual exemplars would induce schoolboy giggling.

I understand that there are all sorts of reasons why people may not have read my earlier comment about the nature of Trump’s financial dealings (not just the nasty ones that bruce wilder somehow knows his legions of shadowy followers share with him), so to recap briefly –

There was an investigation by Newsweek that said much of Trump’s income now comes from international licensing deals with construction and development companies. They gave examples of (shady) deals in India and UAE. What I’m saying is those companies tend to make money by exploiting lowly paid construction workers, who are in some cases effectively indentured labour, so that’s the first level of exploitation and profit taking. But then Trump comes in and creams profit off the top by “branding” (licensing use of Trump brand).

That is an absolutely classic form of global corporate high capitalism – it’s what Nike did, it’s what fashion houses do. In “high” capitalism, the profit is in branding, and the labour is provided by people in or from very poor countries who are extremely exploited and low paid. It’s another step on from what Marx analysed as profit taking, that’s why it’s distinguished from ‘ordinary’ capitalism – because people consuming the brand in particular. I don’t know that everyone uses the term ‘high capitalism’ but that’s the one I’m familiar with.

I’m not saying anything about Trump being in the big league or any of those things you’re referring to – I’m just saying he exemplifies the form of capitalism which some people here apparently think he’s opposed to or something (I’m not really quite sure what they think actually, because they seem to be more interested in attacking Hillary Clinton than looking at the evidence about Trump)

The Newsweek article is here http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/23/donald-trump-foreign-business-deals-national-security-498081.html

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Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 4:13 am

One reads Kissinger for the same reason one reads Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao: to find out their thinking. Also because Kissinger was successful in suborning the power of the US government to commit his war crimes, and knowing how might be useful in preventing a recurrence. And, finally, because he has your number.

So many people here don’t believe in quick revolutionary change and that a high-income country can tear itself apart. And yet we have multiple examples in history. You-all are supposed to be socialists, too. Read your Marx?

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Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 4:18 am

And, finally, to js. Wow. This has been an eye-opener. During Sanders candidacy, so many people of color told me he was only focused on economic issues, to the exclusion of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. I knew he wasn’t (it took some digging, but the evidence is there) and wondered why. But now I see why. There are leftists who think that way, enough of them to be noticeable.

Add this to the basket of deplorable things I wish I didn’t know.

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Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 4:21 am

“Because, Val, dissatisfaction with Clinton does not thereby entail a defense of Trump.”

But public complaints about Clinton may help Trump win the election.

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Val 09.18.16 at 4:35 am

Thanks JimV that balloonjuice link was good.

i know a lot of people don’t vote on policy, but you would think CT commenters would be prepared to look at the policies of the two candidates.

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js. 09.18.16 at 4:51 am

During Sanders candidacy, so many people of color told me he was only focused on economic issues, to the exclusion of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia.

I absolutely wouldn’t say this, FWIW. I voted for him and would have liked to see him as the nominee. (Tho the thing I’ve most consistently stressed over the last half-year and more is that I think there’s less daylight between Sanders and Clinton than everyone else on the planet seems to think.) Also, I’m not directing this at you per se, but I really dislike this framing. Reproductive rights and healthcare are just as much economic issues as is blue collar wages. The fact that they’re not counted as such is a reflection of the (sad) fact that we relegate issues relevant to a literal majority of the population to a subheading called “women’s issues”.

Unrelatedly, re @424 — The idea of the DoJ under President Trump is something I find utterly fucking terrifying. I mean, the DHS is something I don’t even think should exist, it would esp. suck under any Republican president, etc. But the DoJ can and sometimes does do important, necessary things. I can’t even get my mind around the really special kinds of awful it would be under Trump. But for some people, it’s like — ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

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ZM 09.18.16 at 6:10 am

The Democrats have got a good climate change policy now, and Obama is having a international leaders conference on refugees this weekend to go with the UN Summit. I think they are going really well on policy, and economic policy apart from really macro questions is something for State and City government as much as Federal government. The climate change policy will effect economics anyhow since its calling for action on the scale of WW II levels of mobilisation which changed the US economy then.

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Ronan(rf) 09.18.16 at 8:39 am

@415, please don’t be a clown layman, and try and think through what you’re talking about for once. If you think that in the case of torture during the wot the president gave “an agency their marching orders”, then you don’t know very much about what you’re talking about. Specifically, the example makes my point. (1) There was a lot of pushback and controversy within the CIA about the program, which is why it was mostly carried out by a relatively tiny subgroup within the organisation. This is not an available option re mass deportation because of the scale of the policy.
(2) there were, in fact, institutional and political restraints put on the program. It was challenged in court, was challenged politically, and was challenged by other law enforcement and national security organisations (notably the FBI)
(3) context matters. Notably that rendition and torture were carried out against relatively tiny groups of people, internationally, out of sight, not potentially millions of people, domestically, inevitably in full view of the media and electorate. And it was done after an unprecedented attack had made it politically feasible.
I really couldn’t be bothered arguing this with you anymore though, so you can have the last word

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Lee A. Arnold 09.18.16 at 10:17 am

Will G-R #416:

Wilde: “the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim.”

Wilder: “Be available. Detach yourself from this politics now.”

No. This is a continuing fallacy. There is no reason that you cannot do both, and many people have done both, and improvements in social conditions have become more possible, and have been realized in some areas, over the last 200 years. I love and studied Oscar Wilde, but he certainly had a fatuous side.

If you want to insist that it hasn’t been a faster change because it is thwarted by people being of two minds — or equivalently, that a more perfect emergence is at hand but is continuously thwarted by lesser intents — then you had better come up with a genuine theory of how and why that happens. Beware of dangers:

You can exclude the theory that voting for someone who is compromised, will then distort or prevent your knowledge that a better future should be the goal.

You can exclude the theory that the only way to ensure real change, is to allow conditions to become worse, so that people will rebel, and then change everything suddenly for the better.

You can even exclude the theory that neoliberalism successfully perpetuates and strengthens itself by the very act of electing a neoliberal candidate who occasionally ameliorates its injustices and horrors. Because even if neoliberalism is the problem, the rest of that does not automatically follow.

However, you might include a provision in your theory for how and why some people who write with the attitude of having wisdom, still continue to fall into these traps.

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kidneystones 09.18.16 at 10:49 am

Slightly OT, but one of the reasons folks outside of the Empire find it hard to see much difference between the two parties in the US is that right now your wonderful Democratic president and his oh-so-much smarter than Trump’s advisors just broke the carefully-engineered ceasefire in Syria. That’s right – not the rebels, not the Syrian government, but the United States. 65 Syrian soldiers dead, it’s said. The numbers aren’t clear and aren’t really the point.

I’m Canadian so, as a group, we’re generally against bombing people to solve problems. I’ve stated repeatedly that the US drops bombs only on people who can’t fight back, because the victims can’t fight back. There’s no chance whatsoever of a similar ‘accident’ occurring with Russian, or Chinese troops. Although to be fair, another very clever Democratic US president did manage to bomb a Chinese embassy, ‘by mistake.’

My hope is that many here would be shrieking over more violent regime change in Libya and now Syria were a Republican president dropping bombs and otherwise inflicting a world of hurt on brown people on the other side of the world.

But, when it’s a Democrat like ‘we came, we saw, he died’ making the jokes, and the mistakes that end the lives of tens of thousands, there’s always an excuse, a shrug, an ‘oh well’, and an even fiercer need to find a Bush/Hitler who loves to ‘give a woman cancer, tie the family dog to the car roof, or torture as a tool of statecraft.

Which explains, in part, why I don’t much care what either candidate in your elections say.

I’d very much like an end to violence as a tool of statecraft. That’s not going to happen as long as the most powerful of nations continues to drop bombs on people who pose no direct threat to the US whatsoever. But that’s me.

Good luck with it!

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Layman 09.18.16 at 11:56 am

Ronan(rf): “I really couldn’t be bothered arguing this with you anymore though, so you can have the last word”

What are you, 12?

You might stop to consider that torture and kidnapping were in fact crimes, while deporting illegal immigrants is the opposite of a crime. If Federal agencies were in fact willing to undertake crimes, why would they be unwilling to undertake enforcement of the law?

Under the current administration, Homeland Security has focused (in recent years) on deporting violent offenders rather than searching for illegal immigrants among the broader population. A reversal of that policy and a new emphasis on finding and deporting all illegal immigrants would have a big impact on millions of people over 4 or 8 years of the next administration. Nothing more would be required than that change in emphasis, and no checks, balances, or existing laws would stop it. That’s the truth.

http://thehill.com/latino/293861-deportations-under-obama-could-hit-10-year-low

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Layman 09.18.16 at 12:08 pm

“The Federal immigration authorities do not need the support of local law enforcement, so all that would have to be done is hiring enough people and getting people to turn in the immigrants, and there’s always someone who wants to be the bully and someone else to snitch.”

Or, better yet, a secret Presidential finding to the effect that illegal immigrants are a danger to national security, followed by a directive to the NSA to sift electronic communications data to find potential illegals, followed by a routine effort to bounce that data against government databases like Social Security, immigration records, etc, followed by data requests to banks, etc, for identified individuals using FBI letters, followed by the dispatch of existing immigration officers to make arrests. All with or without a warrant from a compliant FISA judge. It isn’t hard, you just have to want to do it.

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Ronan(rf) 09.18.16 at 12:14 pm

Christ. Your link makes my point. It says trump is already softening his stance to get moderate republicans uncomfortable with with his racism on side. So again, what is it you’re saying ? He might up deportations and behave like a particularly bad rep candidate ? Who disagrees with that ? Say something specific about what you think is going to happen; you’re implying (by pointing to rendition/torture) that there’s a possibility for a huge break with policy. Ravens saying it’s not ott to compare the threat of trump with hitler. But all you’re offering is arguments that he’ll behave like a republican, while also dismissing the constraints that will prevent him behaving like a maniac.

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Layman 09.18.16 at 12:45 pm

“…while also dismissing the constraints that will prevent him behaving like a maniac.”

Tell me again which constraints stopped the Bush administration from behaving like maniacs?

Meanwhile, back to your chain of claims:

1) “Trump isnt going to start deporting ‘people of colour’, harassing Muslims etc.” (#368)

Asked what would stop him, you offer:

2) ““Politics. International and domestic law. Institutional checks and balances, inter party and Electoral restraints. etc” (#374)

Asked how law, politics, checks and balances, etc, would constrain him from upholding what is existing law, you don’t respond, instead offering:

3) “You’d have to assume the Dept of homeland affairs wouldn’t want to commit significant resources to deporting 11 millions people, or deal with the logistical nightmare of such a policy choice.” (#382)

Asked why you would assume that in the face of the counter evidence of recent history, you offer nothing, really, except the claim that Trump has changed his mind about deporting people.

Me, I’m still waiting for you to describe what laws, checks & balances prevent a sitting President from deciding to uphold existing law.

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Ronan(rf) 09.18.16 at 1:18 pm

I’ve expanded on the point since that throwaway line at 374. To repeat, there are two main options. (1)Continue the deportation regime as is, or (2) expand it. I’m saying there’s not much political space to expand it even beyond Obama’s policies 4-5 years ago.
I linked to an article making this point:

https://www.thenation.com/article/how-many-presidents-does-it-take-to-deport-11-million-people/

“Any plan to deport all undocumented migrants would involve an inconceivably massive expansion of the current deportation program, which since 1996 has already experienced significant growth. The highest number of people ever deported from the United States in a given year is 237,941. That was the number of “interior removals” reported by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2009. A removal, by the way, is a deportation that involves a court process, while an interior removal is a deportation involving a person who is arrested inside the United States and is not a recent border-crosser.

Keep in mind that those 237,941 undocumented immigrants expelled from the country represented a far higher number of deportations than had ever previously been experienced. Before 1995, there were never more than 50,000 total removals (including people caught crossing the border). Only in 2003 were figures for interior and border removals reported separately, at which time there were 30,000 interior removals. A concerted effort in the years that followed would translate into a sevenfold increase in the number of interior removals during the Bush presidency.

When President Obama took office in 2009, he topped the Bush numbers, overseeing record deportations and keeping interior removals steadily above 200,000 until 2012. Then those numbers began to decline, dropping to a still hefty 69,478 interior removals in 2015. For his early deportation record, Obama earned the title of “deporter-in-chief” from immigration activists, as well as the ire of the Latino community. Perhaps due to pressure from that community, he has in recent years rolled back deportations, in addition to issuing an executive order that grants temporary authorization to stay and work in the United States to immigrants who came here as children. He also issued another executive order that would grant the same protections to their parents, although it is still held up in the courts.

Now, for the future: the promise to deport all 11 million undocumented migrants in, assumedly, two four-year presidential terms would mean the deportation of 1,375,000 people annually, or six times that all-time high of 237,000. In other words, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would have to almost match Bush’s sevenfold increase in deportations on a truly monumental, essentially inconceivable scale. The more realistic question in the grim world of deportations would be: Could one of them even get back to the 237,000-a-year figure? It’s far from clear that any president could actually restore such record-high deportation rates today (forget the promise of millions).

As it happens, ramping up deportations again would require cooperation from local criminal law enforcement, which is unlikely. In reality, local police departments have been moving away from such cooperation over the past few years, in part due to criticism that such programs encourage racial profiling while diminishing trust between communities and the local police.

The dramatic increase in deportations under President Bush relied heavily on increased cooperation between local police and ICE, due to real limitations on the ways in which immigration laws can be enforced. Whereas local police officers are empowered to patrol the streets and arrest people suspected of committing crimes, immigration law–enforcement agents are not authorized to pull people off the streets simply because they suspect they might be undocumented. An important reason for this: There is no way you can figure out a person’s immigration status simply by looking at them.

Only Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents are authorized to rely on “Mexican appearance” when deciding whom to interrogate and they can only operate up to 100 miles from the border. Interior immigration enforcement is mostly carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents with the help of local police officers who can indeed inquire about someone’s immigration status, but only after such a person has been stopped on reasonable suspicion of committing a crime.

There are currently about 5,000 ICE agents in the country. Their capacity, with limited cooperation from local law enforcement, seems at the moment to be about 70,000 deportations a year, as evidenced by 2015 numbers. To get those deportations back above 200,000 would involve gargantuan and expensive efforts and a restoration of the frayed relationship between ICE and local police departments.”

I’ve said there’s practical, logistical problems ramping it up significantly (not enough resources, little will at a local or departmental level)
Political problems (both from democrats and as your link notes from moderate republicans, as well as little electoral support)
And institutional (within the organisation’s who will have to carry it out, within the political systems and his party, from legal challenges)

Your response is to not state explicitly what you think will occur, and wave away the logistical and political constraints with some nonsense about FISA courts and the NSA.

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Anarcissie 09.18.16 at 1:41 pm

Layman 09.18.16 at 12:45 pm @ 438 —
I think the major inhibition against expelling the 11 million would be economic, not legal or administrative.

444

Faustusnotes 09.18.16 at 2:32 pm

Ronan, the current limit in deportations is appropriations from congress. Faced with that limit, Obama made an executive order to prioritize spending the money on deporting convicted felons, enabling law abiding undocumented migrants to stay. All that is needed to increase deportations is more money. If trump wins the senate and the presidency you can expect that money to be forthcoming very quickly, as republican deficit terrorism gives way to their usual crony capitalism. The only checks and balances then will be the personnel limitations – and trump is all about making new jobs for Americans …

I really think it’s dangerous and naive in the face of 20th century history and the specific history of the republicans to think they won’t do something beyond the pale. The October surprise, the invasion of Iraq, and the expansion of the security state over the past 15 years should all serve as warnings of what can happen. There’s no reason to think that they can’t do something extreme and repulsive – the man says he will, and republicans will support horrific things, so why not?

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Yan 09.18.16 at 2:34 pm

The comparison to Bush’s maniacal accomplishments is puzzling. Bushes few were very serious, smart, ambitious, determined and organized ideologues. Trump don’t give a fuck and his crew is likely to be a misfit circus. Why should we think he can be remotely as effectively evil as Bush?

Great evil requires great intelligence and great conviction. Hillary’s better equipped, though I’m cautiously optimistic either candidate will be bad, but not as bad as their opposition expects.

I’m reminded that the only president in history to literally step over the edge of the apocalypse was a respectable Democrat rather than a Republican clown. And that a moronic Republican ended the Cold War while bright Drmocrats are leading the cause to restart it.

446

Faustusnotes 09.18.16 at 2:44 pm

Sigh.

447

Ronan(rf) 09.18.16 at 2:48 pm

I’m not saying there’s not space for increases in deportations, I’m saying there isn’t as much space as the more hyperbolic claims are arguing.
To add (1) I don’t think trump is fit to be a candidate , let alone president, on account of his rhetoric and demagoguery alone. (2) the criticisms of Clinton that are developing are over the top bordering on moronic. There isn’t really any dilemma here, so (3) nobody should vote for trump, and indeed no one (with broadly leftist or centrist political views) should vote republican in general.
But still we have a lot of very vague claims about how much of a threat trump will be, and I don’t see anyone laying out what this means in practice. I think he’ll be a particularly bad republican president. The only exception I see to that is if there’s a crisis (a 9/11 style attack or financial crisis, for example) where he could implement the sort of policies layman fears. But Bush has shown us that this caveat applies to other republican candidates as as well. So what is the exceptional nature of the trump threat ?

As an addendum: I don’t think the only limit to deportations is appropriations from congress. And even though Obama has shifted who is getting deported, the numbers are dropping in general because there’s less support (across the electorate, parties, and people who carry out the deportations) for the policy.

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Yan 09.18.16 at 3:01 pm

Le sigh.

449

Tyrone Slothrop 09.18.16 at 3:32 pm

So what is the exceptional nature of the trump threat ?

He’s orange.

450

Lupita 09.18.16 at 3:54 pm

@Faustusnotes

Obama made an executive order to prioritize spending the money on deporting convicted felons, enabling law abiding undocumented migrants to stay.

From the perspective of this side of the border, most of those deported to Mexico have been Central American women and children who entered the US during the past year and a half. Of those “returned”, most have been for traffic violations, such as driving without a license, who have lived in the US for ten years or more. That is the reality. The “convicted felon” bit is just propaganda to make a reversal of the US’ immigration policies more palatable to its population.

Why Central American women and children and people with a broken taillight who have resided in the US for a long time ? Who knows. Easy targets? Americans love their drug smugglers and need the liquidity to keep their banks afloat?

451

Layman 09.18.16 at 3:59 pm

Yan: “I’m reminded that the only president in history to literally step over the edge of the apocalypse was a respectable Democrat rather than a Republican clown. And that a moronic Republican ended the Cold War while bright Drmocrats are leading the cause to restart it.”

It’s frankly hard to imagine how you arrived at these particular judgements, particularly the one that casts Gorbachev as a moronic Republican.

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Yan 09.18.16 at 4:18 pm

Layman, it’s frankly hard to imagine you have so little imagination. Yes, Gorbachev ended it. The point is that Reagan failed to prevent him from doing so.

453

F. Foundling 09.18.16 at 4:25 pm

Faustusnotes @324

>I mean, now you’re quoting wiki leaks, an organization that recently outed a bunch of gay citizens in Saudi Arabia for no reason.

In spite of the misleading 2016 article headlines suggesting some sort of mass outing, the articles themselves acknowledge that the huge info dump that took place back in 2015 has so far been found to include details about only one person who had *already* been arrested by the Saudi authorities for being gay. Now, I admit that I’m not familiar with Saudi policies pertaining to privacy, and whether, assuming that the man has only been sentenced to a fine and not to public flogging or decapitation, that could have remained a secret to, say, his neighbours. A blunder, possibly, but hardly enough to discredit Wikileaks.

>An organization that obviously hates Clinton and is run by a rapist (hmm why does this anti feminist hate Clinton I wonder).

Indeed, what other reason could there be for a known opponent of US imperialism to hate Clinton? I mean, Assange made his name opposing the Iraq war, and Clinton was also opposed to that war, and has remained just as dovish in word and deed ever since. It’s inexplicable. He also seems to think that she was among those pushing to launch the criminal investigation for espionage against him in 2010.

Alex K @238

>It was Russia that annexed Crimea and provoked the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine.

It was America and its allies/satellites that sponsored the overthrowal of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine and thereby provoked the conflict. The rebellion in the East and the secession of Crimea, which Putin instigated in response, became possible in the overall atmosphere of lawlessness, as the new anti-Russian government was widely reviled and, unsurprisingly, viewed as illegitimate in these regions. The feigned paranoia about Russia’s supposedly being about to invade NATO members in Eastern Europe is likewise an American initiative.

454

magistra 09.18.16 at 4:27 pm

What happens if Trump becomes President and can’t in practice deport as many illegal immigrants as he claims he will? Well look at what’s happening to us Brits. We voted to leave the EU because people wanted to “control immigration” in the future. And immediately there was a spike in hostility to those immigrants already here (including non-EU ones) ranging from being told to go home, to violent and even lethal attacks on them. If Trump doesn’t deport enough illegal immigrants to satisfy the racists among his supporters, what’s the betting that some of them aren’t going to try dealing with “the rapists and drug-dealers” themselves and attack any non-whites they take a dislike to?

455

F. Foundling 09.18.16 at 4:28 pm

Raven Onthill @431

>But public complaints about Clinton may help Trump win the election.

The only incentive for politicans not to engage in wrongdoings is that there will be public complaints about these wrongdoings during election cycles. This incentive should not disappear. If a party fields a relatively uninspiring candidate, it *should* be punished by the electorate’s being relatively uninspired. That’s how democracy works. And at the individual level, brainwashing oneself and others into forgetting that evil is evil is a very unhealthy habit.

456

F. Foundling 09.18.16 at 4:33 pm

In general, I agree with the ‘Clinton-boosters’ here that Clinton should be supported against Trump, both because of his xenophobia and authoritarianism, which are unusual even for a Republican, and because of the usual implications of a Republican presidency for environmental issues, healthcare, the Supreme Court etc. For me, even Trump’s more dovish stance on Russia and Syria and more anti-neoliberal stance on trade are not enough to compensate for these things. However, what I do object to is the efforts to present Clinton as a good gal overall (@201), to defend her even on issues on which she is, in fact, terrible (notably FP), to insist that even justified criticism of her should be auto-censored until after the election (@431), and to accuse anyone who criticises her of being motivated by misogyny (@154) or racism.

457

Manta 09.18.16 at 4:37 pm

@405 Lee A. Arnold Manta #401:
“On international commerce, Trump is the better one”
Why?”
Less commerce treaties, more isolationist

“And why do you believe that anyone is going to war with Russia? There is rhetoric, but there is also reality.”
Not nuclear war, probably not direct wars, but plenty of proxy wars.

458

bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 4:45 pm

There is Hillary Clinton’s call for a no-fly zone in Syria where the Russians are the ones flying. This is the same wise and considered judgment that she could ignore medical advice and walk off walking pneumonia and no one would have to know; she could ignore military advice, and she could have her no-fly zone and it would never come to shooting down a Russian plane. And, when she made her proposal, no NATO ally had shot down a Russian jet . . . oh wait . . .

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bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 4:47 pm

F. Foundling @ 456

Well said.

460

bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 4:52 pm

Lupita @ 450

Your goalposts are moving around so fast, it is making me seasick.

Which is it? Broken taillights or driving without a license? (They had insurance, right? and passed the drivers’ test?) . . . been here ten years or less than a year and a half?

461

Will G-R 09.18.16 at 5:03 pm

js, “providing access to affordable birth control and abortion to over 50% of the population” could be ripped straight from a press release but it’s not what the ACA did. The percentage of the US population without insurance dipped from around 15% in 2011 to around 9% in 2015, which is good for what it’s worth, and the percentage of insured people in the US able to access birth control without a copay rose sharply, which is also good (granted that “with/without copay” is a terrible proxy for affordability, so if you’re looking at some better stats on out-of-pocket costs before and after the ACA I’d be interested). But the exploitative health insurance industry is still there, still has no competition from either a universal public insurance plan or a universal public clinic network, and can still affect massive long-term price increases for which the law’s answer is a slight boost to income-based subsidies — from what I can see this means all the potential for runaway state-subsidized cost increases we see in higher education, but worse and for a more universally necessary service.

Aside from that, even if Obama and his merry band of neoliberals had mandated free government-run clinics on every corner for all basic healthcare services, did you not just agree to drop your First-World chauvinism and stop erasing non-Americans when talking about how great these things are? If by “50% of the population” you mean to say that 3-4 billion people around the world now have access to affordable birth control and abortion, well, that would be a wonderful step in the direction of giving all 7-8 billion people around the world access to all basic means of sustenance, but it’s not on any Democrat’s agenda and it never could be. If we want to understand why it never could be, we should take Raven’s advice and read our Marx, except not because “Marx said change can happen quickly therefore Trump could actually be Hitler” or whatever.

It’s been said many times before and much better, but the most pernicious aspect of the “brocialist” narrative is the attempt at erasing radical feminism and radical anti-imperialism, which are indispensable elements of any socialism worth the name and any feminism/anti-racism worth the name. Without the radical element, most of what liberals’ feminist and anti-racist struggles end up achieving are symbolic “diversify the board of directors”-type victories that certainly are better than nothing, but that don’t significantly change the (racialized and gendered) class structure of society for people outside the ruling and professional classes, especially on an international scale. This is what’s meant by “identitarian”; cut the disingenuous grandstanding.

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F. Foundling 09.18.16 at 5:28 pm

Just a brief addendum: it’s true that, as js. has pointed out, many people here aren’t non-white or women and would not be harmed by Trump’s policies as much as non-whites or women would. This may influence their judgement of the relative importance of the various drawbacks of each candidate. However, in the same way, many people here aren’t inhabitants of a place where Clinton is likely to start or intensify a war, and many people here aren’t blue-collar workers likely to have lost or to lose a job because of Clinton’s policies. This, too, may influence their judgement of the relative importance of various drawbacks of each candidate. CT, like other Anglo-Saxon ‘left-of-centre’ sites, is mostly a Western upper-middle-class bubble. Again, I think Clinton is, in fact, preferable to Trump and should be voted for, but people here should be more aware of their biases.

463

js. 09.18.16 at 5:38 pm

If Trump doesn’t deport enough illegal immigrants to satisfy the racists among his supporters, what’s the betting that some of them aren’t going to try dealing with “the rapists and drug-dealers” themselves and attack any non-whites they take a dislike to?

This isn’t a future possibility tho. This is a thing that’s already happening. And they don’t care. So why would they care under a Trump presidency?

464

js. 09.18.16 at 5:40 pm

@461 is hilarious. It’s like you completely missed what I meant by “50+%” of the population and went off on an irrelevant rant. But like I said, we really have nothing to say to each other.

465

Layman 09.18.16 at 5:57 pm

“If a party fields a relatively uninspiring candidate, it *should* be punished by the electorate’s being relatively uninspired.”

Damn right. What’s a few million Iraqis more or less, do long as we show those damned Democrats we think Al Gore is fat and boring?

466

Lupita 09.18.16 at 6:07 pm

@ bruce wilder

Your goalposts are moving around so fast, it is making me seasick.

Good morning to you too. I will take your comment as you asking me to expand on my interesting post.

Most Mexicans deported say that it was for traffic violations, such as driving without insurance, without a license, or with a broken taillight. Most of those removed, have been Central American women and children. At least that is what these people say when interviewed in Mexican border cities or in Mexico City which is where they are being sent. Many also say that they lied about being Mexican in order to not be deported to Central America, sometimes they have fake documents to buttress their story, or that they are from a border city in order not to be sent to Mexico City. The part about people residing more that ten years in the US when they were deported, returned or removed seems to be true since they have lost fluency in Spanish, which is difficult to fake. It’s complicated. My point was that only “convicted felons” are being sent across the border does not stand up to what we are hearing here.

467

LFC 09.18.16 at 6:19 pm

I am the only person on this thread, afaict, who has made an explicit reference, @393, to Trump’s major policy speech on immigration, notwithstanding all the discussion of immigration on the thread.

Here is the transcript, in case anyone is interested:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/us/politics/transcript-trump-immigration-speech.html?_r=0

As I mentioned @393, my recollection of listening to the speech was that it was confused and inconsistent, suggesting that either his advisers or Trump himself, or both, are having trouble arriving at a consistent set of policy proposals (“consistent” in the sense of “minimally clear in terms of priorities for executive or other action”).

I also suggested that it wd be interesting to compare the speech to the position papers, assuming there are some, on Trump’s website. No one here involved in debating the immigration issue — Ronan, Layman, faustusnotes, etc. — has apparently troubled to do this. (Neither have I, I wd hasten to add.)

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Layman 09.18.16 at 6:45 pm

@ LFC, if you want to stake out the position that Trump hasn’t campaigned on a promise to deport all illegal immigrants, or the position that he has but we simply shouldn’t believe he means it, you are welcome to that position.

469

js. 09.18.16 at 7:09 pm

LFC — This is a bit tangential, but there are no “papers” on Trump’s website. It’s not really that kind of operation. Also, I’m kind of with Layman on this. Deporting all undocumented immigrants is the signature issue of his campaign; I’m not sure why I would give greater importance to one incoherent speech than to what he’s campaigned on for a year.

470

Layman 09.18.16 at 7:13 pm

Especially when the speech is more or less compatible with what he’s been saying all along: They’re dangerous rapists and criminals, and he’s going to systematically deport them. I don’t see any backing away from that premise in this speech.

471

LFC 09.18.16 at 7:18 pm

@layman
That was certainly his position during the primaries, but I believe a reading of that speech will show that there is now some internal discord w/in his campaign, or was a few wks ago, about whether or if or how to qualify or shade that position. The result, as I said, was confused and inconsistent, even tho the speech was reported by many outlets simply as a ‘hard line’ after the ‘soft press conference’ following Trump’s mtg w Pena N. (the Mexican pres).

I didn’t expect you to engage w the pt, frankly, b/c latterly in this thread your interest mainly seems to be being pugnacious and exchanging in fairly pointless jousts w Ronan about whether there would be constraints on what Trump cd do (answer: some) and how constraining they wd actually be (hard to say). I also made some remarks on this @393, I believe.

472

LFC 09.18.16 at 7:25 pm

Actually the speech distinguishes betw “dangerous rapists and criminals” on one hand and the universe of “all undocumented immigrants” on the other (tho the distinction didn’t stop him from parading endorsements from various relatives of people killed by undocumenteds). That anyway is my distinct recollection from listening to it. I suppose I shd check my aural memory vs. the transcript, but I put the link up as a matter of general interest.

Obvs I am opposed to his general approach to immigration, and I’m not suggesting there was a huge softening, but I wd not be surprised if there are some tensions in the campaign betw Bannon and the pollster he named as director (whatever her name is, Kelly Ann Courtney? — sorry, too many names in the cognitive circuits).

Anyway, didn’t mean to derail things… too much.

473

LFC 09.18.16 at 7:28 pm

js. @469
Thks re info about Trump’s website. I haven’t been able to bring myself to go there, yet.

474

bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 8:19 pm

I am not sure what one is supposed to get out of campaign websites. The incoherence of Trump’s speechifying is easy enough to observe.

It seems to me the harder work is to try to understand what Trump’s audience hears. What’s the point of resonance? What’s the implied counterpoint to impression left by Obama or Clinton? Or, the counterpoint to the usual rhetorical noise that has flowed from Republicans on immigration over the last decade or longer?

What many left and Democratic partisans have emphasized as the point of resonance is racism, but with the implication that that is the whole and entire explanation that should be entertained and nothing more should be said. Thus irredeemable deplorables.

Trump, himself, in his egotistical way, seems to be saying something about competence and against the excuse, “it’s complicated”.

You can read “the Wall” as a promise to keep out the Other, but you can also read it as, “this chronic problem can be solved and the law vindicated” if there’s just the will to do it. These are not mutually exclusive readings: one doesn’t have to be false for the other to be true.

But, it is politically interesting that the Democrats are always volunteering for conversations about race, but rarely about (elite) competence.

475

Val 09.18.16 at 8:30 pm

js and LFC
There are quite a number of position papers on Trump’s website, which is where I got the information before.

My reading of the border wall and immigration position papers, taken together, is that Trump (via his advisors who presumably write the papers) hasn’t said he would deport all Mexicans (or others) who don’t have visas, rather that he is trying to keep that possibility as a threat in his assertion that he can make Mexico pay for the wall.

