Apropos Of Not Much

So I read the latest over at Talking Points Memo on the slow-rolling Republican “moderate” cave on the tax bill to Trump and the GOP’s I Got Mine/Tongue-Bath-A-Billionaire Caucus.  That led me to a Twitter rant born of despair and rage.

The TL:DR is that dominant-power decline has happened before, will happen to whoever comes next, and is well underway now.  None of this is new; none original.  It just bubbled up, and as misery loves company, I give you a slightly edited version of the rant below.

As the GOP prepares to transfer wealth up and gut national finances in the process, it’s worth reflecting a little on national power. US predominance is no law of nature. It emerged in specific historical circumstances, & it will erode (is eroding) within its historical moment.

Trump and GOP actions are powering that decline, from gutting US diplomacy to abandoning soft power/trade alliances to an over reliance on the trappings of military power on the international security side to an attack on the US’s domestic capacity to solve problems, propel economic growth, and secure good lives for the great mass of its people.

The attack on universities that is both part of GOP rhetoric and built into the tax bill, for example is an attack both on civic life (in the form of engaged and critical-thinking citizens) and on the dollars and sense of economic life. Universities are where research happens, ideas turn into companies and all that. Whack them and we become not just dumber, but poorer too.

More decline follows as the basic sequence of life gets made harder for more people. CHIP follies are making pregnancy and childhood more wretched and even deadly. Ongoing assaults on the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare do the same for all of us and if/when the GOP passes its tax bill, most Americans will see taxes and deficits go up, threatening Social Security and everyone’s old age.

This kneecapping of American well-being and power extends across the policy spectrum.  Crapping on the environment isn’t just a matter of not hugging trees.  Just ask the citizens of Flint, MI if bad water is just an aesthetic loss. Recall the LA of my childhood and consider whether air pollution is just a matter of obscured views and great sunsets, etc.

All of these (and many more) domestic policy choices actually make us poorer, as individuals and as a nation. One more example: we already have crappier infrastructure than many of our national competitors. Among much else, that means it can take us longer to get to work — which is both an individual cost and and a net weakening of the US economy as a whole.

These are hidden taxes, charges we pay not in cash, but in our ability to choose how to spend our lives. That cuts US productivity as a matter of GDP, and our contentment as a matter of GHQ (Gross Happiness Quotient) (I made that up. I think.)

None of this means American will (necessarily) collapse entirely. It just means we will be less well off and, in the context of national power, less able to act in the world as a whole. We won’t be able to afford as much (see Britain, post 1918), and…we will — we already — find ourselves with less moral capital, less ability to persuade and encourage fidelity and emulation abroad. (Again, see Britain, post 1918).

There’s real danger ins such decline.  See Putin’s post Soviet Russia for one approach to the loss of economic, military and ideological/moral power.

In that context, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Trump, backed by the GOP, launch into a second war of choice in an as many decades, with similarly awful consequences.

But, that said, even though nations find it hard enough just to muddle through a relative decline in international stature, the world goes on, in somewhat different order. That’s happening now. We can’t really stop it.

We do have a choice though — we can accept a relative decline that still has the US eagerly pursuing a rich and just future…

Or we can dive further the implications of the current GOP program, and watch as our politics become yet more of a zero sum game in which those with the most grab all the crumbs they can, leaving the rest of us to our own devices, while US power dwindles.

And that, by way of the long road home, leads me here: Trump’s GOP* is a fundamentally anti-American party. It is working as hard as it can to deliver wealth and power to a small constituency to the detriment of our national interest. That’s how an organized crime ring acts, not a party of government.

And with that….this thread.  It is open.

*And it is his party, or, if you prefer, he’s the predictable face of what that party has long been becoming.

Images: J. W. M. Turner, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up1839.

after Hieronymous Bosch, The Hay Wain (central panel of a tryptich), between 1510-1520.

183 replies
  1. 1
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    All of this was born, and was inevitable, with the original sin of slavery. Electing a black man, twice, was too much for white Americans and now we’re all going to be punished.

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    Electing a black man, twice, was too much for white Americans and now we’re all going to be punished.

    Some of us will be punished much more then others.

  3. 3
    ruemara says:

    We’re at the mercy very short-sighted men, empowered by very short-sighted people. It’s not just us, either. This is a global shift right now of nationalism, hatred & fear. I don’t know how it plays out, but it signifies some very dangerous times ahead, because we are a giant lummox of a country and we can and will take down quite a lot.

  4. 4

    And that, by way of the long road home, leads me here: Trump’s GOP* is a fundamentally anti-American party. It is workign as hard as it can to deliver wealth and power to a small constituency to the detriment of our national interest. That’s how an organized crime ring acts, not a party of government.

    What about our media, including NYT who you have defended in the past as an essential newspaper which we should subscribe to. They are still giving Rs a pass on everything. Without their help (PBS, NYT and the like) this R coup would not have been successful.

  5. 5
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Yes. I’m white and old enough to probably make it to Social Security, but I have a new mixed race grandson coming in a month whose parents are both schoolteachers, so all I can do now is worry about everything that they’ll be losing.

  6. 6
    TenguPhule says:

    @ruemara:

    I don’t know how it plays out

    Historically, badly.

    Infrastructure is usually the first thing to go.

  7. 7
    Tom Levenson says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You may not have been following my NY Times commentary lately.

  8. 8
    r€nato says:

    I am too old to fight this shit and I have available to me the option of moving abroad to the EU. I hope I get to do this before that war of choice comes.

    And it WILL come, because at one time not so long ago we had more than one tool in our international relations toolbox, which meant we didn’t need to go to war to achieve our goals. Now we are working very hard on only having a hammer (because it makes Republicans wealthy and Republican politicians powerful and conservative microdicks bigger) and I am sure I don’t need to quote that saying involving hammers.

    The tragedy is that we will have done this to ourselves. A nation that could not be conquered from without due to the vastness of two oceans and an enormous reservoir of international goodwill and a strong military and domination of nearly an entire hemisphere, will be defeated from within with the consent of the governed.

  9. 9
    Tom Levenson says:

    Via Renato at #8 above:

    The tragedy is that we will have done this to ourselves. A nation that could not be conquered from without due to the vastness of two oceans and domination of nearly an entire hemisphere, will be defeated from within with the consent of the governed.

    What I tried to say ~ 700 words.

  10. 10
    TenguPhule says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: I don’t see how teachers are going to be able to make a living soon outside of private schools.

    Between the cuts to funding, the whammies in the GOP tax abomination and the developing anti-education atmosphere that’s spreading hand in hand with ignorance, its going to be a miserable time for them.

  11. 11
    Tom Levenson says:

    @TenguPhule: Teachers in many/most private schools (and charters) make less than public school teachers.

  12. 12
    r€nato says:

    @Tom Levenson: Yes, I’m aware. It’s an excellent post filled with great observations, as sad as they are.

  13. 13

    @Tom Levenson: I saw the recent piece on David Brooks and your take-downs of individual reporters/columnists but IIRC you still defended the institution post-election. Have you changed that stance? I must have missed it then. Sorry.

  14. 14
    TenguPhule says:

    @r€nato:

    A nation that could not be conquered from without due to the vastness of two oceans and an enormous reservoir of international goodwill and a strong military and domination of nearly an entire hemisphere, will be defeated from within with the consent of the governed.

    The only way the most secure fort could be taken was by treachery from within.

    And there will be a reckoning for it.

