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Corruption as an immanent feature of neoliberalism

It is possible to drain the swamp?

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended books Recommended Links "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Senator Bob Menendez
Corporatism Casino Capitalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories  Corruption of Regulators New American Militarism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Two Party System as polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult The Deep State Harvard Mafia Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'
Elite Theory The Iron Law of Oligarchy Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions Anti-globalization movement Inverted Totalitarism
Super Capitalism as Imperialism Media-Military-Industrial Complex If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths Jeremy Grantham On The Fall Of Civilizations Psychological Warfare and the New World Order Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Neoliberal corruption White collar crime Neo-fascism Neocons as USA neo-fascists     Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
The Great Transformation   Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen Gangster Capitalism
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy  John Kenneth Galbraith Alternatives to neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Humor Etc

Introduction

 The discussion below is reproduced with minor changes from  idec.gr (work in progress)

No political system is exempt from corruption and in my opinion this outcome might even be somehow inexorable due to the nature of a state based polity. The difference between  the European systems in particular but also, at the limit, the American one and those societies the US hypocritically claim as corrupt might be mainly based not on the extent of corruption, but on different types of corruption used. Partially this might be due to the fact that younger society which are still in formation  exhibit more "primitive" types of corruption then societies which have already passed the middle-age period in their life cycle. Revolving door corruption is rampant in the USA, but not so popular in Russia, Iran and other "younger" countries.  Old style bribes at the same time are more common in Russia, although in many cases they function not as bribe but as a kind of private insurance again prejudice/friction of the system: they help to prevent bias in the system or speed up processing of  a request,  but not materially affect outcome.

And to answer your question: "how to prevent the hijacking of public interest by state officials; protect the society form abuse of  the possibility of extracting private benefit inherent in large power of the state official?"

But there is another aspect of corruption which is pretty modern in origin. The dominant Western perspective on "governance" failed to highlight the major source of corruption -- neoliberalism as a social system. 

The neoliberal anti-corruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalization. It is variant of "blame the poor" (countries) line when instead of blaming neoliberal reforms themselves, neoliberals try to divert the attention from neoliberalism as a powerful force of enabling corruption  by highlighting other contributing factors such as

Over recent years,  IMF and World Bank have been promoting an artificially constructed discourse on corruption that separates it from its historic narrative -- the neoliberal political system under which it now flourish. They use pretty elaborate smoke screen designed to hide the key issues under the set of fuzzy terms such as "transparency", "accountability", "governance", "anticorruption initiatives". Ignoring the socio-political role of corruption of key mechanism of the neoliberal debt enslavement of peripheral nations  (see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - Wikipedia

As Wikipedia points out there is no universally accepted definition of corruption. In this sense privatization might well be the most widespread type of corruption which occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity to sell government property for pennies on the dollar to local oligarchs of international companies. with delayed payment via the "revolving door" mechanism.

If we assume that corruption is 'illegitimate use of government power to benefit a private interest" then neoliberalism is the most corrupt social system imaginable.

But in neoliberal ideology only the state is responsible for corruption. The private sector under neoliberalism is immune of any responsibility. In reality it is completely opposite and state represents a barrier to private companies especially international sharks to get unfair advantage. And they can use the USA embassy as a source of pressure instead of bribing government officials. Neoliberals argues without any proof that if the market is let to function through its own mechanisms, and the role of state diminished to a minimum regulatory role, "good governance" could be realized and corruption be diminished. As US subprime crisis has shown this is untrue and destroys the stability of the economy. 

Actually the term "governance" serves as the magical universal opener in neoliberal ideology. It is ideologically grounded up the narrative of previous mismanagement of economy ("blame the predecessor" trick).

This assumes the ideal economic sphere, in which players somehow get an equal opportunities automatically without regulatory role of the state and in case of peripheral nations without being strong armed by more powerful states. Under neoliberalism ethical responsibilities on players are reduced to the loyalty to contract.

Moreover antisocial behavior under liberalism is explicitly promoted (" greed is good") -- self-enrichment at the expense of others and society as a whole. Also the Western banks serve as a "treasure vault" for stolen money and Western states provides "safe heaven" for corrupt officials that face prosecution. At least this is true for Russian oligarchs when each crook automatically became "fighter for freedom" after landing in London airport and stolen money are indirectly appropriated by British state and never returned to Russia.

The USA is very similar. It likes to condemn corruption as but seldom returns that money stolen -- for example it never returned to Ukraine money stolen by Ukrainian Prime minister under President Kuchma Pavlo Lazarenko ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlo_Lazarenko  )

Moreover in neoliberal ideology only the state is responsible for corruption, private sector under neoliberalism is immune of any responsibility. In reality it is completely opposite and state represents a barrier to private companies attempts to get unfair advantage, for example by bribing government officials. Neoliberals argues without any proof that if the market is let to function through its own mechanisms, and the role of state diminished to  a minimum regulatory role, "good governance" could be realized and corruption be diminished. As US subprime crisis has shown this is untrue and deregulation policies destroys the stability of the economy.

Actually the term "governance" serves as the magical universal opener in neoliberal ideology. It is ideologically grounded up in the narrative of previous mismanagement of economy ("blame the predecessor" trick). It also assumes the ideal economic sphere, in which players somehow get an equal opportunities automatically without regulatory role of the state. Ethical responsibilities on players are reduced to the loyalty to contract. Antisocial behaviour is explicitly promoted (" greed is good").  As Pope Francis noted

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Neoliberals limit ethical component to adhering to contracts. However, the contracts themselves might be corrupt, or it can be forces upon other party under duress. It is important to see all those trick neoliberals use and develop a critical stance towards the Western anti-corruption "crusade" of the last decade. At least disclose all the hypocrisy behind it.  this is especially important as "corruption" serves as matches to flare up  "color revolutions" -- a new war strategy of penetrating of international capital into peripheral countries.

The key neoliberal argument is that corruption is an obstacle to "good governance" and economic development. They never evaluate corruption within a wider ethical frame as for example Pope Francis does, not they discuss the implications of neoliberal reforms on social rights.

In ethics corruption refers to a domination of social relations by self-interest and to the perception of fellow citizens as instruments, obstacles or competitors. “In the morally corrupt society, civic virtue and social responsibility are displaced and discarded in favor of an intense competition for spoils.” In neoliberal thinking, however, the term is narrowly defined referring to the misuse of public office for private gain by bureaucrats, which is just a tip of the iseberg, because it is the other party -- powerful translational or local oligarchs who are buying those government officials.

Thus the drastic shift in in defining the term after the 1980s coincide with triumphant mach of neoliberalism over the world.  While the state was supposed to produce public interest and common good before then, the emphasis shifted in the neoliberal era to the opportunities that public power provided for individual rent-seeking. This is harmonious with the assumptions of neoliberal approach to governance, which treats the state as an economic entity.

The notion of good governance  under neoliberalism  typically means market reforms and their political framework of deregulation and privatization. In reality both are cesspool of corruption. As the business started to build direct ties with the bureaucracy it automatically obtains a greater role in decision making, and as the capacity of the state to facilitate private personal rents in the market increased. So corruption served much to the restoration of the power of financial oligarchy under neoliberalism. Neoliberalism discard the necessity of national and planned development model of the Keynesian era in terms of facilitating and accelerating capital redistribution and accumulation, especially in transition economies. It is ironic that a neoliberal anti-corruption campaign led to tremendous level of corruption of privatization of industry in xUSSR countries and establishing (with direct help of the West)  a strata of powerful, corrupt, often criminal and closely linked to the West oligarchs.

This, on the other hand, the notion of corruption under neoliberalism is conceptualized in such a way that trivialize the value of state intervention in the economy, discard any notion of public interest, and even of national priorities in politics. In order to reverse the neoliberal domination as the ideology it is important to stress the fact that under neoliberalism the whole the arena over which market competition occurred is corrupt.  The players are not only unethical they are often criminal as recent investigation of TBTF banks had shown. This way is easier to bring ethics back into discussion of corruption and start to understand the without state interference it is impossible to have a fair market. Please note that neoliberals try to avoid discussion the notion of "fair market" substituting it with "free market" misnomer, which idealize the market  as the sphere of voluntary action and freedom. In reality it is far from that and in unregulated market bigger players simply squash or swallow  the small fish.

The Neoliberal Discourse on Corruption

The neoliberal discourse on corruption is based on a certain set of assumptions about state-society relations and on a certain stance about the role of state in economy. As Pinar Bedirhanoğlu argues, “the neoliberal conception of corruption is ahistoric, biased, contradictory and politicized, and has been induced by concerns over market competition rather than morality.” This is because neoliberal conceptualization of corruption has fulfilled significant functions in globalized economy and politics, particularly at moments of financial crisis, such as the 1997 East Asian financial crisis and in Turkey after the 2001 crisis.

 The neoliberal anti-corruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalisation and second generation of neoliberal reforms themselves by highlighting the so-called long history of crony state–business relations and patrimonial state in the South, referring either to the heritage of the ‘strong state tradition’ in Turkey, ‘the communist past’ in Russia, or the ‘corporatist past’ in Latin America.

 Identifying corruption either with the inherent characteristics of bureaucrats and politicians (this way distorting the key idea of public administration  -- providing service to the people) or traditional and cultural characteristics of certain regions helps idealizing the Western political and economic model under the name ‘good governance’. This approach also served for the world elites to partially overcome the legitimacy crisis that the Western states experienced since the 1980s by articulating the demand of democratic reforms ("export of democracy"), the language of "good governance", transparency, and building civil society (at the same time under this rhetoric destroying all the social achievements of welfare state). Using its dominance in MSM neoliberals manage to brainwash public to the extent it start behaving contrary to its own economic interests, and in the interests of financial oligarchy (What's the matter with Kansas)

Neoliberals stress that enlargement of market relations and reduction in state functions would provide not only economic efficiency but also freedom and democracy, by breaking up the monopolization of power. The market is accepted as the sphere of freedom since transactions within it are voluntary and decentralized. New Right theoreticians argue that freedom is the individual control over choices, and it is best exercised in a market economy.

Concept of "Governance" and forceful suppression of discussion of links between political and economical spheres of society

By the 1970s neolibrals started to remove "the excesses of democracy" of New Deal and European Welfare states. Cosial reforms on New Deal era were condemned for the economic troubles during the decade, as was also the Keynesian economy o which they were based.  Organized labour and mass movements were suppressed and as they deemed  to be incompatible with unconstrained capitalist accumulation.

Keynesianism was blamed for expanding political decisions into the realm of economics, as if the desired non-political character of economy in not just another policy, just favoring big ploayers instead of small fish. It if such approach is not political. Welfare reforms came to be regarded as an anomaly, as an obstance to economic development. And crusing orgnized labour was presented as return to the normal distinction between economic and political spheres. However, the "de-economization" of politics under neoliebral was just a smoke screen decsined to hide accesnce to power of finacnial olitachy, the political force supressed by New Deal. So it was a countrrevolution not a revolution. And instead of promotion of democracy it resulted in promotion of  authoritarianism ans police state (national Security State) were protection of financial olitarchy is disguied as "fight against terrorisrm". Public debate on the policy of taxation, privatization, on the forced retreat of state from social sectors, about the level of autonomy of Central Bank etc., was forcefully supressed.

So, to maintain the neolibel system the elites forcefully suppress and hide the relationship between economy and politics.

The term ‘governance’ started to be positively used by all parties to describe the political form of global market economy. It is defined as ‘governance without government’. Theories of governance argued that while government refers to formal acts and procedures at state level, governance is based on a network of informal relations at all levels. It assumes an interdependency between nations, between nations and international organizations, and between nations and transnational or subnational structures.

Governance aims at organizing the state and social life in general, along market relations. Even the state itself is dealt as if it is a business administration job. Politics is identified with corruption, nepotism, partisanship etc., and the parliamentarian and political party systems are regarded negatively as sources of populism, which harmed much the functioning of the economy.8

Making economic decisions turned out to be the job of technocrats, who were claimed to be neutral professionals applying the objective rules of the game called economy. Legislation and regulation are increasingly carried out by non-parliamentary and non-governmental agents. A neo-corporatist structure is developing in which interest groups and specialized policy networks represent themselves in a market-like sphere of politics. As expert knowledge “as opposed to popular, common-sensical, everyday knowledge” of the people tends to prevail, the democracy of citizens is being replaced by the democracy of organized interest and lobbies. So, as Jean Grugel states, globalisation

Use of "fight with corruption" as the Trojan horse for neoliberalization of economy

The neoliberal anticorruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalisation and second generation of neoliberal reforms themselves by highlighting the so-called long history of crony state – business relations and patrimonial state in the South. Governance are not neutral processes with regard to their effects on state and society.10 The neoliberal discourse on corruption should be dealt accordingly. According to the neoliberal approach state is regarded as “the simple sum of profit maximising bureaucrats and politicians”, and corruption is assumed to arise for the rents created by the holding of offices. It is perceived as if exploitation and corruption are intrinsic characteristics of the state itself rather than representing its abuse. The underlying state– market dichotomy has led to an understanding of corruption primarily as a problem of the state.11 Those corrupt actions which necessitate the existence of public power –the state- as one of the parties of a mutual relation, such as bribery or extortion are mostly emphasized in the literature. Fraud or embezzlement, on the other hand, can be found in the private sector as well. While control mechanisms and measures are regarded sufficient in the private sector and corruption cases are not related to the nature of the property ownership, the state cannot benefit from such an exemption. This cannot be evaluated independently from the neoliberal attack against public ownership. It is for certain that public power is manipulated to gain economic advantage but so is economic power in private sphere.

Neoliberal discourse assumes that corruption is a phenomenon of the public sector. This interpretation “obscures the rising possibilities for private sector corruption caused by market-led economic reforms and has little to say about the complex linkages between abuses in the private and public sectors”.

Neoliberals regard the public sector as the major source of corruption, which is explained through the rent-seeking behaviour of individual public servants. This is based upon highly questionable conceptualizations of human motivation and a very poor understanding of the state. Their major objective is limited to explaining how the activities of public servants distort the efficient functioning of markets.

Ed Brown and Jonathan Cloke counter the view that the state is inherently more prone to corruption than the private sector. They argue that this, for example, leads to a lack of recognition of the opportunities for corruption that privatization and deregulation have provided. Even the World Bank accepts that transition to market economy has created fertile ground for corruption.

Since neoliberal discourse has a very limited conceptual understanding of the nature and functioning of the state and its relation to civil society, there appears certain inconsistencies. For example the writers refer to contradiction between the creation of new public bodies within institutional reform programmes and the assumption that public officials are primarily motivated by self-interest, and they question the hidden assumption that the workers within those anti-corruption offices were likely to be less corrupt than other public sector workers claimed to be naturally prone to rent-seeking behaviour.

Putting “public sector corruption as the most severe impediment to development and growth”, and moreover, claiming such things that bribery “distorts sectoral priorities and technology choices (by, for example, creating incentives to contract for large defence projects rather than rural health clinics specializing in preventive care)” is unfair and misleading. Corrupt behaviour is not limited to state officials; idealizing private sector actions while attacking state sector is at best naive. It is impossible to deny the motives for unethical behaviour in private sector and it is claimed that even the economic liberalization after 1980s, pointed as the solution of corruption problems, opened the path of corporate corruptions.

Since 1990s anti-corruption agenda has been promoted in developing countries through the reform programmes of the international financial institutions. It is not easy to determine whether an overall increase in corruption led to the anti-corruption campaign. Critical studies highlight the instrumentalization of anti-corruption discourse. Ed Brown and Jonathan Cloke argue that there was little reliable evidence to determine if corruption levels had been worsening or whether there has simply been increasing legal and public recognition of corruption cases or perhaps even the conscious manipulation of public sensitivity about the issue.

The example of Turkey is worth mentioning. Coming to the office to recover Turkish economy after the Keynesianism was blamed for expanding political decisions into the realm of economics, as if the desired non-political character of economy was not something political. (14 Ibid., p 287-91 and P. Bedirhanoğlu, “The Neoliberal Discourse on Corruption as a Means of Consent) 2001 financial crisis, Minister of Economic Affairs, now the UNDP President Kemal Derviş, have then explained the causes of the crisis with reference to the corrupt banking structure in Turkey and skilfully introduced the neoliberal discourse that associates anti-corruption porely with failures of  the implementation of the neoliberal reforms.

Through this discourse, neoliberal institutionalisation in Turkey which had been proceeding back and forth because of the resistance of various social forces for about a decade accelerated. Since this competition-induced concern over corruption was articulated within the moral based debates in domestic politics, the strategy received public consent.

The international ‘crusade’ against corruption does not fight with corruption itself but in the first place “promotes commerce, uniformity in commercial law and the associated disciplines of the market as indirect constraints on the conduct of states themselves”. In this respect, Barry Hindess regards the international anti-corruption campaign labelled as the promotion of good governance as an updated version of the older system of capitulations, which required independent states to acknowledge the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Western states in the area of commercial law.

Many scholars underline the conscious attempt of neoliberals to use corruption as a strategy for enabling neoliberal policies and try to demonstrate the consequences or by-products of international anti-corruption campaign of the last decade. One of those consequences is the strengthening of executive power and the growing role of international financial institutions. To overcome this problems that undermine state legitimacy, politics of civil society is gradually articulated in the campaign.

Despite their anti-state stance neoliberals are well aware of the continuing functions of state as a coercive and legitimizing body in regulating society. A central role is attached to the state in the launching of anticorruption policies. Pinar Bedirhanoğlu describes this as “to put the foxes in charge of the chicken house if it is recalled that corruption is assumed to be intrinsic to the state in rentier state theories”. To balance the state and prevent it from following a national program external pressure imposed by international financial institutions, NGOs, private sector, autonomous regulatory agencies, regional development agencies is applied. Rent-creation capacity of these bodies are usually disregarded. Practical monopoly of technical expertise makes such institutions extremely powerful and unaccountable.

As to the NGOs, in our case to those fighting against corruption, the question below is worth asking: “Can NGOs and similar organizations really help socialize citizens into the system, or do they rather represent a means by which citizens abdicate responsibility for active citizenship, and leave responsibility for political engagement with NGO staff?”.

Demet Dinler states that anti-corruption measures were functional in the redefinition of the relationship between the economic and the political. They emerged as a legitimating mechanism to justify market reforms and the separation of the economic from the political, because the ‘failure’ of the first generation reforms we explained by the continuing dominance of the political over the economic. “Corruption has been conceptualized as a ‘purely political’ phenomenon, related only to the politicians and their bureaucratic companions, by ignoring the major role of the businessmen in corruption and rentseeking.”

While the neoliberal concern on corruption is market-based and competition-induced at the international level, the domestic debates on corruption rest on moral grounds. This, according to Pınar Bedirhanoğlu, indicate different attitudes of capital and popular classes towards corruption. That of the latter seems to provide a more political ground. Corruption is undoubtedly harmful to the public interest through whatever medium we build the relation. However, it would be in vain to expect that the funds “rescued from the grasp of the corrupt public servant or politician” will be spent on good causes, such as education or health facilities for the poor.

The discourse of governance reduces morality to the loyalty to contract. However, we argue that the contract itself might be corrupt, if corruption is defined in ethical terms as the public opinion perceives it. The next part of the study will deal with the collapse of welfare policies and the transformation of labor market in this framework. 

A neoliberals also develop , cultivate and support interest groups and specialized policy networks which promotes neoliberalism and separation of politics and economics.

Attack of social rights as the mean to restore profitability in the environment of end of "cheap oil"

In the aftermath of the depression, the WWII and Keynesian revolution, the state actively intervened into the economy, helping to manage the conflicts arising from market competition In terms of its institutional and policy role, social provision was central to accumulation, helping to socialize consumption over the life-course and the reproduction of labor power. The success of the consolidation and expansion of welfare systems in virtually every Western country from 1950 through the early 1970s had two profound consequences for the political economy of welfare systems today. First, any attack on or defense of a welfare system must now operate along three distinct, yet interrelated, spheres: the economic, political and the cultural. Second, with welfare systems so successfully integrated into the institutional make-up of nations, the politics of welfare encompass far more than political wheeling and dealing over national budgets. Although expenditure levels remain important, the politics of welfare are increasingly about a nation’s class, racial, generational, and gender divisions. As an object of struggle and conflict, then, welfare politics reflect the interest of myriad social forces, such as employers’ associations, poverty groups, small business, social movements, and trade unions. Recent conflict over welfare systems has been intense, with government action from above and recipient reaction from below being very contentious.

However, both the ‘Golden Age’ of capitalism and the ‘Golden Age’ of social reforms came to an end with the worldwide economic slump of 1974-82, a crisis which covered two distinct generalized recessions separated by a weak recovery. In a long and drawn out process, the 1974-82 economic slump led to a new consensus in economic policy across the advanced capitalist economies. In the early 1980s, a neoliberals started a real offensive with the distinct goals of engineering an economic recovery and restoring profitability by redistributing the wealth up.

Destruction of New Deal and Welfare-state Social Policies

In altering the parameters of state intervention, neoliberalism rejected and turned away from the post-war reliance on the social right and more fair distribution of the results of  economic activity. The return of mass unemployment, industrial downsizing, the liberalization of capital flows and a rearticulating of hegemony of financial capital all changed the terrain of capitalist relations, destroying the post-war accord between the capital and labor.  Through neoliberalism coercive redistribution of wealth up started in full force. The emerging stage of ‘transnational capitalism’ is marked by high levels of capital mobility and economic integration between countries (some reduced to supplies of raw materials, like in classic neocolonialism) and defined by capital’s interaction with multiple states and an intensification of international competition. In this new political economic context, welfare systems are facing a number of transformatory pressures, including the erosion of government autonomy over social provision, integration induced convergent welfare effects and welfare system rivalry.

Neoliberal transformation of society put strong downward pressure on welfare systems. Apart from weakening organized labor outright, neoliberalism targets the economic, social and political costs of welfare. As John O’Connor argues for most of the 1990s, welfare systems in the advanced capitalist countries were the object of intense conflict between employers and workers. Governments fought hard to cut the cost of pensions, health care and benefit payments, while unions struggled to protect their longstanding social gains.26 In reshaping welfare systems, employers have been seeking to lower costs, improve labor market flexibility and reduce budget deficits. This is all being done to further international competitiveness and to help restore profitability. Defensive struggles over welfare systems have not been able to stop the retrenchment of social provision. Governments have embarked also on strategies of shifting the role of public and private sector via massive privatization of state assets, in which the private sector acquired public sector assets (as well as responsibilities and activities at discounted prices. Neoliberal policies resulted in globalization of capital and goods flows. It also led to mass outsourcing / off-shoring of whole industries to third world countries. The capability of swashing the cost of labor has been an important factor for multinational corporations. That is why reducing the cost of labor has been a major area by developing countries to compete against each other. Instead of permanent employment neoliberalism prefers the part-time labor / contractor  economy, were employees have not  social rights and minimal social protection.

There is a growing sense that social policies are taking new directions as policy debates move from an earlier embrace of privatization and marketization, to the task of retooling the state to face new social risks and to reproduce the social (social cohesion, social capital, social inclusion, social economy).27 Welfare system today have been openly scrutinized and challenged by Neoliberal approaches have regarded the public sector as the major source of corruption, which is explained through the rentseeking behaviour of individual public servants, politicians, employers, citizens, and tax payers as never before in the vast majority of Western nations. The roots of this scrutiny and challenge have been the subject of much political and scholarly debate. As economic globalisation has progressed, nation states have forfeited sovereignty to supra-national organizations and treaties, such as the Group of Seven, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Union (NAFTA). These agencies and Organisations represent a complicated shift in political economic governance from the domestic level toward the supranational.29 With trans-state accumulation, there has been a move within many nations to move from ‘discretionary-based’ to ‘rule-based’ policy making.

This move toward rules is an attempt to implement mechanisms that automatically force domestic policy to reflect the changes associated with the global economy; e.g., the EU, the WTO, the IMF or World Bank.

Welfare retrenchment is sold to the public in terms of it being more a dictate of rules or logic of the global economy. Welfare systems are viewed now as national luxuries that cannot be afforded in the global economy. Given the enhanced exit options in today’s world, the political relationship among capital, the state and welfare coalitions have been recast. Capital mobility – or the threat of capital mobility – has the effect of forcing workers/unions and welfare coalitions into making concessions.31 Because capital is mobile, it can take an extremely aggressive stance in wage bargaining or in political negotiations. Trans-state accumulation has enhanced the power of capital, while leaving labour and welfare coalitions politically impotent. In addition to the usual concern over immigration, unemployment and population aging, it is obvious that governments in Europe and North America point to the pressures of economic globalisation as being one of the main reasons behind social cutbacks.

This offensive against the public sector in general and social systems in particular is universal and the language of globalisation has been central to this neoliberal assault.

As with the recasting of class relations, remaking the mode of production and reorganizing accumulation, neoliberalism seeks to restructure labour markets, making them more responsive to competitive forces. The integration of domestic economies has opened the door to welfare system social dumping effects, in which the benefits and services in one country are lowered the ward off any potential competitive disadvantages relative to another.32 Social dumping effects reflect governments’ concern that high ‘social cost’ will undermine a nation’s international competitiveness.

Given the rapid changes in the world market and the intensification of competition, an adaptable workforce and flexibility in the hiring and firing of workers are considered valuable economic assets. In general terms, economic flexibility can refer to the ability of capitalist enterprises to adjust their productive strategies, the ability of workers to move from one job to another and the ability of wage levels to move according to prevailing economic conditions.33

The early 1980s employers’ offensive was launched to restore profitability. neoliberal transformative action aimed to reorder post-war capitalism’s structural and institutional arrangements. This neoliberal reordering unleashed the economic transforming tendencies of state rationalisation, market contestability, and factor mobility (‘coercive competition’) on all nations. The importance of coercive competition is that it simultaneously acted on and transcended domestic institutional-policy frameworks.

In this new political economic context, domestic social systems faced a number of transformatory pressures, including the erosion of government autonomy over social provision, integration induced convergent welfare effects, and welfare system rivalry. The prime source of retrenchment pressures was that the mobile capital has an aversion to anything that contributes to competitive locational disadvantage. These pressures were dealt with politically determines the nature and scope of welfare system retrenchment. It is obvious that the explanation of globalisation has become a force “helping to create the institutional realities it purportedly merely describes.”34 Recent welfare practice reflects discursive practices that communicate an “apolitical logic of inevitabilism” that rules out all alternatives to globalisation and welfare retrenchment.35 

The early 1980s employers’ offensive was launched to restore profitability. Neoliberal transformative action aimed to reorder post-war capitalism’s structural and institutional arrangements.

Conclusions

As a political strategy neoliberalism tries to restore profitability at the expense of social well-being of population. the problem of corruption is used as smoke screen for penetration into third world countries and for extracting raw materials at low, globalised prices.  Through such organizations as WTO a global market was created where raw materials prices are nearly same in the world and goods can flow globally without borders and customs . This situation transforms the world economies into an open market and also open production islands not just for goods also for services also. That is why the competition continues over labor costs where states can still compete over. This competition made the governments cut out welfare expenditures to reduce costs of production.

Through this neoliberal transformative action and discourse states are eliminating workers post-war social gains and social protections such as  guaranteed pension, health care and benefit payments. This is done  to improve labor market flexibility and reduce budget deficits. Apart from weakening labor rights, neoliberalism also redistributes wealth by eliminating  high taxes to upper brackets of population, reducing the cost of welfare and privatizing those saving by financial sector.

Neoliberalism creates "race to the bottom" -- a competition between developing countries in reducing the cost of labor  and also generates an informal economy without any social rights of labor. Finally both capital mobility and economic integration have undermined the ability of national governments to pursue welfare objectives.

We should label the behaviour of perceiving social rights as a competitiveness tool rather than a means for meeting vital needs of humans a corrupt behaviour. So corruption is an immanent feature of neoliberalism. That sort of normative questions raised by pope Francis helps to understand deeper the role of  corruption in the neoliberal society. In will not be exaggeration to say the neoliberal society is based on corruption.  In other words, by redefinition corruption in terms of domination of social relations by self-interest, and regarding of fellow citizens as instruments, obstacles and competitors, we get deeper understanding of problem of corruption and related straggle against it the neoliberal era. That seems the best possible to fight corruption under neoliberalism is to fight neoliberal policies and to remembrance the ideas of New Deal which provided better the integrity of the economic and the political like of the society.


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Old News ;-)

[Jun 23, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Demands Reparations For Gay And Lesbian Couples

I think she went off rails here... As much as this is blatant identity politics, with such moves she probably has little or no chances.
Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
reparations for slavery - soundly dismissed by numerous African American speakers - Senator Elizabeth Warren has tried to outdo her opponents by seeking reparations for another group of repressed and long-suffering individuals.

Warren reintroduced the Refund Equality Act, a bill that would allow same-sex couples to amend past tax returns and receive refunds from the IRS.

"The federal government forced legally married same-sex couples in Massachusetts to file as individuals and pay more in taxes for almost a decade," Warren said in a statement.

"We need to call out that discrimination and to make it right - Congress should pass the Refund Equality Act immediately."

[Jun 23, 2019] Interesting opinion about Warren 'the wonk' in the Washington Examiner

Notable quotes:
"... Actually Warren has come out strong in favor of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal in every public speech I've seen. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

LinusL , 3d ago

Interesting opinion about Warren 'the wonk' in the Washington Examiner:

"She's got a (borrowed) plan for that: The media myth of Elizabeth Warren the wonk"

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/shes-got-a-borrowed-plan-for-that-the-media-myth-of-elizabeth-warren-the-wonk

LinusL -> LinusL , 3d ago
Also, where are her positions on military budgets, Empire and foreign policy?

And why hasn't she come out strong for Medicare for All?

Vassili555 -> LinusL , 3d ago
Actually Warren has come out strong in favor of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal in every public speech I've seen.
LinusL -> Vassili555 , 3d ago
https://jacobinmag.com/2019/06/elizabeth-warren-medicare-for-all-health-care-policy

[Jun 23, 2019] Warren backing of Hillary in 2016 is remembered by some voters

Notable quotes:
"... Sanders supported Clinton too in the general election. He also actively campaigned for her. ..."
"... apples and oranges, Thomas and Herr, Would you care to defend her "posture" on NATO? Ditto, for her contributing to the "Evil Vlad" narrative? Israel?? Wiki: Warren states she supports a two state solution, but she believes Palestinian application for membership in the UN isn't helpful.[63] ..."
"... "Warren lied about her ancestry to circumvent diversity quotas. Why should anyone believe anything she has to say?" You are going to be told this a million times before 11/20 but that's bullshit. It's been well established that she didn't get any job because of that. ..."
"... "In the most exhaustive review undertaken of Elizabeth Warren's professional history, the Globe found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman." ..."
"... With Warren and Sanders talking complete sense about our oligarchy, the electorate's expectations are going to improve. Nothing could be better. We've been asked to settle for Republican-lite servants of mammon for too long in the Democratic Party and that's going to change. ..."
"... Hell, if we're going to fine them for data breaches, do we start with the DNC? ..."
"... In a poll last week of 2,312 registered voters in South Carolina, Warren gained nine points to reach 17% compared to Biden's 37%. Among 18-34 year olds, Warren is leading 24% to Sanders' 19% and Biden's 17%. ..."
"... I keep hearing from the mainstream media that Biden is leading in the polls. But we ought to note that Biden's up against a group including Warren, Sanders, Harris etc who are pushing a progressive policies, and if you take their percentages together, Biden cannot compete. Once one of these progressive takes the lead in the group, and hires all the others as running mate, cabinet members etc, he or she will be unbeatable against both Biden and Trump. ..."
"... The latest of that polling features Sanders and Biden nearly neck and neck as far as approval goes. Funny you don't hear about that on CNN or MSNBC. ..."
"... American voters have spent so long being treated like idiots by politicians and to an even greater extent the press that Warren comes across as something new and interesting by comparison. ..."
"... This election won't be decided by defecting Trump voters. ..."
"... Those who would be swayed by Trump using "Pocahontas" as a slur or would even pay attention to it wouldn't vote for Warren anyway. He's not going to change any minds with it, just rile up his existing sheep. ..."
"... That's a very narrow view of her position on Israel. She also supported the Iran treaty, boycotting Netanyahu's speech to the Senate, called on Israel to stop colonizing the West Bank and to recognize the right of Palestinians in Gaza to peaceful protest – her comments about aggression toward Gaza were about Israeli response to missiles fired by Hamas. I don't mind her having a nuanced response to what is in fact a very complex situation. ..."
"... Nerd used to be just an insult, aimed at anyone more intelligent, thoughtful or better-informed than the speaker. But I think now, like 'queer' and other words, it has been reclaimed and repurposed in a much more positive light. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

aussiecharlie , 2d ago

Clinton said vote for me because I am a woman, Warren says vote for me because I am a potential leader who happens to be a woman. Good luck to her and the US
Dargyva -> aussiecharlie , 2d ago
She's not saying anything like that, at all! She's all about economic justice policy. You noticed she's female without her even telling you.
TempsdesRoses , 2d ago
Don't get me wrong. I would certainly vote for her, if needed. I believe she's quite green behind the ears on foreign policy and how inequality is a global issue. Her backing of our entitled neoliberal wife of an ex-president & neocon dismayed me.

Sanders gets the bigger picture on poverty, race, and war/ neocolonialism:
if you wish: MLK Jr's take on "The Three Evils".

Thomas1178 -> TempsdesRoses , 2d ago
And yet Warren was the one censured for reading Coretta Scott King's condemnation of Jeff Sessions in the Senate while Bernie sat on his ass.
Herr_Settembrini -> TempsdesRoses , 2d ago
"Her backing of our entitled neoliberal wife of an ex-president & neocon dismayed me."

Sanders supported Clinton too in the general election. He also actively campaigned for her.

TempsdesRoses -> Herr_Settembrini , 2d ago
apples and oranges, Thomas and Herr, Would you care to defend her "posture" on NATO? Ditto, for her contributing to the "Evil Vlad" narrative? Israel?? Wiki: Warren states she supports a two state solution, but she believes Palestinian application for membership in the UN isn't helpful.[63]

In a town hall meeting in August 2014, Warren defended Israel's shelling of schools and hospitals during that summer's Israel–Gaza conflict, stating that "when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they're using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself". She also questioned whether future US aid to Israel should be contingent on the halting of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.[64] In addition she defended her vote in favor of granting Israel $225 million to fund the Iron Dome air defence system.[65]

zuftawov943 , 2d ago
Nobody ever got elected by over-estimating the good sense of the American public.
MeRaffey , 2d ago
While the 2020 election feels critical, the 2024 election will decide the future. Like Trump himself, his base is filled with old people who are still loyal to Ronald Reagan's Republican Party. Old people watch FoxNews, old people vote, old people love Trump and in 2016, old people decided the election.

Younger people do NOT vote. The younger someone is, the less likely they are to vote. However, young people voted for Obama, twice, but when Hillary came along, they stayed home and let the old people choose the president.

And then, in 2018 the young voted again and we learned the next generation plans to take this country into the future. If the young vote in 2020, Trump is toast. If the young stay home, Trump will see a second term.

However, by 2024 the young will assume their rightful place in history and the age of old white men running the country, and the world will come to an end.

kapsiolaaaaa -> MeRaffey , 2d ago
You are making assumptions that old people are idiots. Making assumptions that middle aged people do not exist or are small in numbers. Trump gets 200 or so electoral votes. He loses. I don't see any case he wins. He is past his 'used by date' even for Republicans. You loose Tx to the Ds its game over, add PA and OH to the list. It doesn't even matter what crazy FL man thinks.
zuftawov943 -> MeRaffey , 2d ago
Don't forget modern geriatric medicine, by which the dinosaurs in the senate and elsewhere in the hardening arteries of the US body politic will live - and hold ofice - for even longer than Strom Thurmond. They can afford the private medical insurance to pay for it.

By the way, MeRaffey , I hope you meant to omit to punctuate in your last phrase so that it would read: ... the age of old white men running the country and the world will come to an end . Your comma has me worried.

Mujokan , 2d ago
Warren/Harris, said it before but it makes sense. I would've preferred Biden to Clinton but I can't see him getting the same turnout as Warren. Opinions on Trump are now fixed, it's a red herring to worry about "firing up" Trump supporters, they are already as fired up as they can get. Swing voters are probably going to vote by where the economy is which is out of our control. Ideally Democrats will be just as fired up as Trumpists, the investigations will suppress their enthusiasm somewhat (though they wouldn't care if he killed someone so...) and the coming Trump recession will be brought on by his trade wars and the blame will therefore fall where it should.
lightchaser , 2d ago
Warren lied about her ancestry to circumvent diversity quotas. Why should anyone believe anything she has to say? Furthermore, What exactly is she promising that is any different then any of the other radical leftists running right now? It's all "Free Stuff" that she's going to make the rich pay for. Um..yeah, that always works out doesn't it? Who needs real math when fuzzy math makes us believe the combined wealth of the richest Americans will finance all this "free" stuff to say nothing about why so many Americans feel entitled to the earnings of others. Remember folks, if a politician says 2+2=6 then it must be true.
Mujokan -> lightchaser , 2d ago
"Warren lied about her ancestry to circumvent diversity quotas. Why should anyone believe anything she has to say?" You are going to be told this a million times before 11/20 but that's bullshit. It's been well established that she didn't get any job because of that.
lightchaser -> Mujokan , 2d ago
She claimed Native American ancestry on her application to Harvard, a job she got and it wasn't the first time she played this card either. But hey, in a political party that loves to change races and genders and expects everyone else to go along with the charade by all means go ahead and believe what you want to believe.
Thomas1178 -> lightchaser , 2d ago
A lie, see Snopes, see any link you've been given each time you post this lie. She got it on merit.

"In the most exhaustive review undertaken of Elizabeth Warren's professional history, the Globe found clear evidence, in documents and interviews, that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman."

Full story: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/09/01/did-claiming-native-american-heritage-actually-help-elizabeth-warren-get-ahead-but-complicated/wUZZcrKKEOUv5Spnb7IO0K/story.html%3foutputType=amp

BaronVonAmericano , 2d ago
With Warren and Sanders talking complete sense about our oligarchy, the electorate's expectations are going to improve. Nothing could be better. We've been asked to settle for Republican-lite servants of mammon for too long in the Democratic Party and that's going to change.

The danger, of course, is that in this transition period Biden gets nominated. However much centrists will clamor for voters to hold their nose and vote for him, that's not an electoral strategy. Trump's best chance of winning is that Biden gets nominated and the progressive base of the Democratic Party is totally demoralized and lacking energy by late 2020.

tigerfisch , 2d ago
After the US public allowed themselves to be hypnotized by Trump's campaign of fatuous lies, empty promises and racist dog whistles, I doubted the electorate possessed the wit to understand actual policies. Maybe they've finally woken up - time will tell.
Jdivney -> tigerfisch , 2d ago
Do you understand how elections work? The US public were hypnotized? He lost the popular vote. The fault lies with the Republican establishment for letting him put the R after his name. Perot ran on essentially the same ticket back in 92 as a third party candidate. He got 18% of the vote. Had he run as a Republican he could well have won.
tigerfisch -> Jdivney , 2d ago
Oh dear. The question is, do you know how US elections work? The popular vote is irrelevant. He's the 5th POTUS who lost the popular vote. Almost 63 million hypnotized dolts voted for him, and he won - that's why he currently resides in the WH
Thomas1178 -> tigerfisch , 2d ago
Or neither "hypnotized" nor "dolts." The people I knew who voted for him in North Carolina thought he was an asshole. But they wanted a conservative Supreme Court for the next two decades and he has delivered that for them. Why do you assume that people on the right are idiots who don't know what they want? That essential presumption by the left is one of the reasons the left lost last time.
Thomas1178 , 2d ago
As one who used to be a Warren supporter, I think she is both patronizing voters and pandering to them. These policies have some detail, sure, but they don't deal with the consequences that Warren knows very well lurk in the wings and as a result they don't necessarily make sense.

Her proposal for free college is one example – sounds great, while in reality it would benefit the better-off middle class at the expense of the most vulnerable students and create a cascade of problems that she has no plans to fix.

Again, fining companies for data breaches? Surely we should fine them *if* they don't immediately report data breaches to their customers– or maybe if they haven't maintained appropriate data security, although I'd love to see proving that one to a court. Hell, if we're going to fine them for data breaches, do we start with the DNC?

Thomas1178 -> Thomas1178 , 2d ago
PS To be clear, I'd still take her in a second over Fat Nixon, I just wish she would pander less and keep her plans to the sensible and achievable, like her consumer protection bureau, which was a fantastic idea.
cheryl kimble -> Thomas1178 , 2d ago
corps get fined for data breaches today. ever heard of a hippa violation?
Thomas1178 -> cheryl kimble , 2d ago
Yes, (politely) do you? The fines for HIPAA violation have to do with noncompliance with the act, not with an uncontrollable data breach. The fines increase on a sliding scale if "willful neglect" has been found (the data were not properly secured) or if the company delays in reporting a data breach/violation.

Which is pretty much exactly what I said above.

PaulOram , 2d ago
Yep - No more old white guys - just being disgusted by Trump is not enough - people want new ideas. EW all the way - with AOC by her side as well hopefully.

There is nothing Trump fears more than the stigma of being a one term pres - his ego would implode.

Thomas1178 -> PaulOram , 2d ago
Oh, I think he fears going to prison more. Michael Cohen was right – the minute Trump is no longer protected by the presidency he is going to be facing charges, on tax evasion if nothing else. He will do anything to keep his protection for more years. He's probably hoping to die in office. (I'd add something to that, but I don't want the Secret Service visiting me!)
MeRaffey -> outkast1213 , 2d ago
what did she do in 2016?
HobbesianWorlds , 2d ago
The DNC is again placing it's foot on the scale in favor of Biden. I believe that they know Bernie is less likely to win because of America's irrational fear of the word, "socialism." That's why they put Biden and Sanders on the stage together and pushed out Elizabeth Warren to the other debate with lesser known and less popular candidates. They do not what her, with her solid plans, to confront Biden, which would give her a greater boost in the polls and more recognition across the nation.
Jdivney -> HobbesianWorlds , 2d ago
It was a random drawing. No one has disputed that.
HobbesianWorlds -> Jdivney , 2d ago
And who was watching the drawing? Who set up the drawing? Are you saying that there was independent oversight on its setup? Or do you just take the DNC's word for it?
Jdivney -> HobbesianWorlds , 2d ago
An inability to believe in coincidence will take you to some strange places. If Sanders and Warren drawn the same night you could make an argument that Biden was getting set up to look good against the lightweight opponents. Or had Sanders drawn the undercard that he was being marginalized. Warren will do fine either way. She's a great candidate. Biden isn't.
HobbesianWorlds , 2d ago
Biden rides high on President Obama's very long coat tails and Wall Street money even without detailed plans that actually help the working class and the poor. Bernie is riding high on his honest fight for the working class and the poor.

Elizabeth Warren is rising fast because she not only agrees with Bernie on fighting for the working class and the poor, but she has detailed plans that are holding up to independent economic scrutiny.

Both Warren and Sanders are honest in their fight for economic justice for all and recognize that the root cause of poverty and lower middle class' struggle is corporate and wealthy-individual money in politics. They aim to stop it.

Biden claims he can negotiate with McConnell. Obama reached out to McConnell his entire term and drew back a nub. The same will be true of Biden. For the Republicans and Trumpians, it's all about making Democrats fail no matter how much it hurts the working class and the poor. Their propaganda network will always assist and sustain them by appealing to the emotions and prejudices of millions of Americans.

malapropriety -> HobbesianWorlds , 2d ago

Biden claims he can negotiate with McConnell. Obama reached out to McConnell his entire term and drew back a nub. The same will be true of Biden.

The same will be true of any Democrat though. There is no way around it except by expanding the powers of the office of the President, which is what has given Trump such a wide ability to repeal Obama-era policies.

Any Democrat coming up against a Republican Senate will have the same thing happen to them, although I can imagine the Republicans will hate Biden marginally less than Obama given that he's not black.

HobbesianWorlds -> malapropriety , 2d ago

There is no way around it except by expanding the powers of the office of the President, which is what has given Trump such a wide ability to repeal Obama-era policies.

Not the first year of his presidency. His Republican Party controlled Congress and they mostly hated Obama as well. As long as there was full control of congress, it was easy. It was not easy to remove the ACA because so many Americans liked it.

Now remember that the reasons Trump was appointed to office by the EC, was that enough far-right people voted, together with the "conservative" media adding to Russia's concentration of propaganda in the key states (stats provided to the Russians by the Trump campaign) and lifted him just enough to overcome the votes of ~3 million voters. Far more voters are now counting on voting against him and for the best Democratic candidate.

Progressives do not want to expand the powers of the Oval Office. That is the wrong thing to do. True change for the better can only come through the ballet box and by educating the voters to exactly why our government is dysfunctional and is replete with corruption.

I think the most popular message to all voters (from farmers to all others in the working class) is that corporate and private money in politics is the root cause of government corruption and dysfunction and why the collective wealth of the working class is steadily redistributing to the uber-wealthy.

