Hand on Heart Halloween Citizenship Birtherism

The current absurdities seem to primarily result from the following:

1. The absolute contempt with which Parliament and the people regard each other. It is generally accepted that almost any amendment to the Constitution proposed by Parliament will be rejected by the people. This is described as Australia having a very rigid Constitution, the language of which must therefore be interpreted creatively by the High Court to keep it up to date. In fact we have a Constitution that is very easy to amend. It just requires a simple majority at a referendum, not two-thirds or three-quarters or any other such difficulty. It also requires a simple majority in each of a simple majority of States, which could result in a proposal unpopular in smaller States being defeated despite a popular majority. This is intentional but unimportant as Australia is exceptionally homogenous. If it ever became a real problem it could be overcome by a “creation of peers” as with the British House of Lords, i.e the bigger States could temporarily divide themselves into multiple small States each with a larger population than Tasmania and then carry a change to that entrenched provision. But it has not been a problem. The frozen Constitution results from Parliament not proposing necessary changes, not from any rigidity.

2. Despite having such an easily amended Constitution, the Parliament has never put to the people anything the people would accept concerning Australia’s Constitutional relations with Britain. Instead various Parliaments (national, State and British) carried various “Australia Acts” none of which could amend the Constitution without consent of the people. The High Court has pretended that at some unknown date Britain, New Zealand and other dominions mentioned in the Constitution became “foreign”. The alternative would have established an absurdly anachronistic distinction between Australians of “British” origin and those “wogs” of other origins such as Greek, Italian etc.

3. But the distinctions they made are as nonsensical as those they avoided. Dual and multiple citizenships are a natural development of immigration, multiculturalism and globalism. Any provisions at all concerned with “dual allegiance” are completely anachronistic. But instead of Parliament routinely fixing anachronistic provisions through simple referenda as was done regarding Aboriginals, the High Court has taken it upon itself to usurp the functions of the legislature established by the Constitution for amending it – the referendum of the people. Given a complete absence of interest in politics among the people, the Parliament and Courts can get away with this, treating apathy as acquiescence. As soon as people actually care, such usurpation of popular sovereignty would be unsustainable.

4. Much of the commentary demonstrates even greater ignorance of the law, the High Court decisions, and the history of the democratic revolution in English speaking countries than that of the learned judges themselves, so I may just be adding to that confusion, but I am struck by a couple of points. I have at least read the latest judgments which is unusual.

5. As far as I can make out the Court of Disputed Returns is invalidly constituted. It is a Parliamentary tribunal performing Parliamentary functions until the Parliament otherwise provides. This should be just as much separated from justices of the High Court exercising the judicial power as any executive administrative tribunal, according to very clear precedents. Getting bogged down in this stuff helps illustrate why that separation of the judiciary from executive or legislative administration is important. So it is about time somebody with an interest at stake put them out of their misery by giving the High Court an opportunity to declare itself free from having to deal with this stuff. If anybody actually cared they would sue disqualified members under the Common Informers Act and there would be multiple layers to go through before anything arrived at the High Court.

6. As far as I can make out, the High Court has decided that Britain is a “foreign power” and decided many years ago that its subjects are “aliens” unless Australian citizens. Whether or not that makes any sense at all, it does not settle the issue of whether Australian citizens who are not aliens are or are not “entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power”. On the face of it that question is firmly settled by the 1948 Nationality Acts in both Britain and Australia as agreed on by an imperial conference. These clearly and unambiguously provide that Australian citizens are “British subjects”. If so, then proof of Australian citizenship, is in itself, in the absence of some renunciation of being a British subject, proof of disqualification. As far as I can make out this point has never been considered, let alone settled. It is hard to predict under what obfuscation legislation declaring Australian citizens to be British subjects could be interpreted as enabling them to renounce that status while remaining Australian citizens, let alone somehow ensuring that they have implicitly done so unless they happen to have British parents or whatever.

7. There was no Australian citizenship until 26 January 1949. A large majority of Australians of my generation and older were and are British subjects – subjects of a foreign power. Not just those with parents who were born in Britain but also anyone who is an Australian citizen including those born in Australia as Australians going back to the first fleet (perhaps excluding Aborigines if desperately TRYING to be obstreperous). This is well known. Unless the foreign power, Britain, has deprived these Australians of their British status by some subsequent legislation then they and their descendants have the same entitlement to the rights of a subject of a (British) foreign power as those recently disqualified. This has nothing to do with where their parents were born. If their parents were “British to their bootheels” like Menzies, then they are in the same position as other descendants of such “foreigners”. 

8. So all perhaps except unnaturalized immigrant wogs need to get legal advice about the effect of British legislation on whether they are “foreign”. The history of British nationality law is extremely complex. For example under the Sophia Naturalization Act of 1705 certain people born outside Britain before it was repealed by the 1948 Act are British by birth. These protestant descendants of Princess Sophia, Electress of Hanover are of course disqualified by s.44 of the Australian Constitution (and also in line to become King of Queen of Australia). Prince Frederick of Prussia and Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia are examples. Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover was found to be a British subject in 1957. His British by birth immediate descendants would be less than 60 years old today. Who knows what descendants of such people might be lurking in the Australian Houses of Parliament? Yet the proposed declarations by Australian politicians concerning their potential disqualifications do not ask for any belief they might have either as to whether they are protestant or whether they could be descended from Princess Sophia. The potential for dual allegiance in this situation is appalling!

