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Guest Post by C’helle Egalite Griffin: Trump Didn’t Fall From the Sky

| 44 Comments

A comrade posted this on Facebook, and I believe it deserves a wider audience.  I reprint it here with permission of the author.

Trump is malignant. He is repellent. He absolutely must be fought. But no one ever just wakes up to a phenomenon like Trump. And if we had, we could take him out with the force of the Constitution.

That’s not what happened, though. Trump did not materialize in a vacuum, hermetically sealed from social forces and fed upon the ignorance of the working class (and even if that were true–it doesn’t answer to why workers might be ignorant).

That’s not the way we got stuck with him. He is here because both the GOP and the DNC knew that we, the people, were turning sharply left in the face of their coordinated assaults upon our standard of living. They knew we were sick of their covert wars, their spying, their lying, and the austerity that underwrote all of that. And they sent out their antennae to see how far leftward we might go, and how far rightward they could force us to go.

The Democrats accomplished this reconnaissance and recovery by using Sanders and his faintly socialist sloganeering. He ended up being far more popular than they expected, and instead of gathering voters back into the fold for Clinton, the end of his candidacy propelled many of his supporters out of the democrats’ orbit for good.

At the same time, Trump was used to see how far rightward people would go. And the DNC dismissed him as a clown, as did the Republicans. They didn’t bank upon the wide swathes of ruined petty bourgeois (or scared petty bourgeois) who would vote for him. They didn’t bank upon members of the ruling class gathering behind him in favor of his tactics and war plans, which, while different, were not significantly so from the DNC’s.

No one banked, with such a heated campaign cycle, upon a vote of no confidence from the majority of the populace, who refused to vote on the shinier of two turds.

And that “apathy,” if you want to call it that (you’d be wrong), was earned. It was earned by a quarter century of war, under Bush v1, which increased in pitch and scope by leaps with each successive administration—Clinton, Bush v2, Obama. Each administration expanded upon executive privilege. Each administration expanded upon military operations. Each went ever deeper into the realm of deep state tactics of domestic spying, covert military operations, and regime change. Each went a few steps farther in the total annihilation of Constitutional guarantees.

And finally—with our last president, a Constitutional scholar, No less—We went into the realm of kill lists, the realm of extrajudicial assassination of US citizens. With each successive administration, there has been less spent upon infrastructure, healthcare, nutritional programs, and education. With each successive administration, There has been more spent upon warfare, surveillance, and various stock market bubbles.

We didn’t just wake up one day to a tyrant. I will not sit here, knowing fully well that we did not, and feign surprise. I will not sit here, after poring over the Constitution passionately my whole life, and say that this is an anomaly that cannot be understood. And I certainly will not defend those who helped bring us here. Whatever side of the aisle they sit on in the legislature, they were not there to watch out for your rights or mine, and while I may not be significant or important, i can nevertheless refuse to sign my name to a lie wherein they did.

We do need unity at this time, but it has to be a unity based upon facts. It cannot be the false unity of the DNC. They have failed us too many times. The New Deal is gone with the wind, it is not coming back. They can produce no deus ex machina: they will only send another shyster up through the hell mouth to mislead and misdirect.

There is a sense in which that ridiculous meme, wherein Obama switches off the lights in the White House only for the entire nation to go dark, is absolutely correct. As long as you remember that he has been, like his predecessors, steadily dimming the lights on our rights and our culture for years, leading us to our current state. Rome didn’t fall in a day. The Dark Ages didn’t represent a sudden shadowing over the lights of the classical age. And we didn’t just wake up one morning to Tyranny.

 

C’helle Egalite Griffin is a writer and mother in the Deep South of the United States

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

44 Comments

  1. “instead of gathering voters back into the fold for Clinton, the end of his candidacy propelled many of his supporters out of the democrats’ orbit for good.”

    I haven’t seen any evidence of this. Based on the polls, the people who would’ve voted for Clinton did so. The Sanders supporters that Clinton did not get were people who were attracted to his issues and repelled by hers.