The only candidates who what to change the economy to a DEMAND-side economy is are those who actually and loudly advocate it.

But just voting for a progressive president while putting the "conservative" obstructionists (those who maintain the high capacity money pipeline that runs from Wall Street to their pockets) back into Congress will mean the corruption and dysfunction will continue. Voters must be replaced by a super-majority liberal/progressive Congress, and with that, Elizabeth Warren will make that change.

Haigin88 , 2d ago
I think she also knows that she should've and easily could've been president right now. That strange piece yesterday, talking about Biden and Sanders standing in front of good female candidates of today: leaving aside a keen Biden getting bullied out of 2016 by Clinton already having things sewn up, Sanders was notoriously late jumping into 2016 because he was waiting on Warren. If Warren was going to run against the wretched Clinton, he wouldn't. Warren choked so Sanders had to do it himself. Warren must know that she would have dismantled Crooked H and, seeing as Clinton was the only person who could've lost to el diablo naranja, Warren would've hammered Trump too. Hence, Warren's got some making up to do and seems very determined.

She's always been my tip. If I was an American, I would vote for Tulsi Gabbard in a second but Warren is a strong candidate and I always thought that her announcing on the last day of last year was going to give her licence to say to other candidates: "I've been running since 2018!". Warren is the candidate that liars for Clinton tried to pretend that Clinton was. A note of caution, though: someone posted a Republican survey of exactly four years ago yesterday. Bush was on 22%, Trump was polling 1%. Long time to go yet.

Johnnybi , 2d ago

In a poll last week of 2,312 registered voters in South Carolina, Warren gained nine points to reach 17% compared to Biden's 37%. Among 18-34 year olds, Warren is leading 24% to Sanders' 19% and Biden's 17%.

I keep hearing from the mainstream media that Biden is leading in the polls. But we ought to note that Biden's up against a group including Warren, Sanders, Harris etc who are pushing a progressive policies, and if you take their percentages together, Biden cannot compete. Once one of these progressive takes the lead in the group, and hires all the others as running mate, cabinet members etc, he or she will be unbeatable against both Biden and Trump.

JudeUSA -> Johnnybi , 2d ago
There is no sure way of knowing how that would play out. You may be interested in looking at the Morning Consult Poll, which comes out weekly. If you scroll down to Second Choices... it gives possible outcomes for where votes may fall. According to MC poll the 2nd choice for Sanders voters is Biden, 2nd for Biden is Sanders, 2nd for Warren is Harris, 2nd for Buttigieg is Biden, and 2nd for Harris is Biden. The poll also shows results for early primary states, if you click on "Early Primary States".
https://morningconsult.com/2020-democratic-primary /
Thomas1178 -> Johnnybi , 2d ago
Only one question: are these the same polls that were running in ninth 2016? And if they are why do we give a crap what any of them say since we know they are all horribly wrong?
Johnnybi -> JudeUSA , 2d ago
The latest of that polling features Sanders and Biden nearly neck and neck as far as approval goes. Funny you don't hear about that on CNN or MSNBC.

It's clear to me that the US public want action, and that means progressive policies. They were conned last time into thinking Trump represented change. But a Hillary Mark II candidate such as Biden will lead to another Trump victory.

decisivemoment -> kejovi , 2d ago
American voters have spent so long being treated like idiots by politicians and to an even greater extent the press that Warren comes across as something new and interesting by comparison.
AdamCMelb , 2d ago
There is no doubt that Warren is the best policy brain in the Democratic Party. She also has some good ideas, and some not so good ones.

Were I American, I would be tempted to vote for her. But her candidacy is hopeless. It may be unfair, but the Pocahontas issue will kill her bid stone dead in the general election. Trump would be licking his chops over a Warren run.

Jdivney -> AdamCMelb , 2d ago
This election won't be decided by defecting Trump voters.
uraniaargus -> AdamCMelb , 2d ago
Those who would be swayed by Trump using "Pocahontas" as a slur or would even pay attention to it wouldn't vote for Warren anyway. He's not going to change any minds with it, just rile up his existing sheep.
BaronVonAmericano , 2d ago
When it comes to economic regulation, Warren is second to none.

Her defense of Israeli strikes on Gaza and general support for an internationalist militaristic status quo is morally blind, at best.

I think she would be an excellent Secretary of Treasury or Commerce, but needs evolution elsewhere before I'd want to see her as president.

(Of course, I'll vote for her in the general if she gets the nomination.)

Thomas1178 -> BaronVonAmericano , 2d ago
That's a very narrow view of her position on Israel. She also supported the Iran treaty, boycotting Netanyahu's speech to the Senate, called on Israel to stop colonizing the West Bank and to recognize the right of Palestinians in Gaza to peaceful protest – her comments about aggression toward Gaza were about Israeli response to missiles fired by Hamas. I don't mind her having a nuanced response to what is in fact a very complex situation.
petersview , 2d ago

Warren has treated voters as adults, smart enough to handle her wonky style of campaigning. Instead of spoon-feeding prospective voters soundbites, Warren is giving them heaps to digest – and her polling surge shows that voters appreciate the nerdy policy talk.

If talking sense and enunciating real policies is regarded as "wonky"and "nerdy"in the USA then Warren doesn't have a hope and Trump is a shoe-in.
pascald -> petersview , 2d ago
Nerd used to be just an insult, aimed at anyone more intelligent, thoughtful or better-informed than the speaker. But I think now, like 'queer' and other words, it has been reclaimed and repurposed in a much more positive light.

[Jun 22, 2019] Warren passes Sanders in poll

Looks like DNC establishment pushes Biden no matter what
Jun 22, 2019 | www.washingtontimes.com

... Sen. Elizabeth Warren is on the move, passing Sen. Bernard Sanders for second place, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

Mr. Biden had support from 32% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents - in line with his 33% support from last month.

Ms. Warren , meanwhile, is now at 15% - up 5 points from last month - and Mr. Sanders was at 14% support.

... ... ...

The Monmouth survey of 306 registered voters who identified themselves as Democrats or Democratic leaners was taken from June 12-17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.

... ... ...

And a new survey from the firm Avalanche Strategy found that when the notion of "electability" was taken off the table, Ms. Warren was the top choice of Democratic voters at 21%, followed by Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders at 19% apiece.

[Jun 22, 2019] The secret to Elizabeth Warren's surge? Ideas by Jill Priluck

Notable quotes:
"... There's a simple reason for Warren's sudden rise in the polls : the public has an appetite for policy. Of all the Democratic candidates, Warren's campaign has been by far the most ideas-driven and ambitious in its policy proposals. And voters love it. ..."
"... Week in and week out, she has been crisscrossing the country to tell receptive voters her ideas for an ultra-millionaire tax, student debt cancellation and breaking up big tech. She has also weighed in on reproductive rights, vaccines, the opioid crisis and algorithmic discrimination in automated loans. Her bevy of white papers demonstrates that there isn't a policy area Warren won't touch and she isn't worried about repelling anyone with hard-hitting proposals. ..."
"... Better than any other candidate, Warren has articulated a connection between her personal and professional struggles and her ideas, lending an air of authenticity to her campaign. Her backstory – teacher turned reluctant stay-at-home mom turned Harvard Law School professor – clearly resonates with voters in important states such as Iowa and South Carolina. ..."
"... Rule of thumb that is true for all politicians regardless of party. Most of what they promise they will do will never happen and much of does happen does not occur in the way they promised when they campaigned. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
n Friday, the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren co-sponsored a bill to impose mandatory fines on companies that have data breaches. It was the kind of consumer welfare legislation that in the past would have been unremarkable. But in an era when Congress has consistently shirked its duty to shield consumers, the bill stood out.

The legislation capped a week in which Warren surged in the polls. Less than eight months before the Iowa caucus, Warren is making strides in 2020 primary polls. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 adults, 64% of Democratic primary voters in June were enthusiastic or comfortable with Warren, compared with 57% in March. Fewer of these voters were enthusiastic or comfortable with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who have lost 11 and six points, respectively, since March.

There's more. In a poll last week of 2,312 registered voters in South Carolina, Warren gained nine points to reach 17% compared to Biden's 37%. Among 18-34 year olds, Warren is leading 24% to Sanders' 19% and Biden's 17%.

There's a simple reason for Warren's sudden rise in the polls: the public has an appetite for policy

There's a simple reason for Warren's sudden rise in the polls : the public has an appetite for policy. Of all the Democratic candidates, Warren's campaign has been by far the most ideas-driven and ambitious in its policy proposals. And voters love it.

Rather than condescend to voters, like most politicians, Warren has treated voters as adults, smart enough to handle her wonky style of campaigning. Instead of spoon-feeding prospective voters soundbites, Warren is giving them heaps to digest – and her polling surge shows that voters appreciate the nerdy policy talk.

Indeed, since Warren declared her candidacy for president, she has been offering policy prescriptions for our country's most pressing ailments – and she hasn't been brainstorming in a bubble.

Week in and week out, she has been crisscrossing the country to tell receptive voters her ideas for an ultra-millionaire tax, student debt cancellation and breaking up big tech. She has also weighed in on reproductive rights, vaccines, the opioid crisis and algorithmic discrimination in automated loans. Her bevy of white papers demonstrates that there isn't a policy area Warren won't touch and she isn't worried about repelling anyone with hard-hitting proposals.

Better than any other candidate, Warren has articulated a connection between her personal and professional struggles and her ideas, lending an air of authenticity to her campaign. Her backstory – teacher turned reluctant stay-at-home mom turned Harvard Law School professor – clearly resonates with voters in important states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

That sense of reciprocity has turned Warren into a populist rock star. Instead of appealing to the lowest common denominator among the voting public, she's listening to and learning from voters in an ideas-driven campaign that doesn't take voters for granted.

The strategy is paying off – and proving wrong the outdated political wisdom that Americans don't care about the intricacies of government.

In May, Warren traveled to Kermit, West Virginia, the heart of Trump country, to pitch a $2.7bn-a-year plan to combat opioid addiction.

"Her stance is decisive and bold," Nathan Casian-Lakes told CBS News . "She has research and resources to back her ideas."

Jill Priluck's reporting and analysis has appeared in the New Yorker, Slate, Reuters and elsewhere

Elizabeth Warren's economic nationalism vision shows there's a better way Robert Reich


azucenas , 18h ago

I've decided that I want to see Warren as President. She is honest and has many good ideas about the economy and offering a leg up to minorities and the poor. Her integrity is unimpeachable. I have donated small sums to her campaign. Bernie has not spoken in detail the way Warren has although his democratic socialism goes in a positive direction. There are many voters who feel that he is too old. I hope that he will approve Warren as the best candidate in the running. Biden's moment is long gone. For now I believe that another recession lurks in the near future and Warren, as a wonk, is the best person to deal with it.
GWreader , 20h ago
She also does not take a dime of PAC money, which helps keep her mind cleared of hidden agendas. Because of that, she is the first candidate who campaign I've donated to.
shooter gavin , 1d ago
Rule of thumb that is true for all politicians regardless of party. Most of what they promise they will do will never happen and much of does happen does not occur in the way they promised when they campaigned.

In the case of Sen Warren she talks a lot of wonderful stuff, paid by rich people. Expect the same results. The courts will probably shoot down the wealth tax as described by Warren anyway which means everything she promises just dies.

JayThomas -> shooter gavin , 1d ago
Then she'll pull an Obama and blame the Republicans.

[Jun 21, 2019] Technocratic, neoliberal, Clinton Democrat ideas which have already proven to fail

Jun 21, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

shaunhensley , 2d ago

Technocratic, neoliberal, Clinton Democrat ideas which have already proven to fail. She's for the working class, so long as that working class wears a white collar.
Thomas1178 -> shaunhensley , 2d ago
The $14.5 million in emergency relief she obtained for Massachusetts fishermen says different.
PhilosophicalSquid -> shaunhensley , 2d ago
Youve left something out, that should be 'Neo Liberal Elite' shouldnt it?
Janet Re Johnson -> shaunhensley , 2d ago
She's no neolib. They hate her, and with good reason.

[Jun 21, 2019] Warren declared that she will take the money in the general election if she wins the nomination. Do you expect that money to come with no strings attached

Jun 21, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

curiouswes -> JohnLG , 2d ago

but she declared that she will take "the money" in the general election if she wins the nomination. Do you expect that money to come with no strings attached. Clearly this video implied that she knows differently.

This video shows that as a member of Congress she is cognizant of the "as Senator Clinton, the pressures are very different"

Warren knows EXACTLY what she is doing when she says she will take the money in the general if nominated.

[Jun 21, 2019] Warren made a mistake in claiming Native American heritage, which enabled her to advance professionally as a diversity candidate.

Jun 21, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Blackorpheus , 2d ago

Okay, Warren made a mistake in claiming Native American heritage, which enabled her to advance professionally as a "diversity" candidate. But that would have to count as a venial not mortal sin. She is doing considerable good on the campaign trail, and I believe that she means to try to follow through on her detailed promises.
PepperoniPizza -> Blackorpheus , 2d ago
Can't wait to see her debate Trump.
Thomas1178 -> Blackorpheus , 2d ago
She didn't, as multiple links below will show she never used that claim for any kind of professional gain. Same troll, different clothes.
PhilosophicalSquid -> Blackorpheus , 2d ago
Now you know its a lie, please will you stop spreading it and correct it when you see it.
Thanks

[Jun 21, 2019] Working people who are struggling in Iowa and South Carolina say: She's just like us!

Notable quotes:
"... 780 billion per year on defense without a enemy in sight, and no nation spending a tenth that, seems to be a place one could get a dollar or two. ..."
"... As Chomsky notes in 'manufacturing consent', the mass media that is not 'Right' is 'Centrist' and will support a centrist candidate over one advocating more radical change. ..."
"... Here's an idea. If Warren was a true progressive she wouldn't have been a registered Republican for 5 years, and she would have endorsed Bernie over Hillary in the 2016 primaries. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

JayThomas , 1d ago

Her backstory – teacher turned reluctant stay-at-home mom turned Harvard Law School professor – clearly resonates with voters in important states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Working people who are struggling in Iowa and South Carolina say: "She's just like us!"

Jdivney -> JayThomas , 1d ago
Good thing US politics isn't the bucket of crabs and feudal resentments that is the UK.
ildfluer -> JayThomas , 23h ago
Funnily enough, Iowans like her more every day.

https://www.vox.com/2019/6/9/18658583/2020-iowa-democrats-poll-joe-biden-elizabeth-warren-pete-buttigieg

She's popular in South Carolina too:

https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/warren-buttigieg-surge-in-sc-democratic-presidential-poll-as-biden/article_0a351cee-8f77-11e9-a29c-9fe60d10303b.html

Biden still leads in both Iowa and SC. But he was a very visible VP.

Jdivney -> shooter gavin , 1d ago
Please expand upon the "Constitutional issues of a wealth tax".

Looks pretty clear to me.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

SolentBound -> Jdivney , 23h ago
"Please expand upon the "Constitutional issues of a wealth tax".

"Looks pretty clear to me."

The point is that the question would go to a Republican Supreme Court which could indeed find a wealth tax unconstitutional. If you want to know why, do a search. There's lots written on it.

Waynem Rogers , 2d ago
Her problem is the American media who's only interested in sound bites. Policy, plans we don't have time for that. Call someone a nasty name
ronnewmexico -> Waynem Rogers , 2d ago
I don't know. Seems a lot more substance this go round than the last, near as I can tell. Last go round climate change got one question and 45 seconds in response, by both candidates in the general. The media certainly wants and will allow that to happen, but any dem who does would be a idiot.

Seems last go round gender preference was a main thing. Warren will I think not fall into that trap. White male midwestern industrial voters are at large, what lost HRC key states, she took for granted. White male voters and usually their spouses, will not have a part of a program that seems to leave them out of things.

Substance is the name of the game for warren, but to counter Trump one needs to throw out the barbs as well, as she did in her twitter post on not being on his propaganda outlet Fox.

"I won't do a town hall with Fox News because I won't invite millions of Democratic primary voters to tune in, inflate ratings, and help sell ads for an outlet that profits from racism and hate. If you agree, sign our petition.

ronnewmexico -> ronnewmexico , 2d ago
Yes that is Elizabeth Warren calling them racists and haters. A guy like Trump calls names and it is par for the course. A woman who conducts herself as your local librarian or grade school teacher, and you have to take pause and listen, is there substance to this? Seems there is.

This new Elizabeth Warren, name calling and all, I find must more to my liking than that before. Which is the why to her newfound popularity. Substance and calling a pig a pig not a dog or some other thing.

curiouswes -> ronnewmexico , 2d ago
I think you made a good case. she isn't my favorite but still acceptable. In no particular order, for me it is Gabbard, Sanders, Williamson, Warren or Yang. the other 18 would be like voting for the GOP with some protection against the conservative slant on social issues.

The right wingers that post here won't debate me because I'll expose them. They know how the system works and they use it to their advantage. Socialism is about getting free stuff but the issue here is who gets the free stuff. Supply side econ says that the rich are entitled to the free stuff and the less fortunate aren't entitled to it. this is killing upward mobility.

the masses want answers

LiberalCurmudgeon , 2d ago
Iceland, Denmark and Sweden repealed their wealth taxes because they don't work. The Scandinavian countries pay for their safety net by embracing capitalism and taxing the hell out of everyone. Maybe we should embrace that model? Or does Warren's base simply all of the benefits of that system without paying for it?
ildfluer -> LiberalCurmudgeon , 2d ago
They're not similar countries to the USA, at all. US citizens are taxed no matter where they choose to live on earth. This is not the case in most countries.
MikeSw -> LiberalCurmudgeon , 2d ago

The Scandinavian countries pay for their safety net by embracing capitalism and taxing the hell out of everyone. Maybe we should embrace that model?

It would be a hell of a lot better than the government acting as the paymaster for large corporations - paying their workers with food stamps because the corporations don't pay them sufficiently to live on.

You do know that is how the US works, right? Corporations don't pay their workers enough, so the government (i.e. taxpayers) pick up the tab.

ronnewmexico -> MikeSw , 2d ago
To add the average family of four, assuming one stays with the kids so they do not pay day care costs, at Walmart earning a average salary , is eligible for federal food assistance and in most states, Medicaid.

California for several decades paid for most of kids college education and even today, New Mexico does the same. New Mexico is indeed one of the poorest states, and if they figured out how to do that(under a republican governor years ago), most places could. The tax rate here is about on average, no higher than most.

780 billion per year on defense without a enemy in sight, and no nation spending a tenth that, seems to be a place one could get a dollar or two.

HollowayHaines , 2d ago
To quote one of the Guardian's post picks:

Smart and lucid. All the right ideas, without using the " S " word that people in the USA do not really understand, and have a big fear of

I'd extent that from "The USA" to "The USA & the editorial staff of most papers in England", and include some writers for this paper in that catchall.

'Socialist' Sanders and 'Left Wing' Labour as personified by Corbyn are all very well as useful poles to beat the Right with in polemics, but when it looks like they might actually gain access to the corridors of power, suddenly they become villains that have to be defeated so that sensible 'moderates' can retain power....

Warren was receiving more support from this particular paper even before she announced her candidacy than Sanders has or I suspect will even if he gains the nomination.

As Chomsky notes in 'manufacturing consent', the mass media that is not 'Right' is 'Centrist' and will support a centrist candidate over one advocating more radical change.

ildfluer -> HollowayHaines , 2d ago
Those labels are totally irrelevant in the USA. Calling someone 'right' or 'left' or 'socialist' in the USA has nothing to do with dictionary definitions. They all mean to say one thing: I disagree with them because they're wrong.
StephenO , 2d ago

On Friday, the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren co-sponsored a bill to impose mandatory fines on companies that have data breaches.

Warren is the politician who operates like a blind-folded person desperately trying to hit a pinata. In her political realm, such companies simply twist in the wind and make easy targets. Her policy is equivalent to any store or home being burglarized and then being fined by government for being a victim of crime. Complete mindlessness describes the policy.

ildfluer -> StephenO , 2d ago
Yes. Of course every politician should simply lie down and let the corporations get away with every damn thing. I mean, that's worked really well for most Americans since Reagan.
Ginen -> StephenO , 2d ago
Agreed that is a stupid policy. If the company suffers a data breach owing to poor security or conceals or unduly delays disclosure of the data breach, then it would make sense to fine the company or to hold the company civilly liable to those injured by the data breach. But a blanket fine for any company that suffers a data breach is dumb.
MatchYou , 2d ago
If you want ideas, check out Andrew Yang's website. He has over 100+ intricate ideas laid out in the "policy" tab.
ildfluer -> MatchYou , 2d ago
Which means nothing if he's only polling at <1%.
Ginen -> ildfluer , 2d ago
What's Warren polling nationally against the other Democratic candidates? The article doesn't say, instead cherry-picking selected polling.
ildfluer -> Ginen , 2d ago
Around 16% now in some polls. And polling against Trump - 47% v Trump's 42%. Economist/YouGov poll, she came second behind Biden: https://twitter.com/gelliottmorris/status/1138799359930318848
Guy Littleford , 2d ago
The Labor party in Australia surprised me with the boldness and coherency of their plans and it was a great thing to see a party running a campaign on ideas and principles. They lost the election.
irenka_irina -> JayThomas , 2d ago
....the electorate was conned by spin...outright lies and the Murdoch press.
NeverForever , 2d ago
Here's an idea. If Warren was a true progressive she wouldn't have been a registered Republican for 5 years, and she would have endorsed Bernie over Hillary in the 2016 primaries.
MVOregon -> NeverForever , 2d ago
What a really stupid thing to write and think. Do you have any inkling of the history of the Republican and Democratic parties? I was born in a Republican household (progressive) and it took me living overseas for 20 years to realize what a nasty little insurgency had taken the Republicans from what Teddy Roosevelt championed to what he described as swine; the Dixiecrats. Ignorance is not bliss no matter how hard you try to pretend.
Machiavelli20 , 2d ago
One thing that needs to be done involves an honest discussion about the costs of Warren's proposals and the fact that the US already has a $22 TRILLION national debt with more than $1 TRILLION being added each year at a minimum. A former US Comptroller General stated in 2015 that even the official National Debt figure is a misrepresentation and that taking into account an honest understanding of the nation's actual legal obligations the figure was actually $65 TRILLION.

If anyone wants to see it even worse just look at economist Lawrence Kotlikoff's infinite horizon estimates that placed future already promised commitments at $220 TRILLION. My point is that Warren and everyone else in the DC political establishment, is "blowing smoke" and that the US is bankrupt and needs a serious strategy to mitigate that fact rather than reckless proposals aimed to attract votes.

That is not going to happen and the country is in a fundamental financial crisis.

Guy Littleford -> Machiavelli20 , 2d ago
Its repinlicans who increase your deficits. Reagan believed deficits don't matter. The bush tax cuts...and now Trumps tax cuts and QE. He's expanding credit, which looks like real growth, but is it? Only the US can do this, because it runs the global dollar. We should have had the Bankor. But the yanks ensured that did not happen.
EdChamp -> JayThomas , 1d ago

Nobody expects Congress to deliver on a president's campaign promises. That's not how the system works.

True. We use to call it "obstructionist" when the other party in congress unreasonably opposed a president's proposals. We no longer use that term, though. Now we call it "resistance". I'm sure there are at least a few republicans who see being part of the "resistance" exciting if Warren wins the White House.
Janet Re Johnson , 2d ago
At first I thought she must be mad, running for president. Then I started listening to her ideas and looking at how they were being received.
There are millions of young people, youngish people, and parents whose lives would actually be changed by her college loan plan. Even conservatives admit that "her math is correct" and "it's doable."

Then I started watching her in town halls and found her to be VERY different from that awkward lady in the kitchen having a beer. She's warm, direct, funny, casually self-deprecating, and easily able to translate complex ideas into readily understood ones.

EdChamp -> JayThomas , 2d ago

Free college and health care, and the rich pay. Who wouldn't get on board with that?

Well, since you asked. I don't have any student debt and I don't need any more health care. If we are buying votes with "free" stuff, what do I get for free?

I do like a good brisket. Can we carve out some of that tax on those nasty millionaires for my grocery fund?

EdChamp -> Jdivney , 2d ago

Well, as a rock ribbed Republican, you only one choice.

Not applicable since I'm not a republican. I did vote for Trump, after voting for Obama twice. I'm an independent, and we outnumber either republicans or democrats.
WeAreNotJustAMarket , 2d ago
For me it's a toss-up between Warren and Sanders. When it comes to who will actually get to run against Trump, if a dining room set and 4 chairs gets the Democratic nomination, they get my vote in the general election.
PepperoniPizza -> WeAreNotJustAMarket , 2d ago
The fix is already in I think. Your table and chairs name is Sleepy Joe Biden. Of course, it's still a long time to the election and mortality rates may kick in.
MsEvenstar , 2d ago
Warren is rising fast because A) she stands for something and B) she does an excellent job of explaining how America can make the journey from where it is (including rampant inequality) to where it needs to be to offer a future to all its people, not just to those who are white, rich and privileged! Plus, she is super smart & sassy!

[Jun 17, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious - The New York Times

Jun 17, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

For her entire career, Warren's singular focus has been the growing fragility of America's middle class. She made the unusual choice as a law professor to concentrate relentlessly on data, and the data that alarms her shows corporate profits creeping up over the last 40 years while employees' share of the pie shrinks. This shift occurred, Warren argues, because in the 1980s, politicians began reworking the rules for the market to the specifications of corporations that effectively owned the politicians. In Warren's view of history, "The constant tension in a democracy is that those with money will try to capture the government to turn it to their own purposes." Over the last four decades, people with money have been winning, in a million ways, many cleverly hidden from view. That's why economists have estimated that the wealthiest top 0.1 percent of Americans now own nearly as much as the bottom 90 percent.

As a presidential candidate, Warren has rolled out proposal after proposal to rewrite the rules again, this time on behalf of a majority of American families. On the trail, she says "I have a plan for that" so often that it has turned into a T-shirt slogan. Warren has plans (about 20 so far, detailed and multipart) for making housing and child care affordable, forgiving college-loan debt, tackling the opioid crisis, protecting public lands, manufacturing green products, cracking down on lobbying in Washington and giving workers a voice in selecting corporate board members. Her grand overarching ambition is to end America's second Gilded Age.

[ Elizabeth Warren has lots of plans. Together, they would remake the economy.]

"Ask me who my favorite president is," Warren said. When I paused, she said, "Teddy Roosevelt." Warren admires Roosevelt for his efforts to break up the giant corporations of his day -- Standard Oil and railroad holding companies -- in the name of increasing competition. She thinks that today that model would increase hiring and productivity. Warren, who has called herself "a capitalist to my bones," appreciated Roosevelt's argument that trustbusting was helpful, not hostile, to the functioning of the market and the government. She brought up his warning that monopolies can use their wealth and power to strangle democracy. "If you go back and read his stuff, it's not only about the economic dominance; it's the political influence," she said.

What's crucial, Roosevelt believed, is to make the market serve "the public good." Warren puts it like this: "It's structural change that interests me. And when I say structural, the point is to say if you get the structures right, then the markets start to work to produce value across the board, not just sucking it all up to the top."

[Jun 14, 2019] Under the proposal Warren released as part of her presidential campaign in April, borrowers with a household income of less than $100,000 would have $50,000 of their student debt cancelled

Jun 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

200PM Water Cooler 6-14-2019

Warren (D)(1): "Elizabeth Warren to introduce bill cancelling up to $50,000 in student debt for most borrowers" [ MarketWatch ]. "The Democratic Senator of Massachusetts plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that mirrors her presidential campaign proposal

Under the proposal Warren released as part of her presidential campaign in April, borrowers with a household income of less than $100,000 would have $50,000 of their student debt cancelled and borrowers with an income between $100,000 and $250,000 would be eligible for some student debt cancellation -- though not the full $50,000. Borrowers earning $250,000 or more would receive no debt cancellation.

Her campaign estimated the plan would cost $640 billion, which would be paid through a tax on the ultra-wealthy." • I don't think it makes sense to introduce free college without giving relief to those who, because they chose to be born at the wrong time, are subject to a lifetime of debt, so kudos to Warren.

That said, note the complex eligibility requirements; Warren just can't help herself. Also, of course, you can drown in an inch of water, so pragmatically, even $50,000 might not mean all that much, especially since servicers gotta servicer.

Warren (D)(2): "Elizabeth Warren's plan to pass her plans" (interview) [Ezra Klein, Vox ]. Klein: "Do you think that there's a way to sequence your agenda such that you're building momentum as opposed to losing it?" Warren: "Here's my theory: It starts now. That's what true grassroots building is about. Green New Deal. More and more people are in that fight and say that matters to me. Medicare-for-all, that fight that matters to me [No, it doesn't. –lambert]. As those issues over the next year and a quarter get clearer, sharper, they're issues worth fighting for, and issues where we truly have leadership on it, have people out there knocking doors over it . You asked me about my theory about this. This is the importance of engaging everyone. The importance not just of talking to other senators and representatives but the importance of engaging people across this country." • This language seems awfully vague, to me. For example, when Sanders says "Not me, us," I know there's a campaign structured to back the words up. I don't get that sense with Warren. I also know that Sanders knows who his enemies are ("the billionaires"). Here again, Warren feels gauzy to me ("the wealthy"). And then there's this. Warren: "I believe in markets But markets without rules are theft." This is silly. Markets with rules can be theft too! That's what phishing equilibria are all about! (And the Bearded One would would argue that labor markets under capitalism are theft , by definition.) But I'd very much like to hear the views of readers less jaundiced than I am. Clearly Warren has a complex piece of policy in her head, and so she and Klein are soul-mates.

[Jun 13, 2019] Warren's rise is threat to Sanders

Jun 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren (D)(1): [Team Warren, Medium ]. "The rising cost of rent reflects a basic supply-and-demand problem. There aren't enough places to rent that are affordable to lower-income families. That's because developers can usually turn bigger profits by building fancier new units targeted at higher-income families rather than units targeted at lower-income families. The result is a huge hole in the marketplace." •

I'm not a housing maven by any stretch of the imagination, but I think a story that doesn't consider the role of private equity in snapping up distressed housing after the Crash is likely to be a fairy tale.

Warren (D)(2): "The Memo: Warren's rise is threat to Sanders" [ The Hill ]. "'She certainly does seem to be taking votes away from him,' said Democratic strategist Julie Roginsky. 'It seems as if, as she is rising, he is falling.'" • The national averages don't show that.

[Jun 13, 2019] 200PM Water Cooler 6-12-2019 naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... As it is, it seems that the corporate Democrats and Clintonites new strategy is to promote Warren and then start leaning on her heavily in an effort to convert Warren to the neoliberal "dark side" or have her not be a problem for them. ..."
"... Her stance on single payer is troubling and telling, and her foreign policy positions and worldview are absolutely atrocious. She has good policy ideas (not great political instincts), but none of the ideas at the present time have movements behind them and would need those movements to push them through. ..."
"... As for Warren, I believe she could have value in a narrowly defined (finance-related) role in a Sanders administration. I will not vote for her for president. Her foreign policy is atrocious, she doesn't support single payer, and she has proven herself to be a garden variety neoliberal on all but her own niche issues. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Hepativore , June 12, 2019 at 2:35 pm

As it is, it seems that the corporate Democrats and Clintonites new strategy is to promote Warren and then start leaning on her heavily in an effort to convert Warren to the neoliberal "dark side" or have her not be a problem for them.

Warren has unfortunately shown just how easy it is to get her to back down under pressure and there is also the fact that she has been willing to carry water for the Clintonites before to advance her own political career like she did in the 2016 election.

At this point, I would seriously consider Yang to be my third choice after Sanders and Gabbard if it came down to it. Warren would probably be either incapable or unwilling to face any serious political opposition either from Trump or neoliberal Democrats and would probably cave.

Grant , June 12, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Her stance on single payer is troubling and telling, and her foreign policy positions and worldview are absolutely atrocious. She has good policy ideas (not great political instincts), but none of the ideas at the present time have movements behind them and would need those movements to push them through.

Is she the person to lead movements and to help them grow? I can't see anyone making that case. She has had an impact on issues, with the CFPB, which is good, but that was her work within academia. Different animal than actual movement building. Here, we have single payer and she has backtracked.

So, changes that may happen down the road, great. At least provides some alternatives and possibly a path from here to there. But, the fights we could win in the shorter term? Waffles. No thanks. I think she can play a great role in her current position or if Bernie were to win, in his administration, but I think she would be very problematic as a general election nominee. Just my opinion. I like her more than Biden and a number of others running but that says more about them than her.

nippersmom , June 12, 2019 at 3:08 pm

The first thought that entered my mind when I saw that quote from Biden was that he really is suffering from cognitive decline.

As for Warren, I believe she could have value in a narrowly defined (finance-related) role in a Sanders administration. I will not vote for her for president. Her foreign policy is atrocious, she doesn't support single payer, and she has proven herself to be a garden variety neoliberal on all but her own niche issues.

The only candidates besides Sanders I would vote for (Gabbard and Gravel) have less chance of getting the nomination than he does. If Sanders is not the Democratic nominee, I will once again be voting Green.

[Jun 11, 2019] One of the older male anchors on financial TV today noted, in a very condescending tone, that for some reason Elizabeth Warren has an attitude when it comes to corporations

Notable quotes:
"... "When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise -- to deny the political character of the modern corporation -- is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

Lies Owe a Debt to the Truth

"There was time when average Americans could be counted upon to know correctly whether the country was going up or down, because in those days when America prospered, the American people prospered as well. These days things are different.

Let's look at it in a statistical sense. If you look at it from the middle of the 1930's (the Depression) up until the year 1980, the lower 90 percent of the population of this country, what you might call the American people, that group took home 70 percent of the growth in the country's income. If you look at the same numbers from 1997 up until now, from the height of the great Dot Com bubble up to the present, you will find that this same group, the American people, pocketed none of this country's income growth at all.

Our share of these great good times was zero, folks. The upper ten percent of the population, by which we mean our country's financiers and managers and professionals, consumed the entire thing. To be a young person in America these days is to understand instinctively the downward slope that so many of us are on."

Thomas Frank, Kansas City Missouri, 6 April 2017

"When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise -- to deny the political character of the modern corporation -- is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error."

John Kenneth Galbraith

One of the older male anchors on financial TV today noted, in a very condescending tone, that for some reason Elizabeth Warren 'has an attitude' when it comes to corporations.

I hope she and some of her like minded fellows get their opportunity to extend the hand of equal justice to these smug serial felons, pampered polecats, and corporatist clowns. It has been a long time coming.

[Jun 10, 2019] Elizabeth Warren gains momentum in the 2020 race plan by plan by Lauren Gambino

Notable quotes:
"... "I feel duped," said the voter, Renee Elliott, who was laid off from her job at the Indianapolis Carrier plant. "I don't have a lot of faith in political candidates much anymore. They make promises. They make them and break them." ..."
"... Warren rose to her feet. "The thing is, you can't just wave your arms," the she said, gesturing energetically. "You've really got to have a plan – and I do have a plan." ..."
"... But despite the burst of momentum, Warren's path to the nomination has two major roadblocks: Sanders and Biden. Her success will depend on whether she can deliver a one-two punch: replacing Sanders as the progressive standard bearer while building a coalition broad enough to rival Biden. ..."
"... "She sounds like Donald Trump at his best," conservative Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson told his largely Republican audience as he read from Warren's proposal during the opening monologue of his show this week. The plan calls for "aggressive intervention on behalf of American workers" to boost the economy and create new jobs, including a $2tn investment in federal funding in clean energy programs. ..."
"... His praise was all the more surprising because Warren has vowed not to participate in town halls on Fox News, calling the network a "hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists" ..."
Jun 09, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

The senator's 'I have a plan' mantra has become a rallying cry as she edges her way to the top – but is it enough to get past the roadblocks of Biden and Sanders?

Elizabeth Warren at a campaign rally in Fairfax, Virginia, on 16 May. Photograph: Cliff Owen/AP Plan by plan, Elizabeth Warren is making inroads and gaining on her rivals in the 2020 Democratic race to take on Donald Trump.

The former Harvard law professor's policy heavy approach made an impression among activists at the She the People forum in Texas last month and was well-received at the California state party convention earlier this month.

Elizabeth Warren's economic nationalism vision shows there's a better way Robert Reich

This week a Morning Consult poll saw Warren break into the double digits at 10%, putting her in third place behind Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. A recent Economist/YouGov poll found Warren was making gains among liberal voters, with Democrats considering the Massachusetts senator for the Democratic presidential nomination in nearly equal measure with Sanders.

Her intense campaigning on a vast swathe of specific issues has achieved viral moments on the internet – even including one woman whom Warren advised on her love life – as well as playing well during recent television events.

At a televised town hall in Indiana this week, Warren listened intently as a woman who voted for Trump in 2016 described her disillusionment – not only with a president who failed to bring back manufacturing jobs as he said he promised but with an entire political system stymied by dysfunction.

"I feel duped," said the voter, Renee Elliott, who was laid off from her job at the Indianapolis Carrier plant. "I don't have a lot of faith in political candidates much anymore. They make promises. They make them and break them."

Warren rose to her feet. "The thing is, you can't just wave your arms," the she said, gesturing energetically. "You've really got to have a plan – and I do have a plan."

That mantra – a nod to the steady churn of policy blueprints Warren's campaign has released – has become a rallying cry for Warren as she edges her way to the top of the crowded Democratic presidential primary field.

But despite the burst of momentum, Warren's path to the nomination has two major roadblocks: Sanders and Biden. Her success will depend on whether she can deliver a one-two punch: replacing Sanders as the progressive standard bearer while building a coalition broad enough to rival Biden.

Warren began that work this week with a multi-stop tour of the midwest designed to show her strength among working class voters who supported Trump. Ahead of the visit, Warren unveiled a plan she described as "economic patriotism", which earned startling praise from one of Trump's most loyal supporters.

"She sounds like Donald Trump at his best," conservative Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson told his largely Republican audience as he read from Warren's proposal during the opening monologue of his show this week. The plan calls for "aggressive intervention on behalf of American workers" to boost the economy and create new jobs, including a $2tn investment in federal funding in clean energy programs.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson praises Elizabeth Warren's economic policies

His praise was all the more surprising because Warren has vowed not to participate in town halls on Fox News, calling the network a "hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists".

The debate over whether Democrats should appear on Fox News for a town hall has divided the field. Sanders, whose televised Fox News town hall generated the highest viewership of any such event, argued that it is important to speak to the network's massive and heavily Republican audience.

As Warren courts working-class voters in the midwest, she continues to focus heavily on the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire. After jumping into the race on New Year's Eve 2018, Warren immediately set to work , scooping up talent and building a massive operation in Iowa. Her campaign is betting a strong showing in the first in the nation caucuses will propel her in New Hampshire, which neighbors Massachusetts, and then boost her in Nevada and South Carolina.

But as Warren gains momentum, moderate candidates are becoming more vocal about their concern that choosing a nominee from the party's populist wing will hand Trump the election.

"If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer," former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper told Democrats in California last weekend. Though his comments were met with boos and jeers among the convention's liberal crowd, his warning is at the heart of the debate over who should be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Warren has pointedly distinguished herself as a capitalist as opposed to a socialist or a democratic socialist, but she has not backed away from a populist platform that embraces sweeping economic reforms.

In her address to the California Democratic party, Warren rejected appeals for moderation.

"Some say if we all calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses," she said. "But our country is in a time of crisis. The time for small ideas is over."

[Jun 10, 2019] Company part-owned by Jared Kushner got $90m from unknown offshore investors since 2017 by Jon Swaine

Notable quotes:
"... Kushner was initially denied a security clearance by career officials when he joined Trump's administration. A whistleblower has told Congress it was blocked due to concerns about Kushner's outside business interests and "foreign influence". Kushner was later granted a clearance, allegedly after a Trump appointee intervened. ..."
"... Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in Bush's administration who ran for the Democratic US Senate nomination in Minnesota last year, said he was troubled by the lack of disclosure around some of Cadre's funding. "The problem with Kushner – and with Trump – is that we have all these corporate entities, and often nobody knows who is invested in them and where those investors borrowed their money. We simply have no idea," said Painter. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com
Overseas investment flowed to Cadre while Trump's son-in-law works as US envoy, raising conflict of interest questions

in New York

Jared Kushner, who is married to Donald Trump's elder daughter Ivanka, kept a stake in Cadre after joining the administration. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner has received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since he entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump.

Investment has flowed from overseas to the company, Cadre, while Kushner works as an international envoy for the US, according to corporate filings and interviews. The money came through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands , a tax haven that guarantees corporate secrecy.

Kushner, who is married to Trump's elder daughter Ivanka, kept a stake in Cadre after joining the administration, while selling other assets. His holding is now valued at up to $50m, according to his financial disclosure documents.

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Cadre's foreign funding could create hidden conflicts of interest for Kushner as he performs his work for the US government, according to some ethics experts, who raised concerns over the lack of transparency around the investments.

"It will cause people to wonder whether he is being improperly influenced," said Jessica Tillipman, a lecturer at George Washington University law school, who teaches government ethics and anti-corruption laws.

Kushner resigned from Cadre's board and reduced his ownership stake to less than 25% after he joined the White House, according to his attorneys. He failed to list Cadre on his first ethics disclosure, later adding the company and saying the omission was inadvertent. Cadre says he is not actively involved in the company's operations.

The names of the foreigners investing in Cadre via Goldman Sachs are not disclosed by the companies, which are not required to make the information public. Two sources familiar with the firm said much of the money came to the Cayman Islands vehicle from a second offshore tax haven, while some came from Saudi Arabia.

Kushner was initially denied a security clearance by career officials when he joined Trump's administration. A whistleblower has told Congress it was blocked due to concerns about Kushner's outside business interests and "foreign influence". Kushner was later granted a clearance, allegedly after a Trump appointee intervened.

The White House and Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Kushner, did not respond to questions about the foreign investors and Kushner's stake in Cadre.

A spokesman for Cadre declined to comment on the record. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs, Patrick Scanlan, said: "Cadre does not have access to any information about the Goldman Sachs clients who have invested in these vehicles."

Cadre was founded in 2014 by Kushner, his brother Joshua and their friend Ryan Williams, who previously worked for Goldman Sachs. The company operates from a building in Manhattan owned by the Kushner family's real estate corporation.

The company styles itself as an online marketplace where investors can come together to buy property. But it has also built a real estate investment fund, now worth more than half a billion dollars, that is used to buy properties across the US. The fund's value has risen fivefold since 2017, when Kushner was appointed a White House adviser, following earlier slower growth.

The offshore Goldman Sachs vehicle began collecting funds for Cadre in August 2017, according to a securities filing . The bank announced in January last year that it had struck a deal for clients to invest up to $250m in total with Cadre.

The vehicle is managed by accountants in the Cayman Islands and is owned by another offshore Goldman Sachs entity. The arrangement is legal. Offshore jurisdictions have come under increased scrutiny in recent years from international authorities concerned about their secrecy.

Funding from the Cayman Islands vehicle goes into Cadre's real estate purchases in the US, according to sources familiar with the company's work. Cadre charges an annual fee and takes a cut of profits made from the properties.

This funding is separate from ownership stakes in Cadre itself bought by venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and foreign billionaires, including the Chinese technology tycoon Jack Ma and the Russian investor Yuri Milner. Cadre last year held talks with a fund backed by money from the Saudi Arabian government, but no deal was done.

Trump and several members of his administration, including Kushner, have bucked precedent by retaining business interests after entering the government. George W Bush and Bill Clinton moved their wealth into "blind trusts", while Barack Obama had few assets beyond savings accounts and investments in index funds.

Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in Bush's administration who ran for the Democratic US Senate nomination in Minnesota last year, said he was troubled by the lack of disclosure around some of Cadre's funding. "The problem with Kushner – and with Trump – is that we have all these corporate entities, and often nobody knows who is invested in them and where those investors borrowed their money. We simply have no idea," said Painter.

Government officials are barred by law from being involved "personally and substantially" in actions that benefit them financially, and are obliged to ensure they do not create an appearance of bias.

Kushner says he has excluded himself from government policy on real estate. A footnote to his financial disclosure form said he was recused from "particular matters in the broker-dealer, real estate, and online financial services sectors to the extent they would have a direct and predictable effect on Cadre".

The conflict of interest law treats spouses' financial interests as combined. Ivanka Trump has been credited by Trump with advocating for an administration policy that promises to be lucrative for real estate developers and investors. She denies any impropriety.

Kushner's own recusal on real estate matters in front of the government would not in itself prevent him from taking actions in other policy areas that could entice foreign investors to Cadre.

In all, Cadre's investment arm manages more than $522m in assets, according to its latest filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was submitted at the end of March.

Kushner has had financial ties to several different countries. His family's single most expensive purchase, a skyscraper on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, was last year refinanced by a fund backed by the Qatari government. In an article for the Washington Post defending the family's businesses, Kushner's father, Charles, said foreign investments were "a legal and appropriate stream of funding".

