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Polyarchy Bulletin, 2016

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[Feb 25, 2018] Why Republican Elites are Threatened

This is almost two year old discussion. Still relevant...
Notable quotes:
"... Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ... ..."
"... I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart. I am not pleased at all, however, that people are still being led to believe that there are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare. ... ..."
"... And the next GOP President will immediately give away those hard earned surpluses generated by President Clinton or Sanders to their plutocratic donors - just as W did. ..."
"... The collapse and subsequent economic rape of the USSR region in 1991-1998 was a huge stimulus for the US economy. Something like 300 millions of new customers overnight for many products and huge expansion of the dollar zone, which partially compensates for the loss of EU to euro. ..."
"... Actually, Bill Clinton put a solid fundament for subsequent deterioration relations with Russia. His semi-successful attempt to colonize Russia (under Yeltsin Russia was a semi-colony and definitely a vassal state of the USA) backfired. ..."
"... Now the teeth of dragon planted by Slick Bill (of Kosovo war fame) are visible in full glory. Russian elite no longer trusts the US elite and feels threatened. ..."
"... Series of female sociopath (or borderline personalities) in the role of Secretaries of State did not help either. The last one, "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary and her protégé Victoria Nuland (which actually was a close associate of Dick Cheney http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2005/11/president_cheney.html ) are actually replay of unforgettable Madeleine Albright with her famous a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" and Albright replied "we think the price is worth it."[ ..."
"... "Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ..." ..."
"... I think you have identified the potential roots of a movement. The unwrapping and critical analysis of the demagoguery that has defined the lives of the baby boom generation. The quote below from Dan Baum's Harper's article, Legalize It All", seems particularly poignant: ..."
"... Much Republican elites would love to raise sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any tax that the "little people" pay. This would allow them to cut taxes for rich people even more. This is their game. Take from the poor and give to the rich. DOOH NIBOR economics! ..."
"... Excellent piece, but I would point out that the GOP would likely sacrifice their own mothers for upper class tax cuts. ..."
"... Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that the GOP *leadership* is vehemently opposed to Trump, because he threatens their authority, but the rank-and-file seem to be pretty happy with him. ..."
"... The idea seems to be that Trump, if elected, will obviously 'reconstitute' the GOP, re-making it totally, casting out old people, bringing in New Blood. ..."
"... This would be 'yuuugely' more cataclysmic than what happened between Teddy Roosevelt and the anti-progressives of the GOP back in 1912. ..."
"... [I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart.] ..."
Mar 22, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
New Column:
Why Republican Elites are Threatened, by Mark Thoma : ... Donald Trump's tax plan will result in a fall in revenue of 9.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years, yet somehow he will fulfill his promise to protect Social Security and Medicare and balance the budget? When push comes to shove (or worse – this is Trump after all), who do you think he will protect, social insurance programs the working class relies upon for economic security or his own and his party's wealthy interests? Ted Cruz has proposed an 8.6 trillion dollar tax cut. How, exactly, will that be financed without large cuts to social insurance programs or huge increases in the budget deficit?

Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ...

I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart. I am not pleased at all, however, that people are still being led to believe that there are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare. ...

Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 05:24 AM in Economics , Politics , Social Insurance | Permalink Comments (41)

New Deal democrat -> pgl...
And the next GOP President will immediately give away those hard earned surpluses generated by President Clinton or Sanders to their plutocratic donors - just as W did.

Hence my support for a *countercyclical* Balanced Budget Amendment.

Peter K. -> New Deal democrat...
My point was that Sanders or Clinton would be getting the surprise surpluses as W. did.

My hope is that Clinton would do the right thing, but I wouldn't bet money on it. I could see her do tax cuts for corporations and finance. Summers recently had a piece arguing for tax cuts as incentives for private investment.

sanjait -> Peter K....
If we consider that there is probably some pent up business investment demand that could drive above average productivity growth for a few years ... then it plausibly is possible for the country to achieve late 90s style growth.
likbez -> Peter K....

The collapse and subsequent economic rape of the USSR region in 1991-1998 was a huge stimulus for the US economy. Something like 300 millions of new customers overnight for many products and huge expansion of the dollar zone, which partially compensates for the loss of EU to euro.

Even if we count just the cash absorbed by the region, it will be a major economic stimulus. All-it-all it was Bernanke size if we add buying assets for pennies on the dollar.

Actually, Bill Clinton put a solid fundament for subsequent deterioration relations with Russia. His semi-successful attempt to colonize Russia (under Yeltsin Russia was a semi-colony and definitely a vassal state of the USA) backfired.

Now the teeth of dragon planted by Slick Bill (of Kosovo war fame) are visible in full glory. Russian elite no longer trusts the US elite and feels threatened.

Series of female sociopath (or borderline personalities) in the role of Secretaries of State did not help either. The last one, "We came, we saw, he died" Hillary and her protégé Victoria Nuland (which actually was a close associate of Dick Cheney http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2005/11/president_cheney.html ) are actually replay of unforgettable Madeleine Albright with her famous a 60 Minutes segment in which Lesley Stahl asked her "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" and Albright replied "we think the price is worth it."[

pgl :
All well said! The notion that Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump lie a lot is as established as the fact that the earth is not flat.
Jerry Brown -> pgl...
True that!
Paul Mathis :
"[T]here are simple answers to budget problems that do not require raising taxes, or, alternatively, reducing their hard-earned benefits from programs such as Social Security or Medicare."

As every legitimate economist knows, stimulus spending to increase the GDP growth rate would raise tax revenues without raising tax rates. This phenomenon is well-known to Keynesians and has been demonstrated many times.

Thanks to the disinformation campaign run by Republicans, however, stimulus spending has been taken off the table of economic choices except in China where minimum GDP growth is 6.5%. China is "killing us" economically because we are stupid.

Jerry Brown -> Paul Mathis...
Instead, the Trumps and Cruzes and Ryans believe in giant tax cuts for the very wealthy. This might provide a weak stimulus for the economy, but it is a very poor way to go about it. More likely in my mind is that it would lead to increased pressure to cut government spending on things that actually do help the economy.
Paul Mathis -> Jerry Brown...
Tax cuts for the wealthy do not increase demand. Trickle down is a false economic doctrine that exacerbates inequality and therefore reduces demand. Keynes established this principle decades ago but his wisdom has been ignored.
pgl -> Paul Mathis...
You'll love this bit of honesty from right wing Joe Scarborough:

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2016/03/08/joe-scarborough-admits-that-trickle-down-economics-is-a-total-republican-lie-video/

But the 1981 tax cuts did increase shopping on Rodeo Drive.

mulp -> pgl...
Job losses began the month Reagan signed the tax cuts. Job creation began the month Reagan hiked taxes to pay workers to fix the roads and bridges. Reagan and his job killing tax cuts caused the recession, not the Fed and monetary policy. Monetary policy was steady from 1980 to 1983.