    Otherwise, yep.

  2. “They didn’t bank upon members of the ruling class gathering behind him in favor of his tactics and war plans, which, while different, were not significantly so from the DNC’s.”

    The false equivalence canard,again.

  3. skzb

    Because, of course, it makes a significant and principled difference whether the Republicans get their nuclear war with China or the Democrats get their nuclear war with Russia.

  4. The DNC will only “send another shyster up through the hell mouth to mislead and misdirect.”

    What a perfect description of Hilary Clinton. Unless she is cold and in the ground, she will certainly run once again in 2020, and will have, once again, hundreds of millions of campaign dollars from corporate, finance, and insurance sources backing her up.

    Will Ms. Griffin be reading these comments, by any chance? I would be curious to hear her advice for how the working class can realize they must cast aside the DNC types in order to ever make any genuine progress.

  5. skzb

    Not sure; I’ll try to find out.

  6. Kroger

    I do not feel that anyone urging actions which require someone’s death as a precedent should be treated with any deference; indeed, I find it stomach turning.

    You are making claims without any evidence to support them. You have abandoned that whole evidenced based thinking bit, in favour of Trump’s ability to believe six impossible things before breakfast. You appear not to have noticed that leaders of countries around the world regard Trump as someone who will destroy the earth: presumably you feel that you know much more about their countries than they do.

    And that really is sad because when the nukes start flying you will still not have have grasped that actions have consequences..

    SKJB

    There was never any evidence that Hillary Clinton wanted war with Russia. No mainstream or counter cultural media was ever able to find evidence that she wished to do this. And you are still making statements without any evidence to support them, because you apparently share Trump’s inability to grasp that saying something does not make it so.

    Your inability to accept that possibly you got something wrong is identical to that of Trump. He can’t cope with even the slightest suggestion that he is not perfect. And sadly, reading back on your posts it is very obvious that you share this trait with him. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.

  7. skzb

    “There was never any evidence that Hillary Clinton wanted war with Russia”

    The level of willful denial of reality it takes to not see the the ongoing effort of the DNC to demonize Russia as a justification for war is simply mind-boggling.

  8. skzb

    I spent my career gathering and evaluating evidence to determine whether we would win in the Courts. I started out with, at the minimum, 5 years of training – 4 exams with a pass mark of 70% . I passed them all first time.

    I carried on learning because every year the Chancellor of the Exchequer changes the law at least once; I used to joke that being an Inspector of Taxes was like being a physicist in a Universe where the law of gravity could be repealed if God felt like it.

    I started out my career when income tax for the most well off was 98%; I was redistributing wealth every time I ensured that someone paid their fair share.

    I went on from there to become, in the end, the specialist technical advisor on the tax treatment of financial institutions and complex financial instruments. It was my job to decide whether or not we had sufficient evidence to succeed in the Courts.

    I can prove that I did so because my career is a matter of public record. In the 19th century civil service posts stopped being bought here and became instead based on merit. I was established by open competition; ie the then Civil Service Commision hauled us in to spend several days observing us deal with complex issues and picked those who were the best. The open competition is the antithesis of the US system where people are picked because of political reasons.

    I still hold the Warrant of Her Majesty the Queen as her Inspector; I gather it’s supposed to be a lifetime thing, even though I retired early to spend more time with my doctors. But I was paid to gather and evaluate the evidence which would be needed to convince what is now our Supreme Court. I appreciate that you are having emotional difficulties with dealing with Trump’s feet of clay, and in particular the likelihood that he will destroy the world; there are a lot of people in the same boat.

    But if I took a case to Court it would be because I know what evidence is, and I know the way the Courts evaluate that evidence. You don’t, and unless and until you do engage your brain, and accept that you actually need to learn, you will carry on flailing around complaining about all those stupid lawyers who just don’t understand. Just like Trump, in fact; meanwhile my qualifications are a matter of public record.

  9. Stevie:

    I’m sorry to be harsh, but your arguments here are both intellectually terrible and personally offensive.

    These posts have several profound logic errors in them.

