Save America from Trump to fix America, or, Did your Mother Drop you on Your Head?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

When I trained as a lifeguard they warned us that you have to be very careful how you approach a drowning victim flailing around. They will be so happy to be rescued that they will grab you and pin your arms and freeze up, and then you’ll both sink to the bottom and drown. You have keep your distance, keep your arm stiff, and pull them out straight on their back, head out of the water, to reassure them. Then you can rescue them. The rescued teenager may not be a saint. Or they may have a bad family situation. You’re not thinking about that when the issue is whether they will live or die. Maybe they can straighten out their lives if they end up having lives.

So America is drowning, and voting for Hillary Clinton is the equivalent of rescuing it. It is the stiff arm to deal with a hysteria that will otherwise sink us.

I see too many people agonizing over this election. Will they vote for the Greens? Libertarians? Is Hillary as bad as Trump?

Did your mother drop you on your head? This is a drowning country we’re talking about. You don’t have the luxury to sit on the beach and decide whether to go in. And maybe you’ll be delivering the country to someone who is a bad mother. But it will be a live country and maybe the mother could be reformed. Drowned people can’t be reformed. Remember when, in Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya brings Westley to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) to be brought back from the dead? And Miracle Max discovers Westley isn’t dead, and so could be revived: “Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.” Inigo Montoya: “What’s that?” Miracle Max: “Go through his clothes and look for loose change.”

An America under Trump would be all dead. Donald J. Trump is the greatest danger to American democracy in modern history. He openly menaces journalists, he keeps inquiring about why we have nukes if we can’t use them, he wants to steal Iraq’s petroleum wealth, he promises to use torture, he courts the KKK, he proposes tax and other policies that will vastly increase inequality and bankrupt the government, and he wants a trade war with China. I could go on with a litany of fatal “policies” (actually more like wicked quips) all the way down the page (and blog pages don’t really have a fixed bottom). All this is not to mention his criminal notion that he has a right to French kiss and fondle any woman he can get hold of with his tiny hands.

I think it is entirely possible that if Trump were president, I and other writers and journalists and critics could be targeted for dirty tricks. It happened even under Bush. This is one reason it is so dangerous to have a standing massive domestic surveillance program of our current sort; one election could put it into the hands of a dictator.

I get it. Hillary is Wall Street. She will do nothing to rein in the excesses of the financiers (and not all financiers need reining in, but many do). One of our country’s most pressing problems, wealth inequality, will almost certainly get worse in a Clinton presidency. She probably will continue Obama’s phony “all of the above” energy policy, which will mean an overheated climate (we need a Manhattan project to get off oil, coal and gas immediately). She is a foreign policy hawk and seems committed to intervening in Syria. She is in the back pocket of Haim Saban and the AIPAC Israel lobbies and has a virtual love fest with Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu. She seems to want to make Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel illegal, which is a violation of the first amendment (and interfering in BDS has just been forbidden by the European Union).

But here’s a surprise. We live in a society dominated by corporations the way medieval Britain was dominated by feudal lords. The only difference is that we have a higher standard of living than did the serfs and we get to decide between two Establishment candidates for high office regularly.

Over two-thirds of America’s $18.5 trillion economy is generated by Fortune 500 big corporations (in 2014 it was 73%!)

When I was a graduate student 36 years ago it was about 50%. (Small business accounted for most of the other half then, and were the source of the vast majority of innovation).

Although the corporations and the economists who ultimately actually mostly work for them maintain that this system is efficient and based on competition, in fact there are lots of monopolies or near-monopolies, and it clearly has giant inefficiencies (compare your internet bill to that of people in Europe). They also complain about government regulation, but through lobbying most of them have actually captured the legislators who are supposed to be regulating them. Often they write the laws for the legislators and just have the latter sign them.

