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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Nov. 26, 2001

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
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11-5-2001 11-12-2001 11-19-2001
  • With the defeat of the Alliance at Survivor Series (more on that in a bit), the WWF basically reset the whole promotion and also brought back Ric Flair and Jerry Lawler, all of which led to the first positive ratings boost Raw has had in quite awhile. The Invasion angle, after being arguably the biggest flop of an angle in wrestling history, came to an end where WWF won in a confusing mess of a main event. With the exception of the one successful Invasion PPV, all the potential money in doing a WWF vs. WCW feud was completely squandered due to an incredible string of dumb booking and bad business decisions. But that's allegedly in the past now and Raw this week felt like one of those old WCW/Vince Russo company reboots, with the old storylines being dropped and everything starting fresh. Dave hopes this goes better than the 3 times Russo tried to reset WCW.
  • So anyway, let's start with Ric Flair. He had verbally agreed to a deal with WWF on the night of Survivor Series to accept a buyout from WWF on the remainder of his Time Warner contract. The deal wasn't officially signed until about 3 hours before the Raw where he debuted, at which point Flair officially signed with WWF and Time Warner released him from his remaining WCW deal. It was a photo finish because WWF didn't know if Flair would get the release in time and they didn't really have a backup plan if he didn't. With WCW no longer in business and no more WCW office staff, the Time Warner people are left handling all the old WCW contracts and because of that, things were moving more slowly than normal. As seen on Raw, the plan is for Flair to play an adversary to Vince McMahon, with each of them owning 50% of WWF, which will ultimately lead to the long-talked about brand split, with Vince in charge of one side and Flair the other since they can't get along as co-owners. Flair has had on-and-off again talks with WWF ever since WCW folded back in March but the hold up was always Flair not wanting to walk away from his WCW contract, which guaranteed him big money until Feb. of 2003. In recent weeks, the XWF had also spoken with Flair about buying out his contract so there was some pressure there and ultimately, WWF apparently made a good enough offer for Flair to accept it. He will turn 54 years old in a few months and signed a 3-year contract. He's expected to work some matches, but only on big shows and his first match won't be for a few more months because he wants to get back in the shape he wants to be in, since he hasn't really wrestled in a long time. Flair's return, in Charlotte NC no less, got the huge pop you would expect and Flair later told Dave it was one of the top 3 or 4 biggest highlights of his career.
WATCH: Ric Flair returns to WWF in 2001
  • Then there's Jerry Lawler, who had actually agreed to a deal with XWF and even worked their television taping last week. When the decision was made to blow off the Invasion angle, it meant Paul Heyman would be taken off television. They would need a new announcer for Raw and the natural choice was Lawler. He has been close to coming back several times over the last few months, but there was always opposition within the company from some people due to the way Lawler kinda nuked his bridges behind him when he left. If you don't recall, Lawler was extremely vocal with his displeasure over how WWF fired his now ex-wife Stacy Carter and the heat got so bad that WWF pulled their developmental deal away from Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis because of their Lawler connections. After Stacy Carter left Lawler (for former WWF developmental wrestler Mike Howell), he began mending fences with the company. They actually asked Lawler to come in a couple of weeks ago, but by that point, he had already agreed to do the first round of XWF tapings as well as appear on WWA's tour of England. Lawler actually signed a contract with XWF which has a non-compete, but his longtime friend Jimmy Hart asked Lawler to work the tapings and then if he still wanted to go to WWF, they wouldn't try to stand in his way. Lawler said the decision wasn't easy because he had committed to XWF and enjoyed working for them, but he also recognized that at this stage in his life, he needed to accept the job that was most stable for his future and XWF is anything but a sure bet. Much like Flair, there was some last-second contract wrangling and he didn't actually sign his new 3-year WWF contract until just before Raw went on the air. He's making roughly the same $250,000 per year he was making before he quit the company last time. Lawler went out on the air having not seen Survivor Series or really without having watched much WWF television at all this year and had zero knowledge of any of the current storylines so that was mostly left to Jim Ross to get over for most of the show while Lawler cracked jokes. Lawler's new deal still allows him to take independent bookings and coincidentally enough, Lawler will still be working with Jimmy Hart to promote local shows in Memphis, which will act as something of a developmental territory for XWF.
WATCH: Jerry Lawler returns to WWF in 2001
  • Raw also saw the departure of Mick Foley. As noted in the past, Foley hasn't been happy with the direction of the company for awhile and a couple of weeks ago on Raw, he cut a promo alluding to all his issues with how the company has been dropping the ball, which was more shoot than scripted. Even though Foley seemingly left the company in kayfabe 2 weeks ago, Vince legitimately wanted to give Foley a real proper send-off, since he's literally never had the chance to do that with any of his top stars (most top guys who leave the WWF usually do so on bad terms behind the scenes). So they had a pre-taped segment on Vince's private jet, with Foley and Vince talking about everything Foley has given to the business and then when the plane landed and Foley walked off, in a sitcom-like goodbye, Vince smiled and said, "Have a nice day." Dave feels like it was a pretty clumsy goodbye and paled in comparison to how, say, NJPW for instance treats its retiring legends. But better than nothing, he supposes. It was long expected that after Foley retired from in-ring competition that he would stay with the company in an ambassador role, but turns out that is still pretty restricting. Foley wanted more control over his ability to do non-wrestling projects and the WWF contract meant they largely owned and controlled whatever he wanted to do. So Foley is off to go do....whatever he wants now. Dave says he can write more books, but without the WWF machine to help promote them, it's going to be a tougher hill to climb.
  • During the WWF quarterly investor call, Linda McMahon surprisingly made very few excuses for WWF's current business struggles and basically admitted that they just haven't been producing good television. Dave runs down all of WWF's business declines over the recent quarter, the company projections for the first quarter of 2002, profit and revenue numbers, comparing quarters from this year to last year, merchandising and licensing, and all that fun business/stock shit. If numbers are your thing, this story is for you. One interesting thing to note is that, due to the decline in PPV buys and the increase in TV rights fees, that means that television is now the top priority and the company's leading source of revenue (it remains that way to this day). Because of that, WWF has to be careful not to alienate sponsors anymore, which is why things aren't nearly as risque now as they were in, say, 1999. Because TV is now the top priority and they can't afford to take too many risks. During the call, Linda first talked about the business being cyclical and made some other excuses for low attendance (9/11), the failing WWF Times Square restaurant (9/11) and things like that. The usual excuses. But then she admitted that the WCW Invasion angle had been a failure and blamed that for much of the company's recent issues. Which, well...yeah. However, when talking about why the angle failed, she first blamed it on a skill level difference in the performers (basically saying that the WCW wrestlers weren't as good as WWF stars) and poor audience response to the WCW stars (specifically the night of the infamous Buff Bagwell/Booker T match on Raw). She also blamed "creative confusion" behind the scenes (in other words, the fact that plans were changing on a daily basis, which is something that falls squarely on her husband). Linda used a football analogy explaining why they dropped the angle, basically saying it failed and they had to back up and punt. With the exception of RVD and Stacy Keibler, all the other members of the WCW/ECW group have been temporarily written off television. Many of them are understandably nervous about their futures. Some will be fine but Dave thinks some are right to be worried. Aside from Booker T, almost none of them would be that terribly missed if they were released. But with the plan still being to do a brand split and running 2 touring groups simultaneously, they are going to need a lot of wrestlers. Most of them are still working house shows, despite being "fired" on TV after the Survivor Series loss.
  • Oh yeah...Survivor Series is in the books. It was pretty much a one-match show with the WWF vs. The Alliance main event being the only reason anyone cared and the storyline is that everyone's jobs were on the line. For the undercard Alliance wrestlers, many of them really did feel that way. With all the big stars in one match, the rest of the show wasn't great. But the main event delivered and then some. Edge beat Test to unify the Intercontinental and U.S. titles, thus ending the history of the U.S. title, which was dropped. Dave talks briefly about the history of that title (it comes back about 2 years later). The Dudleyz beat the Hardyz to unify the WWF and WCW tag titles, which is also the end of those belts and their history dating back to 1975. Matt Hardy was legit injured in the match when his face slammed into the cage and nearly knocked out his front teeth and he ended up needing a brace put in to keep his teeth in place at the dentist the next day. There's also a chance he suffered nerve damage from a deep cut to the gums. Trish Stratus won the WWF women's title that has been vacant ever since Chyna left the company months ago. Chyna was never acknowledged on commentary and it was never really explained why the title was vacant. Former ECW women's wrestler Jazz debuted in the match and Heyman put her over huge on commentary. And the main event was a 4.5 star show-stealer that was wild, out of control, and just crazy enough to be riveting. Now, 10 months after ECW really died and 8 months after WCW really died, their names were "officially taken off life support and allowed to die with no dignity after a branding manslaughter," as Dave so eloquently puts it. And with that, WCW and ECW are finally, truly dead.
  • Speaking of truly dead, the XWF television tapings are complete and it's uncertain what their future is. They filmed 10 episodes of TV and the situation with Hogan is still confusing. After initially pulling out of the XWF, Hogan showed up as a surprise and wrestled Curt Hennig at the tapings, which was Hogan's first match in over a year (since he left WCW). The match was said to be about what you'd expect from those 2 at this stage in their career wrestling in front of a few hundred fans in a free theme park studio. Hennig was managed by Bobby Heenan, who even took a bump for the first time in years. Hogan did a promo after saying he's planning to win the XWF title but it's unknown if any of this will ever air even if they do get a TV deal. Hogan reportedly did the match as a favor to longtime friend Jimmy Hart, who is hoping to use the Hogan footage to dangle in front of TV execs to secure a TV deal. Hogan is said to be torn because he wants to be back in the spotlight and wrestling again, but he also doesn't want to be associated with another failure and XWF is by no means a sure thing. XWF is planning to film more TV shows in January and are claiming they want to run a full 145-date house show schedule in 2002. Attempting to do that without viable TV is suicide though. They're also hoping to get guys like Sting, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash when they're available, but that's not a sure bet either. They're also filming segments with celebrities like Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper, and Willie Nelson who will appear on the show. So that's basically where we're at with XWF (amazingly, I can't find footage of this Hogan/Hennig match anywhere. Looks like it may have never aired).
  • Martha Hart threatened a lawsuit this week against Diana Hart over Diana's new book "Under The Mat." Martha's lawyers demanded a public retraction, apology, and for the book to be removed from print and taken off bookstore shelves no later than Nov. 28th or else a lawsuit would be filed. Her lawyers also demanded that Diana Hart and her co-author Kirstie McLennan and the companies that published and distributed the book negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Martha is alleging the book is "filled with distortions, misstatements, and unjustified slurs that attempt to destroy the reputation of my family and me, and undermine the memory of Owen. I have no choice but to deliver a formal libel notice." Dave notes that Diana Hart has pretty much alienated herself from the entire rest of the Hart family, including members of the family who have usually been on her side. Diana responded to the lawsuit threat calling Martha a rich bully who is trying to silence her. "Martha has the money to fight me on it and I don't," she responded in an interview. "Maybe she thinks that's how she'll win this but I know what I've written is true." Dave says the book negatively portrays Martha throughout the whole thing and also painted a negative portrayal of Owen's marriage to her. As mentioned last week, Diana recently appeared on a late night talk show to promote the book in Canada and seemed totally out of it, which drew comparisons to the infamous Farrah Fawcett/David Letterman interview a couple of years ago. This week, Chyna was on that same talk show and the host mentioned Diana's recent appearance and joked that he didn't think Diana could have even read her own book, much less written it. Anyway, Dave wouldn't be surprised to see Diana get hit with more lawsuits because the book is just outrageous and full of obviously libelous material and he's shocked any publisher dared put it out to begin with.