He says he will: return/deport all who try to cross the border without papers; deport all who have been imprisoned for criminal offences; make visa overstaying a criminal offence (which involves tracking, and would also lead to deportation via the previous measure); not give visas to those born in US or their parents (which would presumably lead to deportation then).

He also says he will expand the ICE (is that immigration? I haven’t looked it up).

I guess it’s similar to saying all will be deported, but he seems to be simulateously wanting to use complete deportation as a threat (on the grounds that Mexico would rather pay for the wall than lose all remittances of those currently in the US without visas).

(You will note I don’t use the term “illegals”. It may make my expression a bit clumsy but it’s a demonising word so best avoided.)

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Suzanne 09.18.16 at 8:40 pm

@462: That sounds all very reasonable and evenhanded, except for the part where one candidate is an imperfect but highly qualified and experienced politician of a moderate to liberal bent and the other is a reality show sleazeball with a vivid background of racism and dishonesty who has moved on from exploiting the aspirations of the gullible to exploiting the fears and resentments of the bigoted and economically vulnerable. I know, he hasn’t bombed anyone yet. Give him time and a few bombs.

(Not that I would feel much better about Jeb! or Rubio or any of the other GOP “hopefuls” Trump blew away. It’s true that Trump is uniquely horrid, but his party provided fertile soil for this grotesque blossom. The Democrats should be hitting this point harder IMO.)

@454: I am worried by such a prospect, too. If Trump loses and it’s close, it could still happen. Putting the genie back in the bottle, etc.

477

Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 8:46 pm

Yan@445:

The comparison to Bush’s maniacal accomplishments is puzzling. Bushes few were very serious, smart, ambitious, determined and organized ideologues. Trump don’t give a fuck and his crew is likely to be a misfit circus. Why should we think he can be remotely as effectively evil as Bush?

More effective people can involve themselves. Nixon and Bush II by themselves were not terribly competent, but they had Kissinger and Cheney.

Don’t underestimate the courtiers!

478

LFC 09.18.16 at 8:54 pm

Val @475
He says he will: return/deport all who try to cross the border without papers; deport all who have been imprisoned for criminal offences; make visa overstaying a criminal offence (which involves tracking, and would also lead to deportation via the previous measure); not give visas to those born in US or their parents (which would presumably lead to deportation then).

This mostly comports w my recollection of the emphases in his Sept 1 speech. The only odd, in terms of his general platform, thing here is “not give visas [?] to those born in the US”. People born in the US are automatically citizens, so unless he wants to completely rewrite a basic tenet of US citizenship law, this doesn’t make sense. Anyway, the word “visas” doesn’t make sense in the context of that clause anyway. But the rest matches the emphasis in the speech: his first priority, he said, wd be removal of those undocumenteds w criminal records and visa overstayers. And then there was ambiguity about the residual categories, w him saying at the end there cdn’t be a discussion about that until the atmosphere had changed after the govt had gotten serious about the previously outlined measures, etc.

ICE = Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

479

Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 8:54 pm

Lupita@450:

Why Central American women and children and people with a broken taillight who have resided in the US for a long time ? Who knows. Easy targets? Americans love their drug smugglers and need the liquidity to keep their banks afloat?

I don’t think most of the immigration police can distinguish; many of them probably have no Spanish, let alone any of the central American languages. My guess is the central American immigrants don’t have family in the USA to “show them the ropes,” to show them how to avoid the immigration authorities and how to blend in. Mexicans, after all, have been in the USA for generations, and people crossing the border often already have connections in the USA.

Glad to see you in this discussion; it’s good to have a perspective from the other side of the border.

480

Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 9:04 pm

BTW, immigration is only one of many issues one which Trump and the Tea Party Republican-dominate House would like to do something awful. There’s a lot of bullets in that magazine, and who knows how many the USA can dodge.

481

Lupita 09.18.16 at 9:05 pm

@bruce wilder

You can read “the Wall” as a promise to keep out the Other, but you can also read it as, “this chronic problem can be solved and the law vindicated” if there’s just the will to do it.

Trump also mentioned the flow of drugs which is hardly discussed as compared to the flow of people. That could be another reading: Trump can solve the US’ chronic drug and money laundering problems. But if the US has a triple addiction – cheap labor, drugs and liquidity – why just focus on one, foreign labor, the one that makes you seem sympathetic and non-racist instead of the ones that remind you of weakness, corruption, and decadence? It could be pride.

482

Val 09.18.16 at 9:05 pm

LFC
Sorry about not giving the visas to those born in US – that would be my misreading I think – can’t stand the thought of going back to check, but he probably was just talking about their parents.

483

LFC 09.18.16 at 9:08 pm

Raven @477
Nixon and Bush II by themselves were not terribly competent

Really no comparison here, on competence or much of anything else. Nixon was a complicated, contradictory, tortured, v. intelligent, rather amoral person. None of those adjectives really applies to Bush II except prob. “amoral.” Bush II when asked in a debate to name his favorite philosopher answered Jesus. Nixon wd never had
said that in a million years. The Nixon-Kissinger relationship was nothing like the Bush-Cheney relationship. Nixon could actually conduct an intelligent conversation about foreign affairs, which was his overriding interest. Bush II really couldn’t, afaik.

Cheney can be seen as some sort of Rasputin or Svengali, manipulating a pliable, not v well-informed superior. By contrast, while Kissinger was a former academic and Nixon wasn’t and K. had expertise in certain areas that Nixon didn’t, the N-K relationship was much closer to a relationship of equals than the Cheney-Bush relationship. Robert Dallek subtitled his book about Nixon and Kissinger “partners in power.” The word “partners” implies a certain amt of equality; it wd not be a good subtitle for a bk about Cheney and Bush II.

484

Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 9:13 pm

“People born in the US are automatically citizens, so unless he wants to completely rewrite a basic tenet of US citizenship law, this doesn’t make sense.”

Repeal the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the post-Civil War law that, among other things, created birthright citizenship within the USA. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment was written to reverse Dred Scot and grant citizenship to African-Americans. There is a faction within the Republicans that advocates repeal of the 14th amendment. It would require a 2/3s vote of both House and Senate and concurrence of 3/4s of the states, so it’s not too likely.

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LFC 09.18.16 at 9:15 pm

correcting my own grammar/typo: “Nixon would never have said that…”

486

Val 09.18.16 at 9:16 pm

Wish Trump would do a position paper threatening to lock up all long winded white male middle class pseudo-lefties – that would sharpen the focus of some here I think.

Except they wouldn’t recognise themselves – they’d be all ‘Trump’s position on white male middle pseudo-lefties may sound alarming to those concerned primarily with identitarian politics, but Hillary Clinton did something, so we all focus our criticism on that’.

Then when Trump wins and the guys in the van come to pick them up, they’d be all ‘What are you doing? Not ME. This stuff doesn’t happen to ME’.

487

Lynne 09.18.16 at 9:26 pm

Val @ 486 That gave me my chuckle for the day.

488

Val 09.18.16 at 9:28 pm

For fear that my satire might accidentally appear to take in a few of the good guys, I should come out and say it’s mainly directed at Bruce Wilder, with a sideswipe at Will G-R.

But I know that fights between commenters can get boring, so I’ll try to make that my last. I won’t attack Bruce’s invisible army of lurkers who also hate me because I haven’t seen any evidence they exist outside his head, though I was reminded of this image (sorry lurkers no offence intended, anyway the image probably won’t work knowing my usual skills)

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRtBZVBRAkGHpwDjW37ZGVWowyUVQkF_1hTSkN0RYVDYCXtnaES04GizSM5Nw

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Val 09.18.16 at 9:31 pm

Thanks Lyn – you have to laugh sometimes, though I guess not being USian, we may not feel the full horror!

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Raven Onthill 09.18.16 at 9:46 pm

491

bruce wilder 09.18.16 at 10:04 pm

Thank the dear Lord I am not one of Val’s “good guys”, poor benighted buggers!

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Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 12:04 am

“I frankly hold Dick Cheney in really high regard in his role as vice president and as an American,” Pence said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Apparently this is the time when history will repeat itself as farce.

493

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 2:19 am

Layman, put me down for “we simply shouldn’t believe he means it”. Apart from his hey-look-at-me-I’m-a-racist-like-you campaign style, an actual Trump administration would be a creature of the same bourgeois interests as every other US administration to date, interests that currently depend to a sometimes-greater, sometimes-lesser extent on the existence of undocumented immigrant labor. Lupita brings up a good point, that rhetorical differences between Democrats and Republicans can’t reliably predict the policy behavior of an administration on this issue, since even the most avowedly tolerant of presidents can tacitly use “apolitical” technocratic premises like criminal enforcement to micromanage the undocumented population. And even if American capitalism didn’t actually need a separate domestic labor pool to exploit more brutally than it does the labor of US citizens, it still wouldn’t be in President Trump’s interest to actually keep out or deport undocumented immigrants, it’d be in his in his interest to keep them in while pretending to do what he can to keep them out, so they can be perpetually held up as a scapegoat.

But for argument’s sake let’s be charitable to Democratic partisans and assume Trump’s campaign rhetoric is more important than his actual political/economic interests if elected, especially as far as emboldening a wave of hate crimes. Even then, in no universe will Trump’s actual voters somehow vanish if he loses, and Democratic officials like the Clintons and Obama have a broad track record of caring more for the political ramifications of antagonizing police officers or right-wing nationalist types than the real-world ramifications of not coming down hard enough on police brutality or wannabe brownshirts like George Zimmermann. I think it’s fair to say that only twice has the US ruling class at a federal level treated extralegal racist violence as a serious problem: during the Reconstruction era, a consolidation of wage-labor’s victory over slavery that was abandoned as soon as the party of Northern liberals saw a shred of political gain, and during the Civil Rights era, when federal politicians were motivated to curtail easy Soviet propaganda fodder in the proxy war for the Global South, but apart from that no ruling regime in US history has ever treated racist vigilantes as a greater problem than radical antiracism. Seeing what mileage the ruling class continues to get out of all sorts of racist narratives including “clash of civilizations” to fuel public tolerance for Middle Eastern aggression and “they’re takin’ our jobs and rapin’ our women” to keep undocumented Latin American laborers marginalized and exploitable (not to disregard the antiblack narratives… “superpredator”, anybody?) we shouldn’t assume they’ll change course now no matter which clown wins this ridiculous circus we call a presidential election.

And an addendum to Val’s “next they came for the brocialists and the brocialists were all like ‘wtf, bro!'” thing, liberal antisocialists on the other hand should be ridiculed not as the kinds of people a fascist regime would haul off to the camps but as the kinds of people it wouldn’t.

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Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 4:50 am

“an actual Trump administration would be a creature of the same bourgeois interests as every other US administration to date”

The point I’ve been making, over and over, is that it will not be that. When the “bourgeois interests” themselves say it will not be, say they are worried, I think it’s time to listen up.

It’s not just his rhetoric, it’s his temperament. And then think that he will be in charge of the most powerful military in history, of the DOJ, of the US Treasury.

Do you wonder that knowledgeable people are scared? It amazes me that more here are not.

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Will G-R 09.19.16 at 5:43 am

Raven, aside from his politically disorganized supporters, what actual institutions does Trump have independent from those of the GOP? Who would he appoint to Cabinet-level positions, to deputy Cabinet-level positions, to judicial positions, who isn’t as much a creature of the GOP as anybody Mitt Romney would have appointed? The early German fascists were basically a scattering of “Oath Keepers” types who got a taste of authority when the SPD called them out in 1919 to help massacre the commies and decided to stay together to go into politics, but at least they were an independent group of some kind that wasn’t organized as a branch of the Center Party establishment. Unless you’re proposing Trump would appoint Ammon Bundy Attorney General or something, he has nothing like that, nothing whatsoever.

Randall of xkcd put it best: “our brains only have one scale and we resize our experiences to fit.” Americans’ political perception has become so blinkered after decades of choosing between liberals-vaguely-pretending-to-be-socialists and liberals-vaguely-pretending-to-be-fascists that when we see a candidate who looks even the slightest bit more explicitly fascist than we’re used to, even if it should be pretty damn clear that he’s basically filming a fascism-themed reality TV show, it’s tempting to assume the Hitlerian apocalypse is nigh. But we’re really not there yet, nowhere near it, and things would have to get so so much worse in the US before we would be.

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Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 6:11 am

“what actual institutions does Trump have independent from those of the GOP?”

Aren’t those bad enough, Will? They have been steadily corrupted. And then there is the army of deplorables and a hundred-million or so rifles. We have gone from the sort of conservatives who at least would keep things running (as long as everyone knew their place) to the sort of radicals who speak of deporting people in the millions, starting wars over trivia, and blowing up the global economy to get their way. And Trump might do it, might do any of these things out of pique or arrogance. As President it would be within his lawful power.

You are thinking too much, and using the thinking to stop you from acting. (Philosophers have old words for this, but I don’t know them.) This is not a time to be planning grand strategies, but rather to be down in the mud, fighting the fight.

497

bruce wilder 09.19.16 at 6:43 am

You are thinking too much . . .

Oh, no, we wouldn’t want any of that.

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kidneystones 09.19.16 at 6:43 am

Returning to the OP. The rabidly pro-Trump NYT reports that the Clinton medical team omits key details necessary to determine the severity of the pneumonia. The assessment does quote Bill on Hillary’s head injury: “…Accounts of how long it took for Mrs. Clinton to recover from symptoms of the concussion are discordant. Dr. Bardack said they had resolved in two months. But former President Bill Clinton said his wife’s concussion had “required six months of very serious work to get over.”

Bill probably spoke ‘erroneously’, and really meant that his wife’s concussion was really not very serious at all and that she was up and about in no time.

“I’m really fine.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/19/us/politics/hillary-clinton-health.html?_r=0

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Will G-R 09.19.16 at 6:45 am

Raven, what a perfect description of your own political consciousness: you’re acting too much and using the acting to stop you from thinking. The rest of what you wrote is, as the man says, ideology at its purest.

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Faustusnotes 09.19.16 at 6:51 am

Let us consider Bruce Wilber’s comment at (currently ) 474 as a canonical example of its class. He starts with this plea to ignorance:

am not sure what one is supposed to get out of campaign websites

which I guess is supposed to show a kind of sophisticated cynicism and above-it-all understanding that this whole thing is a game played by elites or liars and everyone on both sides is up to some kind of con. But what it actually shows is that Bruce wilder is an incompetent political analyst who cannot infer policy frameworks from summaries for lay people, and cannot predict what a politicians (inevitably compromised) actions will look like from their pre election policy statements. An alternative interpretation is that BW is engaging in a faux-cynical “both sides do it” approach, which would make him precisely as smart (and as honest) as David brooks.

Bruce wilder finishes with this rhetorical flourish:

democrats are always volunteering g for conversations about race but not abou elite competence

And thus shows that he either is living in or wants us to live in a fantasyland of his own making. Clinton, Obama, Kaine, and Warren have all been hammering trump on his competence from the get-go – he doesn’t have the knowledge or background to be president, he’s a bad businessman, he went bankrupt four times, etc. Yet BW – wise campaigner against identity politics and old hand who is exhausted by the focus of modern youth on race and identity, it’ll be the end of the left don’t you know – would have us believe that every conversation about trump is one about race. This is “politically interesting,” whatever that means.

Once again I have to say – if you want to offer any kind of useful analysis of trump and the modern GOP from the left, you have to start with an honest and clear assessment of reality. This means ne’er standing what politicians are going to do, understanding their limits, inferring their program from their statements in order to understand what they will do when reality hits, and having at least some hint of a clue about what is actually happening. Bruce has none of these things, but wants us all to accept his left wing critique of Clinton and the dems.

Why would we?

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bruce wilder 09.19.16 at 7:18 am

Your army of strawmen has me surrounded and outnumbered, faustusnotes, what can I do? Alas and alack!

I can offer nothing you cannot misread a half dozen wrong ways and won’t defend any of your misreadings as bearing the slightest authentic resemblance to what I have or would argue.

It seems to me that Hillary Clinton is marching toward her inauguration day.

And, meanwhile, the media and a lot of hystericals are entertaining themselves with the fake suspense of a horserace, whose outcome should scarcely be in doubt.

502

TM 09.19.16 at 10:12 am

BW 413: “The first clue that this gain in median household income, the largest since the series began in 1967, might be artifactual is that the gains for men are 1.5% and women, 2.7%.”

Do you understand the concept of household income? Here’s a clue: median household income depends crucially on the number of earners per (median) household, more than on the average wage level.

503

faustusnotes 09.19.16 at 10:21 am

I quoted you Bruce. What next, you were taken out of context?

504

TM 09.19.16 at 10:43 am

Ronan 370: “The United States is a developed, first world democracy. It’s not going to revert to failed state, totalitarianism, strongman rule, whatever. Democracy and the rule of law would survive Trump.”

This is historically illiterate wishful thinking and it’s dangerous. American liberals need to get out of their bubble more. Their fascist opponents aren’t joking, they are dead serious.

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TM 09.19.16 at 11:06 am

495. American politics is just a reality TV show and nothing really bad will ever happen (to us)? For crying out loud, who can write this sort of stuff with a straight face? Really only a relatively privileged white guy.

“But we’re really not there yet, nowhere near it, and things would have to get so so much worse in the US before we would be.”

Judging from this comment thread, the US will get there soon enough.

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Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 11:44 am

TM: IIRC, Ronan is Irish, which makes his remarks even stranger. “The English are civilized people and would never do that” is an argument that ought to chill any Irish person.

Will: HG Wells, Britain, early World War II: “Behind that screaming little defective in Berlin there is nothing of the sort… Yet our military ‘experts’ discuss the waiting phantom.”

Kidneystones, the New York Times highlights has been highlighting Hillary Clinton’s every flaw for decades. Concussion recovery is variable; you are grasping at straws. And we still have no solid medical data on Trump, who does not appear or sound healthy.

507

kidneystones 09.19.16 at 11:54 am

@ 506 You read a simple quote from one media site (the Daily Caller) reporting on a tweet from the former Washington political bureau chief for McClatchy News and managed to assert from that evidence I was citing Breitbart.

So…congratulations! You’ve made immense progress. Yes, I’m citing the NYT.

Good for you!

508

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 12:04 pm

Trump, it turns out, believes that vaccines cause autism.

If he becomes President, he will choose the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. Let us add plague to the possible risks of a Trump Presidency.

509

TM 09.19.16 at 12:11 pm

BW: “Trump, himself, in his egotistical way, seems to be saying something about competence and against the excuse, “it’s complicated”. … Democrats are always volunteering for conversations about race, but rarely about (elite) competence.”

I don’t want to be accused of strawmanning poor misunderstood Bruce so let me just say: this is one of the weirdest claims I’ve heard this election year.

510

Layman 09.19.16 at 12:16 pm

Seconded. Trump’s argument rather seems to be that it is complicated, so much so that only someone like him can solve it. He’s the winner, and he’ll do so much winning! Not like e.g. those loser generals we have now.

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Ronan(rf) 09.19.16 at 12:31 pm

Raven, it isn’t about civilisation but the institutions and political culture that prevent authoritarianism and becoming a failed state. I would suggest TM get out of his bubble and visit a country with genuine security issues and political dysfunction, but I understand we are all fully commited to our end times narratives, so I won’t hold my Breath.

512

faustusnotes 09.19.16 at 12:38 pm

Come on Ronan, by any standard the US is closer to a failed state than any western democracy. It has massive police violence, huge inequality, crumbling infrastructure, doesn’t even have universal health coverage. What planet are you living on?

513

Ronan(rf) 09.19.16 at 12:38 pm

By every standard actually used to.judge these things, it ain’t

514

kidneystones 09.19.16 at 12:39 pm

The task for Clinton campaign just became considerably more difficult with the news that the bombings on the east coast and the knife attack in Minnesota appear to have been carried out by lunatics claiming to be acting in defense of a particular faith. I saw one snap of Hillary reacting to the news and she looked like she was sucking on about a million lemons.

50 days is a long time, but there’s a palpable fear among the advocates for her majesty that suggests some, at least, feel the race is slipping away. Polls are fluid but it seems that Obama stepped in this week with his assertion that any African-American voting voting for Trump ‘insults’ his legacy. Well, we can’t have that, can we?

Trump’s claim that ‘everyday an illegal immigrant victimizes, or kills, an American’ is designed to do two things. Win headlines, because the media just has to tell everyone Trump’s latest outrage, and in doing so help Trump seed the ground for his appeals to African-American voters. Obama speaking so strongly and so directly to African-Americans suggests that Hillary is not going to get anything like the level of support O enjoyed.

“Donald Trump is gaining support among African-American voters, while support for Hillary Clinton has crashed 20 points, a Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California daily tracking poll shows. The survey, last updated Sunday, puts Trump’s support among black voters at 20.1 percent – up from 3.1 percent on Sept. 10.”

http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/poll-trump-gains-african-american/2016/09/18/id/748860/#ixzz4KhlEfnHh

Utterly meaningless, grasping at straws.

515

faustusnotes 09.19.16 at 12:46 pm

Standards painfully absent from your comments. Which have now spanned multiple efforts to say nothing bad could possibly happen in America, while ignoring all the bad things that are, and all the bad things that have happened elsewhere while you were watching.

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Ronan(rf) 09.19.16 at 12:49 pm

517

kidneystones 09.19.16 at 1:09 pm

I’ve a comment in moderation linking to the LA Times poll that has Clinton tanking among African-Americans and Trump up to 20 percent from 3.1 just a week before.

Whatever people want to believe about the ‘nothing to see here’ video, people are seeing, they are reacting to the tipping over (and the lies/confusion – see NYT link above).

Factor in the ‘events’ on the weekend and carrying her majesty over the finish line looks much more of a challenge than it did when the biggest story was the other candidate tripping over his tongue.

518

Layman 09.19.16 at 1:13 pm

“I’ve a comment in moderation linking to the LA Times poll that has Clinton tanking among African-Americans and Trump up to 20 percent from 3.1 just a week before.”

If you had any sense, you’d suspect that result.

519

kidneystones 09.19.16 at 1:23 pm

@ 517 ‘if you had…’

I do regard the results as suspect.

That said, Zerohedge and a number of other sites are not raising any particular red flags. It wouldn’t make any difference if the results are rock solid, they could still flip back towards Clinton.

Clinton’s had a good run. Now she’s not.

520

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 2:05 pm

Ronan, to some extent US federalism masks the issues. Look at Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The only reason those are not failed states is because they are part of the USA, and supported by its financial institutions and social insurance programs.

That is what Trump and the right wing of the Republican Party would do to the rest of the USA, given the chance.

The LA Times Daybreak Poll results are interesting, because they show what seems to be a response to the reports of Clinton’s illness. But, as the header of the poll says,

We update the data each day based on the weighted average of poll responses over the previous week. That means results have less volatility than some other polls, but also means the poll lags somewhat in responding to major events in the campaign.

So there was a spike in response to reports of Clinton’s illness, but it’s not clear how persistent that is. That poll also clearly show class, race, and gender divides.

I really would prefer we not elect a Presidential candidate because of apparent physical health.

521

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 2:09 pm

Also keep in mind that Trump could win the popular vote and still lose the election.

522

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 2:13 pm

To second Ronan’s point, all these privileged-white-guy lectures are remarkably disingenuous coming from commenters who seem to have no concept at all of how stable and affluent the US still is relative to the kinds of countries that have currently and historically seen actual, fully-developed fascism problems. “Donald Trump courts fascists more openly than any other major candidate I’ve ever experienced in my country in my lifetime, therefore we’re a hop skip and a jump from opening New Auschwitz in Montana” is about as narrowly privileged a perspective as one could bring to electoral politics, and trying to keep my privilege in check is precisely why I’m not worried about the Hitlerian apocalypse to come on January 21, 2017.

This isn’t to deny that plenty of groups have it bad in the US, especially the undocumented, but that’s a normal aspect of well-functioning liberal capitalism and doesn’t necessarily distinguish it from fascist capitalism. (Raven brings up the English history in Ireland as if the UK-inflicted famines and repression hadn’t been administered by classical fucking liberals, no fascism required.) If anything, a truly fascist capitalism would need fewer of these duplicitous ideological concealing mechanisms — instead of needing to keep the undocumented in the administrative shadows in order to treat them as less than fully human, for instance, it would have fewer ideological qualms about openly documenting them as less than fully human. I wouldn’t be surprised if for many of the Roma exterminated in the 1940s (an aspect of the Holocaust that disturbingly many Europeans, even allegedly respectable tolerant liberals, consider a less severe crime against humanity than the extermination of political dissidents and Jews) the concentration camp records were the first and last official state documentation of any kind to bear their names.

523

js. 09.19.16 at 2:14 pm

Ronan — I noted above that as per the NY Times (among other sources), hate crimes against Muslims are at their highest level in 15 years, which itself was a peak. Is this something we should relax about, “knowing” that the oh-so-well functioning US institutions will take care of things, or is it OK to be moderately alarmed?

524

js. 09.19.16 at 2:18 pm

Actually Will G-R, I grew up in a city where entirely stable seeming relations between religious communities descended into localized communal massacres at the drop of a fucking hat. Nothing about the US suggests to me that it couldn’t happen here. So you can fuck the right off.

525

Lupita 09.19.16 at 2:22 pm

The US cannot be judged as a simple state; it is an empire. People who sense that the empire is crumbling and that the US cannot control the global financial system anymore or invade countries willy-nilly, may think that their country is about to implode. This is because their American identity is so intertwined with empire – exceptionalism, the indispensable nation, the greatest nation on earth, the shinning city – that they fail to distinguish between US society and the imperial global superstructure.

Normal countries should, can, and have survived demagogues, buffoons, idiots, and their own fickle electorates. The US, as a country, is no different. Western hegemony, on the other hand – its legitimacy, military power, political clout, trade agreements, and financial control – is on the wane. Not even Clinton can save it.

If the US cannot survive Trump, how fit is it to preserve its world dominance?

526

Ronan(rf) 09.19.16 at 2:23 pm

Js, of course you should be alarmed by that. I (personally) don’t really disagree with anything you’ve said on the thread (going by memory) just the claims of some others.
Raven, fair points. I’ll get back you later when not on a phone

527

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 2:37 pm

js, I thought you had nothing to say to big bad brocialists, eh? Of course things can get bad quickly — look at all the pogroms in US history that get euphemistically termed “race riots”, even when they involve a coordinated combined-arms offensive with fucking airplanes. But something like the Trump campaign is a symptom of the social and economic factors at work here, and it’s alarmingly short-sighted to treat him as a cause. I’m all for meeting the fascists in the streets if or when it comes to that, but electing all the Hillary Clintons in the world won’t save us from this shit. In fact the policies of bland neoliberal centrists like the Clintons cause this shit at least as much as anything.

528

js. 09.19.16 at 2:56 pm

Right—electing Hillary Clinton is what’s going to cause hate crimes against Muslims. Please keep talking, you’re making the case way more convincingly than I ever could.

529

Anarcissie 09.19.16 at 3:00 pm

Lupita 09.19.16 at 2:22 pm @ 524 —
The US currently depends on a lot of borrowed money which perhaps is tribute in the sense that the lenders lend in part because they are impressed with American military power. Should the US suffer a serious setback in this realm, which is definitely possible, existing habits and arrangements might be abandoned, and new ones adopted, leading to significant changes in the American standard of living and way of life. That in turn could bring about a broad and deep political crisis which the rise of Trump only foreshadows. The situation raises questions of elite competence and morals, ludicrous as that proposition may seem to some, even to get through the near future.

530

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 3:06 pm

js, I would consider myself flattered, if being more convincing than you was any real accomplishment…

531

Manta 09.19.16 at 3:12 pm

Don’t we have this discussion every US election cycle, where electing the wrong guy will lead to the apocalypse?

Having Bush Jr. as president was quite bad (for all the many reasons exposed here, and probably more that were forgotten); and yet not even he managed to end the world, or make US a fascist country, or whatever.

532

js. 09.19.16 at 3:25 pm

Don’t we have this discussion every US election cycle, where electing the wrong guy will lead to the apocalypse?

People say this, but here’s the thing. There were fairly epic threads on CT leading up to the 2012 election. I, e.g., took part in them. You can, if you’d like, see what I was saying then and whether it’s the same as what I’m saying now. (Obviously, I’m only going to speak for myself.)

533

Layman 09.19.16 at 4:00 pm

Manta: “…and yet not even he managed to end the world…”

Sell that shit to a few million Iraqis. FFS!

534

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 4:44 pm

Layman: “Sell that shit to a few million Iraqis.”

Well no shit! But Dem partisans seem to have some issues getting their story straight as to whether Trump is something new and exceptional, or whether he’s basically just like the old institutional GOP except slightly more so. The dynamic seems to be that when Democrats are criticized for their role in implementing neoliberalism alongside their Republican counterparts, Trump becomes an exception, while when Republicans are criticized for their role in implementing neoliberalism without necessarily mentioning that they do so alongside their Democratic counterparts, Trump becomes a continuation. As I see it, this kind of confused, contradictory rhetoric indicates a deeper ideological deadlock for which the menacing figure of Trump is a convenient externalization — which ironically enough is the same critical framework through which one can interpret the confused, contradictory rhetoric of Trump’s very own supporters around the menacing figure of the foreign migrant, all the stuff about lazy job-stealers and terrorists fleeing from terrorism and all that.

535

Anarcissie 09.19.16 at 4:53 pm

Layman 09.19.16 at 4:00 pm @ 532 —
As I’ve noted before, in 2000 Bush was supposed by many to be the isolationist, Gore the interventionist (based at least on his association with Clinton 1 and thus with ‘We think it is worth it’ Albright, the various adventures in Yugoslavia, the expansion of NATO, and so on.) So how could one vote in favor of those Iraqis’ lives, then or now? What’s your plan?

536

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 4:57 pm

Also, Layman, it takes some real chutzpah and/or obliviousness to use that particular example on behalf of Hillary Clinton in an election where the actual neoconservative architects of the war are more or less unanimously #WithHer.

537

Manta 09.19.16 at 5:15 pm

532 Layman 09.19.16 at 4:00 pm
“Manta: “…and yet not even he managed to end the world…”
Sell that shit to a few million Iraqis. FFS!”

I repeat, with added Notes For The Reading Impaired:

“Having Bush Jr. as president was quite bad (for all the many reasons exposed here [the Iraq war was one of those reasons, probably the most important one NFTRI]); and yet not even he managed to end the world [there was no nuclear Armageddon or WW3 NFTRI], or make US a fascist country [USA is not a fascist country Moreover, if you think that USA is a fascist country, then you cannot complain that Trump will make USA fascist NFTRI].”

538

Yan 09.19.16 at 5:28 pm

“yet not even he managed to end the world”

And he had the help of some pretty dedicated and cunning ideologues like Cheney and Wolfowitz, who were brilliant at working in the shadows and bending the rules.

So I think this returns us to my earlier question, how likely is it that a know nothing narcissist clown who doesn’t give a fuck will carefully pick an administration of cunning dedicated ideologues who will help him successfully pull of an apocalypse?

It’s possible, by why think it likelier in this case than former awful republicans?

To my mind the issue of ideology is crucial. Great evils are just never committed without committed ideologues, great believers in their own virtue devoted to ridding the world of evil. Trump has no ideology. He’s not even intelligent enough to be evil in the usual historical way. His racism is one of indifference and casual, uncommitted vilification (rapists murderers or whatever) not even real hatred or paranoia. Though he surely appeals to racists of the more committed kind, can a Beavis or Butthead really the next Hitler?

And isn’t a portion–not all, just a small but not trivial bit–of the visceral hatred we have for him due to this highest of his crimes: his lack moral indifference, his lack of ideology and moral righteousness in this most ideological and righteous of ages, nous actress victoriens?

539

William Timberman 09.19.16 at 5:32 pm

Will G-R, thanks for taking over some of the heavy lifting here in last gasp territory. What you’re saying has to be said, even if it doesn’t persuade the unpersuadable. Congratulations for saying it really, really well.

Lupita @ 524: Bravo! That part of the world-as-will-and-representation that’s ending with this U.S. election does leave us room for a weird sort of optimism — or would, if we could see things from your perspective. From where I sit, we citizens of the U.S. don’t really have any choice, not once we understand that doing evil doesn’t require a black uniform, or a lunatic demagogue posturing in front of an American flag the size of a bed sheet.

