As long as we’re criticizing the Democrats…


I hope everyone realizes that throwing out Trump is only the first step, and probably the easiest one, in the necessary revolution?

Necessary background:

In Afghanistan, in the lead-up to national elections later this month, at least 30 civilians were killed and 40 wounded late Wednesday after U.S.-backed Afghan security forces launched an air raid on farmers in eastern Nangarhar province. A local official said a drone attack was aimed at a hideout used by Islamic State fighters but instead killed farmworkers who’d finished a hard day’s labor harvesting pine nuts.

That won’t end when Trump is in prison. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Comments

  1. robro says

    Read all about it, and think about it when I put pine nuts on my salad greens. Though according to the package my TJs pine nuts come from Korea, Russia, and Vietnam, so no problem. I’m not guilty.

    Recently ran across this video of Iraq war vet Mike Prysner (apologies for pointing to YouTube) speaking in front of the White House. The caption says he and 130 other vets were arrested doing this in December 2010 (Obama time). He advocates that military personnel refuse to participate in these wars. Seems reasonable to me. Lots of other things we could do with $700 million a day rather than killing poor people gathering pine nuts in Afghanistan.

  2. says

    Charly (#1) –

    Trump is a stooge. The 1%ers would gladly let the US public tar and feather him instead of themselves. Pretending to be part of the revolution is one way to keep from being a target of the revolution.

  3. tomh says

    @ Charly #1
    I’m with you. When I read, “throwing out Trump is only the first step, and probably the easiest one,” I started laughing so hard I couldn’t go on.

  4. unclefrogy says

    FYI
    to any who may think they can control power.
    it is very easy to ride the tiger but very hard to dismount.

    uncle frogy

  5. Saad says

    2020 will be a popular vote victory for Trump. Once he gets past this, the deplorable horde of scumbags will come out in huge numbers to vote for him.

  6. tomh says

    @ #6
    Now that, I would bet against. The electoral vote, who knows, but the popular vote, not a chance.

  7. anchor says

    @ #7
    I’d cover your bet. What worries me are the armed brainstems who might not cotton to a reversal.

  8. unclefrogy says

    depending on what this all looks like a year from now my money is on a big turnout. That is where the republican weakness lives. there are far more people that have been turned off by trump then have been fired up by him. His election and the subsequent actions and policies surly have convinced people what happens when you don’t vote. The republican base is white people and then mostly men trying to kowtow to them has not done so well. The natural democratic base has been women, minorities and the working class and the educated. the only part of that the republicans have had any success with is the working class but not by delivering anything but by playing up their resentment of the “liberals and Democrats” the democratic party seems abandon the working class chasing the illusory moderate republican corporatists and reactionaries. You can not convince them by playing a more “moderate” form of republicanism either, If you want a more liberal government then you have to make one by giving everyone a place at the table without reservations of any kind not just say the right words it is only actions that will win the day.
    Any way the larger the turnout better.
    uncle frogy

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    Saad @6: Wanna bet? Loser gives $X to charity of winner’s choice, and emails receipt to winner or intermediary. I’d go up to $100.

  10. says

    @#4, tomh:

    I think PZ is right that that’s the easy part.

    Trump has been in office for less than 3 years, and he’s already convinced even Nancy Pelosi, the woman who wouldn’t impeach GWB when he and Cheney went on national TV and admitted to committing war crimes — which incidentally killed over a million people, turned millions more into refugees, and cost trillions of dollars — that he has to be impeached, even if the Senate may not follow through. That’s an easy decision. Undoing 3 years of bad policy may seem hard but it is doable.

    On the other hand: the Republicans have been consciously heading down the path which would necessarily lead to somebody like Trump since at least the 1970s. That’s a minimum of 40 years of cultural inculcation to fight. Most Republicans, at this point, pretty certainly do not remember a time when the Republican platform was not at least reasonably approximated by the Trump administration. So either we need to convince a sizable chunk of Republicans that “hey, all that stuff you’ve been trying to do your entire life? It was all wrong” or else render the party incapable of winning enough of the government to put their plans into action. Both of those are pretty formidable tasks.

