Bannon Slithers Back Onstage

In the Pompeo thread downstairs, the subject of Steve Bannon’s reemergence came up, which deserves its own thread, IMO. Last night, in an interview with Bob Costa, Maddow covered Bannon’s preposterous plan for Trump to fire Rosenstein and retroactively rescind administration officials’ testimony in the Mueller investigation. It’s a dumb plan, and it sounds more like Bannon trying to worm his way back into Trump’s good graces than a serious proposal.

But maybe Bannon is more motivated to save his own blotchy ass than Trump’s. Perhaps he’s panicking at Trump’s catastrophic tar-pit wallowing and perceives it will endanger himself and his patrons. The fact that Bannon is back in DC pitching absurd plots to folks in power is significant. As I alluded to in the thread below, I believe that if we ever get the whole story on Russia’s attack on our election, we’ll find that it was abetted wholeheartedly by Bannon and the Mercers.

We’ll find that undermining liberal democracies worldwide was always the Bannon-Mercer strategy, and that riling up Nazis and alt-right goons globally was their technique in service of this aim. I don’t mean to imply this is some startling new insight that I came up with just now while sitting here eating Cheerios. Y’all know this stuff, and I’m glad to have you to talk to about it, because I know I sound like a crackpot to my non-political junkie friends when it comes up.

We already have proof of Bannon and the Mercers’ activities in this vein at home and abroad. We know their connections to Russia. But again, I’m glad to see Bannon ooze back onto the scene, and not just because I own stock in Febreze. Bannon slunk away after Trump fired him over the Wolfe book, and our Beltway haircuts moved on to the next squirrel. But Bannon is a key plank in this rickety Jenga treason tower,* and the more scrutiny he gets, the likelier the entire con is exposed.

That matters, because while Trump has thus far proved a cowardly and inept vehicle for the racist ideologues and fanatical oligarchs who’ve burrowed into his orange hide like fat, juicy ticks, we can’t count on our luck to hold in that regard. Not now, during the Trump nightmare, and not in the future once the current demagogue is excised from the body politic like a cancerous polyp.

If not exposed, the forces the foisted this nightmare on us will be waiting in the wings with a new, more competent demagogue. I caught part of a Fresh Air interview on NPR yesterday with Robert Kuttner (from the American Prospect), who has written a book about how global capitalism is driving the emergence of fascists worldwide. He calls Trump a symptom, and he’s right.

“Economic anxiety” has rightly become a punchline in these parts because it ignores the bone-deep racism, sexism and xenophobia that animates Trump supporters, many of whom are actually well-off, and it perpetuates the lie that the “working class” is white and male. But it would be a mistake to completely discount global economics and rising wealth inequality as factors too.

Authoritarian kleptocrats and wannabes all over the planet are fomenting hatred and exploiting ignorance and resentment to enrich themselves and advance their crackpot causes. And if Trump succeeds in wrecking the Obama economy, it will only get worse. We should be prepared for that, and an honest accounting of how these sleazebags are manipulating people worldwide is good preparation.

Anyhoo. Whew. Glad to get that off my chest. Open thread?

*Image stolen from @hoarsewisperer on Twitter.






270 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Bannon misses the Mercer money- remember, he lost his patrons when he got kicked out of the White House. He’s done the European White Nationalist Tour, looking for new patrons, but nope.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    “Economic anxiety” has rightly become a punchline in these parts because it ignores the bone-deep racism, sexism and xenophobia that animates Trump supporters, many of whom are actually well-off, and it perpetuates the lie that the “working class” is white and male. But it would be a mistake to completely discount global economics and rising wealth inequality as factors too.

    We’ve blown a hole through the ‘ economic anxiety’.
    We never accepted it, and we have been punching at it since November 2016.

  3. 3
    Jerzy Russian says:

    How can you retroactively rescind testimony? Actually don’t answer that, as I don’t really want to know.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    If anyone reads Popehat’s twit feed, he’s doing a few #SteveBannonLegalTheories making fun of the multi-shirted bum.

  5. 5
    Starfish says:

    While we are on the topic of white supremacists, can we discuss Wendy Vitter’s answer to “Do you believe that Brown v Board of Education was correctly decided?” Here is a video with the hot mess that was her answer.

  6. 6

    I cannot fathom why billionaires like the Mercers would want to undercut democracy. Why do people like them think that they’re the ones who would come out on top in some kind of authoritarian society? I mean, yeah, they could end up on top; but it seems as likely that an undemocratic autocracy might choose to turn on people like the Mercers. They can make good targets. There aren’t a whole lot of them, it’s easy to rile people up by appealing to their envy of people like that, they’re easy to point out as mooching low lifes. Yeah, a Tяump kind of autocrat isn’t going to turn on people like the Mercers. But there are other kinds of autocrats, too. Lenin and Robespierre were autocrats. Once you tear down democracy and the rule of law, it can be awfully hard to build up just the kind of dictatorship you think you’d like to see. Can somebody make sense of this to me?

  7. 7
    LAO says:

    Bannon slithering back to the surface was all we needed,

    @Corner Stone: Seconded — it’s extremely funny

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    HAHAHA!
    If this is actually a true tweet from Orrin Hatch then I have to give him a solid for it. Click through to see a brief twit back and forth. Can’t embed.

    ETA, I mean his true twit account, not that Sen Hatch came up with it.

  9. 9
    rikyrah says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    Have you read profiles of the Mercers?
    Racist trash who don’t value human life, let alone think all life is worthy.
    Jane Mayer did a profile of them – vile people. Truly vile.

  10. 10
    trollhattan says:

    @Starfish:
    That and her staunch desire to save all the zygotes should disqualify her from the court. Should.

    Will nobody rid us of this family?

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Starfish: They should have asked her about her views on Pampers V D. Iper Rash.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    When roaches slither back into the light, you step on them.

  13. 13
    TenguPhule says:

    @Starfish:

    can we discuss Wendy Vitter’s answer to “Do you believe that Brown v Board of Education was correctly decided?”

    Vitter should never have qualified for any federal court anywhere.

  14. 14
    trollhattan says:

    @rikyrah:
    Being filthy rich means you get a pass on being human. That’s totally optional.

  15. 15
    Betty Cracker says:

    @rikyrah: I think it’s true that “economic anxiety” is a bullshit explanation for Trump’s base, who are in it for the racism, sexism and xenophobia. I’m talking about a larger bloc of voters: the ones who didn’t bother to cast a ballot, and not because they were disenfranchised (that’s another topic).

    These are the people I’ve been trying to register, with varying degrees of success. A public airing of the Bannon-Mercer plot would help, I think.

  16. 16
    Starfish says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So wrong, and also so perfect.

  17. 17
    TenguPhule says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    I cannot fathom why billionaires like the Mercers would want to undercut democracy. Why do people like them think that they’re the ones who would come out on top in some kind of authoritarian society?

    Money, guns, mercenaries.

    A simple plan for a short victorious war.

  18. 18
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: She is against both.

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jerzy Russian:

    How can you retroactively rescind testimony?

    Burn the tapes, kill the witnesses.

  20. 20
    Cermet says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): See NAZI controlled Germany and how their super rich ass-wipes wormed their way through that cesspool to gain money. That is their sole objective and they have blinders to such secondary thoughts as whether they too might be caught in the hell they unleash. Simple short answer: greed.

  21. 21
    danielx says:

    Bad penny. The worst.

  22. 22
    bemused says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Has the question of why he wears so many shirts ever been answered? Excessive perspiration/odor? Bad circulation? He thinks he looks stylish?

  23. 23
    Cermet says:

    @TenguPhule: If that includes tRump, Ryan and their like, I’m all for it.

  24. 24
    lollipopguild says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): People like the Mercers always assume that they will end up on top no matter who is running things. They might want to discuss this with some of the Russian Billionaires who have ended up on the wrong side of Putin. Rich people in Germany in 1933 assumed that they could control Hitler.

  25. 25
    trollhattan says:

    How long before Ivanka replaces John Kelly?

    White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly called President Donald Trump “dishonorable” in a call with former FBI Director James Comey shortly after his firing, the Daily Beast reported. In Comey’s upcoming memoir, the former FBI Director reportedly writes that his firing by Trump made Kelly “sick.”

    When Kelly called Comey moments after he learned that Comey had been fired from television reports, per the Daily Beast, Kelly was emotional and said that he intended to quit because of it. According to two unnamed sources who read Comey’s upcoming memoir, Comey persuaded Kelly to stay in his role as Secretary of Homeland Security because Trump desperately needed people of character to guide and advise him.

    This account of the phone call differs from the version that Kelly has told staffers, a senior White House official told the Daily Beast.

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Diaper Dave is making a triumphant return to win the R nomination for President in 2024. His slogan will be, “So now you like the kinky shit, eh? A prostitute in every hotel and a diaper on every bottom!”

  27. 27
    LAO says:

    Politico did a piece today claiming that Trump is asking for legal advice from every lawyer he speaks to. I’m going to state the obvious, that’s not a very good idea.

  28. 28
    sdhays says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): We saw an example of what you describe just last year when the new Saudi dictator behind the curtain shook down a bunch of wealthy Saudis during his consolidation of power.

  29. 29
    LAO says:

    I missed this earlier (goddamn job):

    Spotted: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaving the White House.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 12, 2018

  30. 30
    Corner Stone says:

    @bemused:

    Has the question of why he wears so many shirts ever been answered? Excessive perspiration/odor? Bad circulation? He thinks he looks stylish?

    IMO it’s because he lives his life like he is the getaway car in the jailbreak scene from Johnny Dangerously. If he can just keep removing layers of paint/shirts to disguise himself then maybe it’ll be a clean escape.

  31. 31
    kindness says:

    Once again I apologize for all the times I said the French were wrong about how they carried out their revolution.

    My bad.

  32. 32
    TenguPhule says:

    @LAO:

    I’m going to state the obvious, that’s not a very good idea.

    I’m going to point out that at this point it might be his least bad legal option.

  33. 33
    hitchhiker says:

    Since we’re open-threading and since I’m utterly unable to stomach another round of Republican stupidity and since I still have some capacity for appreciating unusually well-done reporting … this twitter account is original, thoughtful, and interesting.

    “I livetweet the 2nd World War, as it happened on this day in 1940 & for 5 years to come (2nd time around). Created by Alwyn Collinson.”

    @RealTimeWWII

  34. 34
    Mel says:

    These young women are so impressive. Any New Yorkers that like Girl Scout Cookies?

    I’m sending a donation to the Troop. It was started by a young mom who found herself homeless, and wanted to provide consistency and community for her daughters and the other girls in the shelter who had all been uprooted from their homes, schools, friends, communities.

  35. 35
    TenguPhule says:

    @kindness: Apology accepted.

  36. 36
    Corner Stone says:

    @trollhattan:

    Comey persuaded Kelly to stay in his role as Secretary of Homeland Security because Trump desperately needed people of character to guide and advise him.

    Man, the displays of really bad judgement by Comey just never stop coming…

  37. 37
    germy says:

    Bannon reached for the knight D&D figurine and waved it in Trump's face.

    "This is you, right?" He panted, as he pointed to the goblin figure.

    "And this here's Mueller. He's a God damned level 13 chaotic evil goblin!"

    Trump scrunched his face up."Don't get it. Ya lost me."

    — Oliver Willis (@owillis) April 12, 2018

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
    If it made any sense, someone to have already been able to fill you in. But it doesn’t make any sense and you will just give yourself a migraine trying to get it to.

