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I’m Not sorry. Feckless Cunts and the Apology War.

“My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.”

— Christopher Hitchens


Roseanne Barr has always been annoying. Remember the National Anthem fiasco? And what she said about Valerie Jarrett was racist and thus stupid. Though it is crucial to keep in mind the offense is not being annoying (because if it were we’d be a nation of mutes), and the company she worked for had the right to fire her.

Samantha Bee has always been annoying, whiny and self-righteous. And what she said about Ivanka Trump is not (completely) true. Ivanka’s a cunt but there’s nothing feckless about her.

Her father is a bigot. He’s an unhinged professional demagogue and amateur fascist who is going to unleash his pathological need to pitch a fit and use that fit as a means to dominate everyone. The domination will be through chaos. The increasingly dire trade war will, if left unchecked collapse the world economy and Trump will blame everyone but himself. He will claim that if he were left alone, unhindered by the “witch hunt” his strategy would result in the capitulation of Europe and China. And when the collapse comes he will say it’s because he wasn’t allowed to finish the job. And when we say collapse we mean just that – think 1929 2.0. The more pressure Trump faces (from Mueller, North Korea, European and Chinese trade tarrifs, etc) the more of a fit he will pitch and the more of a catastrophe it will be for everyone else.

And amid the economic and emotional ruin the republicans will finally have what they have always wanted – a national emergency in which they will claim we can not afford the remnants of the New Deal. Goodbye Social Security and then goodbye to the hollowed out remains of the “Great Society” and Medicare and then things like the EPA and Hello dystopia.

Who throws in their lot with such people? Cunts of both sexes.

Consider that as we have detailed previously, those who defend Trump supporters (for example, Jon Stewart) as not being bigots but as plain decent folks concerned with their inability to pay for their insurance premiums, are at best making a distinction without a difference. Those people are neither plain nor are they decent but they most certainly are feckless cunts. If you are concerned about your insurance premiums and you conclude that the best way to address that fear is by voting for a racist moron with a severe pathological inability to control himself, and the potential to destroy the world economy if not the world itself, than you may not be a bigot but you are a cunt who is a cunt precisely because you voted for a bigot and you can go fuck yourself. Literally.

Bee should never have apologized any more than Kathy Griffith (also annoying) never should have apologized.

And a word here about Trump proxies displaying outrage and claiming that Bee had gone too far and had crossed a line.

Really? And claiming that there were fine people on both sides at Charlottesville wasn’t going too far and did not cross a line? Claiming that a Hispanic judge was incapable of being impartial because he was Hispanic was not going too far and crossing a line? Claiming that Mexico was sending America rapists wasn’t going too far and wasn’t crossing a line?

Or consider this from former “Fox News” princess, Megyn Kelly who was either too stupid to notice she was providing coverage for demagogues Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity or too feckless to care.

“NBC’s Megyn Kelly, once a primetime anchor at Fox News, compared Bee’s comments to Barr’s. “This is disgusting. How is this acceptable?” Kelly tweeted. “And how are we expected to take any of these publications seriously if they gleefully repost something like this at the same time they (rightfully) condemn Roseanne? You know the saying Love is Love? Well Hate is Hate.””

How is this acceptable? Aside from issues of free speech, and accuracy, it’s acceptable because “Fox News” is a sewer of lies, half truths, distortions, dog-whistle bigotry and aiming consistently for the lowest common denominator. And people like Kelly who willingly went along for the ride until they got a better deal, have no moral credibility.

Who then says those statements were acceptable but Bee’s were too much?

Cunts, that’s who.

Back in the misty past when high-tech was a musket, there was a newspaper called The American Aurora. It believed that George Washington was a dunce who didn’t win the War of Independence so much as he didn’t lose it, but was the beneficiary of the French intervention. The Aurora didn’t believe the Constitution was ideal but rather too complicated and a botch of too many compromises. Ideally it suggested the Pennsylvania constitution, drafted by Ben Franklin and Thomas Paine should have been the one chosen for the entire country. And The Aurora refused to be polite or quiet. And under the Alien and Sedition Act, the Federalist government, which incurred the bulk of the Aurora’s sarcasm, denunciations and ridicule, had the publisher arrested and locked up.

In theory that can’t happen now. Theory however is a moving target as are civil liberties. In the current climate the power of the stock market and the corporatists and the feckless cunts of the media with their flexible sense of ethics are all sufficient to silence dissent. And if that doesn’t work there’s always the oh so delicate snowflakes at the FBI – after all when you think common sense and prudence, naturally you think of the Hoovers and the utterly unconstitutional Patriot Act.

Ivanka Trump is complicit in her father’s crimes and in the dangers he poses to the nation and the planet. She’s complicit in his defense of neo-Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan and his demeaning and bigoted attacks against minorities and she is complicit in his assault on the Constitution.