    But the corresponding task on the other side is arguably even harder: for at least 30 years, the Democratic Party has, on questions of foreign policy and fiscal policy, basically indistinguishable from the Republicans. That, again, is the entire adult life of a lot of the party’s voters. Getting them to recognize that, in essence, the whole of the “New Democrats” were a bunch of hacks who were wrong about most of the important choices they made, and that a majority of the politicians who currently hold office have been actively enabling right-wing policy, either by explicitly supporting it (as with the Iraq invasion, the PATRIOT Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Libyan invasion, etc. all of which had support from the major Democratic names — heck, Libya was almost exclusively Democratic) or by refusing to take any sort of significant stand against it (practically everything between 2006 and 2016, for a start). The “Lesser of Two Evils” idea is how we got here. Without the Clintons kicking the can down the road on the environment and deregulating everything we wouldn’t have the climate crisis (at least in its current form) and the 2008 meltdown would not have happened (Glass-Steagall was written to prevent more or less exactly what happened). Without Obama refusing to prosecute the Bush administration, and expanding Bush’s military and immigration policies, we wouldn’t have Trump, or if we had him he would have been much more constricted in his actions. Convincing the average Democrat that it is not enough to accept whatever worthless Republican-in-all-but-name the party serves up in order to please a bunch of one-percenters who donate to campaign funds is going to be even harder than convincing Republicans that they need to change course, if you ask me.

  11. John Morales says

    The Vicar:

    The “Lesser of Two Evils” idea is how we got here.

    Sure. So, you reckon one should choose the Greater of Two Evils, instead?

    (There is no third choice, without far more dislocation)

    But fine, if ever you’re in a burning building, tell yourself that jumping from the second storey will hurt a lot (the lesser evil), so choose to stay and be cooked to death (the greater evil). After all, you wouldn’t want to hurt a lot, would you?

  12. says

    @#12, John Morales:

    Thanks for providing an illustration of why Democrats are a part of the problem.

    There is always a third choice. It is only nonviable as long as Democrats are more loyal to the party than to their self-proclaimed ethics. A more accurate metaphor is: we’re in a plane crash on a remote island. About half the survivors want to immediately kill the other half and use them as food. Most of the other half say “well, maybe that would work, but we should appoint a leader with dictatorial powers and kill and eat people one by one as they are condemned by the leader”. People like me say “no, we should look for food on the island, investigate the wreckage to see if we can send some kind of signal to civilization, and maybe look into the idea of fishing”, and people like you say “oh, but you’ll never have enough people who want to do that, you should give up now and help us choose a dictator so we can eat the right people”. It is you who should be changing your mind. You reject sanity in favor of loyalty to a group which is already off the rails. To take it back out of metaphor: the failure of third parties is one sign (and not the only one by any means) that the problem is party loyalty, and that the Democrats are every bit as bad as the Republicans. Arguably, Democrats bear more responsibility because they claim, at least, to have a deep understanding of consequences, but keep supporting horrible candidates.

    There has been a choice all the time. Every time Democrats turn out to support an evil candidate, they reinforce in the minds of the party that running an evil candidate is a winning strategy. (Hey, they get the sports-fan empty win and they get cash from the 1% — why would the mere fact that the evil candidate actively makes the world worse and makes it harder to win again next time worry them?) It’s quite true: the time to start fighting was decades ago — but there is no way that continuing with the same strategy of supporting horrifyingly bad candidates is going to suddenly work. A revolt within the party is risky, but continuing the status quo is an automatic loss.

    Let’s face it: the establishment wants Biden, or failing that somebody who is as close to him as possible. Out of those running, only Warren and Sanders are not Biden Lite to a degree sufficient to satisfy the establishment. And that should be sending up red flags all over the place — not only does Biden have a history of sexism, racism, homophobia, and sociopathic indifference to immigrants (don’t forget that he was supporting Obama through all the expansion and renewal of ICE that Obama carried out) but he has actively tried to set fiscal policy to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor (the fact that student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy is from a bill he sponsored, he was a supporter of Clinton’s deregulation and of NAFTA, and of course he’s famous for helping credit card issuing banks with legislation). And then there’s his record on war, which is to say: like Hillary Clinton he has basically supported them all. (As recently as 2016 he was still saying the Iraq invasion of 2003 was a good idea and he had no regrets for supporting it.) If Biden is the candidate, then we all lose — it means that either Trump wins, or we get a repeat of Obama, which will translate into continuing all of Trump’s policies and refusing to prosecute the people who started them up. If, in the face of that, you say “we have to support him because he isn’t Trump” then you are as dangerous a fool as any Republican.

