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Neoliberalism as a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

Neoliberalism = Casino Capitalism = "Transnational elites, Unite!"
(It is a neoTrotskyism with the word "proletarians" substituted by the word "elites"
 in famous "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" slogan
and "Color revolutions" instead of Communist  "Permanent revolution"  )

Version 6.1

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News An introduction to Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberalism war on organized labor Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Globalization of Financial Flows
Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura Neoliberalism and Christianity Key Myths of Neoliberalism Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Anti-globalization movement
Zombie state of neoliberalism and coming collapse of neoliberalism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism  Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Definitions of neoliberalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories  US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocons New American Militarism Casino Capitalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism War is Racket Inverted Totalitarism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Neoliberal corruption Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Corruption of Regulators "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries   Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization
Alternatives to Neo-liberalism Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions  Key Myths of Neoliberalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Gangster Capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump The Deep State Predator state Disaster capitalism Harvard Mafia Small government smoke screen Super Capitalism as Imperialism
The Great Transformation Monetarism fiasco Neoliberalism and Christianity Republican Economic Policy  In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment History of neoliberalism Humor Etc


Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. “There’s class warfare, all right, "Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

- New York Times

Make no mistake, the neo-Liberal fuckers are just as bad as the Stalinists

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

GB: once a great cultured nation, now a poorly-educated gangster mafia state, ruled by oligarchs and inhabited by soccer hooligans

The Kremlin Stooge

Neoliberalism is a very interesting social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and socialism (and facilitated the dissolution of the USSR). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow is prohibited by MSM to mention.  It is also unstable social system which led to impoverishment of lower 80% of the society and the rise of far right nationalism. After approximately 40 years of global dominance is shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became really strong and demonstrated itself in Brexis, election of Trump is defeat of Italian referendum.

It can be defined as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich"("Elites of all countries unite !"  instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...). Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page --  Neoliberalism: an Introduction


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NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2017 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2016 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Feb 27, 2017] Under the 1913 law, income up to $20,000 was taxed at 1% with a $3,000 personal exemption. The average wage was only $1,296, which means only high earners were taxed at all. That is a big difference from today.

Feb 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
JF said in reply to pgl... February 24, 2017 at 11:45 AM

, 2017 at 11:45 AM
Yes, profits are a form of income, but at that point they indirectly touch wealth accumulation and sharing, and before that they fuel wages for managers of capital and have historically been a measure that influence the price of stock, an indirect touch on wealth accumulation. We know what has happened to basic wages/salaries, no reason to expect they would get to share in the gains of further tax cuts, so let us face it, as you note, huge drops in the tax rate on profits will directly benefit wealth and high income people (though not because they would have earned it other than by lobbying).

So ok, harmonize rates with OECD, but offset revenue losses on the personal income tax side so at least some of the upward redistribution is in that proscribed tax base (which does not tax wealth, per the Pollack decision of the Court).

Know you know this, hope other readers get this too.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to pgl... , February 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM
In 1913 the personal exemption was $3K for singles and $4K for married couples and the tax rate was just 1% for the first $20K of income. The highest bracket was $500K with a 7% income tax rate. We started off on the correct foot anyway.

https://www.irs.gov/uac/soi-tax-stats-historical-table-23

DrDick -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 24, 2017 at 11:47 AM
Under the 1913 law, income up to $20,000 was taxed at 1% with a $3,000 personal exemption. The average wage was only $1,296, which means only high earners were taxed at all. That is a big difference from today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenue_Act_of_1913

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to DrDick... , February 24, 2017 at 12:34 PM
True. "We started off on the correct foot" was in no way meant to imply that we were on our feet at all today. Back then what you and I make today in relative terms would have put us in the 1% tax bracket and people making $20 million or more today would have been taxed in the top bracket which was taxed at a rate seven times higher than ours.

[Feb 27, 2017] If profits are not income then somebody should explain to me why all of business, finance, analysts, and almost all of institutional and private society are obsessed, sometimes to a pathological degree, with increasing them

Feb 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
cm -> Peter K.... February 25, 2017 at 12:19 AM , 2017 at 12:19 AM
If profits are not income then somebody should explain to me why all of business, finance, analysts, and almost all of institutional and private society are obsessed, sometimes to a pathological degree, with increasing them.

[Feb 27, 2017] 200 PM Water Cooler 2-24-17 naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... really exotic ..."
"... everything ..."
"... Still, if you know what you want computing-wise, you can buy it in a business-class model. Otherwise you're going to be stuck with an overpriced flavor of the month, in my opinion. The other virtue of business-class laptops is that basic things like durability, flexibility, and not crashing are a huge priority. ..."
"... I favour the Dell Latitude E6500. It is just old enough to have a 16:10 1920×1200 screen (matte!) and just new enough to have an Nvidia graphics card with vdpau support. Be sure to get those specs, some are lesser beasts. ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:13 am

Thanks, Clive.

I have never had a Mac laptop die instantly with no warning symptoms. One moment I was typing away, the next moment the screen was dark. I rebooted, and it went down for the count when I was typing in my password. Odd.

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 1:25 am

I encountered that – not on a Mac. Make sure the heat exchanger fins aren't mashed and the hot air can exit. That was the problem on mine. All it takes is one bump in the wrong place.

skippy , February 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

Macbook Pro logic board repair; not turning on, step by step fix.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDjwYf_GzK0

disheveled one wire or reflow .

dontknowitall , February 25, 2017 at 2:28 am

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro that suddenly died on me and would go to sad Mac face when I tried rebooting. After a lot of searching on the internet it turns out the model has a design error where a paper thin $15 data cable connects the hard drive to the motherboard by snaking under the hd and then over the mb rubbing in all the corners against metal as I moved my laptop from place to place. Eventually microscopic cracks develop in the data cable and dead Mac.

After replacing the cable twice the effective solution was taping electric tape under the cable at all spots where it rubbed and removing the two tiny screws that held down the cable at one spot but only worked to create stress on it. No more crashes.

Good luck on your fixit adventure Lambert, it can be strangely fun sometimes.

Ernesto Lyon , February 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I'm using a Windows laptop now for software engineering after years of Macs. It's OK after to get used to it. The bash shell is nice, if not perfect ( it is a real Ubuntu VM ). Apple UI is still better, but the experience continues to degrade for power users as they converge on IOS for their PCs.

If money were no object, Apple still is better, but you get a lot more for the money with Windows machines, as always.

I wonder how much longer Apple will be ae to charge steep premiums for their product line. I ditched iPhones for cheap Androids a couple years ago with no regrets as well.

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:08 am

I'm thinking I need to go the PC laptop/Ubuntu route for redundancy. All I really need to do is browse and write in a text editor, although I'd have to put up with an inferior outliner.

Readers, any suggestions for a rugged Ubuntu-friendly laptop for, say, $500?

And does Ubuntu essentially run on anything, or do I need to check the model number?

dimitris , February 25, 2017 at 2:50 am

2-gen old thinkpad (2015 vintage), like my daily driver, X250. X series or T series, says the consensus on reddit ( https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/ ), are still not quite crapified.

Avoid non-Intel graphics and non-Intel WiFi for better Linux compatibility.

Ubuntu has itself had signs of crapification lately (Amazon search integrated by default), so maybe Fedora?

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 10:36 pm
It's a difficult choice. They are all crapified now. Fedora with her GUI is a mixed blessing

May be OpenSuse is a better deal.

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 5:01 am

I've just spent a month loading Ubuntu (natively) on a MacBook Pro 5,5, and getting set up the way I want it. Seems to be working OK so far.

Took a bit of Googling. AskUbuntu (a StackExchange site) has been a great help.

Parker Dooley , February 25, 2017 at 8:22 am

Thinkpad T420. Runs Ubuntu just fine. Can usually be found for $250-300 off lease or refurbished. Usually comes with WIN7 Pro. May be a good idea to replace HD with an SSD.

philnc , February 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

2x on the SSD idea. We extended the useful life of my wife's old Thinkpad E ( a budget model with just an i3) by swapping one in.

ilpalazzo , February 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm

This. The last T with a good keyboard. If you stick in 8 GB RAM and an SSD it runs like new. If I were to get something for myself it would be this. My heavily modified T61 doesn't want to die though.

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 10:32 pm
I would recommend Dell Latitute such as E6440. Works well at a reasonable price.

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Latitude-E6440-DVD-Writer-Graphics/dp/B00JH11ITU

It is compatible with Ubuntu (actually most of Latitude models are compatible) but it is OK with Windows 7 too, if you use it only for browsing. It is now very easy to reinstall windows from Image if something went wrong, so it you do not do any scripting or processing, why bother. SSD disk would be a great upgrade, as somebody here already suggested. Even 250GB is OK for most needs.

You can also get a dock for it

Dell E-Port Plus Advanced Port Replicator with USB 3.0 for E Series Latitudes, 130W AC

Dell Latitude E6440 – Core i5 4200M / 2.5 GHz – Windows 7 Pro 64-bit – 4 GB RAM – 320 GB HDD – DVD-Writer – 14″ 1366 x 768 ( HD ) – Intel HD Graphics

Gman , February 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I hear ya, particularly regards iphones and the experiences of many people I've met who own them.

Into my fourth year with blackberry OS10 phone. Updates come along once in a blue moon, phone never freezes, it's robust, typing experience still unrivalled, OS a seamless dream, phone reception and network and wifi connectivity, in the UK anyway, a dream.

Only drawback is the battery life if you use the Internet (easily last all day + easily otherwise) but it looks like iphones aren't exactly all that on this front either.

Anyway I can swap out the battery if I ever need to and carry a spare charge bar too.

kgw , February 24, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Go to Linux, young man! Switched to Ubuntu 16.04, and haven't looked back

WJ , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Can you run linux on any kind of machine? and how hard is it to install and run if you're not super computer literate? If these are silly newbie questions (I'm sure they are), feel free just to refer me to a website or two. I've been using Mac OS X for the past few years, but every new iteration leads to a weaker Preview application and more bugs.

xformbykr , February 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm

i bought a windows laptop, and then removed and replaced its hard drive with a blank one. I installed linux from a DVD (obtained by purchasing a linux magazine, e.g., "linux format" or "linux user/developer") following on-screen instructions. It has been smooth sailing ever since. Meanwhile, the original hard drive with windows 8.1 sits in my spare parts box.

voislav , February 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

It's the same as installing Windows in terms of difficulty and better for installing software. Typically, it will install out of the box with a full suite of software and all the drivers. For your Windows needs, running a Windows virtual machine inside Linux is a good option, most productivity software runs seamlessly, the only issues are for 3D graphics heavy games and applications.
I would recommend Linux Mint for newbies as the installation process is the easiest, it comes with all the necessary media drivers, and it gives you a Windows-like UI. Personally, I am not a big fan of the Ubuntu's native user interface, but that comes to personal preference.

Kurt Sperry , February 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

I've got Mint on a dual-boot set-up and it's pretty easy and intuitive. That said, I almost always fire it up in Win10 because the software ecosystem is sooo much broader and VM is a kludge.

Ruben , February 25, 2017 at 2:28 am

A broader software ecosystem, apt analogy. It includes a lot more parasites, infectious diseases, and predators.

Anon , February 24, 2017 at 10:49 pm

> For your Windows needs, running a Windows virtual machine inside Linux is a good option, most productivity software runs seamlessly, the only issues are for 3D graphics heavy games and applications.

With KVM or Xen and capable hardware (VT-d or the AMD equivalent), you can pass through a PCIe device such as a graphics card to a VM. This allows you to run 3D applications at near-native performance.

Foppe , February 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Yes, pretty much. See here for instructions: https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-macos
(While booting, you can choose the 'live' option, which runs the OS from USB.

WJ , February 24, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Thx!

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:20 am

I want the simplest and laziest solution possible. Can I buy a UBS stick with Ubuntu on it? Or should I go the route of buying an Ubuntu book with a CD, and making sure the laptop has a CD?

The last time I ran Linux, a good decade ago, the WiFi drivers were awfully fiddly. How are they today?

Anon , February 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

You can buy a USB stick or CD from various sources (just Google for that), but there's not much of a reason to - it's really easy to download the ISO and make one yourself (I'm assuming you have access to another desktop/laptop besides the broken one and aren't just posting from a phone; sorry if I'm wrong). The link Foppe provided has workable instructions for doing this on OS X using UNetbootin, but personally I just use 'dd' like: "sudo dd if=ubuntu.iso of=/dev/diskX bs=1m". But there's nothing wrong with UNetbootin, and there's also a Windows version if you happen to be using that: http://unetbootin.github.io .

My experience with Linux Wi-Fi drivers a decade ago sounds similar to yours, but today I find Ubuntu and other modern distros "just work" in this regard.

Irrational , February 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

Agree on the USB and driver points.
The only things we seem to have problems with is devices using proprietary software like the iPhone (seems to be very roundabout to get it to recognise photos) or GPSs (updating maps only works under Windows).
Hubby thinks Mint runs pretty nicely, but there is a new distribution out there called Elementary OS, which looks very similar to Mac OS and is apparently getting rave reviews.
Good luck

Foppe , February 25, 2017 at 5:53 am

1. What anon says. Personally, creating a USB stick using that guide is less effort than searching for a store + having to wait, but YMMV.
2. USB installs faster than DVD, so not necessarily. I don't really see the need for a book - googling will tell you all you need, usually faster.
3. much better.

Zane Zodrow , February 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm

My experience: Bought Ubuntu Linux CD for about $5 (latest LTS version), put it in, followed instructions, that's it. Follow instructions for dual boot to start if desired, computer asks if you want to run Windoze or Linux on startup. After finding I seldom chose the Windows option, I switched to straight Linux. This was about 8 years ago. If I want to play video games, I play on Playstation or Xbox. I've been using Open Office for all word processing and spreadsheets for about 12 years, with good results, Linux seems to do fine on any video / graphics I run into. Not be smug, but I manage to practically avoid dealing with Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

kgw , February 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Need I say more? .. ;~)

Contrary to what Kurt says, I find that the "software ecosystem" is more than adequate for all purposes. Did anyone mention that it is free, including most of the "ecosystem?"

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 5:21 am

One minor caution for those in academia.

The open source Linux word processors (OpenOffice, LibreOffice) can save as either open document format (odt) or MS Word format (doc, docx). BUT! Saving in a Word version will remove all your citation fields (EndNote, Zotero).

Keep the working version in odt, and only save in Word format when you're ready to submit.

visitor , February 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Can you run linux on any kind of machine?

I once saw a presentation held at one of those conference for hackers, where a guy managed to install and run linux on a hard disk. Not running linux from , but on the hard disk. There are sufficient electronics - processor, memory and ports - to run an operating system on a hard disk nowadays

More seriously:

a) If the machine is very recent (say less than 18 months old to be safe), linux is highly likely to run poorly on it, or not at all if it is extremely recent; you must give some time to the linux community for porting the system and developing the necessary drivers for new computer models.

b) If the machine is somewhat old (say more than 6 years), the usual mainstream linux (such as Mint, Ubuntu or OpenSuse) may no longer run on it because these systems set requirements on the hardware (typically the capabilities of the graphics card, or subtle features regarding virtual memory) that old computers do not fulfill. It is not really a problem to install linux on such hardware - provided one selects carefully the version of linux and the kind of graphical user interface to run, and is ready for some tweaking. I have done this several times with Debian, for instance.

c) With a really old (2000 vintage or older) or really exotic machine, then it will require serious system knowledge and dealing with a version of linux like Arch, Gentoo or Slackware.

d) If your machine is standard fare, between 18 months and 6 years old, linux is not an issue at all.

how hard is it to install and run if you're not super computer literate?

There are linux variants - Mint, Ubuntu and OpenSuse come to mind - that have an easy installation CD/DVD-based program with reasonable defaults. The result is a fully functional system with a graphical user interface and lots of standard software packages coming pre-installed, with the result comparable to a common Windows environment.

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 8:56 pm

If the machine is very new, more than likely everything will run poorly or not at all, and unless it's Linux it won't get much better because corporate software 'development' is more an annex of Brand Value than a thoughtful process. (See also corporate-led economic 'development'.)
I detest Apple gadget-worship (no phone/tablet at all, though I get why some people like them), but can still recommend secondhand desktop Macs, which suffer forced obsolescence eventually but not too quickly: staying about 5-7 years 'behind' the latest, replacing the fairly reliable hardware only when really necessary, has always worked for me including for music production (don't get me started on the superiority of chrome tape & Tascam analog multitrack machines, but a computer is useful for storage, post-production and proliferating submixes. And crucially, the 'Mini-Mac' of c.2010 is unusual in that it has a direct audio input, so no need even for Midi control, let alone wireless anything, which would leave years worth of analog studio equipment instantly helpless.)
Secondhand - wiped completely clean after purchase by someone who really knows what s/he's doing, of course - means no need for any 'Apple Account' or other direct interaction with that baleful organization whatsoever, and good open-source software of just about every kind (can't speak for video or image-heavy 'social' media, admittedly) is now readily available, ,which wasn't always the case. I'm well aware of many people's nightmares with Mac laptops of the same generations & similar software though: have never been able to figure out why the relative reliability should be so different between box types, except where those dreadful all-wireless, design-prizewinning 'lite' Macbooks (or whatever they're called) are concerned.

Praedor , February 24, 2017 at 6:48 pm

After you install Linux, you can then install a VM and install any Windows of your choice on the VM, be safe from viruses, and ruin any Windows software you might have to use without reboots.

oho , February 24, 2017 at 7:12 pm

That (running a secondary virtual machine) should be standard for anyone who's paranoid about viruses or has been burned once by losing a half-day's worth of productivity because of virus/malware.

best of all you can do it for free-linux + VMware virtual box player.

Praedor , February 24, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Besides installing and using windows on a VM (I've used VirtualBox (easy) and, more recently, the built in KVM hypervisor system to run windows and Whonix, a really nice, secure version of Tor. Run a Tor gateway and a Tor client in separate VMs and even if your Tor session got compromised, it is still separate from your actual system. It presents a fake MAC address AND a bogus IP. No way to ID your computer or IP address.

Altandmain , February 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm

How crapified these days are new laptops? Seems like many people these days are having IT issues.

They don't seem to be very upgradeable these days. Everything is soldered.

Last year, I bought a 4 or 5 year old used Dell Precision M4600 for cheap on eBay and upgraded it with an SSD. I had to replace the battery and am going to ghetto rig an IPS display (I screwed up and destroyed the delicate LVDS cable, so waiting for replacement). Upgraded the RAM too to 16 GB (it supports up to 32 GB of DDR3 in 4x 8GB SODIMMs). There isn't much room for upgrading the GPU – I was leaning towards seeing if I could get an old M5100 Firepro for cheap.

The thing is, the Dell Precision is Dell's top of the line workstation laptop and because it was so old, I could get it for cheap. Performance wise, with the end of Moore's Law, Sandy Bridge is only 20% slower than Skylake (the current latest generation – actually Kaby Lake now with the fresh, but that's still Skylake, only a couple of hundred MHz faster).

What about new laptops these days? The quality seems to be so-so at consumer prices. Getting used workstation grade laptops seems to be the way to go.

I'm thinking:
– Dell Precision
– HP Z series and the older workstation grade Elitebooks (new ones are now just consumer stuff and Z Books are now their workstation books)
– Lenovo P70 seems good too, but not as much room for upgrades (apparently their BIOS is very restrictive)

Some of the gaming laptops like the MSI GT7x seems to be decent as well.

I've heard negative things about the Apple OLED Macbook, which apparently has fewer ports than what is needed. Apparently iFixIt didn't rate it very well.

On my desktop, I dual boot between Linux Mint and Windows 10.

oho , February 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm

>>How crapified these days are new laptops?

I've been thinking that since 2010.

i bought used Dell Precisions for under $100 each over the past year from eBay.

As I hate the chiclet laptop keyboard and don't need Intel Core i7 level processing. And would rather take my chances w/a used laptop

1 w/a new SSD for use and 1 for spare parts w/ a tablet if I really need to be mobile.

If anyone knows/wants to learn intermediate-level DIY computer skills, I recommend trying used over new.

Altandmain , February 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm

The upgrades I think are worth it:

1. SSD (big time!)
2. Perhaps an IPS display if you care about good viewing
3. If you need it, enough RAM

Most people don't do things that stress out the CPU these days.

If you wait, you can often buy used with an IPS display nowadays.

OIFVet , February 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Second the SSD upgrade. My Kirabook is a joy. Came refreshingly free of bloatware out of the box, too.

Anon , February 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm

I agree with your list as a baseline set of requirements, but I'd add a HiDPI display (and IPS too, as you said; the only thing a TN panel is good for is punching). I have an rMBP and can't stand to use my standard-res (~100 ppi) external monitor. There are non-Mac laptops with HiDPI displays these days.

Software support for HiDPI is most mature on OS X (perfect, in fact), but I've done cursory testing in VMs and Windows 10 and Ubuntu's Unity seem to be getting there. There will probably be issues with certain third-party apps on those platforms, but I'd consider the upside to far outweigh the downside here.

Regarding keyboards (mentioned in the parent comment), it's totally subjective. I'm in the minority that loves chiclet keyboards. Besides the MBP keyboard, I use an Apple chiclet keyboard on my PC. I feel I type faster and more accurately on them (~180 wpm).

funemployed , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

I spent a while shopping for laptops not too long ago. I don't do macs, so I can't comment on them, but after spending way too much time researching I realized there's way better value and customization available if you just skip to the business-class models (and way fewer costly "features" you'll never use). Shopping for them online is a less aesthetically pleasing experience, as their sales folks are more concerned with reps establishing relationships with business customers (specifically IT dept heads who are not going to be impressed by the wonders of, for example, touch-screen PCs that raise support costs, laptop weight, and provide little to improve productivity).

Still, if you know what you want computing-wise, you can buy it in a business-class model. Otherwise you're going to be stuck with an overpriced flavor of the month, in my opinion. The other virtue of business-class laptops is that basic things like durability, flexibility, and not crashing are a huge priority. Employees almost universally treat their work laptops as badly as humanly possible. Because businesses buy in bulk and the good IT admins keep track of costs, you just can't make money on laptops with high upkeep costs and noticeably more-frequent-than-peer breakdowns. In the consumer market, durability is less important than selling expensive service plans and nudging people with means to re-up their computers more often than necessary, and basic functionality takes a back seat to appearing innovative and cool.

All that said, Dell, etc. don't want retail consumers going to their website and actually comparing business-class laptops to the retail models, so sometimes you have to dig or do creative google searching (I went with Toshiba partly because their business-class stuff is easy to buy online). Very happy so far.

bob , February 24, 2017 at 9:40 pm

The biggest difference between "consumer" and business laptops seems to be screen resolution. 1366×768 is where consumer stuff has been stuck for almost 10 years now.

Want better? Gotta go "business"

HP non big box models are still pretty good. There's huge variations in quality among most lines.

Irrational , February 25, 2017 at 9:39 am

And the possibility of getting non-reflecting, non-glossy screens in my experience when I last looked around two and 6-7 yrs ago, but maybe it has changed.

Kurt Sperry , February 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm

I got a Dell XPS 13 for about half of retail used from a highly motivated university student seller and it's a pretty damn nice piece of kit.

Grebo , February 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Used business machines are totally the way to go.

I favour the Dell Latitude E6500. It is just old enough to have a 16:10 1920×1200 screen (matte!) and just new enough to have an Nvidia graphics card with vdpau support. Be sure to get those specs, some are lesser beasts.

They cost $2000 when new so they tend to be lightly used by top execs rather than hammered by code monkeys, and you can get good ones for ~$140 on ebay.
Business machines also have dockability, a massive bonus if it's your main machine but you also want to take it out and about. Parts are cheap and plentiful. The Latitudes are so easy to open up you'll laugh.

thoughtfulperson , February 24, 2017 at 9:23 pm

I have an Elitebook and it works fine for my needs. I use it as a desktop replacement as well. I replaced the HD with a nice sized SSD and upgraded the memory. After my wife borrowed my computer to take to work at a local private school, I found 6 people had logged in on my machine to their online accounts! I decided to get her her own Elitebook after that. I guess they are about 4 years old now, but with the extra memory and SSD's they are pretty decent

Also, I installed ubuntu linux on my old laptops the Elitebooks replaced. Works fine. And free as pointed out above.

beth , February 24, 2017 at 8:08 pm

The trouble with LibreOffice/OpenOffice is when someone tries to share a MS word document with you and you are unable to open it and sign/or make changes.

Do you have a work-around for that?

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm

There's bound to be a better way of doing it, but having both installed and copying/pasting as necessary still works, at least with Open Office on an ageing but not superannuated copy of Mac OSX.

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 6:06 am

Current versions of OpenOffice/LibreOffice should open and save doc/docx files just fine (although some complex formatting might break).

The online version of MS Office is another option.

[Feb 27, 2017] Leoliberal privitization of eduction went way too far

Feb 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne : February 24, 2017 at 05:00 PM , 2017 at 05:00 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/upshot/dismal-results-from-vouchers-surprise-researchers-as-devos-era-begins.html

February 23, 2017

Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins
By Kevin Carey

The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education was a signal moment for the school choice movement. For the first time, the nation's highest education official is someone fully committed to making school vouchers and other market-oriented policies the centerpiece of education reform.

But even as school choice is poised to go national, a wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling - the worst in the history of the field, researchers say.

While many policy ideas have murky origins, vouchers emerged fully formed from a single, brilliant essay * published in 1955 by Milton Friedman, the free-market godfather later to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics. Because "a stable and democratic society is impossible without widespread acceptance of some common set of values and without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens," Mr. Friedman wrote, the government should pay for all children to go to school.

But, he argued, that doesn't mean the government should run all the schools. Instead, it could give parents vouchers to pay for "approved educational services" provided by private schools, with the government's role limited to "ensuring that the schools met certain minimum standards."

The voucher idea sat dormant for years before taking root in a few places, most notably Milwaukee. Yet even as many of Mr. Friedman's other ideas became Republican Party orthodoxy, most national G.O.P. leaders committed themselves to a different theory of educational improvement: standards, testing and accountability. That movement reached an apex when the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 brought a new focus on tests and standards to nearly every public school nationwide. The law left voucher supporters with crumbs: a small demonstration project in Washington, D.C.

But broad political support for No Child Left Behind proved short-lived. Teachers unions opposed the reforms from the left, while libertarians and states-rights conservatives denounced it from the right. When Republicans took control of more governor's mansions and state legislatures in the 2000s, they expanded vouchers to an unprecedented degree. Three of the largest programs sprang up in Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio, which collectively enroll more than a third of the 178,000 voucher students nationwide.

Most of the new programs heeded Mr. Friedman's original call for the government to enforce "minimum standards" by requiring private schools that accept vouchers to administer standardized state tests. Researchers have used this data to compare voucher students with similar children who took the same tests in public school. Many of the results were released over the last 18 months, while Donald J. Trump was advocating school choice on the campaign trail.

The first results came in late 2015....

* http://la.utexas.edu/users/hcleaver/330T/350kPEEFriedmanRoleOfGovttable.pdf

anne -> anne... , February 24, 2017 at 05:00 PM
http://la.utexas.edu/users/hcleaver/330T/350kPEEFriedmanRoleOfGovttable.pdf

1955

The Role of Government in Education
By Milton Friedman

The general trend in our times toward increasing intervention by the state in economic affairs has led to a concentration of attention and dispute on the areas where new intervention is proposed and to an acceptance of whatever intervention has so far occurred as natural and unchangeable. The current pause, perhaps reversal, in the trend toward collectivism offers an opportunity to reexamine the existing activities of government and to make a fresh assessment of the activities that are and those that are not justified. This paper attempts such a re-examination for education.

Education is today largely paid for and almost entirely administered by governmental bodies or non-profit institutions. This situation has developed gradually and is now taken so much for granted that little explicit attention is any longer directed to the reasons for the special treatment of education even in countries that are predominantly free enterprise in organization and philosophy. The result has been an indiscriminate extension of governmental responsibility.

The role assigned to government in any particular field depends, of course, on the principles accepted for the organization of society in general. In what follows, I shall assume a society that takes freedom of the individual, or more realistically the family, as its ultimate objective, and seeks to further this objective by relying primarily on voluntary exchange among individuals for the organization of economic activity. In such a free private enterprise exchange economy, government's primary role is to preserve the rules of the game by enforcing contracts, preventing coercion, and keeping markets free. Beyond this, there are only three major grounds on which government intervention is to be justified. One is "natural monopoly" or similar market imperfection which makes effective competition (and therefore thoroughly voluntary ex change) impossible. A second is the existence of substantial "neighborhood effects," i.e., the action of one individual imposes significant costs on other individuals for which it is not feasible to make him compensate them or yields significant gains to them for which it is not feasible to make them compensate him-- circumstances that again make voluntary exchange impossible. The third derives from an ambiguity in the ultimate objective rather than from the difficulty of achieving it by voluntary exchange, namely, paternalistic concern for children and other irresponsible individuals. The belief in freedom is for "responsible" units, among whom we include neither children nor insane people. In general, this problem is avoided by regarding the family as the basic unit and therefore parents as responsible for their children; in considerable measure, however, such a procedure rests on expediency rather than principle. The problem of drawing a reasonable line between action justified on these paternalistic grounds and action that conflicts with the freedom of responsible individuals is clearly one to which no satisfactory answer can be given.

In applying these general principles to education, we shall find it helpful to deal separately with (1) general education for citizen ship, and (2) specialized vocational education, although it may be difficult to draw a sharp line between them in practice. The grounds for government intervention are widely different in these two areas and justify very different types of action....

[Feb 27, 2017] Stents for stable patients prevent zero heart attacks and extend the lives of patients a grand total of not at all

Notable quotes:
"... Stents for stable patients prevent zero heart attacks and extend the lives of patients a grand total of not at all. ..."
"... It found that atenolol didn't prevent heart attacks or extend life at all; it just lowered blood pressure. ..."
"... Of course, myriad medical innovations improve and save lives, but even as scientists push the cutting edge (and expense) of medicine, the National Center for Health Statistics reported last month that American life expectancy dropped, slightly. There is, though, something that does powerfully and assuredly bolster life expectancy: sustained public-health initiatives... ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc : February 26, 2017 at 11:18 AM , 2017 at 11:18 AM
If you are looking for a World Class Global Scam - you found it documented below

"Stents for stable patients prevent zero heart attacks and extend the lives of patients a grand total of not at all"

My takeaway: There are HERO Physicians doing WORLD CLASS MEDICINE (read article) but they are greatly outnumbered by those who put the health of their wallet ahead of patient health...so beware and be aware

https://www.propublica.org/article/when-evidence-says-no-but-doctors-say-yes

"When Evidence Says No, But Doctors Say Yes"

'Years after research contradicts common practices, patients continue to demand them and doctors continue to deliver. The result is an epidemic of unnecessary and unhelpful treatment'

by David Epstein, ProPublica...February 22, 2017

*This story was co-published with The Atlantic

"The 21st Century Cures Act - a rare bipartisan bill, pushed by more than 1,400 lobbyists and signed into law in December - lowers evidentiary standards for new uses of drugs and for marketing and approval of some medical devices. Furthermore, last month President Donald Trump scolded the FDA for what he characterized as withholding drugs from dying patients. He promised to slash regulations "big league. It could even be up to 80 percent" of current FDA regulations, he said. To that end, one of the president's top candidates to head the FDA, tech investor Jim O'Neill, has openly advocated for drugs to be approved before they're shown to work. "Let people start using them at their own risk," O'Neill has argued.

Stents for stable patients prevent zero heart attacks and extend the lives of patients a grand total of not at all.

So, while Americans can expect to see more drugs and devices sped to those who need them, they should also expect the problem of therapies based on flimsy evidence to accelerate...

...it's not hard to understand why Sir James Black won a Nobel Prize largely for his 1960s discovery of beta-blockers, which slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. The Nobel committee lauded the discovery as the "greatest breakthrough when it comes to pharmaceuticals against heart illness since the discovery of digitalis 200 years ago." In 1981, the FDA approved one of the first beta-blockers, atenolol, after it was shown to dramatically lower blood pressure. Atenolol became such a standard treatment that it was used as a reference drug for comparison with other blood-pressure drugs.

In 1997, a Swedish hospital began a trial of more than 9,000 patients with high blood pressure who were randomly assigned to take either atenolol or a competitor drug that was designed to lower blood pressure for at least four years. The competitor-drug group had fewer deaths (204) than the atenolol group (234) and fewer strokes (232 compared with 309). But the study also found that both drugs lowered blood pressure by the exact same amount, so why wasn't the vaunted atenolol saving more people? That odd result prompted a subsequent study, which compared atenolol with sugar pills. It found that atenolol didn't prevent heart attacks or extend life at all; it just lowered blood pressure. A 2004 analysis of clinical trials - including eight randomized controlled trials comprising more than 24,000 patients - concluded that atenolol did not reduce heart attacks or deaths compared with using no treatment whatsoever; patients on atenolol just had better blood-pressure numbers when they died...

...Replication of results in science was a cause-célèbre last year, due to the growing realization that researchers have been unable to duplicate a lot of high-profile results. A decade ago, Stanford's Ioannidis published a paper warning the scientific community that "Most Published Research Findings Are False." (In 2012, he coauthored a paper showing that pretty much everything in your fridge has been found to both cause and prevent cancer - except bacon, which apparently only causes cancer.) Ioannidis's prescience led his paper to be cited in other scientific articles more than 800 times in 2016 alone. Point being, sensitivity in the scientific community to replication problems is at an all-time high...

Of course, myriad medical innovations improve and save lives, but even as scientists push the cutting edge (and expense) of medicine, the National Center for Health Statistics reported last month that American life expectancy dropped, slightly. There is, though, something that does powerfully and assuredly bolster life expectancy: sustained public-health initiatives...

"Relative risk is just another way of lying."

At the same time, patients and even doctors themselves are sometimes unsure of just how effective common treatments are, or how to appropriately measure and express such things. Graham Walker, an emergency physician in San Francisco, co-runs a website staffed by doctor volunteers called the NNT that helps doctors and patients understand how impactful drugs are - and often are not. "NNT" is an abbreviation for "number needed to treat," as in: How many patients need to be treated with a drug or procedure for one patient to get the hoped-for benefit? In almost all popular media, the effects of a drug are reported by relative risk reduction. To use a fictional illness, for example, say you hear on the radio that a drug reduces your risk of dying from Hogwart's disease by 20 percent, which sounds pretty good. Except, that means if 10 in 1,000 people who get Hogwart's disease normally die from it, and every single patient goes on the drug, eight in 1,000 will die from Hogwart's disease. So, for every 500 patients who get the drug, one will be spared death by Hogwart's disease. Hence, the NNT is 500. That might sound fine, but if the drug's "NNH" - "number needed to harm" - is, say, 20 and the unwanted side effect is severe, then 25 patients suffer serious harm for each one who is saved. Suddenly, the trade-off looks grim.

Now, consider a real and familiar drug: aspirin. For elderly women who take it daily for a year to prevent a first heart attack, aspirin has an estimated NNT of 872 and an NNH of 436. That means if 1,000 elderly women take aspirin daily for a decade, 11 of them will avoid a heart attack; meanwhile, twice that many will suffer a major gastrointestinal bleeding event that would not have occurred if they hadn't been taking aspirin. As with most drugs, though, aspirin will not cause anything particularly good or bad for the vast majority of people who take it. That is the theme of the medicine in your cabinet: It likely isn't significantly harming or helping you. "Most people struggle with the idea that medicine is all about probability," says Aron Sousa, an internist and senior associate dean at Michigan State University's medical school. As to the more common metric, relative risk, "it's horrible," Sousa says. "It's not just drug companies that use it; physicians use it, too. They want their work to look more useful, and they genuinely think patients need to take this [drug], and relative risk is more compelling than NNT. Relative risk is just another way of lying."

A Different Way to Think About Medicine

For every 100 older adults who take a sleep aid, 7 will experience improved sleep, while 17 will suffer side effects that range widely in severity, from simple morning "hangover" to memory loss and serious accidents. As with many medications, most who take a sleep aid will experience neither benefit nor harm...

"There's this cognitive dissonance, or almost professional depression," Walker says. "You think, 'Oh my gosh, I'm a doctor, I'm going to give all these drugs because they help people.' But I've almost become more fatalistic, especially in emergency medicine." If we really wanted to make a big impact on a large number of people, Walker says, "we'd be doing a lot more diet and exercise and lifestyle stuff. That was by far the hardest thing for me to conceptually appreciate before I really started looking at studies critically."...

In the 1990s, the American Cancer Society's board of directors put out a national challenge to cut cancer rates from a peak in 1990. Encouragingly, deaths in the United States from all types of cancer since then have been falling. Still, American men have a ways to go to return to 1930s levels. Medical innovation has certainly helped; it's just that public health has more often been the society-wide game changer. Most people just don't believe it.

In 2014, two researchers at Brigham Young University surveyed Americans and found that typical adults attributed about 80 percent of the increase in life expectancy since the mid-1800s to modern medicine. "The public grossly overestimates how much of our increased life expectancy should be attributed to medical care," they wrote, "and is largely unaware of the critical role played by public health and improved social conditions determinants." This perception, they continued, might hinder funding for public health, and it "may also contribute to overfunding the medical sector of the economy and impede efforts to contain health care costs."

It is a loaded claim. But consider the $6.3 billion 21st Century Cures Act, which recently passed Congress to widespread acclaim. Who can argue with a law created in part to bolster cancer research? Among others, the heads of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Public Health Association. They argue against the new law because it will take $3.5 billion away from public-health efforts in order to fund research on new medical technology and drugs, including former Vice President Joe Biden's "cancer moonshot." The new law takes money from programs - like vaccination and smoking-cessation efforts - that are known to prevent disease and moves it to work that might, eventually, treat disease. The bill will also allow the FDA to approve new uses for drugs based on observational studies or even "summary-level reviews" of data submitted by pharmaceutical companies. Prasad has been a particularly trenchant and public critic, tweeting that "the only people who don't like the bill are people who study drug approval, safety, and who aren't paid by Pharma."..."

[Feb 27, 2017] Why Markets Can't Cure Healthcare

Feb 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne -> anne... February 26, 2017 at 02:07 PM , 2017 at 02:07 PM
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/why-markets-cant-cure-healthcare/

July 25, 2009

Why Markets Can't Cure Healthcare
By Paul Krugman

Judging both from comments on this blog and from some of my mail, a significant number of Americans believe that the answer to our health care problems - indeed, the only answer - is to rely on the free market. Quite a few seem to believe that this view reflects the lessons of economic theory.

Not so. One of the most influential economic papers of the postwar era was Kenneth Arrow's "Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Health Care," * which demonstrated - decisively, I and many others believe - that health care can't be marketed like bread or TVs. Let me offer my own version of Arrow's argument.

There are two strongly distinctive aspects of health care. One is that you don't know when or whether you'll need care - but if you do, the care can be extremely expensive. The big bucks are in triple coronary bypass surgery, not routine visits to the doctor's office; and very, very few people can afford to pay major medical costs out of pocket.

This tells you right away that health care can't be sold like bread. It must be largely paid for by some kind of insurance. And this in turn means that someone other than the patient ends up making decisions about what to buy. Consumer choice is nonsense when it comes to health care. And you can't just trust insurance companies either - they're not in business for their health, or yours.

This problem is made worse by the fact that actually paying for your health care is a loss from an insurers' point of view - they actually refer to it as "medical costs." This means both that insurers try to deny as many claims as possible, and that they try to avoid covering people who are actually likely to need care. Both of these strategies use a lot of resources, which is why private insurance has much higher administrative costs than single-payer systems. And since there's a widespread sense that our fellow citizens should get the care we need - not everyone agrees, but most do - this means that private insurance basically spends a lot of money on socially destructive activities.

The second thing about health care is that it's complicated, and you can't rely on experience or comparison shopping. ("I hear they've got a real deal on stents over at St. Mary's!") That's why doctors are supposed to follow an ethical code, why we expect more from them than from bakers or grocery store owners.

You could rely on a health maintenance organization to make the hard choices and do the cost management, and to some extent we do. But HMOs have been highly limited in their ability to achieve cost-effectiveness because people don't trust them - they're profit-making institutions, and your treatment is their cost.

Between those two factors, health care just doesn't work as a standard market story.

All of this doesn't necessarily mean that socialized medicine, or even single-payer, is the only way to go. There are a number of successful healthcare systems, at least as measured by pretty good care much cheaper than here, and they are quite different from each other. There are, however, no examples of successful health care based on the principles of the free market, for one simple reason: in health care, the free market just doesn't work. And people who say that the market is the answer are flying in the face of both theory and overwhelming evidence.

* https://web.stanford.edu/~jay/health_class/Readings/Lecture01/arrow.pdf

anne -> anne... , February 26, 2017 at 02:44 PM
Correcting again and continuing:

Though Krugman always praises the work of Arrow on healthcare markets, Krugman never seems much been influenced by the work.

Though praising Arrow on healthcare markets, Krugman seemingly has spent no time on or possibly has dismissed research affirming Arrow and has not supported the sorts of healthcare insurance systems that would follow from accepting the work of Arrow:

https://promarket.org/there-is-regulatory-capture-but-it-is-by-no-means-complete/
/
March 15, 2016

"There Is Regulatory Capture, But It Is By No Means Complete"
By Asher Schechter

Kenneth J. Arrow, one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, reflects on the benefits of a single payer health care system, the role of government and regulatory capture.

Mr. Bill : , February 26, 2017 at 03:32 PM
So Anne, what your saying is that "health care" is a monopolistic industry that makes more money by restricting care and charging more ? Allowing people that can't afford to live, too die?

Well. yes, I agree with your presumed hypothesis, and I admire your boldness for stepping out in front of this moving freight train, risking your beloved tenure.

To me ? Thanks for asking.

I think that the 3 % administrative costs of the existing single payer system are more pareto optimal than the 25 % that the monopolists' extract. What do I know. This is America. Dumb is not an option.

anne : , February 26, 2017 at 06:33 PM
Turning again to Kenneth Arrow and healthcare markets, assuming that Arrow was correct for all these years, and subsequent research repeatedly has confirmed Arrow, then a typical American market-based healthcare insurance system is going to prove unworkable. Why then has the work of Arrow which is at least superficially so broadly praised by economists not been more influential in forming policy?
libezkova -> anne... , February 26, 2017 at 07:12 PM
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

― Upton Sinclair, I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked

[Feb 27, 2017] Kenneth Arrow has died

Feb 27, 2017 | crookedtimber.org
The person who had promoted general equilibrium fallacy and mathiness in economics

Patrick S. O'Donnell 02.22.17 at 3:34 pm

I won't dispute the accolades (and not only because it's in bad taste), especially the long-standing consensus that he was "a very good guy."

All the same, I'm inclined to believe that Arrow's undoubtedly clever if not brilliant "impossibility theorem" (Amartya Sen describes it as a 'result of breathtaking brilliance and power') had, and speaking generally, a pernicious effect on the discipline of economics, captured in part by Deirdre (né Donald) McCloskey's comment that it, along with other qualitative general theorems in the discipline, "do not, strictly speaking, relate to anything an economist would actually want to know," in other words, "axiomatizing economics" (which Arrow alone cannot be held responsible for) was a turn for the worse, no doubt motivated by a desire to bring (natural) scientific respectability and putative "rigor" (of the sort believed to characterize physics) to a field not amenable to same (to put it bluntly if not mildly).