  39. 39
    catclub says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    I cannot fathom why billionaires like the Mercers would want to undercut democracy.

    This reminds of the argument between the sane billionaires and the insane billionaires.

    Almost all political conflict, especially in the US, boils down to a fight between the Sane Billionaires and the Insane Billionaires. It generally follows this template:

    INSANE BILLIONAIRES: Let’s kill everyone and take their money!

    SANE BILLIONAIRES: I like the way you think. I really do. But if we keep everyone alive, and working for us, we’ll make even more money, in the long term.

    INSANE BILLIONAIRES: You communist!!!

    So from a progressive perspective, you always have to hope the Sane Billionaires win. But the sane billionaires are not necessarily on our side.

  40. 40
    Betty Cracker says:

    @lollipopguild: Exactly. It’s the same reason a dumb boob like Betsy DeVos thinks she’s qualified to run the Department of Education, the same reason a mobbed-up ignoramus like Trump thinks he’s qualified to run the USA, the same reason a whey-faced dildo like Zuckerberg imagines he can “connect the world” without things going terribly awry. People who were born rich, and those who acquired wealth themselves through dumb luck or skill in one particular area, think they know everything. It’s a near-immutable law of nature.

  41. 41
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    If not exposed, the forces the foisted this nightmare on us will be waiting in the wings with a new, more competent demagogue.

    This. A hundred times this. There needs to be a top-to-bottom housecleaning in the Republican party. People need to go to jail. It didn’t happen after Bush-Cheney, and we let it go because we figured the Republicans were done for at least a generation after the mess they left in 2008. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Even if Trump goes down, this same gang of fascists, crazies and grifters will be back with somebody even worse, sooner not later, unless they are exposed and rooted out. We need more and better Democrats, yes, but we need better Republicans, too.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @Jerzy Russian:

    How can you retroactively rescind testimony?

    As I understand it, the idea is to claim the testimony should have been protected by administrative privilege after the fact. It’s completely at odds with how all this stuff works, but it’s the kind of nonsense that will convince ignorant people who want to believe.

  43. 43

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
    This is something that has been bothering me too. Also, too, why do Republicans think that tearing down the social safety net and kowtowing to The Orange One are good ideas. I toss these questions out frequently on Twitter, hoping that reporters will follow up on them.

    There’s a short-term answer: They want MOAR money and power, and they want it NOW. Apres les, le deluge! (sorry for lack of accents.)

    But there’s no long-term result that turns out well. None that I can see, anyway.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Is that your best legal advice on the matter?//

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    I cannot fathom why billionaires like the Mercers would want to undercut democracy. Why do people like them think that they’re the ones who would come out on top in some kind of authoritarian society?

    Because they think they’ll be the ones installing the autocrat. The plan is that they’ll pick somebody who’s favorable to oligarchy and they’ll have a symbiotic relationship. The oligarchs get to protect their wealth and lord it over the peons, and the autocrat gets rich.

  46. 46
    LAO says:

    @Roger Moore: Trump reminds of that client, you know the who asks the same question 50 times, looking for the answer he/she wants. And then when that doesn’t work, starts calling every lawyer they can find to restart the process. What a pain in the ass. However, it should be noted that things rarely workout well for that client.

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Vitter should never have qualified for any federal court anywhere.

    prepare to be depressed all summer when the GOP decides they are not holding the Senate, and two Supreme Court Justices step down
    (Kennedy and Thomas). I deeply hope I am wrong.

    If they step down after a rout in November, I am not sure that new votes can be delayed, even then.

  48. 48
    TenguPhule says:

    @Ridnik Chrome:

    but we need better Republicans, too.

    We need a lot less of them actually.

  49. 49
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: the very best “no money” can buy.

  50. 50
    TenguPhule says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    But there’s no long-term result that turns out well. None that I can see, anyway.

    That’s because you don’t believe in a feudal system of serfs and lords.

  51. 51
    catclub says:

    @catclub: Yes, I stole it.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: I’ve met Dershowitz. My impression as I wouldn’t want him as my advocate because it would cause a conflict of interest because the only actual client that he has is himself.

  53. 53
    Jay says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    To people like the Mercer’s, the Waltons and the Koch’s, money IS power.

    They were born, raised and lived in a Democracy where they could buy what ever they wanted, whom ever they wanted, or their way out of anything they wanted.

    The only experience they have with Authotarian Regimes is to safely make money from outside, with the assistence of the Regime.

    Being apolotical sociopaths, they think that they would never wind up afowl of the Regime, and have no concept of history.

    They think they will be like the Krupp’s, untouched by 2 wars and Facism.

  54. 54
    catclub says:

    @LAO:

    you know the who asks the same question 50 times,

    The answer is that they fear death. (Moonstruck)

  55. 55
    scav says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): The only thong that I can (charitably) think of (after the “they’re idiots with no imagination” heuristic) is that a by-product of not seeing priviledge is not seeing how luck and the structure has been and continues to favor them, all see is what impedes them, How unfair is that!? The next flight of stairs isn’t carpeted! Of course! policement are courteous and don’t shoot you and politicians exist to serve. Don’t apples still fall and shareholder returns rise?

  56. 56
    T S says:

    No, dont tell me to be ready for the worst. The mere suggestion causes me the kind of anxiety that I can’t admit so I’ll lash out at the messenger to compensate.

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    @Jay:

    Authotarian Regimes

    the Rotary Club gone feral.

  58. 58
    Betty Cracker says:

    Just got a WaPo alert on my phone saying Trump is directing minions to look into joining TPP. LOL! Literally nothing matters!

  59. 59
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: As a general rule, I don’t bad mouth other defense attorneys. However, I have noticed that there is an inverse relationship between “mad skillz” and the amount of time spent on cable news shows.

  60. 60
    Sean says:

    @rikyrah: Wouldn’t discount it completely. Anxiety over economic issues and growing multi-culturalism can go hand in hand. More income inequality, more people who don’t look like them. the sense that their privilege is eroding due to “globalist influences” can all play into a re-activation of the lizard brain. Most people who carry prejudices can hide them from the surface if they are feeling secure enough. No one is feeling particularly secure right now (including the upper middle class) as we deal with the side effects of late stage capitalism.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    Betty: Thank you for link to the Kuttner transcript. Only heard the beginning of yesterday’s interview, and it sounded worthwhile.

    Have to catch up on thread, but what one remembers from Hitler coming to power is that the powers that be thought they could control and contain him. Uh, no.

    A lot of our media is way too compliant, and too many Americans are busy “distracting themselves to death” and/or working too much/have too many commitments, to pay attention. It’s a real problem. The US is not on cruise control.

  62. 62
    realbtl says:

    I’m going to agree with Betty up top regarding the non-racist economically anxious. One of the unspoken assumptions of our whole history as a nation is that the next generation would do better then the previous, even if it’s as simple as “I have a wood floor not dirt like I grew up in. This is now gone for a significant portion of the blue collar population> They are struggling to just stay even. I don’t think this will last but it will be/is a major social upheaval similar to the early Industrial Revolution.

  63. 63
    TenguPhule says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Just got a WaPo alert on my phone saying Trump is directing minions to look into joining TPP. LOL! Literally nothing matters!

    A day ending in day.

  64. 64
    Roger Moore says:

    @LAO:

    Politico did a piece today claiming that Trump is asking for legal advice from every lawyer he speaks to.

    When one of them gives him the advice he wants, they’re hired!

  65. 65
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
    The only sense I can make of people like the Mercers are that they are incredibly arrogant and think they will automatically come out on top in an authoritarian dictatorship here. The only guaranteed way for them to come out out on top is the one that is physically impossible: have super powers.

  66. 66
    Brachiator says:

    Bannon Slithers Back Onstage

    Great title! I get an image of Bannon leaving a trail of slime as he lumbers back onto the scene.

  67. 67
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @T S:
    Someone’s super salty.

  68. 68
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @catclub:
    Why would Kennedy and Thomas step down? It’s a lifetime appointment; that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a mark on the law of the United States.

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    @Mel:

    thanks for the link

  70. 70

    I caught part of a Fresh Air interview on NPR yesterday with Robert Kuttner (from the American Prospect), who has written a book about how global capitalism is driving the emergence of fascists worldwide. He calls Trump a symptom, and he’s right.

    Did he explain what he means by global capitalism. Countries trading with each other is a good thing and so is capitalism. The devil is in the details of how it is implemented. In the current version owners of capital have been favored over those who make their living by working (I include everyone here who works for a living). Putting trade barriers like the ones proposed by the Orange One or labeling every practice and yelling against millionaires and billionaires like the sage of the Green Mountains is not going to do much.
    We need capitalism but it needs to well regulated like it was after the Great Depression till the coming of Reagan.

  71. 71
    But her emails!!! says:

    @sdhays:

    We saw an example of what you describe just last year when the new Saudi dictator behind the curtain shook down a bunch of wealthy Saudis during his consolidation of power.

    It’s a pattern. They confuse the ability to buy power with actually having that power, so when they buy that power for somebody else who isn’t a willing servant, they always end up getting either liquidated or made that person’s bitches. I mean look at the Republican Party and the wealthy dimbulbs who foisted Trump on us. Trump’s a needy narcissistic nincompoop , but the House and Senate Republicans outside of a few honey badgers like McCain still simper and scrape so they can get their tax cuts and/or to get reelected and the CEO titans have the privilege of tongue bathing him and lying to stroke his ego on a regular basis just to keep him from dissing them on twitter and make sure their pet projects get passed.

    Can you imagine what this Administration would be like if we’d ended up with an evil clone of Obama in the White House instead of Dolt 45?

  72. 72
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Could be do-able, given that all they need to do is point out that Hillary was agin’ it so him being for it shoves it in the face of Crooked Hillary. Or something.

  73. 73
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Why would Kennedy and Thomas step down? It’s a lifetime appointment; that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a mark on the law of the United States.

    The overall cause is more important then the pawns who enable it.

  74. 74
    Brachiator says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It’s the same reason a dumb boob like Betsy DeVos thinks she’s qualified to run the Department of Education, the same reason a mobbed-up ignoramus like Trump thinks he’s qualified to run the USA, the same reason a whey-faced dildo like Zuckerberg imagines he can “connect the world” without things going terribly awry.

    Of the three, Zuckerberg is coming closer to achieving his dream goal. For good or ill, the Internets does connect us.

    DeVos and Trump are a different order of evil. Neither of them are particularly competent, but can use their wealth or power to get their way. DeVos is also driven by an idiotic ideology and Trump a slave to his ego and resentments.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Roger Moore says:

    @LAO:

    However, I have noticed that there is an inverse relationship between “mad skillz” and the amount of time spent on cable news shows.

    If they actually had mad skillz, they’d be making a ton of money defending clients. The only ones who have the time to be talking heads on TV (outside of the time when they’re doing it on behalf of a client) are the ones who aren’t busy with paying legal work.

  77. 77
    TenguPhule says:

    @But her emails!!!:

    of a few honey badgers like McCain

    That is a mortal insult against honey badgers.

  78. 78
    The Moar You Know says:

    Rich people in Germany in 1933 assumed that they could control Hitler.

    @lollipopguild: And then the Vichy French, who surrendered their nation (they were not conquered, they invited the Nazis in) assumed the same thing even after seeing what Hitler had done to the people who funded his rise to power.

    Fucking stupid is what that was. I have noticed the rich tend to assume that they have more power than they actually do.