The corporations don’t always get their way. But they most often do. It would have cost them trillions of dollars in profits if the US had moved quickly to green energy in the 1990s when the climate crisis first became apparent, so they waged a PR campaign to smear climate scientists like Michael Mann and pull the wool over the eyes of most consumers to keep them burning coal, gas and oil as long as possible. In the US alone, they managed to put on the order of an extra hundred billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the past 20 years through this dishonest ruse. It’s like blowing up billions of atomic bombs, making the earth hotter and hotter. No one has been president who would have stood in their way, and almost nobody has been allowed in Congress who would obstruct them either. They are starting to give up on coal, and Obama did stab them in the back on that fuel, but they still burn as much gas and oil as they like and flare up methane when they frack both, destroying the environment (not to mention water pollution). I say ‘they’ because there are essentially interlocking directorates. A lot of the Fortune 500 is heavily invested in hyrdocarbons. That is why it is so hard to do environmental investing, because if you buy a bank stock you are buying Exxon-Mobil.There isn’t any more pressing issue than addressing climate change, and I’m sorry but nothing Hillary has said about the issue is actually ambitious enough to fit the scale of the emergency.

So I know.

But you aren’t thinking about this right. The people screwed over by the 1% are hurting and have turned to Trump because he talks like a maverick, even though he will screw them over even harder. They are drowning.

You can’t rehabilitate the patient if the patient drowned. And America would drown, would be all dead, would be beyond redemption, under 4 years of Trump.

Sec. Clinton is from that generation of baby boomer Democrats who decided in the Reagan era that they had to become Eisenhower Republicans ever to hold office. So she surrendered to Wall Street & etc. We know that. But she can be pressured, just as Eisenhower was pressured (if only we could get back to his tax policies!) We can oppose her if she drags her feet on key issues. It will be easier to pressure her from below if we can also take back Congress and can get some liberals on the Supreme Court.

We can’t oppose Trump because he has made it clear that he will rule as dictator and will brook no opposition. He has lots of goons to sic on his critics already, and would pick up their entire Federal government if he wins.

I have made my peace with being a serf who gets to vote for the candidates the two parties (mainly representing the corporations) present me with. (It is a first past the post system, so creating a 3rd party is almost impossible). It is a very corrupt system, maybe the most corrupt on earth. I’ll probably never see a president who really represents the mainstream of America, because of voter suppression and big money in politics and the corruption of corporate media. I blow off my frustrations at this blog and maybe I change a few minds here and there. Civil disobedience seems increasingly called for with regard to hydrocarbons. And, many bad features of the system could be changed if only enough people cared. But we can’t do that if America is dead. And Clinton won’t kill it, however wrongheaded some of her announced policies. We survived Bush, though with a $6 trillion bill, and we can survive Clinton. We can’t survive Trump.


Related video:

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah from last year: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Donald Trump: America’s African President”

51 Responses

  1. A child, innocence implied, America is not, more like something soulless, a half rotten dresser you have to take a part to fix with any degree of certainty. You can shimmy here and paint there or you can let Trump wreck the whole thing and now you will have to fix it. I would like to see the faces of the chiefs, sitting on thousands of tactical and theater weapons when POTUS asks them to go ahead, use a few.

  2. The biggest surprise in your piece professor, is that you were once a life guard! I am also surprised that you think that either Clinton or Trump for the presidency will make any difference to the way America is run. Obama had all kinds of ideas to benefit the American people, but he has been involved in as many wars as Bush as far as I can see. He also promised to close guantanamo bay prison, but the ‘establishment’ wouldn’t allow it. Ask any average American if anything much has changed for them personally under a democrat or republican president and the answer will probably be “not much” It seems to me the american president is becoming more like our queen of England, a figure head with little or no powers. The establishment don’t want Trump because he is a wild card whereas Clinton is so much part of the ‘establishment’ club she is practically a founder member.The industrial military complex and the corporations see Hillary as a safe pair of hands from their prospective. Indeed, she is already planning more wars and she hasn’t even been sworn in yet. It never ceases to amaze why even intelligent people such as your self still harbour the delusion that a democrat or a republican president will change anything. Its the same over here in the UK. Tony Blair was a socialist and he forced us into the disastrous Iraq war. The lot of the people of the UK however, was much the same under his leadership as it was before he was elected and after he had gone. Presidents come and presidents go, but the establishment, the real power behind the throne, reigns supreme forever

    • Please provide evidence to substantiate your statement that Hillary Clinton “is already planning more wars and she hasn’t even been sworn in yet.” What wars is she planning for? Against whom? What is your evidence? Let’s have credible evidence, not some amorphous speculation from the “gut.”

    • John Wilson,. . .your post requires a response from the reality-based community. The old banality, “don’t vote, that’ll show ’em” rings especially hollow now.

