Twigs and branches

by John Quiggin on January 10, 2021

As prommised, here’s the first of the regular open threads, where you can comment on any topic. Moderation and standard rules still apply. Lengthy side discussions on other posts will be diverted here. Enjoy!

{ 93 comments }

1

nastywoman 01.10.21 at 10:00 pm

couldn’t we finally solve this… this ”problem” here that so many Americans seem to believe that the two US Parties – and all US Politicians are ”just the same”.

As it seems to be one of the major reason why so many Americans voted for Trump – because they are pretty much unable to differentiate between Racist Right-Wing Science Deniers and their opposite?

Or they really thought that Trump was (still) their best choice to destroy the US ”gubernment”?

2

namekarB 01.10.21 at 10:00 pm

One wonders if perhaps Guantanamo Bay would serve as a prisoner of war holding camp for all those being charged in The Cracker Barrel Uprising

3

nastywoman 01.10.21 at 10:55 pm

”The Cracker Barrel Uprising”

”The Cracker Barrel Uprising”??!

is the following review
from
you?

”Here for brebreakfast not the hood rats
Worst breakfast I ever had. If granny made food that way we’d have had an uprising!!!
Reviewed 2 January 2016
https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/ShowUserReviews-g56664-d1139248-r336515647-Cracker_Barrel-Sherman_Texas.html#

4

J-D 01.11.21 at 12:10 am

I just wanted to mention that I enjoyed seeing Senator Mazie Hirono’s tweet:

‘Gollum has lost his precious’

5

Omega Centauri 01.11.21 at 1:53 am

These folks are trying to stage the events in Revelations. One of the events so described, is that the anti-Christ appears, and a great many people mistake him for the second coming. Thats exactly what they are doing.

6

de Pony Sum 01.11.21 at 2:28 am

Little bit of case based moral exploration I did on the nature of friendship and snitching.

https://deponysum.com/2020/12/21/of-calculus-cheating-and-the-duties-of-a-friend-and-parent/

7

Hidari 01.11.21 at 8:02 am

Since this appears to be a free thread: some simple minded souls on previous threads are acting under the assumption that the Democrats’ attempts to impeach Trump are serious. They are not.

First: please remember this. Whatever one thinks about Trump, none of you have ever met him (I assume). None of you have heard him speak (I assume). In other words, all you are being exposed to is a carefully constructed media image of Trump, both by himself and his fans and his many enemies.

No one who has actually met and interacted with Trump on a regular basis has ever acted as if he was an aspiring dictator or a ‘Nazi’, and that includes Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence (both of whom dislike him, although for obviously different reasons).

Take this ‘impeachment’ attempt. Remember, the media created story is that Trump is a ‘Fascist dictator’ and that he attempted a coup and etc. Pelosi, (sorry to repeat this point, but it’s important) who knows Trump well, was given the option of immediately proceeding with impeachment on Friday and her attitude was ‘Naaah I can’t really be bothered, let’s do it after the weekend’. Would she behave like that if she definitely believed that Trump was a Nazi who had just tried to seize power and turn the United States into a dictatorship?

And now we find that instead of proceeding with impeachment, she has written to Mike Pence, giving him 24 hours to respond, asking him to invoke the 25th.

Now it’s really important to understand that Mike Pence will never invoke the 25th, under any circumstances, ever. Two people phoned him about it on Friday, and he refused to take their calls. And Pelosi knows this.

So this is just more delaying tactics. Pelosi and the Democrats are frantically denying it, but what they are in fact trying to do is to waste time until Trump leaves office (which he will,, incidentally, unless he is assassinated, in 9 days time). Trump will probably not even be impeached. He will absolutely and definitely not be removed from office (remember, no President ever has: Nixon resigned).

Noe will he be impeached after he leaves office, partly because that’s a contradiction in terms (how can you impeach a sitting President who is no longer sitting?), but also because it’s never been done before, and Democrats will be very wary of setting a precedent.

For all the hysteria about ‘coups’, Trump is now weaker than he has ever been, (probably weaker than any post-war President) and his hopes to be the ‘king maker’ for the Republicans are now probably over, as Patrick Cockburn explains here.
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-capitol-riots-republicans-gop-b1784550.html

In order to run again, Trump really needs a media outlet (there will be a blanket ban on coverage of him by the corporate media for a good year or so after he leaves office).

But that’s probably not possible.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/09/trump-building-media-empire-456888

And, again, Pelosi, can read. She knows all this. She also knows that a trial for ‘incitement’ or for ‘corruption’ will be precisely what Trump wants to ‘make his reputation’ as a ‘martyr’ for conservatism. Indeed, a trial of some sort would be absolutely the best (indeed the only) way for Trump to get any sort of publicity after he leaves office.

So, none of these things will happen. He won’t be impeached (and removed from office). The 25th won’t be invoked. He won’t be removed from office by the secret service or the police (we already knows he plans to be in Scotland for Biden’s inauguration). He won’t run again in 2024 (or if he does it will be as an independent, in a run to publicise his business interests. He won’t win).

8

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.11.21 at 9:02 am

de Pony Sum : Huh. So, I went to a college (Rice) that had an honor code, and we all swear to uphold it, to snitch if needed, as part of matriculation. I thought it was great: it meant take-home exams, no proctoring, and by and large being treated like honest adults. And yeah, sometimes people got caught cheating, by being snitched-upon.

The idea that someone is in the wrong, for reporting cheating in school, strikes me as fundamentally wrong. Your argument basically is that cheating is a victimless crime. So let’s go with that: is it wrong for me to report someone who cheats on their taxes? Hey, it’s a victimless crime! But this is wrong: we are all victims when someone cheats on their taxes, because someone must pay to support government. Similarly, if cheating is unpunished, then everyone will cheat, and eventually those who are honest will be penalized.

Someone who reports cheating is doing necessary garbage pickup. And should be applauded. Now that doesn’t make the father correct. The father’s position is that the son did wrong by reporting his classmates, and should now confess to them. But this is (again) bullshit. The -classmates- did wrong by cheating. The son merely reported them — to clean up the garbage. The father should commend his son for honesty, and for upholding good standards. He might counsel his son that yes, there are assholes in the world who will cheat, steal, fiddle their taxes, and will make you feel badly if you report them. But it’s a citizen’s duty to report those crimes. The father might recommend that the son choose better friends: friends who aren’t cheaters and liars.

I mean …. how is this even remotely controversial? The son did the right thing and should be commended.

9

nastywoman 01.11.21 at 11:04 am

Or/and
”What Now”?
What NOW to do with all these Americans who think that the ”insurrection” was justified or just some ”Clown Show”?
AND
”What to do with the over seventy million of Americans who voted for the obvious Racist and Right-Wing Science Denier Clownstick?

As y’all might have noticed that there are a lot of calls for ”accountability” –
not only on the Internet?

And I’m also – very much for ”accountability” – especially since Tucker Carlson (and Glenn Greenwald) are warning that some kind of“ crackdown of America’s civil liberties is coming”
Like:
“What happened will be used by the people taking power to justify stripping you of the rights you were born with as an American,” the Fox News host said.
and Glenn Greenwald wrote:
”Violence in the Capitol, Dangers in the Aftermath From the Cold War to the War on Terror: the harms from authoritarian “solutions” are often greater than the threats they are ostensibly designed to combat”.

And as there seems to be NOTHING more ”accountable” for a ”Tucker” and a ”Greenwald” and a ”Trump” – THEN taking their ”Internet Platforms” away –
HOW about holding them ALL accountable with:
NO TWITTER FOR LIFE?

And I don’t mean any restriction(s) of FREE SPEECH – as FREE SPEECH is important I just mean Tucker and Greenwald and Trump – THEN – could do their Free Speech the good old fashioned way by writing their articles for newspapers OR like…
like –
Mrs. Whistledown in Bridgerton?

10

nastywoman 01.11.21 at 11:25 am

and thinking about it?

Do you guys remember when I used to call Trump over and over again ‘The Clownstick” -(as one of Americas most ”profound” Philosophers had called him)
As I always hoped that one could break the TrumpFEAVER with ”The Great American Humor” –
BUT then so many – not only of y’all objected?

And there was all this advice to take ”the whole thing” more seriously and when I wrote to the NYT and suggested the headline:

THE AMERICAN POEPLE ELECTED TRUMP TO DESTROY THEIR GOVERNMENT
my friend at moderation wrote me with the advice NOT being so silly.
AND NOW
as we all have turned really… serious…

What NOW?

11

nastywoman 01.11.21 at 11:47 am

@7
”So, none of these things will happen. He won’t be impeached (and removed from office). The 25th won’t be invoked. He won’t be removed from office by the secret service or the police (we already knows he plans to be in Scotland for Biden’s inauguration). He won’t run again in 2024 (or if he does it will be as an independent, in a run to publicise his business interests. He won’t win).

BUT – thanks god – he will be ”canceled” forEVER –
Right – Hidari?

12

nastywoman 01.11.21 at 12:14 pm

and as Hidari –
on another threat mentioned the article:
”Trump May Face Prosecution — but Not for His War Crimes”

and I had responded to this article with the comment:

”I read the article now 3 -(in words:”three”) – times –
as I couldn’t believe that in an article about holding Trump ”accountable” –
neither the word ”Pandemic” nor ”Covid” appeared?

How in the World could these words be forgotten by anybody who writes about:
”Trump May Face Prosecution — but Not for His War Crimes” –
during –
”THE WAR AGAINST THE INVISiBLE ENEMY”
(as Trump called it)

HOW?!!!

AND
the comment:

”Calls are mounting for post-presidency prosecution of Trump and with very good reason. But they center around Trump’s personal and brazen crookedness. On the issue of his war crimes? Nothing”.