7. Since the High Court has gone rogue and has also blocked the appeals to the Privy Council provided by the Constitution, it may be impossible to avoid the absurdity of most Australians being British “foreigners” without action by Her Majesty’s British Ministers and the imperial Privy Council or imperial legislation to resolve the matter. 

8. Of course the history of the democratic revolution in English speaking countries requires that any such change to the Australian Constitution be approved by the consent of the Australian people at a referendum. However that history does NOT require that the referendum by initiated by either colonial parliaments (now States) nor the Federal Parliament (possibly invalidly constituted) and certainly not by High Court judges nominated by persons purporting to be Ministers of the Crown who were not in fact Ministers. It would be entirely consistent with our constitutional history for such a referendum to be initiated by the Crown on the advice of its responsible Ministers. 

9. These responsible Ministers could turn out to be Her Majesty’s British Ministers (especially if none of the people purporting to be her Australian Ministers were qualified as members of Parliament within 3 months of their appointment as required by the Constitution). Illusions about the reserve powers of the Crown are just that, illusions, as the House of Lords discovered when it had to capitulate to the Commons or be flooded with a “creation of peers” by the Crown on the advice of its Ministers. The basic principles were established when Charles Stuart had his head removed from his royal shoulders without his royal assent and have not been challenged since they were re-established by a Dutch protestant army in 1688.

8. No Court will inquire into whether the descendants of Queen Victoria are or are not descendants of Princess Sophia so we are constitutionally safe. No doubt a solution will be found and no doubt it will continue to be easy to mock.

9. So will all the “un-Australian” fussing about nationality and allegiance remain easy to mock. It is clearly as much an American import as Halloween, along with a Prime Minister putting his hand on his heart for a “national anthem” celebrating that “our land is girt by sea”. 

10. It is particularly fascinating that nobody seems to have noticed the DIRECT parallel with the “birther” campaign mounted by first the Clinton camaign and then Trump against Obama demanding proof that he was born in Hawaii rather than Kenya. (As a “Goldwater girl” Hilary will remember the Democrat precedent based on 1964 GOP candidate Barry Goldwater having been born in the Arizona Territory before it became a State of the United States and therefore not being a natural born Citizen).

Notes on Trump 14

1. A “chaired” Professor:

Only an assumption that academics like this never do anything would justify not expecting this guy’s delusionary politics and hatred for the ignorant rabble to not result in him getting involved in some conspiratorial attempt to impose a more “democratic” dictatorship by force.

That assumption is reasonable. During the George W Bush administration and Iraq war, the fringe Democrat blogosphere (closely allied with the paleocon opposition to the war) was full of more “insurrectionary” talk, although less inclined to openly blame the people as their delusions were about them leading the people, rather than the intelligence agencies to rise up and overthrow the government. They were merely expressing their impotence and their open threats against democracy never needed to be treated seriously.

An academic like this probably doesn’t even have delusions of being taken seriously. But its noticeable that he is being published in “The Conversation” which aims to have academics taken more seriously than the popular media.

2. Perceptive article on Democrat dilemma:


Try as they might, Democrats will find it impossible to stick to an economics-only script ahead of the 2018 midterm and 2020 general elections. It would be foolish even to try.

The analysis of current contest for Virginia makes. Sense. The final conclusion I have highlighted is perplexing as there is no clear call for a split from the Democrats.

Perhaps it just reflects ruling class inclination in favour of stirring up both sides of “culture wars” to keep people from uniting against them.

3. Bloomberg analysis of Republican 2020 primary challenge to Trump

Not thinking in terms of a split following mid-terms.

Not mentioned that owner Bloomberg himself could be a potential GOP globalist candidate if Democrats go anti-globalist.

4. More on Virginia race from Bloomberg:

If they win (as usual in Virginia) it will help entrench this approach of trying to out shout their opponents and help them lose elsewhere. If they unexpectedly lose I doubt that they will learn any more than they did from Clinton loss. Would reinforce their despair and hostility to the “deplorables” that won’t vote for them.

[Update, as expected Democrats won]

5. Bloombert on why Netanyahu imitates Trump

Remains puzzled about it because thinks Netanyahu is a “master strategist” and Trump is not. Both are skilled ruling class populist demagogues in a situation where mainstream politics has demonstratively failed.

6. Bloomberg explanation that the GOP style features in current tax bill that are unpopular (and hence also Democrat focus) are likely to be dropped. That is also my assumption. Just part of the pretense that they aren’t  approving a massively increased deficit which is in fact what Trump wants and needs. When they are taken out you get less GOP incumbent support, more GOP donor hostility, less public hostility and a better economic climate for Trump and Trumpists to win in.


8. Remarkably silly analysis of Putin’s international situation from Bloomberg:

Starts off right that there is a vastly exaggerated impression of Russian strength despite actual weakness.

But analysis of Syria assumes Putin wanted and wants to stay there rather than helping end it.

And analysis of Crimea/Ukraine forgets that the actual reality was a massive detachment of the Ukraine from close relations with Russia to become part of the West and a relatively minor disruption to that by the (inevitable) recovery of Crimea by Russia and the damaging support for separatism in Russian minority regions of Ukraine. The latter has indeed been popular domestically and is indeed overall damaging in long term. But omitting the context of a massive defeat rather than aggressive advance into Ukraine reflects the very exaggeration of Russian strength that the article starts off pointing out.