Reagan's tax cuts struck fear into would be lenders. How much debt was the government going to need if it intentionally cuts it's incomes? On the other hand, if the government stops spending, that's millions of workers who will be forced to stop spending.

For Nixon, the Fed monetized the smaller deficits from repealling the war tax surcharge that balanced the budget in 1969. Just as the Fed monetized all government debt once FDR and his bankers took over, especially Eccles at the Fed.

But Volcker was not going to monetize the debt caused by Reagan's adoption of intentional deficit spending.

But even Reagan eventually understood what FDR did: gdp growth requires workers getting paid more, and government can take the money from people who have it but won't spend it paying workers, but tax and spend, and create jobs.

If only economists today understood it, and called for tax and spend to create jobs to grow gdp.

anne :
Really nice essay.
Mr. Bill :
"Republicans have fooled people into thinking budget deficits can be reduced substantially by eliminating waste and fraud in government, cutting foreign aid, or that it is the fault of lazy, undeserving "others" who sponge off of government programs. ..."

I think you have identified the potential roots of a movement. The unwrapping and critical analysis of the demagoguery that has defined the lives of the baby boom generation. The quote below from Dan Baum's Harper's article, Legalize It All", seems particularly poignant:

"At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

BobZ :
I'm pretty sure that the Trumpists would be thrilled to raise taxes...on someone else. It's only the elites that are interested in lowering taxes on the rich. Trump's followers don't care.

I'm also pretty sure that Trump will turn on the donor class rather than reduce anything for his own base - but I could be wrong.

pgl -> BobZ ...
Much Republican elites would love to raise sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any tax that the "little people" pay. This would allow them to cut taxes for rich people even more. This is their game. Take from the poor and give to the rich. DOOH NIBOR economics!
pgl -> BobZ ...
Krugman for almost 12 years ago:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/01/opinion/dooh-nibor-economics.html?_r=0

JohnH :
All this liberal hand wringing about Trump's tax plan. Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!! Not a single 'attaboy' from these supposedly liberal economists.

"With the most progressive tax policy of any candidate, Sanders would dramatically increase taxes for the very wealthy and high-income earners (as well as moderate increases for the middle- and upper-middle classes) in order to pay for key planks of his social agenda including tuition-free public college, a Medicare for All healthcare program, massive infrastructure spending, and paid family leave for all workers."
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/03/21/tax-plan-sanders-beats-both-clinton-and-trump-double-digits


"Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant increases in federal income, payroll, business, and estate taxes, and new excise taxes on financial transactions and carbon. New revenues would pay for universal health care, education, family leave, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, and more. TPC estimates the tax proposals would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay some additional tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with the very highest income. His proposals would raise taxes on work, saving, and investment, in some cases to rates well beyond recent historical experience in the US."
http://taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/2000639-an-analysis-of-senator-bernie-sanderss-tax-proposals.pdf

As I've said many times, most 'liberal' economists simply to not want increased taxes to be put on the table as a viable alternative for funding stimulus. Else, why would they go silent when a major candidate makes such an economically significant proposal? Why is it that they are eager to promote ever more debt but refuse to support more taxes?

pgl -> JohnH...
You are pushing this which is fine. But

"Yet when Bernie introduces a major tax plan, it doesn't get noticed!!"

I noticed this a long time ago. And I applauded Bernie's proposal. I guess I have to resign as a "liberal economist".

JohnH -> pgl...
Now pgl claims to have supported Bernie's tax plan...when all he said did was to acknowledge that I cited a credible source!
http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/02/bernie_sanders_health_care_tax_plan_would_raise_13_trillion_yet_increase_after-tax_incomes_for_all_i.php#.VvFotY-cHcs

Question is, why are all those 'liberal' economists running from Bernie's progressive tax plan like the plague?

pgl -> JohnH...
I have supported tax increases on the rich many times. Pay attention. Also - read the latest column from Mark Thoma which is what this thread is supposed to be about. I guess Mark must not be a liberal economists either. DUH!
Eric377 -> JohnH...
Because they can always run back to something like it if a Democrat is elected, but not so if Trump or Cruz are and they have convinced themselves that supporting Sanders is a big risk of getting a Republican. And they are right about that.
JohnH -> Eric377...
LOL!!! Democrats will NOT endorse support anything like Bernie's tax pan EVER! Just like 'liberal" economists will never endorse it either...in fact, they have every opportunity to endorse it now but refuse to even talk about it, apparently hoping it will just go away.
mulp -> JohnH...
But the real benefit of high tax rates on people with lots of money is they will work really hard to not pay taxes by investing in new capital assets even if the bean counters think building more assets will only slash returns on capital.

The result is no increase in tax revenue, but lots of jobs created if the tax dodges are designed to create jobs.

The best example is a carbon tax. The correct carbon tax schedule of increases will raise virtually no tax revenue, but will result in trillions of dollars in labor costs building productive capital, which will ironically make the rich far wealthier.

But if millions of people are employed for a lifetime and the burning of fossil fuels ends, only Bernie will be angry that those responsible end up worth hundreds of billions, or maybe become trillionaires. Their businesses will not be profitable, just like Amazon, Tesla, SpaceX are worth tens of billions but are unprofitable.

pgl :
GOP elite Peter Schiff babbling even worse lies than our excellent host has documented:

http://realcrash2016.com/peter-schiff-social-security-could-implode-in-2016/?code=466832/&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral

pgl -> pgl...
Schiff is saying Soc. Sec. will go bankrupt this year. He also predicted hyperinflation and gold at $5000 an ounce:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/02/13/gold-at-5000-and-beyond-peter-schiff-sticks-to-his-call/

Benedict@Large -> pgl...
Every year Schiff predicts a recession. Once every 6-8 years, he's right. Schiff then claims he's predicted every recession for the last three dozen years. Everyone is amazed. "How does he do it?" the crowd gasps.

Why does anyone even mention Schiff? He's a grifter with an angle to part rich people from their money. Nothing more.

pgl :
From the day job - filed under fun with Microsoft Excel. Math nerds will get this right away. I'm reading a report from some expert witness that claims some loan guarantee is worth only 22 basis points when my client has charged 55 basis points. Think of x = 1.005 and take the natural log. Yes, the right answer is 50 basis points. This clown uses Excel and types in log(x).

