Senate Republicans are promising to vote within 72 hours on a bill nobody has read but will affect every aspect of the economy from the individual to the national level for the next decade. There is a good chance that nobody has read it because it has not been written, which in turn reflects that it does not exist.

The Washington Post has a writeup of the latest "drama" and how it exposes as wholly imaginary the GOP's confident projections that the tax cuts "pay for themselves" with robust economic growth:

Several deficit-hawk senators, such as Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), are demanding that some kind of “trigger” be added to the bill, which would raise taxes later if the plan’s tax cuts end up adding to the deficit. The bill would boost the deficit by $1.4 trillion in the short term. Some Republicans have argued that the spectacular growth unleashed by the plan would offset that, but Corker and company (and many economists) are skeptical; hence the demand for a tax-hike trigger. As of now, how this trigger would work, and whose taxes would go up, are unspecified.

It offers an opportunity to put their confident predictions on the line, in other words, which means that they have no intention whatsoever of putting anything like this in the bill because every single one of the people voting to support this shitshow knows that any talk of policy or data to support their predictions is simple window dressing. Everyone knows that nothing close to these predictions will happen, but they don't especially care because they want to pass the bill anyway.

More on that in a second. But first, note the underlying flaw in this part of the same WaPo piece:

But Republicans face two challenges. The first is to sell this primarily as a middle-class tax cut, so voters accept it. They do this by front-loading a bunch of preferences for the middle class along with cuts to individual rates across the board. The second challenge is to do this while simultaneously making the case that the plan would not balloon the deficit, to hold on to deficit-hawk senators and because if it raises the deficit in the long term, procedurally it can’t pass by simple majority with only Republican votes.

It amazes me how many people in the media and political world still fail to understand that this is not chess. The GOP will sell it "primarily as a middle-class tax cut" by repeating over and over, with the assistance of its pliant media mouthpieces, that this is primarily a middle-class tax cut. That's it. There is no trick. Make it so by repeating it. They will say that's what it is and in the minds of people inclined to think anything with the phrase "tax cuts" in it is good, that will be enough. Look, here's some chart from Heritage or some interest group nobody has ever heard of. Need more proof? Have the boys at AEI whip up a white paper. Doesn't matter what's in it; nobody reads that shit anyway.

It is frustrating to watch the Democrats talk themselves in circles about policy because that word does not mean to conservatives what it means to other people. For Republicans, cutting taxes is not the means to a policy end. It is the policy. That's it. Cut taxes because cutting taxes is inherently good and right. It's not "Cut taxes to stimulate economic growth." The second half of that sentence gets tacked on to appeal to the Beltway media and certain mushy centrist intellectual types. A few Kool-Aid drinkers and dullards aside, not even the Republicans who chant the mantra believe it. They just know it's good optics to say "It will stimulate economic growth." The goal is not economic growth. The start and the end of the process for the right is cutting taxes.

This is similar to what I talked about a lot last year with public vs charter schools. The right's goal is not to fund charter schools because they believe "Charter schools are better at educating kids." They just want to shut down public schools. That is the goal, and it's a fatal mistake to go into a debate on that issue with charts and graphs and white papers on Student Outcomes and Assessment thinking that the goal is how best to educate children. They don't give a good goddamn if charter schools are better or worse or the same; they just don't want to pay for public schools and instead would like the resources of the state directed back into their own pockets.

The death of our political process is going to be a bunch of technocrats and DLC-style Liberals wonking themselves into a frenzy while the right steals or destroys everything that isn't nailed down. And they'll smile and say, sure, go do some more research and get some CBO scores or whatever, and while they're distracted the handful of interests that are returning us to the era of Robber Baron capitalism will empty the last of the till into their briefcases and laugh their asses off on the way to their offshore havens.


  • Democrats need to play to the fear in Republican voters. We won't win them over by appealing to fact, we will only win them over by appealing to the basest desires or fears of the Republican voter. We don't need to make Republicans think, we need to make them feel. (Democrats could also try to grow their own base, I suppose, but we should have been doing that for the past decade and apparently weren't.)

  • It has been said violence is the last resort of the incompetent. No, it is merely the last resort. Incompetence lay in the inability to engage in violence when it becomes necessary.

    We have to stop doing what we are doing. It's not working.

  • If it looks like the Republican caucus is pushing this like the very whips of Sauron we're at their heels, it's because it's true, their campaign donors demand it.
    Why they're attacking institutions their wealth is bound to, I dunno, but I'm remembering National Lampoon's illustration "The J.R.R. Tolkien Fan Club Summoned To The Last Need of Middle Earth".

  • The D's work for the same folks as the R's. Those with money. Why would they thwart a big payout to their bosses?

    Sure there are social differences played up during elections, but those with money have been doing better and better since the 60's. Plenty of D's and R's in the mix since then.

    The R's and the D's retire to the same spots and party together after 'service' to USofA.

    OK, ready for incoming from the D party diehards.

  • There's still a small difference, the R's lost most of their liberal wing 105 years ago, the D's only 45 years ago, slim chance is better than Fat Fucking Chance In Hell. And the D's use lube!

  • There is a promoted/projected/advertised/kabuki-like/ small difference, yes.

    Pro wrestlers do the same.

    They still retire and drink together, like the buds they really are.

  • Ten Bears – just how do we rough up the plutocrats, make 'em scared, without getting shot by our Republican kool-aid cult member neighbors?

    I figure Guaranteed Basic Income would make them screech like spooked bats – it has all the right stuff, like Taking Away What I've Rightfully Earned All By Myself and Giving It to Lazy Dumb Moochers.
    Income tax cubed.

    Our financial industry is the current method the 1% is looting the wealth.

    PENALTIES AND JAIL TIME (such as forced refunding of bonuses)

    Or, my fave bumper sticker meme:


  • The entirety of the tax message of the right is thus:

    "Guv'mint is bad. Taxes are stealing.
    Cutting taxes means they ain't stealing from me. Fuck the guv'mint, just helping lazy people out."

