A Few Thoughts On The Recent Shutdown…

According to a number of reports, Donald Trump’s poll results declined significantly during the government shutdown. Since I cannot fathom why anyone still does support this ridiculous and pathetic man, I’ll leave it to others to mull the implications of those polls.

The shutdown and its aftermath were instructive, however, on a number of dimensions.

First and foremost, it delivered a striking rebuttal to the GOP’s constant refrain that government is never the solution, it’s the problem.  A post to Daily Kos  noted that the constant media references to 800,000 government employees understated the wider effect of the shutdown:  at least 40 million people were affected in one way or another. Many  endured long security lines at the airport, and uncertain safety in the air. Others couldn’t get tax questions answered (no one answered the IRS phones).

Businesses that depend upon patronage from government employees have seen steep declines: everything from food trucks at the National Mall to landlords accepting Section 8 vouchers, to cafes and delis accustomed to drawing their lunch crowds from nearby government buildings have seen fewer customers.

It’s not just business. Even anti-government ideologues rely on federal food inspections.  Even elderly Fox News viewers expect and need their Social Security checks. Local governments require the dependable remittance of federal program dollars. The list goes on.

The shutdown also exposed a previously unappreciated risk to private companies and not-for-profit organizations that do business with government–or more accurately, do the government’s business. Millions of Americans are effectively government workers due to the terms of outsourcing contracts–what we like to call privatization. (Estimates of the number of people who–although not technically employed by government– work full-time delivering government services run as high as 18 million.) The shutdown idled millions of those contract workers–and unlike employees who actually get their paychecks from government–they won’t be paid for their enforced “vacation.”

And of course, economists are busy calculating the amount of the economic “hit” caused by the shutdown, and estimated to be in the billions.

All of this damage was the consequence of a profoundly stupid demand for a wall that will never be built and would do nothing to deter undocumented immigration or drug traffic if it were.

The voters who still support this President want that wall as a symbol, not a barrier; they want to send a message to folks south of the border. We don’t want your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free–at least not if their skin is brown or black. I am more convinced than ever that Trump’s support comes from people who embrace a mythical American past in which white guys ruled the roost–where women were subservient and dependent, and other men were inferior by definition.

I do wonder how those supporters rationalize away the fact that Trump folded–completely caved–by accepting exactly the deal he’d initially rejected, and that the ignominious  end to his bluff was engineered by a highly competent woman.

That last fact is responsible for my shadenfreude.

I think I love Nancy Pelosi.


  1. Rationalize it away?? LOL…the GOP on Twitter yesterday:

    “Democrats have held our government hostage for weeks, but thanks to President @realDonaldTrump’s leadership, the government will reopen and federal workers will be paid in the next few days.”

    The Tweet received over 10,000 Likes.

    I’m sure Fox News has been flashing DJT as a savior to the very crisis he created. As long as our propaganda media endorses the lies of our POTUS and our political parties…yes, both of them, how do you expect voters/citizens to see through anything?

    While most liberals have dispensed of alternative fact righties on Facebook, I’ve kept several on my page just to see the interactions with other liberals. As long as they don’t show blatant racism or other hate, they can stay.

    Our SCOTUS has declared that politicians can lie. It’s legal and expected. We encountered this when Anderson was trying to build a dam in their City which would back up the White River and cause all kinds of problems with contaminated properties. During the “marketing of the project”, I caught the economic development firm and their engineer in some doozies. Shortly after, so did Ball State. It was ruled by an Anderson judge that the project was “political in nature”, thus it was okay for them to lie about outcomes. It didn’t help that the Anderson Herald was cheerleading for the project instead of fact-checking.

    So, with all the lying and propaganda and “news entities” feeding shit to subscribers, how does a person make an informed, intelligent decision?

    Especially when the social and legal constructs say the political class can lie and deceive voters without negative consequences.

    In 1949, Albert Einstein wrote this about our capitalistic society:

    “The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”

    It’s 1,000 times more complicated today than it was in 1949…

  2. We have a right as Americans to know the identity of those “WH advisers” (other than Kuschner) who push Trump to continue his ridiculous demands for a wall on our southern border. The same “WH advisers” who advised him to shut down the government, refuse all bills submitted by the Democratic House and, with McConnell’s abuse of his own power, maintain the shutdown for a historical record of 36 days. They have also pushed him to make the threat to order another shutdown at the end of this 3-week concession. Trump is not and cannot accomplish his “deconstruction” of our democracy, Rule of Law and ignore the Constitution alone…his powers are not all encompassing. But Trump and McConnell still have the upper hand.