    For one thing, you base yourself on a false syllogism: “Trump supporters oppose Clinton, therefore those who oppose Clinton are Trump supporters.” You did the same in a previous discussion regarding the EU, where you accused me of being pro-UKIP; there your logic was “UKIP supporters oppose the EU, therefore those who oppose the EU must be UKIP supporters” – even though I am a socialist dedicated to open borders and defending the rights of refugees, and my criticism of the EU is based in part on its xenophobia. And even though Steven has made entirely clear that he utterly opposes Trump and sees him as a threat to humanity, you keep throwing out accusations. That is intellectually faulty; that you then phrase your false syllogisms as passive-aggressive insults (“I appreciate that you are having emotional difficulties”) turns them into borderline trolling.

    The other significant error is your appeal to authority, in this case your own. This is actually several errors in one:
    1) Your field of knowledge is not actually politics. It is taxation. So you might be able to appeal to that regarding Clinton’s or Trump’s tax arrangements, but it is a fallacy to claim that your knowledge of this particular field makes you an authority on politics.
    2) Claiming that your background makes you somehow uniquely able to discern truth is purely a rhetorical trick; Steven could just as well claim “I am a writer, with dozens of published books, and thus uniquely capable of understanding narratives; I just know that the Democrats are creating a narrative about the Russians.” That would not be a valid argument either.
    3) Opinions of people with detailed knowledge of a field are not automatically identical or correct. You claim that your knowledge essentially means you cannot be questioned. But what about, say, Craig Murray? The former ambassador to Uzbekistan has far more political knowledge and experience than you do, and he’s argued that Clinton represents an even greater threat to world peace than Trump does. I’m not saying he’s right or wrong; I’m merely pointing out that, on the basis of an appeal to authority, he must be far more believable than you are. But this game can go on forever, and authority is a highly questionable concept when it comes to politics. George Bush can claim a great deal of political experience, but does that make him worth listening to?

    If you want to be taken seriously in a discussion, you need to engage using arguments, not insults and appeals to your own authority.

  10. Nice. I’ve been a reader of C’helle’s public posts for some time. She’s brilliant.

    “He is here because both the GOP and the DNC knew that we, the people, were turning sharply left in the face of their coordinated assaults upon our standard of living. They knew we were sick of their covert wars, their spying, their lying, and the austerity that underwrote all of that. And they sent out their antennae to see how far leftward we might go, and how far rightward they could force us to go.”

    I agree with her. Workers are turning left. The question that keeps me up at night is, to what end? Currently the struggle is held back by the Democrats, trade unions, and the identity politics industry (i.e. Women’s March on Washington), and while the demands are often healthy, the political programs of these tendencies are rotten. But developments might unfold quickly over the next several years and it will be important for socialists intervene. We must steer the course.

  11. Stevie–

    It sounds like you were a dedicated public servant back in your day. Rank and file public officials who will maintain their principals and integrity, working hard to hold the rich and powerful to account, are currently in short supply.

    Trump does indeed seem like a dangerous fellow. We no longer have to worry about what Hilary Clinton would have done. But if you study the foreign policy priorities she publicly and vociferously supported, you, too would use your shrewd analytical abililities to conclude that these same policies would have antagonized Russia to an unacceptable degree.

    I am referring to her State Department supporting a fascist coup to overturn the democratically elected government of Ukraine, instituting sanctions, and voicing support for installation of missile facilities, sending military units to Poland, adding additional countries in Eastern Europe to NATO, generally demonizing Putin, etc.

    As for killing, socialist critics would have a long ways to go to catch up to the number that the Democratic “leadership” have killed with their policies in the middle east and elsewhere.

  12. @Jonas,

    “If you want to be taken seriously in a discussion, you need to engage using arguments, not insults and appeals to your own authority.”

    In various other places your suggestions will not get someone to be taken seriously, while other tactics will.

    Very likely Stevie is not interested in what will get you to take her seriously, but posts for her own enjoyment.

