Can’t Dump The Trump


President Trump.

Doesn’t seem so ridiculous now, does it?

Well, that’s what happens when you have a one-party system masquerading as a two-party system… and someone decides to crash the party.

I am personally enjoying the almighty hell out of every moment in the Trump campaign, primarily because The Donald is doing such a brilliant job of exposing our country’s political process for the extremely macabre joke it is. We haven’t had any genuine difference of political opinion among America’s leadership since George H.W. Bush was elected. And there’s no meaningful difference between Democrat and Republican agendas in the twenty-first century.

Wait? You disagree? You think that anything substantive separates the jackass and the elephant? You’re wrong. The fact of the matter is that in 2015, corporations set the economic agenda and the media sets the social agenda and no candidate is permitted to deviate it by more than the kind of differences that separated the ’84 Mercury Topaz from the ’84 Ford Tempo*. If you’re unsure about the corporate-media agenda, let me set it out for you here and you can tell me how your favorite candidate is OMG BREAKING THE RULES:

* There shall be no effective tariff on imported goods.
* It will continue to be difficult to manufacture products in the USA due to regulations on all fronts that exceed any other major manufacturing power on the globe.
* Financial adventurism, on the other hand, will be permitted. Sarbarnes-Oxley is a joke and will stay that way.
* If banks are profitable, they will be permitted to buy lobbyists and set policy. If they fail, they will be bailed out with public money.
* The institution of the Federal Reserve will continue into eternity. QE will happen whenever they feel like it. Asset prices will rise, the value of capital will rise.
* The top marginal tax rates, for people and corporations, will stay low.
* Middle-class wages will fall and jobs will disappear.
* Tax sheltering overseas by corporations will be permitted, even encouraged.
* Companies like Wal-Mart will continue to depress wages and a “social safety net” will take up the slack, effectively subsidizing those companies.
* Immigration from Mexico will continue at whatever rate keeps labor cheapest.
* The H1-B program will expand to infinity, doing to the American middle class what “undocumented” labor does to the working poor.
* There will be no attempt to shield children from extremely graphic sexual and violent imagery.
* Children will be sexualized as early as possible.
* Everything that was considered perverse by humanity until twenty years ago will be encouraged for children through cartoons and TV shows and the Internet.
* The rights of parents to determine their children’s moral character will be eroded.
* Abortion will continue to be legal, and there will always be “exceptions” no matter where the “goal line” of legality shifts.
* Favored classes of race and gender will receive handouts, preferential hiring, quota treatment, and protection from prosecution for criminal offenses. The actual classes will change, slightly, from time to time, to keep everybody churned up.
* The American military will continue to protect the interests of the House of Saud.

That’s the one-party line, folks, and if you deviate from it your candidacy for political office above that of county dog-catcher will be terminated with extreme prejudice. You’re allowed to have some window dressing, some red or blue meat to throw the crowd. But there can’t be anything substantive to it. You can whine about corporate misdeeds but you’d better make sure the H1-B numbers expand behind the scenes. You can bray about gay marriage for a few minutes but you’d better fold at the last minute and toe the line on the subject. You can have gun control — in the cities where the underclass won’t follow the rules anyway. You can move the goal line for abortion back a month or so — as long as you acknowledge that if the woman claims rape it will be done whenever she wants it done.

No wonder, then, that the pre-primary season has been utterly without interest for anyone, with two exceptions. The first is Bernie Sanders, who is actually talking about economic inequality:

In an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is running for the Democratic presidential candidacy, said he could back a 90 percent top marginal tax rate.

Harwood brought up that some have likened efforts to combat income inequality to Nazi Germany. Sanders noted sarcastically, “When radical, socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, I think the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent.”

Harwood followed up by asking, “When you think about something like 90 percent, you don’t think that’s obviously too high?” to which Sanders replied, “No.”

He continued, “What I think is obscene…when you have the top one-tenth of one percent owning almost as much as the bottom 90.”

He’s beating President-Assumpt Clinton II in some polls now. But the #BlackLivesMatter people have targeted him for extinction and before too long we’re going to hear about how he is just too old and senile and possibly racist to secure the Democratic nomination. Since the Democrats have the luxury of doing their dirty business in private (think of Rahm Emanuel for an example here, out serving as a bagman for Clinton before being rewarded with a fiefdom in Chicago) there will come a time when his army of small donors can’t keep up with George Soros, who would like to elect another Clinton the same way he selected the first one for re-election in 1996.

Bye bye, Bernie.

The other guy is Trump. And since the Republicans are massively disorganized compared to the Democrats, there’s no effective machine to shut him down. They tried to knock him down during the debate, without success. Now he’s speaking directly to the American public, and the results are spectacular.

The best part about the Trump phenomenon is his immunity to media crucifixion. Over the course of the past fifteen years, we have all come to know, and perhaps fear, the way that the media enforces uniformity of opinion. There are only some things that you are allowed to say in public. Doubleplusbadthink will get you fired. If you are already a CEO and you make a $1,000 donation to a non-media-approved cause, you will be hounded out of a career. If you say something that the media doesn’t like, you’ll be kicked off television. That’s the soft tyranny of 2015. Speak out and you will be cut down. No, you won’t be criminally prosecuted, unless you live in Europe where you can go to jail for “racist revving”. But you’ll become an unperson. You’ll be eliminated from history. Your children will suffer. You’ll lose your house and your job and your savings and your life.

Trump is immune to that. He has money. Not ten billion dollars, but enough. So he can say whatever he wants. And it turns out that… people want to hear it. He says that Rosie O’Donnell is a fat pig and that Heidi Klum isn’t a “10” any more. These facts are both self-evident, yet the media said that he WHIPPED UP A FIRESTORM OF CONTROVERSY on the subjects. They said that he ATTACKED WOMEN. They told women that they should all be OUTRAGED on Rosie O’s behalf. And what’s happened? Women are flocking to him. Women don’t like being told that they have to assemble the Avengers on behalf of some repugnant comedian or the late-middle-aged Mrs. Seal. They’d prefer to make their own choices.