  • Dave wants to take a moment to thank all the people involved with helping to promote his new "Tributes" book. He spent the last week in Toronto doing promotion on all the news stations, radio appearances, several TV shows, Off The Record, some afternoon talk shows, book signings, Q&As, and more. He thanks all those people, the publishers, the readers, etc. The book is available at most major bookstores throughout North America now as well as Amazon. In its first week, the book outsold both Diana Hart's book and Kurt Angle's book in Canada. To be fair, Dave admits that Angle's book has been out for a couple of months already, but it was still on the bestseller list until just a week or two ago. But still, Dave's pretty proud of how this all turned out and is eternally grateful to everyone who helped and yada yada.
  • The voting is open for the 22nd annual year-end Observer Awards. Needless to say, 2001 was an interesting year. The wrestling bubble burst, ECW and WCW went extinct, and WWF went from being the most successful company in the world to...well, still the most successful company in the world, but they had the greatest angle of all time handed to them and fumbled it and as a result, business collapsed. Anyway, Dave breaks down all the categories and what they mean and all that fun shit. Cast your votes now!
  • Carlos Colon's younger brother Noel Colon was shot and killed in San Juan, Pureto Rico last week in his office. Noel worked as the president of a transportation company and had just fired an employee. That employee left and then returned with a gun and shot Colon 4 times in the head and chest. Colon was rushed to the hospital but died there (no word if Carlos helped cover this one up too).
  • Hayabusa is still hospitalized. He was expected to be moved to a rehab facility but got sick with pneumonia in the hospital, which apparently isn't uncommon for people who basically can't move for long periods of time.
  • Lots of drama coming out of the King of the Indies tournament a few weeks ago that was held by APW in California. For starters, APW lost more than $10,000 on the show so that's bad news. And then there was a lot of arguments over who should win. APW owner Roland Alexander at first wanted Low-Ki to win the tournament but then Christopher Daniels pushed for Donovan Morgan to win because he's the local guy who has to help carry APW. So Morgan was going to win. But then, the owner changed his mind again and decided American Dragon should win (which he ultimately did). This, along with some bickering over who would run APW's training school, led to Morgan and Michael Modest apparently quitting and planning to open up their own wrestling school and promotion.
  • Chyna was scheduled to play the starring role in a stage production called My Darling Judith, but the play was cancelled just before its opening. No reason given, but Dave suspects poor ticket sales.
  • Hey, the XWF has its own section now! Anyway, a bunch more notes from the recent tapings: Nasty Boys became the first tag team champions. Rena Mero is the commissioner and with Roddy Piper running the show and they teased friction between them, which is supposed to lead to a Piper heel turn eventually. Piper also hosted a Piper's Pit segment, which they called "In Your Face with Rowdy Roddy Piper" because they can't legally call it Piper's Pit. Low-Ki worked the tapings, using the name Quick Kick. Juventud Guerrera won the cruiserweight title. They also set up a mixed tag storyline with Jerry Lawler and a new valet named Kitten against Simon Diamond and Dawn Marie, but with Lawler now back in WWF, who knows what will become of that. Former WCW women Leia Meow, Gorgeous George, and Nitro Girl Chiquita are doing a Charlie's Angels gimmick. Buff Bagwell was supposed to come in as one of the top babyfaces, but the crowd brutally booed him and chanted "Bagwell sucks" and "You got fired!" so on the taping for the next episode, they had no choice but to turn him heel. And then they did a promo thing referencing his being fired from WWF and the rumors of his mom calling in sick for him and all that shit. Dave says that's fine for the internet crowd, but this is a company that is allegedly trying to land a national TV deal and compete with WWF, and Dave doesn't like that they're referencing obscure stuff like that which most wrestling fans know nothing about (much less a crowd of tourists that were mostly just looking for somewhere to sit down for a little while and got begged into being part of a wrestling audience). Booking for the minority of internet hardcore fans is Russo-type shit and Dave hopes they don't make a habit of it (XWF isn't around long enough to form any habits). Vampiro appears to be getting pushed hard as one of the top stars. And a couple of matches sucked so bad that they re-taped them the next day.
  • As for the XWF in general, the reports have been mixed. Everyone involved had nothing but great things to say about how well-run and organized things were and everyone was treated well. The matches were said to be pretty bad considering most of the roster are either green bodybuilders or washed up 80s stars. Jerry Lawler was said to be fantastic on commentary while Tony Schiavone was, well, Tony Schiavone (people these days tend to forget how much 2001 Tony didn't give a single iota of a fuck about wrestling anymore). Of all the wrestlers, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels reportedly impressed people the most, which doesn't surprise Dave at all. Roddy Piper was more coherent than he ever was in WCW, while Rena Mero got shockingly little reaction, to the point that even people backstage were surprised at how not over she was.
  • Notes from Raw: as mentioned, Heyman was "fired" from commentary and replaced by Lawler. It was a way to totally write Heyman off as an on-screen character, and he will continue to work backstage as a writer. Dave says they should bring him back eventually as a heel manager because good lord, can that guy cut a promo (they do indeed bring him back about 6 months after this, as Brock Lesnar's manager). Trish vs. Lita was arguably the worst 2:44 of wrestling in a major promotion that Dave has seen all year. Then a Dudleyz vs. RVD handicap tables match went sideways when the table didn't break as originally planned and they had to improvise some spots to finish the match. Then they had a segment with Vince firing Shane and Stephanie. First Shane came out, said he lost to a better man, and walked out. The original plan was for Shane to be humiliated and dragged out kicking and screaming, much like Heyman and Stephanie were, but Shane didn't want to do that and Vince ultimately agreed. Also, among the wrestlers privately (because no one dares say it publicly), there was some heat on Shane because he took everyone's finishers the night before and was carried out of the arena, but showed up on Raw not selling anything. Then they did do the kicking and screaming and crying gimmick with Stephanie being dragged out. Shane will be strictly behind the scenes for now, but Dave expects Stephanie back on-screen sooner than later since Triple H is returning soon. Then, Vince McMahon made William Regal literally kiss his ass (the debut of the Kiss My Ass Club) with Vince actually showing some of his bare ass and Regal kissing it. Dave found this whole thing pretty awful and he apparently wasn't alone, as viewers tuned out of this segment in massive numbers according to the ratings. And then the Flair debut to end it.
  • Notes from Smackdown: they hyped up the December PPV with Michael Cole reading lines that were clearly edited into the show during post production where he teased that they would have a unification match and crown the first ever undisputed champion in the 100-year history of professional wrestling. For starters, that's obviously not true. But even if it was, Dave is just amazed that WWF actually acknowledged that pro wrestling existed prior to 1984. Sharmell Sullivan debuted on the main roster after shockingly little time in developmental as a backstage interviewer. Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle was a really good match and for once, Undertaker actually went out of his way to sell for Angle and treated him like someone who is on his level.
  • Dave also reviews Smackdown from the previous week since I guess he didn't get a chance before because he was out of town doing book publicity tour shit. Anyway, he says the much-talked about Paul Heyman promo was indeed one of the best promos he's seen in a long time. In regards to the entire Invasion storyline, Dave also says, "Got a feeling this angle will historically be looked at as the single greatest botched angle in wrestling history." (18 years later and....yup. I don't think there's even a close 2nd place) Dave thinks it's sad to imagine how great this angle could have been if they had Heyman delivering these kinds of promos the whole time and really building the Alliance up as equals to WWF, but alas. Dave also seems to think the "What?" chants are getting annoying and notes that people were even doing it at the XWF tapings.
  • Remember how company president and COO Stuart Snyder was fired a few weeks ago? Dave has more details. Snyder was actually brought in to help WWF expand into other forms of entertainment, such as WWF-produced movies and the failed WWF casino idea in Vegas. Snyder actually didn't have much knowledge of the wrestling business, but Vince wants the WWF to be an overall entertainment conglomerate, not just wrestling. But with business plummeting right now, they decided it might not be the right time for that kind of expansion and Snyder was let go. Also, Snyder was said to be pushing hard for WWF to settle their conflict with DirecTV, but Vince refuses to budge on that issue and refuses to settle and that was a touchy issue with them. Vince has never been good about backing down from a fight publicly, even when it's the smart or right thing to do.
  • Torrie Wilson appeared on the Howard Stern show this week. She mentioned that she recently got engaged to Billy Kidman. Dave says that's gotta be rough on Kidman, because the WWF sees Torrie as a potential megastar while they clearly don't have any plans for him. That sort of thing can put a lot of pressure on a relationship. Anyway, that's all Dave seems to know. He didn't actually see or hear it. But DDP was also on the show with Torrie. Here's the full interview and it's basically what you'd expect when Howard Stern has a hot chick in front of him:
WATCH: Torrie Wilson & DDP on Howard Stern (2001)
  • In OVW, Rico Constantino lost a Loser Leaves Town match to Prototype, which means Constantino is finally going to be moving up to the main roster. He got a standing ovation from the crowd afterwards and thanked them for their support. Dave thinks it's going to be interesting to see how his run in WWF goes. Constantino is already 40 years old and that's a tough age to be starting out in the WWF, but he's also really good and well-rounded at all aspects of the business, so who knows.
  • Mike Awesome suffered a torn ACL and it couldn't have come at a worse time. Awesome says he's trying to avoid needing surgery and is getting a second opinion but with all the rumors of Alliance guys being let go soon due to all the company layoffs, it's a pretty bad time to be sidelined with an injury. Wrestlers in the past have continued working with torn ACLs so it's not unheard of, but it's definitely not the best idea.
  • The first major review of the upcoming Scorpion King movie starring the Rock is in and it's very negative. Ain't It Cool News reviewed the film calling it a "sad, cliched, poorly acted, horribly written and sadly directed piece of garbage." So.....not great. The movie comes out next year.
  • Lita was on the cover of TV Guide in Canada and was interviewed. She said her worst injury in wrestling was a dislocated collarbone and shoulder blade from being power bombed by Eddie Guerrero outside the ring.
  • On his website, Kurt Angle made a post saying that his wife's recent comments about RVD (that he was too dangerous and keeps hurting her husband) were just her opinions as a fan and not his. However, for what it's worth, Kurt Angle was on ESPN a few weeks ago and mentioned a wrestler who had broken his nose in a match recently and then said he would refuse to dignify the guy by even saying his name on the show. But he was clearly talking about RVD. Definitely seems to be some heat between him and Angle.
  • You may have noticed that William Regal has been suffering bloody noses pretty much every time he wrestles lately. His nose is smashed and infected and bleeds with pretty much any physical exertion and he now needs surgery on it to fix it. But he can't get the surgery until they treat the infection.
  • DDP was on a radio show doing an interview and admitted that he ended up missing out on about $500,000 by taking a buyout and signing with WWF rather than sitting home and collecting the rest of his WCW contract. Given how his WWF run has gone, probably not the wisest decision in retrospect.
WEDNESDAY: Yuji Nagata to face Mirko Cro Cop, more on WWF essentially resetting the company, Chyna on Howard Stern, and more...

► Observer Rewinds remaining: 5

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Marriott hotels Puerto Rico

I have 176K Marriott points to use for 5 nights in PR for 2/12-17. The options within my budget are below. Any help decide which might be the best option would be much appreciated!
  1. Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino (160K): No beach access, although close to Old San Juan
  2. Aloft San Juan (120K): Brand new property opening in Dec '19. Fairly close to the Sheraton so again no beach access but close to OSJ. Looks small. Don't expect lots of reviews but if anyone has anything to share it would be much appreciated.
  3. AC Hotel San Juan Condado (120K): Close to the beach although doesn't look like there's beach access. Room size looks good and rooms look modern.