But didn’t Jon Schwarz already told you: ”They’re essentially the same thing”? (Trump and Reagan and Bush and Obama and every other US President?) And IF these Presidents are ”ALL the same thing” – why in the World would any of these US President be prosecuted for ”War Crimes”? –

INSTEAD OF IN A PANDEMIC – for the death of Hundred of Thousands of Americans
Because hardly anybody on TI asks: On the issue of the deaths in a Pandemic?

Nothing”.

(end quotes)

So – HOW ABOUT – NOW?
each time – somebody ask for accountability of the Right-Wing Racist Science Denier NOT derailing to ”something completely different” -(like Hillary or Obama)
AND I also never ever will ask again:
”How in the World could these words be forgotten by anybody who writes about:
”Trump May Face Prosecution — but Not for His War Crimes” –

13

nastywoman 01.11.21 at 1:22 pm

AND as I finally had a chance to quote Mr. Murphy on TI

https://theintercept.com/?p=340213&commentId=984bd2bd-06e4-4749-9940-dd8008fc056b

perhaps there is nothing more to say – about all of this?
And we could go back to something completely… different?
Like…
like?
Who really likes the… the Cracker Barrel?

14

notGoodenough 01.11.21 at 2:21 pm

General ramblings

The slightly flippant response to the “is Donald Trump a fascist?” is “probably not – that would require some degree of effort and ideological commitment”. For myself, I don’t find it a particularly interesting question – I am less concerned with people’s internal models and more by their actions [1]. Trump bears some responsibility for the harm he has caused, and it would be rather good if he faces some repercussions [2]. After all, if he can incite violence against US citizens without consequences [3], then it sets a rather bad precedent (and, perhaps, sets rather a bad president too).

To comment briefly, it seems right-wing rioters engaged in violence and intimidation (with some having stated an aim of murdering members of the US government), and this should lead to a firm reaction from the law (via, ideally, a thorough investigation leading to prosecutions under the appropriate laws – including of those who aided and abetted). Otherwise, of course, the implication is that so long as you are the “right sort of person” (e.g. with the right bank-balance, the right political views, etc.) you will face little-to-no consequences for your actions (a message which, if you’ll indulge me voicing my opinion, is one I feel is sent quite enough these days). It would be nice to imagine that this will cause US law enforcement and media to take right-wing domestic violence and terrorism seriously in the long term – but I suspect that won’t be any more the case than it has been in the last couple of decades (particularly given how eager some seem to be to downplay these events).

It appears to me that the discussion on the January 6 thread got rather side-tracked – perhaps oddly, given we now have open threads for that very reason. In order to avoid contributing to derailment, I shall make some general comments here.

The arguments regarding US foreign policy crimes smacks a little of whataboutary (the tendency to propose “you shouldn’t care about X because Y is much more important”). I am always a little suspicious of anyone who follows this line of argument, as it so frequently is employed to divert attention from issues which may be more easily addressed to those which are not. However, as this is an open thread (where I may indulge myself with responses however little interest there may be) I will engage briefly.

Should there be an accounting for US actions abroad? In my opinion, absolutely yes – but that is equally true for every country engaging in negative actions. Given that former Prime Minister Tony Blair (for example) has yet to see any significant repercussions for his various questionable actions (from nearly two decades ago now), I would say it is both highly unlikely to happen and far from constrained to the US only (tempting though it may be to imagine otherwise for both). If we follow the argument that “because the US has not carried out significant action regarding its negative foreign policy, Americans don’t care about Americans committing war crimes” then we should apply the same test to the UK. That would then seem to lead us to conclude that, for example, Jeremy Corbyn (despite being generally opposed military intervention) is actually pro-war crimes (if I need to explain why this would seem reveal the argument to be something of an overgeneralisation, then frankly I despair). Moreover, I find the train of logic driving this response to the US capital riots somewhat curious – after all, if one truly cares about people facing consequences for their actions (wrt. foreign policy), I am unconvinced the best way to address this is to argue that it is unimportant that people face consequences for their actions (wrt. inciting and engaging in riots). But perhaps I am missing the brilliant insight driving this.

As a final note, it is fascinating watching some trying to pretend that reasonable concern over people storming the US capital (some with the stated goal of murdering elected representatives) is “hysteria”. Apparently some would have me believe this is no-biggie, and we should probably all forget about it and the various bad actors involved. Personally, I am old enough to remember the consequences of other times when actions were rapidly memory-holed. Were I to believe that those commentators are capable of such reflection, I would suggest perhaps it would be worth considering what the consequences of ignoring this would be – and whether or not it is likely to be generally negative.

But then again, I am old and weary – and it is difficult for me to have much optimism for the future these days, though I respect those who still do.

[1] This is not to say internal models are unimportant (beliefs inform actions), but they are difficult to ascertain externally except by the exhibited behaviour. This is why, in general, I tend not to say “X is racist/sexist/etc.” but rather “X’s actions are in keeping with them being racist/sexist/etc., and none contradict that hypothesis”. A personal quirk, perhaps, but it does help me avoid the tiresome “but how do you know what X really believes” response.

[2] To exploit the age-old example, Trump not only shouted fire in a crowded theatre, but also told people to ignore those trying to direct them to the exists, called for the fire chief to be locked up, said the theatre owners were deliberate arsonists, and only now is slightly walking this back to reluctantly and begrudgingly say that perhaps it would be bad to trample the staff to death – but there totally is smoke! It was interesting to watch someone trying to imply that taking away his megaphone under such conditions was somehow wrong.

[3] Something Trump has done for quite some time now – aided and abetted by the Republican party, amongst others.

15

steven t johnson 01.11.21 at 4:07 pm

Hidari@7 asks ” Would (Pelosi) behave like that if she definitely believed that Trump was a Nazi who had just tried to seize power and turn the United States into a dictatorship?”

As might be expected from cheap rhetoric (pejorative sense of “rhetoric”) limiting the imagery to an exact copy of Nazis is meant to predetermine the answer. No, only a small number of Trumpists would endorse Trump if he wore a swastika armband, and certainly not a conventional thinker like Pelosi. Taken literally the question is a silly diversion.

But would Pelosi be afraid to engage in a political struggle with serious consequences like prison for members of the ruling class and their top managers? Hidari answers “no,” relying on a stupid form of the question to justify the answer. This is apologetic. There is no reason whatsoever to think that Pelosi has the principled commitment, or even the insight, much less the political courage, to fight anything. Indignation at rabble threatening her personally, tearing down her nameplate, propping dirty feet on her desk, yes, even Pelosi can resent that. But do anything more than hint to the army that launching nuclear weapons at Trump’s behest might not be a good idea? Not likely. Hidari’s confidence Pelosi is a determined defender of democracy doesn’t even fit with the thesis the real threat is…laws from the likes of Pelosi.

The general pretense that because this coup failed that there was no danger is preposterous. The real coup was not the rioters, indispensable a part as they were. The deliberate withdrawal of defenses on the part of the US military was a key part of it. Every indication is that it was the resistance from the Secret Service that kept the riot out of the chambers. According to Sund, ex-chief of Capital Police, Lt. General Walter Piatt (if memory serves,) resisted sending in the National Guard, abetted by Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, a Trump flunkie put in to reinforce Trump’s control after Esper refused to send out the military back in June.

Hidari wants to believe that Pelosi has moral principles against sending out troops so strong as to take political risks to clean house. It would be generous to say Hidari is naive. (The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was not motivated by militias in the Nineties as I recall, nor was it nearly as much a problem as the Bush Safe Streets Act of 1990 or (Biden’s) Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (also signed by Clinton.) Militias were not the motive for them either, but the Central Park wilding frenzy. The Central Park Five were not victims of anti-militia hysteria.

Reverting to the resolution of the Capital insurrection, reports are that Pence authorized Mark Milley, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, to authorize Piatt to do accede finally to Sund’s request for assistance. This would have been a formal violation of the chain of command, by the way. But if this is true, Hidari would say Milley should have waited till the weak and harmless Carter, er, Trump, had taken action.

No argument that relies on the failure of the putsch to categorically deny there was a putsch is both rational and honest.

Perhaps it’s because of my convictions that Twitter cacophony is an obstacle to public discourse, and that everything online is already censored by virtue of ownership rights, indignation that Trump can’t tweet is an unseemly horror at lese majeste. Yes, it’s lese majeste, and good for it.

16

Anarcissie 01.11.21 at 5:17 pm

I thought this was an interesting article: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/01/whoops-dander-way-back-up-whats-with-the-vaccines.html. As Naked Capitalism has cut off its comments, maybe this would be a good place to make them.

As for Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., there are many alternatives, and as rants on the major rant vehicles are impeded, they will flow elsewhere. I’m especially interested in peer-to-peer stuff (fx https://peer.tube), as it would be much more difficult to impede and less susceptible to being forced back into old-style one-to-many media mode.

17

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.11.21 at 5:47 pm

de Pony Sum : I thought about it more: when we chide the son for turning in his cheating friends, we’re also teaching him that the law does not matter, and that it’s fine to have lawbreaker friends. It would seem to me that this is a really, really bad thing to be teaching an impressionable child. That we might be turning a future law-abiding citizen into a future criminal.

18

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.11.21 at 8:21 pm

Hidari @ 7: I want all readers to read this comment carefully. He minimizes the gravity of the attack on America’s government, minimizes the continuing danger to American democracy, and pooh-poohs any efforts to defend against that danger.

To paraphrase A. Moxon here (search for “Historians”): http://www.armoxon.com/2017/01/sky.html

Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party defend Trump and Trumpists, not because they hated Jews are white supremacists, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed. hatred of liberals and mainstream progressives.

That word is “Nazi.” Trumpist. Nobody cares about their motives anymore.

19

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.11.21 at 8:21 pm

Ooops, I should have struck thru “Germans” and put in “supposed Leftists”. Sigh. So close.