As Trump's special representative in the Middle East, Kushner has developed a close relationship with Saudi Arabian officials, particularly the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Cadre says it does not have any sovereign wealth funds among its investors.

Sources familiar with Cadre's setup said a small amount of money in the Goldman-Cadre vehicle, estimated at about $1m, came from Saudi Arabia. Other funding arrived through vehicles based in the British Virgin Islands, adding another layer of offshore secrecy to its origins.

Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel at the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the opaque investments in Cadre would continue raising concerns as Kushner carried out his government duties.

"It was one of the only assets that Kushner retained and it continues to collect foreign investors without transparency," said Canter, a former White House attorney for Obama and Clinton.

Kushner owns a stake worth between $25m and $50m in a "holding company for" Cadre, according to his most recent financial disclosure form, which he filed in May 2018. Kushner and his wife estimate their total wealth at between $235m and $812m.

Cadre was one of dozens of holdings added to a revised version of Kushner's 2017 financial disclosure form that corrected his original filing.

Williams, Cadre's chief executive, has said the firm is "democratizing" real estate investment. The small print of its website says its offerings are intended only for people who earn at least $200,000 a year or have a net worth of $1m excluding the value of their home. The company requires a minimum investment of $50,000.

Cadre recently announced plans to raise multimillion-dollar funds to invest in real estate developments in parts of the US covered by the Trump administration's "opportunity zones" program, which offers valuable tax breaks to developers and investors.

The program was championed by Ivanka Trump, according to her father, who said at the White House that Ivanka had been "pushing this very hard". The remarks raised allegations that policy she worked on could benefit her husband financially. She has denied any impropriety.

[Jun 07, 2019] Tucker Carlson: Elizabeth Warren's "Economic Patriotism" Plan "Sounds Like Donald Trump At His Best"

Jun 07, 2019 | www.realclearpolitics.com

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Good evening and welcome to Tucker Carlson Tonight. Let's begin tonight with a thought experiment: What if the Republican leadership here in Washington had bothered to learn the lessons of the 2016 election? What if they'd cared enough to do that. What if they'd understood, and embraced, the economic nationalism that was at the heart of Donald Trump's presidential campaign? What would the world look like now, two and a half years later? For starters, Republicans in congress would regularly be saying things like this. Quote:

"I'm deeply grateful for the opportunities America has given me. But the giant 'American' corporations who control our economy don't seem to feel the same way. They certainly don't act like it. Sure, these companies wave the flag  --  but they have no loyalty or allegiance to America. Levi's is an iconic American brand, but the company operates only 2% of its factories here. Dixon Ticonderoga  --  maker of the famous №2 pencil  --  has 'moved almost all of its pencil production to Mexico and China.' And General Electric recently shut down an industrial engine factory in Wisconsin and shipped the jobs to Canada. The list goes on and on. These 'American' companies show only one real loyalty: to the short-term interests of their shareholders, a third of whom are foreign investors. If they can close up an American factory and ship jobs overseas to save a nickel, that's exactly what they will do  --  abandoning loyal American workers and hollowing out American cities along the way. Politicians love to say they care about American jobs. But for decades, those same politicians have cited 'free market principles' and refused to intervene in markets on behalf of American workers. And of course, they ignore those same supposed principles and intervene regularly to protect the interests of multinational corporations and international capital. The result? Millions of good jobs lost overseas and a generation of stagnant wages, growing inequality, and sluggish economic growth. If Washington wants to put a stop to this, it can. If we want faster growth, stronger American industry, and more good American jobs, then our government should do what other leading nations do and act aggressively to achieve those goals instead of catering to the financial interests of companies with no particular allegiance to America.... The truth is that Washington policies  --  not unstoppable market forces  --  are a key driver of the problems American workers face. From our trade agreements to our tax code, we have encouraged companies to invest abroad, ship jobs overseas, and keep wages low. All in the interest of serving multinational companies and international capital with no particular loyalty to the United States....It's becoming easier and easier to shift capital and jobs from one country to another. That's why our government has to care more about defending and creating American jobs than ever before  --  not less. We can navigate the changes ahead if we embrace economic patriotism and make American workers our highest priority, rather than continuing to cater to the interests of companies and people with no allegiance to America."

End quote. Now let's say you regularly vote Republican. Ask yourself: what part of that statement did you disagree with? Was there a single word that seemed wrong? Probably not. Here's the depressing part: Nobody you voted for said that, or would ever say it. Republicans in congress can't promise to protect American industries. They wouldn't dare. It might violate some principle of Austrian economics. It might make the Koch brothers angry. It might alienate the libertarian ideologues who, to this day, fund most Republican campaigns. So, no, a Republican did not say that. Sadly.

Instead, the words you just heard are from, and brace yourself here, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Yesterday, Warren released what she's calling her "plan for economic patriotism." Amazingly, that's pretty much exactly what it is: economic patriotism. There's not a word about identity politics in the document. There are no hysterics about gun control or climate change. There's no lecture about the plight of transgender illegal immigrants. It's just pure old fashioned economics: how to preserve good-paying American jobs. Even more remarkable: Many of Warren's policy prescriptions make obvious sense: she says the US government should buy American products when it can. Of course it should. She says we need more workplace apprenticeship programs, because four-year degrees aren't right for everyone. That's true. She says taxpayers ought to benefit from the research and development they fund. And yet, she writes, "we often see American companies take that researchand use it to manufacture products overseas, like Apple did with the iPhone. The companies get rich, and American taxpayers have subsidized the creation of low-wage foreign jobs." And so on. She sounds like Donald Trump at his best. Who is this Elizabeth Warren, you ask? Not the race hustling, gun grabbing, abortion extremist you thought you knew. Unfortunately Elizabeth Warren is still all of those things too. And that is exactly the problem, not just with Warren, but with American politics. In Washington, almost nobody speaks for the majority of voters. You're either a libertarian zealot controlled by the banks, yammering on about entrepreneurship and how we need to cut entitlements. That's one side of the aisle. Or, worse, you're some decadent trust fund socialist who wants to ban passenger cars and give Medicaid to illegal aliens. That's the other side. There isn't a caucus that represents where most Americans actually are: nationalist on economics, fairly traditional on the social issues. Imagine a politician who wanted to make your healthcare cheaper, but wasn't ghoulishly excited about partial birth abortion. Imagine someone who genuinely respected the nuclear family, and sympathized with the culture of rural America, but at the same time was willing to take your side against rapacious credit card companies bleeding you dry at 35 percent interest. Would you vote for someone like that? My gosh. Of course. Who wouldn't? That candidate would be elected in a landslide. Every single time. Yet that candidate is the opposite of pretty much everyone currently serving in congress. Our leadership class remains resolutely libertarian: committed to the rhetoric of markets when it serves them; utterly libertine on questions of culture. Republicans will lecture you about how payday loan scams are a critical part of a market economy. Then they'll work to make it easier for your kids to smoke weed because, hey, freedom. Democrats will nod in total agreement. They're on the same page.

Just last week, the Trump administration announced an innovative new way to protect American workers from the ever-cascading tidal wave of cheap third-world labor flooding this country. Until the Mexican government stops pushing illegal aliens north over our border, we will impose tariffs on all Mexican goods we import. That's the kind of thing you'd do to protect your country if you cared about your people. The Democrats, of course, opposed it. They don't even pretend to care about America anymore. Here's what the Republicans said:

MITCH MCCONNELL: Look, I think it's safe to say – you've talked to all of our members and we're not fans of tariffs. We're still hoping this can be avoided.

"We're not fans of tariffs." Imagine a more supercilious, out of touch, infuriating response. You can't, because there isn't one. In other words, says Mitch McConnell, the idea may work in practice. But we're against it, because it doesn't work in theory. That's the Republican Party, 2019. No wonder they keep losing. They deserve it. Will they ever change?

[Jun 05, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's latest big idea is 'economic patriotism'"

Jun 05, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren (D)(1): "Elizabeth Warren's latest big idea is 'economic patriotism'" [ Vox ].

"The specific Warren proposal on this score has three parts, a Green Apollo Program, a Green Marshall Plan, and a Green Industrial Mobilization. The Apollo Program is a ten-fold increase in clean energy R&D funding, the Marshall Plan is a $100 billion program to help foreign countries buy American-made clean technology, and the Industrial Mobilization (which it would perhaps be more natural to call a 'Green New Deal,' were that name not already taken) proposes a massive $1.5 trillion federal procurement initiative over 10 years to buy 'American-made clean, renewable, and emission free products for federal, state, and local use and for export.'

That's roughly the scale of federal spending on defense acquisition and would of course turn the federal government into a huge player in this market."

• I bet Warren's policy shop didn't copy and paste from other proposals either

[Jun 05, 2019] Liz Warren Unveils Economic Patriotism Plan Calls For Aggressive Market Interventions, Active Dollar Management

Jun 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
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michigan independant , 50 seconds ago link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvFKU62-FPk

Ethan Allen Hawley , 2 minutes ago link

Return to wampum belt economy! It's the only fair and just economy!

SeaMonkeys , 19 minutes ago link

Readers here are brainwashed. Industrial policy is based on a partnership between manufacturing, banks and finance, government, and workers. All of these relationships are built on trust and all the members stand to profit. This is the secret of Germany's and Scandinavia's over 200 years of success. It is called stakeholder capitalism. It includes all members of society. Germany is the world's largest exporter for a reason. It has approximately 1,500 banks, 70% of them are non-profit and restricted to lending for loans that are productive - create jobs and add value.

The English/American model of capitalism is called shareholder capitalism. Shareholder because the owners are absentee landlords. The financial markets rule, all other members serve. The communities are shells - people are distrustful of each other and of the social institutions. Shareholders don't live in the communities that add the value. They are the elites, and are spread throughout the world.

Readers here might not like Elizabeth Warren, and that's ok. I don't really like her. But her ideas are good. No Republican or corporate Democrat would ever embrace her ideas.

The irony is that Trump campaigned on similar ideas as Warren's. Why do you people think Trump is engaging in all the trade war rhetoric? It's for the same ends as Warren's ideas, except her ideas are more complete. Trump doesn't bring enough to the table. He needs to include labor, banks, manufacturers, and government. He hasn't because his ideas are not developed.

All the blabber mouths on Zero Hedge complaining about how full of **** academia is and now is your chance to actually stand for something. Do you think industrial policy is built on "snowflake" studies in Harvard?

No, it's in vocational schools and mentoring. Apprenticeships, and so forth.

Un-*******-believable. Zero Hedge is no different from Rush Limbaugh, a big fat closeted queen.

DEDA CVETKO , 23 minutes ago link

Dear Squaw: aggressive market intervention is old news. Been there, done that since at least Richard Nixon's first term.

Ditto dollar intervention.

Have you something new and original to offer?

-- ALIEN -- , 29 minutes ago link

"...wide-ranging proposal for aggressive, socialist-style government intervention in U.S. markets..."

So, basically more of the same **** that's been going on since 2008?

Where is the Billions for Banksters rider?

Nothing to see here, move along.

Headwinds of Reality , 34 minutes ago link

She's gone full anti semite, she's done here

Celotex , 35 minutes ago link

"Hey, look at my great new conjured-from-nothing ideas and forget about my racial identity fraud."

Real Estate Guru , 36 minutes ago link

Fake Pochahontass Slut-Bunwalla is a total whackjob!

devnickle , 44 minutes ago link

What ever happened to states rights? Ever increasing central governmental control is not the answer, and was never intended to be. The Democrats spout about "Democracy!!!". This is nothing of the sort. They are perfectly happy to tell someone in Nebraska what to do, even if they have no idea corn grows in dirt. Narcissistic sociopaths is what they are. It's time to neuter them.

Let it Go , 55 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, a fair number of people are listening to her. The article below warns that her push towards socialism as many progressives, liberals, or those simply left of center are proposing, would be a grave mistake. Socialism is not the answer to combating inequality.

https://Inequality Is A Growing Pox Upon Our Economic System! html

thegekko , 1 hour ago link

Well, down here in Australia we had a Federal election a couple of weeks ago, and the opposition party, the Labor Party(ie the equivalent of your Democrats) was soundly defeated partially because of their radical "climate change" policies.

Quite obviously the left cannot grasp the fact that not everybody buys into the climate change hoax/industry. After the election many "journalists" who work for our national broadcaster, the ABC, which is funded by the Feds, came out on social media describing the result as a catastrophe for the climate and branded Australians as stupid. Sound familiar, just like a certain someone who labeled half of America as deplorables.

Australians are not stupid, and realised that the changes Labor were proposing were too radical. Their plan called for a 45 percent reduction in emissions by 2030. It should be noted that despite rhetoric to the contrary by Labor, it is a well established fact that Australia is far exceeding it's Kyoto & Paris targets.

Yet, the Labor party wanted to take these steps.

Labor, a party which is supposed to be in support of the workers, had they have won governmengt, would have no doubt done everything in their power to prevent the Adani coal mine in Queensland going ahead!

FFS, what sort of a world are we living in where coal mining is viewed by the left as a criminal activity?

The result of Labor's insanity, they did not win back a single seat in Qld, and in the Hunter Valley in NSW, a massive coal mining town, one particular seat there has been held by Labor for 25 years with a healthy margin. The local Labor candidate, Joel Fitzgibbon, managed to still hold onto the seat despite a 20 percent swing against him!

The fact is, as I am sure you are all aware being intelligent people on ZH, is you cannot take radical steps like what was proposed by Labor & in the process destroy the economy. These changes, if they are to be implemented, need to happen over the course of decades, four, five, maybe six, I don't know.

But more importantly, there needs to be serious discussion as to whether man made "climate change" is real because it does not seem to be, and obviously the vast majority of people are not buying into it. much to the chagrin of the left.

In Australia, and I am sure the same happens in America, the only people buying the climate change ******** are the cafe latte/upper class inner city snobs.

The other thing that escapes the minds of the left in Australia is simple mathematics. We are a population of 24 million in a world of 7.5 billion, that makes us 0.33 of 1 percent of the world population. Even if Australia cut it's emissions to zero tomorrow, it will make no difference to the world when we have China & India building coal fired power stations.

Ironically, the high priest of climate change, Al Gore, is down here at the moment, in Queensland of all places where voters told the left where to get off, on a $300,000 taxpayer funded love-in. From memory, didn't Al Gore state in his doco in 2006 that within 10 years the Earth would be facing a climate catastrophe? lol

spoonful , 1 hour ago link

Aggressive Market Interventions, Active Dollar Management . . . you mean the PPT?

Vince Clortho , 1 hour ago link

She has all the credibility of a Fake Indian Bolshevik.

Goodsport 1945 , 1 hour ago link

She isn't going away, and neither is her brand of voodoo economics, because too many ignorant Massholes will continue to return the squaw to office.

EenuschOne , 1 hour ago link

Chief Shitting ********

e_goldstein , 1 hour ago link

The Communist Fauxcohantus.

(Practicing for when Skankles runs again.)

A Nanny Moose , 2 hours ago link

Moar management will solve problems created by management.

Duct tape cannot fix stupid, but it can muffle the screams.

TAALR Swift , 2 hours ago link

Too late Fauka-haunt-us. The interventions and active management has been going on for years.

Dumb biatch does not deserve to collect a Gov salary, gibmes or pension.

40MikeMike , 2 hours ago link

Democrats sunk and going to prison on collusion.

OK...

what's the next snake oil?

How about dealing with awful illigitamacy?

They own 1st and 2nd Black Slavery.

So fix it?

Forfeit the election and see what a debt conscious America is capable?

We can do with less, or less of more.

Only speaking for non-elites.

40MikeMike , 2 hours ago link

$1.5 trillion on renewables?

As in abandoned babies in a certain community?

LOL123 , 2 hours ago link

You go girl.... Lynn Rothschild will back you once she counts con-tracts and loans filtered back into her " All Inclusive Capitalism" banking system... She's got your back. She was was only kiddig about rewrting an ecconomic plan for Hillary and ditching yours....xoxo Lynn

"on Tuesday Elizabeth Warren proposed spending $2 trillion on a new "green manufacturing" program that would invest in research and exporting American clean energy technology."

Jessica6 , 2 hours ago link

These people are control freaks. And the trouble with control freaks is they always make things worse.

StheNine , 2 hours ago link

Indian giver....

Carefulboy23 , 2 hours ago link

Capitalism is man preying on his fellow man. Socialism is the exact opposite.

Lie_Detector , 2 hours ago link

Blah blah blah!

El Oregonian , 2 hours ago link

"In my administration, we will stop making excuses. We will pursue aggressive new government policies to support American workers."

"In my administration, we will NOT stop making excuses. We will pursue aggressive new government TOTALITARIAN policies to support American Stalinist ideals ."

FIXED.

DeePeePDX , 2 hours ago link

Let's just reset the calendar to year zero, go all-agrarian, and march all dissent into the killing fields.

It's like these dumbfux read "Atlas Shrugged" and stole every idea of the antagonists.

Wild Bill Steamcock , 2 hours ago link

Warren's Official Campaign song: NO CHANCE IN HELL!

CaptainMoonlight , 2 hours ago link

Go away , fake Pocohontus

lisa.roy39 , 2 hours ago link

𝐆­𝐨­𝐨­𝐠­𝐥­𝐞 𝐢­𝐬 𝐩­𝐚­𝐲­𝐢­𝐧­𝐠 𝟗­𝟕­$ 𝐩­𝐞­𝐫 𝐡­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫,𝐰­𝐢­𝐭­𝐡 𝐰­𝐞­𝐞­𝐤­𝐥­𝐲 𝐩­𝐚­𝐲­𝐨­𝐮­𝐭­𝐬.𝐘­𝐨­𝐮 𝐜­𝐚­𝐧 𝐚­𝐥­𝐬­𝐨 𝐚­𝐯­𝐚­𝐢­𝐥 𝐭­𝐡­𝐢­𝐬.𝐎­𝐧 𝐭­𝐮­𝐞­𝐬­𝐝­𝐚­𝐲 𝐈 𝐠­𝐨­𝐭 𝐚 𝐛­𝐫­𝐚­𝐧­𝐝 𝐧­𝐞­𝐰 𝐋­𝐚­𝐧­𝐝 𝐑­𝐨­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐑­𝐚­𝐧­𝐠­𝐞 𝐑­𝐨­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐟­𝐫­𝐨­𝐦 𝐡­𝐚­𝐯­𝐢­𝐧­𝐠 𝐞­𝐚­𝐫­𝐧­𝐞­𝐝 $­𝟏­𝟏­𝟕­𝟓­𝟐 𝐭­𝐡­𝐢­𝐬 𝐥­𝐚­𝐬­𝐭 𝐟­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫 𝐰­𝐞­𝐞­𝐤­𝐬..𝐰­𝐢­𝐭­𝐡-𝐨­𝐮­𝐭 𝐚­𝐧­𝐲 𝐝­𝐨­𝐮­𝐛­𝐭 𝐢­𝐭'𝐬 𝐭­𝐡­𝐞 𝐦­𝐨­𝐬­𝐭-𝐜𝐨­𝐦­𝐟­𝐨­𝐫­𝐭­𝐚­𝐛­𝐥­𝐞 𝐣­𝐨­𝐛 𝐈 𝐡­𝐚­𝐯­𝐞 𝐞­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐝­𝐨­𝐧­𝐞 .. 𝐈­𝐭 𝐒­𝐨­𝐮­𝐧­𝐝­𝐬 𝐮­𝐧­𝐛­𝐞­𝐥­𝐢­𝐞­𝐯­𝐚­𝐛­𝐥­𝐞 𝐛­𝐮­𝐭 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮 𝐰­𝐨­𝐧­𝐭 𝐟­𝐨­𝐫­𝐠­𝐢­𝐯­𝐞 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫­𝐬­𝐞­𝐥­𝐟 𝐢­𝐟 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮 𝐝­𝐨­𝐧'𝐭 𝐜­𝐡­𝐞­𝐜­𝐤 𝐢­𝐭.

click this link════►►► http://www.worktoday33.com

Mona Lisa , 2 hours ago link

Criminal scammer spammer Alert ! Identity theft Alert ! Malware infected site.

Never give away your personal data to shady and criminal websites as this one.

It is an incredible audacity and impertinence to misuse the company name "google" to pretend credibility for a criminal organization.

Buy a Tesla instead of the same old boring Landy Rovy Rangy Rovy banger all of your gang are buying.

[Jun 01, 2019] Mr. Jim Mellon a is a billionaire who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the USSR by Johanna Ross

Notable quotes:
"... And again, a Mr. Jim Mellon a for real billionaire, several times over I should think, the same guy who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the CCCP. His gleanings were called “privatization”… of poor mother Russia. ..."
Jun 01, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

elmerfudzie , May 30, 2019 at 17:37

Tainted tenure indeed! No one asks the right questions anymore. For example, where did all that Brexit cash come from? As I commented previously at CONSORTIUMNEWS and it is redacted here; “The Panama Papers signaled a need for radical change(s) in the EU banking laws. Hiding money, legit or not from, fair and open taxation, has become increasingly difficult for the upper crust….”

The BREXIT cash originated, no surprise folks, from a Gibraltar based firm, where a Mr Arron Banks (big bucks Banks) a guy with money to burn, with corporate holdings in the Isle of Man and too, one of his buddies, an Alan Kentish of the STM group specializing in, oh you’ll love this, offshore wealth preservation! LOL

And again, a Mr. Jim Mellon a for real billionaire, several times over I should think, the same guy who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the CCCP. His gleanings were called “privatization”… of poor mother Russia. Well, to make a long story short, Mr Kentish, the original pro-BREXITeer was arrested in Gibraltar under the UK’s Crime Act for such suspicious money funneling(s). My oh my Ms May, what strange political bedfellows you seem to have!

[May 22, 2019] Sen. Elizabeth Warren gains traction among black female voters

May 22, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Axle Grind , 4 hours ago

liz warren gains traction. she's built low to the ground for torque.

Mary Czarnik , 6 hours ago

Dems only need few select states to campaign in and they will win elections all the time. Everybody is playing the racists card when they do not like what is said or done!!

G Watsittoyaa , 1 day ago

Demoncrats run on Identity Politics ; thats all they see.

[May 16, 2019] Warren can steal considerbale chunk of Trump 2016 voters

May 16, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren (D)(1): "Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country" [ Politico ]. West Virginia: "It was a startling spectacle in the heart of Trump country: At least a dozen supporters of the president -- some wearing MAGA stickers -- nodding their heads, at times even clapping, for liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren . LeeAnn Blankenship, a 38-year-old coach and supervisor at a home visitation company who grew up in Kermit and wore a sharp pink suit, said she may now support Warren in 2020 after voting for Trump in 2016.

'She's a good ol' country girl like anyone else,' she said of Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma. 'She's earned where she is, it wasn't given to her. I respect that.'"

Also: "The 63-year-old fire chief, Wilburn 'Tommy' Preece, warned Warren and her team beforehand that the area was 'Trump country' and to not necessarily expect a friendly reception. But he also told her that the town would welcome anyone, of any party, who wanted to address the opioid crisis ." ( More on West Virginia in 2018 .

Best part is a WaPo headline: "Bernie Sanders Supporter Attends Every DNC Rule Change Meeting. DNC Member Calls Her a Russian Plant." • Lol. I've been saying "lol" a lot, lately.)

Warren (D)(2): "Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change" [Elizabeth Warren, Medium ]. "In short, climate change is real, it is worsening by the day, and it is undermining our military readiness. And instead of meeting this threat head-on, Washington is ignoring it  --  and making it worse . That's why today I am introducing my Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act to harden the U.S. military against the threat posed by climate change, and to leverage its huge energy footprint as part of our climate solution.

It starts with an ambitious goal: consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal, the Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030 .. We don't have to choose between a green military and an effective one . Together, we can work with our military to fight climate change  --  and win." • On the one hand, the Pentagon's energy footprint is huge, and it's a good idea to do something about that. On the other, putting solar panels on every tank that went into Iraq Well, there are larger questions to be asked. A lot of dunking on Warren about this. It might play in the heartland, though.

[May 15, 2019] Warren does have some sound ideas about taming the financial oligarchy, but she is completly incompetent in foreign policy, where she is undistinguishable from other establishment Democrats

Her call for impeachment procedures is a blunder. She is trying to play the dominant mood of the Dems crowd, not understanding that in this case Biden will be the winner.
Notable quotes:
"... Beto O'Rourke, the rich-kid airhead who declared shortly before the Mueller report was released that Trump, "beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to collude with the Russian government," will not fare much better. ..."
"... Sen. Elizabeth Warren meanwhile seems to be tripping over her own two feet as she predicts one moment that Trump is heading to jail , declares the next that voters don't care about the Mueller report because they're too concerned with bread-and-butter issues, and then calls for dragging Congress into the impeachment morass regardless. ..."
May 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: Russia-gate’s Monstrous Offspring by Daniel Lazare

Besides Fox News – whose ratings have soared while Russia-obsessed CNN’s have plummeted – the chief beneficiary is Trump. Post-Mueller, the man has the wind in his sails. Come 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders could cut through his phony populism with ease. But if Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post succeeds in tarring him with Russia the same way it tried to tar Trump, then the Democratic nominee will be a bland centrist whom the incumbent will happily bludgeon.

Former Vice President Joe Biden – the John McCain-loving, speech-slurring, child-fondler who was for a wall along the Mexican border before he was against it – will end up as a bug splat on the Orange One’s windshield.

Beto O'Rourke, the rich-kid airhead who declared shortly before the Mueller report was released that Trump, "beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to collude with the Russian government," will not fare much better.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren meanwhile seems to be tripping over her own two feet as she predicts one moment that Trump is heading to jail , declares the next that voters don't care about the Mueller report because they're too concerned with bread-and-butter issues, and then calls for dragging Congress into the impeachment morass regardless.

Such "logic" is lost on voters, so it seems to be a safe bet that enough will stay home next Election Day to allow the rough beast to slouch towards Bethlehem yet again.

[May 15, 2019] Bernie Sanders on trade with China, health care and student debt

Good domestic policy suggestions and debate skills. Horrible understanding of foreign policy (he completely subscribes to the Russiagate hoax)
His capitulation to Hillary in 2016 still linger behind his back despite all bravado. he betrayed his followers, many of who put money of this while being far from rich. he betrayed them all. As such he does not deserve to run.
Warren and Tulsi are definitely better options then Sanders for 2020.
May 07, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., became a household name in 2016 when he ran a progressive campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination -- and came close to securing it. He's back in the 2020 race, but this time up against more than 20 other candidates. Sanders sits down with Judy Woodruff to discuss trade with China, health care, student debt, Russian election interference and more.

[May 14, 2019] The Guardian summary of the day

May 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

4.56pm EDT 16:56

Here's a summary of the day thus far: Donald Trump praised attorney general William Barr for opening what appears to be a broad investigation of the Russia counterespionage investigation that swept up the Trump campaign. Barr appointed a US attorney to lead the inquiry and reportedly has got the CIA and DNI involved.

Senator Elizabeth Warren took a "hard pass" on an offer to do a Fox News town hall event, calling the network "hate-for-profit".

[May 14, 2019] Cory Booker Compares Elizabeth Warren to Trump

Warren definitely have the courage to put forward those important proposals. Lobbyists like Cory Booker of course attack them.
Notable quotes:
"... It's called Anti-Trust laws not her "opinions"... ..."
"... Let's be honest, Booker isn't fit to shine Warren's shoes! I wonder if Cory's ass is jealous of all the shit that just came out of his mouth!! SMDH ..."
"... CB bought and paid for by drug companies. Of course he doesn't like Warren. But ask him about Americans right to free speech and he puts after the needs of any foriegn country ..."
"... He who looks like a slick bouncer for the big money monopolies, is looking to get a piece of it ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Marduk of Nexus , 55 seconds ago

I knew the establishment Dems would fight against the progressives, but this is so blatant...

TheBreaker OfWalls , 1 minute ago

It's called Anti-Trust laws not her "opinions"...

Ronn Thomason , 2 minutes ago

Let's be honest, Booker isn't fit to shine Warren's shoes! I wonder if Cory's ass is jealous of all the shit that just came out of his mouth!! SMDH

molson12oz , 11 minutes ago

Cory- .Most Americans will NOT think you are Presidential Caliber.Where's the MONEY coming from? Small donor contributions? I don't even think you'll get the Black & hispanic vote.Why do this?

You are stealing the votes from way more qualified candidates. Bad idea if you want to have Democratic POTUS in 2020

BRIAN , 11 minutes ago (edited)

CB bought and paid for by drug companies. Of course he doesn't like Warren. But ask him about Americans right to free speech and he puts after the needs of any foriegn country

Scott Price , 12 minutes ago

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren need to form a Democratic ticket.

William MARDER , 15 minutes ago

He who looks like a slick bouncer for the big money monopolies, is looking to get a piece of it

Mitchel Evans , 16 minutes ago

After that Trump remark, Cory can bite my butt. Whatever disagreements I may have with Warren, she has some very daring, intelligent, and discussion-worthy policies. We need her in the next administration, whether as potus or in the cabinet. Sheesh, Cory, burn your bridges, sir.

Pierre Lefrançois , 18 minutes ago

Don't worry about C Booker, he's a light weight with talking points and no virtuous convictions.

Peter Krug , 23 minutes ago

Cory Booker is a lot more like Trump than Elizabeth Warren is.

[May 11, 2019] Is Warren's college plan progressive -- Crooked Timber

Notable quotes:
"... It's not obvious to me that universal access to college education is a progressive goal. ..."
"... I think it is extremely important to understand where Warren is coming from on this. Warren initially became active in politics because she recognized the pernicious nature of debt and the impact it had on well-being. I ..."
"... Warren's emphasis in this particular initiative, it seems to me, is to alleviate debt so that individuals can pursue more advanced functionings/capabilities. ..."
"... The more a college degree is the norm, the worse things are for people without one. Making it easier to get a college degree increases the degree to which its the norm, and will almost inevitably have the same impact on the value of a college degree as the growth in high-school attendance (noted by Sam Tobin-Hochstadt above) had on the value of a high school degree. ..."
"... The debate on this subject strikes me as misguided because it says nothing about what students learn. A good high school education should be enough to prepare young people for most kinds of work. In most jobs, even those allegedly requiring college degrees, the way people learn most of what they need to know is through on the job training. Many high school graduates have not received a good education, though, and go to college as, in effect, remedial high school. ..."
May 11, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Is Warren's college plan progressive?

by Harry on May 6, 2019 Ganesh Sitaraman argues in the Garun that, contrary to appearances, and contrary to the criticism that it has earned, Elizabeth Warren's college plan really is progressive, because it is funded by taxation that comes exclusively from a wealth tax on those with more than $50 million in assets. Its progressive, he says, because it redistributes down. In some technical sense perhaps he's right.

But this, quite odd, argument caught my eye:

But the critics at times also suggest that if any significant amount of benefits go to middle-class or upper-middle class people, then the plan is also not progressive. This is where things get confusing. The critics can't mean this in a specific sense because the plan is, as I have said, extremely progressive in the distribution of costs. They must mean that for any policy to be progressive that it must benefit the poor and working class more than it benefits the middle and upper classes. T his is a bizarre and, I think, fundamentally incorrect use of the term progressive .

The logic of the critics' position is that public investments in programs that help everyone, including middle- and upper-class people, aren't progressive. This means that the critics would have to oppose public parks and public K-12 education, public swimming pools and public basketball courts, even public libraries. These are all public options that offer universal access at a low (or free) price to everyone.

But the problem isn't that the wealthy get to benefit from tuition free college. I don't think anyone objects to that. Rather, the more affluent someone is, on average, the more they benefit from the plan. This is a general feature of tuition-free college plans and it is built into the design. Sandy Baum and Sarah Turner explain:

But in general, the plans make up the difference between financial aid -- such as the Pell Grant and need-based aid provided by states -- and the published price of public colleges. This means the largest rewards go to students who do not qualify for financial aid. In plans that include four-year colleges, the largest benefits go to students at the most expensive four-year institutions. Such schools enroll a greater proportion of well-heeled students, who have had better opportunities at the K-12 level than their peers at either two-year colleges or less-selective four-year schools. (Flagship institutions have more resources per student, too.) .

For a clearer picture of how regressive these policies are, consider how net tuition -- again, that's what most free-tuition plans cover -- varies among students at different income levels at four-year institutions. For those with incomes less than $35,000, average net tuition was $2,300 in 2015-16; for students from families with incomes between $35,000 and $70,000, it was $4,800; for those between $70,000 and $120,000, it was $8,100; and finally, for families with incomes higher than $120,000, it was more than $11,000. (These figures don't include living expenses.)

Many low-income students receive enough aid from sources like the Pell Grant to cover their tuition and fees. At community colleges nationally, for example, among students from families with incomes less than $35,000, 81 percent already pay no net tuition after accounting for federal, state and institutional grant aid, according to survey data for 2015-16. At four-year publics, almost 60 percent of these low-income students pay nothing.

... ...

.


Mike Huben 05.06.19 at 1:16 pm ( 1 )

If you take progressivism to mean "improvement of society by reform", Warren's plan is clearly progressive. It reduces the pie going to the rich, greatly improves the lot of students who are less than rich, and doesn't harm the poor.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

nastywoman 05.06.19 at 1:37 pm ( 2 )
@
"Is Warren's college plan progressive"?

Who cares – as long as this plan -(and hopefully an even more extended plan) puts an end to a big part of the insanity of the (stupid and greedy) US education system?

In other words – let's call it "conservative" that might help to have it passed!

Trader Joe 05.06.19 at 1:49 pm ( 3 )
The difficulty with the plan as proposed is not whether it is progressive or not but that it targets the wrong behavior – borrowing for education. If the goal is to make education more accessible – subsidize the university directly to either facilitate point of admission grants in the first place or simply bring down tuition cost to all attendees.

Under this proposal (assuming one thinks Warren would win and it could get passed) the maximizing strategy is to borrow as much as one possibly can with the hope/expectation that it would ultimately be forgiven. If that's the "right" strategy, then it would benefit those with the greatest borrowing capacity which most certainly is not students from low income families but is in fact families which could probably pay most of the cost themselves but would choose not to in order to capture a benefit they couldn't access directly by virtue of being 'too rich' for grants or other direct aid.

L2P 05.06.19 at 1:50 pm ( 4 )
"Rather, the more affluent someone is, on average, the more they benefit from the plan. "

This doesn't seem like a fair description of what's going on. If Starbucks gives a free muffin to everyone who buys a latte, it's theoretically helping the rich more than the poor under this way of looking at things. The rich can afford the muffin; the poor can't. So the rich will get more free muffins. But the rich don't give a crap. They can easily just buy the damn muffin in the first place. They're not really being helped, because the whole damn system helps them already. They're just about as well off with or without the free muffin.

Same here. My kid's going to Stanford. I'm effin rich and I don't give a crap about financial aid. If it was free I'd have an extra 75k a year, but how many Tesla's do I need really? How many houses in Hawaii do I need? But when I was a kid I was lower middle class. I didn't even apply to Stanford because it was just too much. Yeah, I could have gone rotc or gotten aid, but my parents just couldn't bust out their contribution. Stanford just wasn't in the cards. And Stanford's a terrible example, it had needs blind admissions and can afford to just give money away if it wants.

This sort of analysis is one step above bullshit.

bianca steele 05.06.19 at 2:02 pm ( 5 )
I don't understand the fear, in certain areas of what's apparently the left, of giving benefits to people in the middle of the income/wealth curve.

The expansion of the term "middle class" doesn't help with this, nor does the expansion of education. These debates often sound as if some of the participants think of "middle class" as the children of physicians and attorneys, who moreover are compensated the way they were in the 1950s.

The ability to switch between "it's reasonable to have 100% college attendance within 5 years from now" and "of course college is only for the elite classes" is not reassuring to the average more or less educated observer (who may or may not be satisfied, depending on temperament and so on, with the answer that of course such matters are above her head).

Ben 05.06.19 at 2:12 pm ( 7 )
The actual plan is for free tuition at public colleges. So not "the most expensive four-year institutions" that Baum and Turner discuss. [HB: they're referring to the most expensive 4-year public institutions]

There's also expanded support for non-tuition expenses, means-tested debt cancellation, and a fund for historically black universities, all of which make the plan more progressive. And beyond that, I could argue that, for lower-income students on the margin of being able to attend and complete school, we should count not only the direct financial aid granted, but also the lifetime benefits of the education the aid enables. But suffice it to say, I think you're attacking a caricature.

Dave 05.06.19 at 2:17 pm ( 9 )
the college plan does not actually offer 'universal access'

Given that something like one third of Americans gets a college degree, Warren's plan seems good enough. It's not obvious to me that universal access to college education is a progressive goal.

Michael Glassman 05.06.19 at 3:46 pm ( 16 )
I think it is extremely important to understand where Warren is coming from on this. Warren initially became active in politics because she recognized the pernicious nature of debt and the impact it had on well-being. If you are trying to get out from under the burden of debt your capabilities for flourishing are severely restricted, and these restrictions can easily become generational. One of the more difficult debts that people are facing are student debts. This was made especially difficult by the 2005 bankruptcy bill which made it close to impossible for individuals to get out from under student debt by entering in to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Warren's emphasis in this particular initiative, it seems to me, is to alleviate debt so that individuals can pursue more advanced functionings/capabilities. So if you think that the definition of progressive is creating situations where more individuals in a society are given greater opportunities for flourishing then the plan does strike me as progressive (an Aristotelian interpretation of Dewey such as promoted by Nussbaum might fall in this direction). There is another issue however that might be closer to the idea of helping those from lowest social strata, something that is not being discussed near enough. Internet technologies helped to promote online for profit universities which has (and I suppose continues to) prey and those most desperate to escape poverty with limited resources. The largest part of their organizations are administrators who help students to secure loans with promises of high paying jobs once they complete their degrees. These places really do prey on the most vulnerable (homeless youth for instance) and they bait individuals with hope in to incurring extremely high debt. The loan companies are fine with this I am guess because of the bankruptcy act (they can follow them for life). This is also not regulated (I think you can thank Kaplan/Washington Post for that). Warren's initiative would help them get out from under debt immediately and kick start their life.

I agree k-12 is more important, but it is also far more complicated. This plan is like a shot of adrenaline into the social blood stream and it might not even be necessary in a few years. I think it dangerous to make the good the enemy or the perfect, or the perfect the critic of the good.

nastywoman 05.06.19 at 5:28 pm ( 22 )
– and how cynical does one have to be – to redefine a plan canceling the vast majority of outstanding student loan debt – as some kind of ("NON-progressive") present for "the rich"?
Sam Tobin-Hochstadt 05.06.19 at 5:59 pm ( 25 )
I think this work by Susan Dynarski and others really makes the case that reducing price will change access and populations significantly: https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-U-of-Michigan-Appealed-to/245294

But even apart from that, the argument of the post seems like it would suggest that many things that we currently fund publicly are not progressive in a problematic way. Everything from arts to national parks to math research "benefits" the rich more than the poor. There's possibly a case that public provision of these goods is problematic when we as a society could spend that money on those who are more disadvantaged. But that's a very strong claim and implicates far more than free college.

Finally, it's worth comparing the previous major expansion of education in the US. The point at which high school attendance was as widespread as college attendance is now (about 70% of high school graduates enroll in college of some form right away) was around 1930, well after universal free high school was available. I think moving to universal free college is an important step to raise those rates, just as free high school was.

Leo Casey 05.06.19 at 7:31 pm ( 29 )
It strikes me that the argument made here against a universal program of tuition free college is not all that different than an argument made against social security -- that the benefits go disproportionately to middle class and professional class individuals. Since in the case of Social Security, one has to be in gainfully employed to participate and one's benefits are, up to a cap, based on one's contributions, middle class and professional class individuals receive greater benefits. Poor individuals, including those who have not been employed for long periods of time, receive less benefits. (There are quirks in this 10 second summary, such as disability benefits, but not so much as to alter this basic functioning.)

Every now and again, there are proposals to "means test" social security, using this functioning as the reasoning. A couple of points are worth considering.

First, it is the universality of social security that makes it a political 'third rail,' such that no matter how it would like to do away with such a 'socialist' program, the GOP never acts on proposals to privatize it, even when they have the Presidency and the majorities that would allow it to get through Congress. The universality thus provides a vital security to the benefits that poor and working people receive from the program, since it makes it politically impossible to take it away. Since social security is often the only pension that many poor and working people get (unlike middle class and professional class individuals who have other sources of retirement income), the loss of it would be far more devastating to them. There is an important way, therefore, that they are served by the current configuration of the system, even given its skewing.

Second, and following from the above, it is important to recognize that the great bulk of proposals to "means test" Social Security come from the libertarian right, not the left, and that they are designed to undercut the support for Social Security, in order to make its privatization politically viable.

Most colleges and universities "means test" financial aid for their students, which is one of the reasons why it is generally inadequate and heavily weighted toward loans as opposed to grants. I think it is a fair generalization of American social welfare experience history to say that "means tested" programs are both more vulnerable politically (think of the Reagan 'welfare queen' narrative) and more poorly funded than universal programs.

There are additional argument about the skewing of Social Security benefits, such as the fact that they go disproportionately to the elderly, while those currently living in poverty are disproportionately children. This argument mistakes the positive effects of the program -- before Social Security and Medicare the elderly were the most impoverished -- for an inegalitarian design element.

The solution to the fact that children bear the brunt of poverty in the US is not to undermine the program that has lifted the elderly out of poverty but to institute programs that address the problem of childhood poverty. Universal quality day care, for example, provides the greatest immediate economic benefits to middle class and professional class families who are now paying for such services, but it provides poor and working class kids with an education 'head start' that would otherwise go only to the children of those families that could afford to pay for it. And insofar as day care is provided, it makes it easier for poor and working class parents (often in one parent households) to obtain decent employment.

So the failings of universal programs are best addressed, I would argue, by filling in the gaps with more universal programs, not 'means testing' them.

To the extent that Warren's 'free tuition' proposal addresses only some of the financial disadvantages of poor and working people obtaining a college education, the response should not be "oh, this is not progressive," but what do we do to address the other issues, such as living expenses. It is not as if there are no models on how to do this. All we need to do is look at Nordic countries that provide post-secondary students both free tuition and living expenses.

christian h. 05.06.19 at 9:15 pm ( 31 )
Having grown up and gone to university in Germany it is simply incomprehensible to me that there is tuition supporters on the political left in the U.S. It's true that free college isn't universal in the same sense free K-12 education is. But neither are libraries (they exclude those who are functionally illiterate completely, and their services surely go mostly to upper middle class people who have opportunity and education to read regularly), for example. Neither are roads – the poor overwhelmingly live in inner cities, often take public transport – it's middle class suburbanites that mostly profit. Speaking of public transport, I assume Henry opposes rail; it is very middle class, the poor use buses. (The last argument actually has considerable traction in Los Angeles, it's not completely far fetched.)
SamChevre 05.06.19 at 11:57 pm ( 40 )
I agree that Warren's free college and debt forgiveness plans would not be very progressive, but I'd propose that I think the dynamic mechanism built in would make it worse than a static analysis shows.

(Note that most of my siblings and in-laws do not have college degrees; this perspective is based on my own observations.)

The more a college degree is the norm, the worse things are for people without one. Making it easier to get a college degree increases the degree to which its the norm, and will almost inevitably have the same impact on the value of a college degree as the growth in high-school attendance (noted by Sam Tobin-Hochstadt above) had on the value of a high school degree. (We're already seeing this: many positions that used to require a college degree now require a specific degree, or a masters degree.) This will increase age discrimination, and further worsen the position of the people for whom college is unattractive for reasons other than money.

To give a particular example of a mechanism (idiosyncratic, but one I know specifically). Until a couple decades ago, getting a KY electrician's license required 4 years experience under a licensed electrician, and passing the code test. Then the system changed; now it requires a 2-year degree and 2 years experience, OR 8 years experience. This was great for colleges. The working electricians don't think the new electricians are better prepared as they used to be, but all of a sudden people who don't find sitting in a classroom for an additional 2 years attractive are hugely disadvantaged. Another example would be nursing licenses; talk to any older LPN and you'll get an earful about how LPN's are devalued as RNs and BSNs have become the norm.

Dr. Hilarius 05.07.19 at 12:39 am ( 42 )
I suspect tuition reform will be complex, difficult and subject to gaming. Being simple minded I offer an inadequate but simple palliative. Make student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy. You can max out your credit cards on cars, clothes, booze or whatever and be able to discharge these debts but not for higher education. The inability to even threaten bankruptcy gives all the power to collection companies. Students have no leverage at all. The threat of bankruptcy would allow for negotiated reductions in principal as well as payments.

Bankruptcy does carry a lot of negative consequences so it would offset the likely objections about moral hazards, blah, blah. I would also favor an additional method of discharging student debt. If your debt is to a for-profit school that can't meet some minimum standards for student employment in their field of study then total discharge without the need for bankruptcy. For-profit vocational schools intensively target low income and minority students without providing significant value for money.