    She is probably right about some of her claims. If we needed to prove in court that Clinton wanted war with Russia, and did not simply assume that if she took a tough enough stand that Putin would back down and not go to war, how could we prove it?

    She might have the more reasonable view that if Putin got too defensive she could buy him off with something that he cares more about and she cares less about than a Mediterranean port, Russians caught in a nation that has suffered an anti-Russian coup, anti-missiles stationed so that she might think that we could nuke them and they can’t nuke us, and NATO the explicitly anti-Russian alliance spreading into nations closer to Russia that we once promised we would not accept into NATO. She could just give him some things like maybe drop the sanctions and give him a couple of unimportant places like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and he’d settle.

    She might think she could get everything she wants without a war. There’s no evidence that she wants the war, she only wants everything she wants, and she could think that all she has to do is threaten Russia with war and they will back down and give her what she wants — which is not a war.

    It would be very hard to prove in court that Hillary wanted war with Russia.

    You might get a consensus among experts that what she said she was going to do, would probably result in war with Russia.

    But then, it would be very hard to prove that she actually intended to do what she said. Maybe she considered it more in the nature of campaign promises, that she thought would get her votes from center and center-right voters. She didn’t necessarily have any intention whatsoever of carrying them out later. She was a politician on campaign. There’s absolutely no evidence that she was telling the truth about anything.

    Once it was established that Hillary habitually lied about all sorts of things, it would be very hard to prove in court what she actually wanted.

    Although saying she wanted war with Russia is close enough for government work.

  13. jethomas5–

    I agree with much of what you just wrote. But I’ll add that Clinton’s statecraft was blunt, unilateral, clumsy, and frankly incompetent while she was Secretary. Her stated goals of “Assad must go” and “No Fly Zones” covered up with a veneer of “Responsibility to Protect” were very likely to lead to serious trouble.

  14. Jonas, I would plus your comment if I could. Sometimes I wish the internet had a civility requirement. Or an obligatory signal-to-noise ratio of at least 50%.

  15. skzb writes: “Because, of course, it makes a significant and principled difference whether the Republicans get their nuclear war with China or the Democrats get their nuclear war with Russia.”

    No, it makes a principled difference whether we maintain healthcare for 20 million of the poorest people in this country or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we want to encourage jingoist nationalism or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we build walls or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we engage in a trade war or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we cut science funding or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we cut education funding or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we ban Muslims or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we protect our environment or not.
    No, it makes a principled difference whether we want to cutback on the few protections have today or not.

    Should I go on?

    Your false equivalence was, is, and will always be silly. And that’s putting it politely. Even your assertion that the two are as likely to start a war with Russia or China is based on ignoring that Trump is an unstable person and more likely to do *anything* insane.

  16. skzb

    All of which I could argue with in various ways, but none of which is the point since we were discussing, in particular, drives toward war. You fail to address that beyond an aside about Trump’s mental stability. It seems you are arguing that Trump and Clinton are not the same. Well, since neither I nor the OP ever said they were, that seems like a lot of wasted breath, doesn’t it? The vacuous: “If you oppose them both you must believe they are the same” that seems to be lying underneath your attitude isn’t going to convince anyone who is not wandering around wearing a political blindfold made of several layers of ideological muslin.

    Your repetition of “false equivalence” does not make your argument any stronger.

    Clinton repeatedly exposed herself as a war hawk, and every day we read more in the NY Times and the Washington Post and other liberal newspapers about that awful, terrible Putin guy in efforts to justify aggression toward Russia. Trump is also clearly in favor of increased aggression, except toward China. Droning on about “false equivalence” does nothing to change that, or to alleviate the real danger of nuclear war.

    You constantly misrepresent my opinion. Let me put into simple words:

    1. That both Clinton and Trump advocated policies that lead directly to war does not make them the same. It is, however, the case that both parties advocate policies that lead directly to war, and we had bloody well better be aware of it if we want to prevent a nuclear holocaust.
    2. It is possible to recognize the difference between candidates and oppose them both.

    Is that simple enough for you?