9. Bizarre analysis of Mueller indictments:

All it takes is some mouthing off against Mueller by raving lunatic entertainer Alex Jones of Infowars and some milder shouting in same direction from Fox news Trumpists to convince this “analyst” that Mueller is going to save them from Trump despite NO actual evidence of this.

Expect more intense fireworks from Trumpist side to keep them distracted if the hope fades and they show any signs of slackening their obsession about Russia and actually thinking about American politics. At some point Alex Jones et al may not be enough to keep them fired up and Trump himself may need to step in with something they can really get their teeth into. An unannounced secret meeting between Trump and Putin would probably be enough to tip them over the edge. Follow up with a hamburger dinner for Kim Jong-il.

10. At last a rallying cry that Democrats can really get behind and lose even the mid-terms with:


“What do we want, more regulations! When do we want them, now! Defend the Federal Bureaucracy!”

11. Wow! Some readers of The Atlantic actually tried to engage with a writer there about his Trump obsession and he actually tried to respond seriously…


(If this starts happening more widely there should end up being widespread agreement that a very different political system is badly needed as the current “politics” makes no sense whatever.)

12. Satire from New Yorker. Not bad sendup of liberal fantasies. Not brilliant, but not bad enough that it could be aimed elsewhere. But in the New Yorker? How can they send themselves up while also continuing …


13. Excellent article from Taibbi in Rolling Stone:


Division does make money, but beyond that, it’s highly political. It’s an ancient technique of elites, dividing populations into frightened and furious camps so as to more easily control them. When people are scared enough and full enough of hate, they will surrender their rights more quickly.

It’s not an accident that as the right-left divide has grown in this country, we’ve gradually given up on almost every principle that used to define us, collectively, as Americans. We surrendered our rights to privacy, failed to protest vast expansions of federal power (including to classify the inner workings of our own government – our government), stopped requiring due process to jail people and closed our eyes to torture and assassination and all sorts of other atrocities.

This was made easier first because conservatives were convinced liberals were in league with terrorists, and more lately because progressives have been told Trump and his like are in league with Russians. Mutual hatred and fear has made us much more easily disenfranchised.

14. Despite total focus on getting rid of Trump opponents in GOP it is still possible Democrats could actually remain a minority party in the House after mid-terms.


15. Guardian just bleating that election was rigged. Not even pretending to have a plan beyond bleating:


16. CNN A year out from the election, Trump remains unpopular, as do the Democrats, the Republicans and Congress.


17. I’m confused by a response to Notes 11:


Arthur I do think that I try to analyse what is going on and what is going on is that Republicans get elected only if they are advantaged by crooked electoral systems and politicians in the US generally only get elected if they align themselves with wealthy vested interests, that’s why most people want tax reform but they will get a tax rip off, that’s why most people want decent health reform but they get at best Obama care, that’s why most people want more restrictive gun control reform but they get, no reform, none, zip, nada. The Virginian Gubernatorial election was widely seen as a referendum on Trump and Trump backed Gillespie and Gillespie backed Trump (eventually) and Gillespie lost by almost 9% and this was an essentially democratic process. In 2013 the Republican candidate for Governor lost by 3% now with President Trumps help and riding the Trump wave that margin has blown out to 9%

 This follows my reply apparently quoting my “[Update, as expected Democrats won]” in para 4 above.

I thought this whole draft post was still unpublished and therefore invisible so am not sure what is going on.

Anyway I have trashed the comment from Notes 11 and quoted it here in current post instead although I still don’t see any attempt at analysis worth responding to.

18. This looks like confirmation of my analysis that Democrats sweeping victories likely to make them even more inclined to their present strategy:

(Which could result in them stuck with a House majority committed to impeachment with no hope of success in Senate and faced with a completely Trumpist GOP mobilizing for 2020 with the same anger that got Dems turning out for these quarter terms and a completely plausible account that the only to unblock Washington is to remove obstructionist Democrats now that obstructionist GOP has already been dealt with.) 

19. CNN analysis that Trump won’t even face a serious challenge at 2020 primaries.

If they mean that any challenge will fail, that is plausible.

But I would expect there will be a VERY serious challenge intended to split and establish a new GOP that would throw the 2020 election to the Democrats.

The never Trumpist Republicans aren’t going to join either wing of the Democrats with their present outlooks and aren’t going to stay in Trump’s GOP or just quit politics. So I think they have to split and run a candidate just aiming to defeat Trump. (Assuming the Democrats don’t run a candidate they cannot even prefer to Trump again).

But if I am wrong and CNN is right then a united angry Trumpist GOP running against split Democrats demoralized after having got nowhere with a House majority for 2 years seems an easy win on turnout for Trump in 2020.

20. More on Democrat celebrations and inclinations to just keep going the same way they have been:

21. Even celebrating the fact that Trump’s opponents in GOP are likely to retire from politics making it easier to swing their seats to Democrat in mid-terms (and easier for a Trumpist to take it back in 2020).