John Quiggin 05.07.19 at 1:44 am ( 44 )
Progressivity looks much better if the program sticks to free community college, at least until there is universal access to 4-year schools. That's what Tennessee did (IIRC the only example that is actually operational).
Gabriel 05.07.19 at 3:03 am ( 47 )
Harry: it doesn't seem as if you responded to my comment. I'll try again.

1. A policy is progressive if it is redistributive.
2. Warren's plan is redistributive.
3. Thus, Warren's plan is progressive.

Comments about how effective the redistribution is are fine, but to claim a non-ideal distribution framework invalidates the program's claims to being progressive seems spurious. And I don't think this definition of progressive is somehow wildly ideosyncratic.

Nia Psaka 05.07.19 at 4:01 am ( 48 )
To whine that free college is somehow not progressive because not everyone will go to college is a ridiculous argument, one of those supposedly-left-but-actually-right arguments that I get so tired of. To assume that the class makeup of matriculators will be unchanged with free college is to discount knock-on effects. This is a weird, weird post. I guess I'm going back to ignoring this site.
Kurt Schuler 05.07.19 at 4:04 am ( 49 )
The debate on this subject strikes me as misguided because it says nothing about what students learn. A good high school education should be enough to prepare young people for most kinds of work. In most jobs, even those allegedly requiring college degrees, the way people learn most of what they need to know is through on the job training. Many high school graduates have not received a good education, though, and go to college as, in effect, remedial high school.

Readers who attended an average American high school, as I did long ago, will know that there are certain students, especially boys, who are itching to be done with school. It is far more productive to give them a decent high school education and have them start working than to tell them they need another two to four years of what to them is pointless rigamarole.

Rather than extending the years of education, I would reduce the high school graduation age to 17 and reduce summer vacations by four weeks, so that a 17 year old would graduate with as many weeks of schooling as an 18 year old now. (Teachers would get correspondingly higher pay, which should make them happy.)

Harry Truman never went to college. John Major became a banker and later prime minister of Britain without doing so. Neither performed noticeably worse than their college-educated peers. If a college education is not necessary to rise to the highest office in the land, why is it necessary for lesser employment except in a few specialized areas?

An experiment that I would like to see tried is to bring back the federal civil service exam, allowing applicants without college degrees who score high enough to enter U.S. government jobs currently reserved for those with college degrees.

[May 09, 2019] Secret Right-Wing Elizabeth Warren Crush

May 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

I would love to have a social conservative who was as red-hot on the abuse of corporate power as she is. Of course there's no way she would ever win the Democratic nomination if she were a social conservative, nor would she be a US Senator from Massachusetts.

Back in 2011, when she announced for the Massachusetts Senate race on an anti-big business platform, I wrote in this space that she was "a Democrat I could vote for." In 2014, observing how far gone she is on cultural leftism, I lamented that I wanted so bad for her to be good -- but hey, you can't always get what you want.

The Week 's Matthew Walther recently wrote a piece praising her from the Right as a "forgotten reactionary." Excerpt:

Warren's vision of human flourishing is fundamentally a conservative one -- or at least it would be if the family were still at the center of the conservative conception of politics. What she argues for is the right of families to thrive, not be the slave of financial interests, corporate power, housing monopolies, the educational establishment, or any other external force. She believes, radically, alas, in 2018, that we all have a right to food, water, housing, education, and medical care. The idea that hard-working Americans should be able to raise their children in comfort and with a sense of dignity is not, or at least should not be, the exclusive purview of any one politician or party. The fact that Warren very frequently does seem to be among the only elected officials in this country who both affirms these things and has taken the trouble to think carefully about them is a reminder that the centrism rejected by her and fellow travelers on the left and the right alike is not only noxious but omnipresent.

Warren's economic vision of human flourishing -- that is, the economic conditions she believes must be in place for people to flourish -- is fundamentally conservative, in an older, more organic sense. Old-fashioned Catholic reactionaries understand exactly what she's talking about, and so would the kind of Christian conservatives who read Wendell Berry and Crunchy Cons (which, alas, came out about 13 years too early).

Lo, Fox News star Tucker Carlson riled up the Right the other night with his tour de force criticism of right-wing free market orthodoxies (among other things).

Last night, he praised Elizabeth Warren for having written a 2003 book about how the US economy traps families. He points out that in her book, Warren made an economic case that the mass entry of women into the workplace has been a financial disaster for families. More:

Elizabeth Warren said that out loud. Nobody seemed to mind. She'd never say that today. It's not allowed like so much else that is true and important. She can't talk about the things that she believed 10 years ago. No modern Democrat can.

Can Republicans? In a follow-up column, Matthew Walther thinks they should, and that Tucker Carlson's commentaries so far this year have been galvanizing. More:

If anyone had suggested to me five years ago that the most incisive public critic of capitalism in the United States would be Tucker Carlson, I would have smiled blandly and mentioned an imaginary appointment I was late for. But that is exactly what the Fox News host revealed himself to be last week with an extraordinary monologue about the state of American conservative thinking. In 15 minutes he denounced the obsession with GDP, the tolerance of payday lending and other financial pathologies, the fetishization of technology, the guru-like worship of CEOs, and the indifference to the anxieties and pathologies of the poor and the vulnerable characteristic of both of our major political parties. It was a masterpiece of political rhetoric. He ended by calling upon the GOP to re-examine its attitude towards the free market.

Carlson's monologue is valuable because unlike so many progressive critics of our social and economic order he has gone beyond the question of the inequitable distribution of wealth to the more important one about the nature of late capitalist consumer culture and the inherently degrading effects it has had on our society. The GOP's blinkered inability to see beyond the specifications of the new iPhone or the latest video game or the infinite variety of streaming entertainment and Chinese plastic to the spiritual poverty of suicide and drug abuse is shared with the Democratic Socialists of America, whose vision of authentic human flourishing seems to be a boutique eco-friendly version of our present consumer society. This is lipstick on a pig.

And:

It is difficult for me to understand exactly why conservatives have come around to their present uncritical attitude toward unbridled capitalism. It cannot be for electoral reasons. Survey after survey reveals that a vast majority of the American people hold views that would be described as socially conservative and economically moderate to progressive. A presidential candidate who spoke capably to both of these sets of concerns would be the greatest political force in three generations.

The answer is that for conservatives the market has become a cult. No book better explains the appeal of classical liberal economics than The Golden Bough , Sir James Frazer's history of magic. Frazer identified certain immutable principles that have governed magical thinking throughout the ages. Among these is the imitative principle according to which a favorable outcome is obtained by mimicry -- the endless chants of entrepreneurship, vague nonsense about charter schools, calls for tax cuts for people who don't make enough money to benefit from them. There also is taboo, the primitive assumption that by not speaking the name of a thing, the thing itself will be thereby be exorcised. This is one reason that any attempt to criticize the current consensus is met with whingeing about "socialism." This catch-all talisman is meant to protect against everything from the Cultural Revolution to modest restrictions on overdraft fees imposed at the behest of consultants.

Read the whole thing.


Haigha January 9, 2019 at 9:34 am

"In the real world you are going to have to keep companies from getting too powerful if you want a free(ish) market."

"So, is it possible that in this everything-can-be-bought-and-sold culture that the massive corporations made the very rational choice to buy themselves a government?"

... ... ...

Franklin Evans , says: January 9, 2019 at 12:22 pm
Noah makes an excellent point about the differences between public- and private-sector unions and collective bargaining units. I would personally add that public-sector unions would never have been necessary if governments were not run under the same philosophy as private-sector employers: minimize the cost of employees by any means possible. I've always held that regardless of any definition of necessity, public-sector unionization was and remains a bad idea.

I also don't know of a better alternative. Sometimes it's the evil you must handle, rather than the lesser of two evils.

As for the shifts in the socio-economic realities, there's a necessary categorization necessary when discussing women in the workforce. I offer these broad categories which are likely arguable. It's a starting point, not a line in the sand.

Families at or below the poverty line: when you control for the benefits of a stay-at-home parent, these families only ever had one option to get above the poverty line enough to no longer need public assistance, and that was a second income. The entire motivation for minimum wage, stable work hours and such was an attempt to mitigate the need for a second income. It gets politicized and complicated from there, partially for good reasons, but unless you look at a given family's income limitations before criticizing the woman's working instead of being at home, you are ignoring the consequences of poverty, which cannot be mitigated by parenting.

The woman has a higher income potential: it started well before the employment argument, as in decades previous women were "permitted" to attain higher education in skill and content areas beyond nursing and teaching. One reaction to that, an analysis conclusion I arrive at personally, was to routinely discriminate against female employees in both compensation and promotion. The prevailing "wisdom" (again, my personal POV) was that women are going to get pregnant anyway, why encourage them away from that? If the only disparity in compensation was for unpaid leave due to pregnancy and childbirth, you might have avoided a large part of the feminist revolution.

The broad mix of "women belong in " arguments based on some moral construct (religious or other): this is where the feminist revolution was inevitable. It comes down to personal agency and choice. I have an Orthodox Jewish relative whose wife fully, happily and creatively embraces her religiously mandated role. She's very intelligent, an erudite writer and speaker, and is as much a pillar of her community as any male in it. We should avoid extreme examples like Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, but her plight without fatal consequences is precisely what many women face, and want to escape. Feminism simply states that such women have the right to make that different choice, and the power the men of their community have over them is a denial of a human right.

I'm sure other broad categories need to be described. I'll leave this before it gets beyond being too long.

Gertrude , says: January 9, 2019 at 1:12 pm
@kgasmart "I defy Elizabeth Warren, or any other prominent lefty, to publicly restate her thesis that the entry of women into the workforce has ultimately harmed the family.

Imagine the furious tweetstorms. How dare she suggests it's been anything but wonderful for women themselves – and thus, for society as a whole. Evidence to the contrary be damned as 'hateful,' of course."

You don't understand the left. And no, having once been in favor of SSM doesn't mean you understand the left. I and many others will happily say the following: "Society was not prepared for the mass entry of women into the workplace. Childcare suffered, work-life balance suffered, male-female relations suffered."

The problem here is that we follow that up with: "The problem was not women having basic aspirations to the dignity and relative economic security work offers. The problem was a government captured by the rich who don't understand what policy for families that can't afford nannies would look like. The problem was also a social structure which valued families less than it valued proscribed gender roles. Time to chart a different course."

Trust me, feminists talk all the time about how much harder it is to have a family these days. We just don't think the problem exists because women selfishly wanted basic economic security.

KD , says: January 9, 2019 at 2:24 pm
Warren is a smart, informed academic with some solid views on economic issues.

On the other hand, she is a terrible politician, and not suited for high executive office. She lacks gravitas and has no intuition for the optics of what she does, going from gaffe to gaffe. She'd be chewed up and spit out before she became a contender.

While I think HRC had terrible ideas, I never questioned her capacity to project authority and credibility, that is, "act presidential". In contrast, Obama's dork factor got him in trouble on a number of occasions (although his "communist salute" stands out), and Warren is many times more a dork than Obama.

Zgler , says: January 9, 2019 at 3:28 pm
"I confess I have never understood her appeal. She is the very model of a useless New England scold, constantly seeking to regulate just about everything. There is almost no problem that more government, more regulation – usually with no oversight – cannot fix. No, thank you."

This sounds like someone who has not researched Warren's writings and positions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Elizabeth_Warren

and just does not like her style (i.e. New England Scold). I think her style, which would be fine in a man (e.g. who is a scold if not Bernie) will primary her out.

Hector_St_Clare , says: January 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm
The market is not a Platonic deity, floating in the sky and imposing goodness and prosperity from on high. It is the creation of our choices, our laws, and our democratic process. We know, for instance, that pornography has radically altered how young boys perceive their relationships with women and sex, and that the pornography industry has acquired a lot of wealth in the process of creating and distributing that content. Just last month, we learned that a Chinese entity created the first gene-edited baby, using a technology developed in the United States. Some company, here or there, will eventually create a lot of prosperity by using this gene-editing technology (called CRISPR) in an unethical way, quite literally playing God with the most sacred power in the universe -- the creation of human life. In the past few years, it has become abundantly clear that Apple -- despite self-righteously refusing to cooperate with American security officials -- has willingly complied with the requirements of the Chinese surveillance state, even as China builds concentration camps for dissidents and religious minorities. And, as Carlson mentioned, there are marijuana companies pushing for legalization, though we know from the Colorado experience that legalization increases use, and from other studies that use is concentrated among the lower class, causing a host of social problems in the process.

I'm an anti-capitalist so of course I'd agree with JD Vance that there's no good reason to trust the free market or the owners of capitalist enterprises. Nonetheless, I can't join him in his specific criticisms of free markets here, and I think this kind of underscores the difficulties there may be in building bridges between social conservatives and social liberals. Bridges can certainly be built, for sure, but it will take some work and some painful compromises, and this is a good example of why: several of the things that JD Vance points to as examples of free markets gone wrong, are things that I'd say are good things, not bad ones.

I'm not going to defend pornography (although I'm not particularly going to criticize it that much either: while I distrust conservative / orthodox Christian sexual ethics, I don't really care about pornography per se and would be happy if the more violent / weird / disturbing stuff was banned). Gene editing of humans though strikes me as a clearly good thing: why wouldn't we want our species to be more peaceful, better looking, more pro-social and more healthy? And why wouldn't we, at the margins, want to raise people who might otherwise be born with serious physical or mental handicaps to be 'fixed'? I have a lot of fears for the future of the world, but the idea that gene editing of our species might become commonplace is one of the things that makes me hopeful. I also think it's a good thing that tech companies are cooperating with the Chinese state: not because I like China and its government, particularly, but because I believe strongly in the sovereign nation state and in the right of national governments to decide how foreign companies are going to behave on their territory. I'd much rather a world in which companies in China are constrained by the Chinese state than one in which they're constrained by no rules at all other than their own will. Finally, the legalization of marijuana and other soft drugs seems to me to be a good thing as well.

I'm sure that JD Vance and I can come to lots of agreement over other issues, but I did want to point out there may be stumbling blocks over social issues as well- precisely because these issues do matter. They don't matter as much as the economic issues, but they do matter somewhat.

EarlyBird , says: January 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm
All of these critiques of capitalism from social conservatives hews exactly to the platform of a tiny little party, the American Solidarity Party:

https://solidarity-party.org/

Among the planks in their platform:

"We believe that family, local communities, and voluntary associations are the first guarantors of human dignity, and cultivate mutual care. National institutions and policies should support, not supplant them."

Quite seriously, the entire party could have been invented by Rod, and I mean that as the highest endorsement.

Haigha , says: January 9, 2019 at 4:43 pm
"You think creating a power vacuum will prevent big businesses from imposing their will on the population? Go back and look at your beloved 19th century and tell me that absent government intervention corporations won't crush peoples lives for a few extra cents."

Absolutely. Absent government help, businesses can't do anything except offer people goods or services, or offer to purchase their labor or goods or services, on terms the individuals may or may not find advantageous compared to the status quo. When Big Business ran roughshod over people in the 19th Century, it was because government helped them (e.g., court cases letting businesses off the hook for their liabilities because of the supposed need for "progress").

[May 08, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Student Loan Debt Forveness propasal: critique from the conservarives

Not all specialties are created equal. It is clear that a person who take loan to became obtain a degree in communications is deeply misguided as chances to get a well paying job with this specially are close to zero. Many "humanitarian" specialties are similar -- unemployment is almost guaranteed and if a person was misled we should prosecute greedy university administrators and jail some of them. Such specialties should have a disclaimer: employment is difficult to obtain. Unemployment is almost garanteed. Take the courses at your own risk.
At the same time for STEM degrees Warren proposal makes more sense as people who enrolled into those specialties tried a more realistic approach, but probably job market turned bad or level of talent is not enough or both. while people in this specialties are needed but their chances for employment are crippled by the flow of H1B applicants so part of those costs should be subsidized by fees for large H1B employers, such as Microsoft and Google. Or something like that.
At the same time why we should forgive a person the debt if the particular person specialized in, say, dance? What is the social value of oversupply of dancers? So probably subsidies should be selective and limited to STEM specialties and selected "high social value" humanitarian specialties.
So the loan forgiveness is a crippled, somewhat unfair but still a reasonable approach.
But the key problem is not loads but greed of neoliberal educational institutions. Cost of tuition skyrocketed after 1980 and that's not accidental: this is drect result of neoliberalism corruption of higher education. The ability of government to prosecute "too greedy" colleges is important. Limits of salary of administrators and especially president and vice president and deens are critical.
Notable quotes:
"... The total cost of Warren's plan would be $1.25 trillion over 10 years, with the debt forgiveness portion consisting of a one-time cost of $640 billion. Warren plans to pay for her plan by imposing an annual tax of 2 percent on all families that have $50 million or more in wealth. ..."
"... Warren is right to focus attention on the matter of student loans. This is a major issue for young people and experts have been warning of a crisis for years. ..."
"... After all, they are victims of a scam perpetrated by the education cartel and the federal government. ..."
"... Here's how it works: the education cartel sells the lie that only those with four-year college degrees can succeed in life. Then they steer everyone with a pulse towards a university. ..."
"... The government steps in and subsidizes student loans that allow almost anyone to go to college, regardless of their ability to pay the loans back. ..."
"... College is not for everyone and there's no reason to keep promoting that idea. ..."
"... Reduce the overabundance of administrators. The number has exploded since the 1990s. ..."
"... A lot of required courses are just padding to make the experience drag on for four years. That creates unneeded expenditures of time and money. ..."
"... several nations currently do offer virtually free college educations & I don’t believe their diplomas are of less value for it. ..."
May 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren recently jolted the Democratic presidential primary race by tackling one of the most important issues of our time: student loans and the cost of higher education. Warren called for canceling up to $50,000 of student loan debt for every American making under $100,000 a year. In addition, she would make two- and four-year public college tuitions free for all new students.

The total cost of Warren's plan would be $1.25 trillion over 10 years, with the debt forgiveness portion consisting of a one-time cost of $640 billion. Warren plans to pay for her plan by imposing an annual tax of 2 percent on all families that have $50 million or more in wealth.

Warren is right to focus attention on the matter of student loans. This is a major issue for young people and experts have been warning of a crisis for years.

But in most cases, it isn't right to blame student loan borrowers for their predicaments. After all, they are victims of a scam perpetrated by the education cartel and the federal government.

Here's how it works: the education cartel sells the lie that only those with four-year college degrees can succeed in life. Then they steer everyone with a pulse towards a university.

The government steps in and subsidizes student loans that allow almost anyone to go to college, regardless of their ability to pay the loans back. These loans are a trap, and not just with regard to their cost. The government, which took over the student loan industry , forbids borrowers from discharging that debt in bankruptcy proceedings.

How do such cheap and easy student loans affect universities? For starters, they have caused a proliferation of degrees that offer poor returns on investment . In addition, they have led to the dilution of the value of previously marketable degrees such as those in the humanities and international relations, as more students enter those programs than could ever hope to work in their respective fields. For example, in 2013, half of all those who had graduated from college were working in jobs that did not require degrees .

But worst of all, the easy access to student loans has destroyed the price mechanism, which is so important for determining the real supply and demand of a product. Since government is the ultimate payer, tuition has been pushed sky high. The rate of tuition increase has actually outpaced inflation threefold .

Is Elizabeth Warren's plan the solution? No! It will only make things worse.

For starters, the wealth tax that she would use to fund her plan is likely unconstitutional . But even if it was upheld by the Supreme Court, it would still be bad policy. Countries that have imposed wealth taxes like France and Sweden have found that the rich simply leave and take their assets with them rather than pay more.

As for the idea of universal student loan debt forgiveness, it is a bad policy on the merits. For starters, it does not make economic sense to forgive the debts of those who will earn at least $17,500 more a year than those who don't go to college.

Also, although the student loan bubble has been inflated by the actions of both the education cartel and government, at the end of the day, loans are a contract. Those who are able to pay them down should and not be bailed out.

... ... ...

Finally, we need to promote alternatives to college. There are many well-paying jobs out there that don't require degrees . There are also apprentice programs offered by organizations like Praxis . We should encourage entrepreneurship, which is how so many in this country have lifted themselves out of poverty. College is not for everyone and there's no reason to keep promoting that idea.

Kevin Boyd is a freelance writer based in Louisiana. He is a contributor to The Hayride, a southern news and politics site. He has also been published in , The Federalist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , and The New York Observer among other publications.


Lert345, says: May 8, 2019 at 3:14 pm

How to make college cost effective. Two major reforms

1. Reduce the overabundance of administrators. The number has exploded since the 1990s.

2. Restructure college. Most programs don’t need to be four years long. Most can be cut to 2 1/2 – 3 years. A chemistry student should be taking courses required for a chemistry degree, nothing more (unless he/she wants to). A lot of required courses are just padding to make the experience drag on for four years. That creates unneeded expenditures of time and money.

After doing the above, then maybe we can talk about “free” college.

mrscracker, says: May 8, 2019 at 4:04 pm
I personally believe that we should each pay our own way through life as much as possible, but several nations currently do offer virtually free college educations & I don’t believe their diplomas are of less value for it.

I agree with you that other avenues like trades should be encouraged. A four year degree isn’t necessary for everyone.

DavidE, says: May 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm
@workingdad. If a wealth tax is unconstitutional, do you consider a property tax also unconstitutional?

[May 08, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's Watered-Down Populism

May 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Too often caught between Randian individualism on one hand and big-government collectivism on the other, America's working-class parents need a champion.

They might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap , co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows. Long a samizdat favorite among socially conservative writers, the book recently got a new dose of attention after being spotlighted on the Right by Fox News's Tucker Carlson and on the Left by Vox's Matthew Yglesias .

The book's main takeaway was that two-earner families in the early 2000s seemed to be less, rather than more, financially stable than one-earner families in the 1970s. Whereas stay-at-home moms used to provide families with an implicit safety net, able to enter the workforce if circumstances required, the dramatic rise of the two-earner family had effectively bid up the cost of everyday life. Rather than the additional income giving families more breathing room, they argue, "Mom's paycheck has been pumped directly into the basic costs of keeping the children in the middle class."

Warren and Warren Tyagi report that as recently as the late 1970s, a married mother was roughly twice as likely to stay at home with her children than work full-time. But by 2000, those figures had almost reversed. Both parents had been pressed into the workforce to maintain adequate standards of living for their families -- the "two-income trap" of the book's title. Advertisement

What caused the trap to be sprung? Cornell University economist Francine Blau has helpfully drawn a picture of women's changing responsiveness to labor market wages during the 20th century. In her work with Laurence Kahn, Blau found that women's wage elasticities -- how responsive their work decisions were to changes in their potential wages -- used to be far more heavily driven by their husband's earning potential or lack thereof (what economists call cross-wage elasticity). Over time, Blau and Kahn found, women's responsiveness to wages -- their own or their husbands -- began to fall, and their labor force participation choices began to more closely resemble men's, providing empirical backing to the story Warren and Warren Tyagi tell.

Increasing opportunity and education were certainly one driver of this trend. In 1960, just 5.8 percent of all women over age 25 had a bachelor's degree or higher. Today, 41.7 percent of mothers aged 25 and over have a college degree. Many of these women entered careers in which they found fulfillment and meaning, and the opportunity costs, both financially and professionally, of staying home might have been quite high.

But what about the plurality of middle- and working-class moms who weren't necessarily looking for a career with a path up the corporate ladder? What was pushing them into full-time work for pay, despite consistently telling pollsters they wished they could work less?

The essential point, stressed by Warren and Warren Tyagi, was the extent to which this massive shift was driven by a desire to provide for one's children. The American Dream has as many interpretations as it does adherents, but a baseline definition would surely include giving your children a better life. Many women in America's working and middle classes entered the labor force purely to provide the best possible option for their families.


Fran Macadam April 4, 2019 at 4:34 pm

She Woke up.

Careerism trumps sanity. In the age of #MeToo, it's got to be all about me.

Tim , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Warren's academic work and cheeky refusal to fold under pressure when her nomination as Obama's consumer ('home ec.'?) finance czar was stymied by the GOP are worthy of respect. I'd like to see her make a strong run at the dem nomination, but am put off by her recent tendency to adopt silly far-left talking points and sentiments (her Native DNA, advocating for reparations, etc.). Nice try, Liz, but I'm still leaning Bernie's direction.

As far as the details of the economic analysis related above, though, I am unqualified to make any judgment – haven't read the book. But one enormously significant economic development in the early 70s wasn't mentioned at all, so I assume she and her daughter passed it over as well. In his first term R. Milhouse Nixon untethered, once & for all, the value of the dollar from traditional hard currency. The economy has been coming along nicely ever since, except for one problematic aspect: with a floating currency we are all now living in an economic environment dominated by the vicissitudes of supplies and demands, are we not? It took awhile to effect the housing market, but signs of the difference it made began to emerge fairly quickly, and accelerated sharply when the tides of globalism washed lots of third world lucre up on our western shores. Now, as clearly implied by both Warren and the author of this article, young Americans whose parents may not have even been born back then – the early 70s – are probably permanently priced out of the housing market in places that used to have only a marginally higher cost of entry – i.e. urban California, where I have lived and worked for most of my nearly 60 years. In places like this even a 3-earner income may not suffice! Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism. Of course, nothing could be more conservative than that, right? What say you, TAColytes?

K squared , says: April 5, 2019 at 7:05 am
"Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers."

Funny that Warren HAS brought up raising taxes on the rich.

[May 07, 2019] The Democrats on Our Crazy Defense Spending and neocolonial wars

May 07, 2019 | www.laprogressive.com

The military sucks up 54% of discretionary federal spending. Pentagon bloat has a huge effect on domestic priorities; the nearly $1 trillion a year that goes to exploiting, oppressing, torturing, maiming and murdering foreigners could go to building schools, college scholarships, curing diseases, poetry slams, whatever. Anything, even tax cuts for the rich, would be better than bombs. But as then GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said in 2015, "The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things ." If you're like me, you want as little killing and breaking as possible.

Unfortunately, no major Democratic presidential candidate favors substantial cuts to Pentagon appropriations.

Current frontrunner Joe Biden ( 33% in the polls) doesn't talk much about defense spending. He reminds us that his son served in Iraq (so he cares about the military) and that we shouldn't prioritize defense over domestic programs. Vague. Though specific programs might get trimmed, Lockheed Martin could rest easy under a President Biden.

"Since he arrived in Congress, [runner-up] Bernie Sanders [19%] has been a fierce crusader against Pentagon spending , calling for defense cuts that few Democrats have been willing to support," The Hill reported in 2016. "As late as 2002, he supported a 50 percent cut for the Pentagon." Bernie is still a Pentagon critic but he won't commit to a specific amount to cut. He wouldn't slash and Bern. He'd trim.

Elizabeth Warren (8%) wants "to identify which programs actually benefit American security in the 21st century, and which programs merely line the pockets of defense contractors -- then pull out a sharp knife and make some cuts ."

... ... ...

Kamala Harris (5%) has not weighed in on military spending. She has received substantial campaign contributions from the defense industry, though.

The Democrats on Wars for Fun

As senator, Biden voted for the optional wars against Afghanistan and Iraq . He lied about his votes so maybe he felt bad about them. He similarly seems to regret his ro le in destroying Libya.

Sanders voted to invade Afghanistan . His comment at the time reads as hopelessly naïve about the bloodthirsty Bush-Cheney regime: "The use of force is one tool that we have at our disposal to fight against the horror of terrorism and mass murder it is something that must be used wisely and with great discretion." Sanders voted against invading Iraq , favored regime change in Libya ( albeit nonviolently ) and voted to bomb Syria .

There have been no major new wars since 2013, when Warren joined the Senate so her antiwar bona fides have not been tested. Like many of her colleagues, she wants an end to the "forever war" against Afghanistan. She also wants us out of Syria .

Democrats on NSA Spying Against Americans

... ... ...

Joe Biden, though to the right on other foreign-policy issues, was a critic of NSA spying for years, going back at least to 2006. Under Obama, however, he backtracked . Even worse, Biden called the president of Ecuador in 2013 to request that he deny asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Bernie Sanders alone would end warrantless mass surveillance and said Snowden " did this country a great service ." Warren doesn't discuss it much except to say it would be nice to have " an informed discussion ." Harris favors some limits but generally keeps quiet.

[May 01, 2019] Warren twitted that Barr should resign adding to her list of political mistakes yet another one

Potentially a lot of former Trump supporters could vote for Warren. But it looks like she is eager to destroy this opportunity.
May 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Update 10: Though she isn't in the room today, Sen. Elizabeth Warren felt she needed to communicate a very important message to Barr: That she would like him to resign.

AG Barr is a disgrace, and his alarming efforts to suppress the Mueller report show that he's not a credible head of federal law enforcement. He should resign -- and based on the actual facts in the Mueller report, Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against the President.

And just like that, Barr has been hit with the Warren curse.

[May 01, 2019] Bill Black If Current Laws Prosecuting Bankers Aren't Used, What Can Warren Change

May 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

This is the second in two recent Real News Network interviews with Bill Black, white collar criminologist and frequent Naked Capitalism contributor. Bill is author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC).

See the first interview, Sen. Warren Wants to Jail Those Who Caused 2008's Meltdown , for background and historical context. The interviews aren't long, and there are transcripts.

Bill argues that the problem isn't deficient laws, which is Warren's focus. He says instead:

It's far better to focus on using the existing criminal laws but changing the things in the system that are so criminogenic and changing institutionally the regulators, the F.B.I., and the prosecutors, so that you go back to systems that we've always known how to make work.

The simple example is task forces. What produced the huge success in the savings and loan, the Commercial Bank, and the Enron era fraud prosecutions? It was these task forces where we brought everyone together to actually bring prosecutions. They killed those criminal task forces, both under the Bush administration and under the Obama administration.

I think this is cause for optimism. For it means we don't have to go through the long and torturous process of passing new laws to get somewhere with fixing a deeply broken system. The Dodd-Frank Act wasn't passed until July 2010, despite the huge clamor to do something about the banks that created the Great Financial Crisis. And then it took many years for all affected agencies to finish rule-makings necessary to administer and enforce the law. Imagine if we had to do that again to get somewhere with the necessary clean-up.

Instead, we merely have to elect politicians who will appoint necessary personnel to confront the prevailing criminogenic environment. I know, I know – that's a big ask too. But believe me, it would be even bigger if we must also take the preliminary step of passing new legislation as well.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/tZWaIsN8Sbg

MARC STEINER Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Mark Steiner. Always good to have you with us. Now if you were watching the previous segment and you saw what Bill Black and I were talking about, you saw that we were kind of diving into the history of this. Why it's so difficult to prosecute or maybe it's not, and we're finding out why. But what we didn't jump into was about Elizabeth Warren's proposal. Do they make sense? If they passed, will they actually make a difference. What is it that we do we need, more laws like that or do we need more regulation? What would solve the crisis that we seem to constantly be falling into? And we're still here with Bill Black as always, which is great. So Bill, let me just jump right into this. Her proposals -- do they meet muster? Do they actually make a difference? Some people say she's piddling around the edges. What do you think?

BILL BLACK So for example, the proposed bill on Too Big to Jail would largely recreate the entities that we had during the great financial crisis, which led to virtually no prosecutions. So yes, we need more resources, but bringing back SIGTARP, the special inspector general for the Treasury, would have next to no effects.

The criminal referrals have to come from the banking regulatory agencies. They have essentially been terminated. You need new leadership at those entities that were actually going to make criminal referrals. The second part -- would it change things to be able to prosecute simply by showing negligence? Well yes, but it would still be a massive battle to show negligence in those circumstances and at the end of the day, the judge could just give probation. And judges are going to be very hostile to it, particularly after Trump gets all these judicial appointees.

You would just see a wave, if you used a simple negligence standard of conservative judges who didn't think it was fair to make it that easy to prosecute folks. They would give people probation. Prosecutors wouldn't want to go through a huge fight just to get probation and such. And so, it would be immensely ineffective, and it would break.

There'd be maybe some progressive judges that would actually give the maximum term, but that's only one year under her proposal. So you're not going to get significant deterrence through those mechanisms. It's far better to focus on using the existing criminal laws but changing the things in the system that are so criminogenic and changing institutionally the regulators, the F.B.I., and the prosecutors, so that you go back to systems that we've always known how to make work. The simple example is task forces.

What produced the huge success in the savings and loan, the Commercial Bank, and the Enron era fraud prosecutions? It was these task forces where we brought everyone together to actually bring prosecutions. They killed those criminal task forces, both under the Bush administration and under the Obama administration. So we don't have to reinvent the bike. We don't have to design a new vehicle. We have a vehicle that works for successful prosecutions. We actually need to use it and to do that, we need people in charge who have the will to prosecute elite white-collar criminals.

MARC STEINER So you do agree with a critique of these bills, saying what we need is just to have greater regulation and enforce regulations we have? We don't need new prosecutorial tools? Is that what you're saying?

BILL BLACK No I completely reject that view in Slate that is by two folks who have really extreme views. One thinks that we prosecute and sentence elite white-collar criminals way too much and much too heavily. And the other, for example, has written an article saying, we shouldn't make wage theft which is theft, a crime.

Even though it's Walmart's dominant strategy and it makes it impossible for more honest merchants to compete against Walmart, that is an insane view. And of course, it will never happen because you're going to put the same people in charge who don't believe. If they don't believe in prosecuting, you think seriously they believe in regulating the big banks?

MARC STEINER What I'm asking you though Bill, to critique that, what do you think? Are the bills that Elizabeth Warren is suggesting unnecessary, other than maybe putting more money into regulatory agencies to oversee all of this? Are you saying that we have enough prosecutorial tools?

BILL BLACK They're unnecessary. The specifics in the bills are unnecessary. But that doesn't mean that regulation is the answer to it, although it's part of the issue.

MARC STEINER I got you. Right.

BILL BLACK What you need is leaders who will use the tools we know work, to do the prosecutions. And they made absolutely sure -- that's Lanny Breuer who you talked about in the first episode of this thing, that actually said to a nationwide audience on video that he was kept awake and fearing not what the bank criminals were doing but fearing that somebody might lose their job in banks because of it.

You know he doesn't represent the American people at that point. If you put Lanny Breuer in, you could put 10,000 F.B.I. agents and you would still get no prosecutions, because Lanny Breuer simply isn't going to prosecute just like Eric Holder simply wasn't going to prosecute.

... ... ...

Colonel Smithers , May 1, 2019 at 4:17 am

Thank you, JL-S.

It's not just the US, but the UK, too. Readers may be aware that the British government is seeking a successor to Mark Carney at the Bank of England, which has resumed most, but not all, of its former supervisory responsibilities this decade.

One of the candidates, Andrew Bailey, a former Bank official and currently head of the conduct risk regulator, is desperate for the Bank job and publicly and privately speaking about lightening the regulatory load. Not only that, Bailey is also reluctant to take action against the well connected and have anything going on that will have an impact on his application, vide the current London Capital Finance scandal.

At a recent address to asset managers, Bailey said that not on Brexit + day 1, but soon after the red pen would be applied to the UK rule book. He implied that prosecutions would be a rarity. It was very much a plea to firms to stay after Brexit and to lobby for his candidacy.

skippy , May 1, 2019 at 5:51 am

Cough .

The Audit – Monty Python's The Flying Circus – https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2pelun

Ahem no longer available on YT in direct search by title.

templar555510 , May 1, 2019 at 8:46 am

I am old enough remember clearly the Blue Arrow case in the 1980's ( easily looked up ) but essentially a share rigging operation. The smokescreen advanced by the establishment in these cases had always been the same; that company fraud is far to complicated for ordinary mortals to understand . But in the Blue Arrow case they ( the jury ) did understand it, which terrified the establishment, and word came down from on high that no such prosecutions should ever happen again . And then we had ' light touch regulation '. And then we had the Great Financial Crash.

Colonel Smithers , May 1, 2019 at 10:09 am

Thank you, T.

Me, too. Also, I joined Coutts, part of the then NatWest Group, in the late 1990s. We were taught about the case as part of the new joiner induction.

Do you recall the Guinness scandal?

Templar555510 , May 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm

I do indeed Colonel. Both scandals seem almost quaint in the light of the scale of the manipulation and fraud in the years leading up to the GFC and subsequently; and the unwillingness of both the UK and US government to even attempt to bring about prosecutions. The intertwining of politics and big business ( ' the revolving door ' ) has played a large part in this and IMHO distressed the wider public to such an extent that when they had the opportunity to show their displeasure they did so and voted for Brexit and Trump.

Off The Street , May 1, 2019 at 10:41 am

Those regulators and their ilk need trips to the Old Bailey, although that is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Too much is riding on the Brexit preparations, until the next panic, and then the following panic. All of those militate against any action that would harm the fabric of, ahem, pay packets.

diptherio , May 1, 2019 at 10:50 am

Your video embed is a little on the big side and overlapping the sidebar on Firefox, any way.

Watt4Bob , May 1, 2019 at 12:09 pm

If you put Lanny Breuer in, you could put 10,000 F.B.I. agents and you would still get no prosecutions, because Lanny Breuer simply isn't going to prosecute just like Eric Holder simply wasn't going to prosecute.

IMHO, you could put Bill Black in, many, if not most of those 10,000 F.B.I. agents would passively resist, and you would still get no prosecutions.

We're seeing, with Trump, what passive resistance looks like, the same will be done to Bernie if elected.

The massive momentum of neo-liberal rule is baked in, and has been quite successful at making sure Trump doesn't screw any of their plans up, in fact Trump derangement syndrome seems to be working better than they could ever have dreamed to cover the really nasty stuff that's going on while the people are treated to Russia, Russia, Russia! 24/7.

Bernie would face the same, but probably worse, more intense resistance from what would be a unified, bi-partisan resistance, the 10%, with forty years worth of Washington Consensus training under their belts, all either chanting in unison against the evils of socialism, or sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting Na, Na, Na, Na!

After 9/11, the FBI pulled thousands of agents off white collar crime and switched them to fighting terrorism, in hindsight, this seems closer to evidence of a plan than an accident of history.

By now, most, if not all those agents have decided that for the sake of their careers, they had better forget about what they used to think was important.

It would probably take all of Bernie's first term to bring the public up to speed, and in alignment with the effort to prosecute the banksters, and that's being optimistic.

Right now, half the electorate believes that dead-beat borrowers crashed the economy in 2008.

There's a lot of brain-washing to be undone.

Yves Smith , May 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm

You don't need the FBI to prosecute bank crimes. In his book version of Inside Job, Charles Ferguson laid out the evidence for WaMu (and IIRC another bank) that was sufficient to be able to indict executives. There was plenty of evidence in the public domain.

Watt4Bob , May 1, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Yes, and what is it we are discussing, the reasons why no indictments were made, and what is to be done about it?

My point is that changes in leadership, IMO are insufficient to prompt those indictments into being in the near term because in the period since 2008, everything possible has been done to load the federal bureaucracy with politically reliable persons dedicated to helping defend the status quo.

I might add that ' The Resistance' has, IMO, been focused almost exclusively on making sure Trump is not reelected, thereby protecting democratic rice bowls, and sadly, not so much on preventing his destroying regulatory systems, the courts, and every remnant of the New Deal.

The situation we're facing is the Augean Stables, except that it's been 40 years, not 30, that the filth has been building up without a proper cleaning.

So, being wildly optimistic, we elect Bernie Sanders, and if we're lucky, start a generation long process against a strong head wind.

That said, I remain wildly optimistic that that is what will happen, I just can't help myself.

JimTan , May 1, 2019 at 2:35 pm

I'm not a legal expert but what about going after banks, most of which do business in NY state, by using the existing Martin Act like Eliot Spitzer. According to this older article :

"Spitzer's big gun was New York's Martin Act. The law allowed him to subpoena virtually any document from anyone doing business in the state. Because the law permits prosecutors to pursue either civil or criminal penalties, Spitzer could refuse to tell suspects which one he was seeking. Spitzer's willingness to wield the considerable powers permitted by the Martin Act turned the New York AG's office from a backwater into a rainmaker and made the SEC, which could impose only puny civil penalties, look like a peashooter.

Spitzer used the Martin Act to drag angry and unwilling corporate executives into his office for questioning. Then he'd subpoena huge company files.

Dedicated staff combed through them and, almost inevitably, found a smoking gun: secretive after-hours trading between mutual funds and hedge funds; alleged bid rigging at Marsh; and emails from Wall Street analyst Jack Grubman bragging to his mistress about how he'd recommended a shoddy company in a three-way deal to help his boss, Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill, humiliate a corporate foe.

Spitzer would then wave "the bloody shirt," as journalist Roger Donway puts it, in front of the cameras, show off the worst offenses he had uncovered and use them to tar and feather an entire industry."

[Apr 30, 2019] Senate Banking Committee Hearing - Bank Money Laundering

Mar 07, 2013 | www.youtube.com

http://warren.senate.gov

Senator Elizabeth Warren's Q&A at the March 7, 2013 Banking Committee hearing entitled "Patterns of Abuse: Assessing Bank Secrecy Act Compliance and Enforcement." Witnesses were: David Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, United States Department of the Treasury; Thomas Curry, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and Jerome H. Powell, Governor, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.


ResistCom , 5 years ago

HSBC has a long history dealing in illicit, immoral drugs. In fact, the bank was established to facilitate such. "After the British established Hong Kong as a colony in the aftermath of the First Opium War, local merchants felt the need for a bank to finance the growing trade between China and Europe (with traded products including opium). They established the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited in Hong Kong (March 1865) and Shanghai (one month later)." ~ Wikipedia Another good source is the book "Dope, Inc." RESIST !!!

serbanmike , 5 years ago (edited)

Obviously nobody wants to take responsibilities. They would not even consider what is morally wrong or acceptable. These are the people we pay salaries to protect us, 316 million Americans? So we still pay a hefty salary to Senator Powell and David Cohn in Treasury department? Are these people in cahoots with those who laundered money at J P Morgan ? Do they make money from both sides? Peel off the tax payers and get bribes from the banks which launder the money ? I assume this is just a game. Banksters on Wall Street who suck our blood are still outside on the prowl. They did it in 2008 and are looking for the next move soon.

Joe Allen Honeycutt-Herring , 2 years ago

I love this woman, Elizabeth is the smartest of all investment and banking issues.. she will clip wings and pump breaks!

rich , 5 years ago

What gets me is these banks are part of the illicit drug trade with no chance of jail time, but if one of the peasants gets busted with a single joint.Prosecution,jail, fines, you name it, it's throw the book time.We need more people like Warren in government.

[Apr 30, 2019] What to Make of Warren's Policy Blitz by Meagan Day

Apr 30, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Elizabeth Warren may have smart policies. But Bernie Sanders has mass politics.

Last week I wrote an article praising Elizabeth Warren for advancing the student debt conversation. While I think her proposal falls short of what we deserve -- a full-on student debt jubilee, no means-testing or exceptions -- I'm impressed by how seriously it takes the problem of student debt, leaving Obama-style "refinancing" behind in favor of large-scale debt forgiveness, commensurate with the gravity of the crisis.

The student debt proposal was one of many recent plans released by Warren in recent months, ramping up in the last few weeks. Some are better than others. Her Ultra-Millionaire Tax is a winner, as is her Real Corporate Profits Tax . Warren's universal childcare plan is promising overall, though it retains unnecessary fees for users. Her affordable housing plan is one-sidedly market-based: its central proposal is to incentivize local governments to remove zoning restrictions. That needs to be complemented by heavy investments in social housing, a policy recently floated by the People's Policy Project.

But criticisms aside, Warren's proposals trend in a positive direction. At the very least, they demonstrate a willingness to tackle working people's real problems with debt, housing, health, and childcare. If they were to materialize, many of these proposals would significantly improve life for working people -- maybe not as much as we'd like, but enough to be considered a positive development, especially after decades of Democratic disinterest in policies that threaten corporate profits or meaningfully redistribute wealth.

So it's understandable why many on the Left have reacted to Warren's policy blitz with delight. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The proposals she's pumping out are exciting, but more to the point, they are a strategy for raising her campaign's profile.

It's not standard in presidential politics to bust out of the gate with a constant stream of detailed policy ideas. The other candidates aren't behind on releasing policy proposals -- Warren is way ahead, doing something unusual. Bernie Sanders doesn't even have his policy team fully assembled yet, nor do the others. We need to ask why Warren feels compelled to adopt this early traction-gaining strategy to begin with.

In my view, Warren's policy blitz is a bid to distinguish herself in light of her difficulty thus far in cohering an organic base. Put bluntly, Warren is turning her campaign into a policy factory because she's had trouble inspiring people with a broad-strokes political vision the way her closest ideological competitor, Bernie Sanders, has.

This strategy may work to boost her campaign prospects, but it's a bad omen for any presidential administration seriously committed to taking on the ruling elite. If you can't impart to millions of working people the sense that they are carrying out a historic mission during your campaign -- a " political revolution " driven by " Not Me, Us " -- you won't be able to mobilize them to exert pressure on the state to challenge the interests of capital when it really counts, during your presidency.