Trump says that Mexico should pay for a bigger wall and the establishment sits up in front of their televisions at home and says CONSUELA DID YOU HEAR THAT? THAT MAN IS A RACIST! OH AND WOULD YOU TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT THE TOILET UPSTAIRS? THERE’S A STAIN RIGHT WHERE LITTLE BRAYDEN DROPS HIS PRIVILEGED LITTLE POOPIES AFTER DAY SCHOOL. POR FAVOR. Meanwhile, the unemployed former factory worker or construction worker or farm laborer isn’t shocked at all, because he lives in the reality of a bottomless labor pool the existence of which only Donald Trump seems willing to admit.

Trump says that Obama is a massive coward who has sabotaged America’s image in the world and the public-policy analyst for the Washington Post is WOW JUST WOW but the three-tour veteran of Afghanistan, sitting in his trailer and counting out his medication before he leaves for his shift at Wal-Mart, knows in his bones that Trump is correct.

The press says that Trump is RACIST! Yet Trump is catching Hilary among non-white voters. Turns out that not all black and Hispanic people want to be told about racism by white talking heads on TV. Amazing!

The media is running out of bullets to shoot at the guy. They could talk about his lack of experience in public life, but Americans voted for Obama when he hadn’t done anything worth noting as a senator. They can attack his money, but the fact is that Hilary is far more vulnerable on that. They can say he’s a terrible person, but Americans watched “The Apprentice” because they loved Trump’s lack of kindness and decency. They imagine him treating America’s enemies the same way and they like that. They can say he went bankrupt — but we live in a world where nearly one million Americans a year file for bankruptcy. All of those people will like the idea that he went from bankruptcy to the Presidency, because they’d like to succeed as well.

The final anti-Trump defense the media has, their Death Star, is to portray him as a buffoon, an idiot, a dilettante, a hobbyist. But Americans have watched Trump on TV more than they’ve watched any Clinton ever born. They know him. They like him. And he’s saying things that nobody else will say about jobs and trade and fairness.

In a perfect world, we’d have a Trump v. Sanders election. Give America a chance to make a populist choice for once, to bring a temporary respite to the endless era of corporate hegemony. But if the backroom dealers of both parties manage to make it Bush v. Clinton II: Electoral Boogaloo!, don’t be surprised if the voters just stay home. A Presidential election between two legacy candidates about whom nobody cares? Now that’s ridiculous.

* Yes, I know the Tempo was a six-window car, you Aspie!

75 Replies to “Can’t Dump The Trump”

  1. Domestic Hearse

    Dr Ron Paul was the last candidate that came out and bucked the system and was subsequently labeled a nut, too radical. But everything he said about the economy and healthcare came to pass exactly as he predicted.

    Indeed, the Dems and Repubs are two sides of the same coin, a point I try to make when my conservative and liberal friends go at each other. People, the mainstream candidates will only continue the same corporately controlled status quo. Getting you to go at each other instead of at the political hucksters and banksters is part of the plan, donch’a get it?

    Trump v Sanders: from your keyboard to God’s ears, Jack. It would be the first election of choice since FDR faced incumbent Hoover.

    I see Obama is hedging the Dem’s bet by giving Biden the green light should Hillary not be able to shed the dark cloud of emails, servers, Benghazi, and general mistrust and dislike by the electorate. So possibly, we’ll see Jeb! vs Biden, which is still same ol’ v same ol’.

    • Pseudoperson Randomian

      You know, Paul and Sanders have a lot in common. They are both ideologically consistent (not necessarily pure, mind you), could not be bought and said what they meant and did what they said. And they did so year after year.

      And it is candidates exactly like these that are called lunatics and basically excluded by both party leadership and media, either by ignoring them or by hit pieces.

      That, unfortunately, is the state of the system.

      The thing that bugs me about Trump is that he’s slick. A bit too slick, IMO. I do think he’s smarter than people give him credit for. He could literally have any opinion of anything and then sell it. Hell, he could take about 80% of Bernie Sander’s positions and make it work in the GOP somehow.

  2. jz78817

    This is why I wish we could quit with the bickering about “left wing” whatever. Individual members of the Democratic Party may be leftist, but the actions of the party itself shows they’re only a little bit leftward of the GOP.

    • jz78817

      TBH I really wouldn’t want to see trump as president; he’s clearly only in this to grab attention and stroke his ego (“women, Mexicans, and Muslims are ruining this country!”) but should be actually win, I doubt you’d see a huge change. Recent history shows that the candidate is much different than the elected. W the candidate was all about “we’re not the worlds police;” W the president made us the worlds police after 9/11. Obama the candidate was all “hopey changey;” Obama the president gave us Clinton administration II along with continuing some of W’s less popular policies (many of which Obama the candidate decried.)

      When dealing with politicians, what you see is usually not what you get.

  3. Orenwolf

    As a non-American, I am mostly concerned about the effect of US Policy on the rest of the world. I know most people consider the “scorched earth” approach nowadays – fix America and fuck everyone else.

    It’s funny because growing up, we went from believing that Americans were “A little slow, but friendly and helpful to others” to “Terrified of upsetting them or even talking to one in a bar (post-911)”. The last few years seemed to suggest that the world thought international tensions might drop a little, but now, the thought of another nationalistic turn for America, I’m sure, worries the rest of the world again.

    So, as I said, that’s just popular opinion around those I talk with. It’s not a large sample size or anything, and does *not* necessarily reflect my own views on the subject. However, it does make me wonder this:

    – How is closing the borders and enforcing a white, christian view of things any different than, say, Iran or North Korea (or even China?). Isn’t defacto monotheism (or secularism), and groupthink-by-pressure pretty much what those countries do? Just with military or equivalent pressure instead of social pressure, both backed with laws?

    Because, if I understand what Trump has been saying, he’d love to rescind most controversial social decisions, lock down the border, and ensure that the social gender order pretty much continues exactly as it has. That’s eerily similar to how these other nations started with their policies,

    Again, I’m not suggesting any alternative is *better* – perhaps this is the inevitable result of any large civilization – but it’s food for thought.

    • Sam L.

      The “white and Christian” viewpoint(s) have been severely marginalized. Sarah Palin (VP candidate for John McCain) was vilified for that. Still is. We are not going back to the semi-theocracies of our founding.