    If you want the middle-class republican argument, just don't read it in the provided Cletus accent. This is why you can wave any chart you want, show any data you want, and no R will ever care.

  • Mo:


    PENALTIES AND JAIL TIME (such as forced refunding of bonuses)

    Why I never joined the Obama Cult.

    He explicitly and rather snidely rejected this program.

  • @ Ed

    "The death of our political process is going to be a bunch of technocrats and DLC-style Liberals wonking themselves into a frenzy while the right steals or destroys everything that isn't nailed down."

    This has has happening since the 1970's.

  • @doug—

    There’s an old saying that goes, “Both parties will piss on you, but at least the Democrats will give you an umbrella”. I’ll take it.


    American politicians are used to just needing to appeal to white Christian men. The rest of us can vote now and old habits die hard. White nationalism has been regaining social-acceptability (thanks Faux, et al.) as of late because marginalized groups are gaining ground politically and socially, which is something a lot of white Christians (especially white Christian men) find terrifying. When you’re used to having it all, having to share feels like oppression (if you’re an asshole).

    W.E.B. Du Bois wrote about the “psychological wage” being paid to poor white people by the rich plantation owners—poor white people and poor black people might be paid the same wage-wise, but at least the white people could say they weren’t black, amirite? That tactic works to this day, and it is used to great effect by rich Republican assholes who want to keep us all down. They’re also masters of “whoever smelt it, dealt it” and “I know you are, but what am I?” This whole PeeCee Gone Wild nonsense is just weasel-speak for, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, you’re on Team White (etc.) just like us, remember! Tax cuts! Trickle-down economics! It all benefits Us, and you know who We are, wink wink.”

    In short, if there’s A Solution, it probably doesn’t lie fully in convincing average bigots that they’re being duped by the rich (who tip their hand when they prevent “certain populations” from voting) into fucking themselves (Uphill Battle Of The Ages). That’s part of it. It’s convincing the Dems and white liberals that despite what the GOP wants you to believe, white, straight, cis, English-speaking Christians aren’t the only Americans that “count”, and perhaps we should, you know, include them? Not in just a cursory way, but by actually legitimately giving a shit and listening. The GOP’s club is actually pretty exclusive, and there are more of Everyone Else. So fuck the GOP and their little club, they’re walling themselves in. Next project: raising $$$$$….

  • Sluggo and democommie:

    Supposedly, during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, the mob would inspect the hands of "peasants" who were suspected to be aristocrats camouflaging themselves as peasants. Rough hands, you pass. Soft, sweet hands of someone who had servants to do all their dirty work? Off with their heads! Maybe it's apocryphal, but I still like it.

    And negative 1 nails it. I have heard right wing friends spout these exact same words.

  • Republicans continue to sell us out and lie, cheat and steal with every breath they take, using no finesse or care about being seen as evil.
    Democrats, like Quislings, sell us out to the Republicans once the obligatory feint of "it could be worse".

    Has even one Democrat ever filibustered? anything? to even begin with i can't think of one thing. Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Byrd was the ast

    This tax cut and every other tax could be stopped by Democrats raising hell. or caring about getting "voters" doing something, anything.

    but talk about the Monopoly party is a waste of time. Either side wins and we lose. as usual, per design. year after year after year.

    Selling out America and Americans by the Corporate Owners required both the R's and D's to lay the groundwork.

    Scamming done this successfully is not a fly by the night operation. it takes years of effort and planning (the Powell Memo gives a clue) and we Americans became so much more unquestioning of the "Bad Government" role. Blame Russia, something, anything. just blame someone else, change the focus. Got to love St. Reagan for his charisma. the Art of the Deal just finalizes the Scam. Frankenstein, aka Trump, like a bull in a china shop.

    Distractions, Denials and the Best Show on Earth.

    we are reaching 3rd world status sooner than the Republicans/Democrats could have ever imagined.They have almost killed the Golden Goose ! What happens then? Where will the Looters/Republican/Democratic Party steal from then?

    St. Ronnie and St. Maggie have earned their place in history by screwing over and looting us to a degree Karl Marx couldn't concieve of. But St. Ronnie and St. Maggie are home grown. so, yes America First!! Winners are effing over everyone and making others pay.

    Remember the only Government Republicans accept is the MIC and Government run by Business. Gutting Social Security, Medicare and anything not Military related. the American Way.

    Sweet, eh?.

  • Sluggo – we bourgies didn't fare too well during China's Cultural Revolution, either.

    France…China…Cambodia… hmmm, is there a pattern here?

    Y'know, I don't see trailer courts in Coal Grub, West Virginia or Hog Barn, Iowa getting shot up; just schools, theaters, churches, concerts, gay clubs…

    Jay Gould wasn't wrong.

  • Brad DeLong reminds us:

    Note to Self: This is your reminder:

    178.4 million people are represented by the 48 senators who caucus with the Democrats.
    144.1 million people are represented by the 52 senators who caucus with the Republicans.
    65.9 million people voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine to be their president and vice president
    63.0 million people voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence to be their president and vice president.

    So, judging from the above comments, the rallying cry to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition and rally the troops into a Voting Machine is…


    Somehow I don't think that's gonna work.

  • Davis X. Machina says:

    The conflation of the public and private fisc — the reason why you wanted to be king — was the single thing that needed to be changed before the modern world, and modern forms of the state, could come into being.

    We're reinventing the14th century.

  • I keep asking for some sort of explanation of what is being done to replace the entire democratic party between now and next September. I keep hearing picocrickets.

  • I'm glad this group of liberal intellectuals has identified the REAL villains…the Democrats!

    Fuck all y'all.

  • @HoosierPoli

    The issue isn't that Dems are the real villains, the issue is that Dems are terrible friends.

    The constant refrain I hear from the Dems is: "We're not Nazis, that should be enough"… but it certainly isn't in 2017. The Dems stood by and let the capitalist system rape and pillage America for some 30+ years, when they were supposed to be the bulwark of the common man. The Dems singed on to NAFTA and banking deregulation and derivatives deregulation and 14 years of bullshit warfare without offering any kind of serious resistance. I honestly believe that the majority of Dems are decent people who enter politics out of a noble sense of "good governance" and empathy, but then get swallowed by the system or just can't figure out why milquetoast centrist technocratic policy doesn't connect with the public.