Notes on Trump 13

1. Uptick in GOP primary voters gallup approval since indictments! Republicans 83%, Conservative Republicans 87% (day 285, Oct 30 to Nov 5). Why on earth do people imagine Trump wants media to stop their bizarre carry on about Russia when it so clearly helps consolidate his base and must eventually end up irritating others when it does eventually come to nothing? The closer to elections it implodes, the better off he will be. Expect some fireworks to try and keep it going despite any efforts by Mueller to wrap it up.

CNN’s report on their own polling for same period confirms big deal for the week was the indictments. Report focuses on ongoing decline in Trump’s overall approval (ie increasing hysteria among Democrats).

Has link to full results which confirm same 83% Republican approval as gallup.

Meanwhile Aaron Blame reports wapo polling that shows Hilary Clinton even less popular than Trump and that he would probably win a re-run of 2016 election if held now. Presumably a hint to Democrats that they still haven’t actually got an alternative and will lose again if they don’t get one fast.

2. Interesting article from Bernie Sanders in La Times:

Illustrated with photo of Bernie surrounded by supporters opposing offshoring jobs.

Bernie’s article itself does NOT promote anti-globalization. Focus is entirely on issues that a traditional social democrat would naturally espouse. Only a straw in the wind. But if Sanders wing positions itself this way it could attract Republican globalists as well as many Trumpist workers and traditional Democrats and be a very viable option in 2020 elections (or even in 2018 mid-terms). Conservative globalists are going to have to go somewhere and they also know they are going to have to accept a lot more concessions to workers whereas GOP incumbents seem to just not get it. (Historically conservatives have made the necessary concessions to workers themselves as well as via Social Democrats eg “one nation” Tories extended the franchise to British workers before the Liberals were wiped out by Labor party.

Also worth noting, but not new, Bernie’s denunciations of Trump are largely based on what GOP wants/does. If, as I expect, Trump smashes GOP and pushes healthcare for all, tax cuts that aren’t just for the 1%, infrastructure program etc, there will be a LOT of commonality. In a 3 or 4 way deadlocked Electoral College it could be VERY hard for Sanders wing to support a Clintonite against Trump. If they also preserve their credibility by not actually swinging the vote to Trump then the Electoral College deadlock would still throw the election to the House of Representatives voting by states, not seats. Trump would be stronger there due to smaller states being more GOP and Republicans in those States being more Trumpist, so he could win. But if he doesn’t have a majority of States, Sanders wing could win. I don’t see how Clintonites or traditional Republicans could win either in the Electoral College or the House (although of course anything is possible). If Sanders wing stops pushing anti-globalism they could swing the House of Representatives majority to vote for their President rather than traditional Republicans or Clintonites losing all credibility by voting for Trump against a Sanders wing candidate preferred by their base.

On the other hand, it is just a straw in the wind and he may not actually be following that winning strategy. A lot of Sanders popularity has been based on him being more genuinely anti-globalist and isolationist than Trump.

3. Andrew Bolt on ABC trivia:

I’m wondering whether it really is Trump hatred as Bolt claims or whether reporters are starting to send themselves up. Inane twittering and organized festivals to howl at the sky isn’t what I would normally associate with hatred.

Here’s some purely fake news presumably intended to damage Trump. But is it really? Perhaps the people making this stuff up are also doing an ironic sendup about their jobs?

4. Detailed analysis of claims about “Trump dossier” from Washington Examiner:


I don’t see anyone likely to take much interest in such detailed refutation so I suppose the breathless media accounts of “verification” still work with liberals and Democrats while the whole story just irritates Trumpists and leaves GOP incumbents helplessly paralysed. Do the people writing this stuff actually believe their own stuff? Perhaps they do. The ones just chasing ratings may be the ones also turning to sendups of themselves, while the others may be true believers who honestly think they are helping to bring down Trump by pushing a theory about Russian collusions that just isn’t going anywhere (but is also being turned against Democrats).

5. I have no idea what’s going on in Saudi Arabia or how Trump and/or US Government are relating to it.

My assumption would be that things are getting worse and will eventually collapse and that both the US Government and Trump would view that with equanimity more than bordering on enthusiasm. But I really do not know.

6. Detailed discussion of collapse of Never Trumpers in Georgia and generally:

Recent Congressional election returned a traditional GOP incumbent from a traditional GOP state. But very clear completely constrained by large and noisy Trumpist base among primary voters and adapting accordingly to embrace Trump. I would guess same in other safe GOP districts and States. The contested “purple” districts and States will have greater likelihood of nominating GOP candidates more appealing to Democrat voters and less Trumpist. They are also far more likely to lose to Democrats in the mid-terms. So I don’t see how anybody could expect anything other than a solidly Trumpist GOP in the House of Representatives, faced by a Democratic majority divided between Sanders supporters (mainly but not only from safe Democrat districts) and Clintonites (mainly from contested but also from some “identity” or “ethnic” districts. I assume a deadlocked Senate (neither side having 60% nor combined 50% willing to abolish the 60% rule).

So Trump gets to spend the last 2 years of his first term demonstrating that Congress remains completely disfunctional (far too busy with hopeless attempts to impeach him) and that this can only be resolved by electing more Republicans to booth Houses. Democrats who turned up angry at 2018 mid-terms likely to have become apathetic about possibility that their votes could achieve anything by 2020, while Republicans remain angry and turn out to vote…

7. Russian sanctions imposed near unanimously by Congress being seriously implemented:

Adds to the difficulties of the Democrats main tune about Russian collusion.