20

Orange Watch 01.12.21 at 2:07 am

Hidari@7:

In order to run again, Trump really needs a media outlet (there will be a blanket ban on coverage of him by the corporate media for a good year or so after he leaves office).

Counterpoint: there’s a buck to be made covering Trump, and once the likes of Newsmax and OAN filter off enough of Fox’s viewership, there’s no chance they’ll choose principle over money. I agree with your analysis of Pelosi et al’s slow walking any meaningful remedy, b/c they’re die-hard institutionalists who’d rather be captains of a sinking ship than let everyone loose on lifeboats to chart their own course. But that same calculus will cut the other way when it comes to media bans.

Additionally, Trump is still the head of the GOP and can influence fundraising. Unless there’s a very strong repudiation of him – and no, some corps pledging to cease funding Congressmembers who voted to support the insurrection is not that – this will still give him outsized influence. The only hope of your prediction playing out as such is if Trump gets convicted of something, but as soon as that happens, your predicted blanket media coverage embargo will crumble.

CM@8:

Concur 100%. This feels like a deeply unpopular take in the US, but you hit every point pitch-perfect. We’re taught from early childhood that “snitching” or “tattling” is immoral (I remember seeing children’s programs on PBS teaching this lovely lesson), but that attitude is critical for inculcating complicity and from there tolerance for corruption & inequity. To tie it to the scenario outlined by the essay, cheating in such a way that your friend knows about it and must choose between complicit loyalty to you and loyalty to socially prescribed ideals of fairness itself “violated this duty of loyalty”. Willfully putting your friends into a position where they must compromise their ethics to protect their friends from the consequences is betrayal of those friends, plain and simple – and depending on how willfully it’s done it can be a thoroughly manipulative behavior. It’s a predatory and selfish behavior in any case.

21

craig fritch 01.12.21 at 2:30 am

Sure hope the GOP splits!

22

nastywoman 01.12.21 at 6:54 am

And this:

WASHINGTON ― Capitol Police briefed Democrats on Monday night about three more potentially gruesome demonstrations planned in the coming days, with one plot to encircle the U.S. Capitol and assassinate Democrats and some Republicans.

On a private call Monday night, new leaders of the Capitol Police told House Democrats they were closely monitoring three separate plans that could pose serious threats to members of Congress as Washington prepares for Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.

The first is a demonstration billed as the “largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil.”

Another is a protest in honor of Ashli Babbitt, the woman killed while trying to climb into the Speaker’s Lobby during Wednesday’s pro-Trump siege of the Capitol.

And another demonstration, which three members said was by far the most concerning plot, would involve insurrectionists forming a perimeter around the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court, and then blocking Democrats from entering the Capitol ― perhaps even killing them ― so that Republicans could take control of the government”.

23

nastywoman 01.12.21 at 7:01 am

And that:

”Angela Merkel said through her spokesman that the US government should follow Germany’s lead in adopting laws that restrict online incitement, rather than leaving it up to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to make up their own rules.

The intervention highlights a key area of disagreement between the US and Europe on how to regulate social media platforms. The EU wants to give regulators more powers to force internet platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to remove illegal content.

In the US, technology companies have traditionally been left to themselves to police their own sites, though momentum is gathering behind political moves to curtail their regulatory freedoms. Several members of Congress are working on Bills which would limit the legal protections social media companies have from being sued for third-party content posted on their sites.

Others are pushing for a new federal data privacy Bill that could mirror the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Dr Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said free speech was a “fundamental right of vital importance” that could be restricted, “but only in accordance with the laws and within a framework defined by the legislator – not by the decision of the management of social media platforms”

24

Hidari 01.12.21 at 8:10 am

@20

No. Trump does not want to run in 2024, for good reasons. But he wants everyone to believe that he wants to run. The Democrats also want people to believe he will run for obvious political reasons. But there are many reasons to think that Trump’s (inferred) ‘plans’ to run are not real.

‘Essentially, at this point, Trump appears just as interested in people talking about a Trump 2024 campaign as he is in actually launching a real campaign….

Formally running for president would mean a lot of things aides say Trump doesn’t want to deal with: financial disclosure forms, building campaign infrastructure, the possibility of losing again. But simply teasing a presidential run — without actually filing the paperwork or erecting a campaign — gets Trump the attention he needs for the next two years.

Attention will help sustain his business, parts of which lost millions of dollars while he was in office. Attention will help pay off his debts, which will need to be paid off in the coming years. Attention will help discredit his investigators, who are examining whether Trump illegally inflated his assets.’

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/14/trump-2024-possible-run-444460
After the farce a few days ago Trump’s serious 2024 political plans are simply dead. But the corporate media, who made a fortune from promoting Trump, and then pretending to oppose him, on spurious grounds, will ‘big up’ his options, partly because they love playing the game with him, partly because he raises newspaper sales, partly because it helps the Democrats, and partly because they are deeply cynical silly people who find the idea of American ‘democracy’ amusing. The Democrats will also pretend that Trump might have a chance in 2024 for their own completely cynical reasons, which you can probably guess at.

But while it’s not completely impossible that Trump might throw his hat into the ring, or run as an Independent, the chances of him becoming the Republican candidate are zero and his chances of winning in 2024 are literally zero (for a start, Trump is an old fat man. Not to put too fine a point on it, he may be dead by then or otherwise incapacitated).

And Democrats know this, which shows the brazen cynicism of their fake ‘impeachment’ effort.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/14/trump-2024-possible-run-444460

25

bad Jim 01.12.21 at 8:20 am

Dinner last night with my brother; jambalaya with taquito appetizers. My adolescent nephew wondered whether Wednesday would wind up in the history books. Um, I drooled.

26

nastywoman 01.12.21 at 8:54 am

and I don’t know how many writers or commenters for Twitter or Facebook are on this blog?

BUT if you are a writer for Twitter and Facebook and your ”Bosses” decide to fire YOU –
(for writing violent or crazy stuff) you always can publish your own ”Patreon Pages” or go to ”substack” – where you even earn money – just by keeping it ”civil”.

So much to the GREAT Freedom of FREE SPEECH.

27

Hidari 01.12.21 at 9:04 am

Incidentally, Trump has just declared a state of emergency in lasting from now until the inauguration. According to liberal America he is doing this to prevent himself from creating a Nazi regime.

It’s also worth pointing out that according to liberal chattering, Trump has been waiting for this moment for four years. This is his ‘Reichstag Fire’ moment leading to an unparalleled crackdown on civil liberties.

And yet, I infer that most of the ‘liberals’ on this thread will be in favour of this ‘crackdown’ and ‘powergrab’ because it is, as I said, this is essentially Trump arresting himself for treason (or something, I lose the thread here).

Biden’s inauguration, as well, will look like something out of North Korea with Washington in total lockdown, cops, CIA, FBI and other types crawling over every street, total surveillance of everyone there with information supplied by big tech, (everyone’s phones monitored etc.) no-fly’ lists used to ensure there will be no protests, and I take it we will all be in favour of this too.

28

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.12.21 at 9:13 am

nastywoman: I don’t remember where you are based, but maybe you have some knowledge (or maybe some other reader) about the following subject. I’ve read that Germany has a very different approach to censorship than the US does. Germany views some forms of speech as inherently opposed to democracy, and they prohibit that speech. So for instance, Nazi speech and symbols of all kinds are outlawed. This has led (amusingly, in the laugh-because-otherwise-you’ll-cry sense) to neo-Nazis adopting Confederate (as in US Civil War) symbols, and (so I hear) now Trumpist symbols. They aren’t stupid, b/c the Confederates were proto-Fascist in many ways, I guess

Anyway, I’m curious what sort of discussion happens about this approach to censoring dangerous speech. I don’t know enough about Germany’s approach to these things, but it seems like it has some very strong points in its favor. I mean, what we’re doing in the US is manifestly failing.

BTW, I’ve also read about the German economic policy of “ordoliberalism” which I didn’t understand too well, but seemed a very interesting way to run an economy. Wish I could find more introductory texts about that, too.

Lordy, once Mutti Merkel retires, I’d so love it if she’d come to America and run our de-Trumpification commission.

29

Hidari 01.12.21 at 9:58 am

If anyone cares (and I doubt anyone does any more) outside the power-worshipping circles of American intellectual elites, the FBI is notorious for manufacturing ‘terror plots’ to justify crackdowns.

Chris Morris even made a movie about it:

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

Pretty exciting that ‘never believe cops, they are all racist fascists’ has changed to ‘always believe cops, they are heroic battlers against fascism’ literally overnight.

30

reason 01.12.21 at 10:45 am

nastywoman,
while I agree completely with Fr. Dr. Merkel, I think this is the least of the troubling aspects of the US legal system. The whole thing really needs a complete rework, starting with finding a way to make the referees neutral rather than partisan.

31

reason 01.12.21 at 10:48 am

If I may make a second comment, it is just that it hard not to despair for the united states. It is stuck with a crazy constitution, and with large amounts of military hardware in the hands of nutcases. Perhaps it can extricate itself from the bind it is in, but it will not be easy.

32

J-D 01.12.21 at 11:28 am

Hidari @ 7: I want all readers to read this comment carefully.

What makes you think that would be a good way for me to use my time?

33

J-D 01.12.21 at 11:32 am

de Pony Sum, what if we flip your script like this? What if I tell my parents that my friend snitched on me and my parents say, ‘You should forgive your friend for snitching on you, because forgiving each other is what friends do’?

(Never going to happen, of course, with my parents being dead, but that’s hardly the point, I know.)

34

Lee A. Arnold 01.12.21 at 12:37 pm

Social media banned Trump & friends probably at the strong suggestion of FBI or DHS alarmed at the threat spike.

Counterinsurgency 101: Disrupt their lines of communication.