  79. 79
    delk says:

    A friend just texted me from Dayton where the Winter Guard International Color Guard Championships are happening. The group from Stoneman Douglas HS took the floor to a standing ovation. He said they had a great performance.

  80. 80
    TenguPhule says:

    @But her emails!!!:

    Can you imagine what this Administration would be like if we’d ended up with an evil clone of Obama in the White House instead of Dolt 45?

    Fairly certain Star Trek already did that episode with bearded Spock.

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @scav:

    The only thong that I can (charitably) think of

    Ack! Wrong thread to let your Freudian slip pop out!

  82. 82
    Mandalay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    People who were born rich, and those who acquired wealth themselves through dumb luck or skill in one particular area, think they know everything. It’s a near-immutable law of nature.

    Not to disagree with that general principle, but Bill Gates may be an exception these days. He has a famous quote…

    “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they cannot lose.'”

    …which proves nothing – it’s just a clever quote with a ring of truth. But when you listen to what he says in interviews about the work of the Gates Foundation he freely admits to having been completely clueless on many things. Not just the specifics (e.g. The science of malaria), but on the generalities (e.g. What is likely to be an effective approach to eradicating malaria?).

    It’s a piece of cake to demonstrate that Gates was 99.9% asshole as a younger man, but he is a filthy rich billionaire who readily admits to his limitations now, when he nothing left to prove.

  83. 83
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    We need capitalism but it needs to well regulated like it was after the Great Depression till the coming of Reagan.

    Yes. That’s almost exactly what he said.

  84. 84
    bluefish says:

    Come on over and sit by me with those Cheerios! Am totally on board with all you wrote above. Etienne K. Bah-NON, as we call him round here, emerging anew, refreshed from his European travels!, leads the mind down numerous paths. Good to see I’ve not entirely lost my marbles almost 15 months in — I’m always grateful for what you write. What you propose is definitely plausible in terms of what he may be up to. He seems to specialize in this sort of dance of the seven veils when it comes to the vile specimen currently in the WH. I trust all three will be dining sometime real soon with old Alan Dershowitz. Three geniuses in one room. I feel some days like we’re paying for all of our national sins. These folks thought it would be cool to sell out the USA in the hope that we’d neither notice nor care. Guess they were, are, and will ever be wrong on that fine score. Off to light my Bob Mueller votive candle. And am grateful to be sober — not everyone needs to be, for sure, but in my case, I’d have drunk myself to death by now — Anyway, thanks.

  85. 85
    Roger Moore says:

    @Sean:

    Anxiety over economic issues and growing multi-culturalism can go hand in hand.

    The people who have looked have found that anxiety over cultural issues drives economic anxiety rather than the other way around. That is to say that if you take a group of people in roughly equal economic circumstances, the ones who express the most economic anxiety will be the ones who have the most cultural anxiety, too.

    It’s also worth pointing out that all the “economic anxiety” that supposedly drove support for Trump came at a time when the economy was at its best for close to a decade. When things were actually bad, more people were willing to put their anxiety aside and vote for the black guy who promised to put things right. It was only when the economy was back in decent condition that their “economic anxiety” let them vote for the xenophobic hatemonger.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @trollhattan:

    Could be do-able, given that all they need to do is point out that Hillary was agin’ it so him being for it shoves it in the face of Crooked Hillary. Or something.

    Ahh, but Obama was afer it. So that brings us to the essential nature of the debate. Does the blackness matter more than the lady parts? Or does whatever Trump say just come out like, “bwah bwah. Mhew mu mu. MA MA MA!!!” and they all cheer him on?

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @T S:

    Again, I’ll repeat my question for you from last night: I will be donating and volunteering to get my preferred outcome. What will you be doing other than sitting around on your ass complaining about other people?

  88. 88
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    The post-WW2 boom (1945-1970s) came about under specific circumstances that, due to developments in WMDs since 1943 or so, mean that replicating it would very difficult and undesirable. I don’t know that much about economics beyond the basics of supply-demand, but in my gut I know there has to be a better system than even the post-ww2 one was. Not just for people but the planet too. Industrial processes need to get cleaner than they already are and consumption needs to either go down or we need to get resources from somewhere else.

    I hope that automation leads to a post-scarcity economy, but that can only happen if something like UBI happens where everyone has basic living stipends provided by the government.

  89. 89
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    They answered in that thread around 11 am EST this morning. Called you an ass and said they meant what you just said.

  90. 90
    scav says:

    @Corner Stone: Worse! That’s not a skirt over my missing Freudian, it’s a Kilt!!

  91. 91
    trollhattan says:

    A critter story: My cycle commute home includes a river stretch along an area with a hefty Canada goose population too lazy to migrate. Not wanting to find out what happens if I should startle them I generally give a howdy as I approach (no, talking to critters doesn’t necessarily make one daft). Yesterday it didn’t work and a gagglette of three took flight and crossed in front of me, the lowest at face level. Before I could complete the ritual “Oh shit!” I was on it but instead of smacking Mr./Ms. Goose directly its wing brushed across my face and it passed with us both upright. Over faster than it takes to describe but the adrenaline lingered for an hour. Honk.

  92. 92

    @Betty Cracker: Our capital markets are in sore need of regulation, we have had too much consolidation and many of our corporations have monopolistic powers including Facebook and Google. Our government in thrall of corporations and not its citizens.

  93. 93
    dmsilev says:

    According to the FTNYT, Agent Orange has suddenly decided that international trade agreements aren’t all bad, and we can have backsies please?:

    President Trump told a gathering of farm state lawmakers and governors on Thursday morning that he was directing his advisers to look into rejoining the multicountry trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as the White House tries to come up with ways to protect the agriculture sector, which could be badly hurt by the president’s trade policies.

    Rejoining the trade pact would be a surprising change in policy for Mr. Trump, who long criticized the deal and withdrew from it last January, in his first major trade action. The president has long maintained that he prefers to negotiate trade deals one on one, a tactic he says gives the United States better leverage over its trading partners.

  94. 94
    Mandalay says:

    @But her emails!!!:

    but the House and Senate Republicans outside of a few honey badgers like McCain still simper and scrape so they can get their tax cuts

    Honey badger? McCain supported the tax cuts.

  95. 95

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Republicans since Reagan have systematically dismantled the regulatory infrastructure put in place after the Great Depression and we are paying the price. WWII provided a great stimulus since it involved huge deficit spending.

  96. 96
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Because farmers are freaking out. Here, they make a 1/3 payment to rent the ground in January and then the remaining 2/3 after harvest. They’re saying they want to renegotiate the November payment because Trump fucked up trade after they set the terms, which is making landowners extremely unhappy.

    I can’t help feeling they deserve this. They had three or four really good years at the end of Obama and the beginning of Trump so they’re blaming Trump directly.

  97. 97
    trollhattan says:

    @Mandalay:
    I’d nudge the discussion further by noting Gates’ parents seem like quite decent folks and his father is a vociferous proponent of the estate tax as a way to prevent oligarchies. Melinda probably has an even larger role in Adult Bill 2.0 but without his family background she’d perhaps have had nothing to do with him to begin with.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Why would Kennedy and Thomas step down? It’s a lifetime appointment; that’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a mark on the law of the United States.

    The overall cause is more important then the pawns who enable it.

    What’s the overall cause?

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kay:

    They thought Obama had fixed everything economically, so they were secure enough to vote for white supremacy again. Whoops!

  100. 100
    trollhattan says:

    @Kay:
    Harvest the whirlwind. The Chinese are clever enough to tailor their tariffs to Trump-supporting regions while Trump likes to shout and have Fox tell him how great a shouter he is. It’s the long view versus “What’s for lunch?”

  101. 101
    PST says:

    @bemused:

    Has the question of why he wears so many shirts ever been answered? Excessive perspiration/odor? Bad circulation? He thinks he looks stylish?

    It helps obscure gynecomastia.

  102. 102
    Kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    They’re bad businesspeople. Obama was great for them. TPP was great for them. They’ll never see 160 an acre rental again. They should have sold when Trump was elected- that was the high point.

  103. 103
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    @TenguPhule: Republicans are always going to be with us, and in sufficient numbers that they will be able to elect someone president every eight years or so. It’s in our own best interest that it be somebody (relatively) sane and ethical.

  104. 104
    catclub says:

    @Mandalay:

    but he is a filthy rich billionaire who readily admits to his limitations now,

    I suspect the influence of Melinda Gates on the Gates Foundation – and on Gates himself.

  105. 105
    The Moar You Know says:

    a whey-faced dildo like Zuckerberg

    @Betty Cracker: Good God, you’ve got a tongue on you, woman. Nobel-Prize in Literature worthy, that is.

  106. 106
    Kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This whole “Trump mumbled something about TPP” comes from Ben Sasse. He probably made it up.

    I bet they’re getting hundreds of calls.

  107. 107
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator:

    What’s the overall cause?

    See Cleek’s Law.

  108. 108
    Brachiator says:

    @dmsilev:

    Rejoining the trade pact would be a surprising change in policy for Mr. Trump, who long criticized the deal and withdrew from it last January, in his first major trade action. The president has long maintained that he prefers to negotiate trade deals one on one, a tactic he says gives the United States better leverage over its trading partners.

    I’m sure that Trump will soon claim that any report that he was opposed to the trade pact was fake news.

    But he will tell anybody anything, just so they won’t blame him for anything, or hold him responsible. And then he will return to his main position opposing trade agreements. And the farmers will end up being screwed.

  109. 109

    @Kay: IIRC and remind me if I am wrong weren’t you against TPP when President Obama was negotiating it. As was BC and at least half the commenters here. Elizabeth Warren was pretty vocal in her opposition too.
    The anti-globalization rhetoric emanating from the left and the right merged and ultimately helped T’s coronation to the glee (and profit) his nefarious fat cat backers.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    Side note: I keep having total strangers whose Facebook profile photo is their formal military portrait trying to friend me. I keep refusing, because I do not “friend” strangers on Facebook, ever.

    I suspect they’re finding my anti-gun comments and want to be able to harass me about them. Too bad, so sad!

  111. 111
    Timurid says:

    @Kay:

    They need to get the pivot hounds back on the scent.

  112. 112
    Jay says:

    @catclub:

    The US Star Chamber of Commerce.

  113. 113
    Kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m waiting for the brave journalist who asks Trump to explain TPP in a paragraph. He can’t.

    We could have saved a lot of time with those stupid debates if they had just asked each candidate to define terms and concepts in their own words. One of them could do it.

  114. 114
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    but in my gut I know there has to be a better system than even the post-ww2 one was.

    That’s the Republican talking. Don’t listen to it.

  115. 115
    Kay says:

    @Timurid:

    Do they even want us back in TPP? We’re not reliable. “Thanks but no thanks, crazy people. Good luck selling your soybeans to Russia!”

  116. 116
    TenguPhule says:

    @Brachiator:

    What’s the overall cause?

    A conservative boot on the neck of Democracy. Forever.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    There were good things and bad things in TPP, as with all trade deals. Now that we know more about Cambridge Analytica’s stolen data and Russian interference, I suspect that they were helping to whip up people on the left to oppose it categorically rather than opposing specific parts.

    And of course we only know in retrospect that the secrecy was because we were trying to cut China out of the deal and not because there was so much nefarious anti-worker stuff in it. D’oh!