OK - I hate Microsoft Excel as it took me a while. But the log function assumes base 10. The correct syntax is ln(x).

Somehow I think the right wing elite will start doing similar things in their Soc. Sec. analyzes.

William -> pgl...
Somehow, I think the right wing elite don't know the difference between a basis point and a percentage point, let alone between a base 10 or a base e logarithm.
pgl -> William...
I know Stephen Moore certainly does not know the difference!
DrDick :
Excellent piece, but I would point out that the GOP would likely sacrifice their own mothers for upper class tax cuts.
pgl :
Politics down under (New Zealand). The Green Party is campaigning on transfer pricing enforcement in order to make the multinationals pay their fair share of taxes:

https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/govt-warned-multinational-tax-rort-2013

We need more of this in the US!

Fred C. Dobbs :
Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that the GOP *leadership* is vehemently opposed to Trump, because he threatens their authority, but the rank-and-file seem to be pretty happy with him.
pgl -> Fred C. Dobbs...
I was tired and fell asleep by 9PM missing Rachel's show. Thanks for filling me in. She's awesome!
Fred C. Dobbs -> pgl...
The idea seems to be that Trump, if elected, will obviously 'reconstitute' the GOP, re-making it totally, casting out old people, bringing in New Blood.

This would be 'yuuugely' more cataclysmic than what happened between Teddy Roosevelt and the anti-progressives of the GOP back in 1912.

eudaimonia :
[I am very happy that the Republican con is starting to come to light. Members of the working class who support Trump are beginning to see that the elites in the Republican Party do not have their best interests at heart.]

I disagree here. I don't see Trump as exposing the Republican economic agenda to be a fraud. Instead, Trump is exposing that the main driver in conservatism is not policy, but racism.

The Republican base is not "waking up" per say, but Trump rather erased away the policy veneer and has shown the heart of the conservative base.

For decades, the RW economic and social agenda was based off of racism and bigotry - fictional Cadillac mothers, how blacks just vote Democrat since they are lazy, increased voting restrictions for a non-problem, Willie Horton, opposing the CRA in the name of "freedom" and states' rights, etc.

The argument now has simply shifted away from slashing taxes on white rich males since it creates an underclass of dependent minorities, to blaming Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.

If you look at the heart of Trump supporters, they are high school dropouts who have also dropped out of the labor force since they were dependent on the old economy, live in mobile houses and have not moved around much, with a history of voting for segregationists.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/13/upshot/the-geography-of-Trump_vs_deep_state.html?_r=0

As their economy breaks down around them, like it has in various parts of the country, we are seeing the same social ills emerge - suicide, drug use, depression, rise of divorce, etc.

What Trump has shown them is that it is not their fault. It is not the fault of policy. It is not the fault of globalization. It is not the fault of technological change. It is the fault of the Mexicans, immigrants, Muslims, etc.

The core of conservatism is still there: racism, and Trump has simply shown this. Conservatism is not about policy, but an emotional reactionary ideology based on fear and ignorance that looks for minorities to be scapegoats.

pgl :
US Supreme Court splits 4-4 in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore:

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-03-22/u-s-supreme-court-splits-4-4-for-first-time-since-scalia-death?cmpid=yhoo.headline

Appeals Court had ruled in favor of the bank so the bank prevails. OK - we know Scalia would have voted in favor of the bank but now the standard is how would have Garland ruled. The Senate needs to act on his nomination.

sanjait :
Maybe the simplest way to dissect it is to note that the GOP has been running multiple overlapping cons. They tell the base that tax cuts will improve their lives, and then passes tax cuts that go mostly to the rich.

They tell the base that regulations are killing jobs, and then block or remove any government protection or program that makes the country livable so some industrialist can avoid having to deal with externalities. They tell the base that "those people" are taking their stuff, and then shred the safety net that helps almost everyone except the rich.

What Trump has done is expose how these cons don't really fit together logically, but he hasn't really gone strongly against any of them. He's been on both sides of the first two, and tripled down on the third.

[Feb 25, 2018] The State of American Politics

Notable quotes:
"... We don't lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold. ..."
"... Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent. The average unemployment rate was actually higher under Reagan than it was during the previous eight years: 7.5 percent vs. 6.6 percent. ... ..."
"... In his first economic text Greg Mankiw (pre Bush Kool Aid) laid this out nicely. Inward shift of the national savings schedule, higher real interest rates, and the crowding-out of investment. Which lowers long-term growth in the standard Solow model. QED! ..."
"... Responding to the increasingly inane behavior of the two parties, Robert Reich envisions a third party win in 2020: http://robertreich.org/post/141437490885 ..."
"... Bratton is the best police commissioner in the nation! My only regret is that the NYPD did not arrest Cruz and toss him in jail for a few days. ..."
"... (i) It implies that high taxation was responsible for the stagnant economy. Therefore, reducing taxes would unleash growth. The early 80's recessions was not caused by high taxation and growth was just as strong before. ..."
"... (ii) Reagan actually passed a significant tax increase in 1982; TERFA. Some have actually called it the largest peacetime tax increase in history. ..."
"... (iii) Supply-siders completely ignore interest rates. The federal funds rate fell from 19% in July 1981 to 8.5% in February 1983. That looks like good ol' fashion Keynesianism at work. ..."
Mar 23, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Paul Ryan, in a speech on the state of American politics, says :
We don't lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold.

Followed by:

... in 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work.

Bruce Bartlett :

... I was the staff economist for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) in 1977, and it was my job to draft what came to be the Kemp-Roth tax bill, which Reagan endorsed in 1980 and enacted the following year. ...

Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent. The average unemployment rate was actually higher under Reagan than it was during the previous eight years: 7.5 percent vs. 6.6 percent. ...

PAUL MATHIS :
Lyin' Ryan

"In 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work."

In 1981 real GDP increased 2.6%, but in 1982 it was NEGATIVE 1.9%.
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/A191RL1A225NBEA

In 1981 the unemployment rate was 7.6% but by 1982 it was 9.7%.
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UNRATE

So the tax cuts reduced growth and increased unemployment. Those are FACTS

PAUL MATHIS -> pgl...

The Question Was the Effect of the 1981 Tax Cuts

Ryan says they were positive for growth and jobs. They were not based on the ensuing facts.