Anyone showing up at these next demonstrations will be photographed & run through facial recognition.

Anyone wearing a “vanilla ISIS burka” will be followed back to their trucks, so cops can write down the license plates.

35

nastywoman 01.12.21 at 12:59 pm

AND Last –

”First: please remember this”.

wrote somebody here – and:

”Whatever one thinks about Trump, none of you have ever met him (I assume). None of you have heard him speak (I assume). In other words, all you are being exposed to is a carefully constructed media image of Trump, both by himself and his fans and his many enemies”.

while in reality Trump always was and is exactly the STUPID Idiot he was and is if you meet him – or hear him speak.
Like you go to a Trump Rally and he says exactly the same crazy stuff at the Rally – as he says on teh TEEVEE beaming a Trump Rally
and vice versa –
AND nothing more or less –
and every unlucky woman who ever met or meets him – has to take a shower afterwards to wash away his dirty old mans looks.

36

Tm 01.12.21 at 1:43 pm

Hi John, sorry for double posting but the comment form behaves strangely; hope something came thtrough to you. Thanks for trying to keep CT worrthwhile reading and debating, currently you are a lone fighter ;-)

37

Tm 01.12.21 at 2:06 pm

Chetan 18: “He minimizes the gravity of the attack on America’s government, minimizes the continuing danger to American democracy, and pooh-poohs any efforts to defend against that danger.” Yes, haven’t you noticed: he’s been doing this constantly for years!

nge 14: “probably not – that would require some degree of effort and ideological commitment”. Trump is ideologically committed to White Supremacy and the effort he invested by posting more than 50000 tweets should not be underestimated, nor should the fact that nothing got as much attention as his twitter rants distract from the hard work he has done on the actual government front, by passing hundreds (or thousands?) of rules and orders, appointing hundreds of judges and so on and on.

I don’t quite understand the meme that claims Trump to be lazy (even Erik Loomis at LGM took that line. I seriously would like to know by what metric that laziness has been determined. Yes he did a lot of golfing, and he also nearly destroyed American democarcy, and nearly gutted the regulatory state, and nearly transfigured the federal judiciary.

On the deeper questions around authoritarianism, fascism and Trumpism I have posted more quotes and links that you might find relevant on the other thread (Room for Debate).

38

anon 01.12.21 at 4:38 pm

#7 – Hidari has the … uh … right of it.

Remember how we all thought Harry Reid’s removal of the filibuster for judicial appointees was a good thing?

Well, when the R’s got back in power they used THAT to you-know-who’s benefit.

It is a mistake to conclude that the 2020 election results were a sound thumping forever more of ‘Republicanism’. Don’t forget we D’s LOST seats in The House.

No.

The election was a strong repudiation of Teh Donald.

Just let him go. And let President Biden get on with HEALING the country. Some of the R’s I know – I never unfriended anyone over policy disagreements – voted against the OrangeMan. They will readily switch back to a ‘normal’ R candidate if President Biden ( notice how much I like typing that ) is seen to be vindictive.

We waited 4 long years for Inauguration Day 2021. Waiting 8 more DAYS shouldn’t be that hard. Just binge watch something for Pete’s sake.

Of course, as always, YMMV :-}

39

nastywoman 01.12.21 at 4:43 pm

AND the latest –
from substack:

”How Silicon Valley, in a Show of Monopolistic Force, Destroyed Parler
In the last three months, tech giants have censored political speech and journalism to manipulate U.S. politics, while liberals, with virtual unanimity, have cheered”.

Can y’all believe it?
Substack doesn’t even know that Trump destroyed Parler by calling’s for an insurrection.

40

Donald 01.12.21 at 5:11 pm

Notgoodenough—

I think Trump should be impeached and forbidden from ever holding office for inciting the violence on January 6. As horrible as our political culture is, Trump has made it worse.

And I have no problem including Great Britain among the countries that don’t take war crimes seriously. Obviously Blair should be in prison.

Most of your post just struck me as an example of what is wrong with our political culture. We don’t punish people for committing some of the worst crimes imaginable, so bringing it up when people are bloviating about the rule of law is “ whataboutery”. Guilty as charged. I consider “ whataboutery neither good nor bad in itself. It depends on the circumstances.

However, since in this case I completely agree that Trump should have the book thrown at him for his attempts to undermine the election, your charge doesn’t really work in my case.

Hidari might differ. He can speak for himself.

41

Orange Watch 01.12.21 at 6:33 pm

steven t johnson@15:

The deliberate withdrawal of defenses on the part of the US military was a key part of it.

I’d disagree. The military was not charged with defense of the Capitol (because of Posse Comitatus). IIRC, that would be the charge of 5 Executive LE agencies, and 1 Legislative LE agency. The military did have a slow and muddled response when called, and while that did appear deliberate, it seems as though it was from a decision by the General Staff to “be apolitical” by not gettting involved in any disputes about transition of power. There are enormous problems with this – all Servicemembers swear an oath to the Constitution, not the executive, so even if they were concerned about Trump being their CiC they’re only obliged to obey his lawful orders – but the it appears the military writ large was not directly complicit. The real issue here are the (militarized) domestic security forces. A concise summary: https://twitter.com/TerryBoutonHist/status/1348365395091222528 . The military normally has nothing to do with security in the capitol, and it doesn’t need to – the Capitol Police alone have a $550m budget and 1800 officers. With the other (executive) LE agencies, there were more than adequate resources to secure the capitol – and those are the dogs that didn’t bark.

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was not motivated by militias in the Nineties as I recall

The two motivations to my understanding were the first WTC bombing and the OKC bombing, so this is only half-true. FWIW, the FBI has been quietly grinding off the top layer of right-wing domestic terrorism for decades – it’s why we’ve only recently seen as open and largescale organizing from them. RW lawmakers tend to push back against any public acknowledgment of this, and the media really seems loathe to mention it, but the FBI at least has consistently sought to pursue domestic terrorists even when RW politicians have undercut their efforts.

42

John Quiggin 01.12.21 at 7:08 pm

If the state decides to go hard against the insurrectionists, felony murder is a lay-down misere against anyone who takes part in a burglary where someone is killed.

43

steven t johnson 01.12.21 at 8:03 pm

Hidari@24 reads Trump’s mind, a neat trick. The funny thing is, the telepathic message received is mostly the same reasons why Trump should have passed on running for re-election. Running even an unpopular campaign is more apt to get PR to monetize or campaign funds to employ Republicans/buy friends than not running.

Hidari@27 concludes yet again that what Trump does after losing proves he had no bad intentions. I think we don’t know for certain what he would have done if Pelosi had been taken hostage or hanged on that gallows. But somehow I think Hidari’s vision is less convincing. Going on to redbait Biden’s inauguration as something out of North Korea however is pretty suggestive. I have no idea how Hidari thinks protests against Biden stealing the election are any more democratic about protests against George Soros stealing the election. (Oh, wait, that is floated about by Hidari’s new friends.)

Hidari@29 loses the plot completely, imagining that no one Hidari will respond to thinks the off-duty cops and military in the insurrection and the cops standing by were a huge part of why this was actually a serious business. Hidari also imagines that it was just like a movie by Chris Morris, ignoring the cast of thousands so exactly unlike The Day Will Come. At this point, it is unclear whether Hidari has joined with the people complaining that the rioters were antifa provocateurs, or simply agrees with the LIHOP (they Let It Happen On Purpose,) theory. You know, like 9/11, so the real power grab could come after the atrocity the cops were really responsible for.

Orange Watch@41 thinks the Posse Comitatus act, which forbids the military to enforce laws in the states unless authorized by the state or Congress, somehow directly applies to DC, which is not a state. That’s why the Pentagon had to authorize the use of the National Guard, which is where they dragged their feet. And that’s why I think Orange Watch is entirely wrong on this.

(As to being only half-right, therefore entirely wrong, on the motivations for the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, I disagree on the math. And I still think the real setbacks came with the other two laws.)

For what it’s worth, I’m inclined to think that Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, should either be common carriers, paid a regulated fee for providing a platform but forbidden to place advertising or sell data collected from common carrier service, required even to keep it confidential barring warrants/court orders. Or, if they want to continue to sell advertising and data, that they be liable to civil suits and criminal penalties for content, as in this model they are profiting from the content. Private communications among web communities should be private.

A more contentious question is whether pseudonyms in public venues are free speech. I’m inclined to think not. A public forum but a private identity?

44

notGoodenough 01.12.21 at 9:30 pm

Donald @ 40

”However, since in this case I completely agree that Trump should have the book thrown at him for his attempts to undermine the election, your charge doesn’t really work in my case.”

If you are not engaging in whataboutary then my comments regarding whataboutary don’t apply to you, do they?

”I think Trump should be impeached and forbidden from ever holding office for inciting the violence on January 6. As horrible as our political culture is, Trump has made it worse.”

I am not an expert, and so would not posit exactly what consequences Trump should face, but this seems a reasonable statement to me.

”And I have no problem including Great Britain among the countries that don’t take war crimes seriously. Obviously Blair should be in prison.”

If you read the posts carefully, you will see that “someone” suggested that because Country X has not taken war crimes seriously, literally every single “educated middle class” person in that country supports (or, at the least, is indifferent to) war crimes. My point was that this is a bit of an overgeneralisation.

And, as someone who spent about over a decade involved in protesting various “military adventures”, anyone suggesting I approve of – or at the least am indifferent to – war crimes may, if I can be so bold, feel free to take a long walk off a short pier. Yourself included, should you fall into that category.

”Most of your post just struck me as an example of what is wrong with our political culture.”

Then you credit me with far more significance than I have.

”We don’t punish people for committing some of the worst crimes imaginable, so bringing it up when people are bloviating about the rule of law is “ whataboutery”. Guilty as charged. I consider “ whataboutery neither good nor bad in itself. It depends on the circumstances.”