      After the fiasco, which — thanks to lock-step GOP sedition, thuggery and obstructionism — is still unfolding, of the Bush-Cheney administration, it is a mystery how anyone can still say that both US political parties are the same.

      Your claim that Clinton (conservative Democrat, in my view) and Trump (outright Fascist in reality) are in any way equivalent is plainly wrong. Wrong in fact and wrong morally.

      Study well the history of the leftists who in early 1930’s Germany thought and knew for sure that the rise of the Nazi Party would necessarily prove the bankruptcy of the right and usher in left wing victory. In 2000 we had liberal candidates saying pretty much the same thing, that a vote for the guy who’d do the most damage would demonstrate the need for the sanity of the left. How’d that one go?

      In case you’re not aware, we are further in the hole of corruption, militarism and climate destruction than ever with an even more insatiable right clawing down every bit of decency, sense and intelligence in sight.

      Politics is the art of the possible. So, we have to deal with what is possible now, in this moment; in a country where it seems that 40% of the voting population supports the Fascist Trump.

      As a lifelong pragmatic Democrat, I’ve had to live with a lot of disappointment. Yet it is vital to realize that untold further damage will be done by any Republican who is running for President in the foreseeable future.

      Any vote not for the Democratic candidate is self-defeating and destructive of the future.

  3. You outline a pretty hefty compromise, Juan. Surely you can understand why some people are not willing to make that leap. The Clintons played a big role in killing off the Left in this country and putting the country in the ICU, to borrow your analogy. We don’t need dynastic rule, either from the Bushes or the Clintons.

  4. I don’t know that Trump has spoken a single word of truth on what his policies would be as President. Since he is a verifiable con man there is no reason to believe a single word. The true danger of Trump is his apparently terribly limited capacity to learn anything outside the realm of selling the Trump name, and making money for Trump.
    We have seen evidence more than sufficient to prove the man is neither well informed, patient, or willing to learn.
    A victory by this man would be a huge mistake sure to go down in history as the day the USA attempted suicide.

    • Is the problem Trump…or the Trump voters? Theoretically, the system of three co-equal branches of government offers some protection against a narcissist blowhard executive head but what protects us from the raging fear of devalued whiteness in 40% plus of the population?

      • “what protects us from the raging fear of devalued whiteness in 40% plus of the population?”

        60% of the population.

  5. I am convinced that whether it’s going to be Clinton or Trump, the next presidency is sure to be devastating for the pursuit of inclusive democracy and world peace. No doubt about it, under Trump all kinds of things can and will go seriously wrong. But under Clinton chances are significantly greater of even more horrific devastation and bloodshed in Gaza, Syria & elsewhere, and of a military confrontation with Russia.

    A third party may not seem a very viable option right now, but it must most certainly become one. And this election is the right time to make the long overdue courageous move toward a much more responsible, progressive way of being. Voting for Jill Stein is more than lending support to the only sane voice in this messy election. It is the democratic, responsible uprising of the serfs. For the sake of America and of the planet.

    • to get a third party, you likely have to change the first past the post system. This can be done at the state level, but it would have to be done by legislators who were elected under the old system and so are not motivated to change it. Just a caveat. Italy has a multi-party system and it hasn’t impeded gridlock or late capitalist oligarchy. Basically in the US the two parties function as pre-election sets of parliamentary constituencies. In Europe they often form the coalitions after the election. Doesn’t seem to matter that much.

  6. I think your contention that Hillary can be “pressured” is naive. Obama was not pressured when he bolted the Bush economic team to his administration. Liberals and the left did and said NOTHING.

    If Hillary wins, the same people that are defending her now will defend her then. Pressure? Hardly, they’ll be rallying around her, the “first woman president” blah blah blah.

    Democrats are notorious for using their left facade to do things the Republicans can’t, like Bill Clinton’s welfare “reform” and anti-crime measures that put thousands of minorities in prisons.

    And worse yet, demonstrations and organized opposition to Dem policies grinds to a halt. In eight years of Obama there wasn’t a single large left demonstration in DC. Bush put thousands of demonstrators in Washington and organized anti war groups all over the nation. That wont happen with a Clinton presidency.

    The best we can do at this point is vote Green Party as a protest vote and hopefully get 5% to better equip the party in the next round. Bernie drew thousands of people to political activism and many are now in the Green Party and some even running for office as Greens.