  15. 15
    encephalopath says:

    I think The Hay Wain is my favorite Bosch.

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    @Tom Levenson: Yes, but some of them make decent wages too. This is not going to be true much longer for any public schools at the rate things are going.

  17. 17
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Tom Levenson: @r€nato:

    Our election was hacked by a foreign power who weaponized white male supremacist leanings on the low info left and right, so it remains to be seen how much consent of the governed was involved. Certainly with the consent of the GOP leadership.

  18. 18
    SFAW says:

    @r€nato:

    will be defeated from within with the consent of the governed.

    And the biggest fucking Fifth Column the world has ever seen.

    60-plus million of them, and counting.

    ETA: Those morons remind me of the legendary excuses from post-war German citizenry: “We had no idea they were doing all those terrible things.”

  19. 19
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @ruemara:
    It plays out really bad. At least Germany and Japan never had weapons of mass destruction, not for lack of trying in Germany’s case.

    What we’re going to see probably emerge is the creation to what I like to term the Perfect Dictatorship, after Mexico’s period in the 20th century. The PRM (PRI as it’s known today) ruled Mexico as a corrupt one-party state through intimidation and corruption. Information technology will only make this type of regime worse as the internet, along with traditional media, will be leveraged against the masses to keep the oligarch’s in power

  20. 20
    Tom Levenson says:

    @schrodingers_cat: No. I still subscribe — in part because I get a ridiculously cheap rate as an academic. I do so mostly because I find the unlimited access to their archives very useful. (Sporadically — but my last book, for example, made much use of 19th century NYTimes material.)

    That’s my particular use case. The Times is still capable of doing journalism few if any other sources can, if only as a matter of resources. But they’re in terrible shape, with the rot lying at the heart of the institution, with editors who clearly define the coverage they want. I think it mirrors the state of the US as a whole: seemingly all powerful and much closer to collapse than anyone realizes.

    So I no longer recommend anyone else subscribes; they should do so if they feel they get value for their money, but not otherwise. I certainly haven’t endorsed subscription for quite a while now.

  21. 21
    r€nato says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: where I live, the idiot citizens keep voting for GOP cretins who in turn loot the public education system in order to give fat corporate tax cuts to their donors, and jack up their utility rates. We actually have one-party rule at the state level and it’s been that way for the past several election cycles.

    And the idiot citizens keep voting for these same clowns every two years.

    Even Sam Brownback got re-elected in the midst of a crisis he created with his supply-side tax-cutting bullshit.

    We may not be outnumbered at the national level by fucking idiots, but there sure are enough of them that the GOP election rigging machine can tip the elections their way.

    #WASF

  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: In all fairness to Germany and Japan, they actually plowed serious money into their roads, factories and ports.

  23. 23
    TenguPhule says:

    @SFAW: If we survive this, being a registered Republican is going to have to become a capital crime. Can’t co-exist with Nazis.

  24. 24
    SFAW says:

    @TenguPhule:

    In all fairness to Germany and Japan, they actually plowed serious money into their roads, factories and ports.

    And Mussolini got the trains to run on time!

  25. 25
    SFAW says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I’d settle for permanent exile to Dumbfuckistan. Same practical result, but without the genocide.

  26. 26
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @TenguPhule:
    I don’t know much about the economic history of these countries in that period but I do know that WW2 started partly because the Nazis sucked at economics and had to loot other countries for wealth, along with all the other benefits that accrue from a war economy.

  27. 27
    Nicole says:

    Through my work, I read a lot of sociology textbooks, and one thing that has been brought up in more than one textbook is that the ultra-wealthy are a tribe unto themselves- that the Koch Brothers and the Walton family have more in common with a billionaire from Hong Kong than a middle-class American from the midwest (and prefer the fellow billionaire’s company, as well). As a result, the ultra-wealthy have no loyalty to their nation of citizenship (look how quick Thiel was to pick up and move); they just have loyalty to their own tribe. And the GOP is now the party of that tribe. They really don’t care what happens to America, because they aren’t, in any sense, Americans anymore. They’re going to take what they can from the resources of the nation and take it back to their tribe.

    But with racism such a motivating factor in American society, I don’t know how you make that case to the average GOP voter, who looks at the guys taking away his pension and his health care and thinks, “Well, at least I’m white like them.”

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    @SFAW: I wouldn’t trust them not to try and sneak back in. And I sure as hell wouldn’t give them the chance to get back on the Internet.

  29. 29
    gene108 says:

    The hope is taking back the House and Senate in 2018. The wheels come off the GOP destruction of America and if we take back the White House in 2020, we can stop whatever inertia the GOP wrecking machine still will have.

    We have to look at how to win those races.

    We need to make an issue of Trump’s conflicts of interest / corruption. That’s a real thing. People do not usually approve of government officials using their office for personal enrichment.

    We need to make it clear every Republican works for billionaires. This was an issue in the early 2015 Republican Presidential debates, wherein Trump turned this around and said he made donations to politicians to get what he wants and because he’s so rich, he can’t be bought.

    Part of what got Republicans in 2006 was a feeling of corruption and no accountability with Congressional Republicans.

    I don’t know how to do this sort of oppo research, but we need to figure out how to get these stories into the media’s hands. Hopefully savvier people than myself are working on this.

  30. 30
    AliceBlue says:

    I just read the piece at TPM. That picture of Susan Collins sporting a shit-eating grin makes me want to scream and punch holes in the wall.

    Thank god my husband and I never had children. I don’t know what will become of us, but at least there are no kids or grandkids to worry about.

  31. 31
    AnonPhenom says:

    Righteous rant Levenson..

  32. 32
    Weaselone says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    Eh. They only need to do it for 10 to 20 years tops. Then they can just let us all starve and use robotic superwarriors to kill those of us who won’t starve quietly out of sight. The human race will then come to an end when they create a supersavant AI that spends the next thousand years or so converting the galaxy into designer handbags.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    but I do know that WW2 started partly because the Nazis sucked at economics

    Not exactly. A lot of their conquests in the field involved laying claim to natural resources needed for a war based economy. They were hitting Africa and the Middle East for rubber, oil and metal. They needed hard cash from European conquests because their build up was expensive and everyone was still on the gold standard.

  34. 34
    LurkerNoLonger says:

    That led me to a Twitter rant born of despair and rage.

    Rage is a good motivator, despair isn’t. Let’s not wallow in despair even though, i know, it feels so comforting.

  35. 35
    r€nato says:

    @SFAW: speaking of Il Duce, don’t look now but fascism is enjoying a bit of a resurgence in bella Italia.

    http://nationalpost.com/pmn/ne.....-sentiment

    this is more academic and therefore a bit more of a trudge to get through (click the PDF icon at lower left, disregard the lock symbol, it’s free)

    http://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/28683

  36. 36
    r€nato says:

    @TenguPhule: WW2 alternate histories are a dime a dozen, but I believe it’s pretty well-accepted that if Hitler had not spread his forces so thinly (and planned so poorly) on the eastern front, he could have captured the oil reserves in the Caucusus which may well have made for a different outcome. Or maybe the Soviets would have blown it all up rather than let the Germans capture the fields?

  37. 37
    Brachiator says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    Our election was hacked by a foreign power who weaponized white male supremacist leanings on the low info left and right, so it remains to be seen how much consent of the governed was involved. Certainly with the consent of the GOP leadership.

    The Russians weren’t responsible for the white supremacist leanings. Fear, racial anxiety and the active connivance of the Republican leadership set the stage, and Trump took it to new levels.

