Trump’s Bonfire of Washington Politics

President Trump shocked the political world and his own “base” when he struck a budget deal with Democrats to get emergency funding for Hurricane Harvey victims, reports ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

Last week, President Trump threw a grenade into the U.S. political structure. Political fragments now lie scattered on the ground around Washington. The final outcome of this lightening act by Trump may take time to fully assess, but for sure, for the coming months (and probably until the U.S. mid-term elections are over), uncertainty will reign, and foreign policy will not find it easy to shoulder its way into anyone senior’s attention.

President Trump delivers statement about damage from Hurricane Irma in Fort Myers, Florida, on Sept. 14, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

One Democratic source described the lightening-like flash of events in the Oval Office: “The sequence was GOP pushing for 18-month debt [limit increase], then 12, then 6, then Trump cutting them off and agreeing with us on 3 … The Oval Office spins fast in Trump’s White House.”

Of course, the key question is: was this “a seat of the pants whimsical punt,” or is there a wider strategy in play here? Just to be clear, what Trump did – in a trice – was this:

First, Trump supported providing $8 billion in emergency funding for Hurricane Harvey relief, without acceding to the conservative Republican demand that it be linked directly to offsetting spending cuts.

Second, he agreed to combine the Harvey relief with raising the debt ceiling, and thus cut across the Republican Freedom Caucus – the Tea Party constituency which contributed so directly to Trump’s election, and who had insisted that the two issues be voted separately.

Third, Trump sided with the congressional Democratic leadership over the Republican leadership, by conceding that the debt ceiling increase only be for three months.

Fourth, Trump apparently agreed to a three-month continuing resolution. (In the event that Congress fails to pass legislation to fund the government before a new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, the House can pass legislation to keep certain specified federal operations functioning at current spending levels. That legislation is called a Continuing Resolution (CR). This is what Democratic leaders, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, wanted, and got — without the GOP receiving a jot in return.

Finally, Trump later speculated that it might be possible to do away with the debt ceiling completely.

Mounting Debt

Why the debt ceiling is so crucial is that when an annual U.S. budget is set, it is not a simple exercise of matching expenditure and revenue because most Federal expenditure is automatic expenditure, deriving from past legislation (some, dating back decades), and which increases inexorably from its built-in automaticity. Without a debt ceiling, total U.S. debt levels effectively are uncontrolled, and their momentum is inexorably upwards – and upwards today at an accelerating pace.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York.

Automaticity in the U.S. budget already amounts to $10 trillion to $12 trillion of new debt through 2027. That – unchecked – could mean a $35 trillion public debt by 2027 (140 percent of GDP).

Well, the establishment Republican leaders were incensed by Trump’s deal with the Democrats. One GOP insider conceded to Axios: “We can’t overstate the level of despair among Republicans.”

And, furthermore, virtually all of the Freedom Caucus (core Trump supporters) voted against the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi “kick-the-can” ploy, as did 90 of the 150 members of the larger Republican Study Group. In short, neither the GOP leadership nor the “base” is happy – albeit viewing the situation from very differing ends of the GOP spectrum.

But from another perspective, while the Republican anguish is understandable — as well as their justified complaints at having lost their negotiating “cards” to the Democrats in the coming debt ceiling and budget negotiations – the raw truth is that the Republican leadership has proved incapable of any legislative action – mired, as they are in factional fights and schisms.

In other words, the two-party system in the U.S. has reached a point at which it is incapacitated. It just cannot legislate effectively – or, equally – deal with the ballooning fiscal deficit, in any meaningful way. This constitutes a major impediment for any President hoping to jump-start change. Perhaps it was in this light that President Trump decided to opt for sudden bipartisanship with the Democrats?

But will the grenade tossed into his own party’s midst achieve his agenda – radical, reflationary tax legislation? David Stockman has long argued that there is no possible GOP majority for a FY 2018 budget resolution that adds trillions of dollars to Trump’s defense, border control, veterans, and infrastructure build-ups, plus unfunded tax cuts. And which comes in addition to the $10 trillion to $12 trillion of new debt that is already built in to government expenditure through to 2027.

Stockman is likely right. And he is likely right too, that the bottom line is that the only tax bill which can pass by year-end is one that would be dictated by Democrats – Schumer and Pelosi – in return for the next kick-the-can extension of the debt ceiling and CR (continuing resolution) for the current fiscal year. Republicans therefore will likely be entering the mid-term elections naked – with nothing of any substance to show voters. Thus, the GOP fears a blood-letting.

Trump’s ‘Bubble’ Warnings

So what is going on? Trump seems almost to be inviting a debt crisis, and possibly, a substantial market sell-off too. This paradox brings us face-to-face with the biggest lacuna in understanding Trump: He has been absolutely consistent since 2000 in warning of a coming U.S. financial crisis (“whomsoever be the U.S. President”). During the presidential election campaign, he spoke of “big ugly bubbles”; he warned that the coming financial crisis would be worse – much worse – than the Great Financial Crisis of 2008.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California

He has, in short, been uncharacteristically consistent. But in the campaign, as candidate, while repeatedly warning of financial crisis, he said nothing about how he would deal with it. In one rally, he repeated this stark warning of imminent crisis, adding however that voters should not worry: We will manage it. We will “balance it out.”

More than being merely insouciant about throwing around grenades that will make his FY 2018 budget virtually impossible to achieve (so far, the full House has so far failed to even debate a FY 2018 budget resolution), Trump seems rather, to relish his guerrilla action. More than that, in managing an economy heading toward crisis (in his own estimation), Trump has deliberately surrounded himself with Goldman Sachs financial advisers – which seems somewhat akin to asking a pastry chef to advise on how to lose weight.

Is Trump thinking of using the financial crisis – which he himself has prophesied – as a form of economic catharsis? As shock therapy – in the Naomi Klein vein? That is one possibility. Although Trump has never suggested it, Steve Bannon has been quite clear (before joining Trump’s team) that his main political target – for dismantling – was the Republican Party itself. The Democrats were to be defeated – certainly – but the Republicans were the main enemy, in bed with corporate oligarchs, Bannon complained.