    He also showed that enormous amounts of money can be raised with small donations — an important point because neither Dems or Repubs will repeal Citizens United, the golden goose of corruption.

  7. I don’t think the rest of the world cares. We cared when you re-elected Bush the Dumber. We cared when you voted for Obama and even gave him a Nobel Prize in Peace – basically for not being George W. Now we don’t care.
    All we see are two terrible choices. The biggest pool of available candidates, the longest electoral and most inclusive electoral cycle, and this is all you got?
    I don’t think the rest of the world cares. We cared when you re-elected Bush the Dumber. We cared when you voted for Obama and even gave him a Nobel Prize in Peace – basically for not being George W. Now we don’t care.

    All we see now are two terrible choices. The biggest pool of available candidates, the longest electoral and most inclusive electoral cycle, and this is all you got?

    The US is the most conservative country on the planet. The oldest nation judged by unchanging political establishment. A country where two nineteenth century parties still dominate politics. Obama, our vision of hope and change, changed very little. The US is like a huge liner, incapable of stopping or changing course. Whoever wins next week will continue American foreign policies as before. The US is the most conservative country on the planet. The oldest nation judged by unchanging constitution. A country where two nineteenth century parties still dominate politics.
    Obama, our vision of hope and change, changed very little. The US is like a huge liner, incapable of stopping or changing course. Whoever wins next week will continue American foreign policies as before.

    • Very odd idea that the rest of the world doesn’t care. The rest of the world cares very much and is appalled by Trump. Here in Latin America everybody realizes that Trump is not only a racist (i.e., all Latin Americans are inferior, but also that he is unbelievably ignorant). In Europe, Trump’s apparent views on NATO are terrifying and ever more so the closer you get to Russia’s border. I can’t comment on Asia but certainly China has been developing contingency plans for aggressive attacks of various sorts from Trump, especially on trade. The Canadians are very fearful because they can’t escape US influence since they are next door. Africans no doubt have heard of Trump’s racism. Here and there, there are no doubt dictators and authoritarian leaders and their followers who feel they could get along nicely with Trump and we do know that the Russian people love him.

  8. “Civil disobedience seems increasingly called for with regard to hydrocarbons.”

    It will have to be massive, sufficiently so that it can peacefully overwhelm police in riot gear, dogs, mace, tasers, armored vehicles, etc. Events in North Dakota demonstrate that police commitment to serve and protect is in service to and protective of property, not people. That will never change except in the face of sheer numbers. In a nation that sits glued to Kardashians and Duck Dynasty and having no intellectual leadership (Le Trahison des Clercs), such a mass movement is unimaginable.

    Juan, as an admitted former communist I invoke that odious condemnation and accuse you of being utopian. I do, however, absolutely agree that the republic will not survive a Trump presidency.

    • Intellectual leadership will not create massive civil disobedience sufficient to overcome “police in riot gear, dogs, mace, tasers, armored vehicles, etc.” Your statement is detached from reality.

      • Absolutely correct. What intellectuals can do is to provide a unifying path for many of the disparate, centrifugal social forces now observed. There may be no common ground between Black Lives Matter and white people whose primary motivation is racial, but there certainly is between BLM, displaced industrial workers, maltreated service workers, Muslims, et al. Articulate intellectuals may be able to merge the many “my fight” into a larger “our fight.”

        Intellectuals in the mold of Eric Hoffer, Studs Terkel (yes, I think of him as one) would do us a world of good.

        I can take “detached from reality” just so long as you don’t say “utopian.” ;-(

      • Interesting. i was in the cafes and theaters in ’61. In the Army and in Europe from ’63 to ’68. Got back just in time to go into the streets in Chicago. I’m a little old to hit the wastelands of North Dakota, but I think global warming will eventually turn some people out. Reflecting on the ’60s and ’70s, I’d say what we had — more important than intellectual leadership — was a counter culture that sustained us. I don’t see anything like it in America today.

  9. How are you going to fix a country in which the President’s 18-yo daughter “earns” $96 million a year and has a net worth over $200 million while the people who put him into office are in worse economic shape now than they were when they first elected him? To quote Shakespeare: “Let it come down.”