  4. MrGreenMan


    The Brookings Institute says over 40 million people currently in the United States are foreign born. A nation cannot assimilate 13% of its population overnight. Why doesn’t your nation accept 2% of its existing population as fresh refugees every day? As we saw with the human tragedy on the border last year with all the children, these are people who have to be cared for.

    America closed its doors previously after an immigration boom. It takes time to assimilate people. Should these immigrants forever be slave class – as Trump’s detractors refer to them like on The View, toilet cleaners and day laborers? If you want to keep them at the bottom of the economy, keep threatening those here with more and more new arrivals.

    When the Germans and the Norwegians came here after the US Civil War, they could be threatened with replacement by the next Sven or Hans off the boat if they didn’t do what they were told and take what they were offered for pay. Once immigration was closed down, those here assimilated, became more a part of the culture, learned the language (although, e.g., Wisconsin, still has the sound of those vowels!), and joined the middle class as full participants.

    Asking for unending open borders without taking a pause from immigration to assimilate people is what Boss Tweed would have liked – it gave him a nice perpetual class of dependent slaves brought in from Ireland or Italy that were beholden to political masters and were not permitted to join the middle class because the first footstep could be taken and given to a new immigrant the moment they demanded one dollar more.

    • Orenwolf

      @MrGreenMan: Sure, I agree that assimilation is critical. My country has 18% foreign-born population, so slightly larger than the US, though the yearly rate is lower, just under a percent.

      I don’t know what the appropriate rate is, of course. The question from my perspective is threefold:

      1 – If you closed the borders, aside from the “lower class” immigrants (usually family and refugee status I presume), would a country suffer from lack of educated classes? I presume the general belief is no, there’s more than enough knowledge in a given country that they don’t need outside education.
      2 – Is the quality of available jobs increasing or decreasing in quality in general? If decreasing, would *any* amount of closed-immigration result in upworldly-mobile movement for the existing class?
      3 – What about non-immigrant populations who choose not to be educated or otherwise contribute to society? How much does that “weigh” on the overall economic effect of the population as a whole?

      Interestingly, back to my original comment, all three of these are issues countries like NK, China, Iran consider in different ways. NK for exmaple has no real immigration, educates its’ people, and expects them to perform, vs say, Iran, where they’re happy with an entire lower class of women to be homemakers. for example.

      It’s an interesting question about whether or not *any* sufficiently large/powerful nation even has the choice to choose another direction, or otherwise crumble.

      • Lucas

        I think we should close the border, make it much much easier to become a citizen, and even easier than that to get a work visa. Work visa = you pay taxes, you never get any socialized benefits. Citizen = you pay taxes, you don’t get any socialized benefits for (x) years (I think at least 10 would be fair). You are paying into the system that is bankrupt and borrowing but you can’t collect unless you REALLY want to be a citizen and prove it through helping your fellow citizens. Anyone without the visa or citizenship THEN gets booted out. The people that really do want to be part of the country will participate, the people that don’t shouldn’t be here.

        • Pseudoperson Randomian

          What socialized benefits are you referring to specifically?

          I do believe that H1-B is a Visa for highly skilled workers and I’d assume they pay more than they get out of the system anyway.

          Oh, and on another note, if someone from another country gets an american education, should they have to go back to their own country if they can work in the US?

          • VolandoBajo

            H1B is NOT for highly-skilled individuals…it is for the companies that get rich placing them in slots formerly filled by those who truly were highly-skilled.

            I have seen over and over H1B workers with marginal credentials brough in at about 80% of the rate of a truly skilled American worker, then paid about about 40% or less, with the rest going to a broker.

            In once case I had first hand experience with “telephony experts” from overseas didn’t even have a working knowledge of the basic kinds of things you could find just by Googling or buying a standard text on the subject.

            Of course, the bid that they were highered to support failed, but the show was put on nevertheless. And I believe the work was ultimately kept in house by the company seeking bids, on the grounds that no one outside the company understood the industry. Which wasn’t true, but it was true at least for one major player in the field, once it H1B’d up on the project to cut bidding costs.

            I was in that industry for decades, and did well in it, but H1B’s have destroyed the IT industry for all but a few of the super-bright and super-talented, with a lot of decent technologists forced to see their effective wages drop by 50% or more over a decade or two.

            I have never once in all my work for decades as an IT consultant seen a single H1B who was as sharp as an average grad of a decent American engineering school, with one single exception out of hundreds. That was for three Tawanese Chinese workers who were very good at GUI development, once someone else specified exactly what to implement, and why. But they could and did turn out some good code, quickly, and they at least grasped what they were doing and were able to offer constructive suggestions for changes.

            Maybe a couple of percentage points, out of dozens, even hundreds, I have seen who were posers at best, outright frauds far too often.

            Not that it was thei8r fault…they were offered the “big bucks” for their countries to come here and struggle to maintain an image of expertise in front of people who wouldn’t know a good coder or analyst if they were run over by one.

  5. MrGreenMan


    I will also say that we are attempting to be peaceful and civilized to find a way to handle the swelling numbers of people arriving looking for opportunity, when, although we’d like to provide for everyone, you can’t take the food from your children and feed it to the neighbor, and you can’t take your neighbors food and give it to the guy down the street.

    At least we are trying to fight it out with words, whereas European Nationalism, facing the same concerns, has already started to get violent:

  6. Dave L

    I thought Trump bringing these issues to light would “grease the skids” for the inside the beltway candidates to feel more comfortable discussing them. They’ve actually distanced themselves from Trump and as a consequence, distanced themselves in the polls.

    The silent majority is speaking up by supporting Trump.

  7. kvndoom

    I’m actually starting to warm up to the Trump idea. If he can try to fix America instead of fixing [world minus America] we’d get somewhere. I can’t remember the last time domestic policy trumped (pun noted) foreign policy. Don’t mow the neighbor’s grass when your yard looks like shit. I still worry about his lack of experience, but there’s a chance that might actually make him a better politician.