Obviously many other things were happening but Ryan made a clear statement that was a lie and that needs to be called out.

pgl -> PAUL MATHIS...
In his first economic text Greg Mankiw (pre Bush Kool Aid) laid this out nicely. Inward shift of the national savings schedule, higher real interest rates, and the crowding-out of investment. Which lowers long-term growth in the standard Solow model. QED!

JohnH :

Responding to the increasingly inane behavior of the two parties, Robert Reich envisions a third party win in 2020: http://robertreich.org/post/141437490885

"Politics abhors a vacuum. In 2019, the People's Party filled it.

Its platform called for getting big money out of politics, ending "crony capitalism," abolishing corporate welfare, stopping the revolving door between government and the private sector, and busting up the big Wall Street banks and corporate monopolies.

The People's Party also pledged to revoke the Trans Pacific Partnership, hike taxes on the rich to pay for a wage subsidy (a vastly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit) for everyone earning below the median, and raise taxes on corporations that outsource jobs abroad or pay their executives more than 100 times the pay of typical Americans.

Americans rallied to the cause. Millions who called themselves conservatives and Tea Partiers joined with millions who called themselves liberals and progressives against a political establishment that had shown itself incapable of hearing what they had been demanding for years."

Will Democrats and Republicans becoming out of touch with voters and illegitimate representatives of the will of the people, it's time to register your disgust--vote third party!
[Not voting only communicates apathy, which is fine with the elites.]

Ben Groves :

Boomers were driving up the labor force, driving up unemployment.

If you want to be clear, this happened to Jimmy Carter in the late 70's when that expansion was peaking.

The bigger the growth rate of total population, the faster GDP must grow.........and vice versa. Why do you think the classical liberals hated Malthus so much?

pgl :
Bruce may be right here but this includes business cycle effects:

"Republicans like to say that massive growth followed the Reagan tax cut. But average real GDP growth during Reagan's eight years in the White House was only slightly above the rate of the previous eight years: 3.4 percent per year vs. 2.9 percent."

Using the typical measure of potential output, we can do this on the terms that supply-siders preach. Long-term growth. This growth was around 3.5% before 1981. It was also 3.5% after 1992. But during the Reagan-Bush41 years, it was only 3%. You see - this tax cut raised real interest rates and crowded out investment.

Paul Ryan wants to pretend he's a smart guy. If he is - then he knows this. Which means he is lying to us.

pgl :

Oh goodie! Ted Cruz attacks my mayor!

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ted-cruz-slams-de-blasio-reaction-muslim-monitoring-idea-article-1.2574540

Yesterday when Brussels was attacked – my police department went into action to insure my subway rides were safe. My mayor took a subway ride to Times Square which showed courage. So what does the slime ball Cruz do?

'Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz swooped into Manhattan Wednesday and promptly hit Mayor de Blasio below the belt when he said cops who turned their backs on him were speaking for all Americans." When heroes of NYPD stood up and turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio, they spoke not just for the men and women of New York, but for Americans all across this nation," said Cruz at the GOP Party & Women's National Republican Club in Midtown.'

There has been tension as our police have to patrol as we march against how the police that murdered Eric Garner got off from prosecution. And then the horror of two of them murdered in cold blood by some crazed person from Baltimore. A few cops did turn their backs as the mayor honored these two brave cops. Most of the NYPD, however, was appalled at this garbage. Had I known Cruz was coming here to insult my city – I would have been there protesting. But my mayor handled this the right way:

'De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton were two of the most vocal critics, with Bratton saying it was so out of line it showed why he'd never win the White House race. He doesn't know the hell what he is talking about, to be frank with you," Bratton said. "While he's running around here, he probably has some Muslim officers guarding him." Later, during an radio interview, Bratton went after the Texas senator again on the monitoring." He is maligning a whole population group. A religion. That's not the American way," Bratton said on "The John Gambling Show" on AM970. "Mr. Cruz showed his naivete of the police department. I don't recall Mr. Cruz in uniform at any time fighting for his country. This election campaign is painting everyone with the broad brush. We focus on people committing the crime the disorder, not the population."'

Bratton is the best police commissioner in the nation! My only regret is that the NYPD did not arrest Cruz and toss him in jail for a few days.

eudaimonia :
Except the tax cut story does not hold up for a couple of reason.

(i) It implies that high taxation was responsible for the stagnant economy. Therefore, reducing taxes would unleash growth. The early 80's recessions was not caused by high taxation and growth was just as strong before.

(ii) Reagan actually passed a significant tax increase in 1982; TERFA. Some have actually called it the largest peacetime tax increase in history.

(iii) Supply-siders completely ignore interest rates. The federal funds rate fell from 19% in July 1981 to 8.5% in February 1983. That looks like good ol' fashion Keynesianism at work.

It is simply a comfortable story that conservatives tell themselves in order to validate slashing taxes on the rich, cut discretionary non-military spending, and explode military spending and our deficits.

However, like in an echo-chamber for 3-4 decades, they will not come to terms with this.

[Dec 27, 2016] Democracy Is Dying as Technocrats Watch

Replace Technocrats with Neoliberals. Somewhat stupid laments of a neoliberal economist, who feels that his plush position might be soon engaged... Under the smoke screen of identity politics (exemplified by gay and lesbian rights and "gay marriage" gambit desired to distract from important economic processes in the country ) neoliberals destroyed unions, outsourced manufacturing and now are outsourcing service sector, and lowered the standard living of the US middle class, while top 1% became filthy rich... they behave like the occupiers of the country so "Occupy Wall Street" movement should actually be called "liberation of the country from Wall Street occupation" movement.
Notable quotes:
"... This is most obvious in the case of Trump, who devoted a large share of his presidential campaign not just to attacking democratic norms but also to attacking the technocratic experts who have come to symbolize democracy in the United States. ..."
"... Technocrats do not even have a good answer for technocratic-sounding attacks on democracy. ..."
"... Whether because of the incompetence of experts or just a string of bad luck, democracies haven't been performing very well lately. ..."
"... The foreign-policy experts guided wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq that seemingly made terrorism worse. Domestic economists gave us the 2008 financial crisis - and a response afterward that bailed out banks too big to fail but treated families losing homes as too small to care about. Dictator-run China is taking over ever larger chunks of the world economy while U.S. wages stagnate. ..."
"... Experts often cannot agree on "what works" or even what already happened. Some experts could still credibly argue that in the long run democracies worldwide outperform dictatorships on average, but there is disagreement, and few have the patience to wait for long-run world averages to reassert themselves. ..."
"... As the economist John Stuart Mill said almost 150 years ago, the true test of freedom is not whether we care about our own rights but whether we care about "the rights of others." ..."
Dec 23, 2016 | foreignpolicy.com

This is most obvious in the case of Trump, who devoted a large share of his presidential campaign not just to attacking democratic norms but also to attacking the technocratic experts who have come to symbolize democracy in the United States.