    And we are seeing the rise of a kind of authoritarian democracy in which a core of citizens willingly and willfully put the future of the country in the hands of venal plutocrats.

  38. 38
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @r€nato:
    That last sentence sounds like a Russian MO.

  39. 39
    Johnny Gentle (famous crooner) says:

    Our national superiority has been an article of faith for decades–something that just is. We believe we’re a great nation because we keep telling ourselves it is, an ouroboros composed of jingoism, religiosity and laziness. We seem to have lost any sense of continued striving or sacrifice, and are instead assured in the indolence of a mission permanently accomplished.

    Shit, we as a nation can’t even admit climate change is real, so why would we ever think we’re capable of the introspection and self-evaluation necessary to right this ship now that it’s veering so far off course? We’re becoming a dysfunctional country because Republicans have become nothing short of nihilists out to destroy every institution except religion and the accumulation of wealth.

    “Owning the libtards” is their sole unifying motto, so it doesn’t matter if the tax bill prevents us from providing essential services, maintaining roads or keeping the 1% from getting everything as long as it fucks over the “elites,” blacks, browns and poors in the process. But hey, as long as you stand for the anthem, praise the Lord and insist on America’s awesomeness, everything will be just fine.

  40. 40
    TenguPhule says:

    @gene108:

    The wheels come off the GOP destruction of America and if we take back the White House in 2020, we can stop whatever inertia the GOP wrecking machine still will have.

    Not exactly.

    Provided we win in 2018, we can bring all legislation to a standstill starting from 2019.

    However we will not be able to reverse or stop any damage caused by the Republicans before then. That can only be achieved by a majority in the House and a super majority in the Senate. That doesn’t look likely before 2020.

    And if Republicans manage to stop us from achieving either one, the damage from the GOP shit will be blamed on the Democrats, just like what happened from 2008-2016. Which could result in a similar pillaring in 2022 that we got in 2010.

  41. 41
    TenguPhule says:

    @r€nato: If he’d only waited a year or two to kick off his backstabbing on the Eastern front, things might have ended differently. The Germans lost on logistics big time.

  42. 42

    Recall the LA of my childhood and consider whether air pollution is just a matter of obscured views and great sunsets, etc.

    Thanksgiving morning we had 100 mile visibility in LA, from the top of Mt. Lowe I could see Mt. Palomar in northern San Diego County and four of the Channel Islands(Catalina, San Clemente, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz).

  43. 43
    Fair Economist says:

    @TenguPhule:

    They needed hard cash from European conquests because their build up was expensive and everyone was still on the gold standard.

    Only kinda-sorta. Pretty much all countries had left the gold standard for domestic currency, as a result of the Great Depression. In almost all countries (including Germany) economic recovery started immediately after the country abandoned the gold standard. Gold *was* still used to settle accounts between countries.

    Germany was doing fairly well economically at the start of WWII. It was started as a voluntary war of conquest to carry out Hitler’s grandiose monster plan to exterminate most of the world’s population.

  44. 44
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:

    And we are seeing the rise of a kind of authoritarian democracy in which a core of citizens willingly and willfully put the future of the country in the hands of venal plutocrats.

    It’s so tragic and sad too. I’ve said before that we had a unique opportunity in the late 20th century to create a lasting utopia. It may be my bias speaking, but the modern West, lead by the United States, had a good chance of doing this, to raise all of humanity up. It still might, but it’s looking less likely now. Now climate change is beginning to set in and idiots are in charge at the worst possible time in history.

  45. 45
    SFAW says:

    @Weaselone:

    Then they can just let us all starve and use robotic superwarriors to kill those of us who won’t starve quietly out of sight.

    I’m sure all the NRA Second Amendment idolaters will rise up to prevent that.

    Wait … did I say “prevent”? Sorry, I meant “abet.” My bad.

  46. 46
    zhena gogolia says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    Yeah, I resent the phrase “consent of the governed.” The majority did not consent to this.

  47. 47

    The entire senate still has to vote, can we hold the funeral after the actual death, at least.

  48. 48
    MJS says:

    @TenguPhule: As if private school teachers will make a living for long. The oligarchs will begin to wonder why they have to pay anyone for the privilege of educating their brats when the help can simply supervise their home schooling, content to be delivered pre-packaged by Koch industries.

  49. 49
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat: We have a starting deficit of one. Collins and Alaska A-hole appear to be onboard this abomination. Which leaves us with questionably, McCain.

    So we need at least one more Republican defector. Probably 2, since McCain is unreliable AF.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @gene108:

    We need to make an issue of Trump’s conflicts of interest / corruption. That’s a real thing. People do not usually approve of government officials using their office for personal enrichment.

    Trump supporters don’t care. Trump broke every rule and tradition designed to demonstrate some freedom from conflicts of interest, and was not checked by the Republicans during the campaign or after he was elected. Trump supporters never saw his tax returns. I’ve heard people say that “Trump is a businessman. Of course he is going to continue to do business while he is president.”

    And his base continue to ignore the evidence of Russian involvement with Trump. They don’t want to hear about it. They don’t care.

    We need to make it clear every Republican works for billionaires. This was an issue in the early 2015 Republican Presidential debates, wherein Trump turned this around and said he made donations to politicians to get what he wants and because he’s so rich, he can’t be bought.

    None of Trump’s supporters even blinked while Trump appointed plutocrats to cabinet positions. Hell, some of them probably fantasize that they are going to get tax cuts so huge that they will soon be plutocrats themselves.

    Part of what got Republicans in 2006 was a feeling of corruption and no accountability with Congressional Republicans.

    Trump supporters and some others consistently blame Congressional Democrats and Republicans for doing nothing. And what finally shifted things, in 2008, was that people started feeling the pain of the financial meltdown and the impact of Republican stupidity.

    People know about Trump’s corruption. Too many of them just don’t care, or don’t see it as disqualifying. The media could shout about it 24/7 and it would make no difference.

  51. 51
    Cacti says:

    Other indicators of an economic power in decline is a brain drain from foreign students going there to study, and skilled immigrants coming for economic opportunity.

    Both have already begun here:

    40% of US universities are reporting a drop in foreign applicants since Dotard’s election.

    The number of lawful Indian immigrants looking to find a job back in India and repatriate has increased ten fold in the past year.

  52. 52
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:
    Trump supporters don’t numerically matter. 2016 was a fluke and is unlikely to happen again. Virginia is some proof of that. People are pissed at Trump and he’s too much of a delusional asshole to see that.

  53. 53
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Cacti: I’ve been meaning to post on this. We’ve lived off other countries’ intellectual capital since the 30s. Its loss will have a profound effect.

  54. 54
    BellyCat says:

    This from the American Assoc of Univ Professors, today:

    The tax bill passed by the House of Representatives threatens to devastate graduate education by reclassifying tuition waivers as taxable income–a move that, if it becomes law, would result in an untenable financial burden for many graduate students. It would also repeal the current Student Loan Interest Deduction, which would result in an increased cost of roughly $24 billion to student borrowers over the next decade. The Senate is pushing to pass its version of a tax plan, possibly as soon as this week.

    You can help stop these provisions from becoming law. Please do these three things today to protect graduate education:

    Support the grad tax walkout, which will occur tomorrow, Wednesday November 29, at 1pm Eastern time, 10am Pacific time. You can support the walkout by downloading a sign to hang on your campus, walking out, or tweeting support using the hashtag #SaveGradEd. More information about the walkout here.