    The last time I explained this to you, you didn’t bother to answer. I assumed, therefore, that you accepted it, and I let it go, having no desire to nail you to the wall with it. But now you come back with it again. I am now at the point of thinking that you are not here to engage in thoughtful discussion, but to be a disruptive influence on the rest of us. We don’t have time for that sort of nonsense. There are serious problems, and it’s going to take serious discussion to work through how best to fight. If you can’t engage in that, then get take your apologies for imperialist crimes and get the hell out of the way.

  17. skzb – “none of which is the point since we were discussing, in particular, drives toward war”

    I seriously think you have a memory problem. It was NOT just war, as I quoted back at you in the other thread, you also wrote:

    “The candidacy of Donald Trump represents all of the filth, degeneracy, and despair of capitalism in its death agony; the Democratic Party candidates who oppose him represent different policies to accomplish the same goal…”

    That’s false equivalence on a scale far beyond war and lumped Sanders and every other Democratic candidate in with Trump.

    BTW – you also believed Clinton was more likely to start a war with China than Trump. Only after I provided you reams of quotes did you back off on that nonsense.

  18. skzb

    Since you were responding on this thread, I assumed it was to something on this thread. Since you quoted the OP in reference to the drive toward war, I assumed it was a reference to the drive toward war, in which Clinton and Trump have, as the OP said, differences in methods but not in principle.

    Different policies mean, are you ready? Different policies. The goal, as I’ve repeatedly made clear, is the preservation of capitalism and the unfettered drive for profits. Do you deny that Clinton had this goal? Or that Trump does? If so, where is the “false equivalence”?

    The methods and approaches make them different. No matter how many times you repeat that I said they were the same, I didn’t. No matter how many times you use “false equivalency,” it isn’t.

    The different approaches matter, because they require different methods of struggle against them; the identical goal matters because it establishes that they are both enemies.

  19. Jonas

    I don’t think you have grasped the concept of evidence based thinking. At no point have I suggested that people should concur with me because I have appealed to my own authority.

    People, like myself, who have devoted their lives to attempting to determine whether the Supreme Court would agree, aren’t appealing to their own authority: they are recognising that authority lies with the Supreme Court. It’s very strange that you do not appear to understand this simple point.

  20. Stevie, more evidence, please, and less insistence that people “like yourself” know what’s going on.

    And I will add that most mad people think others do not understand simple points. That is a less convincing argument than you seem to think.

  21. Stevie, whether the US goes to war with someone or if the world just dissolves in pandemics and ecologic crisis, does not change my opinion that the current/old? system was failing and at an accelerating rate. Most of the people here are optimists who see socialism as inevitable. I see it as the only hope for any advancement and probably the only hope for survival. If we don’t get it, then we have failed not a moral test, but a test of basic functionality. Maybe a new culture will get another shot a few thousand years from now; maybe a new species a few million years from now. But it we keep failing, then I think we are out of here. Four years of Clinton might have alleviated the short term pain for some. Four years of Clinton might have given more room for positive change. But four years of Clinton could also have ended in disaster or made people too complacent about the fundamental changes our society has been undergoing for decades. I am not God, nor do I have Her direct line; so I cannot say which alternative was worse. It is my considered opinion that both Clinton and Trump fell below the minimum necessary standards.

  22. We have no way to know how things would be with Clinton, but we can look at the election of ’64 and see that the ostensible peace candidate may be the one who accelerates a war.

    We can also look at Honduras, Libya, and Syria and know Clinton’s a hawk who loves regime-change.

  23. “People, like myself, who have devoted their lives to attempting to determine whether the Supreme Court would agree, aren’t appealing to their own authority: they are recognising that authority lies with the Supreme Court. It’s very strange that you do not appear to understand this simple point.”

    What question are we thinking of referring to the authority of the Supreme Court?

    Are you suggesting that we here on Steven Brust’s blog should make no assertion unless we have sufficient evidence that the Supreme Court would rule that it’s true?

    It sure looks like you are arguing that you by long experience are the authority who knows what the Supreme Court would rule.