Part of Warren's trouble in the area of mass politics can be traced to the fact that she's neither an establishment plaything nor an opponent of capitalism. To her credit, Warren won't take corporate money (at least during the primary ), and she evades the regular donor circuit. That means that to make her campaign viable, she needs masses of ordinary people to believe in her project strongly enough to donate their own hard-earned money to her campaign. Unlike Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, or certainly Joe Biden, she can't paper over her lackluster popular support with fat checks from elites.

So far, those masses have failed to materialize. That's largely because Warren's temperate political ideology makes it hard for her to say the things necessary to get their attention. She's great at diagnosing the worst problems of capitalism and has plans to address them, but her rhetoric doesn't polarize along class lines. She therefore struggles to define her constituency and identify who exactly that constituency is up against.

Warren hates egregious inequality, but fundamentally believes in the superior rationality of markets. She has unwavering faith in capitalism, calling herself "a capitalist to my bones" -- her primary concern is that it has been led astray. At a time when socialism is becoming synonymous with efforts to put people over profit, Warren disavows it. When Donald Trump declared that "America will never be a socialist country" a couple of months ago, Sanders stayed slouched in his chair, while Warren rose to her feet in applause.

This means that while Warren knows down to the last detail what she'd like better regulations to look like, she's not quite solid on the antagonists and protagonists, i.e. which broader social forces need to be arranged against which other forces to make change.

Sanders's vision of social conflict is quite clear, and is summed up by the name of his town hall last year: CEOs vs. Workers. To make favorable policy materialize and to protect it from reversal, the forces of workers need to be arranged against the forces of CEOs. Nearly everything Sanders says and does leads back to this core belief in the power of ordinary working people to take on capitalist elites themselves. As he puts it , "Real change never takes place from the top on down. It always takes place from the bottom on up."

In Warren's case, where oppositional rhetoric appears at all, the contest more often comes across as "Smart Progressive Policymakers vs. Bad Rules." Not only is there no room in that rivalry for ordinary people, but the enemy is also faceless. The enemy is incorrect policy, and it must be corrected by expert policy correctors. Elect Warren, on the basis of her demonstrated expertise, and she will deftly set about changing the rules so that capitalism doesn't produce so many awful externalities.

Sanders may as well have been winking at Warren when he said, in a video screened recently to thousands of self-organized groups of Bernie supporters in every congressional district:

No president, not the best intentioned, not the most honest person in the world, no one person can do it alone. Now why is that? Because this is what is not talked about in the media, not talked about in Congress: the power structure of America is such that a small number of wealthy individuals and large corporate entities have so much influence over the economic and political life of this country that no one person can do it.

You think we're gonna pass Medicare for All tomorrow because the president of the United States says that's what we should do? You think we're gonna take on the fossil fuel industry and effectively and aggressively combat climate change change because the president of the United States thinks we should do that? A lot of presidents say, "Gee I have a great idea. I woke up yesterday and I think health care for all's a good idea." That's not the way it happens. It happens when millions of people stand up and demand it.

It's unsurprising that Bernie's broad vision of social conflict is more inspiring than Warren's. After decades of skyrocketing living costs and stagnating wages, many working people are spoiling for a fight. That nascent fighting spirit can be seen in the popular protest movements that began in 2011, the unprecedented popularity of Sanders's dark-horse candidacy in 2016, and the teachers strike wave that kicked off last year.

Unencumbered by an awkward mixture of admiration for capitalism and disapproval of its ugliest excesses, Bernie Sanders is uniquely capable of picking that fight -- and making ordinary working people feel like they're at the center of it, that it's theirs to win.

It's the trouble Warren has had breaking through in this way that explains why she has turned to cranking out hyper-detailed proposals. She's making up with wonkery what she lacks in big-picture political clarity. In the process, she's successfully grabbing headlines and winning the hearts of left technocrats with prominent platforms. That might translate into some boost in popular support. But it's not obvious that such support will ever rival that of a candidate who tells workers , "This is class warfare, and we're going to stand up and fight."

We are right to admire many of the ideas coming out of the Warren campaign. Best-case scenario, they will spur a progressive policy arms race, which would be to the benefit of all.

But we shouldn't see her policy blitz purely as a sign of strength. It may actually be an SOS message, a panicked response to her campaign's shortcomings in the field of mass politics. And of course, mass politics are necessary for creating durable and militant constituencies that can self-organize outside the state, which is in turn necessary to win and preserve a progressive policy agenda against the interests of capitalists -- an agenda that Warren and Sanders largely share.

Warren's policy blitz strategy may pay off in the short term. But in the long term, there's no substitute for naming the sides, picking a side, and building up your side to fight the other side. And that's Bernie's game.

[Apr 30, 2019] Remarks by Senator Warren on Citigroup and its bailout provision

She rips the Obama White House for its allegiance to Citibank. But she does nto understadn that the problem is not with Citibank, but with the neoliberalism as the social system. Sad...
Democrats and Republicans are just two sides of the same coin as for neoliberalism. Which presuppose protecting banks, like Citigroup, and other big corporations. The USA political system is not a Democracy, we have become an Oligarchy with a two Party twist (Poliarchy) in whihc ordinary voters are just statists who have No voice for anyone except approving one of the two preselected by big money candidates. It's time we put a stop to this nonsense or we'll all go down with ship.
Anyway, on a positive note "Each time a person stands up for an ideal to improve the lot of others, they send forth a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistence." RFK
Dec 12, 2014 | www.youtube.com

http://warren.senate.gov

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke on the floor of the Senate on Dec. 12, 2014 about the provision that Citigroup added to the omnibus budget package.


Amazing Atheist , 4 years ago (edited)

The fact that it is almost shocking to see a politician actually advocating for the interest of their constituency is rather sad, don't you think? 

Nature Boy , 4 years ago

I wonder what kind of defamation scheme the Citi conmen are cooking up in response to Senator Warren's speech. She is truly a diamond in the rough-

cabiker91 , 4 years ago

This budget deal is absolutely disgusting. More financial deregulation, the potential for a second TARP, cuts to pensions, and cuts to funding for Pell Grants to help out students. Once again, the people lose.

dan10things , 4 years ago

So tough, so strong, and so right. And I love that she's not afraid to rip into Democrats and the White House for their complicity in selling out our country and tax dollars to the big banks. We need more strong politicians on both sides of the aisle like this.

Mark A. Johnson , 4 years ago

I wish more politicians had the courage to stand up to Wall Street the way you do. Loved your speech and please keep the heat on.

TheBambinoitaliano , 4 years ago

It's not party specific, though the Republicans are the worst. Both parties are to be blame. The biggest blame goes to the Americans who do not vote and those who have no clue who or what they are voting for. The government is the way it is, it's because of the attitude of Americans towards politics. Majority do not give a shit and hence you have that pile up in Washington and states legislature.

Elizabeth Warren is like a fictional do gooder character from Hollywood. No one take her seriously.

Blame all the politicians you want, you Americans voting or not voting are the lousiest employers in the world, because you hire a bunch of corruptors into your government. These corruptors in fact control your lives.

They abuse your money, spending every penny on everything but on you. You would not hand over your wallet or bank accounts to a strangers, yet are precisely doing that by putting these corruptors in the government.

Author F.E Feeley Jr. , 4 years ago

"I agree with you: Dodd Frank isn't perfect-- it should have broken you into pieces." Give em Hell Elizabeth! 

Stikibits , 4 years ago (edited)

The USA is run by crooks. There'll be a few changes when Senator Warren is President Warren. Warren/Sanders 2016!

Nick Lento , 4 years ago (edited)

This speech encapsulates and exposes all that is wrong with America in general and with our governance in particular. Taking the heinous provision out of the bill would be a great first baby step toward cleaning up our politics, economy and collective spirit as a nation. All the "smart money" says that Warren is engaged in a Quixotic attempt to do something good in a system that is irredeemably corrupted by money and the lust for power. The cynics may be right, perhaps America is doomed to be consumed by the parasites to the last drop of blood...but maybe not. Maybe this ugly indefensibly corrupt malevolent move to put the taxpayers back on the hook for the next trillion dollar bail out theft will be sufficient to wake up hundreds of millions of us. When the people wake up and turn on the lights, the crooks and the legally corrupt will slither away back into their hole...and many may just wind up in prison, where they belong. But so long as corrupt dirty dastardly interests can keepAmerica deceived and asleep, they will continue to drain our nation's life's blood dry. Please share this video widely. If half as many folks watch this speech as watched the Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball" YouTube, the provision to which Warren is objecting will be taken out very quickly indeed.

Gregory Ho , 4 years ago

Socialize the costs and privatize the profits! Yeeha! - Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup

JIMJAMSC , 4 years ago (edited)

As George Carlin said a decade ago,who are we going to replace these politicians with? They did not fall out of the sky or come from a distant planet. They are US. You can vote all you want and replace every last one of them but nothing will change. It is human nature. Besides the road from being on the local town council, to the mayor,Gov then into the Capital is littered with test to weed out anyone who might really pose a danger to the system. The occasional odd one that does make it to power is castrated or there simply to give the illusion that elections matter. Unless you can eliminate the attraction of greed,ego and power nothing will ever change. Just a quick look back at history tells you what is happening now and what will be going on in our future. The only difference is there are more zeros.

[Apr 30, 2019] Elizabeth Warren s Big Ideas on Big Tech by Kenneth Rogoff

Notable quotes:
"... Although the causal relationships are difficult to untangle, there are solid grounds for believing that the rise in monopoly power has played a role in exacerbating income inequality, weakening workers' bargaining power, and slowing the rate of innovation. ..."
"... The debate about how to regulate the sector is eerily reminiscent of the debate over financial regulation in the early 2000s. Proponents of a light regulatory touch argued that finance was too complicated for regulators to keep up with innovation, and that derivatives trading allows banks to make wholesale changes to their risk profile in the blink of an eye. And the financial industry put its money where its mouth was, paying salaries so much higher than those in the public sector that any research assistant the Federal Reserve System trained to work on financial issues would be enticed with offers exceeding what their boss's boss was earning. ..."
"... It is a problem that cannot be overcome without addressing fundamental questions about the role of the state, privacy, and how US firms can compete globally against China, where the government is using domestic tech companies to collect data on its citizens at an exponential pace. And yet many would prefer to avoid them. ..."
"... At this point, ideas for regulating Big Tech are just sketches, and of course more serious analysis is warranted. An open, informed discussion that is not squelched by lobbying dollars is a national imperative. ..."
Apr 01, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org
Kenneth Rogoff

The debate about how to regulate the tech sector is eerily reminiscent of the debate over financial regulation in the early 2000s. Fortunately, one US politician has mustered the courage to call for a total rethink of America's exceptionally permissive merger and acquisition policy over the past four decades.

CAMBRIDGE – Displaying a degree of courage and clarity that is difficult to overstate, US senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has taken on Big Tech, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. Warren's proposals amount to a total rethink of the United States' exceptionally permissive merger and acquisition policy over the past four decades. Indeed, Big Tech is only the poster child for a significant increase in monopoly and oligopoly power across a broad swath of the American economy. Although the best approach is still far from clear, I could not agree more that something needs to done, especially when it comes to Big Tech's ability to buy out potential competitors and use their platform dominance to move into other lines of business.

Warren is courageous because Big Tech is big money for most leading Democratic candidates, particularly progressives, for whom California is a veritable campaign-financing ATM. And although one can certainly object, Warren is not alone in thinking that the tech giants have gained excessive market dominance; in fact, it is one of the few issues in Washington on which there is some semblance of agreement . Other candidates, most notably Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, have also taken principled stands

Although the causal relationships are difficult to untangle, there are solid grounds for believing that the rise in monopoly power has played a role in exacerbating income inequality, weakening workers' bargaining power, and slowing the rate of innovation. And, perhaps outside of China, it is a global problem, because US tech monopolies have often achieved market dominance before local regulators and politicians know what has happened. The European Union, in particular, has been trying to steer its own course on technology regulation . Recently, the United Kingdom commissioned an expert group, chaired by former President Barack Obama's chief economist (and now my colleague) Jason Furman , that produced a very useful report on approaches to the tech sector.

The debate about how to regulate the sector is eerily reminiscent of the debate over financial regulation in the early 2000s. Proponents of a light regulatory touch argued that finance was too complicated for regulators to keep up with innovation, and that derivatives trading allows banks to make wholesale changes to their risk profile in the blink of an eye. And the financial industry put its money where its mouth was, paying salaries so much higher than those in the public sector that any research assistant the Federal Reserve System trained to work on financial issues would be enticed with offers exceeding what their boss's boss was earning.

There will be similar problems staffing tech regulatory offices and antitrust legal divisions if the push for tighter regulation gains traction. To succeed, political leaders need to be focused and determined, and not easily bought. One only has to recall the 2008 financial crisis and its painful aftermath to comprehend what can happen when a sector becomes too politically influential. And the US and world economy are, if anything, even more vulnerable to Big Tech than to the financial sector, owing both to cyber aggression and vulnerabilities in social media that can pervert political debate.

Another parallel with the financial sector is the outsize role of US regulators. As with US foreign policy, when they sneeze, the entire world can catch a cold. The 2008 financial crisis was sparked by vulnerabilities in the US and the United Kingdom, but quickly went global. A US-based cyber crisis could easily do the same. This creates an "externality," or global commons problem, because US regulators allow risks to build up in the system without adequately considering international implications.

It is a problem that cannot be overcome without addressing fundamental questions about the role of the state, privacy, and how US firms can compete globally against China, where the government is using domestic tech companies to collect data on its citizens at an exponential pace. And yet many would prefer to avoid them.

That's why there has been fierce pushback against Warren for daring to suggest that even if many services seem to be provided for free, there might still be something wrong. There was the same kind of pushback from the financial sector fifteen years ago, and from the railroads back in the late 1800s. Writing in the March 1881 issue of The Atlantic , the progressive activist Henry Demarest Lloyd warned that,

"Our treatment of 'the railroad problem' will show the quality and caliber of our political sense. It will go far in foreshadowing the future lines of our social and political growth. It may indicate whether the American democracy, like all the democratic experiments which have preceded it, is to become extinct because the people had not wit enough or virtue enough to make the common good supreme."

Lloyd's words still ring true today. At this point, ideas for regulating Big Tech are just sketches, and of course more serious analysis is warranted. An open, informed discussion that is not squelched by lobbying dollars is a national imperative.

The debate that Warren has joined is not about whether to establish socialism. It is about making capitalist competition fairer and, ultimately, stronger.

Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University and recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics, was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. The co-author of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly , his new book, The Curse of Cash , was released in August 2016.

[Apr 28, 2019] The Real Men Go to Tehran delusion

Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 28, 2019 3:54:57 AM | link

Considering that this 'study' is an overblown version of the Real Men Go to Tehran delusion (which is STILL in the pondering phase) it's hard to ignore the trepidation revealed in an assessment divided into pseudo business-like categories of...

1. Likelihood of Success
2. Benefits
3. Costs & Risks

...when there are sufficient unresolved uncertainties to be fine-tuned to keep this plan bogged down in the pondering phase for even longer than the unconsummated Real Men Go To Iran nothing-burger.

[Apr 28, 2019] Sen. Warren Wants to Jail Those Who Caused 2008's Meltdown

Apr 28, 2019 | therealnews.com

MARC STEINER Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Mark Steiner. Great to have you all with us. Senator Elizabeth Warren is attempting to make waves with her bold pronouncements during her bid for this presidency. She's introduced two bills into the Senate. The first is called the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, which will hold corporate executives of million-dollar corporations criminally liable for negligence with potential prison time. The other is called The Too Big to Jail Act, creating a corporate crime strike force. In the wake of the 2008 meltdown, where there were no criminal prosecutions of note despite ruining millions of lives in our country, it's led to a roiling discontent in America. Why has it been so difficult to prosecute bankers and corporate leaders and executives in our country? Why has the government been so reluctant to do so? And in the unlikely circumstance that Warren's bills will get passed in the Senate, what would be the result and complications if they did? Joining us once again to sort through all of this is a man who knows a thing or two about white-collar crime. Bill Black -- Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, white- collar criminologist, former financial regulator, the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, and a regular contributor here at The Real News. Bill, welcome back. Good to have you with us. Thank you. So this has obviously been building since 2008. People have been wanting some answer, but I think most folks don't know really what that means. I've been reading a lot of pieces that are pro and con about what Elizabeth Warren is suggesting. Let's go through what she's suggesting and get your initial read and analysis of that.

BILL BLACK Okay. So as you said, there are two different acts. She just rolled one of them out a couple of days ago and they fit together. One is addressed more directly to the financial crisis and the other one is prompted by the financial crisis, but broader than it. That second one would propose to change the requirement to get a guilty verdict to a demonstration of negligence on the part of officers when they commit the really serious crimes. The other act would basically provide more resources to go after elite, white-collar criminals.

MARC STEINER In the New York Times, there was a quote from Lanny Breuer who is a Justice Department, Criminal Division official former head. He said on Frontline, "when we can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a criminal intent, then we have a constitutional duty not to bring those cases." And Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate committee that some banks would become "too big," that prosecuting them would have negatively affected the economy. In other words, they've become too big to jail. And then, in Britain there it was said that if you start prosecuting these people, then it threatens the very foundations of the free enterprise system. So Bill, what's the problem here?

BILL BLACK So the problem is the people at the top in both the United States and the United Kingdom. For example, Prime Minister Blair complained at a time when the Financial Supervisory Authority -- which is referred to over there as the Fundamentally Supine Authority [laughter] -- was absolutely not regulating anything, that it was outrageous overregulation, and how dare they treat bankers as potential criminals. We have the combination of Breuer and Holder where the only issue is, which of them was more moronic on this subject, and it was a dead tie.

MARC STEINER So tell me why do you use the word "moronic?"

BILL BLACK Because it's a family show.

MARC STEINER [laughter]

BILL BLACK So seriously, to go through these things, let's recall that in much more difficult cases in the savings and loan debacle, we oriented the prosecutions entirely towards the most elite defendants. And here's the first thing: There is never a problem to the financial system from prosecuting individual criminals. It is not good for a financial system to be run by criminals. You strengthen the financial system when you convict and remove criminals from running the largest bank. [laugher]

MARC STEINER Let me just ask you a question about that. But is the nature of the competition among banks and the competition to make as much money as humanly possible -- like the scandal that happened in 2008 that tanked our economy for a while and put millions of people into huge financial jeopardy -- that seems to me to be the daily workings of those institutions. And the issue

BILL BLACK No, no.

MARC STEINER Go ahead. Tell me why you say no.

BILL BLACK Banks don't do anything.

MARC STEINER The people in them do, though.

BILL BLACK The bankers do things and bankers shape the institutions, so institutions matter enormously. And that's the first big thing in a critique of Senator Warren. If anybody is close to Senator Warren, please send her this link. [laughter] We can really help. She's got exactly the right ideas, but she isn't an expert in criminology. She wasn't part of the efforts to prosecute folks successfully that I'm about to describe. We can really, really help her be effective and we're willing to help any candidate be effective on these issues. Two enormous institutional changes have made the world vastly more criminogenic. Those changes are: we got rid of true partnerships where you had joint and several liability. Therefore, it really paid to make sure that you didn't make a partner, someone who was super sleazy, because then they could sue you -- not them, not the sleazy partner, but you and it was absolutely no defense that you had nothing to do with it. Your entire net worth could be taken. That's what a true partnership was. We got rid of true partnerships throughout the financial world. The second thing is modern executive compensation. Modern executive compensation not only creates the incentives to defraud, because you can be made wealthy. It provides the means to defraud. This allows you to convert corporate assets to your own personal wealth in a way that has very little risk of prosecution and it allowed you to suborn the controls but also [allowed] the lower officers and employees to actually commit the fraudulent acts, which are usually accounting for you in a way that you'd have plausible deniability. We can change both and we must change both of those incredibly perverse incentives if we want to deal with fraud successfully. So that's the missing part of her plan and I think she would agree with everything I've said. Now we have a detailed plan -- we being the bank whistleblowers united -- that we put out two years ago in the election, two and a half years ago. We'll put this on the website, or at least the links to it for folks who want to know the kind of institutional steps you need to start changing this. But even with what I've said about this much more criminogenic environment, it remains true that we could have prosecuted successfully elite officers and every one of the major participants that committed these frauds. Indeed in many ways it would have been easier than during the savings and loan debacle, because unlike the savings and loan debacle, we have superb whistleblowers -- literally hundreds of whistleblowers who can say explicitly that these frauds occurred. And then we do it the old-fashioned way. That would give us the ability to prosecute midlevel officials and we can take it up the food chain by flipping them so that they give us information on the more senior folks. In some cases, our whistleblowers were right there in the C-suite and that would have included for example, a dead to rights prosecution against Robert Rubin. That's as senior as you can get at city, a dead to right prosecution of Mozilo at Countrywide. And we have other institutions like Wells Fargo where the following happened, so it's easy to look at liar's loans. Liar's loans again had a fraud incidence of 90 percent -- nine-zero. So the only entities doing liar's loans as a significant product are fraudulent. Similarly, if they're doing appraisal fraud, extorting appraisers to inflate appraisals, that only occurs at fraudulent shops. So Wells actually checked and it's easy to check and that's an important point. The fact that the Department of Justice never did this, and the banking agencies never did this, is a demonstration that they didn't want to actually conduct investigations. Here's how you check: so in a liar's loan, you don't verify the borrower's income, but the borrower signs at the same time a permission that says you can check this against my I.R.S. forms. And here's a hint: none of us deliberately inflate our income on our income tax returns because we'd have to pay more taxes. [laughter] So in the case of both Countrywide and Wells Fargo, we know that senior management who was given the results said, these kinds of loans, liar's loans, are majority frauds. And we know that senior management in both cases said, you know what we should do? Many, many more of those. That is a great criminal case. At J.P. Morgan, we have a great criminal case.

MARC STEINER Let me just interrupt you for a second, Bill. I want people to understand this because everything you're reading in the press right now, almost every article, whether they seem to like what Elizabeth Warren is suggesting, or oppose it, have questions about it. Almost everybody to a person I've read has said, it's almost impossible to prosecute these cases. We don't have a law to do it, that prosecuting somebody for, as she's suggesting, for negligence would not get the job done even if her bill ever passed. And so, talk a bit about that though. I'm very curious since clearly, you're going against the common wisdom that most people would have and anything they read -- whether it's The New York Times or anywhere else -- that we don't have the laws to make prosecutions work, which is one of the reasons why we're not prosecuting people.

BILL BLACK Okay so everybody you've read, has never been involved in these successful prosecutions.

MARC STEINER No, but if they're journalists and they've studied it, they should know what they're talking about.

BILL BLACK Seriously? [laughter]

MARC STEINER You would think, right? Well I would hope so. Anyway, but go ahead. [laughter].

BILL BLACK No, I would not think so. I don't think that at all because otherwise, they would have talked to people like us who actually did it. So let's go back. Under the same laws in the savings and loan debacle, we were able to hyper-prioritized prosecutions against the most elite folks. So we're going after folks in the C-Suite -- the C.E.O.s, the chief operating officers, the boards of directors, and such. We got over a thousand convictions in these cases, just the ones designated as major. We did over 600 prosecutions of the most elite of the elite, against the best criminal defense lawyers in the world with the same laws, and we got over a ninety percent conviction rate. So can it be done? Of course it can be done. We've shown that it can be done. Maybe our cases were just simple because it was just savings and loans and these are big banks. Actually, the prosecutions in many of these cases were easier. The loans in the savings and loan debacle, were actually much more complicated than home loans. They were commercial construction loans, $80-90 million dollars at-a-pop often. That's far more complex to explain to a jury, than a home loan and something as easy as a liar's loan and extorting an appraiser. In addition, there are massively more whistleblowers. I cannot remember the name of a significant whistleblower in the savings and loan debacle that was critical to prosecutions. I'm sure there were a couple, but again we have literally hundreds of whistleblowers who came forward in this crisis. This crisis occurred because first the Bush administration and then the Obama administration, were unwilling to investigate, unwilling to prosecute. And here's again the key. There are about two F.B.I. white-collar specialists per industry in the United States -- not per firm, per industry. So that means they don't have expertise in individual industries and they don't walk a beat, or they'd never find it. They only come when there's a criminal referral. Our agency, our much tinier agency back in the savings and loan debacle, made over thirty thousand criminal referrals. All of the federal banking regulatory agencies, much bigger in the great financial crisis, made fewer than a dozen criminal referrals, 30,000 to under a dozen. That means that the banking regulatory agencies basically ceased functioning in terms of criminal referrals. And why? That's the third big change and the third big change is ideological. What you saw is, both under the Republicans and under Bill Clinton -- the Democratic Party, the due Democrats, the Wall Street wing of the party -- they were simply unwilling to even think of bankers as criminals. I got out of the regulatory ranks when under Bill Clinton we were ordered, and I witnessed personally, to refer to the industry as our customers. Not the American people as our customers, the industry as our customers. Well do you make criminal referrals on your customers?

MARC STEINER So we're here talking to Bill Black and we've been covering some of the history of this. What we are going to do is we're going to take a break here and come back with another segment shortly and really probe into what Elizabeth Warren has said she wants to make into law. Would that make a difference? Does it fall short and it could lead to more prosecutions? We're going to come back to that. So you want to hit the next segment with Bill Black and Marc Steiner. Bill, thank you once again for being with The Real News. It's always a pleasure to have you with us.

BILL BLACK Thank you.

MARC STEINER And I'm Mark Steiner here for The Real News Network. Take care.

[Apr 28, 2019] NYC subway system as a sign of deterioration of the USA as economic power

Parachuting Harvard mafia on Russia was a more powerful weapon and led to more destruction of Russian economy then direct bombardment would
Notable quotes:
"... Concerning the capability of wrecking finances of other states, USA is not a slouch, the most powerful weapon is economic advise. If I interpret news correctly, it were experts of Goldman Sachs that help Greek government to borrow about twice as much as they could handle in the long run. The wreckage in Russia was as impressive, but, alas, hard to repeat, so now it remains to carp about their "bad behavior". ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Apr 27, 2019 3:26:43 PM | link

I think that at least some weapon systems that USA makes or develops can be indeed superior. The most acute loss from the approach of "invest in over-extending and un-balancing the opponent" is that USA, while powerful, cannot do everything in the same time.

My favorite comparison chart is timeliness of subway systems in major metropolitan areas. Honestly, I cannot find it, because the search is swamped with the tales of woe of subway commuters in NYC. As befits the greatest financial center, cultural metropolis etc. etc., NYC has a transportation system that is comparable in its extend to other metropolitan areas like Tokyo, Paris or London. However, the performance is uninspiring. On the chart in NYT that I can't find out at the moment, only Mexico City had a lower percentage of train rides delayed by less than 10 minutes. I checked Moscow that has a larger subway system (compared to NY) and which was not on the chart. They pride themselves with frequency of delays that is 5 times smaller than in Paris (50 times smaller than in NYC?). Moscovites can actually plan their daily lives assuming that their commutes will arrive on time.

This is the most glaring example of a lost opportunity to take care of domestic needs, but the quality of education, healthcare etc. is mediocre compared with the rest of OECD, although there is always the southern neighbor that saves USA from being dead last.

Incidentally, NYC subway is not exactly underfunded, instead, it may have the most irrational management among major metropolitan areas which accurately reflects deficiencies of American political system. Bloated costs are pervasive across many areas, surely in military, healthcare and broadly meant policing, and their originate in lobbo-cracy, a plethora of lobbies grabbing chunks of monies either directly spent or (mis)regulated by the government. The activity of these lobbies is tightly regulated by elaborate rules, but the end effect is as if USA were pathetically corrupted (say, half as corrupted as Nigeria).

Piotr Berman , Apr 27, 2019 3:46:11 PM | link

Concerning the capability of wrecking finances of other states, USA is not a slouch, the most powerful weapon is economic advise. If I interpret news correctly, it were experts of Goldman Sachs that help Greek government to borrow about twice as much as they could handle in the long run. The wreckage in Russia was as impressive, but, alas, hard to repeat, so now it remains to carp about their "bad behavior".

Sanctions are also powerful when directed at small/medium size economies. Russia, although disparaged as "a smaller economy than Italy", but in actuality, Italy has "GDP per capity PPP" that is 40% larger than Russia, and Russia has 2.4 times larger population, so quite a bit larger economy in terms of "purchasing parity", and the most glaring domestic production deficiency are fruit and vegetables that, according to latest news, have a number of potential suppliers that are most glad when they can sell their produce.

[Apr 27, 2019] Top German Journalist Admits Mainstream Media Is Completely Fake We All Lie For The CIA

Apr 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

03/28/2016 With the increasing propaganda wars, we thought a reminder of just how naive many Westerners are when it comes to their news-feed. As Arjun Walia, of GlobalResearch.ca, notes, Dr. Ulfkotte went on public television stating that he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, also adding that noncompliance with these orders would result in him losing his job.

He recently made an appearance on RT news to share these facts:

I've been a journalist for about 25 years, and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.

But seeing right now within the last months how the German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia -- this is a point of no return and I'm going to stand up and say it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray the people, not only in Germany, all over Europe.

[Apr 26, 2019] Another blunter of Warren: she vouch for impeachment of Trump

Looks like she is incompetent beyond her narrow specialty and financial issues. This way she deprive herself of votes that otherwise belong to her. And what she is trying to achieve ? President Pence? Come on !
Apr 26, 2019 | fivethirtyeight.com

The most aggressive response to the full Mueller report has, naturally, come from the most liberal wings of the Democratic Party. Last month, I sketched out six chief Democratic blocs (from most liberal to most moderate): the Super Progressives, the Very Progressives, the Progressive New Guard, the Progressive Old Guard, the Moderates and Conservative Democrats. Many of the party's Super Progressives , including U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, are already talking about impeachment, as is a key voice in the party's Very Progressive bloc, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

[Apr 26, 2019] Russiagate will scarcely matter to most voters by election time 2020. But might give some advantage to Trump playing "false victum" of the witch hunt

Notable quotes:
"... foreign policy scarcely moves the needle in the US electorate at large so that won't necessarily help Trump nor hinder Bernie except on the outer fringes. Americans are tired of endless wars so the Demotards should generally be favoured on this issue whether or not warranted so long as they play their cards right. ..."
"... US Presidential elections definitely turn on the economy. A slowdown or recession before 11/2020 and Trump is toast. Also, the conversation has clearly moved left on economic inequality and healthcare. Bernie owns these issues and to the extent he can make his way through the primaries he will stand a great chance of unseating Trump. ..."
"... Warren does too but as you stated she is not telegenic nor peronable. Her .01% Native American schtick really hurt her credibility. That was a dumb move. ..."
"... Gabbard is certainly telegenic and hasn't been blackballed as much as she is simply not well-known. She's in the field at the moment. Her chances appear more real farther down the road so running now could be seen as a first step in the eventual process. I doubt Bernie will choose her as VP but who knows? ..."
Apr 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Apr 25, 2019 4:19:45 PM | link

Russiagate will scarcely matter to most voters by election time 2020. Trump has already received whatever positives he will receive courtesy of Barr's whitewashing. It is clear among a majourity of Americans that Trump obstructed justice and the drip drip of continued information, hearings, etc will not improve his standing. May not hurt him but definitely will not help him gain voters at the margins.

Likewise, foreign policy scarcely moves the needle in the US electorate at large so that won't necessarily help Trump nor hinder Bernie except on the outer fringes. Americans are tired of endless wars so the Demotards should generally be favoured on this issue whether or not warranted so long as they play their cards right.

Trump may gain an advantage among more conservative-tinged independent voters if he continues to work in concert with Russia and Israel on Middle East issues in the sense that many may see these alliances as promoting strength and peace (whether warranted or not). The coming deal with China on trade will benefit Trump too...as long as the economy keeps humming along.

US Presidential elections definitely turn on the economy. A slowdown or recession before 11/2020 and Trump is toast. Also, the conversation has clearly moved left on economic inequality and healthcare. Bernie owns these issues and to the extent he can make his way through the primaries he will stand a great chance of unseating Trump.

Warren does too but as you stated she is not telegenic nor peronable. Her .01% Native American schtick really hurt her credibility. That was a dumb move. Are some of her problems related to gender bias? Without a doubt. However, as I have long said, the first American female president will not come from the baby boom. The first American female president will more likely be a millenial.

Gabbard is certainly telegenic and hasn't been blackballed as much as she is simply not well-known. She's in the field at the moment. Her chances appear more real farther down the road so running now could be seen as a first step in the eventual process. I doubt Bernie will choose her as VP but who knows?

... ... ...

[Apr 26, 2019] Warren is also a "Russia! Russia! Russia!" Neo-McCartyism witch hunt band wagon

That's a blunder, but it does not matter as much as her blunder with "reparations"
Warren is not telegenic nor personable. Her .01% Native American schtick really hurt her credibility.
Notable quotes:
"... On facebook in May 2017, "We know that the Russians hacked into American systems to try to influence our election." ..."
"... Warren is crap. There are only two genuine leading candidates, Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders that offer some serious prospect of change and either could get there. ..."
Apr 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

spudski , Apr 25, 2019 4:35:40 PM | link

re Warren, she is also a "Russia! Russia! Russia!" type.

On facebook in May 2017, "We know that the Russians hacked into American systems to try to influence our election."

The other day on CNN she said, re the Mueller report, "Three things just totally jump off the page. The first is that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election in order to help Donald Trump. The evidence is just there. Read it, footnote after footnote, page after page documentation. ..."

Not saying that most other candidates aren't the same.

uncle tungsten , Apr 25, 2019 5:07:29 PM | link

Thank you spudski #26, Warren is crap. There are only two genuine leading candidates, Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders that offer some serious prospect of change and either could get there. Any change away from the Belligerant faction would be welcome. But it needs a Congress and a Senate to combine with the change agenda to make a concrete, durable new direction. That is a daunting task but achievable in these times.

It will be interesting to watch Creepy Joe Biden eat shit but he is just the bait, I look forward to the switch being revealed. Nothing will surprise me.

[Apr 22, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Proposes Wiping Out Almost Everyone's Student Debt

Apr 22, 2019 | www.huffpost.com

On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a wide-ranging plan to fix the U.S. college system, with proposals including making two-year and four-year public college free and expanding the size and scope of the federal Pell Grant program. And one particularly radical idea is sure to grab the attention of young people around the country: wiping out student loan debt for the vast majority of American borrowers. "The time for half-measures is over," Warren, one of many politicians and public figures hoping to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, wrote in a post published Monday on Medium. "My broad cancellation plan is a real solution to our student debt crisis. It helps millions of families and removes a weight that's holding back our economy." Last year, outstanding student debt in the U.S. topped $1.5 trillion , a growing financial burden that Warren argues is "crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy." "It's reducing home ownership rates," she wrote. "It's leading fewer people to start businesses. It's forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It's a problem for all of us." To address the problem, Warren is suggesting what she calls a "truly transformational" approach: wiping out $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with a household income below $100,000. People with student loans and a household income between $100,000 and $250,000 would receive substantial relief as well. At that point, "the $50,000 cancellation amount phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000," Warren wrote.

[Apr 22, 2019] Interior Secty Bernhardt is corrupt...he's gotta go and right now

Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , April 21, 2019 at 12:26 PM

Interior Secty Bernhardt is corrupt...he's gotta go and right now

He corrupted the Interior Dept by violating his Ethics Agreement banning his participation with his former Lobbyist clients until 8/18

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/21/david-bernhardt-water-law-interior-department-1370107

"Interior's Bernhardt worked closely on matters he promised to avoid"

'New disclosures of the secretary's schedule add to questions surrounding his ties to past lobbying clients, including a California water district'

By ANNIE SNIDER...04/21/2019...06:57 AM EDT

"Interior Secretary David Bernhardt began working on policies that would aid one of his former lobbying clients within weeks of joining the Trump administration, according to a POLITICO analysis of agency documents -- a revelation that adds to the ethics questions dogging his leadership of the agency.

Bernhardt's efforts, beginning in at least October 2017, included shaping the department's response to a key portion of a water infrastructure law he had helped pass as a lobbyist for California farmers, recently released calendars show. The department offered scant details at the time about meetings that Bernhardt, then the deputy secretary, held with Interior officials overseeing water deliveries to the farmers, leading many observers to believe he was steering clear of the issues he had previously lobbied on.

But newly disclosed schedule "cards" prepared by Interior officials for Bernhardt show more than three dozen meetings with key players on California water issues, including multiple lengthy meetings on specific endangered species protections at the heart of his previous work. Those appointments were only vaguely identified on his official calendars.

Interior's inspector general is probing whether Bernhardt violated ethics rules by working on policies he had pushed as a lobbyist for the Westlands Water District, a job that earned his former firm more than $1.3 million in the five years before he returned to government service.

Bernhardt's ethics agreement barred him from participating in any "particular matters" involving Westlands until August 2018, one year after he arrived at the agency, and it was only after that recusal period ended that then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke publicly tasked him with working on California water issues. But the newly released information shows that Bernhardt had weighed in on discussions around Westlands' policy priorities for nearly a year by that point."...

[Apr 22, 2019] Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for lawmakers to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying he obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election

That's a third Warren blunder after reparations blunder and Indian heritage blunder. She might be out of the race soon...
Does not she understand that impeachment of Trump means President Pence? What is idiotic statement. She is definitely no diplomat and as such does not belong to WH.
Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 09:23 AM

Elizabeth Warren calls for impeachment
proceedings against President Trump
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/04/19/elizabeth-warren-calls-for-impeachment-proceedings-against-president-trump/yWVMo0TSkBeuYDSSeBuP5L/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Danny McDonald - April 19, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for lawmakers to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying he obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Warren became the first of the Democratic presidential candidates to unambiguously call for impeachment proceedings. Most senior Democrats in Congress have stopped far short of it following the delivery of Mueller's 448-page report.

"The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,'' the Massachusetts Democrat said on Twitter. "That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States."

Also Friday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for an unredacted version of Mueller's report as Congress escalates its investigation. Trump and other Republicans dismissed the report's findings.

The redacted version of Mueller's report details multiple efforts Trump made to curtail a Russia probe he feared would cripple his administration. While Mueller declined to recommend that Trump be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, he did not exonerate the president, all but leaving the question to Congress.

The report stated, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she doesn't support impeachment without bipartisan backing because it would be too divisive for the nation She signaled she wanted the House to continue to fulfill its constitutional oversight role.

''We believe that the first article -- Article 1, the legislative branch -- has the responsibility of oversight of our democracy, and we will exercise that,'' she said in Belfast on Friday.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said, ''It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward.'' He expects the Justice Department to comply by May 1.

On Twitter Friday, Warren said the report "lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack."

She said Mueller "put the next step in the hands of Congress," adding in another tweet that "[t]o ignore a President's repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways."

According to a Warren aide, the senator started to read the Mueller report Thursday during a plane ride back to Boston following campaign stops in Colorado and Utah.

Warren, according to the aide, felt it was her duty to say what she thought after reading the report but does not plan to emphasize impeachment on the campaign trail.

Mary Anne Marsh, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who is not connected to any presidential campaign, said Warren has been the first Democratic candidate to stake out numerous policy stances during the campaign. Her impeachment statement will force everyone else running for president to take a position, Marsh said.

"More often than not the field is reacting to her positions," she said.

Warren's call for impeachment proceedings, Marsh said, "shows she's willing to lead."

"She's willing to make the hard calls," Marsh said.

After the Mueller report's release, Trump pronounced it ''a good day'' and tweeted ''Game Over.'' Top Republicans in Congress saw vindication in the report as well. On Friday, Trump was even more blunt, referring to some statements about him in the report as "total bullshit."

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said it was time to move on and said Democrats were attempting to ''vilify a political opponent.'' The California lawmaker said the report failed to deliver the ''imaginary evidence'' incriminating Trump that Democrats had sought. ...

Now, liberals are pressing the House to begin impeachment hearings, and the issue is cropping up on the presidential campaign trail.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat who is running for president, was asked Friday if Trump should be impeached as he made an appearance at a Stop & Shop union picket line in Malden .

"I think that Congress needs to make that decision," he said. "I think he may well deserve it, but my focus, since I'm not part of Congress, but I am part of 2020, is to give him a decisive defeat at the ballot box, if he is the Republican nominee in 2020."

On Friday, Julián Castro, a former housing secretary running for the Democratic nomination, said he thought "it would be perfectly reasonable'' for Congress to open impeachment proceedings.

Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is running for president, told MSNBC on Thursday that she also thinks Mueller should testify. When asked about impeachment proceedings, she told that outlet, "I think that there's definitely a conversation to be had on that subject, but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller."

Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator running for president, was asked about impeachment during a campaign trip to Nevada. Specifically in regard to impeachment, he said, ''There's a lot more investigation that should go on before Congress comes to any conclusions like that.''

In the House, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is now signed on to an impeachment resolution from fellow Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

But senior leaders remain cool to the idea.

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the number two in the House Democratic leadership, told CNN on Thursday, "Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point." However, Hoyer quickly revised his comments, saying "all options are on the table."

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 11:11 AM
Let the impeachment circus begin.

We need to get to the bottom of a special counsel calling the president a "criminal" having gotten no indictments!

Let each topic be examined and witnesses deposed in the house live on C-SPAN! With questions from both sides.

There will be only take one vote in the senate to fail, but we need to get to the bottom of Mueller's untoward remarks in the report.

From the little I read it seems the report, in tone at least, despises fact and is politically motivated.

[Apr 21, 2019] Has Elizabeth Warren pushed the anti Russian crap? That would bother me as we have been the aggressor with Russia and that is really dangerous.

Apr 21, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

FincaInTheMountains April 20, 2019 at 10:17 am #

Elizabeth Warren is beginning the calls impeachment. Time to clean the Augean stables

Elizabeth Warren managed to fail a DNA test, for crying out loud. How one could possibly do that?

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 10:47 am #

She did not fail a DNA test, she was told that she was part American Indian by her family which turned out to be not true. Big fucking deal!

She created the Consumer Protection Agency which is a great accomplishment for the American people.

Can you name one thing the Republicans have done for the middle class that comes close to what she did?

elysianfield April 20, 2019 at 11:17 am #

"Can you name one thing the Republicans have done for the middle class that comes close to what she did?"

James,
Uhhhh, War on Drugs comes to mind. Might have kept the barbarians from the gates for a few decades and provided for a lot of living wage jobs.

malthuss April 20, 2019 at 11:41 am #

Big fucking deal! yes it is a big deal, dummy.

a real big deal.

The horrors of AA (Affirmative Action) compounded by cheating.

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 1:51 pm #

I think the ancestry scandal is about as important as wearing white pants after Labor day.

You are far too partisan, you ignore the creation of the CPA and all the benefits it give the public when Republicans at this very moment are looking to loosen the Pay Day Loan lending rules.

I guess a 1400% interest rate is just not enough, do you support the loan sharks and rip off banks? Yes or No.

What does Alcoholics Anonymous have to do with Elizabeth Warren?

hmuller April 21, 2019 at 11:39 am #

By AA he meant Affirmative Action, not Alcoholics Anonymous. Although people with lots of Native American DNA often have drinking problems. prudence would dictate "don't sell whiskey and guns to Elizabeth Warren."

benr April 20, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

Look at the spin machine in action. She used the benefits of lying about her American Indian ancestry to further her career and derive perks. We all know it. AA is a joke and utter reverse racism in action.

Janos Skorenzy April 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm #

No, she kept pushing it even to the point of claiming that her genetic result of 1/1024 Indian proved her claim. The lack of judgement -- both technical and political -- is simply astounding. Then she apologized to the Cherokee for pretending to be one of them since she doesn't meet the tribal criterion. To my knowledge she has never back off her claim beyond that -- and never apologized to Whites for trying to get out of OUR Tribe, the one she was born into.

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 2:08 pm #

I always try to look at the big picture, the whole episode was foolish but she harmed no one and gained nothing.

Has she pushed the anti Russian crap? That would bother me as we have been the aggressor with Russia and that is really dangerous.

As we speak nuclear armed bombers are flying daily close the the Russian borders and Russia has to scramble jets to ward them off. One pissed off Russian fighter pilot and there goes the world!

Janos Skorenzy April 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

She is pushing for criminalizing White Nationalism -- as if We aren't persecuted enough already. Foolishness to the nth degree. Whites have been amazing passive as their Nation has been stolen from them. And those who make peaceful change impossible ..

Dude, she's a monster. Another Hillary Clinton.

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 5:40 pm #

Now you are exaggerating, nobody is as disgusting as Hillary.

hmuller April 21, 2019 at 11:42 am #

James Hansen, at last you said something I can fully agree with:

"nobody is as disgusting as Hillary."

[Apr 18, 2019] The result of Yeltsin neoliberal mafia rule was the largest after 1941-1945 kill off of Russians in modern history: Yeltsin plus Harvard Business School being responsible for many more deaths than even the intoxicated propagandist Robert Conquest ever dreamed of.