...the technocrats who now monopolize the country's political elite would be incapable of fighting back.

Technocrats have always shown little interest in fights over fundamental values. ...So when technocrats are all we have to defend democracy, fights over fundamental values become embarrassingly one-sided. Technocrats do not even have a good answer for technocratic-sounding attacks on democracy. Technocrats' defense of democracy on the basis of "what works" was always vulnerable because the anti-democratic side was not going to be maximally scrupulous about the evidence in any case. It also makes liberal values hostages to fortune.

Whether because of the incompetence of experts or just a string of bad luck, democracies haven't been performing very well lately.

The foreign-policy experts guided wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq that seemingly made terrorism worse. Domestic economists gave us the 2008 financial crisis - and a response afterward that bailed out banks too big to fail but treated families losing homes as too small to care about. Dictator-run China is taking over ever larger chunks of the world economy while U.S. wages stagnate.

Experts often cannot agree on "what works" or even what already happened. Some experts could still credibly argue that in the long run democracies worldwide outperform dictatorships on average, but there is disagreement, and few have the patience to wait for long-run world averages to reassert themselves. Which is why the principal defense of democratic values must be that they are desirable in themselves as values - something technocrats are not trained to do Which is not to suggest they don't have any resources at their disposal. My own field of economics can be so technical that whenever I give a talk mentioning values, I feel like I have to apologize.

Yet economics is better equipped to defend values than usually believed. At the core of models of economic behavior is individual choice. Hidden in plain sight is the assumption that all individuals - whether male, female, white, black, gay, Muslim, or Latino - should indeed have equal rights to make decisions for themselves. The assumptions that guide analysis of what makes people better off embody the same respect for individual choice - we infer A is better than B for an individual if they voluntarily selected A over B. And if an individual chose something for himself or herself that did not make anyone else worse off, we say that overall well-being improved.

Although these principles are more than a century old in economics and are still at the core of our textbooks, they get sporadic attacks and less attention than they should due to our infatuation with evidence-based policy. Yet as Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser argued along the same lines in 2011, economics still has a "moral spine" beneath all the technocracy: "That spine is a fundamental belief in freedom."

As the economist John Stuart Mill said almost 150 years ago, the true test of freedom is not whether we care about our own rights but whether we care about "the rights of others."

But can economics provide a conception of democracy that truly protects the "rights of others"? The field does indeed offer a potential defense against one of the core democratic dangers - the possibility that a tyrannical majority might vote to violate the rights of some minority group. Economists teach that it's in a majority party's interest to conduct a simple thought experiment before making political decisions: Since it's impossible to know for sure that they will always be in the majority, and they could always wind up as part of some minority that some future majority decides to tyrannize, they should make political decisions behind a so-called "veil of ignorance" that sets aside their personal status and group affiliations. And anyone running that thought experiment faithfully would join a coalition to protect all future minority and individual rights.

Needless to say, the "veil of ignorance" thought experiment is ultimately a voluntary exercise. This year's U.S. election tore the veil of ignorance to shreds and not for the first time. Many white men apparently did not perceive, or consider, this "ignorance" about the future, feeling confident that they will always have enough power to protect themselves and thus are free not to vote to protect the rights of others.

The long campaign for equal rights, by mixing eloquent moral appeals with "veil of ignorance" warnings, has nevertheless tried to make us all care just enough about other groups to forge a broad coalition in favor of democracy. Our technocratic age often sees such appeals as sentimentalism - more suitable for refrigerator magnets than serious debates. But Trump's attack on core values required a response of such universal moral appeals - to white people as well as to minorities - instead of Clinton's coalition of minorities and the 41-point plan of measurable outcomes on her website.

Democratic values have never been capable of defending themselves - equal rights require eloquent defenses capable of building broad alliances on their behalf. History offers plenty of inspiration. Abraham Lincoln: "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." Martin Luther King Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Elie Wiesel: "Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

[Dec 27, 2016] Democracy Is Dying as Technocrats Watch

Replace Technocrats with Neoliberals. Somewhat stupid laments of a neoliberal economist, who feels that his plush position might be soon engaged... Under the smoke screen of identity politics (exemplified by gay and lesbian rights and "gay marriage" gambit desired to distract from important economic processes in the country ) neoliberals destroyed unions, outsourced manufacturing and now are outsourcing service sector, and lowered the standard living of the US middle class, while top 1% became filthy rich... they behave like the occupiers of the country so "Occupy Wall Street" movement should actually be called "liberation of the country from Wall Street occupation" movement.
Notable quotes:
"... This is most obvious in the case of Trump, who devoted a large share of his presidential campaign not just to attacking democratic norms but also to attacking the technocratic experts who have come to symbolize democracy in the United States. ..."
"... Technocrats do not even have a good answer for technocratic-sounding attacks on democracy. ..."
"... Whether because of the incompetence of experts or just a string of bad luck, democracies haven't been performing very well lately. ..."
"... The foreign-policy experts guided wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq that seemingly made terrorism worse. Domestic economists gave us the 2008 financial crisis - and a response afterward that bailed out banks too big to fail but treated families losing homes as too small to care about. Dictator-run China is taking over ever larger chunks of the world economy while U.S. wages stagnate. ..."
"... Experts often cannot agree on "what works" or even what already happened. Some experts could still credibly argue that in the long run democracies worldwide outperform dictatorships on average, but there is disagreement, and few have the patience to wait for long-run world averages to reassert themselves. ..."
"... As the economist John Stuart Mill said almost 150 years ago, the true test of freedom is not whether we care about our own rights but whether we care about "the rights of others." ..."
Dec 23, 2016 | foreignpolicy.com

This is most obvious in the case of Trump, who devoted a large share of his presidential campaign not just to attacking democratic norms but also to attacking the technocratic experts who have come to symbolize democracy in the United States.

...the technocrats who now monopolize the country's political elite would be incapable of fighting back.

Technocrats have always shown little interest in fights over fundamental values. ...So when technocrats are all we have to defend democracy, fights over fundamental values become embarrassingly one-sided. Technocrats do not even have a good answer for technocratic-sounding attacks on democracy. Technocrats' defense of democracy on the basis of "what works" was always vulnerable because the anti-democratic side was not going to be maximally scrupulous about the evidence in any case. It also makes liberal values hostages to fortune.