    Share information about what’s happening on Facebook—click here to share a graphic.

    Call 855-980-2350 to be patched through to your senator; tell them you oppose taxing tuition waivers for grad students.

    Once the bill passes the Senate, the two chambers will then need to resolve any differences and pass a final bill before year’s end. Most provisions of the bill, if passed this year, are scheduled to take effect January 1st.

    Stay tuned.

    The AAUP

    Can’t post the links right now, but if you go to there website, you can probably find them.

  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    2016 was a fluke and is unlikely to happen again.

    I’d be more confident about that if our voting systems were being secured by a reliable trusted party. Seeing Republicans double-down in their support of Russian interference isn’t exactly comforting.

  56. 56
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    If it wasn’t such a bad thing for innocents, I’d almost be happy to see the World’s Single Greatest Nation in History TM be knocked down a few pegs. Where is your American exceptionalism now, wingnut conservatives?

  57. 57
    gene108 says:

    I find it coldly comforting that the folks, who think America is #1 at all times and the greatest best country God every gave mankind on the face of the Earth, are the ones whose actions will hasten our decline.

    And to note, there are two sorts of decline. One you go tits up, like the Roman empire and are no more. The other is other countries improve themselves and your relative power versus theirs gets reduced.

    We were moving towards the second scenario, with the rise of China, India, etc. But we were still the leaders. That is going to change with Trump in two ways.

    The first is obvious: Trump and Republicans don’t want to deal with the rest of the world in a realistic way that other countries will accept, so they force us to be isolationists.

    The second is that by making immigration so damn difficult, the idea of coming to America for a better life may die and we’ll be stuck with a bunch of losers, with no immigrants coming in to inject new blood into the country.

    The first problem can’t be helped, but I think the second problem is a bigger issue in the long run, because for whatever faults America has had, people still looked at it as a place you can do better in than where you are from. That is what makes America unique. People willing to give up everything and make it here, such that the national fabric of what is an American keeps changing every few generations.

  58. 58

    @gene108:

    That is what makes America unique. People willing to give up everything and make it here, such that the national fabric of what is an American keeps changing every few generations.

    This is exactly what Dotard and his voters fear and hate.

  59. 59
    PJ says:

    @Fair Economist: I don’t know how much it amounted to in marks at the time, but, prior to the start of WWII, Germany helped itself to massive amounts of wealth when it swallowed up Austria and then Bohemia. Businesses were transferred from Jews and Czechs to Germans or to the Reich directly, plus they gained all of those tanks, planes, and guns and munitions factories without firing a shot. And they gained slave labor from the Jews and compulsory labor from everyone else.

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    The entire senate still has to vote, can we hold the funeral after the actual death, at least.

    The Senate and House bills have to be reconciled and a final vote taken. There are a few more opportunities to halt this thing.

  61. 61
    gene108 says:

    @Cacti:

    40% of US universities are reporting a drop in foreign applicants since Dotard’s election.

    The number of lawful Indian immigrants looking to find a job back in India and repatriate has increased ten fold in the past year.

    Most of that has to do with immigration problems that were lingering for sometime that no one was addressing, because right-wingers kept blocking comprehensive immigration reform and with Trump, people realize those problems will never be addressed and will be worse.

    The biggest issue facing Indian immigrants, is the fact the waiting time to get an employer sponsored Green Card will take at least 10 years, if not more and all the while you are stuck on an H1-b visa, which may or may not always get renewed by the government these days.

    Also, it’s an overall lack of confidence in America, because of President Trump and Republican leadership.

  62. 62
    PJ says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: We already knocked ourselves down several pegs with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. How did that work out for everyone else besides right-wingers? Destroying American security, wealth, lives, and values, which is the Republican M.O., does not make the world a better place for others.

  63. 63
    zhena gogolia says:

    @BellyCat:

    Yeah, Trump’s really going to shake in his boots if I walk out of class.

  64. 64

    @gene108: From the immigration bloggers I follow, the RFE*s that H1-Bs renewals (even for the same exact position) are getting has skyrocketed. Something that was a matter of routine previously.

    RFE== Request for evidence.

  65. 65
    gene108 says:

    @Brachiator:

    We are never going to win over Trump voters.

    We need to get people, who are fed up to at least vote.

    In 1932, Herbet Hoover still got about 40% of the popular vote. There’s a base for any Democrat or Republican built into the system. It’s working the margins that gets people elected.

  66. 66
    Nelle says:

    @r€nato: Where are you in Kansas? I’m in Lawrence and keep getting stunned about the politics here.

  67. 67
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @PJ:
    Not far enough for the GOP and other entitled American idiots who think America’s superpower status is a birthright. What will they say when the United States, if it still exists, is a third world hellhole? Will America still be #1?

  68. 68
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @gene108:
    This exactly.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Trump supporters don’t numerically matter. 2016 was a fluke and is unlikely to happen again.

    This is not true.

    Also, because we still elect the president based on the results of the electoral college, demographics ain’t quite destiny and do not tip the balance of power in the Democrat’s favor.

    Virginia is some proof of that. People are pissed at Trump and he’s too much of a delusional asshole to see that.

    I agree with you that people are fighting back. But the Republicans are doing all they can to do the bidding of their oligarch masters as quickly as possible. The mid term elections may be the first best opportunity to stop the plutocrats and their GOP minions and to slow Trump’s attack on America.

    ETA. I’ve got my fingers crossed, but I will be deeply disappointed if Roy Moore wins in Alabama. Even allowing for the fact that a lot of people in the state just ain’t right in the head, politically and morally and in every other way that matters, it may say something about how politics have hardened if the voters there send that man to the Senate.

  70. 70
    Yutsano says:

    @gene108:

    People willing to give up everything and make it here, such that the national fabric of what is an American keeps changing every few generations.

    This is where I could see Canada stepping up to the plate. Trudeau could work on loosening some of the immigration restrictions the Harper government threw up, and then send out the feelers to India and China and whomever wants to come. Canada has space, it needs good trained workers (especially medical personnel) and if they throw enough money behind the integration systems could have a solid productive citizenry at the expense of the US. The real question is will Canada step up here.

  71. 71
    Peale says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Yep. The information age did not actually work out as our optimistic betters told us it would. We are now so locked into the web that a the state can just wipe out our discussions at will. Or worse, just lead our discussions to dead ends, senseless conspiracy, discord and confusion.

  72. 72

    @zhena gogolia: Every act of protests matters. A single act is like drop of water but the vast ocean is made up tiny droplets of water. Resist now, resist tomorrow, resist until he is no longer in power.

  73. 73
    debbie says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    I just finished reading Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing.” We will never not be punished.

  74. 74
    Kay says:

    I hate to be such a drag but it seems profound to me, the tax give-away to the rich.

    They were rewarded for backing Trump. It will get much, much worse now that he’s paid them off. They backed this racist buffoon and now they’re getting billions of dollars as a return on that investment.

    Jesus. Imagine what they do to working people next now that this was such a big success. They’ll take everything.

    I can’t see a way out of this right now. They’ve tilted the playing field so far I don’t see how one can tell people even to try at this point. They rigged it. They’ll get richer and richer and everyone else will get poorer and poorer and as they get richer they’ll buy more media and more politicians and more policy. I feel like I’m an optimistic person but we’ll be paying for this for DECADES. I can’t even imagine how horrible the 2020 campaign will be. They’ll be back for more and they’ll bust up whatever norms are remaining to get it.