    Only thing I’m going to say about abortion is that it’s a symptom, not a problem. People (especially young people) are going to have sex, unless you “Black Snake Moan” them (even that didn’t work) because the hormones go wild and their bodies are more mature than their minds. So teach them sexual responsibility and accept that it’s WHEN and not IF, and try to minimize accidental pregnancies. Maybe I’m dreaming? But I’m not dreaming as hard as people who think sexually active teens and 20-somethings aren’t going to be out there fucking like rabbits. There’s no HORNY-ON / HORNY-OFF button. My best friend constantly rolls his eyes at the hypocrisy of the catholics who are simultaneously anti-birth control and anti-abortion. Can’t have it both ways.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      “My best friend constantly rolls his eyes at the hypocrisy of the catholics who are simultaneously anti-birth control and anti-abortion. Can’t have it both ways.”

      That’s not having it both ways. That’s being consistent with a plan for society. The plan is that you marry young and you have children young and nobody has an abortion or uses birth control.

      The idea that opposition to abortion and opposition to birth control are incompatible is a “frame shift” by social liberals and Americans have swallowed it whole. That’s like the other thing I hear — “How can you be opposed to abortion and welfare at the same time?” You might as well ask “How can you be opposed to bank robbery and welfare at the same time? PEOPLE HAVE TO ROB BANKS IF THERE’S NO FREE MONEY!”

      • Orenwolf

        Jack: totally agree, and is held by most major religions around the world – no matter what religion you are, generally speaking, women are not allowed to choose if they want to bear children or not, if they also want to have sex. most religious doctrines say that for one reason or another, that’s not a valid choice (or, for example, for the jewish religion, having children is considered a Mitzvah, or a commandment from god, so who would want to go against god?

        I think for christians, isn’t the usual reasoning something like men are doomed if they “spill their seed upon the ground”, which applies to both masturbation, and ejaculation pretty much anywhere but inside a woman I believe.

        In all cases, that would make both abortion and contraception “Immoral” and “Ungodly”.

        Either way, For thousands of years, religions have worked hard to make sure sex = babies, and that’s that.

      • Ken

        “My best friend constantly rolls his eyes at the hypocrisy of the catholics who are simultaneously anti-birth control and anti-abortion. Can’t have it both ways.”

        That’s not having it both ways. That’s being consistent with a plan for society. The plan is that you marry young and you have children young and nobody has an abortion or uses birth control.

        @Jack – Kvndoom meant the hypocrisy of sex before marriage by Christains – and you knew that! You’re just stirring the pot. :o)

        @Orenwolf –
        “Either way, For thousands of years, religions have worked hard to make sure sex = babies, and that’s that.”

        And babies = new church members…

      • Domestic Hearse

        “How can you be opposed to abortion and welfare at the same time?” You might as well ask “How can you be opposed to bank robbery and welfare at the same time? PEOPLE HAVE TO ROB BANKS IF THERE’S NO FREE MONEY!”

        Absurd comparison.

        A baby born to a poor, underage, unwed mother is completely defenseless, helpless and dependent. The parents of said baby may have made poor decisions, and be ill-fit to be parents, but we, as a society, should judge ourselves how we care for the most needy amongst us.

        A bank robber may be poor, but is not helpless and defenseless. S/he may be making a very poor decision and breaking the laws of society, but said robber is not a newborn infant.

        I’m no fan of abortion, as such, I must be willing to (either through taxes/welfare or charity/church) be willing to help support the least of these amongst us — and that surely is a newborn baby. The robber I must also be willing to support (certainly with my taxes) in the prison system.

        The poor shall always be with us — Christ said as much. How we citizens of the richest nation in history deal with that fact will be one of the many ways history shall judge us. FDR showed us ways we can lift good people out of desperate situations. We’ve taken his programs too far for too long, and revisions must be made. However, when it comes to the most defenseless and helpless and desperate of us, we must not judge poor babies and children as if they are parasites of the system, for they had no choice in the matter of their birth.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian

        That is precisely the problem though.

        It is possible to talk reasonably about the rights of an infant and when those rights begin. But if your viewpoint is coming from a religious standpoint, then you’re essentially saying a woman shouldn’t have sex unless babies are the end result.

        Also, consistency does imply that if you believe a singled celled zygote or even a tiny ball of cells should be protected by law, then you have no consistent case for exceptions for rape and incest. The only case you do have is when mother’s life is in danger, when it becomes a choice of one life over another.

        On the other hand, if you believe that rights begin at birth, then you have no consistent case for any kind of restriction behind a termination of pregnancy, even if it’s 36 or 40 week gestation and the infant will happily survive once it’s out without assistance, and you actively have to kill it.

        The correct answer, I would assume is somewhere in between, with support for birth control and early detection of pregnancy

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          I believe the Greeks had the right idea: parents should hold the power of life or death over a child until the child becomes a citizen. That removes the necessity of drawing some porous line between abortion and infanticide.

          The example I always use is that my son was born at an age and weight where he was legally abortable — but because he made it out of his mom in one piece he magically became a person though he’d been no different in the moment before the cut was made.

          “But if your viewpoint is coming from a religious standpoint, then you’re essentially saying a woman shouldn’t have sex unless babies are the end result.”

          I think saying “a woman shouldn’t have sex” is a distraction. In point of fact, women can and do have sex all the time without the risk of pregnancy, the same way (and often in the same manner) that gay men have sex without risk of pregnancy.

          I’m also worried by the “rape exception”. It’s well-documented that women (and men) often experience a change of perception about events after the fact. For a ridiculous example: My parents have been divorced a long time. What if my mom decides, after some reflection, that the event that led to my birth was nonconsensual? You hear a lot about “rape by deception”. Dad said he would stick around until death did them part. He didn’t do it. Does that make my conception rape by deception? Does that mean that I’m eligible for retroactive abortion? How does it make me any less valuable or real of a person if my conception was nonconsensual, through force or trickery or mutual inebriation?

          I’ve also read the work of multiple female authors who say that, essentially, all conventional sex is rape to a degree. So if they are correct, should we all self-abort?

          • Domestic Hearse

            Pseudoperson and Jack,

            While I’m no fan of abortion, I’ll not impose my belief system upon anyone who does not share it. A woman’s body is not my own, I’ll not dictate to her what she does once she’s pregnant. If it’s her choice to have an abortion, it’s her right to decide.

            The question I’m wrestling with is for babies of zero means and prospects. The argument is made we reward — with welfare — non-working women who essentially have babies for money. But how can we, as a society, not care for the children who have no voice or choice in this matter, yet stop the welfare mom from continuing her babies for nothing, checks for free scam?