    I can kind of sympathize. From my scientific background, it looks like legal reasoning is in general a crock. But with science we can think out the experiment we would do to tell which of two hypotheses is more likely. And if there is no way to tell, then we should not chose.

    So it is very frustrating to me when people assert something they cannot know. The way I feel about it when they do that is probably just like you do. (Though I’m not sure how I would test that.)

    None of us know anything about what Clinton would do if she was president. And there’s no possible way for us to find out. What we have to base our opinions on, are what she did under Obama when she was entirely obeying orders and had no free will of her own, and what she did as a senator when we have no way to find out what she traded her votes for, and what she said — when we know she lied a whole lot and in fact she herself said that her public positions did not reflect what she would do. Plus we have a lot of garbage the media etc gave us that’s based on what they want us to think independent of real evidence.

    Wouldn’t the Supreme Court agree that there is no credible evidence about this question? If the Supreme Court disagrees with me about this then the Supreme Court is full of shit.

  24. “What we have to base our opinions on, are what she did under Obama when she was entirely obeying orders and had no free will of her own”

    Technically true and yet not accurate. The Secretary of State has enormous influence. People say Obama was hesitant regarding both Honduras and Libya, but Clinton pushed hard and he went along reluctantly. Sometimes bosses do that. Especially bosses like Obama, who has never exhibited a strongly independent spirit. (See Adolph Reed’s ’96 quote.)

  25. It’s true that Hillary did have the potential for a lot of psychological influence. But the transcripts of those conversations etc are mostly still classified, right? We only get stories from people who were there. Some of them try to play CYA and others were trying to influence the election. None of them were under oath.

    So this info was more in the nature of hearsay. I paid attention to it because I tended to believe the people involved. I paid attention to a lot of info that the Supreme Court should ignore. Because I wanted to make my best guess about who to vote for, when all the info was unreliable. Throwing it all out because it didn’t meet legal standards would leave me with nothing to inform my choice.

  26. Sure, people may be mistaken about how hawkish Clinton is, but the Secretary of State is not a puppet position—unlike the VP. I also hear she had her choice of VP or Secretary of State and went with the one that’s more respected by politicians. In any case, she has not said anything she did then was wrong, while Obama has expressed regret about his Libya decision.

  27. Will writes: “We have no way to know how things would be with Clinton, but we can look at the election of ’64 and see that the ostensible peace candidate may be the one who accelerates a war.”

    Neither Clinton nor LBJ are President. What we have is a man anyone with half a brain knew was a loose cannon. Two weeks in and we see the results.

    From Barkley Rosser at Econospeak

    “It is becoming clear that the scale of the botch by Donald Trump in Yemen in his first effort at a foreign military action is much greater than .first reported, as reported by Juan Cole. Right from the start we heard that people in the military were complaining about poor vetting of intel and how there was more military resistance than expected, with one American dying and three getting injured. There was the embarrassment of a bunch of civilians getting killed, with the latest estimate of those now as high possibly as 30. On top of this we had the absurdity of the whole thing being decided mostly over a dinner with Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner the main parties to it, although supposedly SecDef Mattis signed off on it ….

    Cole further reports (as have others) that Obama had apparently not decided to do the raid. It was long planned, but it was not just a matter of waiting for more intel. They thought it was not a wise effort, and indeed it has not turned out well.”

    Do we want to revisit who was more likely to misuse military power? Really? You put a nutjob in charge and you think it’s going to work out well or better?

  28. O’Neill, I’m not responsible for the DNC choosing the weaker candidate against Trump.

    And really, I’ve never said a word in defense of Trump. Your take is like saying anyone who criticizes Stalin must love Mussolini. Let me stress that this is a rhetorical point, so don’t say I’m saying Trump or Clinton are like Mussolini or Hitler. I’m only pointing out the flawed logic of insisting that criticism of one of two bad choices is support for the other bad choice.

  29. Will – sorry, just using your words, obviously others here believe Trump was the peace candidate. Yet, as I pointed out long ago, that belief was founded in deliberately ignoring what he is. Today we find:

    “In his first call as president with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of the call.