    In a two-party system, having this kind of party represent you is a death sentence. For a long time, the Democrats capitulated almost completely to the ideology of the enemy. Prior to Nov 8th, Pelosi saying that "Democrats are capitalists" or Hillary saying that single-payer health care was a "pony" were seen as eminently rational talking points. However, you can't really fight the enemy if the only thing you disagree about is the rate at which they'll implement their rapacious plans.

    There is a bit of good news on the horizon. Not all Dems are Babylonian captives of the capitalism (etc). Several groups have emerged as alternatives: DSA, Justice Dems and the Working Families Party are all viable groups with major and minor winnings across the US. Given enough time it may be possible to push out some of the shittier Dems and start burning away the capitalist rot at the core of the party. Hopefully we'll all still be alive by that point.

  • Also, I'm not a liberal, I'm a democratic socialist… so yeah, I will identify a centrist, technocratic, pro-capitalist party as the problem when considering the current political landscape. Again, you can't resist the GOP's drive towards klepto-capitalist oligarchy when in essence you yourself have capitulated to the very same despicable ideology.

  • Senate Republicans are promising to vote within 72 hours on a bill nobody has read……exactly like the democrats passed obamacare.

  • "The constant refrain I hear from the Dems is: "We're not Nazis, that should be enough"… but it certainly isn't in 2017."

    I don't have any idea where you live. NOBODY I know that is an elected dem, one who contemplates running or a party official HERE has said that publicly or in my orbit. Nobody. I'm not a democrat, never will I be one–I don't join parties. I have far more in common with the dems than I do with the GOP and there is NO alternative at the moment. There is NO third party that has any shot at major political office that I'm aware of. By all means correct me if I'm wrong.

    You are not one of the nihilists I'm hearing a lot of shit from on this subject and I know that you actually THINK about what the ramifications are of abandoning the only current oppositional party to the wholesale financial, social and moral sinkhole that is the GOP.

    I am, as always, hearing nothing in answer to the questions I ask of people about what THEIR plan is and how THEY are going to implement it in the next 6 months or so.

  • Sure are a lot of people here repeating the same old tired agitprop that both sides are to blame. Pretty obvious that wingnut brainwashing is working.

    It's weird that people can't tell the difference between Rs and Ds. Feels like the comments are coming from under a bridge.

    Too bad people can't remember the actual facts and instead remember the nonsense put out by the media and the right.

    These comments tell me the solution is not voting or only voting pure 3rd party. Grow up and get real.

  • Brad Delong was mentioned. He was a useful idiot when they needed to sell NAFTA. Now he is upset because the next generation is making their careers by selling the tax cut?

  • @blacky: YUP!
    Trolls all the way down.

    "R" stands for racism couched in paleo-christian language but "nobody knows" the difference between them and the Ds.


  • Oh look, the fantasists and fabulists have entered the game grid.

    Hey, you got what you wanted. HRC was corrupt and icky and would have started wars, so you voted Republican by not voting for the yucky neoliberal Dem. You just won't admit it or take responsibility and instead want to stay Gummy Bear land wishing for Sugar Pops and Workers' Revolutions to come save you.

    It's beyond astonishing how even self-proclaimed "socialists" have internalized the Both Sides Do It media myth. Hey guess what? Maybe if you didn't exile yourselves into irrelevance, maybe you could change something. Instead of just wishing for it.

  • I don't think anyone is saying they are exactly the same. But to ignore the fundamental nature of the mainstream Democratic Party is a mistake.

  • When the tax bill passes today our financial industry oligarchy will finally be untouchable in the catbird seat.

    Still waiting for an answer to my question about what will frighten these creeps right out of their skins.

    And how many of us they will kill trying to turn themselves into a perfect dictatorship, with the Chinese Communist Party being their role model.

    Control the wealth, control the internet, beat, kill, arrest participants in "anti-social" demonstrations…

  • Ya think Dems could pull off even this modest effort without blame and Republicans would take a hit in 2018? Seems doubtful to me.

    President Trump sometimes blusters about the desirability of shutting down the government, but doing so would cause great peril for Republicans. Given their unified control of the government, Republicans would surely take most blame if national parks close, Social Security checks are withheld, Medicare and Medicaid payments aren’t made, and military active-duty pay is delayed. A government shutdown and a default on US legal obligations would also create a tailspin in the stock and bond markets.

    Such a shutdown would undoubtedly place Republican congressional majorities at major risk during the 2018 elections — and, despite their bravado, Republicans know this. …

    Now Republicans are similarly going it alone trying to adopt major tax changes with a proposal offering huge windfalls to the rich and large corporations while ballooning the deficit.

    But funding of this fiscal year’s budget and debt ceiling bill have a much different dynamic, for two reasons. First, passage of the bills is likely to require 60 votes in the Senate, and Republicans only have 52 members. At least as significantly, many Republicans have a chronic aversion to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling — and, as history shows, a large portion of the party’s most conservative members will not do so. This means that substantial Democratic votes will be needed for passage of the debt ceiling in both the Senate and House. …

    These measures, however, have a far better chance of being adopted if they are part of the upcoming “must-pass” bills like the fiscal year 2018 budget and the debt ceiling extension. And their inherent popularity will put Democrats on solid political grounds when Republicans inevitably seek to shift the blame to Democrats if a shutdown looms.

    Ron Pollock on VOX, if you want the original article.

  • Republicans fear the public actually voting/meaningfully participating in their own governing, otherwise they wouldn’t be fighting tooth and nail to prevent it. They’re not invincible—they put on this “strongman” organized and unified act but they’re actually cowards that can’t agree on anything, won’t face their constituents, and won’t (or can’t) stand up to their corporate pimp daddies. They’ve got frienemies in high places, but are in way over their heads at this point.