    The shutdown and its aftermath were indeed instructive; and like those heavy burdens of student loans, education is expensive. We may now have learned something about “what” we are fighting; we still do not know “WHO”; the “WH advisers” should be the ones in our cross hairs. At this time they remain as unidentified and are only shadow figures, like those raping, murdering Mexicans Trump want to wall out in one relatively small segment of our entire border system.

    “And of course, economists are busy calculating the amount of the economic “hit” caused by the shutdown, and estimated to be in the billions.”

    Those economists will never calculate the full amount of this economic “hit” due to the far-reaching effects on personal levels not accounted for; but they will not uncover the crux of this shutdown which goes beyond Trump and McConnell. Nor can they calculate the diplomatic “hit” which has sent trust and faith from our allies further plummeting due to Republican avarice, greed and mendacity.

  3. I love Nancy and Hillary too. Go ahead, Snowflakes, with your sticks and stones, I look forward to reading your destructive posts here now that I’m fortified.
    An grim era is now ending and there is promise of progress. Now there is hope.

  4. “And to think it took Donald Trump to bring out the best in her.” He didn’t. Her best has always been there, on full display, for everyone to see. She’s been a superb leader for a long time.

  5. It now looks like PATRIOTISM will prevail over NATIONALISM. The U.S. is too diverse for the likes of a wannabe Hitler, like Donald Trump.

    He needs to go somewhere else; I would suggest, HELL. Maybe Mike Pence can lead him there.

    Many thanks to Nancy Pelosi.

  6. His supporters have no intention of rationalizing anything or of backing down. They will just dig in more deeply and cause as much uproar and damage as they possibly can. Like their idol, they will keep demanding they get their demands met, no matter the cost to others or the complete idiocy of what they want.

    His administration was already claiming yesterday that he won and the Dems will be forced to negotiate and back down now. Huh?

  7. The media didn’t pay much attention to the government’s private contractor employees. I wonder how many of them who have voted R in the past might see the light and switch to a D vote. Will they be able to understand who really is to blame for their loss of pay? How many had to find other jobs? They never had the security of knowing that they would get back pay when the shutdown ends.

    Why didn’t the Dems in Congress mention the government’s private contractor employees who would be the most damaged by the shutdown? Is it because they all receive too much money from the corporations who have donated to members and lobbied for those government contracts?

  8. There are two women the right wing has made an effort to demonize. The first is Hillary. They started their campaign against her in the 90s and it’s still going on today. Lindsey Graham, who was surprised to find that he liked her when she was in the Senate, wants to open a new investigation into her e-mails. The second is Nancy Pelosi, whose picture was used to try to scare voters into voting Republican. The mantra was don’t let Pelosi (evil) take control of our government. I’m betting it won’t be long before we see a D’Souza film recounting all of the ways Pelosi represents pure evil.

    Republicans fear competent women more than anything. I hope they get a real taste of just how smart Pelosi is in the next couple of years. With any luck, 45 will declare that America is great now, so he doesn’t need to run again.


    The adviser whispering racist wet dreams in 45’s ear is Stephen Miller.

  9. Nancy,

    I agree with you, but I believe Trump/Pence has made a fatal mistake.
    Using a Nazi playbook in the U.S. is ridiculous. The German Jews were less than 1% of the population. How could they, ever, have successfully fought back? That surely won’t be the case when 30 to 40% of the U.S. population has, finally, had enough and agree to form an effective PRO-DEMOCRACY FRONT.

  10. Donald thought his TRUMP CARD would be pitting Jews against Blacks and vice versa in order to prevent an effective coalition against him. That dubious maneuver was attempted in Dallas in the ’80s and Jacksonville in the ’90s and failed miserably both times.

    I hope he has viewed Spike Lee’s new movie: “Blackkklansman” for a current reality check; but I doubt it.

  11. What the last few days have definitely confirmed is that Donald Trump is IMPOTENT when facing up to a strong woman. I’m sure he won’t be arranging a meeting with Angela Merkel anytime soon.

  12. Meanwhile, this weekend the Koch brothers have been holding a meeting with their fellow libertarian millionaires and billionaires to stragically plan how they will continue to take over state legislatures. They discovered years ago that this is how they have gained more and more power by owning politicians who will give them the tax breaks thay ask for, permission to damage the environment with their corporations and corporate welfare via taxpayer subsidies.