  118. 118
    Jay says:

    @realbtl:

    Yeah, nope. Economically anxious here, been so since the Reagan Recession, still economically anxious. My retirement plan is to die on the job.

    Never voted for dogwhistling asshats promising Unicorn Economics,

    Always voted for people pushing policies that would lift all boats and provide free lifejackets.

    Racists vote for racist policies, it’s as simple as that.

  119. 119
    Kay says:

    Kaitlan Collins
    ‏Verified account
    @kaitlancollins
    2h2 hours ago
    More
    “Find me something to do,” were the instructions Mr. Pruitt gave his staff, after telling them he wanted to travel to particular destinations, the letter says.

    He’s not resigning until he’s indicted. Everyone knows that, right? Even then he may stay on until his court date.

    The Best People.

  120. 120
    TenguPhule says:

    @Kay:

    I can’t help feeling they deserve this.

    They do. Most of those regions luved them some Trump juice in 2016.

    Fuck em. Banks and Big Ag will have their asses grilled and served over easy once crop prices crash.

  121. 121
    TenguPhule says:

    @Ridnik Chrome:

    Republicans are always going to be with us, and in sufficient numbers that they will be able to elect someone president every eight years or so.

    And this needs to change. We’re not surviving another round as an intact country. The herd needs to be thinned.

  122. 122
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Can’t speak for Kay, but I was against some of the shitty, lobbyist-written provisions in the TPP and was in favor of Clinton’s strategy of balking at acceptance as submitted and negotiating so a final agreement would be less weighted in favor of corporations and more for workers. I don’t apologize for it, either.

  123. 123
    Kay says:

    Donald J. Trump
    ‏Verified account
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    More
    Just had an Agricultural Roundtable with memembers of Congress and Governors.
    I will be making remarks on the large scale TAX CUTS given to American families and workers at 1:45 P.M. from the Rose Garden.

    Farmers won’t pay any taxes because they won’t have any income, so in a way…they won!

    If you’re an idiot.

  124. 124
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    I can’t help feeling they deserve this. They had three or four really good years at the end of Obama and the beginning of Trump so they’re blaming Trump directly.

    They do deserve it. I have no sympathy for them.

  125. 125

    @Mnemosyne: The purity left always ends up helping and enabling the most virulent right, have you noticed.
    They are either as racist or as gullible as the RWNJs. First there was the Nader voting public that gave us W and now the never HRC folk that gave us T.

  126. 126
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): To the new oligarch class, more money is always better, but money isn’t enough. They want power, and to them, hurting as many people below them as they can is their preferred expression of power.

    We need total boycotts of everything related to Newscorp, Sinclair, and Clear Channel, and that’s just the start. These are the economic pitchforks.

  127. 127
    TenguPhule says:

    @Kay: Thankfully the Banks aren’t as forgiving as the government is.

  128. 128
    T S says:

    @Mnemosyne: I put in my time getting yelled at on the phone and in person in 2016. Ill do it again. However as a deep red state resident in a slightly bluer metro, my only real hope to affect things are local city elections, and county. And if you are wondering, I asked about intra state phonebanking repeatedly at campaign offices but couldnt get good answers. It was like the idea was new when i said it. Maybe thats not a good idea though…getting out of state calls pisses people off even more.

  129. 129
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    Just had an Agricultural Roundtable with memembers of Congress and Governors.
    I will be making remarks on the large scale TAX CUTS given to American families and workers at 1:45 P.M. from the Rose Garden.

    Oh, this should be interesting. Wonder if he will take any questions.

  130. 130
    T S says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Youve had your moments. Dont we all.

  131. 131
    different-church-lady says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Greed is a hell of a drug.

  132. 132
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    What were they thinking? Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about what they do. Their whole thing depends on making a projection and having that be somewhat reliable. So they hired a lunatic?

  133. 133
    patrick II says:

    @catclub:

    I copy and paste my favorite balloon juice comments into a text file (remarkably named balloon juice comments). Congratulations! Your comment is now in that text file. No award or anything, just thought I’d let you know, and it might be used in conversation with friends without attribution.

  134. 134
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Betty Cracker: I saw this too. It’s amazing. Also kind of fantastic for many acquaintances of Facebook, who insisted during the Campaign that Hillary was just lying and would never quit the TPP or would just rejoin it, but they knew Trump would leave it make something better because he was an outside who understood trade and deals.

    This reminds me of otherwise intelligent people who insisted that Trump might be better because at least HE wasn’t owned by Big Business and Wall Street, and were unaware that Republicans actually want to deregulate both while Democrats are restraining them.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I think that the propagandists were able to conflate NAFTA and TPP in people’s minds as being “bad things,” but I bet that most of the people nominally on the left who hate NAFTA couldn’t tell you one specific provision of it.

    And just to be clear — present company is excepted from the above remarks. I’m just talking in general and not including Kay or Betty in the above.

  136. 136
    TenguPhule says:

    @Kay:

    So they hired a lunatic?

    “I never expected the leopard to eat my face!”, complained the farmer who supported the leopard eating faces party.

  137. 137

    @Betty Cracker: Your opposition may have been nuanced but the CW on our side too was that trade pacts are bad for America, including the ones already signed like NAFTA. T and his anti-tariff and anti-trade pact crusade were popular in lefty circles too including Balloon Juice was the point I was trying to make.

  138. 138
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    Kaitlan Collins
    ‏Verified account
    @kaitlancollins
    2h2 hours ago
    More
    “Find me something to do,” were the instructions Mr. Pruitt gave his staff, after telling them he wanted to travel to particular destinations, the letter says.

    A poster on another blog said that we have to stop calling what Pruit’s been doing ‘grifting’.
    It’s an insult to the word. Grift isn’t strong enough.

    so, let’s call it

    Pruitting.

  139. 139
    The Moar You Know says:

    Just got a WaPo alert on my phone saying Trump is directing minions to look into joining TPP.

    @Betty Cracker: Way too late. They’ve rewritten it to exclude us. And even if for some insane reason the other parties changed their minds and decided that they wanted us in (they don’t) we’d have to entirely rewrite our IP protection laws (which would actually be a great thing) because they’re simply not going to abide by them any longer.

    Guess he just found out who the China tariffs hit. Whoopsie.

  140. 140
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    Trump might be better because at least HE wasn’t owned by Big Business and Wall Street.

    This is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse because the fox isn’t owned by Big Egg.

  141. 141
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    There were good things and bad things in TPP, as with all trade deals.

    And a huge part of the opposition was to how it was negotiated. The whole thing was done secretly, with people being pushed to support it before they’d had a chance to see what was in it. I understand intellectually why it was done that way, but it’s very hard to win popular support when it’s all depending on our willingness to trust our negotiators to get us a good deal.

  142. 142
    Kay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I resent it, because I myself appreciate predictability and I’m not as vulnerable to unforseen events as they are.

    They literally made my life less secure. I don’t appreciate that. I would not have done that to them. I was hoping I would get a breather from boom and bust but these idiots had a hissy fit tantrum and now we all have to suffer.

  143. 143
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    I can’t help feeling they deserve this.

    Once upon a time, I would have felt sympathy.
    No more.
    The horror that they unleashed upon the rest of us?
    Like I continue to say..
    They will NEVER be forgiven for this.
    NEVER.
    So, if they lose ‘their way of life’, I don’t give two shyts.

  144. 144
    patrick II says:

    @Jerzy Russian:

    How can you retroactively rescind testimony?

    It is called “magical thinking”. wiki:

    In psychology … it denotes the belief that one’s thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it.

    There are treatments, but many sufferers are beyond hope.

  145. 145
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    I can’t help feeling they deserve this. They had three or four really good years at the end of Obama and the beginning of Trump so they’re blaming Trump directly.

    did anyone else crack up when Dolt45 told them that they were patriots, and a little suffering wouldn’t hurt them in the long run?

  146. 146
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Authoritarian kleptocrats and wannabes all over the planet are fomenting hatred and exploiting ignorance and resentment to enrich themselves and advance their crackpot cause

    I would argue it the other way around; the post WWII elites are seeing their power and prestige eroding to new rich minorities in the US, like Obama or emerging powers like China and what we are seeing their hissy over them not being sole masters of the universe. Remember the last time this happen was post WWI when the Europe lost it’s traditional dominance to the US and the Soviet Union.

  147. 147
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse because the fox isn’t owned by Big Egg.

    This is about the most succinct parody of the manic progressive mindset I’ve ever seen.

  148. 148
    lgerard says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Vitter should never have qualified for any federal court anywhere

    Why are we getting our judges from shithole states?

  149. 149
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Kay: Apparently the same article states that Trump’s advisors have set him straight on helping the ‘victims’ of Chinese tariffs, like these farmers. They’ve told him he can’t do it and he’s accepting it for now.

    Way to go, farmers. You voted for someone who screwed you, lied about helping you through the screwing, and continues to screw you over. Hopefully the fact that he’s deporting brown mothers and children makes you feel better about it.

  150. 150
    tobie says:

    I never understood the opposition to TPP. This is what Obama said about it at the time and I believed (and still believe) him:

    Mr. Obama, who advocated the trade accord in a pre-vacation news conference, will rejoin the debate during an early September trip to Asia. Cabinet officials will fan out to promote the agreement, which would end 18,000 tariffs and other nontariff barriers that Japan, Australia and the other nations have against American imports and services, and set new rules for labor and environmental practices.

    I’m sure there were lots of provisions to quibble with but on balance I thought the deal was good for American workers. Others here have looked much more deeply into this matter than I have.

  151. 151
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I don’t think the conventional wisdom on our side is against trade pacts in general, though there sure are folks who believe that. I think most Democrats’ views on trade are more nuanced than that, but I’m judging solely from my interactions with fellow Democrats; I’ve not seen polling on it.

  152. 152

    @Betty Cracker: They call themselves progressives and not all of them are D.

  153. 153
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse because the fox isn’t owned by Big Egg.

    Ha! Well said!

  154. 154
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I was not against the TPP but rather against the Fast Track demands. And some of the enforcement procedures that shut out all workers’ representatives to the sole benefit of MNC’s. It did not help that the “Trust Us” talking points on the WH website were blatant and immediately obvious lies once you took a look.
    IMO, the TPP was never going to do what they kept trying to sell it as, a “check on China” and a “way to rein in China’s influence”. That was never going to happen, TPP or no TPP.

    ETA, I should clarify that I am highly dubious and sceptical of all “Free” trade agreements, having never seen one in my lifetime that actually benefited the American working class as a whole.

  155. 155
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Oh, there were definitely problems with the way the Obama administration handled it. But I think that the Russians were amplifying and distorting those problems to turn off people who might otherwise have voted for Hillary.

    Again: voter suppression isn’t just stopping people once they’re at the polls. It’s also making people feel that their vote is useless and they may as well stay home. A huge part of the anti-TPP energy was voter suppression, not some spontaneous upswelling against international trade.

  156. 156
    chris says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    I cannot fathom why billionaires like the Mercers would want to undercut democracy.

    How about economic anxiety? One day a progressive government is going to wake up, see where all the money has gone, and tax them back to the Stone Age. Or at least 1980.

    A boy can dream, right?

  157. 157
    TenguPhule says:

    @Kay: Come sit by me. Bush Jr. and his merry band of morons literally made my life an uncertain mess and it took over a decade to land regular work that paid above starvation wages.

    And now I get to worry about being randomly obliterated in addition to economic anxiety as Trump has gone to great efforts to attack the sources of revenue my state relies on to keep everyone employed.