    I know what y’all are going to say: but Both Sides Do It! Both Sides are corporate whores, so it cancels it all out and we need not get off our butts because it’s all Pointless. Both Sides don’t have the backing of fundamentalist religious extremists with lots and lots of money. Both Sides don’t have a dedicated and unified media propaganda wing and media moguls with lots and lots of money and a talent for manipulating the public. Both Sides don’t have the backing of special interest groups hellbent on deregulation at all costs, such as the NRA, so they can make lots and lots of money. And Both Sides haven’t colluded with a foreign government in order to undermine our democratic process. I realize I sound like Driftglass here, but that is because he is right: there is One Side that does all of this, consistently, and that is the Republican Party. All they have to say for themselves is “I know you are, but what am I?!”

    We still have what’s left of the democratic process, and in case no one has noticed, it moves at sub-glacial speeds. That is partially by design so everything doesn’t flap around like a dish rag in the breeze at the whims of the public, but also because some politicians like to hunker down and refuse to do anything for 30 years and collect a paycheck for it, and no one will vote them out because they’re too lazy to get off their butts and participate and make excuses like “Both Sides Do It so it’s Pointless”. Freak them out by threatening their fucking jobs.

  • This tax bill is being passed in the same way as the Democrats passed the ACA, except without the year’s worth of hearings by stakeholders of every description, multiple rounds of revisions to take into account CBO scores, multiple committee votes in both the House and the Senate, and a 60 vote majority voting for passage in the Senate. But, other than that, yeah, exactly the same.

  • *And I mean *actually* threatening their fucking jobs; “protest votes” are just feel-good masturbatory bullshit. Go ahead and say to your Congresscritter, “I’m going to hold your job hostage by going over there to whack off for 10 minutes. Fear me! I am the night!!” and I’m sure you’ll see them quaking in their boots.

  • Bernard writes:

    Has even one Democrat ever filibustered? anything? to even begin with i can't think of one thing.

    Bernard, Google is your friend. There are sites and sites and sites with info. Here's just a 10-second dump: July 9, 2017

    Senate Democrats have used the filibuster on two-thirds of President Trump's picks to fill administration posts. Senate Democrats have used the filibuster on two-thirds of President Trump's picks to fill administration posts.

    In 2005, a group of Republican senators led by Majority Leader Bill Frist proposed having the presiding officer, Vice President Dick Cheney, rule that a filibuster on judicial nominees was unconstitutional, as it was inconsistent with the President's power to name judges with the advice and consent of a simple majority of senators.[41][42] This was a response to the Democrats' threat to filibuster some judicial nominees of President George W. Bush. Senator Trent Lott, the junior senator from Mississippi, used the word "nuclear" to describe the plan, and so it became known as the "nuclear option".[43]
    Senate Democrats plan filibuster to stop Gorsuch confirmation to Supreme Court

  • Lil3Bolt proves he is ruled by the Facebook bots when he spews

    Hey, you got what you wanted. HRC was corrupt and icky and would have started wars

    Of course, Herr Drumpf would never start a war, oh, no–pissing off the madman with the nukes in North Korea is just, uhm, DIPLOMACY, and shut up, that's why!

  • Katydid, maybe Lit3bolt was being sarcastic…

    Aurora, the problem with voting the bums out is that, with an electorate so polarized that margins are razor thin, turnout is all-important. But the Republicans vote as a bloc, whereas the opposition is split into Democrats, Libertarians, Greens – and this counts when winning margins are so slim.

    So if you happen to reside in a state where Republicans are a majority, good luck voting them out, be prepared for a 20-year slog as your state deteriorates into an impoverished slum overlooked by shiny corporate towers.

    Maybe a 50-year slog. Once the clouds of radiation settle.

  • I stole this from an Anonymous Coward on /.:

    "Because lumping hundreds of millions of people under one label and then assigning specific traits to that group is a great idea, right? You dumb fucks on "either side" can't seem to understand basic goddamn fucking logic. All you dumb shits do is farm red herrings and manufacture straw men. Feminazis and religitards are both shitheads; you're just swimming in different flavored pools of mental feces while claiming your pool doesn't smell like rank sulfur-swirling ass gravy. The world would be a better place if all of you intellectually bankrupt ideologically blinded retards died in a very large yet very specific fire.

    Fuck you, fuck them, fuck it all.

    And just because Slashdot doesn't like it, I'm going to use the word nîggers. I loves my black people, but I hates my nìggas."

    Too bad he had to soften his language to avoid the tone trolls.

  • @Mark
    This is a hilarious lie, especially given the many number of times Obamacare was amended to water it down into… a slightly more robust version of Romneycare.

    Not making a pro-third party argument (I don't believe I've ever done this). I'm making a pro-kick-the-capitalist-rot-out-of-the-fucking-Dem-party argument. I'm pretty aware of the need to take and hold power (and only the Dems can do that right now). But the thing I'm also aware of is the need to do something constructive with that power by going up against capital and you know… reducing its power over media, over government, over labor and over society in general. Dems have been really reluctant to do this, primarily because they've been either a) convinced that capitalism works or b) being guided in their policy initiatives by big-money donors who just also happen to be corporations (and are also in many cases GOP donors).

    Also, you'll find that many of the centrist commentariat, not being able to offer solid anti-Capitalist policies (the Peter Daous of the world), do in fact advocate the idea that the only worthwhile policy they should be running on is that the Dem party is anti-Trump.

    Certainly not to the same degree, but the yeah, I can't tell the difference between NAFTA Democrats and NAFTA Republicans, between pro-Iraq War Dems and pro-Iraq War Republicans. Capitalist rot runs deeply through the Democratic party since the late 80's. Again, I don't really doubt that a lot of Dems come in with the best of intentions, but for a variety of structural and cultural reasons fail to reign in capital and support labor (hey, are we going to try "retraining" again?). Democrats have presided over the dismantling of the welfare state just as much as Republicans have (some noted exceptions aside). Republicans certainly have racism and religious fundamentalism, but since we're talking about tax plans and the erosion of the economic power of the state, I think the Dems' historical inability to resist capital is kind of the common factor here.