Notable quotes:
"... Skripal was just one more effort to tighten sanctions against Putin's allies in the Russian oligarchy and isolate Trump from foreign policy initiatives not approved by the Deep State. ..."
"... The significance of the NY Times story, then, is that, inadvertently it reinforces the reality that in the matter of Russiagate and Trump all roads lead to London, the Tory Establishment, which has been living off US-Russian tensions for seventy years and security agencies doing what the CIA cannot do for itself. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Apr 17, 2019 9:13:07 AM | link

Craig Murray has a piece on this today. There is nothing very new in what he writes but he sees the significance of this story, which is not about ducks or children or Donald Trump's personality but a concerted and thorough campaign, carried out largely by British state actors, to deepen the 'west's' isolation of Russia.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

The real story of both the Cold War and the continually recurring propaganda stories about the "millions" of "victims of communism" is that the Soviet Union was manipulated throughout its history by capitalist control over the international economy. Like a demonic organist capitalist governments pulled out all the stops to control the moods and the policies of a state that the Bolsheviks never did get to rule.

In the end the Politburo gave in and did what the 'west' had always been wanted which is to hand over the country, lock, stock and population to the cannibals of capital.

The result being what was probably, after the 1930-45 war, the largest kill off of Russians in modern history: Yeltsin plus Harvard Business School being responsible for many more deaths than even the intoxicated propagandist Robert Conquest ever dreamed of.

It is that total control over Russia, through the manipulation of its economy, and the direction of its capitalists, that is behind the long series of sanctions, which are being added to every day: their purpose is to re-invent Yeltsinism, re-empower the Fifth Column in the Kremlin, and, in a stroke, re-establish the inevitable and eternal hegemony of the Washington centered Empire.

In this work the assistance of the 'cousins'in MI6 and GCHQ, plus the entire British military establishment has been crucial in a period in which the subservience of POTUS to the Deep State was, thanks to the underestimation of his electoral chances, very much in question. During a period in which Trump had to be tamed and brought under control the UK Establishment's assistance in coming up with a series of highly publicised interventions was crucia l.

Lysias points out that Haspel had acted as the CIA's Head of Station in London in 2016. It was in London that the entire "Russiagate" nonsense was put together, with British based actors continually prodding Congress, the media and the Democrats to act on revelations regarding Papadopolous, Mifsud, Stefan Halper.

Skripal was just one more effort to tighten sanctions against Putin's allies in the Russian oligarchy and isolate Trump from foreign policy initiatives not approved by the Deep State. The significance of the NY Times story, then, is that, inadvertently it reinforces the reality that in the matter of Russiagate and Trump all roads lead to London, the Tory Establishment, which has been living off US-Russian tensions for seventy years and security agencies doing what the CIA cannot do for itself.

[Apr 17, 2019] What Are We to Make of Gina Haspel by Publius Tacitus

Notable quotes:
"... That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. ..."
"... Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes. ..."
"... Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck. ..."
"... I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men. ..."
"... Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs. ..."
"... just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light. ..."
"... A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Before Gina became the Chief of Staff for Rodriguez, what role did she play in the waterboarding of two AQ operatives in Thailand? It appears that she was at least witting of what was going on. Did she have the authority to decide what measures to apply to the two? Did she make such decisions?

Those are facts still to be determined. I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. But there are others who I respect that are adamant in opposing her nomination. The only thing I know for sure is that her nomination will be a bloody and divisive political battle. If it comes down to embracing waterboarding as an appropriate method to use on suspected terrorists, then a majority of Americans are supportive of that practice and will cheer the appointment of Haspel.

That fact is a very sad and disturbing commentary on what America is or has become. Tolerating torture and excusing such an activity in the name of national security is the same justification that Stalin and Castro employed to punish dissidents. It is true that one man's terrorist is another woman's freedom fighter.

Let me be clear about my position. If Gina was in fact the Chief of Base and oversaw the application of the waterboarding and other inhuman treatment then she lacks the moral authority to head the CIA. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of overlooking human rights violations and war crimes.

Students of WW II will recall that US military intelligence recruited and protect Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, as an asset after the war. He murdered Jews and sent others to Auschwitz. He should have been hung. Instead, we turned a blind eye and gave him a paycheck.


Cee , 18 March 2018 at 12:55 PM

PT,

I've read that she enjoyed torture and mocked a prisoner who was drooling by accused him of faking it. I never knew anything about her sexual orientation but now I have to consider if she's so cruel because she hates men.

No to her confirmation.

steve , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
IIRC, Haspel was the chief of staff to whom Rodriguez refers. That does not sound like a bit player. Would you say that Kelly is a bit player in the Trump admin? As you say, we should know the facts, but so far it looks like she both participated in torture and in its cover-up.

Steve

tv , 18 March 2018 at 01:11 PM
Is waterboarding "torture?" It does not draw blood nor leave any physical damage. Psychological damage? These ARE admitted terrorists.
BillWade , 18 March 2018 at 01:20 PM
With all the crap going on at the FBI, the last thing we need now is a divisive candidate for any top level government position (torture advocacy is divisive for many of us).

A woman, a lesbian, who cares as long as they are a capable and decent law-abiding individual.

Publius Tacitus -> tv... , 18 March 2018 at 01:23 PM
Yes, waterboarding is torture. We considered it so egregious that we prosecuted Japanese military officers after WWII for using it on POWs.

And where do you get "admitted" terrorists from? In America, even with suspected terrorists, there is the principle of innocent until proven guilty. At least we once believed in that standard.

Apenultimate said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 March 2018 at 01:26 PM
And I very much respect you for your position on this (it is this American's view as well).

What amazes me (and yet doesn't) is the example of Rodriguez's supposed introspection "How bad could this be?" Really?!? That just strikes me as not having any feel for the media, US citizenry, or even common sense, and just reinforces the feeling that those at the upper echelons are completely out of touch or alternatively are just lying/posturing to present themselves in a better light.

Laura , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
PT -- Thank you. Much to consider in these times. I come down on the "no torture and waterboarding is torture" side of the debate but am also just eager for some competence and professional experience in key positions.

That these positions may be mutually exclusive says a great deal about our current situation. Again, thank you, for your opinions and information.

Kooshy , 18 March 2018 at 01:42 PM
A torturer is a torturer, no matter how one try to glaze it, or sugar coat it. If one is against torture, or the fancy name for it EIT, one should come out and say it like it is. This lady is accused of torturing captives ( enemy combatant) that can't and will not go away unless she come clean.

At the end of the day that don't matter, since as a policy, and base on your own statement, this country's government will prosecut and punish for liking of torture but not torture and tortures. And, furthermore, is not even willing to do away with it, per it's elected president. Trying to show a clean, moral, democracy on the hilltop image, is a BS and a joke.

[Apr 14, 2019] Warren is been behind some of the major legislation that enacted the things that Bernie Sanders talks about. And Wall Street is scared crapless of her -- why do you think they're going after her so hard?

Apr 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

popgoesthepop , 12 Apr 2019 10:26

Four more years of Trump is in the works.

The fact that she lied about her ethnicity in the past in hopes of gaining a leg up will backfire spectacularly if she's the DNC nominee for POTUS. Conservatives will beat this point over and over and over.

Is the Left secretly trying to put Trump in the WH for another term? It sure looks like it.

jae426 -> gunnison , 12 Apr 2019 10:26

the chances that Dems supporting a candidate who does not win the primary would boycott the election and put Trump back in the White House are vanishingly small this time around

They were warned that that would happen last time, and they still let it happen. The "Bernie bros" are back out in force, and not only have they not learnt their lesson, they feel validated by Clinton's defeat to the extent where they are even more determined that their old man should be the candidate and nobody else. These are people who abandoned the Democrats for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who managed to make Sarah Palin look intelligent. They will do it again because they are largely white, male and think just because they read liberal newspapers that means they don't have a sense of entitlement.

Both Michigan and Pennsylvania would have gone to Clinton if only 20% of Green voters hadn't lodged protest votes. These people don't want Elizabeth Warren, they don't want Kamala Harris, they don't want Beto O'Rourke, they don't want Pete Buttigieg. They want Bernie. If Bernie isn't the Democrat, they won't vote Democrat.

You can dismiss this as much as you like, but I placed a bet on Trump winning the Republican nomination when he was the joke candidate and when he won the nomination I bet on him winning the presidency. I think that would be an even safer bet this time round.

Thomas1178 -> Sheldon Hodges , 12 Apr 2019 10:25
That's just funny. She's been behind some of the major legislation that enacted the things that Bernie Sanders talks about. And Wall Street is scared crapless of her -- why do you think they're going after her so hard?
popgoesthepop -> WishesandHorses , 12 Apr 2019 10:23
She lies about her ethnicity to get ahead in life? That may have something to do with it.
Sheldon Hodges , 12 Apr 2019 10:22
This conjecture is entirely fiction at best but centrist neo libeberal bollocks as a certainty. Warren was and is a republican. She is a corporate bootlicker, a thrall of Hillary and has no serious attachment to truth. I regret to admit that I am a US citizen, 68 years of age. I have wittnessed Warren's shameless plagirising of Bernie Sanders' arguments and am sickened to see her lionized by people who, if honest, should know better.
Thomas1178 , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
The columnist is right about Warren's intellectual stature and influence, and anyone who's looked at what she's accomplished for Massachusetts (or for that matter watched her takedown of the sleazy head of Wells Fargo during the Senate hearings) knows she's tough. She also has a *workable* vision of what the Democrats could offer Americans. From affordable childcare to making college tuition affordable again to helping out working-class people like the fisherman in Massachusetts, while reigning in the banks and making sure we don't have another crash – it's the blueprint.

There's something hysterically funny about all the people who have signed in here, clearly skipped the article, just to yell "squirrel!" – or in this case -- "oh no she filled out the optional ethnicity box and it turns out her family stories were mistaken!"

What they're missing, what Warren is laying out and the article is pointing out, is what the GOP will really be up against in the future.

Patrician1985 , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
I don't like this argument: she may not win the primary, but it's her ideas that will dominate the conversation.

It worked for Bernie supporters to console themselves.

If we elect someone, it needs to be the person who will be passionate about that idea (as opposed to lukewarm like Pelosi is on Green New Deal). We need someone who knows what it will take to get it done. What will get in the way. How to get around it.

Warren not only had the idea for CFPB. She actually set it up. Then Obama lacked the moral courage and political spine to have her lead the agency - just because Wall Street had pressured the Democrats against it.

Warren is the right candidate for the right time. She has ideas to fix the country and doesn't just rail against people. That's why even Steve Bannon is scared of her policy positions that they could be theirs.

Democrats need to stop playing pundits and go with their heart. If they vote for someone they like less but because he (why is it always a 'he' who is electable?) can win - we will end up with a candidate no one really cares about and how is that a winning strategy?

SolentBound , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
Democrat primary voters need to recognise that defeating Trump is going to be very difficult.

Since WW II, only Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. have failed to win re-election, in both cases to superb campaigners who captured the public's imagination and, critically, swing voters.

Which of the potential Democrat challengers is a Ronald Reagan or a Bill Clinton? Or, indeed, a Barack Obama?

For a dose of reality, Democrats could do worse than read Mike Bloomberg's piece on his decision to stay out of the race: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-05/our-highest-office-my-deepest-obligation

JayThomas -> Rio de Janeiro , 12 Apr 2019 10:20
And because nobody expects a politician to keep a promise, they have to find some other way to be convincing.
BenjaminW , 12 Apr 2019 10:19
Warren rules -- her policy ideas are creative, intelligent and moral, and the world would be an indescribably better place if people like her were ever allowed into positions of authority. That anyone on the planet would prefer to be represented by someone like Biden, never mind Trump, is utterly depressing.
charlieblue , 12 Apr 2019 10:16
Sadly, FOX News has already issued their proscribed talking points on Sen.Warren. You will find them listed and repeated anywhere Elizabeth's Warren's candidacy is discussed (including here). Most of it will be lies or exaggerations, claims that she received jobs and promotions based on her claims of Native American ancestry, claims that she received scholarships or some kind of preferential treatment by calling herself an "Indian". They will insist that this is an obvious character flaw, that she's a liar and some sort of cultural thief.

Sadly, too many American's still imagine FOX News and it's ilk are purveyors of fact. They imagine the propaganda they are being fed about Elizabeth Warren is a truth the "mainstream media" won't mention. We saw all of this with Hillary Clinton. 30% of Republican voters still think Sec. Clinton ran a pedophile ring out of a DC pizza parlor.

If Sen.Warren, or any other rational candidate has a fair chance at running for President, if all the lies and propaganda of the right-wing media establishment are to be countered, the left and the center of US politics needs an effective counter to right-wing narrative.

Rio de Janeiro , 12 Apr 2019 10:13
A presidential campaign is not about specific, detailed policy proposals. It's about a vision for the country. A vision that must be consistent with voters' feelings and expectations; and must be communicated in a clear, energetic way by an effective messenger. That's the way Reagan, Clinton, Obama and Trump won.

Does anybody remember Trump's healthcare policy?

People don't vote for policy manifestos. People vote for candidates that inspire and convince.

outkast1213 -> newageblues , 12 Apr 2019 10:13
The same Liz that stated as a Senator she had a better chance to effect change than as POTUS in 2016 now is a genius?
GeorgeC , 12 Apr 2019 10:12
If Warren is the 'intellectual powerhouse' of the Democratic party, then god help them. Not a word about 1 trillion dollar budget deficits and rising (under Trump)-but remember Obama was little better; in 15 years time the US state pension system will be bankrupt, various other states' pension schemes are also effectively bankrupt (see Illinois, Tennessee) as are various cities (Chicago), and all Warren and Trump can think of is more debt, and nor will MMT help (we know this is just deficit spending on steroids). None of these people are 'progressive' - by not tacking the key problem of runaway debt it just robs everyone by forcing a default - not an 'honest' one, but rather the route taken by all politicians, namely rapid devaluation of the currency; something that robs all people, and destroys savings. Instead all we get are jam today, and bankruptcy tomorrow.
needaname100 -> Thomas1178 , 12 Apr 2019 10:11
She changed her ethnicity from white to Native American at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Also, a large majority of Americans have Native American DNA....and EW has less than the average American (which is 5%)...she has 0.20. She abused a privilege and got called out.
Thomas1178 -> mwesqcpa , 12 Apr 2019 10:05
She's too damn smart, is the problem. Along with all her qualifications she has also a lot of very solid wins that she brought home for the people of Massachusetts as a senator, from helping fisherman to low-income students suffering from college debt -- emphasizing that she's actually helped working class people and people in student debt should be a no brainer. And yet she seems not to have a savvy political operator advising her – she sure as hell hasn't gotten out ahead of the Native American thing, and I don't know why no one is doing that for her.
LydiaLysette , 12 Apr 2019 10:03
"Elizabeth Warren is the intellectual powerhouse of the Democratic party"

Then they really are in trouble.....

Just take 1 point....

"She has called for abolishing the electoral college, the unfair institution the US used to elect executives "

Well that requires a constitutional amendment, that requires a two thirds majority in both houses and then ratification by three quarters of the States. The ERA was proposed in 1923 didn't get through Congress until 1972 and is still short of the 38 State ratifications to adopt it. That's an issue of direct concern to at least half the population. The idea that a procedural change to the constitution for partisan benefit is getting through the process is blatantly laughable. Particularly as there appear to be about 27 states that have enhanced importance under the current system ( http://theconversation.com/whose-votes-count-the-least-in-the-electoral-college-74280 ) and only 13 are needed to kill it.

[Apr 14, 2019] Warren has the same foreign policy as all the others, invade, sanction, destroy. Steal oil, gold and assets. The US has become a deluded neurotic police state rife with addiction and so addled it is no longer a force for good in any sphere.

Apr 14, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
HARPhilby -> HARPhilby , 12 Apr 2019 08:55
ABT-Anybody But Trump
moderate_rebel_rebel , 12 Apr 2019 08:55
Warren has the same foreign policy as all the others, invade, sanction, destroy. Steal oil, gold and assets. The US has become a deluded neurotic police state rife with addiction and so addled it is no longer a force for good in any sphere.

In short it is now a part of the problem and no longer a part of any workable solution. Who becomes POTUS is therefore irrelevant.

Warren is flawed ideologically and personally, US citizens need to wake up and recognise that the POTUS is an irrelevant position with no authority and that until you tackle the neocon ridden nature of US politics nothing will ever change.

There is no hope in systems, only hope in people. Politics has become irrelevant in the face of our impending extinction.

[Apr 14, 2019] Elizabeth Warren is the intellectual powerhouse of the Democratic party by Moira Donegan

Notable quotes:
"... Posturing as a would-be American native and supporting racial retributions is as far from qualifying as an intellectual powerhouse as it gets. She would be better than Trump, obviously, but then anybody would. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

It may well not be Warren who wins the Democratic nomination, but whoever does will be campaigning on her ideas

since her initial announcement in December, Warren's campaign has rolled out a series of detailed policy proposals in quick succession, outlining structural changes to major industries, government functions, and regulatory procedures that would facilitate more equitable representation in the federal government and overhaul the economy in favor of the working class. These policy proposals have made Warren the Democratic party's new intellectual center of gravity, a formidable influence who is steadily pushing the presidential primary field to the left and forcing all of her primary challengers to define their political positions against hers.

Warren has become the Democratic party's new intellectual center of gravity

Warren herself is an anti-trust nerd, having come to the Senate from a career as an academic studying corporate and banking law. On the stump, she's most detailed in the same areas where she is most passionate, like when she talks about about breaking up huge tech companies such as Amazon and Google, and implementing a 21st-century -- version of the Glass-Steagall act that would separate commercial and investment banking (she has also called for prosecuting and jailing bank executives who break the law). But her policy agenda is broader than that, taking on pocketbook issues that have resonance with working families.

Warren outlined a huge overhaul of the childcare system that would revolutionize the quality, cost and curriculum of early childhood education, with subsidies for families and a living wage for caregivers. It's a proposal that she talks about in the context of her own career when, as a young mother and fledgling legal mind, she almost had to give up a job as a law professor because childcare for her young son was too expensive.

Warren has also proposed a housing plan that would limit huge investors' abilities to buy up homes, give incentives for localities to adopt renters' protections, and build new public housing. Crucially, and uniquely, her housing plan would also provide home ownership grants to buyers in minority communities that have historically been "redlined", a term for the racist federal housing policies that denied federally backed mortgages to black families. The provision, aimed to help black and brown families buy their first homes, is a crucial step toward amending the racial wealth gap, and it has helped sparked a broader conversation within the party about the need to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves -- a concept that Warren has also endorsed.

Taking her cues from pro-democracy and voting rights advocates such as Stacey Abrams, Warren has also taken on anti-majoritarian constitutional provisions, aiming to make American democracy more representative and less structurally hostile to a progressive agenda. She has called for abolishing the electoral college , the unfair institution the US uses to elect chief executives that makes a vote in New York count less than a vote in Wyoming, and which has resulted in two disastrous Republican presidencies in the past two decades. She has advocated eliminating the filibuster , an archaic procedural quirk of the Senate that would keep the Democrats from ever passing their agenda if they were to regain control of that body. And she has signaled a willingness to pack the courts , another move that will be necessary to implement leftist policies such as Medicare for All -- because even if the next Democratic president can pass her agenda through Congress, she will not be able to protect it from the malfeasance of a federal bench filled with conservative Trump appointees eager to strike it down.

When other candidates campaign, Warren's strong policy positions force them to define themselves against her

Warren has been the first to propose all of these policies, and it is not difficult to see other candidates falling in line behind her, issuing belated and imitative policy proposals, or being forced to position themselves to her right. Warren has promised not to go negative against other Democrats , but her campaign's intellectual project also serves a political purpose: when other candidates campaign, her strong policy positions force them to define themselves against her.

After Warren announced her childcare overhaul, senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris rolled out plans similarly designed to combat gendered economic injustice, calling for guaranteed family leave and better teacher pay , respectively. After Warren rolled out her pro-democracy agenda of eliminating the electoral college, abolishing the filibuster and packing the courts, her ideological rival Bernie Sanders was forced to come out against both eliminating the filibuster and packing the courts , damaging his reputation with a party base who knew that without these interventions, a progressive agenda will probably never be enacted. The pressure eventually forced Sanders to cave to Warren's vision and concede that he would be open to eliminating the filibuster in order to pass Medicare for All.

There's still a long time before the first contests, and it's possible that Warren will succumb to the flaws that her critics see in her campaign. In particular, she might not be able to raise enough money. She's decided not to take any Pac money and not to fundraise with wealthy donors, a position that may be as much practical as it is principled: the super-rich are not likely to donate to Warren anyway, since she has such a detailed plan, called the Ultra Millionaire Tax , to redistribute their money. She may fall victim to the seemingly unshakable controversy over her old claims of Native American ancestry, and she seems doomed to be smeared and underestimated for her sex, called cold and unlikable for her intellect and then, as with other female candidates, derided as pandering when she tries to seem more relatable.

But it would be a mistake to write Warren off as a virtuous also-ran, the kind of candidate whose intellectual and moral commitments doom her in a race dominated by the deep divisions in the electorate and the craven demagoguery of the incumbent. Elizabeth Warren does not seem to be running for president to make a point, or to position herself for a different job. Instead, she is making bold interventions in the political imagination of the party. It may well not be Warren who wins the Democratic nomination, but whoever does will be campaigning on her ideas.

Moira Donegan is a Guardian US columnist



CharlesLittle -> Ken Kutner , 12 Apr 2019 11:00

Thanks Ken and Thomas. I couldn't have said it better myself. Are we going to pare down the list of Democratic candidates on the basis of one or two stupid missteps? Looking through the Bible, I note that Jesus lost his temper at the money-changers and put down the hard-working Martha. So, he's out too.
geejay123 -> Beaufort100 , 12 Apr 2019 10:58
Ex Veteran Tulsi Gabbard has a very good chance of taking votes from Trump's base imo.
All round the best democratic candidate to declare so far.
Ranger69 , 12 Apr 2019 10:57
Im just glad Gabbard made it to the debate stage. More progressives the better.
SoonToBeDead -> T0nyN , 12 Apr 2019 10:57
Not only the USA, with everyone becoming wealthier, the need for education has declined, across the western world, being liberal or educated has become a swear word. Social media and lazy journalists are doing the rest, its all propaganda now, and permanent contradictory stories means only simple messages cut through the noise, hatred, immigrants, islamophobia, anti-semitism, etc. are classic messages that get through and stir people's emotions. Intellect doesn't win elections with a gullible electorate
BaronVonAmericano -> CharlesLittle , 12 Apr 2019 10:54
She really is thin in all areas but financial regulation and consumer protection.

An excellent Commerce/Treasury secretary, or VP. But she lacks the cohesive vision that Sanders articulates.

zagrebZ -> alex13 , 12 Apr 2019 10:54
Trump IS dumb... Or do you want me to Google a few thousand references for you?

'Moron'; 'Child-like'; 'Idiot'; 'Can barely read'...

Sound familiar? Words about Trump from his own staff.

FolkSpirit -> OliversTravels , 12 Apr 2019 10:48
It was a mistake and it was self-interested and it was unethical. And it was a different time before tribal groups in the US developed and enforced laws regarding membership status. Had Trump not shown disdain for her and all native Americans by calling her Pocahontas as though it were a racial slur, few would have made a big deal from this mistake.

Warren did confess without need to do so that she had purchased distressed mortgages to turn a profit as a young lawyer like so many of her ethically misguided law colleagues.

If you are or intimately know more than two attorneys you know this was and in some towns and cities still is common practice for building wealth among lawyers who have first notice when these “deals” are posted at the local Court House. Find me a “clean” lawyer anywhere if you can and I doubt you can — they write law and protect themselves and wealthy constituents mightily in doing so.

If you can help remove most of them from political office and replace them with people working professions of greater merit I stand with you. Congress needs intellectual strength and diversity of backgrounds.

Shakespeare: “First, we kill the lawyers”.

Excession77 -> HarryFlashman , 12 Apr 2019 10:42
Tulsi Gabbard or don't bother.

Unfortunately she opposes wars of choice from the position of an impressive service record in Iraq so she gets ignored in favour of the ridiculous Elizabeth Warren here and in other places. Warren's window was last time anyway when she was coming off the back of viral public speeches about inequality.

garlicbreakfast , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
Posturing as a would-be American native and supporting racial retributions is as far from qualifying as an intellectual powerhouse as it gets. She would be better than Trump, obviously, but then anybody would.
BaronVonAmericano , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
While I'd prefer the genders reversed, I think she would be an ideal running mate for the front-runner among the declared candidates.

Sanders has much more assiduously defined the moral center that any candidate for president must have: unapologetic confrontation with the oligarchy. Warren is the intellectual weapon such an administration could deploy on the specifics of banking and anti-trust.

This is all the more practical given that Warren has failed to tie race, social justice and criminal justice issues all together in her values-based worldview -- certainly not to the extent that Sanders has, his being well beyond any other candidate's efforts.

Sheldon Hodges -> Londonsage , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
Because Obama was a canny corporate move to place someone that offered such qualities as intelligence and grammar in sharp relief to GW Bush while remaining closely controlled by the oligarchy.
BigDave47 , 12 Apr 2019 10:30
Intellectual powerhouse?

Do you include her fraudulent and offensive claims to Native American heritage in that? As CNN has reported, as far back as 1986 she was falsely claiming "American Indian" heritage on official documents. Despite repeated calls by the leaders of the Tribal Nations, she has still failed to apologise. That's some intellectual powerhouse..

[Apr 14, 2019] Elizabeth Warren is timely candidate: The era of US companies offering pensions is coming to a close.

Apr 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

BMW ends pensions for workers

The era of US companies offering pensions is coming to a close.

The latest evidence: after freezing it's two UK pension plans in 2017, BMW will do the same for its remaining US plans.

Since 2011 new workers have not been offered a pension, but rather a defined contribution plan.

Workers who formerly had a pension will keep what they have accrued, but not accrue more. Current retirees receiving a pension will not be affected.

[Apr 13, 2019] Justice under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option. ..."
Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Daniel Rich , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT

@annamaria

Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option.

[Apr 12, 2019] Senator Warren On New Corporate Tax Plan Markets Without Rules Are Theft

Apr 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com

At least 60 companies reported an effective federal tax rate of zero, meaning they owe nothing in federal taxes for 2018, and that tax burden then falls on the rest of us. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix that. She joins Stephanie Ruhle in her first interview since unveiling her proposal.


Patti Granros , 6 hours ago

Love Liz Warren. No BS. Policy-driven campaign! She's for the regular people, who keep this country going.

Some Person , 8 hours ago

60 years ago every job offered health insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation, and all sorts of other benefits. It's time to have them pay a share of our societies costs, they use the same roads, breathe the same air, and drink the same water...

Kamikapse , 7 hours ago

Warren has consistently amazed me with her proposals... I hope she will make it to the debates, since everyone's fawning over Bernie and Beto for their fundraising capabilities, I hope they are not trying to sink her...

Greg Miller , 9 hours ago

Warren Buffet, who saved 28 or so million on his, himself said trumps tax deal was foolish..but he also said he wouldn't turn it down, which i don't blame him on that..

Kip Landingham , 6 hours ago

Senator Warren makes some excellent points (as usual): "market" implies a competitive environment, so when huge corps squeeze out competitors, it's no longer a "market". Corporations/rich individuals always say they made their profits themselves (independently of others or of any social structure systems). Really? If you were living/doing business on a mountaintop, disconnected from everyone else and any infrastructure support, you would have done just as well? That's a load of crap, and if they had any responsibility at all (as opposed to just pure greed), they'd be willing to give back a bit and contribute to the system(s) they build their wealth on.

Google User , 1 hour ago

Elizabeth Warren you've got my attention.

Tessmage Tessera , 7 hours ago

The fact is that the wealthy all over the world do not want their position of privilege to be challenged. This is why Bernie Sanders has been saying (for several DECADES) that the only way to move our society forward is to build from the bottom up... not the top down. And he is 100% correct.

[Apr 12, 2019] John Bolton Took Money From Clinton Foundation Donor, Banks Tied To Cartels, Terrorists, Iran by William Craddick

Notable quotes:
"... On June 12, 2018 The Washington Post ran an overlooked story where they disclosed that National Security Advisor John Bolton had accepted money from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Deutsche Bank and HSBC to return for his participation in speeches and panel discussions ..."
"... John Bolton accepted $115,000 from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation to speak at multiple events hosted by the Foundation including one in September 2017 where Bolton assured his audience that President Donald Trump would not radically change US foreign policy despite his explicit campaign promises to do so. ..."
"... More broadly, John Bolton's work for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, HSBC and Deutsche Bank shows that while he preaches hardline foreign policy approaches towards nations such as Iran and North Korea he has no issue tying himself to those who openly flaunt American sanctions and diplomatic attempts to pressure these states. For an individual who is the President's National Security Advisor to have taken money from banks who provide financial services to terror groups who have murdered thousands of Americans is totally unacceptable. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Disobedient Media

On June 12, 2018 The Washington Post ran an overlooked story where they disclosed that National Security Advisor John Bolton had accepted money from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Deutsche Bank and HSBC to return for his participation in speeches and panel discussions. These three entities have been linked to various kinds of corruption including sanctions evasion for Iran, money laundering on behalf of drug cartels, provision of banking services to backers of Islamic terror organizations and controversial donations to the Clinton Foundation.

The financial ties between Bolton and these institutions highlight serious ethical concerns about his suitability for the position of National Security Advisor.

I. Victor Pinchuk Foundation

John Bolton accepted $115,000 from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation to speak at multiple events hosted by the Foundation including one in September 2017 where Bolton assured his audience that President Donald Trump would not radically change US foreign policy despite his explicit campaign promises to do so.

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation was blasted in 2016 over their donation of $10 to $25 million to the Clinton Foundation between 1994 and 2005. The donations lead to accusations of influence peddling after it emerged that Victor Pinchuk had been invited to Hillary Clinton's home during the final year of her tenure as Secretary of State.

Even more damning was Victor Pinchuk's participation in activities that constituted evasions of sanctions levied against Iran by the American government. A 2015 exposé by Newsweek highlighted the fact that Pinchuk owned Interpipe Group, a Cyprus-incorporated manufacturer of seamless pipes used in oil and gas sectors. A now-removed statement on Interpipe's website showed that they were doing business in Iran despite US sanctions aimed to prevent this kind of activity.

Why John Bolton, a notorious war hawk who has called for a hardline approach to Iran, would take money from an entity who was evading sanctions against the country is not clear. It does however, raise serious questions about whether or not Bolton should be employed by Donald Trump, who made attacks on the Clinton Foundation's questionable donations a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign.

II. HSBC Group

British bank HSBC paid Bolton $46,500 in June and August 2017 to speak at two gatherings of hedge fund managers and investors.

HSBC is notorious for its extensive ties to criminal and terror organizations for whom it has provided illegal financial services. Clients that HSBC have laundered money for include Colombian drug traffickers and Mexican cartels who have terrorized the country and recently raised murder rates to the highest levels in Mexico's history . They have also offered banking services to Chinese individuals who sourced chemicals and other materials used by cartels to produce methamphetamine and heroin that is then sold in the United States. China's Triads have helped open financial markets in Asia to cartels seeking to launder their profits derived from the drug trade.

In 2012, HSBC was blasted by the US Senate for for allowing money from Russian and Latin American criminal networks as well as Middle Eastern terror groups to enter the US. The banking group ultimately agreed to pay a $1.9 billion fine for this misconduct as well as their involvement in processing sanctions-prohibited transactions on behalf of Iran, Libya, Sudan and Burma.

Some of the terror groups assisted by HSBC include the notorious Al Qaeda. During the 2012 scrutiny of HSBC, outlets such as Le Monde , Business Insider and the New York Times revealed that HSBC had maintained ties to Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank. Al Rajhi Bank was one of Osama Bin Ladin's "Golden Chain" of Al Qaeda's most important financiers. Even though HSBC's own internal compliance offices asked for the bank to terminate their relationship with Al Rajhi Bank, it continued until 2010.

More recently in 2018, reports have claimed that HSBC was used for illicit transactions between Iran and Chinese technology conglomerate Huawei. The US is currently seeking to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou after bringing charges against Huawei related to sanctions evasion and theft of intellectual property. The company has been described as a "backdoor" for elements of the Chinese government by certain US authorities.

Bolton's decision to accept money from HSBC given their well-known reputation is deeply hypocritical. HSBC's connection to terror organizations such as Al Qaeda in particular is damning for Bolton due to the fact that he formerly served as the chairman of the Gatestone Institute , a New York-based advocacy group that purports to oppose terrorism. These financial ties are absolutely improper for an individual acting as National Security Advisor.

III. Deutsche Bank

John Bolton accepted $72,000 from German Deutsche Bank to speak at an event in May 2017.

Deutsche Bank has for decades engaged in questionable behavior. During World War II, they provided financial services to the Nazi Gestapo and financed construction of the infamous Auschwitz as well as an adjacent plant for chemical company IG Farben.

Like HSBC, Deutsche Bank has provided illicit services to international criminal organizations. In 2014 court filings showed that Deutsche Bank, Citi and Bank of America had all acted as channels for drug money sent to Colombian security currency brokerages suspected of acting on behalf of traffickers. In 2017, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a $630 million fine after working with a Danish bank in Estonia to launder over $10 billion through London and Moscow on behalf of Russian entities. The UK's financial regulatory watchdog has said that Deutsche Bank is failing to prevent its accounts from being used to launder money, circumvent sanctions and finance terrorism. In November 2018, Deutsche Bank's headquarters was raided by German authorities as part of an investigation sparked by 2016 revelations in the "Panama Papers" leak from Panama's Mossack Fonseca.

Two weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Bush administration signed an executive order linking a company owned by German national Mamoun Darkazanli to Al Qaeda. In 1995, Darkazanli co-signed the opening of a Deutsche Bank account for Mamdouh Mahmud Salim. Salim was identified by the CIA as the chief of bin Laden's computer operations and weapons procurement. He was ultimately arrested in Munich, extradited to the United States and charged with participation in the 1998 US embassy bombings.

In 2017, the Office of the New York State Comptroller opened an investigation into accounts that Deutsche Bank was operating on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is defined by both the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organization. It is ironic that Bolton, who is a past recipient of the "Guardian of Zion Award" would accept money from an entity who provided services to Palestinian groups that Israel considers to be terror related.

IV. Clinton-esque Financial Ties Unbecoming To Trump Administration

Bolton's engagement in paid speeches, in some cases with well-known donors to the Clinton Foundation, paints the Trump administration in a very bad light. Donald Trump criticized Hillary Clinton during his 2016 Presidential campaign for speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs that were labeled by her detractors as "pay to play" behavior. John Bolton's acceptance of money from similar entities, especially the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, are exactly the same kind of activity and are an embarrassment for a President who claims to be against corruption.

More broadly, John Bolton's work for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, HSBC and Deutsche Bank shows that while he preaches hardline foreign policy approaches towards nations such as Iran and North Korea he has no issue tying himself to those who openly flaunt American sanctions and diplomatic attempts to pressure these states. For an individual who is the President's National Security Advisor to have taken money from banks who provide financial services to terror groups who have murdered thousands of Americans is totally unacceptable.

It is embarrassing enough that Donald Trump hired Bolton in the first place. The next best remedy is to let him go as soon as possible.

[Apr 11, 2019] Warren Unveils Plan For $1 Trillion In New Taxes On Big Corporations by Cameron Joseph

The main way big corporations corrupt the movement is by lobbing for tax preferential regime. Neoliberalism included "voodoo" supply side economics thory that speculates that lower taxes increase employment, while in reality they mostly increase the wealth of capital owners. This theory is brainwashed itno people minds by relentless neoliberal propaganda machine -- all major MSM are controlled by neoliberals. Common people have no say in this gbig game.
But tax regime is the battlefield were big capital fights labor and big capital since 1970 won all major battles.
Notable quotes:
"... "Because of relentless lobbying, our corporate income tax rules are filled with so many loopholes and exemptions and deductions that even companies that tell shareholders they have made more than a billion dollars in profits can end up paying no corporate income taxes," Warren wrote in a Medium post unveiling the plan. "Let's bring in the revenue we need to invest in opportunity for all Americans. And let's make this year the last year any company with massive profits pays zero federal taxes." ..."
"... Warren's plan is aimed at large corporations -- ones that have generally paid lower tax rates than smaller companies in recent years. The GOP tax cut law nearly doubled the number of publicly held companies that paid no federal taxes from 30 to 60 in the last year alone, according to a recent study from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. ..."
"... This is the latest significant tax proposal the Massachusetts senator has unveiled as part of her campaign platform, which also includes a two percent surtax on people with more than $50 million in assets and a three percent surtax on those who have $1 billion. ..."
Apr 11, 2019 | talkingpointsmemo.com
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled a major plank in her platform to tax the rich on Thursday, introducing plans for a new tax on all corporations that clear $100 million in annual profits.

Warren's "real corporate profits tax" is aimed at large corporations like Amazon that have generated huge profits in recent years while almost entirely avoiding federal taxes through a series of loopholes and credits.

"Because of relentless lobbying, our corporate income tax rules are filled with so many loopholes and exemptions and deductions that even companies that tell shareholders they have made more than a billion dollars in profits can end up paying no corporate income taxes," Warren wrote in a Medium post unveiling the plan. "Let's bring in the revenue we need to invest in opportunity for all Americans. And let's make this year the last year any company with massive profits pays zero federal taxes."

The plan would institute a seven percent tax on profits over $100 million in addition to current taxes. An economic analysis released by Warren's campaign estimated that at least 1,200 companies would be forced to pay new taxes under the plan, generating a net revenue boost of at least $1 trillion for the government.

Warren's plan is aimed at large corporations -- ones that have generally paid lower tax rates than smaller companies in recent years. The GOP tax cut law nearly doubled the number of publicly held companies that paid no federal taxes from 30 to 60 in the last year alone, according to a recent study from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

This is the latest significant tax proposal the Massachusetts senator has unveiled as part of her campaign platform, which also includes a two percent surtax on people with more than $50 million in assets and a three percent surtax on those who have $1 billion.

The plans have earned her plaudits on the left and drawn concern from some more business-friendly moderate Democrats.

But so far, they haven't proven a game-changer in the presidential race. Warren continues to struggle to siphon off a significant chunk of voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last election, her natural base of support. She's regularly polled in the mid- to upper-single digits in recent state and national polls, in the second tier of candidates.

And she raised just $6 million in her first quarter in the campaign, her team announced yesterday. That's not a terrible haul in a crowded field, especially since she's sworn off big donors, but it's nothing compared to the huge sums she pulled in as a Senate candidate -- and trailed even upstart South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).

She also spent almost all of that money, having built out a large staff in the early primary states with a high payroll.

And Sanders isn't giving her much room on her left: He reintroduced a sweeping Medicare for all plan on Wednesday, which she cosponsored, a move that puts pressure on Warren and other Democrats to keep up as they try to woo the progressive wing of the party base.

[Apr 08, 2019] Senator Elizabeth Warren lobbed another policy grenade into the Democratic primary Friday, announcing she supports drastically changing the Senate by eliminating its legendary filibuster to give her party a better chance of implementing its ambitious agenda.

Apr 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , April 07, 2019 at 06:00 AM

(Liz swerves left!)

Here's how Elizabeth Warren is trying to outmaneuver Bernie Sanders
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/04/05/warren-call-for-end-senate-filibuster/S3saQJayxQNZBPTXQ85x1O/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Liz Goodwin - April 5, 2019

NEW YORK -- Senator Elizabeth Warren lobbed another policy grenade into the Democratic primary Friday, announcing she supports drastically changing the Senate by eliminating its legendary filibuster to give her party a better chance of implementing its ambitious agenda.

The move puts her campaign rivals on the spot to explain how they would pass their own ambitious legislative priorities if the Senate keeps its rule in place requiring a 60-vote supermajority to advance most bills.

Warren's announcement allows her to swerve to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a meaningful way at a time when she's straggling far behind him in early polls and grass-roots fund-raising.

Sanders, who popularized proposals like free college and Medicare for All among Democrats during his 2016 run for president, has been reluctant to support scrapping the filibuster. That raises questions about how he would be able to pass his sweeping proposals into law should he become president, given Democrats are extremely unlikely to have 60 seats in the Senate.

"I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change," Warren told a group of activists at a conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, where she announced her opposition to the filibuster. "I'm serious about getting it done. And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate."

The appearance in New York caps off a three-week run that has seen Warren call for making it easier to send executives to jail for corporate crimes, unveil a proposal to break up farm monopolies, endorse forming a commission to study reparations for the descendants of slaves, and say she would like to abolish the Electoral College so presidents are elected by popular vote.

"Bernie Sanders, nobody's to his left on policy, but there's lots of running room on his left on procedural changes that would be necessary to enact those policies," said Brian Fallon, a former top Hillary Clinton aide and the founder of the liberal advocacy group Demand Justice.

Sanders said he's not "crazy about" the idea of getting rid of the filibuster in an interview in February, but said in a later statement that he is open to reform.

Getting rid of the Senate filibuster, which has been around since the mid-1800s, was once seen as a radical proposal that would undermine the chamber's ability to take a deliberative approach to major issues. But Democratic and Republican majorities have chipped away at it in recent years, jettisoning filibusters for Cabinet and Supreme Court nominees.

Just this week, Senate Republicans infuriated Democrats by unilaterally reducing the amount of debate time for other executive branch and judicial nominees before a filibuster could be ended.

The move to ditch the filibuster has gained currency among liberals frustrated that the Senate is more Republican than the general public because of liberals clustering on the coasts and the constitutional requirement that all states get two senators regardless of population.

President Trump and Barack Obama have complained about the filibuster, with Obama saying last year that it made it "almost impossible" to govern.

Though probably too wonky a proposal to reach the average voter, the debate over the Senate filibuster animates the Democratic activists who are watching the primary the most closely and whose support the candidates are vying to win. Those activists are unmoved by candidates who say they'll be able to persuade Republicans to sign onto their ambitious liberal legislation.

"The idea that you can win people over by inviting them over for drinks on the Truman Balcony -- that is completely out of vogue," Fallon said.

Other candidates have also called for getting rid of the filibuster, including Governor J*a*y Inslee of Washington and Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who is pondering a run. However, Warren is the first sitting senator in the race to do so. Senator Kamala Harris of California, who signed a letter in 2017 affirming the filibuster, now says she's conflicted about it.

The filibuster's defenders say it protects the rights of the minority party, and forces the majority to compromise. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who also signed the 2017 letter, has said he is concerned that getting rid of the filibuster would mean Republicans would be able to more easily pass legislation in the future over Democrats' objections.

In her speech to the National Action Network's activists, a largely black crowd, Warren framed the filibuster as a tool of "racists" who used it for decades to block civil rights legislation, including a bill to make lynching a federal crime that was first introduced in the early 1900s. The legislation finally passed this year.

"We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin," she said.

After her speech, Warren told reporters that she is concerned about the bills Republicans would be able to pass without the filibuster, but that getting rid of it is worth it for Democrats. "Of course I'm worried. But I'm also worried about a minority that blocks real change that we need to make in this country," she said.

The calls to eliminate the filibuster are part of a larger debate among Democrats about reforming US democracy after they lost the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections despite winning the popular vote. Warren, along with several other Democrats, has also called to abolish the Electoral College. Warren, Harris, and former representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas are also open to the idea of the next president expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court to offset its conservative majority.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who pushes a host of liberal policies, has been more conservative on these proposals than many of his presidential campaign rivals. He is against expanding the court, arguing it would be a slippery slope that Republicans could also take advantage of, and is still on the fence about ditching the filibuster and abolishing the Electoral College.

Warren declined to call out her Senate colleagues when asked whether she was surprised they had not endorsed the idea of ending the filibuster. "All I can do is keep running the campaign I'm running and talking about these ideas," she said.

[Apr 07, 2019] New York Sues Big Pharma for Opioid Crisis

Apr 07, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

In this Real News Network interview, Bill Black gives a high-level overview of the New York case against not just opioid profiteers, the Sackler family and their companies, but also other key participants, like “pain doctors” who were tied in to the Sackers’ marketing efforts.


timbers , April 6, 2019 at 8:22 am

I just want to know one thing: How many Sacklers are going to jail and for how long?

If NY wants to make the most of it's limited resources (as Black notes) then why haven't they issued arrest warrants for the Sackers and frozen their bank accounts?

Seems to me a whole lot of folks with privilege and $$$ in the news who would have be arrested on the spot had someone else (like me for example) done the same thing but w/o all that privilege and $$$ (Zuckerburg, Boeing CEO, Sacklers).

allan , April 6, 2019 at 9:16 am

Yes, more of this, please: Criminal Trial Of Opioid-Peddling Drug Company Execs Goes To The Jury [NPR]

Carl , April 6, 2019 at 8:26 am

What I hope does not get entirely forgotten in this matter is the people who need relief from pain, yet can’t get the drugs they need because doctors are so afraid to prescribe effective pain-killers, except for extreme cases, like post-op or late-stage cancers. I’m told this is the situation in New York State. Elsewhere, too?