  158. 158
    patroclus says:

    @Corner Stone: LOL

    @schrodingers_cat: I can’t speak for Kay, but the opposition to TPP by many Democrats was one of the stupidest policy moves ever and has resulted in the horrific protectionist trend that Trump personifies. And Hillary was at her most cowardly when she abandoned her convictions and followed Wilmer’s idiotic lead in backing away from it. It arguably caused her loss – as Sam Rayburn used to say – if you give them the choice of two Republicans, they’ll pick the real one every time.

  159. 159
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    He’s not resigning until he’s indicted.

    Let’s get to it, then.

  160. 160
    tobie says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The whole thing was done secretly

    I could swear I read somewhere recently that this history of TPP is not true, but maybe I’m imagining it. It’s hard to keep track of news reports these day. I’ve been witness to the writing of one multinational agreement in my lifetime, and what I learned is that when treaties involve numerous countries with different interests, constituencies at home to appeal to, etc. a lot occurs behind closed doors. Were the negotiations for TPP more hush-hush than is usual in these cases? Dunno.

  161. 161
  162. 162
    TenguPhule says:

    @tobie:

    I never understood the opposition to TPP.

    A significant line of attack was that it “placed corporations rights over that of nation states”, it turns out that those claims were wrong, but they got traction with the Left & RIght. Another was the fighting over IP rights, The Evil Mouse may have overplayed their hand in that. Also, Republicans were trying to grind the process to a halt as part of their overall obstruction of government.

  163. 163
    tobie says:

    @patroclus: One of the most insidious arguments against TPP is that it would supersede national law. The argument sounds smart until you realize that every single international treaty involves binding commitments on the part of the signatories and includes supra-national enforcement mechanisms.

  164. 164
    TenguPhule says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I should clarify that I am highly dubious and sceptical of all “Free” trade agreements, having never seen one in my lifetime that actually benefited the American working class as a whole.

    I recall NAFTA having unintended consequences for Mexican farmers, which resulted in nasty unexpected consequences for the US with drugs and gun running.

  165. 165
    The Moar You Know says:

    The whole thing was done secretly, with people being pushed to support it before they’d had a chance to see what was in it.

    @Roger Moore: Hate to be that guy, but this is 100% bullshit. Working copies of TPP were freely available since at least 2015.

  166. 166
    patroclus says:

    @tobie: The “argument” that it was done secretly was one of Elizabeth Warren’s all-time bald-faced whoppers; ably aided by Wilmer and then repeated ad nauseum such that it became accepted wisdom by many otherwise smart people. And its twin – that its provisions were drafted by corporations and not the USTR and his negotiating counterparts has been repeated on this very thread.

  167. 167
    TenguPhule says:

    DOW climbing on Wall Street’s glee about possibly getting back into TPP.

    Talk about the triumph of hope over experience.

  168. 168
    Betty Cracker says:

    @patroclus: That’s a steaming load of horse shit garnished by a hilariously inappropriate simile. But you know what? I can’t think of anything more futile on April 12, 2018 than rehashing the merits of an ex-trade pact that has joined the choir invisible.

  169. 169
    MattF says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): So, yeah, and Stalin too. Stalin killed all his former allies and party comrades, clearing the entire political spectrum of anyone who might, someday, be a rival.

    One can guess that, e.g., Putin and Kim Jong Un are trying to do the same thing. But it’s not so easy, even for a psychopath. Stalin did not die a happy man. My theory is that people like the Mercers think all you need is a complete lack of empathy. They think “Well, looks like we qualify,” but there’s more to it than that.

  170. 170
    TenguPhule says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I can’t think of anything more futile on April 12, 2018 than rehashing the merits of an ex-trade pact that has joined the choir invisible.

    Just asking for trouble right there from this crowd.

  171. 171
    Mandalay says:

    @Kay:

    This whole “Trump mumbled something about TPP” comes from Ben Sasse. He probably made it up.

    WTF???

    Sasse held a press conference and issued a press release detailing what was said in the meeting:

    “The best thing the United States can do to push back against Chinese cheating now is to lead the other eleven Pacific nations that believe in free trade and the rule of law. It is good news that today the President directed Larry Kudlow and Ambassador Lighthizer to negotiate U.S. entry into TPP.”

  172. 172
    tobie says:

    @patroclus: I lost a lot of respect for Warren for the way she demagogued this issue.

  173. 173
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mandalay:

    Larry Kudlow and Ambassador Lighthizer to negotiate U.S. entry into TPP.”

    SMH.

    Singapore is gonna own half of the Eastern Seaboard at this rate.

  174. 174
    The Moar You Know says:

    DOW climbing on Wall Street’s glee about possibly getting back into TPP.

    Talk about the triumph of hope over experience.

    @TenguPhule: A mini pump n’ dump. We cannot get back into it. The treaty was rewritten without our bullshit IP demands, signed and ratified by the other 11 nations that were party to it, and it’s a done deal. There is literally no such thing as the TPP anymore.

    We could ask to be included, but it will not be on our terms, and I strongly suspect the partnership is not going to want anything to do with American participation until Trump is gone.

  175. 175
    Timurid says:

    @Mandalay:

    Good grief. If he follows through on this and decides to bomb Syria instead of Rosenstein or Mueller, the MSM and Village will flip right back into “Is he growing into the job? By George… I THINK HE’S GOT IT!” mode.

  176. 176
    Mandalay says:

    @TenguPhule: Right. A wet paper towel would be a scarier opponent in trade negotiations than Kudlow.

  177. 177
    patroclus says:

    @Betty Cracker: The TPP is an ongoing multi-lateral trade deal that multiple nation-states are engaging in on April 12, 2018 and, as TenguPhule noted, it is today being speculated about as a possible upcoming deal that the U.S. might join. Perhaps you should pay attention to the news. And perhaps you can specify both the provision that was drafted by and the corporation that drafted it. (How do “corporations” draft anything?)

  178. 178
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    IP protections, particularly in Pharma, were US/Corporate centric and would have caused skyrocketing pharma costs outside the US.

    ITDA, the Investor/ Trade Dispute mechanism was heavilly Corporate Centric, majorly reducing National Soverignity on everything, including Labour and the Environment.

    Labour protections were Corporate centric, reducing the powers of Unions, barring future regulation in underregulated industries like clothing and fisheries,

    Subsidies and Tariff’s were flattened, in favour of US Ag, Pharma, Tech and the US MIC,

    A lot of that’s been removed now, to prevent a “Mexican Farmer” situation, fairer labour practices across boders, etc.

    None of the changes away from a Corporate centric TPP would have been possible without the US Withdrawl.

  179. 179
    trollhattan says:

    “Aides Trying To Talk Trump Out Of Sending Associates To Break Into Watergate Office Complex”
    The Onion, of course.

  180. 180
    patroclus says:

    @The Moar You Know: Indeed, if we were to join, it would be on the terms negotiated by the other members; not on ours. And the likelihood of that, under Trump, is next to nil. So Wall Street is chasing a pony/unicorn today. But the next President might seek to join, so it remains a valid issue to discuss; albeit as a post 2020 one. It’s also valid within the Democratic party – 2016-like myopia in the vein of Wilmer is not the trade policy we should pursue going forward.

  181. 181
    Immanentize says:

    @patroclus:

    (How do “corporations” draft anything?)

    American Legislative Exchange Counsel — “ALEC” for short is one way.

  182. 182
    Mary G says:

    Thank you, Betty. You express my thoughts so much better than I do. I had seen the headline last night about Bannon being back, but I was tired and went to sleep without reading it. Then I had a dream with him in it! That is too much. Fortunately, the details are lost to me.

    I’m with @rikyrah:

    Once upon a time, I would have felt sympathy.
    No more.
    The horror that they unleashed upon the rest of us?
    Like I continue to say..
    They will NEVER be forgiven for this.
    NEVER.

    Once we get the Congress and presidency back, we must not succumb to the moronic “look forward, not back” bullshit. We did it on Iran/Contra a bit and on everything Bush II related. Bad mistake.

    This time, everyone who has even a whiff of culpability needs to be tried and go to jail. If it’s the entire Republican party, they can see what the private prisons they enabled are like from the inside. We should impeach Gorsuch and install Garland. Remove all corporate and 1%-er loopholes from the tax code. If you sell something to Americans, you are required to contribute to our society. I am done being even a tiny bit nice.

  183. 183
    catclub says:

    @patrick II: I stole it from here:

    who took it from: A quote from a four-year-old post by Jonathan Schwarz titled Global Warming: Why We’re Not 100% Doomed:

    cheers.

  184. 184
    trollhattan says:

    @Mary G:
    Word.

    Now, who has the backbone+electability to make this happen?

  185. 185
    Betty Cracker says:

    @patroclus: I am paying attention to the news; — I’m the one who brought TPP up in this thread! And since I’m serving as anchorwoman, here’s a newsflash for you: a toxic orange shitgoblin is squatting in the White House, and our chances of getting a TPP deal are exactly zero on this day, April 12, 2018, since 1) who the fuck will take the US at its word on anything with that erratic lunatic at the helm, and 2) the aforementioned shitgoblin couldn’t negotiate a gum ball out of a machine with an entire sack of quarters, nor can the scrum of incompetent twits surrounding him.

    Therefore, specifying anything about the dead deal that was negotiated by a human representative of a corporation is about as goddamn pointless as flogging Roy Roger’s long-deceased steed. Feel free to flog away, but I hope you’ll excuse me if I find more productive ways to amuse myself, such as fashioning costumes for gerbils out of dryer lint.

  186. 186
    tobie says:

    @Jay:

    Subsidies and Tariff’s were flattened, in favour of US Ag, Pharma, Tech and the US MIC,

    How is this bad for the US?

  187. 187
    TenguPhule says:

    @Mary G:

    If it’s the entire Republican party, they can see what the private prisons they enabled are like from the inside.

    A trail of Wingnut Tears to FEMA reservations in Arizona?

  188. 188
    Roger Moore says:

    @MattF:

    One can guess that, e.g., Putin and Kim Jong Un are trying to do the same thing. But it’s not so easy, even for a psychopath. Stalin did not die a happy man. My theory is that people like the Mercers think all you need is a complete lack of empathy. They think “Well, looks like we qualify,” but there’s more to it than that.

    It seems like the kind of thing you’d believe if you don’t understand how power works. We like to talk about absolute monarchs and dictators, but even rulers whose power is theoretically untrammeled by any legal restriction can’t do everything themselves. If you want to lead a group bigger than a single family, you can’t impose your will single handed; you have to depend on subordinates to enforce your decisions. That means you have to consider the needs, desires, and interests of those subordinates, or they’ll get unhappy and turn on you.

    As your organization gets bigger, your subordinates will need subordinates, and they’ll have to take the needs and interests of those subordinates into account when making their decisions, so you’ll need to do the same when dealing with them. Before long, you wind up with a big bureaucracy with entrenched interests that the absolute monarch/dictator has to struggle against in order to impose their will. You’re stuck with politics, it’s just politics taking place in secret rather than out in the open the way it is supposed to happen in democracies.