And as to the idea that Roseanne Barr and Bee should be held to the same standard: Bullshit. Roseanne is a bigot or is just one bad day away from being a bigot and the mask slipped while she was under pressure and the truth emerged. You can dislike Valerie Jarrett for any number of reasons based on her commitment to the Obama regime but the color of her skin is irrelevant.

Bee however didn’t say Ivanka was married to a kike and a feckless cunt. She just said she was a feckless cunt which is technically not true. After all, Ivanka has stayed the course. She is a believer. She will be there down in the bunker with daddy when the economy splinters into a million pieces and the bread lines form or when, for reasons that have nothing to do with morality and everything to do with politics, they come to take daddy away.

But she most certainly is a cunt. A committed ideologically driven worshipper of power and money with the intellect of a piece of furniture. She is a vicious hateful sociopath with the moral sense of a hungry jackal.*

And, she’s a cunt.

And in this country the First Amendment to the Constitution does not come with a clause that says: offer void where prohibited by political expediency. Nor is there a clause that says you have a right to not be offended.

At least, not officially.

Ivanka is a cunt and so is her father and he is also a threat to national security and he should be declared unfit to serve and be locked up somewhere where he can’t hurt anyone.

Don’t pretend it’s not true.

Call it what it is.

And do not apologize for telling the truth.

In other words, don’t be a cunt.


For a slim look at Samantha Bee’s capitulation, see the following:

For a consideration of the inevitable redemption tour:

*And we apologize to the Jackals who no doubt are just following their programing.

17 comments on “I’m Not sorry. Feckless Cunts and the Apology War.

  1. I’d agree with that. But I’d add that all of the ruling elite are cunts, including the Democrats: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, Rachel Maddow, etc. And anyone who makes excuses for them is a cunt.

    There is way too much evil bullshit going on: racist tough-on-crime laws, war on drugs, mass incarceration, and privatized prisons; military-industrial complex, wars of aggression, carpet bombing, torture prisons, drone assassinations, and CIA interventionism; big money lobbyists, regulatory capture, corporatocracy, inverted totalitarianism, neoliberal globalizaiton, and neo-colonial exploitation.

    You know the whole spiel. The only thing that has fundamentally changed under Trump is that even the most cuntiest of cunts can no longer deny how fucked up it all is. The lies they hid behind for decades are no longer convincing to the American public. One way or another, the American Empire was inevitably going to collapse and cause global catastrophe. Trump is simply expediting the process.


    1. rauldukeblog says:

      You’re not wrong and I wouldn’t argue with any of the points you’ve made.

      A particularly egregious example of cuntery by the “other side” is Obama’s use of “secret evidence” to justify the murder of a US citizen. Even if he was involved in illegal activities the Constitution does not come with asterisks or an ambiguous end user agreement. And I agree it’s important to read the narrative of Trump as his being the long time coming blowback for systemic rot across the whole of the system. That he is an especially toxic aspect is true but it’s crucial to see him as part of the system not as an alien invader. This is similar to the arguments about Hitler and the Nazis. Just finished reading an otherwise intelligent book (Understanding Hitler by Sebastian Haffner) from the late 70s that tries to make the Hitler as anomaly argument and separates him from root causes and contexts. Plenty of people have pointed out that Trump is a real estate goon from Queens. That’s true but he didn’t invent being a real estate goon from Queens and he’s been on the scene and reflective of it for thirty years. Add in everything else you mentioned from the goons at Langley to the vile stock market psychopaths the Clintons the money whores and the media and the rabid neo-fascists at the heart of the GOP and you have a vast carnivale of feckless cunts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Even as I agree with you here, I often come at this from other angles.

    Part of me is interested in the demographics. There is something odd going on. Nine percent of Obama 2012 voters went for Trump, which is millions of people. Millions more of Obama voters who simply didn’t vote this time around.

    Also, consider that Hillary Clinton lost a county in Appalachia that had consistently gone to Democratic presidential candidates since the Civil War. On the other hand, Trump is the first Republican to lose Orange County CA (Nixon’s hometown) in a long time.

    I’ve had the theory that many Trump voters knew he was a horrible person. That is why they voted for him. It was precisely because of his potential to be destructive. Bigotry and xenophobia obviously played a role for many. But there was more going on than that.

    “Some would argue that a similar attitude is held by Trump supporters. Not even those who voted for him, according to polls, thought he would do what he promised. But the one thing that he could accomplish was to destroy a corrupt system. Electing Donald Trump as president was like lobbing a grenade into a bunker. It may be an act of desperation, although it makes perfect sense as an all too human motivation. Studies have shown that individuals are willing to punish perceived wrongdoers even at great costs to themselves. It is what morality becomes when morality has been denied for too long.”