540

Layman 09.19.16 at 5:41 pm

@ Anarcissie, note that I’m responding not to a claim that Bush’s actions were not predictable(*), but instead to a claim that they didn’t after all end the world. Note also the strange fact that you object to my response to that claim, but not to the original claim itself. Maybe you ought to think about that, since the dead Iraqis can’t speak up for themselves.

@ Manta, in fact for many people, Bush did end the world. That he did not end the world for us survivors is manifestly true, but I can’t really grasp the point of making such a claim. Do you mean to say that we should expect Trump to be no worse than Bush? Are we meant to be consoled by that constraint, never mind how you manage to deduce it? Would you say, in similar vein, “…having a certain Georgian fellow as general secretary of the USSR was quite bad (for all the many reasons exposed here, and probably more that were forgotten); and yet not even he managed to end the world?” Would you say the same of a certain Austrian chancellor of Germany? If not, why not? Both are equally amenable to your defense of the original.

@ Will G-R, it is increasingly hard to grasp the point of your posts. It seems to me that this is something of a game for you, in which you take the hyperbole offered by one person and compare it to that of another, for the purpose of pointing out the contradiction between the two, as if some greater insight emerges. In the end, though, nothing is changed by the points you think you’ve scored thereby. Still we will have either Clinton or Trump; and history makes it quite clear which will be the greater calamity.

(*) As to predictions, it is manifestly clear that one should not give great power to churlish, bigoted, anti-intellectual egotistical dunces (like Bush and Trump), and that calamity will be the likely result, even if one can’t predict the form it will take.

541

js. 09.19.16 at 5:54 pm

So it seems pretty clear that for several of you, if it’s not a total apocalypse, if it’s just widespread violence against vulnerable communities, there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s nice to know who I’m dealing with here.

542

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 6:00 pm

Lupita, the language of imperialism conceals how interdependent the international economic order is. It is also rather ramshackle, sort of like a car assembled from parts by a backyard mechanic without a good understanding of mechanical engineering. Continuing the jalopy analogy, imagine that it is running flat out and that the road is getting rougher.

2008 was a bump in the road. Suppose, now, a tire blows out. What do you think would happen in Mexico under such conditions?

543

Lee A. Arnold 09.19.16 at 6:07 pm

Js., exactly, you are dealing with people who believe that “neoliberalism” is the ultimate evil, who believe that compromise is self-polluting, and who believe that the only real change will come when a knight in shining armor appears.

544

Manta 09.19.16 at 6:10 pm

@539 js.
“So it seems pretty clear that for several of you, if it’s not a total apocalypse, if it’s just widespread violence against vulnerable communities, there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s nice to know who I’m dealing with here.”

It seem that even with the NFTRI, someone still pretends not tu understand.
Let’s be honest: Trump will not bring fascism to USA; this does not mean that he may not be a quite bad president (just as Bush did not bring fascism to USA, and yet he was a quite bad president).

545

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 6:17 pm

I would prefer to keep the international system working until we can transform it or replace it with something better. Why it is so hard to grasp that it is best to avoid disaster, if at all possible? However awful the system, a collapse will be worse.

People living through what historians recognize as apocalypse often do not recognize it at the time. Most change does not come like a volcanic explosion; even very large changes take time.

When one talks about this apocalypse, no, unless it turns into nuclear war, I suppose not immediate apocalypse. But a deep global depression? Very possible. A failure of US democratic institutions? Also possible. Mass deportations and interments? Charles Pierce reminds us today that Korematsu has never been overturned. Failure to respond to climate change in a way that will bring about a slow-motion apocalypse (the seas rising, and people migrating in the billions), also possible.

Not so hard to think about, if you’re willing to think about it at all.

546

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 6:25 pm

js: it isn’t just going to be violence against vulnerable communities.

Manta: “Don’t we have this discussion every US election cycle, where electing the wrong guy will lead to the apocalypse?”

Remember that this is slow-motion. It started with Reagan. W. Bush was part of the process. But also things can happen in the space of a few months: mass deportations, financial crashes, wars started.

547

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 6:26 pm

And, again, it ought not be a complex decision not to choose the candidate who might start a war on a whim.

548

Manta 09.19.16 at 6:32 pm

Raven, you should also add Obama to the top of the list:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamas-deportation-policy-numbers/story?id=41715661
“According to governmental data, the Obama administration has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history.
In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.”

549

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 6:51 pm

js, violence against vulnerable communities is something to take very seriously. This is why we should refuse to direct our political energy toward someone like Clinton, whose behavior as a public servant offers no solution to it and threatens to only engender more of it — and even if one doesn’t buy the standard leftist dialectical arguments about how liberalism and fascism are two aspects of the same capitalist politics and each can’t exist without the other and so on, her support for violence against vulnerable communities is absolutely straightforward when it comes to international issues of military and trade policy. You’re going through some pretty amazing gymnastics to avoid engaging with this point, especially since it’s been articulated loudly and often by plenty of radical women/POC in similar terms to the ones you’re seeing here, and I doubt you’re somehow unaware of that either.

550

Stephen 09.19.16 at 7:14 pm

Raven@506: coming in a bit late, but when you say ‘Ronan is Irish, which makes his remarks even stranger. “The English are civilized people and would never do that” is an argument that ought to chill any Irish person’ I don’t know whether you are American or Australian, in which case much should be forgiven you, or Irish where the case is otherwise.

Minor point: if you think that the past Irish/British reciprocal hostility was entirely down to the English, I would advise you to summon up the ghosts of St Patrick, Henry VIII Tudor, and David Lloyd George and enquire their opinions. If you think there has been, and is no Scottish hostility, Ronan can no doubt inform you of the past and present state.

As for what the British have done, or not done, in recent centuries: have you ever considered what a genuinely fascist regime (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco) would have done in the circumstances? Or a genuinely socialist regime (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot)? Feeling chilled yet?

551

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 7:15 pm

Manta, most of those people are people who were turned away at or near the border, not people living long-term in the USA. It is basically Homeland Security inflating the numbers. They didn’t used to be counted, but the W. Bush administration started fingerprinting them and counting those people as deportees. The Obama administration, hoping to place the Republicans, continued the policy and touted the numbers.

See: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-deportations-20140402-story.html

552

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 7:20 pm

Er, “…placate the Republicans…”

Will, oh, putting in Trump will work so well so well for vulnerable communities.

Stephen, consider the Raj. For that matter, consider the Great Hunger. It is a nationalist myth that the English were better than various other countries as a colonial power.

553

Manta 09.19.16 at 7:26 pm

Thanks for the info @549, Raven.

554

Yan 09.19.16 at 7:34 pm

@539 “So it seems pretty clear that for several of you, if it’s not a total apocalypse, if it’s just widespread violence against vulnerable communities, there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s nice to know who I’m dealing with here.”

Do you really believe anyone here thinks that?

Perhaps every CT thread through November should start with the disclaimer: “Attention: probably no one on this blog with the exception of Kidneystones supports Trump or thinks Hillary’s awfulness is equivalent or close to that of Trump. Please be sure to carefully construct all straw men to imply otherwise. Thanks, the management.”

555

Lee A. Arnold 09.19.16 at 7:36 pm

Will G-R #547: “we should refuse to direct our political energy toward someone like Clinton, whose behavior as a public servant offers no solution to it and threatens to only engender more of it”

Hillary Clinton’s helps to vulnerable communities, both directly and indirectly, may be unparalleled. Here are some things from a list by Kevin Drum, published toady:

2. She worked her heart out for health care reform in 1993.
3. She now supports Obamacare, and supports expanding it.
4. She supports increasing the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour. This is good for workers, but less likely to have downsides than a national level of $15.
5. She supported comprehensive immigration reform in 2007 and continues to support it.
6. She was a prime mover behind the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, and was a key figure in finding compromises that allowed it to pass after partisan bickering nearly sank it.
8. She supports LGBT rights.
9. She worked with Attorney General Janet Reno to create the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women.
10. She was one of the prime movers behind SCHIP, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, eventually signed into law by Bill Clinton.
11. She pushed the Adoption and Safe Families Act through Congress.
15. She voted against both of George Bush’s tax giveaways to the rich.
18. She supports legislation to end racial profiling at all levels of government.
19. She wants to clean up the toxic lead remaining in soil, water, and paint.
22. She wants to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
26. She supports Dodd-Frank. [which includes the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau]
27. At the age of 29 she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families advocacy group.
29. She supports a higher tax rate on the very rich.
30. She supports the Paris Climate Agreement and has endorsed a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.
31. She wants to restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentences.
32. She was one of the original co-sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act.
35. She supports automatic voter registration at age 18.
37. She pushed through State Department regulations that gave same-sex couples most of the same rights as straight couples.
38. She supports universal pre-K.
39. She has set a goal of producing one-third of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027, three years before Obama’s deadline.
40. She wants to expand home visiting programs, one of the best known ways to improve child development.
41. She wants to spend $275 billion (over five years) on rebuilding infrastructure.
42. She was instrumental in securing help for New York’s 9/11 first responders.
43. In the Senate, she fought Republican attempts to privatize Social Security.
45. She supports net neutrality.
48. She supports a plan that allows people over 55 to buy into Medicare.
49. She co-sponsored the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
50. She is pro-choice and supports the right of all women to have access to affordable contraception and safe and legal abortion.
51. She wants to prevent pharmaceutical companies from jacking up the price of long-standing drugs.
52. She supports the addition of a public option to Obamacare.
53. She wants to overturn Citizens United.
54. She has fought for decades for increased funding for HIV treatment and research.
55. She wants to restore the portions of the Voting Rights Act that were recently struck down by the Supreme Court.
65. She supports DACA and DAPA, the “mini-DREAM” executive orders.
66. She supports 12 weeks of paid leave for new mothers or to recover from a serious illness.
67. As first lady, she fought for the Family Medical Leave Act. As a senator, she worked to expand FMLA to cover wounded soldiers and their families.
68. She has long supported gender equality efforts around the world.
72. She has a 100 percent rating from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
73. In the Senate, she co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

556

Lee A. Arnold 09.19.16 at 7:37 pm

Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that Kevin Drum is a toady, only that certain blockheads here might think that he is.

557

Raven Onthill 09.19.16 at 7:51 pm

Oh, and in today’s news:

LANSING — Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint’s ability to sue.–http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2016/09/18/after-court-threat-state-removed-flints-power-sue/90467828/

558

Layman 09.19.16 at 8:05 pm

“Minor point: if you think that the past Irish/British reciprocal hostility was entirely down to the English, I would advise you to summon up the ghosts of St Patrick, Henry VIII Tudor, and David Lloyd George and enquire their opinions. If you think there has been, and is no Scottish hostility, Ronan can no doubt inform you of the past and present state.”

Good grief! Is it ‘reciprocal hostility’ when conquers and enslaves the other while the other resists said conquest and enslavement?

“As for what the British have done, or not done, in recent centuries: have you ever considered what a genuinely fascist regime (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco) would have done in the circumstances?”

I’ll bite. Let’s start with Kenya, shall we? Which genuinely fascist depredations did the plucky Brits manage to resist through the sheer force of their white-bread goodness?

559

kidneystones 09.19.16 at 8:41 pm

@ 553 I take your point and your rhetorical excess. Clearly, we would do better with far fewer straw men. Second, and a much more minor issue, I do not believe HRC approaches Trump’s awfulness, which I readily acknowledge.

I believe HRC to be far, far worse and far more dangerous than Trump. Sanders was the only ‘safe’ choice, but that ship has sailed, or so it seems.

560

Anarcissie 09.19.16 at 9:08 pm

Layman 09.19.16 at 5:41 pm
@ Anarcissie, note that I’m responding not to a claim that Bush’s actions were not predictable(*), but instead to a claim that they didn’t after all end the world. Note also the strange fact that you object to my response to that claim, but not to the original claim itself. Maybe you ought to think about that, since the dead Iraqis can’t speak up for themselves.

I didn’t object to your claim; by implication I approved of it, and extended it logically. I take it you believe that, in spite of her record, Clinton is less likely to start a war and kill a lot of people than Trump. But that’s just a shot in the dark. My equally benighted guess is that it’s 50-50. Some, as reasonable as you or I, have argued that Clinton is the worse war freak. So I’m still wondering what your plan is.

561

Layman 09.19.16 at 9:20 pm

Anarcissie: “I didn’t object to your claim…”

I didn’t think you objected to it, I think you miscast it. I still wonder why you don’t object to, or comment on, Manta’s dismissal of the scope of Bush’s butcher bill, and instead only choose to respond to my comment on it.

“My equally benighted guess is that it’s 50-50.”

Let’s say you’re right, in which case it can’t be used to choose between the two of them. Isn’t that a problem for the notion that they’re equally bad, given that HRC’s alleged warmongering is more or less the only concrete thing people generally cite as being a plus for Trump? How do you avoid coming down on Clinton’s side?

562

Manta 09.19.16 at 9:34 pm

“Manta’s dismissal of the scope of Bush’s butcher bill “

You still seem to be talking to people who live only inside your head. You should really see a doctor about those voices.

563

js. 09.19.16 at 9:49 pm

Yan — There are multiple people on this thread who have argued and are arguing that we should be devoting our energies to opposing Clinton rather than opposing Trump; the people who are arguing this are presumably not made of straw. Tho who knows!

564

Layman 09.19.16 at 9:55 pm

@ Manta, if you can’t grasp the fact that, for a dead Iraqi, Bush did in fact end the world; and as a result, comprehend how grotesque your dismissal was, then so be it. But did you really intend that we would be consoled by the idea that Trump probably couldn’t be much worse than Bush?

565

Will G-R 09.19.16 at 10:03 pm

If everybody is looking for British imperial atrocities to toss at Stephen, a good place to start for sheer scale might be here — the Union Jack has piled up enough body counts in the 19th century alone to match and exceed anybody’s wildest dreams about the red flag or the swastika in the 20th. (Well maybe except for those of Robert “WWII battlefield deaths count as victims of Stalinist mass murder” Conquest, but you know what I mean.) We may disagree about Hillary Clinton but at least we can be in accord that British soldiers should go on home!

Lee, bah Gawd that’s the most beautiful typo I’ve ever seen, if there was such a thing as Freudian keyboard slip yours would fit perfect under the dictionary entry. I’m not going to bite at the line-item copypasta — if my position on that kind of thing in general isn’t clear from the Oscar Wilde quote I don’t know what would make it clearer — except to note that precisely zero listed items have anything to do with international issues of military and trade policy, which I originally cited as the notable cases where her support for violence against the vulnerable is completely unambiguous. This is important, because one of the most trivially obvious leftist theses about global imperial capitalism is that broad-based prosperity in wealthy countries can only ever be bought by making sure the necessary violence and exploitation happen elsewhere. If the Nuremberg docket’s worth of GOP neocon endorsements for Clinton is any indication, her experience and enthusiasm for this particular species of evil is if anything much deeper than Trump’s.

Besides, most of the listed items are a hopelessly vague combination of “she supports” and “she wants”, which, well… I support granting all human beings the ability to piss lemonade and shit chocolate fudge, where’s Kevin Drum to praise my presidential bona fides when I need him? Of course that’s a bit disingenuous, but then so is expecting a numbered list of single-sentence issue positions to substitute for any remotely incisive account of a political leader’s theory and praxis.

566

bruce wilder 09.19.16 at 10:17 pm

But, Will G-R, “She worked her heart out”!!

567

Lee A. Arnold 09.19.16 at 10:24 pm

Will G-R, If the Oscar Wilde quote stood up to logical or psychological scrutiny, you’d have a case. But compromise is not self-defeating. And the idea that Hillary Clinton, or just about anybody else for that matter, “supports violence against the vulnerable” is pretty dumb. The problem with your aim for an “incisive account of a political leader’s theory and praxis” is that there are very few leaders who have one, beyond ad hoc patches under the conditions of a plutocratic representative democracy.

568

bruce wilder 09.19.16 at 10:45 pm

The sequellae of George W Bush’s election (I really want to use scare quotes) have been brought up to remind us that elections have consequences. But, Bush policy had to be enabled and legitimized and extended by the opposition, to do as much damage as it did. So, here we are staring at Clinton, who is just fine with the status quo Bush wrought.

” . . . again, it ought not be a complex decision not to choose the candidate who might start a war on a whim . . .”

As a first-order choice, you would be voting for a third-party candidate, which might mean giving effective albeit indirect support to one of the major Party candidates, either of whom might reasonably be judged belligerent in foreign policy.

Layman keeps saying, choose! I am saying, you are not choosing. You are being manipulated, herded, managed. Notice.

569

bruce wilder 09.19.16 at 10:47 pm

plutocratic representative democracy.

A contradiction in terms?

570

bruce wilder 09.19.16 at 11:07 pm

Kevin Drum:

“. . . Clinton is clearly doing worse among millennials than Obama did four years ago. . . . virtually all of the defection is in the 18-24 age group. . . . So what’s the deal with this very young age group? . . . I reserve most of my frustration for Bernie Sanders. He’s the one who convinced these folks that Clinton was in the pocket of Wall Street. She gave a speech to Goldman Sachs! He’s the one who convinced them she was a tool of wealthy elites. She’s raising money from rich people! He’s the one who convinced them she was a corporate shill. She supported the TPP! He’s the one who, when he finally endorsed her, did it so grudgingly that he sounded like a guy being held hostage. He’s the one who did next to nothing to get his supporters to stop booing her from the convention floor. He’s the one who promised he’d campaign his heart out to defeat Donald Trump, but has done hardly anything since—despite finding plenty of time to campaign against Debbie Wasserman Schultz and set up an anti-TPP movement.”

So, no praxis? I guess I should just trust Hillary to be the champion of campaign finance reform. She made a speech soundbite about Citizens United after all. Pay no attention to her using the DNC to bypass existing limits — the real issue there is Putin qua Watergate burglar revealing private email; damn Russkies interfering in our sacred Democratic processes. Pay no attention to how much Goldman Sachs paid for that little private chat or that the content remains a big secret. Pay no attention to the $21 million total she squeezed from such talks in the brief window between SoS and Candidate roles.

571

bruce wilder 09.19.16 at 11:09 pm

Especially pay no attention to policy. TPP? much ado about nothing

572

js. 09.19.16 at 11:42 pm

People always say that no one ever changes their mind as a result of arguments on the internet. But I have to say, this election-related series of threads over the last several months has led me reevaluate and change my mind about some fairly important things (admittedly—maybe not in the way my interlocutors would’ve preferred, but take what you can get, right?). So you know, good job, people!

573

Lupita 09.19.16 at 11:48 pm

@ Raven Onthill

Lupita, the language of imperialism conceals how interdependent the international economic order is.

Interdependence would mean that rich countries sometimes got invaded by poor countries, that the IMF and World Bank were sometimes headed by non-Westeners, that the permanent members of the UNSC were periodically not all nuclear powers, and that resources, capital, and labor sometimes did not flow from poor to rich, maybe a day out of the whole year, and if Bush and Blair had been brought to justice. As it is, the US and its allies dominate the global order.

2008 was a bump in the road. Suppose, now, a tire blows out. What do you think would happen in Mexico under such conditions?

Mexico has had two mega-crises (1982 and 1994), it is a neoliberal narco-state, and the number one country in terms of expelling its own people, so it will do poorly with or without US hegemony. Please do not keep your empire on life support just because of us.

I would prefer to keep the international system working until we can transform it or replace it with something better. Why it is so hard to grasp that it is best to avoid disaster, if at all possible? However awful the system, a collapse will be worse.

This is not for the American electorate to decide. The world order was kept in place by a global consensus that has eroded considerably, particularly after the Iraq invasion, the torture and renditions, and the sight of banking elites panicking in 2008. While the system has been collapsing on its own, many countries have been building new regional institutions to take the place of the crumbling US-centered global ones. Americans may be trying to avoid a disaster, but many countries started long ago to prepare for it.

574

Layman 09.19.16 at 11:53 pm

“Layman keeps saying, choose! I am saying, you are not choosing. You are being manipulated, herded, managed. Notice.”

…and by refusing to choose, you still choose. Notice, o sensei.

575

bruce wilder 09.20.16 at 12:04 am

Nope. Not me. I live in California. No choice. Clinton is 99% to win the State with or without my vote. Both Senate candidates are Democrats. So, I am pretty much relieved of all responsibility in the headline contests.

Ah, freedom. ♬♪♫

Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream

Everything is better when we stick together
Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let’s party forever
We’re the same, I’m like you, you’re like me, we’re all working in harmony

Have you heard the news, everyone’s talking
Life is good ’cause everything’s awesome
Lost my job, it’s a new opportunity
More free time for my awesome community

Stepped in mud, got new brown shoes
It’s awesome to win, and it’s awesome to lose (it’s awesome to lose) ☮

576

LFC 09.20.16 at 12:20 am

@BWilder
Pay no attention to how much Goldman Sachs paid for that little private chat or that the content remains a big secret.

I think BW has gone off the deep end here (well, likely in general, but esp. here). These were speeches she was pd these huge sums for, for heaven’s sake. Speeches, not small, intimate mtgs. While the content may remain “secret,” it’s pretty obvious the content was banal, predictable, boilerplate, ego-massaging stuff about what a great job Goldman and like firms do [insert boilerplate about making capital available for innovation blah blah blah] and the challenges of [insert boilerplate about a globalized economy blah blah], w maybe a few personal anecdotes from her time as Sec of State thrown in. What the fu*k else wd she have said in a speech at Goldman Sachs? If there were going to be nefarious promises made, one doesn’t do that in a speech.

577

Anarcissie 09.20.16 at 12:28 am

Layman 09.19.16 at 9:20 pm @ 559:
‘Let’s say you’re right, in which case it can’t be used to choose between the two of them. Isn’t that a problem for the notion that they’re equally bad, given that HRC’s alleged warmongering is more or less the only concrete thing people generally cite as being a plus for Trump? How do you avoid coming down on Clinton’s side?’

I think it’s important not to legitimate either one of them in any way. I suppose we’re going to have to get in the streets, and the first law of activism is ‘Don’t let the bastards get you down,’ which voting for or supporting either would do to me, inconsequential as my vote may be. I suppose others may be tougher, sharpening the contradictions and all that.

578

Faustusnotes 09.20.16 at 12:35 am

None of the clowns saying we should “devote our energies to opposing Clinton” (i.e. Helping trump) have yet said a word about global warming. I think we may have tapped a rich seam of global warming denialism amongst the socialist duebros on CT. Will they prove me wrong by actually mentioning this dreaded topic? Or will they do what will did and dismiss all of clintons policy statements as a list of “wants”?

I am with js. when he or she talks about losing arguments on the Internet. I’ve long been suspicious of how trustworthy and reliable my older, more hard left colleagues are but this election has really made me aware that, at least on the American left, socialist dudebros have no solidarity with anyone except their own rich selves, and their much vaunted Marxist analytical skills explain nothing and help no one. America’s poor will advance despite these arseclowns, not because of them.

579

LFC 09.20.16 at 12:36 am

The Labor Day issue of Democratic Left arrived in my mailbox today, and glancing at it for a couple of minutes I noticed it carries an interview w/ an official of the CWA, a union that endorsed Sanders. One of the first things out of his mouth was how imperative it is to defeat Trump. (ftr)

580

Faustusnotes 09.20.16 at 12:37 am

And I think I will add “neoliberal” to my list of empty buzzwords. As soon as I read that word as an explanation for anything I know I’m dealing with someone who is shying away from actual analysis.

581

Donald Johnson 09.20.16 at 12:46 am

That’s too bad, js. I despise Clinton and the people who claim to have been outraged by the Iraq War and then praised Clinton’s foreign policy experience. But I want her to win on lesser evil grounds. Trump is obviously worse on many issues and the fact that both Clinton’s defenders and some of her critics can be annoying doesn’t change anything. I would never want to admit changing my mind on an important point because of these crooked timber election threads. If it did happen I would just make up some other reason for it.

582

Lupita 09.20.16 at 1:05 am

What is all this socialist dudebro business about? Am I not a socialist or do those launching these epitaphs not aware that I am not a dude? Whether it is sexism, racism, or xenophobia, I am being made to feel excluded. The PC terms are dude/tte and bro/sis.

583

LFC 09.20.16 at 1:07 am

For the people on this thread emphasizing the “imperialist capitalist world order” and how everyone everywhere is implicated in it and therefore [something something] don’t vote for Clinton b.c she supports this world order (as if any major-party US pres. candidate would directly oppose the “imperialist capitalist world order”), it’s worth pointing out that there would be no global refugee crisis — which there very obviously is — if the only features of the world order that mattered were its ‘globalized’ features. In other words, there are still nation-states, boundaries, systems of citizenship and refugee and migration law, and it’s Trump, not Clinton, who has shown no understanding or interest whatsoever of the situation of the world’s 65 million refugees, except to use them as propaganda clubs in calls for more “vetting” — I believe the phrase he’s used more than once, incl. in the immigration policy speech, is “extreme vetting.” So there’s more than one possible ‘world-order’ perspective on this election.

Btw, one doesn’t have to be a certified Marxist Radical to have qualms about, or to oppose, U.S. ’empire’ etc. (A. Bacevich, e.g., is hardly a Marxist.)

584

js. 09.20.16 at 1:11 am

Donald Johnson, do you despise Obama?

585

bruce wilder 09.20.16 at 1:26 am

LFC @ 574: These were speeches she was pd these huge sums for, for heaven’s sake. Speeches, not small, intimate mtgs.

One was described this way (my emphasis): In October 2013, Hillary Clinton was paid $225,000 to speak at Goldman Sachs “Builders and Innovators” conference, held at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain Resort in Marana, Arizona. It was structured as a conversation between Clinton and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, according to two attendees. . . . Clinton was “certainly was not critical of banks. There was nothing that made the audience uncomfortable, and there were many people from Goldman in the audience. It was one smart person talking to another smart person about global macroeconomics. . . . [a] second source who attended the same conference had the same recollection: Nothing Clinton said was controversial or memorable.

If it is all so apparently banal, we over here swimming at the deep end, are wondering why it is such a big secret? (Via the Chicago Tribune:) Politico quoted one attendee saying Clinton praised the firm for its role in the economy: “It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.” Clinton saying one thing to a audience of rich folks and something else to those poor fools, the voters? Say it isn’t so! But, why should the voters find out?

If you have had your fill of Kool-Aid, I suppose it is easy to turn this around: $225,000 isn’t a big enough bribe to sway someone of Hillary Clinton’s monumental integrity. She thinks first of the children — it says so on her website.

Here’s the thing: the big banks are deeply corrupt institutions, parasites occupying the commanding heights of the economy and the President’s job is to defy and prosecute them, break them completely if the opportunity arises in a crisis. Do we imagine Hillary thinks that’s likely to become the job of the President of the United States in a financial crisis or even just in the normal day-to-day when it is necessary to turn back the Vampire Squid as it squeezes college students, home “owners”, manufacturers, credit card users, those buying health insurance from for-profit health insurers? When the pay day lenders, whose interests her great good friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz is so solicitous of, protest the onerous regulations proposed by the consumer financial protection bureau, whose side will she be on? That of her son-in-law, the hedge fund manager? Will it be as was with bankruptcy laws, when she became New York’s Senator, which is to say, Wall Street’s Senator?

And, even if we concede that Hillary Clinton, Goldwater Girl, is not corrupt, is just . . . what’s the word? . . . conservative, precedent has been set. There may be no quid pro quo involved in the Bill and Hill Show, the Foundation solicitations or their eight and nine-figure haul from speechifying. Let’s just say, it is all above board or at least, the new “normal”.

If it is the new normal, then the precedent has been set. Others may well do the same thing, slip-slidin’ as human beings do, toward the rewards life offers.

plutocratic representative democracy, indeed!

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js. 09.20.16 at 1:49 am

Faustus — it’s he. Anyway, glad you’re around on this thread (also TM and Raven and LFC and others).

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bruce wilder 09.20.16 at 1:51 am

Raven Onthill: Look at Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The only reason those are not failed states is because they are part of the USA, and supported by its financial institutions and social insurance programs.

It is only a quibble really and I cannot speak to the situations of all of these states, but I do know Michigan well, and its economic position during the great housing bubble was seriously undermined by being wedded to USA financial institutions. That housing bubble, that did so much for Wall Street parasitism, exacerbated the decline of manufacturing. The housing bubble was financed by the sale of securities to China, which helped make investment in China’s manufacturing very low-risk, while putting pressure on Michigan’s industries. And, many people in Michigan tried to cushion the decline in their income by withdrawals from the Home ATM. In short, the financial policies that made the New York – DC metroplex prosperous devastated the Midwest rustbelt.

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Will G-R 09.20.16 at 2:38 am

Lupita, part of that may be my fault… I introduced “brocialist” in this conversation as an ironic shorthand for Clinton toadies’ misogynist/racist efforts to deny the agency of radical women and/or people of color, and they’ve seemed to pick up the rhetorical baton and run with it unironically. Also at one point I chastised js for ignoring the existence of radical critiques articulated by women/POC “in similar terms to the ones you’re seeing here”, which would imply that the people articulating these critiques here are entirely white guys — when in fact this was only true in js’s liberal (in the political sense and the “taking liberties” sense) imagination. For my role in perpetuating that erasure, I apologize.

Faustusnotes, just in case a bolt of lightning strikes you between now and when you read this comment, and you develop some intellectual honesty, I was just recently chatting with Rich Puchalsky about global warming at CT here. The relevant bits are at #144 and then #151-#155, but the short version of my take: it’s a serious problem, and trying to solve it with the mechanisms neoliberal global governance is able to provide (i.e. voluntary multilateral negotiations like Kyoto, Paris, or Copenhagen) is like trying to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest wiiiiiith… a herring.

Which come to think of it, also makes a good analogy for trying to achieve freedom, equality, social justice, and all that other good leftist or left-ish stuff wiiiiiith… the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. Go ahead and slander those of us who refuse to join you in this futile task as Trump supporters, possibly to distract your troubled political minds from the very futility of what you’re doing, but when you’re done slandering us the futility will still be there, haunting you like the damn Babadook or something. And you can try to block the bad feelings by shunning the very idea of political thought the way Raven did @ 496, but least in refusing to dedicate our political energy to the causes of evil people like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, we’ve stopped digging our political selves deeper into the ditch and are trying to think of how we might get out of it.

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Faustusnotes 09.20.16 at 3:13 am

It’s not “a serious problem” it is THE most serious problem and this election is our last chance. If a republican is elected it sets back action 8 years and stacks the Supreme Court. If a dem is elected we get action – a “war footing”. Those are not neoliberal measures.

Others here know I have argued critically before against the idea that neoliberal measures alone will stave off global warming – I have been perhaps their strongest critic here and John quiggin and I clashed a lot on this. But if we don’t start next year it’s game over – no efforts we take will work. This is the final chance to save industrial civilization.

And yes, people here have effectively argued for supporting trump – I cited a Philadelphia above. Actively opposing Clinton means helping trump.

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JimV 09.20.16 at 3:45 am

Lee Arnold gave a list from Kevin Drum of good things HRC has worked on. (Kevin Drum is dying of cancer and has no reason to say anything but what he believes.) On the other side of the ledger we have:

a) HRC is a politician and uses compromise, quid-pro-quo, and focus-group-test tactics. Since all or most who have done this are evil, she must be or probably is evil.

b) She gave speeches for pay to financial-services companies, as a private citizen with experience in global affairs. Since all or most … etc.

c) Her family has a charitable foundation, rated more highly than the Red Cross. Since all or most … etc.

d) She has been an interventionist – a believer in the use of American force to prevent genocide. The article linked-to below gives her history in this regard, I think fairly. Since all or most … etc.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-regrets-her-iraq-vote-but-opting-for-intervention-was-a-pattern/2016/09/15/760c23d0-6645-11e6-96c0-37533479f3f5_story.html

e) Neocons prefer her to Trump, probably because they also are interventionists, although not necessarily for the same reasons. Since all or most of the people neocons prefer to Trump are evil, yada, yada, yada.

Any or all of these conclusions might turn out to be correct, but I feel there is room for doubt. I don’t have any doubts about Trump, except that he might do something good by accident.

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Will G-R 09.20.16 at 4:42 am

Faustusnotes: If a dem is elected we get action – a “war footing”.

Go ahead and believe that, if it’s what makes you feel good. Some people have drugs, some people have gambling, some people have the faith that the next Democrat will do all the things that all the previous Democrats wanted to do so badly but couldn’t… I ain’t judging.