  189. 189
    Corner Stone says:

    @patroclus: How do you explain ISDS in the TPP?
    Link to Columbia.edu All worth a read.
    “Even considering a “thin” conception of the rule of law, focused on procedure as opposed to substance, there are a number of reasons why ISDS may be undermining, rather than improving, the rule of law in host states. First, by creating a privileged and parallel legal system available to a certain set of foreign investors (actors who are often relatively politically powerful with their host states), ISDS potentially reduces incentives for host governments to strengthen domestic governance and judicial systems.[xiv] Second, by failing to require exhaustion of remedies, ISDS eliminates opportunities for domestic judges and administrative agencies to consider and address the substantive problems faced by investors and to develop corresponding domestic law and expertise. Third, the persistent lack of full transparency (and having cases filed and decided in a language other than the official language(s) of the host country) can prevent governments (particularly the various branches and levels of government) from understanding or seeking to internalize any of the principles or guidance that might emanate from ISDS decisions.

    Fourth, because ISDS is a system created for the benefit of one particular set of economic actors, and is able to produce binding and enforceable awards of significant monetary damages, it can create incentives for host-governments to favor the concerns of foreign investors over other constituencies.[xv] This system of unequal treatment is inconsistent with the rule of law and counters the very call for equal protection that allegedly justifies the ISDS mechanism in the first place. Fifth, by generating costly litigation and ordering often significant monetary damages for procedural failings (e.g., in administrative or judicial proceedings),[xvi] ISDS diverts often scarce resources away from public budgets – budgets that could be used to strengthen institutions and courts – to individual claimants.
    Finally, ISDS may be most effective at providing compensation to multinational enterprises and other international investors. But is that in all cases an optimal objective? The question of due compensation for harms that result from government conduct is rife with complex considerations and value judgments that inform whether, when, and how much compensation should be paid. Should, for example, states be ordered to pay damages for good faith conduct (that may be part of an effort to realize other domestic or international legal obligations) that results in any economic harm to investors? What are risks of over-deterring legitimate regulatory conduct in the public interest? Should investors be compensated for government decisions preventing investors from pursuing harm-causing activities? Does that generate moral hazards, violate the “polluter pays” principle, or discourage states from causing investors to internalize their externalities? Do the answers depend on utilitarian considerations of what types of conduct should be encouraged or discouraged? Or do they depend on more ethical and normative considerations of fairness and justice?”

  190. 190
    TenguPhule says:

    @tobie: The benefits looked to be for the corporations with bupkis for American workers.

  191. 191
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Well, if you put it that way… :-P

  192. 192
    patroclus says:

    @Immanentize: ALEC is not a “corporation” (in the profit-seeking sense) and they certainly didn’t draft or negotiate the TPP. Nice try though – Betty makes a specific claim about “corporations” and you come back with a Republican lobbying group as if they are the same. President Obama’s administration, mostly through the Office of the Special Trade Representative, drafted and negotiated the TPP. Somehow, it is now being alleged that ALEC did it on this thread. That’s fairly typical of Wilmer-like arguments.

  193. 193
    TenguPhule says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Before long, you wind up with a big bureaucracy with entrenched interests that the absolute monarch/dictator has to struggle against in order to impose their will.

    North Korea seems to have come up with a work around involving cult level programming from childhood.

    The GOP seems to be frantically taking notes from North Korea.

  194. 194
    Immanentize says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    fashioning costumes for gerbils out of dryer lint.

    How can you tell where the gerbil begins and the lint leaves off? Isn’t that just a fat suit for a gerbil?

  195. 195
  196. 196
    Immanentize says:

    @patroclus: What’s your problem? Got crabs? (Hat tip, raven)

  197. 197
    trollhattan says:

    @Mandalay:
    Heh. A little like standing at the gate demanding a flight that left the day before return and pick you the hell up right this minute.

  198. 198
    patroclus says:

    @Betty Cracker: Again, the TPP was negotiated by the USTR and no matter how many times you say it was negotiated by a corporation or a human representative of a corporation, you are being inaccurate. As you well know.

  199. 199
    trollhattan says:

    Gosh, he would have been a shoo-in.

    Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus took himself out of consideration Thursday as a candidate to replace retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, as other Wisconsin Republicans contemplated whether to join the fray.

    Too bad we don’t get campaign jingles anymore.

    “Priebus Priebus bo-beeb-us…”

  200. 200
    tobie says:

    Holy smokes! We’re having a brawl over trade policy. Love this blog.
    @Mandalay: Thanks Mandalay for this line, which made me chuckle: “…Picking Larry Kudlow to get us back into TPP is like sending Charlie Rose to interview the women behind the #MeToo movement…”

  201. 201
    TenguPhule says:

    GOP proposes stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients, a step toward an overhaul of the social safety net

    Via Wapo.

    Evil fuckers one and all.

  202. 202
    Mike in NC says:

    @Mandalay:

    It is good news that today the President directed Larry Kudlow and Ambassador Lighthizer to negotiate U.S. entry into TPP.

    There’s nothing to negotiate. Trump is so addled and incompetent he should have named his most well known book, “The Shart of the Deal”.

    As for Bannon slithering back onstage, he was never really out of the picture. Fat Bastard has a very tiny band of sycophants to feed his fragile ego: Bannon, Gorka, Flynn, Lewandowski, etc. and he talks to them all the time. It’s surprising he didn’t nominate Lou Dobbs for Secretary of State and Sean Hannity for Secretary of Defense. Always, always picking the worst people.

  203. 203
    TenguPhule says:

    Scott Oilfucker Pruitt has FOUR EPA email addresses.

    What the fuck is he trying to hide?

  204. 204
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    It’s bad for US Workers in Pharma and Ag, but not Tech and the US MIC.

    Having the same ground rules in Pharma kill’s offshore Pharma Generics and Competing “Patents”, which makes Offshore Pharma highly attractive for Big Pharma to buy in cheap, manufacture Patent’s offshore at much lower labour costs and export to the US.

    In the short term, Ag will do well, but remember, it’s Big Ag, there’s not a lot of Farmer’s anymore, just a lot of short term and seasonal employee’s, subcontractor’s and imported labour. Local farmers, such as Thai Rice Farmer’s will get “Mexican Cornholed”. Small Thai family landholdings will be available for aggregation and industrialization on the cheap, making mass farmed Thai rice hyper compeditive to Texas and California rice.

  205. 205
    patroclus says:

    @Corner Stone: Thanks for actually engaging the substance rather than propogating the usual lies about “secrecy” and “written by and negotiated by evil corporations.” The dispute-resolution procedures (like ISDS) were far from ideal in the original drafts of TPP. They needed to be improved. Congress could have done it if Ryan had had the guts to bring it up. In the NAFTA agreements, something similar happened and side agreements on labor rights and the environment were added – the Border Financing Facility was set up as a result and is currenly providing financing for a variety of clean-up of toxic wastes caused by the various maquiladores. That was a clear enhancement that further negotiation by the Clinton Administration resulted in. In the 1946/7 GATT agreements, there were also similar problems with dispute resolution and they have been negotiated and re-negotiated for 70 years by all the various parties such that they barely resemble the original GATT deal. It takes time and effort to improve trade deals and they have to be looked at and re-looked at continuously. I am confident that TPP will be improved over time by its member states, in dispute resolution, in labor rights, in environmental protection and everything else that its member states seek. One has to join, though, in order to have a place at the table to negotiate improvements. Trade deals are never perfect when initially signed – it’s a long-term process. Democrats like FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, JFK, Carter, Clinton and Obama have all understood this. Trump and Wilmer do not.

  206. 206
    Calouste says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    who the fuck will take the US at its word on anything with that erratic lunatic at the helm

    Problem for the US is not only that, it’s also that everyone now knows that even if the shitgibbon is replaced with someone sane in 2021, there could be another erratic lunatic at the helm again in 2025. Barring constitutional changes or the complete and utter demise of the GOP, it’s going to take decades before the rest of the world is going to trust the US again. Until then it’s going to be cash on delivery.

  207. 207
    TenguPhule says:

    And India makes the international news in a bad way.

    8 Hindus allegedly gangraped a 8 year Muslim girl. Local Hindus in the region rallying for the accused including local government members of the ruling political party.

    2018, the year we already want to forget.

  208. 208
    TenguPhule says:

    @Calouste:

    Barring constitutional changes or the complete and utter demise of the GOP,

    Why not both?

  209. 209
    Jay says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Don’t forget the regular purges and bloodletting.

  210. 210
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jay: I try to forget those. I have enough nightmares as it is.

  211. 211
    Jay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yup, Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, perfect case in point.

    https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2018/04/11/Kinder-Morgan-Blackmail/

  212. 212
    tobie says:

    @Jay: I’m afraid I’m not following you. How does removing tariffs on US ag products mean the US will end up importing more ag products? And how does having an even-playing field with respect to pharma patents mean that more pharma products would be manufactured abroad and imported to the US?

  213. 213
    Immanentize says:

    @Calouste:
    I went to a very interesting lunch presentation/discussion today about Presidential norms and the way the other branches act when we experience a norm-defying president. It was a far ranging discussion, and I can’t do it all justice here, but some of the presenter’s conclusions included —
    There are three types of norms — sociological/norms of practice and the overarching “constitutional moral norms” which are those understandings we have worked out (not necessarily detailed) which rely on basic principles or our government. Then, in between those two spaces are the structure norms. And because this was a bunch of law professors talking, we were focusing on how the courts react when a president starts breaking Article II norms. Sadly, the conclusion was that courts (Article II institutions) just don’t have the right type of power to really check presidential norm breaking (an example was how do you get a court to force the IRS to not allow Citicorp to take a deduction that is clearly illegal? — Answer, generally no one has standing to get courts to force compliance with such laws and rules). But, the Prof. presenting pointed out that courts tend to be much more stingy in their norm(al) deference when Presidents start breaking norms — and she pointed to the travel ban case and the transgender military ban as places where normally the President has wide latitude to act, but courts are now saying, but wait, how did you come to this decision? Where improper factors (discriminatory purpose) at play?

    Then we had a good final discussion on the current administration’s discrediting of expertise. Will the courts push back? The whole system of vast Presidential power was based on the premise (post WWII) that the executive branch would rely on science and experts generally. What happens if that is just tossed out?

    No point here, just reporting from the Life of the Mind! (Cue John Goodman)

  214. 214
    StringOnAStick says:

    I look at Putin’s Russia and I see the template the Mercer’s are interested in creating here, though why anyone sane (important qualifier!) would want to live in a Polonium-enabled corrupt royal court with a Putin at the head and looking for who to purge/take all wealth from on a despotic whim is beyond me. Russia has it’s insanely wealthy oligarchs, and when they cross Putin in any way they seem to reliably commit “suicide” in implausible ways; apparently the Mercers think they’ll be in the Putin position, not in the galaxy of oligarchs looking over their shoulders constantly. Hence my “sane” qualifier. I suspect the Mercers are crazier than outhouse dwelling rats, just in a bit fancier of an outhouse.

  215. 215
    patroclus says:

    @Immanentize: Sounds like a fascinating discussion. There is some history on this from the Nixon era and it shows that it is usually Congress that has to do the pushing back. Take the issue of impoundment – like Trump is threatening today, Nixon fairly commonly didn’t have his administration actually spend money the way Congressional appropriations bills directed. They then took the issue to the judiciary and got some relief. But would the courts have granted the relief if the litigant was merely a potential beneficiary of the appropriations? That’s kind of the position that the DACA recipients and potential Muslim visa applicants are facing today in fighting against Trump’s EO’s. Congressional action and political support would be helpful in getting courts to grant some relief. Is it now the norm that one POTUS grants benefits via EO and then the next President rescinds the benefits? How should courts respond?