For a different sort of critique of his work in this regard in economics and the "social choice" literature, see Hausman and McPherson's Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 2006).

There is also a vigorous critique of the use of this theorem by professional economists and political scientists in S.M. Amadae's Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism (University of Chicago Press, 2003).

Sen has a decidedly more favorable assessment of the "impossibility theorem" in his book, Rationality and Freedom (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002).

Alas, it was mischievous interpretations and application of his famous "impossibility theorem" that unequivocally did enormous harm to the discipline of political science, particularly with regard to democratic theory (and by implication, praxis as well): see Gerry Mackie's Democracy Defended (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Donald A. Coffin 02.22.17 at 4:16 pm ( 5 )

Links abound of course. For an excellent discussion of his contributions, this (the first of four posts that will appear this week) is a good place to start.
https://afinetheorem.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/the-greatest-living-economist-has-passed-away-notes-on-kenneth-arrow-part-i/
peterv 02.23.17 at 10:57 pm ( pnee:

For us members of the general public, the return of Jobs to Apple was a complete surprise. It was not rumored in any way in any public forum, to my knowledge. The futures for the company considered possible by external observers (ie, non-insiders) were many more than before. Exactly as I said and as you agree, the public announcement of Jobs' return was new information which increased public uncertainty.

Lee A. Arnold 02.24.17 at 11:45 am ( 19 )
"Information" has different definitions in different disciplines. One of Arrow's last lectures explains his use of the word, and also his view of the current state of many other things. Only 9 pages, no math:

http://www.wifo.ac.at/jart/prj3/wifo/resources/person_dokument/person_dokument.jart?publikationsid=47076&mime_type=application/pdf

likbez 02.26.17 at 11:20 pm (

Two questions to esteemed commenters here:

1. Is not the idea of permanent equilibrium a fallacy?

2. If not excessive use of mathematics in economics called mathiness?

[Feb 27, 2017] Tom Perez Elected Head of DNC

Notable quotes:
"... isn't going to wor ..."
"... isn't going to wor ..."
"... is all that works. ..."
"... and Haim Saban's opinion matters more than millions of BernieCrats because money. ..."
"... The Dems are set up pretty well for 2018. ..."
"... "We lost this election eight years ago," concludes Michael Slaby, the campaign's chief technology officer. "Our party became a national movement focused on general elections, and we lost touch with nonurban, noncoastal communities. There is a straight line between our failure to address the culture and systemic failures of Washington and this election result." ..."
"... The question of why-why the president and his team failed to activate the most powerful political weapon in their arsenal. ..."
"... Obama's army was eager to be put to work. Of the 550,000 people who responded to the survey, 86 percent said they wanted to help Obama pass legislation through grassroots support; 68 percent wanted to help elect state and local candidates who shared his vision. Most impressive of all, more than 50,000 said they personally wanted to run for elected office. ..."
"... But they never got that chance. In late December, Plouffe and a small group of senior staffers finally made the call, which was endorsed by Obama. The entire campaign machine, renamed Organizing for America, would be folded into the DNC, where it would operate as a fully controlled subsidiary of the Democratic Party. ..."
"... Republicans, on the other hand, wasted no time in building a grassroots machine of their own-one that proved capable of blocking Obama at almost every turn. Within weeks of his inauguration, conservative activists began calling for local "tea parties" to oppose the president's plan to help foreclosed homeowners. ..."
"... Your friend should share her script for success w/ the DNC leadership. ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on February 25, 2017 by Yves Smith Kiss that party goodbye. From the Wall Street Journal :

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee Saturday, giving the party an establishment leader at a moment when its grass roots wing is insurgent.

Mr. Perez defeated Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and four other candidates in a race that had few ideological divisions yet illuminated the same rifts in the party that drove the acrimonious 2016 presidential primary between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Perez fell one vote short of a majority on the first vote for chairman, with Mr. Ellison 13 votes behind him. The four second-tier candidates then dropped out of the race before the second ballot. On the second ballot, Mr. Perez won 235 of 435 votes cast.

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Somehow, I think most people knew that this was going to happen.

There's a good chance that Trump will end up being a 2 term president and that 2018 will be a disaster for the Democratic Party on the scale of 2010, 2014, and 1994. Meanwhile, they will surely blame the voters and especially the left, which is what they always do when they don't win.

I think that we should keep in mind that the US is a plutocracy and that at this point, the Democrats aren't even pretending to be a "New Deal" party for the people anymore. Perhaps its existence always was an outlet to contain and co-opt the left. At least now, the message is naked: the left is expected to blindly obey, but will never be given leadership positions.

In other words, the left is not welcome. I think that it is time for people to leave.

The only question at this point is, how hard is it going to be to form a third party? I don't see the Left as being able to reform the Democrats very easily. It may be so corrupt as to be beyond reform.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 4:05 pm

The time to leave the Democrat party was when Obama turned healthcare over to the insurance and pharma industries in 2009.

If it were easy to form a third party it would have been done by now. But then again, if it were easy, perhaps it wouldn't be necessary.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:43 pm

or 1993 when NAFTA was passed and FDR started his 23-years-and-counting spinning in his grave?

sgt_doom , February 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

At least 1993, although the ideal time would have been after the Coup of 1963, but unfortunately too many were still clueless than. (Had more than five people and Mort Sahl ever bothered to read the Warren Commission Report - where Lee Oswald was "positively ID'd by a waitress for the murder of Officer Tippit:

W.C.: So you went into the room and looked at the lineup, did you recognize anyone.

Helen Louise Markham: No, sir.

And there you have it, gentlement, a positive ID! And the rest of the so-called report was even worse . . . .)

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 10:13 pm

(Patting self on back) That's when I left it. God, was it really that long ago?

And responding to the earlier part of the string: no, it isn't easy to form a "3rd" party; and yes, there already is one. Just might be time to stop nit-picking about it and help. (In Oregon, there are about 6, two of them right-wing.)

Kshama Sawant, who is a socialist not a Green, is hoping (I think that's the exact word) to put together a Left coalition. I think the Green Party could be sold on that – for one thing, we would be much the largest portion. Certainly I could, as I'm pretty tired of spinning my wheels.

Remember, according to Gallup, the Dems are now down to 25% affiliation (Reps at 28 – the first time they've been higher, I think because they won the election.) Independents are the plurality by a wide margin. Something's going to give, and we should try to get ahead of the parade. It could easily get really nasty.

John Merryman , February 25, 2017 at 11:45 pm

The problem with third parties is the same with the math of this ballot. If Perez was one vote shy the first time, that means he only picked up 18 votes the second time. So all the other candidates mostly split the opposition. I'm sure if the democratic establishment felt the need, they would form a few front parties.
People, you are just going to have to wait for it to blow up and after that, coalesce around one cause; Public banking and money as a publicly supported utility.
It took a few hundred years to recognize government is a public function and drop monarchy.

energizer wabbit , February 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Beats me how anyone thinks "public banking" will change anything. In a capitalist system, banks are banks. They chase the highest return. That's not where the public interest (qua people) lies and never will be. And "government is a public function" so long as it serves its mandate: to make return on capital investment function smoothly.

Tomonthebeach , February 26, 2017 at 1:03 am

For those of use who never were in the Democratic Party, this choice ensures that many of us will be looking for another party. The DNC just gave us the same choice as the last election – Corrupt establishment or Fascism. The distinction these days is not worth pondering.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

Unfortunately the deck is too stacked against a 3rd party in US. This article is good on that and on why playing nice with Democrats is also no good:
https://medium.com/@petercoffin/the-democrats-will-disappoint-you-a-third-party-aint-happening-and-other-garbage-you-don-t-want-3eb0a80c154#.h7q0j2uvp

What people are doing right now with Donald Trump's GOP - forcing town halls, making a ruckus, holding everyone accountable - has to be the model for progressive change in American politics. Doing this stuff inside the system isn't going to wor k. Forming a party around ideology or ideas isn't going to wor k. Wearing the system down is all that works.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:43 am

Good article on DNC chair race:
https://medium.com/@MattBruenig/be-clear-about-what-happened-to-keith-ellison-78e31bad6f76#.ri3iw6i5i

Before this gets turned into another thing where the establishment Democrats posture as the reasonable adults victimized by the assaults of those left-wing baddies, let's just be very clear about what happened here. It was the establishment wing that decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate in order to fight an internal battle against the left faction of the party. It was the establishment wing that then dumped massive piles of opposition research on one of their own party members. And it was the establishment wing that did all of this in the shadow of Trump, sowing disunity in order to contest a position whose leadership they insist does not really matter.
The establishment wing has made it very clear that they will do anything and everything to hold down the left faction, even as they rather hilariously ask the left faction to look above their differences and unify in these trying times. They do not have any intent of ceding anything - even small things they claim are mostly irrelevant - to the left wing.

Nuggets321 , February 26, 2017 at 2:55 pm

isn't in nice to see the Dims being so effective when it comes to threats to its establishment ways?

Another Anon , February 25, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Reform may become possible only when the money spigot dries up.
At some point, the oligarchs may simply decide its not cost effective
to finance such losers. With no money, there are no rice bowls and so the
professional pols and their minions will either wither away or seek a new funding
model which may make possible a different politics.
I think it will take well under a decade to see how this plays out.

L , February 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

At some point, the oligarchs may simply decide its not cost effective to finance such losers.

Unless having a monopoly on both the winners and losers ensures a total control over the political system.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Unless?

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm

What is the cheapest way for oligarchs to maintain power in a pseudo-democracy?

If there is enough conflict among them, I suppose they'll continue to put money into both parties. Otherwise, why not just let one of the two slowly die? Electoral theatre is expensive.

Jason , February 25, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Electoral theatre is expensive.

The scary thing is that it's NOT expensive, compared to the size of the economy. As long as there's enough at stake for large companies and ultra-rich individuals, they can very easily buy two or even several parties.

(This is not to disagree with your main point, which is that they may let the Democrats die.)

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

But why bother with that extra bit, if it can instead be spent on a second or third bolt-hole?

But I suspect you are correct because the citizenry will revolt fairly quickly after the illusion completely dissolves. It's worth something to put that off for as long as possible.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm

The United States' GDP was estimated to be $17.914 trillion as of Q2 2015.

Hillary spent less than $1.2B. Trump spent less than $700M.

So for less than $2B, or .00011148272 of the GDP, you can have your kabuki theater for the proles.

Entire election for ALL candidates cost just under $7B , or .00037904124 of GDP.

8 people have the same wealth as the bottom 50%.

And the Aristocrat Choir sings, "what's the ruckus?"

MG , February 25, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Yes it is when a very competitive Senate race is now $50M as a starting price tag and to run a viable Presidential campaign will likely be $1B as a floor in 2020.

Foppe , February 25, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Nah, that'd never fly. Must have "choice".

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 5:10 pm

There'd still be 'choice' since we plebs would continue quixotically financing this/that with our cashless dollars (while they filter, oh say .30 of each, for the privilege).

At least, perhaps, until we finally get our sh*t together and genuinely revolt. How long will that take?

Foppe , February 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Hard to say, too few historical data points actually involving revolts.

witters , February 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm

The farce willl go on. After all, while the actual popular sovereignty expressed in voting might be minimal, and the information environment itself largely a corporate construction, its gives a concrete, personal, representation of popular sovereignty, and in so doing – and whatever the despondency of its voters and the emptiness of their choice – legitimates or "mandates" whatever it is the government does, and however corporate friendly it might be. And it may be – with its Private Public Partnerships, and revolving door from the corporate to public office (and back) – very corporate friendly indeed.

If this is the case, then the "China Model" is not, as some think, the ideal neoliberal political model. Explicitly authoritarian rule is, from the start, problematic in terms of popular sovereignty. If a corporate-friendly authoritarian regime is to avoid this, it has but one option. It must deliver economic growth that is both noticeable and widespread, and so do what neoliberal theory claims, but neoliberal practice isn't much, if at all, interested in providing.

We may well be in the midst of making a choice here

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

At least the China model provided growth unreal living standards from the desperate poverty that most Chinese were living in a generation ago.

It is certainly not without flaws. Corruption, inequality, and pollution are big problems.

That said,the US is following the corruption and inequality pretty well. With the Republicans and other corporations in control, they will surely make sure that pollution follows.

Actually it will be worse. The Chinese model ensured that China built up a manufacturing sector. It followed the economic growth trajectory of Japan after WW2 and later South Korea. The neoliberals won't do that.

Patricia , February 26, 2017 at 8:52 am

Which 'we' is that? I suspect we are well past the time when people like you and me can make that choice. 40-50 years past.

b1daly , February 26, 2017 at 1:50 am

By "revolt" what do you actually mean? Armed overthrow of the existing power structure? Or political revolt, forming a new party? Breaking the US up into smaller countries?

I'm having hard time imagining a radical restructuring of power in the US. Nor does it strikes me as particularly desirable, as my observation is that the new power structure is often just as bad as the existing one. But now has to deal with governing a fractured society.

Patricia , February 26, 2017 at 8:48 am

Whatever would be required to create necessary change. A series of actions emerging from a plan, ever-intensifying until the system-as-it-is has no more power.

Do you think hundreds of millions of people should continue to let themselves be trashed? That sort of thing never lets up but only increases over time.

This situation is not unlike spousal abuse. The most dangerous time for the abused is when the she/he decides to leave. And the after-effects usually land her/him in poverty but also peace and self-respect.

Kurt Sperry , February 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Yep, in a duopoly it is necessary to own and control both halves–even a perpetually losing one. That is cheap insurance against nasty surprises. American political parties and politicians are cheap as hell to buy in any event. Gazillionaire couch change can control entire parties.

L , February 26, 2017 at 12:57 am

Agreed, this is why even the soviets maintained a permitted show of opposition if only to keep people distracted.

freedeomny , February 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Yes

Steve Ruis , February 26, 2017 at 8:32 am

Oh, c'mon. The money spent to provide an illusion of democracy is chump change compared to the billions they are reaping from having bought the government. The plutocrats are not trying to effect change really, they like it pretty much as it is now. The purpose of the two parties is to distract us from what is really going on. The only plutocratic interest in what they do is fueled by perverse curiosity of what their new toy can do.

steelhead23 , February 26, 2017 at 9:57 am

Anon, I hope you are right. Somewhat lost in the news was the vote NOT to ban corporate donations to the DNC. To me, that is at least as telling as Ellison's loss. The Clintons may be gone, but their stench remains.

reslez , February 25, 2017 at 4:58 pm

I think we need to accept the strong likelihood that there will be a corporatist-dominated Constitutional Convention by 2025. First on the agenda: a constitutional amendment that requires a balanced federal budget. The globalist elites will slam on that lever to destroy what remains of the economic safety net. "Balanced budgets" are very popular with the deceived public but such an amendment will end general prosperity in this nation forever. Imagine what else they'll outlaw and ban and 1860 doesn't feel so far away.

Fred1 , February 25, 2017 at 9:44 pm

What surprises me is that Establishment Ds make no effort to defend themselves from attacks from the Left. It's like they don't care: no leftward movement on policy. They just call Bernie and the Brodudes names. What Sanders did to Hillary is a proof of concept. The most powerful Establishment D is mortally wounded by an attack from a no name senator from Vermont. This can be used against any Establishment D. The Brodudes initially may not have wanted to burn it down, but they now know they can. So what are the Establishment Ds doing to defend themselves?

JerseyJeffersonian , February 26, 2017 at 9:59 am

Closer and closer it comes as the Democrats have let state after state come under one-party Republican rule while unjustifiably preening themselves for their "moral rectitude" (while yet continuing to assist in looting the joint for a small percentage of the take ). That party has come to play their part in cementing the injustices and inequalities into place. Witness Obama, not only sitting on his hands when action against palpable injustice was needed, but actively collaborating in rigidifying the rotten structure. The quintessential globalist, authoritarian, war-loving Democrat, the only kind permissable, vide Perez.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 5:04 pm

There's a good chance that Trump will end up being a 2 term president and that 2018 will be a disaster for the Democratic Party on the scale of 2010, 2014, and 1994. Meanwhile, they will surely blame the voters and especially the left, which is what they always do when they don't win.

If Trump doesn't deliver the manufacturing jobs to the "undesirables" like he promised, if he dismantles ACA and leaves poor and working class "undesirables" to the wolf of some sort of privatization scheme health care w/ vouchers or tax breaks, if backtracking on financial sector reform leads to another economic meltdown, and if he and Bannon get another war, which metastasizes into asymmetrical warfare all over Western Europe and the US, then Trump's ability to get reelected is in serious jeopardy to say the least, no matter how lame the democratic challenger is. Bush's meltdown gave us a Black President for christs sake.

On the other hand, the down ticket races could continue to be the usual disaster for the dems unless they do a major reshift in their campaign strategies outside the blue states that includes strong populist economic messaging and pushing a strong safety net w/ a public option for health care (assuming the GOP wipes out ACA.)

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

There are a lot of "ifs" there that are looking like "wills" at the moment. He is playing true to type and delegating policy to whomsoever flatters him best whilst jetting off to Mar-a-Lago for a game of golf with his business buddies. With the exception of killing TPP (maybe?) and no immediate European conflicts with Russia, this is what I would have expected from him and, more importantly, Pence. The true believers seem to be getting their way, thus far.

That said, I wouldn't discount the power of his ability to deflect blame for the consequences of his actions. For the most part, those who voted for him truly believe that everything is someone else's fault, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

witters , February 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm

'For the most part, those who voted for him truly believe that everything is someone else's fault, and I don't see that changing any time soon.'

And the vast majjority of those who voted against him! See the topic of today's post.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm

This is true, but don't you think the standards are different? At the moment nothing is either Parties fault, according to their leadership, but the reactions of both Party's base has been far different to date. Dems have been comparatively unsuccessful blaming Muslims, leftists and Russians for their problems whereas that is, and always has been, red meat for Republicans. Any stick to beat someone with just doesn't work as well for the Democratic Party. Claire McCaskill calls Bernie a communist and is vilified for it at the time, so now she is whining because her seat is at risk in '18? What did she expect when she knew, at the time, that she was alienating half the Party by so doing?

Dems are losing because they have the misfortune of not having more Republicans in their electoral base, however hard they have tried to include them in their "Big Tent" leadership. Republicans actively fear their base, and would never make such an egregious political mistake.

Matt , February 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

I thought all of the candidates for the DNC Chair were really bad. Even the ever so popular Keith Ellison. This guy once advocated for an entire separate country to be formed comprising of only African Americans. Just curious, how "tolerant" and "inclusive" would the immigration policy be for that country if it were ever created? What would the trade policies be in that country? Would they let a white owned business like Wal-Mart move into a black neighborhood and put the local black owned businesses out of business? Keith Ellison is nothing more than a hypocrite every time he criticizes Donald Trump's policies and advocates for his impeachment.

The entire Democratic party is falling apart. They are trying to get elected because of their race, sex, and/or religion. Instead of trying to get elected based on the content of their character and their message. I truly believe the main reason Keith Ellison was even considered for the DNC Chair is because he is black and a Muslim.

The party rigged the primary against Bernie because they felt it was time that a woman became president instead of a man. Some democrats even called Bernie a white supremacist.

This identity politics is killing the party.

JerseyJeffersonian , February 26, 2017 at 9:40 am

This, in spades.

You know, "Where there is no vision, the people perish "?

Irredeemable Deplorable , February 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm

The God-Emperor's vision is crystal clear:

"@realDonaldTrump: The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally "rigged." Bernie's guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!" – Twitter

LMFAO

How about that new Clinton video, sure looks like she is going to run again in 2020 – please, Hilary, you go, girl!

Dugless , February 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm

The corporatist "third way" democrats are hoping for Trump to implode so that they can get back into the White House. They really don't think that they need progressives since it is undoubted in their opinion that Trump will certainly be fail on his promises and be unelectable in 2020 and they will be back in power. And they may be right but the dems still will have lost most of the states and many localities. It will be more of the Obama/Clinton wing at the top with all the "professional" hangers on facing down a Republican congress until the system collapses.

Brad , February 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm

That's clearly what the Perez/Nate Coln Dems are banking on. Metro-suburban class alliance of multicultural service workers and their secular Republican employers nonplussed by Bush-style Trump clusterfark. Heard no "strong populist message" out of Perez's mouth in the DNC debates. Anything the Dems do there will be to elect more Blue Dogs to strengthen the conservative wing of the party and push the Sanders people back to the margins. That's all they care about right now.

But it's a completely passive strategy that is at the mercy of the Republicans. For "what if" President Bannon lays off the coke and, like Obama, doesn't do stupid?

The only real hazard the Trumpistas face is the timing of the next recession. And that will depend on part on the Fed. The rest is: don't start a war, just leave ACA sit there.

The Fed, the Fed, it all comes down to the Fed in the next 4 years. Has Bannon studied up on Jackson's Bank War?

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 11:22 pm

I was just at a "Community Meeting" with Rep. Peter DeFazio – one of the more progressive Dems. Huge turnout, again. Questions were more challenging than the ones to Wyden. Amazingly old audience – where are all the Bernie millennials?

Toward the end, I asked him (1) what he thought had happened to the Democrats over the last 8 disastrous years; and (2) whether he saw motion to fix the problem.

He responded with a passionate statement of progressive ideas, so I guess that answers #1; but he didn't answer Pt. 2 at all, really, which is a negative answer. He had actually been pretty critical of the party in earlier answers, and we had just learned that Perez would be chairing the DNC.

I was wearing a Green Party T-shirt, which I'm sure he recognizes. Oddly, both the first and last questions were from local Greens: the first, from the former city councillor who runs against him on a regular basis; and the last from my wife, about the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement. Time was limited, and we lined up for the microphones.

Lord Koos , February 26, 2017 at 1:45 pm

The wars won't matter to people as long as the propaganda is good enough (perhaps a helpful false flag incident as well) and as long as there is no draft. It's all about whipping up the patriotism we'll see if that still works.

P Walker , February 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm

The Democratic Party has always about "left containment." Their entire existence isn't about winning at all. It's about allowing establishment rule, which is why even when Democrats are elected the forward march into corporate rule continues unabated.

Burn it.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm

I like Lambert's phrase:

Kill it with FIRE.

fresno dan , February 25, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Altandmain
February 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Neither party is worth a bucket of warm spit – and both parties pay no attention what so ever to the vast majority their members, or the vast majority of the citizens. And neither party can be reformed. IMHO, the only question is if any new party constituted would be infiltrated and undermined from within before it could do anything.

kimsarah , February 25, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Nothing to fear if Van Jones starts the party.

BeliTsari , February 25, 2017 at 6:14 pm

A series of storms was coming through, so I was tuning-around on TV, to find weather & stumbled upon coverage on MSNBC (the onliest way I'd ever end up there). The yammering bobble-head referred to actual lifelong Keynesian Democrats as "the FAR left." I simply assumed I'd tuned into FOX, since there's about 3 affiliates where I'm working. She kind of sneered the whole story. Why don't they just use CGI? Smart TV's, selfie cams and biosensors could ensure the viewer's attention; gauge reactions & report potential dissident proclivities? https://theintercept.com/2017/02/24/key-question-about-dnc-race-why-did-white-house-recruit-perez-to-run-against-ellison/ http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/eduardo-caraballo-puerto-rico-deportion-94795779.html http://www.juancole.com/2017/02/endangering-abiding-undocumented.html

MG , February 25, 2017 at 8:08 pm

This seems very much like a kneejerk reaction. Your assuming the economy doesn't go into recession by then which increasingly seems less and less likely as well as the GOP Congressional leadership or Trump showing much skill in executing their legislative agenda. A lot easier being the guy who chants out about how the guy in charge sucks and another entirely when they suddenly become the person in charge.

Unless Trump starts to deliver on jobs and meaningful wage growth, there will be inevitable backlash in 2018 at him and the GOP. It is going to be increasing when the rank and file American realizes that the GOP House tax plan goes for essentially a 20% VAT to be implemented on imported goods while they get a whopping income tax cut of 1-2%. Average American is a rube but eventually this will start to sink in as to just how short changed they'll be if it largely passes wholesale.

Adamski , February 25, 2017 at 10:19 pm

What if they do tax cuts for the rich without Social Security / Medicare cuts? What if they don't do much about Obamacare and don't lose votes that way either? And if the recovery continues, the labour market will tighten.

dcrane , February 26, 2017 at 3:36 am

Yes, and what if they *do* continue to put on a big show against "illegals" and allegedly unfriendly Muslim immigrants? And tinker just enough with NAFTA to claim a symbolic "win" against Mexico? This could be potent stuff.

If the Democrats haven't managed to come up with a candidate people can really get behind, it will be even easier for incumbency to pull Trump over the finish line again. Many Republicans who wouldn't vote for Trump this time "because Hitler" will have observed by then that the country survived Term I, and they'll get back in line, because Republicans always come home. The Democrats seem to think that since the election was close, all they need to do is run Obama V2 (Booker), thereby re-juicing the lagged African American turnout and putting a D back in the Oval Office. I think that ship has sailed now. If Trump truly bombs, then sure anyone will beat him. But as of now I'm not confident that he will simply fail and the numbers may only be more difficult for the Ds in 2020.

Richard H Caldwell , February 26, 2017 at 9:23 am

A very neat summation of my views.

Teleportnow , February 26, 2017 at 10:59 am

I seriously doubt Trump will be a one term president. DNC elections notwithstanding. If there's no "there" there in the, according to Trump, utterly nonexistent Russia scandal, why hide from the press? Take the questions. Call for an investigation himself. Nothing to hide? Quit hiding.

Irredeemable Deplorable , February 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Best news I've heard today. High fives all around.

As an oponnent of every Democrat and every Democrat "policy", I am overjoyed. Carry on.

Trumpslide 2020 t-shirts are already on sale, I'm ordering one.

Burritonomics , February 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Given very recent history, this is no surprise. Unfortunate, and I expect to see "resistance" activities nudged even more toward the same weary mainstream DNC tropes.

Vatch , February 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Well gosh, Alan Dershowitz just breathed a huge sigh of relief!

As for me, I probably have elevated levels of stress hormones. I need to visit my "happy place".

Harry , February 25, 2017 at 6:19 pm

the Dersh is probably just pleased none of his students has recently accused him of sexual assault.

Lee , February 25, 2017 at 4:13 pm

They also voted down a ban on taking all that yummy corporate cash.

aliteralmind , February 25, 2017 at 4:14 pm

They also voted down a motion to stop big money and lobbyist donations.

This is just another big fuck you to the progressive wing of the party. It's time to board the ship and start a mutiny. And if that doesn't work, sink the ship and build a new one.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm

"This is just another big fuck you to the progressive wing of the party."

The message is undeniable: You're not welcome here. Thank you for your votes, thank you for your money, shut up, no you do not get to pick the candidate, Debbie and Donna did nothing wrong, no we are not getting rid of superdelegates, no we are not refusing corporate money, no you cannot have even a Clinton-endorsing kinda-progressive as Chair, no to free college, 'never ever' to universal health care, 'we're capitalists here', and Haim Saban's opinion matters more than millions of BernieCrats because money.

The ship be sinking.

integer , February 25, 2017 at 10:14 pm

and Haim Saban's opinion matters more than millions of BernieCrats because money.

"I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel."
Haim Saban

The D-party's biggest donor is a one-issue guy, and that issue is Israel but Russia!

In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to "keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries."The donors, who "were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign", "were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party 'superdelegates' should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate."The letter to Pelosi stated the donors "have been strong supporters of the DCCC" and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.

Poor ol' Haim must be soooo pissed that Clinton lost again. Hahaha.

integer , February 25, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I wasn't planning on commenting for a while but ended up leaving a comment here a few minutes ago and it disappeared into the ether. Probably something to do with the one of the links I included. No big deal.

Outis Philalithopoulos , February 25, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Not sure why it vanished in the first place, but it should be up now.

integer , February 25, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Thanks!

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 7:06 pm

Basically they are bought and paid for by the special interests of America and indeed foreign ones too.

kimsarah , February 25, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Re: "It's time to board the ship and start a mutiny. And if that doesn't work, sink the ship and build a new one."

That ship has passed, at least the first part.

L , February 25, 2017 at 4:17 pm

I stopped being a Democrat a few years ago. And I have not donated for some time. Yet I still receive constant requests for money to keep the consultants in airline miles. Every so often I think that perhaps it might be time to "come home" or at least that they aren't so bad anymore.

Then they go and do this.

At this point I see no reason to keep the ossified corpse of the Clinton Machine Democratic party going. It is clear that the last thing they want to do is listen to actual voters to decide their direction. All they have is the faint hope that Trump will be so godawful that everyone will love them again.

But then that was Hillary Clinton's campaign strategy

Vatch , February 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm

If your state requires you to register as a Democrat in order to vote in the Democratic primary, I recommend doing so. Then you can vote for outsiders in the 2018 and 2020 primaries. If your state has an open primary system, you don't have to taint yourself with official membership - just request the appropriate primary ballot and vote.

hreik , February 25, 2017 at 4:40 pm

This is my dilemma. In CT, you have to be R or D to vote in primary. I left the D's after the CA primary b/c I was so disgusted. I'll see what candidates are looking like when the time comes and make my decision then.

The leadership of the D party is just clueless.

Chauncey Gardiner , February 25, 2017 at 5:10 pm

They're not clueless. They just like the money too much.

freedeomny , February 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm

+1000000000

L , February 26, 2017 at 12:59 am

Given that most of them are professional fund raisers/candidates it is not surprising.

lb , February 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I deregistered as a Democrat in CA today after 17 years (though I was already pretty much out over the past few years, I let this be the final straw opposite inertia). The CA "top two" system for general elections only puts the top two vote-getters from any party during the primary on the ballot, ostensibly switching the election to one largely determined during the primary, by primary voters.

The California Democratic party allows those voters registered as not specifying a political preference to vote in the Democratic primary, so I might still end up voting among the various options, especially if someone like Brand New Congress puts up a real candidate here or there. During the 2016 primary, the D-party anti-Sanders shenanigans were evident even in CA. In some areas, unaffiliated voters who wanted a D-party ballot were misled or required to very strictly repeat a specific phrase, or they were given ballots with no effect on the D-party primary. I expect to have to be very careful to request and obtain the correct ballot in advance. (Let's hope that the slow takeover at lower levels within the state makes this less necessary).

It's going to be a long, hard slog on the left, whether occasionally peeking inside the tent or building something cohesive, not co-opted and effective outside the tent (where it seems the D-party has necessarily pushed many).

Katharine , February 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

But whatever you do, make sure you know your state's election law in advance, especially deadlines for registration changes, which may be earlier than you expect.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Yep, New York state being the perfect example.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 4:59 pm

"All they have is the faint hope that Trump will be so godawful that everyone will love them again."

Well, that and Nancy "we know how to win elections" Pelosi promising the Earth for votes to regain their majorities, again, only to then take all of that off of the table and start the cycle over again.

I really don't know how many times one can go to that well; we have seen this play before. Seems like an awful lot of people have caught on to the tactic at this point. Were that not the case, HIllary would probably be happily bombing Russia by now.

Biph , February 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

The Dems are set up pretty well for 2018. Both Trump and Hillary are deeply unpopular and Hillary won't be a vote driver for the GOP in 2018 and Trump will be for the Dems. There are a bunch of important States with Gov races and whatever happens the next 20 months Trump and the GOP will own completely, they wont even have a recalcitrant legislative branch to point the finger at.
I always figured whoever won in 2016 was set up to be a one term POTUS. Best case scenario for Trump is that we tread water for the next 2-4 years and I don't think that will be enough get him a 2nd term although it might be enough to staunch GOP losses in 2020. If he gets gets into a messy hot war, fumbles a major natural disaster or sees an economic downturn in 4 years we'll be talking about the impending death of GOP.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Those scenarios sound a little rosy considering the types of people we are talking about. They can take a lot of pain as long as someone else is feeling it more .and there is always someone else. If they cannot find a demographic to blame they will invent one; see the historic hatred for ObamaCare and the raucous town halls now defending the ACA; they don't have to make sense.

Also, too, Dems are defending more incumbencies in '18 than are the Reps., and the Republican Party has the machinery already in place to reduce the voting public down to just those that are more likely to vote for them. Just create a riot at a voting precinct, for example, jail whomsoever you want and take their stuff as is now foreshadowed in Arizona. They would love that stuff; "Beat those hippies!" And, after the Democratic Primaries, the Democratic Party will be in no position to take the high ground.

No, even if all that happens, I think the predicting the death of the GOP is way premature.

Biph , February 25, 2017 at 9:15 pm

His fans will vote for him, a lot of the the people who voted for him as the lesser of two evils will be demotivated to vote or will vote Dem as a check on him and this who voted for HRC as the lesser of two evils will be motivated. At best his popularity right now is about where GWB's was after he tried to privatize SS and just before Katrina and the public's view on Iraq flipped for good. I think 2018 will look a lot like 2006. Hate and spite will be on the Dems side in 2018 and those are great motivators.
Trump may have deep support, but it isn't very broad. He didn't win an 84 or even an 08 sized victory.
There is a reason the party in power does poorly in off year elections and Trump is the least popular newly elected POTUS in modern history.

Nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm

I see your rationale, but then I look at Kansas and Wisconsin. Doubling down has never hurt them for long.

dcrane , February 26, 2017 at 3:52 am

It would be helpful to know, also, how many who normally vote Republican abstained or went 3rd party rather than vote for Trump. Maybe it wasn't that many (since Trump did get more votes than Romney after all), but many of these people will be voting for Trump in 2020 unless he completely tanks. It's never a good idea to underestimate the party loyalty of GOP voters. Beating Democrats is the Prime Directive.

Daryl , February 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm

I think the problem is that Republicans are much better at actually winning elections. How many seats can the Democrats actually regain? Keeping in mind that midterm voters skew older/Republican in any case.

Big River Bandido , February 25, 2017 at 7:52 pm

The Dems are set up pretty well for 2018.

Yes, set up well for failure.

Brad , February 25, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Looks like Darrell Issa is trying to outmaneuver Nate Coln.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/darrell-issa-bill-maher-jeff-sessions-recuse_us_58b10218e4b0780bac29b0d6 ?

http://issa.house.gov/ca-49-interactive-map

Ought to pull the new cold war, Russia-hating secular middle class Republicans and liberal Democrats. Who needs Latino service worker votes?

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Clinton Machine / Democratic party

You had it right the first time

der , February 25, 2017 at 4:33 pm

"We lost this election eight years ago," concludes Michael Slaby, the campaign's chief technology officer. "Our party became a national movement focused on general elections, and we lost touch with nonurban, noncoastal communities. There is a straight line between our failure to address the culture and systemic failures of Washington and this election result."

The question of why-why the president and his team failed to activate the most powerful political weapon in their arsenal.

Obama's army was eager to be put to work. Of the 550,000 people who responded to the survey, 86 percent said they wanted to help Obama pass legislation through grassroots support; 68 percent wanted to help elect state and local candidates who shared his vision. Most impressive of all, more than 50,000 said they personally wanted to run for elected office.

But they never got that chance. In late December, Plouffe and a small group of senior staffers finally made the call, which was endorsed by Obama. The entire campaign machine, renamed Organizing for America, would be folded into the DNC, where it would operate as a fully controlled subsidiary of the Democratic Party.

Instead of calling on supporters to launch a voter registration drive or build a network of small donors or back state and local candidates, OFA deployed the campaign's vast email list to hawk coffee mugs and generate thank-you notes to Democratic members of Congress who backed Obama's initiatives.

Republicans, on the other hand, wasted no time in building a grassroots machine of their own-one that proved capable of blocking Obama at almost every turn. Within weeks of his inauguration, conservative activists began calling for local "tea parties" to oppose the president's plan to help foreclosed homeowners.
https://newrepublic.com/article/140245/obamas-lost-army-inside-fall-grassroots-machine

Thomas Frank: "The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman. The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play except to vote enthusiastically on the grounds that these Democrats are the "last thing standing" between us and the end of the world. It is a liberalism of the rich, it has failed the middle class, and now it has failed on its own terms of electability."
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-white-house-hillary-clinton-liberals

And so it goes, unless. The ruling class, the professional class D&R, the upper 10%, those who make more than $150 thousand, win no matter who sits in the Oval Office or controls all 3 branches, both look down on their respective bases, the deplorables. Taking a page from the TParty to fight harder, tougher, longer, louder and make Perez move left.

LT , February 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm

OFA: nothing but lobbyists for the private health insurance industry.

Ernesto Lyon , February 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm

150k in the Bay Area ain't rich, unless you bought a house 30 years ago.

a different chris , February 25, 2017 at 8:19 pm

People like to have stable decently paying jobs. But:

>our failure to address the culture

They will never get it, will they?

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm

"The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play "
And so far, they're right. At least, very few are going there. A lot are staying home, but that doesn't accomplish much.

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Take heart. One of my friends is a long-time progressive Democrat. She ran as a Clean Elections candidate and was elected to the Arizona legislature last November. She has never held office before.

It can be done.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Your friend should share her script for success w/ the DNC leadership.

Big River Bandido , February 25, 2017 at 7:54 pm

I think the friend should share *nothing* with the DNC, but *fight* them every step.

neo-realist , February 26, 2017 at 1:30 am

If they toss the script aside w/o using the prescriptions for winning, fight them.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:49 am

Agree, Big River Bandido. She should share with progressive Democratic primary challengers to those sorry Democrats only. Not that anyone at the DNC would ever listen anyway.

But good for her!

Will S. , February 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Kudos to your friend! I think progressives fighting for places in the state legislatures has to be our first step, especially with the census/redistricting looming

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Where do you live? 2/3'rds of the states have Republican governors and 66-70 percent Republican state legislatures. They have already been gerrymandered and are very likely to remain this way for AT LEAST a generation.

I live in Ohio. Democrat state legislators can do absolutely nothing. Not that this particularly bothers them. They collect their $60,000 salaries - not bad for a VERY part-time position– regardless.

readerOfTeaLeaves , February 25, 2017 at 6:23 pm

I'm guessing that you failed to mention - in addition to salary - per diem, plus payments into the state retirement system? I'm guessing that $60,000 is only the top part of the iceberg; best to look under the waterline to get the whole picture?

Daryl , February 25, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Sounds a lot better than Texas, where legislators are paid $600 a month, thus ensuring that only the independently wealthy can be legislators.

HotFlash , February 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Congratulations to your friend, and thanks to her for her service. If you tell me where to donate, I will happily do that, too.

To neo-realist February 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Your friend should share her script for success w/ the DNC leadership.

Hello/hola/etc. The DNC has that script, they don't care, and IMHO AZSlim's friend should stay as *far* away from the DNC as possible.

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Her name is Pamela Powers Hannley. Her campaign slogan was Powers for the People.

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm

And she is on the Interwebs at Powers for the People dot-net. (Using my phone to post. Need to learn how to copy and paste a link.)

HotFlash , February 26, 2017 at 1:55 am

TY, Ms Slim. Will look her up and send a buck or two, if I am permitted.

neo-realist , February 26, 2017 at 1:34 am

They had Howard Dean, and a script for 50 state success and tossed it. Yeah, I guess they at least should hold Perez's feet to the fire to make him go lefty populist on the ground, if he doesn't, toss him and fight them.

HotFlash , February 26, 2017 at 1:53 am

Look, people, we cannot even get ahold of their feet, let alone hold them to any fire. Eg, B Obama.

Katharine , February 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Brand New Congress just got out their fundraising email in response to the election:

The DNC just elected a chair who is pro-TPP, against single-payer, against tuition-free state universities and has no desire to transform our economy in meaningful ways. A chair who thinks the status quo is ok. It's a clear indicator that they're confident in their agenda, a confidence exemplified in the words of Nancy Pelosi who believes that Democrats "don't want a new direction".

Not badly put.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm

From the BNC web site. This looks good:

Our Goal

Elect a Brand New Congress that works for all Americans.

We're running 400+ candidates in a single campaign to rebuild our country.

Add Your Name

Join us if you believe it's time to reset our democracy.

Email
Please enter a valid email.
Zip
Please enter a valid zip code.

80% of Americans agree: Congress is broken. Both major parties have proven time and time again that they are either unwilling or unable to deliver results for the American people. But we have an alternative. We are recruiting and running more than 400 outstanding candidates in a single, unified, national campaign for Congress in 2018. Together, they will pass an aggressive and practical plan to significantly increase wages, remove the influence of big money from our government, and protect the rights of all Americans. Let's elect a Brand New Congress that will get the job done.

This list of sponsors DOESN'T:

Washington Post
Wall Street Journal
Wired
The Huffington Post
The Daily Beast
Slate
The Nation
The Frisky
Salon
Bustle
Boing Boing
Roll Call

****
No. Uh-uh. Time for BNP : Brand New Party!

marym , February 25, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Those seem to be just links to articles about them.

jopac , February 25, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Well I for one am relieved he's the new chair. I won't have to think there might be hope and change in the corp. owned demodog party. I'll celebrate with a glass of whine later.

Arizona Slim, Thanks for the good news in AZ. It was tried in my part of Calli but dnc did everything they good to elect repug instead of a real progressive.

Time to get firewood into the house

baldski , February 25, 2017 at 4:56 pm

In order for real representative government to appear on the American scene, two things have to happen:

1. Corporations have to be declared non-persons.

2. Money is declared not equal to speech.

Why do we have the situation we have now?

Two decisions by the Supreme Court. Santa Clara vs Southern Pacific RR and Buckley vs. Valeo. So, who is the real power in our Government? The Judicial.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Here's where it stands right now:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48

So if your Congress critter has not yet co-sponsored, get on 'em.

Roger Smith , February 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Thank you so much for this post!! I saw a video on the 1886 case in high school and was disgusted. In passing time I forgot the specifics and have been trying to locate that decision since. I kept thinking it was in the 1920s/30s

TheCatSaid , February 26, 2017 at 2:06 am

I'd add No. 3: Ranked preference voting. (Majority wins or run-offs do not cut it.)
In this case, if choosing among 4 candidates, and I rank all 4 of them, my first choice gets 4 points, my second choice gets 3 points, etc. If I only rank 2 of them, my first choice gets 2 points, my second choice gets 1 point. If I only rank 1 person, they get 1 point.

Try this out on anything where you've got 3 or more options, in a group of any size. It's amazing how much better the group consensus will be reflected in the results.

You can vote your genuine preference without concern for "spoilers" or dividing the opposition.

readerOfTeaLeaves , February 25, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Kiss that party goodbye.

Yup.

Aumua , February 26, 2017 at 2:49 am

And good riddance.

Seriously though, I kind of like this little game we play here, where we act surprised or shocked or something at the Democratic Party's complete lack of integrity. Like there was ever any question that 'they' might do the right thing. I honestly don't know about you guys, but I decided a long time ago that the Democrats and Republicans were just two tentacles of the same vampire squid or whatever, so.. why the outrage and/or disdain? cause it's diverting I suppose.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm

"The Cheaters At The DNC Just Chose Divorce Over Marriage Counseling"

http://www.newslogue.com/debate/355/CaitlinJohnstone

Caitlin Johnstone DGAF.

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 5:27 pm

She posted a Trump tweet in that article:

"Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party."

Yep, he did, 25 minutes ago: https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump

Ahahahahah

Bugs Bunny , February 25, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Hail to the chief of the *burn*

I guess I forgot how dumb the Dems were. Lucy and the football, I'll never learn.

Carl , February 25, 2017 at 8:14 pm

She's on fire, no question.