  4. Courtyard Isla Verde: A little farther away from OSJ but looks like it has nice beach access. Only available the first 2 nights so I'll have to move somewhere else for the rest of the vacation. Any chance the 2 weekend nights might open up?
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Op Ed: The Era of Trump - Enormous Volatility, Mass Radicalization - by Tom Crean (Socialist Alternative) 12 Jan 2018 (Part 1 of 2)

Published 12 January 2018
The following statement was approved by the National Committee of Socialist Alternative on December 11 and updated slightly later in December 2017.
It is one year since the election of the odious Trump, an event which radically changed the political landscape in this country. This document will begin with a review of some of the key features of the new situation and how the perspectives which we put forward at the end of 2016 and early 2017 have been largely confirmed. But the main purpose is to map out the variants for how the struggle against Trump and the Republican agenda could re-emerge from its current lull and the key features of political developments in the build up to the midterm elections in 2018.
Given that this statement has to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short space, it needs to be supplemented by reviewing other recent material we have produced including our recent articles on “How We Can Drive Out Trump” and on the #MeToo revolt.
Section 1 – Reviewing One Year of Trump
From the start we stressed the deeply reactionary but also chaotic quality of the Trump regime, as well as its very real authoritarian streak. All of these features have been confirmed over and over. Trump’s vicious and pathetic attacks on critics like the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico and those standing up against oppression like football players “taking a knee,” not to mention his defense of the “very fine people” among the white supremacist in Charlottesville will not soon be forgotten. We must also not forget that Trump was the most unpopular major party candidate in modern history who lost the popular vote by nearly three million. His popularity ratings have been dismal since taking office.
The bumbling incompetence of Trump was shown in his firing of FBI director Comey. This led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel which suddenly made “Russiagate” a much more real threat to his presidency. It cannot be excluded that Trump will try to get out of his difficulties at some stage by firing Mueller which would be reminiscent of Nixon’s desperate “Saturday night massacre” when he fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. This would provoke a constitutional crisis. Depending on the revelations from Mueller, Trump could be forced out even in advance of the 2018 midterm elections, though it remains more likely that Trump will survive for a while longer, even if increasingly damaged. One way or another the enormous volatility created by the Trump regime will continue.
Trump and the Crisis of Capitalism
It bears repeating that Trump’s ascendancy is both a byproduct and a further cause of the degeneration and decline of American capitalism. Since 2008, the social crisis facing large sections of the working class – after decades of a one sided class war which led to unprecedented inequality – has become much worse. There is a complete rejection of the political establishment and a profound discrediting of the institutions of capitalism – with the possible exception of the military.
Trump pretended to speak for the “forgotten men and women” while pushing overt racism, sexism, and nativism. Tragically the other main choice on the ballot last year was Hillary Clinton who epitomizes the corruption of corporate politics. But there was another choice in 2016, namely the pro-working-class program put forward in Bernie Sanders’ campaign which was then blocked by the Democratic Party establishment. Donna Brazile’s new book has confirmed that the Democratic National Committee was essentially a subsidiary of Hillary’s campaign from the word go.
In all the endless talk of who is to blame for the rise of Trump, it is crystal clear that the blame for the rise of right populism lies first and foremost with the Democratic Party itself. But one year of Trump and the emboldening of the far right also underlines the serious mistake Sanders made in not continuing to run after his campaign was blocked in the Democratic primary.
The political polarization of the country has reached unprecedented levels. In the past few years we said that American society was broadly moving to the left, as evidenced by growing support for taxing the rich, single payer health care, a $15 minimum wage as well as progressive social measures like marriage equality. But does Trump’s victory – which provided cover for the emergence of white supremacists and nativists – show that society is now moving to the right? In a general sense no; what it has meant is a radicalization both on the left and the right.
This is a contradictory reality. Until recently, Trump’s core base has actually hardened in its support for him, seeing the attacks of the liberal media as confirmation that he is fighting on their behalf. It will take big developments a mass movement showing a way forward for the whole working class or serious economic crisis finally exposing the lie that he will be bring jobs back to lead to a more decisive collapse of his support. But it is also clear that most of the population rejects Trump’s racism and misogyny and sees the vicious cruelty of the Republican agenda for what it is. If anything there is now greater support for measures like Medicare for All than even a year ago. This is partly a reaction to the viciousness of Trump and the Republicans’ proposals.
In December, Trump’s unpopularity reached a new low with a Monmouth University poll in early December showing 32% approval and 56% disapproval. Other polls show a drop of support among evangelical Christians and Fox News viewers. The key factor in this further drop in Trump’s support, especially among women, is the reemergence of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump as well as his support for the predator Roy Moore.
There is also a generalized opposition to the Trump regime among tens of millions. There is a growing level of support for impeachment (up to 49% in a Public Policy Polling survey in late October). Four million (as of early January) have signed Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer’s petition calling for impeachment.
But there is an underlying danger in the situation: if a real mass movement centered on the social power of the working class is not built in the next period the space for the far right and even fascist forces, still numerically weak, can grow significantly. This is partly because the Democratic Party, even if it begins winning elections again, will not solve any of the key issues facing the working class.
Trump and the Ruling Class
We have pointed out that while Trump was not the choice of the ruling class as a whole, a large portion of them could live with him and his billionaire cabinet as long as he delivered on deregulation and tax cuts for corporations and the rich. Trump’s identification with white supremacists in Charlottesville, however, did cause a big section of the corporate elite to take a step away from Trump, not because of sudden opposition to structural racism but because they see a major exacerbation of racial divisions as bad for business at this stage.
Another section of the elite has from the start been more focused on the damage that Trump would do to the standing of U.S. imperialism internationally. On the campaign trail, Trump pushed his protectionist, “America-first” message relentlessly. After being elected, he delivered on his promise to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. But his threats to go further by ripping up NAFTA and starting a trade war with China met with pretty firm opposition from corporate America. For a while, the pressure seemed to work and Trump appeared to be grudgingly accepting the “conventional wisdom” of neoliberalism. However, in the recent period Trump has been ramping up the “America first” rhetoric again, both domestically and on his tour of Asia. This has been welcomed by Chinese imperialism which sees U.S. isolationism as an opportunity to spread its influence. It is also putting Trump on a collision course with key sections of corporate America and the Republican establishment.
Under Trump, the U.S. has engaged in saber rattling against North Korea and has ramped up military intervention in the Middle East. Trump inherited Obama’s low-key militarism which by the end of his administration included bombing campaigns in up to seven countries in 2016. Trump has ramped things up a notch and let the generals off the leash. The world is right to fear that war on the Korean peninsula – with almost unimaginable consequences – is a real, if still unlikely, possibility. Now Trump is giving the green light to the Saudis to step up their regional conflict with Iran which also threatens to trigger full scale war at some stage. Both in the Middle East and East Asia, Trump’s incoherent policy is deepening the decline of U.S. power while contributing to potential disaster for ordinary people.
The same can be said for the Trump administration’s insane policy on climate change including pulling out of the Paris accord and appointing anti-science quacks to key positions. Trump has ripped up environmental regulation in the name of bringing back the coal industry which is a fool’s errand. But ordinary people in the U.S. can see that extreme weather and devastating hurricanes are on the increase, much of this due to climate change. Trump’s policies are laying the ground for an even more decisive rejection of the climate change deniers.
What Have Trump and the Republican Party Achieved?
When Trump took office we warned that he and the Republicans would go on the offensive against immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ people and the unions. We pointed to the potential for mass resistance and argued that, with a bold program and a focus on mobilizing the social power of the working class, the movement could hand Trump and the Republicans decisive defeats. But we also warned that, with control over the White House, both Houses of Congress and most statehouses, the Republicans had concentrated enormous power in their hands. Trump may be beatable but likewise the danger of major and demoralizing defeats is very real.
Trump has indeed launched attacks on a whole range of fronts including a number specifically targeted at women and transgender people’s rights and a whole series against immigrants culminating in the threatened termination of the DACA program. These attacks have cumulatively created a climate of fear in many oppressed communities. Now the Janus case in front of the Supreme Court (a replay of the Friedrichs case that only ended in a tie because of the death of Justice Scalia) is a major threat to the public sector unions.
But until December, Trump had little to show in major wins. Remember that he declared that he was going to deport millions of undocumented workers within months; build a wall on the Mexican border; repeal and replace Obamacare; rebuild the nation’s infrastructure; and “bring good jobs back” by renegotiating trade deals, “tax reform” and eliminating regulations.
Passing Trumpcare would have been a major victory for the Republicans and a major defeat for working people, especially the poor. While there is no doubt that Trumpcare, which included radical attacks on Medicaid, became politically toxic, and there was a real groundswell of opposition, it was not clearly defeated by a mass movement.
Furthermore, while the incoherence of the Republican effort on Trumpcare and the incompetence of the administration in pushing for the Muslim ban contributed to defeats for Trump they have also fed a degree of complacency and a widespread confusion about what it will take to defeat the right.
The passing of the Republicans’ tax bill should be a wake up call. This will mean a massive redistribution of wealth to corporations and the super-rich, exacerbating the record levels of inequality which already exist. It will create pressure in many states and municipalities to enact further cuts to education and social services. By ending the Obamacare mandate it is also contributing to undermining the ACA, increasing premiums and potentially leading to 13 million losing health coverage over the next decade according to the Congressional Budget Office. And the Republicans plan to go more directly after “entitlements” including Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare, next year. None of this is popular. The tax plan is supported by only 29% according to Quinnipiac (CNN.com, 12/5/17). But failing to achieve anything would have been an even worse political setback for the GOP.
If DACA is fully rescinded next March without major struggle this would also be a major defeat for the immigrant population and for all those who want to see this regime defeated. It is urgent that anti-Trump activists, especially the left, draw the right conclusions from this year’s developments.
Crisis of Republican Party Deepens
There is no doubt that the Republicans’ difficulties up until now have been to a significant degree self-inflicted due to serious internal divisions and Trump’s inept “leadership.” There is the more ideological right in Congress which refuses to “compromise” in its drive to destroy social benefits while another group, especially in “purple” districts, fears the wrath of voters disgusted by the attacks on Medicaid or a tax plan that overwhelmingly benefits the top 1%.
On top of that we have seen Republican figures like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake openly attacking Trump as “unfit” for office. But what Corker and Flake have in common is that they are not running for reelection. Almost all other critical Congressional Republicans have gone silent, fearful of the “further right” forces whom Steve Bannon has been mobilizing against anyone perceived as “disloyal.” This includes the credible threat of primary challenges.
Bannon himself is really only the tip of this iceberg. As we have pointed out, the organized reactionary “grassroots” forces around the Republican Party like the Christian Right, the NRA and anti-immigrant groups are now fiercely committed to Trump and he has carefully nurtured their support. They may represent a distinct minority of the population and even a minority of Republican voters but their supporters are a big chunk of Republican primary voters. There is also a more general loyalty of the Republican base, beyond the organized reactionaries, to Trump as stated earlier. This dynamic has led a number of commentators to say that the Republican Party has been “captured” by Trump. There is a degree of truth in this but it is very far from a completed process.
With the 2018 midterms increasingly on legislators’ minds and the threat of a big swing to the Democrats, a number of Republican representatives, especially in “swing districts,” are retiring or preparing to distance themselves from Trump. And if Mueller’s revelations are serious enough, a whole wing of the Republicans could desert him. Roy Moore’s candidacy for the vacant Senate seat in Alabama became a proxy war in the desperate battle between the party establishment represented by Senate leader McConnell and the Bannonites. McConnell saw clearly that a party decisively associated with the predators Trump and Moore was headed towards electoral annihilation if not in 2018 then in 2020.