  10. We can oppose her if she drags her feet on key issues.

    Lotsaluck on that one. The Democratic Party has a very long history of riding roughshod over the wishes of the American people often with collusion of the Republican Party. If your mother dropped you on your head you might believe Hillary and her plutocratic and pro-Israel friends and party oligarchs can be persuaded to change course.

    To paraphrase Edward Snowden, the choice is between a cholera or bubonic plague.

  11. I think when historians look back, they will conclude that 2016 was when 40% of the American electorate lost their effing minds and voted for Trump. Also, thanks to him and his party, it will be seen as a time when democratic norms and institutions were seriously weakened. I feel a need to make a response to some points and many of the comments here, so bear with me. First, inequality decreased under Bill Clinton. I never approved of his policies, but the full employment during his administration did lead to a decrease in inequality fostered by the Republicans. I think people of the left bemoan Hillary’s policies much too much. Most important is not her, but whether the Democrats control Congress. Look at history over the last 100 years and the times when the most progressive policies have been enacted have been when there has been a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress. Entering office, neither FDR nor LBJ was as liberal as Hillary Clinton and Clinton had a slightly more liberal voting record in the Senate than Obama did. I worked in government for 20 years, studied a lot of political science, and too many people fail to realize that politics is the art of the possible. President Obama has been making this point. He says that even when you are completely right on an issue, you still have to compromise. Trump would like to not have a democracy, but even when your party controls Congress, if you’re a Democrat, you still have to compromise. As Will Rogers once said, I’m not a member of any organized political party–I’m a Democrat. More people in this country identify themselves as conservative than liberal. In fact, just about 50% more. This is not my preference, but is a political fact you have to deal with. You can rail all you want against the oligarch, but first you have to convince a majority of the population that government regulation is the solution, not the problem. Then you have to build up the government to take on the entrenched economic elites. They didn’t gain power overnight and they can’t be removed easily or quickly. Pay attention to what Bernie said. Progressives have to start winning the local races, change the gerrymandering and the voting laws, and then move up to Congress. This is the stuff of decades, not years.

  12. If we can’t survive a Trump presidency can we expect a President Hillary will survive the Trump constituency? We have seen the enemy…and he is us.

  13. I can understand the need to vote for Hillary Clinton in a swing state, but for the vast majority of Americans who are in solidly blue or red states, vote Green Party. It won’t change your state’s result, and you will show one more citizen who opposes needless wars, growing inequality, and continued environmental degradation.

  14. Look at history over the last 100 years and the times when the most progressive policies have been enacted have been when there has been a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress

    I don’t have time to go into the details of my response, but I happen to be reading my compendium of Walter Karp’s writings that contradict your favorable conclusion of the Democratic Party. Woodrow Wilson defied the anti-war sentiments of the American people and got the United States into the First World War – a catastrophe that became one of epic proportions. LBJ chose guns over butter and escalated the Vietnam War, another monumental disaster. FDR’s New Deal isn’t all it is made out to be. Social Security basically proved to be an excellent development but it was and is rigged to be paid for with regressive taxes. link to

    Tammany Hall and the Bourbon Democrats were no friends of the American people. More recently, the Democratic National Committee set out to crush the progressive challenge initiated by Bernie Sanders.

    Obamacare? Written by and for the insurance corporations and now being proved a scam.

    • The ACA gave Medicaid coverage to millions of previously uninsured low-income people. So, you’re saying the law that enabled me to have health insurance is bad because it was written for corporations? You think you’re anti-corporation campaign is more important than the benefits I get from the ACA? If low-income people were politically astute, they’d realize that leftist idealists are often their enemies.

      • Maybe he’s just saying there were better ways to get you the insurance you need. I’m glad you have insurance, but the ACA was never really about you. It was about getting rid of pre-existing conditions clauses and other limitations of corporate insurance plans. The main thrust was to make life better for people who already had insurance. The mandate, i.e., your mandatory premiums — possibly underwritten in part by your fellow taxpayers — were the price of that. The alternative — single payer — would have provided the same insurance for everyone in America, regardless of income.

      • bobc: I’m delighted that ACA has worked for you and others in your situation, but for others getting sticker shock with the new and higher premiums and deductibles it is a different story.