Whether because of the incompetence of experts or just a string of bad luck, democracies haven't been performing very well lately.

The foreign-policy experts guided wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq that seemingly made terrorism worse. Domestic economists gave us the 2008 financial crisis - and a response afterward that bailed out banks too big to fail but treated families losing homes as too small to care about. Dictator-run China is taking over ever larger chunks of the world economy while U.S. wages stagnate.

Experts often cannot agree on "what works" or even what already happened. Some experts could still credibly argue that in the long run democracies worldwide outperform dictatorships on average, but there is disagreement, and few have the patience to wait for long-run world averages to reassert themselves. Which is why the principal defense of democratic values must be that they are desirable in themselves as values - something technocrats are not trained to do Which is not to suggest they don't have any resources at their disposal. My own field of economics can be so technical that whenever I give a talk mentioning values, I feel like I have to apologize.

Yet economics is better equipped to defend values than usually believed. At the core of models of economic behavior is individual choice. Hidden in plain sight is the assumption that all individuals - whether male, female, white, black, gay, Muslim, or Latino - should indeed have equal rights to make decisions for themselves. The assumptions that guide analysis of what makes people better off embody the same respect for individual choice - we infer A is better than B for an individual if they voluntarily selected A over B. And if an individual chose something for himself or herself that did not make anyone else worse off, we say that overall well-being improved.

Although these principles are more than a century old in economics and are still at the core of our textbooks, they get sporadic attacks and less attention than they should due to our infatuation with evidence-based policy. Yet as Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser argued along the same lines in 2011, economics still has a "moral spine" beneath all the technocracy: "That spine is a fundamental belief in freedom."

As the economist John Stuart Mill said almost 150 years ago, the true test of freedom is not whether we care about our own rights but whether we care about "the rights of others."

But can economics provide a conception of democracy that truly protects the "rights of others"? The field does indeed offer a potential defense against one of the core democratic dangers - the possibility that a tyrannical majority might vote to violate the rights of some minority group. Economists teach that it's in a majority party's interest to conduct a simple thought experiment before making political decisions: Since it's impossible to know for sure that they will always be in the majority, and they could always wind up as part of some minority that some future majority decides to tyrannize, they should make political decisions behind a so-called "veil of ignorance" that sets aside their personal status and group affiliations. And anyone running that thought experiment faithfully would join a coalition to protect all future minority and individual rights.

Needless to say, the "veil of ignorance" thought experiment is ultimately a voluntary exercise. This year's U.S. election tore the veil of ignorance to shreds and not for the first time. Many white men apparently did not perceive, or consider, this "ignorance" about the future, feeling confident that they will always have enough power to protect themselves and thus are free not to vote to protect the rights of others.

The long campaign for equal rights, by mixing eloquent moral appeals with "veil of ignorance" warnings, has nevertheless tried to make us all care just enough about other groups to forge a broad coalition in favor of democracy. Our technocratic age often sees such appeals as sentimentalism - more suitable for refrigerator magnets than serious debates. But Trump's attack on core values required a response of such universal moral appeals - to white people as well as to minorities - instead of Clinton's coalition of minorities and the 41-point plan of measurable outcomes on her website.

Democratic values have never been capable of defending themselves - equal rights require eloquent defenses capable of building broad alliances on their behalf. History offers plenty of inspiration. Abraham Lincoln: "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." Martin Luther King Jr.: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Elie Wiesel: "Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

[Dec 27, 2016] Neopopulism

Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... December 26, 2016 at 07:15 AM neopopulism: A cultural and political movement, mainly in Latin American countries, distinct from twentieth-century populism in radically combining classically opposed left-wing and right-wing attitudes and using electronic media as a means of dissemination. (Wiktionary)

[Dec 26, 2016] Neoliberals as closet Trotskyites are adamant neo-McCarthyists eager to supress any dissent, as soon as they feel it starts to influence public opinion

"You control the message, and the facts do not matter. "
Notable quotes:
"... That's funny. Neoliberals are closet Trotskyites and they will let you talk only is specially designated reservations, which are irrelevant (or, more correctly, as long as they are irrelevant) for swaying the public opinion. ..."
"... If you think they are for freedom of the press, you are simply delusional. They are for freedom of the press for those who own it. ..."
"... Try to get dissenting views to MSM or academic magazines. Yes, they will not send you to GULAG, but the problem is that ostracism works no less effectively. That the essence of "inverted totalitarism" (another nickname for neoliberalism). You can substitute physical repression used in classic totalitarism with indirect suppression of dissenting opinions with the same, or even better results. Note that even the term "neoliberalism" is effectively censored and not used by MSM. ..."
"... And the resulting level of suppressing of opposition (which is the essence of censorship) is on the level that would make the USSR censors blush. And if EconomistView gets too close to anti-neoliberal platform it will instantly find itself in the lists like PropOrNot ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
likbez -> EMichael... December 26, 2016 at 04:20 PM
"Then of course, it is easy to attack the neoliberals, they'll actually let you talk."

That's funny. Neoliberals are closet Trotskyites and they will let you talk only is specially designated reservations, which are irrelevant (or, more correctly, as long as they are irrelevant) for swaying the public opinion.

They are all adamant neo-McCarthyists, if you wish and will label you Putin stooge in no time [, if you try to escape the reservation].

If you think they are for freedom of the press, you are simply delusional. They are for freedom of the press for those who own it.

Try to get dissenting views to MSM or academic magazines. Yes, they will not send you to GULAG, but the problem is that ostracism works no less effectively. That the essence of "inverted totalitarism" (another nickname for neoliberalism). You can substitute physical repression used in classic totalitarism with indirect suppression of dissenting opinions with the same, or even better results. Note that even the term "neoliberalism" is effectively censored and not used by MSM.

See Sheldon Wolin writings about this.