    When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was, these sources said.

    Trump then told Putin the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that New START favored Russia. Trump also talked about his own popularity, the sources said.”

    Someone, I wonder who, pointed to this exact scenario playing out in these discussion threads. Oh wait, it was me. I’m sure someone can come up with a rationalization for how this actually makes US-Russia relations better and decreases the chance of war.

  30. O’Neill:I don’t think anyone here has ever thought of Trump as the peace candidate.

  31. Steve H. – are you saying that no one here believed Clinton was more likely to start a war with Russia than Trump? Good luck with that. That’s pretty much been the theme since skzb’s Anti-Trump Petition post back in spring of last year.

  32. oneill: “Clinton is more likely to start war with Russia” and “Trump is not a peace candidate” are not mutually exclusive beliefs.

  33. We can believe that multiple candidates are too hawkish for our tastes. Hell, I’m on the record as saying Bernie Sanders was too hawkish for my tastes.

  34. O’Neill- I have begun to seriously question your critical thinking ability. Without exhaustively searching out every quote for you, let me summarize the argument that you are trying to use in your relentless support of Sec. Clinton.

    In an OP that started your unending rant, Stephen proposed that Trump was more likely to start a war with China, while Clinton was more likely to start one with Russia. Various people have agreed with some aspects of that hypothesis at various times. Please note that is an endorsement of neither. And while Clinton’s likelihood of starting a war with a foreign superpower will now remain forever speculative, Trump’s is not yet proven. Let us hope Putin decides that he has invested too much in Trump already to throw away his efforts now.

    If you really want to pick a fight with Trump supporters, however, I’ll suggest you are barking up the wrong tree in entirely the wrong forest. Go post on Breitbart, you will find the exercise much more satisfying.

  35. skzb

    Nathan: “oneill: “Clinton is more likely to start war with Russia” and “Trump is not a peace candidate” are not mutually exclusive beliefs.” You may need to slow down and explain that; I think there are certain parties who are unable to grasp it.

  36. skzb – “No, I do not support Trump. Nor do I support the imperialist wars, militarized police, domestic spying, movements toward war against Russia, provocations against China, restrictions on reproductive rights, poisoning of water supplies, and attacks on basic rights that are the legacy of the Democratic Party as well as the Republican. Are the two parties different? Certainly. They represent different sections of the ruling class, and different approaches for how best to preserve and defend capitalism, and the very bitterness of the conflict between them indicates how deep runs the crisis, how insoluble are the problems. But I am not interested in picking which candidate will do a better job of preserving the system that is oppressing and murdering my brothers and sisters. If you offer me that as a choice, I vote “no.””

    And this is the false equivalence that I have talked of ad nauseum. The false equivalence that skzb denies ever promoting. Yet, it is Trump that is more likely to start a war with *anyone* you name. And this critique included Sanders as well – not just Clinton.

    So as we watch the destruction of programs that were setup to help the poor, the elderly, the disposessed? They have no accounting entry in skzb’s world. Trump, Sanders, Clinton — they’re all the same.

  37. O’Neill:I don’t think those words mean what you think they do.
    Steve is saying that C & T represent different segments of the ruling class that he refuses to support. This does not mean they are the same.

  38. skzb

    “So as we watch the destruction of programs that were setup to help the poor, the elderly, the disposessed?” I can’t tell if this refers to Obama’s cut to food stamps, or to the record number of people he deported.

  39. “I can’t tell if this refers to Obama’s cut to food stamps, or to the record number of people he deported.”

    It’s not limited to the US, so it may refer to the destruction of programs that were set up to help the poor in Honduras and Libya that came from Obama’s and Clinton’s support for regime change.

  40. O’Neill- the false equivalence I am most annoyed with is the one that promotes a choice between Trump and Clinton only as being the same as a free and fair election. That is the false equivalence you cannot let go or even recognize.