Is Trump’s strategy then, lavishly to promise his base, and then blame the Congressional “establishment” for failing to make the promises materialize – and then use the ensuing crisis, as shock therapy for re-constituting the Republican Party?

Bannon’s Role

Just a month or so, after apparently being ousted from his post at the White House, the Washington Post writes Steve Bannon is back on the warpath:

Steve Bannon, White House strategist for President Donald Trump. (Photo from YouTube)

“Recent reports revealed that the former Trump whisperer and ultranationalist ideologue is spearheading an effort to support a slate of primary challenges against sitting Republicans seemingly opposed to his agenda.

“’The anti-incumbent effort could dramatically reshape the 2018 primary landscape if it materializes,’ noted Politico. ‘It would pit a group of pro-Trump primary challengers against sitting lawmakers, who are perceived as more mainstream.’

“Then, in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday evening, Bannon railed against the party leadership, which he thinks has stymied Trump’s campaign promises and failed to push through key legislation, including the repeal of Obamacare, that the White House seeks.

“’The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election,’ said Bannon from his Washington townhouse, which doubles as an office for the far-right Breitbart website. ‘They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented. … It’s as obvious as night follows day. …’

“Bannon, who once described Trump as ‘a blunt instrument’ for his agenda, sees a very different political future for the United States. ‘The only question before us: Is it going to be a left-wing populism or a right-wing populism,’ he told CBS. ‘And that is the question that will be answered in 2020.’”

So, is it inside-out politics that is taking place here? Has Trump put his closest lieutenants on the outside, while bringing the establishment generals (who made him eat his hat on Afghanistan), and the Goldmanite icons of Wall Street “sharper” on the inside, so that they will carry the blame, and become the sacrifice to the shock therapy “gods” when the time comes to remake the Republican Party in the Trump image? Perhaps François Macron’s rout of the French conventional political parties, and the making of a “virtual” third party – recruited over the internet – has had its influence here?

Or, maybe, Trump just acted on a whim, and views debt as “a good thing”: plentiful and cheap debt, after all, is what floated him to billionairedom. He was before becoming President, a liberal New York businessman, with all the flexibility that that implies — if the Republicans cannot “deliver,” you do a deal with the Democrats.

As with all things, it is good to know when to stop (where the boundaries are) – and trying to trade the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, for a Mexican “wall” – in name only – may prove to have been a deal “too far.”

Breitbart, Steve Bannon’s political “weapon,” immediately went to war, and in a scathing headline, christened Trump as “Amnesty Don”:

“Staunch conservative allies of President Trump have erupted in anger and incredulity after Democrats late Wednesday announced that the president had agreed to pursue a legislative deal that would protect thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation but not secure Trump’s signature campaign promise: building a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Nearing midnight and into Thursday, social media accounts came alive as elected officials and activists on the right dashed off tweets and posts to share their shock.

“And in between those posts, there was a flurry of fuming calls and text messages — a blaring political fire alarm among Trump’s die-hard supporters.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the GOP’s biggest immigration hawks, issued a dramatic warning to the president after he scrolled through news reports.

“’If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair,’ King tweeted, referencing an Associated Press story on the bipartisan agreement.

He added, ‘No promise is credible’…

Conservative polemicist Ann Coulter, who wrote a book titled ‘In Trump We Trust’, did not buy the president’s explanation.

“’At this point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?’ Coulter tweeted on Thursday morning.”

Political Bonfire

What is coming, it seems, is not the promised tax bill, mid-wifed into existence by the Democrats, but the political conflagration that Bannon precisely forecasts: between the populist right and the populist left.  Both sides to this conflict are determined to seize America for themselves, but may end by despoiling America (and its economy) in the process.  What the DACA episode shows is the latent, angry radicalism to Trump’s base. The gloves seem to be coming off.

What does this mean for foreign policy? It means no overall direction to anything: sometimes contradictory policies will continue on autopilot – some on autopilot settings punched in during the last administration, as well as others conceived but not gestated by the (already conflicted) Trump administration.  Foreign policy largely will be ignored (apart from North Korea), as Americans become immersed in the coming internal conflict – until some foreign policy event blows up, and lands on the Washington door-step.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum. (Copyright Conflicts Forum ­- not to be reprinted, reproduced or re-circulated without prior permission. Please contact CF with any queries.)

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43 comments for “Trump’s Bonfire of Washington Politics

  1. Kelli
    September 20, 2017 at 12:46

    If there is one thing the American people need to unite under is FOREIGN POLICY AND WAR.
    In a bipartisan effort, all but four Democratic Senators voted up for a 700 BILLION defense spending bill.

    If we could just do this ONE thing, this government would likely be over thrown. But because war and foreign policy is rarely televised or discussed, the overall knowledge of war is limited to the fraudulent Russian narrative.
    It remains to be seen which event will bring America to it’s knees and shock it out of its complacency and groupthink: a financial meltdown or war.
    The even bigger question is will it then be too late??

  2. rosemerry
    September 16, 2017 at 14:21

    Good news for once!!??!!

  3. James Whitney
    September 16, 2017 at 10:54

    Alastair Crooke, you write “Perhaps François Macron’s rout of the French conventional political parties, and the making of a “virtual” third party –h recruited over the internet – has had its influence here?”

    Er, it’s Emmanuel (not François) Macron. You are correct that he routed the conventional parties, except that in large measure they committed suicide. He has an immense majority in the parliament (lower house, the most important branch) as you imply, consisting of neophytes, but not much of a mandate from the voters, enormously many either abstained or just opposed his far right opponent.