The defeat of Moore in the Alabama special Senate race represented both a rejection of Trump’s agenda and of sexual abuse. It was certainly a blow to the Trump/Bannon wing of the Republicans but also a warning to the party as a whole of the fate that could await them in the 2018 midterms. It was the first time a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama in 25 years. The Democrats are scrambling to get on the right side of this issue after years of looking the other way and clearly seek to head into 2018 as the party of #MeToo. But the aftermath also shows once again the political weakness of the Democrats. After defeating Moore, Democrat Doug Jones promptly went on CNN and stated that Trump should not resign because of his history of harassing and assaulting women – outrageously claiming that people need to “move on” rather than fight back.
The extremely sharp divisions in the Republican Party point to the real possibility of the party splitting or partly disintegrating in the next few years, even before 2020. But while the crisis of the Democratic Party is less acute it is also, as we discuss below, on a similar path. The ground is being laid – as pointed out in a recent document produced by the Committee for a Workers Intenational (CWI) with which Socialist Alternative stands in political solidarity – for 3 or 4 major parties in the U.S. including “center right” and “center left” establishment parties as well as far right and clearly left parties. Trump’s presidency has speeded up this process on the right and slowed it down on the left but not indefinitely.
Section 2 – Economic Perspectives
While the economy has continued to grow in 2017, there are definite signs of overheating. Quantitative easing and the pumping of massive amounts of liquidity into the economy with the goal of keeping interests rate super low (though the Federal Reserve is now trying to “unwind” QE) has contributed to the reemergence of bubbles in property, stocks and the financial markets. As Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management recently pointed out, “Asset prices from stocks to real estate have never been this expensive simultaneously,” (New York Times op ed, 9/14/17).
We have pointed out before that quantitative easing, while helping to get the economy out of the deepest recession since the 1930s, did not lead to significant levels of productive investment by big business. Rather the corporations plowed super-profits right back into the casino of the financial markets.
The collapse of large parts of the retail sector is also a warning sign for capitalism. The only growth in retail is at the high end, luxury stores and discount stores aimed at the poor and near-poor. But retail giants which were aimed at the “middle class” (including big sections of the working class) have collapsed reflecting the long term decline in wages. This fall in the purchasing power (effective demand) of a big section of the population also points to a deeper problem of overproduction/overcapacity. The growth of debt is a temporary fix but, as we saw ten years ago, this is another bubble that will collapse. The explosion of student debt has been followed by the explosion of credit card debt, to over $1 trillion, the highest level in U.S. history (MarketWatch.com, 8/8/17). Total household debt stands at $12.7 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, higher than in 2008 before the credit bubble burst (NY Times, 5/8/17).
In the past couple years there has been growth in real wages, but quite limited for an economy allegedly close to full employment. As we have pointed out before this also reflects the weakness of the labor movement. The underlying reality for majority of the American working class is they have been going backward for a long time. A recent large-scale study showed that working men in their prime working years from 25-55 are now earning $250,000 less cumulatively, adjusted for inflation, than their counterparts 50 years ago. A key reason for this drop in lifetime income, according to the study, is the lack of decent jobs for young people entering the job market. $250,000 is the purchase price of a medium size house in many parts of the country. A bit of temporary wage growth will not change this reality (NY Times, 9/17/2017).
It is still not possible to be definite about when the next recession will begin but it is likely to be a sharp downturn. If this occurs before the 2020 election and Trump is still in office it could lead to a collapse of his core support.
(Cont.)
https://www.socialistalternative.org/2018/01/12/era-trump-enormous-volatility-mass-radicalization/
submitted by FinnagainsAwake to WorkersVanguard [link] [comments]

The Era of Trump - Enormous Volatility, Mass Radicalization - by Tom Crean (Socialist Alternative) 12 Jan 2018 (Part 1 of 2)

Published 12 January 2018
The following statement was approved by the National Committee of Socialist Alternative on December 11 and updated slightly later in December 2017.
It is one year since the election of the odious Trump, an event which radically changed the political landscape in this country. This document will begin with a review of some of the key features of the new situation and how the perspectives which we put forward at the end of 2016 and early 2017 have been largely confirmed. But the main purpose is to map out the variants for how the struggle against Trump and the Republican agenda could re-emerge from its current lull and the key features of political developments in the build up to the midterm elections in 2018.
Given that this statement has to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short space, it needs to be supplemented by reviewing other recent material we have produced including our recent articles on “How We Can Drive Out Trump” and on the #MeToo revolt.
Section 1 – Reviewing One Year of Trump
From the start we stressed the deeply reactionary but also chaotic quality of the Trump regime, as well as its very real authoritarian streak. All of these features have been confirmed over and over. Trump’s vicious and pathetic attacks on critics like the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico and those standing up against oppression like football players “taking a knee,” not to mention his defense of the “very fine people” among the white supremacist in Charlottesville will not soon be forgotten. We must also not forget that Trump was the most unpopular major party candidate in modern history who lost the popular vote by nearly three million. His popularity ratings have been dismal since taking office.
The bumbling incompetence of Trump was shown in his firing of FBI director Comey. This led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel which suddenly made “Russiagate” a much more real threat to his presidency. It cannot be excluded that Trump will try to get out of his difficulties at some stage by firing Mueller which would be reminiscent of Nixon’s desperate “Saturday night massacre” when he fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. This would provoke a constitutional crisis. Depending on the revelations from Mueller, Trump could be forced out even in advance of the 2018 midterm elections, though it remains more likely that Trump will survive for a while longer, even if increasingly damaged. One way or another the enormous volatility created by the Trump regime will continue.
Trump and the Crisis of Capitalism
It bears repeating that Trump’s ascendancy is both a byproduct and a further cause of the degeneration and decline of American capitalism. Since 2008, the social crisis facing large sections of the working class – after decades of a one sided class war which led to unprecedented inequality – has become much worse. There is a complete rejection of the political establishment and a profound discrediting of the institutions of capitalism – with the possible exception of the military.
Trump pretended to speak for the “forgotten men and women” while pushing overt racism, sexism, and nativism. Tragically the other main choice on the ballot last year was Hillary Clinton who epitomizes the corruption of corporate politics. But there was another choice in 2016, namely the pro-working-class program put forward in Bernie Sanders’ campaign which was then blocked by the Democratic Party establishment. Donna Brazile’s new book has confirmed that the Democratic National Committee was essentially a subsidiary of Hillary’s campaign from the word go.
In all the endless talk of who is to blame for the rise of Trump, it is crystal clear that the blame for the rise of right populism lies first and foremost with the Democratic Party itself. But one year of Trump and the emboldening of the far right also underlines the serious mistake Sanders made in not continuing to run after his campaign was blocked in the Democratic primary.
The political polarization of the country has reached unprecedented levels. In the past few years we said that American society was broadly moving to the left, as evidenced by growing support for taxing the rich, single payer health care, a $15 minimum wage as well as progressive social measures like marriage equality. But does Trump’s victory – which provided cover for the emergence of white supremacists and nativists – show that society is now moving to the right? In a general sense no; what it has meant is a radicalization both on the left and the right.
This is a contradictory reality. Until recently, Trump’s core base has actually hardened in its support for him, seeing the attacks of the liberal media as confirmation that he is fighting on their behalf. It will take big developments a mass movement showing a way forward for the whole working class or serious economic crisis finally exposing the lie that he will be bring jobs back to lead to a more decisive collapse of his support. But it is also clear that most of the population rejects Trump’s racism and misogyny and sees the vicious cruelty of the Republican agenda for what it is. If anything there is now greater support for measures like Medicare for All than even a year ago. This is partly a reaction to the viciousness of Trump and the Republicans’ proposals.
In December, Trump’s unpopularity reached a new low with a Monmouth University poll in early December showing 32% approval and 56% disapproval. Other polls show a drop of support among evangelical Christians and Fox News viewers. The key factor in this further drop in Trump’s support, especially among women, is the reemergence of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump as well as his support for the predator Roy Moore.
There is also a generalized opposition to the Trump regime among tens of millions. There is a growing level of support for impeachment (up to 49% in a Public Policy Polling survey in late October). Four million (as of early January) have signed Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer’s petition calling for impeachment.
But there is an underlying danger in the situation: if a real mass movement centered on the social power of the working class is not built in the next period the space for the far right and even fascist forces, still numerically weak, can grow significantly. This is partly because the Democratic Party, even if it begins winning elections again, will not solve any of the key issues facing the working class.
Trump and the Ruling Class
We have pointed out that while Trump was not the choice of the ruling class as a whole, a large portion of them could live with him and his billionaire cabinet as long as he delivered on deregulation and tax cuts for corporations and the rich. Trump’s identification with white supremacists in Charlottesville, however, did cause a big section of the corporate elite to take a step away from Trump, not because of sudden opposition to structural racism but because they see a major exacerbation of racial divisions as bad for business at this stage.
Another section of the elite has from the start been more focused on the damage that Trump would do to the standing of U.S. imperialism internationally. On the campaign trail, Trump pushed his protectionist, “America-first” message relentlessly. After being elected, he delivered on his promise to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. But his threats to go further by ripping up NAFTA and starting a trade war with China met with pretty firm opposition from corporate America. For a while, the pressure seemed to work and Trump appeared to be grudgingly accepting the “conventional wisdom” of neoliberalism. However, in the recent period Trump has been ramping up the “America first” rhetoric again, both domestically and on his tour of Asia. This has been welcomed by Chinese imperialism which sees U.S. isolationism as an opportunity to spread its influence. It is also putting Trump on a collision course with key sections of corporate America and the Republican establishment.
Under Trump, the U.S. has engaged in saber rattling against North Korea and has ramped up military intervention in the Middle East. Trump inherited Obama’s low-key militarism which by the end of his administration included bombing campaigns in up to seven countries in 2016. Trump has ramped things up a notch and let the generals off the leash. The world is right to fear that war on the Korean peninsula – with almost unimaginable consequences – is a real, if still unlikely, possibility. Now Trump is giving the green light to the Saudis to step up their regional conflict with Iran which also threatens to trigger full scale war at some stage. Both in the Middle East and East Asia, Trump’s incoherent policy is deepening the decline of U.S. power while contributing to potential disaster for ordinary people.
The same can be said for the Trump administration’s insane policy on climate change including pulling out of the Paris accord and appointing anti-science quacks to key positions. Trump has ripped up environmental regulation in the name of bringing back the coal industry which is a fool’s errand. But ordinary people in the U.S. can see that extreme weather and devastating hurricanes are on the increase, much of this due to climate change. Trump’s policies are laying the ground for an even more decisive rejection of the climate change deniers.
What Have Trump and the Republican Party Achieved?
When Trump took office we warned that he and the Republicans would go on the offensive against immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ people and the unions. We pointed to the potential for mass resistance and argued that, with a bold program and a focus on mobilizing the social power of the working class, the movement could hand Trump and the Republicans decisive defeats. But we also warned that, with control over the White House, both Houses of Congress and most statehouses, the Republicans had concentrated enormous power in their hands. Trump may be beatable but likewise the danger of major and demoralizing defeats is very real.
Trump has indeed launched attacks on a whole range of fronts including a number specifically targeted at women and transgender people’s rights and a whole series against immigrants culminating in the threatened termination of the DACA program. These attacks have cumulatively created a climate of fear in many oppressed communities. Now the Janus case in front of the Supreme Court (a replay of the Friedrichs case that only ended in a tie because of the death of Justice Scalia) is a major threat to the public sector unions.