            Nazi Germany would simply imposed an infertility solution upon her, through surgery or drugs. And while we make contraception free through Planned Parenthood and other institutions, the use of these are completely voluntary.

            So, where do we as society recognize the rights of a baby (and children) when their own parents simply view them as a meal ticket — a means by which to avoid work? Just as we cannot force infertility like the Nazis, we can’t follow the Greeks and give parents the power of the sword over their children until the child becomes an adult and their rights as a citizen begin (which would be, for practical purposes, age 18 in the US).

            I’m all for welfare reform. It’s just that most of welfare — while it rewards deadbeat adults — goes to feed, clothe and shelter children who are unable to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” but must rely on the state and charity for their very survival. Or do we follow the third world’s lead and turn our urchins loose in the sewers and garbage dumps and street corners to fend and beg for themselves? As much as it galls me to pay the welfare mom, I can’t morally abide throwing human beings out like unwanted pets (which, by the way, I also find abhor).

            So this is my bind. All our bind. Whether it’s personal morality or religious faith (or both), I think it’s one everyone here discussing the matter wish we could resolve. No candidate, not even (and especially) the tough-talking Donald have given me anything close to an answer yet.

            And Jack, your argument is similar to the ones I’ve used with Catholics for years. If a Catholic couple wants to divorce, they must petition the Vatican. Eventually, they’ll be granted a religious annulment which will allow them to remarry again (the Vatican’s annulment essentially voids the first marriage, saying it never happened). But if it never happened, then the children of that first marriage are illegitimate. Bastards. Much like how your father reneged on his vows, essentially making sex with your mom “rape,” it’s both a slippery slope and circular argument that certainly confounds, but I fear cannot withstand the court’s recognition of human rights or actual personage.

          • Orenwolf

            Jack, you referring to the same Ancient Greece where women were essentially property of their fathers, then husbands, with no rights to change policy or, indeed, choice about whether or not they wanted to get pregnant (and by whom) in the first place?

            Men have a right and responsibility as to where they put their penii. Women have a right (in most parts of the enlightened world) as to what they put in their vaginas. Now, either this is only appropriate for procreation or it isn’t. If it isn’t, then contraception is permitted.

            The church says otherwise. Of course, this balance works out wonderfully because should a man and a woman have a one night stand and leave each other’s lives but spawn a child, that gets to be entirely the women’s burden to bear. And then that same system tells her she can’t choose what to do about it.

            how many of these unwanted children grow up in fostering, nurturing families and contribute more to society than they take? How many go on to higher education and so on?

            It’s fun to blame immigration for these issues but unwanted pregnancies that would have been aborted in any other civilized country are surely a large part of why there is such a vast array of the underprivileged in America to begin with.

            Just take a deep breath and relinquish control over the female body already. They aren’t Axlotl tanks.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            “Just take a deep breath and relinquish control over the female body already. They aren’t Axlotl tanks.”


            But let me ask you a question. If American women decided to pull a modified Lysistrata and stop having children as a unified whole, how long would society permit that to occur before there was complete riotous catastrophe?

          • Orenwolf

            Jack, you’re describing a scenario that is both happening now, and would never occur.

            Well known fact that the more successful a family is, the less children they are likely to have. They are doing this by choice because, presumably, childbearing is both difficult and time-consuming.

            At the same time, try and stop Maternal instinct from kicking in and women wanting children. They (as a whole) are as likely to stop wanting to have children as men are to suddenly stop masturbating en-masse as some sort of conspiracy to tank the personal wipes market.

  8. Orenwolf


    I think that had a lot to do with the prevalence of the Redneck stereotype around the 90’s. 🙂

    In the 90’s (that would have been the tail end ofhighschool for me), Americans tended to be thought of as “Cowboys who could be counted on to do the right thing if the going got tough”, sort of thing, usually accompanied by a “Yeehaw!” and badly imitated southern drawl.

    All of that changed post 9/11, which should surprise no one.

    • jz78817

      all that says is the rest of the world stereotypes americans as badly as we stereotype the rest of the world. if you think even a minor fraction of us are “rednecks” or “cowboys,” then you have a horribly distorted view.

  9. Orenwolf

    @jz78817: I explicitly said that those stereotypes didn’t necessarily reflect my own views, that was just the common viewpoint of those around me in the 90s – bolstered I’m sure by 90’s era action movies and the like, as well as the general Clinton era.

    I brought it up only because I thought an external viewpoint might be interesting – who’s in power, and how the media respond seems to have (unsurprisingly) a large part to play in how the rest of the world sees America.

    I married an American in point of fact (wo promptly emigrated), so I don’t personally subscribe to those views, but I *do* cringe every time I visit the US and see how your internal media seems to be all about talking heads discussing politics literally without fail, like your politicians are all rock stars or something. 🙂

  10. MrFixit1599

    Closing the border is something that needs to happen but I doubt it ever will. I am in manufacturing plants all over the Midwest, and the sheer amount of illegal Mexicans working in these factories is astounding. They then send half of their paycheck back to mexico to their families that live there to support them. I understand they can’t find work in Mexico, but taking jobs away from other American workers doesn’t sit well with me. If you wish to come here, and live here, and become a US Citizen, I have no problem with that. I realize this sounds a tad racist, but it’s bullshit. I have nothing personally against the Mexican workers that want to risk their life to live here, and make a decent living, and support their family back in Mexico. If they can get away with it, more power to them I guess. I just wish they couldn’t get away with it.

    Then again I see A LOT of these companies with now hiring signs out front with no one applying for the jobs, or people that aren’t trained to do the jobs required. I have spoken with many supervisors, and the hardest problem is finding an employee that wants to work, and shows up on time, and is willing to learn.

    When playing the new Madden 2016 and taking selfies to post on Facebook are more important than actually showing up for a job, therein lies a large part of the issues today.

    • Athos

      Every company I have worked for here has asked me my migration papers. I have to show my “working rights” in this country. It’s also an offense to hire someone that doesn’t have full working rights, the $$$ penalties border on the ridiculous, as expected. That is not racist, that is the f@#$%^&* law of the land, which I agreed to comply.

      Cannot see why they don’t/cannot do it in the US. Unless your government is a weak sauce…

      Now, if an American doesn’t want/cannot do the job, is that people really ‘taking’ anything?