  13. John Morales says

    Vicar:

    There is always a third choice.

    Generalisability. If no choices are good, the least bad is best.

    So, always pick the least worst.

    (It’s as if you did not actually know the concept to which the idiom refers!)

    Me, I personally think Hillary would have been a less bad POTUS, so you mob made the worst choice — out of two, in this case. Remember? By the end of the process, it was her or the Orange One.

    (And you were most vociferous about the supposed stupidity of voting for Hillary, as I recall. Enjoying the consequences, much?)

  14. John Morales says

    Heh. Exactly the same as before. So very familiar.

    And that should be sending up red flags all over the place — not only does Biden have a history of sexism, racism, homophobia, and sociopathic indifference to immigrants (don’t forget that he was supporting Obama through all the expansion and renewal of ICE that Obama carried out) but he has [etc ad nauseam]

    Therefore, if the final vote comes down to Biden or The Grifter, don’t vote Biden?

    (You’re pretty malignant, ain’t ya? With advocates like you …)

  15. monad says

    Without denying how many problems extend to both parties, I think it’s ridiculous to say that “lesser of two evils” voting is how we got here. Because in case you haven’t noticed, America hasn’t even tried that. It elects the greater evil more than half the time. Consider that maybe that’s how we got here?

  16. rydan says

    @7

    California just made it illegal from Trump to appear on the 2020 ballot. With Trump off the ballot most people here have no real need to vote. Only Dems are on the ballot for practically every race. Clinton won CA by over 4M votes but won the nation by only 3M. So yeah the popular vote is actually within reach for Trump if nobody switches their votes from last time.

  17. John Morales says

    rydan:

    California just made it illegal from Trump to appear on the 2020 ballot.

    Remarkable claim. Citation, please?

    So yeah the popular vote is actually within reach for Trump [blah]

    How could it be, if voting for him in CA is illegal?

  18. =8)-DX says

    Not only is voting for Trump’s opponent always going to be a least bad choice, but that is how all electoral politics, representative democracy and by extension all democratic decision-making works. Even consensus-based decisions have an element of that.

    In some edge cases and when democracy breaks down, not voting might be a least bad option, but at some point one has to admit that a large number of the voting public actually do consider the least bad options to be good ones.
    =8)-DX

  19. unclefrogy says

    @16
    exactly
    and as far as I can tell it has been fear of offending the “conservatives and moderates” coupled with “latent” racism and not wanting to reach as far as the f’n new deal for any core ideas
    I am disgusted by this long slide I have been living through these 70 years
    If there was a real progressive alternative to the centrists that have been candidates with a good chance of actually like winning instead of just splitting the left of center electorate and handing the republican degenerates the election well I would seriously considerate it. There is no way I could vote again for a republican I did that once for the wrong reasons, i did not have all the info, but that was then this is now. maybe this year we have a chance.
    uncle frogy

  20. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Yes, OP, the Occupier of the Office [whose name I will not say] is only a tumor of the cancer, known as GOP, that has metastasized throughout our government, and needs to be eradicated through a metaphorical chemo therapy which removes all the cancer cells throughout the system after removing the obvious tumor bulging from the body. [is that an over extended metaphor, or what]

  21. George says

    Please, how exactly are the “New” Democrats different fromt the “Old” Democrats? Such as Harry Truman sending the French Military Support in Vietnam? Or those peace-mongers Kennedy and Johnson with the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam War, and countless Third World Interventions? Or that much of the huge Military Build-up for which Regan got the credit was initiated during the Carter Admin? Yes, there have been Anti-war Democrats, just as there have been Anti-war Republicans, but they have been a minority. Any Anti-War Politician has a big up-current battle against being perceived as “weak.” War has been a big part of America since before 1776 and weaning the country off of it is going to be a big job.

  22. says

    @#14 & 15, John Morales:

    If the candidates the two major parties run are Biden and Trump, then the only moral choice is to vote Green, and if we get stuck with Trump it will be the fault of people like you who stuck with a losing candidate.