    1. rauldukeblog says:

      That’s a fascinating point. The pathology of motivation(s) is overlooked or dismissed by the media but it’s crucial. People often do things that create negative outcomes for themselves but they have a sadomasochistic impulse.

      But then that opens the door to other motivations. Misogyny is a factor and bigotry – and I mean these are not fixed conditions but move along a spectrum and often cover other impulses like a shadow.

      I think you’re onto something of great importance.

      I wrote a piece some time ago about the failure of Google Glass posing that its failure was down to a kind of psychological diversion. The average person feels impotent in the face of mass surveillance. But knocking off a pair of glasses from some geeks in a bar is much safer than trying that with a federal goon.

      To apply that to what you’re suggesting people feel powerless in the face of the vastness of the systemic corruption – the media tempest the Orwellian reality the economic thunderdome and the endless lies and half truths and the wars that never end and the hysteria (“Im mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”) and then there’s Trump – clearly a ticking time bomb pretending to be a human being and surely some segment of the electorate views him as a Hitlerite factor – and to be clear – not in the genocidal fanatic sense but in the useful disruptor who will destroy and clear the path for something “better.”

      That’s a rough draft response.

      Individuals are willing to punish perceived wrongdoers even at great costs to themselves. It is what morality becomes when morality has been denied for too long.”

      That’s a crucially important point.


    2. rauldukeblog says:

      More rough thoughts:

      I just read an interesting article from the LA Times about Trump losing OC.

      Demographics is a key issue but “demographics” contains other issues.

      These are fiscal conservatives whose reactionary views include what we might call old school republican attitudes – no trade wars and don’t rile up the poor whites – use them but don’t actually give them a sense of power.

      These anti-Trump republicans are not quite neo-fascist – they are not Steve Bannon but they are more like George H. Bush. They have no qualms about increasing poverty or unleashing the thugs from the CIA to kill someone or subvert an election including ours. But they would disapprove of Charlottesville – and not because they aren’t bigots but because it represents chaos and the anti-wealth violence that is a key component of the extreme right.

      Matthew Heimbach is an interesting point here. He’s a neo-Nazi goon but his rhetoric is specific. His views are straight out of the “socialist” wing of the Nazis with references to communal societies in which bankers have no greater status than say a plumber. He quotes Naziss from that wing of the NSP who espoused a theory of a communal scoiety. And he is exactly the type of Trump supporter that OC conservatives fear.

      This circles back to the fact that the GOP has been using the neo-fascist wing for years as a kind of electoral shock force. But what’s happened is that they (the predominantly poor white voters) were betrayed by the Wall Street wing of the party and Trump is their totemic guide – he’s an uneducated no polish thug like them but he made a fortune. Best of both worlds.

      But again these are not fixed categories.

      We cannot ignore spite ss a motivating factor. Spite in the sense of the old story about the scorpion convincing the frog crossing the river. the frong says if i give you a ride you’ll sting me and kill me. The scorpion says yes but if I do that we’ll both drown. The frog agrees and midway across the scorpion stings the frog. you know the rest.

      There’s a scorpion crossing the river quality to the Trump voters.


  3. There is another aspect of demographics that gets even less attention. This is in spite of it being more interesting.

    Trump got about 63 million votes. And about 1 in 10 of those weren’t non-Hispanic whites. Instead, they were some combination of mostly Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics (as an aside, most Hispanic-Americans being from Mexico are largely of indigenous ancestry). If you do the math, that is about 6 million voters which is no small amount considering what a close race it was.

    Rural Hispanics, in particular, showed strong support for Trump. But there other groups involved that turned out to be key. In one of the swing states, Florida, it was not only Cuban-Americans but also Haitian-Americans that helped Trump win there and hence win the election. Cuban-Americans, of course, have a history of Cold War anti-leftist conservativism and so they are maybe knee-jerk GOP voters, even though Clinton was the most capitalist-friendly right-wing candidate.

    Haitian-Americans is an important case. There was a history of bad feelings toward Hillary Clintons. Some of her policies as Secretary of State were directly harmful to Haitians. For example, Clinton used her power to stop minimum wage from being raised in Haiti in order to keep costs cheap for US factories operating there. Plus, there were general bad feelings about neoliberalism going back to Bill Clinton’s administration.

    It gets complicated when looking at the details. I’d also make a broader point. In most countries, the force behind politics is from concentrated wealth and power. But in a country like the US, the pivot point for gaining leverage is found among the middle class. That pattern was seen with the Nazis and with the Second Klan. It’s middle class professionals who have the money, time, and influence within communities to be effectively involved in politics.