  216. 216
    TenguPhule says:

    @tobie:

    And how does having an even-playing field with respect to pharma patents mean that more pharma products would be manufactured abroad and imported to the US?

    Its not an even playing field. Non-American pharma would have suffered from the TPP, allowing American Pharma to buy them out.

  217. 217
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Immanentize: The discussion of various types of norms is an interesting one. Taking a look at how those norms were eroded over time to get us to where we are now always gets me thinking that what I was afraid was creeping paranoia on my part over the years has actually turned out to be true. Exhibit #1: FOX and hate radio. They aren’t just “filling a marketing niche”, they are part of a plan and I think that plan has always had fascist goals.

    My examples tend to be drawn from watching just how batshit my Bircher wingnut parents have gotten, and how it went into hyperdrive after they got FOX on cable. The last crazy email he sent me was supposedly from a “reliable and informed friend” (aren’t all the rage emails like this?) and was supposedly Krauthammer expressing his view that OFA was an anti-democratic, anti-American and very dangerous organization that must be shut down now and it’s leaders jailed. I pointed out that OFA has as much right to exist as the NRA or any other political group thanks to the First Amendment and that he sounds like a damned Stalinist enforcer. My parents were at one time just a slight bit reasonable on some issues but have always been deep wells of resentment even though all they ever experienced was increased economic success all their lives. Now they are racist as hell and FOX gives them what they truly love: reasons to be righteously angry every minute of the day. Pretty deplorable.

  218. 218
    Immanentize says:

    @patroclus: Yes, the Nixon cases, but others too. We discussed the conflict of interest/ethics norms which were really a creation of Eisenhower, but they have been very sticky and respected — until now. And, there is a real serious problem that really hasn’t been present in history before, and that is that in the current mess, it was actually the Article I entities (congress) that really went into norm busting first. We are, in this way, in uncharted territory, because generally, the best counterweight to executive overreaching has been congressional reassertion of norms (either through legislation or more often increased oversight). Whheeee!

  219. 219
    Corner Stone says:

    @tobie:

    And how does having an even-playing field with respect to pharma patents mean that more pharma products would be manufactured abroad and imported to the US?

    Largely, Big Pharma does not do R&D any longer. They have essentially become big venture capital funds. They lobby to extend the patents they own and when a promising smaller shop comes through trials with one they buy it and then jack the prices to market. The TPP would have, in theory, allowed US Pharma to put capital in other countries that have lower cost jurisdictions, take their patents, and then move the drug to the US. Where they would raise rates and control distribution for years.

  220. 220
    TenguPhule says:

    @Corner Stone: And forget any hope of importing Canadian generics to offset that.

  221. 221
    Corner Stone says:

    @patroclus:

    Trade deals are never perfect when initially signed – it’s a long-term process. Democrats like FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, JFK, Carter, Clinton and Obama have all understood this.

    I was never pushing for negotiating TPP out in the open. However, the Fast Track and the Trust Us and the ISDS in place with an unstable cast of legislators did not make me very comfortable. Look at what has happened to financial regulation in the US, for example. Now stretch that out to labor standards/practices across 11 countries that do not have a history of enforcing labor laws, wages or anything else.

  222. 222
    Ruckus says:

    @rikyrah:
    There is an even better word.
    Theft.
    He is stealing from all of us. Heis of course supposed to work for all of us, not some fluffed up version of fucking asshole, which is actually what he is.

  223. 223
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    So, given the proposed Pharma protections, why would you, as a Pharma Corp, make an Epipen (TM) in the US for $7.50, and sell it for $250 a dose,

    When the TPP as proposed, would kill off PharmaThai, who makes a generic Epipen for $2.50 and sells it for $15.

    You can buy PharmaThai for chump change, (TM) their Epipen, and sell it all through out the TPP for $250 a dose, with full market protection from generic competition.

    What’s good for US and Global Corporations, is not nessicarily what’s good for “The US”.

  224. 224
    geg6 says:

    @tobie:

    Yeah, between that and her deplorable trashing of Hillary, I hope she stays the senior senator from MA for many, many years. If she think she is going elsewhere in national politics, I am one vote she should not count on in a primary. The Massholes should keep her. I sure don’t want her.

  225. 225
    randy khan says:

    @Calouste:

    Problem for the US is not only that, it’s also that everyone now knows that even if the shitgibbon is replaced with someone sane in 2021, there could be another erratic lunatic at the helm again in 2025. Barring constitutional changes or the complete and utter demise of the GOP, it’s going to take decades before the rest of the world is going to trust the US again. Until then it’s going to be cash on delivery.

    My slight ray of sunshine here is that I expect that most of the rest of the world, which desperately wants the U.S. to be stable and sane (okay, maybe not Russia, but pretty much everyone else, including China and North Korea), will act like the Trump Administration didn’t happen if we elect someone normal in 2020. This is because a stable U.S. is in everyone’s interests, even the interests of international adversaries. There will be voices in the backs of the heads of foreign leaders, for sure, but they will suppress them as best they can.

  226. 226
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    “And how does having an even-playing field with respect to pharma patents mean that more pharma products would be manufactured abroad and imported to the US?”

    It’s not an even playing field. US Pharma Patent Law allows a Company to add an inert ingredient to a patent, and extend the patent for another 25 years.

    TPP as origionally negotiated by the US, would have required US Patent Law on Pharma applying TPP wide.

    Everybody elses Pharma Patent Law’s only good for 10-15 years, requires “effective changes” to extend Patents, and contains opt out clauses for removal of Patent Protections, in the case of an epedemic or National Health Issue, along with forshortened Patent Protections, or none at all, for Government Funded Medicines, which even in the US, is 95% of new drugs.

  227. 227
    tobie says:

    @TenguPhule: @Corner Stone: Thanks. That does make sense to me. One thing I wonder is to what degree Big Pharma has already bought out drug manufacturers abroad. Most US generic drugs are produced by the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures its products just about everywhere in the world. They have a plant in Chennai, for instance, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find them elsewhere in India, not to mention Vietnam, the Philippines, etc etc etc.

  228. 228

    @TenguPhule: I had no idea what you were talking about so I did some research. This happened in January. Asifa’s rapists and murders and the local police who helped cover this up are in jail. They and the miscreants who sought to politicize this and defend the rapists should be bought to justice quickly.
    More from BBC and Indian Express, if anyone is interested.
    This incident has sparked widespread outrage in India against the perpetrators. And BJP needs to be defeated in the 2019 general election. Right now

  229. 229
    randy khan says:

    @patroclus:

    And perhaps you can specify both the provision that was drafted by and the corporation that drafted it. (How do “corporations” draft anything?)

    They hire lawyers. I’m not going to comment on the merits, as I don’t know enough to be intelligent about it*, but this is a silly question.

    *I know, I’m on the Internet, all you need to know is how to type something resembling an English sentence.

  230. 230
    tobie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    an unstable cast of legislators

    This would be a stumbling block for any agreement. No?

  231. 231
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    Generic’s are prone to cost driving, as the selling price is limited by (Regulated) global competition, so profits come from managing costs.

    Patent Medicines profits are driven by effectiveness, scarcity and need. Remember Pharma Bro? Heather Bresch?

  232. 232
    CaseyL says:

    @Jay:

    US Pharma Patent Law allows a Company to add an inert ingredient to a patent, and extend the patent for another 25 years.

    Can you expand on this? I keep seeing this claim, and I don’t understand how it can possibly work.

    I was a patent paralegal for more than a decade. My understanding of patent law is that a continuation of a patent can only be granted if the new matter is itself “novel and non-obvious,” and even then only the new matter is protected by a granted patent. The original matter loses patent protection when the patent expires (20 years after filing date).

    I don’t see how an inert ingredient can result in a continuation patent, nor where that 25 year term comes from.

  233. 233
    Roger Moore says:

    @tobie:

    One thing I wonder is to what degree Big Pharma has already bought out drug manufacturers abroad.

    Most Big Pharma are multinationals, so the extent to which it’s about “American” companies buying out “Foreign” ones is questionable.

  234. 234
    Corner Stone says:

    @tobie:

    This would be a stumbling block for any agreement. No?

    I guess it could be. However, I was specifically referring to the House Republicans against Obama.

  235. 235
    Chris T. says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): There is a single word that describes their problem: “Hubris”

  236. 236
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @TenguPhule:
    The other nations in the TPP-to-be were iffy about signing it, after the US negotiators muscled in and turned it into a US-weighted package. Everyone sighed in relief when Trump reneged; they changed a few terms, dropped the protection for US IP and US pharma, and ended up with something that NZ’s Labour-led coalition could happily sign.
    https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/free-trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements-concluded-but-not-in-force/cptpp/tpp-and-cptpp-the-differences-explained/

    If the US wants to join the CPTPP now, the terms will not be favourable.

  237. 237
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    Bannon is fishing for a pardon. The Mercer’s have already thrown him under the bus. My questions: when can we start calling these people “traitors”? And when can we start publically accusing the poisonous talking heads on Fox of sedition?

  238. 238
    TenguPhule says:

    @randy khan: We used up our only Mulligan with Bush Jr.

  239. 239
    TenguPhule says:

    @CaseyL:

    Can you expand on this? I keep seeing this claim, and I don’t understand how it can possibly work.

    It changes the formula composition, which results in it being treated as an entirely new formula.

    Technically this is allowed because sometimes inert ingredients actually aren’t when mixed with other ingredients in unexpected chemical reactions.

  240. 240
    Jay says:

    @CaseyL:

    Google “evergreening drug patents”.

  241. 241
    randy khan says:

    @TenguPhule:

    We used up our only Mulligan with Bush Jr.

    I know that’s how we feel, but G.W. Bush was well within the range of “normal” for world leaders. He believed in treaties (and honored them), wanted to develop coalitions to take action against other nations, had a real State Department (headed first by someone with serious international credibility and then by a national security specialist), etc., etc. Granted, his biggest international policy decision was a disaster, but it’s one that many U.S. allies bought into, and he actually tried to persuade countries to go along with us.

  242. 242
    patroclus says:

    @randy khan: That’s right – corporations hire lawyers. But that’s a silly response because, along with their non-U.S. counterparts, the USTR and the Obama Administration negotiated and drafted the TPP’s provisions; not the corporate lawyers and certainly not the corporations themselves, which are merely legal entities.

    Do the critics of TPP realize that they are on the side of Trump/Wilmer and Bannon (the subject of this thread) and against Obama and Hillary (despite her cowardice in 2016) on trade? Does not that give anyone pause? As Sm*t Cl*de points out, the end result even passed muster with the Kiwi Labour party. And moreover, to pretend that the TPP debate is over because it doesn’t exist is kind of like the UK pretending that the EU and all issues concerning it will cease to exist after BREXIT. As large as it is, the CPTPP will largely set the terms of trade in the ASPAC region for quite some time, and even though the U.S. is not in it, its terms will have a substantial effect on the U.S. as well.

  243. 243
    Corner Stone says:

    @patroclus:

    As Sm*t Cl*de points out, the end result even passed muster with the Kiwi Labour party.

    The “end result” that was changed after the US dropped out so they could apply actual labor protections. As Sm*t Cl*de states.
    You keep doing shit like this. It makes it seem as if your position is…disingenuous.