  13. working class has about month of spare change when out of work. they decide in a world where they have been exploited,kicked and shit upon,by politicians who literally,havent a clue. if the new progressives will still walk with us,and as elected,as a whole,in thier districts,work as a democracy.doing as the voters demand. im here, my entire state is a deep red gutter of banker friendly suits. they believe that suporting the corps,and monied interests,we will have a vibrant community. low taxes,fine,low wages,main street dies. the small buisness then claims,the taxes killed them. what taxes? look at the wages stupid,and turn off fox. this whole sham of using the working class for political gain,must stop. i recently had a deep conversations with a young,transportation broker. southern drawl,and polite. id a guessed he voted trump,but did he not, our conversation,employment,wages,he was required to sign off his life,for a job. its called no competition clause. sounds like a right to work state,(saving his local) all for his employer,to find a way to keep him? or just exploit a newcomer to this field? or just a deliberate disregard for human needs. we have allowed congress over the last three decades to demand,we the workers get on our kneess,(finish it as you like). im here,and when i entered the work force,1974(after the navy)/ there was no such thing as signing any noose to suppress a workers need to thrive. if the new progressive congress will walk with us,they need first to raly .the working class,as a whole,speak in easy to digest words,be very vocal,upfront on paper,all that has been changed to screw us by congress,over the last 40 years,and they will change it. plain words,and demand the corp choir in the seats,be ready to be voted out. we can stand up,and shout,big deal,if the elected officials,sit wth the corprate choir, weve gain nothing..
    i hope when trump hits the streets after his stint as worlds biggest asshole,hes reminded,why he shouldnt have run for any office,his past laundry is looking damn dirty,before he entered the campaign,now it looks like that corp bunch would rather roll over on thier own.if one cant see the diffrence between elected office,and the corprate world,then they need thier education reevaluated, guess the ceo bunch now have a in your face clue about,the voters now.and the corp bunch (alec,koch,mercer etc)have a new issue of,how to get rid of us,,the working class
    one more, its obvious,trump never masterminded the republican agenda,and what ever it is, but we should now demand a accounting of whos doing what in the republican party,and why? ive heard little more than trivial lies,about thier plan for America. lets have it now,on record..and boycott the ads on any right wing broadcasters.

  14. Nancy,

    Charles Koch should be target #1, as Trump is becoming more and more reminiscent of Benito Mussolini. Koch also has underlying, fatal weaknesses that need to be exploited.

  15. The Reactionary Right Wing is never slow to exploit some “failure” of government to either eliminate part of it, de-fund it, or privatize it. Now we have the call by the Reactionary Right Wing Think Tanks (an oxymoron if ever there was one) to privatize the Air Traffic Controllers and Air Port Security. It’s that “free market” approach. We know that argument that the “free market” will deliver the services at far less cost than the government can. Less cost means hammering down the wages of the “proles”. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/27/shutdown-government-functions-will-they-be-privatized

    From the above blog:
    ” I am more convinced than ever that Trump’s support comes from people who embrace a mythical American past in which white guys ruled the roost–where women were subservient and dependent, and other men were inferior by definition.”

    There is nothing “mythical” about this statement – It was and is still a fact, less so now than since the 1960’s. Congress is still dominated by white men in sheer numbers. Of course you can always find sell-outs that are not white men, who will do the bidding of the 1%.

  16. Comments on comments: #1 there should be little doubt that the WH driver of the Wall is that twisted character, Steven Miller. #2 Kudos to Nancy for calling out the Koch bros for their continued work on taking over states (see Nancy MacClean’s “Democracy in Chains” for the whole step by step).

  17. The 35% – 40% of the “adults” in this country still think the con man is doing a good job. He’s destroyed our international partnerships, he’s rekindled abject racism, he has just tried to destroy the economy of the middle class – what’s left of it, anyway and he is still committing treason by favoring Russia on anything they want to do. This is P.T. Barnum’s prophecy come to in a large way.

    All the hand-wringing on this blog is a good catharsis for rational people, but the facts remain that the Republicans are still in charge of the Senate and most governorships and state houses in the nation. They embrace the reality that they can get away with anything. As stated above, the Koch brothers are funding the spirit and essence of lawful government while the most incompetent man in our history continues to insult all that came before him by his very presence.