    As you know, his popularity has plummeted since last May, partly because he never had solid support in the first place, and more importantly because people are worried that the parliament (his immense majority) has allowed him to rule by executive orders (ordonnances) like Trump in order to impose the severe austerity that the European Union and big banks desire (look what they did to Greece). You know his nickname “Jupiter” which implies an imperious and dominating personality a bit like Trump

    Right now it seems that a severe resistance may develop, led by the France Insoumise movement together with several unions, and possible major disruptions in the near future led by truck drivers. You might have guessed: I support this resistance

  4. Broompilot
    September 16, 2017 at 03:03

    l’m still root in’ for The Donald. He may figure this all out and if he does I hope he finds a way to shaft every one of these sorry jokers in both parties. The nation will be grateful. All this chatter about his “base” seems ridiculous. If he has a base, it would be people tired of the status quo. This deal with Democrats should enhance his appeal as someone willing to do what it takes to get something done rather than playing partisan games.

  5. David G
    September 15, 2017 at 21:10

    Quoting from above:
    “First, Trump supported providing $8 billion in emergency funding for Hurricane Harvey relief, without acceding to the conservative Republican demand that it be linked directly to offsetting spending cuts.”

    It helped that a lot of the psychopaths in Congress who would otherwise have insisted on offsetting cuts are in the Texas delegation.

  6. backwardsevolution
    September 15, 2017 at 19:07

    A book entitled “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa” by Ilana Mercer illustrates what the U.S. future could look like. A commenter on the Amazon page said:

    “For anyone wanting to understand the truth behind the spin surrounding the New South Africa, this is the book for you. More importantly it highlights the implications of what the truth means to America and the rest of the Western world. We are constantly allowing guilt to overshadow prudent decisions and in the process we are weakening the structures which allowed us to flourish. There are certainly parallels between this political correctness and the fall of the Roman Empire.

    What is important to note is that this book has not been written by a white supremacist. Quite the contrary, the author is from a family deeply involved in the “struggle” to overturn the apartheid system, so it is not based on racism but on the reality that most people are too afraid to discuss. I think she had a lot of guts to write this book, but it is a book that had to be written.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Into-Cannibals-Pot-Lessons-Post-Apartheid/dp/0984907017/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505515710&sr=1-1&keywords=Into+the+Cannibal%27s+Pot

    These things always sound so good on paper, don’t they? Rah, rah! And, of course, you don’t really notice the damage until it’s all done, and by then it is too late. It’s the “slowly being cooked in a pot” scenario – you don’t see it coming. I would argue that’s because you’ve got your eyes closed.

    You don’t have a family when everybody is jockeying for their own positions within that family, and you don’t have a country when that happens either.

    Open your eyes and look carefully at the destruction of your country. You are actually “inviting” this destruction and in the process you are losing your family – your country.

  7. George Hoffman
    September 15, 2017 at 18:10

    Donald Trump is doing what all candidates do when they win the presidency throughout history. They tack toward the center whether they ran on the right or on the left. Just look at President Babrack Obama. Or as Sarah Palin asked a crowd of Trump supporters at political rally in Arizona during the past presidential campaign, “How that hopy, changy thing working out for you now?” Even left wing critic Noam Chomsky agreed with her in an interview I saw several months ago on YouTube when he cited her rhetorical question at that rally. All politicians lie to win elections. They lie to the family dog when they take it for a evening stroll around the neighborhood. It’s pathogical. And it’s a necessary and unwritten rule of campaigning. LBJ ran as “the peace candidate” against Barry Goldwater. After he won in a landslide, he gave us the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and his incremental escalation into the Vietnamese civil war. Ronald Reagan ran on his famous sound bite of the “government isn’t the solution but the problem.” But by his second term, he was defending Medicare against the fiscal conservatives on the right wing of the Republican Party. General Dwight Eisenhower won promising to dismantle New Deal legislation. Instead he got through Congress his highway interstate construction bill in 1956 that in real dollars adjusted for inflation would now cost around $480 billion. It remains even now the largest public works legislation ever passed by Congress and that includes when FDR was president. And just as with Reagan, the right-wing of the GOP felt betrayed. The talking heads, pundits, policy wonks at think tanks, the politicians in both parties and even Steve Bannon inside his Braitbart bunker at his townhouse may be having an emotional meltdown. But Trump could care less. He discards alliances and allegiances like a whore does the previous client, and sincerely says to the next client, “I love you long time.” They’re all whores. And that’s because the average American voter is a gullible mark easlily manipulated by the con artist which is what politicians are. As long as Trump’s basket of deplorables don’t desert him, he will weather the latest storm, and he will continue to make deals with the Democrats. He did it through his four bankruptcies. And he came out smelling like a rose even though he stiffed union workers, small contractors, employees, etc. who were never paid the money they rightfully deserved. Oh, I’m sorry the bankers who took over his gambling casinos did put him on a financial leash – to the tune of around $425,000 per year. But we all have to make sacrifices now and then for the greater good. I did read an op-ed by Pat Buchanan, the father of the culture wars and economic nationalism, at the conservative Townhall website. He brought up how Trump’s unholy alliance with the Democrats reminded him of when Bush One reneged on his promise of “read my lips, no new taxes,” and signed into law a tax increase. It eventually came back to haunt him and bit him on the arse when he ran against Bill Clinton. That’s seems to be the $64,000 question. Will Trump’s loyal supporters turn on him like they did with Bush One? And will Bannon continue to attack him from his bunker? The attention span of most voters never rises above a teenager with a mild case of ADHD Disorder. But as you can see, I’m a card-carrying cynic when it comes to “The People.” Or as GWB once observed, “You can fool all of the people some of the time. That’s the ones I concentrate on.”

    • Gregory Herr
      September 15, 2017 at 23:08

      “You can fool all of the people some of the time. That’s the ones I concentrate on.” This sounded to me like something Yogi Berra would quip. But Bush never struck me as one who was ever very funny on purpose…just accidentally. So I checked…Bush actually said “you can fool some of the people all of the time…that’s the ones I concentrate on.” Bush’s dubious powers of concentration notwithstanding…he meant this in a straightforward way, and was fairly successful at it.