    • I was talking about domestic policy. Nevertheless, Wilson, whom I don’t particularly like because he was an out and out racist, was not ahead of the country when it came to war in 1917. With events like the Lusitania and the Zimmerman Letter, combined with effective British propaganda, the declaration of war almost certainly reflected the will of the people. All during the period of 1915 to 1917 Roosevelt, the putative leader of the GOP , had been vilifying Wilson for not taking sterner measures vis a vis the Germans and he would have wanted us to go to war sooner than he did. As for LBJ and Vietnam, the alternative was Barry Goldwater and then Nixon took over and made things e4ven worse. You don’t live in the real world where the choices aren’t always what you want, but are most often between bad and worse. As for Obamacare, the alternative was no change to the status quo.

  15. It is amazing to me that so many people cannot tell the difference between politics as usual and a megalomaniac who cannot take criticism, ignores advice, cannot concentrate on the intricacies of domestic and foreign policy (and knows nothing about the latter), does not depend on his party, and has legitimized bigotry, racism and white supremacy (i.e. people with such views feel more empowered to act on them). I know where some of the cynicism expressed above is coming from but I also see it as coming from people who have not suffered political instability, political violence, economic disarray, run away inflation, etc.. If you had, you might have some understanding of just how dangerous Trump could be for all of you and those you care about (not to say the rest of the world). It is so easy to say ‘let it burn’ when you cannot (or would rather not) actually visualize your own house burning. I admit I have absolutely no idea what Trump will do but that in itself expresses part of the danger. And, oh yes, and does anyone remember the Supreme Court?

    • To further amplify your point, If Trump wins, or even if the Republicans retain the Senate (as just pointed out in a good article by Paul Krugman), legislation combating climate change is dead and the planet if probably doomed to suffer terrible catastrophe. link to

  16. Dear John Wilson, Nairba, van der Merwe, George Corsetti, Steerpike, Billy Glad, and Bill Bodden:

    I truly hope you do not believe the false equivalence you have all laid out. Some of you have left good, informed comments in this section before. I have gone over and over what I might be missing. Under Trump I am guessing that Juan – and maybe even some commentators given the FBI’s patent hatred of Hillary and her supporters – will end up in prison if not worse. I am guessing that the readership here is older and educated (but maybe I’m wrong). So why are you supporting an open racist? An open misogynist? A man who advocates for torture? A supporter of Neo-Nazis and the KKK? What. The. Fuck.

    So the grand experiment of democracy is worth kicking to shit because it’s . . . imperfect? Really? As a Noam Chomskyite even I can see the dangers of Trump. He is a Nazi. His children are Nazis. His supporters are Nazis. And if you do not vote against him and for Hillary with one voice, history, if there is any left after the Mafioso Trump, will remember your names. We will see to it. We will remember who, by their “hip” skepticism”, by their false equivalency, by their “green” protest votes, who supported destruction of the climate, nuclear Russian Roulette (if we live through that one), and an open racist who embraced the very ideology for which Americans died and are buried from the battle field of Gettysburg to the shores of north Africa and Normandy.

    All named should be very ashamed. Very ashamed. Hillary is imperfect, but will respect democratic norms to the extent that they make change possible. Trump will not. O homines ad servitutem paratos!

    Oh and I would be remiss were I not to add . . .


    • There is no shame here whatsoever. Your error is equating non-support for Clinton with support for Trump, an increasingly common centrist liberal smear. There are basic principles that need to be upheld, regardless of who the opponent is. Hillary Clinton’s record of destruction in the Middle East is deeply troubling, disqualifying in my mind, and I proudly refuse to validate her psychotic foreign policy. The left needs to quit with the hysteria, take a deep breath, vote for truly leftist candidates up and down the ballot, and put trust in the checks and balances of our system. Your and Dr. Cole’s centrist-liberal compromises have only allowed the Clintons and their allies to take the party ever farther to the right.

    • Trump is not the problem. The conditions in America that make Trump possible are the problem. The outcome of this election will not change those conditions in any way. If that wasn’t apparent to me at this point, then I actually would be ashamed.

    • So why are you supporting an open racist? An open misogynist?

      Grumpy: I always appreciate your comments but am disappointed that you imply I’m supporting a racist and misogynist. Note my comment about this choice being like choosing between cholera and bubonic plague. For the record I voted for none of the above in the form of a vote for Jill Stein. The opportunity to vote is not necessarily to pick a winner. It is also a chance to say what kind of government we want. Those of us voting for Jill Stein are saying we want a more civilized and humane society and not what we can expect from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the majority of people will decline their chance to make such a statement but will instead march like lemmings behind the (un)Democratic and (un)Republican banners.