Ottawan , February 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Hold on to your negative prognoses, you'd be amazed what modern technique can do with a corpse.

They are clearly betting on Donnie blowing himself up and taking the Repubs with him. They are betting on looking less-dead in the aftermath.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:22 pm

"After he's burned the castle to the ground, who's going to rule the ashes? That's right baby, US!"

LT , February 25, 2017 at 5:49 pm

The Democratic Party will never let the Republican Party go down. Haven't we figured that out yet?
The only way to get rid of the Republican Party is to get rid of the Democratic Party.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm

As usual, Greenwald sheds some light:

"He is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual," pronounced Saban about the African-American Muslim congressman, adding: "Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party."

"I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel," he told the New York Times in 2004 about himself
he attacked the ACLU for opposing Bush/Cheney civil liberties assaults and said: "On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk."

https://theintercept.com/2017/02/24/key-question-about-dnc-race-why-did-white-house-recruit-perez-to-run-against-ellison/

Dear Leftists Who Haven't Got The Message Yet:

YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE

Annotherone , February 25, 2017 at 6:46 pm

We're not welcome anywhere it seems – and that has to be flippin' ridiculous in a country of this size and diversity! Could there be a better time for the Democratic Socialists to expand and come forth ? Cornel West at the helm, to begin – perhaps persuading Bernie to join him.

NotTimothyGeithner , February 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Who will Team Blue blame for Senate losses in November 2018? Tau Cetians? Game of Thrones ending?

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm

I suspect that Correct the Record has an app for that already in place.

Octopii , February 26, 2017 at 1:13 am

From what I see already around the interwebs and comment sections, it will be blamed on the lefty radicals who are fracturing the party by resisting the borg. And Sanders. And Cornel West. Etc Etc

MDBill , February 26, 2017 at 11:23 am

Right. The people who refuse to play on their team any longer. The neoliberal arrogance and sense of entitlement is just staggering.

freedeomny , February 26, 2017 at 5:14 pm

You know – it almost doesn't even matter. The Dems will get corporation donations just in "case" they win. They really aren't terribly motivated. It's like being a salesperson with no sales goals.

On another note – The Turks guy (Cent? can't remember his name) said that it was time for a third party on his twitter account. Nina Turner "liked" it. I found that a little hopeful.

LT , February 25, 2017 at 5:43 pm

The Democrats obviously can't wait for that constitutional convention by the sadist wing of the Republican Party. The sooner it can no longer have any loopholes that cause any interpretation outside of corporations rule, the easier it will be for Democrats. No more worrying about doing good things for those pesky people.

oho , February 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm

if anyone wants to email Tom Perez and sent your congrats, Tom left an email trail in the Podesta cache.

https://search.wikileaks.org/?query=tomperez1&exact_phrase=&any_of=&exclude_words=&document_date_start=&document_date_end=&released_date_start=&released_date_end=&new_search=True&order_by=most_relevant#results

George Phillies , February 25, 2017 at 6:02 pm

The United States already has third parties. There is no real need to start another one. The Libertarian party is the radical antiauthoritarian center. The Green Party ought to be adequate for progressive Democrats. There is also a far-right christian theocrat Constitution Party.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm

As a registered Green, I am very sorry to tell you that the Green Party is not adequate. And I have no reason to think it ever will be.

Next.

Isolato , February 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Carla,

I've voted forJill twice now (and contributed moderately). She seems intelligent, well-spoken, progressive, passionate, everything we would want a candidate to be and nothing. If there was EVER a year to have broken through 5% sigh. So what's the problem?

Adam Reilly , February 26, 2017 at 5:24 pm

The problem is that there's widespread election fraud. You could see it in the Wisconsin and Michigan GE recounts and the Illinois Democratic Party Recount. The reality is that we don't have any trustworthy vote totals. Maybe Jill did a lot better (or maybe she didn't), maybe Hillary actually beat Donald (or maybe she didn't), maybe Bernie won the primary (okay, that one really isn't a maybe to me since it's very clear that Hillary used tricks to move IA and NV into her corner- which would have been fatal if she didn't, the CA, NY, AZ, PR, and RI primary debacles, DNC collusion etc).

Here are two videos that really helped me understand that this fraud is likely widespread:

Short video on the Wisconsin recount: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLra_4abmxc

Long video on the Illinois recount: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSNTauWPkTc&sns=em
–>The "good" part starts at minute 24. The underlying point becomes clear really quickly if you want to just watch a small portion, but the speaker who comes on around the hour mark is excellent.

Election Justice USA also had a great summary. There's a reason many places in Europe still do manual, verifiable counting. Voting security, even more than money in politics, is the biggest barrier to having a legitimate Democracy. Unfortunately, that may be even more difficult than money in politics, which at least could theoretically be altered by Congress to cover the whole country at once.

Massinissa , February 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

What Carla said about the greens. Also, the Libertarians are basically into neoliberalism. Theyre ok on social issues, but they aren't a real answer either.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm

My hope is that the #Notmypresident millennials take the next steps from Trump needs to be resisted and work for longer term gains and political power by getting active in local politics/down ticket races and local democratic party organizations to in effect bum rush the dems and make it the party that it wants the country to be.

Love doesn't conquer all, Corporate lobbyists do. Organize for power, win elections, work for change.

Brad , February 25, 2017 at 9:20 pm

We need a political movement, not a "third" party.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:52 am

Thanks, Brad. Exactly right.

PH , February 25, 2017 at 6:03 pm

I think most people here are seeing what happened, but wrong about the impact.

Head of DNC is not a good place to organize primary challenges, and that is what is needed. DNC head is mostly just bag man for corporate money. Not that much power but some visibility. Bernie guy gets in, and there are constant questions about loyalty to the party and big tent and being fair to blue dogs. And then questions of competence if not enough money is raised or not enough elections won. No winning likely.

Losing suits us better. Establishment is against Progressives. Fine. The war is on. Find primary challengers, and get them elected.

In my view, that has always been the only way forward.

LT , February 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Find primary challengers, even if they have no chance of winning. Even in districts stacked against them turn money in politics into the wealthy's biggest weakness. Make the ROI in elections too expensive to achieve.

Big River Bandido , February 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm

I agree with you that losing this worthless race serves our long-term interests better. This is war and clarity is always an advantage. Easier to fight them from a clear outside position.

However, we have not the resources or the power base (within the Democrat Party) to mount effective primary challenges. If that party is to be a vehicle for change, we will have to take it away from them starting at the lowest levels - local party offices - and gradually work our way up.

As we move up the chain, we purge all the deadwood.

Outagamie Observer , February 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm

At this point, perhaps progressives would have more luck joining the Republican Party in hopes of "reform" or "changing the platform". They would probably have more luck than with the Democrats. As for 2018 and 2020, the congressional Republicans will have no incentive to defend congress or the Presidency. They would rather have Democrats to blame things for than have to deal with President Trump (whom they detest).

ChrisAtRU , February 25, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Einstein's definition of #Insanity immediately comes to mind.

We'll see what #BernieCrats, #DSA and others can do at the grassroots level. Their (continued) #Resistance to the #corporatistDem structure is even more important now.

But gawd, WTF are establishment Dems thinking?

PH , February 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm

They are incredibly smug. Sure that the only way to win in purple states is to run Repub lite.

Oregoncharles , February 26, 2017 at 12:14 am

That's just what Rep. DeFazio just said – even though he himself wins by ridiculous margins in a "swing" district (the closest win for Hillary inthe country, he said) by being a progressive's progressive.

He's living disproof of his own point.

RickM , February 25, 2017 at 7:25 pm

I was a card-carrying member of DSA when it was DSOC! Long time ago. Time to start paying dues again, even from the political wilderness in which I find myself. Way past time, actually. The problem with waiting for the Democrat Party to hit bottom is this: There is no bottom to this abyss.

nick , February 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm

As someone doing DSA organizing I'll say that we will be thrilled to have you on board again. Interest is quite high among the Bernie youth, so the seats are full but experience, generational diversity, and gas money are in relatively short supply!

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 9:10 pm

That's it exactly. The Democrats have no bottom.

Octopii , February 26, 2017 at 9:22 am

Why have I never even heard of DSA or DSOC before this moment?

Adar , February 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Perhaps from lack of organization on their part? After the election my husband registered to join the DSA, and sent them money. Three months later, no acknowledgement of any kind, not even a dumb membership card. Not that the Democrats ever sent anything but requests for cash, but we expected better.

polecat , February 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm

WTF are esablishment Dems thinking ?? . OF ??

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

did I miss anything ?

ChrisAtRU , February 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Yeah, but if you blow all the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ you raise and still lose

#iHearYaThough

Dikaios Logos , February 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

The Washington Post's headline:
"Tom Perez becomes first Latino to lead Democratic Party"

Hmm.

ChrisAtRU , February 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Yes, because that meaningless #IdPol nugget (if it's even true) is supposed to overcome his worthlessness as a progressive.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 12:28 pm

It's OK. They let Ellison be play chairman. The Identities are pleased.

BTW: Perez was born in Buffalo, NY, and Wikipedia lists his nationality as American. The WaPo headline is bullcrap, intended to distract readers from the real issues, and promote the Clinton wing to Latin Americans, an identity group that certainly would benefit more from the Sanders wing.

manymusings , February 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm

@neo-realist, @biph

Bush's meltdown did give us a Black President - but after 8 years, not 4 years. During the election I too thought whichever candidate won was poised to be a one-term President, but there's a big condition: there absolutely must be a compelling competing narrative, and a defined counter-platform. It doesn't matter what calamity results from a Trump-led-monopoly-republican federal government if they still dominate the narrative and the opposition is still just "resisting" (or has an incoherent laundry list). It's overly-optimistic to think the Rs will own bad outcomes, or that those in power ever necessarily do (if that were so, neither Bush nor Obama would have been re-elected).

I'll hand it to the dems, I thought they'd string things out. I didn't think they'd let it be this obvious, this quickly, that the counter force won't come from the democrat party. None of us thought it would, but maybe we thought they'd at least throw some dust in the air to try keep us guessing for a while.

The challenge for the Left remains organization and focus. The clarity delivered by the democrat party is helpful. No need to debate reform, that's been answered (at least for now). The democrat establishment has nothing to do with the Left. It is not the opposition per say but might as well be (think of it this way: an opponent would refute your work, try to tank or sabotage it; the democrats invite you over to steal it, mess it up, fail, blame you, and invite you over again, huffing that their own work is "essentially the same anyway" but insisting that they be in charge).

It's time to own the Realignment. One part of that is making a clear break from the democratic establishment in terms of agenda, priorities, solidarity, identity. Not just a quibble among the like-minded; a divorce. We are only serving its interests if we don't. Case in point, the linked article echoes the common refrain that between Perez and Ellison "ideological differences are few ". No, no, a thousand effing times no. That is wrong, and attempts to fit in or make common cause with the dem establishment only validate the self-serving Unity/Look Forward narrative whose purpose is obscure what's really at issue and at stake.

And the corollary to cutting losses on the dem establishment is the second part - building the realignment, which means finding and creating common cause where it's been latent or non-existent. A compelling, competing narrative must be a counterweight not just to Trump's blame-deflections, but to the drivel spewing (at least as subtext) from the establishments of both parties. The key is not to try make the Rs own the outcomes on their watch; it's to make the Establishment own them, and to make Trump own that he is the Establishment (or that he caters to it).

Everything else is secondary. Elections up and down the ballot (local, state and federal) may force decisions on voting for a party, but which party prevails is not important - it is incidental, relevant only if it serves the cause, not vice versa. The Left needs to be clear on the realignment, stop talking to and about parties, and take up common cause and concern where we can find it. I have a feeling that the Left is less defined and determined than we imagine, because we aren't really testing it yet. Illusions about the democratic party are gone. And that's a good thing.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm

It doesn't matter what calamity results from a Trump-led-monopoly-republican federal government if they still dominate the narrative and the opposition is still just "resisting" (or has an incoherent laundry list). It's overly-optimistic to think the Rs will own bad outcomes, or that those in power ever necessarily do (if that were so, neither Bush nor Obama would have been re-elected).

If Trump owns a narrative on a brick and mortar foundation of higher unemployment in the battleground states, devastation of lives from another financial meltdown (Bush had already stolen the second term prior to it), devastation and death from a potential free market solution to health care–"here's a voucher, go chose the best deal cause it's all about giving you your freedom", and war that may end up being brought to the shores of Western Europe and the United States killing a whole bunch more than 9/11, it would be pretty difficult to come back and sell the medicine show elixir a second time. Promising a whole lot and delivering less than zero, I don't know if the "deplorables" will get fooled again by his fake populism when he comes back for their votes in four years when they're still unemployed, underemployed and in greater debt and or bankruptcy from increased medical care costs. I'm not saying this as a affirmation of neoliberal democratic people running for the presidency, but that a whole lot of nothing incumbent running on a world of shit that he's created is vulnerable to a candidate who may be a whole lot of nothing with less baggage.

And Trump would potentially be running on a bigger pile of poop that he's added to the domestic and foreign fronts of Obama and Bush. O and B brought us to the precipice of the cliff, but Trump incompetence GOP ideologue arrogance can drive us off the cliff.

manymusings , February 25, 2017 at 8:54 pm

We may be pointing at different parts of a continuum - how bad things are in four years relative to Trump promises, and why people believe things are so bad. We are likely closest on how bad things could be - I agree, the stuff Trump ran and won on is likely to be much, much worse - but I think I'm less inclined to see that as handing him electoral defeat in 2020. Of course it's always easier/better to be able to run on something delivered. And less-than-zero can and by logic should tank a President. But the why is important - especially when the electorate basically doesn't trust any of these clowns. No one really expects anything from Washington, and is used to things getting worse. If Trump can deflect and maintain his message - cast blame on various faces of the establishment, the democrats, media, eventually even the republicans - I don't think he's inevitably or even likely undone. I'm not saying nothing will ever catch up with . just saying it's not guaranteed. There are a lot of factors, but I think here's actually my main thing: it depends less on "holding him to account" or pointing at failures or making him own things, and more on advancing a coalition with a compelling voice, coherent platform - and not about party. In the end, pinning failures on Trump only succeeds if there's a concrete and appealing answer to "compared to what." Trump just won against The Establishment, and the classic establishment move is to point giddily at failures and mis-steps, and say here's where you can donate, and thanks for your vote. A successful opposition has to do better.

UserFriendly , February 25, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Is it too late to change my mind and support a Syrian no fly zone? I want this country to fail. I want it to stop existing. I absolutely hate everything about america. I want Both Clinton's and Obama's heads on a plate. If Bernie doesn't announce he's creating a new party then I'll just be sitting around thinking about the best way to undermine this shit hole of a country.

vidimi , February 26, 2017 at 12:32 am

impeach trump. start a civil war

the US as a superpower must end

Tom Denman , February 25, 2017 at 8:01 pm

The Democratic Party no longer stands for anything at all (witness its recent conversion to McCarthyism). Its actions are motivated by no purpose save its leaders' self-enrichment.

A political party without a raison d'ˆtre is little more than a walking corpse and there is nothing to be lost by leaving it.

stillfeelintheberninwi , February 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Though sad about the outcome of the DNC chair race, I think PH is right, DNC chair is probably just about raising the corporate $$. I'm sticking with the Tip O'Neil strategy, "all politics is local."

I joined the D party in 2014, mostly because I thought I had to get involved and help remove Scott W from the governor's mansion. What I saw was lethargic and not very welcoming. Couldn't get anyone to train me on how to canvas. I offered over and over to do data entry, web, social media.

In the summer of 2015, I got involved with a local issue and we WON. 8 people (no other Dems) and we stopped a bad deal the city was about to make. We did petitions and spoke at council meetings. Wrote op eds, did radio interviews, put up yard signs.

Through that I met an organizer from a progressive group and I told him that I was thinking of running for local office. He introduced me to the bare facts of how to run a campaign and put me in touch with another progressive group that runs candidate training seminars. I went to one of those seminars. I was listening to Bernie too:) His positive voice was a great inspiration. By the end of 2015, I knew I would run for the county board. All our local races are non-partisan and often uncontested. The incumbent would be running for her third term.

The local election is held during the spring Presidential primary. I live in Wisconsin. My area is completely red. The election I could best model from was the 2012 and Rich Santoruim won my district. I had access to the VAN as well and could see that Republicans dominated my district in this election. (It voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012) I planned my campaign based completely on meeting the voter at the door and listening. Turnout is usually pretty low, 30%. I figured 50 hrs at the doors would do it. Interestingly, almost every person I talked with didn't even know who represented them on the county board. It was surprisingly easy, the only stress was the heat of the Presidential primary and how that would bring unpredictability to my race.

Happy news, I won. More Happy news, I got involved with recruiting and helping people run for local office. We're at it right now. School board, city council. This is where it begins and this is where the ball has been dropped in Wisconsin. The Republican party has used the local offices very effectively to build their bench. What the Dems didn't do was build the bench.

In Wisconsin, this is so easy because the vast majority of the local offices are non-partisan. When someone asked me what party I was with, I would just say, "this is a non-partisan race." That was the end of that part of the conversation and we were on to something else. The other thing about the local elections is that very few people actually run a campaign, so if you do, you will win. Your name is the only name they will know.

I now have connected with other people in the state who are working on this strategy. It is going to take a while, but we will build the bench and take back the state. It isn't going to happen overnight.

I went to the first local Our Revolution meeting today. I was impressed. The organizer had exactly the same thought – we are going to fill the county board with progressives. Stuff is going to happen. We've got the people, that is what we need locally, not $$.

If only the Democratic party could see, they need to train up and use their people. Forget the big $$$.

Jean , February 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm

This is an inspiring story. The "silver lining" in these times is that people are taking their anger and disappointment and doing something about it at an actionable, local level. I went to a local assemblyman's town hall meeting yestesrday that had hundreds more attendees than were planned. The natives are restless.

hreik , February 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Great read and story. ty so much

David , February 25, 2017 at 9:28 pm

I, too, am in WI and running for city council. The only reason I'm willing to do so is *because* the local offices are nonpartisan – I am quite disillusioned with national politics and both parties. At least locally some good can be done. DC is irredeemable.

I will likely be using the WI open primary to vote for whichever candidate the DNC opposes, not that it will matter. If nothing else, I will feel better.

Stillfeelintheberninwi , February 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Thanks for running David. Let us know how it turns out.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Congratulations, Bravo. You should touch base w/ the DNC. Advise them of your formula for winning, specifically the sorely needed bench building.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:55 am

as though they'd be interested!! lol.

he should go on doing exactly what he is doing and hurray for him!

John k , February 25, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Taking over the dem party, starting with local races, will be a very long struggle. Generations. Particularly considering candidates trying for dem nom will be attacked by corp dems tooth and nail.
The greens are very disorganized. So What? Take them over and organize them. This is doable, and with somebody like Bernie leading the charge you could pull in half the dem party plus indies and win elections in 2018 doesn't take that much support to win elections in three way races, look at GB.
and then be viable for pres in 2018.

Bernie has to give up on dems if he wants to move the needle. Perez win might just be that extra middle finger that gets him off the dime.

And trump tweet painfully on target

vidimi , February 26, 2017 at 12:23 am

they want party unity, but only on their terms

kimsarah , February 26, 2017 at 12:29 am

To heck with the local races, she's baaaaaaaaaaaack!

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-25/hillary-clinton-calls-resistance-we-need-stay-engaged-ill-be-you-every-step-way

landline , February 26, 2017 at 2:08 am

The forces of capital own both parties in a two party system. They will never give up either of them. Socialists, Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists, even progressive liberals and .must look elsewhere. Anything else is fruitless.

St. Bernard had his chance. He blew it. Time to move on from him and MoveOn and the like.

voteforno6 , February 26, 2017 at 4:35 am

Apparently, Valerie Jarrett was whipping votes on behalf of Barack Obama. That man really does have quite an oversized ego, even for a politician.

Otis B Driftwood , February 26, 2017 at 7:15 am

And so the DNC has learned nothing from the past election cycle and the repudiation of neoliberalism here and abroad. Confirms my decision to leave the party.

They're pathetic and hopeless.

Jen , February 26, 2017 at 8:40 am

Observations from the western border of the Granite State:

I decided to attend a local democrat meeting because the candidate I supported in the D primary for governor (Steve Marchand – he lost) was the keynote speaker. When I received my copy of Indivisible, and saw that one of the working groups for the night was focusing on "Fake News," I almost decided to stay home.

But I didn't. Steve was great. He, counter to the message of "we must play defense; we cannot offer positive alternatives," in Indivisible, repeatedly told us that "we cannot beat something with nothing." He spoke extensively about local organizing, and about appealing to all voters on the issues. He got a very enthusiastic response from the 100 or so people who turned out for the meeting. Our governor has a two year term, and while Steve said that he was not running for anything at the moment, he's clearly laying the ground for a 2018 run. He's getting out in front of every local Dem group, and doing meet and greets all over the state. Good for him.

We have a Berniecrat, Josh Adjutant, running for state party chair. He may not win, but he too, is out meeting with groups all over the state and getting his name out there. He narrowly lost a bid for state rep in a deeply republican district to a Free Stater, who hasn't shown up for a single vote since being elected. Last week the Free Stater resigned, and now there will be a special election. Josh is running again. He's likely to win this time.

After hearing that Perez won the DNC chair, my knee jerk reaction was to say the hell with it. However there are no viable third party options here, and the people who voted for Perez all come from the state party.

What I noticed among our Dem group, was a real desire to work on issues and develop a positive counter message.

So I'm going to get more involved and fight from within. I joined the "fake news" group, pushed to focus on policy, and volunteered to chair the group going forward.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:57 am

Great report, Jen. That's encouraging. Thanks for what you are doing.

We can support good individual Democrats and office holders and good primary candidates, but with absolutely illusions about sorry sorry party and its resolute determination to continue hippie punching.

Makes me sick when they go on about Russians and conflict of interest and ignore things that affect everyone's lives, and that's what they plan to do.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 12:19 pm

As I have been saying for years now, the ONLY purpose of the Democratic Party today is to crush its own left wing. Denying this at this point is a fool's errand.

Given this, how can any member of this same left ever justify another vote for any candidate this Democratic Party sponsors? You do not overcome such hostility by electing its representatives.

Does that mean you has to vote for people like Donald Trump? Unfortunately, it does. If you don't, you are not playing at the same level they are, and they will beat you until the cows come home. These are the people who do not cede power. These are the people it must be taken from.

Foppe , February 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Guess I should've posted this here instead:

"What all people have to realize," said Stuart Appelbaum, a labor leader from New York and Perez supporter who brought the chair process to its end Saturday afternoon by calling for the results to be accepted by acclamation, "is the real form of resistance is voting."

Glen , February 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm

The DNC is nothing but a political hedge fund for the .01%.

[Feb 27, 2017] Do we need any further proof that the Democratic Party is more interested in reconciling with the corporate elite than with its populist base?

Notable quotes:
"... In much the same way Blair's catastrophic prime ministerial terms as leader of the UK's mainstream 'Left' will be justifiably viewed unkindly through the lens of history, so too will corporate place man Obama's two abject 'Democratic' presidencies (although to be fair it was Billy boy who saw $ signs in his eyes and who really first started the rot proper for the Democrats.) ..."
"... Listen, Liberals ..."
"... Strangers in Their Own Land ..."
"... I live in a district shaped like a banana ..."
"... "If half of the Super Delegates had voted for the Sanders wing at the convention, wouldn't Sanders have been the Dem candidate?" ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DakotabornKansan , February 26, 2017 at 3:52 am

Do we need any further proof that the Democratic Party is more interested in reconciling with the corporate elite than with its populist base? Its core party leadership is against populist ideas. Liberalism of the rich having failed the middle and working classes, fails on its own terms of electability. It helped create today's shockingly disillusioned and sullen public.

Did the Charlie Brown left really believe that this time that Lucy wouldn't pull the football away and they wouldn't land on their kiesters? But the Democratic Party always pulls the ball away. It's their nature.

"The crucial tasks for a committed left in the United States now are to admit that no politically effective force exists and to begin trying to create one. This is a long-term effort, and one that requires grounding in a vibrant labor movement. Labor may be weak or in decline, but that means aiding in its rebuilding is the most serious task for the American left. Pretending some other option exists is worse than useless. There are no magical interventions, shortcuts, or technical fixes. We need to reject the fantasy that some spark will ignite the People to move as a mass. We must create a constituency for a left program - and that cannot occur via MSNBC or blog posts or the New York Times. It requires painstaking organization and building relationships with people outside the Beltway and comfortable leftist groves. Finally, admitting our absolute impotence can be politically liberating; acknowledging that as a left we have no influence on who gets nominated or elected, or what they do in office, should reduce the frenzied self-delusion that rivets attention to the quadrennial, biennial, and now seemingly permanent horse races. It is long past time for us to begin again to approach leftist critique and strategy by determining what our social and governmental priorities should be and focusing our attention on building the kind of popular movement capable of realizing that vision." – Adolph Reed Jr., "Nothing Left, The long, slow surrender of American liberals," Harper's Magazine, March 2014 issue

Don't waste any time pissing and moaning - organize!

It is time to revisit "Fighting Bob" LaFollette's Wisconsin tactics of the early 1900s.

If the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that we must become its soul.

"There never was a higher call to greater service than in this protracted fight for social justice." – Robert M. La Follette Sr.

Ernesto Lyon , February 26, 2017 at 4:15 am

There is a liberal propaganda state of the 10%. It is dogmatic and thus unfalsifiable.

Arguing with them is like arguing atheism to a fundamentalist. They cannot hear arguments that violate the structure of their religion. They simply do not parse.

Gman , February 26, 2017 at 7:37 am

I must say I really appreciated your analogy of neoliberalism and religion.

To extend it, if I may, religions cannot exist and persist without faith ie a conviction without the need for proof, or worse sometimes despite overwhelming personal or widespread evidence to the contrary.

Most established religions, unsurprisingly are rigidly hierarchical, controlling and equally require a self-serving, venal priesthood to act as conduits to interpret and explain (away?) the finer points, gross injustices and glaring contradictions thrown up by the current 'natural order' and structures it demands and imposes on its potentially questioning or waivering followers.

The 'religion's' arcane nature is maintained at all costs, and this is facilitated by a deliberately impenetrable jargon (to a credulous, often fearful laity whom mostly endure its harshest edicts), and all tied together by an over arching fallacious narrative predicated on fear that demands unconditional obedience and compliance or facing severe, lasting consequences for apostacy.

Keep losing the faith, people.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Maybe to some degree, but that is more in the general public. Not in the blue dog hierarchy.

Most of them are not that smart. Not intellectual. And certainly not devout.

They are clinging to their place in the world, and the chit-chat verities of the clique.

They are smug. And they think they know best how to win.

Gman , February 26, 2017 at 6:00 am

In much the same way Blair's catastrophic prime ministerial terms as leader of the UK's mainstream 'Left' will be justifiably viewed unkindly through the lens of history, so too will corporate place man Obama's two abject 'Democratic' presidencies (although to be fair it was Billy boy who saw $ signs in his eyes and who really first started the rot proper for the Democrats.)

Let's be realistic, really successful politicians are rarely shrinking violets, and are mostly to a man or woman sociopathic narcissists, but it is only in the modern age that these apparently credible, flag of convenience, self-serving, ideologically bereft personalities not only have the power to lead and dominate these long-established political parties during their relatively brief tenure, it appears they now also have the power to profoundly undermine or even possibly destroy them in the longer term.

Is it just a shame or coincidence that these once proud and powerful parties of waning influence happen to traditionally represent the interests of working people I wonder?

Andrew , February 26, 2017 at 6:51 am

What a frustrating situation. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the corporate Democrats really do have a death wish. I agree with many comments that it is incredibly destructive and stupid to double down on their losing strategies instead of embracing the Sanders wing of the party. I partly agree w/ Glenn Greenwald that electing Ellison would have been an easy way to welcome in the Sanders wing, but unlike him, I'm not sure the Dem chair really is just a symbolic position. It certainly is symbolic–and the corporate Dems have chosen potent (and loathesome) symbols in Debbie W-S and Donna B. But I disagree w/ Greenwald that it is only symbolic. I think the position does matter in many ways. In any case, in this election which came to be seen by Dems as a battle for control over the direction of the party, it is clear now who runs the show and is determined to continue running the show: the corporate shills of the Clinton/Obama Dems.

But I also see this as a failure of Ellison and the progressives. We have to play hardball if we're going to win. Ellison had the endorsement of many Dem stalwarts; he has a relatively strong record for a Democrat; emboldened with party authority, I believe he could have done a lot; and yes, he would have had great symbolic value. But he did not make a strong case for his leadership, as far as I can tell. He didn't declare loudly and clearly why the Dems have been losing and make a powerful case for why, now, the Dems need desperately to change. Instead he was having dinner with Perez, cutting side deals, and making a great effort to smile and please everyone. Haim Saban and the corporate Dems came after him with hateful islamophobic slanders; Ellison stepped back, spoke softly, praised Israel, and vowed to work closely with corporate Dems. And he still lost. These conciliatory positions will not cut it. Unless and until there's a vigorous position articulated within the party on the desperate need for drastic changes, we'll lose.

One reason why this is so frustrating is that across the country, I believe the landscape looks very promising for a progressive agenda–at least as progressive, or more so, than what Sanders articulated. The energy is there, and growing. But we still lack the organization. Where will it come from? Not from the Greens, I'm afraid. As much as I agree with Stein and the Greens positions on many issues, the Greens have over the decades proven that this is not a party interested in building grassroots power. For that you need broad and sustained efforts over time at the level of school boards and city councils, building toward winning candidates to positions at the county level, and mayors, and state representatives, and so on. You have to build a name for yourself and prove through smaller campaigns what you stand for and that you can win victories for your voters. And voters need to feel that it is their party, our party. The Greens have not done any of this. It's not enough to just have good ideas or be able to win a policy debate.

There's the Working Families Party, which has done some of this organizing and has some victories. But it's still woefully short of what is necessary. But I believe there's a lot of talent and potential on the left–and a growing and restless energy now under Trump. We have to be strong and clear that this corporate Dem program is unacceptable. We need to field local candidates on issues people care about, from city banking and municipally owned power and IT, to police violence, more community control in schools, and so on. Whether the people carrying out these potentially popular programs are Dems, Greens, Working FP or Socialists, matters less, it seems to me. But if people are convinced that only a reinvigorated Dem Party will be able to do it, then there needs to be a hostile takeover. The Clintonites & the Obama people, Haim Saban and their ilk: they're not our friends and must be denounced and opposed. These people are at best wishy-washy and mealy-mouthed when it comes to advocating for us; they continue to compromise rightward and adopt unpopular conservative agendas and to kick us in the teeth. Fuck them. We must articulate a positive, winnable agenda around issues we care about.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm

See the comment above about local clubs. A good place to start.

Change is not going to come top down, even if that sounds like the easiest way. Too much ego and money invested in the old ways.

Blue Dogs are confident Progressives cannot win in rural states. We must prove them wrong.

Blue Dogs do not believe we can find credible primary challengers. They think we are just a bunch of whining idealists. We must prove them wrong - not on blogs - at the polls.

WhiteyLockmandoubled , February 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm

It is not only clubs. It's the party structure itself at the municipal and county level, which is generally occupied by a combination of well-meaning 10% liberals, eager corporate acolytes who see politics as a path of personal advancement but find the Republican social positions icky and whoever just shows up.

In many places it's mostly the latter. So, form your own club, yes, and go to local party meetings, yes, but more than anything else, work. Organize. Knock on your neighbor's door, listen to them and talk with them. Then do that again, and again, and again. Recruit your friends and colleagues to do the same. When the moment is right, get someone whose values you really trust to run for office, and if there's resistance from the existing party apparatus, well, run a contested primary. The people who do that work - registering, persuading and turning out voters, can take over the local structure of a party and win from the left.

And btw, if you're struggling to persuade others, don't give up. Get your egalitarian club together, and instead of complaining about how others don't get it, role play conversations with different types of voters, put your beer down, and go back out on the doors.

It's not actually complicated. Just hard work.

patrick , February 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Well put PH.

marku52 , February 26, 2017 at 2:54 pm

"Blue Dogs are confident Progressives cannot win in rural states. We must prove them wrong."

That's just been done, in Texas, of all places. Local organizing, person to person contact, and no TV money led to success. The exact opposite of HRC's campaign, of course.

It's a hopeful story, go read it.

http://harpers.org/archive/2017/03/texas-is-the-future/

Anti-Schmoo , February 26, 2017 at 7:31 am

American citizens are at the bottom of the bucket; shut up, stay poor, and forget the "myth" of a middle class.
These are some very simple truths, which Usian's seem loathe to accept or understand.
The evidence is clear with almost every comment offering nonsense solutions; year after precious year; ad infinitum
If there is a solution; I have no idea what that would be. But knowing and understanding the reality on the ground, gives a firm place to stand.
It's a place to start

allan , February 26, 2017 at 7:37 am

There is no better sign of the contempt that the Democratic leadership has for its constituents t
han the way Donna Edwards was treated in the primary for the open Senate seat from Maryland.
Maryland being Maryland, whoever won the Democrat primary was going to win the general.
The two leading candidates were Chris van Hollen, a slick fundraiser
high in Pelosi's train wreck House leadership,
and Donna Edwards, an African-American who was one of the most progressive House members.

Almost the entire Dem power structure (and, of course, the WaPo) went after Edwards guns blazing.
Oddly, Edwards critics were never accused of sexism or racism by Clinton supporters. Weird.

The DNC is important, but only part of the story. The DSCC and DCCC have been horror shows for years,
led by incompetent clowns, corporate fronts, or (in the case of Jon Tester, who ran the DSCC this past cycle),
sock puppets for people like Schumer.

And yet it seems to be impossible to discuss this stuff rationally with many Democrats.
Far easier for them to blame the party's woes on BernieBros.

human , February 26, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Or their support for Zephyr Teachout over Cuomo /s

There's a special place in Hell (and all that)

BeliTsari , February 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

Jeepers, you don't think some YOOJ, classy K Street "social networking advocacy solutions" firm will now be tasked to slap together a grassroots, Cumbaya warbling Democratic Socialist lemming forking oh, that's right been there, dun did that? We can't mock Trump's craven churls, spoon-fed C & K Street's große Lüge without turning the selfie-cam around on our geriatric children's crusade, awaiting some canny carny barker messiah?

RickM , February 26, 2017 at 8:21 am

Ha! I lost a good friend because I told him in November 2015 that if it comes down to Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump, she will lose the state-by-state contest while winning the popular vote, notwithstanding polls to the contrary. I didn't let up on that obviously correct assessment through all of 2016, and he finally told me my intellectual arguments rank down there with some of his fundamentalist relatives. Another was still predicting a Hillary landslide until 10:00 pm EST on Election Night. She is big on the "Stupid Trump Voters" meme, while blaming "me" for the outcome. Everyone needs to face the truth. The national Democrats only care about their membership in the Establishment, even if they are relegated to "inconsequential" as they are overtaken by events due to their abject fecklessness.

So be it. From 1974-2008 I voted for the Democrat as the "Left Wing of the Possible," in Michael Harrington's phrase, and for at least 20 years too long. Never again. As my brief colloquy here with a reader last night concluded, it's time to rejoin DSA as an elder and raise even more hell with the "kids"!

Katharine , February 26, 2017 at 9:14 am

I will continue to evaluate candidates on their merits, not their party affiliation. I can't stop donating to the party organization, since I did that years ago, but I can certainly tell it where to get off, whether in phone calls or using its reply-paid envelopes. I realize what travels in those may never be read by anyone but a data-entry clerk, if indeed they bother to enter the data, which I've always doubted.

Kokuanani , February 26, 2017 at 9:42 am

Well, I have to say that the volume of DNC et al. mail I receive has fallen to a trickle since I spent the past year returning their pre-paid donation envelopes with nasty comments. The pleading e-mails are gone as well. So someone is entering data.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 10:11 am

Yeah I always send those back with a note and usually a column explaining exactly how bad they are, whatever recent I've read that's good.

Vatch , February 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm

RickM, I'm curious. Do you know whether your former friend has seen either of these two recent articles?

Thomas Frank: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-white-house-hillary-clinton-liberals

Matt Stoller: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/12/democrats-cant-win-until-they-recognize-how-bad-obamas-financial-policies-were/

If a Hillary or Obama supporter has an open mind (yes, a few of them do have open minds - a Hillary supporter in my family admitted to me that Bernie would have been a better choice), these two articles can help them to understand what's been happening.

nycTerrierist , February 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for the great recap by Stoller.

RickM , February 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Vatch: Let me try this again; first reply disappeared Beginning in early 2016 I tried to convince my liberal friends with facts such as those in your links, with no success whatsoever. Most of them stick to the "Stupid Trump Voter" meme, even when confronted with the work of Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberals and Ellie Russell Hochschild in Strangers in Their Own Land , which perfectly describes my many cousins in Louisiana, not one of whom is stupid to my knowledge. Different, yes, and for damn good reasons. Stupid, no. You can't be stupid and survive on an offshore oil rig. My particular liberals go no deeper than Rachel Maddow, whose Stanford-Oxford/Rhodes Scholar pedigree is all the authority they need. It goes without saying that Wellesley-Yale was/is just as authoritative, now and forevermore. Their epistemic closure/confirmation bias is simply the opposite side of the same coin the Tea Party or Alt-Right uses to explain markets or climate change or liberal fascism. As the president would say, "Sad!"

Vatch , February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Well, you tried. As Yves pointed out in her introduction, there are aspects of cultish thought processes here.

Of course the Obots and Hillaristas aren't the only cult members. Limbaugh's ditto-heads. some of the tea-partiers, and some of Trump's more enthusiastic supporters also fit that mold. I don't like to say this, but some of Bernie's supporters probably also qualify. Open mindedness can require a lot of effort.

David , February 26, 2017 at 8:59 am

I became a more active commenter on PoliticalWire during the primary season and was subject to considerable vitriol due to my lack of enthusiasm for HRC, which only increased in amount after the election when I refused to vote for her (going 3rd party instead). I hung on for a little while, trying to make my points re where I thought the country needed to go, but have simply stopped participating in the discussions as I realized that the system has to run its course and I am not going to be able to change that. And slamming one's head against a brick wall repeatedly does begin to hurt after a while. I think I'll just use my vote to support those I policies I think are good, or at the very least to block any candidates supported by the establishment. It isn't much, but it is something.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm

+1

Indeed, slamming one's head against a brick wall repeatedly does begin to hurt after a while.

marku52 , February 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

I used was a regular reader of Kevin Drum for probably 10 years or so, back to the CalPundit days. The commentariat there became really hostile to any outside ideas as the primary wore on. The Closure is now complete, although some of the the really hostile commenters have disappeared (their David Brock paychecks stopped, I suppose) but still reality can't come into play. Even Drum himself was changing weekly about the loss (It's BernieBros! It's Comey! NO, it's the Russians! NO Wait, it's Comey)

Sad, he's done great work on lead and violent crime. I check in there once in a while just to take the temperature of the Delusion of the TenPercenters.

Self reflection still hasn't penetrated for any of the real reasons for Trump

Gman , February 26, 2017 at 9:00 am

A Paul Street quote from his excellent piece in CounterPunch entitled, 'Liberal Hypocrisy, "Late-Shaming," and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump,' should serve as an adequate riposte to the introspection and self-criticism averse Mr Doe,

'Arrogant liberals' partisan hypocrisy, overlaid with heavy doses of bourgeois identity politics and professional-class contempt for working class whites, is no tiny part of how and why the Democrats have handed all three branches of the federal government along with most state governments and the white working class vote to the ever more radically reactionary, white-nationalist Republican Party. Ordinary people can smell the rank two-facedness of it all, believe it or not. They want nothing to do with snotty know-it-all liberals who give dismal dollar Dems a pass on policies liberals only seem capable of denouncing when they are enacted by nasty Republicans.

Contrary to my online rant, much of the liberal Democratic campus-town crowd seems to feel if anything validated – yes, validated. of all things – by the awfulness of Herr Trump. It exhibits no capacity for shame or self-criticism, even in the wake of their politics having collapsed at the presidential, Congressional, and state levels.'

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/liberal-hypocrisy-late-shaming-and-russia-blaming-in-the-age-of-trump/

'

flora , February 26, 2017 at 12:12 pm

"much of the liberal Democratic campus-town crowd seems to feel if anything validated – yes, validated. of all things – by the awfulness of Herr Trump."

I've noticed the same. My guess is that, imo, the Dem estab has spent years teaching it's more left-ish base to accept losing – veal pen, 'f*cking hippies', Dem estab suggest marching for a cause then fail to support cause, march to show numbers and get nothing, elect Dem full control in 2008 and lose single-payer, end of Iraq war, roll back Bush tax cuts, renegotiate Nafta, etc. Lucy and the football. The left-ish part of the party has been groomed over 30 years to accept losing its fights. When Trump wins it just confirms "the way things are." No introspection required since it confirms the trained outlook. imo.

Katharine , February 26, 2017 at 9:06 am

This opinion masquerading as news appeared in The Sun:

Both Perez and his leading opponent, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, had rejected the left-versus-centrist narrative that developed around the race, and close observers agreed it was overblown.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-perez-dnc-20170225-story.html#nt=oft12aH-1li3

Close observers? Try hookah-smoking caterpillars.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 9:10 am

People often have an emotional commitment to their candidate. Upon losing, all Hillary supporters will not go "oh well." Many will be upset.

Better to focus on issues going forward.

Also, if you want to build a majority party, probably best not to devote ALL your energy to screaming what clueless assholes most ordinary Americans are. Most ordinary Americans do not agree with commenters here. One reason Blue Dogs are so willing to ignore you.

You can come up with lots of reasons. There are lots of reasons. But bottom line is that you not only have to be right; you have to convince.

And no, collapse of the world will not convince. It may make you feel like there is proof you were right, but that is a hollow victory.

We have to win elections. To do that, we need a generous and positive message. And we need the votes of many Democrats that will not agree with you on some things - perhaps many things.

It can be done. It will be difficult. But it can be done.

Most people with ridiculous political ideas are nice people. There are positive appeals that will work over time.

Angry and haughty is not the formula.

funemployed , February 26, 2017 at 2:12 pm

+1000

Tony , February 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

It is amazing how many people are still incapable of acknowledging how bad a candidate HRC was and how far they reach to come up with other reasons for her loss. I grew up in Midwest and have many friends and family who voted for Trump not because they liked him but because they found Clinton even more unappealing and even less trustworthy.

They looked at how the Clintons made tens of millions of dollars, Bill Clinton's decades of predatory behavior towards women, the hubris, lack of responsibility and poor decision making related to the Email issues and HRC's unwillingness to even minimally tend to her health and physically prepare for the months of campaigning. Her candidacy was based on years of amassing money and power and entitlement. Other than the potential to elect the first female president, there was absolutely nothing about HRC that was inherently appealing.

It was an extraordinary challenge to field a candidate even more unappealing than Trump to millions of swing voters, but the Democrats managed to do it. The Clintons are finished, over and have tarnished themselves for history. Anyone who could even imagine a 2020 HRC candidacy is delusional.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Other than the potential to elect the first female president, there was absolutely nothing about HRC that was inherently appealing.

Indeed.

Anyone who could even imagine a 2020 HRC candidacy is delusional.

They will do it simply to mash her in our faces.