  244. 244
    tobie says:

    @patroclus: I hear you and appreciate your clarity on this issue.
    Sm*t Cl*de did note some changes to the deal after the US left but (a) under Obama we could still have negotiated fine points and (b) the general architecture of the deal remained the same. It was a good deal, which is why all the other member states rushed to sign it even without the US. The only thing I’ve learned in this thread is that BigPharma may have been able to gobble up its competition with the way the deal was crafted. That’s the only downside I’ve been able to glean from this whole conversation.

  245. 245
    patroclus says:

    @Corner Stone: Well, your position is defensible – you have/had reservations. As did I. But the way to address that is to place it before Congress and then to engage in give and take about enforcement and dispute resolution and Pharma and IPP and labor rights and the environment and then either negotiate side agreements (like NAFTA) or obtain specific administration commitments about one’s concerns and attempt to do the same with other member states. Instead, Ryan cowardly refused to take it up, Obama cowardly refused to insist on it, Hillary cowardly backed away from it and all the normal Dem voices faded away because of Wilmer’s tirades and Warren’s demagoguery and all the “sane” Republicans did the same because of Trump/Bannon. So we got nothing and the whole post-WWII effort to liberalize trade got dealt a massive historic blow which will take decades from which to recover. Gore schooled Perot in the 90’s, but now we’ve got Trump and trade wars.

  246. 246
    randy khan says:

    @patroclus:

    That’s right – corporations hire lawyers. But that’s a silly response because, along with their non-U.S. counterparts, the USTR and the Obama Administration negotiated and drafted the TPP’s provisions; not the corporate lawyers and certainly not the corporations themselves, which are merely legal entities.

    I have a little experience in how things like this work. Companies with an interest in legislation, treaty negotiations, etc., work with legislators or government all the time, particularly on matters that are specifically commercial. They do, in fact, provide draft proposals, language, and the like to the formal negotiators, and often are given the opportunity to react to proposals from the other side (or sides, in a multilateral negotiations like TPP). Just for instance, the U.S. is preparing for the next World Radio Conference, and the FCC chartered an advisory committee that consists almost entirely of people from the telecom industry as part of that process. That committee has been drafting proposed positions, etc. for about a year and a half. The ultimate decisions are made by government actors, but it is pretty common for the actual language to start with a corporate actor. I don’t do international negotiations personally, but at the domestic level I’ve sat in a room with regulators and worked out the specific language in a rule.

    And without resorting to a Romneyism, of course corporations can have positions and provide proposals. The people who work on behalf of the corporation are merely representatives of the corporation’s interests in these things, as directed by the corporation’s officers and directors.

  247. 247
    Jay says:

    @patroclus:

    The End Result of CTTPP only happened because the US left the negotiations and the process. The CTPPT only became a fairer trade deal for all members after the US left.

    In most of the current members of the CTTPP, there was as much, if not more, rejection, condemnation and resistence to the TPP. In Canada, even the NDP supports the improved trade deal that is the CTTPP.

  248. 248
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Betty Cracker: Trigger warning! :p

  249. 249
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    Nope, TTP was garbage, both the Libs, Greens and the Dippers in Canada, ( center and left) rejected TPP,

    There were extensive and major changes, such as allowing Countries to ban slavery and indentured servitude, that created CTTPP,

    Changes that were not possible with the US at the table.

  250. 250
    patroclus says:

    tobie: Well, that’s not the only potential downside. You have to give the opponents their due. Whenever trade flows increase, the jobs associated with them flow to low labor cost countries. And that isn’t the U.S. – it’s Vietnam and Bangladesh and China and Malaysia and Mexico and other places. In the U.S., only the jobs associated with the export industry benefit, in other industries, more trade means more competition and sometimes that hurts U.S. companies and workers. And M/A’s in Pharma wouldn’t be the only ones – they’d happen elsewhere too, with all the transition and dislocation problems associated with them. Labor’s skittishness about trade deals is a legitimate concern and always needs to be addressed (at the outset and in any future re-negotiation). And the environment has traditionally been ignored. But the critics shouldn’t be able to stop the whole process – their involvement should be solicited and their concerns addressed, but in the long run, liberalized trade means lower prices for practically everything, more choices in purchasing, more innovation and entrepeneurship and beneficial competition. That’s been the hallmark of Democratic policy for decades and especially since WWII.

  251. 251
    BroD says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Comey was right–the alternative was Carter Page.

  252. 252
    Doug R says:

    @trollhattan: Animals don’t understand English, but they do understand tone and generally intent.
    Study of eight species of monkeys showed they couldn’t speak each other’s warnings, but they ALL understood ALL warnings, regardless of species.

  253. 253
    patroclus says:

    @randy khan: As do I. And have never been in a situation where drafts by corporate lawyers have been accepted verbatim by the OSTR in any internationally negotiated trade agreement although I have seen it in legislation (especially at the state level). The initial question to Betty stands – please specify the provision in TPP that was drafted by a corporation (or their lawyers) that was included. And please name the corporation (or the lawyer). Unless you address this specifically, the question stands. Talking only in generalities is a slippery slope that plays right into Trump/Bannon/Wilmer/Warren’s hands.

    And to Jay, I think Obama would have agreed to each of those provisions without batting an eye. Although we’ll never know because he was never given a chance.

  254. 254
    tobie says:

    @patroclus: Trade doesn’t come without trade-offs, and that’s been really tough on manufacturing in the developed world in general. But if you insist that Bangladesh pay its garment industry workers today a US living wage, they will simply ship their wares to a third country that doesn’t have a trade deal with the US for a “Made in XYZ” label. The volume of trade is too important for them to give up, and they know that if shirts cost $300 each, no one is going to be buying much of anything. And this contraction costs everyone–regardless of place–jobs, including the shippers that move goods from elsewhere, the shops that sell them in the US, the producer of cotton seeds that endure droughts, the manufacturers of automated garment cutting equipment, the fashion designers, etc. Volume of trade does have pluses for all sides involved. Long term the creation of a Bangladeshi middle class also raises wages there. That’s the only way I see that happening.

  255. 255
    Corner Stone says:

    @BroD: From what I can tell, Carter Page and his Bucket Hat are just bugfuck nuts. IMO he did not seem determined to separate families, rip moms from their kids or deport pregnant women.
    I have also never heard CP tell provably false lies about a sitting AA Congresswoman.

  256. 256
    Corner Stone says:

    @patroclus:

    please specify the provision in TPP that was drafted by a corporation (or their lawyers) that was included. And please name the corporation (or the lawyer). Unless you address this specifically, the question stands.

    But is it a clip or is it a magazine?

  257. 257
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @tobie:

    It was a good deal, which is why all the other member states rushed to sign it even without the US.

    It was a better deal for the other states without the US. Trump’s withdrawal was when previously-wavering nations all jumped on board.

  258. 258
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @Jay:

    The End Result of CTTPP only happened because the US left the negotiations and the process. The CTPPT only became a fairer trade deal for all members after the US left.
    In most of the current members of the CTTPP, there was as much, if not more, rejection, condemnation and resistence to the TPP. In Canada, even the NDP supports the improved trade deal that is the CTTPP.

    TPP, as originally conceived, didn’t include the US. Negotiating governments all looked to benefit. Then the US joined in, and co-opted it, and suddenly the other nations were looking at a deal that would hurt their economies, but leaving the trading bloc at that point would hurt their economies even more. Countries were having to choose the least bad option.
    Then Trump walked away from the deal because it didn’t have his name written on it in big gold-plate letters, and everyone was happy again.

    Now he wants to join the club after all. HA HA HA HA. Does he not realise that when you walk away from a deal, then let everyone know that you desperately need the deal after all, the price goes up? it goes up A LOT?

    Someone needs to explain this “deal-making” business to him.

  259. 259
    tobie says:

    @Sm*t Cl*de: Point taken. The US negotiated in its interests and its interests were not always the same or consistent with the interests of other nations.

  260. 260
    Jay says:

    @Sm*t Cl*de:

    The US won’t be joining CPTPP,

    The terms and conditions the US sought to impose under The Obama Administration were anthema to all the other members.

    The terms and conditions the CPTPP has enshrined are anthema to the Trade side of the Democratic Party,

    Under the Rethug’s the US is much more likely to sign an actual deal with the Devil, than CPTPP.

    The CPTPP Members are going to respond to Treason Tribbles Minion’s overtures with a polite “Fuck Off”.

  261. 261
    Jay says:

    @tobie:

    The US’s Interests, arguably wern’t in even the US’s interests, unless US Interests are soley defined by Wall Street.

  262. 262
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @tobie:
    The key point from your perspective is that US negotiators had been quite successful, and non-US negotiators had not managed to act in concert, so the TPP deal was loaded heavily towards the US’ benefit. That was the deal that Trump knocked over in a tantrum. Anything you get now will be far less favourable.

    And no country wants to negotiate anything with a Trump administration, knowing that any treaties will be worthless when the administration will abrogate them, any time someone drags a $1000 note in front of Trump’s path.

  263. 263
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @Jay:

    The CPTPP Members are going to respond to Treason Tribbles Minion’s overtures with a polite “Fuck Off”.

    Politeness is not guaranteed.

  264. 264
    Jay says:

    @Sm*t Cl*de:

    Nope, they’ll be polite, look who’s in the CPTPP,

    Well, maybe not the Ozzies.

  265. 265
    J R in WV says:

    @Corner Stone:

    One question! What the Fuck is ISDS?

    OK, Two: Why should I care? In the future, when you introduce an acronym, spell in out in complete English words on first use!

  266. 266
    tobie says:

    @Sm*t Cl*de: I agree. If the US wants back in now, the member states can and should dictate the terms. It’s gonna take a long time for GOP voters to own up to the damage they’ve done. How many deals will Trump tear up if he makes it through his first term. TPP–Check; Paris Climate Agreement–Check; NAFTA–coming soon; Iran deal–coming soon.

  267. 267
    Corner Stone says:

    @J R in WV: There’s a fucking link right there. It is literally sitting right fucking there. Right at the top of my post. At the very tippy top shape of it all. It’s right there. The link to everything we’re discussing is there. There!

  268. 268
    TenguPhule says:

    @randy khan:

    He believed in treaties (and honored them)

    Uh, no he didn’t. Half the shit was caused by him ignoring the terms of treaties, refusing to sign on to them or letting them expire.

    Geneva, midrange nuclear missile ban, Climate change just off the top of my head. Can throw in his complete rejection of the UN nuclear inspection team’s findings for good measure.

  269. 269
    Jay says:

    @J R in WV:

    To put it simply, it’s “Arbitration for Corporations”, by “Corporations” in a dispute between a Corporation, Investors and “wanna bee ” investors in FTA , ( free trade agreements) disputes with a Nation State.

    To mix a hypothetical with an actual;

    Thai fishing and aquaculture is highly reliant on slavery and indentured servitude for keeping costs down,

    The Thai’s have recently started enforcing existing laws, and adding new ones, to curtail the practice. That’s the actual.

    The hypothetical is that Black Spot Prawns LLC was looking to invest in Thai aquaculture.

    Ocean Prime was already invested in Thai aquaculture.

    Because Thai enforcement and new regulations have required that slaves and servants actually be paid, Black Tiger Prawns have gone in Thailand from $7.99 a ton, to $27.50 a ton, cutting Black Spot Prawns potential annual profits by $37 million dollars a year, and Ocean Prime’s actual profits by $58 million dollars a year,

    Under ISDS provisions of the proposed TPP, one can sue for lost profits, the other can sue for potential lost profits.

    Nobody who sit’s on the ISDS panel, is a Thai Judge, they are all Corporate Lawyers.

  270. 270

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