    “Trump voters seemed to include many average Americans, although Trump voters were slightly above the national average on wealth. With incomes below $50,000, 52% for Clinton and 41% for Trump. With incomes more than $50,000, 49% for Trump and 47% for Clinton. A large part of Trump’s votes came from the income range of +50 to -100 thousand range, i.e., the middle class. The only income level bracket that Trump lost to Clinton was those who make $49,999 and under. Trump’s victory came from the combined force of the middle-to-upper classes. Trump did get strong support from those without a college degree (i.e., some college or less), but then again the vast majority of Americans lack a college degree. It’s easy to forget that even many in the middle class lack college degrees. Factory jobs and construction jobs often pay more than certain professional careers such as teachers and tax accountants. I’m sure a fair number low level managers and office workers lack college degrees.

    “Among white voters alone, though, Trump won more college-educated than did Clinton. The white middle class went to Trump, including white women with college degrees. Only 1 in 6 Trump voters were non-college-educated whites earning less than $50,000. Ignoring the racial breakdown, Trump overall won 52% of those with some college/associate degree, 45% of college graduates, and 37% with postgraduate study. That is a fairly broad swath. A basic point I’d make is that the majority of Trump voters without a college education work in white collar or middle skill jobs, representing the anxious and precarious lower middle class, but it has been argued that the sense of financial insecurity is more perceived than real. The working class, especially the poor, were far from being Trump’s strongest and most important support, despite their greater financial insecurity. Rather, the Trump voters who played the biggest role were those who fear downward economic mobility, whether or not one deems this fear rational (I tend to see it as being rational, considering a single accident or health condition could easily send into debt many in the lower middle class).

    “Also, keep in mind that Trump did surprisingly well among minorities, considering the rhetoric of his campaign: 29% of Asians voted for him, 29% of Hispanics, and 8% of blacks. Those aren’t small numbers, enough to have helped him win… or if you prefer, enough to cause Clinton to lose, as the percentages might have to do more with the decreased voting rate this election among particular minority populations. Trump did better among older minorities and rural minorities, at least that was true with Hispanics as I recall, which seems to indicate a similar economic pattern of those who are feeling less hopeful about the future, although I’d point out that most of Trump voters were urban and suburban. Trump specifically beat Clinton in the suburbs and also got more than a third of the votes in cities. But because of how our system is designed votes in low population rural states are worth more than votes in high population urban/suburban states, the reason Wisconsin turned out to be so important.

    “I would make some additional points. Poor people in general, white and non-white, vote at lower rates. The poorest are rarely ever a deciding factor in any national election. As for the working class more broadly, Trump had some of his strongest support from places like the Rust Belt in the urban Midwest, although it is fair to point out that Clinton lost some progressive strongholds in what once was the New Deal territory of the Upper South that had been loyal Democrats for a long time (in one county in Kentucky, having been won by Trump, the majority voted for a Republican for the first time since the Civil War). Even in the Rust Belt, it wasn’t that Trump gained white working class votes but that Clinton lost them. There was simply fewer people voting in places like that, preferring to vote for neither candidate, some combination of not voting at all and voting third party.”

    “One exception was Justin Babar, who said he voted for Mr. Trump as a protest against Mrs. Clinton. He blamed her husband’s policies for putting him in prison for 20 years.

    “As for the claims of racism that have dogged Mr. Trump, Mr. Babar wasn’t so worried. “It’s better than smiling to my face but going behind closed doors and voting against our kids,” he said.

    “Tarvus Hawthorne, 45, a program coordinator at a local nonprofit, agreed.

    ” “He was real, unlike a lot of liberal Democrats who are just as racist” but keep it hidden, he said, his jaw slathered with shaving cream. “You can reason with them all day long, but they think they know it all. They want to have control. That they know what’s best for ‘those people.’” “


    1. Consider the rhetorical tune of old school Progressivism. With the help of Bannon, Trump managed to do a workable rendition of it during the campaign season.

      Don’t underestimate the hunger for old school Progressivism, specifically when combined with the gut-level outrage at Clinton brand neoliberalism and corporatocracy. Sure, Trump was just telling people what they wanted to hear without offering any substance. But it is the first time the main candidate of either party spoke that way in generations.

      Bannon is well versed in history and he had some genius to his vision. And it wasn’t all bullshit for him. He was using the rhetoric of old school Progressivism to push old school national socialism, the latter having some kinship with the early 20th century isolationist strains of Progressivism.

      It’s easy to conclude voters were stupid for buying it. I just would point out how desperate so many Americans were feeling, as inequality grew, the middle class shrunk, and economic mobility fell, as affordable housing, subsidized college, good wages, benefits, pensions, job security, etc disappeared.

      To be fair, Keith Payne in The Broken Ladder has pointed out that everyone gets stupider (along with crazier and more reckless) as high inequality worsens.