But until December, Trump had little to show in major wins. Remember that he declared that he was going to deport millions of undocumented workers within months; build a wall on the Mexican border; repeal and replace Obamacare; rebuild the nation’s infrastructure; and “bring good jobs back” by renegotiating trade deals, “tax reform” and eliminating regulations.
Passing Trumpcare would have been a major victory for the Republicans and a major defeat for working people, especially the poor. While there is no doubt that Trumpcare, which included radical attacks on Medicaid, became politically toxic, and there was a real groundswell of opposition, it was not clearly defeated by a mass movement.
Furthermore, while the incoherence of the Republican effort on Trumpcare and the incompetence of the administration in pushing for the Muslim ban contributed to defeats for Trump they have also fed a degree of complacency and a widespread confusion about what it will take to defeat the right.
The passing of the Republicans’ tax bill should be a wake up call. This will mean a massive redistribution of wealth to corporations and the super-rich, exacerbating the record levels of inequality which already exist. It will create pressure in many states and municipalities to enact further cuts to education and social services. By ending the Obamacare mandate it is also contributing to undermining the ACA, increasing premiums and potentially leading to 13 million losing health coverage over the next decade according to the Congressional Budget Office. And the Republicans plan to go more directly after “entitlements” including Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare, next year. None of this is popular. The tax plan is supported by only 29% according to Quinnipiac (CNN.com, 12/5/17). But failing to achieve anything would have been an even worse political setback for the GOP.
If DACA is fully rescinded next March without major struggle this would also be a major defeat for the immigrant population and for all those who want to see this regime defeated. It is urgent that anti-Trump activists, especially the left, draw the right conclusions from this year’s developments.
Crisis of Republican Party Deepens
There is no doubt that the Republicans’ difficulties up until now have been to a significant degree self-inflicted due to serious internal divisions and Trump’s inept “leadership.” There is the more ideological right in Congress which refuses to “compromise” in its drive to destroy social benefits while another group, especially in “purple” districts, fears the wrath of voters disgusted by the attacks on Medicaid or a tax plan that overwhelmingly benefits the top 1%.
On top of that we have seen Republican figures like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake openly attacking Trump as “unfit” for office. But what Corker and Flake have in common is that they are not running for reelection. Almost all other critical Congressional Republicans have gone silent, fearful of the “further right” forces whom Steve Bannon has been mobilizing against anyone perceived as “disloyal.” This includes the credible threat of primary challenges.
Bannon himself is really only the tip of this iceberg. As we have pointed out, the organized reactionary “grassroots” forces around the Republican Party like the Christian Right, the NRA and anti-immigrant groups are now fiercely committed to Trump and he has carefully nurtured their support. They may represent a distinct minority of the population and even a minority of Republican voters but their supporters are a big chunk of Republican primary voters. There is also a more general loyalty of the Republican base, beyond the organized reactionaries, to Trump as stated earlier. This dynamic has led a number of commentators to say that the Republican Party has been “captured” by Trump. There is a degree of truth in this but it is very far from a completed process.
With the 2018 midterms increasingly on legislators’ minds and the threat of a big swing to the Democrats, a number of Republican representatives, especially in “swing districts,” are retiring or preparing to distance themselves from Trump. And if Mueller’s revelations are serious enough, a whole wing of the Republicans could desert him. Roy Moore’s candidacy for the vacant Senate seat in Alabama became a proxy war in the desperate battle between the party establishment represented by Senate leader McConnell and the Bannonites. McConnell saw clearly that a party decisively associated with the predators Trump and Moore was headed towards electoral annihilation if not in 2018 then in 2020.
The defeat of Moore in the Alabama special Senate race represented both a rejection of Trump’s agenda and of sexual abuse. It was certainly a blow to the Trump/Bannon wing of the Republicans but also a warning to the party as a whole of the fate that could await them in the 2018 midterms. It was the first time a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama in 25 years. The Democrats are scrambling to get on the right side of this issue after years of looking the other way and clearly seek to head into 2018 as the party of #MeToo. But the aftermath also shows once again the political weakness of the Democrats. After defeating Moore, Democrat Doug Jones promptly went on CNN and stated that Trump should not resign because of his history of harassing and assaulting women – outrageously claiming that people need to “move on” rather than fight back.
The extremely sharp divisions in the Republican Party point to the real possibility of the party splitting or partly disintegrating in the next few years, even before 2020. But while the crisis of the Democratic Party is less acute it is also, as we discuss below, on a similar path. The ground is being laid – as pointed out in a recent document produced by the Committee for a Workers Intenational (CWI) with which Socialist Alternative stands in political solidarity – for 3 or 4 major parties in the U.S. including “center right” and “center left” establishment parties as well as far right and clearly left parties. Trump’s presidency has speeded up this process on the right and slowed it down on the left but not indefinitely.
Section 2 – Economic Perspectives
While the economy has continued to grow in 2017, there are definite signs of overheating. Quantitative easing and the pumping of massive amounts of liquidity into the economy with the goal of keeping interests rate super low (though the Federal Reserve is now trying to “unwind” QE) has contributed to the reemergence of bubbles in property, stocks and the financial markets. As Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management recently pointed out, “Asset prices from stocks to real estate have never been this expensive simultaneously,” (New York Times op ed, 9/14/17).
We have pointed out before that quantitative easing, while helping to get the economy out of the deepest recession since the 1930s, did not lead to significant levels of productive investment by big business. Rather the corporations plowed super-profits right back into the casino of the financial markets.
The collapse of large parts of the retail sector is also a warning sign for capitalism. The only growth in retail is at the high end, luxury stores and discount stores aimed at the poor and near-poor. But retail giants which were aimed at the “middle class” (including big sections of the working class) have collapsed reflecting the long term decline in wages. This fall in the purchasing power (effective demand) of a big section of the population also points to a deeper problem of overproduction/overcapacity. The growth of debt is a temporary fix but, as we saw ten years ago, this is another bubble that will collapse. The explosion of student debt has been followed by the explosion of credit card debt, to over $1 trillion, the highest level in U.S. history (MarketWatch.com, 8/8/17). Total household debt stands at $12.7 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, higher than in 2008 before the credit bubble burst (NY Times, 5/8/17).
In the past couple years there has been growth in real wages, but quite limited for an economy allegedly close to full employment. As we have pointed out before this also reflects the weakness of the labor movement. The underlying reality for majority of the American working class is they have been going backward for a long time. A recent large-scale study showed that working men in their prime working years from 25-55 are now earning $250,000 less cumulatively, adjusted for inflation, than their counterparts 50 years ago. A key reason for this drop in lifetime income, according to the study, is the lack of decent jobs for young people entering the job market. $250,000 is the purchase price of a medium size house in many parts of the country. A bit of temporary wage growth will not change this reality (NY Times, 9/17/2017).
It is still not possible to be definite about when the next recession will begin but it is likely to be a sharp downturn. If this occurs before the 2020 election and Trump is still in office it could lead to a collapse of his core support.
(Cont.)
https://www.socialistalternative.org/2018/01/12/era-trump-enormous-volatility-mass-radicalization/
submitted by FinnagainsAwake to CommunismAnarchy [link] [comments]

Op Ed: The Era of Trump - Enormous Volatility, Mass Radicalization - by Tom Crean (Socialist Alternative) 12 Jan 2018 (Part 1 of 2)

Published 12 January 2018
The following statement was approved by the National Committee of Socialist Alternative on December 11 and updated slightly later in December 2017.
It is one year since the election of the odious Trump, an event which radically changed the political landscape in this country. This document will begin with a review of some of the key features of the new situation and how the perspectives which we put forward at the end of 2016 and early 2017 have been largely confirmed. But the main purpose is to map out the variants for how the struggle against Trump and the Republican agenda could re-emerge from its current lull and the key features of political developments in the build up to the midterm elections in 2018.
Given that this statement has to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short space, it needs to be supplemented by reviewing other recent material we have produced including our recent articles on “How We Can Drive Out Trump” and on the #MeToo revolt.
Section 1 – Reviewing One Year of Trump
From the start we stressed the deeply reactionary but also chaotic quality of the Trump regime, as well as its very real authoritarian streak. All of these features have been confirmed over and over. Trump’s vicious and pathetic attacks on critics like the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico and those standing up against oppression like football players “taking a knee,” not to mention his defense of the “very fine people” among the white supremacist in Charlottesville will not soon be forgotten. We must also not forget that Trump was the most unpopular major party candidate in modern history who lost the popular vote by nearly three million. His popularity ratings have been dismal since taking office.
The bumbling incompetence of Trump was shown in his firing of FBI director Comey. This led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel which suddenly made “Russiagate” a much more real threat to his presidency. It cannot be excluded that Trump will try to get out of his difficulties at some stage by firing Mueller which would be reminiscent of Nixon’s desperate “Saturday night massacre” when he fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. This would provoke a constitutional crisis. Depending on the revelations from Mueller, Trump could be forced out even in advance of the 2018 midterm elections, though it remains more likely that Trump will survive for a while longer, even if increasingly damaged. One way or another the enormous volatility created by the Trump regime will continue.
Trump and the Crisis of Capitalism
It bears repeating that Trump’s ascendancy is both a byproduct and a further cause of the degeneration and decline of American capitalism. Since 2008, the social crisis facing large sections of the working class – after decades of a one sided class war which led to unprecedented inequality – has become much worse. There is a complete rejection of the political establishment and a profound discrediting of the institutions of capitalism – with the possible exception of the military.
Trump pretended to speak for the “forgotten men and women” while pushing overt racism, sexism, and nativism. Tragically the other main choice on the ballot last year was Hillary Clinton who epitomizes the corruption of corporate politics. But there was another choice in 2016, namely the pro-working-class program put forward in Bernie Sanders’ campaign which was then blocked by the Democratic Party establishment. Donna Brazile’s new book has confirmed that the Democratic National Committee was essentially a subsidiary of Hillary’s campaign from the word go.
In all the endless talk of who is to blame for the rise of Trump, it is crystal clear that the blame for the rise of right populism lies first and foremost with the Democratic Party itself. But one year of Trump and the emboldening of the far right also underlines the serious mistake Sanders made in not continuing to run after his campaign was blocked in the Democratic primary.
The political polarization of the country has reached unprecedented levels. In the past few years we said that American society was broadly moving to the left, as evidenced by growing support for taxing the rich, single payer health care, a $15 minimum wage as well as progressive social measures like marriage equality. But does Trump’s victory – which provided cover for the emergence of white supremacists and nativists – show that society is now moving to the right? In a general sense no; what it has meant is a radicalization both on the left and the right.
This is a contradictory reality. Until recently, Trump’s core base has actually hardened in its support for him, seeing the attacks of the liberal media as confirmation that he is fighting on their behalf. It will take big developments a mass movement showing a way forward for the whole working class or serious economic crisis finally exposing the lie that he will be bring jobs back to lead to a more decisive collapse of his support. But it is also clear that most of the population rejects Trump’s racism and misogyny and sees the vicious cruelty of the Republican agenda for what it is. If anything there is now greater support for measures like Medicare for All than even a year ago. This is partly a reaction to the viciousness of Trump and the Republicans’ proposals.
In December, Trump’s unpopularity reached a new low with a Monmouth University poll in early December showing 32% approval and 56% disapproval. Other polls show a drop of support among evangelical Christians and Fox News viewers. The key factor in this further drop in Trump’s support, especially among women, is the reemergence of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump as well as his support for the predator Roy Moore.
There is also a generalized opposition to the Trump regime among tens of millions. There is a growing level of support for impeachment (up to 49% in a Public Policy Polling survey in late October). Four million (as of early January) have signed Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer’s petition calling for impeachment.