      The interesting point regarding voters supporting Clinton because they, understandably, dread Trump is that they ignore Hillary’s record: Support of the judicial murder of Rickey Ray Rector in Arkansas, (as co-president) support of the wars in The Balkans, support of the sanctions on Iraq that cost an estimated half million Iraqi children their lives – Madeleine Albright said, “We thought it was worth it.” “We would have including the cabal ensconced in the White House at the time. – war on Iraq that has led to the current chaos in the Middle East and North Africa, regime change in Libya after which she reveled in the sadistic murder of Gaddafi, regime change in Honduras, which is now a basket case, and she wants a no-fly zone in Syria. On that one we must hope intelligence will prevail in the military.

    • “He is a Nazi. His children are Nazis. His supporters are Nazis.”

      You paint with a pretty broad brush. What evidence do you have that Trump’s children and supporters are all Nazis? One does not have to support Trump (I certainly do not) to conclude that anyone who invokes “Hitler” and “Nazis” has no intellectual arrows left in his quiver. To throw out the term “Nazis” is to admit one has run out of arguments.

      • To respond to all of you: First, yes, Clinton is horrible on the Middle East and on foreign policy in general. I agree. But I am not a single-issue voter. I want to see a woman’s right to choose maintained in this country. I’d like to see more initiatives for children in this country and abroad. I would like to see progress on making health care affordable and accessible in this country. Some gun regulations would be nice. So yes, all of her baggage that is cited concerning the Middle East can leave me apoplectic; but there are other considerations.

        I confront hungry children in our schools every day – I live in a distressed deep red community in a deep blue state. No one would more like to see various agencies (the FBI, homeland security, the military, etc. etc.) brought to heal so resources could be shifted away from the destruction of the poor abroad so we can rescue them here at home, and in a normal year I would have registered my displeasure with a vote for Stein.

        But history tells me to know an authoritarian when I see one. And yes, for years the term “Nazi” has been thrown around with too much levity, and it is not a term I use without understanding its gravity (in no small part because I’ve seen what the Nazis wrought in Europe first hand). But it is the Orange menace, who has interjected authoritarianism into our politics (and I agree with Billy Glad that the conditions we now face in this country have enabled his rise). He has called for the imprisonment of his opponent. He has called for her assassination by implication. He has encouraged violence at his rallies. He has called for the mass deportation of an entire ethnic group and the banning of another. He has now politicized the FBI, and will clearly use it as a lap-dog to pursue vendettas. He has embraced violence and Chaos on a global scale – and one can read unfiltered his own words and watch unfiltered his own rallies and see for yourselves. Do you want a list of the misery he will inflict as he stacks the supreme court, as he guts all clean energy research and environmental regulations? As he repeals the ACA? As he allows Paul Ryan the sweet victory of gutting Medicare? As he takes out the long knives on everything from legalized marijuana to Nato? You think you have an uphill climb with Hillary on progressive issues, just wait until 40 years of rule by the Trump family.

        All people had to do in Germany for evil to emerge was to stand by and say nothing in such a situation. I refuse to have that on my head. To stand by when a violent racist spews such vile rubbish is in a very real sense to stand with him. Silence is tacit acceptance. At this late date, to dismiss the analogy of 1930s Germany, to paraphrase William, is to show that one has run out of arguments – or is simply not paying attention to the present moment, to history, or whistling past the graveyard.

        The choice is stark: the possibility of democratically addressing the issues of concern to all of us will still be possible under HRC – and no, they will not be easy to address. But you simply cannot make the same argument of the Orange Menace with a straight face.

        • You went much further than just condemning Trump as a Nazi. You labeled all of his supporters as Nazis, and in doing so you demonstrate a lack of nuance as well as a lack of historical understanding of Germany in the 1930s and many Trump supporters today.

          Many Germans supported Hitler because their lives had been devastated by the crushing effects of the reparations demanded by the allies, particularly France, and the ensuing hyper-inflation. Hitler promised jobs and economic growth, and he, in fact, delivered on that promise. Most of his supporters who voted him into office in 1933 were not “Nazis.” They were caught in an economic vise and saw Hitler as a way out of it.