Remember, their goal is not to win. It is to keep us out. Running Hillary again serves that end just fine.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Remember, their goal is not to win. It is to keep us out. Running Hillary again serves that end just fine.

Wow. That's it. They'd rather drown true progressives than win.

jsn , February 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm

So true.

But most progressives can't bring themselves to believe it until they find themselves being held with their own heads underwater.

Needless to say, the survivors tend to be somewhat radicalized!

JL , February 26, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Pretty much everything you claim drives people away from Clinton applies just as well to Trump. Look at how Trump made millions of dollars: sticking investors with losses, tax law arbitrage, and above all inheriting then failing to keep up with major equity indexes. Look at his hubris, and decades of predatory behavior towards women, e.g. behaviors related to the pageant he finances. Look at his history of poor decision making in business resulting in numerous bankruptcies. One thing is true, he did make deals that were good for himself: even as business ventures collapsed and other investors lost money, Trump personally usually had very limited losses. To my mind that's exactly the wrong kind of behavior we want for a president though.

I readily agree that HRC ran a flawed campaign with little to draw undecided voters, but even so there's a deep Clinton hatred in this country I've never understood. A large fraction of the population appears to view both Bill and Hillary as the coming of the anti-christ, for no good reason. That is, the Clintons seem to be pretty much garden-variety politicians with all the usual skeletons in the closet, but nothing that seems to stand out from the rest of the Washington ilk. If the hatred came from leftists betrayal could explain it, but most Clinton-haters seem to be deeply conservative. Maybe I was too young during the WJC years to understand the source.

oho , February 26, 2017 at 10:21 am

Gonna beat a belabored dead horse: "Superpredators" + "bring them to heel" + a campaign devoted to the identity politics of undocumented migration and not the plight of lower-class whites and African-Americans.

African-Americans have Facebook accounts and access to Youtube.

The 30,000-feet pundits glossed it and declared everything A-OK over but that 1996 archive footage left a viscerally bitter taste at street level.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 2:33 pm

African-Americans have Facebook accounts and access to Youtube.

At least for now they do. The internet as we know it is slowly going away.

flora , February 26, 2017 at 10:46 am

"it's remarkable to see how childish and self-destructive the posture of the orthodox Dem backers is. It isn't just the vitriol, self-righteousness, and authoritarianism, as if they have the authority to dictate rules and those who fail to comply can and must be beaten into line.

Sounds kinda like a cult.

I've run into this. My response is a blank stare followed by a vocally flat "oh" to whatever nonsense I'm hearing. I have the same response to very young children who are trying to tell me something. Although, with little children I try to smile and stay engaged.

flora , February 26, 2017 at 10:57 am

adding:
per Jeff – "It seems that my friends, my friends' friends, and I are exclusively to blame for the Trump Presidency and the Republican takeover of government."

Hillary was wooing the suburban GOP voters, not the working class industrial belt voters. Really, it's the suburban GOP voters' fault Trump won. /s

dbk , February 26, 2017 at 10:53 am

I appreciate two posts on this subject, which given the presumed insignificance and technocratic nature of the position (!), aroused a lot of ire on both sides of the Demo divide. (Anyone interested in real ire can just head over to LGM, where iirc four threads and about 2,000 comments have now been devoted to this topic of "nothing to see here, let's move on").

What is left to say, I wonder? What's the way forward for progressives who are genuinely interested in supporting possibly-radical new approaches to addressing economic inequality?

It occurred to me while reading the comments on this and the previous post that perhaps after all, it's not that ways forward are unknown to the legacy party members, but that they're unacceptable, because they would genuinely lessen the gap between rich-poor.

If so (and I'm starting to feel that this is the case), then working within the party could be quite difficult, although the arguments against 3rd party start-ups are compelling. There was a great quote from Bill Domhoff on this subject upthread with a powerful argument for continuing to work within the existing structures.

Apropos of Domhoff, I was thinking that one way might be to continue to work within the party, but to distinguish the progressive wing clearly, perhaps with a new name – I like Domhoff's Egalitarian Democratic Party, it sort of reminded me of Minnesota's DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) party. As others have noted on both threads, this would need to be purely grass-roots, local-to-state level work, and as Domhoff wisely notes, candidates need to be identified and encouraged to run for, well, everything. They would need to caucus with the Dems at the state level, but eventually could force Dems, if they gain sufficient numbers, to shift their positions on economic issues, thereby creating momentum.

These past few days, I've most enjoyed reading comments from people who are getting involved at the local level – that's so heartening. And also, I've watched a good number of Town Hall meetings – the crowds are also heartening, even if I wouldn't always have chosen the issues individual constituents addressed. This massive awakening and interest in political life across the country – I want to believe something positive will come of it.

Joel Caris , February 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm

I kind of wonder if a "Working Democrats" title would have a shot at catching on, coupled with a heavy focus on strong, universal economic policies: Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage, some kind of student loan debt forgiveness, Glass-Steagall reinstatement, a constitutional amendment removing corporate personhood.

Hell, couldn't that seriously catch on in today's environment?

NotTimothyGeithner , February 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Not to be that guy, but the problem is the perception the Democratic Party cares about those things and nostalgia.

The black guy with the Muslim sounding name became President while promising higher taxes, fair trade, and universal healthcare (perception matters) while running against a war crazy veteran and a war crazy lunatic who claim so to have dodged bullets.

Joel Caris , February 26, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying that the problem with such a move is it would be too easily co-opted due in part to too many people thinking the Democrats actually stand for these policies, despite the fact that the majority of them and the party apparatus actively works to undermine any movement in these directions?

Fair point if so. I think any such work via a faction within the party, so to speak, would have to make itself clear to those who have lost faith in the Democratic Party by taking active stances against the establishment and exhibiting some level of hostility toward a good faction of Democrats.

I would be all for a third party coalescence, but I'm sympathetic toward the idea that third parties simply don't get traction in our political system. So I lean a bit more toward an attempted hostile takeover of the Democratic Party. On the other hand, party's die; it may be that a third party route could work as a replacement for the Democrats once they die from actively abusing and thus hemorrhaging their base.

Alternatively, both approaches could work. A wing of the party actively hostile toward the establishment could jump ship to a third party if the Democrats were dying, joining forces to establish the replacement party. Or the vice versa could happen; if a progressive wing appeared to truly be winning and taking control of the Democrats, a sympathetic third party movement could jump in for the final push to clean house and reinvent the party from scratch.

I think it still comes back to the need for active movements and organizing around clear policies and principles, then taking the opportunity to gain nationwide traction whenever and however it presents itself. Personally, I just wish I had a clearer idea of where such efforts on my part would be best focused. (It's somewhat complicated by being in Portland, Oregon and having some decent Dems here, though there's still a lot of terrible ones and even the good ones I'm still wary of.)

drb48 , February 26, 2017 at 11:09 am

The Wall Street/establishment wing of the party has clearly learned nothing from the debacle of the last election and is clearly unwilling to learn. Sadly the same seems to be true for the "progressive" wing of the party – i.e. WheresOurTeddy has it exactly right IMHO but the "left" still won't abandon the dead hulk of FDR's party – which has rejected everything it formerly stood for – if the calls for "unity" from Ellison and others are any indication.

simham , February 26, 2017 at 11:13 am

CHANGE will happen until the stock market crashes or a MAJOR war occurs.

funemployed , February 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm

major wars don't happen anymore cause MAD. If one does, well, MAD.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I honestly don't see how things will truly get better, except with a lot of people suffering or dying. It seems that we're in this desperate last-gasp phase of trying to work a system that's supposed to be just, but hasn't been for decades. My entire life.

On Friday I witnessed the NJ Pinelands Commission vote for a 15 mile pipeline that should never have been approved. It's substantilaly for profit and export. They voted while 800 people were screaming their opposition, after five years of fierce opposition. Literally tallied the votes during the screaming. This is the commission whose mission is to "preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands National Reserve." It was approved by a 9-5 vote. That's how far Governor Christie and big money has gamed the system.

Billionaires get to throw hired hands in between us and them (like politicians and police and receptionists and PR staff everyone's just "doing their job!" we are "rude" if we fight them because they have nothing to do with it!), we have to risk our bodies and time directly. We have to organize masses of people with hardly any resources and a diminishing internet, they write a check and get hired professionals with access to do their bidding as they sit in their comfy third homes. They write the procedures and laws, we get to yell and scream for ten minutes, then our voices tire and their decisions get rammed through anyway.

Oh, and they had a public comment AFTER the vote, which was in the agenda not as "vote" but "approve with conditions."

Something's gotta give.

Ep3 , February 26, 2017 at 11:36 am

What about us in Michigan? We have been manipulated and mentally changed from a strong union democratic state to a redneck, "wannabe backwards early 1900s southern state" that maintains a governor who knowingly fed thousands of people lead tainted water. And he continues to do nothing about it. If we do anything about it, the republican legislature will just gerrymander our districts again to maintain their power. I live in a district shaped like a banana, running east to west in the middle of the lower peninsula. 80% of the district (US house seat) has always been strong democratic. But the district was re shaped in the early nineties so that it was extended forty miles east to encompass a county that was once known as the capital of the KKK in Michigan. This swung the majority to republican. They are a minority, but with all the money.
As I was saying to someone yesterday, when I say something like "I don't like obamacare either", it is automatically assumed that I want trump & Paul Ryan to hand out vouchers. Yet when I follow up by stating I want Medicare for all, I am called a crazy Hillary loving liberal.

Katharine , February 26, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Well, you can always say scornfully that she never wanted anything as good for people as Medicare for all. But it's tough being in a spot like that. There is a relative of an inlaw whom I admire enormously because, living in a conservative rural area she nevertheless firmly states her progressive opinions, if necessary finishing up, "Anyway, that's what I think," in a way that let's people know she has formed her opinion and will not be changing it merely for fact-free hostile criticism. It takes amazing steadfastness to go on doing that.

EyeRound , February 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm

I live in a district shaped like a banana

Here in upstate NY my (state assembly) district's shape was once described as "Abe Lincoln riding on a vacuum cleaner." Like the one you describe, it was carefully constructed to include a wealthy minority so as to ensure that the "right" candidate always wins.

EyeRound , February 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm

"Do what I want. That's unity." Wasn't that one of W's wise injunctions? Now we hear it in motherly tones in HRC's video released on Friday. Is this anything like her debate response to Bernie, "I get things done. That's progress. (Therefore) I'm a progressive!"? Always need to look for what this kind of word-salad leaves out.

A note as to the Establishment Dems: In the Dem primary race there were 800 or so "Super Delegates" and almost all of them were locked into HRC before the primary race began. At the convention all but about 25 of them cast their votes for HRC. (Sorry, I don't have exact numbers.)

Now, who are these 435 Dem Party luminaries who are tasked with electing the DNC Chair? Am I right to assume that they are a carved-out chunk of the Super Delegates of yore? If I am, then the Establishment Dems are in big trouble, and they know it just from the numbers.

In other words, 200 of the 435 just voted for Sanders by proxy of Ellison. That's half. If half of the Super Delegates had voted for the Sanders wing at the convention, wouldn't Sanders have been the Dem candidate?

What we are seeing in the dulcet tones of HRC's "unity" video, together with the power punch of the monied interests in the DNC, is the public face of a party in panic, digging in with all of its claws. From this it seems that Bernie is a bigger threat than many folks may realize.

I don't mean to be Pollyanna-ish here. It's anybody's guess as to what to do with this state of affairs. But perhaps Bernie is on the right track with his efforts to take over the Dem Party?

With that in mind, the real dividing-line is wealth vs. poverty, income inequality, etc.,

mpr , February 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

"If half of the Super Delegates had voted for the Sanders wing at the convention, wouldn't Sanders have been the Dem candidate?"

Uh, no because HRC got a clear majority of the elected delegates and 3.5m more votes in the primary. But hey, don't let me disturb your alternate reality, and enjoy the next four years !

tegnost , February 26, 2017 at 1:59 pm

your reality was created from whole cloth
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/04/new-york-primary-voter-purge

Those mean chair throwing bernie bros!
http://www.politifact.com/nevada/statements/2016/may/18/jeff-weaver/allegations-fraud-and-misconduct-nevada-democratic/
Can you say Debbie Wasserman Schultz?
How about Donna ( http://www.mediaite.com/tv/new-email-shows-donna-brazile-also-gave-clinton-questions-before-cnn-presidential-debate/ ) Brazile?
I'll think I'll stick with my alternate reality, you can keep your fake one.

tegnost , February 26, 2017 at 2:11 pm

and to your vote tally caucus states don't vote, the popular vote total of the primary is a meaningless comp

mpr , February 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm

True, if caucus states did vote (i.e. were democratic) HRC would have won by even more. See e.g http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/wash-primary1/ . I'm sure if the roles were reversed here you'd be screaming that the corrupt DNC was ignoring the democratic vote in favor of an undemocratic caucus.

But, as I said, enjoy the next four year. Maybe you really will – Trump is the alternate reality candidate after all.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 3:11 pm

I wouldn't exactly call it clear .

Eureka Springs , February 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Some of the things I want from a party.

A democratic process within. Establish polling and voting by all members, not some final 400 or super delegates.
The party writes, debates and endorses legislation, not lobbyists.
A serious cap on contributions. Complete immediate transparency on all money matters.
Issue based platform long before leadership or candidates.
A way which leadership or candidates and office holders must adhere to the party platform. Example if the party platform says expanded Single Payer (HR 676) for all then a vote for ACA would have been grounds for immediate removal from the party for sitting Reps. Note that would have meant basically every sitting prog would have received the boot. We would have all been better served had we primaried all of our so-called own long ago (including Sanders and Kucinich).

At the very least this should be established by a prog like wing within a party. For we have no way in which to hold usurpers to account.. or keep the eye sharply focused on issues. That's the lesson from '06 '08 '10. So many act blue/blue America candidates lied and to this day they continue to be among the least scrutinized.

I didn't see Sanders, Ellison etc. heading this way had they won. I don't see it in any existing third party.

LT , February 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

There it is in black and white: the "new red scare" about Russia enabling feeble minds to be dismissive of criticisms about the establishment.

Donald , February 26, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Testing. I tried posting a long comment and it didn't make it.

Short version–Sanders did everything people said Nader should have done and Sanders was still treated like a pariah, so the self described pragmatists are really the intolerant fanatics. There was more, but I don't feel like retyping it, especially if I am having technical difficulties posting.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 2:13 pm

I agree that Sanders ran A primary campaign instead of third party, and so answered a big establishment talking point.

Beyond that, I see the campaigns as vastly different. Nader campaigned at the end of a long bubble. Bernie campaigned after the financial collapse and after years of doing nothing to help ordinary people.

I think Bernie's campaign was more powerful, and gives more of a springboard for future campaigns.

mike , February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The part before the byline is reasonable and interesting. The DNC is acting to preserve their own power, not to win elections. Classic "iron law of oligarchy" stuff.

The part after the byline is less interesting. Why do we care what some anonymous guy on facebook says? Of what interest is there in a facebook argument between an activist and some rando? Is this more notable than a thousand other political arguments on facebook that occur every day?

Dan Brooks has written about the practice of "eggmanning", as a sort of counterpart to strawmanning– you can find people making basically any argument on social media, no matter how specious. http://combatblog.net/tom-hitchner-on-refuting-the-argument-no-one-is-making/ Elevating the voice of such a person just so you can dismantle their poorly chosen words does not make for compelling reading.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Mapping US / UK politics

Right – Tories / Conservatives / Republicans

Elitist Left – Whigs / Liberals / Neo-liberals / Democrats

Real Left – Labour (the US is not allowed this option)

You need a real left, liberals are not the real left.

Liberals have over-run the Labour party in the UK but progress is under-way to get things back to the way they should be.

Universal suffrage came along and the workers wanted a party of the left that represented them and wasn't full of elitist, left liberals.

The US has never allowed the common man and woman to have a party of their own, they need one, a real left not a liberal, elitist left descended from the Whigs.

Glen , February 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Well, I haven't voted Dem in the last two Presidential elections so no big loss.

It's the other thirty years of voting Dem that I wonder about. Maybe I could have made a difference back then.

TMc , February 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

This all makes me think the Democratic establishment are not honest actors. They would rather meekly accept corporate money and play the part of the always losing Washington Generals rather than come out swinging for progressive values.

habenicht , February 26, 2017 at 3:50 pm

As these events unfold, I think there is an application of Upton's SInclair's famous observation:

"It is difficult to get a man (or in this case party) to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

Gaylord , February 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm

"If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it"
- George Carlin

[Feb 27, 2017] Whitney believes that Flynn's defenestration was the end of Trump's vaunted reconciliation with Russia policy.

Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
jo6pac , February 24, 2017 at 3:39 pm

As some one here pointed out. It's Friday time for some Jeffery St Clair.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/roaming-charges-exxons-end-game-theory/

Mike Whitney has a good article there also.

geoff , February 24, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Agreed– Whitney believes that Flynn's defenestration was the end of Trump's vaunted (around here anyway) reconciliation with Russia policy. New National Security Advisor McMaster is a Petraeus follower, and has repeatedly called out Russia as an aggressive power which must be contained and deterred with US and NATO military power.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/mcmaster-takes-charge-trump-relinquishes-control-of-foreign-policy/

EndOfTheWorld , February 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm

He's just an advisor. MacMaster will not make policy. But Trump is finding out, as many presidents have before him, that to a large extent the Pentagon runs itself. The military plans things way ahead of time. As president it's difficult to buck heads with the PTB on foreign policy. The best Trump may be able to do for the time being is stay out of war.

I would prefer an outright lovefest with Russia. I like their anti-GMO policy. Maybe in a few years.

[Feb 27, 2017] Offshoring has largely been an automation and IT story.

Notable quotes:
"... US companies were always able to offshore work. Before commodity internet, telecom, and international transport (OK in good part enabled by international trade/etc. deals), that was much more costly. ..."
"... IT has made it possible to effectively manage larger business/institutional aggregate than before on an industrial scale and using industrial management paradigms. Others and I have made that case before. ..."
"... Put yourself in 1980, though. Think about the coordination you can organize. Think about sending components to a low labor cost jurisdiction for assembly. Perhaps paying a tariff and transportation to get there, then a tariff and transportation to get back. The labor is essentially free, but the other is real money. Ten years later the tariffs start to disappear. Containerization continues to drive down transport per unit. ..."
"... Sure, by now the best manufacturers are often foreign. They did not get there without our help. ..."
"... In the case of subsidiaries, this requires international legal frameworks allowing US companies to operate foreign subsidiaries, or buying foreign companies, with low enough overheads ("compliance" etc.) to make distributing work worthwhile. ..."
"... The general sentiment seems to be that people in "low cost geographies" are of lesser quality at least as concerns the subject matter. This is not my experience. What used to lack (as of today I would doubt even that) is years of experience, as the offshoring industry branches hadn't existed in the remote locations, so all you could hire was freshers; or a lag in access to bleeding edge Western technology and research literature. This is no longer the case, and hasn't been the case for about a decade. ..."
"... That IN THEORY, the exchange rate and other prices should adjust to any change in tax or regulatory regime to at least partly offset it. A lot of the practical problems arise, because price adjustments do not actually seem to happen to the extent predicted, and large financial imbalances are seen to become secular features of the economic landscape. ..."
Feb 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
point : February 20, 2017 at 01:51 PM

"Revoking Trade Deals Will Not Help American Middle Classes."

Brad lives in a world with jump discontinuities in the distribution of expected returns from labor arbitrage. That changing the cost of doing a deal will not reduce or unwind deals because the gains from trade individually exceed any costs that could be imposed. So he can say, elsewhere, the jobs ain't coming back, full stop.

"If the United States had imposed barriers to the construction of intercontinental value chains would the semi-skilled and skilled manufacturing workers of the U.S. be better off?"

Brad does not find any relation between "imposing barriers" and "removing subsidy". Or in establishing the older trade deals, between "removing barriers" and "subsidizing foreign labor". Where the foreign labor operated in a low environmental protection environment, a low labor protection environment, and probably others, it seems enabling US firms to invest in foreign operations to reap the savings of less protection should be seen as subsidy.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> point ... February 20, 2017 at 02:12 PM

Your point is well taken. THANKS!

cm -> point.. .

Is enabling and not-preventing the same thing?

US companies were always able to offshore work. Before commodity internet, telecom, and international transport (OK in good part enabled by international trade/etc. deals), that was much more costly.

IMO, offshoring has largely been an automation and IT story.

Likewise domestic/national level business consolidation.

IT has made it possible to effectively manage larger business/institutional aggregate than before on an industrial scale and using industrial management paradigms. Others and I have made that case before.

This is not a new insight, but probably still not an obvious one.

point -> cm...4 , February 21, 2017 at 04:02 AM
Thanks. I'm sure automation and IT contribute.

Put yourself in 1980, though. Think about the coordination you can organize. Think about sending components to a low labor cost jurisdiction for assembly. Perhaps paying a tariff and transportation to get there, then a tariff and transportation to get back. The labor is essentially free, but the other is real money. Ten years later the tariffs start to disappear. Containerization continues to drive down transport per unit.

Point one is that Brad assumes there is no one doing this now who is near break-even and would go upside down with any change in tariff regime, so there is no one to relocate to the USA.

Point two is that we import environmental degradation and below market labor when we allow/encourage these to be part of the ROI calculation through tariff policy.

Sure, by now the best manufacturers are often foreign. They did not get there without our help.

cm -> point... , February 21, 2017 at 11:14 PM
Well, one can argue that environmental improvements credited to regulation were in part exporting environmental degradation, simply by moving polluting production facilities "over there".
cm -> cm... , February 21, 2017 at 11:16 PM
Or building new and better facilities "there", but in either case the old ones were dismantled "here".
cm -> point... , February 20, 2017 at 04:57 PM
E.g. I have seen it in my own work and with many others: companies can farm out any work to foreign subsidiaries or contractors they don't want to keep stateside for some reason. In the case of subsidiaries, this requires international legal frameworks allowing US companies to operate foreign subsidiaries, or buying foreign companies, with low enough overheads ("compliance" etc.) to make distributing work worthwhile.

Considering the case of US vs. Asia - depending on where you are in the US, Asia/PAC (India/Far East/Pacific) business hours are off by about a half day because of time zone effects. To a lesser but similar degree this applies to Europe and the Middle East.

The general sentiment seems to be that people in "low cost geographies" are of lesser quality at least as concerns the subject matter. This is not my experience. What used to lack (as of today I would doubt even that) is years of experience, as the offshoring industry branches hadn't existed in the remote locations, so all you could hire was freshers; or a lag in access to bleeding edge Western technology and research literature. This is no longer the case, and hasn't been the case for about a decade.

Then there is the aspect that people in "some" geographies are more habituated to top-down management styles, talking back less, etc. which may be an advantage or liability depending on what the business requires of them.

reason -> point... , February 21, 2017 at 06:15 AM
I think one thing that is forgotten almost always in such discussions is that the arguments for or against trade start with barter not so much with monetary exchange.

That IN THEORY, the exchange rate and other prices should adjust to any change in tax or regulatory regime to at least partly offset it. A lot of the practical problems arise, because price adjustments do not actually seem to happen to the extent predicted, and large financial imbalances are seen to become secular features of the economic landscape.

This is why I'm inclined to say that trade barriers are a bit of red herring, the really big issues are financial (including the need for finding ways to repair damaged middle class balance sheets). We need to stop seeing redistribution as a dirty word. It is what democratic governments worth the name should be doing.

[Feb 27, 2017] Even the most zealous Friedmanite or cheerleader for the 'creative class' would have a hard time passing those lies about prosperity for all Workers need to fight for thier rights

Notable quotes:
"... it's not the only one ..."
"... not ..."
"... competition ..."
"... Competitiveness ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
paul Tioxon , February 24, 2017 at 3:03 pm

http://www.andnowuknow.com/bloom/east-coast-workers-call-strike-docks/melissa-de-leon/52651#.WK-hWW_yu70

https://gcaptain.com/spanish-dockworkers-plan-nine-day-strike/

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/port-liverpool-workers-set-ballot-12643143

Paid Outside agitators coordinating NATO seaport strikes. See, men can get together and march in the street around the world at the same time for a cause.

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Many thanks Paul for putting these things together. Encouraging and important for a bunch of reasons at once.

1. Even the most zealous Friedmanite (M. or T., does it matter?) or Richard Florida-type cheerleader for the 'creative class' (deceased) would have a hard time passing global logistics off as a 'dinosaur' industry.

With the disclaimer that most of what I'm about to recommend comes from friends/comrades or publications I'm somehow entangled with, there's serious thinking about the latent global power of logistics workers on the German 'Wildcat' site - [http://wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/100/e_w100_koper.html] for a recent example from a fair-sized English and huge German-language archive - and years' worth of great writing about much the same thing by Brian Ashton, a 1995-97 Liverpool dock strike organizer and one of the first people to describe coherently the industrial uses of what's now sold as 'the internet of things'. See eg. [http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/liverpools-docks-dust-and-dirt] (with images by David Jacques), but if you're interested it's worth searching that site and Libcom.org - just to start with - for more.

And 2.: because right now it can't be repeated often enough that face-to-face community experience can be a powerful source of class solidarity but it's not the only one . Cultural sameness is not the only possible basis for collective action for shared interests. It can happen in a meaningful way even over long distances and long periods, as shown by international support for the Liverpool Dockers of 95-7 (and the California port truck drivers of 2012? Please correct the latter if misremebered).

Admittedly this a sort of a priori principle for me, but not just because it sounds like something it would be nice to believe. No, it's because the 'choice' between globally co-ordinated hyperexploitation and perpetual petty warfare* between internally close-knit groups (with no way out of those groups for individuals or sub-collectives, thus: conscript warfare) is a recipe for general despair.

[*'Warfare' here applies literally in some cases and figuratively in others. But even when it stops short of physical violence it's competition , which puts it well on the way to global exploitation anyway. Who knows why it's not considered obvious that EU-type transnational management institutions and the National Preference revivalists 'opposed' to them share the same obsession with national Competitiveness . (And sub- and supra-national Competitiveness too, but it amounts to the same thing because each arena of economic bloodsports is supposed to toughen the gladiators (upscale slaves, remember) for the next one up.

Peer-to-peer prizefighting is officially healthy for everyone, because even what does kill me makes "my" brand/parent corporation/city/country/supra-national trading bloc stronger. And one day glorious victory over Emerging (capitalist) Planets will kill the Zero that screams in the Sum.)]

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:10 am

The supply chain . Now that's strategic.

Jeremy Grimm , February 25, 2017 at 1:18 pm

An economy - just like an Army - marches on its stomach. Supply chains for the US economy are long - reaching to distant countries including many countries that aren't our best of friends - and shallow - often depending on few to as few as a single source for many products and key components. Just-in-time deliveries support local inventories trimmed to within a few days of demand. The US economy has a great exposed underbelly.

[Feb 26, 2017] Clowbacks to benefits manager is "It's like crack cocaine," said Susan Hayes, a consultant with Pharmacy Outcomes Specialists in Lake Zurich, Illinois. "They just can't get

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc : February 24, 2017 at 05:26 PM , 2017 at 05:26 PM
Real World Economics

"You're Overpaying for Drugs and Your Pharmacist Can't Tell You"

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-24/sworn-to-secrecy-drugstores-stay-silent-as-customers-overpay

"You're Overpaying for Drugs and Your Pharmacist Can't Tell You"

by Jared S Hopkins...February 24, 2017...9:52 AM EST

> Gag clauses stop pharmacists from pointing out a cheaper way

> Cigna, UnitedHealth and Humana face at least 16 lawsuits

"Eric Pusey has to bite his tongue when customers at his pharmacy cough up co-payments far higher than the cost of their low-cost generic drugs, thinking their insurance is getting them a good deal.

Pusey's contracts with drug-benefit managers at his Medicap Pharmacy in Olyphant, Pennsylvania, bar him from volunteering the fact that for many cheap, generic medicines, co-pays sometimes are more expensive than if patients simply pay out of pocket and bypass insurance. The extra money -- what the industry calls a clawback -- ends up with the benefit companies. Pusey tells customers only if they ask.

"Some of them get fired up," he said. "Some of them get angry at the whole system. Some of them don't even believe that what we're telling them is accurate."

Graphic

Clawbacks, which can be as little as $2 a prescription or as much as $30, may boost profits by hundreds of millions for benefit managers and have prompted at least 16 lawsuits since October. The legal cases as well dozens of receipts obtained by Bloomberg and interviews with more than a dozen pharmacists and industry consultants show the growing importance of the clawbacks.

"It's like crack cocaine," said Susan Hayes, a consultant with Pharmacy Outcomes Specialists in Lake Zurich, Illinois. "They just can't get enough."

The cases arrive at a critical juncture in the quarter-century debate over how to make health care more affordable in America. President Donald Trump is promising to lower drug costs, saying the government should get better prices and the pharmaceutical industry is "getting away with murder." The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, a benefits-manager trade group, says it expects greater scrutiny over its role in the price of medicine and wants to make its case "vocally and effectively."
Racketeering Accusations

Suits have been filed against insurers UnitedHealth Group Inc., which owns manager OptumRx; Cigna Corp., which contracts with that manager; and Humana Inc., which runs its own. Among the accusations are defrauding patients through racketeering, breach of contract and violating insurance laws.

"Pharmacies should always charge our members the lowest amount outlined under their plan when filling prescriptions," UnitedHealthcare spokesman Matthew Wiggin said in a statement. "We believe these lawsuits are without merit and will vigorously defend ourselves."

Mark Mathis, a Humana spokesman, declined to comment. Matt Asensio, a Cigna spokesman, said the company doesn't comment on litigation.

"Patients should not have to pay more than a network drugstore's submitted charges to the health plan," Charles Cote, a spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, said in a statement.

Read more: Escalating U.S. drug prices -- a QuickTake explainer

Benefit managers are obscure but influential middlemen. They process prescriptions for insurers and large employers that back their own plans, determine which drugs are covered and negotiate with manufacturers on one end and pharmacies on the other. They have said their work keeps prices low, in part by pitting rival drugmakers against one other to get better deals.

The clawbacks work like this: A patient goes to a pharmacy and pays a co-pay amount -- perhaps $10 -- agreed to by the pharmacy benefits manager, or PBM, and the insurers who hire it. The pharmacist gets reimbursed for the price of the drug, say $2, and possibly a small profit. Then the benefits manager "claws back" the remainder. Most patients never realize there's a cheaper cash price.

"There's this whole industry that most people don't know about," said Connecticut lawyer Craig Raabe, who represents people accusing the companies of defrauding them. "The customers see that they go in, they are paying a $10 co-pay for amoxicillin, having no idea that the PBM and the pharmacy have agreed that the actual cost is less than a dollar, and they're still paying the $10 co-pay."

On Feb. 10, a customer at an Ohio pharmacy paid a $15 co-pay for 15 milligrams of generic stomach medicine pantoprazole that the pharmacist bought for $2.05, according to receipts obtained by Bloomberg. The pharmacist was repaid $7.22, giving him a profit of $5.17. The remaining $7.78 went back to the benefits manager.
Opaque Market

Clawbacks are possible because benefit managers take advantage of an opaque market, said Hayes, the Illinois consultant. Only they know who pays what.

In interviews, some pharmacists estimate clawbacks happen in 10 percent of their transactions. A survey by the more than 22,000-member National Community Pharmacists Association found 83 percent of 640 independent pharmacists had at least 10 a month.

"I've got three drugstores, so I see a lot of it," David Spence, a Houston pharmacist, said in an interview. "We look at it as theft -- another way for the PBMs to steal."

Lawsuits began in October in multiple states, and some have since been consolidated. Most cite an investigation by New Orleans television station Fox 8, which featured interviews with Louisiana pharmacists whose faces and voices were obscured.
Tight Restrictions

Many plans require pharmacies to collect payment when prescriptions are filled and prohibit them from waiving or reducing the amount. They can't even tell their customers about the clawbacks, according to the suits. Contracts obtained by Bloomberg prohibit pharmacists from publicly criticizing benefit managers or suggesting customers obtain the medication cheaper by paying out of pocket.

Pharmacists who contract with OptumRx in 2017 could be terminated for "actions detrimental to the provider network," doing anything that "disparages" it or trying to "steer" customers to other coverage or discounted plans, according to an agreement obtained by Bloomberg.

"They're usually take-it-or-leave-it contracts," said Mel Brodsky, who just retired as chief executive officer of Pennsylvania's Keystone Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance, which buys drugs on behalf of independent pharmacies.

OptumRx is among the three largest benefit managers that combine to process 80 percent of the prescriptions in the U.S. The other two, Express Scripts Holding Co. and CVS Caremark, haven't been accused of clawbacks. CVS doesn't use them, it said in a statement. Express Scripts is so opposed that it explains the practice on its website and promises customers will pay the lowest price available.
Potential Death Blow

Pharmacies fear getting removed from reimbursement networks, a potential death blow in smaller communities. But some pharmacists jump at opportunities to inform customers who question their co-pay amounts.

"Most don't understand," said Spence, who owns two pharmacies in Houston. "If their co-pay is high, then they care."

States are responding. Last year, Louisiana began allowing pharmacists to tell customers how to get the cheapest price for drugs, trumping contract gag clauses. In 2015, Arkansas prohibited benefit managers and pharmacies from charging customers more than the pharmacy will be paid.

"The consumers don't know what's going on," said Steve Nelson, a pharmacist in Okeechobee, Florida. "We try to educate them with regards to what goes into a prescription, OK? You've got to kind of tip-toe around things."

ilsm -> im1dc... , February 24, 2017 at 07:08 PM
pharma to USG

like drug cartel in Mexico

except no briefcases

im1dc -> ilsm... , February 24, 2017 at 07:47 PM
That's a valid observation.

[Feb 26, 2017] Under the 1913 law, income up to $20,000 was taxed at 1% with a $3,000 personal exemption. The average wage was only $1,296, which means only high earners were taxed at

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
JF -> pgl... February 24, 2017 at 11:45 AM , 2017 at 11:45 AM
Yes, profits are a form of income, but at that point they indirectly touch wealth accumulation and sharing, and before that they fuel wages for managers of capital and have historically been a measure that influence the price of stock, an indirect touch on wealth accumulation. We know what has happened to basic wages/salaries, no reason to expect they would get to share in the gains of further tax cuts, so let us face it, as you note, huge drops in the tax rate on profits will directly benefit wealth and high income people (though not because they would have earned it other than by lobbying).

So ok, harmonize rates with OECD, but offset revenue losses on the personal income tax side so at least some of the upward redistribution is in that proscribed tax base (which does not tax wealth, per the Pollack decision of the Court).

Know you know this, hope other readers get this too.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> pgl... , February 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM
In 1913 the personal exemption was $3K for singles and $4K for married couples and the tax rate was just 1% for the first $20K of income. The highest bracket was $500K with a 7% income tax rate. We started off on the correct foot anyway.

https://www.irs.gov/uac/soi-tax-stats-historical-table-23

DrDick -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 24, 2017 at 11:47 AM
Under the 1913 law, income up to $20,000 was taxed at 1% with a $3,000 personal exemption. The average wage was only $1,296, which means only high earners were taxed at all. That is a big difference from today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenue_Act_of_1913

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> DrDick... , February 24, 2017 at 12:34 PM
True. "We started off on the correct foot" was in no way meant to imply that we were on our feet at all today. Back then what you and I make today in relative terms would have put us in the 1% tax bracket and people making $20 million or more today would have been taxed in the top bracket which was taxed at a rate seven times higher than ours.

[Feb 26, 2017] http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2017/02/nineteen-ninety-six-robotproductivity.html

Feb 26, 2017 | econospeak.blogspot.com

February 22, 2017

Nineteen Ninety-Six: The Robot/Productivity Paradox

For nearly a half a century, from 1947 to 1996, real GDP and real Net Worth of Households and Non-profit Organizations (in 2009 dollars) both increased at a compound annual rate of a bit over 3.5%. GDP growth, in fact, was just a smidgen faster -- 0.016% -- than growth of Net Household Worth.

From 1996 to 2015, GDP grew at a compound annual rate of 2.3% while Net Worth increased at the rate of 3.6%....

-- Sanwichman Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 05:24 AM anne said in reply to anne... https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cOU6

January 15, 2017

Gross Domestic Product and Net Worth for Households & Nonprofit Organizations, 1952-2016

(Indexed to 1952)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cPq1

January 15, 2017

Gross Domestic Product and Net Worth for Households & Nonprofit Organizations, 1992-2016

(Indexed to 1992) Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 05:25 AM Sandwichman said in reply to anne... Thanks, anne, those graphs are perfect! Exactly what I'm talking about. I've downloaded and posted them at EconoSpeak, along with the Galbraith quote.

"The "Cutz & Putz" Bezzle, Graphed by FRED"

http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2017/02/the-cutz-putz-bezzle-graphed-by-fred.html Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 09:24 AM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... Important and nicely argument all through:

http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2017/02/the-cutz-putz-bezzle-graphed-by-fred.html

February 24, 2017

http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2017/02/ponzilocks-and-twenty-four-trillion.html

February 23, 2017

http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2017/02/nineteen-ninety-six-robotproductivity.html

February 22, 2017

-- Sandwixchman Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:04 AM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... Thinking further about this series of posts from Sandwichman, they seem increasingly revealing and important. I am impressed. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 11:58 AM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... The real home price index extends from 1890. From 1890 to 1996, the index increased slightly faster than inflation so that the index was 100 in 1890 and 113 in 1996. However from 1996 the index advanced to levels far beyond any previously experienced, reaching a high above 194 in 2006. Previously the index high had been just above 130.

Though the index fell from 2006, the level in 2016 is above 161, a level only reached when the housing bubble had formed in late 2003-early 2004.

Real home prices are again strikingly high:

http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/data.htm Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 03:34 PM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... February 24, 2017

Valuation

The Shiller 10-year price-earnings ratio is currently 29.34, so the inverse or the earnings rate is 3.41%. The dividend yield is 1.93. So an expected yearly return over the coming 10 years would be 3.41 + 1.93 or 5.34% provided the price-earnings ratio stays the same and before investment costs.

Against the 5.34% yearly expected return on stock over the coming 10 years, the current 10-year Treasury bond yield is 2.32%.

The risk premium for stocks is 5.34 - 2.32 or 3.02%:

http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/data.htm Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 03:35 PM anne said in reply to anne... What the robot-productivity paradox is puzzles me, other than since 2005 for all the focus on the productivity of robots and on robots replacing labor there has been a dramatic, broad-spread slowing in productivity growth.

However what the changing relationship between the growth of GDP and net worth since 1996 show, is that asset valuations have been increasing relative to GDP. Valuations of stocks and homes are at sustained levels that are higher than at any time in the last 120 years. Bear markets in stocks and home prices have still left asset valuations at historically high levels. I have no idea why this should be. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 05:36 AM Sandwichman said in reply to anne... The paradox is that productivity statistics can't tell us anything about the effects of robots on employment because both the numerator and the denominator are distorted by the effects of colossal Ponzi bubbles.

John Kenneth Galbraith used to call it "the bezzle." It is "that increment to wealth that occurs during the magic interval when a confidence trickster knows he has the money he has appropriated but the victim does not yet understand that he has lost it." The current size of the gross national bezzle (GNB) is approximately $24 trillion.

Ponzilocks and the Twenty-Four Trillion Dollar Question

http://econospeak.blogspot.ca/2017/02/ponzilocks-and-twenty-four-trillion.html

Twenty-three and a half trillion, actually. But what's a few hundred billion? Here today, gone tomorrow, as they say.

At the beginning of 2007, net worth of households and non-profit organizations exceeded its 1947-1996 historical average, relative to GDP, by some $16 trillion. It took 24 months to wipe out eighty percent, or $13 trillion, of that colossal but ephemeral slush fund. In mid-2016, net worth stood at a multiple of 4.83 times GDP, compared with the multiple of 4.72 on the eve of the Great Unworthing.

When I look at the ragged end of the chart I posted yesterday, it screams "Ponzi!" "Ponzi!" "Ponz..."

To make a long story short, let's think of wealth as capital. The value of capital is determined by the present value of an expected future income stream. The value of capital fluctuates with changing expectations but when the nominal value of capital diverges persistently and significantly from net revenues, something's got to give. Either economic growth is going to suddenly gush forth "like nobody has ever seen before" or net worth is going to have to come back down to earth.

Somewhere between 20 and 30 TRILLION dollars of net worth will evaporate within the span of perhaps two years.

When will that happen? Who knows? There is one notable regularity in the data, though -- the one that screams "Ponzi!"

When the net worth bubble stops going up...
...it goes down. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 08:34 AM Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman ... John Kenneth Galbraith, from "The Great Crash 1929":

"In many ways the effect of the crash on embezzlement was more significant than on suicide. To the economist embezzlement is the most interesting of crimes. Alone among the various forms of larceny it has a time parameter. Weeks, months or years may elapse between the commission of the crime and its discovery. (This is a period, incidentally, when the embezzler has his gain and the man who has been embezzled, oddly enough, feels no loss. There is a net increase in psychic wealth.) At any given time there exists an inventory of undiscovered embezzlement in – or more precisely not in – the country's business and banks. This inventory – it should perhaps be called the bezzle – amounts at any moment to many millions [trillions!] of dollars. It also varies in size with the business cycle. In good times people are relaxed, trusting, and money is plentiful. But even though money is plentiful, there are always many people who need more. Under these circumstances the rate of embezzlement grows, the rate of discovery falls off, and the bezzle increases rapidly. In depression all this is reversed. Money is watched with a narrow, suspicious eye. The man who handles it is assumed to be dishonest until he proves himself otherwise. Audits are penetrating and meticulous. Commercial morality is enormously improved. The bezzle shrinks." Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 08:36 AM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... Ah, I understand, and this is excellent. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 08:53 AM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... http://www.multpl.com/shiller-pe/

Ten Year Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings Ratio, 1881-2017

(Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

February 21, 2017 - PE Ratio ( 29.31)

Annual Mean ( 16.72)
Annual Median ( 16.09)

-- Robert Shiller Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 08:56 AM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... http://www.multpl.com/s-p-500-dividend-yield/

Dividend Yield, 1881-2017

(Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

February 21, 2017 - Div Yield ( 1.93)

Annual Mean ( 4.38)
Annual Median ( 4.32)

-- Robert Shiller Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 08:56 AM anne said in reply to Sandwichman ... February 21, 2017

Valuation

The Shiller 10-year price-earnings ratio is currently 29.31, so the inverse or the earnings rate is 3.41%. The dividend yield is 1.93. So an expected yearly return over the coming 10 years would be 3.41 + 1.93 or 5.34% provided the price-earnings ratio stays the same and before investment costs.

Against the 5.34% yearly expected return on stock over the coming 10 years, the current 10-year Treasury bond yield is 2.43%.

The risk premium for stocks is 5.34 - 2.43 or 2.91%. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 08:57 AM Peter K. said in reply to Sandwichman ... Excellent points.