In all seriousness, if the climate change issue really is “next year or apocalypse”, then it’s apocalypse. Even if Hillary Clinton hears the voice of God on January 21, 2017 telling her to drop everything else and devote 100% of her political power stopping climate change, she still doesn’t have anywhere near enough power to go mano a mano with the core logic of capitalist accumulation, which is what you’d have to do to actually implement “leaving it in the ground”. (I’d tentatively agree with Philip Mirowski’s breakdown of the neoliberal position on global warming here: their long-term position is to assume we can buy time until they figure out how to incentivize the market to come up with a magic out-of-the-box geoengineering scheme, thereby counteracting all the greenhouse gases they want us to continue to emit, which doesn’t strike me as a remotely safe assumption.) Of course you don’t have to call it “neoliberal” if that word gives you cooties or something, but at least understand the full scope of what it is you’re proposing has to be defeated.

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ZM 09.20.16 at 9:12 am

Faustusnotes,

“It’s not “a serious problem” it is THE most serious problem and this election is our last chance. If a republican is elected it sets back action 8 years and stacks the Supreme Court. If a dem is elected we get action – a “war footing”. Those are not neoliberal measures.”

Yes, the Democratic Party policy on climate change has just jumped ahead by a huge margin.

I wish the Hilary Clinton campaign would focus more on their climate policy, and on other positive policies they have for the future, for the closing weeks of the campaign. Obama focused more on positives and he brought people out to vote.

There was a recent piece in the New York Review Of Books saying that “vanquishing Donald Trump would be no sure thing; that given the unmoored, truly transgressive nature of his candidacy, it could prove to be the heaviest, most important challenge she’d ever be called on to confront in her exceptionally long run as a national political figure…. stopping Trump could still be viewed as her most important achievement”
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/09/29/hillary-vs-donald-the-benefit-of-the-doubt/

But I think that’s not the most inspiring thing for people to vote for — stopping Donald Trump winning.

I am not American so I don’t know all the Democratic policies, but the climate change policy is a really good one, Obama starting to focus on the refugee issue is really good — they should be running on positive policy in the last weeks of the campaign.

The more they keep focussing on how terrible Trump is, the more they reinforce his messages, and the more they allow him to set the agenda.

593

Layman 09.20.16 at 12:04 pm

bruce wilder: “It was structured as a conversation between Clinton and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, according to two attendees. . . . “

…in front of an audience of a hundred or so people. Have you ever been to a conference? Do you not understand what ‘structured like’ means?

This is in fact pathetic stuff, Bruce. If you think that Clinton and Bkankfein discussed their secret conspiracy to rule the world in front of 100 people, I’d say you’ve lost all perspective on the matter.

A funny thing happens to ex-Presidents and their spouses. Corporations line up to give them money for speeches and appearances. For the corporations, it’s a question of co-opting their prestige – it boosts the profile of the company and the egos of its leaders and invited audiences. Similarly, publishing companies give them money to put their name and photographs on books they didn’t write! Because people buy these books!

Usually, this sort of thing passes without much criticism, because ex-Presidents and their spouses are finished with active participation in government. The HRC case is unusual in that she took the honoraria despite her ambition to compete for the Presidency again.

Does this decision reveal a flaw in her character? I’d say yes; it’s one of the reasons I say she’s a terrible candidate, that she seems willfully ignorant and dismissive of the negative reactions she engenders by her associations with corrupt people and corrupting influences. Does it mean Goldman Sachs bought her for a few hundred thousand dollars, with the terms of the sale laid out in a secret speech? I’d say no; few people are stupid enough to concoct their bargain of corruption in front of an audience of 100 strangers, and Hillary ain’t dumb.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.20.16 at 12:24 pm

You could make the opposite case: that were it not for a system in which relatively poor public servants like the Clintons could find ways to make tons of money, they’d be at even greater disadvantage in trying to fight the plutocracy. It will be all right, though: if the US elects the commercial real estate debt & bankruptcy artist who has left subcontractors holding the bag as he got out with millions, well then, the rest of us can complain about it over the back fence, while we pull the weeds and chaw on tobaccy.

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Manta 09.20.16 at 12:38 pm

“d) She has been an interventionist – a believer in the use of American force to prevent genocide.”

Is that some joke, or are you really expecting at this late stage that people believe this kind of propaganda?

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William Timberman 09.20.16 at 12:41 pm

Influence-peddling as the only way a pore girl can get ahead. Yeah, I suppose that’s one way to dilute an oligarchy. Worked in Byzantium, right? Should a serious theorist of democracy consider this a feature or a bug? We report, you decide….

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Lee A. Arnold 09.20.16 at 1:00 pm

Manta, JimV caught ya.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.20.16 at 1:00 pm

William, you don’t suppose that the influence can go both ways, because?

599

William Timberman 09.20.16 at 1:07 pm

Hey, Lee, after some 590 comments worth of Sturm und Drang over the Clinton candidacy, I needed a good belly-laugh, and you stepped right up. Hillary whispering concern for the poor and downtrodden in Blankfein or Kissinger’s shell-like ear. Now THERE’S an image worth of Oscar Wilde, to be sure.

No offense intended, by the way. Everyone has a right to their fables, even if the reaction to them is occasionally hilarity rather than serious concern. We can control our narratives, but not our audience — that may be the true essence of democracy right there.

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Layman 09.20.16 at 1:11 pm

Manta: “Is that some joke, or are you really expecting at this late stage that people believe this kind of propaganda?”

It’s pretty clear that Clinton’s justification for supporting military intervention is and has been, by and large, the notion that some humanitarian good would come out of it. That was her motivation with the former Yugoslavia, with Libya, and with Syria. I happen to believe she’s wrong – it’s difficult, nigh impossible, to help people by bombing them – but she can be both sincere and wrong at the same time.

I suppose the alternative is that she supports intervention because she likes killing people. You can believe that if you like, but it strikes me as a pretty stupid position to take, all things considered.

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William Timberman 09.20.16 at 1:17 pm

PS, Lee: I started to spell it Hillarity, but with all due respect to the gravity of the issues outstanding, I just couldn’t bring myself. (The other typos were, of course, unintentional.)

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Lee A. Arnold 09.20.16 at 1:23 pm

William, I love mystical theology, and I love Yeats, but you probably know that the beast has been slouching since long before he wrote, and that the apocalyptic mode is an individual psychological condition that becomes a metaphor for political reality, without proof that it is political reality, and that the problems in the world (injustice, poverty, war, ecocrisis, climate) may dealt with on different schedules, and not necessarily in one swoop. So am I trying to figure out why your battle charge is “Absolutism or Bust!” Don’t we have enough religious fundamentalists around?

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Faustusnotes 09.20.16 at 1:23 pm

You don’t have any respect for the gravity of the issues, William . It’s all just a parkour game to you, and you don’t want a woman winning it.

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William Timberman 09.20.16 at 1:32 pm

Lee, my apocalypsos may not rhyme, but they are always mindful of the accidental qualities of our existence. Faustusnotes, nothing is so depressing as being miscast as a moral monster in someone else’s impoverished psychodrama. The field is yours.

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Will G-R 09.20.16 at 1:44 pm

Layman, it’s pretty clear that Hitler’s justification for supporting concentration camps is and has been, by and large, the notion that some humanitarian good would come out of it. That was his motivation with the Roma, with Slavs, and with Jews. I happen to believe he’s wrong – it’s difficult, nigh impossible, to help people by massacring their neighbors – but he can be both sincere and wrong at the same time.

I suppose the alternative is that he supports concentration camps because he likes killing people. You can believe that if you like, but it strikes me as a pretty stupid position to take, all things considered.

Joke aside, if no evil could ever be done in the world except by people who get out of bed every morning and say to themselves in the mirror, “OK you monster, time to go out there today and do some evil!” the human condition would be pretty much nothing but flowers and sunshine.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.20.16 at 1:49 pm

William, I heartily endorse any call to mindfulness whether the call is poetical or prosaic but my own Yeats-quoter was Bateson who wanted intellectual clarity thereafter. And that isn’t automatic upon waking. Here there are no commenters who think that either Clinton or Trump are all good or all bad. Therefore, writing as if people don’t already know this, may serve to inhibit mindfulness among them. The intervening comment perhaps is a representative.

607

Lupita 09.20.16 at 1:58 pm

@ Layman

I suppose the alternative is that she supports intervention because she likes killing people.

What’s wrong with good old imperialism? You know, being the greatest nation on earth, the mightiest military, the world’s launderer in chief, above international law, and the creators of Mickey Mouse. Many Americans, elite and non-elite, find those notions very satisfying.

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Faustusnotes 09.20.16 at 2:58 pm

I didn’t call you a moral monster William, just pointed out that you don’t care. And the only psychodrama going on here is amongst those people who think their vote has some special magic power that can both inform Clinton of the reason they withheld it, and pollute their souls if they give it away to the wrong girl.

609

Layman 09.20.16 at 3:14 pm

@ Will G-R, each one of your comments marks you as even less serious than the ones that came before. If you believe Clinton is bellicose because she likes killing people, then just say so. If not, then I assume you agree that she believes she’s trying to do some good and, like me, you think she’s wrong.

@ Lupita, point to the place Clinton conquered for the greater American Empire and placed under its rule. I can’t see it. Maybe there’s something wrong with that theory?

610

Anarcissie 09.20.16 at 3:20 pm

Lupita 09.20.16 at 1:58 pm @ 604:
‘What’s wrong with good old imperialism? ….’

Or, it’s just business, in the Mafia sense.

611

LFC 09.20.16 at 3:44 pm

Will G-R @602
What you called your “joke” about Hitler is grotesque, to say the least. I started to write an elaboration but I’m going to leave it at that. There’s no point getting into this at this stage of the thread.

612

Suzanne 09.20.16 at 4:26 pm

@590: Agree generally with what you say, but — she isn’t a terrible candidate by any means. She is a flawed one (like pretty much every other candidate to one degree or another, even the Big O). Her strengths are largely ignored, even by some who say they will vote for her.

613

Donald Johnson 09.20.16 at 4:27 pm

Do I despise Obama? I post this and I’m done. I despise some of his actions, approve of others. Right now he is supporting Saudi Arabia as they commit war crimes in Yemen. That’s a despicable thing to do. It really is, no matter whether I despise him, separate him from his actions, hate the sin, love the sinner as I should, or whatever. These war crimes are only gradually getting attention and now a few congresspeople from both parties are starting to pressure Obama to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, but it’s been an uphill slog, because people seem unable to separate how they vote from the ugly realities about the people they vote for. I don’t understand this. What is so damn difficult about it? Rhetorical question only. It’s not difficult. At all.

When Obama picked Clinton as his Secretary of State it did say something interesting about US politics. You can have a party whose members professed to be outraged over the Iraq War and the decision to enter it, and then some of the same people praise the foreign policy expertise of Clinton, who supported it in the same terms Bush used, including WMDs and links to Al Qaeda, and didn’t back away until hurt her 2008 electoral chances. And then she does the same thing on a smaller scale in Libya–the Brits just put out a report on the idiotic justifications used for that war.

I made a mistake coming back here. The election threads are a train wreck—people talking past each other, not granting points, acting like you can’t hold multiple thoughts in one’s head simultaneously, looking for ways to make the other person seem as vile as possible. Hey, it’s a blog. But I think it used to be better. I want Clinton to win because Trump is just so unbelievably bad. But reading defenses of her foreign policy set my teeth on edge. Any liberal who does it should just come out and say the Iraq War was an understandable error and apologize to Bush if they ever said differently.

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Will G-R 09.20.16 at 4:47 pm

Layman and LFC, you seem to be having some reading comprehension issues so I’ll make the point explicitly: whether or not a person believes they’re doing good says nothing whatsoever about whether they’re actually doing good, or at least close enough that “nothing whatsoever” is usually an OK approximation, and moreover everybody or almost everybody believes they’re doing good anyway. JimV appeared to be arguing that Hillary’s faith in the goodness of bombing poor Third-World brown people is some kind of reason to support her, although it’s hard to tell underneath all those layers of smarm, and Layman pushed back against Manta’s description of this argument as “propaganda”, maybe because it wasn’t clear whether Manta was objecting to Hillary’s belief in her goodness or to her actual goodness. So the question is, do you agree with the argument JimV appeared to be making or don’t you?

Just to try to make a remotely serious point, this is one of the problems with liberal individualism, an impenetrable fog of confusion over the distinction between individuals’ stated identities and intentions on the one hand and their actual roles in broader social systems on the other. It should be totally commonplace that explicit ideological declarations often serve to conceal implicit beliefs and practices that we may not want to admit even to ourselves, yet this observation is constantly interpreted as either an awe-inspiring revelation or a bizarre conspiracy theory, depending on the situation. Social scientists on the other hand generally take pains to examine the different ways social systems can function despite or even because of people collectively knowing something without saying it, or saying something without believing it, or believing something without knowing they believe it — which probably has to do with why even many allegedly left-liberals like Jonathan Chait often dismiss this kind of social science with a “PoMo Cultural Marxist academics and their obscure wishy-washy jargon” type of anti-intellectual tone barely distinguishable from the alt-right.

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Layman 09.20.16 at 5:19 pm

“…whether or not a person believes they’re doing good says nothing whatsoever about whether they’re actually doing good…”

This is correct! And, fortunately for me, that’s precisely what I intended to convey. You see, I was responding to a person who scoffed at the idea that HRC’s military intentions were well-intended, and my response was to the effect that I thought her intentions were well-intended, though I agreed the outcome was not good. Then you applied your superior reading comprehension to totally miss that point, I guess. Well done!

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Will G-R 09.20.16 at 5:29 pm

Except it seems to me that Manta was describing as “propaganda” JimV’s entire line of rhetoric: Hillary’s belief in her own goodness plus this belief as itself a reason to support her (or at least a reason to be smarmy toward those who don’t). On some level it’s an important distinction, but on another level, either way the appropriate response to “you should support Hillary because she thinks she’s the bee’s knees!” is Manta’s “not this shit again”.

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Layman 09.20.16 at 5:41 pm

“Except it seems to me that Manta was describing as “propaganda” JimV’s entire line of rhetoric”

As the (self-appointed) arbiter of reading comprehension, you could be right. On the other hand, perhaps there is some meaning to be read into Manta’s quoting only the one snippet, instead of referring to that entire line of rhetoric? Maybe you should read it again…

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Raven Onthill 09.20.16 at 6:04 pm

Lupita, some huge fraction , perhaps 30%, of Mexico’s economy depends on international trade, and that is not even counting the Mexicans working abroad and sending money home. If the networks of trade collapse, there will be a lot of Mexicans out of work. And then there will be Trump’s deportees, also needing work. That will be unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1930s. A vast depression and who knows what the outcome would be? I do not wish that on any people!

The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless. — Alan Moore

619

Raven Onthill 09.20.16 at 6:11 pm

Donald Trump, Jr. has started tweeting white supremacist propaganda. So we have Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, a Klansman, Donald Trump, Jr., Donald Trump’s son, a white supremacist. How likely, then, is it that Donald Trump is anything but a white supremacist?

But, hey, HRC might be worse.

620

bexley 09.20.16 at 8:23 pm

Bad news for those above plugging the idea that Clinton started birtherism:

621

bexley 09.20.16 at 8:24 pm

622

Manta 09.20.16 at 8:34 pm

There are 2 cases:
1) either Clinton is lying about her motivations for bombing people and invading countries
or
2) Clinton is sincere about them

I really hope that case 1) is the truth: because in case 2) we will have a dangerous fanatic as next POTUS.

623

Raven Onthill 09.20.16 at 9:55 pm

Manta, if that is so, then everyone who advocates military intervention is a fanatic.

(BTW, Frederick Trump, while definitely a racist, has not been proven to be a Klansman.)

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Layman 09.20.16 at 10:00 pm

Manta: “There are 2 cases:
1) either Clinton is lying about her motivations for bombing people and invading countries
or
2) Clinton is sincere about them”

@ Will G-R, I rather think you owe me an apology.

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Manta 09.20.16 at 10:10 pm

@619 Raven Onthill
“Manta, if that is so, then everyone who advocates military intervention is a fanatic.”

Bush Sr. in Iraq was not a humanitarian fanatic.

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Manta 09.20.16 at 10:46 pm

And, as I said, I hope that Hillary is more in the mold of Bush Sr. than of Bush Jr.: a run-of-the-mill cynical imperialist, and not a fanatic that believes her own propaganda.

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Raven Onthill 09.20.16 at 11:02 pm

Manta, I think she’s better than that, really. Every mainstream politician in the USA bows to the national security state; the only question is how deeply. (Sanders, though a brilliant pol and very good at compromise, is not mainstream.) She’s actually pretty good on domestic issues, and I wouldn’t say the same about GHW Bush. Meantime, we have the racist Trump, who I expect really is planning mass deportations.

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Lupita 09.20.16 at 11:35 pm

@ Raven Onthill

Lupita, some huge fraction , perhaps 30%, of Mexico’s economy depends on international trade, and that is not even counting the Mexicans working abroad and sending money home. If the networks of trade collapse, there will be a lot of Mexicans out of work. And then there will be Trump’s deportees, also needing work. That will be unemployment on a scale not seen since the 1930s. A vast depression and who knows what the outcome would be? I do not wish that on any people!

If Mexicans depend on international trade and remittances from emigrant workers, it is because much of the population was made superfluous by NAFTA. You may not wish the reversal of this situation, but the Zapatistas do, as does the Mexican left.

The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless. — Alan Moore

I wrote imperialism, meaning American hegemony. Are you and Alan Moore saying that the world order is not centered on American control of global financial and political institutions and the world’s strongest military? Is Pax Americana just a figment of the fevered imaginations of the 3rd world left?

629

Faustusnotes 09.21.16 at 12:30 am

Dudes.

Neoliberal and “imperialist” are not synonyms for “bad”. I know you don’t like old women (she just won’t stop nagging you, amirite?) but words have meaning and you can’t just call Clinton every word you don’t like. You can’t be a neoliberal and an imperialist.

Also, “imperialist” has been useless as an analytical concept since 1989 and even then mostly only worked when applied to the USSR. If the only word you can find to describe the first gulf war is “imperialist” you need to update your lexicon. You are doing it wrong.

What’s going on in the world today won’t be explained by Marxism or by the rhetoric you picked up in student politics. “Neoliberal” is a placeholder for thought, a fly blown cliche that you substitute for real analysis. It’s easy to use for Clinton because you can’t actually explain what’s wrong with her. You need more detail, you need to be specific in your criticisms and your contrasts. “She made a lot of money talking to people I am jealous of” or “I read some hints about a foundation I don’t understand on a right wing hate site” are not criticisms, they’re just Windows into your own soul.

You need to do better. But I don’t think you can, because your political framework is musty and rundown. Which just leaves you with your anger at an old woman. It’s unbecoming, and not at all revolutionary.

630

Suzanne 09.21.16 at 12:49 am

@609: If all the members of the political establishment who voted for the Iraq resolution were cast into outer darkness, there wouldn’t be many left. (Also, for the record, Clinton was more ambivalent about the Iraq war resolution than you give her credit for being.) Yes, she was slow to apologize. I tend to attribute that in part to a female candidate’s legitimate concern about appearing weak, in addition to a certain stiff-neckedness that seems to be part of her character. However, Clinton’s been given a lot more grief over this than, say, former presidential nominee John Kerry – who has actually tried to claim that he didn’t support the invasion — and I don’t think it’s because people think he apologized for his vote more convincingly and abjectly than she.

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roger the cabin boy 09.21.16 at 2:38 am

If “all the members of the political establishment who voted for the Iraq resolution were cast into outer darkness,” it’d be a pretty good start.

I’d also like the members of the press who had their careers blighted for being anti-war to be brought back and given large promotions/ pay raises and compensation for lost income.

Thanks

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js. 09.21.16 at 2:51 am

Donald Johnson, I agree with most of what you say @ 609. And most like 80+%, not 51%. I myself have mentioned on here several times that Clinton’s foreign policy hawkishness is the most distressing thing about her by far (some other things I give less weight to for reasons I could explain another time—and have in the past, for what it’s worth). I asked you about despising Obama because I was curious about the potential contrast with Clinton—and based on the response, I am sort of curious why not extend the same “hate the sin, not the sinner” courtesy to Clinton.

I could say more about this, but I respect and understand entirely your desire not to engage, so I’ll almost stop here. I will, as a general matter, again add that I think people pay too much attention to individual candidates and not enough to (the current state and direction of) parties.

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js. 09.21.16 at 2:53 am

Clinton’s been given a lot more grief over [the Iraq war vote] than, say, former presidential nominee John Kerry

Also very true.

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JimV 09.21.16 at 3:06 am

“JimV appeared to be arguing that Hillary’s faith in the goodness of bombing poor Third-World brown people is some kind of reason to support her, although it’s hard to tell underneath all those layers of smarm”

Sorry about the smarm, but to clarify I wasn’t giving reasons to support HRC, except by referring to Lee Arnold’s previous list, I was listing my understandings of the reasons some people here have given for not supporting her, indeed for hating her guts, albeit adding my own slant on some of them. (I missed a few, such as HRC talking to Kissinger, who used to be a regular guest consultant on the PBS News Hour, but perhaps is no longer – I stopped watching due to all the he-said/she-said.) I ended by admitting that some or all of those reasons might be valid, but I thought there was room for doubt, i.e., that someone could do all those things and still be worth a vote. I don’t think any of us has not made mistakes, and mistakes can be good learning experiences, if they did not produce the effects that were intended.

As to why HRC has supported interventions, I did my research, and found the most complete and in-depth history at the link I gave, which I think is worth reading.

The thing I have seen here which bothers me the most (apart from all the rudeness and uncharitable readings, but those are venial crimes of passion) is Bruce Wilder’s mentioning that HRC called for a no-fly zone in Syria when only Russian planes are flying there. I need to do research on that. On its face it sounds like a bad mistake, but I can imagine additional facts whose existence might be exonerating (e.g., if it was to be a negotiated result), so I need to rule them in or out, if I can.

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Raven Onthill 09.21.16 at 4:27 am

Lupita: because of the way you wrote Pax Americana, I looked it up, and found its main currency was in US dominance of Latin America in the 19th century, though there was some talk of it after World War I. It is little used in the USA today; does it still have currency in Mexico?

“If Mexicans depend on international trade and remittances from emigrant workers, it is because much of the population was made superfluous by NAFTA.” Are you referring to people leaving the land, or industrial and service workers as well? Who was displaced by NAFTA, and where did they go?

US military dominance is more of a chimera than a real thing in the economic sphere. The US military is powerful, and should a conventional war arise it would be effective, but using it to maintain economic control is rather like swatting flies with a cannon. The post-World War II financial order was created by the USA and Western Europe, and is now under no single organization or government’s control. The big international banks, the government central banks, major resource, manufacturing, and service corporations, and factions of the very rich all participate, but no single faction is in control. It is, indeed, a terrifying situation, the moreso since the people running the system largely believe neoliberal macroeconomics, which is not valid, so that their policies consistently go wrong. On the one hand, the chaos makes it hard to organize oppressive international economic policies, though it is possible and done; NAFTA is an example. On the other, it makes it hard to organize positive international policies: the international economy is subject to enormous cycles of boom and bust and there is so far no way to address climate change.

(Alan Moore, by the way, is a writer and artist and was talking about conspiracy theories, the application to international politics and economics is mine.)

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phenomenal cat 09.21.16 at 5:09 am

Raven @631,

Obviously your comments weren’t addressed to me and Lupita will respond as she pleases. However, I want to highlight your question re: NAFTA b/c it is emblematic. Despite being well documented, it is a brute fact that Americans know nothing about the near total ruination of Mexico’s rural, small-holding and cooperative, peasant-farmer population as a result of Nafta. In simplified terms, the Noah’s Ark deluge of American corn and other commodities which flooded into Mexico in the mid-90’s is directly linked to the counter flood of Mexican immigrants crossing the border to find work over the last 20 years (see also, Mexico’s rise to bloody narco-state if you have the stomach for it).

In general, Americans know nothing about these dynamics and the precious role “free trade” and the free flow of capital has played in instituting them. Pretty much the same with Pax Americana over the last 2 centuries, but go to Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Argentina, Ecuador: they’ll gladly tell you all about it and in great detail.

And while there if some random stranger on the sidewalk yells out, “Oye, gringo!”, in a way that seems, well, a little off somehow; a little aggressive or disdainful or resentful or angry or something that you can’t quite put your finger on, and you’re thinking, “What was that about? I didn’t do anything, did I?” The answer is no, you probably didn’t, but Pax Americana probably did.

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faustusnotes 09.21.16 at 5:42 am

phenomenal cat, the USDA economic research service doesn’t seem to agree with your characterization of the effect of NAFTA on corn farmers …

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Lupita 09.21.16 at 1:33 pm

@ Raven Onthill

Pax Americana is a play on Pax Romana. It means “empire”.

Nafta is the direct cause of the exodus of peasants from their communities to cities and agribusinesses in northern Mexico and the US since its implementation required the privatization of communal lands, ejidos, and the dumping of American subsidized corn on Mexico which, I may add, is of a different variety from Mexican corn and is useless for making tortillas that do not turn into mush. Nafta was a blow directly to our heart, to our indigenous communities, to our cuisine, our culture, our civilization, our soul. This is why, on January 1, 1994, the Zapatistas rose. Forget about the USDA economic research service.

US military dominance is more of a chimera than a real thing in the economic sphere.

President Fernandez from Argentina had to use commercial flights instead of her presidential plane because the US, with the backing of its military, diplomatic, and economic power, was set to impound it due to the non-payment of some bonds. President Morales from Bolivia had his plane diverted also thanks to American power. So yes, there is a direct link between American hegemony and the national dignity and sovereignty of many 3rd world countries. No matter how wrong-headed, the US can bark an order and many of its allies jump. Witness Blair. That is power on a global scale.

The post-World War II financial order was created by the USA and Western Europe, and is now under no single organization or government’s control.

When has the IMF been headed by a non-European and the World Bank by a non-American? Or is the catch the word “single”? OK, let’s say “Western hegemony”. How’s that?

The big international banks, the government central banks, major resource, manufacturing, and service corporations, and factions of the very rich all participate, but no single faction is in control.

Great, there is some infighting and rivalry among the .01%. It must make those Davos meetings a bit awkward at times.

it makes it hard to organize positive international policies

Hard, but not impossible. China and South American countries have already organized independent regional financial institutions and many countries, like Russia and Brazil, have paid off their debt to the IMF and vowed to never again fall under their sway, no matter how desperate. The WTO is practically dead because of Brazil and its allies, Brazil now produces generic AIDS drugs despite the US’ efforts to impose its intellectual property rules, and Obama sits silently while Latin American heads of state lecture him on Americans’ drug habits.

If none of this is true, then why worry about Trump? There is nothing he can destroy, or accelerate its demise, since there is no alternative to the current global world order, it being like a force of nature.

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Z 09.21.16 at 1:36 pm

@Faustusnotes 625 It’s easy to use for Clinton because you can’t actually explain what’s wrong with her

I’m not sure who is “you” in this sentence, but here in a capsule is what I believe is wrong with her.
-Her foreign policy record is in my opinion absolutely terrible, with her support for the Iraq War as late as 2005 standing out as particularly outrageous. Her role about Libya or Israel is also appalling.
-She supported TTIP. This is deeply problematic not because TTIP is inherently evil (though the leaked part are pretty bad), but because it is secret. To my mind, this is a fundamental violation of the basic procedural tenets of representative democracy.
In both cases, I believe she chose what she believed at the time to be the more politically expedient option for herself instead of the right one (right according to me, of course). In the first case, this of course had entirely predictable and predicted horrifying consequences. The only way I see to prevent politicians from prioritizing their own career and from supporting politically expedient policies whatever the human consequences is to vow never to vote for them again after such a choice and make this vow public. You chose your career over us, you lost us. Therefore, I see nothing wrong with an American making public his intention not to vote for her, even though I believe a Trump presidency would entail countless horrors.

I know you don’t like old women (she just won’t stop nagging you, amirite?)

This should be beneath you, especially if you sincerely believe (as you should) that mobilizing voters for Clinton is an extremely important matter and especially since several of the American citizens who wrote here they won’t vote for Clinton also expressed their support for Stein (I don’t think you would like it much if I were to hint that people who dot support Stein do so because they don’t like old Jewish women).

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William Berry 09.21.16 at 3:14 pm

A brief note on “smarm” (mentioned by Will G-R up-thread. Fwiw, I agree with WG-R on most things, as I do in this case: i.e., that “smarm” is basically the default mode of discourse of “serious” commenters on this blog, and has been for some time):

The word appears to be a recent back-formation from the adjective “smarmy”, which appeared sometime in the C17, but is of otherwise unknown origin.

What I think is kind of cool is that it could almost be a contraction of “school-marmish”! It’s not, apparently, but it pretty much captures the essence of the term.

Carry on, as you were, etc., etc.

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efcdons 09.21.16 at 3:16 pm

faustusnotes @628

“She made a lot of money talking to people I am jealous of”

Wow. Letting your freak flag fly. I’m guessing you were totes jealous of Mitt Romney’s money making skill. And you are jealous of Sheldon Adelson’s golden touch with casinos. It seems like the only reason anyone could be critical of another person’s business practices is stone cold jealousy. I think everyone here can agree we hate that jealous old hag Elizabeth Warren for trying to hold our betters accountable.

But in all seriousness, the issue with the speeches is bad optics, a “what are you hiding?” level of secrecy, and the way receiving big payments from entities actively engaged in trying to influence the government creates an “appearance of corruption” that reduces the public’s trust in the government.

Isn’t that one of the primary anti-Citizens United arguments? That unlimited expenditures by “independent” bodies creates an appearance of corruption such that these expenditures should be limited or done away with? An appearance of corruption doesn’t require an explicit quid pro quo like the one you are demanding people prove before criticizing Clinton’s actions. Clinton also seems to agree with the appearance of corruption argument since she has promised to nominate SCOTUS justices who will vote down CU.

But her speechifying to big banks for big dollars kind of undercuts her argument. Why do big payments directly to her not influence her views or create an appearance of corruption but big expenditures which are nominally independent and only on behalf of the candidate do?

I guess the distinguishing line is her speech fees had nothing to do with her election to office while independent campaign expenditures are for the explicit purpose of getting the candidate elected to office.

But is that a strong distinction? We criticize peoples’ past associations all the time when they run for office. It’s almost assumed that a person coming out of a particular industry and into office will have some sort of sympathy for that industry and it will show in the types of bills they pass or issues they address. That’s kind of Clinton’s resume argument. She has worked for legal aid, she was worked on behalf of children. Do the bad associations not tarnish her views but the good associations form part of her political foundations?

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William Berry 09.21.16 at 3:39 pm

@Lupita: “Pax Americana is a play on Pax Romana. It means “empire”.”

Actually, no, it means a harshly enforced peace, or subjugation, in the context of empire.

I think the words derived from empire (imperial, imperialism) have pretty much gone the way of “fascism”: i.e., they are employed so often in ideological cant they have lost most of their meaning.

I don’t know if American Hegemony is really all that, but I’m sure it gives Davos Man and those of his ilk a thrill to hear that it is.

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William Berry 09.21.16 at 3:41 pm

Also, too, for the record: I mostly agree with your take on things. I just think your rhetorical excesses sometimes detract from the message.

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LFC 09.21.16 at 4:01 pm

JimV@663
Russian planes are not the only planes flying in Syria. Syria has its own air force, which has been bombing pop. centers and hospitals and committing completely brazen (i.e. they appear not even to attempt to hide it or excuse it etc) crimes. (U.S. planes are also flying in parts of Syria, primarily targeting ISIS.)

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LFC 09.21.16 at 4:06 pm

p.s. There was a recent U.S. air raid in Syria that Russia and Syria claimed killed Syrian army soldiers, which wd have been outside the U.S.’s self-imposed restrictions. Then a UN aid convoy just recently was bombed trying to reach the area of Aleppo during the supposed cease-fire, and approx 20 (I’d have to recheck this) civilians and aid workers were killed. Russia and Syria have claimed they aren’t responsible for this latter raid (presumably Martians did it) and that charges of culpability are a way of distracting attention from the earlier U.S. raid, mentioned above. Situation remains pretty horrible, in short.

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JimV 09.21.16 at 4:19 pm

William Berry, I have said I was sorry for my smarm, but personally I thought Will G-R’s response (quoted in my last comment) was as smarmy or smarmier than the comment he was referring to.