8. This analysis of a contested “purple” State election is useful for understanding the dynamic now at work:

So a traditional GOP incumbent goes completely overboard as the most obnoxious kind of stridently racist Trumpist in order to win primary. Democrats respond by getting more stridently hostile to Republicans and more focussed on “identity” politics.

I would expect the result to be another defeat for a GOP incumbent (posing as a Trumpist) thus avoiding more internal GOP problems for Trump, and a comfortable win for the sort of Democrat who will help the Democrats lose in 2020. Perhaps even helping them not to win in mid-terms if it results in GOP nominating a more genuine and less obnoxious Trumpist and Democrats remaining strident in a contested district (though still more likely to return a stridently obnoxious Democrat in 2018 to help Trump win in 2020). 

Notes on Trump 12

1. Interesting developments on the Russian interference in US elections. Will wait for detailed studies likely after special counsel and Congressional investigations but have noticed a few news items mentioning that Russian trolls were stirring up BOTH sides of the various divisions racking USA (and other Western countries).

This fits with my impression of the liberal media helping foment such culture wars by fanning flames. No doubt the Russians generated far more on the Trumpist side than against it, but they didn’t need to do much of what it seems they HAVE been doing to help stir up the liberal side. The liberals just keep doing it anyway.

This New Yorker item is headlined “How Trump Helps Russian Trolls”, illustrated with an ad attempting to trick Clinton voters into voting by twitter instead of turning up at polls and is naturally oriented on the theme of Trump backed by Russian trolls rather than liberals ALSO helping and being helped by Russian trolls.


But it does mentions the following:

much of the material from the Russian social-media campaign was directed at sowing division in general rather than attacking a specific candidate. Senator Susan Collins told a story of how trolls seized on racist comments made by the governor of Maine to set up two phony groups, one of African-Americans protesting the governor’s comments and one of nationalists defending him. Senator Richard Burr described a devious Facebook campaign that organized a real-life duelling protest in Houston last year between supporters of Muslim rights and Texans in favor of secession. Earlier this year, Russian trolls pushed both sides of the N.F.L. debate over kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality toward minorities.

Also has links to other articles and mention of similar Russian stirring up conflict in Europe.

It could be well worthwhile to follow the Congressional hearings and study the material already available on this. I hope somebody does but I won’t have time and will just wait for the eventual reports.

2. Here’s a better analysis of same issue, with more info:


3. Things are hotting up in the Democratic party split. Proof now published by Donna Brazile, the DNC chair that replaced Clinton’s flunkey after the email hacks that Democrat National Committee was indeed bought and paid for by Clinton campaign while DNC was supposed to be neutral conducting primaries in which Hilary was running against Bernie Sanders.


This is the origin of the whole “Russia” story as Clintonite Dems were desperate to deflect attention from the contents of the hacked emails that indicated this onto the fact that they had been hacked and suspicion that it was Russia who did it and Trump who benefited (which he certainly did – lots of Sanders supporters didn’t vote against Trump after learning about the rigged primaries by Clinton).

Not sure if this is just “old news” or dynamite but expect it will not be highlighted by media if they can avoid it. Initial reports angle it as a Trump tweet.

the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.

When you have an open contest without an incumbent and competitive primaries, the party comes under the candidate’s control only after the nominee is certain. When I was manager of Al Gore’s campaign in 2000, we started inserting our people into the DNC in June. This victory fund agreement, however, had been signed in August 2015, just four months after Hillary announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she officially had the nomination.

Elizabeth Warren has agreed that the primary was rigged and emphasized that Sanders supporters must be brought into DNC.


(See link within above).

This is still “breaking news” at the moment. But even if it does get buried it won’t be easy to avoid a major Democrat split before the end of Trump’s first term.

Above was yesterday (Saturday 2017-11-09). Today, Sunday, it looks like media cannot avoid talking about it since they just HAVE to respond to Trump’s tweeting.


That tweet expertly mobilizes Sanders supporters while appearing to be directed at Trumpists. The analysis links to a Trump pollster confirming that polls showed Sanders more likely to have defeated Trump. So anti-Trumpists have a LOT to be angry about, not all of which can be contained into anger at Trump when his Presidency is the direct result of other things they can actually DO something about.




This links to a twitter hashtag:


So Donna Brazile has announced she “Never Said Hilary Rigged Election” and responses are highlighting that she DID say Hilary rigged the nomination. Ditto for Warren.

Even if the general readership goes for the line that this is all about Trump and whether he can get the Justice Department to prosecute an internal Democratic party matter, that is not likely to cut much ice with the millions of Sanders supporters or prevent a Democrat party split.

Sanders and Warren are both playing it straight, expressing appropriate partisan indignation against Trump butting in, but that only strengthens them internally in fight with Clinton machine.



NPR is covering it as the equal third most important thing that happened this week. But its conclusion is:

What was revealed only reinforces for the left that there was collusion — against them. It’s only going to harden and deepen the fissures in the party that is trying to oust Republicans in Congress next year and President Trump two years after that.

If the Democratic Party doesn’t shape up, create a message and figure out — most importantly — how to unify its divergent factions, it’s going to be hard to mount a campaign to defeat a sitting president with a locked-in base.