    Capitalism is a problem regardless of whether its couched in paleoconservative language or technocratic language. Most Dems were pretty cool with capital gaining power over labor and the deregulation of most services. Hell, they were even in favor of fucking Charter Schools until it became patently obvious how much of a scam that kleptocratic, segregationist shit was. Yes, the Republicans are more racist and more willing to trade in racism and xenophobia… but that's not quite what the focus of this discussion is.

    Fascinating, given that a) I never voted for Trump and supported voting for Hillary in the general b) 90% of Bernie supporters voted for Hillary in the general c) only 75% of Hillary supporters actually voted for Obama. Hillary attracted centrist and moneyed interests, and most of us voted for her anyway. And she still lost. Let's not try that experiment again. As for media myths… please explain to me how NAFTA, bailing out banks, Charter Schools and other assorted pro-capitalist shit was supposed to differentiate the Dems for me? As for exile… well, some socialists were dumb enough to think protest votes made sense. Now there are viable alternatives within the Democratic party, so those are the people I support.

    @Aurora S.
    "Both Sides Do It so it’s Pointless" This is literally not an argument I've ever made. I'm a pragmatist. Vote for Dems all day every day, but don't forget to vote for socialist Dems where possible, and don't let Dems off the hook for allowing those special interests and capitalists to subvert and poison the party from the inside.

    Euromaidain that shit. Burn Trump/GOP properties to the ground. The only way you can hurt a capitalist is by taking away their wealth.

    For those who need an example of what some of the Dems still are, here is a wealthy donor threatening to take his ball and go home if the Dems don't bow down to his capitalist interests:

    Yep, the guy that's deathly afraid of wealth redistribution and is a major financial contributor – that's the guy you need to fight the GOP's klepto-capitalist agenda, right?

  • jc –

    The only way you can hurt a capitalist is by taking away their wealth.

    Well, yeah. But exactly how do we do that, now that they've taken over the government and given themselves a nice tax break and a way to siphon yet more away from the 99%?

    Paul Wilmott and Dave Orrell make a number of good suggestions in their last chapter of The Money Formula, such as treating the finance industry just like the airline industry, with exams, regulations, drug testing, inspectors, etc. as if it were just as much a life-or-death enterprise as flying.

    Let's make Major Kong a quant and turn him loose? Buwahahahahaaaaa….

    Because we're not gonna vote the bastards out nearly soon enough.
    Because it is. More so, even.

  • @Mo

    At some point, citizens will have to directly attack and destroy the property of the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Ajit Pai, Steve Mnuchin, and the rest of the scum. If the Dems aren't able to recapture enough political power in 2018 and then effectively use that power to curb the power of capital over US institutions, we're headed into direct violence territory.

    Also… actual revolutions suck and I hope we don't get to this stage. Revolutions and political violence are a throw of the dice for society and the outcomes are often deeply unpleasant for all, especially the marginalized and the poor. However, if the choice is between watching the earth burn to a cinder under climate change while you slowly and painfully die of treatable illnesses that you can't afford to treat due to automation-driven poverty… well, may as well take a few of them with you.

  • Well, OK, jc, but let's remember who owns the rooms full of assault weapons and stacks of ammo that they fondle daily and keep greased up and ready.

    The Cultural Revolution set China back by at least a generation, as they discovered that they actually needed all those scientists, engineers, doctors, artists, factory managers…but of course it was too late for the aforesaid, having been driven to suicide or death in the prisons and country work camps or being eventually "rehabilitated" to return to a crippled and shortened career with the best years of their lives gone.

  • @Mo

    Second point first:
    I'm not a Stalinist/Maoist and I don't propose some form of levelling of all professions for the sake of a low-skill proletariat/peasant-dominated society.

    Due to automation, I don't think there is an exact translation of Marxist views of the 19th cen economy into a potential future communitarian economy. Automation will reduce the need for labor (a catastrophe under capitalism, but not under socialism), and most of the population will not be laborers, but rather participants (voters) in the mechanisms of resource allocation.

    Any future socialist society will have to rely on highly-trained specialists and professionals to actually manage and improve the automated means of production, so finding ways to train and retain those kinds of specialists without creating a class system will actually be somewhat a challenge. This is assuming, of course, that there is enough society left after any serious dust-up to not reduce all of us to irradiated subsistence farming.

    I also technically have no problems with low-scale capitalism. I don't really see much of an issue of retaining some aspects of capitalism so long as it controls the means of producing strictly voluntary goods and can't grow beyond a certain size (if all you want to do is build iPhone apps, do plumbing or perform other forms of skilled labor, you're not really much of an impediment to someone not getting food or healthcare).

    As for your first point:
    The US is swimming in guns, and they're not that difficult to use. If French/Russian/Chinese peasants and workers figured out how to use them, I'm pretty sure we can too. I'm far more worried about the actual power structures designed to subjugate and kill (LEOs, military, etc). If some of these organizations realize that their place is with the people, we might have a shot.

    If you'd like to learn how to use a gun and join a militia that is dedicated to protecting the marginalized, these are the guys you should find in your town:

  • I think the attacks on jcdenton are pretty interesting. A lot of anger at jc saying things jc never said.
    I, too, reliably vote Dem. I, too, wish I had better options but understand the reality of the political situation in the US right now. But we dedperately NEED TO CRITICIZE Dems when they fail to live up to our expectations, and we need to pressure them to do better. The no-argument-allowed “blue no matter who” attitude is what got us. Clinton wrecked welfare, Obama expanded military activity and didn’t do shit to the greedy amoral aholes who wrecked the economy. NONE OF THEM ARE DOING SHIT ABOUT CLIMATE.
    They suck. But we mostly vote for them. And then when we dare to call attention to the fact that they suck, we are blamed for their losses.

  • jc – I'm not talking about Stalinist/Maoists, I'm talking about the segment of society that resents the educated.

    I'm sure you know what segment of our American voting population fits this description. You know, the ones who can't wait to beat up or shoot Libruls?