Perhaps in hindsight a better way of expressing myself would have been something like,
to say the Clinton Foundation must be a bad, money-laundered slush fund because the Clintons founded it, and therefore HRC is evil is a circular argument. I have a feeling that version would have been perceived as smarm also, though. Anyway, it was not my intention to offend people other than by showing how their reasoning was being perceived (which should not be a legitimate cause for offense, but often does cause it).

Now I wonder if everything in this comment will be seen as smarm. I guess the only way to avoid it is (demonstration follows)

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phenomenal cat 09.21.16 at 5:40 pm

“phenomenal cat, the USDA economic research service doesn’t seem to agree with your characterization of the effect of NAFTA on corn farmers …”

What corn farmers? American, Mexican, who?

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Will G-R 09.21.16 at 9:39 pm

JimV, just as William Berry is getting at, I linked the word smarm to the widely-discussed Scocca essay to invoke his sense of smarm’s distinguishing trait: a defense of “insiders” against vulgar criticism from “outsiders”, basically the go-to rhetorical weapon of what Jay Rosen calls The Church of the Savvy. Your game of listing presumedly ordinary ruling-class behaviors and beliefs each followed by a sarcastic “Since all or most who have done this are evil, she must be or probably is evil”, implying that a straightforward assertion of that sentence would be ridiculous on its face, is such highly enriched smarm that it might need a nonproliferation treaty. So here’s a straightforward assertion: the Clintons behave as fairly ordinary members of the ruling class, and behaving as an ordinary member of the ruling class is evil.

As far as Pax Romana/Americana and the confusion as to what is or isn’t imperialism, a useful conceptual bridge between “empire invades and kills people with an army” and “commercial trade treaty leaves people impoverished and starving” is structural violence: the omnipresent implied potential for violence by an oppressor against the oppressed, conditioning every aspect of the relationship between them and preventing the oppressed from demanding what might otherwise be regarded as basic material and social needs. It shouldn’t be hard to understand that the “peace” of Pax Romana/Americana is a signifier for the structural violence embodied in the Roman and US militaries, or that structural violence is the implied subject of every argument about the definition of peace in relation to justice, from Martin Luther’s “peace was not made for the sake of justice but justice for the sake of peace” to Martin Luther King’s “there can be no justice without peace and no peace without justice”. But since defining structural violence as nonviolence is a core premise of ruling-class smarm (e.g.) and especially since an obvious omnipresent case of structural violence in today’s world is the very institution of capitalist private property, it’s a concept many people go to great lengths to reject.

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Will G-R 09.21.16 at 10:07 pm

William Berry, I’m fine with the etymology of “smarm” as derived from oily, greasy, smooth, etc. with grease as obsequious brown-nosing flattery, especially for an OP topic in such proximity to Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton. Funny how three Williams on this thread all seem to be coming down against ruling-class smarm; trying to get some degreaser on our name, I guess.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.21.16 at 10:44 pm

Will G-R #646: “it’s a concept many people go to great lengths to reject.”

Almost everybody commenting here accepted it a long, long time ago! The next question is, what do you yourself intend to do about it.

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Layman 09.21.16 at 11:06 pm

@ Lee Arnold, I think the answer is something like “stand on the sidelines and mock everyone else.”

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basil 09.21.16 at 11:23 pm

Will G-R, I’ve read you with a great appreciation for your thoughtful diligence. You’ve put your shoulder to the wheel with a long-suffering patience I know I couldn’t manage. I truly hope that you’ve been persuasive.

I continue to be impressed by what Lupita’s asking of everyone – that we think of the world beyond that bounded by our narrow affinities and electoral cycles, that we go beyond race and gender in our imagination of solidarity and justice.

It is understandable that horror and defensive action against Trump/Cruz/Bush may justify taking up bad choices, but it oughtn’t be difficult to concede that these are indeed terrible choices with predictably horrible outcomes – forced on maybe well-meaning people by defective political systems.

To actively celebrate these bad choices and to denounce others for their different perspectives and calculations, for their incapacity to endorse the entirely predictable destruction of actual lives is reprehensible.

With a commentator above, I find it hard to believe that not one of the bolshie identitarians knows of the active, reasoned anti-Clinton (even anti-Obama) sentiment among those constructed as color people or women. Except, the politics of taxonomy is useful not for care and solidarity, but for herding and policing.

What lesson can we learn from this quadrennial defence of the Democratic Party? For me it is that liberals are themselves racist, misogynist earth-destroyers. The patriarchal liberal racists refuse to pause, or to reflect, to learn from experience. They cannot bring themselves to sympathise with or see far away others. A commentator above mentions the parliamentary report on the destructive Libyan adventure. Here, a cheerful case is made for an unrepentant, laughing advocate of war and accumulation.

We live in the world of the liberals’ triumph, so it makes sense that they cannot understand or respect alternatives. Instead they’ll preach inclusion, sustainability, innovation, and resilience; reserving their rages for bad lefties who won’t do the right thing.

* I hope the site administrators will discourage such insults as ‘lunatics’, which the non-deplorables love to lob at their adversaries.

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Lupita 09.22.16 at 12:06 am

@ William Berry

I just think your rhetorical excesses sometimes detract from the message.

That was me translating my thoughts for a 1st world English-language site. You should hear me talking about imperialism in Spanish; I sound like Hugo Chávez or Fidel Castro.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 12:10 am

When I first encountered the word “praxis” it was during the Vietnam War, and the question was, what to do about it. At that time the answer was resistance and demonstrations. But that only works if you have a crisis that brings a lot of people out onto the street.

At the current time, the mental conditions are quite different. There are several components to this: people feel that the problems ought be solved without having to organize; people aren’t subject to the military draft; the information media landscape has become diffuse so that there is no longer a monolithic narrative to easily categorize and oppose; and so on. There other things which you may think of.

(Here is one more, that has been growing: The right-wing socio-emotional cognitive bias has found a pseudo-intellectual framework: the Hayekian-libertarian bafflegab. This framework is so seemingly convincing that a lot of other people — including some economists! — suppose that, maybe, it is true. It immediately benefits the interests of the plutocracy, and so, it is pervasive in the pop media that gets the most eyeballs.)

Anyway, then there is the next question of how change happens, must it be drastic, or can it be piecemeal and ameliorative? I see evidence of both, and praxis has to play it as it lays. This is the biggest thing I learned from working with people from the old War Resisters League and from the American Friends Service Committee. You figure out the next pressure point, and you push.

Indeed there has been change in most people’s preferences, for the better, since the 196o’s upheavals: war cannot be the answer, civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and so on. It seems to me that, until there is another crisis that brings everybody else out onto the street, we cannot do much but push piecemeal in the right directions, no matter how imperfect the instruments, because that always changes a few more preferences and expectations in the direction of a better world.

So to me, the solution is in most cases a watchful attitude, and a tactical attitude, because strident rhetoric simply does not work on most people if they don’t already feel an imminent or existential crisis. In the US, Sanders didn’t get the votes, so that means getting Hillary elected to push right back into the face of the worst haters, to make it unacceptable — and then if that works, we have to push Hillary. On the other hand if Trump wins, that means another set of tactics. This never ends!

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Layman 09.22.16 at 2:02 am

“It is understandable that horror and defensive action against Trump/Cruz/Bush may justify taking up bad choices, but it oughtn’t be difficult to concede that these are indeed terrible choices with predictably horrible outcomes – forced on maybe well-meaning people by defective political systems.”

I readily concede it. Now, can we get on with it?

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Anarcissie 09.22.16 at 3:37 am

‘I readily concede it. Now, can we get on with it?’

What’s stopping you?

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js. 09.22.16 at 3:49 am

it isn’t just going to be violence against vulnerable communities.

I just basically hope this is true.

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Faustusnotes 09.22.16 at 5:33 am

Wow the patriarchal liberal racists are using identity for herding and policing, and are the real earth-destroying misogynists. Have we reached Peak Guardian here at a CT thread?

If you want to see earth destroying, let trump in and watch global temperature burst through the guardrail. Then we can all sit back and cheer that at least we weren’t the “real earth destroyers” as our entire civilization goes to hell in a hand basket.

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Layman 09.22.16 at 12:17 pm

“What’s stopping you?”

Nothing is stopping me. It’s the ‘we’ bit that’s stuck on the notion that the concession hasn’t been made.

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Anarcissie 09.22.16 at 12:35 pm

@650 — On the contrary, the favorite opinion here seems to be ‘Clinton is bad, but Trump is so much worse that we have to vote for and support the election of Clinton.’ I don’t know what you’re complaining about. In any case, unless there is a hidden kingpin of American politics reading this, your audience here is not going to change the outcome of the upcoming election.

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Layman 09.22.16 at 12:38 pm

Thanks to Anarcissie for immediately demonstrating the point of my #659.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 1:16 pm

Anarcissie #660: “On the contrary, the favorite opinion here”

is no proof that “many people go to great lengths to reject” the concept of “structural violence”, as Will G-R claimed at the end of #648. (If this is what you are referring to.) I’m not sure that there are many people on either left or right who reject that concept at all. Although of course the right doesn’t choose “the very institution of capitalist private property” to be their structural villain, they’ve got another structural villain.

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F. Foundling 09.22.16 at 3:05 pm

Just a link to a Salon summary of the UK report on Libya that some commenters have mentioned:

http://www.salon.com/2016/09/16/u-k-parliament-report-details-how-natos-2011-war-in-libya-was-based-on-lies/

Know what to expect.

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Manta 09.22.16 at 3:14 pm

Thanks for the link, Foundling.
I am greatly relieved now, that I know we are/will not be governed by humanitarian fanatics, but only by old-fashioned imperialists.

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Will G-R 09.22.16 at 3:42 pm

Lee Arnold: “Almost everybody commenting here accepted [the idea of structural violence] a long, long time ago!”

Evidently not, at least if maintaining the pro-Clinton united front is important enough to liberal commenters here care that they’re willing to abide the Crisco tanker truck’s worth of smarm coming from folks like faustusnotes and Layman about the idea that anything short of direct military invasion and annexation could be described as imperialism or empire. “Lupita, point to the place Clinton conquered for the greater American Empire and placed under its rule… I’d go grab a map for you to point it out on, but my hands are so greasy with smarm that I couldn’t even pick one up without it slipping.” “You can’t be a neoliberal and an imperialist… just like you couldn’t be a classical liberal and an imperialist, nobody like that has ever existed, certainly never in a position of ideological influence with a name like ‘Stohn Muart Jill’, and certainly never in a position of power with a name like ‘Glilliam Wadstone’, I mean that would be totally impossible, crazy, could never happen, right?”

You pro-Clinton “anti-imperialist” types may be willing to break the united front against the anti-Clinton left when it comes to someone like Stephen trying to directly excuse the 19th-century British Empire for painting the map blood-red, but when others on your side of the liberal/left split act incredulous at the notion of Western liberals’ imperial brutality having continued unbroken into the 20th and 21st centuries as structural violence on behalf of capitalist private property (which of course was originally accumulated under imperial banners at the point of a sword or bayonet or Maxim), the flow of righteous indignation on behalf of the wretched of the Earth seems to run dry. Which I guess is understandable, if you’re trying to maintain a broad enough pro-Clinton united front to stand alongside schmucks like Negroponte, Wolfowitz, Kagan, Kristol, Perle, Scowcroft, and Kissinger.

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Layman 09.22.16 at 3:44 pm

“Thanks to Anarcissie for immediately demonstrating the point of my #659.”

Feeling left out, Will G-R makes a bid to be a better example. Can bruce wilder be far behind?

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 5:19 pm

Will G-R #665, You appear to believe that there are people writing here, who 1. approve of US foreign policy, and 2. advocate using violence to bring other countries into its orbit. Instead, it looks to me like this is hair-splitting about definitions of “imperialism” and “neoliberalism” and so on.

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Will G-R 09.22.16 at 6:20 pm

Lee, there are people here smarming all over the characterization of US foreign policy as imperialism, or of those who administer it as imperialists — I referenced Layman and faustusnotes, and others like Raven seem perfectly willing to ignore what people actually mean by “imperialism” before earnestly dismissing it on the grounds that the US flag doesn’t fly directly above the Haitian flag on a flagpole or whatever. The obvious background premise is that absent direct territorial annexation, the rubric of imperialism couldn’t possibly apply to any other aspects of a relationship between a wealthier country and a poorer country as long as the poorer country has some sort of formal freedom to refuse it. But to make this distinction seem self-evident one has to ignore the importance of structural violence, especially the all-purpose structural violence of private property, as a way of inscribing imperialist domination into the global capitalist order and making the formal freedom to refuse it irrelevant. Just because someone may be willing to utter the words “structural violence” without it being part of a 2-hour YouTube webcam rant about PoMo SJW cucks, doesn’t mean they can’t ignore it in practice all the same.

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Manta 09.22.16 at 7:15 pm

Will, I don’t see how “structural violence” enters in the description of the Libya bombing: to me, it seems old-fashioned violence (you, know: bombs; plus arming the various factions) meted for old-fashioned real-politik aims (getting rid of a dictator nobody liked), with old-fashioned disregards for the consequences on the Libyan population (which has to live through a civil war).

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 7:28 pm

Will, Your characterization doesn’t cover the most recent major example: The US removed a dictatorship (Saddam) that had been enabled by lines drawn under British imperialism, then the US withdrew from the country and left it in the hands of the best friends of Iran — putatively a US enemy. So, you either must expand the definition of “imperialism” to include something which would make it a useless term to historians, or else, provide that the US is a pretty piss poor example of an empire! And now, the US is heavily focused upon making various coalitions throughout the Middle East which include a dozen and a half actors, many of whom clearly have NO intention of honoring the “global capitalist order” except on their own terms. None, zero. Therefore, it might be better to study what is really going on, without using prior categories from political and historical description as if they are reified explanatory principles.

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Manta 09.22.16 at 7:34 pm

Lee, invading a country to make it a vassal it’s quite a classical example of imperialism.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 7:41 pm

Iraq clearly did not end up being a vassal.

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JimV 09.22.16 at 8:48 pm

My basic point in my late, lamented comment was that calling things evil was not in itself a convincing argument, to me at least, without some accompanying evidence of evil intent or no possibility of doing good. The answer to that argument appears to be calling it smarm, plus another assertion, that all members of the “ruling class” are evil, ipso facto. I think I must be in the wrong room in a Monty Python skit. (I was looking for the Argument Room.)

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Will G-R 09.22.16 at 8:50 pm

Manta, part of what structural violence means is the potential for explicit violence, so of course relationships of domination built on structural violence will sometimes be reduced to plain brute force. But if you ignore the context of structural violence you can’t properly contextualize any particular act of bombing or regime change or whatever in relation to the broader strategic interests of empires, which opens up ideological space for a callow humanitarian “we just want to stop genocide!” type of narrative like the one JimV parroted above.

Lee, two ways in which one might criticize the 2003 Iraq war are that it was incompetently administered to achieve the objectives it sought, and that the objectives it sought were a function of US imperialism, neither of which precludes the other. As far as the broader point, yes US imperial strategy involves various proxies whose stated ideologies are in various ways anti-imperialist. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find any political movement with mass support in the developing world that doesn’t frame itself as somehow anti-imperialist, because the structural violence of imperialism breeds obvious resentment and being explicitly pegged as an imperial proxy is an easy path to popular illegitimacy. Part of the normal functioning of imperialism in the “postcolonial” era is to channel as much popular anti-imperialist sentiment as possible through ideological currents whose surface-level anti-imperialism conceals a deeper acceptance of imperial hegemony, perhaps the most obvious present-day example of which is the “War on Terror” with its various groups of sometimes-proxies sometimes-“terrorists”.

This may be a bit farther of a reach, but I suspect this is part of why Trump is so especially alarming for the direct administrators of US empire, the foreign policy establishment currently lining up behind Hillary: in at least some ways Trump is reminiscent of the same faux-anti-establishment pattern also embodied in a Western imperial frenemy like Osama bin Laden (who also started off as heir to a family real estate and construction business before branching out into reactionary politics!), and openly admitting the need to play the same dangerous game among their own “domestic” underclasses that they play with “foreign” ones — stoking the fires of reactionary pseudo-rebellion to forestall actual revolution — means accepting one less barrier between them and the angry mob.

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kidneystones 09.22.16 at 8:52 pm

Iraq is a classic example of badly managed imperialism.

Eastern Iraq, at least, has effectively ended a vassal state of Iran.

Turkey very much looks forward to controlling, or destroying Kurds, although the Kurds clearly believe they have something to say on that topic, and the area to the west is a collection of fiefdoms in a state of semi-permanent war.

This may all change soon, or may not.

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Manta 09.22.16 at 8:54 pm

JimV, what evidence would you need to call the Libya bombing evil (or not-evil)?
To me the evidence seems pretty convincing that it did not happen for “humanitarian” reasons (see the article linked above http://www.salon.com/2016/09/16/u-k-parliament-report-details-how-natos-2011-war-in-libya-was-based-on-lies/)

Lee: empires get defeated sometimes. Rome lost in Parthya.
But if you disagree that Iraq’s invasion aim was not making it a vassal, I’d like to hear your opinion on its motivations.

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Layman 09.22.16 at 9:20 pm

“But if you disagree that Iraq’s invasion aim was not making it a vassal, I’d like to hear your opinion on its motivations.”

One of the certainties about the 2003 invasion of Iraq is that the Bush administration had absolutely no interest in the post-Saddam administration of Iraq, no curiosity about what would happen, and no plan to remain for any length of time at all. Hell, they had no administrators ready, which led to the scramble to find conservative interns willing to go. There’s no evidence that the aim was to make Iraq a vassal state, and lots of evidence there was almost no aim at all, just a vague hope that things would work out well for all concerned, resulting in a modern democratic secular free Iraqi state, which might in turn prompt further destabilization of other nearby countries.

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Manta 09.22.16 at 9:33 pm

Layman @677: I am not sure I can agree with your take, but I hope we can agree that it’s much WORSE than mine.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 9:37 pm

Will G-R #674: “in which one might criticize the 2003 Iraq war are that it was incompetently administered to achieve the objectives it sought, and that the objectives it sought were a function of US imperialism”

In which case you are doing both things that I wrote were your only options: arguing that the US is a poor excuse for an empire, and expanding the definition of “imperialism” beyond what is useful. Whatever happens next can now fit into your explanation, including the seemingly benign things like the Marshall Plan or foreign aid for humanitarian ends. This isn’t analysis, it is religion. It’s like a fundamentalist Christian who finds Satan everywhere.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 9:45 pm

Layman #677: ” the Bush administration had absolutely no interest in the post-Saddam administration of Iraq”

As I remember it, the neocons put forward Chalabi, a selection rebuffed by the mullahs. Bush wanted to delay a democratic election but al Sistani rejected that. They got an SOFU in which the Iraqis demanded the possibility of Iraqi criminal charges for US soldiers who were accused of infractions. The US, fearsome empire! signed that agreement — and the Iraqis held them to that piece of paper, so the US withdrew on the original date. Fox News blamed Obama. Baghdad didn’t want the US back in the country until it was clear they needed help against ISIS.

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Manta 09.22.16 at 9:51 pm

“and the Iraqis held them to that piece of paper, so the US withdrew on the original date.”

So your explanation is that a piece of paper made them withdraw?
You should write comedy

“Kent: Here’s a float saluting the Native Americans, who taught us how to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Leeza: Interesting side note on this float: The papier-mâché is composed entirely of broken treaties.
Kent: [laughs good-naturedly] They’re good sports.”

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Layman 09.22.16 at 9:56 pm

“As I remember it, the neocons put forward Chalabi, a selection rebuffed by the mullahs.”

Yes, that’s right, but it’s of a piece with their lack of interest in running the place themselves.

“I am not sure I can agree with your take, but I hope we can agree that it’s much WORSE than mine.”

I couldn’t figure out how to compare the badness. The Iraq war was a crime, as is the entire doctrine of preemptive war.

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Will G-R 09.22.16 at 10:03 pm

As much as one shouldn’t feed the trolls, it’s too funny how Faustusnotes keeps brandishing the global warming issue as some unbeatable coup de grâce against leftist Hillary opponents when it’s practically the most obvious possible example of something she wouldn’t actually do, and something she couldn’t do even if she called in all political favors and let Congress attach riders setting aside the bodies of black police shooting victims to become fertilizer for an urban truffle-oil farm in the basement of the NYSE with female farmworkers earning a quarter the wage of their male counterparts, or whatever. And once you accept that there’s no way Hillary secures a domestic and global rollback of fossil fuels within her first year in office — recall that Obama and his vaunted supermajorities took two-plus years to pass the Heritage Foundation’s ’90s-era health insurance bill — the argument as justification for backing Hillary when one otherwise wouldn’t becomes literally 100% moot, framed as it is around the premise that not doing something right now is a completely irreversible path to total apocalypse. Naïveté is one thing, but waving that argument around as if it was in any way convincing is just really fucking weird.

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Layman 09.22.16 at 10:16 pm

Hard to believe Will G-R was the one complaining about smarm.

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Layman 09.22.16 at 10:21 pm

I mean, if you were serious about the criticism, you’d look at the alternative. What happens on climate change if Trump wins, which almost certainly means a Republican Senate to go with the house?

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Faustusnotes 09.22.16 at 10:37 pm

Will, once trump abolishes the EPA do you think the current fragile international agreement on climate change is going to hold?

Your argument seems to now be that Clinton won’t be able to force all her desired policy changes through congress so she is as bad as trump, who will undo all the limited achievements of the last 20 years and select a Supreme Court that will ensure we can’t make up the ground in 8 years’ time.

Your comment also suggests a lack of understanding of how serious the issue is, which would be of a piece with your ignorance of the definition of imperialism. I would shake my head in disappointment at what has become of the lefts intellectual foundation, but I’ve seen enough of this over the past 20 years to know its a permanent part of our side of politics. Nothing will satisfy you except revolution, and there is no point in doing anything realistic to help poor people anywhere – or even to fight a civilization ending catastrophe – because all such actions are equally futile and anything that staves off the revolution is a terrible betrayal of the working class. So we all just have to suffer and watch everything good crumble while we wait for things to get so bad that the workers revolt and put an all-knowing leader like you in charge. Then everything will just get better overnight, right?

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js. 09.22.16 at 10:40 pm

If Trump wins, then sometime in the next year, the masses will rise up, overthrow the ruling class, and establish a totally green, classless society. I think that’s roughly the idea. (Hey, if I believed that, I’d vote for Trump too.)

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Layman 09.22.16 at 10:49 pm

Hell, the USSC is split 4-4 on whether the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Trump can end any progress on climate change, for years, with 1 appointment, without any need to abolish the EPA.

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basil 09.22.16 at 10:55 pm

Something in the Guardian about how the sometime Keystoning warrior of all things green has stopped pretending to care about climate change, or is doing it in secret, the better to pander to the ‘moderates’ in the centre.

It won’t affect you. You don’t care about far from you invisible people. Little children whose bodies can be wielded to make examples. Sick children whose deaths are worth it. You are racists.

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 10:56 pm

Layman #682: ” it’s of a piece with their lack of interest in running the place themselves.”

It’s true, they thought the thing should “run by itself” — the Bremer proconsulate tried to generate “spontaneous market order” by bringing in Bush supporters-turned-policymakers, who would structure a Hayekian free market system! I seem to remember that this nutty policy was reported by an astonished John Lewis Gaddis in the journal Foreign Affairs. Maybe the contemporary charge of “structural violence” is best applied to the depredation resulting from libertarian ideas.

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William Timberman 09.22.16 at 10:59 pm

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, Will G-R, but after 686 comments, wouldn’t it be more merciful to steal quietly away, and let the die-hards sort the fundaments of prudential hillbillary out amongst themselves?

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Lee A. Arnold 09.22.16 at 11:06 pm

Manta #681: “So your explanation is that a piece of paper made them withdraw?
You should write comedy”

And you should perhaps stop writing, altogether! The Iraqis “held them to that piece of paper” by way of the fact that al-Sistani could get about 2 million peaceful protestors out on the street with about 12 hours notice.

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Anarcissie 09.22.16 at 11:10 pm

Layman 09.22.16 at 12:38 pm @ 661 —
90% of ‘we’ isn’t enough in the non-binding, non-electoral sandbox here?

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js. 09.23.16 at 1:08 am

So now, the people who oppose Trump are the “real racists and misogynists”. Awesome. Seriously, if any of you motherfuckers would actually suffer under a Trump presidency, this would all almost be worth it. But I won’t lie, it’s fucking hilarious as it is. Keep ’em comin.

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LFC 09.23.16 at 1:41 am

There are many different ways to use the terms “empire” and “imperialism”. A reasonable case can be made that the U.S. position in the world exhibits certain imperial ‘dynamics’ (see, e.g., Nexon and Wright, “What’s at Stake in the American Empire Debate,” APSR, 2007).

Then there’s the way the term ‘imperialist’ is used by some on the Left, basically as an all-purpose label for any policy or action, esp of the U.S., that they don’t like. Although this latter close-to-indiscriminate usage masquerades as having an analytic warrant and may pretend to be embedded in an overall theory about the “strategic interests of empires” etc, examination of the way it is often deployed in discussions will reveal, istm, that it’s closer to an epithet than anything else. That’s not always true, but sometimes it is.

2 short references that may be of interest:
— Michael Cox, “Still the American Empire,” Political Studies Review, 2007. (Available online as a pdf, but copyright skittishness etc means I won’t put the link here)

— a short 2012 blog post, “Everything you wanted to know about the ‘American empire debate’ but were afraid to ask…” Also not bothering w/ the link.

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LFC 09.23.16 at 1:44 am

p.s. previous comment prompted by the exchanges about imperialism upthread.

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Anarcissie 09.23.16 at 2:44 am

LFC 09.23.16 at 1:41 am @ 695 —
When I use the term ‘imperialism’ I usually refer to the control or domination of one state or country by the ruling class of a different state. This fails to comprehend the supposedly nascent transnational empire of global capitalism, and some other situations sometimes described as ‘internal imperialism’, for example West Virginia or some of the hapless un-Russias within the Russian Federation, but it does include hegemonic arrangements such as those of the US, as well as direct imperial control such as that of Great Britain, France, or Rome back in the day. The US government has supposedly killed about four million noncombatants over the past fifty years or so, so one might think they were up to something more purposive than target practice.

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Will G-R 09.23.16 at 5:08 am

The next liberal in this thread who demonstrates any shred of actual literacy regarding radical concepts of imperialism will be the first. Aren’t you liberals supposed to be all into the idea of open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity and all that jazz? Have any of you bothered to so much as crack open, say for instance, Lenin’s (rather short) pamphlet on the subject before spouting off about how “imperialism is an all-purpose label for stuff they don’t like”? I mean good Lord, if you were taking a course in political philosophy and handed in an assignment with that degree of unashamed pigheadeness about the literature you’re assessing, any respectable liberal professor (hell, any respectable conservative professor) would hand it back with a rewrite or a flunk just as quickly as a socialist one would.

Faustusnotes, a current international agreement on climate change does not exist, fragile or otherwise. What exists is a few conferences’ worth of noncommittal diplomatic pablum around frameworks like “cap and trade” that when tried have accomplished approximately nothing, and the naïveté of imagining this as a binding plan to tackle climate change would be powerful enough to make a good alternative energy source, so let’s try to imagine what an agreement with teeth might look like. First, the closest thing to a real global regulatory body that actually exists, the still-calcifying framework of international trade treaties enforced through sanctions and ISDS proceedings, is structured around one exclusive mandate — to protect capitalist private property from obstacles to its profitable investment — and whatever else it would be, an attempt to categorically restrict the extraction and use of fossil fuels would be an obstacle to investment. So we’d have to dispose of this entire global regulatory framework and rewrite it from scratch, giving it jurisdiction over essentially every sphere of economic activity on Earth (or at least every sphere that involves fossil fuels, so essentially all of them) and a mandate to use this jurisdiction for purposes other than the defense of property and profits. In case that’s not impossible enough, the next order of business in setting emissions targets would be to referee the various points of contention between wealthier and poorer nations, which boil down to whether the unequal distribution of wealth between nations would be reallocated in any kind of proportion to the unequal distribution of current and historical emissions between nations. Not to mince words, the proposal is for a world government that would have to explicitly codify into global law either global economic equality or global economic inequality, and the former would mean an end to capitalism while the latter would mean fascism on a world scale. Yet somehow, as you spin your utopian fantasies that capitalism would take these kinds of steps voluntarily and that Hillary fucking Clinton would be the one to propose them, the people proposing working-class revolution are actually the crazy ones?

js, it’s misogynist and racist to claim that because of their identities, women or people of color can’t really be radical leftists the same way white men can. It’s misogynist and racist to tell them that they don’t really know what’s best for them, that you should be entitled to dictate liberalism to them until they realize how right you were about their own interests. It’s misogynist and racist to claim that while white men can adopt what they consider a universalist philosophy, women and people of color are condemned to think first and foremost of their own parochial interests and ignore other human beings who don’t share their identities, for example by claiming that First-World women must support an imperialist politician (and therefore support racism) because of this politician’s bourgeois feminism. It’s especially misogynist and racist to try to minimize one’s own misogyny and racism on these issues by pretending that radical women and people of color simply don’t exist at all.

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js. 09.23.16 at 5:10 am

You do realize that you’re speaking to a person of color, right? You want to rethink any of that?

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faustusnotes 09.23.16 at 5:18 am

Will, paragraph 1: Let’s analyze the problems of today based on the 100 year old writings of a tyrant.

Will, paragraph 2: Have you heard of the Paris Agreement? In practice it doesn’t even matter if the EU, US, India and China sign up to it or not, what matters is that they act, and although China and the EU have already started acting the real key is for the US to act, so that they don’t all refuse to act until the biggest polluter acts. Everyone in those countries knows that what is holding the US back is the Republican party.

I’m quite happy to put off the battle over private property until the global warming problem is solved. There’s no point in seizing the means of production today, only to find it submerged tomorrow. But this is the marxist-leninist shtick since time immemorial isn’t it? Don’t bother solving problems like rape and domestic violence – they’ll fix themselves after hte revolution. Don’t waste your time on clean air and water, it’s a consequence of capitalism, once we overthrow the bosses we can fix that easily. We don’t need to worry about renewable energy because Comrade Stalin will wave his stubby fingers and we will suddenly have infinite amounts of everything, right?

I’ve been hearing that shtick since I first encountered radical leftism, and in the years since the air has got cleaner and millions of people have gained access to clean water and we have affordable solar power, and precisely zero revolutions have happened.

So yeah, let’s elect Trump and give the Repubs both houses of congress, then watch everything slide back to the stone age.

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kidneystones 09.23.16 at 9:18 am

What the world is watching:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3802643/I-don-t-need-brain-function-tests-says-Clinton-video-shows-eyes-moving-different-directions.html

The liberal press is doing its best to play down Hillary’s recently cancelled event. But the Hill describes the coincidence of Hillary’s eyes moving in different directions at an event. The video is a bit disconcerting, probably should just be polite and let her ‘power through.’

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kidneystones 09.23.16 at 9:22 am

And here’s the Hill on the medical need for a brain scan. I actually think she’s had a few, but given her penchant for secrecy and dissembling, the public is understandably nervous about electing a geriatric president who tips over.

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/healthcare/297208-clintons-eyes-a-window-into-her-health-issues

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Manta 09.23.16 at 10:07 am

It’s quite a condemnation of the “intellectual” discourse in the left that the identity, race, sex, etc. of the speaker is considered relevant in the discussion (mea culpa, I did the same @404).

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Layman 09.23.16 at 11:49 am

Will G-R: “What exists is a few conferences’ worth of noncommittal diplomatic pablum…”

…along with a determination by the current administration that the EPA can and should regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Given the difficulties with accomplishing anything through a Republican House, this determination is probably the only means of the US accomplishing anything at all on climate change. The determination, however, will almost certainly end up before the Supreme Court, where the 4 conservative justices have already signaled their opposition by staying action on the determination pending court challenges to it.

If you want to argue against the notion that a Clinton victory over Trump is a victory for progress on climate change, then you really do have to address this point. You can argue, if you like, that Trump is just as likely to have the same view of the EPA’s powers in this matter than does Obama or Clinton, and that he’s likely to appoint a justice who shares it; but it’s hard to imagine that you’re that big a fool. Ignoring the matter in favor of noting the futility of hope for some kind of global regime just shows me, once again, that you’re not serious here.