I said “the arguments regarding US foreign policy crimes smacks a little of whataboutary”. Had I levelled a charge at you, I would have said something like “Donald is guilty of whataboutary” – the fact that I didn’t say that would indicate I didn’t level a charge at you.

Personally, as I repeatedly said in my previous comment, I would like to see people face consequences appropriate to their actions (you insistence on using the word “punish” is interesting, but perhaps a digression). That is a general principle, not limited solely to the US rioters.

But, as you appear to have missed my point entirely, I will try to make it a little clearer to you. Bringing up war crimes is not whataboutery. Bringing up war crimes in a discussion only tangentially related (via the rule of law) is not necessarily whataboutary. Bringing up war crimes as an example of something we should all focus on to the exclusion of considering recent events in the US capital (and the subsequent likely events in US politics, the actual topic of the thread if you recall) would be.

I have no issues with people discussing the importance of considering war crimes – but I would note that we have an open thread for discussions which are tangential to the topic of the main thread. This was instigated recently to prevent threads from being derailed. I have been guilty of this behaviour before – and by commenting here, rather than in the January 6 thread, I was trying to avoid doing so again (the effort is minimal, the points can be made, and threads may continue more smoothly).

On this open thread you are free to offer your insights into how exactly we will achieve such lofty goals as holding powerful people accountable for their actions (I genuinely welcome hearing practical suggestions and well-considered insights). I look forward to you doing so, and outlining your plan of action. After all, if you are insisting that we need to focus the discussion on war crimes, then you surely have something new and significant to add (something which I haven’t already been made aware of during the last 18 years or so that I have been marching, writing letters, phoning my MP, etc. etc. etc.).

Here is your platform – I lend you my ears. I look forward to you offering your thoughts.

Final remarks

I have, many times, tolerated people implying that if I don’t prioritise the things they prioritise, when they want them prioritised, then I don’t care enough about whatever the thing they prioritise is. I am, I freely admit, a little bit tired of it. As someone who has been an activist in many areas for a while, I tend to believe a good approach is to do what you can when and where you can. If I am not focussed on what you are focussed on right now, it does not mean I am neglectful of the topic – it means I am prioritising things in accordance with what impacts I am able to make, and using the time and energy I have to make a difference where I can. I would recommend you read up on spoon theory to get an idea of where I am coming from, but frankly I really can’t be bothered educating someone in activism 101.

To put it simply, holding the US rioters (and those who are responsible for instigation, aiding, abetting, etc.) accountable for their actions is something which should be done. Holding people who have abused positions of power with respect to foreign policy is something which should be done. These are not mutually exclusive – but one is, I suspect, a more long-term project than the other. If we are not able to hold people who have abused positions of power with respect to foreign policy fully accountable, I don’t think the best solution is to then ignore or downplay the actions of the US rioters (as some have been doing).

As I said previously:

“if one truly cares about people facing consequences for their actions (wrt. foreign policy), I am unconvinced the best way to address this is to argue that it is unimportant that people face consequences for their actions (wrt. inciting and engaging in riots).”

If you wish to call that “bloviating about the rule of law”, you may do so. I would disagree, but you’ve made it quite clear how little you value anything I have to say (which is, of course, your prerogative).

I will note much of your post strikes me as illustrating many of the issues with discourse in general. Rather than asking me any of my positions, you appear to have made many assumptions about what I believe and prioritise. I’m afraid I have little interest in interacting with people who exhibit such behaviour, and will probably not bother responding to you again.

45

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.12.21 at 9:33 pm

Tm @ 37: (re: “hidari is a Trumpist”) I’m a slow learner grin. But thanks for showing me I’m simply at the back of the class, and not wandering in the desert. grin

For a long time I thought Hidari was just a serious “class-not-race” leftist. It was only recently that he came out so …. openly as a Trumpist.

That stain don’t wash out: even dry-cleaning won’t remove it. I guess he’ll have to change his nym, like ph/kidneystones.

46

nastywoman 01.12.21 at 10:12 pm

@28
I’m currently based on a BEAUTIFUL Lake in the middle of European – which borders 4 countries and very much hope to be able to go back to teh US homeland -(or London) soon again –
and –
Yes!-
Germany has a very different approach to – what I wouldn’t call ”censorship” – of inciting hate or violence.

It’s just NOT tolerated by the government and get’s punished –
just like it is NOT tolerated and get’s punished if you start to beat somebody else up in a bar or even outside on the street.

And that’s because – somehow these Germans had learned how easy it is to incite violence – with words.
And that’s why Nazi speech and symbols are outlawed.
And that’s why this has led ”(amusingly, in the laugh-because-otherwise-you’ll-cry sense) to neo-Nazis adopting Confederate (as in US Civil War) symbols, and (so I hear) now Trumpist symbols”.
AND that’s why Trump was not only THE Candidate of US Racist Science Denying Right Wingers BUT also of (nearly) every German Neo-Nazi!
(with the exception of the very nationalistic German Neo-Nazis who prioritise an immense hate for Americans – and everything ”American’)

And about the German economic policy of “ordoliberalism” –
or preference for any type of ”order” is just a general… let’s call it – ”cultural” expression of what my American mom always told me:

Why don’t you get a f… grip on this chaos.

47

notGoodenough 01.12.21 at 10:13 pm

Perhaps a digression, but I found this interesting – AP reports[1]:

“The sedition statute doesn’t require proof of a plot to overthrow the government, the memo read. It instead could be used when a defendant tries to oppose the government’s authority by force.

Attorney General William Barr has been pushing his U.S. attorneys to bring federal charges in protest-related violence whenever they can, keeping a grip on cases even if a defendant could be tried instead in state court. Federal convictions often result in longer prison sentences; sedition alone could lead to up to 20 years behind bars.

The memo cited as a hypothetical example “a group has conspired to take a federal courthouse or other federal property by force,” but the real thing took place in Portland, Oregon, during clashes that erupted night after night between law enforcement and demonstrators.”

[1] https://apnews.com/article/state-courts-violent-crime-arson-violence-crime-cbca8672a70f9f170a086a7a252a751e

48

nastywoman 01.12.21 at 11:00 pm

AND I HAVE
to respond to:
”Anyway! I’m bowing out of these threads now as I detect a distinct lack of enthusiasm of my fact-based objections to the media created narrative. But please remember three little aphorisms for you all to reflect upon”.

Not SOOO fast – as each one of these little aphorisms are as ”trump” as calling a ”insurrection” a ”farce”.
As the truth is:
1: Those who know Trump best fear him most. Those who know Trump least fear him like a Hidari.

2: to use (kind of) an anti-fascistic Martin Niemöller ”Zitat” for (kind of) defending fascistic speech – is… is so… revolting that I will… I really would like to… to pie Hidari.

3: The Right-Wing media is not your friend.
while die NYT – die Zeit und der Guardian very much is…

49

Bart Barry 01.13.21 at 3:33 am

Hidari #7

I don’t think you’ve presented a coherent narrative of why Trump won’t be impeached, considering that at this hour impeachment is moving right along, -seriously-, in the House, and has gathered the apparent support of Mitch McConnell in the Senate. Should it come to that, there might even be a trial in the Senate this time. Maybe Hawley and Cruz will give speeches.

50

J-D 01.13.21 at 8:38 am

I don’t quite understand the meme that claims Trump to be lazy (even Erik Loomis at LGM took that line. I seriously would like to know by what metric that laziness has been determined.

I’m only guessing here, but I’m guessing that the metric being used is not ‘magnitude of effects produced’ but ‘time devoted to actually doing the job’.

Yes he did a lot of golfing, and he also nearly destroyed American democarcy, and nearly gutted the regulatory state, and nearly transfigured the federal judiciary.

With a minimum of effort invested! Some might call that laziness and some might call it efficiency.

51

J-D 01.13.21 at 8:57 am

It is a mistake to conclude that the 2020 election results were a sound thumping forever more of ‘Republicanism’.

It would be a mistake if anybody concluded that, but has anybody concluded that?
Just let him go. And let President Biden get on with HEALING the country. Some of the R’s I know – I never unfriended anyone over policy disagreements – voted against the OrangeMan. They will readily switch back to a ‘normal’ R candidate if President Biden ( notice how much I like typing that ) is seen to be vindictive.’Don’t do anything that would antagonise people on the other side’ would be a fool’s rule of politics even if it were possible to follow, but it isn’t, so that’s two kinds of folly for the price of one.

52

Hidari 01.13.21 at 9:02 am

@49

Yes I know that I said I was heading off, but just to clarify: @49.
I didn’t say that Trump won’t get impeached (i.e. by Congress) although it’s unlikely. I think that Trump won’t get impeached and removed from office by the Senate because there is just not enough time. Please remember that the weekend is a holiday, and Biden becomes President on the 20th, middday. Trump won’t be in office on the 20th, he plans to be in Scotland. So removing him from office on the 20th will be a completely meaningless exercise as he won’t even be there. So the Democrats have, essentially, 4 (maybe 5 at a push) days to push through a process that normally takes weeks or months.

Whatever McConnell’s personal feelings (and despite the hysteria of the media, over recent ‘leaks’ from McConnell, it is not actually a surprise that McConnell dislikes Trump) he has already written to the Democrats stating that it is essentially impossible for the Senate to sit and remove Trump from office in the time scale necessary.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mcconnell-says-impeachment-trial-wont-happen-before-inauguration-2021-1?r=US&IR=T

Incidentally, there is an ‘urban myth’ going around that if Trump is impeached and removed from office then he can’t run for President again. He can (although he almost certainly won’t). That would take a separate legal action.