  • @Shirley0401

    We criticize because we love. But seriously though, at one point in history Democrats got off their asses and (partially due to fear of the USSR's influence) built a welfare state that was able to redistribute the wealth of America's post-war boom for many decades (albeit mostly to white men).

    I'm pretty sure that most people become Democrats because they have a basic sense of empathy towards their fellow human beings. That sense of empathy is still there, but its been hijacked by the cult of the free market, Discourse™ and other shibboleths of centrism that don't meaningfully contribute to social or economic justice. I also think that Democrats have a basic understanding of the idea that society exists to serve its inhabitants, and when it fails to do so, we must remould society so that it continues serving the needs of the people.

    My hope is that when faced with the horrific limits of the current social model and standing on the precipice of socialism or barbarism, Democrats ultimately listen to their empathy and choose the former.


    Oh… oh yeah, they'll definitely try to do that. The problem for them is that guns are really easy to use these days. If a baby can shoot its NRA-supporting mother in the back while playing with a gun in the car… well, I'm sure its possible to teach some intellectuals to point and click.

    That being said, what's the difference between when and how we die? We can die slowly at the hands of a klepto-capitalist system that reduces education and intellectual pursuits to indoctrination and 5-minute online courses designed to teach the remaining precarious job holder how to please their masters for minimum wage… or we can try to actually wrest the future of America (and the human species, if you think about climate change) out the hands of the capitalist class. There is no future for intellectuals in America if capital wins.

  • I'm not mad at jcdenton, although I vehemently disagree with him on a few things.

    I KNOW that the DNC is a rat's nest of people who are whores for whoever's got the powernozzle to fill their egos. I know, also, that it will take a lot of effort to change that.

    I would say the most effective way to change things, to alter the course of the current plunge into the abyss is to ELECT some craven DEMOCRATS who we know CAN win. Once they're in office, threaten them EVERY FUCKING DAY with not voting in the next election if they don't help to clean this mess up.

  • jc –

    That being said, what's the difference between when and how we die?

    Plenty. Rioting and shooting up the place are swell 'n all, but dynamiting a Koch refinery would be chump change against doing some cyber transfer of billions from various Caribbean banks.

    It's the financial industry that's building up the coffers of the 1%. That's what needs to be brought crashing down. It's headed that way anyway – may as well pirate the loot before the wealth gets destroyed.

    Unfortunately, that takes more brains than firing a gun. But that's the front line in this war.

  • "Yes, the Republicans are more racist and more willing to trade in racism and xenophobia… but that's not quite what the focus of this discussion is."

    Troll, go play with your guns. The Weathermen–where are they now?

  • @ jcdenton

    Sweet zombie jesus, please, please take a firearm safety class. Anyone can shoot, but I would prefer as few fatalities as possible on the learning curve. Defensive depth is also a thing.

    Let’s take a deep breath and step back from the violence talk. I am, however, totally down with punitive action talk. Like how, if the D’s ever regain control, a whole lot of churches should lose their tax exempt status for violating that no-politics rule. I want to end gerrymandering, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the shoe on the other foot for a cycle or two. Yes, I am a petty, lizard-brain asshole, but as Ed points out in the original article, white papers on NPR ain’t doing the trick.

  • Pissed off Brit says:

    "Imagine if America was a dictatorship. You could let 1% of the people have all the nation's wealth. You could help your rich friends get richer by cutting their taxes. And bailing them out when they gamble and lose. You could ignore the needs of the poor for health care and education. Your media would appear free, but would secretly be controlled by one person and his family. You could wiretap phones. You could torture foreign prisoners. You could have rigged elections. You could lie about why you go to war. You could fill your prisons with one particular racial group, and no one would complain. You could use the media to scare the people into supporting policies that are against their interests."

    Bad movie, resonant satire! Prescient comment about taxes.

  • @ Pissed off Brit:

    You lot had the good sense to hang Lord Haw Haw (probably illegally, as it turns out–but he deserved it). 60M morons in this country elected his illegitimate bastard son.

  • @Mo—

    The Republicans *used to* vote as a bloc when Obama was president. They currently can’t agree on anything, which is why, despite having the entire fucking government at their disposal, they have passed nothing.

    There was a great article about John Boehner in Tiger Beat on the Potomac fairly recently in which he described his time as Speaker of the House, which everyone should read if they haven’t:

    I was ready to go shit in my hat over my claim that the GOP is imploding as evidenced by the party being unable to keep the number of nominees under 12 people in the 2016 Goat Rodeo. There was a time when the party would’ve never let that happen. After reading Boehner’s interview and how he was effectively volentold to retire, I’m coming back around on that. And, I still believe that they wouldn’t put all that energy into preventing their constituents from voting (or should I say, the “wrong” constituents)—and even refusing to face them in town halls—if they weren’t terrified of people actually voting. I don’t really see what the problem is with tossing them out and replacing them with Dems. That seems like the goal, right?

  • @SenSchumer
    6h6 hours ago

    Tonight, I feel mostly regret at what could have been.

    Tax reform is an issue that is ripe for bipartisan compromise. There is a sincere desire on this side of the aisle to work with the GOP, particularly on tax reform, but we have been rebuffed, time & time again
    So, there you have it. Schumer is as clueless and worthless as ever. What do you expect from a party with him as one of its leaders?

  • This is class war.

    It is pure and naked and savage.

    It is a war waged by Capital on every man, woman and child who cannot buy political parties, tv stations and banks.

    Capitalism is a fundamental enemy of democracy and the people.

    Capital will not rest until it has undermined every civic virtue, every political institution, every function of government that does not explicitly serve Capital.

    Capital will not rest until it has squeezed every last scrap of profit from the citizen, every last drop of sweat from the worker, every last drop of blood from sick and dying.

    Capital will exploit every corner of the earth until there is nothing and no one left to exploit.

    Capital will leave us with nothing.

    Class war is the only war.

    Fight or die.

  • Will be amusing myself this weekend by re-reading Stein Ringen's The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century
    for clues on what we can expect next under a one-party system.