    And, yes, I held my nose and voted for Hillary because it seemed to me that there were immediate dangers in a trump presidency that outweighed the long term damage she was certain to inflict. But I refuse to condemn anyone who chose to withhold their vote. Refusing to choose between a pair of plutocrats is a defensible, moral choice.

  41. oneillsinwisconsin “And this is the false equivalence that I have talked of ad nauseum. The false equivalence that skzb denies ever promoting.”

    I think I understand it now.

    You strongly believe in Lesser Evil Theory.

    You figure if Trump is worse, that means everybody is obligated to vote for Clinton. Because that’s the only way to stop Trump, and Trump is worse.

    It’s only if Trump and Clinton are precisely equally bad that it is permissible not to choose which one to vote against.

    So anybody who doesn’t vote for Clinton is implicitly claiming that Clinton is precisely just as bad as Trump. If she was ANY better than Trump you would be obligated to vote for her, and if she was ANY worse than Trump you would be obligated to vote for Trump.

    It seems like a false equivalence because really they aren’t exactly the same, but not voting for Clinton is a claim that they are exactly the same.

    Do I understand that correctly?

  42. And now for something completely different–here’s a little something I’ve been working on:
    (to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody)

    Is this my real life?
    Are you just fantasies?
    Made up a landslide
    No escape from my reality
    Close your eyes
    Look just to the ground and me
    I’m just a rich boy, I need your sympathy
    Wanderin’ around, in my robe
    Very high, very low
    Anyway the wind blows, the only thing that matters is me, just me

    Papa, gave me some cash
    We said it was a loan
    But I couldn’t make it on my own
    Mama, my taxes are too high
    Even though I don’t pay anything at all
    Mama, ooo
    Can’t follow all the words
    Can’t even find a light switch for my room
    Tweat on, tweat on, ’cause nothing really matters but me

    Too late, the night has come
    Turns out I lack a spine
    Cities burning all the time
    Goodbye everybody you’ve got to go
    Gotta leave you all behind and make up the truth
    Mama, ooo (anyway his mouth blows)
    I want all the pie
    I always wish I had everything at all

    I see a little Oompa Loompa of a man
    Mussolini, Mussolini will you do the chicken dance?
    Everything around me very very frightening me
    Vladimir, Vladimir,
    Vladimir, Vladimir,
    Vladimir Mie mani – piccolo

    But I’m a rich boy and everybody loves me
    He’s just a rich boy from a rich family
    Don’t apare him his life for his monstrosity
    I’ve blown a lot of dough will you let me go
    My dollahs! No one will let you go – let me go
    My dollahs! No one will let you go – let me go
    My dollahs! We will not let you go let me go
    Will not let you go let me go (never)
    Never let you go let me go
    Never let me go ooo
    No, no, no, no, no, no, no
    Oh my mommy, my mommy, my mommy let me go
    I’ve already put a devil right inside of me
    Of me
    Of me

    So you can stone me and spit in my eye
    So you don’t love me and leave me to die
    Oh baby, can they do this to me baby
    Just gotta hide just gotta hide right under here

    Ooh nooo, ooh nooo
    I don’t really really matter
    Everyone can see
    I don’t really matter to me

    Anyway the wind blows

  43. oneillsinwisconsin–

    I wanted to go back to your reply from February 8th about the potential to misuse military force. You cite a story from defense experts who argue the Yemen raid was botched because 30 civilians and one Navy Seal were killed. Then you crowed in triumph because your point was made: Trump is a wild card! Responsible HRC or cerebral Obama would have studied the raid carefully, consulted with leading generals, made strategic tweaks to pull the raid off with flying colors. That’s how I interpreted you writing.

    You have fallen into the propaganda trap that the mainstream corporate media and the “leadership” of the national Democrats and Republicans endlessly repeats. Attacking terrorists is a given, but each side argues that it could do so with greater efficiency. The view that is neglected in those forums is this one: why the hell are US special forces going into sovereign countries and blowing people up at all? In that respect, neither Trump, nor Clinton, nor Sanders expressed the views of the majority of U.S. people. No more foreign wars.

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