53

nastywoman 01.13.21 at 9:16 am

AND thank you notGoodenough for your nice explanation of ”Whataboutism”
and why
each time –
in the last four years when a ”trump” behaved like a Racist Right-Wing Science Denying Idiot – the Trumpers asked:
BUT what about Obama?

54

nastywoman 01.13.21 at 10:29 am

and as Hidari just won’t let go:
removing Trump from office or actually just impeaching him for the second time will NOT be ”a completely meaningless exercise” – as it teaches ”trumpers” that they are actually hold accountable – and can’t play the American people for fools anymore.

55

Tm 01.13.21 at 10:34 am

Further discussion of the anti-anti-Trumpist fraction:

Jonathan Chait (via LGM):
“What frightened so many scholars of democracy about Trump was the danger of eroding the health of the system along a broad array of fronts, from encouraging political violence to undermining the legitimacy of elections. Their fear was less a sudden plunge into dictatorship than a slow process of democratic backsliding of the sort engineered by authoritarian leaders in places like Hungary and Turkey. The anti-anti-authoritarians, by contrast, liked to imagine government as a flip switch with two modes: “democracy” and “Nazi Germany.” And since Trump obviously did not have Hitler-like control of the government, then the authoritarian scare must be a figment of the liberal imagination. The most serious misjudgment of the anti-anti-authoritarian set concerned Trump’s character. The president was hapless, incompetent, and easily rolled by Congress, which made it easy to mock the fear that he was building an autocracy.”

Scott Lemieux: “It’s particularly strange to leap right for Nazi Germany with the Jim Crow model of authoritarianism sitting right there. But of course in most cases, these arguments began with a core assumption: that it was fine-to-desirable not to support the only candidate who could beat Trump in 2016, whether because “muh taxes and neocofederate judges” [on the right] or “the Democrats could only be worth supporting if they nominated one specific left-liberal” [on the left]. The “Trump is not Hitler and the U.S. in 2016 is not Weimar Germany, and therefore Trump poses no threat to American democracy” was reverse engineered from there.”
https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/01/the-anti-anti-authoritarians

56

nastywoman 01.13.21 at 11:01 am

”it teaches ”trumpers” that they are actually hold accountable – and can’t play the American people for fools anymore”.

and so WE finally won!

And do y’all know that I – WE play ”this type of Internet game” since a very, very long time – ever since Glenn Greenwald and US togethA defeated Hillary in her efforts to defeat Obama –

But THEN – tragically my friend Glenn fell out of LOVE with Obama – and like one of my dissapoited Lovers accused Obama to be just like Bush.
And then – somehow – more and more readers on the Internet thought that Obama was just like Bush until the Utmost STUPID couldn’t differentiate between any politicians anymore and every US was ”alike” and Trump was just like Bernie – just because both of them – supposedly – were ”anti-mainstream –
AND THEN!! –
even commenters on a pretty sophisticated blog like CT sounded so much like Glenn Greenwald – that our Plagiarism Software thought Glenn Greenwald was/is posting here?

And is it YOU… Glenn – Hidari?
or are you just one the many followers of a silly narrative – who might be one of the utmost STUPID ”narratives” which brought US ”trump” in the first place?

AND perhaps you guys don’t know – that with the help of some international Communication Design Students there was this ”Experiment” on the Internet in the last year.
From Germany.

From Expats – who didn’t want
AGAIN –
giving so much credit to Russian Gamers for… ”erecting” the US President.

And so they flooded the Internet with thousands and thousand of posts too –
BUT with ”anti-trump” post – trying to follow trumps advice to DOMINATE!

And as they thought that TI was one of the… centers – for the very destructive ”and Whatabout Obama” -(or Hillary? – or ”them bad, bad Democrats) – they totally – absolutely DOMINATED the comment section of TI – in order to – DESTROY the
”now to something completely different”…

57

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.13.21 at 1:21 pm

nastywoman: To further your point about “why impeach” we could go to Hidari’s (hopefully) hero Sen. Bernie Sanders, who tweeted the following:

Some people ask: Why would you impeach and convict a president who has only a few days left in office? The answer: Precedent. It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government.

I mean, this sort of thing should be obvious to even someone so bereft of decency as Hidari, but I guess not. By the by, it’s heartening to see that Sanders is so much better than the hangers-on who congregated around his campaign.

58

Bart Barry 01.13.21 at 9:50 pm

Hidari-

I didn’t say that Trump won’t get impeached (i.e. by Congress) although it’s unlikely.

Trump’s just been impeached. Again.

Maybe you should back off commenting on politics for awhile and take some time to hone your analytic skills.

59

Donald 01.13.21 at 11:30 pm

Notgoodenough—

People write too much a this bog for my taste. Nothing wrong with that, but I don’t have the energy or inclination to respond to long posts in the detail they might deserve.

So you asked in snarky fashion what my plan is. I don’t have one that will satisfy you. I think it starts with ordinary people rejecting the implied hierarchy of what we are supposed to care about. We are supposed to care about corruption and whether or not Trump colluded with Russia in 2016 and whether he incited the riot in the Capitol, but complicity in genocide is more in the category of a bad policy choice. And I think Scahill is right in the article that Hidari linked— this is because both parties are implicated.

So here is my plan. Step 1 is that we get everyone to agree that genocide is really bad. You shouldn’t bomb school buses or create famine which murder children by the tens of thousands. It is arguably the worst possible crime, except to the extent that one could argue that some genocides are worse than others. Yemen is not as bad as the Holocaust. But it is really, really bad.

Step 2–. One then points out that for no good reason we supported the Saudi war in Yemen. There was a bad reason for Obama. They wanted to reassure the Saudis after the Iranian nuclear deal. Also they thought the war would be short. These are bad reasons and it soon became clear the war was a massive clusterf@@@.

Trump’s reason, openly stated, is that we sell a lot of weapons to the Saudis.

Step 3. Point out that we hold people accountable for vastly lesser crimes.

Step 4. Wait for the implications to sink in….

Step 4 is where my brilliant plan seems to fall apart.

On a practical level I have called my Congressman ( since defeated by someone much better) about Yemen and he did change his position, so within the framework of our psychotic political culture this seemed to work. But it would be better if people started noticing that we treat foreign lives that we snuff out as though they didn’t really matter that much. There are no consequences for making this kind. Of mistake.

60

J-D 01.14.21 at 12:04 am

I think it starts with ordinary people rejecting the implied hierarchy of what we are supposed to care about. We are supposed to care about corruption and whether or not Trump colluded with Russia in 2016 and whether he incited the riot in the Capitol, but complicity in genocide is more in the category of a bad policy choice.

People don’t suppose what you suppose they do. It is of course possible to reject something that doesn’t actually exist, but it is slightly more complicated than rejecting something which does actually exist.

Step 1 is that we get everyone to agree that genocide is really bad.

People already agree that genocide is really bad. You’d be hard pressed to find people who disagree.

Step 2–. One then points out that for no good reason we supported the Saudi war in Yemen.

That has already been pointed out.

Step 3. Point out that we hold people accountable for vastly lesser crimes.

That, too, has already been pointed out.

Step 4. Wait for the implications to sink in….

Are you allowed to do anything else while you’re waiting?

61

KT2 01.14.21 at 2:59 am

Nothing new … 2009. A Senator asked to pray for a senator to be sick so to not pass Affordable Care!

… “Said Durbin: “When it reaches a point where we’re praying, asking people to pray, that senators wouldn’t be able to answer the roll call, I think it has crossed the line.”

“Actually, the line was crossed long ago, during the summer of death panels and socialists. But Democrats weren’t in the best position to take the high road Sunday evening. One of their own members, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) had just delivered an overwrought jeremiad comparing the Republicans to Nazis on Kristallnacht, lynch mobs of the South, and bloodthirsty crowds of the French Revolution.

“Too many colleagues are embarked on a desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, obstruction and fear,” he said. “History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds. Broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from southern trees.” Assuming the role of Old Testament prophet, Whitehouse promised a “day of judgment” and a “day of reckoning” for Republicans.”

“The day’s ugly words were a fitting finale for the whole sorry health-care debate of 2009”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/20/AR2009122002872.html

62

Orange Watch 01.14.21 at 3:08 am

Hidari@52:

Article I, section 3, clause 7:

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Disqualification is not a separate legal action. It’s not a mandatory penalty in cases of impeachment, but it absolutely is the same legal action. You’re just as correct about this as you were about the likelihood of Trump being impeached by the House (not the Congress, the House) again. You’re really making it look like you should stick to commenting on UK political processes.

63

Bart Barry 01.14.21 at 4:24 am

Moderator-

Was it something I said that nuked my previous post? Please email me to let me know if I’ve violated some norm. My apologies if that’s the case.

I can’t see anything from you. Try posting again. If you had any words about gambling or medicines you might want to change them – JQ

64

Alan White 01.14.21 at 5:29 am

I fail to see why some commentators here do not just allow that the fact that the titular head of the USA urged–that’s as weak a word as necessary–his followers to march on the capitol the very day his successor was to be formally and finally elected, which thus resulted in a militaristic action against Constitutional process, is sufficient to declare him an insurrectionist. He’s now number one on the list of worst US presidents by a long shot. Just let the facts talk as countless videos attest. Gawd how I hate the diversion of tu quoque and the endless list of non sequiturs. Trump is an incompetent would-be dictator who had no clue as to how he could ultimately exhibit the paradox of self-hubris.

65

bad Jim 01.14.21 at 9:13 am

A weak leader a week later released a video disclaiming responsibility and calling for unity. The performance is so wooden that the suspicion of a deep fake, or a more nefarious explanation, can be pleasantly entertained, but there’s nothing in it to encourage the bitter enders.

66

Hidari 01.14.21 at 9:21 am

@62
Take it up with Chuck Schumer who evidently disagrees with you (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/13/donald-trump-second-impeachment-key-takeaways)

According to Mitch McConnell: ‘ “Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”‘ (by ‘conclude’ he means ‘take place in its entirety’. In other words, his understanding is, it’s impossible to remove Trump from office before his term expires).