    Face it: if your plan for the next 10 years end with (or contains at any point along the way) either: “we fail to address climate change” or “policies Trump set from 2017 to 2020 are normalized and become uncontroversial” then the future is doomed, and it does not matter who was in the White House during that period. And if we get an establishment Democrat as the nominee, and they win the election, then that will be the outcome of the next 10 years. A vote for Biden is a vote for extinction, just with less obnoxious tantrums along the way, and if you vote for that then the extinction is your fault.

  23. says

    @#16, monad

    Without denying how many problems extend to both parties, I think it’s ridiculous to say that “lesser of two evils” voting is how we got here. Because in case you haven’t noticed, America hasn’t even tried that. It elects the greater evil more than half the time. Consider that maybe that’s how we got here?

    In the last 19 years, the Democrats have pretty consistently nominated candidates (both for President and for a lot of Congressional seats) who weren’t so much “flawed” as “Reagan Republicans, with the exception that they are tactically tactful to minorities”. It did so precisely because the previous 8 years demonstrated that Democrats are willing to overlook ridiculously serious flaws in Democratic officeholders on the principle that “the Republicans are worse”. The result is that the Democrats have made themselves repugnant to a large chunk of what used to be their base — most of the people who have changed from registered party voters to registered Independents were Democrats before the change.

    The fact that the Democrats ran in 2016, and are in the process of attempting to run again in 2020, a candidate who supported Reagan’s union-busting NAFTA, both Iraq wars, the Libyan war, drone bombing in the third world, arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the creation of DHS and ICE, the repeal of Glass-Steagall (i.e. the act which made the 2008 meltdown possible), and the deregulatory wet dream which was the TPP, should be making you pause. Why is the party which is supposed to be on the left running such awful candidates? It’s because they know that party loyalists will always vote Democratic no matter how terrible the Democratic candidate will be, and a certain number of voters will argue as John Morales does above: “this candidate may actively work against what I consider to be my positions, but they aren’t a Republican, so I must vote for them”.

    In other words: “lesser of two evils” voting enables the Democrats to be worse than they otherwise would. It lets them suck up to the 1%, adopt trickle-down economics (go look at what the Clintons said, back in 1992, in favor of NAFTA — it’s Ronald Reagan’s formulation of supply-side economics with “corporations” as a substitution for “the rich”), start and wage stupid and wasteful and unnecessary wars, and actively assist in destroying the environment. The only way to stop this is to make sure there is a plausible threat that voters will switch to a third party — merely not voting does not help. They love to lose to Republicans; it gives them an excuse to do nothing, which their rich donors think is great — it’s what they did for the entirety of Obama’s second term. There has to be a threat that they might actually lose to somebody who seriously wants to take on the issues their base wants resolved. That terrifies them — it’s why Gore’s loss in 2000, for example, is blamed on Nader voters, rather than non-voters or Democrats who voted Republican, both of which groups vastly outnumber Nader voters.

  24. says

    @#25, George
    There were plenty of pro-war (or, at least, not-anti-war) Democrats in the 20th century. But there were very few Democrats in the mid-20th century who were pro-wars-which-their-base-was-overwhelmingly-against, just as there were few Democrats in that period who were pro-breaking-up-the-unions-their-base-belonged-to. It’s only since the DLC took over the party that the official strategy has been “let’s kick the base in the teeth to show Republicans that we hate Democrats as much as they do, and then maybe they’ll vote for us”.

    And no, that’s not an exaggeration: Chuck Schumer came out in 2016 and said that alienating the base was Hillary Clinton’s official strategy. He said it was brilliant, because she would attract more Republicans than she would lose Democrats. Yeah. Worked real well in the final analysis, didn’t it? Republicans will abandon a Democratic candidate for sneezing — the only reason Comey affected the polls was because Clinton alienated her base into not voting in order to get a bunch of “supporters” who didn’t really like her and would abandon her on the slightest excuse.

  25. John Morales says

    Vicar:

    [1] If the candidates the two major parties run are Biden and Trump, then the only moral choice is to vote Green, and [2] if we get stuck with Trump it will be the fault of people like you who stuck with a losing candidate.

    [1]
    Me: “Therefore, if the final vote comes down to Biden or The Grifter, don’t vote Biden?”
    You: “Yes”.
    [2]
    I’m Australian, mate. People like me had nothing to do with your mess.

    (People like me understand the concepts at hand, too)

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