      1. rauldukeblog says:

        My lengthy response was just eaten by the system;-( I’ll have to regroup and try and rewrite it but it may not show up until tomorrow.


      2. rauldukeblog says:

        “Don’t underestimate the hunger for old school Progressivism, specifically when combined with the gut-level outrage at Clinton brand neoliberalism and corporatocracy.”

        I wouldn’t disagree but would factor in other things that change the context. I’m not sure rank stupidity is incompatible with legitimate outrage – even a moron can be righteously indignant and neoliberalism is essentially a vast insult to millions of people who haven’t done anything wrong.

        I do disagree about Bannon.

        “Bannon is well versed in history and he had some genius to his vision. And it wasn’t all bullshit for him. He was using the rhetoric of old school Progressivism to push old school national socialism, the latter having some kinship with the early 20th century isolationist strains of Progressivism.”

        I’ve looked into this in previous posts but Bannon appears intelligent relative to the dearth of intelligence in DC. I had actually read some Julius Evola because I’ve read about Ezra Pound and the various /political/art movements that ran from Italy to London from about 1900 to the 20s. Evola was the evil side of Yeats and Blavatsky’s national-mysticism but unlike Yeats he was an idiot and certainly not a genius. Bannon’s appreciation of Evola is a sign of gross stupidity. But it’s not just Evola – Bannon’s reading strikes me as narrow (devoid of fiction and its corollaries – biographiess, etc).

        Consider his interesting misreading of Tolkien. he views the end of The Return of the King (The Scouring of the Shire) as a template for the simple but inherently noble rural volk to rise up against the dead hand of socialism and the “administrative state.”

        While there is a reactionary monarchist romanticism to Tolkien and he was certainly no fan of modernity or socialism his reactionary stance was akin to the other Modernists – like Hemingway (though obviously miles if not an entire universe apart stylistically) – and completely at odds with the mystical High Church fascism of Eliot.

        For Bannon the Hobbits (he’s used the word multiple times to describe his supporters) are the Volk with all the fascist overtones one would expect. But he ignores the democratic sense of the Hobbits.

        And lastly though I can’t prove it I am convinced that on the two ocasssions Gandalf says “You shall not pass” that given the context of when he was writing, he meant clearly to reference the Spanish Civil War and “They shall not pass” ass the rallying cry of the loyalists.

        Then there’s Bannon’s formative education – at a religious military academy in the late 1960s. I’d wager the curriculum did not contain a lot of Beat poetry;-)

        Seriously – Bannon’s greatest defect was thinking that Trump would prevail. Not prevail and win the election but prevail and per Bannon’s design, be a blunt instrument to shatter the “administrative state” as if Wall Street and the spooks and the media would all just give up.

        Which is not to discount Bannon/Trump’s point that all of those players aren’t corrupt. Of course they are and the system itself is corrupt.

        But there’s an interesting parallel here with Bernie.

        Let’s stipulate that Sander’s argument is essentially valid.

        If it’s valid then how does one use the system to change the system?

        Sanders came close in an interview to saying he would call for his supporters to march on DC and surround Capital Hill but since he’s not a radical revolutionary he backed off and hedged and spoke vaguely about building legislative coalitions.

        Trump of course is not fit to carry Sander’s coat and has no concept of coalitions and the legislative process but he has the same problem. Stipulate that Trump is not wrong – the system is corrupt and trade is a mess, and so on – and you’re still left with the entrenched mandarins of the system – spooks and Wall St. and the media, etc – who aren’t going to surrender to Trump.

        Bannon should have seen that and he should have known two things about Trump. One he would always side with Jared and Ivanka over Bannon and two he wasn’t coherent enough to push through legislation to break up the system.

        That Trump is destroying things is a given but it’s through rhetorical madness and lack of action versus rhetorical madness and action.

        Executive orders have impact but almost all of them have been blocked by the courts.

        But the looming trade war may be Bannon’s legacy though that seems to have little to do with Bannon and more to do with Trump’s stupidity. And even there, republicans in states that rely on jobs that in turn rely on trade with china and the EU may not chose to jump into the pyre with Trump. But who knows – they may have already gulped the kool aid.

        “It’s easy to conclude voters were stupid for buying it. I just would point out how desperate so many Americans were feeling, as inequality grew, the middle class shrunk, and economic mobility fell, as affordable housing, subsidized college, good wages, benefits, pensions, job security, etc disappeared.”

        Again I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive. I don’t underestimate their desperation. 10 years in Baltimore among the miserable white working class was more than enough to convince me of the authenticity of their desperation and anger. But they were also stupid. I think the Hitler parallel is again apt. Stupidity and genuine misery are a lethal combination.

        Which brings us to this:

        “To be fair, Keith Payne in The Broken Ladder has pointed out that everyone gets stupider (along with crazier and more reckless) as high inequality worsens.”