      • VolandoBajo

        Yes, under Obama our government is weak sauce.

        And it is a shame that what started out as a discussion about the need for true choice for American voters has for the most part devolved into a discussion of sexual politics. Not that that isn’t important, but the original scope was much broader, and all of it too was about things that are important.

  11. VicMik

    Great points Jack though tariffs do terrible things to the economy in the long run :

    1. See Smoot-Hawley Tariff and its effect on the Great Depression
    2. Even China knows that, which is why they’ve just halved their tariffs to try and boost their economy.

    Protectionism reduces competition and keeps the prices high – should we tariff the crap out of the Axis cars (German and Japanese)?

    I’d like to see Trump elected for the following:

    1. Trump Presidential Hotel in every major city
    2. First Lady former SI Swimsuit model
    3. A political wrecking ball swinging from Pennsylvania avenue all the way to Capitol Hill.

    • Domestic Hearse

      The president has no right to levy taxes or tariffs. That falls upon Congress (see 16th Amendment). Trump knows protectionism works both ways — the second you slap tariffs on another country, they respond in kind. But it’s the sentiment that’s playing well with the electorate, not the fact that he cannot do it legally, and wouldn’t do it even if he could.

      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        They say protectionism works both ways. But we’ve allowed the entire continent of Asia to engage in one-sided trade with us for a long time. Why didn’t protectionism work both ways then?

        • Domestic Hearse

          Good question. I’d imagine we let them put in place protectionist measures because to respond in kind is to only hurt our corporations with interests in those nations (shipping their products back to us – bikes, computers and electronics, sneakers and clothing, etc). Imagine how much influence multi-nationals like Nike and Apple have on congress’s power of the purse. And also, these governments don’t play by normal rules. They also use currency manipulation/devaluation as protectionism so much that to respond in kind to Asia with the dollar only hurts us in Europe and our standing as the petro-currency. Caught between a rock and two oceans, we are.

        • VicMik

          I am confused – do you believe in free markets or not? It is the consumer that “allowed” asia to prosper via demand for their products. Why would you be for government restricting consumer choices regarding from whom and for how much they should buy anything?

          I am challenging your premise that govt has any business intervening in voluntary transactions that do not violate individual rights. Because what and whose rights are being violated when Korea sells us cheap electronics?

  12. Orenwolf

    @MrFixit1599: why are the companies in question allowed to hire undocumented workers in the first place? Wouldn’t a crackdown on the companies in question resolve the issue? I mean, if Apple can exert pressure in China to stop poor labour practices there (and indeed post a very detailed yearly report on their progress), which is more or less considered the heart of workplace corruption, surely that would be even easier in America?

    Also, I wonder, if this is a widespread practice, then how much would cost of goods increase if all workers were documented (thereby causing employers to pay taxes and benefits on them)?

  13. Mopar4wd

    While I think Trump is entertaining I doubt he could win the general election he’s a bit to much of an egomaniac for modern politics. He may well win the nomination but I doubt he could win the general. If he had halfway intelligent competitors he would have already been shot down. I like Bernie and I think he could win the nomination as well but I’m not sure what would happen in a general election with Trump but I have a feeling Bernie would beat Trump. (Trump has alienated to many of the independents) I also think that old school corporations might actually back Bernie before Trump just for stability’s sake. (at least his operated in Washington before) By the way almost every 20 year old I know on face book and in Person seems to be a Bernie backer and I;m starting to see a lot of Clinton supporters posting about his speeches etc. It seems most Dems are willing to back Bernie when the time comes I think that;s less true about Trump.

    Now my real take on this based on what I know of Trumps history. I’m 90% sure he is actually doing this to destroy the republican party and get Clinton in. He has a long past with the Clinton’s and has viewed many of their policy positions favorably before this run. He also has been vaery light on attacking Clinton. Just enough it seems to make him look serious and the democrats don’t seem to fear him at all in fact they seem to love this. There will never be a way to prove it but Trump is a Clinton mole.

  14. Athos

    “They can say he went bankrupt”

    And came back, and went bankrupt again, and came back… really, how many times has he done it? I lost count.

    • Domestic Hearse

      He never filed personal bankruptcy. He filed for business bankruptcy to give him debt restructuring opportunities. This happens in the business world all the time. For some corporations, it allows them to survive and eventually thrive. In other cases, like Cerberus, they use bankruptcy after they’ve picked the carcass clean.

    • VicMik

      @orenwolf who is to pay that cost?

      If a US factory shutters because it can’t compete on price due to high taxes and expensive labor then why should the consumer be burdened by supporting uncompetitive tax policies and labor structuring?

      BTW My asian-built REI backpack has been to four continents over the past decade without a single tear stich undone…at this rate its easily the last backpack I bought.

      • Orenwolf

        @VicMik I agree with you. I purchase based on quality first, price second, and bias my selections toward local products wherever possible.

        This costs more, however. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford this choice. Many aren’t.

        However, vastly more still will happily shop at Walmart, paying the cheapest price possible. As long as that is the cultural norm, it will be very, very difficult to change the trade deficit.

        Jack et al like to believe tariffs would fix such issues on their own it seems, but I honestly believe no such change is possible unless you 1) find a solution for the underprivileged who would be unduly burdened by these rising costs, and 2) change public perception that fair trade, responsible shopping is more important than saving 5% on their purchases.

        The latter issue means there’d currently be a bloody backlash if consumer prices were raised by torrid or otherwise, to try to force local purchasing, I believe.

  15. VicMik

    @orenwolf I am with you on fair trade if that means businesses can trade across border with minimal government regulation.

    I’d like to read Jack’s thoughts on how much the “underpriveliged” are responsible for their own destiny. I appreciate that everyone starts on an uneven playing field. But with US being the land of opportunity if hard work is your thing at some point people have to claim their own successes and failures in life.

  16. dal20402

    I would just point out that the bulk of one party, both establishment and popular, disagrees with pretty much every point on your list. The issue is just that it’s a lot harder to establish leverage over the process when you are swimming against wealthy donors. Each party tends to win more often than not on issues where the donor class agrees with it.