Think of the Dot.com stock bubble and obviously the epic housing bubble. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 09:27 AM Sandwichman said in reply to Peter K.... Taking the analysis back a bit further, I would point to the Greenspan rescue from the stock market crash of October 1987. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 09:41 AM Peter K. said in reply to Sandwichman ... Yes, thanks for you excellent insights. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 09:43 AM DrDick said in reply to anne... That is a great piece and another dagger in the heart of the "robots did it" nonsense. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 11:51 AM Sandwichman said in reply to DrDick... Unless one thinks of Laffer, Greenspan et al. as robots. Robots don't steal jobs -- CEOs armed with robots, think tanks, lobbyists and campaign contributions do. Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 02:07 PM Sandwichman said in reply to Sandwichman ... ...and Ayn Rand's "philosophy." Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 02:08 PM

[Feb 26, 2017] Reply

Feb 26, 2017 | onclick="TPConnect.blogside.reply('6a00d83451b33869e201b8d263f4f2970c'); return false;" href="javascript:void 0">
Friday, February 24, 2017 at 04:25 AM Paine said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... Assembly lines paid well post CIO
They were never intrinsically rewarding

A family farm or work shop of their own
Filled the dreams of the operatives


Recall the brilliantly ironic end of Rene Clair's a la nous la Liberte

Fully automated plant with the former operatives enjoying endless picnic frolic


Work as humans' prime want awaits a future social configuration Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:05 AM RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Paine... Yes sir, often enough but not always. I had a great job as an IT large systems capacity planner and performance analyst, but not as good as the landscaping, pool, and lawn maintenance for myself that I enjoy now as a leisure occupation in retirement. My best friend died a greens keeper, but he preferred landscaping when he was young. Another good friend of mine was a poet, now dying of cancer if depression does not take him first.

But you are correct, no one but the welders, material handlers (paid to lift weights all day), machinists, and then almost every one else liked their jobs at Virginia Metal Products, a union shop, when I worked there the summer of 1967. That was on the swing shift though when all of the big bosses were at home and out of our way. On the green chain in the lumber yard of Kentucky flooring everyone but me wanted to leave, but my mom made me go into the VMP factory and work nights at the primer drying kiln stacking finished panel halves because she thought the work on the green chain was too hard. The guys on the green chain said that I was the first high school graduate to make it past lunch time on their first day. I would have been buff and tan by the end of summer heading off to college (where I would drop out in just ten weeks) had my mom not intervened.

As a profession no group that I know is happier than auto mechanics that do the same work as a hobby on their hours off that they do for a living at work, at least the hot rod custom car freaks at Jamie's Exhaust & Auto Repair in Richmond, Virginia are that way. The power tool sales and maintenance crew at Arthur's Electric Service Inc. enjoy their jobs too. Despite the name which was on their incorporation done back when they rebuilt auto generators, Arthur's sells and services lawnmowers, weed whackers, chain saws and all, but nothing electric. The guy in the picture at the link is Robert Arthur, the founder's son who is our age roughly.


http://www.arthurselectric.com/ Reply Friday, February 24, 2017 at 11:27 AM

[Feb 26, 2017] a textbook illustration how color revolution methods are used to discredit the government. To attack Trump Russia is skillfully painted as Big Satan contact with whom is sin

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc : February 24, 2017 at 08:26 PM

RREAKING NEWS WaPo Exclusive RREAKING NEWS WaPo Exclusive

"Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories"

Ring any Nixon Bells with anyone???

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-sought-to-enlist-intelligence-officials-key-lawmakers-to-counter-russia-stories/2017/02/24/c8487552-fa99-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html

"Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories"

By Greg Miller and Adam Entous...February 24, 2017...at 9:34 PM

"The Trump administration has enlisted senior members of the intelligence community and Congress in efforts to counter news stories about Trump associates' ties to Russia, a politically charged issue that has been under investigation by the FBI as well as lawmakers now defending the White House.

Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump's campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said.

The calls were orchestrated by the White House after unsuccessful attempts by the administration to get senior FBI officials to speak with news organizations and dispute the accuracy of stories on the alleged contacts with Russia.

The White House on Friday acknowledged those interactions with the FBI but did not disclose that it then turned to other officials who agreed to do what the FBI would not - participate in White House-arranged calls with news organizations, including The Washington Post."...

libezkova -> im1dc... , February 26, 2017 at 06:56 AM
This article is a textbook illustration how "color revolution" methods are used to discredit the government.

Russia is skillfully painted as "Big Satan" contact with whom is sin for Christians.

What a despicable scum those presstitutes are...

[Feb 26, 2017] The Revenge Of Comet Pizza Zero Hedge

Feb 26, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Remember that one? It was about as weird as it gets. A meme generated out of the voluminous hacked John Podesta emails that some conspiracy connoisseurs cooked up into a tale of satanic child abuse revolving around a certain chi-chi Washington DC pizza joint. I never signed on with the story, but it was an interesting indication of how far the boundaries of mass psychology could be pushed in the mind wars of politics.

Sex, of course, is fraught. Sex and the feelings it conjures beat a path straight to the limbic system where the most primitive thoughts become the father of the most primitive deeds. In our American world, this realm of thought and deed has turned into a political football with the Left and the Right scrimmaging ferociously for field position - while the real political agenda of everything important other than sex lies outside the stadium.

The Comet Pizza story was understandably upsetting to Democrats who didn't like being painted as child molesters. Unfortunately for them, it coincided with the bust of one Anthony Weiner - and his infamous laptop - disgraced former "sexting" congressman, husband of Hillary's top aide and BFF, Huma Abedin. The laptop allegedly contained a lot of child porn.

That garbage barge of sexual allegation and innuendo couldn't have helped the Hillary campaign, along with all the Clinton Foundation stuff, in the march to electoral loserdom. I suspect the chthonic darkness of it all generated the "Russia-did-it" hysteria that cluttered up the news-cloud during the first month of Trumptopia. The collective superego of America is reeling with shame and rage.

On the Right side of the spectrum stood the curious figure of Milo Yiannopoulos, the self-styled "Dangerous Faggot," who has made a sensational career lately as an ideological provocateur, especially on the campus scene where he got so into the indignant faces of the Maoist snowflakes with his special brand of boundary-pushing that they resorted to disrupting his events, dis-inviting him at the last moment, or finally rioting, as in the case at UC Berkeley a few weeks ago.

Milo's battles on campus were particularly ripe because his opponents on the far Left were themselves so adamant about their own brand of boundary-pushing along the frontier of the LGBTQ agenda. The last couple of years, you would've thought that half the student population fell into one of those "non-binary" sex categories, and it became the most urgent mission of the Left to secure bathroom rights and enforce new personal pronouns of address for the sexually ambiguous.

But then Milo made a tactical error. Despite all the mutual boundary-pushing on each side, he pushed a boundary too far and entered the final dark circle of taboo: child molesting. That was the point were the closet Puritan hysterics went in for the kill. This is what he said on a Web talk radio show:

What normally happens in schools, very often, is you have an older woman with a younger boy, and the boy is the predator in that situation. The boy is like, let's see if I can fuck the gym teacher, or let's see if I can fuck the hot math teacher, and he does. The women fall in love with these nubile young boys, these athletic young boys in their prime. We get hung up on the child abuse stuff to the point where we're heavily policing consenting adults, grad students and their professors, this arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys the understanding many of us have about the complexities, subtleties, and complicated nature of many relationships. In the homosexual world particularly, some of the relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming-of-age relationships in which these older men help those young boys discover who they are, and give them security and provide them with love . [Milo is shouted down by his podcast hosts]

So that was the final straw. Milo got bounced by his platform, Breitbart News , and went through the now-routine, mandatory, abject ceremonial of the televised apology required by over-stepping celebrities - though he claimed, with some justification I think, that his remarks were misconstrued. Anyway, I'm sure he'll rebound on his own signature website platform and he'll be back in action before long.

His remarks about the "coming-of-age" phase of life prompted me to wonder about the boundary-pushers on the Left, on the college campuses in particular, who are encouraging young people to go through drastic sex-change surgeries, at an age before the development of that portion of their frontal lobes controlling judgment is complete. Who are these diversity deans and LGBTQ counselors who lead confused adolescents to self-mutilation in search of some hypothesized "identity?" Whoever they are, this dynamic seems pretty reckless and probably tragic to me. There ought to be reasonable doubt that an irreversible "sexual reassignment" surgery may not lead to personal happiness some years down the line - when, for instance, that person's frontal lobes have developed, and they begin to experience profound and complicated emotions such as remorse.

Our sexual hysteria has many more curious angles to it. We live in a culture where pornography, up to the last limits of freakishness and depravity, is available to young unformed personalities at a click. We stopped protecting adolescents against this years ago, so why should we be surprised when they venture into ever-darker frontiers of sexuality? It was the Left that sought to abolish boundaries in sex and many other areas of American life. And yet they still affect to be shocked by someone like Milo.

I maintain that there is a dynamic relationship between our inability to act on the truly pressing issues of the day - energy, economy, and geo-politics - and our neurotic preoccupation with sexual identity. The epic amount of collective psychic energy being diverted from what's important into sexual fantasy, titillation, confusion, and litigation leaves us pathetically unprepared to face the much more serious crisis of civilization gathering before us.

*

Postscript : This item from The Stanford [University] Daily newspaper puts a nice gloss on the stupefying idiocy in the campus sex-and-identity debate. Single-occupancy Restrooms Convert to All-gender Facilities : "Single-occupancy restrooms on campus will soon all be converted to gender-neutral facilities due to new California legislature and ongoing administrative efforts. The Diversity and Access Office (D&A Office) has been spearheading the campaign to convert all single-occupancy restrooms ."

Here's what I don't get: if a single-occupancy restroom is going to be used by one person at a time, what need is there to officially designate the sex of any person using it? And why are officials at an elite university wasting their time on this?

  1. routersurfer February 24, 2017 at 9:44 am # I agree totally this perverted national pastime of pin the genitalia on the mass of confused youth is a waste of time and energy. Anyone who reaches for the scalpel and plastic surgery before 25 has not been served well by the so called adults in their lives. Nature makes mistakes. Look at the Royals of Europe. But wait until the body is formed before the Medical Industrial Complex steps in. Now back to real problems. I heard on Bloomberg radio The Fed may offer 50 and 100 year T notes. Can someone explain how that fits into our system of accounting scams??

[Feb 26, 2017] Militarists from Obama administration essentially continued Bush II policies and wasted money in Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine, instead of facilitating conversion of passenger cards to hybrids (and electrical for short commutes)

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc : Reply Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 10:08 AM

, February 25, 2017 at 10:08 AM
Update US Crude Oil production, market, and exports

http://maritime-executive.com/article/us-oil-exports-hit-record-levels

"U.S. Oil Exports Hit Record Levels"

By MarEx 2017-02-24

"U.S. oil exporters set a new record last week: shipments leaving the country averaged 1.2 million barrels of crude per day, roughly double the levels seen at the end of last year.

Analysts told Bloomberg that the rising American exports are driven in large part by falling domestic prices. West Texas Intermediate futures (the domestic benchmark) are trading below the international Brent standard by $2 per barrel or more, and are now cheaper than some Middle Eastern grades of lesser quality. This makes American crude more attractive to Asian buyers.

There is also an incentive for traders to sell their oil abroad: U.S. storage is costly. If the price of crude is not expected to rise, brokers have no incentive to hang on to their supply and pay rent on a tank to put it in."...

ilsm -> im1dc... , February 25, 2017 at 01:16 PM
From the report:

The greens might not be happy US is polluting to ship gasoline and distillates out!

ilsm -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 01:19 PM
See: http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/supply/weekly/

Table 1, open the .xls see data 2 for Feb 17 2017 at the bottom.

im1dc -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 02:00 PM
ilsm, that is the previous week I believe.
libezkova -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 04:33 PM
You are just regular incompetent chichenhawk. And it shows. Try to read something about US oil industry before positing. It is actually a very fascinating topic. That's where the battle for survival of neoliberalism in the USA (with its rampant militarism and impoverishment of lower 50% of population) is now fought.

If you list also domestic consumption, you will understand that you are completely misunderstanding and misrepresenting the situation. The USA is a huge oil importer (Net Imports: 6.075 Mbbl; see ilsm post), not an exporter. You can consider it to be exported only after drinking something really strong.

It refines and re-export refined products and also export condensate and shale light oil that is used for dilution of heavy oils in Canada and Latin America. That's it.

US shale can't be profitable below, say, $65 per barrel (so called "break-even" price for well started in 2009-2016), and if interest on already existing loans (all shale industry is deeply in debt; ) and minimum profitability (2.5%) is factored in, probably $77.

That's why production is declining and will decline further is prices stay low because there is only fixed amount of "sweet spots" which can produce oil profitably at lower prices. In 2017 they are mostly gone, so what's left is not so attractive at the current prices. And this is an understatement.

The same is true to Canadian sands. Plans for expansion are now revised down and investments postponed.

So in order to sustain the US shale industry prices need to grow at least over $65 this year

And those war-crazy militarists from Obama administration essentially continued Bush II policies and wasted money in Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine, instead of facilitating conversion of passenger cards to hybrids (and electrical for short commutes).

The US as a country waisted its time and now is completely unprepared for down of oil age.

The net result of Obama policies is that SUVs became that most popular type of passenger cars in the USA. That can be called Iran revenge on the USA.

The conflict between Donald Trump and the US Deep State can be explained that deep state can't allow Trump détente with Russia and stopping wars on neoliberal expansion at Middle East. That's why they torpedoed General Flynn. It is not about Flynn, it was about Trump. To show him who is the boss and warn "You can be fired".

Due to "overconsumption" of oil inherent in neoliberalism with its crazy goods flows that might cross the ocean several times before getting to customer, US neoliberal empire (and neoliberalism as social system) can well go off the cliff when cheap oil is gone.

The only question is when it happens and estimates vary from 10 to 50 years.

So in the best case neoliberalism might be able to outlive Bolshevism which lasted 74 years (1917-1991) by only something like 15 years.

[Feb 26, 2017] They have no idea how crooked you need to be to fund a party operation

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
jonny bakho -> Peter K.... , February 25, 2017 at 10:26 AM
The DNC head is the chief fundraiser for the party.
DNC raises and distributes money
The DNC needs to be able to collect money from donors across the spectrum
DNC does not control policy or issues.

Sanders supporters who think this is about policy never bothered to learn about how the party they tried to take over works.

pgl -> jonny bakho... , February 25, 2017 at 12:11 PM
"DNC does not control policy or issues. Sanders supporters who think this is about policy never bothered to learn about how the party they tried to take over works."

But who controls the money controls a lot more. We are on the 2nd round and it will be close. I'm for Ellison for reasons Max Sawicky's excellent new blog articulated. If Perez pulls this off - he has a lot of fence mending to do.

jonny bakho -> pgl... , February 25, 2017 at 12:19 PM
Oh Please.
The Local Sanders supporters are already engaged locally.
The whiners will complain about Ellison if he should win
The first time Ellison takes money from big donors they will disown him.
They have no idea what it takes to fund a party operation.
Breitbart and the GOP are cheering the whiners on
pgl -> jonny bakho... , February 25, 2017 at 12:29 PM
Perez won and then asked for Ellison to be his vice chairman. For now - it is all hugs and kisses in Atlanta. Let's see how long this lasts.
ilsm -> jonny bakho... , February 25, 2017 at 12:51 PM
They have no idea how crooked you need to be to fund a party operation
jonny bakho -> pgl... , February 25, 2017 at 01:08 PM
The policy debates are won at groups that will form the ultimate coalition for candidate support. Say your interest is public schools. The group supporting your local school is horrified that vouchers are taking away the money. The group builds support for the anti voucher position. A union group wants more job training opportunities. An energy group wants solar metering. These groups have their own agenda separate from the DNC and RNC and they bring together groups of like minded individuals who socialize in addition to their advocacy. When the election comes, they are positioned to work for candidates that agree with their position. The candidate can get some of them to volunteer for the campaign, but their is a need for voter lists, support for registration, etc.

The issue for Sanders supporters is they rallied around a messianic leader without much local group persistence. If those supporters want to help in the next election, the would be advised to build advocacy support within their social groups.

pgl -> pgl... , February 25, 2017 at 12:30 PM
The update and analysis from Max is already up:

http://thepopulist.buzz/2017/02/25/dnc-vote-establishment-1-progressives-0/

jonny bakho -> pgl... , February 25, 2017 at 12:41 PM
Max is not correct
In my phone banking last election, the most numerous complaint I received was:
"Everything is going to the black and the gays".
The Catholics and Christian Right voted for antiabortion SCOTUS justices
Our state, IN is trying to make it impossible for minors to get abortions and doing their best to create conditions for a black market
The people we need to persuade don't care about the DNC
For the most part, local activists don't care either as long as whoever wins will successfully raise a lot of money and provide the training and tools we need
pgl -> jonny bakho... , February 25, 2017 at 01:13 PM
You articulate your case indeed. And your list for the policy agenda is well noted. I would love to see you and Max Sawicky engage in a debate of these things. Like you - he is never shy of stating his views.

In the olden says, his blog Max Speaks You Listen was often cited by many left of center economists. He had to go silent as he worked within the government but now he is free of that restriction. I don't always agree with him but I do admire his style.

[Feb 26, 2017] No, Robots Aren't Killing the American Dream, it's neoliberal economics which are killing it

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : February 25, 2017 at 07:50 AM , 2017 at 07:50 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/20/opinion/no-robots-arent-killing-the-american-dream.html

No, Robots Aren't Killing the American Dream
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

FEB. 20, 2017

Defenders of globalization are on solid ground when they criticize President Trump's threats of punitive tariffs and border walls. The economy can't flourish without trade and immigrants.

But many of those defenders have their own dubious explanation for the economic disruption that helped to fuel the rise of Mr. Trump.

At a recent global forum in Dubai, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said some of the economic pain ascribed to globalization was instead due to the rise of robots taking jobs. In his farewell address in January, President Barack Obama warned that "the next wave of economic dislocations won't come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete."

Blaming robots, though, while not as dangerous as protectionism and xenophobia, is also a distraction from real problems and real solutions.

The rise of modern robots is the latest chapter in a centuries-old story of technology replacing people. Automation is the hero of the story in good times and the villain in bad. Since today's middle class is in the midst of a prolonged period of wage stagnation, it is especially vulnerable to blame-the-robot rhetoric.

And yet, the data indicate that today's fear of robots is outpacing the actual advance of robots. If automation were rapidly accelerating, labor productivity and capital investment would also be surging as fewer workers and more technology did the work. But labor productivity and capital investment have actually decelerated in the 2000s.

While breakthroughs could come at any time, the problem with automation isn't robots; it's politicians, who have failed for decades to support policies that let workers share the wealth from technology-led growth.

The response in previous eras was quite different.

When automation on the farm resulted in the mass migration of Americans from rural to urban areas in the early decades of the 20th century, agricultural states led the way in instituting universal public high school education to prepare for the future. At the dawn of the modern technological age at the end of World War II, the G.I. Bill turned a generation of veterans into college graduates.

When productivity led to vast profits in America's auto industry, unions ensured that pay rose accordingly.

Corporate efforts to keep profits high by keeping pay low were countered by a robust federal minimum wage and time-and-a-half for overtime.

Fair taxation of corporations and the wealthy ensured the public a fair share of profits from companies enriched by government investments in science and technology.

Productivity and pay rose in tandem for decades after World War II, until labor and wage protections began to be eroded. Public education has been given short shrift, unions have been weakened, tax overhauls have benefited the rich and basic labor standards have not been updated.

As a result, gains from improving technology have been concentrated at the top, damaging the middle class, while politicians blame immigrants and robots for the misery that is due to their own failures. Eroded policies need to be revived, and new ones enacted.

A curb on stock buybacks would help to ensure that executives could not enrich themselves as wages lagged.

Tax reform that increases revenue from corporations and the wealthy could help pay for retraining and education to protect and prepare the work force for foreseeable technological advancements.

Legislation to foster child care, elder care and fair scheduling would help employees keep up with changes in the economy, rather than losing ground.

Economic history shows that automation not only substitutes for human labor, it complements it. The disappearance of some jobs and industries gives rise to others. Nontechnology industries, from restaurants to personal fitness, benefit from the consumer demand that results from rising incomes in a growing economy. But only robust public policy can ensure that the benefits of growth are broadly shared.

If reforms are not enacted - as is likely with President Trump and congressional Republicans in charge - Americans should blame policy makers, not robots.

jonny bakho -> Peter K.... , February 25, 2017 at 10:42 AM
Robots may not be killing jobs but they drastically alter the types and location of jobs that are created. High pay unskilled jobs are always the first to be eliminated by technology. Low skill high pay jobs are rare and heading to extinction. Low skill low pay jobs are the norm. It sucks to lose a low skill job with high pay but anyone who expected that to continue while continually voting against unions was foolish and a victim of their own poor planning, failure to acquire skills and failure to support unions. It is in their self interest to support safety net proposal that do provide good pay for quality service. The enemy is not trade. The enemy is failure to invest in the future.

"Many working- and middle-class Americans believe that free-trade agreements are why their incomes have stagnated over the past two decades. So Trump intends to provide them with "protection" by putting protectionists in charge.
But Trump and his triumvirate have misdiagnosed the problem. While globalization is an important factor in the hollowing out of the middle class, so, too, is automation

Trump and his team are missing a simple point: twenty-first-century globalization is knowledge-led, not trade-led. Radically reduced communication costs have enabled US firms to move production to lower-wage countries. Meanwhile, to keep their production processes synced, firms have also offshored much of their technical, marketing, and managerial knowhow. This "knowledge offshoring" is what has really changed the game for American workers.

The information revolution changed the world in ways that tariffs cannot reverse. With US workers already competing against robots at home, and against low-wage workers abroad, disrupting imports will just create more jobs for robots.
Trump should be protecting individual workers, not individual jobs. The processes of twenty-first-century globalization are too sudden, unpredictable, and uncontrollable to rely on static measures like tariffs. Instead, the US needs to restore its social contract so that its workers have a fair shot at sharing in the gains generated by global openness and automation. Globalization and technological innovation are not painless processes, so there will always be a need for retraining initiatives, lifelong education, mobility and income-support programs, and regional transfers.

By pursuing such policies, the Trump administration would stand a much better chance of making America "great again" for the working and middle classes. Globalization has always created more opportunities for the most competitive workers, and more insecurity for others. This is why a strong social contract was established during the post-war period of liberalization in the West. In the 1960s and 1970s institutions such as unions expanded, and governments made new commitments to affordable education, social security, and progressive taxation. These all helped members of the middle class seize new opportunities as they emerged.
Over the last two decades, this situation has changed dramatically: globalization has continued, but the social contract has been torn up. Trump's top priority should be to stitch it back together; but his trade advisers do not understand this."

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-trade-policy-tariffs-by-richard-baldwin-2017-02

Peter K. : , February 25, 2017 at 07:52 AM
http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-cutz-putz-bezzle-graphed-by-fred.html

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017

The "Cutz & Putz" Bezzle, Graphed by FRED

anne at Economist's View has retrieved a FRED graph that perfectly illustrates the divergence, since the mid-1990s of net worth from GDP:

[graph]

The empty spaces between the red line and the blue line that open up after around 1995 is what John Kenneth Galbraith called "the bezzle" -- summarized by John Kay as "that increment to wealth that occurs during the magic interval when a confidence trickster knows he has the money he has appropriated but the victim does not yet understand that he has lost it."

In Chapter of The Great Crash, 1929, Galbraith wrote:

"In many ways the effect of the crash on embezzlement was more significant than on suicide. To the economist embezzlement is the most interesting of crimes. Alone among the various forms of larceny it has a time parameter. Weeks, months or years may elapse between the commission of the crime and its discovery. (This is a period, incidentally, when the embezzler has his gain and the man who has been embezzled, oddly enough, feels no loss. There is a net increase in psychic wealth.) At any given time there exists an inventory of undiscovered embezzlement in – or more precisely not in – the country's business and banks. This inventory – it should perhaps be called the bezzle – amounts at any moment to many millions of dollars. It also varies in size with the business cycle. In good times people are relaxed, trusting, and money is plentiful. But even though money is plentiful, there are always many people who need more. Under these circumstances the rate of embezzlement grows, the rate of discovery falls off, and the bezzle increases rapidly. In depression all this is reversed. Money is watched with a narrow, suspicious eye. The man who handles it is assumed to be dishonest until he proves himself otherwise. Audits are penetrating and meticulous. Commercial morality is enormously improved. The bezzle shrinks."

In the present case, the bezzle has resulted from an economic policy two step: tax cuts and Greenspan puts: cuts and puts.

[graph]

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , February 25, 2017 at 07:52 AM
Well done.
anne -> Peter K.... , February 25, 2017 at 08:12 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cOU6

January 15, 2017

Gross Domestic Product and Net Worth for Households & Nonprofit Organizations, 1952-2016

(Indexed to 1952)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cPq1

January 15, 2017

Gross Domestic Product and Net Worth for Households & Nonprofit Organizations, 1992-2016

(Indexed to 1992)

Peter K. : , February 25, 2017 at 07:56 AM
http://www.alternet.org/story/148501/why_germany_has_it_so_good_--_and_why_america_is_going_down_the_drain

Why Germany Has It So Good -- and Why America Is Going Down the Drain

Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care. Why the US pales in comparison.

By Terrence McNally / AlterNet October 13, 2010

ECONOMY
Why Germany Has It So Good -- and Why America Is Going Down the Drain
Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care. Why the US pales in comparison.
By Terrence McNally / AlterNet October 13, 2010
1.4K31
Print
207 COMMENTS
While the bad news of the Euro crisis makes headlines in the US, we hear next to nothing about a quiet revolution in Europe. The European Union, 27 member nations with a half billion people, has become the largest, wealthiest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the world's economy -- nearly as large as the US and China combined. Europe has more Fortune 500 companies than either the US, China or Japan.

European nations spend far less than the United States for universal healthcare rated by the World Health Organization as the best in the world, even as U.S. health care is ranked 37th. Europe leads in confronting global climate change with renewable energy technologies, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process. Europe is twice as energy efficient as the US and their ecological "footprint" (the amount of the earth's capacity that a population consumes) is about half that of the United States for the same standard of living.

Unemployment in the US is widespread and becoming chronic, but when Americans have jobs, we work much longer hours than our peers in Europe. Before the recession, Americans were working 1,804 hours per year versus 1,436 hours for Germans -- the equivalent of nine extra 40-hour weeks per year.

In his new book, Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?, Thomas Geoghegan makes a strong case that European social democracies -- particularly Germany -- have some lessons and models that might make life a lot more livable. Germans have six weeks of federally mandated vacation, free university tuition, and nursing care. But you've heard the arguments for years about how those wussy Europeans can't compete in a global economy. You've heard that so many times, you might believe it. But like so many things, the media repeats endlessly, it's just not true.

According to Geoghegan, "Since 2003, it's not China but Germany, that colossus of European socialism, that has either led the world in export sales or at least been tied for first. Even as we in the United States fall more deeply into the clutches of our foreign creditors -- China foremost among them -- Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They're beating us with one hand tied behind their back."

Thomas Geoghegan, a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School, is a labor lawyer with Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan in Chicago. He has been a staff writer and contributing writer to The New Republic, and his work has appeared in many other journals. Geoghagen ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic Congressional primary to succeed Rahm Emanuel, and is the author of six books including Whose Side Are You on, The Secret Lives of Citizens, and, most recently,Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?

...

ilsm -> Peter K.... , February 25, 2017 at 12:55 PM
While the US spends half the war money in the world over a quarter the economic activity...... it fall further behind the EU which at a third the economic activity spends a fifth the worlds warring. Or 4% of GDP in the war trough versus 1.2%.

There is correlation with decline.

[Feb 26, 2017] The EPA that neoliberals want to destory was created by Nixon, more or less our last New Deal consensus President. The point of the EPA was to force industry to price in environmental externalities

Feb 26, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
jsn , February 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm

The EPA was created by Nixon, more or less our last New Deal consensus President. The point of the EPA was to force industry to price in environmental externalities which in the high price/high inflation vision of the New Deal would have created new jobs and real wealth while fostering investment in real innovation. The Reagan Revolution started by taking the ideological mush of Carter Administration proto-NeoLiberal thinking about anti-trust, monetarism and wage push inflation and applied Thatchers full bore "there is no such thing as society" NeoLiberalism. This new ideology justified gutting organized Labor, enforcing anti-trust FOR "efficiency" rather than AGAINST monopolistic, power concentrating, job eliminating industry consolidation and rationalized choking any growth in wages, labor power, as inflationary.

Once these policies were in place, the Government that implemented them went on a crusade against itself, the "big government" necessary to repair the damage it had itself just done: wages decoupled from productivity, consumer debt began its inexorable climb, government was branded "the problem, not the solution" and the Treasury inventory held at the Fed, necessary to underwrite the outstanding stock of the worlds dollar denominated, privately held (non USG) wealth, was re-branded, falsely, as a "burdensome debt on future generations". To that point, the Institutionalists and residual Functional Finance people responsible for fiscal and monetary policy clearly understood this "debt" was the necessary liability side to the assets held in dollar instruments outside the Federal Government (which continues to be the case: to reduce the Federal "debt" is to reduce the outstanding holdings of dollar wealth: every liability has its matching asset somewhere and to be rid of one is to be rid of the other).

The transfer of power from Labor to Corporations was a very apparent reality in industrialized areas, but an invisible shift outside the lives of the newly precariat industrial workers (I remember being mystified and frightened when laid off auto workers, some living in their cars, showed up in Austin in the mid 70s looking for work). Newly stagnant wages were blamed on "regulations" to convince the half of the population that lived outside the urban economies where the benefits of New Deal high cost, high inflation fiscal and monetary policy delivered the bulk of its benefits, that the new costs created by fiscal and monetary austerity were in fact caused by the EPA and work safety rules. In the new ideology of low costs and low inflation, incentives reversed and investment to to clean manufacturing was presented as a cost that industry couldn't afford that in fact caused industry to fire workers or reduce wages to pay for.

The low cost, low inflation rationale makes intuitive sense to conservative rural populations and was easily internalized by worker/producers who were now told to think of themselves as "consumers": for a consumer low cost low inflation is good, for a worker/producer, high wages and costs were good. High prices and high wages with moderately high inflation were a mechanism whereby growth was used to encourage investment in the public interest: environmental and safety regulations. Investments in these areas created new, better and safer processes and under the old anti-trust regime ensured productivity gains were shared with labor through the wage competition of full employment.

It's a long, complicated mess, but its an integrated problem. Real wealth, health, education and a clean environment are in the most important ways synonyms. They need to be pursued together and thought of holistically. Universal education; universal healthcare; universal, free, continuing education; a life sustaining environment are all real wealth and should never be confused with money or costs.

Dead Dog , February 24, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Good post, Sport. It's a mess that doesn't seem like it will fixed

There is no way US residents should put up with this shit.

I'd be movin if I could

jsn , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Where to? The environment is global, you can run but you can't hide.

I'll stay here and duke it out, if could just get a clear swing at something that would make a difference!

[Feb 26, 2017] The essence of deep state meme is that color revolution ( nicknamed purple revolution ) is launched against Trump by a coalition of Democratic Party operatives, a faction of

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> Peter K.... February 25, 2017 at 01:52 PM
Progressive dems would not have moles in the deep state!
im1dc -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 02:10 PM
Give up the "deep state" meme, total nonsense.
libezkova -> im1dc... , February 25, 2017 at 04:43 PM
So you are denying that "color revolution" methods are now used against Trump administration.

Nice.

Compare with

http://beforeitsnews.com/politics/2017/01/trump-vs-cia-djt-forced-to-finish-the-fight-started-by-jfk-2876647.html

im1dc -> libezkova... , February 25, 2017 at 04:56 PM
This is what I posted and meant:

"Give up the "deep state" meme, total nonsense."

libezkova -> im1dc... , February 25, 2017 at 06:26 PM
The essence of "deep state" meme is that "color revolution" ( nicknamed "purple revolution") is launched against Trump by a coalition of Democratic Party operatives, a faction of Wall Street (Globalist Billionaires), a faction of MIC, and powerful factions of three letter agencies (and first of all CIA).

It's no coincidence that JFK wished he could splinter the CIA 'Into A Thousand Pieces And Scatter It Into The Winds'. And paid the ultimate price for this wish. The CIA coup like JFS assassination that involves removal of Trump from power is what the "deep state meme" currently implies.

http://themillenniumreport.com/2017/02/may-day-may-day-may-day/

== quote ==

The Deep State Conducts a Purple Revolution Against the Trump Administration

State of the Nation

There is now a full-scale clandestine revolutionary war being waged against the Trump Administration. The C.I.A. usually attempts a soft coup first at the direction of its masters in Deep State. When that's not successful in effectuating a regime change, they know the territory has been sufficiently softened up for the hot phase of the revolution.

In these United States of America, that revolution is known as the ongoing but rapidly intensifying Purple Revolution. This seditious revolution began the very day that President Trump won the election on November 8, 2016, if not before.

KEY POINTS:

• Deep State will not permit President Trump to govern as POTUS.

• Deep State uses the C.I.A. and the Mainstream Media (MSM) to run interference at every turn against the Trump Administration

• Deep State will continue to prosecute the revolution until Trump is removed from power

• Deep State will eventually attempt to oust the entire Trump Administration

These preceding bullet points constitute the current NWO globalist agenda being implemented throughout the USA in direct opposition to the Trump Administration. In other words, when Assistant to the President and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said that the Mainstream Media (MSM) had morphed into the opposition party, he was speaking literally.

"Steve Bannon: 'I Could Care Less' About Repairing Relationship with 'Opposition Party' Media" - BREITBART

A Counter Declaration of War on the Mainstream Media

There you have it (see preceding link), the whole world is now witnessing an all-out war between the MSM and a sitting POTUS. This unparalleled conflict is not only being fought between the Mainstream Media and the Trump Administration, it's occurring throughout the entire body politic of the USA and beyond.

The U.S. citizenry saw as never before the complete lack of integrity exhibited by the MSM during the entire 2016 election cycle. Candidate Trump exposed the lying media and avalanche of fake news with his every news conference and campaign stop. In so doing, the whole world is now aware that the MSM can never - EVER - be trusted again.

Because the MSM is the primary mouthpiece of Deep State, a highly consequential decision was made by its concealed leadership to remove Trump from power with great haste and recklessness lest their Global Control Matrix experience an unprecedented collapse. Deep State knows full well that it's now in its death throes. And that such grave existential threats must be faced before its entire superstructure (and infrastructure) falls into it own footprint.

This 21st century "War of the Titans" has gotten so hot, in fact, that there is now no turning back for either side. IT WILL BE A FIGHT TO THE DEATH.

Because the Mainstream Media has been outed like never, the most likely outcome is that it will simply be shut down. The public domain is now replete with hard evidence proving treason and sedition perpetrated over many decades by the MSM. Once the American people have reviewed the relevant proof of high treason and crimes against humanity, it will only be a matter of MSM industrywide criminal prosecution.

Bear in mind that Deep State cannot function to any reasonable degree without total ownership and efficient functioning of the media. The C.I.A., as well as the other 16 US intelligence agencies, all require the media cover staunchly provided by the MSM. So does the Military-Industrial Complex, as does the much larger Government-Corporate Complex. Therefore, when the MSM finally crashes and burns, so will all of the other major entities which comprise the Deep State.

"MAY DAY! MAY DAY! MAY DAY!"

With this critical understanding it ought to be quite obvious that the next 120 days are pivotal for Deep State. Every single day that the Trump Administration is able to consolidate and increase its power, Deep State loses its influence throughout the US government and the world-at-large. Such a crucial attenuation of power will serve as the death knell of the Deep State within the American Republic.

Hence, there is now a great race against time for both sides of this epic war. The agents of Deep State clearly hope that a soft coup will be successful through a presidential impeachment or by other means. The C.I.A. recently executed such a strategy to 'peacefully' remove Dilma Rousseff, the 36th President of Brazil.

Make no mistake about it, if a soft coup is not successful, the agents of Deep State will commence the hot phase of their Purple Revolution. Everything points to a massive May Day stealth event. An unrivaled National Mall rally in D.C. attended by the many misguided groups which make up the Democratic Party is already in the works.

An enormous May Day protest could be used to manufacture a context in which a Maidan type event takes place (remember the violent uprising in Kiev, Ukraine). The Illuminati are notorious for using dates and numerology by which to stage their revolutions and civil wars over centuries (e.g. May Day parades and terror events). Just as the engineered uprising in Kiev was surreptitiously utilized to force Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych into exile, a similar trigger point could be fabricated by which the Bolshevik Left goes really crazy and tries to chase Trump from the White House.

[Feb 26, 2017] What she did with bathroom email server is worse then a crime. It is a blunder. Which disqualifies Hillary (and her close entourage) for any government position.

Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> geoff ... February 25, 2017 at 01:00 PM , 2017 at 01:00 PM
Clinton should have been prosecuted.

The GOP need not worry as long as the news is Russia!

im1dc -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 02:16 PM
"Clinton should have been prosecuted."

I repeat to you this umpteenth time 'no mens rea' = no prosecution.

ilsm -> im1dc... , February 25, 2017 at 05:12 PM
The conclusion from 'no mens rea' implies "simple negligence", simple negligence only applies to GS 3's. The managers and the experience are held to a higher standard.

If it was 'no mens rea' then she was neither qualified nor experienced, she is no accountable.

Which may be okay for crooks in the swamp needing drained.

libezkova -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 06:13 PM
ilsm,

What she did with "bathroom email server" is worse then a crime. It is a blunder. Which disqualifies Hillary (and her close entourage) for any government position.

The level of incompetence and arrogance demonstrated is just astounding. Actually it is not astounding. It is incredible. I can't believe that a person with Yale law degree can be so hopelessly stupid and arrogant.

geoff -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 02:16 PM

Clinton should have....not been the dem nominee. The Russia fixation is all yours.

[Feb 25, 2017] Most of the skill and experience has to be acquired on the job - into which graduates will not be hired

Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne : February 25, 2017 at 05:23 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/if-inadequate-skills-is-preventing-people-from-being-hired-in-manufacturing-it-s-among-the-ceos

February 24, 2017

If "Inadequate Skills" Is Preventing People from Being Hired in Manufacturing, It's Among the CEOs

The Associated Press ran a story * that told readers:

"Factory jobs exist, CEOs tell Trump. Skills don't."

The piece presents complaints from a number of CEOs of manufacturing companies that they can't find the workers with the necessary skills. The piece does note the argument that the way to get more skilled workers is to offer higher pay, but then reports:

"some data supports the CEOs' concerns about the shortage of qualified applicants. Government figures show there are 324,000 open factory jobs nationwide - triple the number in 2009, during the depths of the recession."

The comparison to 2009 is not really indicative of anything, since this was a time when the economy was facing the worst downturn since the Great Depression and companies were rapidly shedding workers. A more serious comparison would be to 2007, before the recession. The job opening rate in manufacturing for the last three months has averaged 2.5 percent, roughly the same as in the first six months of 2007, which was still a period in which the sector was losing jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory workers in manufacturing has risen by 2.4 percent over the last year. This means that manufacturing firms are not acting in a way consistent with employers having trouble finding workers. This suggests that if there is a skills shortage it is among CEOs who don't understand that the price of an item in short supply, in this case qualified manufacturing workers, is supposed to increase.

* http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/factory-jobs-exist-ceos-tell-trump-skills-dont/

Peter K. -> anne... , February 25, 2017 at 08:23 AM
See Tyler Cowen for the CEOs's sycophant.
mrrunangun said in reply to anne... , February 25, 2017 at 01:51 PM
Young people who have watched the stampede of manufacturing jobs out of the US may reasonably believe that they would be unwise to commit to developing any scarce skills currently needed in domestic manufacturing. Working in Illinois and Wisconsin, I know many skilled manufacturing technicians and engineers whose situations went from comfort to poverty in the space of a few years. Why would a young person today believe that manufacturing skills developed now will not be offshored the next time political winds shift? One of the reasons Trump got elected was by promising to protect the manufacturing jobs that are left, something that neither the Clintons, Bushes, nor Obama were willing to attempt.

I believe Trump is wrong to try to wreck NAFTA, but PNTR for China has been a disaster for the US working class. This was initiated by Clinton and neither Bush nor Obama did anything to mitigate its effect on working people in the Midwest.

cm -> mrrunangun... , February 25, 2017 at 03:57 PM
Even without that aspect, most of the "skill" and experience has to be acquired on the job - into which they will not be hired.

What most business managers are looking for is trained up people for whose training and hands-on skill somebody else has paid for. They don't want to be that "sucker" themselves.

I suspect it is not purely selfishness (though poaching has always existed), but this mindset has evolved in the past decades where business could draw on a large overhang of sufficiently-skilled labor at home and globally. It was possible to dial down training and still find enough qualified workers. This is one of those things where the downward path is easier than upward. In parallel corporate pensions and unions were eliminated or reduced, both things that promote worker retention; and corporate/public rhetoric shifted to make it clear that you will only have your job as long as you are useful to the company, and maintaining that is up to you. Well, that's a two-way street.

cm -> mrrunangun... , February 25, 2017 at 04:03 PM
One possible solution to the training problem has been practiced in Germany - the government passes out training quotas or subsidies to companies; it is basically "either you train them or you pay a no-training 'fee' and we train them for you". Most large companies have training programs, but they often exceed their demand for new workers (or they can find qualified workers or temps elsewhere), and not everybody will be hired after graduating. That part such programs cannot address.
anne -> cm... , February 25, 2017 at 04:14 PM
One possible solution to the training problem has been practiced in Germany - the government passes out training quotas or subsidies to companies; it is basically "either you train them or you pay a no-training 'fee' and we train them for you"....

[Feb 25, 2017] NAIRU: Dangerous Dogma at the Fed

Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
RGC : , February 25, 2017 at 08:43 AM
Re: The NAIRU: a response to critics - mainly macro

[Simon is catching a lot of heat and is getting a little irritated.]
....................
The NAIRU: a response to critics

When I wrote my piece on NAIRU bashing, I mainly had in mind a few newspaper articles I had read which said we cannot reliably estimate it so why not junk the concept. What I had forgotten, however, is that for heterodox economists of a certain hue, the NAIRU is a trigger word, a bit like methodology is for mainstream economists. It conjures up lots of bad associations.

As a result, I got comments on my blog that were almost unbelievable. The most colourful was "NAIRU is the economic equivalent of "Muslim ban"". At least two wanted to hold me directly responsible for any unemployment at the NAIRU. For example: "So according to you a fraction of the workforce needs to be kept unemployed." Which is a bit like saying to doctors: "So according to you some people have to be allowed to die as a result of cancer."
...........
[PostKeynesians fire back]:
........
Simon Wren-Lewis, NAIRU And TINA

Last month, Matthew C Klein wrote an article for Financial Times' blog Alphaville arguing against the concept of NAIRU. Today, Simon Wren-Lewis published a reply to Klein on his blog defending NAIRU. SWL's argument is essentially that there is no alternative (TINA):

http://www.concertedaction.com/2017/02/17/simon-wren-lewis-nairu-and-tina/

RGC -> RGC... , February 25, 2017 at 08:54 AM
[By coincidence I posted this comment by Dean Baker yesterday]:


NAIRU: Dangerous Dogma at the Fed

BY DEAN BAKER

The Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978 established two goals to guide the
Federal Reserve's conduct of monetary policy: price stability and full employment, defined by
the Act as four percent unemployment. While the central bank has diligently pursued the first
goal, it has often given the second part of its mission short shrift. Indeed, past Fed policy
makers have publicly labeled four percent unemployment unobtainable for practical purposes.
..............
The experience of the last six years has unambiguously repudiated the NAIRU - at least insofar as an economic theory may ever be disproved with evidence.