But there is an underlying danger in the situation: if a real mass movement centered on the social power of the working class is not built in the next period the space for the far right and even fascist forces, still numerically weak, can grow significantly. This is partly because the Democratic Party, even if it begins winning elections again, will not solve any of the key issues facing the working class.
Trump and the Ruling Class
We have pointed out that while Trump was not the choice of the ruling class as a whole, a large portion of them could live with him and his billionaire cabinet as long as he delivered on deregulation and tax cuts for corporations and the rich. Trump’s identification with white supremacists in Charlottesville, however, did cause a big section of the corporate elite to take a step away from Trump, not because of sudden opposition to structural racism but because they see a major exacerbation of racial divisions as bad for business at this stage.
Another section of the elite has from the start been more focused on the damage that Trump would do to the standing of U.S. imperialism internationally. On the campaign trail, Trump pushed his protectionist, “America-first” message relentlessly. After being elected, he delivered on his promise to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. But his threats to go further by ripping up NAFTA and starting a trade war with China met with pretty firm opposition from corporate America. For a while, the pressure seemed to work and Trump appeared to be grudgingly accepting the “conventional wisdom” of neoliberalism. However, in the recent period Trump has been ramping up the “America first” rhetoric again, both domestically and on his tour of Asia. This has been welcomed by Chinese imperialism which sees U.S. isolationism as an opportunity to spread its influence. It is also putting Trump on a collision course with key sections of corporate America and the Republican establishment.
Under Trump, the U.S. has engaged in saber rattling against North Korea and has ramped up military intervention in the Middle East. Trump inherited Obama’s low-key militarism which by the end of his administration included bombing campaigns in up to seven countries in 2016. Trump has ramped things up a notch and let the generals off the leash. The world is right to fear that war on the Korean peninsula – with almost unimaginable consequences – is a real, if still unlikely, possibility. Now Trump is giving the green light to the Saudis to step up their regional conflict with Iran which also threatens to trigger full scale war at some stage. Both in the Middle East and East Asia, Trump’s incoherent policy is deepening the decline of U.S. power while contributing to potential disaster for ordinary people.
The same can be said for the Trump administration’s insane policy on climate change including pulling out of the Paris accord and appointing anti-science quacks to key positions. Trump has ripped up environmental regulation in the name of bringing back the coal industry which is a fool’s errand. But ordinary people in the U.S. can see that extreme weather and devastating hurricanes are on the increase, much of this due to climate change. Trump’s policies are laying the ground for an even more decisive rejection of the climate change deniers.
What Have Trump and the Republican Party Achieved?
When Trump took office we warned that he and the Republicans would go on the offensive against immigrants, people of color, women, LGBTQ people and the unions. We pointed to the potential for mass resistance and argued that, with a bold program and a focus on mobilizing the social power of the working class, the movement could hand Trump and the Republicans decisive defeats. But we also warned that, with control over the White House, both Houses of Congress and most statehouses, the Republicans had concentrated enormous power in their hands. Trump may be beatable but likewise the danger of major and demoralizing defeats is very real.
Trump has indeed launched attacks on a whole range of fronts including a number specifically targeted at women and transgender people’s rights and a whole series against immigrants culminating in the threatened termination of the DACA program. These attacks have cumulatively created a climate of fear in many oppressed communities. Now the Janus case in front of the Supreme Court (a replay of the Friedrichs case that only ended in a tie because of the death of Justice Scalia) is a major threat to the public sector unions.
But until December, Trump had little to show in major wins. Remember that he declared that he was going to deport millions of undocumented workers within months; build a wall on the Mexican border; repeal and replace Obamacare; rebuild the nation’s infrastructure; and “bring good jobs back” by renegotiating trade deals, “tax reform” and eliminating regulations.
Passing Trumpcare would have been a major victory for the Republicans and a major defeat for working people, especially the poor. While there is no doubt that Trumpcare, which included radical attacks on Medicaid, became politically toxic, and there was a real groundswell of opposition, it was not clearly defeated by a mass movement.
Furthermore, while the incoherence of the Republican effort on Trumpcare and the incompetence of the administration in pushing for the Muslim ban contributed to defeats for Trump they have also fed a degree of complacency and a widespread confusion about what it will take to defeat the right.
The passing of the Republicans’ tax bill should be a wake up call. This will mean a massive redistribution of wealth to corporations and the super-rich, exacerbating the record levels of inequality which already exist. It will create pressure in many states and municipalities to enact further cuts to education and social services. By ending the Obamacare mandate it is also contributing to undermining the ACA, increasing premiums and potentially leading to 13 million losing health coverage over the next decade according to the Congressional Budget Office. And the Republicans plan to go more directly after “entitlements” including Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare, next year. None of this is popular. The tax plan is supported by only 29% according to Quinnipiac (CNN.com, 12/5/17). But failing to achieve anything would have been an even worse political setback for the GOP.
If DACA is fully rescinded next March without major struggle this would also be a major defeat for the immigrant population and for all those who want to see this regime defeated. It is urgent that anti-Trump activists, especially the left, draw the right conclusions from this year’s developments.
Crisis of Republican Party Deepens
There is no doubt that the Republicans’ difficulties up until now have been to a significant degree self-inflicted due to serious internal divisions and Trump’s inept “leadership.” There is the more ideological right in Congress which refuses to “compromise” in its drive to destroy social benefits while another group, especially in “purple” districts, fears the wrath of voters disgusted by the attacks on Medicaid or a tax plan that overwhelmingly benefits the top 1%.
On top of that we have seen Republican figures like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake openly attacking Trump as “unfit” for office. But what Corker and Flake have in common is that they are not running for reelection. Almost all other critical Congressional Republicans have gone silent, fearful of the “further right” forces whom Steve Bannon has been mobilizing against anyone perceived as “disloyal.” This includes the credible threat of primary challenges.
Bannon himself is really only the tip of this iceberg. As we have pointed out, the organized reactionary “grassroots” forces around the Republican Party like the Christian Right, the NRA and anti-immigrant groups are now fiercely committed to Trump and he has carefully nurtured their support. They may represent a distinct minority of the population and even a minority of Republican voters but their supporters are a big chunk of Republican primary voters. There is also a more general loyalty of the Republican base, beyond the organized reactionaries, to Trump as stated earlier. This dynamic has led a number of commentators to say that the Republican Party has been “captured” by Trump. There is a degree of truth in this but it is very far from a completed process.
With the 2018 midterms increasingly on legislators’ minds and the threat of a big swing to the Democrats, a number of Republican representatives, especially in “swing districts,” are retiring or preparing to distance themselves from Trump. And if Mueller’s revelations are serious enough, a whole wing of the Republicans could desert him. Roy Moore’s candidacy for the vacant Senate seat in Alabama became a proxy war in the desperate battle between the party establishment represented by Senate leader McConnell and the Bannonites. McConnell saw clearly that a party decisively associated with the predators Trump and Moore was headed towards electoral annihilation if not in 2018 then in 2020.
The defeat of Moore in the Alabama special Senate race represented both a rejection of Trump’s agenda and of sexual abuse. It was certainly a blow to the Trump/Bannon wing of the Republicans but also a warning to the party as a whole of the fate that could await them in the 2018 midterms. It was the first time a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama in 25 years. The Democrats are scrambling to get on the right side of this issue after years of looking the other way and clearly seek to head into 2018 as the party of #MeToo. But the aftermath also shows once again the political weakness of the Democrats. After defeating Moore, Democrat Doug Jones promptly went on CNN and stated that Trump should not resign because of his history of harassing and assaulting women – outrageously claiming that people need to “move on” rather than fight back.
The extremely sharp divisions in the Republican Party point to the real possibility of the party splitting or partly disintegrating in the next few years, even before 2020. But while the crisis of the Democratic Party is less acute it is also, as we discuss below, on a similar path. The ground is being laid – as pointed out in a recent document produced by the Committee for a Workers Intenational (CWI) with which Socialist Alternative stands in political solidarity – for 3 or 4 major parties in the U.S. including “center right” and “center left” establishment parties as well as far right and clearly left parties. Trump’s presidency has speeded up this process on the right and slowed it down on the left but not indefinitely.
Section 2 – Economic Perspectives
While the economy has continued to grow in 2017, there are definite signs of overheating. Quantitative easing and the pumping of massive amounts of liquidity into the economy with the goal of keeping interests rate super low (though the Federal Reserve is now trying to “unwind” QE) has contributed to the reemergence of bubbles in property, stocks and the financial markets. As Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management recently pointed out, “Asset prices from stocks to real estate have never been this expensive simultaneously,” (New York Times op ed, 9/14/17).
We have pointed out before that quantitative easing, while helping to get the economy out of the deepest recession since the 1930s, did not lead to significant levels of productive investment by big business. Rather the corporations plowed super-profits right back into the casino of the financial markets.
The collapse of large parts of the retail sector is also a warning sign for capitalism. The only growth in retail is at the high end, luxury stores and discount stores aimed at the poor and near-poor. But retail giants which were aimed at the “middle class” (including big sections of the working class) have collapsed reflecting the long term decline in wages. This fall in the purchasing power (effective demand) of a big section of the population also points to a deeper problem of overproduction/overcapacity. The growth of debt is a temporary fix but, as we saw ten years ago, this is another bubble that will collapse. The explosion of student debt has been followed by the explosion of credit card debt, to over $1 trillion, the highest level in U.S. history (MarketWatch.com, 8/8/17). Total household debt stands at $12.7 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, higher than in 2008 before the credit bubble burst (NY Times, 5/8/17).
In the past couple years there has been growth in real wages, but quite limited for an economy allegedly close to full employment. As we have pointed out before this also reflects the weakness of the labor movement. The underlying reality for majority of the American working class is they have been going backward for a long time. A recent large-scale study showed that working men in their prime working years from 25-55 are now earning $250,000 less cumulatively, adjusted for inflation, than their counterparts 50 years ago. A key reason for this drop in lifetime income, according to the study, is the lack of decent jobs for young people entering the job market. $250,000 is the purchase price of a medium size house in many parts of the country. A bit of temporary wage growth will not change this reality (NY Times, 9/17/2017).
It is still not possible to be definite about when the next recession will begin but it is likely to be a sharp downturn. If this occurs before the 2020 election and Trump is still in office it could lead to a collapse of his core support.
(Cont.)
https://www.socialistalternative.org/2018/01/12/era-trump-enormous-volatility-mass-radicalization/
submitted by FinnagainsAwake to WorkersVanguard2 [link] [comments]

Review Adventure of the Seas September 12-19

Hi all this is my review of the Adventure of the Seas trip from 12 to 19, first off some disclaimers, first time cruise traveler, and English is not my first language. I post this with the hope that it will help you if you are a virgin cruise as I was. Day 1 San Juan Puerto Rico: First we left from San Juan Puerto Rico, you have to check on what part you are leaving because there are two places where ships dock but nowhere on my documentation mention where it was. As soon as you get close to the ship you can really take it all in, it’s a behemoth at 14 floors tall. First thing is that you can go into the ship from way early but the best time for us and from what the bag handlers told us, it was at 4pm, there was no line and we got in very quickly. Once in we went to find our room we were on deck 7 interior, you get a person in charge of your state room he’s the one that will clean it up and help you with any trouble like getting an extra pillow or as on my case he saw us get in and went an got the bags to our room. The ship has everything and even more, mini golf, hot tubs, shows at night, trivia’s, gym, movies, etc. Your best bet to see the events is to check the Navigation Compass that they print late afternoon for the next day and put a mark or something on the events or thing you want to try out, like the ice ring is not open the whole time only selected dates and hours or if you want you can go to the casino section and they will have bonus hours,. If you go outside your room with out it there are touchscreen maps that will show you what is going on at that moment on the ship and how to get there.
