Open Thread: Juggalo Libel

But the Juggalos are more politically aware than your average Trump voter! At least according to Nathan Rabin, interviewed (before the election) at PopMatters:

Nathan Rabin is a respected writer for respectable publications. He was the first head writer of the The A.V. Club (where he continues to write the popular feature My Year of Flops). He writes for Rotten Tomatoes and Splitsider. He is also a Juggalo. This past summer, he took the proceeds of a successful gofundme campaign to write a book that documented a whirlwind week that included attending both the yearly Gathering of the Juggalos and the Republican National Convention, where Trump went from being a perpetual annoyance of the Republican establishment to the party’s official nominee for president…

It seems like a lot of Trump supporters and Insane Clown Posse fans share similar experiences. You talk about how each of them feel like they’ve been marginalized from mainstream society.

Totally. I think they both [Trump and ICP] speak to people who feel oppressed, people who feel angry, people who feel like the mainstream of American culture doesn’t speak either to them or for them. But I think they both take these ideas in very different directions.

Covering both events in a week, did you see much overlap between Trump supports and Insane Clown Posse fans?

I do not. Every gathering, there’s kind of an angle that you’re supposed to approach. I was supposed to write about how Juggalos were huge Trump fans. I said “That’s a wonderful idea. That’d be a great piece. I think it’s probably impossible. I’m not sure these people exist.” It would have been amazing and fascinating to talk to people who embraced both the ideology of Insane Clown Posse and the ideology of Trump. But it just didn’t happen.

While there are a lot of commonalities, there are also a lot of ways that they are starkly different. They’re both very anti-establishment. But I feel like Trump and his ideology are about punching down. They’re about scapegoating. They’re about blaming people at the very bottom of the socioeconomic ladder for the problems of America. Whereas Insane Clown Posse, they’re about punching up. They’re saying “We’re angry at law enforcement. We’re angry at rich white people who are evil. We’re angry at the corrupt establishment. We’re angry at people who have everything while you have nothing.”








Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Begin As You Mean to Go On

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(Drew Sheneman via GoComics.com)
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I endorse Catherine Rampell’s proposal in the Washington Post:

Officers wielding gigantic guns guard Trump Tower, where President-elect Donald Trump conducts all transition business, and soon lots of presidential business, too. Shoppers patronizing the stores, cafes or public gardens inside must endure layers of security screening. Streets and sidewalks are barricaded; traffic is snarled; and costumed buskers milk money from the looky-loos obstructing the entrances to Gucci and Tiffany.

The challenges of securing this 58-story building in a high-density neighborhood will, by Inauguration Day alone, drain $35 million of local taxpayer money. Who knows the additional costs to commerce and property values?

The feds have thus far been stingy about footing the bill. Fortunately, I’ve come up with a solution that should warm the cockles of the president-elect’s heart: New York should use eminent domain to seize Trump Tower.

Eminent domain — the constitutionally enshrined government power to take private property in exchange for just compensation — was traditionally reserved for road-and-school-style public projects. But thanks to a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, perpetuating a line of earlier decisions, governments may now use this power to condemn property if they can devise virtually any use that better promotes “economic development” — kicking out poor people and building luxury condos, for example.

Trump loves eminent domain, especially this ruling. He thinks it’s wonderful. And there’s no question why: Throughout his career, Trump has lobbied governments to seize properties from those who refuse to sell when he wants to build amusement parks, golf courses, office buildings and parking lots on their land. He believes expansive use of eminent domain is necessary to promote economic growth and “beautification,” and that it’s even a good deal for property owners who don’t want to sell.

“When eminent domain is used on somebody’s property, that person gets a fortune,” he has declared…

New York officials probably won’t take my advice, since seizing Trump’s property might appear partisan. (Manhattanites voted against Trump by about 10 to 1.) But, according to almost every eminent-domain scholar and land-use lawyer I consulted, if the city tried my strategy, courts would probably uphold it…








Early Morning Open Thread: Chinese Blowback on Trump’s ForPol Faux Pas

Remember President-Asterisk Trump’s celebratory phone call from Taiwan? Well, the Peoples’ Republic sure does! While we were (understandably) distracted by the latest Russian revelations of Repub perfidity, here’s a report from NYMag:

Preventing Taiwan from achieving internationally recognized independence is one of the top priorities of Chinese foreign policy — one that its military is prepared to go to war over.

Following Trump’s call, China decided to clarify that last point, by flying a nuclear-capable bomber over its disputed islands in the South China Sea — while also preparing to ship new surface-to-air missiles to those islands, according to U.S. officials who spoke with Fox News.

Trump was not impressed by this display of force. In an interview with Fox News Sunday, the president-elect suggested that he felt no compulsion to honor the “One China” policy — unless China accedes to his demands on trade.

“I fully understand the ‘One China’ policy,” Trump assured Fox. “But I don’t know why we have to be bound by a ‘One China’ policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.”

Of course, honoring the “One China” policy has allowed the United States to make countless “deals” with China, on issues of ranging from environmental policy to international sanctions.

On Monday, China announced that future acts of cooperation would be jeopardized, should Trump continue down his current path.