    The exceptions on your list are issues where a contrary position would just be loony (e.g. the Fed should continue to exist, the government shouldn’t be in the business of censoring media to “protect the children”, tariffs should stay low). The parties agree on those positions for the most part because the alternative positions have proven themselves foolish.

    • dal20402

      One more thought, which may upset you, but which is right: around the world, populists on both left and right have truly horrible governing records. Populist politics feel satisfying because you get to stick a finger in the eye of people who came into power unfairly and use it unfairly for their own benefit. But, empirically, they do not lead to good economic or social results.

      I feel confident in saying that a President Trump would be regarded after eight years as the worst president in the history of the country. Worse than Harding, worse than Johnson or Grant, worse than Buchanan. In the world today, if you want to see what populists have done, look at Chavez/Maduro on the left and Putin or Viktor Orban on the right. Not exactly shining examples of good results.

      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        I think there needs to be a populist balance to corporate politics. It’s not like we haven’t had mis-governance for purposes of enriching the wealthy, so why is a bit of mis-governance for the purposes of balancing the scale any less acceptable in the greater scheme of things?

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      We have media censorship right now on a massive scale. Always have had it. It’s just changed since 1950. The idea used to be to protect kids and families from obscenity. Now it’s to perform social engineering through received images and memes.

  17. -Nate

    ” When playing the new Madden 2016 and taking selfies to post on Facebook are more important than actually showing up for a job, therein lies a large part of the issues today.”

    This .

    I live in the Blue Collar World and I see it daily , across all races and socio economic stratas .

    Same thing with Immigrants : if you’re working here and making a better go of things than you could in your shithole country , BECOME A U.S. CITIZEN ! .

    You can still send $ back to your Family but grabbing the ca$h and refusing to assimilate is dead wrong not matter what .


  18. -Nate

    ” We have media censorship right now on a massive scale. Always have had it. It’s just changed since 1950. The idea used to be to protect kids and families from obscenity. Now it’s to perform social engineering through received images and memes.”

    Must be that pesky ‘ liberal media ‘ again eh Jack ? .


  19. HankChinaski

    Agree with all your points, but….
    To be fair, it wasn’t a Saud that Congress was collectively blowing (in its own house yet ) a couple of months back.

  20. SCE to AUX

    Trump vs Biden – that’s how I’d like to see the race boil down.

    Neither guy can control his mouth, and we’d be treated to an unvarnished debate about the future of America.

  21. John McMillin

    Just can’t resist the tonic of oversimplification, can you JB? Yes, we’ve all been disappointed by our chosen parties, and we’re all uninspired by the current Presidential field. But there’s seldom been more difference between the major parties, and their followers, than now.

    One party has blocked every effort towards reform in these critical areas:
    — Campaign reform limiting money in politics: nixed by a Conservative, GOP-omionated Supreme Court majority
    — Environmental protection, because you can’t breathe from your beloved tailpipes forever
    — Progressive taxation, because without it, the rich always get richer
    — Supporting US industry, as when the GOP blocked laws to remove the tax benefits of outsourcing factories
    — Voting rights, which are whittled away in every state under Republican control

    Although I agree that half, or maybe more, of Democrats are bought off and phony, or too timid to make a difference, it seems that the entire Republican Party is owned and controlled by the wealthy corporate interests, with a boost from bigots and modern Confederates. So there, that’s your difference, so choose accordingly.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      The system relies on people like you — to see a difference between the parties, and to willingly demonize the opposition as “bigots and modern Confederates”.

      Incidentally, I was reading a hit piece on Republicans and voting rights ( and came across this hilarity:

      “Chris Christie suggested that the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s should have been decided by popular referendum. “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is under fire for suggesting white southerners should have been allowed to vote civil rights gains for blacks during the 1960s. His remark came as the State Senate Judiciary Committee was about to approve a bill this week that would move New Jersey a step closer to legalizing gay marriage. […] And then he said: ‘People would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.’” [NBC New York,”

      I understand that progressives of the era would have been unwilling to let the popular vote decide that particular issue, the same way they’ve undermined referendums on other issues, but shouldn’t that complaint be left off a website about “voting rights”?

  22. John McMillin

    I’m not sure of you’re endorsing or ridiculing Christie’s position. But the Rights guaranteed under the Constitution are set and eternal, as long as that Constitution is not amended or renounced. They are not subject to the whims of the electorate, or they would be meaningless. Rights have been extended by the actions of representative government (such as the Voting Rights act of the Civil Rights era), and by direct referendum (such as my state’s legalization of pot), but they never cancel out the Bill of Rights… and it seems part of the American Way that we more often extend rights than restrict them.

    Anyway, I’m not discussing voting on rights, but the right to vote. Every governmental measure that restricts the right to vote, from exclusion of felons, to voter ID laws, to your own Ohio’s recurrent habit of under-allocating voting machines in urban Democratic precincts, has been pushed by GOP interests. As one key GOP operative said on the record, “Our leverage goes up as the voting population goes down.” Instead, I’ll tip a hat to the deep blue state of Oregon, which has recently made registration the default status of all its citizens, unless and until they opt out. Can you roll with that, Jack?

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Voting should be hard.

      That way, only people who care about it do it.

      The reason the Republicans like it when voting is hard is because their “base” cares more than the blue base. Their voters have more future time orientation, they feel more connected to society, and they are willing to delay gratification in the service of voting.

      Frankly, I’d be in favor of either the traditional means of restricting voting — you have to own a home — or Heinlein’s version — you have to do a term of national service. Either would improve the caliber of the people making decisions for this country.

      • Domestic Hearse

        I’ve often said there should be a basic civics, history, and current events test for potential voters. Not long, maybe 20 minutes for the average American. Like a drivers exam. (Yes, I’d make it available in all major languages.) One would have to score a 75 or greater to be allowed to proceed to the booth.

        The goal is to weed out the ignorant — an ignorant vote should not be allowed to cancel out an informed one. The framers thought the same thing. One had to be free, own property, and pay taxes in order to vote (and male and white, issues that had to be resolved later).

        Does my test discriminate against the poor? The library is free and it contains every major daily paper and dozens of news periodicals, not to mention rows of books about history and political science. If a citizen did not avail themselves to a free public school education in order to make use of these resources, I’m sorry, but no vote for you.