Day 2 Saint Martin: For this we took the excursion from the ship that goes to see one of the most dangerous airports the planes come and go at mere meters from the sea, and the tourists love to wait for a huge plain to take off and hang for dear life from the fence, while we were there we saw a couple of iPads and cell phones that weren’t grabbed tight smash at the rocks between the sea and the fence. We got this excursion from the Royal Caribbean because we didn’t saw anyone that went as early and as close as them according to some locals outside port. It takes you in a catamaran around the island just checking the sights and then you get to about 200 meter from the place where the planes lift off and the beach is full with huge rocks so you don’t get near the beach but they provide, snorkels, floating noodles and vests and they will mention every time a plane is coming in or leaving. Also they have free wifi on the catamaran. Day 3 St. Kitts: As soon as you get out you will be intercepted by guys with green monkeys (they will put the monkey on you and later will ask you for money) , on that one we decided to make a beach day so we took a cab that took us to Carambola Beach Club, try to get early because that’s the same beach club the ship sends some excursions and if you don’t get there early you can easily get shade and a bed very cheap compared to the rate of the ship. If you want to try I saw the workers and cabs there getting some criolle chicken with rice very good (not on the menu I had to talk to them about getting this) and you try real local food.
Day 4 Antigua: For this we took the ship expedition to http://www.stingraycityantigua.com/ its great, half hour to get to the base and after a short intro and instructions they take you a boat to a place a bit on the middle of nowhere when you get down the boat they come :D, around 12-20 Stingrays come at you like puppies and you can pet them, swim around them, they even become a little pushier and they strike at you with their bodies to get your attention waiting for some food provided by the tour operators, great photos if your camera can go underwater.
Day 5 St. Lucia: We took an outside tour (heritage tours) that took us around the island, but the road is long and with so many curves that even if the sights are beautiful people get restless. We arrived at La Soufriere where you do a small-guided tour and then you have the opportunity to go in a hot tub with this mud and the heated natural water. I urge you to take that opportunity all the other persons on the tour didn’t want to go in and it feels great. But take into account they said it only takes 3.5 hours and it took us 4 hours to come and go and we had to cut it for fear of traffic coming back so the ship wouldn’t leave without us.
Day 6 Barbados: We took a beach day here again a taxy to Malibu Beach Club and rent chairs, its way cheaper than the same excursion with the ship, also if you add 20-10 dollars they take you to swim with turtles very close to the beach club. Day 7 at sea: Take care to enjoy all the ship has to offer, just note that this is the last days of events and they will try to get you to go to some of those like art auction, we tough it will take 10-30 min but it was more like 1 or 1.5 hour.
Notes (tips and tricks): You have to setup a credit card as the whole ship works without any cash you just charge it to your room with the key car, the only place that takes cash are the casino machines. The guys who sold me the package told us some drinks were included but in reality those drinks you can only get on 3 places of the ship the café at deck 5, the dinner rooms (open only at afternoon) and the buffet place at deck 11. So if you want to get anything else you will have to pay an extra, if you are a drinker (alcohol or sodas) sing up for those before hand or at the moment you get in. Buying souvenirs for the family on the ship do it on day 6 you will be at sea all day and they will have a huge sale with lots of stuff very cheap at afternoon. If you like the photos they take of you when you get inside and outside the ship and at dinners an events too, you have an option to buy them before hand, if I had know of this I would have do it, even if you don’t pre-buy them (https://www.mycruisephotos.com) after the 10th photo its way cheaper to get them all digital an print at home. It will save you almost one excursion or more. If you cant live without Internet connection pre-buy the plan but imho I would go with out and dc from life and office.
So thats it, if you want to ask anything just drop a line in here.
submitted by abraxasdf to Cruise [link] [comments]

Subreddit Stats: teslamotors top posts from 2016-11-30 to 2017-11-29 20:11 PDT

Period: 364.30 days
Submissions Comments
Total 1000 139359
Rate (per day) 2.75 381.35
Unique Redditors 638 22910
Combined Score 1429132 1622628

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 56746 points, 15 submissions: 110110
    1. Imagine if ISPs charged you extra for “Smart Vehicle Access” apps simply so you could control your Tesla! It is a real possibility. Fight to save Net Neutrality and do your part! (43852 points, 259 comments)
    2. Tesla Motors, Inc. is now officially Tesla, Inc. (4636 points, 173 comments)
    3. Tesla Solar is now going up in showrooms beside the Tesla Powerwall (1257 points, 57 comments)
    4. MKBHD's Project Loveday Submission (1070 points, 146 comments)
    5. TeslaMotors has hit 150,000 subscribers! Well more than double from one year ago! (980 points, 71 comments)
    6. Tesla Semi Post Event Discussion Megathread (894 points, 1433 comments)
    7. Tesla updates Supercharger page with 900 Supercharger Stations, 6000 Superchargers, annual credits, time expectations, and cost comparison (562 points, 108 comments)
    8. In part of Reddit's frontpage algorithm revamp, TeslaMotors was notified that we 'made the cut', and our sub will be listed as a "Popular" sub on Reddit's default pages for logged-out users. Learn more inside! (535 points, 109 comments)
    9. Tesla Model 3 ​Event ​Megathread​!​ (516 points, 3068 comments)
    10. Have a new hot wheels car? Post it! -- Just kidding. It'll be removed. Updated Rule 4. (507 points, 73 comments)
  2. 54842 points, 14 submissions: youyouxue
    1. Saw this on a Tesla! (17260 points, 808 comments)
    2. We just drove from San Francisco to New York City in a Tesla Model X without using a single drop of gas! (16988 points, 1388 comments)
    3. Model 3 orders have opened to the public! (8807 points, 1051 comments)
    4. Model 3 interface while Supercharging (5322 points, 596 comments)
    5. Just checked the whole bottom of a Model 3 for you guys, NO BATTERY STICKER! Tell me where to find it!!! (1379 points, 166 comments)
    6. Very much appreciated this sign at a Supercharger in a crowded hotel parking lot. (746 points, 60 comments)
    7. SF to NYC and back in a Tesla Model X, complete. We drove 12000km/7500mi in one week exclusively on the Supercharger network and spent $0 on fuel. This car is the future! (699 points, 94 comments)
    8. (10000km/6000mi later) After NYC we reached DC, Windsor in Canada, Chicago, and we're right outside of Denver in the Rockies where it's snowing and the temperature is -8C. The Model X is a trooper and hasn't given up! Thanks for following our trip, we're not home yet! (689 points, 41 comments)
    9. Currently driving from SF to NYC for free on the Supercharger network, two more days of driving to go! (582 points, 75 comments)
    10. Here is my full-res un-zoomed photo ft. charging interface, possible card key, and exposed Ethernet cables (571 points, 209 comments)
  3. 47437 points, 35 submissions: dirtyfries
    1. DHL Orders 10 Tesla Semi Trucks (7622 points, 335 comments)
    2. Elon Musk to Donald Trump: ‘We build rockets, cars, and solar stuff – really excited about expanding our manufacturing footprint in the US.’ (7335 points, 963 comments)
    3. Elon's long awaited Model 3 announcement (4317 points, 713 comments)
    4. Tesla Model Y Teaser Image (3205 points, 482 comments)
    5. Elon Musk says Tesla could rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid with batteries and solar (2628 points, 212 comments)
    6. A Model S, floating in a flood bag, in flooded garage in Houston (2192 points, 209 comments)
    7. New Boring Company video - shows transportation of Tesla Model S under cities through tunnels (2168 points, 423 comments)
    8. Hurricane survivor writes ‘SEND TESLA’ with the debris of destroyed home (1693 points, 90 comments)
    9. First video of Release Candidate Model 3 (1478 points, 231 comments)
    10. Panasonic in talks with Tesla for expansion of US Gigafactory by 50% (1334 points, 108 comments)
  4. 43696 points, 22 submissions: annerajb
    1. Tesla introduces $0.40/minute idle fee for Superchargers to incentivise owners to move when charging is over (8280 points, 858 comments)
    2. Tesla power pack? In San Juan Puerto Rico FedEx ramp. (7446 points, 284 comments)
    3. Tesla CEO Elon Musk meets with President Trump to talk American manufacturing, Ford CEO and other execs are present (7355 points, 685 comments)
    4. Elon Musk on Twitter | Thank you for the lovely letter. That sounds like a great idea. We'll do it! (3227 points, 253 comments)
    5. Virtually all automakers (except for Tesla) are currently lobbying to block EPA’s new fuel consumption standard (2481 points, 531 comments)
    6. Tesla takes a win against dealerships in Virgina, DMV rules in favor of the automaker (2192 points, 149 comments)
    7. Tesla starts production of solar cells in Buffalo (1770 points, 151 comments)
    8. The guy who designed many of Apple’s iconic Macs will now be building Tesla vehicles (1760 points, 288 comments)
    9. Tesla is working on opening up its service tools and helping owners repair their own cars with replacement parts (1567 points, 85 comments)
    10. Tesla confirms Model 3 drive unit production at the Gigafactory, announces $350 million investment & 550 more jobs (1458 points, 244 comments)
  5. 43464 points, 1 submission: BasharK
    1. Tesla vs Bugatti (43464 points, 2501 comments)
  6. 37640 points, 23 submissions: scottg96
    1. Elon Musk on Twitter: "Congrats to the Tesla owner who sacrificed damage to his own car to bring a car with an unconscious driver safely to a stop!" (10209 points, 457 comments)
    2. Bernie Sanders posted about Tesla's Powerpack project in Australia (9314 points, 964 comments)
    3. Elon Musk on Twitter: "Officially verified as the first production electric car to exceed 1000km on a single charge! Congratulations Tesla Owners Italia!!" (8223 points, 287 comments)
    4. Model 3 spotted outside Unplugged Performance HQ (next to SpaceX) (1292 points, 153 comments)
    5. First used Tesla Model 3 is listed for sale at $150,000 (1279 points, 367 comments)
    6. 'Tis the season! 🎃 (726 points, 20 comments)
    7. Final Tesla Model 3 “Part 3” event could be held on June 2 or soon after (609 points, 75 comments)
    8. Watch the first Model 3 handovers on http://tesla.com this Friday at 8:45pm PT (598 points, 98 comments)
    9. Tesla Model 3 could soon become the ‘most American made car’ with 95% of the parts made in the US (433 points, 65 comments)
    10. Bus with Tesla logo and digital battery display spotted Supercharging... Possible test mule? (Source: TESLA Owners Worldwide FB Group) (423 points, 103 comments)
  7. 28672 points, 32 submissions: 2050project
    1. Here's what happens when a Porsche tries to keep up with a Tesla (8290 points, 885 comments)
    2. Model 3 serial#1 HD (2231 points, 501 comments)
    3. Former Tesla intern predicts Roadster is 'just the beginning' (1520 points, 208 comments)
    4. Elon Musk: Robot software will make Tesla worth as much as Apple (1303 points, 227 comments)
    5. Louisiana attempting to block Tesla (1132 points, 170 comments)