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LFC 09.23.16 at 1:32 pm

Will G-R @698
Have any of you bothered to so much as crack open, say for instance, Lenin’s (rather short) pamphlet on the subject before spouting off about how “imperialism is an all-purpose label for stuff they don’t like”?

I’ve read Lenin’s Imperialism. My comment made clear, or so I thought, that the “all-purpose label” remark referred to how some contemporary leftists use the word in contemporary political discussions. Lenin used it in a more specific way (which doesn’t necessarily mean he was right). It also doesn’t mean that all contemporary radicals follow even Lenin’s degree of analytic precision, even when they claim to be doing so.

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LFC 09.23.16 at 1:37 pm

Will G-R @698
I mean good Lord, if you were taking a course in political philosophy and handed in an assignment with that degree of unashamed pigheadeness about the literature you’re assessing, any respectable liberal professor (hell, any respectable conservative professor) would hand it back with a rewrite or a flunk just as quickly as a socialist one would.

There is no pt in treating a blog comment making a couple of remarks and a couple of cites as an “assessment of the literature” about imperialism, which it obvs. wasn’t.

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LFC 09.23.16 at 1:48 pm

Anarcissie @697
When I use the term ‘imperialism’ I usually refer to the control or domination of one state or country by the ruling class of a different state.

Nothing I said is nec. inconsistent w this, subject to specification of “control” and “domination”. (Whether the US has a singular unified “ruling class” is an issue we can put to one side.)

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Will G-R 09.23.16 at 1:51 pm

js, no, I won’t be racist and infantilize you by pretending that “only white men are allowed to espouse leftist politics” and “radical women/POC don’t exist” are acceptable coming from you where they wouldn’t be if you were white. Now do you want to actually address the points you’ve been ignoring and smarmily dismissing all thread?

faustusnotes, let us know when you want to be serious. I think of liberals like Locke, Mill, Calhoun, and so on as tyrants and/or syncophants of tyranny, but I try to read them and grapple with their ideas because they’re historically and intellectually important. Right now you’re just embarrassing yourself.

Layman, it’s like you all are trying to make the climate change issue a neat little microcosm of liberal vacuousness. Working within the international regulatory frameworks of neoliberalism to solve global warming is futile in practice, but since global warming is a (y’know) global problem, working within individual nation-state regulatory frameworks is futile by definition. What’s necessary is an international regulatory body that can impose targets on individual nation-states and can enforce these targets in ways that outweigh the (massive) short-term economic advantages of fossil fuels — which means establishing what would amount to a formal world government, and explicitly sorting out the global justice issues that come with it. If neoliberal capitalism and its nation-states can’t do this, all it can do is ineffectual moral grandstanding that won’t solve the problem, and if you’re too naïve to understand why this is I’m increasingly pessimistic I can help you.

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TM 09.23.16 at 2:02 pm

js. 687: “If Trump wins, then sometime in the next year, the masses will rise up, overthrow the ruling class, and establish a totally green, classless society. I think that’s roughly the idea.”

Yep. We need to sharpen capitalism’s intrinsic contradictions in order to hasten the world revolution.

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Layman 09.23.16 at 2:02 pm

Will G-R: “…but since global warming is a (y’know) global problem, working within individual nation-state regulatory frameworks is futile by definition.”

You’re aware, I hope, that half the CO2 emissions globally come from three ‘nation-states’ – China, the US, and the EU?

(Yes, I’m aware the EU is not precisely a nation-state, but it is a framework for a regulatory regime which can govern climate change policy for a large number of nation-states.)

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Will G-R 09.23.16 at 3:00 pm

LFC, if you’re not talking about actual literature I think it’s a bit silly to expect a constant aura of analytic precision around a term like “imperialism” from radicals any more than you would expect it around terms like “freedom” and “democracy” from liberals. Lord knows liberals indulge any amount of vagueness and vacuousness around those particular master signifiers, but if I’m arguing with a liberal I’m going to try to elucidate in a precise way what if anything they’re actually intending to about, and critique that. Not doing this would be a pretty textbook example of bad faith.

In my view a short summation of imperialism in terms of economics might be (1) the accumulation of capital from peripheral regions to core regions, (2) the export of capital from core to periphery, and (3) the expropriation of profits from periphery to core. What seems to confuse liberals most is that only the initial accumulative stage necessarily involves the direct sovereign domination and painting-the-map-red they associate with the term “empire”, and indeed once the accumulation has been accomplished, it’s actually useful to grant formal independence to the impoverished periphery and frame the political maintenance of these economic relationships as an ideologically pure defense of private property rights: no empires here, just business. (More or less analogous to the difference between slavery and wage labor, as expressed in a wonderful way here by Gillo Pontecorvo through the voice of Marlon Brando.)

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Anarcissie 09.23.16 at 3:28 pm

LFC 09.23.16 at 1:48 pm @ 707 —
I guess I just wanted to give an existence proof of at least one leftist using imperialism in a fairly coherent manner. The word does not seem quite as smeared-out as liberal, conservative, fascist, etc. etc.

I assume there is a ruling class because (1) there is power; (2) I don’t have any, except over myself, so someone else must have it; (3) the people who have it must be organized in some way, or they would use their power against each other, that is, fight; (4) I don’t observe civil war at the moment. There are many other signs, for example the content of the New York Times, which seems to come from another planet, but could be accounted for by the culture accompanying strong class division and organization. I agree that there are contradictions, such as the rise of Trump, which ought not to have occurred if things were under control, unless Trump is just theater.

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Will G-R 09.23.16 at 3:41 pm

Layman: “half the CO2 emissions globally come from three ‘nation-states’ – China, the US, and the EU”

Well no duh the bulk of CO2 emissions come from advanced industrial countries or large countries in the process of attaining this status, because there’s literally no precedent for industrial development that doesn’t run on fossil fuels. As long as fossil fuels are an area of profitable investment, what we’ll need is a way to establish and maintain regulatory obstacles to profitable investment — which is a problem since an immutable premise of neoliberal global politics, including the emerging enforcement framework institutionalized in various trade treaties over the past several decades, is that obstacles to profitable investment must only ever be removed, not added. If you have a proposed shortcut around this problem that wouldn’t have to run right through the anticapitalist left’s struggle against neoliberalism, I’m open to suggestions.

714

TM 09.23.16 at 3:53 pm

And this: “working within individual nation-state regulatory frameworks is futile by definition”

“By definition”, anything other than world revolution is futile. It’s a nice, comfortable world view.

715

Layman 09.23.16 at 4:00 pm

“Well no duh the bulk of CO2 emissions come from advanced industrial countries or large countries in the process of attaining this status…”

Then you’ll no doubt agree that if the biggest offenders police themselves, something can be achieved; and that the US is one of the biggest offenders; and that the EPA can police the US; and that this is far more likely to happen with Clinton than with Trump; and that your earlier mockery of those who see that difference between the two was really quite silly. But thank you for playing.

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Will G-R 09.23.16 at 4:26 pm

“if the biggest offenders police themselves, something can be achieved”

And if pigs had wings they could fly. But even if this was possible, no, the biggest offenders would also have to police everyone else to make sure they don’t increase their exploitation of fossil fuels in the pursuit of advanced industrial development. At this point you’re talking about global governance, the only existing model for which is a neoliberal model designed to do exactly the opposite of what needs to be done. How many contortions are you willing to put yourself through to avoid admitting that the left is correct, that this issue can’t be solved without solving the larger problem of capitalism itself? It’s actually kind of funny.

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Layman 09.23.16 at 4:32 pm

“…the biggest offenders would also have to police everyone else to make sure they don’t increase their exploitation of fossil fuels in the pursuit of advanced industrial development.”

I’m guessing you’ve spent pretty much no time in the undeveloped or developing world. It shows.

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Will G-R 09.23.16 at 4:41 pm

I’m guessing you have pretty much no substantive response to the point. It shows.

719

js. 09.23.16 at 5:28 pm

Charming.

720

Faustusnotes 09.24.16 at 4:19 am

Will, you’re showing complete ignorance of how the “neoliberal” (there’s that lazy placeholder word again) order has been policing itself on climate change. You seem not understand anything about the issue or the last twenty years of responses.

But if your argument is nothing can be done so why worry, then your form of leftism has nothing to offer the people of this planet. It’s worse than useless to say we should wait for the revolution to solve this problem.

Although I am intrigued – how do you propose radical leftist revolution would solve the problem?

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Val 09.24.16 at 6:38 am

Will G-R #698
Faustusnotes, a current international agreement on climate change does not exist, fragile or otherwise.

In response to this I’d like to suggest that CT commenters should agree on some theoretical paradigm for comments. My suggestion is critical realism – that is, we all agree there is such a thing as external reality (something that exists outside our own minds) while accepting that our understanding of it always reflects our position/lived experience/discourse/ideology/interests/what have you.

Then we could potentially all agree that a thing called ‘The Paris Agreement on Climate Change’ does exist, while disagreeing about the meaning and significance of it. Call me old-fashioned but Will G-R is just too constructionist for me.

https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf

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Faustusnotes 09.24.16 at 8:09 am

That’s asking way too much Val. Marxist Leninism means nothing if not the ability to make up reality to match the rantings of a long dead tyrant!

723

Val 09.24.16 at 11:13 am

Don’t get me wrong fn, I think Marx made an enormous contribution to social theory. And I’m also very worried about whether the Paris Agreement will mean anything in practice. But I do agree it actually exists :)

724

bob mcmanus 09.24.16 at 1:17 pm

that is, we all agree there is such a thing as external reality (something that exists outside our own minds)

Sorry, I don’t accept the existence of “minds.”

725

Lupita 09.24.16 at 2:34 pm

how do you propose radical leftist revolution would solve the problem?

The West would have to consume far, far less than what it currently does. The problem is that the West is a bubble that keeps expanding because of the inertia of the system. The revolution comes after the bubble implodes, and note that the crises that began in the periphery are moving closer and closer to the center, and it entails figuring out sustainable and just systems that do not depend on demographic growth and growth in productivity, that is, non-capitalist systems.

Life after the collapse would be like life during the European middle ages or in Mexican indigenous communities but with internet, longer life expectancy, and less rigid social hierarchies. Our wealth would be measured by how integrated our families, communities, and nations are, by how little we are able to survive on, and by how little waste we produce. Within these constraints, the possibilities are many in order to accommodate different traditions, ideologies, cultures, religions, histories, and notions of a shared future.

A revolution means a cycle ends and a new one begins. Revolutionaries are those who are aware of the changing times, are able to analyze them, and imagine what comes next in order to ease the transition. But it is clear that we have reached the end of a great historical era. The current world order is no longer sustainable whether we can imagine alternatives or not.

726

Layman 09.24.16 at 2:40 pm

“The revolution comes after the bubble implodes, and note that the crises that began in the periphery are moving closer and closer to the center, and it entails figuring out sustainable and just systems that do not depend on demographic growth and growth in productivity, that is, non-capitalist systems.”

Then it follows that all True Leftists should be working hard to make things worse, more quickly, to hasten the fall! If not, why not?

727

Layman 09.24.16 at 2:50 pm

I mean, this is right in line with Will G-R’s notion that since nothing at all can be done about climate change absent One-World Government, individual politician’s climate change positions are irrelevant to their suitability for office.

728

Lupita 09.24.16 at 2:54 pm

@ Layman

Because it does not matter when the implosion occurs, tomorrow, next year, or in 15, or exactly how it occurs, just that we see it coming and prepare. This has nothing to do with US electoral cycles. I do not see the relevance of the contest between Clinton and Trump to the end of a centuries-long world historical era. It will be the same whoever wins.

729

Layman 09.24.16 at 3:00 pm

“I do not see the relevance of the contest between Clinton and Trump to the end of a centuries-long world historical era.”

I see. Still, it’s a shame about all those dead Iraqis, isn’t it?

730

Anarcissie 09.24.16 at 3:05 pm

To me, it seems reasonable to believe that nothing serious will be done about climate change and other whole-system problems unless and until either the global ruling class (important capitalists, oligarchs, dictators, etc.) figure out how to make a profit from it, or something really, really bad happens, in which case the present set of regimes will probably be replaced by some kind of authoritarian system which will ensure the privileges and status of the ruling classes if not their present absurd standard of living. (And there are worse possible outcomes, but let us whistle past the graveyard here.)
Thus official discussions and agreements about climate change which do not include or at least imply a critique of capitalism are unrealistic and probably theatrical; but it is not possible to criticize capitalism except on the periphery of things. What the present election is likely to affect in this area, then, is the style of the theater, whereas it might make a real difference in other areas like racial violence, police practices, small wars against small countries, and other conditions of less interest to the important people.

731

Lupita 09.24.16 at 3:08 pm

Indeed, it is a shame. And it is also a shame all those dead and raped while trying to cross the Mexico-US border and all those dead because of drug overdoses and the War on Drugs. And their families.

732

ZM 09.24.16 at 3:30 pm

Anarcissie,

“Thus official discussions and agreements about climate change which do not include or at least imply a critique of capitalism are unrealistic and probably theatrical; but it is not possible to criticize capitalism except on the periphery of things. “

You probably need to define what you mean by capitalism and critique. You probably won’t hear many people talking about moving to a centralised economy without any private ownership for instance, but you do hear critiques about various aspects of the current economic system and how this interacts with climate change or other sustainability issues.

Val,

“And I’m also very worried about whether the Paris Agreement will mean anything in practice. “

I just read some good news on Facebook about the Dutch Parliament committing to closing its remaining 5 coal power stations to meet the Paris Agreement https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/23/dutch-parliament-votes-to-close-down-countrys-coal-industry

Will G-R,

“And if pigs had wings they could fly. But even if this was possible, no, the biggest offenders would also have to police everyone else to make sure they don’t increase their exploitation of fossil fuels in the pursuit of advanced industrial development.”

This isn’t really a model you ever hear anyone serious about climate change promote. The basic model is contract and converge, and the idea is that some less developed countries could leap frog the advanced economy countries with renewable energy like how they moved to mobile (cell) phone technology without having a full nationwide copper telephone system.

733

Layman 09.24.16 at 3:33 pm

“…could leap frog the advanced economy countries with renewable energy like how they moved to mobile (cell) phone technology without having a full nationwide copper telephone system.”

Bingo.

734

ZM 09.24.16 at 3:35 pm

Will G-R,

“Not to mince words, the proposal is for a world government that would have to explicitly codify into global law either global economic equality or global economic inequality, and the former would mean an end to capitalism while the latter would mean fascism on a world scale.”

Um, sorry so you are saying that to act on climate change it is necessary to enforce either a one world government of fascism or a one world government that ends capitalism?

Are you working for a right wing think tank against action on climate change or something? Or are you joking?

735

Will G-R 09.24.16 at 6:52 pm

I almost wondered if you liberals were sitting on some new Wikileaks-worthy documents detailing secret new trade treaties that would impose strict emissions targets and create an independent monitoring body with the power to seize countries’ and companies’ offending assets directly, but no, turns out you actually are talking about the existing public international agreements like Paris whose cutting-edge “enforcement” paradigm is literally described by its very participants as “name and shame”. If this kind of transparently useless PR fluff is what y’all consider action, it’s not surprising your assessment of capitalist electoral politics is still stuck on the endless hamster wheel of “those liberals said they wanted to do it, then they got elected and they didn’t do it! well now these other liberals are saying they really want to do it, let’s get them elected so they can do it!”

Also, Layman, if there’s anything more self-evidently absurd than faustusnotes’ repeated habit of citing the need for immediate capitalism-upending carbon emissions controls as a reason to support Hillary Clinton, a good candidate might be your repeated habit of citing the victims of a war Hillary Clinton fucking supported.

736

Layman 09.24.16 at 7:14 pm

Shorter a Will G-R: Only global dictatorship backed by armed force can save us from climate change. Anything else is pointless.

737

Igor Belanov 09.24.16 at 7:18 pm

Shorter Layman: Only Hilary Clinton can save us from climate change. Anything else is pointless.

738

Val 09.24.16 at 7:42 pm

ZM @ 732
There’s also continual talk about closing Hazelwood here, though ABC reports there’s recently been a denial from Engie that anything is decided yet. Bendigo Advertiser actually seems to have the most comprehensive story http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/4186258/hazelwood-shutdown-victorias-dirtiest-power-station-set-to-close-early-next-year/?cs=7

The French government is the major shareholder in Engie and apparently does want Hazelwood closed. It won’t count towards their national emissions reductions targets but on principle presumably. The Victorian government wants it closed although the depressed state of the Latrobe Valley makes it a problem of course.

Will G-R
Speaking as someone from the ‘Rest of the World’ (ROW), could you please not describe us all as liberals. It’s an American usage that doesn’t apply in other countries, particularly here, where the Liberal party is the name of the major party on the right (but also the UK, where it’s a (currently rather small) centrist party. If you’re not an imperialist, you could at least recognise that not everyone can be described in American political terms.

I’m left, I don’t know what you are.

739

Val 09.24.16 at 7:48 pm

@737
Shorter Layman: Only Hilary Clinton can save us from climate change. Anything else is pointless.

Well everything is pointless if you are going to argue like a three year old. Are you seriously suggesting there is no difference between Clinton and Trump on climate change?

Again can I advocate for some reality based discussion here?

740

Layman 09.24.16 at 8:02 pm

@Igor Belanov, if you want to come down on the side of ‘there’s no difference between the candidates on climate change, and besides that there’s nothing we can do short of enforced global regulations’, you’re welcome to it. One wonders what enforcement would look like…

741

Will G-R 09.24.16 at 8:39 pm

Val: “Speaking as someone from the ‘Rest of the World’ (ROW), could you please not describe us all as liberals.”

The confusion deepens. It’s true that a certain species of market-ambivalent welfare liberalism that branched off from traditional market-aligned classical liberalism around the early 20th century came to be known as “liberalism” in the United States while the traditional liberal paradigm adopted “conservatism” and/or “libertarianism”, where in much of the rest of the developed world with less directly crushable socialist movements, this welfare liberal politics wormed its way into working-class parties and adopted the “socialist” or “labour” label while the traditional liberal framework nominally remained “liberalism”. But if we’re making any effort at real theory and trying to use a taxonomy broad enough to encompass political currents like classical conservatism, fascist reaction, and revolutionary socialism, all of the currents from the previous sentence are grouped under the header of liberalism. So assuming your answer to the classic Bernstein-v.-Luxemburg question of reform or revolution is reform, and assuming you’re not utopian enough to imagine capitalist electoral politics voluntarily reforming itself out of existence, then yes in fact you are a liberal.

742

Val 09.24.16 at 9:02 pm

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

743

Will G-R 09.24.16 at 9:14 pm

Leftist tries to explain political theory to liberal, liberal calls it obfuscation or impenetrable or jargon or mumbo-jumbo — works the same whether it’s a left-liberal on Crooked Timber or an uncucked alt-right anti-“SJW” type on 4chan.

744

Val 09.24.16 at 9:15 pm

And further, I am not a liberal in any sense that you are using the word. So you will have to come up with a new one, which means a person who believes in egalitarian societies, on a subsidiarist model, where power is largely devolved to local communities, who cooperate in international governance. Someone who is opposed to any and all hierarchies of wealth and power, and believes that all forms of public authority should be on an elected and time limited basis. Someone who believes that all ‘male stream’ economic theories, including Marxism, are limited in what they can tell us, and who can advance a feminist critique, following Marilyn Waring in particular.

I’ve written about 80,000 words in the first draft of my thesis on all this stuff, so I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Those revered CT experts, Bruce Wilder and Rich Puchalsky, have decided that everything I say is wrong, so you may wish to be guided by them. Fortunately for me, they’re not my examiners :)

745

Val 09.24.16 at 9:25 pm

Bob McManus @ 724
Sorry, I don’t accept the existence of “minds.”

I can offer you ‘individual subjectivities, created in discourse’, political or cultural ‘imaginaries’, ‘contending epistemologies’, world views/ Weltanschauung … – what would you like?

746

Anarcissie 09.25.16 at 12:23 am

ZM 09.24.16 at 3:30 pm
‘You probably need to define what you mean by capitalism and critique. You probably won’t hear many people talking about moving to a centralised economy without any private ownership for instance, but you do hear critiques about various aspects of the current economic system and how this interacts with climate change or other sustainability issues.’

Surely you don’t want me to define capitalism here. Let’s assume it’s ‘business as usual’. By ‘critique’ I meant a reasonably thorough recognition that BAU poses fundamental problems for any attempt to forestall climate change, but that many, many important people do not want BAU to change to their disadvantage, and can do something about their preferences. It doesn’t seem like a problem that’s going to be solved by an election between two people attached to the plutocracy and the national security state.

747

Faustusnotes 09.25.16 at 12:34 am

So having given us a child’s power fantasy as an analysis of the solution to global warming, will now starts explaining to people from other countries what their political system is. Is this a new form of brocialist mansplaining, or just a particularly stinky version of the same old?

Lupita, will et al. You have 30 years to get the economy to carbon zero. You want to do that through revolution, you better get to work. If you really think you can get an anti capitalist revolution in the entire eu, USA, China and India in that time, and also get the post revolutionary societies to carbon zero as well, you must have a really solid plan. Why don’t you lay it out for us so we can see what your alternative to voting Clinton really is?

And if you don’t have a solution to climate change better than lupita’s “smash it all down” then maybe you should admit your politics is facile and useless.

748

Lupita 09.25.16 at 12:59 am

lupita’s “smash it all down”

Nobody in antiquity said “smash it all down” and, lo and behold, the middle ages began. Likewise, I never said “smash it all down”, just that we are approaching the end of an era. I’m just the proverbial rooster here.

749

Faustusnotes 09.25.16 at 1:05 am

Waiting for it all to fall apart is not a solution lupita. If it takes more than 30 years were all in big trouble.

All I see from the brocialists here is nihilism.

750

Lupita 09.25.16 at 2:05 am

I never said I had the solution to the world’s problems, Faustusnotes. I’m just a humble 3rd world siscialist, bro.

751

ZM 09.25.16 at 4:39 am

Will G-R,

“I almost wondered if you liberals were sitting on some new Wikileaks-worthy documents detailing secret new trade treaties that would impose strict emissions targets and create an independent monitoring body with the power to seize countries’ and companies’ offending assets directly, but no, turns out you actually are talking about the existing public international agreements like Paris whose cutting-edge “enforcement” paradigm is literally described by its very participants as “name and shame”. “

Like Val said in Australia we follow the UK usage of the word “liberal” and the Liberal Party is our major right wing party. The major left wing party is the Labor party. USA usage of liberal appears to be connected to your lack of a strong labour movement, so you call the Democratic Party a “liberal” political party.

As well as the international Paris Agreement which was a big step forwards in the international agreements on climate change in the USA, and the Democratic Party Convention committing to a forum on climate change if Hilary Clinton wins the USA elections and a wartime mobilisation response, you currently have the group Our Children’s Trust taking legal action on behalf of a group of 21 youth plaintiffs to get the courts to order the State and Federal Governments to act on climate change in line with the best scientific research and recommendations. The climate scientist James Hansen is part of the proceedings.

The case is based on The Public Trust Doctrine which is a big part of USA law due to its inclusion in the Takings Clause in the Constitution. Its also part of Australian and UK law, but has less prominence in Australian case law over the last 150 years compared to in the USA. Its a law that dates back to Roman Jurisprudence before falling into disuse in the dark ages until the revival of Roman law in England in the late Middle Ages after the Norman Conquest. I am not sure what the present situation of the Public Trust Doctrine is in the legal systems of Continental Europe.

Our Children’s Trust is expanding its work to Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, India, The Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Uganda, and The Ukraine.

From the most recent newsletter:

“Friends and Supporters,

I’d like to thank you for supporting the work of Our Children’s Trust, whether over the last week, month, or – for some of you – years.

As you know, on April 8, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the federal district court in Eugene, Oregon, ruled in favor of the 21 young plaintiffs and Dr. James Hansen by denying the government and fossil fuel industry’s motions to dismiss their federal constitutional climate change lawsuit.

Refusing to accept Judge Coffin’s decision, both the federal government and the fossil fuel industry defendants requested that it be overturned and our lawsuit dismissed.

On September 13, I presented oral argument before Judge Ann Aiken on why the youth’s case should move quickly to trial. Because of your support, I was able to stand in court with my clients, the 21 young plaintiffs from across our nation who are fighting for their right to personal security and a stable climate. I’m grateful to these young people and for their leadership, wisdom, perseverance, and ability to see shining light and hope in a world full of devastation.

Oral arguments started with Department of Justice Attorney Sean Duffy conceding that climate change is a serious problem. Even still, he went on to argue that the government had not violated the youth plaintiffs’ constitutional right to substantive due process.

Judge Aiken questioned the Department of Justice about addressing climate change ‘with all deliberate speed,’ echoing the Supreme Court’s urgent mandate to desegregate schools and end racial discrimination in Brown v. Board of Education.

At one point during Mr. Duffy’s rebuttal, he argued “the plaintiffs have made a wonderful case, that should be heard in the halls of congress.”

“It has been heard in the halls of congress,” Judge Aiken responded. The court went on to state that climate change is a “systemic” issue where “time is of the essence.”

The fossil fuel industry’s attorney, Quin Sorenson refused to acknowledge that climate change was a serious problem. Mr. Sorenson argued that the constitution does not even allow the court to address the problem, arguing that it should be left to politics.

Among other arguments, I pointed out that the federal government has known about climate danger for more than 50 years. I also displayed a recent graph (see below) from the Department of Energy showing that, even under the Clean Power Plan, emissions would, at best, flatten through 2040.

This fundamental point was obvious to everyone in the courtroom: the Department of Energy graph shows that even with all of President Obama’s policies combined, our climate pollution stays at dangerously high levels through 2040. This graph provides additional evidence that only the constitution and the courts will protect these young people’s rights to life and personal security.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Aiken announced she hoped to decide within 60 days of the hearing whether to dismiss our youth’s case or allow it to go to trial. As soon as we hear, so will you. For now, you can read the full transcript of the hearing here.

Thank you for participating in this movement with us and believing that with vision and unrelenting hard work we can secure justice.

With all deliberate speed,

Julia”

752

Anarcissie 09.25.16 at 3:51 pm

ZM 09.25.16 at 4:39 am @ 751:
‘… the Democratic Party Convention committing to a forum on climate change if Hilary Clinton wins the USA elections and a wartime mobilisation response…’

We already have several wars going. We have the war of Capital on the rest of the population, we have the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty, both failures, we have wars on various diseases and vices, we have numerous traditional wars going between states and parties and ethnic groups, we have the amorphous and unending War on Terror, we have the war of the global North on the global South, and we have of course the overall war of the important humans on all non-human nature of which climate change is one result. Maybe war, that is, violent authoritarianism, is not the best model for solving our problems. On the other hand, maybe this latest proposed war is just rhetorical. I guess we’ll see.

753

ZM 09.25.16 at 4:04 pm

It’s not really the war bit that’s to be emulated, it’s the mobilisation bit

754

Anarcissie 09.25.16 at 4:56 pm

The ideas seem intimately connected to me. But I’m just doing style notes or literary criticism. As a person of anarchistic prejudices I expect war metaphors to be irresistible to operatives and fans of the state, and to often lead them astray, but in this case nothing concrete has been proposed, much less been acted upon (as as I know), so I shall save my cynicism and pessimism for later use.

755

Raven Onthill 09.25.16 at 7:05 pm

Lupita, I am sorry this has taken so long. Life called me away.

I am astonished to find this argument still going on, but it gives me an opportunity to reply.

First, yes, of course, the West has enormous power and it has been and is being abused.

Second, there are plain and simple reasons for Mexicans to be concerned with a Trump presidency. The immediate risk is direct abuse of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. There is every indication that, if elected, Trump intends to go through with his deportation plan. Hate crimes against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans will probably become common in the USA and likely enough a Trump administration will not prosecute them. He will probably further militarize the border, turning that already brutal crossing it into the crossing of a killing field. It is entirely possible he will deploy US military and police force against Mexico.

You are overthinking this: regardless of long-term outcomes, who becomes US President matters to Mexico, matters a great deal, and Trump has already said he will be brutal to Mexico and Mexicans.

Pax Romana applied in areas directly governed by Rome. In 19th-century US policy in Latin America speaking of Pax Americana was valid; the USA exercised imperium in Latin America, as Western European nation-states exercised imperium in Africa and Asia. But those days are a century gone. Direct application of Western military power internationally since World War II has largely been an abysmal failure.

The names of the IMF and the World Bank are misleading. The IMF has a trade advisory role. The World Bank is a development bank. They are indeed Western institutions and have pressed neoliberal policies on poorer nations but they do not exercise imperial power; they have no military power at all and only what authority governments grant them.

Agricultural dumping is forbidden by NAFTA (I believe NAFTA 7.705 applies – the link gives English, Spanish, and French), but the Mexican government has not successfully invoked the remedies that NAFTA makes available; I wonder if any effort to invoke them has been made at all.

Great, there is some infighting and rivalry among the .01%. It must make those Davos meetings a bit awkward at times.

At least they have not all united in a single neoliberal union.

If none of this is true, then why worry about Trump? There is nothing he can destroy, or accelerate its demise, since there is no alternative to the current global world order, it being like a force of nature.

The current order is not sustainable and will ultimately fall to environmental degradation or its own internal contradictions, but the fall of the current order does not imply that a better order will emerge. If a better world order is to be created, it must be built. Trump opposes this: he is a climate-change denialist, a nationalist, an imperialist, and a racist. If he wins the Presidency, we will likely see desolation created instead. Again, it seems to me that the people willing to risk a Trump presidency are overthinking this: simple reasoning says any positives of a Trump presidency are likely to be far outweighed by the negatives.

If world trade collapsed, do you think that the pre-NAFTA internal order of Mexico, or indeed the pre-globalization order of any country, would instantly reappear? How would that be done? Instead, many people would be dramatically impoverished. Most likely there would instead be a drastic global depression. In a few decades, if left to itself, the world economy would recover, but by then climate change and perhaps other environmental disasters would by then be in full swing. After that, the left will not have a turn, indeed will be blamed for the collapse.

So there are simple compelling reasons for Mexicans and leftists worldwide to oppose a Trump presidency.

756

Val 09.25.16 at 7:29 pm

Interesting article showing very marked divide between Democrats and Republicans on climate change https://insideclimatenews.org/news/15092016/fossil-fuel-funding-gop-grows-climate-divide-republican-donald-trump-hillary-clinton

Over 90% of fossil fuel donations now go to Republicans. Riley Dunlap, who has been researching attitudes to climate change for a long time, says

‘What has happened since 2008 is that the Democrats have become very clearly the party identified with taking climate change seriously and promising to do something, while the Republicans have become intransigent,’

He suggests that as the Democrats become more serious about addressing climate change, they receive less fossil fuel donations, and then in turn are less beholden to fossil fuel companies. Democrat policy has been positively assessed by environmental groups.

757

Will G-R 09.25.16 at 8:46 pm

Poor faustusnotes seems to lack the ideological fortitude to keep up the anti-brocialist crusade when the immediate brocialist opponent happens to be nonwhite, female, and from an impoverished country. But don’t give up hope! There’s an ideological framework out there tailor-made for your needs —

In their attempt to account for their effort to crush the peasants’ resistance in “scientific” Marxist terms, [Stalin’s Bolsheviks] divided peasants into three categories (classes): the poor peasants (no land or minimal land, working for others), natural allies of the workers; the autonomous middle peasants, oscillating between the exploited and exploiters; the rich peasants, “kulaks” (employing other workers, lending them money or seeds, etc.), the exploiting “class enemy” which, as such, has to be “liquidated.” However, in practice, this classification became more and more blurred and inoperative: in the generalized poverty, clear criteria no longer applied, and other two categories often joined kulaks in their resistance to forced collectivization. An additional category was thus introduced, that of a “subkulak,” a peasant who, although, with regard to his economic situation, was to poor to be considered a kulak proper, nonetheless shared the kulak “counter-revolutionary” attitude. “Subkulak” was thus

a term without any real social content even by Stalinist standards, but merely rather unconvincingly masquerading as such. As was officially stated, ‘by kulak we mean the carrier of certain political tendencies which are most frequently discernible in the subkulak, male and female.’ By this means, any peasant whatever was liable to dekulakisation; and the subkulak notion was widely employed, enlarging the category of victims greatly beyond the official estimate of kulaks proper even at its most strained.