    O.K. Now what? Can we afford two more years of this monster? Are there enough courageous people still around where at least one of them can do the right thing? Is there enough civic and political courage to use what tools we have to rid ourselves of this festering carbuncle in the White House? Are we all pounding on the doors of our “representatives” demanding they remove him/it from the presidency? If we don’t do SOMETHING soon, we’ll have only ourselves to blame for our demise.

  18. Vernon,
    The only way I want trump gone is if pence is taken down with him.

    Maybe Mueller will have enough dirt on pence that he can be forced to resign like Agnew had to before Nixon was brought down.

    There are so many Hoosiers that feel the same way that I do. We can never allow pence to take over.

  19. Nancy, I’m with you. And I would add that McConnell needs to go as well. He, Trump and Pence are the trifecta of evil that has been destroying the country.

  20. Maybe Mitch McConnell can take a cue from Nancy Pelosi on how to deal with a bully who threatens people with firing if they don’t do his bidding. If you can help remind Mitch which country pays him his salary, he may elect to stop selling out to the man who sells out – most likely on a daily basis – to the Russians. Trump would be nothing alone, but with McConnell’s private parts in his pathetic paws, he has more power than any moron in history. Please, Nancy, continue to instruct our Child-in-Chief and his wet nurse in the senate what the responsibilities of their jobs entail. Stay strong! Robert Mueller will show up to help you soon.

  21. Nancy intuits perhaps the most significant response today with her suggestion that the libertarian billionaires (nihilists) are going to throw their resources into the fray to capture the state legislatures come 2020. Why? Because we have a decennial count coming up and the libertarians (who have hijacked the Republican Party) want to be sure gerrymandering is in place for the ten years following the 2020 election whoever is elected president.

    The Kochs have already admitted as much with their public declaration that they will not be giving Trump any money for the 2020 election. Of course, this allocation of their considerable resources could change if, as I feel sure, that Trump will not be available for the 2020 election due to, among other things, the interim Mueller Report. In such a case, I speculate that these libertarian nihilists will fund both state and federal candidates to cover their terminal no tax-no rules greed, and that in the long run these state elections, though without presidential drama, may be relatively more important to preservation of our democracy than who is or is not elected on the federal level.

  22. The agreement is only three weeks long but the fight is over and Nancy won the battle for walls. Trumpencemcconnell are done demanding. Nancy makes the price too high.

    What isn’t done is distracting the news from Mueller.

  23. To paraphrase the late country lawyer, Bob Murphey, from Nacogdoches, TX, “It’s like I been tryin’ to tell ya . . . ” Trump has ALL CAPS; we have each other! Those eight simple, mostly one-syllable words say so much!

    Dear All, The tide is turning, if slowly at times and faster at others (like now). Has anyone noticed? They’re doing themselves in. It had to happen. Marv has had it right all along! He knows whereof he speaks. Thank you, Marv!

  24. Nancy,

    Could you please tell us what the Kochs’ fatal weaknesses are that need to be exploited?”

    Charles Koch is much like Donald Trump in that he obtained his power from his father, one of the original founders of the John Birch Society.

    That’s his fatal weakness as he doesn’t have sufficient LONG-TERM KNOWLEDGE to protect his backside. Family power is important, but you better make it on your own to be safe.

    Trump and, likewise, Koch are both reproachable because of this error of understandable poor judgment.

    Consequently, my understanding of the political world is much deeper than either of theirs. That’s why I always win confrontations with the
    deviant elite. I didn’t make their mistake, despite my father’s immense political power.

  25. Lester, I agree with you….Stephen Miller is the main man in this current day to day debacle. Of course, in addition to the other extremists….Ann Coulter, etc.
    Now, we all know people believe what they want to and nothing will dissuade those who truly feel/believe/want to believe/ that Trump is their savior and will do his bidding.
    Nancy Pelosi is doing her job and has always done her job.
    The press is making things much worse by crowing about Trump caving…jeez, what is not clear about this time wasting, chaos driven wall crap being just more distraction for the 24/7 destruction of the U.S. Government. As soon as the 3 weeks is over the shutdown will simply start up again.
    Monotonous Languor: yeah, what you said

  26. Gerald,

    You might want to read “Elite Deviance” by David R. Simon (A & B Pearson, Boston, 1985) It’s the “bible.” The book has had many editions, mine is just the 8th. He was a longtime professor at the University of North Florida located here in Jacksonville. I had the opportunity to have both private and public discussions with him in the past. He had a lot of courage, especially since my “deviant elite” father
    was the member of the Board of Regents responsible for creating the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

  27. Mueller is writing Trump’s Presidential biography and every chapter in it that bad guy leads to the next bad guy. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

    Trump needs to obscure all of that while hoping for a miracle so expect an unending flurry of tweets and breaking fake news.