4. Resuming dump of old links.Trump: Flake and Corker had no chance of getting re-elected

The party Trump took over in November 2016 is now purging itself of its past. It also happens to be the overwhelmingly dominant party in the United States, controlling the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House, as well as 33 governorships and 69 out of 99 state legislatures. It reflects the new American normal far more than the Democratic Party does. And it is increasingly Trump’s party.

Trump did not rise out of nowhere to smash our norms and replace them with new ones. His successful candidacy was a reflection and enshrinement of changes in the American body politic we do not yet understand — nor does he, for that matter. But everyone distressed by the Trump phenomenon will not achieve a greater understanding of it if they continue to comfort themselves by arguing he’s not the new normal.

The question they must find an answer to is this: How can they successfully replace Trump’s new normal with a new new normal?


5. Libertarians “Reason” making similar point:


Also mentions that liberals (“the left”) have similar problem:

The left has a similar problem: Candidates like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have to pretend to be skeptical of or hostile to free trade to allay their base while nudging and winking to international trade partners. On immigration, Democrats have lost the current debate in large part because they’re unwilling or unable to make the economic case for liberal immigration policies, instead relying on emotional appeals that only contribute to the hyperpartisan divide.

The Trump difference is that Trump has mostly stuck to his rhetoric after the election. Establishment Republicans have long been comfortable cultivating economic ignorance and racial resentment among their base in pursuit of electoral victory and then pursuing other priorities in Washington. But eventually the base clues in to the bait-and-switch and seeks out candidates who seem less likely to compromise. What set Trump apart wasn’t his ideas so much as his perceived authenticity: He seemed like a guy who would actually follow up on that Trumpist rhetoric once in office

Paul Krugman illustrates this “Conscience of a liberal” by arguing that corporate tax cuts would benefit “foreigners” (who own 35%).


6. Bizarre headline saying GOP incumbents should call Bannon’s bluff by not folding attached to article demonstrating that there is no bluff and that they are folding.


7. Same GOP columnist has perceptive article on latest news and Democrat implosion:


8. CNN “analysis” explaining how one of Trump’s opponents giving up and quitting politics once again illustrates Trump’s utterly hopeless lack of any strategy just like the analyst has always said and will always say.


Similar from NPR, still not getting it that Trump wants a deficit that he will get from Democrats and not from his opponents in the GOP.


9. Australian Trumpist boasting that Trump attack on Green card immigration in response to recent islamo-fascist murders will win him second term. Highlights contrast with liberals twittering about “Russia”. Plausible enough. Instead of actually presenting any principled defense of immigration etc US liberals are indeed opening the way for a second term.


10. Here’s a different example of liberal twittering. Standing applause at women’s resistance conference when recent Mueller indictments announced. It gives them “hope” that there will be a “saviour from on high” and substitutes for having any actual program.


11. USA today explains the vital differences between the Clinton campaign paying foreign espionage agents to get fake “dirt” against Trump from unamed “Kremlin sources” and Trump campaign hoping to receive dirt against Clinton from Kremlin sources. One would think they would just shut up and write about something else.


(But of course there are indeed legal differences between actually paying and hoping for free gifts…)

Meanwhile Democrat lobbyist who helped Manafort launder his money from Ukraine has resigned…

Why are they so sure Mueller will not do them at least as much damage as he does to Trump? Perhaps just certainty that he is part of the swamp doesn’t actually care about Russian interference but desperately cares about getting rid of Trump. Doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that there is any other possibility.

12. Sign at anti-Trump protest rallies:

“I am sexually attracted to indictments”


13. Meanwhile readers of the Guardian and the Chicago Tribune are comforted with sheer fantasizing about how dumb Trump is:


and the certainty that if they keep on banging those rocks together they will win:

Is the Russia investigation, probably the most important ever conducted by the justice department, closer to bringing down the Trump presidency than it was a week ago? Sipher noted that his demise has been widely predicted before yet somehow he manages to survive – until the day he doesn’t.

“It’s like hitting a boulder with a hammer 1,000 times and it doesn’t break,” he said. “Then you hit it the 1,001st time and it smashes to pieces. Its hard to predict.”






Notes on Trump 11

1. Gallup approval rates were still 80% for Republicans and 84% for Conservative Republicans (day 275 of term, polled Oct 17-22).  Now 79% and 82% (day 282, Oct 23-29). Still slight decline but no risk to sweeping GOP primaries.

2. Still trying to dump links. First on indictments filed subsequent to above polls, which may affect later polls. (Summary – not likely to change my expectation of GOP dominated by Trumpists after mid-terms, House dominated by Democrats likely to impeach Trump, no chance of Senate removing from office. Scene still set for a second term as still no sign of any coherent opposition). Real impact of isolationist policies more likely in second term as Democrats also shift that way.)

3. Vanity Fair fantasizing on White House freak outs over indictments (which have been known for months). As far as I can make out there is not even a pretence at reporting from any sort of source or even at analysing anything, just pure fantasy.

4. CNN has actually noticed that Republicans “speaking out” against Trump are not planning to run for office again, confirming that GOP is becoming Trump’s party:

(I won’t bother with the far more numerous reports celebrating these attacks as though they were inflicting actual damage rather than admitting defeat).