Edward , April 6, 2019 at 1:32 pm

I wonder if the Sacklers could have gotten away with their crime if less people were killed. Suppose only 500 people were killed each year. Would the government have responded?

Iapetus , April 6, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Somehow certain aspects of this story feel vaguely familiar .

orange cats , April 6, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Oh blah blah blah. Please notice what’s absent in these “conversations” about the “opioid” crisis. The recent increase in overdose deaths is due to the (often accidental) ingestion of street fetanyl as a result of prescription opioids being restricted.

No one emphasizes the shocking absence of funding for mental health facilities; addiction research and the role of economic factors contributing to drug use; social safety nets for addicts and their children…in sum, WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE IN SO MUCH PAIN?
In this country you have to be sprawled unconscious in the front seat of a running car to get any help, help being prison. Jailing the Sacklers isn’t going to change that one iota.

GERMO , April 6, 2019 at 4:30 pm

The laboring class is largely being ground into hamburger. A condition of chronic, relentless pain that you can never get away from is the unchosen lifestyle for millions. That the treatment for pain (opioids) is also pretty good for despair is half an explanation for the epidemic. The other half, which is rarely mentioned, is that millions of people hurt all the time, physically or otherwise, and this is just collateral damage in the class struggle that we poor folks continue to lose.

It’s sad that the process of justice against the monsters like the Sacklers will only result in more of that pain and suffering, and to know that they won’t in the end suffer much of anything at all. The handy myth of “overprescribing” will carry the day for the higher-status class of folks who’ve never had to contend with chronic pain conditions — conditions that come about mainly because we’re so prone to being worked like dogs by psychopath bosses.

orange cats , April 6, 2019 at 5:52 pm

Thank you. I am disappointed that Bill Black and his “High-level interview” was boilerplate off-with-their-heads bunk. I admire him but do not understand why he is being recruited to opine on drug policy.

kiers , April 7, 2019 at 5:12 pm

I wonder (REALLY WONDER) if the Sacklers do not have some kind of sweet-heart insurance contract that will handle THEIR (financial) “pain” with these “suits”. Funny how A.G.s lead the chivalrous charge to “clean up” wrong-doing WELL AFTER political cover ALLOWS them to go after the elite. Funny how that works eh? Cyrus Vance gets to add to his kitty.

run75441 , April 7, 2019 at 5:15 pm

There was a major study done on the use of Opioids conducted at Boston University Medical Center, Waltham MA. The result of that study were published in a brief letter to the NEMJ.

“Recently, we examined our current files to determine the incidence of narcotic addiction in 39,946 hospitalized medical patients who were monitored consecutively. Although there were 11,882 patients who received at least one narcotic preparation, there were only four cases of reasonably well documented addiction in patients who had no history of addiction. The addiction was considered major in only one instance. The drugs implicated were meperidine in two patients, Percodan in one, and hydromorphone in one. We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.” Jane Porter; Herschel Jick; MD Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Program, Boston University Medical Center, Waltham, MA.

Note the key words here are: ” We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction.”

This particular letter (or note as some may call it) to the NEJM was cited 608 times of which 491 times was in a positive manner about addiction being rare in medical patients. The 491 (~81%) citations fail to mention the patients given Opioids were in a hospital setting and grossly misrepresented the conclusions of the letter . 72.2% cited it as evidence that addiction was rare in patients treated with opioids.

It took 37 years before another letter to the editor studied the impact of the misuse of that citation by doctors, Purdue Pharma, other Pharmaceutical Companies, etc. The authors accomplished a bibliometric analysis of the correspondence from its publication in 1980 until March 30, 2017. For each citation, two reviewers independently evaluated the portrayal of the article’s conclusions, using an adaptation of an established taxonomy of citation behavior4 along with other aspects of generalizability. The analysis which I have posted the resulting chart from it before can be found here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1700150

The Jick and Porter letter can be found here in the Supplemental Appendix along with various quotes by doctors: https://www.nejm.org/doi/suppl/10.1056/NEJMc1700150/suppl_file/nejmc1700150_appendix.pdf

Ten years earlier or 2007, Purdue Pharma was fined $800 million by the courts after the DOJ sued them. Three executives were convicted and sentenced. From 2006 to 2015 Opioid companies spent $800 million in a 50 state strategy. The mother of Cameron Weiss found out the power of Pharma the hard way when her push for new laws in New Mexico were defeated before a vote was even taken.

In 1980 the death rate resulting from Opioid overdose was less than 1 per 100,000 and the overall death rate from Drugs was 1 per 100,000. With the introduction of OxyContin and the abuse of the Jick and Porter Letter, the death rate associated from Opioid Overdose increased to 1 per 100,000 one year later and doubled to 2 per 100,000 in 2 years. In 2015, it has soared to ~10 per 100,000.

Without knowing what has led up to the abuse of Opioids the story has always been recreational use of drugs an Opioids has caused this epidemic without ever a mention of Purdue or the other drug companies. The explosion in the use of Opioids was very deliberate and the drug companies should be held responsible for it. Now with fewer Opioid pills being prescribed, people have moved on to Heroin and Opioid derivatives. The companies lit the fuse and left with their profits.

The reason I wrote this long comment is I believe Bill Black gave this topic the short shrift. There is a lot of history on Opioid abuse and how it came to be.

[Apr 06, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's Watered-Down Populism

Apr 06, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Too often caught between Randian individualism on one hand and big-government collectivism on the other, America's working-class parents need a champion.

They might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap , co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows. Long a samizdat favorite among socially conservative writers, the book recently got a new dose of attention after being spotlighted on the Right by Fox News's Tucker Carlson and on the Left by Vox's Matthew Yglesias .

The book's main takeaway was that two-earner families in the early 2000s seemed to be less, rather than more, financially stable than one-earner families in the 1970s. Whereas stay-at-home moms used to provide families with an implicit safety net, able to enter the workforce if circumstances required, the dramatic rise of the two-earner family had effectively bid up the cost of everyday life. Rather than the additional income giving families more breathing room, they argue, "Mom's paycheck has been pumped directly into the basic costs of keeping the children in the middle class."

Warren and Warren Tyagi report that as recently as the late 1970s, a married mother was roughly twice as likely to stay at home with her children than work full-time. But by 2000, those figures had almost reversed. Both parents had been pressed into the workforce to maintain adequate standards of living for their families -- the "two-income trap" of the book's title.

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What caused the trap to be sprung? Cornell University economist Francine Blau has helpfully drawn a picture of women's changing responsiveness to labor market wages during the 20th century. In her work with Laurence Kahn, Blau found that women's wage elasticities -- how responsive their work decisions were to changes in their potential wages -- used to be far more heavily driven by their husband's earning potential or lack thereof (what economists call cross-wage elasticity). Over time, Blau and Kahn found, women's responsiveness to wages -- their own or their husbands -- began to fall, and their labor force participation choices began to more closely resemble men's, providing empirical backing to the story Warren and Warren Tyagi tell.

Increasing opportunity and education were certainly one driver of this trend. In 1960, just 5.8 percent of all women over age 25 had a bachelor's degree or higher. Today, 41.7 percent of mothers aged 25 and over have a college degree. Many of these women entered careers in which they found fulfillment and meaning, and the opportunity costs, both financially and professionally, of staying home might have been quite high.

But what about the plurality of middle- and working-class moms who weren't necessarily looking for a career with a path up the corporate ladder? What was pushing them into full-time work for pay, despite consistently telling pollsters they wished they could work less?

The essential point, stressed by Warren and Warren Tyagi, was the extent to which this massive shift was driven by a desire to provide for one's children. The American Dream has as many interpretations as it does adherents, but a baseline definition would surely include giving your children a better life. Many women in America's working and middle classes entered the labor force purely to provide the best possible option for their families.

The Student Loan Trap Up From Consumerism

In the search for good neighborhoods and good schools, a bidding war quickly became an arms race. There were "two words so powerful the families would pursue them to the brink of bankruptcy: safety and education ." The authors underplay the extent to which policy had explicitly sought to preserve home values, driven by their use as investment vehicles and retirement accounts, a dynamic covered expertly by William Fischel's The Homevoter Hypothesis . But their broader point is accurate -- rising house prices, aided and abetted by policy choices around land use, have made it harder for families to afford the cost of living in 21st-century America.

Another factor in the springing of the trap? Divorce. In her 2000 book about how feminism had failed women, Danielle Crittenden writes about how fear of dependency, especially in an era of no-fault divorce, had caused women to rank financial independence highly.

These two factors, along with others Warren and Warren Tyagi explore, made it difficult for families to unilaterally disarm without losing their place in the middle class. "Today's middle-class mother is trapped," they write. "She can't afford to work, and she can't afford to quit."

A quiet armistice may have been declared in the so-called "mommy wars," but the underlying pressures haven't gone away since The Two-Income Trap was published. If anything, they've gotten worse.

Warren and Warren Tyagi propose severing the link between housing and school districts through a "well-designed voucher program," calling the public education system "the heart of the problem." They correctly note that "schools in middle-class neighborhoods may be labeled 'public,'" but that parents effectively pay tuition by purchasing a home within a carefully selected school district. Breaking the cartel that ties educational outcomes to zip codes would increase choices for families and open the door to further educational pluralism.

Warren and Warren Tyagi are also unafraid to tell unpopular truths about the futility of additional funding for colleges (identifying "faith in the power of higher education [as] the new secular religion"), housing affordability ("direct subsidies are likely to add more ammunition to the already ruinous bidding wars, ultimately driving home prices even higher"), universal child care (which "would create yet another comparative disadvantage for single-income families trying to compete in the marketplace"), and usurious credit (Warren's long work on bankruptcy requires deeper treatment than this space allows, but their questioning of our over-reliance on consumer debt deserves a fuller hearing).

Warren's presidential campaign contains elements of this attempt to make life easier for families, but the shades of her vision of a pro-family economic policy seem paler than they were a decade and a half ago.

Her universal child care plan , for example, seemingly contradicts her prior stated worries about disadvantaging stay-at-home parents. While she explicitly -- and wisely -- steers clear of a subsidy-based approach, her attempt to "create a network of child care options" does less to directly support families who aren't looking for formal care. In a sense, Warren would replicate the public school experience for the under-five crowd -- if you don't want to participate, that's fine, but you'll bear the cost on your own. A true pro-family populism would seek to increase the choice set for all families, regardless of their work-life situations.

Warren's housing plan has similarly good intentions, seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing rather than simply trying to subsidize demand. Her competitive education grant would reward municipalities for relaxing restrictive zoning requirements. But while her campaign has yet to release a plan on education, it seems unlikely we'll see the kind of bold approach to educational choice she espoused in 2003. Populist sympathizers of all ideological stripes should hope I'm proven wrong.

Warren's attempt at pro-family progressive populism seems honest. If not for certain infamous biographical missteps, her personal story would be one of how America is still a land of opportunity -- the daughter of a Oklahoma department store salesman who worked her way to a law degree, a professorship, and a Senate seat. There's a congruence in her positioning of economic security as a family values issue and the resurgent interest in a pro-worker, pro-family conservative agenda. And unlike so many politicians, her personal experience seems to have instilled an understanding of why so many dual-earner families see work as a means to the end of providing a better life for their children rather than an end in itself.

A politician willing to question the sacred cows of double-income families, more money for schools, and easy credit is the kind of politician this populist moment requires. A candidate willing to call into question an economic model that prioritizes GDP growth over all else would boldly position himself or herself as being on the side of families whose vision of the American Dream involves a better life for their children, yet who are exhausted and hemmed in by costs.

How Warren needs to position her platform to navigate the vicissitudes of a Democratic Party primary will likely not be the best way to address the needs of the modern American family. But in a crowded field, an uncompromising vision of increased choice for families across all dimensions -- not just within the public school system, for example, but among all options of education -- would be an impressive accomplishment and a way of distinguishing herself from the pack. An explicit defense of parenthood as a social good would be unconventional but welcome.

Still, a marker of how far the conversation around families has shifted from the early 2000s is the extent to which Warren's and Warren Tyagi's view of parenthood as something more than an individual "lifestyle choice" would now be viewed as radical, particularly on the Left. "That may be true from the perspective of an individual choosing whether or not to have a child," they write, "but it isn't true for society at large. What happens to a nation that rewards the childless and penalizes the parents?"

What indeed. Paging the Elizabeth Warren of 2003 -- your country needs you.

Patrick T. Brown ( @PTBwrites ) is a master's of public affairs student at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


JonF April 4, 2019 at 6:22 am

Doe anyone think the middle and especially upper middle class would be in favor of a school choice plan that would cause their housing values to take hit? And there's another big roadblock with a school choice program: the need for transportation. Two years ago my next door neighbors who were able to place their young son in a good school across town sold their house and moved to be closer to the school since the daily cross-town commute at rush hour was just too much.
grin without a cat , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:44 am
They might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap, co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows.

It's more recent than that. The first edition was 2003, but a second edition came out in 2016, by which time Mom probably knew she might be running for president. It's got a new introduction by the authors, so obviously it was done with their cooperation.

I haven't read either edition, so I don't know what's been changed in the new one.

Chris Atwood , says: April 4, 2019 at 9:38 am
Great essay.

I am struck again and again, by the unbelievable power of the forces in the political arena pushing everyone who is a Democrat because they are fiscally liberal* to ALSO become socially liberal,* and everyone who is a Republican because they are socially conservative* to ALSO become fiscally conservative.*

The net result of the laws of motion seem to systematically take the ideological space of "socially conservative, fiscally liberal" (the old New Deal) and push everyone in it either out to the usual left "fiscally liberal, socially liberal" or the usual right "socially conservative, fiscally conservative" quadrants.

This article shows how it's happening with Elizabeth Warren in one direction, and it's happened constantly with socially conservative Republicans who get yanked back to the proper quadrant anytime they try to move to a direction of economic policy that doesn't involve tax cuts for the rich and actually help their constituents.

Roy Fassel , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:30 am
One can have all the opinions on better ways to do things for the good of society, but if those ideas are not politically viable, it creates a change in directions. Warren probably by now .realizes how complicated all of these policy issues are and the unintended consequence of these policies are always a factor and a risk. Elizabeth Warren seems to have a good grasp of complicated issues, but that never get her the support she would need to prevail in this campaign. We currently live in the age of "Fantasyland" spewed by both the Trump RINOs and the Lunatic Left. Warren is a thinker. That is not helpful these days.
Sid Finster , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:55 am
What happened is that Warren wants the Team D nomination, and Team D, like Team R, could not care less about the 99.9% of Americans who are not non-campaign bundlers or big contributors.

In fact, Team D (again, just like Team R) is actively hostile to any proposal that might take money out of the pockets of the .1%, or otherwise affect the way the the economic pie is sliced.

Chris in Appalachia , says: April 4, 2019 at 11:46 am
If this was the 1970s Warren would probably have supported busing. Pocahontas – leave my safe neighborhood, my children's schools, and my home equity alone. Because these well meaning social engineering schemes seldom work out as planned. As a middle class American I will probably get the short end of the stick.

Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers. Talk about "the heart of the problem."

BradleyD , says: April 4, 2019 at 12:15 pm
My wife and I did a sort of calculation. In our state child care would be about 11,000 per child per year. Also, you can't drop them off if they are sick, so you have to use your sick days for them. Oh, and if you don't use the child care if you're on vacation, you still need to pay to hold the slot. With two kids and taxes, she has to clear well over 30k per year to about break even.

Add in the fact you'll be missing out on their childhood, spending maybe three or so hours per day with them, is it really worth it?

The more I see the 'big tech' developments, they are basically things your pay for to let you work so you can afford to work. TaskRabbit, Fivrer, DoorDash, etc basically give you free time so you can work more.

EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm
"What happens to a nation that rewards the childless and penalizes the parents?"

Laughing.

They become liberals, democrats, anarchists, socialists, communists . . . supporters of murdering children in the womb, efficiency advocates by way of eugenics . . . and other assorted malcontents against ordered society.

EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 1:13 pm
This may be unfair as I have not read the book.

But in my view, what has damaged economic sociology has been the shift in practice without any assessment what it would do to the traditional family dynamic between husbands and wives in family construction. That simply demanding that space be made for women and millions of women would seriously tighten the job market for all and disrupt the pillars upon which our nation was built, despite its problems.

Power dynamic, chivalry outran practical realities and that remains the case in increasingly stratifying civil demands.

And while I sympathetic to the complaint about bussing, that had a very little impact on the employment numbers which government and businesses and edication raced to fill the discrimination expectations with women, and primarily white women.

tired comment, but accurate nonetheless, so instead of hiring men in response to discrimination, those men were instead replaced by women, most of whom already had access via the cultural dynamics of the majority.

rps , says: April 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm
Warren and Warren Tyagi propose severing the link between housing and school districts through a "well-designed voucher program," calling the public education system "the heart of the problem." [ ]

In my opinion, Warner's education voucher proposal by guaranteeing voucher dollar enrollment in the affluent zip codes ignores the heart of the education problem. Affluent zip codes do not ensure a child's academic success via 'better' teachers and educational materials. Public schools in the big cities are filled with teachers who have their masters and Ph.D's along with continuing education requirements.

Student success is fundamentally based upon parental commitment and community involvement. Are the parents committed to their children's academic success? Does the parent(s) provide a conducive and safe home environment? Does the child have a quiet space to study, do their homework and prepare for school? Does the parent(s) sit down and teach? Review the child's homework? Do the parents volunteer at the school? Are they involved with school events? Is education a top priority? Or is school a babysitting service to drop off and pick up?

Those affluent zip codes are more than a number. For the most part, they are a supportive community of families.

A child's academic success is assuredly tethered to the parental guiding hands. Simply, a child's success begins at home with parents who care about their children's future.

Fran Macadam , says: April 4, 2019 at 4:34 pm
She Woke up.

Careerism trumps sanity. In the age of #MeToo, it's got to be all about me.

Robert K U , says: April 4, 2019 at 6:47 pm
Probably, every conservative will agree, that the basic flaw is materialism. Thus, with materialism, personal values that cannot be sold or bought for money, are neglected in favour of the gross domestic product per capita philosophy. Such personal values are, for instance, family values, that is, children need both a mother, especially when they are below teenage, and a father, especially when they are teenagers, and perhaps most important, a father and a mother need one another. All this family thing does, however, not enter into the money economy of big government. Whence, on the side of families, those need to take quite brave choices, to choose morals above money. And on the side of the government, this needs to tax the rich and help the poor. In fact, according to the World Bank, economic growth is stimulated best, if governments help the poor directly, rather than with obscure subsidies to the economic system. However, there is also the difficulty with difficult access to regular jobs. By no doubt, abortion genosuicide decreases demand on the most simple of goods and services, causing unemployment for the poor, and driving up costs of raising children. Society then goes into socialism, with genosuicide instead of economic growth, while the money flows into pension funds of the upper middle class. Governments must simply help the poor. Humankind has always been able to produce twice the amount of good food that it needs, but bureaucratic governments keep the poor enslaved, to fill them with lie.
Tim , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Warren's academic work and cheeky refusal to fold under pressure when her nomination as Obama's consumer ('home ec.'?) finance czar was stymied by the GOP are worthy of respect. I'd like to see her make a strong run at the dem nomination, but am put off by her recent tendency to adopt silly far-left talking points and sentiments (her Native DNA, advocating for reparations, etc.). Nice try, Liz, but I'm still leaning Bernie's direction.

As far as the details of the economic analysis related above, though, I am unqualified to make any judgment – haven't read the book. But one enormously significant economic development in the early 70s wasn't mentioned at all, so I assume she and her daughter passed it over as well. In his first term R. Milhouse Nixon untethered, once & for all, the value of the dollar from traditional hard currency. The economy has been coming along nicely ever since, except for one problematic aspect: with a floating currency we are all now living in an economic environment dominated by the vicissitudes of supplies and demands, are we not? It took awhile to effect the housing market, but signs of the difference it made began to emerge fairly quickly, and accelerated sharply when the tides of globalism washed lots of third world lucre up on our western shores. Now, as clearly implied by both Warren and the author of this article, young Americans whose parents may not have even been born back then – the early 70s – are probably permanently priced out of the housing market in places that used to have only a marginally higher cost of entry – i.e. urban California, where I have lived and worked for most of my nearly 60 years. In places like this even a 3-earner income may not suffice! Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism. Of course, nothing could be more conservative than that, right? What say you, TAColytes?

EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:57 pm
"Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism."

I take it you think the old one has departed.

It was in the area of how businesses and government were reciprocating unhealthy and unfair business practices is where I think her advocacy was most accurate. But she has abandoned all of that.

K squared , says: April 5, 2019 at 7:05 am
"Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers."

Funny that Warren HAS brought up raising taxes on the rich.

[Apr 05, 2019] 'Enough With That' Warren Backs Killing Filibuster to Push Through Progressive Reforms by Julia Conley, staff writer

Notable quotes:
"... "I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change. I'm serious about getting it done," the speech reads. "And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate." ..."
"... Advocates including Warren also say the end of the filibuster would make it easier for the Senate to pass meaningful legislation to combat the climate crisis and to further other progressive causes. ..."
"... "We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind," Warren's speech reads. "We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin. Enough with that." ..."
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org

"We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind."

The 2020 presidential candidate is expected to endorse the proposal in a speech at the National Action Network Convention in New York Friday morning.

"When Democrats next have power, we should be bold and clear: We're done with two sets of rules -- one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats," Warren is expected to say. "And that means when Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster."

"I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change. I'm serious about getting it done," the speech reads. "And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate."

Getting rid of the filibuster -- the Senate procedure which allows a minority party to delay a vote by drawing out debate and block legislation from passing by requiring a "supermajority" of 60 senators to approve it -- would be a key step toward passing progressive measures, advocates say.

At the NAN Convention, Warren is expected to note that the filibuster has stopped the Senate from passing radical justice legislation for decades, including an anti-lynching bill which was first introduced a century ago but didn't pass until December 2018.

"It nearly became the law back then. It passed the House in 1922. But it got killed in the Senate -- by a filibuster. And then it got killed again. And again. And again," Warren plans to say. "More than 200 times. An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation from doing what was right."

Advocates including Warren also say the end of the filibuster would make it easier for the Senate to pass meaningful legislation to combat the climate crisis and to further other progressive causes.

"We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind," Warren's speech reads. "We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin. Enough with that."

Warren joins fellow 2020 Democratic hopefuls Pete Buttigieg and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in endorsing the end of the filibuster. Her speech Friday will represent her latest push for "structural change" that she says would have far-reaching positive effects on the lives of working Americans. Since announcing her candidacy in January she has called for a tax on the wealth of the richest Americans to combat economic inequality and fund progressive programs, a universal childcare plan, and a breakup of powerful tech giants , among other proposals.

[Apr 05, 2019] Pelosi Accused of Deploying 'Most Dishonest Argument' Against Medicare for All by Jake Johnson

Pelosi: Sock Puppet For the Insurance Industry
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org
described as "probably the most dishonest argument in the entire Medicare for All debate."

"People who love their employer-based insurance do not get to hold on to it in our current system. Instead, they lose that insurance constantly, all the time. It is a complete nightmare."
-- Matt Bruenig, People's Policy Project

In an interview with the Washington Post , the Democratic leader said she is "agnostic" on Medicare for All and claimed, "A lot of people love having their employer-based insurance and the Affordable Care Act gave them better benefits."

Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People's Policy Project, argued in a blog post that Pelosi's statement "implies that, under our current health insurance system, people who like their employer-based insurance can hold on to it."

"This then is contrasted with a Medicare for All transition where people will lose their employer-based insurance as part of being shifted over to an excellent government plan," Bruenig wrote. "But the truth is that people who love their employer-based insurance do not get to hold on to it in our current system. Instead, they lose that insurance constantly, all the time, over and over again. It is a complete nightmare."

To illustrate his point, Bruenig highlighted a University of Michigan study showing that among Michiganders "who had employer-sponsored insurance in 2014, only 72 percent were continuously enrolled in that insurance for the next 12 months.

"This means that 28 percent of people on an employer plan were not on that same plan one year later," Bruenig noted.

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"Critics of Medicare for All are right to point out that losing your insurance sucks," Bruenig concluded. "But the only way to stop that from happening to people is to create a seamless system where people do not constantly churn on and off of insurance. Medicare for All offers that. Our current system offers the exact opposite. If you like losing your insurance all the time, then our current healthcare system is the right one for you."

All On Medicare -- a pro-Medicare for All Twitter account -- slammed Pelosi's remarks, accusing the Democratic leader of parroting insurance industry talking points:

The Speaker's alternative to the Medicare for All legislation co-sponsored by over 100 members of her caucus is a bill to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which she introduced last week .

"We all share the value of healthcare for all Americans -- quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans," Pelosi told the Post . "What is the path to that? I think it's the Affordable Care Act, and if that leads to Medicare for All, that may be the path."

The nation's largest nurses union was among those who expressed disagreement with the Speaker's incrementalist approach.

In a statement last week, National Nurses United president Zenei Cortez, RN, said Pelosi's plan would "only put a Band-Aid on a broken healthcare system."

"National Nurses United, along with our allies, will continue to build the grassroots movement for genuine healthcare justice and push to pass Medicare for All," Cortez concluded.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

[Apr 04, 2019] Are Academics Academic? by Daniel Warner

Apr 04, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Academics have different interests from practitioners. Publications, tenure and mentoring students are university responsibilities, not responsibilities for governing the world. ( It is an open question whether [neoliberal] academics sub-consciously want to govern the world .)

Harvard University has a rule – known as the Kissinger rule – that faculty can only take two years off to do other activities such as government work in Washington.

David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest is a damning recounting of how the Harvard elite failed to understand the Vietnam War because of its arrogance.)

[Apr 03, 2019] Suspected of Corruption at Home, Powerful Foreigners Find Refuge in the US

Highly recommended!
Apr 03, 2019 | www.propublica.org

Wealthy politicians and businessmen suspected of corruption in their native lands are fleeing to a safe haven where their wealth and influence shields them from arrest.

They have entered this country on a variety of visas, including one designed to encourage investment. Some have applied for asylum, which is intended to protect people fleeing oppression and political persecution.

The increasingly popular destination for people avoiding criminal charges is no pariah nation.

It's the United States.

An investigation by ProPublica, in conjunction with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, has found that officials fleeing prosecution in Colombia, China, South Korea, Bolivia and Panama have found refuge for themselves and their wealth in this country, taking advantage of lax enforcement of U.S. laws and gaps in immigration and financial regulations. Many have concealed their assets and real-estate purchases by creating trusts and limited liability companies in the names of lawyers and relatives.

American authorities are supposed to vet visa applicants to make sure they are not under active investigation on criminal charges. But the ProPublica examination shows that this requirement has been routinely ignored.

One of the most prominent cases involves a former president of Panama, who was allowed to enter the United States just days after his country's Supreme Court opened an investigation into charges that he had helped embezzle $45 million from a government school lunch program.

Ricardo Martinelli, a billionaire supermarket magnate, had been on the State Department's radar since he was elected in 2009. That year, the U.S. ambassador to Panama began sending diplomatic cables warning about the president's "dark side," including his links to corruption and his request for U.S. support for wiretapping his opponents.

Soon after Martinelli left office in 2014, Panamanian prosecutors conducted a widely publicized investigation of corruption in the school lunch program, and in mid-January 2015, forwarded their findings to the country's Supreme Court.

On Jan. 28, 2015, just hours before the Supreme Court announced a formal probe into the charges, Martinelli boarded a private plane, flew to Guatemala City for a meeting and then entered the United States on a visitor visa. Within weeks, he was living comfortably in the Atlantis, a luxury condominium on Miami's swanky Brickell Avenue. He is still here.

The State Department declined to comment on Martinelli's case, saying visa records are confidential and it is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that decides who is allowed to enter the country. CBP said privacy regulations prevent the agency from commenting on Martinelli.

Efforts to reach Martinelli, including a registered letter sent to his Miami address, were unsuccessful.

In September this year, Panama asked to extradite Martinelli, but the former president is fighting that request, arguing there are no legal grounds to bring him back to his home country where the investigation has broadened to include insider trading, corruption and abuse of authority. Last December, Panama's high court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges that he used public funds to spy on over 150 political opponents. If found guilty, he could face up to 21 years in jail.

Rogelio Cruz, who is defending Martinelli in Panama's Supreme Court, said that the former president "will return to Panama once adequate conditions exist with respect to due process, where there are independent judges -- which there aren't."

The United States has explicit policies that bar issuing visas to foreign officials facing criminal charges in their homelands. In 2004, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation designed to keep the United States from becoming a haven for corrupt officials. Proclamation 7750, which has the force and effect of law, directed the State Department to ban officials who have accepted bribes or misappropriated public funds when their actions have "serious adverse effects on the national interests of the United States."

Under the rules implementing Bush's order, consular officers do not need a conviction or even formal charges to justify denying a visa. They can stamp "denied" based on information from unofficial, or informal sources, including newspaper articles, according to diplomats and State Department officials interviewed for this report.

The State Department declined to provide the number of times Proclamation 7750 has been invoked, but insisted that it has been used "robustly."

Over the years, some allegedly corrupt officials have been banned from entering the United States, including former Panamanian President Ernesto Perez Balladares , former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman, former Cameroonian Defense Minister Remy Ze Meka, and retired Philippine Gen. Carlos Garcia , according to cables published by WikiLeaks. In 2014, the U.S. banned visas for 10 members of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's inner circle because of corruption allegations.

But numerous other foreign government officials, including former presidents and cabinet ministers, have slipped through the cracks, according to court documents, diplomatic cables and interviews with prosecutors and defense attorneys in the United States and abroad. The charges involved a wide range of misconduct, from stealing public funds to accepting bribes.


Six months before Martinelli entered the United States, a former Colombian agriculture minister and onetime presidential candidate, Andres Felipe Arias, fled to Miami three weeks before he was convicted of funneling $12.5 million to wealthy political supporters from a subsidy program that was intended to reduce inequality in rural areas and protect farmers from the effects of globalization.

The U.S. embassy in Bogota had been following Arias' trial closely and reporting on the scandal in cables to Washington. The trial featured documents and witnesses saying that under Arias' watch, the agriculture ministry had doled out millions in subsidies to affluent families, some of whom, according to media reports, had donated to Arias' political allies or his presidential campaign.

Subsidies went to relatives of congressmen, companies owned by the richest man in Colombia, and a former beauty queen. One powerful family and its associates received over $2.5 million, according to records released by prosecutors. Another family, which included relatives of a former senator, received $1.3 million. Both families had supported Arias' chief political ally, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, with campaign contributions.

The law that established the program did not ban wealthy landowners from getting grants, but some elite families had received multiple subsidies for the same farm. They gamed the system by submitting multiple proposals in the names of different family members and by subdividing their land so they could apply for grants for each parcel, court records indicate.

Yet, in November 2013, while the trial was going on, the U.S. embassy in Bogota renewed Arias' visitor visa. The State Department refused to discuss the case, saying that visa records are confidential. But a recent filing in federal court showed that the U.S. embassy had flagged Arias' application, and asked him to provide documents to support his request to leave the country while charges were pending. Arias submitted documents from the Colombian court, including a judicial order that allowed him to travel. In the end, the embassy issued a visa because he had not yet been convicted.

Andres Felipe Arias, a former Colombian agriculture minister, who fled to the United States before he could be convicted of funneling money from a subsidy program (GDA via AP Images)

On the night of June 13, 2014, three weeks before the judges convicted him of embezzlement by appropriation, a Colombian law that penalizes the unauthorized use of public funds to benefit private entities, Arias packed his bags and boarded a plane. The following month, the U.S. embassy in Bogota revoked the visa. But Arias hired an immigration attorney and applied for asylum.

"If you looked up 'politically motivated charges' in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Andres Arias next to it," said David Oscar Markus, Arias' lead attorney. "The case [against him] is absurd and not even one that is recognized in the United States."

Over the next two years, Arias built a new life in South Florida with his wife and two children, opening a small consulting company and renting a house in Weston.

On August 24, he was arrested by U.S. authorities in response to an extradition request from Colombia. He spent several months in a detention facility until his release on bail in mid-November. Arias argues that the United States cannot extradite him because it has no active extradition treaty with Colombia, but the U.S. Attorney's Office disagrees. A plea for asylum does not shield defendants from extradition if they are charged in Colombia with a crime covered by the treaty between the two countries.


Congress established the EB-5 immigrant investor program in 1990 as a way of creating jobs for Americans and encouraging investment by foreigners.

The agency that administers the program, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has adopted regulations designed to prevent fraud, including requiring foreign investors to submit evidence, such as tax returns and bank statements, to prove they obtained their money legally.

But these safeguards did not stop the daughter-in-law and grandsons of former South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan from using Chun's ill-gotten gains to get U.S. permanent residency.

In 1996, a Korean court convicted Chun of receiving more than $200 million in bribes while in office in the 1980s, from companies such as Samsung and Hyundai. He was ordered to return the bribes, but refused.

Part of Chun's fortune was funneled into the United States through his son, who purchased a $2.2 million house in Newport Beach, California, according to South Korean prosecutors and real-estate records.

Millions of dollars from Chun's bribery proceeds were hidden in bearer bonds, which are notoriously difficult to trace. Unlike regular bonds, which belong to registered owners, there is no record kept about the ownership or transfer of bearer bonds. The bonds can be cashed out by whoever has them.

Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan addresses the press at the White House in 1985. Chun's relatives later gained permanent residency in the United States by using money Chun obtained through bribes. (Bettmann via Getty Images)

In 2008, Chun's daughter-in-law, a South Korean actress named Park Sang-ah, applied for an immigrant investor visa. Park listed her husband's bearer bonds as the source of her funds without mentioning that the money had been initially provided to him by Chun. Eight months later, Park and her children received their conditional U.S. permanent residency cards in the mail.

In 2013, at the request of South Korean prosecutors, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into the Chun family's wealth in the United States and subsequently seized $1.2 million of the family's U.S. assets in the United States. The money was returned to South Korea. Despite that, Chun's family members have retained their residency status.

Chun's relatives obtained their permanent residency by investing in an EB-5 project managed by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, a nonprofit company. The PIDC pooled Chun's $500,000 with money from 200 other foreign investors to finance an expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia.

The same project in Philadelphia also helped to secure permanent residency for Qiao Jianjun, a Chinese government official accused of embezzling more than $40 million from a state-owned grain storehouse, according to reports in the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party's newspaper. Qiao had divorced his wife, Shilan Zhao, in China in 2001, a fact he did not disclose to U.S. immigration authorities. When Zhao applied for an EB-5 visa, Qiao qualified for U.S. permanent residency as an applicant's spouse.

The Justice Department launched an investigation only when it was tipped off by Chinese authorities. In January 2014, a federal grand jury indicted Zhao and her ex-husband, Qiao, for immigration fraud, money laundering and internationally transporting stolen funds. Zhao was arrested and released on bail. Federal authorities are pursuing Qiao, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

A trial has been set for February 2017. U.S. government attorneys have filed asset forfeiture cases to recover real estate linked to Qiao and Zhao in Flushing, New York, and Monterey Park, California.

In April 2015, Qiao appeared on the Chinese government's list of 100 "most wanted" officials who fled abroad after being accused of crimes such as bribery and corruption. He and 39 other government officials and state-owned enterprise leaders on the list allegedly fled to the United States.

The list, called "Operation Skynet," is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign, which has vowed to take down what Chinese officials describe as corrupt "tigers" and "flies" within the country's ruling Communist Party.

Fengxian Hu was another fugitive on China's list. A former army singer and radio broadcaster, Hu headed the state-owned broadcasting company that had a joint venture with Pepsi to distribute soft drinks in Sichuan province. In 2002, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal reported that Pepsi had accused Hu of looting the joint venture and using company funds to buy fancy cars and go on European tours.

The same year, in a widely publicized move, Pepsi filed a case with international arbitrators in Stockholm, asking that the joint venture be dissolved. Despite this, Hu was given a visa that allowed him to fly regularly to Las Vegas, where he was a VIP client at the MGM casino.

In January 2010, Chinese authorities investigated Hu for corruption. But the month before, Hu had entered the United States on a B1 visitor visa, joining his wife, a U.S. citizen living in New York.

Hu tried to obtain a green card through his wife, but the petition was rejected by U.S. immigration authorities. He applied for asylum instead.

Meanwhile, he had gotten into trouble in the United States for losing millions in a Las Vegas casino and failing to pay a $12 million gambling debt. In 2012, he was indicted in a Nevada court on two counts of theft and one count of intentionally passing a check without sufficient funds.

Hu pled not guilty to the charges; his lawyers claimed that his checks bounced because his bank account had been closed by Chinese authorities. The charges against him in the U.S. were considered an aggravated felony, which is a common basis for deportation. Hu, however, had a pending asylum case and so could not be deported.

In August 2015, a New York immigration judge denied the asylum claim. But Hu's lawyers argued that he would be tortured if he returned to China and invoked the United Nations Convention Against Torture , which says that an alien may not be sent to a country where he is likely to be tortured. In the end, the immigration court suspended Hu's removal order, allowing him to remain in the United States and work here indefinitely. He will not, however, be given permanent residency or be allowed to travel outside the country.

The absence of an extradition treaty -- coupled with a high standard of living -- makes the United States a favored destination for Chinese officials and businessmen fleeing corruption charges.

In April 2015, Jeh Johnson, the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security , made a 48-hour trip to Beijing. The visit was intended to pave the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping's U.S. visit in September 2015, according to a memorandum Johnson wrote, which was obtained through a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

In the memo, Johnson said the Chinese government is seeking 132 people it said have fled to the United States to avoid prosecution. This represents a greater number of fugitives than Chinese authorities have publicly acknowledged.

"I'm told that in prior discussions, the Chinese have been frustrated by the lack of any information from us about the 132 fugitives," Johnson wrote.

The Chinese request for assistance posed a dilemma for the United States. American officials are concerned about a lack of fairness in China's criminal justice system. Human rights groups say that China continues to use torture to extract false confessions from suspected criminals. Torture has also been documented to be part of shuanggui -- a secretive discipline process reserved for members of the Chinese Communist Party.

Some analysts see the crackdown on corrupt officials as part of a purge aimed at the current regime's political rivals and ideological enemies. U.S. officials say this makes returning corrupt officials to China a delicate issue for the United States.


In 2003, headlines around the world reported widespread street protests in Bolivia that led to security forces killing 58 people, most of them members of indigenous groups. Not long afterward, as protesters massed up on the streets of La Paz demanding his resignation, Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada resigned and fled his country along with his defense minister, Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain.

The two men flew to the United States, where they continue to reside. In 2006, Berzain applied for political asylum, which he was granted in 2007. On his application, when the form asked, "Have you or your family members ever been accused, charged, arrested, detained, interrogated, convicted and sentenced, or imprisoned in any country other than the United States?" Berzain checked the box "no," even though by then he and de Lozada had been formally accused of genocide by Bolivia's attorney general. The indictment was approved by Bolivia's Supreme Court in 2007. Berzain also stated on his application that the State Department had arranged for his travel to the United States.

The de Lozada administration was vocally pro-American. Before it was ousted, officials had announced they would facilitate gas exports to the United States.

After their departure, Bolivia's attorney general publicly stated that the administration had embezzled millions from government coffers, but did not formally file charges. He said de Lozada had taken some $22 million from the country's reserve funds before fleeing.

De Lozada and members of his administration have dismissed the allegations as part of a politically motivated smear campaign, but there is evidence to suggest irregularities may have occurred in the handling of the reserve funds. The former president signed a decree shortly before leaving office authorizing the interior and finance ministers to withdraw money from Bolivia's reserve funds without going through the normal approval process. De Lozada's former interior minister pleaded guilty in 2004 to embezzlement after $270,000 in cash was found in an associate's home.

De Lozada, a mining mogul before he became president, moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland, an upscale suburb of Washington, D.C. He now lives in a two-story brick house bought for $1.4 million by Macalester Limited, a limited liability company that was formed in the British Virgin Islands and lists a post office box in the Bahamas as its principal address.

De Lozada's immigration status is unclear. He said in a sworn deposition in 2015 that he was not a U.S. citizen. His son-in-law, who spoke to ProPublica on his behalf, would not say whether de Lozada had applied for asylum.

Berzain, meanwhile, settled in South Florida. Records show that he and his brother-in-law personally own or are listed as officers or members of business entities that together control around $9 million worth of Miami real estate.

Some of the purchases were made in the names of entities that appear to list different variations of Berzain's name in business records.

In addition, in the purchase of two properties, Berzain's name was added to business records only after the deal had gone through. Berzain's brother-in-law incorporated a company called Warren USA Corp in October 2010, for example, and the company purchased a $1.4 million residential property the following month. Three weeks after Warren USA Corp became the owner of an elegant Spanish-style villa in Key Biscayne, Berzain was added as the company's secretary.

The following year, in May 2011, Berzain's brother-in-law created Galen KB Corp and registered as the company's president. A month later, Galen KB Corp purchased a $250,000 condo. In August, Berzain replaced his brother-in-law as the company's president, according to business records. Berzain is no longer listed as a company officer in either company.

During an interview in January, Berzain told ProPublica "I don't have any companies." When asked about several of the companies associated with his name or address in public records, the former defense minister said he had a consulting firm that helped clients set up companies and that he was sometimes added to the board of directors. Efforts to reach Berzain's brother-in-law, a wealthy businessman and the owner of a bus company in Bolivia, were unsuccessful. Berzain's brother-in-law has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The practice of purchasing real estate in the name of a business entity like a limited liability company, or LLC, is a common and legal practice in high-end real-estate markets, and one that enables celebrities and other wealthy individuals to protect their privacy.

But the practice also allows foreign officials to hide ill-gotten gains. U.S. regulations allow individuals to form business entities like LLCs without disclosing the beneficial owner. The LLCs can be registered in the names of lawyers, accountants or other associates -- or even anonymously in some states -- and used to purchase real estate, making it nearly impossible to determine the actual owner of a property.


Government investigators and lawmakers have pointed out persistent gaps in U.S. policy that have enabled corrupt officials to evade justice and hide their assets in this country. But little has changed.

Last year, a U.S. Government Accountability Office investigation said it can be "difficult" for immigration officials to identify the true source of an immigrant investor's funds. Immigration officials told the government auditors that EB-5 applicants with ties to corruption, the drug trade, human trafficking and other criminal activities have a strong incentive to omit key details about their financial histories or lie on their applications.

"It's very easy to get lost in the noise if you're a bad person," said Seto Bagdoyan, the accountability office's director of forensic audits, who co-authored the GAO report.

Immigration officials, he added, have an "almost nonexistent" ability to thoroughly evaluate investors' backgrounds and trace their assets.

Despite such weaknesses, Congress has continually extended the EB-5 program with minor changes. The program is backed by real-estate lobbyists who argue that it is a crucial source of financing for luxury condos and hotels. The program is expected to thrive in a Trump presidency because the president-elect is a developer and his son-in-law Jared Kushner received $50 million in EB-5 funds to build a Trump-branded tower in New Jersey.

In 2010, a Senate report described how powerful foreign officials and their relatives moved millions of dollars in suspect funds into the United States. The report said investors bypassed anti-money laundering regulations with help from U.S. lawyers, real-estate agents, and banking institutions. Last year, ABC News reported that lobbyists for real estate and other business groups spent $30 million in 2015 in an effort to protect the EB-5 program.

Senate investigators proposed legislation that would require companies to disclose their beneficial owners and make it easier for authorities to restrict entry, deny visas and deport corrupt foreign officials.

A few of the proposals have been adopted, but they have not made much difference. Banks have stepped up their efforts to identify corrupt officials and monitor their accounts. Professional groups such as the American Bar Association have issued non-binding guidelines for their members on compliance with anti-money-laundering controls. The U.S. government has also worked with the Financial Action Task Force , an international body set up to fight money laundering, to bring its anti-corruption controls in accordance with the body's guidelines.

In May, the Treasury Department enacted a new rule that will take full effect in 2018 and will require financial institutions to identify the beneficial owners of shell companies. Some advocates see the rule as a step backward. The new rule allows shell companies to designate the manager of the account as the beneficial owner, concealing the identity of the person ultimately exercising control.

The State Department declined to say what progress, if any, it has made on the Senate subcommittee's recommendation to more aggressively deny visas through Proclamation 7750. "The Department takes seriously congressional recommendations and devotes resources to addressing corruption worldwide," a State Department official wrote in response to questions.

In 2010, then-Attorney General Eric Holder launched the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. The small unit, which has grown to include 16 attorneys, aims to recover assets in the United States that are tied to foreign corruption and return the money to the looted countries.