        Desperate people take desperate risks.

        I’ll read the article but it strikes me as correct.


      3. “I’m not sure rank stupidity is incompatible with legitimate outrage”

        We are on agreement with that. Nothing I said here is inherently incompatible with your post. I was just adding some thoughts. It remains a fact that cunts are cunts, even when there are extenuating circumstances that is making them more blatantly cuntier.

        “I do disagree about Bannon.”

        I still don’t think we are disagreeing. There are different kinds of genius. Bannon is widely read and he understands how to apply that knowledge. Trump never would have been elected without Bannon. It was Bannon who helped create a coherent vision for the alt-right, to lift it up from mere trollery.

        But your point remains. I’m not sure it matters what Bannon personally thinks of Evola or anyone else. His genius is simply in having the insight about what is useful. He is a brilliant rhetorician, which doesn’t necessarily nothing to do with the philosophical or moral value of rhetoric. He isn’t concerned about winning arguments with, persuading, or impressing the reality-based community.

        I’d make the point that if you take Bannon at face value you will miss the quality of his talent. Never assume that he entirely believes and means what he says. It’s the broader vision that he is concerned about how it gets manifested and enacted. Like a good reactionary, he will use anything and everything to that end.

        He shouldn’t be underestimated, no matter how flawed he is.

        “Bannon’s greatest defect was thinking that Trump would prevail. Not prevail and win the election but prevail and per Bannon’s design, be a blunt instrument to shatter the “administrative state” as if Wall Street and the spooks and the media would all just give up.”

        Actually, I’m not sure he thought Trump would prevail. I suspect, like many in the right-wing ruling elite, he is playing the long game. Trump was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up to stir the shit. It was an experiment to see what would happen. I doubt he cares about the “administrative state” or, if anything, he wants it to serve other purposes. But he isn’t going to telegraph his true intentions.

        “Stupidity and genuine misery are a lethal combination.”

        That is a point I often make. And when not overtly stated, it is always implied.

        “Desperate people take desperate risks.”

        I’d take this a step further. High inequality and related factors create an entire social order where desperation is built into the system. It becomes a collective mentality. All across the political and economic spectrum, desperation is being expressed in various ways. The ruling elite are seeming rather desperate at the moment and the evidence points to them preparing for the worst, even as they deny the problems (e.g., almost every corporate hack and corporaticratic politician that publicly denies it knows climate change is happening and being caused by humans).

        “I’ll read the article but it strikes me as correct.”

        That post isn’t about Keith Payne. This one is about that:


    2. rauldukeblog says:

      Alas it would take too much RAM to rewrite my lengthy response eaten by the internet. However a few things stand out in recall:

      “Rural Hispanics, in particular, showed strong support for Trump. ”

      This reminded me of the Scotch/Irish support for the Copperheads in Baltimore in the period just prior to the CW. Free Blacks would have undercut the Scotch/Irish who worked the rails (the largest employer in the region and symbiotic with the plantations). Poor rural Hispanics are living in an economic gulag and Trump or people like him exploit their legitimate fears – they are one bad moment away from being back south of the border or locked up or dead.

      This speaks not just to Trump’s evil but the systemic stupidity of the dems. They can’t be neoliberals and hold on to the old FDR coalition or even LBJ’s coalition. Nancy we’re capitalists get used to Pelosi is not just a moral cancer in the party but an example of bebing tactically and strategically tone deaf. that attitude is not just hers but represents an entire cadre of the party. That attitude opens them up not just to Trump’s vile brand of populism but to Bernie’s far more noble sounding populism but also to the criticism of people like the one you quote who calls them bigots but better at hiding it than Trump and also calls them know it alls. In the absence of a magical “hero” like RFK ’68 the liberals are trapped between two irreconcilable camps – the Sanders/Warren side and the Pelosi Wall Street side.

      As to voter turn out among the other factors of course are gerrymandering and voter suppression. Which does not negate the facts/factors you mention but widens the context.

      Your lengthy post deserves a better response but i can’t bring myself to retype everything. Needless to say I agree with you.

      More to follow.


      1. “As to voter turn out among the other factors of course are gerrymandering and voter suppression. Which does not negate the facts/factors you mention but widens the context.”

        You can look at the full post above where I quoted several paragraphs of voter demographics. A key issue I pointed out was that Trump’s demographics and voting numbers weren’t all that different than any other recent Republican presidential candidate. In fact, he did better among minorities than some previous Republicans.

        It was never fundamentally about Trump. From early on, it was clear that this election was for Clinton to win or lose. And that is what the data shows. In the states she lost, it is that she lost Democratic voters, not that Trump won that many. This was an election determined by who didn’t vote, but in a sense that is always the case considering the crappy quality of viable candidate.