    As to our current replay of the Gilded Age, anyone know where the Wobblies are congregating these days?

    The IWW was formed by militant unionists, socialists, anarchists, and other labor radicals who believed that the great mass of workers are exploited by, and are in an economic struggle with, an employing class. The IWW employed a great diversity of tactics aimed at organizing all workers as a class, seeking greater economic justice on the job and, ultimately, the overthrow of the wage system which they believe is most responsible for keeping workers in subjugation. Such tactics are generally described as direct action, which is distinguished from other types of reform efforts such as electoral politics. IWW members believe that change accomplished via politics depends upon appeal to members of a ruling class who derive benefit from the subservient quiescence of the working class.

  • I usually appreciate the posts here but many of the commenters are deluded in a self-righteous kind of a way. Criticism of Democratic strategy is fine but it's pretty meaningless without some kind of awareness of the structural realities of American politics. Not to mention having a clues about the realities of trying to accomplish anything through group action — I got my eyes opened about the challenges of getting a group of people to agree on anything back when I was an officer in a nascent union. But, of course, many people just want to feel superior to the dirty rotten politicians.

  • thanks old white guy. Merkley didn't keep at it though. he gave up, like all the rest. and without holding everyone hostage until the Rich are toast we are witnessing Kabuki, theatre/drama, no matter how intentional the "temporary filibuster", a filibuster without determination to do whatever for however long just is more hot air.

    it is funny to see people talk about guns. as if any of our local "militia" types could withstand the military equipment our local state police agencies are equipped with. just watch what they use against blacks.

    that anyone would dare to defend the Democrats, is so funny and so pathetic. the Democrats have decided to obey the Democratic branch of the Elites.

    watching how Police attack Blacks with impunity is just a foretaste of how and what is in store for the dumb white people who think they can stop the Police when they come after them. and they are. just the way you and i will be aware of. these Elites know how to do what they want.

    The Black block attacks in Seattle in 99 showed what the Police were up against. and since then there has been no "successful" repeat of the Seattle riots. the Rich know what to do. they got there by buying whomever and whatever it takes.

    to think any Congresscritter/House or Senate gives a damn about the non Rich just shows why education has been destroyed. the fight against Black Lives Matter and EDF or et al. that fight against legitimate complaints against the system is strictly not allowed.

    Divide and Conquer is an American success story.

    Just watching people here fight against the other's proves how easily we have been "had." Not nice to say, quite truthful however. just not what Americans are told in the media or want to believe.

    Read Joe Beagant's "Deer Hunting with Jesus" or his other works to get in inkling how easily and how long ago this "scam" was engineered.

    took me forever to put the pieces together, and this is despite the propaganda of the 6 companies that own the Media.

    Fascism run by the Corporates using Government to Fuck us over. quite efficient and well done. Actions speak much louder than words. just look at the new Tax Bill. even a "tax credit" for fetuses included in the Bill.

    like been said. "there is a club and we aint in it."

  • Believe Google? which limits what they "show" in our searches. Google just recently said it was limiting searches to sites it approved of, aka banning what it calls "fake sites" lol. Believe Big Brother???.and Google was a Defense Dept effort. aka which was built using CIA money. read and learn how Google wants us to "find", not what Google or Faceborg allows you to say, read.

    Just like the USSR, or Nazism or whatever word you want to describe it.
    Not one Senator has dared to stop the Scam, lest they lose their "Seat."

    Has anyone from either side dared to stand up for us. Obama let the bankers screw us, he even said he was the only thing standing between the bankers and the pitchforks. Such a great Plantation Overseer, like in Django.

    we have been so easily duped. a shame and the rest of the world will pay for the Contract on America. oh well. it's too late anyway. Most Americans have no clue how we got here. or who is responsible. like the snowball coming down the mountainside.

    the speed at which the bad will come now is increasing. the serfs had better get ready to do as they are told. not that that matter either. we are like the frog in that pot of hot water. it is now at a boiling point. almost there.

    Fascism is pretty easy to spot at times. especially when attacking the non white non straight "little People" who can see how screwed up everything is.

    thing is the Republicans have been straight forward and honest about this from the Getgo. Clinton got the Democrats to sell out for Money/Power.

    None so blind as those who choose not to see.

    So how do you reach those who have refuse to see, knowing their refusal is cutting the cord of hope we all need to live with.

    the Resistance begins with Knowledge, Truth and skepticism of the prevailing "lies" our betters feed us every second and every means available.

    do you know what ALEC is. Or the Powell Memo. Gosh, just watching the Government kill those who dare to question, that is more than enough for me. or wars for profit under the guise of "Terrorism". like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. the Defense Dept used to be called the Dept of War. that is a little too truthful, so they changed it. and whom are we afraid of.

    Mostly white men with guns or Christo fascists who decide what laws the rest of us have to live under. Pro lifers who kill doctor, bomb clinics or sentence women to die in childbirth or poverty. Texas now how the honor of the highest rate of women who die in childbirth in the world. the idea of women owning their bodies is a scare Pro life Men will not tolerate, ever

    and people like me use to wonder why all the Latins came to America. because we brought "Democracy" to Latin America. lol.

    oh well. lol. Life is too short to educate other who choose not to be open to differing views, but we wouldn't be Americans if we werent' sure we know it all, and then the Republican/Democratic Fascist Government we re elect every time might not continue win by Dividing and Conquering.

  • @democommie

    You really need to have it spelled out for you? Are you honestly dumb enough to believe that invoking bipartisanship is the appropriate way to address this abomination of a bill? You really think that's the way to motivate Democratic voters and leaners to turn out?

    "Oh sure, it was a very bad bill, but we would have put our fingerprints on it too, if we had been given the chance…"

    You won't beat Trump and the GOP that way.

  • @NickT:

    Yeah, I'm pretty fucking stupid. I think that bi-partisanship is a losing battle–but mainly because the only FUCKING ALTERNATIVE offered by you (actually, I don't think you've offered anything) is to burn the democrats out of their positions and, um, now what?