5. Guide to code words used in media articles to describe anonymous sources.

Some are claimed to imply a credible source. Most articles I read use one of these:

People familiar with the investigation,” “U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports,” “current and former officials familiar with the investigations,” “one current and one former American official with knowledge of the continuing congressional and F.B.I. investigations,” “Republican strategist,” “Democratic strategist,” “senior Republicans

 Article suggests even such nonsensical “sources” should be considered:

So our advice is: Read all of these vaguely sourced stories with skepticism. But if you really want to keep up with Trump’s Washington, you probably don’t have a choice but to read some stories with unnamed sources.

I can confirm that is what I am having to do. But it is to keep up with the collapse of mainstream politics, not to actually get a grip on what else is going on apart from that collapse. (eg very hard to figure out foreign policy, trade policy etc – only easy to understand the media and Democrat baiting).

6. Media wonks discussing media’s coverage of Trump:


The media has lots of problems in how it covers Trump. We’ve just scratched the surface here. But these problems are also hard to solve and figuring them out in real time is tough.

In other words they cannot help themselves and are just going to keep doing it…

7. Kim Jong-Il figures out how to get a straight report of what he actually said into the US media in full:


“Donald Trump is a rogue and a dotard (at length)”.

Will Putin catch on?

8. Dems moving towards Medicare for all:


VOX notices that Trump pushing them that way.


9. NY mag actually noticed that Trump has every incentive to push tax breaks for middle not top.


GOP incumbents who treat that as a betryal of GOP priorities won’t be back after midterms.

10. Dem ex President carter has noticed that Trump is preparing way for bipartisan immigration reform and medicare for all.

11. Dem economist hints Trump could meet his 3% growth target. Lamely suggests that will please just stock market rather than voters. Still actually noticing the danger even if unable to say it explicitly suggests some residual capacity for analysis.


12. CNN describes GOP incumbents worried that Democrats on track for House majority as “Trump allies” who are worried that Trump doesn’t understand he would then be bogged down in inquiries and impeachment. No attempt at explaining why that wouldn’t be a good outcome for winning a second term.

13. The Economist explains how the indictments could be used to pressure witnesses to expose Trump collusion with Russia. Assumes there was some despite a year of no evidence.

14. Paul Walden at the week says Trump more worried that Mueller might expose his shady financial dealings than about Russia. Sounds plausible to me. But no sign of it happening.


15. Just a reminder that Bernie Sanders opposing immigration won’t be an opportunist switch like others – that’s always been his position:


Many more to dump…

Studying Philosophy

I am still working to prepare a short article asking others to read Maksakovsky’s “The Capitalist Cycle”.

This will include suggestions for preliminary reading to understand that Maksakovsky’s grasp of Marx’s dialectical method is of major importance.

My main suggestions for preliminary philosophical reading will be four relatively short items:

Mao, “On Practice”.

Mao, “On Contradiction”.

Stalin, “Dialectical and Historical Materialism”.

Engels, “Socialism – Utopian and Scientific”.

These are all works that anyone interested in Marxist revolutionary theory should be familiar with.

The third and fourth were pretty much prescribed reading for everyone involved in the mass workers parties of the Third and Second Internationals respectively. The first two are much crisper and more modern summaries.

I have no hesitation in strongly urging anyone to read all four now. Not just as preparation for understanding economic crisis, but as essential for understanding anything. They are not long and not difficult so there is no excuse.

But I would also like to recommend a longer book, the “Leningrad textbook on philosophy“. An english translation, with a separate introduction and completely revised first section is online at the above link. It was widely distributed to the 50,000 or so members of the British “Left Book Club” in 1937.

Amazon createspace has a 400pp hardcopy for $8 since 2013.

Mao’s two articles were prepared after studying and annotating various works on Marxist philosophy including an earlier version of the Leningrad textbook. See Stuart R Schram and Nancy J Hodes, “Mao’s Road to Power: The New Stage (August 1937-1938) (Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912-1949 Vol.6)” pp573-832 especially pp671-832. See also Nick Night, “Mao Zedong on Dialectical Materialism: Writings on Philosophy, 1937 (Chinese Studies on China)”.

I recommend starting from the second section and returning to the earlier parts after finishing. This is where I will be recommending people should go, to understand things not fully explained in the recommended shorter articles. I cannot claim it is essential or short and easy. It also needs a good deal of criticism, revision and updating. But that certainly makes it very important and worthwhile.

Some of the earlier texts referred to in it are also available. That site, marxistphilosophy.org also has lots of other material, including translations of Chinese debates on “One Divides into Two“.

Eventually something like a new version of the Leningrad textbook will have to be written. But that won’t happen soon and certainly won’t happen without studying and understanding what is already known and what lessons can be learned about things communists thought we knew but clearly did not know, including “unknown unknowns”.

So, I hope some people will take up this invitation to read the Leningrad textbook as well as the four essential shorter works listed above.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Notes on Trump 10

Now trying to dump links as I find them. Still have huge backlog.

1. Gallup approval rates were still 80% for Republicans and 86% for Conservative Republicans (day 254 of term, polled Sep 25 to Oct 1). Then still 81% and 86% (day 261, Oct 2-8). Now 79% and 85% (day 268, Oct 9-16).

Slight decline perhaps due to latest flurry over seeming to want worse healthcare than Obama. But so far much smaller decline when a more serious case could be made about the GOP legislation that Trump nominally supported. 