    Ryan says he’s going after SoSec and Medicare next. They’ll get both of those. The poverty rate skyrocketing for children is bad enough but I can’t even imagine tens of millions of dirt poor old people.

  75. 75
    Baud says:

    @Peale:

    The information age did not actually work out as our optimistic betters told us it would.

    Exhibit A: Balloon Juice

    Or worse, just lead our discussions to dead ends, senseless conspiracy, discord and confusion.

    Exhibit A: Balloon Juice.

    In all seriousness, we do need to educate ourselves on propaganda and being skeptical of “news” that is marketed to our prejudices. That’s true whether we’re talking about the NYT, the Intercept, or Twitter.

  76. 76
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Without their help (PBS, NYT and the like) this R coup would not have been successful.

    True. The MSM has been a disaster in the way it has treated Republicans. Real journalists would have torn Trump limb from limb and any Republican supporting him.

  77. 77
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:

    This is not true.

    Also, because we still elect the president based on the results of the electoral college, demographics ain’t quite destiny and do not tip the balance of power in the Democrat’s favor.

    I’m assuming that in four years, presuming Trump is still in office/alive, his supporters will be far less and not as enthused about him as they are now. Also Hillary won’t be running again.

    So, demoralized Trump voters won’t go out to vote in enough numbers and Trump will lose because he’s Trump. He won’t have ole Hillary to kick around anymore.

  78. 78
    Baud says:

    @Kay: You’re being a drag, Kay.

  79. 79
    debbie says:

    @gene108:

    We are never going to win over Trump voters.

    I’m not sure I agree. I think many supporters will peel off as they discover how badly he’s screwed them over; however, to paraphrase Glinda the Good Witch, they’ll have to find that out for themselves.

  80. 80

    @Baud:Thank You. No country is perfect, we have to work to make it perfect. We can’t let these people win by default by giving in to our despair.

  81. 81
    Baud says:

    @Brachiator:

    I will be deeply disappointed if Roy Moore wins in Alabama

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised (but not shocked) if he doesn’t win.

  82. 82
    oatler. says:

    I’m reminded of the old Italian man’s speech to Art Garfunkel in the 1970 movie “Catch-22”.

  83. 83
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Kay:

    Ryan says he’s going after SoSec and Medicare next. They’ll get both of those. The poverty rate skyrocketing for children is bad enough but I can’t even imagine tens of millions of dirt poor old people.

    FDR: “People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

  84. 84
    Starfish says:

    Trump took a picture to be petty, and someone on Twitter did a beautiful thing with photo editing.

  85. 85
    J R in WV says:

    @SFAW:

    And Mussolini got the trains to run on time!

    No, actually, he made it illegal to discuss the timeliness of the train schedule. So no one knew if they were on time or not. Slight difference there, isn’t there!

  86. 86
    chopper says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Meh. the GOP always comes home when it comes to tax cuts. this is gonna be a mess.

  87. 87
    Yutsano says:

    @Kay: It hasn’t passed yet. There is a chasm between what the House bill and the Senate bill says. There are provisions in the House bill that can’t go through reconciliation in the Senate. I’m not giving up yet.

    And if it passes, we hang it on them.

  88. 88
    Kay says:

    @Baud:

    I know. I’m quite upset. Luckily I’m shallow so I rebound quickly :)

    It’s bad Baud. Let’s not sugar coat this. They won. They got the big pay off they backed him for. They”ll march behind him like a bunch of pasty, coddled soldiers now. They’ll give him whatever he wants because this isn’t enough- they want Social Security and Medicare too. They want anything that isn’t tied down. They’ll leave an empty husk of a hollowed out country because they don’t give a shit. None of them really live in it.

  89. 89
    Skepticat says:

    @AliceBlue: The picture makes me want to scream and punch holes in my senator, the above-referenced grinner. I’ll be calling AGAIN to ask whether whatever she’s promised (but likely will not get, of course) is worth the few remaining shreds of her self-respect and career. I too am very grateful to be childless, but my frustration, bewilderment, and depression are profound.

  90. 90
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    The wealthy in NY, CT, and NJ certainly aren’t being rewarded. Their taxes will increase with the end of the deduction for state and local taxes.

  91. 91
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Baud: @Kay: I have days like this Kay (that’s what prompted the post above). But not everyday. We have next to no margin for error, though. And if we don’t pick up at least one house in 2018, that margin may well be gone. If we lose again in 2020, it definitely will be.

  92. 92
    debbie says:

    @Baud:

    I will be elated.

  93. 93
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Kay:
    These people are mortal. They’re not gods. They bleed like the rest of us. They’ll pay for this. Eventually.

  94. 94
    Brachiator says:

    @gene108:

    We are never going to win over Trump voters.

    There were people who didn’t even realize that they were Trump voters until Trump came along.

    I know that there is this conventional wisdom that God create Democrats and Republicans, and that these two groups have always existed, but it is as false as if someone said that the world was always Catholic v Protestant or Sunni v Shia.

    We need to get people, who are fed up to at least vote.

    Yep. Absolutely. I have never, I will never say give up, stay home, don’t fight back.

    In 1932, Herbet Hoover still got about 40% of the popular vote.

    This worked out to 59 electoral votes v 472 for Roosevelt.

    There’s a base for any Democrat or Republican built into the system. It’s working the margins that gets people elected.

    Uh, yeah. This is why I say that simply depending on demographics will not rescue the Democrats. You got to work for votes. This may also mean changing the minds of some who are totally against you right now.

    And there is this, from Forbes

    Take Michigan for example. A state that Obama won in 2012 by 350,000 votes, Clinton lost by roughly 10,000. Why? She received 300,000 votes less than Obama did in 2012. Detroit and Wayne County should kick themselves because of the 595,253 votes they gave Obama in 2012, only 518,000 voted for Clinton in 2016. Mote than 75,000 Motown Obama voters did not bother to vote for Clinton! They did not become Trump voters – Trump received only 10,000 votes more than Romney did in this county. They simply stayed at home. If even a fraction of these lethargic Democrats had turned out to vote, Michigan would have stayed blue.

    You have to give your potential voters a reason to come out and vote. Between Democrats who stayed home and possible voter fraud, as well as people who wanted Trump, the entire election was turned upside down.

  95. 95
    Baud says:

    @Kay: Sure. As they say, to the winner goes the spoils. But don’t worry. I’m sure the plutocrats will turn against the GOP because the tax cuts didn’t go far enough. It’s the only sensible way to move the Overton Window to the right.

  96. 96
    Kay says:

    This is the photo Melania Trump CHOSE to show her entertaining the children of the troops.

    My God, they look miserable. Couldn’t they find one where they don’t look like they’re being punished? That one boy- send a rescue team in. He seems to be held against his will.

  97. 97
    MJS says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: I’m not normally this pessimistic, but you do realize that whichever Dem is nominated, he/she will have at least met Hillary. That will be enough of a connection for Republican voters and the press to run with.

  98. 98
    Sab says:

    Totally off topic. The surviving codetalkers want a museum. Does anyone out there in BJ virtual space know if there is any such actual project in the works? I would love to contribute if it is real and feasible.

  99. 99

    @Brachiator: You are not taking into account the voter repression tactics of the R party

  100. 100
    Baud says:

    @Tom Levenson: I’m finished with the practice of making grand predictions about where things will end up. I don’t know and neither does anyone else.