      • George Hoffman
        September 16, 2017 at 05:43

        I stand corrected for my misquote. Thank you, Gregory. i was going to look it up as I was writing, but I was in the throes of vetting my spleen at the time.

  8. September 15, 2017 at 16:00

    ‘Why the debt ceiling is so crucial is that when an annual U.S. budget is set, it is not a simple exercise of matching expenditure and revenue because most Federal expenditure is automatic expenditure, deriving from past legislation (some, dating back decades), and which increases inexorably from its built-in automaticity. Without a debt ceiling, total U.S. debt levels effectively are uncontrolled, and their momentum is inexorably upwards – and upwards today at an accelerating pace.’

    Absolute nonsense. No on in the World has a ‘Debt Ceiling’ because it is completely artificial (Alastair, please tell me what the debt ceiling is for the UK). One can certainly debate debt levels, but to place an arbitrary ‘ceiling’ on it, and then act as if there is a crisis every time we approach it, is self-inflicted torture (our favorite type). Anyone with any sense has argued for decades that we simply dispense with the whole stupid concept.

    • Seer
      September 15, 2017 at 16:27

      “No on [sic] in the World has a ‘Debt Ceiling’ because it is completely artificial”

      Like ANYTHING in politics isn’t artificial?

      As for no one else having a ceiling, please refer to the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability_and_Growth_Pact).

      The POINT of a debt ceiling is to keep spending in check. Do you not have limits on your spending? Are they somehow related to nature’s laws or are they “arbitrary?”

      The “debt ceiling” IS what is used to debate deficit spending. Of course, Congress does anything but really debate reality, but that’s another thing for flogging.

      Do not miss that there has been an economic crisis since 1971 when Nixon dumped the gold standard. That action was basically a default on the USD, but the US never admitted it (all since then has been trying to run away from it- it’s STILL there, in the form of a worthless dollar; don’t think there are consequences? watch as alternative reserve currencies come around [US has been killing leaders who had championed trade “tokens” which were more grounded in reality- this should give you an idea of how desperate folks are to hang on to Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter” mantra]).

    • backwardsevolution
      September 15, 2017 at 20:00

      SteveK9 – continually raising the debt ceiling dilutes money that is already is existence. Money is SUPPOSED to represent actual hours worked, hours you’ve slaved at your job. It’s a slap in the face to anybody who has worked hard and put some money away for their retirement.

      Hey, I can tell myself there’s no ceiling on how much vodka I drink or how much food I eat in a day. “Hey, look, I can still ride my bike!” But eventually it catches up with you.

      I can see raising the debt ceiling if your country is being attacked or for emergencies like hurricanes, but to continually keep raising the debt ceiling is to make a joke out of work.

      It’s the same thing I said on immigration (up above), that it dilutes the existing culture that is already in existence. It’s a system. Monkey around with it, pretend there’s no ceiling if you want, but all these things have serious repercussions down the line.

      You end up with worthless money and no cohesive culture, IOW no country.

      • backwardsevolution
        September 15, 2017 at 20:49

        SteveK9 – same thing with the people who want no ceiling put on “growth”. To these people, somehow you can have infinite growth on a finite planet.

        All of these things are fragile “systems” and they should be treated as such. I’m tired of people just willy nilly monkeying with systems, those who assert “what’s it going to hurt?” or those who think “it’s all good”. No, it isn’t all good because for every winner you set up, there is a loser on the other end.

        Using my over-eating analogy (from above), it might feel good to double my calories every day. I mean, what’s it going to hurt? I might have to go out and buy a pair of bigger pants; no big deal. Over time, I need more and more calories, I get bigger and bigger, and pretty soon my heart, knees and feet start to complain. My stomach is a happy winner, but the rest of me is the loser.

        Look at the total situation from ALL sides.

  9. backwardsevolution
    September 15, 2017 at 15:34

    Trump: “And ultimately we have to have the wall. If we don’t have the wall, we’re doing nothing.” He also said, “The wall to me is vital. If we don’t get the wall, then we will become the obstructionists.”
    And: “…the wall will be funded, otherwise we’re not doing any deals.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD9srFIUeFw

    Trump reiterates that this is NOT an amnesty. It is allowing DACA to “stay”. This means they will not be citizens. They will not be allowed to vote and they will not be able to bring in their relatives via family reunification. They can apply for citizenship, but then their numbers would count in upcoming immigration numbers, and Trump wants future immigration numbers cut in half.

    Trump is not a fascist. He’s a centrist. He’s not a warmonger like the far right, and he’s not a progressive like the far left. The Republican party, bought and paid for by corporate donors, is fighting Trump, so he goes to the Democrats to try to hammer out a deal. Obama didn’t even work with Congress; he ruled by executive decree. Obama just threw his hands up in the air and didn’t work with any of them. At least Trump is trying to work with people, trying to get something done.

    The amount of DACA people who serve in the military is small, about 800 or 900. A good many are interpreters, i.e. Farsi interpreters. Their average wage is about $15.00/hour, exactly the hourly wage that most “existing” American citizens are having to compete with as far as jobs.

    The country doesn’t need more low-skilled labor.

    • Seer
      September 15, 2017 at 15:48

      Obama didn’t work with Congress because Congress wouldn’t work for HIM! Congress was basically controlled by the GOP. Surely you know that the GOP’s strategy was to disallow ANYTHING Obama put forth, to obstruct. Trump is part of the GOP, and the GOP controls all segments of government. His lunatic projects are too much for the GOP to take, so he goes to the Dems to see if he can’t make a deal with them.

      “At least Trump is trying to work with people, trying to get something done.”

      Doing for doing’s sake isn’t a strategy. Building walls to keep out the “rapists and drug dealers” isn’t being a fascist or a racist?

      I’d like to think that Trump actually does have a plan. I see this not so much as him having superior prowess as much as I see it as nothing but the actions of a pariah. He’s Chancey Gardner (“Being There” – Peter Sellers), folks have totally read into him what they wanted.