It’s worthwhile pointing out that he is not saying this because he loves Trump: he obviously doesn’t. He is simply stating the fact that, according to his understanding of the Constitution,and the procedures that govern the Senate, it is literally impossible for this to happen (he would probably quite like to impeach Trump and remove him from office, but his hands are tied, in other words).

As for impeachment and removal of Trump from office after Trump has left office, well, your guess is as good as mine. It’s like murdering someone after they’re dead. It’s never been done before, it’s a deeply weird thing to do, and it’s not at all clear it’s even possible or that it even makes sense.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/13/politics/mcconnell-democrats-impeachment-trial-trump/index.html

And now, I really am off.

67

nastywoman 01.14.21 at 12:11 pm

”I fail to see why some commentators here do not just allow that the fact that the titular head of the USA urged–that’s as weak a word as necessary–his followers to march on the capitol the very day his successor was to be formally and finally elected, which thus resulted in a militaristic action against Constitutional process, is sufficient to declare him an insurrectionist”.

Because the major game which currently get’s played on the Internet depends on redefining ALL words and ”expressions” or – Was sagt der Volksmund:

”Was dem einem sein Uhl ist dem anderen seine Nachtigall”.

68

nastywoman 01.14.21 at 12:19 pm

celebrating the heroes of the insurrection –

https://youtu.be/nz-zWeqtVo8

69

Lee A. Arnold 01.14.21 at 12:35 pm

Instead of “Twigs and Branches” call it “Egotistical Bloviations”

70

Tm 01.14.21 at 1:31 pm

Chetan 28: “I don’t know enough about Germany’s approach to these things, but it seems like it has some very strong points in its favor. I mean, what we’re doing in the US is manifestly failing.”

Ianal but I think it is wrong to assume (although it is often claimed) that US law has no remedy against freedom of speech abuses. Incitement to violence and a forteriori incitement to terrorist acts can be and are frequently prosecuted, just not or rarely in the context of White Supremacist violence (I wonder why that is the case?). Defamation and libel can be prosecuted. Lying to judges can be prosecuted. The issue is really that Trumpist, White Supremacist criminals have been treated with kids gloves for so long. That tweet in which Sidney Powell called for the execution of the Vice President? If that had been a muslim or antifa or environmentalist activist, that person would have promptly gotten a knock on the door. Why doesn’t it even occur to any journos to ask why Powell wasn’t prosecuted?

The company Dominion, after having been defamed for weeks in the worst way imaginable, finally sued some of the parties that had defamed them. These are civil suits but the law is so clearly on theor side they should be able to crush all those defendants. Why weren’t these suits filed earlier, and shouldn’t they have been able to get some sort of restraining orders against the perpetrators (some media outlets did in fact have to walk back their defamation)? Aren’t there even criminal remedies for willful and repeated defamation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_defamation_law)? I don’t know enough about these last questions, perhaps somebody with more legal background can help answer them, but very clearly there are remedies under US law that could and should have been pursued much earlier and much more forcefully.

As to the German legal approach: In these discussions about freedom of speech abuses, at issue is often the law against Volksverhetzung (§130 StGB), meaning hate speech against specific racial, ethnic or religious groups. I don’t think that was applicable in the context of the coup attempt. More relevant are the following lesser known statutes:
§105 Coercion of constitutional organs
§107 Disruption of electoral process
§111 Public incitement to commit offences
§126 Disturbing public peace by threatening to commit offences
§140 Rewarding and approval of offences

Full English text: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/

For example under §107, an attempt to disrupt the determination of an election result by threat of force can be prosecuted. A threat of force is enough. Same under §105. All of the offences above involve threats or other acts of speech specifically aimed at disturbing the peace. They do not criminalize mere opinions or even lies.

Comments or corrections welcome.

71

JimV 01.14.21 at 5:31 pm

Alan White @64 speaks for me, but I will add that still Fox News commentators are preaching an alternate reality in which Democrats are traitors to question Trump’s actions.

And I don’t know what to do about that. Everything I can think of: reliable, mandated lie-detectors; an official news-media fact-checking department of government; mandated time for rebuttals to every newscast–could also and probably would be misused by people like Trump once they got in power. Roosevelt’s Fireside-Chat radio speeches have become Trump’s MAGA rallies. Maybe intelligent species are doomed to succumb to the cheaters and con-people among them. I don’t have much hope left to the contrary.

72

engels 01.14.21 at 6:51 pm

Since John’s Brexit thread has closed, some more pushback on his contention that “the Poles won’t go away”:
https://amp.ft.com/content/def33cfe-45c7-4323-bd08-d4fc42051f09

73

John Quiggin 01.14.21 at 10:12 pm

Engels, I could only read the standfirst on this (there’s a way around the paywall, but I keep forgetting it), and that referred to the pandemic leading foreign-born people to leave Britain. It’s certainly true that many of the effects predicted for Brexit have been made real by the pandemic, which suggests some interesting ways of thinking about Brexi.

74

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.14.21 at 10:30 pm

According to Mitch McConnell: ‘ “Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”‘ (by ‘conclude’ he means ‘take place in its entirety’. In other words, his understanding is, it’s impossible to remove Trump from office before his term expires).

Hey everybody, this is your big chance to sell Hidari the Brooklyn Bridge! I myself have sent him a letter offering to share a $200m bank account with you, that was once owned by the wife of Mobotu Sese Seko. He believes this tripe.

Gaslighter.

75

engels 01.15.21 at 12:04 am

Yes, the article says it’s due to pandemic job losses but that still falsifies your prediction I think. And the end of FoM means they can’t come back. I think you can clear cookies and click through from Twitter.
https://mobile.twitter.com/ChrisGiles_/status/1349780020412166148

“Coronavirus has caused an exodus of immigrants from the UK, triggering what is likely to be the largest fall in Britain’s population since the second world war, according to a new statistical analysis of official data. A blog published by the government-funded Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCOE) on Thursday estimated that up to 1.3m people born abroad left the UK between the third quarter of 2019 and the same period in 2020. In London alone, almost 700,000 foreign-born residents have probably moved out, the authors of the blog calculated, leading to a potential 8 per cent drop in the capital’s population last year…”

76

nastywoman 01.15.21 at 7:21 am

and so –
I read somewhere:

It started with ”Pussy” -(grabbing)
AND
– it ended with ”Pussy” (Pence)

77

notGoodenough 01.15.21 at 11:06 am

As I mentioned in the “Day after Brexit thread”, I believed leaving the EU would put at risk many hard-won worker protections.

FT reports that currently there are plans to abolish the 48 hour working week [1]. I’m sure business leaders only welcome this because they’re so concerned about the plight of their workforce – after all, they would never consider abusing this so that UK workers end up with longer hours, less holiday, decreased protection, and lower wages.

One wonders if certain people will be able to muster a fraction of the concern they have for Donald Trump being banned from twitter at this prospect.

Well, time will tell if this will be a positive move for the UK people – I suspect many will soon find their quality of life decreasing, but perhaps this will be wrong (I certainly hope so).

[1] https://www.ft.com/content/55588f86-a4f8-4cf3-aecb-38723b787569?fbclid=IwAR3FFLMYeieuIb5lLty9H82sPEQLwWvCDoneQ38z4MMUf9CkmGpiECRUo-s

78

notGoodenough 01.15.21 at 11:09 am

Oh – for the FT article, if yo google the appropriate headline you should be able to access that way (at least that works for me).

e.g. googling “UK workers’ rights at risk in plans to rip up EU labour market rules” and clicking on the ft.com link (for me the first one) took me to the unrestricted article. I hope this works for anyone else interested in reading this.

79

nastywoman 01.15.21 at 1:04 pm

AND as there seems to be a lot of interest on CT –
to view contemporary ”stuff” with a hystorical… perspective –

”The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Washington Putsch,[1][note 1] was a failed coup d’état by Republican Party – leader Donald Trump, Generalquartiermeister Cruz and other Kampfbund leaders in Washington, USA, on 6th November 2021, during the Weimar Republic.

Approximately two thousand Nazis marched on the Feldherrnhalle, in the city centre, but were confronted by a police cordon, which resulted in the deaths of 16 Nazi Party members and four police officers.[2] Hitler, who was wounded during the clash, escaped immediate arrest and was spirited off to safety in the countryside.

After two days, he was arrested and charged with treason.[3] The putsch brought Trump to the attention of the German nation for the first time and generated front-page headlines in newspapers around the world. His arrest was followed by a few-days trial, which was widely publicised and gave him a platform to express his nationalist sentiments to the nation. Trump was found guilty of treason – impeached and sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison,[4] where he dictated Mein Kampf to fellow prisoners Ted Cruz and Ivanka Kutscher. On 20 December 1924, having served only nine months, Hitler was released.[5][6] Once released, Hitler redirected his focus towards obtaining power through legal means rather than by revolution or force, and accordingly changed his tactics, further getting bankrupt.[7]

80

SusanC 01.15.21 at 3:05 pm

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. – Karl Marx</block quote>

On seeing the farcical elements of the recent attempted overthrow of the US government, I wondered if all revolutions are as dumb as that. The above quote by Marx is well known, but it’s context is often forgotten. The key role of idiots as the revolutionary class is sometimes overlooked in Marxist theory, despite there being discussion of it Marx’s works…

81

Donald 01.15.21 at 6:12 pm

J-D

I shouldn’t need to point out that steps 1-4 were just another way to point out the moral insanity of our culture. We don’t actually act as though complicity in genocide is a crime.

82

Donald 01.15.21 at 6:33 pm

Here is an obvious suggestion, but since I am not a lawyer someone else would need to flash out the details.