        “Needless to say I agree with you.”

        I was assuming basic agreement. Certainly, I wasn’t arguing against anything you stated. My tendency is to complicate things by looking at other data and possibilities. It’s what my mind does, jump from thing to thing until some larger picture begins to emerge. Some people find that irritating.


  4. rauldukeblog says:

    I don’t find adding other points obnoxious or irritating though the standard problematic nature of email applies – the flat tone and no facial cues make it problematic but not impossible.

    But as to Bannon. I’ll play devil’s advocate. Assume Bannon is a fascist with all that entails in terms of psychology/pathology/impulses/complexes and political goals.Assume Bannon’s endgame is chaos and from chaos emerges the opportunity to seize power. That’s a standard strategy among revolutionaries both left and right.

    In this scenario Bannon views Trump as a blunt instrument (his phrase for Trump) who through insanity breaks down the system which creates a “crisis” and in order to solve the crisis emergency action is required. This is a variation on the Reichstag Fire scenario.

    Examples would be (but are not limited to):

    Collapsing economy due to trade war/tariffs.

    Attempt to fire Mueller.

    Confrontation with N.Korea.

    Assorted moments of high risk/crisis in Europe (say a Russian threat to the Baltics which if not answered cracks NATO) or the Middle East.

    Or some combination of the above or some other event that is essentially a variation on one of the above.

    Trump (and assume Bannon is involved via proxies) seeks to declare some sort of suspension of the law. It is crucial to keep in mind that the Cheney/Bush Junta and the Obama regime both suspended key elements of the constitution – The Patriot Act has standardized mass surveillance and created a permanent class of Kafka-esque neither guilty not innocent “citizens” and Obama’s use of “secret evidence” to justify the murder of a US citizen tore a hole in the Bill of Rights with Eric Holder going so far as to say that “due process does not necessarily mean review by judges.”

    As a result despite cries to the contrary Trump has not only done less actual procedural damage to the law he is in a better position to do greater damage should a genuine crisis (manufactured cynically or by circumstances – which themselves are part of a long term cynicism but there’s a distinction to be made between a Reichstag Fire and say, a coup in some country) precisely because his predecessors did actual damage.

    To achieve a direct dictatorial or “Emergency committee” government Trump would need the assistance/acquiescence of key players.

    Which is not impossible but is where Bannon’s vision breaks down.

    From a point of view based on personal prerogative and power I don’t see McConnell & Co giving up power and a junta would be unworkable due to Trump’s ego and the inherent narcissism of the Senate and the venality of the House.

    I also don’t see the military and the spooks going along with it and then there’s still the media (utterly corrupt and a true gang of feckless cunts) and then there’s the billionaires who may be psychopaths but don’t like Trump (the one’s from OC for example who didn’t vote for him).

    The point to all of this is that I can’t find a scenario in which Bannon wins.

    And from that I can’t see him as a kind of genius. That he has latched onto and molded Trump’s insanity to suit a purpose is undeniable but it’s achieved a kind of stalemate.

    One could posit that the stalemate benefits Bannon’s “long game” in that it wears down the system and here I can add another scenario:

    Let’s assume Bannon has gamed out all of the above. And that he then assumes the “crisis” will be an explosion on the “left” – an ad hoc coalition of disparate elements ranging from (but not limited to) BLM, LBGTQ, environmentalists, Pink Hats, assorted “Hollywood liberals” etc who faced with a collapsing economy pour out to the streets in relatively historic numbers.

    Again prompting a “Reichstag Fire” “Emergency” situation.

    But again crushing this requires key elements in the machine to go along and I just don’t see it happening and as a result I still can’t see Bannon as any kind of genius – but instead still see him as not very bright.

    Mao was a psychopath but brilliant and won. Lenin was an idiot and barely won and then lost. Castro won but I’ve never been sure if he was intelligent or lucky or both.

    Nixon lost of course but in the early 70s Hoover wrote him a note saying he could no longer guarantee the stability of the country and that unless Nixon was prepared to call out the army he would have to concede to the anti-establishment forces.

    Of course as we’ve discussed Nixon however crazy was still a creature of the system where Trump though a creature of the wider system (real estate goon from Queens) is not one of them. So he is capable of anything and yet, he has done almost nothing and I suspect it is down to the generals – the Chief of Staff and the Sec of Def. and the very long bureaucratic machinery that trails behind them. They have been inside the machine for decades and know where the bodies are buried and where to bury new ones; they know how to hide information and twist answers so that they are neither telling a lie or the truth.

    In the end I remain unimpressed with or by Bannon. I previously described him as a new money country club libertine – the potted thousand yard stare, the gout suggesting gut, the preppy disarray of a drunk on his yacht.