And the resulting level of suppressing of opposition (which is the essence of censorship) is on the level that would make the USSR censors blush. And if EconomistView gets too close to anti-neoliberal platform it will instantly find itself in the lists like PropOrNot

http://www.propornot.com/p/the-list.html

[Dec 26, 2016] Russian Hacker Conspiracy Theory is Weak, But the Case For Paper Ballots is Strong

Dec 26, 2016 | politics.slashdot.org
(facebook.com) 286 Posted by msmash on Thursday November 24, 2016 @01:01PM from the stranger-things dept. On Wednesday, J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan's Center for Computer Security & Society and a respected voice in computer science and information society, said that the Clinton Campaign should ask for a recount of the vote for the U.S. Presidential election . Later he wrote, "Were this year's deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don't believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other." The Outline, a new publication by a dozen of respected journalists, has published a post (on Facebook for now, since their website is still in the works), in which former Motherboard's reporter Adrianne Jeffries makes it clear that we still don't have concrete evidence that the vote was tampered with, but why still the case for paper ballots is strong . From the article: Halderman also repeats the erroneous claim that federal agencies have publicly said that senior officials in Russia commissioned attacks on voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In October, federal agencies attributed the Democratic National Committee email hack to Russia, but specifically said they could not attribute the state hacks. Claims to the contrary seem to have spread due to anonymous sourcing and the conflation of Russian hackers with Russian state-sponsored hackers. Unfortunately, the Russia-hacked-us meme is spreading fast on social media and among disaffected Clinton voters. "It's just ignorance," said the cybersecurity consultant Jeffrey Carr, who published his own response to Halderman on Medium. "It's fear and ignorance that's fueling that." The urgency comes from deadlines for recount petitions, which start kicking in on Friday in Wisconsin, Monday in Pennsylvania, and the following Wednesday in Michigan. There is disagreement about how likely it is that the Russian government interfered with election results. There is little disagreement, however, that our voting system could be more robust -- namely, by requiring paper ballot backups for electronic voting and mandating that all results be audited, as they already are in some states including California. Despite the 150,000 signatures collected on a Change.org petition, what happens next really comes down to the Clinton team's decision.

[Dec 26, 2016] Young Sanders Campaign Aides Plan Anti-Trump Permanent Protest Base in Washington

Notable quotes:
"... "Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer. ..."
"... "To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him." ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Sanders betrayed them, but they still use him as a flag...
PlutoniumKun , December 25, 2016 at 6:27 am

This is inspiring, but I hope they realise that opposing Trump is just one side of a two-front battle. Trump needs to be opposed when (as seems very likely) he will start to drive a very right wing pro-billionaire set of policies. But its increasingly obvious that there is an equally difficult battle to be fought against the 'centrists' in the Dems and elsewhere. If all the focus is on Trump, then there is the danger they just become the useful idiots of the Dem mainstream.

Wyoming , December 25, 2016 at 8:18 am

I would go so far to say that their greatest opponent and biggest danger is not Trump and the Republicans at all. It is the Democratic Party and pretty much every significant office holding Democrat and their staffs.

Revolution starts at home. Fighting with Republicans will not accomplish much when the fifth columnists from the Democratic Party are going to sabotage every effort they make which shows promise of having an effect. They need to show their power by hamstringing targeted Democrats and thus herding the rest into line through fear. You do what we say and how we say it or we replace you. They have to own the left. No more liberal's in name only. You are against us or you are with us.

johnnygl , December 25, 2016 at 8:38 am

Primary them all! Schumer, pelosi, the whole bunch.

Win in 2020 and redraw those districts to wipe out those super-safe ones that are drawn to wipe out competition.

Vatch , December 25, 2016 at 11:17 am

I agree - they must be opposed in the primaries. That's tough to do, and will take real dedication and money. The deplorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz won against Tim Canova in the 2016 primary, and the equally deplorable Chuck Schumer won reelection in 2016, so he won't be facing a primary opponent until the 2022 election season. Pelosi, of course is vulnerable every two years.

Please need to be willing to do more than just post comments on blogs. And lets not have any more of those comments bewailing the impossibility of overthrowing the status quo - it's difficult, but it's not impossible. (This paragraph isn't directed specifically to you, JohnnyGL or PlutoniumKun. I'm just concerned that some other commenters seem to try to prevent people from taking an active role in politics, and that is just plain wrong.)

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 9:12 am

I think opposing Trump will naturally entail telling the centrists to shape up. That is of course only a start, but it is a start.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 25, 2016 at 11:37 am

Sanders started, many moths ago, with the goal of taking over/reforming/remaking/revolutionizing the D party.

That start is not completed yet.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:06 pm

uh why fight against a party with NO federal power? (state power in a few states so maybe relevant there)

Even if you get unanimous Dem opposition how much does it matter? Ok the Rs don't quite have a super-majority yet I guess but it is Rs who will be passing legislation. Fighting Dems is about like fighting WWII after it's all over. They have mouthpieces and foundations it is true, but no power.

Sorrynotsorry , December 25, 2016 at 6:43 am

Bwah ha ha ha ha! What are they doing? Anything except, you know, voting

Synoia , December 25, 2016 at 7:16 am

Better message is to be pro a set of policies:
1. Medicare for all
2. SS are a real retirement system
3. Job Guarantee
4. College for all – student debt
5. Taxes as social and business policy
6. No permanent standing military

Merry Christmas to all

Direction , December 25, 2016 at 7:43 am

7. Money out of politics
8. Corporations are not people with inalienable rights.

Dirk77 , December 25, 2016 at 11:58 am

Irritated by the identity politics of the main article. That and would they have opened an office if Hillary had won? If not, I fear they don't understand and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes of their elders.

+1 to you and Synoia. Merry Christmas!

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 10:01 am

Sanders is always on point moving toward the goal with minimal time spent talking about moving away from what Is opposed. Here's a sometime humorous case in point–

A candid conversation: Bernie Sanders and Sara Silverman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP5xavI0d_o&sns=em

Knifecatcher , December 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

Waaaaay too many bullet points already, and I see that others are adding more. Not that I'm saying any of those are unimportant, but when you have a dozen goals you actually have none at all. My ideal progressive movement would hammer relentlessly on 3 major initiatives:

– Medicare for all
– $15 minimum wage
– Post office banking

All 3 provide tangible benefits to the majority of Americans, with the added bonus of poking a sharp stick in the eye of the oligarchs.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

Perhaps these 2:

– Medicare and one Single Pesion (Socia Security) for all
– Basic Income (before retirement) for all

Steeeve , December 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I definitely agree about keeping the list of priorities short, but I feel that these two areas are foundational and systemically corrupting, and little else is likely to be accomplished without major reforms of both

– MIC/"Defense" spending (mostly spent on offense, not defending the borders of the USA from invasion)
– Campaign Finance – big money in politics

floatingcopy , December 25, 2016 at 8:15 am

9. Lifelong job education and skills-building for all unemployed and under-employed, paid for directly from corporate taxes.
10. Universal two-year commitment to the military or a full-time volunteer public service program.

johnnygl , December 25, 2016 at 8:43 am

11. Rewilding and reforesting polluted and abandoned land.
12. Anti-trust! More trust-busting needed!
13. Agricultural reform to ban feedlots, fertilizers and pesticides and reorganize farms to restore and rebuild soil. And yes, this will create jobs.