We should prosecute Trump, Pompeo and probably others for complicity in war crimes. Suppose some country X gave arms and logistical support to country Y as they engaged in a bombing campaign against civilian American targets. I am sure that if we could capture the leader of country X we would find some law we could use to prosecute him. Human rights organizations have lawyers on staff, so they can probably dig up the appropriate statute.

I think it would be interesting to see what would happen. I think people in DC would immediately reject it, knowing that it would set a precedent they would not like. All the more reason to do it.

83

John Quiggin 01.16.21 at 12:05 am

Engels @75 I think Covid has made most predictions about 2020 moot. Using your approach, those who predicted catastrophe if Brexit happened have been proved right. Brexit happened and there has been a catastrophe.

On this claim “And the end of FoM means they can’t come back. “, the comments on the tweet you link appear to me to confirm that this is wrong. People with settled status can return when (if) the labour market in the UK improves.

84

J-D 01.16.21 at 12:45 am

I shouldn’t need to point out that steps 1-4 were just another way to point out the moral insanity of our culture.

You introduced them as your response to notgoodenough’s request for a statement of your plan. You didn’t introduce them as your response to notgoodenough’s request for another way to point out the moral insanity of your culture, presumably because notgoodenough made no such request. Was it my mistake to suppose that what you wrote was what you meant?

85

J-D 01.16.21 at 12:49 am

Human rights organizations have lawyers on staff, so they can probably dig up the appropriate statute.

I don’t have any lawyers on staff, but I do have access to the World-Wide Web, which leads me to believe that the War Crimes Act of 1996 is an appropriate statute.

86

notGoodenough 01.16.21 at 1:46 am

Donald

Originally I considered a longer response, but to try something more targeted to your inclinations (I hope less than 500 words is sufficiently brief for you) I will hit some points quickly:

1) @ 59, again you make a lot of assumptions with your various “we are supposed” statements. None of those are true for me, nor are they – as far as I am aware – true to any great extent for the majority of CT bloggers. Your remarks seem to be, to try to put it mildly, rather poorly directed.

2) I don’t care if your plans satisfy me or not (I am hardly of any great significance). What would matter is if they are likely to achieve the intended goals. You may wish to consider, for example, the numerous attempts to hold the architects of the “war on terror” accountable – to the best of my knowledge, few (if any) of these people have faced any noticeable consequences. This would seem to suggest that while “we should hold the powerful accountable” is a worthy sentiment, the trick is finding a way to actually do so. Given this has been an ongoing project for numerous organisations and people for many, many years, I don’t believe the lack of success has been from lack of trying.

3) “But it would be better if people started noticing that we treat foreign lives that we snuff out as though they didn’t really matter that much.”

Many people (myself included) have already noticed this (for, you know, several decades). Indeed, much electronic ink on CT has been spilled on this subject already, covering a wide range of different angles (not only the effects of various “wars”, but also climate change, hostile immigration policies, political targeting of vulnerable minorities, etc. etc. etc.). This is particularly true in the case of the CT Contributors – many of whom regularly address these topics (sometimes directly, sometimes tangentially).

If you wish to spend time making people notice this issue, I am unconvinced that the best approach is to target an audience which has already noticed – particularly one which includes many people already fighting against the problems you are trying to raise awareness of. The phrase “preaching to the choir” springs to mind – which, while not necessarily a bad thing in itself, can be derailing (particularly when promulgated as an alternative discussion which should take priority – rather my initial point).

Final remarks

You are welcome to do as you wish (within the framework of CT’s fairly relaxed commenting rules). Certainly I wish you good luck in your attempt to address this important topic (to be clear, as you seem to have problems making this distinction, this isn’t snark – I genuinely hope you achieve something positive).

But since further discussion seems unlikely to be fruitful I see little reason for me to continue – particularly, as previously noted, given your habit of presupposing people’s positions (something which I personally have never found conducive to achieving anything substantial).

87

engels 01.16.21 at 12:30 pm

People with settled status can return when (if) the labour market in the UK improves

Yes, but that doesn’t apply to who arrived less than 5 years ago (perhaps those most likely to “return home” for lockdown).

88

Orange Watch 01.16.21 at 7:25 pm

CHETAN R MURTHY@45:
For a long time I thought Hidari was just a serious “class-not-race” leftist. It was only recently that he came out so …. openly as a Trumpist.

I missed this comment, but it feels worth circling back to. As both you and I have pointed out, Hidari is conducting themself in sterling bad faith in this thread, but I can’t see this as Trumpism. It’s a particular sort of “anti-anti-Trumpism” as some call it. It’s the brain worm infecting the generally-intelligent and thoughtful frontpagers at Naked Capitalism, for instance, orthe very-deep-down-this-rabbit-hole Glen Greenwald. It’s “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” as a lifestyle brand. I tend to shorthand it as “neo-tankie”, not least since it typically includes a blind eye (or even open praise) of the likes of Putin and Assad, up to and including aggressive and blatantly false apologetics for war crimes.

If the neo-liberal establishment – particularly the center-right portion of it embodied in the Democratic Party, who is already the Near Enemy in domestic politics – is against someone, they can’t be all bad – and the more vitriolically the centrist establishment that supports the (admittedly unjust and often murderous) “polite” international political order is opposed to someone, the more worthy of consideration that hated figure must be. Trump has been a lightning rod for 4y, and centrist liberal opinion of him managed to eclipse even his actual horrific record. It’s entirely unsurprising that people with a Manichean view of politics like these neo-tankies will end up defending Trump – he opposes and outrages their enemies, and while they don’t agree with his worldviews, he appeared on the political stage after they had divided the world into good and evil, and was opposed by the groups they had deemed evil. Ergo, you see them repeating thought terminating cliches like the tedious “orange man bad” to keep themself and people around them from looking too closely at what he’s actually doing.

Writing the above makes me feel like it’s high time I re-read my Debord.

89

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.17.21 at 6:57 pm

Orange Watch @ 88:

As both you and I have pointed out, Hidari is conducting themself in sterling bad faith in this thread, but I can’t see this as Trumpism. It’s a particular sort of “anti-anti-Trumpism” as some call it. It’s the brain worm infecting the generally-intelligent and thoughtful frontpagers at Naked Capitalism, for instance, orthe very-deep-down-this-rabbit-hole Glen Greenwald.

Well-diagnosed. Here’s the thing: to paraphrase some part of The Bible, I’m uninterested in -motivations-; I only care about -works-. I couldn’t give a plug nickel for what Hidari thinks in his heart. Or Greenwald for that matter. That he shows up on the Tucker Carlson White Power Hour regularly is enough for me to conclude he’s a Trumpist.

But as long as we’re talking about Hidari: he claims to be a leftist, interested in class-not-race. Gosh what do we have here? https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/08/trump-trade-black-latino-workers/
“U.S. trade policies have disproportionately harmed Black and Latino workers, not just the White working class Trump courted, researchers find”
Black and Latino manufacturing workers were more likely to lose their jobs than Whites — and it took them longer to find new work

Yeah, Hidari., now pull the other one.

90

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.17.21 at 8:08 pm

Orange Watch @ 88:

It’s entirely unsurprising that people with a Manichean view of politics like these neo-tankies will end up defending Trump – he opposes and outrages their enemies

I’m not a political scientist, but I’ve read about this thing called Duverger’s Law, and it’s quite convincing. It sure seems that “Manichaean view” is a highfalutin’ way of saying “infantile”. To wit: Saying “I will support the enemy of my enemy” seems to imply that one believes in “heighten the contradictions”. That seems to have worked out really well [narrator: actually, it hasn’t]. Heh. I read once that the point at which revolutions happen is not when the people are most downtrodden, b/c at that point, they’re just trying to survive; rather, it’s when they’re starting to recover, b/c they they have hope.

What a buncha dopes.

91

Tm 01.17.21 at 8:23 pm

Orange 88 et al: The anti-anti-Trumpist faction on the left (see also 55) is epitomized in this Jacobin tweet, which sounds like an Onion parody but isn’t:
“The riot at the Capitol on Wednesday was a symptom of right-wing weakness, not power. The real danger isn’t a MAGA coup, but a restoration of the neoliberal status quo that produced the nightmare of Trump and his minions.”
https://twitter.com/LemieuxLGM/status/1348396052353744904

Speaking of tragedy and farce (SusanC 80), here we have the farcical return of social fascism theory from the Weimar era Communists: the real enemy isn’t fascism, it’s social democracy/liberalism.

92

Orange Watch 01.17.21 at 9:23 pm

CM@89:

Motivations DO matter, though. Useful idiots are not as dangerous as true believers – they support and amplify the actions of bad actors, but they don’t actively promote the same values. If the bad actor can be marginalized, they’ll cease to encourage the bad actor’s agenda. The bad actor and their true believers, OTOH, will continue to promote those values and seek to bring them back into prominence. In a moment of crisis or when the bad actor is at the height of power, one type of supporter will generally be as bad as another – a boot on your neck is a boot on your neck regardless of the motivations of the person putting it there – but there is value in making a distinction between fellow travelers and mere useful idiots. One is a lot more redeemable than the other.

93

CHETAN R MURTHY 01.18.21 at 8:48 pm

OW @ 92: OK, maybe I should amend what I wrote. What I mean is simply that I don’t trust professed beliefs. I trust revealed beliefs [in the sense of “revealed preferences”]. As the Christianists are wont to say, we can’t know what’s in someone’s heart. As Harry Frankfurt says, “if you want to convince someone of something, then believing it sincerely is a good sales technique”. Or as one might condense: “In the end, sincerity is bullshit”.

Sure, it’s important to know someone’s motivation. But I judge that from a person’s actions, not from their claims about their motivations.

Hidari, like Glenn Greenwald, is a Trumpjst by his actions.

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