  101. 101
    Duane says:

    @Cacti: I worked at a state university for several years and the increase of international students was a wonderful addition. I met many of the students. They were smart, motivated, and thrilled to be here.
    Those numbers you showed are sad, and alarming. We shouldn’t be losing them.

  102. 102
    TS says:

    @Kay: Always the comment with this family “imagine if that was President Obama – or imagine if that was Michelle Obama”

  103. 103
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Some of us will be punished much more then others.

    That precious White working class with which the entire MSM is so enraptured is about to get hit upside its bigoted head if Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy is passed. But they’ll be alright because he promised to ban Muslims and build a wall to keep out colored folks. And he’s telling Black people to stop protesting police brutality.

  104. 104

    @Baud: I agree. No game theory based, if-then-else predictions for me. Also, politics is not a linear regression.

  105. 105
    ruemara says:

    @Brachiator: Conservatives are a very immoral people.

    @Kay: I, frankly, will walk over many of them. Because an awful lot of them voted for Trump and will vote for him as long as they can claw onto a lever. Even here in my deep blue town, the old folks turned out to vote for Trump in spades. My sympathy will only go to those who didn’t and I suppose we’re just going to have to help each other limp along in the next few decades.

  106. 106
    Yutsano says:

    @Kay: What the duck? It doesn’t even look like she’s sitting with them! Hell she almost looks Photoshopped in!

  107. 107
    randy khan says:

    Every change to this bill makes it worse.

  108. 108
    Brachiator says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    FDR: “People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

    Them belly full but we hungry
    A hungry mob is an angry mob
    A rain a fall but the dirt it tough
    A pot a cook but the food no ‘nough

    — Bob Marley

  109. 109
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @AliceBlue:

    Thank god my husband and I never had children. I don’t know what will become of us, but at least there are no kids or grandkids to worry about.

    My ex-husband and I, early on, chose not to have children, and I don’t for a minute regret that decision. Sure, every now and then I think it might be kind of nice to have someone to care for me in my dotage, but mostly I’m glad — especially these days — that I never have to feel guilty about passing this mess along to younger generations.

    No offense or criticism at all to those who are parents and grandparents.

  110. 110
    Kathleen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: This. I accidentally caught NBC’s “coverage” of Trump’s “news conference” and Lester Holt and the off camera bot were talking about North Korea and Schumer’s and Pelosi’s refusal to meet with Trump very seriously. The Bot said the Republicans could pass bill without any Democratic support and used term “tax reform” (that memo must go out four times a day because I heard Willie Geist use that term 2 weeks in a row on Weekend Today). I cannot begin to express the rage and hatred I have towards the media (with some exceptions). I’m actually shaking right now.

    Edited to correct numerous typos and spelling errors. LOL

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    You are not taking into account the voter repression tactics of the R party

    I said.

    Between Democrats who stayed home and possible voter fraud…

    I should have been more clear and specifically called it voter suppression. I expect the GOP to do everything to suppress votes in the future, including throwing people off the voter rolls. And of course, gerrymandering and other tactics to try to give themselves an electoral advantage. You gotta do more than just get out the vote. You gotta protect those votes, make sure they are counted.

    @ruemara:

    Conservatives are a very immoral people.

    Hmmm. Not really. Many are. And they certainly see Democrats and liberals as immoral.

    The daughter of a good friend of mine thinks that all white people are racist. I don’t try to dispute this point. But I note that at the end of the day, she has to hope that enough white people will choose to do the right thing. This pretty much applies to conservatives as well.

  112. 112
    SFAW says:

    @J R in WV:

    Actually, I had heard that the “got the trains to run on time” was just BS. But I don’t use emoticons, so I couldn’t convey that.

    In any event, thanks for the correction and details.

  113. 113
    MJS says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: No offense taken, but “this mess” does not encompass the whole world. Lots of great countries with lots of great people in them to move to, if necessary, which is what I’ll be doing and encouraging my kids to do if things don’t improve. Just because a large portion of this country’s population wants to live in ignorance and squalor doesn’t ean I have to.

  114. 114
    ruemara says:

    What can I say? I don’t believe that people will clamour for a dictatorship. But I do believe the more desperate things become, the more likely that some of these MOTU will face some direct action. This is not a generation of people raised on landed gentry. They get raging about not getting the toy they want at Christmas or not enough McD’s Szechuan sauce. Relative peace, reasonable wages, moderate prosperity for comfort and a safety net to prevent absolute devastation – those gave us civilization. Without it, we become a feral, angry mess. Exploiters under those conditions don’t survive the damage they do. We’re not gonna get elections after the next 2 cycles if Dems lose. But we are going to see incredible instability here on these shores the likes of which we haven’t had in probably a century or more.

    @Brachiator: Honey, if you can justify the voting patterns and misinformation that got us to 2008, much less 2016, you are the height of immorality. All the churching in the world won’t change that.

  115. 115
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Kay: But but but Susan Sarandon has told us that if Killary had been elected, we’d already be in two bazillion wars. Trying to look at the bright side of life.

    Seriously, if this tax bill is passed, we are so screwed. My only hope is that a few Republican Senators will develop a conscience and vote against this monstrosity but that’s asking for a lot.

  116. 116
    RandomMonster says:

    Tom, I don’t know about a Gross Happiness Quotient, but Bhutan has had a Gross National Happiness index enshrined in its constitution for several years.

  117. 117
    dexwood says:

    @Sab:
    Have not heard of any concrete plans yet, but you could contact the Navajo Nation Government offices.

    http://www.navajo-nsn.gov/

  118. 118

    @Brachiator: Sorry, my bad I read your comment in a hurry.

  119. 119
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Don’t despair

    Bernie will stop this using the bully pulpit

  120. 120
    debbie says:

    Damn.

    In a ruling from the bench Tuesday afternoon, Judge Timothy Kelly declined to stop on an emergency basis the president from putting in place Mick Mulvaney, currently the White House’s budget director. In doing so, Kelly ruled against Leandra English, the CFPB’s deputy director. English had requested an emergency restraining order to stop Mulvaney from becoming the acting director of the bureau.

  121. 121
    Kathleen says:

    @Nicole: Ned Beatty’s character in Network made that same point to Howard Beale (link includes audio, mp3 and transcript). That scene was one of the most prescient segments in a prescient film.

    http://www.americanrhetoric.co.....work4.html

  122. 122
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    I wonder what Axis Sally Susan Sarandon will do with her fat tax cut.

    Surely she’ll donate it to some revolutionary group.

  123. 123
    TenguPhule says:

    @Kay:

    They’ve tilted the playing field so far I don’t see how one can tell people even to try at this point.

    I say we still try.

    And if it fails, there’s always the tumbrels.

  124. 124
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @debbie: Judge Timothy Kelly = Drumpf appointee.

    What a shock!

  125. 125
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    I’m assuming that in four years, presuming Trump is still in office/alive, his supporters will be far less and not as enthused about him as they are now.

    Unfortunately our voting public leans toward stupid and the Republicans have loaded up a bunch of poison pills aimed at 2020 and 2024.

    My worry is we get a disappointing win in 2018 and get blamed for the backloads Republicans are adding now coming into the 2020 elections. Because 2018 at its most optimistic is only going to stop adding additional damage, not fix or stop everything before then. And this tax abomination is going to figure bigly into that.

  126. 126

    @schrodingers_cat:

    No game theory based, if-then-else predictions for me. Also, politics is not a linear regression.