        I also think there should be a test in order for one to procreate, and another for someone about to paint the exterior of their house, but those are topics for a different discussion.

  23. John McMillin

    Seriously? Owning a home should be a requirement for voting? Would that have to be a single-family home, not a condo? Should a mortgage be allowed? That’s not really “owning,” is it? How about an acreage requirement? Heck, this is getting too complicated– let’s just let the King and a few of his trusted Nobles run things, like in the good old days! ; >

    Maybe it’s fun to imagine yourself a member of a privileged in-group — as you are, being offered rare and exotic cars to drive for please, because of your authentic writing skills — but you can’t run a country that way. Not this country, anyhow.

    Hey, it bothers me that the guy who rents my spare house can vote. He’s certifiably brain-damaged, after a number of mishaps, and gets all his information from Rush and Fox News, no other sources (I do check out the rIght, just for intellectual stimulation). And he doesn’t even own a home! But he does share certain unalienable rights, as described in certain documents in the National Archives, and that’s good enough for me. Because he’s just as affected by political decisions, including his own bad ones, as anyone else. I’d even give him a ride to the polls (and a good talking-to) because we’re all in this together… right?

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      As I see it, the two largest problems with voting in this country:

      0. People who can’t be bothered to participate in conventional American society via the routes of employment, property ownership, children, family, et al, voting themselves the contents of the public treasury.

      1. People whose wealth and privilege protects them from ever having to put on a uniform voting a foreign policy that kills and maims the children of the poor.

      Is it possible, or desirable, to fix either situation?

  24. John McMillin

    I’m ready to see the draft return. That’s easy for me to say, since I’m over triple the registration age, but the ill effects of the all-voluntary military are too many to name here. But you lose me when you propose that only the unemployed, or landless or childless should lose the right to vote. There is a very old word for voteless residents of the realm: a subject. They have no loyalty, no allegiance, and once the right to vote is removed, no other rights either. We’ve been moving away from that since the Magna Carta, and that’s a good thing.

    As much as I admire your writing on fatherhood, cars and guitars, your politics looks worse the more you dig this hole deeper. You sound not liberal or conservative, just elitist. Oh well, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed discussing politics with David E. Davis or L.J.K Setright, either. All that horsepower goes to the head eventually, and combines with the resentment of speed enforcement on the public roads.

    Now I have to go off and research how I can vote myself the contents of the public treasury. Perhaps a how-to article is in order?

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’m very far from an elitist. I consider myself a populist in the old rabble-rousing mode. I’m very far from the one percent. But I’ve also worked and lived with the desperately poor for much of my life and I don’t hold very many illusions. I’m not Winston Smith, thinking that hope lies in the proles. The proles don’t care and they aren’t concerned with the niceties of citizenship. That’s why they don’t vote in the first place; they have no stake in matters.

      I’m for fair wages, full employment, economic mobility, family-centric lifestyle, as much local governance as possible.

      And you can’t deny that if national service *or* home ownership/indebtorship became the requirement for voting that we could have a much more nuanced discussion about policy.

      • John McMillin

        Home ownership is just an economic strategy and lifestyle choice. It isn’t a degree from the Ivy League, or a certificate of mental health. I might instead argue that only parents should vote, because they have a multigenerational stake in the future. How is a Yale grad living in a rental with four kids any less competent than Bubba over there, living alone in the trailer that momma deeded to him yesterday?

        These kind of questions are impossible to decide fairly. Because of the stakes involved in winning or stealing elections, they will instead be resolved by prejudice and trickery, on behalf of the most devious political interests. If you want to live through a double bill of Jim Crow South and the French revolution, go down that road… without me.

        If you want to hear political discourse on a slightly higher level, there’s a Canadian national election coming up. Between the net and CBC online, you can follow it easily. Their campaigns are short and relatively to the point, and campaign contributions are strictly limited. Oh, and everybody gets to vote. Can you name one modern democracy that plays by the rules you suggested?

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          Perhaps the question should be: Is there any modern democracy worth emulating?

          The Canadians have voted themselves into a hole. Ontario is indistinguishable from Bangladesh. Their social spending is so outrageous that they need tar sands to pay for it. Manufacturing is fleeing the country. Property values are either crushing or negligible. I was just in Toronto last weekend and I’m not certain we should emulate their model, unless we have an African level of natural resources to waste.

  25. John McMillin

    The rich pay more because they have a LOT more. Tax the poor? You can’t get blood from a stone.

    Actually, by every account I’ve seen, taxation is a bell-shaped curve. The upper middle class pays the highest percentage of their income in income taxes, because they haven’t attained the elite status of tax dodges used by the truly rich. Think doctors who are paid in cash, vs. executives who are paid in stock options, taxed at low capital gains rates, and other perks. Meanwhile, the poor play plenty in sales taxes, on every cent they earn and spend.

    That’s intuitively obvious, though I’m sure you can find experts spinning a different story. Like Fox News, where the truly wealth pay the rich to teach the middle class to resent the poor.

    • VicMik

      John, that’s pure Marxism! Do individual abilities have absolutely no correlation with earning potential? I get that privelige helps and those those of privelige end up being quite generous to the less fortunate througj private donations.

      “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money” -Thacher

  26. John McMillin

    When you start accusing opponents of infamous “-isms,” you lose. There are no pure Capitalist or Communist systems now, anyway, outside North Korea, perhaps. Every advanced country you could bear to live in has a mix of both principles.

    All know about economics I learned playing Monopoly. When you pass “Go,” your get $200– not for the houses and hotels you own, but because without that, it becomes a very short game. Try it sometime, and let me know if you get past 15 minutes.

    Likewise, the mission of a successful economy is not to separate winners from losers, but to keep the game going.

    • VicMik

      Marxism was invoked not to slander but to reveal your ugly premise that it’s just fine to confiscate from those with abilities and redistribute to those with a need. That premise is absolute and immoral.

      You lose when you start framing this ugly premise easy to digest class warfare slogans such as “pay their fair share” or “rich are getting richer while poor are getting poorer”

      The Fair Tax is brilliant plan in that the rich do end up paying more by being taxed on Lambos and Mansions instead of Civics and Condos. The main distinction is that the rich don’t HAVE to pay more if they CHOOSE to buy Civics.


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