Die-hard adherents simply proclaim the NAIRU a moving target that has shifted. But none of these advocates has explained convincingly why previous consensus estimates of the NAIRU went so far awry.

http://cepr.net/documents/publications/fmsno00.pdf

anne -> RGC... , February 25, 2017 at 08:57 AM
http://cepr.net/documents/publications/fmsno00.pdf

December, 2000

NAIRU: Dangerous Dogma at the Fed
By DEAN BAKER

The Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978 established two goals to guide the Federal Reserve's conduct of monetary policy: price stability and full employment, defined by the Act as four percent unemployment. While the central bank has diligently pursued the first goal, it has often given the second part of its mission short shrift. Indeed, past Fed policymakers have publicly labeled four percent unemployment unobtainable for practical purposes.

Instead of their statutory mandate, these central bankers sought guidance from the so-called non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment, or NAIRU. Proponents of the NAIRU doctrine claim that some fixed level of unemployment exists that will yield a stable rate of inflation. If the actual unemployment rate surpasses this level, they say, the inflation rate will decline. If unemployment drops below this level, inflation will increase. Most economic research over the last two decades placed the NAIRU between 5.8 and 6.6 percent.

The operating differences between a legal target of four percent unemployment and a NAIRU target matter tremendously for the economy and the public....

[Feb 25, 2017] Iraq Is It Oil naked capitalism

Feb 25, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Arthur MacEwan. Originally published at Triple Crisis

The Issue Revisited

Around the time that the United States invaded Iraq, 14 years ago, I was in an auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Boston to hear then-Senator John Kerry try to justify the action. As he got into his speech, a loud, slow, calm voice came from the back of the room: "O – I – L." Kerry tried to ignore the comment. But, again and again, "O – I – L." Kerry simply went on with his prepared speech. The speaker from the back of the room did not continue long, but he had succeeded in determining the tenor of the day.

Looking back on U.S. involvement in the Iraq, it appears to have been largely a failure. Iraq, it turned out, had no "weapons of mass destruction," but this original rationalization for invasion offered by the U.S. government was soon replaced by the goal of "regime change" and the creation of a "democratic Iraq." The regime was changed, and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain was captured and executed. But it would be very had to claim that a democratic Iraq either exists or is in the making-to say nothing of the rise of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and the general destabilization in the Middle East, both of which the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped propel.

Yet, perhaps on another scale, the invasion would register as at least a partial success. This is the scale of O – I – L

The Profits from Oil

At the time of the U.S. invasion, I wrote an article for Dollars & Sense titled "Is It Oil?" (available online here ). I argued that, while the invasion may have had multiple motives, oil-or more precisely, profit from oil-was an important factor. Iraq, then and now, has huge proven oil reserves, not in the same league as Saudi Arabia, but in group of oil producing countries just behind the Saudis. It might appear, then, that the United States wanted access to Iraqi oil in order to meet the needs of our highly oil-dependent lifestyles in this country. After all, the United States today, with just over 4% of the world's population, accounts for 20% of the world's annual oil use; China, with around 20% of the world's population is a distant second in global oil use, at 13%. Even after opening new reserves in recent years, U.S. proven reserves amount to only 3% of the world total.

Except in extreme circumstances, however, access to oil is not a major problem for this county. And it was not in 2003. As I pointed out back then, the United States bought 284 million barrels of oil from Iraq in 2001, about 7% of U.S. imports, even while the two countries were in a virtual state of war. In 2015, only 30% as much oil came to the United States from Iraq, amounting to just 2.4% of total U.S. oil imports. Further, in 2015, while the United States has had extremely hostile relations with Venezuela, 24% of U.S. oil imports came from that country's nationalized oil industry. It would seem that, in the realm of commerce, bad political relations between buyers and sellers are not necessarily an obstacle.

For the U.S. government, the Iraq oil problem was not so much access, in the sense of meeting U.S. oil needs, as the fact that U.S. firms had been frozen out of Iraq since the country's oil industry was nationalized in 1972. They and the other oil "majors" based in U.S.-allied countries were not getting a share of the profits that were generated from the exploitation of Iraqi oil. Profits from oil exploitation come not only to the oil companies-ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, British Petroleum, and the other industry "majors"-but also to the companies that supply and operate equipment, drill wells, and provide other services that bring the oil out of the ground and to consumers around the world-for example, the U.S. firms Halliburton, Emerson, Baker Hughes, and others. They were also not getting a share of the Iraqi oil action. (Actually, when vice president to be Dick Cheney was running Halliburton, in the period before the invasion, the company managed to undertake some operations in Iraq through a subsidiary, in spite of federal restrictions preventing U.S. firms from doing business in Iraq.)

After the Troops

In the aftermath of the invasion and since most U.S. troops have been withdrawn, things have changed. "Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, U.S. and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq's oil market," oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera in 2012. "But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973."

From the perspective of U.S. firms the picture is mixed. Firms based in Russia and China have developed operations in Iraq, and even an Indonesian-based firm is involved. Still, ExxonMobil (see box) has established a significant stake in Iraq, having obtained leases on approximately 900,000 onshore acres and by the end of 2013 had developed several wells in Iraq's West Qurna field. Exxon also has agreements with the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq to explore for oil. Chevron holds an 80% stake and is the operator of the Qara Dagh block in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, but as of mid-2014 the project was still in the exploratory phase and there was no production. No other U.S. oil companies have developed operations in Iraq. The UK-headquartered BP (formerly British Petroleum) and the Netherlands-headquartered Shell, however, are also significantly engaged in Iraq.

While data are limited on the operations of U.S. and other oil service firms in Iraq, they seem to have done well. For example, according to a 2011 New York Times article:

The oil services companies Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford International [founded in Texas, now incorporated in Switzerland] and Schlumberger [based in France] already won lucrative drilling subcontracts and are likely to bid on many more. "Iraq is a huge opportunity for contractors," Alex Munton, a Middle East analyst for Wood Mackenzie, a research and consulting firm based in Edinburgh, said by telephone. "There will be an enormous scale of investment."

The Right to Access

While U.S. oil companies and oil service firms-as well as firms from other countries-are engaged in Iraq, they and their U.S. government supporters have not gained the full legal rights they would desire. In 2007, the U.S. government pressed the Iraqi government to pass the "Iraq Hydrocarbons Law." The law would, among other things, take the majority of Iraqi oil out of the hands of the Iraqi government and assure the right of foreign firms to control much of the oil for decades to come. The law, however, has never been enacted, first due to general opposition to a reversal the 1972 nationalization of the industry, and recently due to continuing disputes between the government in Baghdad and the government of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq.

U.S. foreign policy, as I elaborated in the 2003 article, has long been designed not simply to protect U.S.-based firms in their international operations, but to establish the right of the firms to access and security wherever around the world. Oil firms have been especially important in promoting and gaining from this right, but firms from finance to pharmaceuticals and many others have been beneficiaries and promoters of the policy.

Whatever else, as the Iraq and Middle East experience has demonstrated, this right comes at a high cost. The best estimate of the financial cost to the United States of the war in Iraq is $3 trillion. Between the 2003 invasion and early 2017, U.S. military forces suffered 4,505 fatalities in the war, and allied forces another 321. And, of course, most of all Iraqi deaths: estimates of the number of Iraqis killed range between 200,000 and 500,000.

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 1:03 am

Basically the US seems to have invaded for the enrichment of the multinational corporations at the expense of the rest of the world. Americans will pay a monetary price, but worse many have died and many more have lost their lives.

Even if it had gone to plan, the average American would not have benefited. They would have paid the costs for war. Let us face the reality. There was no noble intent in invading Iraq. It was all a lie.

The ridiculousness of Paul Wolfowitz and his claim that invading Iraq could be paid for through its oil revenue has become apparent. It has destroyed the stability of the area. We should nor idealize Saddam, who was a horrible dictator, but the idea that the US is going to be able to invade and impose its will was foolish.

There was never any need to invade Iraq. If oil was the goal, Washington DC could easily have lifted the sanctions around Iraq. I doubt that the neoconservatives believed that Saddam was developing nuclear weapons of destruction or had anything to do with the 9-11-2001 attacks, which is why they claimed they invaded.

If this madness does not stop, it will do much more damage, and like the Soviet Union, bankrupt the US.

Mike , February 25, 2017 at 1:06 am

Great overview of the real tragedy of Iraq-US companies having to share the spoils.

It reminds me of Russia: the US seethes because Putin is the one looting the country and not them.

Back in the 90s President Clinton issued countless demands to Yeltsin about oil pipelines and output increases, showing great impatience when the Russians dared to suggest environmental impact studies. (See the linked UPI article.) If only Putin would have let us frack the Kremlin he'd be our best friend!

http://www.upi.com/Archives/1994/09/28/Clinton-presses-Yeltsin-on-oil-deals/6188780724800/

[Feb 25, 2017] Due to overconsumption of oil inherent in neoliberalism with its crazy goods flows that might cross the ocean several times before getting to customer, US neoliberal empire (and neoliberalism as social system) can well go off the cliff when cheap oil is gone.

Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc :

, February 25, 2017 at 10:06 AM
Gee, I can't imagine what could go wrong with this

Click and look at the map and inset to understand

Israel to become an energy, NG, superpower?

http://maritime-executive.com/article/noble-energy-sanctions-leviathan

"Noble Energy Sanctions Leviathan"

By MarEx...2017-02-24

"Noble Energy has sanctioned the first phase of the Leviathan natural gas project offshore Israel, with first gas targeted for the end of 2019.

Noble Energy is the operator of the Leviathan Field, which contains 22 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gross recoverable natural gas resources.

The announcement was hailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has played a key role in negotiations with Noble. Netanyahu says the discovery of large reserves will bring energy self-sufficiency and billions of dollars in tax revenues, reports The Times of Israel, but critics say the deal gave excessively favorable terms to the government's corporate partners...

Production will be gathered at the field and delivered via two 73-mile flowlines to a fixed platform, with full processing capabilities, located approximately six miles offshore."...

im1dc : , February 25, 2017 at 10:08 AM
Update US Crude Oil production, market, and exports

http://maritime-executive.com/article/us-oil-exports-hit-record-levels

"U.S. Oil Exports Hit Record Levels"

By MarEx 2017-02-24

"U.S. oil exporters set a new record last week: shipments leaving the country averaged 1.2 million barrels of crude per day, roughly double the levels seen at the end of last year.

Analysts told Bloomberg that the rising American exports are driven in large part by falling domestic prices. West Texas Intermediate futures (the domestic benchmark) are trading below the international Brent standard by $2 per barrel or more, and are now cheaper than some Middle Eastern grades of lesser quality. This makes American crude more attractive to Asian buyers.

There is also an incentive for traders to sell their oil abroad: U.S. storage is costly. If the price of crude is not expected to rise, brokers have no incentive to hang on to their supply and pay rent on a tank to put it in."...

ilsm -> im1dc... , February 25, 2017 at 01:16 PM
From the report:

I did not see any input to the NPR.

The greens might not be happy US is polluting to ship gasoline and distillates out!

ilsm -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 01:19 PM
See: http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/supply/weekly/

Table 1, open the .xls see data 2 for Feb 17 2017 at the bottom.

im1dc -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 02:00 PM
ilsm, that is the previous week I believe.
libezkova -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 04:33 PM
You are just regular incompetent chichenhawk. And it shows. Try to read something about US oil industry before positing. It is actually a very fascinating topic. That's where the battle for survival of neoliberalism in the USA (with its rampant militarism and impoverishment of lower 50% of population) is now fought.

If you list also domestic consumption, you will understand that you are completely misunderstanding and misrepresenting the situation. The USA is a huge oil importer (Net Imports: 6.075 Mbbl; see ilsm post), not an exporter. You can consider it to be exported only after drinking something really strong.

It refines and re-export refined products and also export condensate and shale light oil that is used for dilution of heavy oils in Canada and Latin America. That's it.

US shale can't be profitable below, say, $65 per barrel (so called "break-even" price for well started in 2009-2016), and if interest on already existing loans (all shale industry is deeply in debt; ) and minimum profitability (2.5% is factored in, probably $77.

That's why production is declining and will decline further is prices stay low because there is only fixed amount of "sweet spots" which can produce oil profitably at lower prices. In 2017 they are mostly gone, so what's left is not so attractive at the current prices. And this is an understatement.

The same is true to Canadian sands. Plans for expansion are now revised down and investments postponed.

So in order to sustain the US shale industry prices need to grow at least over $65 this year

And those war-crazy militarists from Obama administration essentially continued Bush II policies and wasted money in Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine, instead of facilitating conversion of passenger cards to hybrids (and electrical for short commutes).

The US as a country wasted its time and now is completely unprepared for down of oil age.

The net result of Obama policies is that SUVs became that most popular type of passenger cars in the USA. That can be called Iran revenge on the USA.

The conflict between Donald Trump and the US Deep State can be explained that deep state can't allow Trump détente with Russia and stopping wars on neoliberal expansion at Middle East. That's why they torpedoed General Flynn. It is not about Flynn, it was about Trump. To show him who is the boss and warn "You can be fired".

Due to "overconsumption" of oil inherent in neoliberalism with its crazy goods flows that might cross the ocean several times before getting to customer, US neoliberal empire (and neoliberalism as social system) can well go off the cliff when cheap oil is gone.

The only question is when it happens and estimates vary from 10 to 50 years.

So in the best case neoliberalism might be able to outlive Bolshevism which lasted 74 years (1917-1991) by only something like 15 years.

[Feb 25, 2017] The push for economic oligarchy under neoliberalism is continual, so must be the push back.

Notable quotes:
"... We find that Citizens United increased the GOP's average seat share in the state legislature by five percentage points. ..."
"... But in states with weak unions and strong corporations, the decision appeared to increase Republican seat share by as much as 12 points. ..."
Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
geoff : February 25, 2017 at 09:14 AM , 2017 at 09:14 AM
Our research focuses on state legislative elections because we can more easily isolate the effect of Citizens United compared with other factors that influence election outcomes at various levels (such as the popularity of the president). Before 2010, 23 states had bans on corporations and union funding of outside spending. As a result of the court's ruling, these states had to change their campaign laws. We can then compare the changes before and after Citizens United in these 23 states with the same changes in the 27 states whose laws did not change. The effect of the court's ruling is then simply the differences between these two before-and-after comparisons.

We find that Citizens United increased the GOP's average seat share in the state legislature by five percentage points. That is a large effect - large enough that, were it applied to the past twelve Congresses, partisan control of the House would have switched eight times. In line with a previous study, we also find that the vote share of Republican candidates increased three to four points, on average.

We also uncovered evidence that these results stem from the influence of corporations and unions. In states where union membership is relatively high and corporations relatively weak, Citizens United did not have a discernible effect on the partisan balance of the state legislature. But in states with weak unions and strong corporations, the decision appeared to increase Republican seat share by as much as 12 points.

https://electionlawblog.org/?p=91308

election rigging, long game version, and usually much more effective than imaginary interstate busing.

The push for economic oligarchy is continual, so must be the push back.

[Feb 25, 2017] Tyler Cowen as a yet another corrupt neoliberal economist

Feb 25, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

Peter K. said...February 25, 2017 at 08:20 AM

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-12/debating-government-s-role-in-boosting-growth

September 12, 2016

Tyler Cowen: There are a few reasons, but the internet may be the biggest. It is easier to have fun while unemployed. That's a social problem for some people.

Noah Smith: If that's true -- if we're seeing a greater preference for leisure -- why are we not seeing wages go up as a result? Is that market also broken?

Cowen: Maybe employers just aren't that keen to hire those males who prefer to live at home, watch porn and not get married. Is that more of a personal failure on the part of the worker than a market failure?

-------------------

And Sanjait likes Tyler Cowen. He's a scumbag.

[Feb 25, 2017] The essence of deep state meme is that color revolution ( nicknamed purple revolution ) is launched against Trump by a coalition of Democratic Party operatives, a faction of Wall Street (Globalist Billionaires), a faction of MIC, and powerful factions of three letter agencies (and first of all CIA).

Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> Peter K.... February 25, 2017 at 01:52 PM , 2017 at 01:52 PM
Progressive dems would not have moles in the deep state!
im1dc -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 02:10 PM
Give up the "deep state" meme, total nonsense.
libezkova -> im1dc... , February 25, 2017 at 04:43 PM
So you are denying that "color revolution" methods are now used against Trump administration.

Nice.

Compare with

http://beforeitsnews.com/politics/2017/01/trump-vs-cia-djt-forced-to-finish-the-fight-started-by-jfk-2876647.html

im1dc -> libezkova... , February 25, 2017 at 04:56 PM
This is what I posted and meant:

"Give up the "deep state" meme, total nonsense."

libezkova -> im1dc... , February 25, 2017 at 06:26 PM
The essence of "deep state" meme is that "color revolution" ( nicknamed "purple revolution") is launched against Trump by a coalition of Democratic Party operatives, a faction of Wall Street (Globalist Billionaires), a faction of MIC, and powerful factions of three letter agencies (and first of all CIA).

It's no coincidence that JFK wished he could splinter the CIA 'Into A Thousand Pieces And Scatter It Into The Winds'. And paid the ultimate price for this wish. The CIA coup like JFS assassination that involves removal of Trump from power is what the "deep state meme" currently implies.

http://themillenniumreport.com/2017/02/may-day-may-day-may-day/

== quote ==

The Deep State Conducts a Purple Revolution Against the Trump Administration

State of the Nation

There is now a full-scale clandestine revolutionary war being waged against the Trump Administration. The C.I.A. usually attempts a soft coup first at the direction of its masters in Deep State. When that's not successful in effectuating a regime change, they know the territory has been sufficiently softened up for the hot phase of the revolution.

In these United States of America, that revolution is known as the ongoing but rapidly intensifying Purple Revolution. This seditious revolution began the very day that President Trump won the election on November 8, 2016, if not before.

KEY POINTS:

• Deep State will not permit President Trump to govern as POTUS.

• Deep State uses the C.I.A. and the Mainstream Media (MSM) to run interference at every turn against the Trump Administration

• Deep State will continue to prosecute the revolution until Trump is removed from power

• Deep State will eventually attempt to oust the entire Trump Administration

These preceding bullet points constitute the current NWO globalist agenda being implemented throughout the USA in direct opposition to the Trump Administration. In other words, when Assistant to the President and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said that the Mainstream Media (MSM) had morphed into the opposition party, he was speaking literally.

"Steve Bannon: 'I Could Care Less' About Repairing Relationship with 'Opposition Party' Media" - BREITBART

A Counter Declaration of War on the Mainstream Media

There you have it (see preceding link), the whole world is now witnessing an all-out war between the MSM and a sitting POTUS. This unparalleled conflict is not only being fought between the Mainstream Media and the Trump Administration, it's occurring throughout the entire body politic of the USA and beyond.

The U.S. citizenry saw as never before the complete lack of integrity exhibited by the MSM during the entire 2016 election cycle. Candidate Trump exposed the lying media and avalanche of fake news with his every news conference and campaign stop. In so doing, the whole world is now aware that the MSM can never - EVER - be trusted again.

Because the MSM is the primary mouthpiece of Deep State, a highly consequential decision was made by its concealed leadership to remove Trump from power with great haste and recklessness lest their Global Control Matrix experience an unprecedented collapse. Deep State knows full well that it's now in its death throes. And that such grave existential threats must be faced before its entire superstructure (and infrastructure) falls into it own footprint.

This 21st century "War of the Titans" has gotten so hot, in fact, that there is now no turning back for either side. IT WILL BE A FIGHT TO THE DEATH.

Because the Mainstream Media has been outed like never, the most likely outcome is that it will simply be shut down. The public domain is now replete with hard evidence proving treason and sedition perpetrated over many decades by the MSM. Once the American people have reviewed the relevant proof of high treason and crimes against humanity, it will only be a matter of MSM industrywide criminal prosecution.

Bear in mind that Deep State cannot function to any reasonable degree without total ownership and efficient functioning of the media. The C.I.A., as well as the other 16 US intelligence agencies, all require the media cover staunchly provided by the MSM. So does the Military-Industrial Complex, as does the much larger Government-Corporate Complex. Therefore, when the MSM finally crashes and burns, so will all of the other major entities which comprise the Deep State.

"MAY DAY! MAY DAY! MAY DAY!"

With this critical understanding it ought to be quite obvious that the next 120 days are pivotal for Deep State. Every single day that the Trump Administration is able to consolidate and increase its power, Deep State loses its influence throughout the US government and the world-at-large. Such a crucial attenuation of power will serve as the death knell of the Deep State within the American Republic.

Hence, there is now a great race against time for both sides of this epic war. The agents of Deep State clearly hope that a soft coup will be successful through a presidential impeachment or by other means. The C.I.A. recently executed such a strategy to 'peacefully' remove Dilma Rousseff, the 36th President of Brazil.

Make no mistake about it, if a soft coup is not successful, the agents of Deep State will commence the hot phase of their Purple Revolution. Everything points to a massive May Day stealth event. An unrivaled National Mall rally in D.C. attended by the many misguided groups which make up the Democratic Party is already in the works.

An enormous May Day protest could be used to manufacture a context in which a Maidan type event takes place (remember the violent uprising in Kiev, Ukraine). The Illuminati are notorious for using dates and numerology by which to stage their revolutions and civil wars over centuries (e.g. May Day parades and terror events). Just as the engineered uprising in Kiev was surreptitiously utilized to force Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych into exile, a similar trigger point could be fabricated by which the Bolshevik Left goes really crazy and tries to chase Trump from the White House.

[Feb 25, 2017] the Church of America the Redeemer

Notable quotes:
"... Under the circumstances, it's easy to forget that, back in 2003, he and other members of the Church of America the Redeemer devoutly supported the invasion of Iraq. They welcomed war. They urged it. They did so not because Saddam Hussein was uniquely evil-although he was evil enough-but because they saw in such a war the means for the United States to accomplish its salvific mission. Toppling Saddam and transforming Iraq would provide the mechanism for affirming and renewing America's "national greatness." ..."
"... In refusing to reckon with the results of the war he once so ardently endorsed, Brooks is hardly alone. Members of the Church of America the Redeemer, Democrats and Republicans alike, are demonstrably incapable of rendering an honest accounting of what their missionary efforts have yielded. ..."
"... Rather than requiring acts of contrition, the Church of America the Redeemer has long promulgated a doctrine of self-forgiveness, freely available to all adherents all the time. "You think our country's so innocent?" the nation's 45th president recently barked at a TV host who had the temerity to ask how he could have kind words for the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Observers professed shock that a sitting president would openly question American innocence. ..."
"... In fact, Trump's response and the kerfuffle that ensued both missed the point. No serious person believes that the United States is "innocent." Worshipers in the Church of America the Redeemer do firmly believe, however, that America's transgressions, unlike those of other countries, don't count against it. Once committed, such sins are simply to be set aside and then expunged, a process that allows American politicians and pundits to condemn a "killer" like Putin with a perfectly clear conscience while demanding that Donald Trump do the same. ..."
Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm : , February 25, 2017 at 01:50 PM
Spend 22 minutes listening to retired Army Col Bacevich concerning the Trump National Security Council.

https://warisboring.com/the-bannon-effect-and-a-brief-history-of-the-national-security-council-f5f4c584241b#.8dpdo8os5

Disclaimer: the contents do not reflect ilsm's perceptions and are Col Bacevich's.

libezkova -> ilsm... , February 25, 2017 at 04:53 PM
Thank you for the link.

Bacevich is an interesting thinker about the danger of the US militarism and neocon dominance since Reagan.

Recently he speculated about the existence in the USA of a dangerous cult "the Church of America the Redeemer" which is slightly broader than the concept of neocons. It is an apt synonym of American Exceptionalism, and American Messianism. See

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/angst-in-the-church-of-america-the-redeemer/

BTW we can find members of "the Church of America the Redeemer" cult in this forum too: im1dc and Fred are obvious examples.

== quote ==

In terms of confessional fealty, his true allegiance is not to conservatism as such, but to the Church of America the Redeemer. This is a virtual congregation, albeit one possessing many of the attributes of a more traditional religion.

The Church has its own Holy Scripture, authenticated on July 4, 1776, at a gathering of 56 prophets. And it has its own saints, prominent among them the Good Thomas Jefferson, chief author of the sacred text (not the Bad Thomas Jefferson who owned and impregnated slaves); Abraham Lincoln, who freed said slaves and thereby suffered martyrdom (on Good Friday no less); and, of course, the duly canonized figures most credited with saving the world itself from evil: Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, their status akin to that of saints Peter and Paul in Christianity.

The Church of America the Redeemer even has its own Jerusalem, located on the banks of the Potomac, and its own hierarchy, its members situated nearby in High Temples of varying architectural distinction.

This ecumenical enterprise does not prize theological rigor. When it comes to shalts and shalt nots, it tends to be flexible, if not altogether squishy. It demands of the faithful just one thing: a fervent belief in America's mission to remake the world in its own image. Although in times of crisis Brooks has occasionally gone a bit wobbly, he remains at heart a true believer.

In a March 1997 piece for The Weekly Standard, his then-employer, he summarized his credo. Entitled "A Return to National Greatness," the essay opened with a glowing tribute to the Library of Congress and, in particular, to the building completed precisely a century earlier to house its many books and artifacts. According to Brooks, the structure itself embodied the aspirations defining America's enduring purpose. He called particular attention to the dome above the main reading room decorated with a dozen "monumental figures" representing the advance of civilization and culminating in a figure representing America itself. Contemplating the imagery, Brooks rhapsodized:

The theory of history depicted in this mural gave America impressive historical roots, a spiritual connection to the centuries. And it assigned a specific historic role to America as the latest successor to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome. In the procession of civilization, certain nations rise up to make extraordinary contributions At the dawn of the 20th century, America was to take its turn at global supremacy. It was America's task to take the grandeur of past civilizations, modernize it, and democratize it. This common destiny would unify diverse Americans and give them a great national purpose.

This February, 20 years later, in a column with an identical title, but this time appearing in the pages of his present employer, the New York Times, Brooks revisited this theme. Again, he began with a paean to the Library of Congress and its spectacular dome with its series of "monumental figures" that placed America "at the vanguard of the great human march of progress." For Brooks, those 12 allegorical figures convey a profound truth.

America is the grateful inheritor of other people's gifts. It has a spiritual connection to all people in all places, but also an exceptional role. America culminates history. It advances a way of life and a democratic model that will provide people everywhere with dignity. The things Americans do are not for themselves only, but for all mankind.

In 1997, in the midst of the Clinton presidency, Brooks had written that "America's mission was to advance civilization itself." In 2017, as Donald Trump gained entry into the Oval Office, he embellished and expanded that mission, describing a nation "assigned by providence to spread democracy and prosperity; to welcome the stranger; to be brother and sister to the whole human race."

Back in 1997, "a moment of world supremacy unlike any other," Brooks had worried that his countrymen might not seize the opportunity that was presenting itself. On the cusp of the twenty-first century, he worried that Americans had "discarded their pursuit of national greatness in just about every particular." The times called for a leader like Theodore Roosevelt, who wielded that classic "big stick" and undertook monster projects like the Panama Canal. Yet Americans were stuck instead with Bill Clinton, a small-bore triangulator. "We no longer look at history as a succession of golden ages," Brooks lamented. "And, save in the speeches of politicians who usually have no clue what they are talking about," America was no longer fulfilling its "special role as the vanguard of civilization."

By early 2017, with Donald Trump in the White House and Steve Bannon whispering in his ear, matters had become worse still. Americans had seemingly abandoned their calling outright. "The Trump and Bannon anschluss has exposed the hollowness of our patriotism," wrote Brooks, inserting the now-obligatory reference to Nazi Germany. The November 2016 presidential election had "exposed how attenuated our vision of national greatness has become and how easy it was for Trump and Bannon to replace a youthful vision of American greatness with a reactionary, alien one." That vision now threatens to leave America as "just another nation, hunkered down in a fearful world."

What exactly happened between 1997 and 2017, you might ask? What occurred during that "moment of world supremacy" to reduce the United States from a nation summoned to redeem humankind to one hunkered down in fear?

Trust Brooks to have at hand a brow-furrowing explanation. The fault, he explains, lies with an "educational system that doesn't teach civilizational history or real American history but instead a shapeless multiculturalism," as well as with "an intellectual culture that can't imagine providence." Brooks blames "people on the left who are uncomfortable with patriotism and people on the right who are uncomfortable with the federal government that is necessary to lead our project."

An America that no longer believes in itself-that's the problem. In effect, Brooks revises Norma Desmond's famous complaint about the movies, now repurposed to diagnose an ailing nation: it's the politics that got small.

Nowhere does he consider the possibility that his formula for "national greatness" just might be so much hooey. Between 1997 and 2017, after all, egged on by people like David Brooks, Americans took a stab at "greatness," with the execrable Donald Trump now numbering among the eventual results.

Invading Greatness

Say what you will about the shortcomings of the American educational system and the country's intellectual culture, they had far less to do with creating Trump than did popular revulsion prompted by specific policies that Brooks, among others, enthusiastically promoted. Not that he is inclined to tally up the consequences. Only as a sort of postscript to his litany of contemporary American ailments does he refer even in passing to what he calls the "humiliations of Iraq."

A great phrase, that. Yet much like, say, the "tragedy of Vietnam" or the "crisis of Watergate," it conceals more than it reveals. Here, in short, is a succinct historical reference that cries out for further explanation. It bursts at the seams with implications demanding to be unpacked, weighed, and scrutinized. Brooks shrugs off Iraq as a minor embarrassment, the equivalent of having shown up at a dinner party wearing the wrong clothes.

Under the circumstances, it's easy to forget that, back in 2003, he and other members of the Church of America the Redeemer devoutly supported the invasion of Iraq. They welcomed war. They urged it. They did so not because Saddam Hussein was uniquely evil-although he was evil enough-but because they saw in such a war the means for the United States to accomplish its salvific mission. Toppling Saddam and transforming Iraq would provide the mechanism for affirming and renewing America's "national greatness."

Anyone daring to disagree with that proposition they denounced as craven or cowardly. Writing at the time, Brooks disparaged those opposing the war as mere "marchers." They were effete, pretentious, ineffective, and absurd. "These people are always in the streets with their banners and puppets. They march against the IMF and World Bank one day, and against whatever war happens to be going on the next They just march against."

Perhaps space constraints did not permit Brooks in his recent column to spell out the "humiliations" that resulted and that even today continue to accumulate. Here in any event is a brief inventory of what that euphemism conceals: thousands of Americans needlessly killed; tens of thousands grievously wounded in body or spirit; trillions of dollars wasted; millions of Iraqis dead, injured, or displaced; this nation's moral standing compromised by its resort to torture, kidnapping, assassination, and other perversions; a region thrown into chaos and threatened by radical terrorist entities like the Islamic State that U.S. military actions helped foster. And now, if only as an oblique second-order bonus, we have Donald Trump's elevation to the presidency to boot.

In refusing to reckon with the results of the war he once so ardently endorsed, Brooks is hardly alone. Members of the Church of America the Redeemer, Democrats and Republicans alike, are demonstrably incapable of rendering an honest accounting of what their missionary efforts have yielded.

Brooks belongs, or once did, to the Church's neoconservative branch. But liberals such as Bill Clinton, along with his secretary of state Madeleine Albright, were congregants in good standing, as were Barack Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton. So, too, are putative conservatives like Senators John McCain, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, all of them subscribing to the belief in the singularity and indispensability of the United States as the chief engine of history, now and forever.

Back in April 2003, confident that the fall of Baghdad had ended the Iraq War, Brooks predicted that "no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, 'We were wrong. Bush was right.'" Rather than admitting error, he continued, the war's opponents "will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future."

Yet it is the war's proponents who, in the intervening years, have choked on admitting that they were wrong. Or when making such an admission, as did both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton while running for president, they write it off as an aberration, a momentary lapse in judgment of no particular significance, like having guessed wrong on a TV quiz show.

Rather than requiring acts of contrition, the Church of America the Redeemer has long promulgated a doctrine of self-forgiveness, freely available to all adherents all the time. "You think our country's so innocent?" the nation's 45th president recently barked at a TV host who had the temerity to ask how he could have kind words for the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Observers professed shock that a sitting president would openly question American innocence.

In fact, Trump's response and the kerfuffle that ensued both missed the point. No serious person believes that the United States is "innocent." Worshipers in the Church of America the Redeemer do firmly believe, however, that America's transgressions, unlike those of other countries, don't count against it. Once committed, such sins are simply to be set aside and then expunged, a process that allows American politicians and pundits to condemn a "killer" like Putin with a perfectly clear conscience while demanding that Donald Trump do the same.

What the Russian president has done in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria qualifies as criminal. What American presidents have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya qualifies as incidental and, above all, beside the point.

Rather than confronting the havoc and bloodshed to which the United States has contributed, those who worship in the Church of America the Redeemer keep their eyes fixed on the far horizon and the work still to be done in aligning the world with American expectations. At least they would, were it not for the arrival at center stage of a manifestly false prophet who, in promising to "make America great again," inverts all that "national greatness" is meant to signify.

For Brooks and his fellow believers, the call to "greatness" emanates from faraway precincts-in the Middle East, East Asia, and Eastern Europe. For Trump, the key to "greatness" lies in keeping faraway places and the people who live there as faraway as possible. Brooks et al. see a world that needs saving and believe that it's America's calling to do just that. In Trump's view, saving others is not a peculiarly American responsibility. Events beyond our borders matter only to the extent that they affect America's well-being. Trump worships in the Church of America First, or at least pretends to do so in order to impress his followers.

That Donald Trump inhabits a universe of his own devising, constructed of carefully arranged alt-facts, is no doubt the case. Yet, in truth, much the same can be said of David Brooks and others sharing his view of a country providentially charged to serve as the "successor to Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome." In fact, this conception of America's purpose expresses not the intent of providence, which is inherently ambiguous, but their own arrogance and conceit. Out of that conceit comes much mischief. And in the wake of mischief come charlatans like Donald Trump.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, now out in paperback.

[Feb 25, 2017] DeLong as t enured prima donna who is immune from his own damage.

Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Tom aka Rusty -> Peter K.... February 21, 2017 at 10:51 AM , 2017 at 10:51 AM
If I'm not mistaken Delong seems to think the US government has a greater interest in aiding Chinese workers than Us workers.

Tenured prima donna who is immune from his own damage.

[Feb 25, 2017] The main challenges in this new era is to reduce the level of inequality from neoliberal level to New Deal levels

Notable quotes:
"... The Democrats' central weakness comes from being a party of business but having to pretend otherwise. ..."
"... Since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the president of the United States, things have been moving so quickly it's hard to pause and take stock of our surroundings - let alone evaluate how we arrived at this nightmarish place. ..."
"... 'Ironically, both Stiglitz and Sanders have declared themselves to be democrats" ..."
"... I was a Democrat before and would be again. But, that would require that the neocons and neoliberals would be replaced by progressives. ..."
"... Shumer was elected Senate minority leader and that is a bad sign to me. He is sponsored by both neocons and neoliberals. ..."
"... Joe wants to be allowed to speak his piece. If he irritates the plutocrats too much they will cut off his access to media. ..."
Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
RGC : February 21, 2017 at 07:31 AM

Re: Joe Stiglitz:

Joe says: "One of the main challenges in this new era will be to remain vigilant and, whenever and wherever necessary, to resist."

I disagree. I think we need a clearly articulated alternative to Trump and I think Joe provided one in his recent comment:

Joseph Stiglitz Says Standard Economics Is Wrong. Inequality and Unearned Income Kills the Economy

The rules of the game can be changed to reverse inequality

http://evonomics.com/joseph-stiglitz-inequality-unearned-income/

In that comment Joe says:

Reversing inequality

A wide range of policies can help reduce inequality.

Policies should be aimed at reducing inequalities both in market income and in the post-tax and-transfer incomes. The rules of the game play a large role in determining market distribution- in preventing discrimination, in creating bargaining rights for workers, in curbing monopolies and the powers of CEOs to exploit firms' other stakeholders and the financial sector to exploit the rest of society. These rules were largely rewritten during the past thirty years in ways which led to more inequality and poorer overall economic performance. Now they must be rewritten once again, to reduce inequality and strengthen the economy, for instance, by discouraging the short-termism that has become rampant in the financial and corporate sector.

Reforms include more support for education, including pre-school; increasing the minimum wage; strengthening earned-income tax credits; strengthening the voice of workers in the workplace, including through unions; and more effective enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. But there are four areas in particular that could make inroads in the high level of inequality which now exists.

First, executive compensation (especially in the US) has become excessive, and it is hard to justify the design of executive compensation schemes based on stock options.

Executives should not be rewarded for improvements in a firm's stock market performance in which they play no part. If the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates, and that leads to an increase in stock market prices, CEOs should not get a bonus as a result. If oil prices fall, and so profits of airlines and the value of airline stocks increase, airline CEOs should not get a bonus. There is an easy way of taking account of these gains (or losses) which are not attributable to the efforts of executives: basing performance pay on the relative performance of firms in comparable circumstances. The design of good compensation schemes that do this has been well understood for more than a third of a century, and yet executives in major corporations have almost studiously resisted these insights. They have focused more on taking advantages of deficiencies in corporate governance and the lack of understanding of these issues by many shareholders to try to enhance their earnings- getting high pay when share prices increase, and also when share prices fall. In the long run, as we have seen, economic performance itself is hurt.

Second, macroeconomic policies are needed that maintain economic stability and full employment. High unemployment most severely penalises those at the bottom and the middle of the income distribution. Today, workers are suffering thrice over: from high unemployment, weak wages and cutbacks in public services, as government revenues are less than they would be if economies were functioning well.

As we have argued, high inequality has weakened aggregate demand. Fuelling asset price bubbles through hyper-expansive monetary policy and deregulation is not the only possible response. Higher public investment- in infrastructures, technology and education- would both revive demand and alleviate inequality, and this would boost growth in the long-run and in the short-run. According to a recent empirical study by the IMF, well-designed public infrastructure investment raises output both in the short and long term, especially when the economy is operating below potential. And it doesn't need to increase public debt in terms of GDP: well-implemented infrastructure projects would pay for themselves, as the increase in income (and thus in tax revenues) would more than offset the increase in spending.

Third, public investment in education is fundamental to address inequality. A key determinant of workers' income is the level and quality of education. If governments ensure equal access to education, then the distribution of wages will reflect the distribution of abilities (including the ability to benefit from education) and the extent to which the education system attempts to compensate for differences in abilities and backgrounds. If, as in the United States, those with rich parents usually have access to better education, then one generation's inequality will be passed on to the next, and in each generation, wage inequality will reflect the income and related inequalities of the last.

Fourth, these much-needed public investments could be financed through fair and full taxation of capital income. This would further contribute to counteracting the surge in inequality: it can help bring down the net return to capital, so that those capitalists who save much of their income won't see their wealth accumulate at a faster pace than the growth of the overall economy, resulting in growing inequality of wealth. Special provisions providing for favourable taxation of capital gains and dividends not only distort the economy, but, with the vast majority of the benefits going to the very top, increase inequality. At the same time they impose enormous budgetary costs: 2 trillion dollars from 2013 to 2023 in the US, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The elimination of the special provisions for capital gains and dividends, coupled with the taxation of capital gains on the basis of accrual, not just realisations, is the most obvious reform in the tax code that would improve inequality and raise substantial amounts of revenues. There are many others, such as a good system of inheritance and effectively enforced estate taxation.

Redefining economic performance

We used to think of there being a trade-off: we could achieve more equality, but only at the expense of overall economic performance. It is now clear that, given the extremes of inequality being reached in many rich countries and the manner in which they have been generated, greater equality and improved economic performance are complements.

This is especially true if we focus on appropriate measures of growth. If we use the wrong metrics, we will strive for the wrong things. As the international Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress argued, there is a growing global consensus that GDP does not provide a good measure of overall economic performance. What matters is whether growth is sustainable, and whether most citizens see their living standards rising year after year.

Since the beginning of the new millennium, the US economy, and that of most other advanced countries, has clearly not been performing. In fact, for three decades, real median incomes have essentially stagnated. Indeed, in the case of the US, the problems are even worse and were manifest well before the recession: in the past four decades average wages have stagnated, even though productivity has drastically increased.

As this essay has emphasised, a key factor underlying the current economic difficulties of rich countries is growing inequality. We need to focus not on what is happening on average- as GDP leads us to do- but on how the economy is performing for the typical citizen, reflected for instance in median disposable income. People care about health, fairness and security, and yet GDP statistics do not reflect their decline. Once these and other aspects of societal well-being are taken into account, recent performance in rich countries looks much worse.

The economic policies required to change this are not difficult to identify. We need more investment in public goods; better corporate governance, antitrust and anti-discrimination laws; a better regulated financial system; stronger workers' rights; and more progressive tax and transfer policies. By 'rewriting the rules' governing the market economy in these ways, it is possible to achieve greater equality in both the pre- and post-tax and transfer distribution of income, and thereby stronger economic performance.


[Joe had it right with this essay and progressives should elaborate and emphasize this message - not just rant about Trump.]

[The whole essay is worth reading, imo.]

RGC -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 07:42 AM
I don't trust the Democratic party.

I fear that if they did defeat trump, they would go back to the same old policies that have given us this mess.

I want to see new leadership that commits to new policies like those articulated by Joe Stiglitz and Bernie Sanders.

I don't want to work for them until I see new policies emerge.

pgl -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 07:45 AM
Max Sawicky has a new blog. You might enjoy this description of what his new blog will be about:

http://thepopulist.buzz/2017/02/16/who-we-are-what-we-do/

RGC -> pgl... , February 21, 2017 at 08:04 AM
Thanks for the link.
Peter K. -> pgl... , February 21, 2017 at 08:15 AM
CNN is running a debate tomorrow night 10 eastern between Perez and Ellison. Who are you supporting, if anyone?
libezkova -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 07:56 AM
"I don't trust the Democratic party."

That's the key point of the whole discussion. Dems are just a party of neoliberals. Who are in the pocket of Wall Street.

So they are in the pocket of the same guys who bought Republicans (and both parties are also puppets of MIC -- with Dems becoming the major War party; not that different from neocons ).

Stiglitz actually is very shy to criticize neoliberal "cult of GDP":
== quote ==
As this essay has emphasised, a key factor underlying the current economic difficulties of rich countries is growing inequality. We need to focus not on what is happening on average - as GDP leads us to do- but on how the economy is performing for the typical citizen, reflected for instance in median disposable income.

People care about health, fairness and security, and yet GDP statistics do not reflect their decline.

Once these and other aspects of societal well-being are taken into account, recent performance in rich countries looks much worse.

== end of quote ==

This is why "pro growth liberals" are just crooks in disguise... With a smoke screen of mathematical nonsense and obscure terminology to cover their tracks.

RGC -> libezkova... , February 21, 2017 at 08:12 AM
"This is why "pro growth liberals" are just crooks in disguise... With a smoke screen of mathematical nonsense and obscure terminology to cover their tracks."

Agreed. They originated with John Bates Clark and the neoclassical concept of marginal utility:

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

kurt -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 11:56 AM
So you don't think Marginal Utility is a thing? And that it would be good to ignore this thing that you believe doesn't exist? Wow.
RGC -> kurt... , February 21, 2017 at 12:11 PM
I think it is a concept that was used by Clark and other neoclassicals to counter Henry George's arguments for a tax on rentiers and then later to obfuscate the role played by finance:

Henry George and john Bates Clark

Henry George was the most popular economist of his day. Why did "elite" economists choose to follow the lead of John Bates Clark instead of George?
IOW, elite economists had various theories to choose from. Why did they choose a theory that neglcted unearned income?
.........................................................
"RA: So let me suggest that there is an alternative, and get your thoughts on this, because this idea has run its course. People are now starting to wake up and say" enough." You've written a lot about unearned versus earned wealth – unearned wealth or unearned increment, if you like – and it goes back to a man called John Bates Clark. He was one of the first neoclassical economists. I think I'm right in saying that. Just talk a bit about him, he said there was no differentiation, is that right?
MH: Yes.
RA: And that seemingly innocuous proclamation has had huge effects.