      • backwardsevolution
        September 15, 2017 at 16:05

        Seer – I watched a documentary on MS-13 from El Salvador. I believe it said that half of the population of El Salvador is now in the United States. MS-13 members who came to the United States came because they wanted to be upstanding citizens? Come on! Of course they include “rapists and drug dealers”. It is what they do. Talk to the people in El Salvador who are living under their tyranny.

        Part of having a “country” is having sovereignty, the ability to control your borders, bring people in when “you” want them, not the other way around. Funny how when you want to maintain your own sovereignty that YOU’RE all of a sudden the BAD person, and not the people who are crossing the border illegally!

        Open borders (globalist/Soros thinking) is what is absolutely destroying countries. If you don’t have control of your borders, you don’t have a country.

        If you define that as “fascist”, then have at it. Scream all you want, go blue in the face. Add in “racists, bigots, nationalists, white nationalists”. Go for it. People are not listening to that crap any more. They have had enough.

        This is a war between nationalists and globalists. Which side are you on?

        • Seer
          September 15, 2017 at 17:09

          “This is a war between nationalists and globalists. Which side are you on?”

          I try to stay away from human hubris as much as I can.

          I’m neither a nationalist or a globalist. History tells us, however, that tribal systems have the longest staying power as far as human collectiveness goes. I base my decisions/life on probabilities that are based on reality (physics and such).

          People don’t know history. They will repeatedly, therefore, endeavor to do battle with hobgoblins.

          The US has been stirring trouble in other countries, thereby pushing radical elements out of those countries (or creating them and they then push out). Historical FACT. If the US would quit making life in other countries horrible then maybe folks wouldn’t be pushing to get into the US?

          Trump effectively broad-brushed an entire civilization of people. If there are threats in the US then those should be deal with. But to think that a “wall” would keep out “bad hombres” is naive.

          Authoritarianism IS fascism. Cuddle up!

          • backwardsevolution
            September 15, 2017 at 18:43

            Seer – oh, come on. Obama basically opened up the borders and welcomed in the people coming from Central America. “Come on in, and get in while the getting is good!” There are vested interests from both sides (Democrats and Republicans) who can’t get enough (their campaign donors are dictating which way they vote). Add in the Chamber of Commerce/immigration industry lobby, the Catholic Church and other charities, and you’ve got a welcoming party par excellence.

            “Authoritarianism IS fascism”? Really? Next you’ll be telling me that “patriotism is racism” or that “assimilation is cultural genocide”. This type of thinking is straight from the globalist/Soros handbook and is precisely what is causing the U.S. to begin circling the drain.

            “…tribal systems have the longest staying power as far as human collectiveness goes.” Well, you got that part right. The tribe that built the U.S. actually wants a country, not a collection of identity groups. “Yeah, we hate you, you fascist pigs. Now give me my preferential treatment, my free education/medical care, subsidized housing, and shut the f*ck up!” Yeah, that’ll work (not).

            Tribalism is what has always kept groups together. In tribalism there is “trust”, safety. Substitute tribalism for a hodgepodge of different cultures and vested interests and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

            I agree that the U.S. needs to get out of other people’s business. Of course they’re not in these other countries to promote “democracy”. It’s all about theft of resources. We all know that. But there are many coming from countries that the U.S. is NOT in: China, India, and others. Anchor babies needs to be stopped. I suppose you’d call that “authoritarianism” too. Yeah, try getting into these countries. No can do. Try getting into South Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, India. Nope, not gonna happen.

            So where is the word “stupid” stamped on American citizens’ foreheads? Because I don’t see it. Is their country, the country their ancestors built (and, yes, they did), to be turned into a dumping ground for everybody who steps foot over the U.S. border? Even people from Africa are flying into Mexico and then making their way across the U.S. border. It’s a joke.

            Look what’s happened to South Africa. Government officials and every lefty known to mankind were out there shouting to “bring down that wall”, while 25,000 Africans per week were pouring into the territory. Aparthied was evil. You could even call it “authoritarian”. South Africa was 350 years in the making, similar to the U.S., and yet it was dismantled very quickly. Well, look at it now! Why, it’s a picture of good governance and fair treatment (not)! It’s a cesspool.

            You said you’re neither a nationalist or a globalist. I think maybe you need to decide one way or the other because there is no “in between”, kind of like having a wife and three girlfriends on the side. Lots of fun, you might think, but a destruction of “family”. This slide into the abyss does not HAVE to happen, but bad policy can and WILL bring it about if that’s what you want. Wait, maybe that IS what you want. That’s it, isn’t it?

            You’re calling people who want to control their borders “fascists” and “deplorables”. Amazing. You want the U.S. to go down. I understand you now.

            Keep it up and the designation of THIRD WORLD COUNTRY is staring you right in the face. Now, go cuddle up to that.

        • mike k
          September 15, 2017 at 18:36

          PRETENDING THAT WHITE RACIST EXCEPTIONALISM IS NOT BEHIND HOW THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED, AND IS STILL A MAJOR DYNAMIC AS IT LURCHES FORWARD TOWARDS AMAAGEDDON, WILL NOT MAKE IT GO AWAY.

          • mike k
            September 15, 2017 at 18:38

            My PC did the all caps (and misspelled Armageddon!) Not my fault…….

    • September 16, 2017 at 19:24

      Backwards…I’ve been following your debate with Seer and as usual you articulate a lot of passion, much of which I could agree with but I fail to understand your persistent faith in Trump i.e. “Trump is not a fascist. He’s a centrist.”. It should be evident by now that Trump is an opportunist and that description doesn’t require a left/right label. As far as “centrists” go the Clintons and Obama could easily fall into that description and I might add there is nothing particularly appealing about political centrists i.e. a pear rots from the center. Perhaps you might agree that the disintegration of democracy in this country accelerated with Reagan’s trickle down economics( union-busting, outsourcing, mergers,free trade, open borders). This was an epoch of paternalism(government from the top) that has led to a shadow government where the president doesn’t hold much power(it’s basically held by the same corporate interests that controlled Reagan).
      My point being we can’t expect any heroism from the top, it has to come from the bottom. It was not the DACA peoples fault that they are here but if future immigration is to be controlled something has to be done about the polarization of wealth(note that Trump’s tax proposal had deep cuts in the top bracket). Also the wall(at least on the surface)is a ridiculously expensive idea, but even if this is a “bargaining position” we have a much greater need for ideas that will unite the country.