No wonder that the official ideologists and economists finally renounced the very effort to provide an “objective” definition of kulak: “The grounds given in one Soviet comment are that ‘the old attitudes of a kulak have almost disappeared, and the new ones do not lend themselves to recognition.'” The art of identifying a kulak was thus no longer a matter of objective social analysis; it became the matter of a complex “hermeneutics of suspicion,” of identifying one’s “true political attitudes” hidden beneath deceiving public proclamations, so that Pravda had to concede that “even the best activists often cannot spot the kulak.”

By brocialist we mean the carrier of certain political tendencies which are most frequently discernible in the sub-brocialist, male and female, white and nonwhite. The old attitudes of the brocialist have almost disappeared, and the new ones do not lend themselves well to recognition. The art of identifying a brocialist is no longer a matter of objective social analysis; even the best of activists often cannot spot the brocialist.

758

Lee A. Arnold 09.25.16 at 8:55 pm

The art of identifying imperialism is no longer a matter of objective social analysis, either, and indeed the world is as Finnegans Wake describes it.

759

Lupita 09.25.16 at 10:05 pm

There is every indication that, if elected, Trump intends to go through with his deportation plan.

Whomever is elected, Mexicans will be expelled, either from Mexico, from the US, or back and forth. I do not see that being expelled one way is worse than the other.

He will probably further militarize the border, turning that already brutal crossing it into the crossing of a killing field.

Do not worry, I am sure the drugs will continue getting across and your undocumented workers will arrive by the planeload, not only from Mexico, but from China and India, with tourist visas in hand.

It is entirely possible he will deploy US military and police force against Mexico.

American cops are going to cross the border and arrest us? That is at the level of “they will receive us with flowers”.

Trump has already said he will be brutal to Mexico and Mexicans.

Actually, he said he would re-negotiate Nafta. It is your personal opinion that a Nafta-less North America would be brutal. I beg to differ, not that I trust Trump to deliver on his promises.

Direct application of Western military power internationally since World War II has largely been an abysmal failure.

So the thousands, millions of dead and tortured do not count because the invasions were an abysmal failure? I think it is the other way around: it does not matter in the least whether the US reached its goals or not with all its covert activity and invasions. Only the dead count.

They are indeed Western institutions and have pressed neoliberal policies on poorer nations but they do not exercise imperial power; they have no military power at all and only what authority governments grant them.

The right hand does not know what the left is up to? Put military, financial, economic, political, and commercial power in one single package managed from Washington and you get global hegemony. As to the authority governments grant the global institutions, yes, many neoliberal 3rd world governments, and even 1st world, bow to their demands, for example, Mexico.

the Mexican government has not successfully invoked the remedies that NAFTA makes available; I wonder if any effort to invoke them has been made at all.

Of course not! The main processor and distributor of American corn (the one that makes mushy, useless tortillas) is ex-president Salinas’ compadre.

there are simple compelling reasons for Mexicans and leftists worldwide to oppose a Trump presidency

And a Obama presidency, a Bush presidency, a Clinton one, Bush, Reagan, and so on all the way back to Polk with the exception of Lincoln, who was Juárez’ pen pal.

760

Faustusnotes 09.25.16 at 10:25 pm

You really don’t have any answers do you will?

761

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 3:24 am

To climate change? The preliminary answer is that since capitalism can’t possibly provide an answer, for all the reasons several people here have repeatedly tried to spoon-feed you, we need to provide one with something other than capitalism. You’re arguing that capitalism can indeed provide an answer, except as long as your idea of an “answer” seems stuck on meaningless diplomatic PR fluff like the Paris We-Pinky-Swear-To-Cut-Emissions-Cross-Our-Hearts-And-Hope-To-Die Agreement, it seems doubtful you’d be able to tell an actual answer if it kicked down your front door to confiscate your home appliances.

Also, any response at all on the issue of Lupita’s “brocialism”? Honestly I wouldn’t bother responding at all if not for the (honestly pretty pathetic) spectacle of first js and now you being left with literally nothing to say after being called out on the misogyny and racism of the idea that only white guys can be socialists.

762

kidneystones 09.26.16 at 3:27 am

Hillary totally crushed teh Donald in tonight’s debate!!! Looking for that big bump in the polls. Just wanted to get that in early.

Meanwhile, there’s no clear answer how many people will actually be on the stage answering and asking questions:

http://www.worldtribune.com/no-ear-mics-allowed-for-presidential-debate-moderators-what-about-the-candidates/

You’d think the question of electronic communication devices to assist floundering candidates on stage might have been addressed before, you, the last day before the debates.

But, no.

763

TM 09.26.16 at 9:38 am

“Well everything is pointless if you are going to argue like a three year old.”

Amen.

764

kidneystones 09.26.16 at 12:00 pm

Trump’s debate prep: Ignore everyone but the tv audience. As one critic pointed out, Trump never spoke for more than 30 minutes in any of the Republican debates. My guess is that data point has already been noted.

Trump’s prep involves speaking for 90 minutes on issues that he believes matter to Americans. Trump will speak past HRC and largely ignore even the questions. It won’t matter. Trump is going to take control of the debate from the moderators and the media and he’ll take all the abuse that’s going to come, because that abuse is set in stone no matter how genial and well-prepared on the issues Trump might be.

Trump doesn’t need to do anything other than be Trump. Hillary needs to be different.

She can’t.

765

Yan 09.26.16 at 12:15 pm

It’s perfect really. I’ve given up reading Faustusnotes’ comments directly because of their consistent failure to even remotely accurately depict his opponents’ positions. But I never would have guessed it would go so far as to intentional and absurdly misrepresent their very identities.

But it’s to be suspected. What isn’t to be suspected is his fellow travelers saying nothing about this overtly sexist and racist usage of bro-rhetoric to erase Lupit’s identity.

Even if I completely agreed with the content of Faustusnotes’ posts, I’d be embarrassed by this behavior and disassociate myself from it. That no one is doing so is telling about the integrity of the righteous critics of the Hillary critics on this thread.

766

Faustusnotes 09.26.16 at 12:40 pm

Will, I asked you for the strategy. How are you going to get internationally cooperative socialism in the four biggest emitters (us, China, India, Eu) and get to carbon zero in thirty years? What’s your strategy? Is it “let trump win so that the contradictions heighten themselves”? Do you have some evidence that the working classes of four very disparate economies are objectively ready for revolution, and that this will happen so fast that we can get to carbon zero in thirty years? Are you sure that the post-revolutionary societies shortly to emerge in these giant economies are going to put this at the top of their list of priorities? What mechanism will they come up with to decarbonize their economies and how will it be better than the Paris agreement?

If you don’t have a strategy, and you don’t have a post-revolutionary policy structure, your ideology is simply posturing. Incapable of even seizing power, and devoid of any strategic response to the most pressing problem in human history even if it did.

You don’t want to admit that do you? So where is your strategy? I’m asking for the third time, one might start to think you don’t have one if you fail to answer…

767

TM 09.26.16 at 12:44 pm

If you’ve given up reading Faustusnotes’ comments, how do you know all this?

More to the point: it seems that you wish to level charges of racism and sexism against fellow commenters, I think you have an obligation to substantiate them or be silent.

768

Layman 09.26.16 at 12:49 pm

“…we need to provide one with something other than capitalism.”

And? Or is this answer an Underpants Gnome answer?

769

Layman 09.26.16 at 12:52 pm

“More to the point: it seems that you wish to level charges of racism and sexism against fellow commenters, I think you have an obligation to substantiate them or be silent.”

Indeed, Yan’s claim is a bizarre one. I can’t even figure out which post he thinks demonstrates it.

770

kidneystones 09.26.16 at 12:54 pm

The most pressing problem in human history?

‘Climate change’ isn’t even the most pressing problem in America this year. At least that’s according to both Pew and Gallup.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1675/most-important-problem.aspx

As for your goofy ‘world revolution’ stuff, nobody outside of a few aging hippies is interested in any of that crap.

Let them eat dialectic!!

771

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 1:13 pm

Faustusnotes, not to repeat word-for-word what I asked you above or anything like that, but any response at all on the issue of Lupita’s “brocialism”? Honestly I wouldn’t bother responding at all if not for the (honestly pretty pathetic) spectacle of first js and now you being left with literally nothing to say after being called out on the misogyny and racism of the idea that only white guys can be socialists.

Layman, it seems like you’re asking for a detailed theory of what politics in a postcapitalist global society would look like, and if I had the hubris to attempt something like that I certainly wouldn’t be talking about it in a place like CT. Even Marx didn’t try his hand at that one. Suffice it to say, in such a society the currently insurmountable obstacles to any meaningful progress on climate change — the constant irresistible drive for economic growth at any cost among nation-states granting fossil fuel concessions, among companies doing the drilling/refining/burning, and among institutions of global governance protecting the ability of the aforementioned to continue unabated — would no longer be insurmountable. Admittedly I’m pessimistic that global capitalism can develop into a postcapitalist society before burning through enough fossil fuels to do lasting and devastating harm to humanity’s ecological niche on Earth, but it’s clear enough that capitalism qua capitalism will never be able to stop itself.

772

TM 09.26.16 at 1:20 pm

Most embarrassing thread ever. Let it stand as a monument to the irrelevance of the American left, its failure to rise to the most pressing challenge of our time. Have mercy and close this shipwreck to further comments.

773

Layman 09.26.16 at 1:21 pm

…it seems like you’re asking for a detailed theory of what politics in a postcapitalist global society would look like..”

No, not really. I just needed a good dose of facile condescension to start my day, so I went to the source.

774

ZM 09.26.16 at 1:27 pm

Yan,

“What isn’t to be suspected is his fellow travelers saying nothing about this overtly sexist and racist usage of bro-rhetoric to erase Lupit’s identity.”

Um, weren’t you saying on some other thread where racism came up — and I believe I recall you there defending some racists on account of them being poor or uneducated or something — how you wished Foucault did a archaeology of racism? From which I gathered you meant like his Discipline and Punish or Madness and Civilisation, saving racism from its internment in the prisons of reason or some such…?

Yan 08.22.2016 “Particularly the point about how essentializing and moralizing racism serves to divert attention away from systematic kinds (Pete’s comparison to the concept of criminality is apt, though I don’t think you have to accept entirely environmental explanations of crime to recognize instances of intending crime don’t require an entire essentialist human typology for their causal explanation–a shame Foucault never wrote about racism…)”

I meant to point out to you at some point that Foucault didn’t seem overly sympathetic to racism in a way that might have piqued his interest for the project you described you wished he wrote, for example,

“Nazism was doubtless the most cunning and the most naive (and the former because of the latter) combination of the fantasies of blood and the paroxysms of a disciplinary power. A eugenic ordering of society, with all that implied in the way of extension and intensification of micro-powers, in the guise of an unrestricted state control, was accompanied by the oneiric exaltation of a superior blood…. “

775

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 1:29 pm

Layman, the implicit bigotry underlying “brocialist” as a term for left-of-liberal politics — delegitimizing the political views of nonwhite and/or nonmale socialists, implying that those people’s identities should force them to be liberals, or else refusing to acknowledge that those people even exist at all — has been explained repeatedly both here and elsewhere. I’ve also never seen a credible response from the kinds of people who use the term, neither here nor elsewhere, that doesn’t lapse into explicit bigotry: see for example Gloria Steinem’s spiel about how women who support Bernie Sanders do it because boys like him and they want to impress the boys, not possibly because they might have political preferences of their own.

776

Layman 09.26.16 at 1:45 pm

“…has been explained repeatedly both here and elsewhere…”

No doubt, but that’s hardly a response to my implicit request, which was to be pointed to the post which Yan (or you) think demonstrates this behavior.

777

TM 09.26.16 at 1:57 pm

I see the term brocialist used 15 times on this page by Will and two times by fn, and those were obvious references to Will.

Will, out of curiosity – since you are referring to supporters of Sanders, do you think they are anti-capitalists? Because it really would be the hight of irony from someone of the “no solution within capitalism” fraction to imagine a group of moderate social democrats as the vanguard of socialism, as opposed to those pro-capitalist left liberals (who are in actuality politically almost indistinguishable from the social democtrats).

778

Anarcissie 09.26.16 at 1:58 pm

kidneystones 09.26.16 at 12:54 pm @ 770 —
The problem for the ageless unhippies is that at some point one has to deal with reality, because, as Feynman pointed out, Nature can’t be fooled. That applies not only to climate change, but to such other not so famous but very important whole-system problems like the vitiation of antibiotics. The principles of capitalism as we know it are antithetical to solving these problems, and some people — aging hippies, if you want — are more interested in getting at the truth than exchanging fables.

779

faustusnotes 09.26.16 at 2:15 pm

“suffice it to say”, Will? It does not “suffice” to say. You have 30 years to solve a problem that is going to be a little worse than just a bit of ecological damage, and you can’t present anything except the typical handwaving that the revolution will make it all better. And we haven’t even got to the revolution yet, because you won’t share your cast iron method for getting there within 30 years.

If you have nothing to say about how to solve the biggest problem facing human civilization since it started, you need to accept that your politics is a waste of time. You might also be advised to dial back the snark about people who want to see political choices made that actually make a difference in our lifetimes, instead of accusing us of holding back progress to a perfect world that you have made abundantly clear you have no alternative strategy for getting to. Clinton may have compromised on a minimum wage of $12, but that’s going to achieve way more than all your posturing about revolution and real change. Unlike you, she knows how to make change happen, and she even has a vision of what that change might be!

You also don’t seem to understand what brocialism (the insult) means, but it’s cute to see the people who on a previous thread were sneering at identity politics (people like Yan) getting suddenly so triggered by it in this thread. I’m sure though that these identity issues are really really important to you, right? Which is why on the censorship thread you were sneering at them, but now you’re outraged …

780

Yan 09.26.16 at 2:38 pm

TM 767, key word “directly.” I read about his posts in the replies.

Layman 776, I think it’s obvious to anyone making an effort that Lupita and Will G R are objecting to Faustusnotes at 749. Lupita immediately responded and pointed out the absurd implications:

“Waiting for it all to fall apart is not a solution lupita. If it takes more than 30 years were all in big trouble. All I see from the brocialists here is nihilism.”

Go ahead and make the case that in this post she’s not by implication included in the nihilist bro class. It’s a possible, if unconvincing reading. But pretending you can’t figure out what they’re objecting to is the old academic gaslightling trick of playing dumb. I don’t buy it.

Really what’s objectionable–I think will G R has said something isn’t this vein–isn’t so much this particular case of dismissing the political views of a non white woman by comparing her to a priveleged white man, but what this tells us about the true purpose and function of the rhetoric: to fuse ideology and identity in a way that makes oppositional voices disapear or appear as exceptions that prove the rule.

And I suspect the further goal is to give white people the ability to overcome their racial guilt by stepping into this newly ideologically defined version of identity and act as spokespeople for all of the oppressed–i.e., speak both for them and over them.

All I see from the brocialists here is nihilism.huge woman to lecture brown

781

Yan 09.26.16 at 2:41 pm

ZM

“believe I recall you there defending some racists on account of them being poor or uneducated or something…”

Jesus, you’re as deplorable as Faustusnotes.

782

ZM 09.26.16 at 2:48 pm

Yan,

This was what I meant:

“I think we’ve reached a reductio ad absurum of identity-exclusive leftism (n.b. #notallidentitypolitics): arguing that the racism of a region that once structured its entire economy around forced unpaid labor can’t possibly be partly explained by economic causes.”

783

Yan 09.26.16 at 3:05 pm

I didn’t notice any outrage. It’s just a bit embarrassing when your side compares a Mexican woman to a priveleged white man, don’t you think? Just a little? Okay, not embarrassing. It’s nothing. Weird, though, right? Not that it reflects badly. No. Not at all. Purely accidental. It definitely does not reveal anything about insecurities and pathologies that might be underlying the internal conflicts in the American left. Of course not. But still somehow curious, right? Funny. Let’s say funny.

784

TM 09.26.16 at 3:06 pm

780 Sigh. faustusnotes refers to “the brocialists” in third person when responding to Lupita so your claim is far-fetched. If you feel so deeply about that term, then complain to Will about introducing it.

You are wasting everybody’s time. If you care at all about the substance of the debate, why don’t you talk about the “nihilism” charge faustusnotes made. Isn’t that insulting?

785

Yan 09.26.16 at 3:12 pm

ZM 782,

You see why the framing “you were defending racists” is question begging. I see it as analogous to when the left says: in order to stop terrorism we need to understand terrorists, which includes not only understanding their perceived reasons no matter how false, but also understanding legitimate reasons that motivate illegitimate beliefs and actions.

When attempts to understand the way illigitmate racist beliefs and actions can be motivated (not justified) by legitimate complaints, e.g., economic ones, is called defending racism, I think it’s exactly analogous to conservatives accusing the left of defending or supporting terrorism.

786

Yan 09.26.16 at 3:13 pm

… Le sigh.

787

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 3:15 pm

Oh wonderful, faustusnotes, now we can add “triggered!” jokes to your little reactionary hit parade. Why don’t you go back to 4chan where you belong?

788

ZM 09.26.16 at 3:27 pm

Yan,

Well in conjunction with the Foucault comment I had you filed in my mind as a defender of racism. I think this was a reasonable assumption really, but if you are saying you were just interested in how economic factors contribute to racism, and you were definitely not saying they justified racism, I’m happy to leave it there.

789

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 3:43 pm

ZM, there’s an absolute boatload of Marxian literature on the topic of racism and the white working class, in case you’re curious. A few I’d recommend are Roediger’s The Wages of Whiteness, Sakai’s Settlers: the Mythology of the White Proletariat, and Cope’s Divided World Divided Class. Of course one has to be willing to fathom that the answer to Thomas Frank’s old question “what’s the matter with Kansas?” just might be “capitalism”.

790

Yan 09.26.16 at 3:57 pm

ZM, 788

I’m surprised, since I tried to bend over backward in that thread to distinguish the legitimate and illegitimate aspects of what I claimed were broader economic and cultural causal factors in the aggravation of racism, but okay, I do appreciate you taking my word on it. Leaving it there is fair.

On Foucault: I’m interested in the construction of the racist as a natural human kind, a type that isnt explicable by any causal factors outside if its own essential attributes, in which identity, belief, and action become joined to the point of being inseparable, so that, e.g., we’re no longer able to meaningfully distinguish a racist action from a racist belief, or belief from disposition or disposition from person, so that racist as noun and adjective become synonymous.

Interested on two levels. First, of course, the problem of constructed kinds is that in mistaking them for natural, we force a lot of individuals in that don’t fit in the box. Anyone who shares any properties gets essentialized, then into the box they go. As with criminality, this often contributes to turning non-criminals into criminals. The same may happen with racism and sexism. So, the typology is often just inaccurate in application.

Second, to the degree that it is accurate, identifying members of a stable if constructed, human kind, the implication for treatment. What can you do but, as with incurable mad people and criminals, but lock them up and wait for them to die? Well, assuming they are constructed, we have to alter the machine that manufactures them. So, the fatalistic language of natural kinds obscures the solution: structural, social, not moral or individual.

We needn’t have sympathy with racism (or madness or crime) to want to know how racists are made, and how we can stop making them.

791

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 4:25 pm

TM, here’s what I said to Lupita @ 588: I introduced “brocialist” in this conversation as an ironic shorthand for Clinton toadies’ misogynist/racist efforts to deny the agency of radical women and/or people of color, and they’ve seemed to pick up the rhetorical baton and run with it unironically. You’re correct that the term itself originated in reference to the Clinton/Sanders scuffle in which neither side was particularly anticapitalist in any meaningful sense, but the broader narrative for which the term is a shorthand can work an all-purpose critique by liberal feminists/antiracists of literally anybody to their left, for not being “realistic” or “pragmatic” enough in accepting whatever premises of liberal capitalism are being held up as a path to incremental progress or whatever. As such the narrative has played a prominent role in this thread, see for instance js. @ 301 or Val @ 486, and the actual beliefs and actions of socialist-oriented women/POC like Lupita are so inconvenient to this narrative that none of the people spreading it have bothered to so much as acknowledge her (at least not until faustusnotes did, and promptly stuck their foot in their mouth).

792

faustusnotes 09.26.16 at 5:14 pm

Will, I think you need to read my comments a little more closely to figure out when paragraphs are connected and when they’re not. Paragraphs exist for a reason and I’ve been arguing with two different streams of “thought” here – lupita’s fatalism and your nihilism. Since you don’t seem to understand what “brocialist” means you have confused about what I meant when I was explaining what I think of your political perspective to lupita. I assumed lupita got the drift, since she made the amusing “siscialist” rejoinder.

But your high dudgeon is certainly helping you avoid addressing the point I have tried to get you to address repeatedly – namely that you have no solution for global warming and no viable strategy for getting anywhere near a solution this century, by which time we will have sealed our descendants’ fate. This is the nihilism I’m referring to – not lupita’s fatalistic patience that it will all fall apart, but your apparent belief that the worse things get the sooner we can all achieve nirvana.

So again, once more – do you have any strategy at all for winning any of your goals, and specifically do you have any strategy at all for tackling global warming? And if your politics can’t respond to the biggest challenge in human history – except with glib answers like “suffice to say” it will all work out – what use is it to anyone?

793

Stephen 09.26.16 at 5:27 pm

Yan@780: I’m dropping into this conversation without having read all of the previous posts, but when you write “the further goal is to give white people the ability to overcome their racial guilt” is it your opinion that white people (all white people? some white people? within or outside the USA?) suffer or should suffer from racial guilt; or is that the opinion you attribute to others?

If the former, could you please justify it. If the latter, could anyone (if there is anyone) holding it please justify it.

794

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 5:31 pm

Faustusnotes, I’ve explained to you my position on climate change time and again. I don’t claim to know exactly what politics would look like in a postcapitalist society, but what I do claim is that no solution to climate change is possible at all in a capitalist society, so building a postcapitalist society capable of achieving a solution is a necessary first step. If your position is that this is impossible, then your position amounts to admitting that we’ve already lost.

Aside from that, I might be more inclined to interpret your “brocialist” rhetoric toward Lupita as charitably as you want me to — Lupita and I are arguing more or less the same agenda, after all — if you hadn’t just stuck your foot in your mouth again with a typically reactionary (not to mention lazy and asinine) “triggered!” joke at the expense of PTSD sufferers. Would you care to explain yourself? I’ll wait.

795

Tyrone Slothrop 09.26.16 at 5:55 pm

Till your love comes down. I’m coming straight for your heart…

796

Lee A. Arnold 09.26.16 at 6:13 pm

Mark Thoma link to Scientific American a few minutes ago that Trump has named climate denialist Myron Ebell to head the “EPA transition team”. While most people know that a solution to climate change is certainly possible in a capitalist society, this is a dangerous step backward, to say the least.

797

Yan 09.26.16 at 6:17 pm

Stephen @793,

That was just a suspicion, I’m not making any strong claims or have a committed view here.

The dilemma is this: those using “brocialist” or “berniebro” (= “priveleged white male”) as a criticism are often white, often priveleged, often male, and often all three. Yet they sometimes use these criticisms against people who are women, persons of color, or both.

So what would psychologically motivate so many white or male or privileged people to use their own identities as a criticism, including indirectly against people who don’t share the very identity they’re critiquing?

My best guess is that it’s imaginary redemption of their sins: they feel guilty about being privileged, often the trifecta of privilege because white, male, and economically comfortable, and so they overcompensate by, in effect, channeling their polar opposites and forgetting about their guilt by focusing on calling out others’ privilege.

Which white people? #notallwhitepeople. I meant the ones who use this rhetoric. But I suspect most white people feel some guilt about racism to some degree or another. I’m only half white, but both of my halves feel at least some guilt about racism.

Should they? Well, sure, in the broad sense of giving a damn and recognizing a non-trivial historical connection to it, including some unfair advantages that accrue. Just like economically comfortable people should feel *some* degree of guilt in *some* general sense of the word that so many of the world’s people are poor or economically precarious. But that doesn’t amount to saying they are personally responsible.

Why, what’s the worry you have? What’s the stake your raising in your question?

My worry is that the people pointing the finger of racism are sometimes themselves as much a part of the problem, and are deflecting blame rather than fixing things.

798

bruce wilder 09.26.16 at 6:33 pm

Lee A. Arnold @ 796

Politics as parody.

I might be more alarmed if I thought Clinton’s politics of “too little, too late” wrapped up in self-congratulatory self-delusion was objectively less catastrophic in its consequences than Trump’s made-for-teevee antic denialism.

The important choice isn’t between the surreality of the Hillary dream and the Trump nightmare, it is between being asleep and waking up.

799

Lee A. Arnold 09.26.16 at 6:40 pm

If you could prove it is a politics of “too little, too late”, that would be interesting.

800

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 6:52 pm

Yan, I think it goes deeper than that. The “brocialism” narrative isn’t just something these people use to cover for their own individual privilege as white men or whatever (since as this thread demonstrates, it’s also used by women and people of color). It’s also something they use to cover up their collective economic privilege as part of the upper strata of global capitalism, and to justify defending this privileged position against ideological assault by and for the billions of the wretched of the Earth, both within and outside First-World borders, whose interests they’d prefer to continue ignoring. Dismissing critiques from their left as unserious mental masturbation perpetuated by privileged dudebros who secretly belong to the right anyway is a wonderful way for them to imagine that they can simultaneously defend bourgeois class privilege and still retain their status as the real warriors for liberty, equality, gender-neutral-metaphorical-siblinghood, and all that good stuff. A good short summary of their position from a leftist critique of the musical Hamilton:

Contemporary progressivism has come to mean papering over material inequality with representational diversity. The president will continue to expand the national security state at the same rate as his predecessor, but at least he will be black. Predatory lending will drain the wealth from African American communities, but the board of Goldman Sachs will have several black members. Inequality will be rampant and worsening, but the 1% will at least “look like America.” The actual racial injustices of our time will continue unabated, but the power structure will be diversified so that nobody feels quite so bad about it.

Lee, 1500 years ago everybody knew the Roman Empire was the political center of the universe, 500 years ago everybody knew kings were ordained by God, and today you know that capitalism is the only possible economic system and can achieve anything, including a solution to climate change. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow…

801

Layman 09.26.16 at 6:54 pm

Yan @ 780: “Go ahead and make the case that in this post she’s not by implication included in the nihilist bro class. It’s a possible, if unconvincing reading. But pretending you can’t figure out what they’re objecting to is the old academic gaslightling trick of playing dumb. I don’t buy it..”

Put another way, you’re assuming faustusnotes meant something not actually said, and you doubt that any other people were confused by your assumption. That’s very clear now, thanks!

802

Layman 09.26.16 at 6:59 pm

Will G-R: “Dismissing critiques from their left as unserious mental masturbation perpetuated by privileged dudebros who secretly belong to the right anyway is a wonderful way for them to imagine that they can simultaneously defend bourgeois class privilege and still retain their status as the real warriors for liberty, equality, gender-neutral-metaphorical-siblinghood, and all that good stuff.”

This has the advantage of at least being funny! “When I argue with them, I’m offering a Serious Critique from The Left! When they argue with me, they’re just wankers!” I mean, why bother with all that mutual respect shit, if you can just blame it on them?

803

Lee A. Arnold 09.26.16 at 7:00 pm

Will G-R #800: “you know that capitalism is the only possible economic system and can achieve anything, including a solution to climate change.”

I did not write that and I certainly don’t believe it.

You wrote, “no solution to climate change is possible at all in a capitalist society”. This is unprovable and likely false.

804

Layman 09.26.16 at 7:02 pm

“This is unprovable and likely false.”

How can that be? It’s a Serious Critique from the Left!

805

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 8:27 pm

Lee, I’m starting to feel like a broken record. I’ve presented some fairly basic reasons why the frameworks of global governance available under contemporary global capitalism aren’t equipped to handle climate change (indeed, are well equipped to oppose any effort to handle it) and what’s been presented in response are a handful of appeals either to the isolated regulatory authority of individual nation-states, or the magical power of diplomatic delegations without any actual policymaking authority getting together and promising to do something, apparently based on these mechanisms’ wonderful track record of enforcing global standards in areas like labor rights. By all means I’ll revisit my position (and happily so!) if one of these Paris or Kyoto type negotiations ends up coming out with something like an independent “Climate/Polluter Dispute Settlement” tribunal system empowered to overturn laws and seize assets in a fashion similar to ISDS, but such an enforcement regime would be as out of step with the direction of today’s global capitalism as a similarly robust enforcement regime for global fair labor practices. Nobody in neoliberal global politics is bringing anything like that to the table, let alone bringing it within a glacier’s chance in British Columbia of passing, least of all Hillary Clinton.

Layman, go back and reread the sentence you quoted: what I said is that anti-“brocialist” liberals are dismissing their critics as unserious wankers. This dismissal is quite serious, not because it has anything to do with the reality of who socialists are or what socialism is, but because it seems to play a major role in these liberals’ ability to feel good about celebrating the evils of global capitalism and imperialism.

806

Layman 09.26.16 at 8:38 pm

“…go back and reread the sentence you quoted…”

Yes, I got it. You’re serious, the things you say are serious; they’re not serious, they’re just being dismissive. Thus you can (and do) dismiss them. Isn’t that the essence of your seriousness?

807

Raven Onthill 09.26.16 at 8:38 pm

> So the thousands, millions of dead and tortured do not count because the invasions were an abysmal failure?

In many ways, those deaths are the failure. A war of conquest that leaves only scorched earth is lost. To an opponent of war like me, the deaths and the war itself is the failure, but even to pragmatic politicians and economists such “victories” are failures; who wants to rule a desert, unless it sits on a pool of oil?

> It is your personal opinion that a Nafta-less North America would be brutal.

I have little love of NAFTA, and did not support it when it was proposed. What I am referring to is historical fact; such changes are never easy. A drastic change will be harsh, and the harshness will largely fall on those with the least resources to bear the change.

> Whomever is elected, Mexicans will be expelled, either from Mexico, from the US, or back and forth. I do not see that being expelled one way is worse than the other.

How many Mexicans are to be uprooted? Such a large forced migration cannot be accomplished without deaths. How many Mexican lives will be spent?

> American cops are going to cross the border and arrest us? That is at the level of “they will receive us with flowers”.

They have already crossed the borders, did you not know? But, no, more likely it would be Mexico’s own Federales who will be pressed into service. A military invasion is, unfortunately, not out of the question. Trump is a cruel, petty, vindictive, domineering man, and to have such as the commander in chief of the vast forces of the USA is a frightening prospect.

>The main processor and distributor of American corn (the one that makes mushy, useless tortillas) is ex-president Salinas’ compadre.

Mexican politics and finance are deeply corrupt and this is not the work of the USA. Every now and again, an upright competent figure like Juarez emerges in Latin America, but figures like Diaz are, alas, far more common. (My spouse, BTW, also complains about sweet corn.)

> And a Obama presidency, a Bush presidency, a Clinton one, Bush, Reagan, and so on all the way back to Polk with the exception of Lincoln, who was Juárez’ pen pal.

Is Clinton promising to deport millions? The Eisenhower Operation Wetback (implemented, ironically, at the behest of the Mexican government) claimed over a million, but actually fell far short. What Trump proposes is something new. If put into practice it will be horrible.

> The right hand does not know what the left is up to?

They are in conflict. Why do you think global politics and finance are in such a mess? It is not because they are all well-coordinated parts of a single well-run empire! The US and European military has no direct connections with the international banking system at all. Central and global bankers as a general rule dislike war as destructive of profits. Many military leaders are contemptuous of bankers. (There are, however, some banks and corporations that do profit from war.) The system is not controlled by leaders in New York, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Zurich, Tokyo, Beijing, Riyadh, Dubai, Mumbai, Mexico City or anywhere else. Rather all of these places are regional centers and they are in constant conflict.

If we are to survive to your better world, it will not be because we have fought among ourselves as the old world falls.

808

Raven Onthill 09.26.16 at 8:48 pm

Life after the collapse would be like life during the European middle ages or in Mexican indigenous communities but with internet, longer life expectancy, and less rigid social hierarchies.

This is to be hoped for, but first there must be enough to eat. Faustusnotes correctly points at climate change as a terrifying environmental problem, but there is also resource exhaustion, habitat destruction, and more and synergies among environmental problems will make matters worse. No-one knows if the industrial infrastructure to maintain anything like an internet can be sustained with a drastically reduced population, and without careful and intense effort to preserve medical knowledge that longer life expectancy will not be maintained. And all of it will be less likely if the global order falls apart, and there is conflict among the resulting pieces.