  • @democommie—-

    Have we rehashed the results of the 2016 Democratic primary in this thread yet? I’ve been kinda skipping around.

  • Gerald McGrew says:

    So let's pose a hypothetical…..

    If the Dems take control of both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterms, how many believe we're still careening towards fascism and/or a dictatorship?

  • Gerald McGrew says:

    So let's pose a hypothetical…..

    If the Dems take control of both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterms, how many believe we'd still be careening towards fascism and/or a dictatorship?

  • @democommie

    Given that you offer nothing except Trumpesque babblings on the theme of how great you are at some unspecified something, I think I'll just let you play with your little box of matches near the gas tank and see how it goes for you.

  • @Gerald—

    I think part of why it appears that we are careening towards fascism is because we know that the Republicans will continue to enable Trump as long as they control all three branches of government, and Trump clearly has no idea how to do his job or what it entails. He appears to have thought that being president was like being a very powerful CEO on the world’s biggest stage. The Republicans have proven time after time (I mean, Roy Moore…c’mon) that they are willing to do *anything* to keep the party in power. They also seem to view the smallfolk as a nuisance to whom they just pay lip service, to placate them just enough to keep them from revolting.

    Government typically at least keeps up the appearance of some type of morality and adherence to process and the Constitution. Trump basically had no idea of how the American government worked when he ran for president and probably is still only vaguely familiar with it. If the Democrats take back Congress in 2018 (which they should), there’s at least the possibility that there will be a check on Trump’s power.

    This tax bill was very unpopular. Is this really the hill they want to die on? Now that the Republicans are getting their tax cuts, how long do you think it will take before they dump Trump? I doubt any but a handful really want Pence, and ZOGS doesn’t even want to be Speaker of the House, much less President (he might lose to that Democrat in Wisconsin that is awesome beyond all reason anyway). They are a total shitshow.

  • @Geoff; yeah, the tax bill passed and will plunge us *one trillion* dollars in deficit…and that's just the start.

    Every puke who's been mewling "both sides are exactly the same" can go and die in a fire, because they're being willfully f'ing ignorant. The Repubs used to be the party that was ALL about eliminating the deficit–remember all their wailing and gnashing their teeth during the last administration about all the spending done to help women, children, and the poor? They blamed the Democrats for putting the country in debt because of those social welfare programs. But like all con men, you need to watch what they say, not what they do–it’s been the Republicans who have increased the deficit, but in their case to benefit the rich.

  • Gerald McGrew says:


    I'm trying to get a feel if those who believe we're heading towards fascism, believe that because of the way the Republicans are doing things, or because we're just headed that way in general and Democrats are just as responsible for it.

  • @Gerald; remember, a disappointing amount of otherwise-sane people believe that "both sides are equally bad" and also "there are more independents than people in either political party" (which of course totally explains why Stein got 2% of the vote and Johnson got less than 1%). I'm sure they believe we're just headed that way.

  • "Given that you offer nothing except Trumpesque babblings on the theme of how great you are at some unspecified something,"

    As I said, YOU have no fucking plan, NONE, to do anything about what's going on. Go ahead, prove me wrong, you fucking poseur.

  • Nifty nugget of knowledge: I was in Vancouver when the stock market tanked in 2007. When I go to different countries, I like to read the newspapers to get their take on world events. There was a great piece in the Globe and Mail about America needing to “grow up”, increase taxes, and stop spending so much money (on frivolous wars, “national security”, etc.)—and that the American rhetoric about being to tax-cut your way back into the black was pure fantasy. Ha! Like America is going to listen to anyone else in the world about anything…

  • Dave D –

    Soaking the rich doesn't seem to be a thing anymore. Taibbi notes that Trump is exactly the sort of rich person his supporters imagine they themselves would be … if only, you know, they had more money.

    This article from a couple of years ago gives some hints (including the usual It's All The Boomers' Fault one):

    Our views on proper tax levels and redistribution may be shaped by seemingly extraneous factors, like whether we believe the rich are already used to being rich, and whether we are already getting government benefits.

    In other words, the question isn’t, Why don’t Americans want to soak the rich more? It may be, Who exactly is being counted as rich and who is perceived to be benefiting from the soaking?

  • Re: the argument that we need to work within the Dem system if we want to get where we want to get.
    That's what a lot of "mainstream" Republicans who actually lived in the real world part of the time have begged the Libertarian / Tea Party faction of their party, here and there, as that faction gained complete control of the base and leadership.
    Reasonableness is not exciting, it IS discouraging for a whole lot of casual voters (which is most voters, it's often useful for me to remind myself), and is highly unlikely to fire up potential voters who feel as though they're not represented by either party.
    I'm not saying it's fair, or right, or preferable. I'm saying we've got a case study, conducted over the past 30-odd years, of a party getting taken over from its outer flank. And that didn't happen by politely working with entrenched party powers.
    But maybe I'm wrong. I hope I can count on someone to correct me if I am.

  • @Shirley0401:

    You are correct.

    The problem is, for me and a lot of other "olds" that a lot of the people complaining about the dems being sellouts and turncoats are the recipient of programs that were proposed, fought for and passed into law by the democrats they choose to vilify. Add to that the apparent absence of ANY coherent strategy by those people to actually WIN some elections in the next 11 months.

    As you (and I and numerous others have pointed out) it took the GOP from mid-1975 to 1980 to energize and co-opt the religious right and get Reagan–may he be remembered as one of the long line of scumbag republicans who were elected by the fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts and other family members of the people complaining so bitterly today about the democrats. It is worth noting that a lot of those people were union labor, government and public union employees who got theirs and wanted to make sure that the OTHER did not cut into their pie.

    I will be absolutely thrilled to be wrong about it, but my predicition is that voting 3rd party or sittin thrg out the next election will be disastrous for the people who are 30-50 yrs younger than I am.

  • I meant to insert, in that last comment, that after getting the KKKristianists to go along with them to get Reagan in the White House, the RNC cranked up the ReiKKKwing Noise Machine and kept it up until they became the co-opted…

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