    None of which is to say he isn’t dangerous and vile or that Trump isn’t a menace who can be ignored.

    I lean towards the view that Trump’s greatest danger is in his doing nothing – that is, the machine grinds to a virtual halt. No legislation, no infrastructure renewal and worst of all 4 lost years in terms of what may very well be a quixotic attempt to save the environment.

    But I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time or the last.


    1. I like your analysis. For some reason, it amuses me in breaking it down in that way. I wouldn’t say your exactly wrong. If anything, I’d say you are precisely correct within the frame you are using.

      I’m just not sure that it’s the frame Bannon is using. So, I’m not sure Bannon is trying to win that particular game. When I speak of his ‘genius’, maybe I’m reading something into it that simply isn’t there. But my thought process is that his purpose and hence what genius he may possess is not political, per se.

      There is a stalemate of sorts in the political sphere. That may or may not have frustrated Bannon’s grand schemes. It’s hard to know the actual agenda behind the words and actions of a skilled propagandist. And at the very least, he is a skilled propagandist. He has a talent in creating narratives, as can be seen with his work in producing documentaries (e.g., Generation Zero).

      We’d have to first know what is his long game. I might have an intuition about what he is attempting. But even if my intuition is on target, I wouldn’t claim to know the details. It’s possible that the details are less important, even to Bannon. Maybe wearing down the system has less to do with political victories or political collapse. As a propagandist, his primary target is the public mind.

      That is where it gets interesting to me. What if Bannon is trying to shape the thought that will shape future action and hence that will shape future politics? If he is looking for a crisis of some kind, the crisis sought doesn’t necessarily have anything directly to do with the Trump administration or with immediate results. Maybe he is creating the conditions where new possibilities are more probable, possibilities that he would prefer. His long game might be longer than what is typical.

      I don’t know. It’s just what has been on my mind.


      1. rauldukeblog says:

        You may be right. If we change the frame an entirely different result or even a significantly but partially different result may emerge and in that case one should not discount Bannon. After all he is closer to the levers of power than not. And who knows what his plan/game if any is. He may not even know and may be calling audibles.

        One area that is of concern and I think would offer him opportunity to both create havoc and take advantage of havoc is if the economy collapses. The tariff spat could easily turn into a circular firing squad and it offers Trump an opportunity to pitch a fit and both blame everyone else and use it as a means to attempt to deflect from his other pressing concerns – namely the looming midterms and the meddlesome priest Mueller.

        In such an environment Bannon should not be counted out or dismissed regardless of any sense of his intelligence or lack. After all, to again reference Tolkien, in the end everything hinges on Gollum.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Here is a way to think about it. I’ve found compelling the theory that global superpowers like the US mostly don’t care about winning wars. This is the reason they rarely bother declaring them. It simply is irrelevant to their agendas which is to maintain control and that is often easier to accomplish indirectly through threat and punishment, chaos and instability. That explains why the Cold War, unlike the world wars, was fought through proxies. Neither side actually wanted to win territory or to take responsibility as colonial rulers.

        This increasingly seems true of elections as well. Overt political battles are mostly spectacle as staged events and controlled conflict. No matter which side wins, both sides remain within the power structure. Someone like Bannon is maybe taking this to the next level in not caring if both sides lose. That could be a sign of the times. The ruling elite and capitalist class are ever more detached from local identities and loyalties, sometimes with multiple citizenships (e.g., US politicians who are also Israeli citizens).

        Maybe it’s just a game to Bannon. Certainly, that is the case for Trump who, if the US collapsed, would simply move somewhere else and do just fine. In this age of globalizaiton, wealth and power doesn’t always have a local address. Fungible wealth has led to fungible power. Trump could be an oligarch as or more easily in Russia as in the US. Politics has become plutocratic sport. As for the deep state, the CIA and military-industrial complex is as globalized as the rest. Likewise, if the US collapsed, they could go on functioning in a similar form and play a similar role on the world stage. Those in the ruling elite still attached to the US as an autonomous and successful nation-state may be growing smaller.


  5. rauldukeblog says:

    There’s a lot to that. The refusal and/or reluctance to declare war operates on multiple levels. One is as you describe but also that includes the ways in which not doing it offers political cover. The Congress abdicates its constitutional responsibilities and reaps the best of both world – action without direct consequences and the ability to foster an imperial presidency while shifting blame for potential catastrophe to someone else.

    In the end the machine hums along regardless of what happens.

    That is then also true for all the aspects of the machine – spooks, MIC, Wall Street, etc.

    Even in a genuine catastrophe (say the tariff spat escalates to 1929-32 levels) those same people will be “in charge.”

    and yes as to “elections” they are devoid of substance and are essentially all stage managed spectacles derived from arguments involving a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires.

    Liked by 1 person

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