809

Lee A. Arnold 09.26.16 at 8:58 pm

Will G-R, Technological change is proceeding so rapidly that concern about the type of economic system in which it happens is beside the point.

Computational materials science is changing the physical possibilities for energy production and storage, obsolescing all previous expectations and we have barely scratched the surface.

Scientific announcements come almost daily. For example, just three days ago Science magazine reported that photovoltaic cells with inorganic perovskites may double the theoretical efficiency of traditional silicon solar cells (to over 60%, and they are also cheaper to manufacture).
http://phys.org/news/2016-09-chemists-key-efficient-solar-cells.html
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6306/1409

Capitalism is putting itself out of business, for related reasons. Keynes and Schumpeter made detailed arguments as to why this would be so, and their scenarios looked a lot like current events. Probably half of the people in the 19th Century thought it was likely.

810

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 8:59 pm

Layman, far be it from me to deny that some people are quite serious about the “brocialist” critique, even if it’s unfounded — js and Val seem to be good examples. (On the other hand some don’t seem to be serious at all, like Faustusnotes with the whole “ha ha, did I trigger you, you poor brocialists?” thing, which AFAIK is no less beyond the pale in today’s liberal feminist/antiracist discourses than in radical ones.) Either way, pointing to the fact that many women and people of color are in fact socialists isn’t so much intended to dismiss the liberal anti-brocialist folks as to refute them, and only if they show themselves unserious by refusing to acknowledge the point do they start to warrant dismissal.

811

Val 09.26.16 at 9:02 pm

So Will, let me see if I’ve got your analysis right, at least as far as it concerns me:

Val @486 makes mildly amusing joke (at least one person laughed) at the expense of Bruce Wilder and Will G-R

=

Val is “celebrating the evils of global capitalism and imperialism”.

It seems to me Will that you may have a slightly exaggerated sense of your own importance in the great scheme of things. You’re not the only one who opposes the evils of global capitalism and imperialism. Other people may have different ideas than you about how to address them, but having different ideas from you is not the same as “celebrating the evils of global capitalism and imperialism”.

It is definitely worth having discussions about what a vote for Hillary Clinton means, and how we can move the agenda further left, but I don’t think I should respond to you any further, because at present you’re derailing that important discussion.

812

Layman 09.26.16 at 9:16 pm

Will G-R: “…far be it from me to deny…”

Indeed, farbeit! That would be Totally Unserious, and thus get in the way of dismissing them Seriously. With Seriousness.

813

Will G-R 09.26.16 at 9:53 pm

OK Lee, now you may be getting somewhere. (This could be a longer conversation, but attributing these insights to Keynes and Schumpeter is rich, since each of their critiques in this direction strongly resembles in different ways Marx’s critique with a bourgeois veneer.) I absolutely agree that the kinds of abundant-energy technologies we’d ultimately need to in order to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels while remaining technologically post-medieval would be impossible or near-impossible to commodify, and that decommodifying as fundamental a sector of capitalist accumulation as energy would be a potentially mortal blow to the entire system. If what you’re proposing is the standard Marxian line on concentration and automation, where capitalism develops the possible material basis for postcapitalist abundance but blocks its realization through political organs that then have to be swept away in a revolution, that sounds fine by me. Now about this whole “revolution” thing…

Val, nowhere in this thread have I claimed to be particularly important. What I’ve claimed is that electoral politics offers us an easy and pain-free way to imagine ourselves as doing something meaningfully good in the world, when our existence as compliant citizens of affluent countries in a capitalist world political order does more harm than any good we can individually do by supporting any one candidate or another within a capitalist nation-state. As Bruce put it way back when, I’d rather detach myself from this politics now, and try to leave myself open to a political project that might stand to actually do some good in the world, instead of twisting my moral judgment in knots on behalf of schmucks like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

814

Layman 09.26.16 at 10:12 pm

Will G-R: “…I’d rather detach myself from this politics now, and try to leave myself open to a political project that might stand to actually do some good in the world, instead of twisting my moral judgment in knots on behalf of schmucks like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

But that’s a false dichotomy, isn’t it? You can easily do both – try to leave yourself open to fantasmagorical unicornicious projects, AND choose the lesser of two evils. You can probably even have a good glass of wine while you do it. Hell, that’s THREE things. Can I pour you another glass?

815

Lee A. Arnold 09.27.16 at 12:32 am

Will G-R, both Keynes and Schumpeter both criticized Marx on many points but Schumpeter goes on to describe his own theory of capitalism’s inevitable obsolescence as Marxian in nature. To call Schumpeter’s critique “bourgeois” is quite misleading since he essentially predicts that the bourgeoisie will become incapable of defending the system due to specific changes in psychology. There may not be a revolution if it becomes a fait accompli. No bang, a whimper.

In the meantime, we don’t need to become “technologically post-medieval”. The intensity of energy use does not need to be reduced (although in many cases new efficiencies are already reducing it). This is because renewable energies can have equivalent electromotive force without entropies which are harmful to the biosphere. (What will harm the biosphere is human population growth). Therefore whether the new technologies are commodities, or not, is unimportant.

816

Anarcissie 09.27.16 at 12:52 am

Layman 09.26.16 at 10:12 pm @ 814 —
With ‘fantasmagorical unicornicious projects’ you demonstrate one of the problems I would have in attempting to do political work with regular Democrats or ‘liberals’ (American terminology) — the contempt and, often, personal animosity they have for people like me and politics like mine. Overcoming each dose could add up to heavy lifting after a while. Better if I stay away with my f.u. projects and allow you to enjoy your contempt in peace among your friends.

817

bruce wilder 09.27.16 at 12:53 am

Layman @ 814

What happened to: you’re going to get one or the other. It does no good to say that Trump will be a disaster, but Hillary will, too, because it leads nowhere. Decide which one you’d rather see, and why, and make an argument.?

It seems to me that your individual “decision” and argument (if you choose to construct or adopt one) affects no one but yourself. Certainly not the outcome, regardless of whether you conceive of “outcome” narrowly (electoral result) or broadly (consequences, course of history).

Most people who can vote live in areas where the outcome of their State Presidential vote is a foregone certainty. They can make no difference voting for or against either major candidate. They may vote from a sense of duty as I will, but why deceive yourself that you have a choice about the outcome? You have a choice about who you are and whether you can live with an awareness of your doubt and powerlessness and tell the truth.

818

Layman 09.27.16 at 1:05 am

@Anarcissie, I think you’ll find I’d welcome a fantasmagorical unicornicious project of the type that you would like. If I have contempt, it is for this message: “That I have no f.u. project that I can describe in any coherent way, but despite that, I refuse to lift a hand on any lesser endeavor, because I’m better than that and better than you.” Note that I don’t attribute to you that view.

819

Faustusnotes 09.27.16 at 1:08 am

Will you must have great difficulty,try explaining the clean air act, or how Europe ended the acid rain problem, or London it’s fogs, or the ozone layer instruments. All achieved without one world government.

As I said above, you need to read more closely. I have recently been engaged on another thread defending trigger words and safe spaces against the brocialists here (like Bruce wilder, whose solution to climate change is as yet unspecified), who think it’s all another distraction from the Struggle by Beardy Dudes to Make the World Better (for white working men). As I correctly inferred you are a member of that particular ideological clique,I deployed a small joke here intended to imply that though you think it’s all bullshit you have your own trigger words. Had you read the other thread (or indeed if you had any capacity for detecting humor, piss-taking or any form of non serious interaction) you would have got the reference. It’s not the case here that it wasn’t funny – you just don’t seem to even understand when people are trying to take the piss.

You need to get out more. Then maybe you’d meet the kinds of people who will benefit from a Clinton presidency in the here and now, and that might make you wonder about whether waiting for your millenarian project to come true is a good idea (especially since you don’t have any strategy at all for getting there).

Anarccisie, I don’t have personal animosity against the far left. I do have an intense dislike of the politics of wait and see, especially when it’s backed up by a committed belief in every bullshit story the right has putout about Clinton, thickly woven with fantastic beliefs about how trump is really secretly left wing, refuses to engage with the actual politics of the day, and accuses anyone who supports a Clinton vote of selling out the poor. Even more so when it’s put forward by people who have no alternative strategy for getting to their unicorn world, and no idea of how it will work when they get there.

There was a time when socialists had concrete solutions to concrete problems. It’s likely that any socialist world will still have nation states and disputed interests. In a world of global problems, responsible socialists need to have an idea for how they will handle those problems and a recognition that we need to act now on most serious environmental ones. A complete unwillingness to contemplate interim measures is shallow and reveals a politics of posturing. There is no “social” in that socialism.

820

Helen 09.27.16 at 2:22 am

Will G-R 09.23.16 at 3:41 pm: “As long as fossil fuels are an area of profitable investment, what we’ll need is a way to establish and maintain regulatory obstacles to profitable investment — which is a problem since an immutable premise of neoliberal global politics….(etc)”

http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/wood-mackenzie-estimates-that-65pc-of-world-coal-output-is-lossmaking-20151209-gljxj4.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/coals-collapse-scorches-miners-profit-margins-1456228748

821

Will G-R 09.27.16 at 2:34 am

Faustusnotes, I don’t know what you intend the phrase “trigger word” to mean in the context of PTSD and trigger warnings, and it doesn’t sound like you have any idea either (a trauma trigger isn’t typically a specific individual word). It should be common fucking courtesy to precede exceptionally graphic, detailed, and/or sudden allusions to potentially traumatic experiences with a brief heads-up to help avoid personal discomfort or worse, but apparently to you it’s raw material with which to mock your political opponents’ intellectual responses to ideas they disagree with, and not only are you comfortable with this but you actually seem to find it somehow funny. Add to this that the immediate purpose of your pigheaded “triggered!” jokes is a misogynist and racist one — to marginalize and erase women and people of color for daring to disagree with your political views — and the only reasonable response should be “Go back to 4chan, you reactionary prick.”

822

Layman 09.27.16 at 2:44 am

@ Will G-R, it’s good that you’re Serious, and can dismiss your unSerious interlocutors with teh contempts and stuff!

823

Faustusnotes 09.27.16 at 3:14 am

Like I said will, you need to read deeper.

824

ZM 09.27.16 at 4:41 am

Will G-R,

I don’t think you get the brocialist idea frankly.

The idea is that some male socialists are super sexist. It’s not saying that there’s no socialists who are female or of non European racial or ethnic origins.

http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/how-to-spot-a-brocialist-the-guys-with-righteous-politics-but-dodgy-attitudes-to-girls

825

kidneystones 09.27.16 at 5:01 am

Hillary survives first debate! Jumps into gutter.

Trump sticks to issues, ignores media speaks straight to audience.

Called it!

826

js. 09.27.16 at 5:02 am

Holy shit—this is still going. Good times.

827

William Berry 09.27.16 at 5:50 am

@kidneystones:

Just go ahead and have the operation already. It’s a fairly basic procedure! You’ll feel better. Really!

828

bruce wilder 09.27.16 at 6:42 am

I watched only bits and pieces. Trump is a mess.

I did hear Clinton at one point say the U.S. needed “a smart surge” against (I think) ISIS.

It was a moment when the total cluelessness of Clinton came across. I doubt it registered with many, but if “smart surge” becomes her by-word, it will frighten me.

829

TM 09.27.16 at 7:37 am

I am with Layman @814 and 818. I reject the charge that those of us who criticize Will’s vacuous pseudo-radical rhetoric are pro-capitalist and uninterested in any utopian projects. To the contrary, I would be pleased if anybody here wanted to seriously discuss radical progressive politics. What I can’t stand is the attitude that fn correctly identified as nihilism – nothing can be done within capitalism so let’s wait for the revolution, and in the meantime the more suffering and misery is inflicted the better because that will make the system collapse faster. What I can’t stand is the historically totally illiterate suggestion that there’s no meaningful difference between fascism and liberalism. It’s just shocking that there are people who have learned nothing whatseoever from history and are serving up Stalin’s “social fascism” theory as the cutting edge of radical Marxist thought.

I also disagree with the claim that reform within capitalism is meaningless tinkering. The claim is politically poisonous and empirically false. It’s so dumb it really doesn’t deserve debate. Maybe Will doesn’t care for the 40 hour work week, paid vacation (*), accessible quality education (*), social insurance, clean drinking water (*), universal health care (*), environmental regulation, consumer protection, the Montreal protocol, civil rights, and a host of other “meaningless capitalist reforms”. I happen to care.

(*) You’ll notice if you are American that you don’t enjoy these but most of the developed world does. Another proof that reformism can’t achieve anything.

830

ZM 09.27.16 at 9:45 am

Will G-R,

“I’ve explained to you my position on climate change time and again. I don’t claim to know exactly what politics would look like in a postcapitalist society, but what I do claim is that no solution to climate change is possible at all in a capitalist society…”

I don’t really see why you hold this view exactly. Can you explain a bit more?

Generally in my experience its not so much capitalism but the idea of ongoing material growth which is indicted as contributing to ecological sustainability problems including climate change.

I think this makes sense, but I can’t see that it would make any difference whether it was a capitalist or some form of socialist economic system — if the challenge is the idea of contraints on material consumption is this any easier to solve in a socialist economy than a capitalist economy?

Also if you can’t describe what sort of post-capitalist economic system you are suggesting as facilitating a solution to climate change it is very difficult to evaluate your claims.

What system are you suggesting be put in place? And how would it be facilitate a solution to climate change?

The Democratic Convention has committed to a forum on climate change if the Democratic nominee for President wins, and a war time mobilisation response in the pipeline.

This is a really progressive and strong policy to come from a major political party, and after the Democratic Party announced this a former Australian Labor Party MP said on Facebook that its not a matter of if but when the Labor Party will follow suite in Australia, so the Democratic Party policy might spearhead similar policies in countries around the world.

“so building a postcapitalist society capable of achieving a solution is a necessary first step. If your position is that this is impossible, then your position amounts to admitting that we’ve already lost.”

Its a vert big first step and probably doesn’t leave any time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially when you aren’t even committing to what sort of socialist economy you want to be put in place.

When do you propose starting to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions with this idea? We only have about 30 years to get to a zero carbon economy. Time is of the essence.

Maybe you need to make a timeline or something with the changes you want over the next 30 years. I am not really convinced other wise. I think Hilary Clinton has a better climate change policy than this.

831

Val 09.27.16 at 10:38 am

@ 825

Trump sticks to issues, ignores media speaks straight to audience. … while snorting and sniffing

Poetic justice😂

832

Lee A. Arnold 09.27.16 at 10:42 am

Prediction: Opinion polls in about one week show Hillary back to 5-6 points ahead.

833

kidneystones 09.27.16 at 11:12 am

@832 Given that Monmouth and NBC both have Clinton up 4 and 7 right now, so Clinton staying at this level in some opinion polls is Lee A. Arnold bold move.

We’re not out of September. It’s less than 24 hours since the first debate and the election is in November.

Yes, the polls are likely to go up and down. Brave call.

834

bruce wilder 09.27.16 at 2:23 pm

News you can use for its metaphoric implications.

Two researchers who took science to the amusement park say they’ve found that a thrilling roller coaster ride just might help people shake out pesky kidney stones.

Dr. David Wartinger of Michigan State University said he’d heard patient after patient tell him about how they had passed kidney stones after riding one particular ride: the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Riding in the back of the roller coaster train seemed to really knock the kidney stones out, they reported in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

“Front seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of four of 24,” they wrote.

“Rear seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of 23 of 36.”

They mainly tested the one roller coaster ride, and it’s a fairly simple one. “The Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster is not a terribly dynamic ride,” Wartinger said. “It’s not very fast. It is not very tall. It makes sharp left and right turns that have some vibration.”

835

Will G-R 09.27.16 at 2:24 pm

Lee @ 815, whether renewable energy technologies are treated as commodities or not is absolutely essential. If an energy technology has low enough marginal costs to resist per-unit commodification, which after all is a suitable definition of “renewable” on the scale we’re talking about, the only way for its development not to slash into capitalist profits would be for capitalists to monopolize the supply of generating technology and charge an essentially unearned rent on access to the common energy supply. And if this is the model for making renewable energy compatible with capitalism, it also precludes renewable energy acting as a genuine alternative to fossil fuels, since for capitalists to charge any less for monopolized renewable energy sources than the socially necessary price of available nonrenewable alternatives (assuming there are still fossil fuels left in the ground in this scenario) would be to leave money on the table. Again, to break the iron grip of these economic imperatives one would have to break the iron grip of capitalism itself. (In the meantime, I agree that “bourgeois” is an inadequate term for Schumpeter’s economics, as are “neoclassical” and most other easy labels one might use to contrast it to Marxian economics. Maybe “antisocialist” would work, since while Schumpeter certainly predicted the end of capitalism and the dawn of socialism, he certainly wasn’t happy about it.)

ZM @ 824, systemic misogyny is a good basis for criticizing radical leftist circles as it is for criticizing any social circles whatsoever within a patriarchal culture, but that’s not the argument being made by anti-leftist liberals here. What they’re saying isn’t that some white men who are socialist in their politics also happen to be personally misogynist, they’re saying that white male socialists’ political rejection of opportunistic liberal compromise is itself a form of misogyny (and racism) because white male socialists allegedly don’t care enough about the potential victims of fascism to join with liberals’ oh-so-principled opposition to the fascist threat. The fact that many female and nonwhite socialists take the exact same line as their white male comrades against liberalism and fascism combined does completely contradict this narrative, which is why liberals spinning it have no response to female and nonwhite socialists (like Lupita in this very thread) except to pretend they don’t exist.

TM @ 829, we’ve been over this ground countless times but I’ll go over it again just for you. Liberal reformism didn’t achieve these benefits for First-World workers in a vacuum, it achieved them by granting the First-World labor aristocracy (commie gibberish jargon, look out!) a share of the proceeds of global imperialism, which is why it’s disingenuous to cite the relative security enjoyed by many workers in developed countries today except in light of the insecurity of the vast majority of workers around the world, and in light of the imperial realpolitik through which the advantaged position of First-World countries is sustained. See for an excellent example the exchange earlier in the thread about NAFTA’s effects on the Mexican economy, both for Lupita’s and phenomenal cat’s articulation of the socialist critique and for Raven’s and faustusnotes’ liberal obliviousness to this critique. This is also why to leftists with an international view, the major difference between liberalism and fascism is a semantic distinction between using the brutally repressive tactics of global imperialism exclusively in “foreign” policy, or using them in “domestic” policy as well. You can grapple with these arguments or you can preemptively dismiss them as historically illiterate Stalinist nonsense, whatever works best for you.

836

que_es 09.27.16 at 2:25 pm

BW: “I did hear Clinton at one point say the U.S. needed “a smart surge” against (I think) ISIS.

It was a moment when the total cluelessness of Clinton came across. I doubt it registered with many, but if “smart surge” becomes her by-word, it will frighten me.”

I think if you check the transcript she used the term “intelligence surge,” which she has used in the past to refer to the sharing of intelligence among allies. I believe WaPo has a transcript up.

837

Lee A. Arnold 09.27.16 at 6:24 pm

Will G-R #835: “which after all is a suitable definition of ‘renewable'”

No it is not.

838

bruce wilder 09.27.16 at 6:36 pm

que_es @ 836

That was probably what she was trying to invoke.

Understanding better what she is trying to say just makes her seem more clueless

839

TM 09.27.16 at 7:11 pm

835: “we’ve been over this ground countless times” Perhaps in your head? Not on this thread. In any case, there are many assertions in your comment. I will just pick one:

“See for an excellent example the exchange earlier in the thread about NAFTA’s effects on the Mexican economy, both for Lupita’s and phenomenal cat’s articulation of the socialist critique and for Raven’s and faustusnotes’ liberal obliviousness to this critique.”

To the contrary, I don’t think that exchange is an “excellent example” of anything. Lupita’s “socialist critique” of NAFTA reads in full: “If Mexicans depend on international trade and remittances from emigrant workers, it is because much of the population was made superfluous by NAFTA.” cat had a bit more to add but nothing by way of substance. Nothing of this rose above the level of spurious rhetoric, which I regret because a substantial contribution based on empirical evidence could have added some actual relevance to this dreadful thread. That others were “oblivious” to some “socialist critique” is a ridiculous assertion given that nothing even remotely resembling an actual political critique was offered (again, to my regret). needs to do

Your “labor aristocracy” argument doesn’t do a convincing job of explaining the difference between Flint, Michigan and Copenhagen, Denmark, both part of First World capitalist economies. Its insistence on zero sum economics seems undialectical to me and it fails to do justice to the people who organized politically to fight for and win social progress, including the accomplishments I mentioned; but probably your political sect doesn’t care for human agency.

You confirm in your last two sentences that your analysis of fascism is essentially a version of the social fascism theory and I literally have no time for that. I’m not “dismissing arguments” here, there just isn’t anything to dismiss.

Overall your little pamphlets remind me of Marxistische Gruppe literature, although they managed to hide their condescension better behind the calm air of imagined superiority. I would hope for a more fruitful exchange on these topics but it would require some people to get down from their high horse, show a bit of humility regarding the certainty of the truth they believe to be in possession of, and show some evidence of paying attention to the empirical universe we live in.

840

phenomenal cat 09.27.16 at 10:42 pm

TM,
It’s not hard if you’re actually interested. Do a search at your local uni library with the keywords “nafta, corn, mexican farmers” and see what comes back. Hell, even google scholar will offer up somewhat decent findings.

No need to lament the spurious rhetoric of internet comments when so much “empirical evidence” is right at your fingertips.

841

Will G-R 09.27.16 at 10:47 pm

TM, a few comments where Lupita and I discuss the Marxian concept of imperialism and its relationship to First-World affluence are currently @ 525, 565, and 711. A few comments where Lupita and phenomenal cat discuss NAFTA’s effects on Mexico are currently @ 628, 636, and 638. Ctrl+F plus about 30 seconds! True, one aspect of this critique that hasn’t necessarily been touched on here is the idea of settler-colonialism, which is part of what helps differentiate the North American interior from western Europe (as well as from the cities of the US northeast, founded as settler-colonial outposts of British and Dutch imperialism and now very much part of the global imperial metropolitan core) and which is discussed in the literature mentioned @ 789. But instead of treating your apparent demand that leftists and only leftists squeeze their entire political and economic philosophy into an already overlong WordPress comments section as anything but deliberately unreasonable, I’ll refer you to the Cope book I mentioned to ZM as well as this thesis by John Smith, since expanded into a recently published book called Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century, all of which talk at length not just about economic data but about the empirical shortcomings therein. While there are waves of earlier Marxian literature on these topics by more established theorists like Ernest Mandel or Samir Amin, I’m pointing you to recent authors who only began writing well after the fall of the USSR so you might be less inclined to hide your anti-intellectualism behind your Cold Warriorism.

All that aside, you managed to pack an incredible amount of condescension into a few paragraphs for something ostensibly framed as a call for greater humility. I’m arguing that I’m right and you’re wrong, you’re arguing that you’re right and I’m wrong, and in that sense neither of our horses is any higher or lower than the other’s; if anything your horse is quite a bit higher than mine and the other leftists’ here, since you don’t seem to care to make your own case at all before dismissing ours. So cut the smug sanctimonious post-ideology BS.

842

ZM 09.28.16 at 6:50 am

Will G-R,

“But instead of treating your apparent demand that leftists and only leftists squeeze their entire political and economic philosophy into an already overlong WordPress comments section as anything but deliberately unreasonable, I’ll refer you to the Cope book I mentioned to ZM as well as this thesis by John Smith, since expanded into a recently published book called Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century, all of which talk at length not just about economic data but about the empirical shortcomings therein. “

If you are interested in economic inequality between countries you might be interested in the UN Sustainable Development Goals http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

They replace the Millennium Development Goals and are meant to apply to all countries, the advanced economies and middle and developing economies.

I share your concern about economic inequality between countries, but I think there are ways of addressing this with international development policies and existing mechanisms. The Sustainable Development Goals are good because they recognise that the environment is not able to provide people in all countries with the current way of life enjoyed by those of us in advanced economies, and they are meant to start addressing this gap in a way that should be consistent with ecological sustainability.

They have hints and things for individuals in their daily lives, as well as guidelines for governments http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/

“ZM @ 824, systemic misogyny is a good basis for criticizing radical leftist circles as it is for criticizing any social circles whatsoever within a patriarchal culture, but that’s not the argument being made by anti-leftist liberals here…. they’re saying that white male socialists’ political rejection of opportunistic liberal compromise is itself a form of misogyny (and racism) because white male socialists allegedly don’t care enough about the potential victims of fascism to join with liberals’ oh-so-principled opposition to the fascist threat.”

I think what js and others like RNB have been saying on Crooked Timber for a while, to bruce wilder among others, is that the commenters who are stressing the equivalence they see between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are overlooking Trump’s racist policies about people from Mexico and people from Muslim or Middle Eastern backgrounds. This is why they are saying that socialists rejection of Hilary Clinton *in this particular Presidential election* is something tantamount to an act of racism, and is not demonstrating solidarity with people of other racial backgrounds.

I think this is a fair point myself. You don’t have a socialist candidate for President, you have Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump, or else minor party candidates who will take votes away from either major party candidate since you don’t have preferential voting in America (please get preferential voting like Australia, it is really a great improvement and means you can vote for your choice of candidates in preferential order).

843

ZM 09.28.16 at 7:36 am

Yan,

“On Foucault: I’m interested in the construction of the racist as a natural human kind, a type that isnt explicable by any causal factors outside if its own essential attributes, in which identity, belief, and action become joined to the point of being inseparable, so that, e.g., we’re no longer able to meaningfully distinguish a racist action from a racist belief, or belief from disposition or disposition from person, so that racist as noun and adjective become synonymous.
Interested on two levels. First, of course, the problem of constructed kinds is that in mistaking them for natural, we force a lot of individuals in that don’t fit in the box.”

Okay. I don’t really think racists are naturalised or essentialised in that fashion to be honest. Foucault was more interested in how the emerging and developed human sciences categorised people. The identification of some behaviours as being racism really only developed into the 20th C I would say, and don’t really follow the narrative scope Foucault was interested in, which is from the Renaissance to emerging Modernism and High Modernism, with his own work being undertaken in the Post-Modern era and Derrida’s essay on Foucault’s Madness And Civilisation points out Foucault and his own work and others of their millieu could be historicised just as Foucault had historicised others’ work in his genealogies.

It was people of non-European races who were categorised as being naturally of the race they ethnically belonged to — not racists. Racists were the people doing the writing and didn’t categorise themselves as racists at the time. Edward Said’s Orientalism goes into this pretty well I think. I had an academic interest in the history of anthropology in my undergraduate years for a while, and one notable thing is that you go from the traveller’s tales of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance to the modern anthropologists who take on the subjectivity of a physical scientist approaching people in other places and cultures. They actually sort of abrogate a regular sort of human subjectivity in their work in a way and you really have to wait until maybe the 70s and 80s for anthropology to take reflexive turn, in work by Geertz and Clifford etc.

The category of “racist” is just not a category in the human sciences. It is a common speech term, not a quasi scientific category of a type of person. You could possibly look for ethnographies of neo-Nazi’s or other particular groups of people sharing racist views, but it wouldn’t be something Foucault would have done, since its later than the period he was interested in. You are talking about people who express racist views as a subaltern group, and this only happened after racism itself became denaturalised, by which I mean that racist typologies of people from other cultures became denaturalised, and frowned on instead of normal. This is the period Foucault wrote during, not the period he studied. The framework is outside of any of his work I have read, what you are talking about is in Post-Modernism, and for Foucault this was a period that was less able to be examined, in The Order Of Things he writes after Nietzsche wondering what will happen after the death of Man (you know, like Jefferson’s idea of Man), he saw the human sciences as erasing the idea of Man.

“Second, to the degree that it is accurate, identifying members of a stable if constructed, human kind, the implication for treatment. What can you do but, as with incurable mad people and criminals, but lock them up and wait for them to die? Well, assuming they are constructed, we have to alter the machine that manufactures them. So, the fatalistic language of natural kinds obscures the solution: structural, social, not moral or individual.
We needn’t have sympathy with racism (or madness or crime) to want to know how racists are made, and how we can stop making them.”

Well to be honest this is sort of contra to Foucault’s project. Racists are not really his area of interest, and also as I said its not a human sciences category at all, its common speech, and it post-dates his area of study.

As I was saying the Post-Modern thought of his own time was not the key part of what he was examining, he thought the human sciences were extinguishing the idea of Man, and I kind of get the idea he sort of saw them as extinguishing something that he thought was valuable and crucial. I have really not read much of Discipline And Punish, but the idea of the Panopticon was something he was interested in and found rather horrifying about the Victorian age. We have one of the first Australian prisons made in the Panopticon fashion where I live actually. It was a working prison until the late 80s or 90s I think. Now we have a new prison. I don’t know about America but there were a lot of reforms to prisons in Australia after the 70s, and Foucault’s work was probably something that contributed to this as it would have been reading in the discipline. There was more education and art classes and things for people in prison, and that sort of thing. My parents both worked teaching in prisons for a while, and I know someone else who taught art in a prison too. The same happened for mental illness, one of Foucault’s other areas of interest, there was a lot of reform, with deinstitutionalisation and art classes and education and things, and now in Victoria my State there is an emphasis on recovery and also on the rights of people with mental illness and on the least coercive treatment possible. Foucault’s work wasn’t the only work influencing this, and you see not only academic work but grassroots groups both among the mentally ill, and prisoners and ex-prisoners.

There are very few people in Australia who are severely mentally unwell enough to “lock them up and wait for them to die”, and the same with criminals. I can only think of one particular criminal this approach is used for, the Russell St bomber. There might be a couple of others I can’t think of maybe, but definitely not many. I think you are a bit outdated with your ideas about this. Foucault’s work and the work of other people already had an influence from about the 70s onwards.

There are lots of ways that discourage racist behaviour, but it just isn’t a category that Foucault would be interested in. You can probably find an ethnography or something if you were really interested, but it would have to be an explicitly racist group like neo-Nazis or the KKK or something (like An Ethnographer Looks at Neo-Nazi and Klan Groups The Racist Mind Revisited RAPHAEL S. EZEKIEL http://abs.sagepub.com/content/46/1/51.short)

Most people who might behave in some racist ways or say some racist things, don’t even belong in a discrete category like that. I can’t see Foucault studying it, it would be difficult for an ethnographer to study it unless they did something like “Racism In Suburb X Tennessee” or something. I suppose you could do that maybe, I don’t know if anyone would like to be in the study much though. Or you could do a discourse analysis of a publication over 10 years or something. But I can’t see Foucault doing it even if he wasn’t dead.

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Will G-R 09.28.16 at 2:38 pm

ZM, yes this is what js and RNB and their ilk have been saying, and as has been repeated over and over again, the fact many of Hillary Clinton’s leftist opponents are women and people of color is absolutely incompatible with these liberals’ idea that refusing to support Clinton from the left is so inherently racist and misogynist that only white guys oblivious to their own privilege could do it. I told js, a self-identified person of color, that he was perpetuating racism and misogyny by refusing to acknowledge the existence or legitimacy of people like Lupita’s political views in a way he almost certainly wouldn’t do if they were white men, but when no liberals here are willing to look Lupita in the metaphorical online eye and directly accuse her of perpetuating racism and misogyny by arguing against Clinton, it implies that they don’t actually believe their own argument and are cynically wielding it as a rhetorical cudgel on behalf of the candidate they’d prefer anyway. (Which to me exemplifies what Bruce was talking about way back when regarding twisting one’s moral judgment on behalf of a candidate, since even if you’re a liberal, racism and misogyny should be far too serious to reduce to such a cynical electoral poker chip.) Gloria Steinem at least had the guts to make that kind of accusation earnestly when she said during the Democratic primaries that women who oppose Clinton from the left only do it to impress Clinton-opposing men, and she got burned enough for the obvious sexist ideology she was perpetuating that maybe liberals learned their lesson: instead of trying to marginalize female/nonwhite socialists by confronting them, do it by ignoring them.

As far as development goals and such, the literature on imperialism I cited above is instructive as to why this kind of thing will never move beyond the level of either cynical divide-and-conquer strategies to manage class conflict (i.e. granting privileges to a favorably racialized/gendered minority subset of workers in exchange for their supporting the repression of the unfavorably racialized/gendered majority) or pure pie-in-the-sky PR boilerplate. At least not under capitalism it won’t, anyway.

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