    6. Big Auto and Big Oil begin to ponder Tesla? (1117 points, 368 comments)
    7. Puerto Rico governor reveals details about initial 25-min talk w/ Elon Musk discussing both solar and battery storage with Tesla (981 points, 73 comments)
    8. Tesla Model S Sales Surpass 100,000 in U.S. (842 points, 139 comments)
    9. Tesla in-store video shows Model 3 and Gigafactory; states battery cost reduction of 35% (instead of usual 30%) (785 points, 48 comments)
    10. Elon Musk: ‘Tesla has the real potential to be one of the most valuable companies in the world’ (648 points, 145 comments)
  8. 24690 points, 3 submissions: ethan829
    1. Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level. (13213 points, 1332 comments)
    2. Elon Musk on Twitter: "Tesla Semi truck unveil & test ride tentatively scheduled for Oct 26th in Hawthorne. Worth seeing this beast in person. It's unreal." (11037 points, 817 comments)
    3. The future of Tesla service (440 points, 128 comments)
  9. 22561 points, 12 submissions: WhiskeySauer
    1. Are you ready, world? We're coming for you. (13573 points, 847 comments)
    2. Black on Black Model 3 (4278 points, 155 comments)
    3. TSLA hits new all-time high, joins Fortune 500 list (906 points, 78 comments)
    4. Autonomous Charging Port on Model 3??? (564 points, 201 comments)
    5. Google Trends Showing Significant Growth in Tesla/Model 3 Interest (550 points, 15 comments)
    6. Friendly Reminder that Elon Musk's original production goal during the Model 3 Unveiling was 5k/wk by late 2018, 10k/wk by 2020. (469 points, 152 comments)
    7. Elon Musk confirms Model 3 reservations have surged to over half a million (445 points, 119 comments)
    8. TeslaMotors Subscriptions Have Quadrupled Since Initial Model 3 Reveal. Happy Delivery Week! (445 points, 22 comments)
    9. Yesterday set the all-time Record for Subscriber Growth in /teslamotors (405 points, 17 comments)
    10. Supposedly said by CEO of Mercedes: "Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla... Most car companies will probably become bankrupt." (313 points, 222 comments)
  10. 21588 points, 1 submission: deplorablecalifornia
    1. This Elon Tweet Makes Way More Sense Now (21588 points, 878 comments)
  11. 21196 points, 1 submission: beepboy
    1. Elon's letter about factory working conditions - he cares a lot! (21196 points, 970 comments)
  12. 21155 points, 2 submissions: Intro24
    1. Tesla perks (20561 points, 472 comments)
    2. Roadster Test Ride, 0-60 in 1.9 seconds (594 points, 77 comments)
  13. 16642 points, 1 submission: internetmexican
    1. I'm a Tesla Employee, here is a little story about what happened at Tesla yesterday. (16642 points, 657 comments)
  14. 16568 points, 1 submission: sccerfrk26
    1. Tesla Identifies Model 3 Production Bottlenecks (16568 points, 370 comments)
  15. 15228 points, 1 submission: Reddorade
    1. I will, everytime... (15228 points, 137 comments)
  16. 14259 points, 1 submission: Fewwordsbetter
    1. Flat Black Model S (14259 points, 371 comments)
  17. 13615 points, 3 submissions: exjr_
    1. Elon Musk on Twitter: "Wanted to say thanks to all that own or ordered a Tesla. It matters to us that you took a risk on a new car company. We won't forget." (9805 points, 494 comments)
    2. Saw this Model 3 in the Facebook group. Thought you guys might appreciate it as well! (3235 points, 214 comments)
    3. Tesla Model S Problems: My Experience! || MKBHD (575 points, 300 comments)
  18. 13125 points, 3 submissions: ikjadoon
    1. Volvo credits Tesla for creating EV demand, says they will stop developing diesel engines to focus on EVs (12087 points, 460 comments)
    2. Tesla Model 3 Impressions! [MKBHD] (582 points, 217 comments)
    3. Supercharging Cities (456 points, 125 comments)
  19. 12484 points, 3 submissions: I_Has_A_Bucket
    1. Elon: Production unit 1 of Model 3 is now built and going through final checkout. Pics soon. (9354 points, 474 comments)
    2. Elon: Excited about the Tesla Autopilot software release rolling out next month. New control algorithm feels as smooth as silk. (2819 points, 219 comments)
    3. Elon: HW2 Autopilot software uploading to 1000 cars this eve. Will then hold to verify no field issues and upload to rest of fleet next week. (311 points, 84 comments)
  20. 12433 points, 7 submissions: TheNewJasonBourne
    1. A Tesla Model S hits 300,000 miles in just 2 years – saving an estimated $60,000 on fuel and maintenance (6079 points, 549 comments)
    2. Tesla YouTuber wins free Next Gen Roadster after referring $5M in sales (3333 points, 157 comments)
    3. Over 35,000 Tesla owners bought ‘fully self-driving’ feature despite still being unavailable (1166 points, 364 comments)
    4. Tesla confirms building new biggest charging station in Europe – 42-stall Supercharger (681 points, 43 comments)
    5. Tesla beats Ferrari, Mercedes and BMW in brand experience for 2nd year in a row (440 points, 48 comments)
    6. Tesla registered 1,201 new Model3 VINs. Highest VIN is 3840 (438 points, 60 comments)
    7. Bluetooth streaming media is now active in Model3 (296 points, 43 comments)
  21. 11750 points, 1 submission: motofanka
    1. So this happened yesterday, my date with u/cdbz11 and our babies (11750 points, 1094 comments)
  22. 11325 points, 1 submission: cdbz11
    1. My new Model S! All black everything (11325 points, 618 comments)
  23. 10204 points, 1 submission: billsmitherson
    1. So the First Model 3 on the east coast apparently just rolled up to my work, owner says he drove it from California (10204 points, 335 comments)
  24. 10077 points, 1 submission: obvnotlupus
    1. Ron Perlman's legendary answer to a question about the cars in his garage (10077 points, 414 comments)
  25. 10011 points, 2 submissions: jpterpsfan
    1. Elon Musk to join Trump's advisory council (9653 points, 751 comments)
    2. JB Straubel and Andrew Stevenson are Executives at a newly-created supply chain firm (Redwood Materials) that focuses on "materials recycling, remanufacture, and reuse" - Tesla thought to be client or investor (358 points, 28 comments)
  26. 9959 points, 11 submissions: Ananas1642
    1. Tesla vehicles will shuttle celebrities to the Oscars in Morgan Freeman’s new all-Tesla limo service (3719 points, 157 comments)
    2. Tesla responds to allegations of discrimination made by a female engineer, 3rd party review found no wrongdoing (1084 points, 178 comments)
    3. Tesla is ‘illegally selling cars’ in Connecticut, says Dealership Association as they try to stop direct-sale bill (996 points, 172 comments)
    4. Tesla CEO Elon Musk to join President Trump to talk about infrastructure with other business leaders (671 points, 168 comments)
    5. Tesla owner credits Model S for saving his life after crash with truck hauling jet engines caught on Autopilot camera (655 points, 41 comments)
    6. Tesla is named ‘top American car brand’ by Consumer Reports, Audi and Porsche take global top spots (597 points, 68 comments)
    7. Former Tesla executives plan their own Gigafactory in Sweden to bring battery cost down below $100/kwh (558 points, 119 comments)
    8. Tesla Model 3: perfect production execution means around 80,000 vehicles in 2017 (552 points, 137 comments)
    9. Tesla’s ‘Vision’ and Autopilot chip efforts validated by Intel’s $15 billion acquisition of Mobileye (441 points, 112 comments)
    10. Tesla confirms production of Model 3 ‘beta prototypes’ (351 points, 97 comments)
  27. 9567 points, 2 submissions: dieabetic
    1. Happy new owner of #518. Stole it at $35k! (9251 points, 400 comments)
    2. Moderation gentle reminder: This sub is not the place for politics, or a catch-all for anything Elon does... (316 points, 64 comments)
  28. 9469 points, 3 submissions: Casinoer
    1. I think we can all agree that tonight's unveil was the greatest Tesla event so far. (8356 points, 1210 comments)
    2. Elon Musk | Promising early results from the Ludricrous Easter egg. Looks like 0 to 60 mph in 2.34 sec (Motor Trend spec) might be achievable... (819 points, 344 comments)
    3. Model 3 will have heated seats standard and no tow hitch. (294 points, 134 comments)
  29. 9426 points, 1 submission: Calipso99
    1. Tesla chosen to supply South Australian with $1 Billion solar farm! (9426 points, 302 comments)
  30. 9398 points, 1 submission: MyMonte87
    1. Two revolutionary cars from different centuries (9398 points, 375 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. 110110 (17429 points, 966 comments)
  2. cdbz11 (16995 points, 103 comments)
  3. dirtyfries (14019 points, 484 comments)
  4. Fugner (9474 points, 341 comments)
  5. run-the-joules (9314 points, 567 comments)
  6. majesticjg (9038 points, 504 comments)
  7. motofanka (8281 points, 20 comments)
  8. jetshockeyfan (7898 points, 544 comments)
  9. AssortedBread (7741 points, 12 comments)
  10. ZorbaTHut (7639 points, 49 comments)
  11. WhiskeySauer (7390 points, 393 comments)
  12. scottg96 (6526 points, 238 comments)
  13. PM_ME_A_NEW_USERNAME (6347 points, 108 comments)
  14. dieabetic (6109 points, 545 comments)
  15. Dr_Pippin (6073 points, 564 comments)
  16. Cubicbill1 (5673 points, 151 comments)
  17. Nachteule (5600 points, 271 comments)
  18. NoVA_traveler (5537 points, 475 comments)
  19. purestevil (5456 points, 298 comments)
  20. Arrewar (5305 points, 5 comments)
  21. Marques-Brownlee (5244 points, 14 comments)
  22. robotzor (5022 points, 569 comments)
  23. vita10gy (5002 points, 286 comments)
  24. supratachophobia (4985 points, 611 comments)
  25. alpharaptor1 (4813 points, 1 comment)
  26. farzyness (4752 points, 28 comments)
  27. Trevo91 (4722 points, 1 comment)
  28. afishinacloud (4630 points, 302 comments)
  29. ClevelandSteamer81 (4471 points, 50 comments)
  30. Randomd0g (4418 points, 144 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. Imagine if ISPs charged you extra for “Smart Vehicle Access” apps simply so you could control your Tesla! It is a real possibility. Fight to save Net Neutrality and do your part! by 110110 (43852 points, 259 comments)
  2. Tesla vs Bugatti by BasharK (43464 points, 2501 comments)
  3. This Elon Tweet Makes Way More Sense Now by deplorablecalifornia (21588 points, 878 comments)
  4. Elon's letter about factory working conditions - he cares a lot! by beepboy (21196 points, 970 comments)
  5. Tesla perks by Intro24 (20561 points, 472 comments)
  6. Saw this on a Tesla! by youyouxue (17260 points, 808 comments)
  7. We just drove from San Francisco to New York City in a Tesla Model X without using a single drop of gas! by youyouxue (16988 points, 1388 comments)
  8. I'm a Tesla Employee, here is a little story about what happened at Tesla yesterday. by internetmexican (16642 points, 657 comments)
  9. Tesla Identifies Model 3 Production Bottlenecks by sccerfrk26 (16568 points, 370 comments)
  10. I will, everytime... by Reddorade (15228 points, 137 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 7467 points: AssortedBread's comment in Tesla vs Bugatti
  2. 6683 points: ZorbaTHut's comment in Model S 60 -> 75 upgrade price reduced to $2000
  3. 4919 points: Fugner's comment in Tesla vs Bugatti
  4. 4813 points: alpharaptor1's comment in We just drove from San Francisco to New York City in a Tesla Model X without using a single drop of gas!
  5. 4722 points: Trevo91's comment in My new Model S! All black everything
  6. 4465 points: farzyness's comment in I'm a Tesla Employee, here is a little story about what happened at Tesla yesterday.
  7. 3743 points: SmellyFingerz's comment in Tesla ruined my Mercedes
  8. 3616 points: dc21111's comment in Tesla vs Bugatti
  9. 3611 points: Nachteule's comment in Left on Model S while at the park...
  10. 3583 points: jetshockeyfan's comment in Tesla vs Bugatti
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