Basic stability of Trump’s base implies no successful challenge from incumbent GOP this term (and no impeachment), general capitulation and large Trumpist party after 2018 mid-terms (including replacements and turncoats). That will be totally different political situation from the current President with no party in Congress, still not widely grasped.

2. This wapo/fairfax article does partially get it:

As usual focus is on need for Democrats to get their act together. Could be just wanting to avoid complacency by acknowledging he is on track to win second term. Incredible levels of complacency among most commentators who just outraged they cannot remove him by sheer indignation rather than contemplating that they could lose again. Does not mention implications of Republican incumbents collapse in 2018. But does see multiple candidates (eg Democrats split and more small party Independents rejecting both does favour Trump who will still have a solid base for a large party). Not aware of the implications of House voting by States when Electoral College deadlocked. Avoids mentioning increasing rejection of political system with low turnout to vote.


We have entered a new era in American politics. The 2016 election exposed how economic, social and cultural issues have splintered the country and increasingly divided voters by age, race, education and geography. This isn’t going to change.

What have changed are the political fault lines that have driven the debate since the early 1980s. Until now, the ideological divides between the parties were largely differences around social issues, defense spending and trade, as well as tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Today, the central issue has become populism as voters have moved away from the two political parties and increasingly self-identified as independents.

In 2016, Trump capitalised on this changing political environment. He consolidated the growing number of angry voters who felt let down by the people and institutions controlling power in the country. Trump’s support from these voters is personal, not ideological. That explains their willingness to stick with him despite his failures of leadership.

Since Trump’s inaugural address, his focus has been on maintaining his support among this loyal base rather than expanding it. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, this could be a winning political strategy.

I have highlighted the ridiculous claim that Trumpists support is personal (which shows total incomprehension). But rest of it basically gets far closer to understanding than I have come to expect from a “Democratic political strategist” (Doug Sosnik).

3.  “Calm before the storm”. CNN does know that Trump is running a reality TV show always aimed at attracting attention. They know because he is their main source of their ratings (and they are a major source of his). They treat this as just his narcism rather than a successful means to keep his base mobilized and his opponents totally discombobulated. But I cannot tell whether they also share the widespread fears that something might blow up over North Korea or Iran or it is just part of CNN’s contribution to the show. The hysterical commentary on those “dangers” does not seem to differ much from the hysterical commentary about anything to do with Trump nor bear any relation to anything actually (not) happening in the real world, like actual changes in force posture, let alone deployments.

4. I haven’t been following Brexit details as it seemed clear to me that the last British election must inevitably result in reversing Brexit. This article from the anti-Brexit Guardian tends to confirm that this is getting closer. Whatever the legal situation, “Outer rim” like Norway and Switzerland might well be a feasible intermediate stage, but long term the “core” that will become a European Federal State will include both them and Britain.


5. Meanwhile the Catalan referendum may provoke more breakouts of nationalities into independent States. But this is in a context where the nationalities remaining part of the EU reflects growing assimilation of nations rather than increasing nationalism. Could happen with Scotland if reversing Brexit delayed too long. Bizarre contradictory trends in Poland and Hungary that espouse strident populist nationalism but need EU.

6. This level of imbecility was quite common in liberal and pseudoleft blogs during Iraq war. Now it is mainstream media.

7. Here is a former speech writer for George W Bush disintegrating. Trump is so stupid and ignorant he doesn’t know why he won in 2016 so he won’t win in 2020. His opponents who lost on the other hand are very clever.

8. Trump is clearly nuts. Convincing people of that will save us from imminent nuclear catastrophe.

(People who understand this are sane, cool and rational should be put on a panel to decide  whether people elected to political office should be removed from it for being so insane as to not agree with them.)

9. New Yorker ridicules the psychiatrists above. Seems quite rational (unlike New Yorker) until the last paragraph that suggests it is is Trump voters who should be diagnosed and prevented from installing such dangers to humanity in positons of power. I am honestly not sure whether it is being sarcastic.


10. On the other hand this satirical item from New Yorker is unmistakably sarcastic.

It would not be possible to write and laugh at that piece without getting how utterly ludicrous the impeachment “campaign” has been.

10. Here’s a fairly detailed analysis of the recent healthcare announcements.

As far as I can make out it demonstrates plausibly that the results will be:

* talking points of Democrats claiming that funding cuts will hurt poorer voters in Trump’s base most.

(Media is indeed full of articles repeating those talking points – so far with surprisingly small decline in Trump’s approval rate among Republican primary voters).

* actual substantial rise in Federal tax rebates to those voters (as premium rises for poorer tax payers are automatically refunded directly to the taxpayer) so as usual no actual substance to Democrat talking points.

* thus massively increasing the fiscal deficit that Trump needs for an economic climate conducive to second term.

* substantial rise in premiums for better off voters that don’t get tax rebates for poverty

* thus putting major pressure on GOP to fix the problem or get wiped out by Democrats in mid-terms

* no pressue whatever on Democrats who have every incentive to offer nothing or split over whether to demand a single payer system that would be a real improvement.

So natural question would be, “what is there for Trump not to like?”

But since they still don’t get it that Trump is at war with the GOP and the Democrats are still irrelevant they are deeply puzzled as to why Trump would do such a thing. Some complicated theory that preserves their assumption that he is so stupid he doesn’t realize that his claim to be putting pressure on the Democrats rather than the GOP is nonsense.

Still got a huge backlog, but will leave it there for now.