Over the past six years, the unit has filed around two dozen civil asset forfeiture cases in an attempt to seize money, real estate and other assets tied to government officials from 16 countries. Assets have ranged from a lone diamond-encrusted glove worn by Michael Jackson that was purchased by Equatorial Guinea's Vice President, Teodoro Obiang, to a $1 billion fund tied to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Yet most of the money the Department of Justice has pursued remains in limbo. The case involving Chun, the former president of South Korea, is one of only two instances in which corrupt gains have been returned to the home country through the Justice Department's efforts. The other arose when Justice Department officials returned $1.5 million to Taiwan from property bought with bribes paid to the family of Chun Shui Bian, the former president of Taiwan.

The agency faces myriad challenges when attempting to seize and return assets acquired by corrupt foreign officials, including a lack of witnesses, said Kendall Day, head of the Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section. These officials often shield their transactions through shell companies, offshore companies or a network of associates.

"The mission of the Kleptocracy Initiative is really to target what we call grand foreign corruption that impacts the U.S. financial system," Day said, citing the Chun case as an example.

The 2012 Magnitsky Act gives the government power to deny visas and freeze the assets of Russian nationals accused of corruption or human rights violations. The Global Magnitsky Act would extend the same sanctions to the rest of the world, but it has yet to be passed by Congress. Unlike Proclamation 7750, the Magnitsky laws require the government to publish a list of foreign government officials who are barred from the United States.

In addition, the Treasury Department imposed regulations this year that aim to crack down on the use of shell companies to purchase real estate in places like Miami and Manhattan. Title insurance companies are now required to identify the real owners of companies purchasing high-end real estate without a mortgage. These regulations, however, are temporary.

[Apr 02, 2019] Poroshenko was just a US marionette which helped to loot the country and impoverish Ukrainian people

Under neoliberalism any regime change is necessary followed by an economic rape. That was the case with the USSR in 1991, that was the case in Ukraine in 2014. Only the size and length of the looting varies depending of the strength of new government. Both the size and the length is maximal if in power are marionette like Yeltsin or Yatsenyuk/Poroshenko.
Saying "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" now should sound as "Beware of Americans who bring you color revolutions." They bring the economic rape (aka "Disaster capitalism") as the second phase. That's the nature of neocolonialism -- now you do not need to occupy the country. It's enough to make it a debt slave using IMF and install compradors to endure the low of money and continuing impoverishment of the population.
With such crooked and greedy friends as Biden and Kerry and their narcoaddicts sons you do not need enemies. But the main danger are not individual sharks but Western financial institutions like IMF and World bank. Those convert countries into debt slaves and that means permanently low standard (Central African in case of Ukraine, something like $2 a day) of living for generations to come.
What is interesting is that unlike say German nationalists in 30th, the Ukrainian nationalists proved to be completly useless in defending the Ukraine from looting. They actually serves as supplementary tool of the same looting.
The standard of living of Ukrainians dropped 2-3 times since 2014. How pensioners survive, on $50 a month pension I simply do not understand. In any case Neoliberalism proved to be very effecting is keeping "developing" nations economic growth down and converting them into debt slaves. The fact that Biden use loans as a tool of extortion (as in threat to cancel one billion loan) to close criminal investigation of his sons company is just an icing on the cake. Poroshenko and his camarilla should be tried in the court of law for his corruption and pandering to the Western sharks, who were happy to steal from Ukraine as much as then can.
To pay $166K a month for Biden's son cocaine is way too much to such impoverished country as Ukraine.
Notable quotes:
"... "I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko. ..."
"... " Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time," Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event - while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat. ..."
"... The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden's younger son, Hunter, as a board member. ..."
"... U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden's American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts -- usually more than $166,000 a month -- from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia. - The Hill ..."
"... And before he was fired, Shokin says he had made "specific plans" for the investigation - including "interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden." "I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine," added Shokin. Joe Biden "clearly had to know" about the probe before he insisted on Shokin's ouster . Via The Hill: ..."
"... The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden's work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor's case against Burisma; ..."
"... President Obama named Biden the administration's point man on Ukraine in February 2014 ..."
"... Remember Victoria Nuland's famous phone recording of "**** the EU?" This was nothing more than another CIA destabilization campaign carried out of another Sovereign Country. With the goal of breaking the Bush Senior & Jim Baker agreement of not surrounding Russia with NATO countries after their Collapse. ..."
"... Let's face it. If Ukrainians loved it's Country, Joey, Hunter and the Choco-**** would have wound up like Mikhail Lesin during an all night party in an upscale grotto in Kiev by now! ..."
"... At last some questions for this dirt ball-burisma is tied in with one of the most if not the most corrupt oligarch, Koloimiski. Biden is up to his eyeballs in some dodgy deals in china as well-this guy and his son are walking corruption personified. ..."
"... Didn't Hillary teach Joe that a tax free foundation is better than using your son's LLC for laundering the bribes... This is basic stuff. ..."
"... Joe "the Conqueror" "Caesar Magnus" Biden. Joe of Ukraine, the best bud of $oro$. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Originally from: Forget 'Creepy' - Biden Has A Major Ukraine Problem Joe Biden appears to have made a major tactical error last year when he bragged to an audience of foreign policy experts how he threatened to hurl Ukraine into bankruptcy if their top prosecutor, General Viktor Shokin, wasn't immediately fired, according to The Hill 's John Solomon.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees , sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn't immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. - The Hill

"I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko.

" Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time," Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event - while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q0_AqpdwqK4?start=3128

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden's account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day . Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine's parliament obliged by ending Shokin's tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired. - The Hill

And why would Biden want the "son of a bitch" fired?

In what must be an amazing coincidence, the prosecutor was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into a natural gas firm - which Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board of directors.

The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden's younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden's American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts -- usually more than $166,000 a month -- from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia. - The Hill

The Hill 's Solomon reviewed the general prosecutor's file for the Burisma probe - which he reports shows Hunter Biden, his business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

And before he was fired, Shokin says he had made "specific plans" for the investigation - including "interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden." "I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine," added Shokin. Joe Biden "clearly had to know" about the probe before he insisted on Shokin's ouster . Via The Hill:

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor's probe of Burisma and his son's role. They noted that:

President Obama named Biden the administration's point man on Ukraine in February 2014 , after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine's Crimea territory.

***

Key questions for 'ol Joe:

Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden's firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

Read the rest of Solomon's report here .

Chupacabra-322 , 58 minutes ago link

Remember Victoria Nuland's famous phone recording of "**** the EU?" This was nothing more than another CIA destabilization campaign carried out of another Sovereign Country. With the goal of breaking the Bush Senior & Jim Baker agreement of not surrounding Russia with NATO countries after their Collapse.

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Let's face it. If Ukrainians loved it's Country, Joey, Hunter and the Choco-**** would have wound up like Mikhail Lesin during an all night party in an upscale grotto in Kiev by now!

Amazing that all 3 of them are still alive and that "Song Bird" McCain (#4) was allowed to die from his brain cancer instead of joining them or being dismembered and put on display when he made these visit(s) ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbfsTcJCKDE ) along with General Vallely (#5)!!!

Taras Bulba , 1 hour ago

At last some questions for this dirt ball-burisma is tied in with one of the most if not the most corrupt oligarch, Koloimiski. Biden is up to his eyeballs in some dodgy deals in china as well-this guy and his son are walking corruption personified.

CarifonianSeven, 2 hours ago

Didn't Hillary teach Joe that a tax free foundation is better than using your son's LLC for laundering the bribes... This is basic stuff.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy, 1 hour ago

Joe cheated his way through undergrad and law school. He would be unable to understand any of that.

whittler, 1 hour ago

What? You mean folks will finally care about little Hunter hiring Azov neo-Nazi fighters (oops! security I mean) to protect his fracking site just north of the 'troubles' in the eastern Ukraine? I'm sure they were working for free and that no Biden money was ever used to payoff (oops again! I mean pay the wages of) a bunch of Nazis (dang it again, I mean neo-Nazis, it sounds so much warmer and fuzzier when you add 'neo').

Creepy Joe and all D's agree, 'Nazi' = bad, neo-Nazi = warm, fuzzy and good; heck, they even like to kill Russians Russians Russians!!!

Cracker 16 , 1 hour ago

Joe "the Conqueror" "Caesar Magnus" Biden. Joe of Ukraine, the best bud of $oro$.

[Mar 31, 2019] The Media Gaslighting of 2020's Most Likable Candidate

Mar 31, 2019 | medium.com

At CNN's town hall event on Monday, the American people saw something we'd been told was impossible: Elizabeth Warren winning over a crowd.

The Massachusetts senator took aim at a variety of subjects: the Electoral College, Mississippi's racist state flag, the rise of white nationalism . Always, she was met with thunderous applause. Even a simple Bible verse -- from Matthew 25:35–40, about moral obligation to the poor and hungry -- prompted cheers so loud and prolonged that Warren had to pause and repeat herself in order to make her voice heard over the noise. Yet this was the same woman the media routinely frames as too wonky, too nerdy, too socially stunted. But then, Warren has always been an exceptionally charismatic candidate. We just forget that fact when she's campaigning -- due, in large part, to our deep and lingering distrust for female intelligence.

Warren is bursting with what we might call "charisma" in male candidates: She has the folksy demeanor of Joe Biden, the ferocious conviction of Bernie Sanders, the deep intelligence of fellow law professor Barack Obama. But Warren is not a man, and so those traits are framed as liabilities, rather than strengths. According to the media, Warren is an uptight schoolmarm, a " wonky professor ," a scold, a wimpy Dukakis, a wooden John Kerry, or (worse) a nerdier Al Gore.

The criticism has hit her from the left and right. The far-right Daily Caller accused her of looking weird when she drank beer ; on social media, conservatives spread vicious (and viciously ableist) rumors that Warren took antipsychotic drugs that treated "irritability caused by autism ." On the other end of the spectrum, Amber A'Lee Frost, the lone female co-host of the socialist podcast Chapo Trap House , wrote for The Baffler (and, when The Baffler retracted her article, for Jacobin) that Warren was " weak " and " not charismatic ." Frost deplored the "Type-A Tracy Flicks" who dared support "this Lisa Simpson of a dark-horse candidate."

Casting Warren as a sheltered, Ivory Tower type is odd, given that her politics and diction are not exactly elitist. Yet none of this is new; the same stereotypes were levied against Warren in 2011, during her Senate campaign.

Strangely, the first nerdification of Warren was a purely local phenomenon -- one which happened even as national media was falling in love with her. Jon Stewart publicly adored her , and her ingenuity in proposing the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a few years prior earned her respect among the rising populist wing of the party. Her fame was further catapulted when a speech -- a video of Warren speaking, seemingly off-the-cuff , in a constituent's living room -- went viral. "Nobody in this country got rich on his own, nobody," Warren proclaimed, pointing up the ways entrepreneurs benefit from publicly funded services like roads and schools and fire departments.

"First-time candidates don't usually articulate a progressive economic message quite this well," the Washington Monthly declared . The New Yorker called it " the most important political speech of this campaign season. " That enthusiasm continued throughout Warren's first Senate bid. Writing for the New York Times , Rebecca Traister noted that "the early devotion to Warren recalls the ardor once felt by many for Obama." (Obama himself famously echoed Warren's message -- "you didn't build that" -- on the 2012 campaign trail.)

Locally, Warren prompted a much different discussion, with scores of Massachusetts analysts describing her as stiff and unlikable. Boston-based Democratic analyst Dan Payne bemoaned her "know-it-all style" and wished aloud she would " be more authentic I want her to just sound like a human being, not read the script that makes her sound like some angry, hectoring schoolmarm." In a long profile for Boston magazine, reporter Janelle Nanos quoted Thomas Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, who called Warren a "flawed candidate," someone who was " desperately trying to find a message that's going to resonate. " In that same article, Nanos asked Warren point-blank about her "likability problem." Warren's response seemed to stem from deep frustration: "People tell me everywhere I go why they care that I got in this race," she said. "I can't answer the question because I literally haven't experienced what you're talking about."

By demanding that Warren disguise her exceptional talents, we are asking her to lose. Thankfully, she's not listening.

There's an element of gaslighting here: It only takes a reporter a few sources -- and an op-ed columnist a single, fleeting judgment -- to declare a candidate "unlikable." After that label has been applied, any effort the candidate makes to win people over can be cast as "inauthentic." Likability is in this way a self-reinforcing accusation, one which is amplified every time the candidate tries to tackle it. (Recall Hillary Clinton, who was asked about her "likability" at seemingly every debate or town hall for eight straight years -- then furiously accused of pandering every time she made an effort to seem more "approachable.")

It's significant that the " I hate you; please respond" line of political sabotage only ever seems to be aimed at women. It's also revealing that, when all these men talked about how Warren could win them over, their "campaign" advice sounded suspiciously close to makeover tips. In his article, Payne advised Warren to "lose the granny glasses," "soften the hair," and employ a professional voice coach to "deepen her voice, which grates on some." Payne seemed to suggest that Elizabeth Warren look like a model and sound like a man -- anything to disguise the grisly reality of a smart woman making her case.

Warren won her Senate race, and the "schoolmarm" stereotype largely vanished as her national profile grew. By 2014, grassroots activists were begging her to run for president; by mid-2016, CNN had named her " Donald Trump's chief antagonist ." She's since given a stream of incendiary interviews and handed the contemporary women's movement its most popular meme . All this should be enough to prove any candidate's "charisma." Yet, now that she's thrown her hat into the presidential ring, the firebrand has become a Poindexter once again.

The digs at Warren's "professorial" style hurt her because, on some level, they're true. Warren really is an intellectual, a scholar; moreover, she really is running an exceptionally ideas-focused campaign, regularly turning out detailed and exhaustive policy proposals at a point when most of the other candidates don't even have policy sections on their websites. What's galling is the suggestion that this is a bad thing.

Yes, male candidates have suffered from being too smart -- just ask Gore, who ran on climate change 20 years before it was trendy. But just as often, their intelligence helps them. Obama's sophistication and public reading lists endeared him to liberals. And just a few days ago, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was widely praised for learning Norwegian in order to read an author's untranslated works. Yet, Warren is dorky, a teacher's pet, a try-hard Tracy Flick, or Lisa Simpson. A "know-it-all."

The "schoolmarm" stereotype now applied to Warren has always been used to demean educated women. In the Victorian era, we called them "bluestockings" -- unmarried, unattractive women who had dared to prioritize intellectual development over finding a man. They are, in the words of one contemporary writer, " frumpy and frowly in the extreme, with no social talents ." Educators say that 21st century girls are still afraid to talk in class because of "sexist bullying" which sends the message that smart girls are unfeminine: "For girls, peers tell them 'if you are swotty and clever and answer too many questions, you are not attractive ,'" claims Mary Bousted, joint general-secretary of the U.K.'s National Education Union. Female academics still report being made to feel " unsexual, unattractive, unwomanly, and unnatural. " We can deplore all this as antiquated thinking, but even now, grown men are still demanding that Warren ditch her glasses or "soften" her hair -- to work on being prettier so as to make her intelligence less threatening.

Warren is cast as a bloodless intellectual when she focuses on policy, a scolding lecturer when she leans into her skills as a rabble-rouser; either way, her intelligence is always too much and out of place. Her eloquence is framed, not as inspiring, but as "angry" and "hectoring." Being an effective orator makes her "strident." It's not solely confined to the media, but reporters seem anxious to signal-boost anyone who complains: Anonymous male colleagues call her "irritating," telling Vanity Fair that "she projects a 'holier than thou' attitude" and that " she has a moralizing to her. " That same quality in male candidates is hailed as moral clarity.

Warren is accused, in plain language, of being uppity -- a woman who has the bad grace to be smarter than the men around her, without downplaying it to assuage their egos. But running in a presidential race is all about proving that you are smarter than the other guy. By demanding that Warren disguise her exceptional talents, we are asking her to lose. Thankfully, she's not listening. She is a smart woman, after all.

[Mar 31, 2019] What is the purpose of Russiagate hysteria?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years. ..."
"... It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land. ..."
"... Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans. ..."
"... The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other. ..."
"... The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Mar 30, 2019 8:51:37 PM | link

@b:
What is the purpose of making that claim?

The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years.

It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land.

Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans.

Whatever they do, it's always wrong, bad, oppressive, etc. Russians are bad because they're bad. They must be "taught a lesson", "put into their place". It would, of course, be beneficial and highly profitable for Europeans to break with Anglo-Saxons and to live in peace and harmony with Russia, but Europeans simply can not overcome their racism towards Russians. The young Europeans are just as racist, with their incessant memes about "squatting Russians in tracksuits", "drunken Russians", etc., as if there's nothing else that is notable about a country of 147 million people.

The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other.

The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system.

[Mar 31, 2019] Mafiocracy Eudaimonia and Co

Mar 31, 2019 | eand.co

"I don't know why you don't listen. You're making me hurt you. I'm doing it for your own good!  --  but it's your fault!"

Does that sound eerily familiar to you? When I look at America and Britain, I see the rise of what I'll simply call mafia politics. It sums up Trumpism and Brexit in a nutshell: abuse gone mega-scale, the search absolute power through the threat of violent aggression, legitimized as "democratic"  --  but bullying, threats, intimidation, harassment, and extortion are not democracy, my friends. What are they? Mafia-ocracy.

Democracy is degenerating into mafia-ocracy, and mafia-ocracy goes something like this.

What the? Do you see the bizarre contradictory logic? The pattern? I see it every single day now, in Anglo politics. You're quite right if it reminds you of abusive relationships  --  it is one, at a social scale. If the sudden proliferation of angry, bellowing men in ill-fitting suits, sneering and jeering with dull, brutish expressions, isn't evidence enough, first let me give you a few concrete examples.

Brexiters  --  the politicians  --  explicitly invoke this chain of logic. They warn of all kinds of things if their wish isn't carried through  --  everything from mass civil unrest to riots to all out war. Riots? War? Really? Brexiters  --  the individuals  --  explicitly say: "I'll never vote again!", as if to reinforce the threat, that they'll resort to cruder means of carrying out their wishes. Or maybe you read, as I read, recently, that chants of "AOC sucks!" broke out at a recent rally  --  adding to the usual "Lock her up!" Do I really need to explain how those exemplify the logic above?

The logic above, my friends, has no place in a democracy. You see, a democracy is not a place for any of the above. When the line is crossed, we're not really practicing democracy anymore. What are we practicing?

Mafia-ocracy.

All the above is the logic every mafia from the beginning of time has used to extort, shake down, bully, harass, and destabilize. "Sure be a shame if something happened to that nice democracy you got there. Who knows what might end up happening? It'd be your fault, though."

Do you see what's happening here? Here's what that logic isn't. Policy. Vision. Ideas. An agenda. A plan to deal with real problems. Laws to expand freedom, justice, and equality. The line above  --  the essence of mafia-ocracy  --  is outside the bounds of democracy.

Democracies were centered around "parliaments" for a very good reason. "Parliament" literally means "talking it out." But we are not talking our issues out if you are threatening me. If you are trying to intimidate me. If you are victim blaming me for the implied violence you will do me.

We are "talking it out" in democracies when we discuss issues of substance. Issues of, as Americans say, "policy." What is "policy"? Have you ever thought about it? "Policy" is just something like: 'laws we hope to make to solve very real problems in our society." Policy is not: "ways I will intimidate and punish you for failing to obey me." If that is what policy is, we are not in a democracy anymore, my friends.

Where are we? We are in a twilight zone between authoritarianism, fascism, and false democracy, democracy used as a weapon. That is why I call it mafia-ocracy. It is the institutions of democracy used for anti-democratic purposes, to destroy and shatter democracy.

You can use a "parliament", a place to "talk it out", to issue threats and intimate and bully. Just as you can use a local street to intimidate and extort shop-owners. But just as that mafias stalking shop owners is not legitimate commerce, but only harassment, so too, threats and intimidation in parliaments or other democratic fora (like town halls or rallies and so on) are not democracy. Do you see the parallel I am drawing?

Mafia-ocracy uses the institutions of democracy as weapons. Its intent is to destroy the very essentials of true democracy. There are three. Freedom, equality, and justice. But when the Brexiter or Trumpist says, "Hey, there might be riots, upheaval, a civil war  --  and it's your fault. Why don't you just give in?", those three things are being undermined.

There is less equality, every time that one group in society uses threats and intimidation to overpower others. There is less freedom, every time one group in society threatens another with violence or harm to get their way. And there is less justice when these things happen, of course, too  --  in enduring ways.

In that way, mafia-ocracy is a strange thing, a new thing. It isn't quite classical authoritarianism or fascism  --  it's democracy weaponized. It's using the basic institutions of democracy, Congresses, the idea of "parliament", town halls, courts, and so forth, to tear democracies apart, as weapons for one group to overpower all the others, with threats, intimidation, bullying, and harassment.

Hence, it's supporters can call it "democracy"  --  and usually do. Nobody has taught them that a democracy has red lines  --  within them lie issues of substance, policy, and outside them lie the threat, the wish to harm, the intimidation, the intent to do real injury. Nobody seems to have taught the true believers of mafia-ocracy that trying to extort and shake down their neighbors and colleagues isn't democracy  --  but it's undoing.

And why would anyone be surprised by that? The forces that rule our world  --  capitalism, neoliberalism, supremacy  --  all these say: the strong survive, and the weak perish, and that's fair, right, and just. Everyone for themselves. You're predator or prey, burden or "self-reliant" indvidual", somebody  --  or nobody. It's not a surprise, given this binary logic that much of the world is turning to Mafia-ocracy. They're only really doing what capitalism, neoliberalism, and supremacy have taught them is perfectly acceptable, legitimate, even morally right: the shakedown, the threat, bullying, extorting.

Hence, the striking parallels of Brexit and Trumpism. Both are movements where the idea that we should bully, intimidate, threaten, and shake down our neighbours  --  both inside and outside our societies  --  is the right, best, necessary, and only thing to do. If we cannot do it  --  we might be the weak ones, and they might be the strong ones. We might be the prey, and they might be the predators.

Hence, democracy used as a weapon, as a hammer  --  one that destroys freedom, justice, and equality, not to mention trust, decency, and humanity, in the aggressive search for the power to abuse, demean, dehumanize, and devalue.

Because, my friends, when we threaten, intimidate, and vilify, that is what we are really doing: we are saying that you are not really as human as I am. Therefore, I deserve to have more power than you. That is the only logic whereby one can conclude: "you made me do it! It's your fault I hurt you!"

"It's your fault I hurt you!" Is also, of course, the logic of the abuser. Abusers believe they are more than perfectly justified  --  it's something like their moral duty to abuse their victims. "It's your fault I hurt you!" also means "you're better off being being hurt!" This rule out the possibility of a genuine relationship of equals, seeking greaterfreedom, granting each other justice  --  which is what democracy really is. Just as a democratic relationship is not an abusive one, so too an abusive society is not a democratic one  --  no matter how much the abusers cry that it is.

Again, it's not a surprise that the dynamics of abuse have gone mega-scale, have come to conquer even our political systems, have corroded our democracies. That's because, again, capitalism, neoliberalism, and supremacy all justify abuse  --  treat it as a duty. Not paying your workers as little as possible? Letting them have bathroom breaks? You're violating your duty to shareholders! Abuse is hardwired into capitalism because the division into people who "own" things and people who don't of course creates power imbalances that cannot yield freedom, equality, or justice, only abuse. It's not a surprise, then, that the abused have become abusive. It is all they have ever known  --  the quest for the power to abuse, when they were not being abused themselves. Can anyone teach there is a different world?

Mafia-ocracy is democracy being used as a weapon, abusive relationships going mega-scale, threats, intimidation, extortion, regarded as legitimate forms of democratic discourse, "It's your fault I hurt you! You made me do it!!" What it isn't is democracy.

Democracy is a lever, not a hammer. When democracy is used as a hammer, it is not democracy at all. The lever lifts. Democracy is greater freedom, justice, equality, by "talking it out", parlez, parley. If we are at the point that me telling you: "You are going to make me hurt you, for your own good, and it will be all your fault!", then, my friends, we are not upholding the great tradition and enacting the sacred and noble idea of democracy. We are becoming little versions of the mafias who have abused us all our lives long  --  even if we have been taught to call them "elites."

Umair
March 2019

[Mar 29, 2019] Elizabeth Warren, Trumpian of the Left by Bret Stephens

Warren supported Hillary that the;s a huge black spot on her credentials. She also king of a hawk in forign policy diligitly repeated stupid Depart of State talking points and making herself a fool. I especially like here blabbing about authoritarian regimes. From former Harvard professor we should expect better that this.
To a certain extent he message about rigged system is authentic as She drive this horse for a long time. But that does not means that she can't betray here electorate like Trump or Obama. She perfectly can. And is quite possible. Several details of her biography suggest that she is a female careerist -- using dirty tricks to be promoted and paying her gender as an offensive weapon (looks also at her use of Cherokee heritage claim)
But there is no ideal people and among establishment candidates she is the most electable despite all flows of her foreign policy positions.
Notable quotes:
"... Comparing Elizabeth Warren to Trump is disingenuous. Trump is just ranting and defensive, without any evidence to back up his claims. What Elizabeth Warren is saying is just a matter of paying attention. ..."
"... This analysis completely ignores the outrageous, overarching influence of money and financial privilege over American politics. Equating Bill Clinton's dalliance with Trump's disrespect for all norms of decency and the truth? Please. Warren is right. Just look at the legislative obscenity of the recent tax bill and then try and equivocate they left and the right. I am not buying this false equivalency. ..."
"... Please, Elizabeth Warren is nothing like Trump. She's a brilliant, honest, tireless fighter for ordinary Americans. She wants a fair shake for them, just as FDR wanted a fair shake -- a "New Deal" -- for our Country. ..."
"... The so-called "left" in America (moderates anywhere else on the globe) have never varied from saying that money = power. They still say that today, and raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving their own point. ..."
"... Conservatives in America (far-right extremists anywhere else on the globe) are much quieter about the influence of dough, but raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving the "left's" point. ..."
Dec 20, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

The president and the senator both want you to know that our system is "rigged."

... ... ...

For decades, the left sought to dethrone the idea of truth. Truth was not an absolute. It was a matter of power. Of perspective. Of narrative. "Truth is a thing of this world," wrote Michel Foucault. "Each society has its regime of truth, its 'general politics' of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true."

Then Kellyanne Conway gave us "alternative facts" and Rudy Giuliani said, " Truth isn't truth" -- and progressives rushed to defend the inviolability of facts and truth.

For decades, the left sought to dethrone reverence for the Constitution. "The Constitution," wrote progressive historian Howard Zinn, "serves the interests of a wealthy elite" and enables "the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law -- all made palatable by the fanfare of patriotism and unity."

Then Donald Trump attacked freedom of the press and birthright citizenship, and flouted the emoluments clause, and assailed the impartiality of the judiciary. And progressives rediscovered the treasure that is our Constitutional inheritance.

... ... ...

To an audience of nearly 500 new graduates and their families at the historically black college, the Massachusetts senator laid out a bleak vision of America. "The rules are rigged because the rich and powerful have bought and paid for too many politicians," she said. "The rich and powerful want us pointing fingers at each other so we won't notice they are getting richer and more powerful," she said. "Two sets of rules: one for the wealthy and the well-connected. And one for everybody else," she said.

"That's how a rigged system works," she said.

It was a curious vision coming from a person whose life story, like that of tens millions of Americans who have risen far above their small beginnings, refutes her own thesis. It was curious, also, coming from someone who presumably believes that various forms of rigging are required to un-rig past rigging. Affirmative action in college admissions and aggressive minority recruitment in corporations are also forms of "rigging."

But however one feels about various types of rigging, the echo of Trump was unmistakable. "It's being proven we have a rigged system," the president said at one of his rallies last year . "Doesn't happen so easy. But this system -- gonna be a lot of changes. This is a rigged system."

Trump's claim that the system is rigged represents yet another instance of his ideological pickpocketing of progressives. From C. Wright Mills ("The Power Elite") to Noam Chomsky ("Manufacturing Consent"), the animating belief of the far left has been, as Tom Hayden put it, that we live in a "false democracy," controlled by an unaccountable, deceitful and shadowy elite. Trump has names for it: the globalists; the deep state; the fake news. Orange, it turns out, is the new red.

Of course, Warren and Trump have very different ideas as to just who the malefactors of great wealth really are. Is it Sheldon Adelson or George Soros? The Koch brothers or the Ford Foundation? Posterity will be forgiven if it loses track of which alleged conspiracy to rig the system was of the far-right and which was of the far left.

What it will remember is that here was another era in which a president and one of his leading opponents abandoned the prouder traditions of American politics in favor of paranoid ones. Compare Warren's grim message to Bill Clinton's sunny one from his first inaugural: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."

At some point, it will be worth asking Senator Warren: Rigged compared to when? A generation ago a black president would have been unthinkable. Two generations ago, a woman on the Supreme Court. And rigged compared to what? Electoral politics in Japan, which have been dominated by a single party for decades? The class system in Brazil, dominated by a single race for centuries?

Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.

Larry Bennett Cooperstown NY Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Warren is saying the system is rigged to suppress the middle class and poor in favor of the wealthy, which is easy to substantiate. Trump is saying the system is rigged to suppress the white right, which is easy to refute. One statement is an economic fact, the other is a racist trope. There is no equivalence here. ScottW Chapel Hill, NC Dec. 20, 2018

Sen. Warren supports Medicare for All, meaningful banking/financial regulations, regulations that benefit consumers, a living wage, etc. Trump supports none of these policies--not a one. Trying to equate Trump with Warren is just stupid.

Terry Gilbert, AZ Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Comparing Elizabeth Warren to Trump is disingenuous. Trump is just ranting and defensive, without any evidence to back up his claims. What Elizabeth Warren is saying is just a matter of paying attention. I don't need to list all the ways in which money buys everything in politics. It's always a matter of following the money. Bret Stephens conveniently avoids looking at economics. His supposed counterexamples are at best irrelevant to the issue: We've had a black President. We have women on the Supreme Court. How are those examples proof that the system isn't rigged in favor of the wealthy and corporations? No doubt he thinks Plutocracy is part of the natural order of things. He should go back to the Wall Street Journal where his myopia is more appropriate. MarnS Nevada Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Unfortunately Bret there are no "optimists" in the GOP, including yourself being one who has bounced back and forth in your positions regarding the Trump presidency. Though you have found your way on CNN or MSNBC spouting your disappointments about the state of the nation, the fact remains is that your a hardened, right wing opinion writer who may have less of an ideal when it comes to America being a democratic nation. No, you can conveniently ignore the actions of your conservative party in there gerrymandering, in their changing the rules for governors of the Democrat persuasion, or gross deliberate voter suppression that has placed your party in power positions by, in effect, stealing elections. You are a writer with a forked tongue trying, at times in a passive manner, to separate yourself from Trump, and the evilness of the current GOP Party without understanding that the definition of "conservative" has changed to the radical. And that is documented by your writings in the WSJ. Yet, you cannot even dream about truly being on the left side of an argument other than beating your breast with the fact that the GOP has disappeared, as we have known it, in the hands of radicalism (which prior to Trump you participated in the escalation of radical conservatism), and your party can never be revived as it once was...and we all pray it never will be so.

JPM Hays, KS Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

This analysis completely ignores the outrageous, overarching influence of money and financial privilege over American politics. Equating Bill Clinton's dalliance with Trump's disrespect for all norms of decency and the truth? Please. Warren is right. Just look at the legislative obscenity of the recent tax bill and then try and equivocate they left and the right. I am not buying this false equivalency.

Patrick Schenectady Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

FYI, Foucault was offering critiques of "regimes of truth," not of truth itself. That's very different. Like most historians, he spent an impressive amount of time in archives where he collected evidence in order to write books that give truthful accounts of the past. You make a caricature of Foucault, and then of the entire left.

Rich Casagrande Slingerlands, NY Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Please, Elizabeth Warren is nothing like Trump. She's a brilliant, honest, tireless fighter for ordinary Americans. She wants a fair shake for them, just as FDR wanted a fair shake -- a "New Deal" -- for our Country. While much of the rest of the world was turning to communism or fascism, FDR saved American capitalism by shaking it up. Oh how we could use a large dose of that today.

WDP Long Island Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Whoa! Line by line, Mr Stephens offers statements that are way off base and should be refuted. Are you saying you disagree with Warren? Do you think the "system" in America for the last 400 years has not been generally "rigged" against African-Americans? But the gist of his column, and the main argument of conservatives these days, is that the left and the right are equally out of line; that what the right says and does may be bad, but the left does the same sort of thing and is just as bad. This is not true Bret, and you know it. The left desperately tries to find the high road, and anyone who supports Trump these days or believes in most of his policies is either someone who has abandoned morality or is a fool. And that is the truth, Bret.

Hannacroix Cambridge, MA Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Calling out our system as "rigged" is nothing new for Sen. Warren. She's been stating that publicly since being a regular Bill Moyer's guest on his PBS program 20 years ago -- and clearly already on a "prep for national politics" stump. What undercuts her own integrity regarding "rigged" is that she chose, after much wait & anticipation, to throw her support to Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2016. Not Bernie Sanders. She knew HRC had little integrity. And it's highly likely she knew the DNC primary was rigged in favor of Clinton -- as it's widely been proven.

My point here highlights one of several reasons why Sen. Warren is unelectable in the 2020 presidential general election. This is not to compare her in any way to Trump -- he's a venal, disturbed & dangerous traitor to our country. However, if winning the WH in 2020 is the goal, Elizabeth Warren ain't got the goods to get the necessary votes across our Republic.

Longestaffe Pickering Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

There's a good case to be made that the far left exists in two separate dimensions. I offer myself in evidence. Among the policies and social changes I advocate: Medicare for all Aggressively progressive taxation.

I don't recognize any freedom to corner as much wealth as one can while other people must labor at two or three jobs just to feed their families on peanut butter.

I do think there's a bit of rigging afoot. Restrictions on the ownership of firearms comparable to those in Japan.

A society free from all forms of identity discrimination or prejudice. I'm bitterly opposed to racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia; any example you care to give, including those without short handles, such as prejudice against Muslims or transgender people.

Yes, I know I have this in common with decent conservatives, but I'm thinking of partisan realities in the US today. I should add that I don't mind the prospect of WASPS like me becoming just another minority.

But-- I can't picture myself as a socialist -- hair combed straight back, and all that.

The rigorously progressive personality type rubs me the wrong way. Leftist cant grates on every fiber of my being. Che Guevara T-shirts make the lip curl. When my knee jerks, it jerks against things like that old leftist conceit that truth is what you make it. I look at the far-left agenda and see a lot to like. I look at the far-left milieu and see didactic arrogance, frigidity, and pat attitudes. I'm a Democrat in disarray.

John Wilson Maine Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

The so-called "left" in America (moderates anywhere else on the globe) have never varied from saying that money = power. They still say that today, and raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving their own point.

Conservatives in America (far-right extremists anywhere else on the globe) are much quieter about the influence of dough, but raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving the "left's" point.

Reality? Money in America is everything. Period. Just try to run for office, influence policy, and/or change the direction of the country as a sole, intelligent, concerned poor person and see how far you get.

[Mar 25, 2019] Meet The Kushners First Couple In-Waiting by Ilana Mercer

Highly recommended!
More entertaining writing then Wolff's
Dec 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

In itself, criminal justice reform for non-violent offenders is not anathema to Trump's libertarian supporters (check).

For what it symbolizes in the broader political context, however, the passing of the First Step Act -- as the criminal justice reform bill is called -- is a bit of an abomination.

Good or bad, the First Step Act is Jared Kushner's baby. And Kushner, Trump's liberal son-in-law, should not be having legislative coups!

Yes, Jared and Ivanka are on a tear. The midterm congressional elections of President Trump's first-term have culminated in a legislative victory for an anemic man, who provides a perfect peg on which to hang the forceful first daughter's ambition.

In no time at all have Jared and Ivanka Trump moved to consolidate power. This, as intellects like the Steven Bannon and Stephen Miller were either fired, or confined to the basement, so to speak.

Today, Bannon is just a flinty glint in Ivanka's eyes. But by January, 2017, the president's former White House chief strategist had already "assembled a list of more than 200 executive orders to issue in the first 100 days. The very first EO, in his view, had to be a crackdown on immigration. After all, it was one of Trump's core campaign promises." So said Bannon to Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House .

Many a pundit has suggested that Trump give a kick-ass rah-rah address to explain immigration to the nation.

Nonsense on stilts. The Make America Great Again (S.O.S.) agenda needed to be explained daily and repetitively by someone with a brain. It should have been MAGA every morning with Steve Miller, or Gen. John Kelly or Kirstjen Nielsen. Instead, we got stumblebum Sarah Huckabee issuing a meek, meandering daily apologia.

About that promise to put in place only "the best of people": Ice princess Kirstjen Nielsen is super smart with a cool temperament and looks to match. Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen had been brought into the Trump Administration by retired United States Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, formerly White House chief of staff. Nielsen might not be optimal in her current position. But she would've made a great MAGA mouthpiece.

It's quite clear that President Trump's promise to hire only "the best" ought to have begun with firing The Family. Instead, Mr. Kushner's national security portfolio has expanded in a manner incommensurate with his skills. It now includes, I believe, China, Mexico, Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The same can be said of Ivanka, who was soon briefing the South Korean president on sanctions against North Korea. That Ivanka lacked a permanent security clearance was the least of the country's worries, given Steve Bannon's assessment of her cerebral acuity: "as dumb as a brick" .

Alas, political connections ensured that two branding experts beat Braveheart Bannon of the mighty Breitbart.com! "'The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over," he lamented, in August of 2017.

If Breitbart.com is to be believed -- and it should -- Ivanka was the one to give Bannon the boot (or, rather, the Choo ): "Trump's daughter Ivanka pushed Bannon out because of his 'far-right views' clashing with her [recently acquired] Jewish faith." (Funny that, because my own rightist views clash not at all with my Jewish faith.)

"Jarvanka" (the Jared-Ivanka organism) were also said to have orchestrated the ousting of the last of the old MAGA Guard, John Kelly, aforementioned, a most excellent man. Kelly took his role as chief of staff seriously. He was a hardliner who limited Ivanka's access to Pater.

One of Trump's superb personnel choices, Kelly's fate, however, was sealed when he stated how sick-and-tired he was of the first daughter "playing government." The Goldman-Sachs wing of the White House, commandeered by the Kushners, had always wished him away. So, Kelly got the Choo , too.
Of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, archconservative Heather Mac Donald observed the following: Sessions was "the only member of the Trump administration who was absolutely staunch in speaking up for the right of Americans to determine what the character of their country should be."

It takes a strong woman (Mac Donald) to recognize a scheming one. Mac Donald has recently expressed "'no confidence' that the president will stop being advised by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, on the issue of immigration."

Following the midterms, the not-so-sleepy sleeper cell of leftist social climbers in the Trump administration moved to pack the court. It was out with the old (Kelly and Sessions), and in with the Nauert, the reference being to the "nomination [to the UN] of former Fox anchor and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert."

Again, the reason for selecting Ms. Nauert, a former "Fox & Friends" host, was that she is "telegenic." The order came from " Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner [ who declared Nauert] 'a favorite and pushed for her selection.'"

Telegenic, too, is 36-year-old Nick Ayers. He was slated to replace Gen. Kelly. Why? Because he " had the endorsements of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump ."

It so happened that Ayers chose not to play. A trial balloon was quickly floated, but was punctured just as fast. The idea that Jared would be chief of staff was just too preposterous. But oh, the audacity of that fleeting experiment!

So, here we are. The promised land (America) is without the promised Wall. But, liberal legislation in hand, the "Honorable" Kushners ( so listed ) are off to hobnob at the World Economic Forum in Davos, in January of 2019 .

First Lady Melania has been shoved aside, or ceremonially shivved, to use prison parlance. The first couple in-waiting will get to press flesh with local and global elites, while flashing their liberal credentials: criminal justice reform.

Oh how fun it is to schmooze the gilded globalists, rather than to woo Trump voters.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of " Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa " (2011) & " The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Deconstructed " (June, 2016). She's on Twitter , Facebook , Gab & YouTube

[Mar 25, 2019] Jared Kushner And Donald Trump To Partner For The First Time In A New Jersey Development - Jewish Business NewsJewish Business

Mar 25, 2019 | jewishbusinessnews.com

The thirty three year old member of the Kushner real estate family, Jared Kushner , is married to Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump's daughter. His Kushner Companies and Donald Trump's Trump Organization have announced plans for a joint venture to build a 447 unit rental apartment building in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The new development is located next to Trump Plaza Residences at 88 Morgan Street, a 55-story condominium completed six years ago. It will be called Trump Bay Street and is expected to cost $193.5 million.

The two companies will be joined by the KABR Group of New Jersey.

The site went through a series of owners during the recession before being purchased by the Kushner and KABR partnership. Kushner chose to use the Trump name due to the success of the neighboring Trump Plaza. They bought the debt on the property for $6 million in 2011. It was valued at $35 million at the time.

Kushner-KABR will be putting up $38.5 million of its own equity for the project, according to reports. Another $90 million will be acquired through a construction loan and another $65 million will come from a mezzanine loan tied to a Federal visa program. This was reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal says that the details of Trump Organization's involvement in the development have not yet been made public. Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal, ""Jared is a very talented young man. It is going to be a great project."

[Mar 25, 2019] Senators, Please Ask Jared Kushner About 666 Fifth Avenue by Timothy L. O'Brien

Mar 01, 2029 | www.bloomberg.com

Senators, Please Ask Jared Kushner About 666 Fifth Avenue A Chinese financier has pulled out of a bailout for Trump's son-in-law. Now let's talk about his meetings with a Russian bank.

In a happy moment in the otherwise cloudy world of the Trump family and the flood of financial conflicts they've carted into Washington, a major Chinese investor has decided not to pour billions of dollars into a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the Jared Kushner clan.

Had this deal gone forward -- the effect would have been to bail Kushner out of a huge, misbegotten investment while letting his family take home at least $400 million and retain a minority ownership stake in the building -- it would have compromised President Donald Trump's diplomacy with China.

The background: Anbang, an insurer and prolific deal-maker close to China's government, had considered investing $4 billion in 666 Fifth Avenue. Kushner had overpaid for the building in 2007, when he bought it with the help of bank loans for $1.8 billion. The financial crisis ensued, occupancy rates plummeted and Kushner had to be rescued by outside investors to keep the troubled building afloat. Anbang's investment would have valued the building at a handsome $2.85 billion, and also refinanced about $1.15 billion in debt.

The possibility of a transaction brought scrutiny from two Bloomberg news reporters, Caleb Melby and David Kocieniewski, as well as from Congress and the New York Times . I discussed it in a column here two weeks ago. And for good reason: Kushner is a senior White House adviser who has Trump's ear on foreign policy. The math of Trump's 36-year-old son-in-law being saved from a reckless investment by China presented all sorts of conflicts of interest and the potential for disastrous policy moves by the White House.

So Anbang is now gone and all has been made right? Well, no.

Kushner's family still owns a building that needs a financial lifeline, so 666 Fifth Avenue presents something that Congress may want to examine more closely when Jared Kushner meets with the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of an inquiry into possible collusion between Trump's campaign team and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the Trump-Russia connection, its director, James Comey, confirmed during a congressional hearing last week. There has been no suggestion that Kushner is part of the FBI probe, but the Senate's decision to question him makes him, as the Times pointed out when it broke the story of Kushner's upcoming testimony, "the closest person to the president to be called upon in any of the investigations, and the only one currently serving in the White House."

Kushner's meetings with Russian bankers during the presidential transition last fall and winter apparently help explain why the Senate is interested in speaking with him.

The timeline matters. Kushner began talking with Chinese investors about 666 Fifth Avenue last summer, around the time that Trump locked up the Republican nomination. Then he spearheaded more serious talks that took place in New York about a week after his father-in-law was elected in November.

According to the Times, Kushner met with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, in early December as part of what appeared to be normal presidential transition meetings. A second Kislyak meeting with a Kushner deputy followed in December, as well as another, brokered by Kislyak, between Kushner and the head of a Russian bank, Vnesheconombank. The U.S. had imposed financial sanctions on that bank because of Russian President Vladimir Putin's military incursions in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

Vnesheconombank has close ties to the Kremlin and its chief executive, Sergey Gorkov, attended a training academy for members of Russia's security and intelligence services.

A Trump spokeswoman described Kushner's meetings with the Russians as routine, which they may have been given his role at the time as Trump's liaison to foreign powers.

But given how important 666 Fifth Avenue was for Kushner at the time, it's also possible that he saw the Russians as potential investors alongside the Chinese. Or as financial backups should the Chinese walk away from a deal.

The Times, citing a government source, said that the Senate plans to ask Kushner if financial help for 666 Fifth was part of his chats with Gorkov and Vnesheconombank.

Kushner's responses to questions about Russian and Chinese financing for his family's building may clarify what inspired him to negotiate so diligently with foreign lenders at a time when he surely understood the negotiating value of having his father-in-law on the cusp of assuming power in the White House.

His appearance in the Senate will also offer a chance to quiz him about the intersection of personal financial dealings and public policymaking. That's an issue that remains troubling because Kushner, and his wife Ivanka Trump, and the president himself, have avoided adequately separating themselves from their private business interests even as they wield power.