    They told me there’d be no math.

  127. 127
    TenguPhule says:

    @debbie: Disfranchising Trump supporters from voting seems more reliable and practical.

  128. 128
    debbie says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    Any chance he’s the one who hadn’t tried a case when he was nominated?

  129. 129
    trollhattan says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    Had my kid help fill out my ’16 ballot while telling her she can help re-elect Hillary with her very first vote in 2020. Okay, dad was a little off but I can assure everyone she’s still rarin’ to cast her first vote.Here’s hoping we make it that far in one piece.

  130. 130
    debbie says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    Nah. If she’s like other rich people, it won’t be trickling down anywhere. That never happens.

  131. 131

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Sorry. They lied. Math is everywhere.

  132. 132
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @debbie: No, He hasn’t been voted on yet.

  133. 133
    TenguPhule says:

    @Yutsano:

    And if it passes, we hang it on them.

    FTFY.

    This abomination gets into law, might as well lynch the GOP for real. There’s enough poison pills loaded into the back end to make any wins in 2018 effectively a setup for the GOP to blame everything on Democrats in the 2020 elections. Again.

  134. 134
    Baud says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    That pretty much ∑s it up.

  135. 135
    Kathleen says:

    @Tom Levenson: I saw your Twitter temporary sign off yesterday. I’m glad to see you’re still making special guest appearances! I know you’ve got a book to write but I hope you can continue to squeeze in a few tweets here and there.

  136. 136
    HeleninEire says:

    DRUNK. LOOK OUT!! Good story to tell.

    Oh maybe I’ll share it with my morning BJ friends.

    Stay tuned to this channel. It’s 11:30 pm here.

  137. 137
    Ruckus says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:
    Slavery hasened the decline, no doubt, but this is the nature of governments. WWII allowed us to remain higher up the food chain for longer than normal and the fucksticks of the gop are speeding up the decline but this decline is normal. President Obama was doing a good job of attempting to soften the landing and keep us in a good position but that wasn’t going make the rich fucksticks happy or richer. Which of course is the same thing.

  138. 138
    TenguPhule says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Seriously, if this tax bill is passed, we are so screwed.

    You have a talent for understatement.

  139. 139

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Math is everywhere.

    No, Baud is everywhere.

  140. 140
    TenguPhule says:

    @ruemara:

    But we are going to see incredible instability here on these shores the likes of which we haven’t had in probably a century or more.

    *cough*

  141. 141
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure about Trump’s support, it feels a mild wide and an inch deep. Trump’s problem is now he’s president he’s no longer a rebel and now the politicians know better than to just hope Trump will implode. Trump will be lucky if he doesn’t get primared by Moore or a profanity spewing cartoon for being a RINO socialist..

  142. 142
    debbie says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch:

    Thanks. I need a roster of these fools. I can’t keep them straight.

  143. 143
    Baud says:

    @HeleninEire: Pics or it didn’t happen.

  144. 144
    Yutsano says:

    @TenguPhule: I couldn’t really see a scenario where the country would break apart just because of Dolt45. I can honestly see that happening now. The West Coast might just consider letting the rest of the country rot, take our considerable resources, and say sayonara.

  145. 145
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: TenguPhule 2020: Hang the Plutocrats and Eat their Bones!

  146. 146
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Baud and math are locked in an eternal, cosmic struggle.

  147. 147
    Brachiator says:

    @ruemara:

    Honey, if you can justify the voting patterns and misinformation that got us to 2008, much less 2016, you are the height of immorality. All the churching in the world won’t change that.

    People are complicated. In another thread I strongly recommended this week’s “This American Life” episode on Harold Washington, and how people in Chicago reacted to his election as the city’s first black mayor. A lot of people went nuts with racial anxiety, much in the way that a lot of white people went nuts when Obama was elected president. And a lot of these white people in Chicago were Democrats.

    Politics often is not about morality. And even when it is, it can get very complicated.

    Also, I never try to justify what happened in 2008 or 2016. But I noted that in 2008, it wasn’t only people listening to reason that changed things. People got tired of a financial meltdown that was kicking them in the butt. Pain can wonderfully concentrate one’s attention.

  148. 148
    TenguPhule says:

    @Yutsano: As I’ve said in earlier threads this tax abomination guarantees millions of normal Americans are going to cheat on their taxes. Otherwise they’ll be homeless. I expect the gray economy to see a significant uptick as people do everything they can to avoid reporting income.

    2 minutes to financial midnight.

  149. 149
    TenguPhule says:

    @Baud: And Math is obviously winning.

  150. 150
    debbie says:

    @Brachiator:

    In another thread I strongly recommended this week’s “This American Life” episode on Harold Washington

    I listened last night. It was excellent.

  151. 151

    @Baud: I remember that Star Trek episode.

  152. 152
    Tazj says:

    @Kathleen: It’s very difficult not to become angry at the media. I turned on MSNBC for a few minutes this afternoon and it seemed as if the White House or Congressional reporter on Andrea Mitchell was enraged at Democrats for not showing up to meet Trump. Really, he was just beside himself. “What are the Democrats doing? Time is running out! Do they think that Ryan and McConnell will just throw Trump under the bus?” Like Trump and the Republicans really care what Democrats think. They love the optics and the performance of Democrats showing up even though it means nothing.

    Like Eric Boehlert is fond of saying the press couldn’t sleep at night because the vote for the ACA wasn’t bipartisan. Watch them laud Trump and the Republicans if this monstrosity passes without the hearings and CBO score.

  153. 153
    Baud says:

    @TenguPhule: All sines point to “yes.”

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: :-)

  154. 154
    Brachiator says:

    @TenguPhule:

    This abomination gets into law, might as well lynch the GOP for real. There’s enough poison pills loaded into the back end to make any wins in 2018 effectively a setup for the GOP to blame everything on Democrats in the 2020 elections. Again

    I said it before and I will say it again. I do not give two shits about any blame that the GOP tries to throw on Democrats. I want the Democrats to win in 2018 and try to undo the damage that the GOP has caused and will continue to cause until they are thrown out of office.

  155. 155
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Brachiator: The inverse is also true. Jealous Conservatives might have looked at Obama and thought “well, why not give a reality TV show host a shot” Everyone wants to ignore it but one thing Obama and Trump have in common is they both campaigned on call for change so for a conservative in 2016 looking for something new Trump was the only choice. Oh and both won a political contest against Hilary Clinton, just maybe there is a link?

  156. 156
    Kathleen says:

    @Tazj: They’re just as fascist, racist and misogynistic as Trump and the Rethuglicans. They will never “learn” because they’re not paid to “learn”. They’re paid to promote an agenda. The only bright spot for me is my belief in karma. And I want to be around to see them all reap what they have sown.

  157. 157
    HeleninEire says:

    @Baud: I love you. I can get pics but they’re not the pics you’re looking for.

  158. 158
    JustRuss says:

    @Kay: Aack, DoE’s cover photo: the back of a child’s head staring at a computer screen. I’m guessing that came with DeVos, because who needs teachers in the classroom?

  159. 159
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator: We can’t fix anything till 2020 at the earliest. 2018 is basically just stopping further damage going forward.

    We need for a super majority in the Senate to get legislation passed in addition to a majority in the House.

    So figuring 3 years of graduate students getting the shaft, the economy going tits up and the whole time the media will be blaming Democrats for not fixing it by “working together” with bad faith Republicans.