      The other point I wanted to make concerns the bifurcation of your question to Seer “This is a war between nationalists and globalists. Which side are you on?” When speaking of “patriotism” I am reminded of Mark Twain’s definition “Patriotism…is loyalty to the government when it deserves it”. Obviously it leaves a lot of room for individual interpretation. But globalism is another matter. If we’re talking about the belief that all nations(or tribes) should have the right to choose their own government, then count me in as a globalist. But if we’re talking about TPP, NAFTA and other guises for multinationals to avoid taxes/local environmental laws and exploit cheap labor in one country to avoid paying a decent wage in another, then I guess you could call me a nationalist. But when it comes to patriotism I am reminded of another quote attributed to Samuel Johnson”patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.

      • September 16, 2017 at 20:25

        B.E….the Johnson quote wouldn’t apply to you, of course, but it could describe all those “patriots” that insist on a pledge of allegiance in order for others to fight their wars.

        • backwardsevolution
          September 17, 2017 at 01:15

          BobH – by “nationalism” I don’t mean “rah, rah, U.S.A.”, wave the flag, kill the enemy. I mean a quiet patriotism, a minding of your own business, looking after your own citizens, upholding the Constitution, trading fairly with other countries, defending your borders, actually having borders. Pretty much the opposite of what I said about “globalism” (see below).

      • backwardsevolution
        September 17, 2017 at 00:50

        BobH – I don’t see Trump as an opportunist. If he were truly an opportunist, he’d be joining in with the elite. An indication he’s not joining them is their complete and continued vilification of him by his own party, the Democrats, the media, the intelligence agencies, and on and on.

        “Centrist” was probably a poor choice of words. What I meant is he’s not a warmonger, not a neocon, and he’s not a social justice warrior, not into identity politics. I see him as standing in the middle and looking at all sides (just like he did in Charlottesville), asking what is good for the country. I see him less in the pockets of the corporations, at least with regards to multinational corporations. He got rid of the TPP and he’s renegotiating NAFTA, and he’s wanting to stop the constant flow of low-skilled labor coming across the border that is keeping wages down. He also wants to bring jobs back (if that’s possible) by renegotiating trade deals.

        Yes, I think the 80’s (Reagan, Thatcher, the “greed is good” decade) was when it all began to slide, the age of neoliberalism. To me, the Clinton’s are every bit as guilty as Reagan, though, if not more so. Reagan was a movie star. I put Trump in about the same league (not learned), although I see Trump as having a much better intuitive sense than Reagan, who was led by the nose. While Reagan bumbled on, the neocons circled the wagon. They chose Reagan well. But I look at Reagan as someone who never fully realized what he had done, absolutely blind to what occurred on his shift, unaware of the danger.

        But the Clinton’s were both trained lawyers, well-schooled in the ways of government, and as slick as they come. In fact, I’m surprised they don’t slide off every chair they attempt to sit in. If you want to talk about “opportunistic”, you won’t find a better example than those two (private servers to get around Freedom of Information requests, deletion of emails, destruction of hard drives, Clinton Foundation, NAFTA, repeal of Glass Steagall, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act). The “giant sucking sound” decade, just like Ross Perot predicted, with Mr. and Mrs. Slick at the helm.

        Yes, Trump might be getting sucked into “trickle down” again. Maybe he remembers the 80’s and thinks it was all good, productive, and wants to get that back. I think he believes that if he gives the rich tax cuts and renegotiates the trade deals, the corporations will bring the jobs back. That might happen, and it would be nice if it did, but I doubt very much whether anything is going to trickle down. Maybe getting jobs back is all we can hope for. Things have changed, Bob. It used to be these corporations showed allegiance to their home country. Not anymore. In order to entice them back, perhaps providing them tax cuts AND threatening to nail them (import duties) if they use offshore manufacturing might do the trick. We’ll see.

        “My point being we can’t expect any heroism from the top, it has to come from the bottom.” Yes, but how about from the top AND the bottom, a giant squeeze? Instead of Antifa out there with more “it’s all about me”, maybe they could actually help by protesting against the wars. Trump is the first President who has been serious about having good relations with Russia, the first one who actually wanted peace, a serious curtailment of wars and NATO, and yet where is Antifa? Out protesting him! They’re more worried about a pink bathroom and shutting down free speech than they are about waking up tomorrow. Had these clowns gotten behind Trump and rallied and protested for a stoppage of the wars, a golden opportunity might have been realized. Priorities.

        Unity? Stop all immigration completely for years and let the people assimilate. It was done in the past because it was necessary. Without that, expect race wars. It’s coming.

        Globalism, from my perspective, is supranational entities (courts, tribunals) overriding your own government’s laws. International government. It’s open borders, no nationalities, no culture. No tribes, no unity. Kind of like having an open marriage, and we all know how that ended up.

        I could go on, but that’s enough.

        • September 17, 2017 at 12:48

          B.E…Okay, there is much we agree on here i.e. Reagan, the Clintons etc.. There is also our common cause that a misguided foreign policy is catastrophic to the general interests of everyone left and right. We also agree that identity politics has been used to divide the populace and deflect attention from what should be the core issues, the polarization of wealth(which affects all areas of domestic policy) and the perpetual state of war(affects all areas of foreign policy), with international trade practices affecting both domestic and foreign policy. Here we find Trump all over the map, contradicting himself on foreign policy,castigating trade agreements w/Beijing while Ivanka outsources her high end products to China. He starts trash talk with N.K. and expects China to “fix it”. He wants better relations w/Russia but appoints cabinet ministers and a CIA director w/the opposite view. He states defeating ISIS is a priority, but bombs a Syrian govt. airfield. He states he can make peace w/ the Palestinians, but sends his pandering son-in-law to fawn on Netanyahu. Are we to believe this is all part of some grand scheme to impose a Pax Americana? Your argument seems to be that even a loose cannon can shoot strait once in a while but it seems to me more like Russian roulette.