MH: By the 1870s and '80s there was a lot of pressure in all countries, especially in the United States, by socialists on the one hand and followers of the journalist Henry George on the other. George wanted to tax away the land's economic rent and use that as the tax base, instead of taxing labor and industry. So John Bates Clark wrote about the philosophy of wealth, and said "There's no such thing as unearned income. Everything that the economists before me have written is wrong. Everybody earns exactly what they contribute to national product and that means that whatever their earnings are will be added to national product.""

http://michael-hudson.com/2016/12/innocuous-proclaimations/
..........................................................
Henry George (September 2, 1839 – October 29, 1897) was an American political economist, journalist, and philosopher. His immensely popular writing is credited with sparking several reform movements of the Progressive Era, and inspiring the broad economic philosophy known as Georgism, based on the belief that people should own the value they produce themselves, but that the economic value derived from land (including natural resources) should belong equally to all members of society.
His most famous work, Progress and Poverty (1879), sold millions of copies worldwide, probably more than any other American book before that time. The treatise investigates the paradox of increasing inequality and poverty amid economic and technological progress, the cyclic nature of industrialized economies, and the use of rent capture such as land value tax and other anti-monopoly reforms as a remedy for these and other social problems.
............................................
Furthermore, on a visit to New York City, he was struck by the apparent paradox that the poor in that long-established city were much worse off than the poor in less developed California. These observations supplied the theme and title for his 1879 book Progress and Poverty, which was a great success, selling over 3 million copies. In it George made the argument that a sizeable portion of the wealth created by social and technological advances in a free market economy is possessed by land owners and monopolists via economic rents, and that this concentration of unearned wealth is the main cause of poverty. George considered it a great injustice that private profit was being earned from restricting access to natural resources while productive activity was burdened with heavy taxes, and indicated that such a system was equivalent to slavery – a concept somewhat similar to wage slavery. This is also the work in which he made the case for a land value tax in which governments would tax the value of the land itself, thus preventing private interests from profiting upon its mere possession, but allowing the value of all improvements made to that land to remain with investors.[27][28]
................................
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_George
..................................................
John Bates Clark (January 26, 1847 – March 21, 1938) was an American neoclassical economist. He was one of the pioneers of the marginalist revolution and opponent to the Institutionalist school of economics, and spent most of his career as professor at Columbia University.
............................................................
The foundation of Clark's further work was competition: "If nothing suppresses competition, progress will continue forever".[8] Clark: "The science adapted is economic Darwinism. Though the process was savage, the outlook which it afforded was not wholly evil. The survival of crude strength was, in the long run, desirable".[9] This was the fundament to develop the theory which made him famous: Given competition and homogeneous factors of production labor and capital, the repartition of the social product will be according to the productivity of the last physical input of units of labor and capital.

This theorem is a cornerstone of neoclassical micro-economics.
Clark stated it in 1891[10] and more elaborated 1899 in The Distribution of Wealth.[11] The same theorem was formulated later independently by John Atkinson Hobson (1891) and Philip Wicksteed (1894).

The political message of this theorem is: "[W]hat a social class gets is, under natural law, what it contributes to the general output of industry."[12]

......................................
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bates_Clark
............................
The John Bates Clark Medal is awarded by the American Economic Association to "that American economist under the age of forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge".[1] According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, it "is widely regarded as one of the field's most prestigious awards, perhaps second only to the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences."[2] The award was made biennially until 2007, but is being awarded every year from 2009 because many deserving went unawarded.[3] The committee cited economists such as Edward Glaeser and John A. List in campaigning that the award should be annual. Named after the American economist John Bates Clark (1847–1938), it is considered one of the two most prestigious awards in the field of economics, along with the Nobel Prize.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bates_Clark_Medal
.....................................................

RGC -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 12:23 PM
Furthermore;

Cambridge capital controversy:

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

"It is important, for the record, to recognize that key participants in the debate openly admitted their mistakes. Samuelson's seventh edition of Economics was purged of errors. Levhari and Samuelson published a paper which began, 'We wish to make it clear for the record that the nonreswitching theorem associated with us is definitely false. We are grateful to Dr. Pasinetti...' (Levhari and Samuelson 1966). Leland Yeager and I jointly published a note acknowledging his earlier error and attempting to resolve the conflict between our theoretical perspectives. (Burmeister and Yeager, 1978).

However, the damage had been done, and Cambridge, UK, 'declared victory': Levhari was wrong, Samuelson was wrong, Solow was wrong, MIT was wrong and therefore neoclassical economics was wrong. As a result there are some groups of economists who have abandoned neoclassical economics for their own refinements of classical economics. In the United States, on the other hand, mainstream economics goes on as if the controversy had never occurred. Macroeconomics textbooks discuss 'capital' as if it were a well-defined concept - which it is not, except in a very special one-capital-good world (or under other unrealistically restrictive conditions). The problems of heterogeneous capital goods have also been ignored in the 'rational expectations revolution' and in virtually all econometric work." (Burmeister 2000)

RGC -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 12:29 PM
Wow.
yuan -> libezkova... , February 21, 2017 at 12:17 PM

Too uninformed and angry to realize that Stiglitz has focused on inequality and criticized the use of GDP to measure societal economic activity.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/sep/13/economics-economic-growth-and-recession-global-economy

I also strongly recommend Stiglitz's book:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16685439-the-price-of-inequality

Jesse -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 07:58 AM

Well stated, and that is what it would take to achieve 'party unity.'

In other words, put the people and principles first, and then the health and growth of the party will fall into place.

Party first is power first. And that allure for money and power is what wrecked the Democratic party as it had been-- although that failure was a long time coming.

Peter K. -> Jesse... , February 21, 2017 at 09:51 AM
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/02/trump-election-hillary-clinton-racism-democratic-party/

Good interview with Doug Henwood:

The Confusion Candidate

The Democrats' central weakness comes from being a party of business but having to pretend otherwise.

by Katie Halper & Doug Henwood

Since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the president of the United States, things have been moving so quickly it's hard to pause and take stock of our surroundings - let alone evaluate how we arrived at this nightmarish place.

And the liberal commentariat hasn't helped, arguing that the autopsies on Hillary Clinton's failed campaign do nothing but sabotage the "unity" needed to fight Trump. But if we don't want round two against the Right to resemble round one, we need to know what went wrong and how to fix it.

..."

yuan -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 12:23 PM
"I don't trust the Democratic party."

Ironically, both Stiglitz and Sanders have declared themselves to be democrats:

I don't trust Sanders or Stiglitz but am somewhat encouraged that both have shown modest support for anti-capitalist reforms.

RGC -> yuan... , February 21, 2017 at 12:51 PM
'Ironically, both Stiglitz and Sanders have declared themselves to be democrats"

I was a Democrat before and would be again. But, that would require that the neocons and neoliberals would be replaced by progressives.

RGC -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 01:08 PM
Shumer was elected Senate minority leader and that is a bad sign to me. He is sponsored by both neocons and neoliberals.

I want to see if Ellison is elected chair of the DNC.

Peter K. -> yuan... , February 21, 2017 at 01:36 PM
"I don't trust Sanders or Stiglitz but am somewhat encouraged that both have shown modest support for anti-capitalist reforms."

You're a lunatic troll. No wonder PGL likes you.

Peter K. -> RGC... , February 21, 2017 at 08:16 AM
why didn't "Joe" back Bernie Sanders?

Inquiring minds want to know.

RGC -> Peter K.... , February 21, 2017 at 09:14 AM
Joe wants to be allowed to speak his piece. If he irritates the plutocrats too much they will cut off his access to media.

He is a bit too timid for my taste.

[Feb 25, 2017] Attempt to cover the nature of American neoliberal imperialism ?

Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne : February 21, 2017 at 07:11 AM , 2017 at 07:11 AM
http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/02/twenty-first-century-american-nationalism-needs-to-be-profoundly-cosmopoiltan.html

February 20, 2017

Twenty-First Century American Nationalism Needs to Be Profoundly Cosmopolitan

The right pose--substantive and rhetorical--is to recognize that, just as since 1620 the good American nationalism has always held that people anywhere can elect to become Americans by joining our utopian project here at home, so in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that good American nationalism is one that puts global prosperity and being a good neighbor and benevolent hegemon first....

-- Brad DeLong

libezkova -> anne... , February 21, 2017 at 08:00 AM
Attempt to cover the nature of American neoliberal imperialism ?
Peter K. -> anne... , February 21, 2017 at 08:12 AM
Howbout the IMF's treatment of Greece. Is that being a "good neighbor."

What about Iraq? Was destabilizing the Middle East and sending a flood of refugees into Europe being a benevolent hegemon?

I guess for DeLong being a good hegemon means buying the exports of our allies like Japan and Germany and allowing them and China to run trade surpluses, even if it benefits multinational corporations at the expense of the American middle class.

And turns us into an oligarchy. How does that make the globe safer?

By provoking a populist backlash which results in Brexit and President Trump. How does that make the world safer?

[Feb 25, 2017] The Meaning of Trump

Notable quotes:
"... "Now the new order that Roosevelt created is the Old Order, and it is in crisis, much as the Old Order at the time of FDR's emergence was in crisis. The status quo, like the status quo in Roosevelt's time, cannot hold. We are living in a time of transition.'' ..."
"... As for Clinton, she not only couldn't speak in a political idiom that showed an understanding of the underlying realities of America's crisis politics. She actually put herself forward as a champion of the status quo and, through some unfathomable utterances, a scourge of that working-class contingent that once had been such an integral part of her party. That helped open the way for Bernie Sanders, who spoke to the realities of our time and thus resonated with large numbers of liberal Democrats deeply concerned about the plight of the working class and the growing income and wealth disparities bedeviling the country. ..."
"... of all the presidential candidates vying for attention at the start of the campaign season, only Trump demonstrated a clear understanding of the country's status quo crisis. ..."
Feb 25, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The startling nature of Donald Trump's political ascendancy is probably best illuminated through a sojourn back in time to early June 2015, in the days and weeks before the billionaire developer descended that now-famous Trump Tower escalator and announced his bid for the presidency. At that time, throughout official Washington and across much of the country, a conventional narrative prevailed as to what was likely to happen in the looming campaign year. Nothing particularly surprising or startling was anticipated.

When the country casts aside conventional thinking and charts out new directions, few linger over what was left behind. It seems axiomatic that, if the conventional view was wrong, it had little to teach us in the first place. And history, after all, doesn't stop and wait for such ruminations as it moves forward with its crushing force. In such circumstances, the country naturally casts its attention forward.

But discarded conventional narratives often can teach us a lot about the state of the nation, particularly when they reveal wide gaps in thinking and perception between the political elites and the electorate at large. That was the state of American politics in early 2015, though few understood it fully at the time.

Among Republican officials and operatives, the conventional thinking went something like this: it is difficult to see how the GOP nomination can be denied to Jeb Bush. He has a famous name, widespread family connections, impressive money-raising prowess, and a pleasant demeanor. Moreover he's well-positioned on the issues to appeal to the party's conservative wing as well as to its moderate center. But it might be too late for the party in any event because demographic trends-fewer Republican whites in the electorate and more Democratic minorities-seem to be rendering the party obsolete. Unless Republicans can find a way to appeal to non-whites, and particularly to new immigrants put off by the party's anti-immigrant tendencies, they will not likely elect another president. The Democrats will maintain a lock on the Electoral College.

And that meant, according to this conventional outlook, that Hillary Clinton likely would be the next president. She was smart, tested, universally known, a whiz at fundraising, and generally respected (her old reputation as a "congenital liar'' having dissipated significantly by this time, though of course it was to reemerge later). On paper, she looked nearly unbeatable.

Thus did the elites and analysts and seers of both parties anticipate another Bush-Clinton battle, harking back to the last such battle in 1992 and keeping the country anchored in the politics that had prevailed in America throughout the 1990s and into the first two decades of the 21st century. Of course, subsequent history proved that narrative to be utterly wrong. But looking back, perhaps more interesting is what we now can see as its fundamental flaw-a failure to recognize that America was in crisis, and crisis times yield crisis politics. The campaign year of 2016 turned out to be a year of crisis politics writ large, manifest not just in Trump's rise but also in the remarkable run, in the Democratic primaries, of democratic-socialist Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator.

As the surprise-laden year unfolded, more and more analysts cast their thinking toward the angers and frustrations within the electorate that were driving the country in entirely unanticipated directions. Elements of the crisis now were seen and probed. But few captured its full magnitude.

It was nothing less than a crisis of the old order, a crisis of the crumbling status quo. Its most significant manifestation was the political deadlock that gripped official Washington and rendered it incapable of political action. Many saw this as a problem in itself, but in reality it was merely a stark manifestation of the status quo crisis. As the old order of American politics began to disintegrate, the two parties clung ever more tenaciously to their familiar and time-tested positions, defaulting to an increasingly rigid groupthink stubbornness and shunning any thought of political compromise. Far from grappling with the crisis of the old order that had descended upon America and the world, the party elites couldn't even acknowledge its existence.

But the country was at an inflection point. It desperately needed a new brand of politics that could break the deadlock and set it upon a new course toward its future and destiny. In such times, a gap inevitably emerges between the political establishment, guided by the lessons of the past (increasingly irrelevant lessons, as it happens), and the electorate, always ahead of the establishment in seeing the need for new political paradigms, new dialectical thinking, and new coalitions designed to bust up political logjams and set the country upon a new course.

Back in the spring of 2012, The National Interest magazine published a special issue entitled: "Crisis of the Old Order: The Crumbling Status Quo at Home and Abroad.'' (I note here, by way of disclosure, that I was National Interest editor at the time.) In an unsigned editorial, the magazine likened the gathering crisis to the turmoil that gripped America at the beginning of the Great Depression, captured by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in the first volume of his "Age of Roosevelt'' series. Entitled The Crisis of the Old Order , Schlesinger's book included chapters with such titles as: "The Politics of Frustration,'' "Protest on the Countryside,'' "The Stirrings of Labor,'' "The Struggle for Public Power,'' and "The Revolt of the Intellectuals.'' Schlesinger portrayed a domestic status quo that could not hold. Thus, under Franklin Roosevelt, a new order emerged in American politics based on a far greater concentration of power in the federal government than the country had ever before seriously contemplated.

During this same time, the global status quo also buckled under a similarly severe strain. The Old Order-based on Europe's global preeminence, British naval superiority and financial dominance, and a balance of military force on the European continent-had been destroyed with World War I, and no new structure of stability had emerged to replace it. The result was a period of flux culminating in World War II, which yielded a new order based on America's global military reach, the strength of the dollar, and a balance of power between the U.S.-led West and an expansionist Soviet Union positioned in the ashes of war to threaten Western Europe.

The National Interest identified Franklin Roosevelt as "one of the most powerful figures in his country's history'' and said he essentially remade the American political structure. And then he remade the world. The result was a new order of U.S. global leadership, relative stability, Western prosperity, and global development. It was called Pax Americana , and it lasted nearly 70 years. The magazine added: "Now the new order that Roosevelt created is the Old Order, and it is in crisis, much as the Old Order at the time of FDR's emergence was in crisis. The status quo, like the status quo in Roosevelt's time, cannot hold. We are living in a time of transition.''

Consider some of the domestic elements of the current crisis. FDR's power consolidation has created over time a collection of elites that has restrained the body politic in tethers of favoritism and self-serving maneuver. Wall Street dominates the government's levers of financial decision-making. Public-employee unions utilize their power (they can fire their bosses) to capture greater and greater shares of the public fisc. Corporations foster tax-code provisions that allow them to game the system. "Crony capitalism'' runs rampant. Members of Congress tilt the political system to favor incumbency. A national-debt burden threatens the country's financial health. Uncontrolled immigration threatens the country's sense of security and, for many, its sense of nationhood. The nation's industrial base has been hollowed out, and the vast American working class-the bedrock of the FDR coalition-is squeezed to the point of desperation.

Overseas, challenges to U.S. global preeminence are emerging from a host of quarters, most notably from China, which wants to expunge American military power from Asia. The Middle East is aflame, largely as a result of mindless U.S. interventions there. Western civilization's European heartland is threatened from within by mass immigration and from within by waves of populist nationalism bent on destroying the postwar experiment in political consolidation. Tensions are on the rise everywhere-between Sunnis and Shia in the Middle East, between the United States and Russia, between China and its neighbors, between southern and northern Europe over currency issues, between the United States and Iran. To say the world is operating today under an umbrella of Pax Americana defies any realistic conception of America in our time or the definition of peace in any time.

What seems remarkable now, thinking back to the early months of the presidential campaign season, is how seemingly oblivious nearly all the candidates were to the extent and depth of the crises gripping America and the world. Consider once again poor Jeb Bush. The media and the political class made much of his initial inability, when asked about his brother George's invasion of Iraq, to deliver a coherent answer that incorporated any lessons to be learned from that far-reaching misadventure. But that was the least of his problems. Throughout his ill-planned and ill-fated political foray, he campaigned as if he thought he still operated in the day of his father. He spoke without force, which held him back in a time of potent political turmoil, but, more importantly, without any apparent sense of urgency, without any discernible recognition of the calamitous forces swirling around his ears.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz did speak in forceful terms, but his answer was to double down on his party's hard-right attitudes and demands-to resurrect Ronald Reagan and then move boldly beyond him to galvanize a majority within party and country. It couldn't be done. Reagan, a highly successful president, probably deserves a "near great'' ranking from history. But he ran the country in an era far different from today. More problematic for Cruz, the country didn't want the same old ossified positions of right or left that contributed so much to the country's political logjams. It wanted fresh thinking, a new cluster of ideas and positions, a new dialectic of politics capable of pulling together new coalitions that could break the country's deadlock crisis.

As for Clinton, she not only couldn't speak in a political idiom that showed an understanding of the underlying realities of America's crisis politics. She actually put herself forward as a champion of the status quo and, through some unfathomable utterances, a scourge of that working-class contingent that once had been such an integral part of her party. That helped open the way for Bernie Sanders, who spoke to the realities of our time and thus resonated with large numbers of liberal Democrats deeply concerned about the plight of the working class and the growing income and wealth disparities bedeviling the country.

But of all the presidential candidates vying for attention at the start of the campaign season, only Trump demonstrated a clear understanding of the country's status quo crisis. Only Trump busted out of the old paradigms of partisan politics and fashioned a new cluster of issues and positions. He was the only candidate whose forcefulness of expression, as crude and unsettling as it often was, reflected an appreciation for the magnitude of the crisis confronting the nation. He projected himself as a man who wouldn't trim and wouldn't bow or scrape to anyone-not the big-money boys who own the other politicians, not the special interests taking their financial cut at every turn, not the industrialists (like himself in the past, he would state frankly) exploiting the system of crony capitalism and pay-to-play politics, and certainly not foreign leaders taking advantage of America's soft and accommodating national temperament. Trump became the Willie Stark of 2016, the champion of ordinary Americans-Americans who saw that the game was rigged and who hungered for a politician ready to retrieve the wayward system and return it to the people.

Further, he shunned the rigid political thinking of either party and crafted an advocacy that cut across partisan lines in various ways. He embraced traditional GOP positions in calling for drastically reduced taxes, advocating school choice, questioning climate change as a product of human activity, and urging big increases in defense spending. But he also embraced positions that went against the Republican grain-including a rejection of budget balancing through austerity economics; a call to protect entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, that are generating huge unfunded liabilities; a promise to use tariffs and other barriers to counter what he considersed unfair trading practices by other countries; and a resolve to increase taxes on hedge-fund profits. None of this comported with standard Republican orthodoxy; indeed, some of it sounded a bit like Bernie Sanders.

It was this distinctive mix of policies that gave Trump his political propulsion in the GOP primaries and through the general election. But there was another factor-his often harsh, mean-spirited rhetoric that, while distasteful to many, gave others the sense of a man bent on charging through all impediments to implement his policies. Consider, for example, immigration, perhaps the most high-voltage issue of the campaign.

The problem, of course, was the large number of illegal immigrants already well-established in the country-some 11 million, according to estimates. This reality constituted a blot on the country's political establishment, which had allowed U.S. borders to be breached on such a scale with nary a finger raised to stem it. And the political establishment had no answer for the resulting civic challenge, except to provide some form of amnesty as part of a "comprehensive solution'' that promised secure borders as a trade-off. But this was incendiary to millions of Americans who remembered the last time this trade-off was put forward-and promptly flouted as the flow of illegal immigrants accelerated following a major amnesty program. Thus, none of the presidential candidates wanted to engage the issue in any kind of frontal way during the campaign. They would finesse it pending their election and then deal with it in a more controlled legislative environment.

Except Trump. "When do we beat Mexico at the border?'' he asked during his campaign announcement speech, then added, "They're laughing at us, at our stupidity. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.'' This now-famous peroration was so stark and brutal that many considered it politically disqualifying, a sign that this crude figure would flame out quickly on the campaign trail. But for many, tired of political elites talking endlessly about the border problem without any discernible intent on actually attacking it, Trump seemed to be the only politician who actually took it seriously. When he said, during the first debate, that the issue wouldn't have received serious attention at that forum except for his having forced it into the campaign discourse, he was probably correct.

That's the view, at least, of Harvard's George J. Borjas, one of the country's leading immigration economists. "A really good question to ask,'' Borjas said in an interview presented in TAC 's last issue, " is would he have gotten traction if he hadn't shocked the system that way so early on? What he said, you can disagree with it strongly. But it really provided an incredible shock by introducing into the debate something people don't usually talk about very often.''

We know now that Trump's willingness to grab hold of the immigration issue in his bold, even nasty, way resonated with white working-class voters in states that previously had been considered Democratic strongholds-particularly Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, which provided his Electoral College victory margin. It was this kind of rhetoric, combined with his eclectic mix of issues and positions, that rendered feckless the conventional wisdom back in early June of 2015 that said inexorable demographic trends favored the Democrats in 2016 and would continue to do so indefinitely into the future.

But running for president is not the same as being president, and now Donald Trump faces a governing challenge that he may or may not be capable of meeting. The New York billionaire emerged the winner in the crisis politics of 2016 by convincing just enough voters in just the right states that he would be a bold and effective manager, willing and able to take on entrenched political elites throughout the political system to break the deadlock of democracy and create a winning new status quo for America. This will not be an easy task, and Trump manifests some traits of personality and temperament that could impede his chances for success.

One is his tendency to advocate often contradictory policies that seem to reflect a disjointed and incoherent worldview. He says he would like to foster a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians but nominates as ambassador to Israel a man whose vocal support of Israeli settlements on the West Bank would preclude any such agreement. He says the United States should cease getting into Middle Eastern wars but brings into his inner circle men who seem to be spoiling for a fight with Iran. He says that, in Syria, we should concentrate first and foremost on defeating the Islamic State, or ISIS, but he seems bent on introducing tensions into U.S. relations with Iran, which also is fighting ISIS. He even suggested that, had he been president when Iranian naval forces detained American sailors who had drifted illegally into Iranian waters, he would have shot the Iranians out of the water within their own territorial seas. He decries the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the country's actions in bringing down Libya's Muammar Qaddafi but suggests we should have seized the oil of both countries-that is, from countries that, by his lights, we should have left alone.

Second, Trump seems to lack a facility for getting below the surface of things. On the campaign trail, he often was sharp and crisp in attacking policies he didn't like or in carving out his primary policy positions. But he seemed to lack the political vocabulary to get below the surface in ways that would allow him to engage in what might be called explanatory political discourse, the kind that provides narrative to the political conversation. Though often brilliant in operating upon the political surface-in seeing more clearly than most, for example, the nature of the American crisis or in crafting a provocatively effective message for the times-he often seemed incapable of giving meaning and context to his political positions. That wasn't a problem on the political stump; in fighting for legislation, however, it could prove limiting. As scholar Aaron David Miller writes in his book on the presidency, The End of Greatness , "The notion that the president's job is to create a story or a compelling narrative in order to teach and inspire is absolutely on target.'' Certainly, the president's rollout of his initial executive orders on refugees and immigration reflected his inability, or disinclination, to explain his actions to the American people as he proceeds. There was no compelling narrative here at all.

And, third, it isn't clear that Trump possesses the political temperament to deal effectively with the kind of politics that inevitably emerge when the country struggles to move from an established era to a new and often frightening new day. The country is split down the middle-between those clinging to the era of globalism and those who despise it; between those who want to control immigration and those who think such efforts are tantamount to racism; between those who believe that radical Islamist fundamentalism emanates out of Islam itself and those who think such thinking is bigotry or Islamophobia; between those who view Trump's election as necessary and those who consider it a threat to the common weal. These divisions, and many more, will complicate Trump's effort to break the nation's deadlock crisis and move the U.S. into a new era of consensus and internal stability. This will require an appreciation for the holdouts, those disinclined to buy Trump's message or join his cause. Trump, after all, is a minority president; he captured only 46 percent of the popular vote, 2 percentage points below Clinton's total. He can't forge any kind of effective governing coalition with just those who voted for him. He will need to build on his base, and that will require more than just the political will and swagger he demonstrated in the campaign. It will require also large amounts of guile, persistence, deviousness, cajolery, and an appreciation for the sensibilities of the collective electorate-all applied in just the right doses at just the right time. So far, some of those traits have been notably lacking.

Trump's mandate, defined by himself as well as events, is to generate economic growth at traditional levels, expand jobs sufficiently to bring discouraged workers back into the workforce, defeat ISIS and then bring America home from endless Middle Eastern wars, foster peace and relative global stability through strength mixed with creative diplomacy, establish an American consensus on the national direction, and maintain a civic calm within the American polity.

That's a tall order. He might succeed. He might fail. Either way, the American people, in their collective judgment, will maintain an unsentimental view of it all. If he succeeds, they will reward him with their votes, and a new coalition might emerge. If he fails, they will fire him. And then the crisis of the old order will continue and deepen until, somehow, at some point, the voters manage to select a president who can get the job done.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His next book, due out from Simon & Schuster in September, is President McKinley: Architect of the American Century .

[Feb 25, 2017] Pro-lifers disavow clinic bombings: "We finally see the irony

Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Tom aka Rusty : , February 21, 2017 at 11:11 AM
Not as good as The Onion, but pretty funny in a weird way:

http://www.hillarybeattrump.org

RGC -> Tom aka Rusty... , February 21, 2017 at 11:38 AM
Pro-lifers disavow clinic bombings: "We finally see the irony"

(My keyboard is devastated)

ilsm -> Tom aka Rusty... , February 21, 2017 at 02:08 PM
democrats' 'real America' where the deep state McCarthy's the republicans and the media lies keeping the Cambridge and Berkley 'majority' conned.

[Feb 23, 2017] The American Century Has Plunged the World Into Crisis. What Happens Now?

Authors outlined important reasons of the inevitability of the dominance of chicken hawks and jingoistic foreign policy in the USA political establishment:
.
"...Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and our infrastructure crumbles. Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional."
.
"...leading presidential candidates are tapping neoconservatives like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz - who still think the answer to any foreign policy quandary is military power - for advice. Our leaders seem to forget that following this lot's advice was exactly what caused the meltdown in the first place. War still excites them, risks and consequences be damned."
.
"...A "war first" policy in places like Iran and Syria is being strongly pushed by neoconservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain. "
.
"...But challenging the "exceptionalism" myth courts the danger of being labeled "unpatriotic" and "un-American," two powerful ideological sanctions that can effectively silence critical or questioning voices."
.
"...The United States did not simply support Kosovo's independence, for example. It bombed Serbia into de facto acceptance. When the U.S. decided to remove the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi from power, it just did so. No other country is capable of projecting that kind of force in regions thousands of miles from its borders."
.
"...The late political scientist Chalmers Johnson estimated that the U.S. has some 800 bases worldwide, about the same as the British Empire had at its height in 1895.
.
The United States has long relied on a military arrow in its diplomatic quiver, and Americans have been at war almost continuously since the end of World War II. Some of these wars were major undertakings: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya. Some were quick "smash and grabs" like Panama and Grenada. Others are "shadow wars" waged by Special Forces, armed drones, and local proxies. If one defines the term "war" as the application of organized violence, the U.S. has engaged in close to 80 wars since 1945."
.
"...The state of ceaseless war has deeply damaged our democracy, bringing our surveillance and security state to levels that many dictators would envy. The Senate torture report, most of it still classified, shatters the trust we are asked to place in the secret, unaccountable apparatus that runs the most extensive Big Brother spy system ever devised."
.
"...the U.S. always reserves the right to use military force. The 1979 "Carter Doctrine" - a document that mirrors the 1823 Monroe Doctrine about American interests in Latin America - put that strategy in blunt terms vis-à-vis the Middle East:"
.
"...In early 2014, some 57 percent of Americans agreed that "over-reliance on military force creates more hatred leading to increased terrorism." Only 37 percent believed military force was the way to go. But once the hysteria around the Islamic State began, those numbers shifted to pretty much an even split: 47 percent supported the use of military force, 46 percent opposed it.
.
It will always be necessary in each new crisis to counter those who mislead and browbeat the public into acceptance of another military intervention. But in spite of the current hysterics about ISIS, disillusionment in war as an answer is probably greater now among Americans and worldwide than it has ever been. That sentiment may prove strong enough to produce a shift away from perpetual war, a shift toward some modesty and common-sense realism in U.S. foreign policy.
"
Notable quotes:
"... Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and our infrastructure crumbles . Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional. ..."
"... leading presidential candidates are tapping neoconservatives like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz - who still think the answer to any foreign policy quandary is military power - for advice. Our leaders seem to forget that following this lot's advice was exactly what caused the meltdown in the first place. War still excites them, risks and consequences be damned. ..."
"... A "war first" policy in places like Iran and Syria is being strongly pushed by neoconservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain . ..."
"... But challenging the "exceptionalism" myth courts the danger of being labeled "unpatriotic" and "un-American," two powerful ideological sanctions that can effectively silence critical or questioning voices. ..."
"... The United States did not simply support Kosovo's independence, for example. It bombed Serbia into de facto acceptance. When the U.S. decided to remove the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi from power, it just did so. No other country is capable of projecting that kind of force in regions thousands of miles from its borders. ..."
"... As military expenditures dwarf funding for deteriorating social programs, they drive economic inequality. The poor and working millions are left further and further behind. Meanwhile the chronic problems highlighted at Ferguson, and reflected nationwide, are a horrific reminder of how deeply racism - the unequal economic and social divide and systemic abuse of black and Latino youth - continues to plague our homeland . ..."
"... The state of ceaseless war has deeply damaged our democracy, bringing our surveillance and security state to levels that many dictators would envy. The Senate torture report , most of it still classified, shatters the trust we are asked to place in the secret, unaccountable apparatus that runs the most extensive Big Brother spy system ever devised. ..."
"... the U.S. always reserves the right to use military force. ..."
"... In early 2014, some 57 percent of Americans agreed that "over-reliance on military force creates more hatred leading to increased terrorism." Only 37 percent believed military force was the way to go. But once the hysteria around the Islamic State began, those numbers shifted to pretty much an even split: 47 percent supported the use of military force, 46 percent opposed it. It will always be necessary in each new crisis to counter those who mislead and browbeat the public into acceptance of another military intervention. But in spite of the current hysterics about ISIS, disillusionment in war as an answer is probably greater now among Americans and worldwide than it has ever been. That sentiment may prove strong enough to produce a shift away from perpetual war, a shift toward some modesty and common-sense realism in U.S. foreign policy. ..."
Jun 22, 2015 | fpif.org

U.S. foreign policy is dangerous, undemocratic, and deeply out of sync with real global challenges. Is continuous war inevitable, or can we change course?

There's something fundamentally wrong with U.S. foreign policy.

Despite glimmers of hope - a tentative nuclear agreement with Iran, for one, and a long-overdue thaw with Cuba - we're locked into seemingly irresolvable conflicts in most regions of the world. They range from tensions with nuclear-armed powers like Russia and China to actual combat operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

Why? Has a state of perpetual warfare and conflict become inescapable? Or are we in a self-replicating cycle that reflects an inability - or unwillingness - to see the world as it actually is?

The United States is undergoing a historic transition in our relationship to the rest of the world, but this is neither acknowledged nor reflected in U.S. foreign policy. We still act as if our enormous military power, imperial alliances, and self-perceived moral superiority empower us to set the terms of "world order."

While this illusion goes back to the end of World War II, it was the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union that signaled the beginning of a self-proclaimed "American Century." The idea that the United States had "won" the Cold War and now - as the world's lone superpower - had the right or responsibility to order the world's affairs led to a series of military adventures. It started with President Bill Clinton's intervention in the Yugoslav civil war, continued on with George W. Bush's disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and can still be seen in the Obama administration's own misadventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and beyond.

In each case, Washington chose war as the answer to enormously complex issues, ignoring the profound consequences for both foreign and domestic policy. Yet the world is very different from the assumptions that drive this impulsive interventionism.

It's this disconnect that defines the current crisis.

Acknowledging New Realities

So what is it about the world that requires a change in our outlook? A few observations come to mind.

  1. First, our preoccupation with conflicts in the Middle East - and to a significant extent, our tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe and with China in East Asia - distract us from the most compelling crises that threaten the future of humanity. Climate change and environmental perils have to be dealt with now and demand an unprecedented level of international collective action. That also holds for the resurgent danger of nuclear war.
  2. Second, superpower military interventionism and far-flung acts of war have only intensified conflict, terror, and human suffering. There's no short-term solution - especially by force - to the deep-seated problems that cause chaos, violence, and misery through much of the world.
  3. Third, while any hope of curbing violence and mitigating the most urgent problems depends on international cooperation, old and disastrous intrigues over spheres of influence dominate the behavior of the major powers. Our own relentless pursuit of military advantage on every continent, including through alliances and proxies like NATO, divides the world into "friend" and "foe" according to our perceived interests. That inevitably inflames aggressive imperial rivalries and overrides common interests in the 21st century.
  4. Fourth, while the United States remains a great economic power, economic and political influence is shifting and giving rise to national and regional centers no longer controlled by U.S.-dominated global financial structures. Away from Washington, London, and Berlin, alternative centers of economic power are taking hold in Beijing, New Delhi, Cape Town, and Brasilia. Independent formations and alliances are springing up: organizations like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (representing 2.8 billion people); the Union of South American Nations; the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur; and others.

Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and our infrastructure crumbles. Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional.

Short Memories and Persistent Delusions

But instead of letting these changing circumstances and our repeated military failures give us pause, our government continues to act as if the United States has the power to dominate and dictate to the rest of the world.

The responsibility of those who set us on this course fades into background. Indeed, in light of the ongoing meltdown in the Middle East, leading presidential candidates are tapping neoconservatives like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz - who still think the answer to any foreign policy quandary is military power - for advice. Our leaders seem to forget that following this lot's advice was exactly what caused the meltdown in the first place. War still excites them, risks and consequences be damned.

While the Obama administration has sought, with limited success, to end the major wars it inherited, our government makes wide use of killer drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and has put troops back into Iraq to confront the religious fanaticism and brutality of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) - itself a direct consequence of the last U.S. invasion of Iraq. Reluctant to find common ground in the fight against ISIS with designated "foes" like Iran and Syria, Washington clings to allies like Saudi Arabia, whose leaders are fueling the crisis of religious fanaticism and internecine barbarity. Elsewhere, the U.S. also continues to give massive support to the Israeli government, despite its expanding occupation of the West Bank and its horrific recurring assaults on Gaza.

A "war first" policy in places like Iran and Syria is being strongly pushed by neoconservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain. Though it's attempted to distance itself from the neocons, the Obama administration adds to tensions with planned military realignments like the "Asia pivot" aimed at building up U.S. military forces in Asia to confront China. It's also taken a more aggressive position than even other NATO partners in fostering a new cold war with Russia.

We seem to have missed the point: There is no such thing as an "American Century." International order cannot be enforced by a superpower alone. But never mind centuries - if we don't learn to take our common interests more seriously than those that divide nations and breed the chronic danger of war, there may well be no tomorrows.

Unexceptionalism

There's a powerful ideological delusion that any movement seeking to change U.S. foreign policy must confront: that U.S. culture is superior to anything else on the planet. Generally going by the name of "American exceptionalism," it's the deeply held belief that American politics (and medicine, technology, education, and so on) are better than those in other countries. Implicit in the belief is an evangelical urge to impose American ways of doing things on the rest of the world.

Americans, for instance, believe they have the best education system in the world, when in fact they've dropped from 1st place to 14th place in the number of college graduates. We've made students of higher education the most indebted section of our population, while falling to 17th place in international education ratings. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, the average American pays more than twice as much for his or her education than those in the rest of the world.

Health care is an equally compelling example. In the World Health Organization's ranking of health care systems in 2000, the United States was ranked 37th. In a more recent Institute of Medicine report in 2013, the U.S. was ranked the lowest among 17 developed nations studied.

The old anti-war slogan, "It will be a good day when schools get all the money they need and the Navy has to hold a bake sale to buy an aircraft carrier" is as appropriate today as it was in the 1960s. We prioritize corporate subsidies, tax cuts for the wealthy, and massive military budgets over education. The result is that Americans are no longer among the most educated in the world.

But challenging the "exceptionalism" myth courts the danger of being labeled "unpatriotic" and "un-American," two powerful ideological sanctions that can effectively silence critical or questioning voices.

The fact that Americans consider their culture or ideology "superior" is hardly unique. But no other country in the world has the same level of economic and military power to enforce its worldview on others.

The United States did not simply support Kosovo's independence, for example. It bombed Serbia into de facto acceptance. When the U.S. decided to remove the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi from power, it just did so. No other country is capable of projecting that kind of force in regions thousands of miles from its borders.

The U.S. currently accounts for anywhere from 45 to 50 percent of the world's military spending. It has hundreds of overseas bases, ranging from huge sprawling affairs like Camp Bond Steel in Kosovo and unsinkable aircraft carriers around the islands of Okinawa, Wake, Diego Garcia, and Guam to tiny bases called "lily pads" of pre-positioned military supplies. The late political scientist Chalmers Johnson estimated that the U.S. has some 800 bases worldwide, about the same as the British Empire had at its height in 1895.

The United States has long relied on a military arrow in its diplomatic quiver, and Americans have been at war almost continuously since the end of World War II. Some of these wars were major undertakings: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya. Some were quick "smash and grabs" like Panama and Grenada. Others are "shadow wars" waged by Special Forces, armed drones, and local proxies. If one defines the term "war" as the application of organized violence, the U.S. has engaged in close to 80 wars since 1945.

The Home Front

The coin of empire comes dear, as the old expression goes.

According Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, the final butcher bill for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars - including the long-term health problems of veterans - will cost U.S. taxpayers around $6 trillion. One can add to that the over $1 trillion the U.S. spends each year on defense-related items. The "official" defense budget of some half a trillion dollars doesn't include such items as nuclear weapons, veterans' benefits or retirement, the CIA and Homeland Security, nor the billions a year in interest we'll be paying on the debt from the Afghan-Iraq wars. By 2013 the U.S. had already paid out $316 billion in interest.

The domestic collateral damage from that set of priorities is numbing.

We spend more on our "official" military budget than we do on Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Since 9/11, we've spent $70 million an hour on "security" compared to $62 million an hour on all domestic programs.

As military expenditures dwarf funding for deteriorating social programs, they drive economic inequality. The poor and working millions are left further and further behind. Meanwhile the chronic problems highlighted at Ferguson, and reflected nationwide, are a horrific reminder of how deeply racism - the unequal economic and social divide and systemic abuse of black and Latino youth - continues to plague our homeland.

The state of ceaseless war has deeply damaged our democracy, bringing our surveillance and security state to levels that many dictators would envy. The Senate torture report, most of it still classified, shatters the trust we are asked to place in the secret, unaccountable apparatus that runs the most extensive Big Brother spy system ever devised.

Bombs and Business

President Calvin Coolidge was said to have remarked that "the business of America is business." Unsurprisingly, U.S. corporate interests play a major role in American foreign policy.

Out of the top 10 international arms producers, eight are American. The arms industry spends millions lobbying Congress and state legislatures, and it defends its turf with an efficiency and vigor that its products don't always emulate on the battlefield. The F-35 fighter-bomber, for example - the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history - will cost $1.5 trillion and doesn't work. It's over budget, dangerous to fly, and riddled with defects. And yet few lawmakers dare challenge the powerful corporations who have shoved this lemon down our throats.

Corporate interests are woven into the fabric of long-term U.S. strategic interests and goals. Both combine to try to control energy supplies, command strategic choke points through which oil and gas supplies transit, and ensure access to markets.

Many of these goals can be achieved with standard diplomacy or economic pressure, but the U.S. always reserves the right to use military force. The 1979 "Carter Doctrine" - a document that mirrors the 1823 Monroe Doctrine about American interests in Latin America - put that strategy in blunt terms vis-à-vis the Middle East:

"An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

It's no less true in East Asia. The U.S. will certainly engage in peaceful economic competition with China. But if push comes to shove, the Third, Fifth, and Seventh fleets will back up the interests of Washington and its allies - Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Australia.

Trying to change the course of American foreign policy is not only essential for reducing international tensions. It's critically important to shift the enormous wealth we expend in war and weapons toward alleviating growing inequality and social crises at home.

As long as competition for markets and accumulation of capital characterize modern society, nations will vie for spheres of influence, and antagonistic interests will be a fundamental feature of international relations. Chauvinist reaction to incursions real or imagined - and the impulse to respond by military means - is characteristic to some degree of every significant nation-state. Yet the more that some governments, including our own, become subordinate to oligarchic control, the greater is the peril.

Finding the Common Interest

These, however, are not the only factors that will shape the future.

There is nothing inevitable that rules out a significant change of direction, even if the demise or transformation of a capitalistic system of greed and exploitation is not at hand. The potential for change, especially in U.S. foreign policy, resides in how social movements here and abroad respond to the undeniable reality of: 1) the chronic failure, massive costs, and danger inherent in "American Century" exceptionalism; and 2) the urgency of international efforts to respond to climate change.

There is, as well, the necessity to respond to health and natural disasters aggravated by poverty, to rising messianic violence, and above all, to prevent a descent into war. This includes not only the danger of a clash between the major nuclear powers, but between regional powers. A nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India, for example, would affect the whole world.

Without underestimating the self-interest of forces that thrive on gambling with the future of humanity, historic experience and current reality elevate a powerful common interest in peace and survival. The need to change course is not something that can be recognized on only one side of an ideological divide. Nor does that recognition depend on national, ethnic, or religious identity. Rather, it demands acknowledging the enormous cost of plunging ahead as everything falls apart around us.

After the latest U.S. midterm elections, the political outlook is certainly bleak. But experience shows that elections, important as they are, are not necessarily indicators of when and how significant change can come about in matters of policy. On issues of civil rights and social equality, advances have occurred because a dedicated and persistent minority movement helped change public opinion in a way the political establishment could not defy.