“China expresses serious concern on this subject,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters, including representatives of NBC News. “If the [One China policy] is compromised or interfered with, any sound and steady development in China-U.S. relations and cooperation in various fields is out of the question.”…

Trump spent much of his campaign rattling a saber in Beijing’s direction. “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country,” he told his supporters in May. “That’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.”… China generally makes the same assumption about this bellicosity that many liberals made about Donald Trump’s political career — after Election Day, it will all be over.

But now Trump is president-elect. And China is shipping missiles to the disputed islands that many see as the (potential) cradle of the next world war

Note from a Foreign Policy reporter:

I have lived in China for 13 years, and in that time I have talked with perhaps three mainlanders who thought that Taiwan had the right to determine its own future. Everyone else with whom I’ve discussed the issue, from ardent liberals to hardcore Marxists to the politically apathetic, has been fervently against the idea that Taiwan could ever be considered a country. It’s an idea as weird, taboo, and offensive to the majority of Chinese as proposing the restitution of slavery would be to Americans — not for its moral value but for going against everything they hold dear about their country.
Read more








Monday Morning Open Thread: Where’s the Clue-by-Four?

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(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
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Professor Krugman’s looking for one, in “Fast Food Damnation“:

… What I see a lot, both in general political discourse and in my own inbox, is a tremendous sense of resentment against people like Hillary Clinton or, well, me, that isn’t about policy. It boils down, instead, to something along the lines of “You people think you’re better than us.” And it has a lot to do with the way people live.

If populism were simply about income inequality, someone like Trump should be deeply resented by the working class. He has gold toilets! But he gets a pass, partly — I think — because his tastes seem in line with those of non-college-educated whites. That is, he lives the way they imagine they would if they had a lot of money.

Compare that with affluent liberals — say, my neighbors on the Upper West Side. They aren’t nearly as rich as the plutocrats that will stuff the Trump cabinet. What’s more, they vote for things that will raise their taxes and cost of living, while improving the lives of the very people who disdain them. Objectively, they’re on white workers’ side.

But they don’t eat much fast food, because they believe it’s unhealthy and they’re watching their weight. They don’t watch much reality TV, and do listen to a lot of books on tape — or even read books the old-fashioned way. if they’re rich enough to have a second home, it’s a shabby-chic country place, not Mar-a-Lago.

So there is a sense in which there’s a bigger cultural gulf between affluent liberals and the white working class than there is between Trumpkins and the WWC. Do the liberals sneer at the Joe Sixpacks? Actually, I’ve never heard it — the people I hang out with do understand that living the way they do takes a lot more money and time than hard-pressed Americans have, and aren’t especially judgmental about lifestyles. But it’s easy to see how the sense that liberals look down on regular folks might arise, and be fanned by right-wing media.

The question is, what do you do? Again, objectively those liberals are very much on workers’ side, while the characters who play on this perceived disdain are set to betray the white working class on a massive scale. Is there no way to get this across other than eating lots of burgers with fries?

Yes, a big chunk of the Trump/GOP’s appeal is old-fashioned all-American racism (and misogyny). But there are people of color (and plenty of women) who voted for Trump, under the rubric that he’d “shake things up” or similar. How does the Democratic sane Party appeal to voters who would rather punish themselves and their loved ones than be — in their minds — looked down on?
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Apart from that ongoing dilemma, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?








Sunday Evening Open Thread: Never Stop Running All the Cons

Really beginning to think that Josh Marshall, at TPM, is right about Trump’s finances:

Maybe he can’t divest because he’s too underwater to do so or more likely he’s too dependent on current and expanding cash flow to divest or even turn the reins over to someone else…

According to his spokesman, Trump sold all of his stock back in June, a portfolio which his disclosures suggest was worth as much as $38 million. Trump told Matt Lauer that he sold the stock because he was confident he’d win and “would have a tremendous … conflict of interest owning all of these different companies” while serving as President…

But consider this. During the primaries Donald Trump loaned his campaign roughly $50 million. Over the course of the spring, as it became increasingly likely he’d be the nominee, that loan became increasingly conspicuous. Donors were wary of donating big money because they didn’t want him to use it to pay himself back for that loan. Many suggested that he might not actually be able to part with that money. It became a big issue and Trump refused to forgive the loans.

It was only in June that Trump finally gave in and forgave the loan; this was confirmed in the June FEC disclosure that came out in late July… The most obvious explanation is that forgiving that debt from his campaign required him — through whatever mix of contingencies — to free up more cash, either for the campaign or personal expenses or perhaps to have a certain amount of cash on hand because of terms of other debts. It does not seem plausible at all that the timing is coincidental.

Perhaps Trump simply doesn’t feel like he can trust anyone else to keep the whole shambling enterprise afloat. More plausibly, and consistent with Trump’s history over the last couple decades, Trump’s business is dependent on an ever expanding number of deals not just to grow but to stay afloat at all. It is certainly plausible that if Trump simply sold off his company in toto, he’d be in debt. Maybe there wouldn’t be anything left to put in a blind trust…

As a number of business reporters have been pointing out, Trump’s a big fan of resource-dependent extractive industries. Perhaps he just considers himself a fellow extractive industrialist… with us marks as his all-too-renewable resource.