    We can not let any of that divert our attention from our objective: who will be best and uniting us while restoring the Republic and who will allow our state to be a contributor to that restoration?

  28. howard schultz for pres, nothing like a demo corprat who,doesnt get the message.we dont want a billionaire determining American needs.out of touch,a waste of votes. after trump and his mob,really,seriously? i suppose bloomberg is also thiking of a run. why dont we list a few accomlishments they have made,that makes low wages,lack of bennifits,and corprate mentality that cripples the working class. a true platform for 2020

  29. Agree with Michael’s positive comments (& those of Sheila and others) regarding Nancy P. However, I am concerned with #45’s continuing threat to shut down the Government again on Feb 15 if he again doesn’t get his way. Shutting down the federal Government is not a solution.

  30. I have heard that the democrats (I think in the House) are writing a bill which will not allow congress or the president to shut down the government to settle disputes. Sounds like a good idea to me.

    The other interesting development will be what the courts do when # 45 declares his national emergency for the wall. And that is exactly what he will do because I don’t think either side especially the executive branch wants another shut down.

    When someone like #45 doesn’t get what he/she wants, they start trying to jump through legal loopholes. I just hope SCOTUS can see through this manipulation as someone using the power of declaring a national emergency as a political stunt instead of using good critical thinking. Our government goofed when it did not delineate clear criteria for the use of this power by the president.

    And yes, Nancy Pelosi is a skilled, experienced leader who keeps her language civil. # 45 should stop calling her Nancy and call her Speaker Pelosi. Calling her by her first name only is a power play.

    Those who want a white male dominated country need to let go of the idea that we are going to return to the 40’s and 50’s especially now that more women in the democratic party have decided that woman’s place is in the White House.

  31. I think Trump will not get his wall via the Speaker’s O.K., and that any emergency declaration will fail in court since it will have been for a corrupt purpose. Presidential powers otherwise legitimate are not legitimated if such an attempt is for corrupt purpose, and the question may turn on just whether applying shutdown tactics to purely political issues is “corrupt.”

    I could be wrong, but when I consider that Trump’s application of shutdown tactics is undergirded by self-serving purpose unrelated to the issue of real border security, how to secure it, and the fact that such security are in any event matters for congressional approval, I think the court may expand the meaning of corrupt to include such power grab by Trump and deny the legality of his “emergency declaration.”

    The court could of course punt by finding that no emergency exists, among other possibilities, including one we repeatedly find in case law that the court will not intervene in matters political – so whether an emergency declaration is political or not could come into play. I’m guessing on all this because we are of course in uncharted territory with no case law to guide us. Declarations of emergency are not everyday occurrences.

  32. Lester; I agree with you that Stephen Miller is one “adviser” whispering not-so-sweet nothings in the president’s ear. He may even be the #1 “adviser”; but he is NOT the only one.

    Maywin; thank you for pointing out a pet peeve of mine regarding the term “caved” when any leader changes their view or their action. Especially with an egotistical mentally incompetent like Trump; they are only rethinking their attack method and will come back, possibly stronger than before – or worse. He has already threatened a 2nd government shutdown at the end of this 3-week hiatus if he doesn’t get HIS wall. He has no legal basis for the wall which has already been proven to NOT be the solution or to even increase protection along our southern border. Building HIS wall is only half of his presidential campaign foundation which included the promise that the Mexican government would pay for HIS wall in full.

    Gerald; another on-target observation, “I think Trump will not get his wall via the Speaker’s O.K., and that any emergency declaration will fail in court since it will have been for a corrupt purpose. Presidential powers otherwise legitimate are not legitimated if such an attempt is for corrupt purpose, and the question may turn on just whether applying shutdown tactics to purely political issues is “corrupt.”

    Robert Mueller appears to be stepping-up his actions on the Russia investigation; are his actions possibly based on Gerald’s comments in addition to Speaker Pelosi’s determined efforts to lead the House votes against Trump’s wall and concentrating on increasec Border Patrol protection?

  33. Seems to be an oddly celebratory tone here, considering the agreement is a 3 week punt. I assume we’ll be shut down again by the middle of February.

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