The Vietnam War, for example, came to an end, despite the stubbornness of Democratic and Republican administrations, when a stalemate on the battlefield and growing international and domestic opposition could no longer be denied. Significant changes can come about even as the basic character of society is retained. Massive resistance and rejection of colonialism caused the British Empire and other colonial powers to adjust to a new reality after World War II. McCarthyism was eventually defeated in the United States. President Nixon was forced to resign. The use of landmines and cluster bombs has been greatly restricted because of the opposition of a small band of activists whose initial efforts were labeled "quixotic."

There are diverse and growing political currents in our country that see the folly and danger of the course we're on. Many Republicans, Democrats, independents, and libertarians - and much of the public - are beginning to say "enough" to war and military intervention all over the globe, and the folly of basing foreign policy on dividing countries into "friend or foe."

This is not to be Pollyannaish about anti-war sentiment, or how quickly people can be stampeded into supporting the use of force. In early 2014, some 57 percent of Americans agreed that "over-reliance on military force creates more hatred leading to increased terrorism." Only 37 percent believed military force was the way to go. But once the hysteria around the Islamic State began, those numbers shifted to pretty much an even split: 47 percent supported the use of military force, 46 percent opposed it.

It will always be necessary in each new crisis to counter those who mislead and browbeat the public into acceptance of another military intervention. But in spite of the current hysterics about ISIS, disillusionment in war as an answer is probably greater now among Americans and worldwide than it has ever been. That sentiment may prove strong enough to produce a shift away from perpetual war, a shift toward some modesty and common-sense realism in U.S. foreign policy.

Making Space for the Unexpected

Given that there is a need for a new approach, how can American foreign policy be changed?

Foremost, there is the need for a real debate on the thrust of a U.S. foreign policy that chooses negotiation, diplomacy, and international cooperation over the use of force.

However, as we approach another presidential election, there is as yet no strong voice among the candidates to challenge U.S. foreign policy. Fear and questionable political calculation keep even most progressive politicians from daring to dissent as the crisis of foreign policy lurches further into perpetual militarism and war. That silence of political acquiescence has to be broken.

Nor is it a matter of concern only on the left. There are many Americans - right, left, or neither - who sense the futility of the course we're on. These voices have to be represented or the election process will be even more of a sham than we've recently experienced.

One can't predict just what initiatives may take hold, but the recent U.S.-China climate agreement suggests that necessity can override significant obstacles. That accord is an important step forward, although a limited bilateral pact cannot substitute for an essential international climate treaty. There is a glimmer of hope also in the U.S.-Russian joint action that removed chemical weapons from Syria, and in negotiations with Iran, which continue despite fierce opposition from U.S. hawks and the Israeli government. More recently, there is Obama's bold move - long overdue - to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Despite shifts in political fortunes, the unexpected can happen if there is a need and strong enough pressure to create an opportunity.

We do not claim to have ready-made solutions to the worsening crisis in international relations. We are certain that there is much we've missed or underestimated. But if readers agree that U.S. foreign policy has a national and global impact, and that it is not carried out in the interests of the majority of the world's people, including our own, then we ask you to join this conversation.

If we are to expand the ability of the people to influence foreign policy, we need to defend democracy, and encourage dissent and alternative ideas. The threats to the world and to ourselves are so great that finding common ground trumps any particular interest. We also know that we won't all agree with each other, and we believe that is as it should be. There are multiple paths to the future. No coalition around changing foreign policy will be successful if it tells people to conform to any one pattern of political action.

So how does the call for changing course translate to something politically viable, and how do we consider the problem of power?

The power to make significant changes in policy ranges from the persistence of peace activists to the potential influence of the general public. In some circumstances, it becomes possible - as well as necessary - to make significant changes in the power structure itself.

Greece comes to mind. Greek left organizations came together to form Syriza, the political party that was successfully elected to power on a platform of ending austerity. Spain's anti-austerity Podemos Party - now the number-two party in the country - came out of massive demonstrations in 2011 and was organized from the grassroots up. We do not argue one approach over the over, but the experiences in both countries demonstrate that there are multiple paths to generating change.

Certainly progressives and leftists grapple with the problems of power. But progress on issues, particularly in matters like war and peace and climate change, shouldn't be conceived of as dependent on first achieving general solutions to the problems of society, however desirable.

... ... ...

Conn Hallinan is a journalist and a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus. His writings appear online at Dispatches From the Edge. Leon Wofsy is a retired biology professor and long-time political activist. His comments on current affairs appear online at Leon's OpEd.

[Feb 21, 2017] Lawrence Wilkerson Travails of Empire - Oil, Debt, Gold and the Imperial Dollar

Notable quotes:
"... The BRICS want to use oil to "force the US to lose its incredibly powerful role in owning the world's transactional reserve currency." It gives the US a great deal of power of empire that it would not ordinarily have, since the ability to add debt without consequence enables the expenditures to sustain it. ..."
"... Later, after listening to this again, the thought crossed my mind that this advisor might be a double agent using the paranoia of the military to achieve the ends of another. Not for the BRICS, but for the Banks. The greatest beneficiary of a strong dollar, which is a terrible burden to the real economy, is the financial sector. This is why most countries seek to weaken or devalue their currencies to improve their domestic economies as a primary objective. This is not so far-fetched as military efforts to provoke 'regime change' have too often been undertaken to support powerful commercial interests. ..."
"... A typical observation is that the US did indeed overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953 in Iran. But 'the British needed the money' from the Anglo-Iranian oil company in order to rebuild after WW II. Truman had rejected the notion, but Eisenhower the military veteran and Republic agreed to it. Wilkerson says specifically that Ike was 'the last expert' to hold the office of the Presidency. ..."
Aug 15, 2015 | Jesse's Café Américain
"We are imperial, and we are in decline... People are losing confidence in the Empire."
This is the key theme of Larry Wilkerson's presentation. He never really questions whether empire is good or bad, sustainable or not, and at what costs. At least he does not so in the same manner as that great analyst of empire Chalmers Johnson.

It is important to understand what people who are in and near positions of power are thinking if you wish to understand what they are doing, and what they are likely to do. What ought to be done is another matter.

Wilkerson is a Republican establishment insider who has served for many years in the military and the State Department. Here he is giving about a 40 minute presentation to the Centre For International Governance in Canada in 2014.

I find his point of view of things interesting and revealing, even on those points where I may not agree with his perspective. There also seem to be some internal inconsistencies in this thinking.

But what makes his perspective important is that it represents a mainstream view of many professional politicians and 'the Establishment' in America. Not the hard right of the Republican party, but much of what constitutes the recurring political establishment of the US.

As I have discussed here before, I do not particularly care so much if a trading indicator has a fundamental basis in reality, as long as enough people believe in and act on it. Then it is worth watching as self-fulfilling prophecy. And the same can be said of political and economic memes.

At minute 48:00 Wilkerson gives a response to a question about the growing US debt and of the role of the petrodollar in the Empire, and the efforts by others to 'undermine it' by replacing it. This is his 'greatest fear.'

He speaks about 'a principal advisor to the CIA Futures project' and the National Intelligence Council (NIC), whose views and veracity of claims are being examined closely by sophisticated assets. He believes that both Beijing and Moscow are complicit in an attempt to weaken the dollar.

This includes the observation that "gold is being moved in sort of unique ways, concentrated in secret in unique ways, and capitals are slowly but surely divesting themselves of US Treasuries. So what you are seeing right now in the supposed strengthening of the dollar is a false impression."

The BRICS want to use oil to "force the US to lose its incredibly powerful role in owning the world's transactional reserve currency." It gives the US a great deal of power of empire that it would not ordinarily have, since the ability to add debt without consequence enables the expenditures to sustain it.

Later, after listening to this again, the thought crossed my mind that this advisor might be a double agent using the paranoia of the military to achieve the ends of another. Not for the BRICS, but for the Banks. The greatest beneficiary of a strong dollar, which is a terrible burden to the real economy, is the financial sector. This is why most countries seek to weaken or devalue their currencies to improve their domestic economies as a primary objective. This is not so far-fetched as military efforts to provoke 'regime change' have too often been undertaken to support powerful commercial interests.

Here is just that particular excerpt of the Q&A and the question of increasing US debt.

I am not sure how much the policy makers and strategists agree with this theory about gold. But there is no doubt in my mind that they believe and are acting on the theory that oil, and the dollar control of oil, the so-called petrodollar, is the key to maintaining the empire.

Wilkerson reminds me very much of a political theoretician who I knew at Georgetown University. He talks about strategic necessities, the many occasions in which the US has used its imperial power covertly to overthrow or attempt to overthrow governments in Iran, Venezuela, Syria, and the Ukraine. He tends to ascribe all these actions to selflessness, and American service to the world in maintaining a balance of power where 'all we ask is a plot of ground to bury our dead.'

A typical observation is that the US did indeed overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953 in Iran. But 'the British needed the money' from the Anglo-Iranian oil company in order to rebuild after WW II. Truman had rejected the notion, but Eisenhower the military veteran and Republic agreed to it. Wilkerson says specifically that Ike was 'the last expert' to hold the office of the Presidency.

This is what is meant by realpolitik. It is all about organizing the world under a 'balance of power' that is favorable to the Empire and the corporations that have sprung up around it.

As someone with a long background and interest in strategy I am not completely unsympathetic to these lines of thinking. But like most broadly developed human beings and students of history and philosophy one can see that the allure of such thinking, without recourse to questions of restraint and morality and the fig leaf of exceptionalist thinking, is a terrible trap, a Faustian bargain. It is the rationalization of every nascent tyranny. It is the precursor to the will to pure power for its own sake.

The challenges of empire now according to Wilkerson are:

  1. Disequilibrium of wealth - 1/1000th of the US owns 50% of its total wealth. The current economic system implies long term stagnation (I would say stagflation. The situation in the US is 1929, and in France, 1789. All the gains are going to the top.
  2. BRIC nations are rising and the Empire is in decline, largely because of US strategic miscalculations. The US is therefore pressing harder towards war in its desperation and desire to maintain the status quo. And it is dragging a lot of good and honest people into it with our NATO allies who are dependent on the US for their defense.
  3. There is a strong push towards regional government in the US that may intensify as global warming and economic developments present new challenges to specific areas. For example, the water has left the Southwest, and it will not be coming back anytime soon.
This presentation ends about minute 40, and then it is open to questions which is also very interesting.
Lawrence Wilkerson, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William Mary, and former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Related: Chalmers Johnson: Decline of Empire and the Signs of Decay

[Feb 21, 2017] Our situation with neoliberalism reminds me lines from the Hotel California

Feb 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova -> libezkova... February 20, 2017 at 08:36 PM , 2017 at 08:36 PM
Our situation with neoliberalism reminds me lines from the "Hotel California " ;-)

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html
== quote ==
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

[Feb 21, 2017] Will neoliberalism outlast Bolshevism which lasted 74 years

Feb 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc -> libezkova... , February 20, 2017 at 07:16 PM
We can agree that all politico-economic systems tried thus far by man have fatal flaws. Ours just works better, or has, for longer than any other, so far that is.
libezkova -> im1dc... , February 20, 2017 at 07:18 PM
Very true.
libezkova -> libezkova... , February 20, 2017 at 08:36 PM
Out situation with neoliberalism reminds me lines from "Hotel California ;-)

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html
== quote ==
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

cm -> im1dc... , February 20, 2017 at 08:56 PM
It has worked for longer than its contemporary contenders. E.g. the Roman empire could point to more centuries of existence. When would you say "this system" started? E.g. is the current US a smooth continuation of the late 1700's version, or were there "reboots" in between? How about a continuation of British capitalism (also 1700s or earlier)?
libezkova -> cm... , February 21, 2017 at 07:23 AM
I think his point was that the USA (1776 - current)=="USA capitalism" which is around 200 years old outlasted Bolshevism which lasted for only 74 years.

Of course, British capitalism is as long existing as the US capitalism (probably slightly longer, as we can view period of slave ownership as "imperfect" or mixed capitalism).

In other words capitalism in its various forms is a relatively long term social system. Which experienced several, often dramatic, transformations along the way. Probably all post Napoleonic years can be viewed as years of existence of capitalism. So the USA is as old as capitalism itself.

Of course various forms of capitalism are short lived:

In this sense Bolshevism (which Chinese viewed as a form of imperialism ;-) which lasted 74 years or so outlasted them.

[Feb 21, 2017] Globalisation and Economic Nationalism naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its 'losers', and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies. The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation. ..."
"... From an energy point of view globalisation is a disaster. The insane level of fossil fuels that this current world requires for transportation of necessities (food and clothing) is making this world an unstable world. Ipso Facto. ..."
"... Those who believe that globalisation is bringing value to the world should reconsider their views. The current globalisation has created both monopolies on a geopolitical ground, ie TV make or shipbuilding in Asia. ..."
"... Do you seriously believe that these new geographical and corporate monopolies does not create the kind bad outcomes that traditional – country-centric ones – monopolies have in the past? ..."
"... Then there is the practical issue of workers having next to no bargaining power under globalization. Do people really suppose that Mexican workers would be willing to strike so that their US counterparts, already making ficew times as much money, would get a raise? ..."
"... Basically our elite sold us a bill of goods is why we lost manufacturing. Greed. Nothing else. ..."
"... So proof is required to rollback globalization, but no proof was required to launch it or continue dishing it out? It's good to be the King, eh? ..."
"... America hasn't just gotten rid of the low level jobs. It has also gotten rid of supervisors and factory managers. Those are skills you can't get back overnight. For US plants in Mexico, you might have US managers there or be able to get special visas to let those managers come to the US. But US companies have shifted a ton, and I meant a ton, to foreign subcontractors. Some would put operations in the US to preserve access to US customers, but their managers won't speak English. How do you make this work? ..."
"... The real issue is commitment. Very little manufacturing will be re-shored unless companies are convinced that it is in their longterm interest to do so. ..."
"... There is also what I've heard referred to as the "next bench" phenomenon, in which products arise because someone designs a new product/process to solve a manufacturing problem. Unless one has great foresight, the designer of the new product must be aware there is a problem to solve. ..."
"... When a country is involved in manufacturing, the citizens employed will have exposure to production problems and issues. ..."
"... After his speech he took questions. I asked "Would Toyota ever separate design from manufacturing?" as HP had done, shipping all manufacturing to Asia. "No" was his answer. ..."
"... In my experience, it is way too useful to have the line be able to easily call the designer in question and have him come take a look at what his design is doing. HP tried to get around that by sending part of the design team to Asia to watch the startup. Didn't work as well. And when problems emerged later, it was always difficult to debug by remote control. ..."
"... How about mass imports of cheap workers into western countries in the guise of emigrants to push down worker's pay and gut things like unions. That factor played a decisive factor in both the Brexit referendum and the US 2016 elections. Or the subsidized exportation of western countries industrial equipment to third world countries, leaving local workers swinging in the wind. ..."
"... The data sets do not capture some of the most important factors in what they are saying. It is like putting together a paper on how and why white men voted in the 2016 US elections as they did – and forgetting to mention the effect of the rest of the voters involved. ..."
"... I had a similar reaction. This research was reinforcing info about everyone's resentment over really bad distribution of wealth, as far as it went, but it was so unsatisfying ..."
"... "Right to work" is nothing other than a way to undercut quality of work for "run-to-the-bottom competitive pay." ..."
"... I've noticed that the only people in favor of globalization are those whose jobs are not under threat from it. ..."
"... First off, economic nationalism is not necessarily right wing. I would certainly classify Bernie Sanders as an economic nationalist (against open borders and against "free" trade). Syriza and Podemos could arguably be called rather ineffective economic nationalist parties. I would say the whole ideology of social democracy is based on the Swedish nationalist concept of a "folkhem", where the nation is the home and the citizens are the folk. ..."
"... So China is Turmpism on steroids. Israel obviously is as well. Why do some nations get to be blatantly Trumpist while for others these policies are strictly forbidden? ..."
"... One way to look at Globalization is as an updated version of the post WW1 Versailles Treaty which imposed reparations on a defeated Germany for all the harm they caused during the Great War. The Globalized Versailles Treaty is aimed at the American and European working classes for the crimes of colonialism, racism, slavery and any other bad things the 1st world has done to the 3rd in the past. ..."
"... And yes, this applies to Bernie Sanders as well. During that iconic interview where Sanders denounced open borders and pushed economic nationalism, the Neoliberal interviewer immediately played the global guilt card in response. ..."
"... During colonialism the 3rd world had a form of open borders imposed on it by the colonial powers, where the 3rd world lost control of who what crossed their borders while the 1st world themselves maintained a closed border mercantilist regime of strict filters. So the anti-colonialist movement was a form of Trumpist economic nationalism where the evil foreigners were given the boot and the nascent nations applied filters to their borders. ..."
"... Nationalism (my opinion) can do this – economic nationalism. And of course other people think oh gawd, not that again – it's so inefficient for my investments- I can't get fast returns that way but that's just the point. ..."
"... China was not a significant exporter until the 2001 inclusion in WTO: it cannot possibly have caused populist uprisings in Italy and Belgium in the 1990s. It was probably too early even for Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, who was killed in 2002, Le Pen's electoral success in the same year, Austria's FPOE in 1999, and so on. ..."
"... In the 1930s Keynes realized, income was just as important as profit as this produced a sustainable system that does not rely on debt to maintain demand. ..."
"... "Although commercial banks create money through lending, they cannot do so freely without limit. Banks are limited in how much they can lend if they are to remain profitable in a competitive banking system." ..."
"... The Romans are the basis. Patricians, Equites and Plebs. Most of us here are clearly plebeian. Time to go place some bets, watch the chariot races and gladiatorial fights, and get my bread subsidy. Ciao. ..."
"... 80-90% of Bonds and Equities ( at least in USA) are owned by top 10 %. 0.7% own 45% of global wealth. 8 billionaires own more than 50% of wealth than that of bottom 50% in our Country! ..."
"... Globalisation has caused a surge in support for nationalist and radical right political platforms. ..."
"... Trump's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems to be a move in that direction. ..."
"... Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its 'losers' ..."
"... and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies. ..."
"... The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation. ..."
Feb 21, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DanielDeParis , February 20, 2017 at 1:09 am

Definitely a pleasant read but IMHO wrong conclusion: Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its 'losers', and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies. The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation.

From an energy point of view globalisation is a disaster. The insane level of fossil fuels that this current world requires for transportation of necessities (food and clothing) is making this world an unstable world. Ipso Facto.

We need a world where goods move little as possible (yep!) when smart ideas and technology (medical, science, industry, yep that's essential) move as much as possible. Internet makes this possible. This is no dream but a XXIth century reality.

Work – the big one – is required and done where and when it occurs. That is on all continents if not in every country. Not in an insanely remote suburbs of Asia.

Those who believe that globalisation is bringing value to the world should reconsider their views. The current globalisation has created both monopolies on a geopolitical ground, ie TV make or shipbuilding in Asia.

Do you seriously believe that these new geographical and corporate monopolies does not create the kind bad outcomes that traditional – country-centric ones – monopolies have in the past?

Yves Smith can have nasty words when it comes to discussing massive trade surplus and policies that supports them. That's my single most important motivation for reading this challenging blog, by the way.

Thanks for the blog:)

tony , February 20, 2017 at 5:09 am

Another thing is that reliance on complex supply chains is risky. The book 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed describes how the ancient Mediterranian civilization collapsed when the supply chains stopped working.

Then there is the practical issue of workers having next to no bargaining power under globalization. Do people really suppose that Mexican workers would be willing to strike so that their US counterparts, already making ficew times as much money, would get a raise?

Is Finland somehow supposed to force the US and China to adopt similar worker rights and environmental protections? No, globalization, no matter how you slice it,is a race to the bottom.

digi_owl , February 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

Sadly protectionism gets conflated with empire building, because protectionism was at its height right before WW1.

Altandmain , February 20, 2017 at 1:35 am

I do not agree with the article's conclusion either.

Reshoring would have 1 of 2 outcomes:

Basically our elite sold us a bill of goods is why we lost manufacturing. Greed. Nothing else.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 3:07 am

The conclusion is the least important thing. Conclusions are just interpretations, afterthoughts, divagations (which btw are often just sneaky ways to get your work published by TPTB, surreptitiously inserting radical stuff under the noses of the guardians of orthodoxy).

The value of these reports is in providing hardcore statistical evidence and quantification for something for which so many people have a gut feeling but just cann't prove it (although many seem to think that just having a strong opinion is sufficient).

Yves Smith Post author , February 20, 2017 at 3:27 am

Yes, correct. Intuition is great for coming up with hypotheses, but it is important to test them. And while a correlation isn't causation, it at least says the hypothesis isn't nuts on its face.

In addition, studies like this are helpful in challenging the oft-made claim, particularly in the US, that people who vote for nationalist policies are bigots of some stripe.

KnotRP , February 20, 2017 at 10:02 am

So proof is required to rollback globalization, but no proof was required to launch it or continue dishing it out? It's good to be the King, eh?

WheresOurTeddy , February 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm

KnotRP, as far as the Oligarchy is concerned, they don't need proof for anything #RememberTheHackedElectionOf2016

/s

Yves Smith Post author , February 20, 2017 at 6:48 am

You are missing the transition costs, which will take ten years, maybe a generation.

America hasn't just gotten rid of the low level jobs. It has also gotten rid of supervisors and factory managers. Those are skills you can't get back overnight. For US plants in Mexico, you might have US managers there or be able to get special visas to let those managers come to the US. But US companies have shifted a ton, and I meant a ton, to foreign subcontractors. Some would put operations in the US to preserve access to US customers, but their managers won't speak English. How do you make this work?

The only culture with demonstrated success in working with supposedly hopeless US workers is the Japanese, who proved that with the NUMMI joint venture with GM in one of its very worst factories (in terms of the alleged caliber of the workforce, as in many would show up for work drunk). Toyota got the plant to function at better than average (as in lower) defect levels and comparable productivity to its plants in Japan, which was light years better than Big Three norms.

I'm not sure any other foreign managers are as sensitive to detail and the fine points of working conditions as the Japanese (having worked with them extensively, the Japanese hear frequencies of power dynamics that are lost on Westerners. And the Chinese do not even begin to have that capability, as much as they have other valuable cultural attributes).

Katharine , February 20, 2017 at 10:24 am

That is really interesting about the Japanese sensitivity to detail and power dynamics. If anyone has managed to describe this in any detail, I would love to read more, though I suppose if their ability is alien to most Westerners the task of describing it might also be too much to handle.

Left in Wisconsin , February 20, 2017 at 10:39 am

I lean more to ten years than a generation. And in the grand scheme of things, 10 years is nothing.

The real issue is commitment. Very little manufacturing will be re-shored unless companies are convinced that it is in their longterm interest to do so. Which means having a sense that the US government is serious, and will continue to be serious, about penalizing off-shoring.

Regardless of Trump's bluster, which has so far only resulted in a handful of companies halting future offshoring decisions (all to the good), we are nowhere close to that yet.

John Wright , February 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

There is also what I've heard referred to as the "next bench" phenomenon, in which products arise because someone designs a new product/process to solve a manufacturing problem. Unless one has great foresight, the designer of the new product must be aware there is a problem to solve.

When a country is involved in manufacturing, the citizens employed will have exposure to production problems and issues.

Sometimes the solution to these problems can lead to new products outside of one's main business, for example the USA's Kingsford Charcoal arose from a scrap wood disposal problem that Henry Ford had.

https://www.kingsford.com/country/about-us/

If one googles for "patent applications by countries" one gets these numbers, which could be an indirect indication of some of the manufacturing shift from the USA to Asia.

Patent applications for the top 10 offices, 2014

1. China 928,177
2. US 578,802
3. Japan 325,989
4. South Korea 210,292

What is not captured in these numbers are manufacturing processes known as "trade secrets" that are not disclosed in a patent. The idea that the USA can move move much of its manufacturing overseas without long term harming its workforce and economy seems implausible to me.

marku52 , February 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm

While a design EE at HP, they brought in an author who had written about Toyota's lean design method, which was currently the management hot button du jour. After his speech he took questions. I asked "Would Toyota ever separate design from manufacturing?" as HP had done, shipping all manufacturing to Asia. "No" was his answer.

In my experience, it is way too useful to have the line be able to easily call the designer in question and have him come take a look at what his design is doing. HP tried to get around that by sending part of the design team to Asia to watch the startup. Didn't work as well. And when problems emerged later, it was always difficult to debug by remote control.

And BTW, after manufacturing went overseas, management told us for costing to assume "Labor is free". Some level playing field.

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2017 at 2:00 am

Oh gawd! The man talks about the effects of globalization and says that the solution is a "a more inclusive model of globalization"? Seriously? Furthermore he singles out Chinese imports as the cause of people being pushed to the right. Yeah, right.

How about mass imports of cheap workers into western countries in the guise of emigrants to push down worker's pay and gut things like unions. That factor played a decisive factor in both the Brexit referendum and the US 2016 elections. Or the subsidized exportation of western countries industrial equipment to third world countries, leaving local workers swinging in the wind.

This study is so incomplete it is almost useless. The only thing that comes to mind to say about this study is the phrase "Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" And what form of appropriate compensation of its 'losers' would they suggest? Training for non-existent jobs? Free moving fees to the east or west coast for Americans in flyover country? Subsidized emigration fees to third world countries where life is cheaper for workers with no future where they are?

Nice try fellas but time to redo your work again until it is fit for a passing grade.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 3:00 am

How crazy of them to have used generalized linear mixed models with actual data carefully compiled and curated when they could just asked you right?

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2017 at 4:19 am

Aw jeez, mate – you've just hurt my feelings here. Take a look at the actual article again. The data sets do not capture some of the most important factors in what they are saying. It is like putting together a paper on how and why white men voted in the 2016 US elections as they did – and forgetting to mention the effect of the rest of the voters involved.

Hey, here is an interesting thought experiment for you. How about we apply the scientific method to the past 40 years of economic theory since models with actual data strike your fancy. If we find that the empirical data does not support a theory such as the theory of economic neoliberalism, we can junk it then and replace it with something that actually works then. So far as I know, modern economics seems to be immune to scientific rigour in their methods unlike the real sciences.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 4:38 am

I feel your pain Rev.

Not all relevant factors need to be included for a statistical analysis to be valid, as long as relevant ignored factors are randomized amongst the sampling units, but you know that of course.

Thanks for you kind words about the real sciences, we work hard to keep it real, but once again, in all fairness, between you and me mate, is not all rigour, it is a lot more Feyerabend than Popper.

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2017 at 5:41 am

What you say is entirely true. The trouble has always been to make sure that that statistical analysis actually reflects the real world enough to make it valid. An example of where it all falls apart can be seen in the political world when the pundits, media and all the pollsters assured America that Clinton had it in the bag. It was only after the dust had settled that it was revealed how bodgy the methodology used had been.

By the way, Karl Popper and Paul Feyerabend sound very interesting so thanks for the heads up. Have you heard of some of the material of another bloke called Mark Blyth at all? He has some interesting observations to make on modern economic practices.

susan the other , February 20, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I had a similar reaction. This research was reinforcing info about everyone's resentment over really bad distribution of wealth, as far as it went, but it was so unsatisfying and I immediately thought of Blyth who laments the whole phylogeny of economics as more or less serving the rich.

The one solution he offered up a while ago was (paraphrasing) 'don't sweat the deficit spending because it is all 6s in the end' which is true if distribution doesn't stagnate. So as it stands now, offshoring arms, legs and firstborns is like 'nothing to see here, please move on'. The suggestion that we need a more inclusive form of global trade kind of begs the question. Made me uneasy too.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Please don't pool pundits and media with the authors of objective works like the one we are commenting :-)

You are welcome, you might also be interested in Lakatos, these 3 are some of the most interesting philosophers of science of the 20th century, IMO.

Blyth has been in some posts here at NC recently.

relstprof , February 20, 2017 at 4:30 am

"Gut things like unions." How so? In my recent interaction with my apartment agency's preferred contractors, random contractors not unionized, I experienced a 6 month-long disaster.

These construction workers bragged that in 2 weeks they would have the complete job done - a reconstructed deck and sunroom. Verbatim quote: "Union workers complete the job and tear it down to keep everyone paying." Ha Ha! What a laugh!

Only to have these same dudes keep saying "next week", "next week", "next week", "next week". The work began in August and only was finished (not completely!) in late January. Sloppy crap! Even the apartment agency head maintenance guy who I finally bitched at said "I guess good work is hard to come by these days."

Of the non-union guys he hired.

My state just elected a republican governor who promised "right to work." This was just signed into law.

Immigrants and Mexicans had nothing to do with it. They're not an impact in my city. "Right to work" is nothing other than a way to undercut quality of work for "run-to-the-bottom competitive pay."

Now I await whether my rent goes up to pay for this nonsense.

bob , February 20, 2017 at 11:24 pm

They look at the labor cost, assume someone can do it cheaper. They don't think it's that difficult. Maybe it's not. The hard part of any and all construction work is getting it finished. Getting started is easy. Getting it finished on time? Nah, you can't afford that.

Karl Kolchak , February 20, 2017 at 10:22 am

I've noticed that the only people in favor of globalization are those whose jobs are not under threat from it. Beyond that, I think the flood of cheap Chinese goods is actually helping suppress populist anger by allowing workers whose wages are dropping in real value terms to maintain the illusion of prosperity. To me, a more "inclusive" form of globalization would include replacing every economist with a Chinese immigrant earning minimum wage. That way they'd get to "experience" how awesome it is and the value of future economic analysis would be just as good.

The Trumpening , February 20, 2017 at 2:27 am

I'm going to question a few of the author's assumptions.

First off, economic nationalism is not necessarily right wing. I would certainly classify Bernie Sanders as an economic nationalist (against open borders and against "free" trade). Syriza and Podemos could arguably be called rather ineffective economic nationalist parties. I would say the whole ideology of social democracy is based on the Swedish nationalist concept of a "folkhem", where the nation is the home and the citizens are the folk.

Secondly, when discussing the concept of economic nationalism and the nation of China, it would be interesting to discuss how these two things go together. China has more billionaires than refugees accepted in the past 20 years. Also it is practically impossible for a non Han Chinese person to become a naturalized Chinese citizen. And when China buys Boeing aircraft, they wisely insist on the production being done in China. A close look at Japan would yield similar results.

So China is Turmpism on steroids. Israel obviously is as well. Why do some nations get to be blatantly Trumpist while for others these policies are strictly forbidden?

One way to look at Globalization is as an updated version of the post WW1 Versailles Treaty which imposed reparations on a defeated Germany for all the harm they caused during the Great War. The Globalized Versailles Treaty is aimed at the American and European working classes for the crimes of colonialism, racism, slavery and any other bad things the 1st world has done to the 3rd in the past.

Of course during colonialism the costs were socialized within colonizing states and so it was the people of the colonial power who paid those costs that weren't borne by the colonial subjects themselves, who of course paid dearly, and it was the oligarchic class that privatized the colonial profits. But the 1st world oligarchs and their urban bourgeoisie are in strong agreement that the deplorable working classes are to blame for systems that hurt working classes but powerfully enriched the wealthy!

And so with the recent rebellions against Globalization, the 1st and 3rd world oligarchs are convinced these are nothing more than the 1st world working classes attempting to shirk their historic guilt debt by refusing to pay the rightful reparations in terms of standard of living that workers deserve to pay for the crimes committed in the past by their wealthy co-nationals.

And yes, this applies to Bernie Sanders as well. During that iconic interview where Sanders denounced open borders and pushed economic nationalism, the Neoliberal interviewer immediately played the global guilt card in response.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 3:23 am

Interesting. Another way to look at it is from the point of view of entropy and closed vs open systems. Before globalisation the 1st world working classes enjoyed a high standard of living which was possible because their system was relatively closed to the rest of the world. It was a high entropy, strongly structured socio-economic arrangement, with a large difference in standard of living between 1st world and 3rd world working classes. Once their system became more open by virtue (or vice) of globalisation, entropy increased as commanded by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics so the 1st world and 3rd world working classes became more equalised. The socio-economic arrangements became less structured. This means for the Trumpening kind of politicians it is a steep uphill battle, to increase entropy again.

The Trumpening , February 20, 2017 at 3:56 am

Yes, I agree, but if we step back in history a bit we can see the colonial period as a sort of reverse globalization which perhaps portends a bit of optimism for the Trumpening.

I use the term open and closed borders but these are not precise. What I am really saying is that open borders does not allow a country to filter out negative flows across their border. Closed borders does allow a nation to impose a filter. So currently the US has more open borders (filters are frowned upon) and China has closed borders (they can filter out what they don't want) despite the fact that obviously China has plenty of things crossing its border.

During colonialism the 3rd world had a form of open borders imposed on it by the colonial powers, where the 3rd world lost control of who what crossed their borders while the 1st world themselves maintained a closed border mercantilist regime of strict filters. So the anti-colonialist movement was a form of Trumpist economic nationalism where the evil foreigners were given the boot and the nascent nations applied filters to their borders.

So the 3rd world to some extent (certainly in China at least) was able to overcome entropy and regain control of their borders. You are correct in that it will be an uphill struggle for the 1st world to repeat this trick. In the ideal world both forms of globalization (colonialism and the current form) would be sidelined and all nations would be allowed to use the border filters they think would best protect the prosperity of their citizens.

Another good option would be a version of the current globalization but where the losers are the wealthy oligarchs themselves and the winners are the working classes. It's hard to imagine it's easy if you try!

What's interesting about the concept of entropy is that it stands in contradiction to the concept of perpetual progress. I'm sure there is some sort of thesis, antithesis, synthesis solution to these conflicting concepts.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 6:07 am

To overcome an entropy current requires superb skill commanding a large magnitude of work applied densely on a small substratum (think of the evolution of the DNA, the internal combustion engine). I believe the Trumpening laudable effort and persuasion would have a chance of success in a country the size of The Netherlands, or even France, but the USA, the largest State machinery in the world, hardly. When the entropy current flooded the Soviet system the solution came firstly in the form of shrinkage.

We need to think more about it, a lot more, in order to succeed in this 1st world uphill struggle to repeat the trick. I am pretty sure that as Pierre de Fermat famously claimed about his alleged proof, the solution "is too large to fit in the margins of this book".

susan the other , February 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm

My little entropy epiphany goes like this: it's like boxes – containers, if you will, of energy or money, or trade goods, the flow of which is best slowed down so everybody can grab some. Break it all down, decentralize it and force it into containers which slow the pace and share the wealth.

Nationalism (my opinion) can do this – economic nationalism. And of course other people think oh gawd, not that again – it's so inefficient for my investments- I can't get fast returns that way but that's just the point.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 10:51 pm

I like your epiphany susan.

John Wright , February 20, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Don't you mean "It was a LOWER entropy (as in "more ordered"), strongly structured socio-economic arrangement, with a large difference in standard of living between 1st world"?

The entropy increased as a consequence of human guided globalization.

Of course, from a thermodynamic standpoint, the earth is not a closed system as it is continually flooded with new energy in the form of solar radiation.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Yes, thank you, I made that mistake twice in the post you replying to.

Hemang , February 20, 2017 at 4:54 am

The Globalized Versailles Treaty ! Permit me a short laughter . The terms of the crippling treaty were dictated by the victors largely on insecurities of France.

The crimes of the 1st against the 3rd go on even now- the only difference is that some of the South like China and India are major nuclear powers now.

The racist crimes in the US are even more flagrant- the Blacks whose labour as slaves allowed for cotton revolution enabling US capitalists to ride the industrial horse are yet to be rehabilitated , Obama or no Obama. It is a matter of profound shame.

The benefits of Globalization have gone only to the cartel of 1st and 3rd World Capitalists. And they are very happy as the lower classes keep fighting. Very happy indeed.

DorDeDuca , February 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm

That is solely class (crass) warfare. You can not project the inequalities of the past to the unsuspecting paying customers of today.

Hemang , February 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm

The gorgon cry of the past is all over the present , including in " unsuspecting" paying folks of today! Blacks being brought to US as slave agricultural labour was Globalisation. Their energy vibrated the machinery of Economics subsequently. What Nationalism and where is it hiding pray? Bogus analysis here , yes.

dontknowitall , February 20, 2017 at 5:40 am

The reigning social democratic parties in Europe today are not the Swedish traditional parties of yesteryear they have morphed into neoliberal austerians committed to globalization and export driven economic models at any cost (CETA vote recently) and most responsible for the economic collapse in the EU

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/15/austerity-was-a-bigger-disaster-than-we-thought/?utm_term=.e4b799b14d81

disc_writes , February 20, 2017 at 4:22 am

I wonder they chose Chinese imports as the cause of the right-wing shift, when they themselves admit that the shift started in the 1990s. At that time, there were few Chinese imports and China was not even part of the WHO.

If they are thinking of movements like the Lega Nord and Vlaams Blok, the reasons are clearly not to be found in imports, but in immigration, the welfare state and lack of national homogeneity, perceived or not.

And the beginnings of the precariat.

So it is not really the globalization of commerce that did it, but the loss of relevance of national and local identities.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 4:41 am

One cause does not exclude the other, they may have worked synergistically.

disc_writes , February 20, 2017 at 5:34 am

Correlation does not imply causation, but lack of correlation definitely excludes it.

The Lega was formed in the 1980s, Vlaams Blok at the end of the '70s. They both had their best days in the 1990s. Chinese imports at the time were insignificant.

I cannot find the breakdown of Chinese imports per EU country, but here are the total Chinese exports since 1983:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/exports

China was not a significant exporter until the 2001 inclusion in WTO: it cannot possibly have caused populist uprisings in Italy and Belgium in the 1990s. It was probably too early even for Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, who was killed in 2002, Le Pen's electoral success in the same year, Austria's FPOE in 1999, and so on.

The timescales just do not match. Whatever was causing "populism", it was not Chinese imports, and I can think of half a dozen other, more likely causes.

Furthermore, the 1980s and 1990s were something of an industrial renaissance for Lombardy and Flanders: hardly the time to worry about Chinese imports.

And if you look at the map. the country least affected by the import shock (France) is the one with the strongest populist movement (Le Pen).

People try to conflate Trumpism and Brexit with each other, then try to conflate this "anglo-saxon" populism with previous populisms in Europe, and try to deduce something from the whole exercise.

That "something" is just not there and the exercise is pointless. IMHO at least.

The Trumpening , February 20, 2017 at 5:05 am

European regionalism is often the result of the rise of the EU as a new, alternative national government in the eyes of the disgruntled regions. Typically there are three levels of government, local, regional (states) and national. With the rise of the EU we have a fourth level, supra-national. But to the Flemish, Scottish, Catalans, etc, they see the EU as a potential replacement for the National-level governments they currently are unhappy being under the authority of.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 4:28 am

Why isn't it working? – Part 1

Capitalism should be evolving but it went backwards. Keynesian capitalism evolved from the free market capitalism that preceded it. The absolute faith in markets had been laid low by 1929 and the Great Depression.

After the Keynesian era we went back to the old free market capitalism of neoclassical economics. Instead of evolving, capitalism went backwards. We had another Wall Street Crash that has laid low the once vibrant global economy and we have entered into the new normal of secular stagnation. In the 1930s, Irving Fisher studied the debt deflation caused by debt saturated economies. Today only a few economists outside the mainstream realise this is the problem today.

In the 1930s, Keynes realized only fiscal stimulus would pull the US out of the Great Depression, eventually the US implemented the New Deal and it started to recover. Today we use monetary policy that keeps asset prices up but cannot overcome the drag of all that debt in the system and its associated repayments.

In the 1920s, they relied on debt based consumption, not realizing how consumers will eventually become saturated with debt and demand will fail. Today we rely on debt based consumption again, Greece consumed on debt. until it maxed out on debt and collapsed.

In the 1930s Keynes realized, income was just as important as profit as this produced a sustainable system that does not rely on debt to maintain demand. Keynes was involved with the Bretton-Woods agreement after the Second World War and recycled the US surplus to Europe to restore trade when Europe lay in ruins. Europe could rebuild itself and consume US products, everyone benefitted.

Today there are no direct fiscal transfers within the Euro-zone and it is polarizing. No one can see the benefits of rebuilding Greece, to allow it to carry on consuming the goods from surplus nations and it just sinks further and further into the mire. There is a lot to be said for capitalism going forwards rather than backwards and making the same old mistakes a second time.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 5:25 am

Someone who has worked in the Central Bank of New York and who Ben Bernanke listened to, ensuring the US didn't implement austerity, Richard Koo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

The ECB didn't listen and killed Greece with austerity and is laying low the Club-Med nations. Someone who knows what they are doing, after studying the Great Depression and Japan after 1989. Let's keep him out of the limelight; he has no place on the ship of fools running the show.

sunny129 , February 20, 2017 at 6:42 pm

DEBT on Debt with QEs+ ZRP ( borrowing from future) was the 'solution' by Bernanke to mask the 2008 crisis and NOT address the underlying structural reforms in the Banking and the Financial industry. He was part of the problem for housing problem and occurred under his watch! He just kicked the can with explosive credit growth ( but no corresponding growth in the productive Economy!)and easy money!

We have a 'Mother of all bubbles' at our door step. Just matter of time when it will BLOW and NOT if! There is record levels of DEBT ( both sovereign, public and private) in the history of mankind, all over the World.

DEBT has been used as a panacea for all the financial problems by CBers including Bernanke! Fed's balance sheet was than less 1 Trillion in 2008 ( for all the years of existence of our Country!) but now over 3.5 Trillions and climbing!

Kicking the can down the road is like passing the buck to some one (future generations!). And you call that solution by Mr. Bernanke? Wow!

Will they say again " No one saw this coming'? when next one descends?

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 4:31 am

Why isn't it working? – Part 2

The independent Central Banks that don't know what they are doing as can be seen from their track record.

The FED presided over the dot.com bust and 2008, unaware that they were happening and of their consequences. Alan Greenspan spots irrational exuberance in the markets in 1996 and passes comment. As the subsequent dot.com boom and housing booms run away with themselves he says nothing.

This is the US money supply during this time:
http://www.whichwayhome.com/skin/frontend/default/wwgcomcatalogarticles/images/articles/whichwayhomes/US-money-supply.jpg

Everything is reflected in the money supply.

The money supply is flat in the recession of the early 1990s.

Then it really starts to take off as the dot.com boom gets going which rapidly morphs into the US housing boom, courtesy of Alan Greenspan's loose monetary policy.

When M3 gets closer to the vertical, the black swan is coming and you have an out of control credit bubble on your hands (money = debt).

We can only presume the FED wasn't looking at the US money supply, what on earth were they doing?

The BoE is aware of how money is created from debt and destroyed by repayments of that debt.

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/2014/qb14q1prereleasemoneyc
reation.pdf

"Although commercial banks create money through lending, they cannot do so freely without limit. Banks are limited in how much they can lend if they are to remain profitable in a competitive banking system."

The BoE's statement was true, but is not true now as banks can securitize bad loans and get them off their books. Before 2008, banks were securitising all the garbage sub-prime mortgages, e.g. NINJA mortgages, and getting them off their books. Money is being created freely and without limit, M3 is going exponential before 2008.

Bad debt is entering the system and no one is taking any responsibility for it. The credit bubble is reflected in the money supply that should be obvious to anyone that cares to look.

Ben Bernanke studied the Great Depression and doesn't appear to have learnt very much.

Irving Fisher studied the Great Depression in the 1930s and comes up with a theory of debt deflation. A debt inflated asset bubble collapses and the debt saturated economy sinks into debt deflation. 2008 is the same as 1929 except a different asset class is involved.

1929