    John Q Public isn’t going to pay attention long enough in 2020 for Democrats to explain what’s actually happening. And we need those peel off votes to keep the GOP out of power.

    And don’t forget the Purity Ponies who will blame the Democrats for not immediately reversing everything bad in 2019.

    ETA: Not trying to be depressing, but the math just doesn’t work for us in 2018.

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    The Lodger says:

    @Brachiator: As I recall there weren’t many working voting machines in those Detroit (Democratic) precincts, either. At some point a lot of voters gave up and went home or to work.

  161. 161
    PJ says:

    @Peale: Not to worry – we’ve still got printing presses, radio transmitters, semaphore, the postal service, and (my personal favorite) pneumatic tubes.

  162. 162
    MomSense says:

    @The Lodger:

    Half of the voting machines weren’t working on Election Day. That’s voter suppression.

  163. 163
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @TenguPhule:

    the math just doesn’t work for us in 2018.

    As you say, 2018 will put a stop to Trump doing any further damage and hopefully could lead to Trump’s impeachment (if Mueller hasn’t gotten to him first). That’s if Dems win big next November, of course.

  164. 164
    Van Buren says:

    @SFAW: Do robots get 2nd Amendment rights? Asking for a friend

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    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @TenguPhule: not only that, but the media will “suddenly” start caring about issues they currently bury.

    Not just how they only obsess about the deficit and spending when a Dem is president, but have you noticed how the endless, pissing their pants stories on isis, syria, iraq, mosul immediately dropped off the radar after the election. It’s as if they never existed. And then they love to troll from the left and center, so they’ll suddenly rediscover a never ending “concern” about droooonze and bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle and regular order and tan suits.

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    TenguPhule says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I’m worried people are expecting too much from winning and setting themselves up for bitter disappointment when no Democratic legislation is introduced or passed with a Democratic majority.

    A do-nothing Senate is actually the most optimistic scenario for 2018.

    How to leverage that into further victories in 2020 is a question that needs to start being asked.

    Running on “We’ve prevented the worst case scenario by making sure we don’t do anything” may be expecting a bit much from the politically illiterate.

  167. 167
    TenguPhule says:

    @Van Buren: Its technically not murder if they’re not the same species.

  168. 168
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @debbie: Very disappointing.

  169. 169
    Brachiator says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Not trying to be depressing, but the math just doesn’t work for us in 2018.

    Nothing that you say here has anything to do with math.

  170. 170
    But her emails!! says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Actually, the best case is a Democratic House that passes legislation that gets blocked in the Senate or vetoed by Trump.

  171. 171
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator: We need 50% +1 in the House and 60 in the Senate to pass legislation. We need 66% +1 in the House and 67 in the Senate to overturn the vetoes.

  172. 172
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @MomSense:

    Half of the voting machines weren’t working on Election Day. That’s voter suppression.

    So why wasn’t there a backup system involving a piece of paper and a pencil?

    Who sets up any kind of electronic system and expects it to work 100% of the time?

    I realize that for Republicans this a feature not a bug.

  173. 173
    chris says:

    Repost from this morning. Sarah Kendzior on the gutting of net neutrality, voter suppression and the packing of the courts.

  174. 174
    Kathleen says:

    Buckeye Juicers – here’s a Twitter link to “For Ohio’s Future” Twitter feed. You don’t need to be registered Twitter user to read the feed. Some good info.

    https://twitter.com/ForOurFutureOH

  175. 175
    Sab says:

    @Kathleen: las an Ohio Juicer I’d like to thank you for this link.

  176. 176
    Kathleen says:

    @Sab You are welcome!

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    Sloane Ranger says:

    I think people are too hung up on hard core Trumpists. All the polling shows that the Tax Bill is less popular than Herpes and, while Roy Moore may still win, it will be a lot closer than it should be in a blood red State.

    Trump won on a technicality and his polling numbers are at historical lows for a President at this point in his 1st term. Not to mention that his election has created a firestorm of grass roots activism.

    Looking at the situation from the other side of the Atlantic, I believe that he and his supporters have caused a visceral disgust among a lot of people who previously weren’t interested in politics in a way not seen previously and this will affect voting patterns for a generation.

    Also don’t give up. According to CNN, some of the Repubs who had concerns have been promised amendments but haven’t actually seen the text yet. They might change their minds again once they do. Even if they don’t, it is still only the first step in a long road. Remember that their Obamacare murder was only stopped in the eleventh hour.

    We lost on Brexit but I continue to fight in my small way and will continue to do so until we win or we leave. And, in the latter case, take some small pleasure in saying I told you so to the Brexiteers as the UK suffers the consequences.

  178. 178
    Sab says:

    @TenguPhule: I think and hope you are too cynical (observation, not a criticism.

    In the last election , responding to drastic cuts in funding from the state to cities, the electorate in my medium sized Midwestern city passed an increase in the city income tax. We aren’t wild about taxes here, and tax issues do lose. This time the tax increase issue passed by almost 80% to 20% and it carried in every single precinct in the city. This has never happened before.

    I think a lot of people are noticing that there’s serious problems in our democracy, and they are responding to save it. We will see in 2018nand 2020,but I’m heartened by 2017 election results.

  179. 179
    SFAW says:

    @Van Buren:

    Do robots get 2nd Amendment rights? Asking for a friend

    If they’re incorporated, probably yes.

  180. 180
    SFAW says:

    @MomSense:

    Half of the voting machines weren’t working on Election Day. That’s voter suppression.

    Ah, the Ken Blackwell gambit. Seems to happen a lot in non-white precincts. I wonder why that is?

  181. 181
    Yog-Sothoth says:

    The oligarchs have already won. This is the time of the looting.

    Financial deregulation will inevitably cause another 2008-style crash. Much of the damage from the last crash has merely been papered over, and this will make the global economy much harder to fix next time. If the Republicans are still in charge they won’t do anything remotely big enough to stop the collapse, and if they are out of power they will obstruct any attempts to fix the problem – too much debt already, they will say, just after they added 2 trillion more so they could give it to the rich.

    This is all baked into the system already. It doesn’t matter who wins in 2018 or 2020. That’s why the oligarchs want tax cuts so badly – this is the last chance to loot the system. There are trillions of dollars of real wealth that can still be extracted from the economy before the calamity hits.

  182. 182
    PIGL says:

    @Brachiator: That is why the only hope is for progressives to abandon the red states and move to the coasts.

  183. 183
    Tehanu says:

    @Kathleen:

    Late to the party, I know — just remember, ‘reform” means (literally) “changing shape,” not “improving.”

    @Brachiator:

    they certainly see Democrats and liberals as immoral

    That’s because in their minds, honesty about sex and free consent to it is the only real immorality. Cheating your suppliers and employees, pretending to be generous while selfishly grabbing as much as you can, destroying nature to benefit yourself aren’t immoral, they’re just good business.

    @Yutsano:

    The West Coast might just consider letting the rest of the country rot, take our considerable resources, and say sayonara.

    Not gonna happen. A lot of people in 1861 thought the North would just let the South go, but the North was not about to let a hostile government control the Mississippi River which was the North’s shipping outlet to the world of the incredible agricultural & mineral wealth produced west of the Appalachians. No more would today’s red states let the Pacific ports and California’s agriculture be controlled by a government they’d have to get past, not to mention the numerous naval and air bases. If the entire country fell apart into competing and relatively powerless regional states, maybe, but not otherwise.

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