          Likewise, many Trump supporters are caught in what they perceive as an economic vise today. they may be misguided and, in my opinion, wrong, in thinking Trump is their saving grace. Nevertheless, to label them all “Nazis,” as you do, is just as wrong-headed as thinking all of Hitler’s supporters were Nazis.

          In fact, essentializing all Trump supporters as “Nazis” puts you in the same category as Trump when he labels all Mexicans as rapists and criminals, or all Muslim immigrants as potential terrorists.

        • Grumpy: We are in agreement on your list of things you would like to see, but you only have a very slightly better chance of their being realized under Clinton than under Trump.

          Then there is the power block behind the curtain – the plutocrats and their bought-and-paid-for oligarchs in both major parties. Will they gang up on or restrain an overreaching President Clinton or President Trump as they did on Carter? Probably not if the elected president does the Israel Lobby’s bidding.

          For your consideration: The Coming Plague of Poverty Among the Elderly: Clinton’s Plan For Gutting Social Security by Alan Nasser – link to

        • When Le Pen made the run-off in France several years ago, the left en masse supported the despised Gaullists to defeat him and send him back under the rock from which he slithered. And our left wonders why they never get anywhere. It’s mainly because they’re cry-babies.

  17. Let it all out Juan. I think one of the problems of the intellectuals on the left in contemporary times is weakness in moral fiber. The intellectual of Gramsci type stands on principles, is responsible towards his people , the working class and poor He takes his allegiance to truth seriously. He is the kind that goes to Spain to fight for freedom. We need a Hippocratic oath from intellectuals: Stand up for your principles and fight for them.
    I will not vote for Clinton. All of the things that you say about her is true. But the thing that offends and insults me most iss what she has said in leaked emails: one must have a public and also a private position on issues. How can one tolerate such a Machiavellian person, is beyond me. We know Trump is a forgetful liar, but I can’t see how you can vote for her even with you nose held tight.
    If Trump wins, we will stand up for our principles and oppose him. That is only if we feel that we didn’t compromise and vote for Hillary. For you need strong and moral character now to prepare you for the hard times of future

  18. What about the idea of writing in Bernie Sanders ? If the top two candidates don’t get at least 270 electoral college votes, the new (more progressive) House of Representatives has to choose between the TOP 3 candidates voted for.

  19. There is significant war weariness among people everywhere and it may lead them to feel Trump less obviously likely to maintain US investment in distant military adventures.

  20. There is significant war weariness among people everywhere …

    Unfortunately, this war weariness does not seem to apply to potential voters for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both have made militaristic pronouncements indicating a willingness to wage war, albeit against different perceived enemies. Iran has the unfortunate distinction of attracting the hostility of both leading candidates who have also indicated a willingness to dump more of the national fisc into that five-sided black hole on the Potomac at the expense of several pressing cases affecting a mostly docile and subservient populace.

  21. We can oppose her if she drags her feet on key issues.

    There is a much better approach but one that is much less likely to occur than manning the barricades against the next President Clinton – subject to a game-changer from Wikileaks in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the movie “Network” the character played by Peter Finch declared he wasn’t going to take it anymore. This led to a mass insurrection of the people who also said they weren’t going to take it any more. That is what our corrupt and dysfunctional nation needs. An uprising of the people demanding an end to our deplorable national disgrace. Unfortunately, we are more likely to see a nuclear winter – perhaps a version of hell freezing over – before the American people rise demanding a raising of the moral and ethical standards of our so-called leaders.

    • If you think a “Network”-style mass insurrection is what the county needs, you obviously didn’t hang around for the end of the movie, because however mad as hell they were, all they ended up with was another bad TV show.

  22. Thanks for this column, Dr. Cole. I sorely needed it.
    It goes nicely with some Bonhoeffer, too, kind of the moral necessity argument…
    Thanks, too, for your constant work on getting deeper info to us–so far beyond the execrable MSM.

  23. As you can see, Juan, a lot of your readers were dropped on their heads. Well, I’m sure you’re as tired of arguing with them as I am, but thanks for trying. When you can’t convince a person that there’s a difference between catching a cold and catching bubonic plague, what can you do?

  24. Clinton is a hawk, unfortunately. She’s also Wallstreet’s best friend. But she has a D by her name so let’s vote for her.

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