          On the domestic scene I believe Trump’s comments on Charlottesville only served to deflect attention from the core issue of inequality that should concern the demonstrators on both sides. Incidentally, I don’t consider Antifa the radical left as their tactics are nihilistic and destructive. In my definition of left/ right those who favor radical change are left and those who favor the status quo are right but sometimes its better to view the political spectrum as a circle where left meets right and when protests favoring constructive change become violent that’s where left meets right. An autocratic regime like N.K is a good example of the institutionalization of this merger, a regime that’s communist in name but fascist in structure.
          Anyway, that’s all for now.B.E….thanks for stimulating these thoughts!

          • backwardsevolution
            September 17, 2017 at 14:27

            BobH – well, considering (and just put yourself in Trump’s position for a few minutes) what Trump has been up against, maybe he surrounded himself with generals because he felt it was the smart thing to do at the time? You know, throw a few bones to the military while they protect you?

            Paul Craig Roberts said from the beginning that Trump was going to have a very hard time choosing people because he needed to get people who knew their way around Washington (as he didn’t), but people like that are usually part of the swamp. And even when he did pick people who he thought would be on side, they have failed him, i.e. Jeff Sessions. He’s not going to go after Lois Lerner? What? Where are the investigations into the Clinton Foundation? I don’t know what’s going on with Jeff Sessions, whether he’s been threatened or what, but he is not helping at all. And he ended up having to recuse himself from the Russian investigation? Aaaaaah! And that’s just Jeff Sessions.

            The swamp is deep, my friend. Look at Rosenstein, Mueller, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lynch, Holder, Clinton, the Senate, the House, and the rest of the crooks. They’re up to their necks in swamp water and they’re trying to pull Trump under.

            Of course Trump is floundering. Do you think you’d still be standing? These people are out for the kill. When you are being hunted, it might make sense to somewhat placate your enemies, just until you can get a handle on what’s going on. Of course, when Steve Bannon left, he did say it was “over”, so maybe Trump HAS been killed off. Hey, that’s not a criticism of him so much as it’s a criticism of what’s so wrong with the country.

            I think there are a lot of people out there who are too “pie in the sky” about what’s really going on. They think: well, Trump should just fix it. I think he would have if he could have. So maybe he hangs around for his full four years, floundering, placating, but maybe he stalls enough to get the situation in Syria and the rest of the Middle East turned around. That’s not a small thing, is it? While he blusters and yells, maybe he keeps us from a nuclear war with Russia. Again, not a small thing.

            He can’t stop the neocons/swamp on his own. He must have the people behind him. But the swamp (big money, Soros, corrupt politicians, the media) are making sure that that doesn’t happen. They’re making sure that Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and every other bought-and-paid-for outfit are out there in full force, and the useful idiots are happy to oblige. A lot of Trump supporters are actually working, working two and three jobs just to get by. They don’t have time to be out battling with Antifa. But if they are pushed, which I believe is starting to happen, they will come out, and then all hell is going to break loose.

            I mean, look at the difference between Antifa and Occupy. One was shut down (it was a threat TO the swamp) with pepper spray and arrests, and one has essentially been able to run roughshod all over the place (because they are doing what the swamp wants).

            When I say this is a war, I mean it. But some don’t really see the war, preferring to get caught up in the small picture.

            You and I don’t know what Trump is facing on a day-to-day basis. Put yourself in his shoes for one minute. Surround yourself with knives and then play out in your mind what you’d get done.

          • September 17, 2017 at 15:00

            “Put yourself in his shoes for one minute.”…B.E….I doubt I could afford his shoes…but puns aside we’ll wait and see what happens and pick this up another time…best wishes!

  10. Seer
    September 15, 2017 at 15:18

    Another thing that makes for an interesting twist is that the Dems are working with Trump who is “friends with Putin” and “Putin is responsible for the Dems losing the election.” Anyone think that the Dems might back off on this (in lieu of Trump caving in)?

  11. mike k
    September 15, 2017 at 15:12

    The only thing coming out of Washington is lies and confusion. The MSM is the same. The simple truth is avoided like the plague. People like Assange, Manning, or Snowden who dare to speak the truth are treated like criminals.

  12. Herman
    September 15, 2017 at 14:38

    Depressing.

  13. hatedbyu
    September 15, 2017 at 14:34

    just thought i’d share this from obama…..

    “Now, this debt ceiling — I just want to remind people in case you haven’t been keeping up — raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy. All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you’ve already racked up, Congress. It’s a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved.”

  14. hatedbyu
    September 15, 2017 at 14:31

    don’t even know where to go from this article. so many things going on against the base. is there a larger strategy? did the dudes in the black suits take him into the back room and show him the jfk shooting from a film no one else has seen before?(ie bill hicks)…

    the debt ceiling thing could be explained somewhat. when he was getting into the casino business he inserted himself in the news with all the bluster he could to push through his plans. very much like the trump we all knew before politics. he had repeatedly said he would stay away from junk bonds. and how horrible they were.

    when all the other methods failed he had to go that route. he paid dearly for the mis step. as did others who had to settle. what i got from reading about this event in trumps life was that he became really anti bank. not enough not to use them, just anti bank.

    from my own undertanding of debt, i find it hard to believe there is something more in the works. i don’t buy the debt is great ,keynesian take nor do i think that trump does either. so what’s really going on?

    i remember at the beginning of the race, some on the right were saying that trump could not be trusted because he was really a democrat. could it be true?

  15. mike k
    September 15, 2017 at 13:39

    This kind of chaos and uncertainty is exactly what the deep state wants to avoid by removing Trump from office. Pence would be much more predictable and controllable by them. Expect them to redouble their efforts through Mueller’s investigation to impeach Trump, or get enough on him to force him to resign. Just ask yourself what you would do if you were a deep state player, to protect your assets and control from this loose cannon? Having this guy upset your carefully laid plans would not be tolerable…..

  16. September 15, 2017 at 13:35

    There are “Bonfires” in a number of countries, caused by “Washington Politics” and others.
    —————————————————————————————-
    September 15, 2017
    “The Victims of Devastation and Destruction “

    Devastation and destruction brought about by Hurricane Irma left many homeless and their houses destroyed. Some lost their lives. Planes flew in to bring supplies and help those suffering from lack of food and water. Tourists were airlifted back to their home countries, and very thankful to be home. A Telethon raised money. Politicians were interviewed and proclaimed that all these unfortunate places to be devastated by Hurricane Irma would be rebuilt and every effort would be made to help the victims, and rightly so.

    Meanwhile, other victims–but of people in power (past and present)–have had their homes destroyed and decimated in illegal wars. Millions of people are dead; millions are refugees; and the planes flying in to these war-torn countries are dropping bombs and missiles. Where is the aid for them? Death is a daily visitor to this man-made horror. Yet, these “compassionate leaders” are some of the same “leaders” that are dropping bombs on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries, while at the same time uttering platitudes over Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Dare one call them “heinous hypocrites”?…

    [read more at link below]

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/09/the-victims-of-devastation-and.html

  17. Michael Kenny
    September 15, 2017 at 12:16

    I’m much more cynical. When Trump did the deal, Hurricane Irma was forecast to hit Florida four-square, go right up the middle of the state and wreak havoc on both coasts. Trump has eight properties in Florida, including Mar a Lago. He would have had to reckon with a massive financial loss from Irma, which he no doubt wanted to recoup from federal funds. To justify a rapid aid package for Irma victims, he had first to get an aid package for Harvey. The Republicans wouldn’t give it to him, so he turned to the Democrats. I wouldn’t look for deep meanings in Trump’s actions.
    As for Bannon, his describing Trump as “a blunt instrument’ for his agenda” reveals a great deal. From day one, Trump was never intended to be a real president. He was to be a stooge, a useful idiot to serve Bannon’s purposes and was supposed to be happy with just preening himself in front of the TV cameras and pouring lots of taxpayers’ money into the coffers of companies he owns. Clearly, the Boss (Ivanka) didn’t like that!
    Primary battles are a kamikaze strategy. They are designed to destroy the Republican Party by creating a “Sanders effect”. The supporters of the disappointed candidate will stay at home on election day, giving the seat to the Democrats. Bannon’s purpose might be to give the Democrats a majority in the House so as to impeach Trump in the belief that enough Republican senators would go along with the Democrats to remove him from office. There’s no doubt that Trump has become a liability to those who propelled him into office.

    • Zachary Smith
      September 15, 2017 at 13:09

      No mention of Putin or Ukraine? Well, the flu bug has been going around, I hear.

      There’s no doubt that Trump has become a liability to those who propelled him into office.

      Difference of opinion here, but if the phrase Trump being “propelled into office” has any meaning, it has to apply to the operations of the Democratic National Committee as well as the incredible fortune/misfortune (depending on how you’re looking at it) of him (Trump) running against Hillary Clinton.

      • Gregory Herr
        September 15, 2017 at 22:29

        Even propagandists can’t just keep turning in the same homework.

        I suppose Trump’s Florida properties are woefully underinsured…he must have been in a panic to get Texas disaster relief through to set the stage for Irma disaster relief for his own benefit. Oh brother!

        And if the phrase “remove him from office” has meaning, the Podesta-Clinton ploy to blame Russia and Putin-Trump collusion (there’s your opening Kenny) had to be mentioned.

  18. Brad Owen
    September 15, 2017 at 12:16

    Doing away with the debt ceiling is very encouraging. Trump must be talking to the EIR folks (Executive Intelligence Review). Go to EIR search box and type in “Federal Capital Budget” and read EVERYTHING about it that comes up on the reading list. It is the American System of Political Economy credit system as designed by A. Hamilton, used by Lincoln, used again by FDR. Taxes and debt are near irrelevancies. One article; “Debt as Capital Gains” wouldn’t even come up. It must be “radioactive” to the Monetarist Oligarchs, dis-allowing it to show up on a computer search.

    • Brad Owen
      September 15, 2017 at 12:27

      found that lost article. You get to it from the article: “Capital budgeting for economic growth”

    • Seer
      September 15, 2017 at 15:34

      You and Dick Cheney would get along well. Cheney proclaimed that debt didn’t matter.

      I fully understand that there are folks that make a killing on debt. Removing accountability in the hopes of pulling the chair out from these folks is an interesting strategy. Pretty sure that the ruthless will just find another mechanism.

      EVERY empire collapses. Reason being is not the monetarist oligarchs, such folks only ride the system. It’s the System. EIR, nor anyone else’s ideological schemes, would turn out any different given that ALL are based on GROWTH, and perpetual growth on a finite system is NOT possible.

      Taxes are irrelevant? Try telling that to fixed income folks whose property taxes keep getting pushed up (while they age and have to spend more for medical). My local county jacked up property taxes because there was a revenue loss due to, wait for it… decreased properties (some homes were destroyed). With this logic if everyone in my county left but me I would be the one that would have to fund the entire county budget.

      • Brad Owen
        September 15, 2017 at 16:16

        Oh just read the articles will you? we are talking past each other about two different things, and I don’t have the time or inclination to set you right, when the articles will do a much better job of that.

        • Seer
          September 15, 2017 at 16:33

          And I don’t have the time to set YOU right. You couldn’t keep up with anyway: stuck in the fog.

  19. Sally Snyder
    September 15, 2017 at 11:21

    Here is an interesting look how a virtual U.S. – Mexico wall is already being developed:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/07/the-virtual-united-states-mexico-border.html

    Whether American voters want to admit it or not, the Trump wall is already in place.

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