Marco , December 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

13 points already? We're toast.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

"9. Lifelong job education and skills-building for all unemployed and under-employed, paid for directly from corporate taxes."

people don't know what a nightmare such scenarios are, ok it sucks if you are underemployed and have no way to retrain because finances, but it also sucks big league if you have to spend your entire life working full time AND pursuing more and more formal education, forever until you die. Is any of our utopias going to care about human beings being able to BE human beings? We are so so much more than just useful labor machines forever aquiring labor market useful skills.

Ok course a basic income guarantee or a labor market tilted for labor not capital (including government job creation sure – and sure there's other things that can tilt it for labor – lower Social Security age, unionization etc.) would nullify this objection as the competition for jobs would lessen enough perhaps.

"10. Universal two-year commitment to the military or a full-time volunteer public service program."

well this is even more self-evidently nightmarish but it hardly needs unpacking. 2 years of becoming hired killers for the imperialist murder machine. Yea I know you didn't specify military as mandatory, I'm just saying what is being encouraged.

DJG , December 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

jrs: Agreed. Points 9 and 10 are non-starters. They will not lessen class warfare. Only a jobs policy and a commitment to full employment will. And this idea that U.S. citizens have to be drafted into some regimented public-service program isn't helpful.

But let's talk about reopening the Civilian Conservation Corps, as in point 11. Now that is a genuinely good idea. And people would gladly join–without feeling regimented.

Direction , December 25, 2016 at 8:28 am

There was an interesting debate around the water cooler links on Festivus. I would like to recap and extend it here because I want to know more. First about how you, Lambert, see the take over of a single state Democratic party office breaking open a path to reform the party from within. I would like to hear what scenarios you feel are possible.

Walden pond wrote
"The elite control the D party (which is nothing but a criminal organization at this point). They will allow outsiders to have dog-catcher, but get uppity and run for a state position and that person will be out in an instant. The Ds are factually/legally a private club and they can select their membership and candidates in any way they choose or get a court to back them on every petty legal change they make to block outsiders. They change rules (legal contract) retroactively, they violate their own rules repeatedly and someone thinks they are going to get any farther than a few school board positions or city council is going to fail.

Taking over the D party is similar to proposing infiltrating gangs (fully backed by the legal system) with 13 year olds to 'save the neighborhood'."

I whole heartedly agree. I think it's important that people understand that the party is not just a "machine" waiting for someone new to guide it. It is not a set of empty offices and poster printing machines with helpful local people waiting for guidance. At the top, it is much more like an exclusive country club whose membership passes down through wealthy families who think they know what's best for the nation.

Anyhow, if you have a strategy on how to break it, I would like to support that discussion. I would like to hear more.

Montanamaven , December 25, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I'm glad you carried this discussion over to today. People hear have heard my sad tales of woe when I decided in 2004 to stop being inattentive and to actually try "to change the party from within" that talk show hosts like Thom Hartmann and "The Nation" gang call for every 4 years. Yes, I discovered what Walden Pond wrote; that there is an "elite" control of the state parties. They are almost hereditary positions. Yes, they will get excited by a newbie like me who was articulate, worked in Hollywood, married to a rancher for conservative creeds. But then I started to challenge their positions by advocating for single payer; stronger labor stances that they all paId lip service to but didn't really seem to care about. So no longer was I allowed to talk to the press at the DNC Convention. As I recall in 2006 or 2007 they changed a rule to make it harder to challenge Jon Tester in a primary.
Affairs like "Campaign for America's Future" conventions were always in D.C. And during the 2nd one I went to, I confirmed by observations that they were just big job fairs for people wanting jobs in the next administration or becoming lobbyists. That was actually what the convention in 2004 was too that I attended as a delegate. "Agriculture Salutes Tom Harking"; brought to you not by The Grange but by Monsanto and Carroll. Lavish party with handsome young men shucking tons of oysters. Ick.
I went in naive as I suspect many well meaning millennials will do now to this "house". But boy did I start to wake up and finally by 2009 after the failed single payer health care movement, I quit this dead donkey.

JohnnyGL , December 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Christmas Rant!!! ***You've been warned***

There's a lot of contentious debate on whether to fight in the Democrat Party or build a 3rd one. The answer is both, always and constantly.

1) Start the fight within the Party, as seen in MI. What happened there is important to expose and embarrass the local party officials. I consider the incident an encouraging sign and hope there are more like it around the country (not happy with the guy getting assaulted, of course, but if it shows 'they are who we thought they were', then that's progress of a sort).

2) If you can fight within the party and the party leadership at the state level understands the need to change and gets on board (getting on board as defined by fighting for specific policies, organizing and party building, and going against the wishes of big donors), then work with them.

3) if the big donors and dinosaur party leaders don't get on board, then then need to be A) removed, if possible. Or, if not possible, B) they should be isolated. If Schumer and Pelosi can't be primary-ed out of existence (a-la Eric Cantor) then they should be stripped of leadership positions and isolated. Primary all of their allies in congress. Pelosi still got around 2/3 of the vote. Let's get it below 1/2. We're not starting from scratch, there's a base of opposition to work with.

4) Part of the contention between points 2) and 3) is protests like those seen recently protesting at Schumer's office by BLM and Occupy folks. Again, make them come to us on policy. Life should get increasingly uncomfortable for Party leaders and members that don't play ball. It should be clear that their current attitudes and policies are untenable and they need to get with the new program. Hassle them in their offices, at their public events. Anti-fracking protestors who harassed Cuomo over several years showed what to do. I think one of his kids joked that when they got lost on the way to an event, they could always find where they were going because the anti-fracking protestors were there waiting for them.

People like Pelosi and Schumer will cave to public pressure, they've done it in the past. Pelosi said no to medicare changes when Obama wanted to put entitlement reform on the table. These people are different than ideologues who will push their agenda regardless of public opinion. They're snakes, but they'll play ball under pressure.

5) Now in the case where we can't with the fight within the party, go outside. Socialist Alternative, Working Families and other 3rd parties that are built up at the local level can threaten and do real damage. Does anyone think Seattle gets a $15/hr min. wage without Sawant and Socialist Alternative? Working Families Party demonstrated exactly what NOT to do during NY Governor election. If Cuomo won't come to us and meet our demands, bring him down. Suck it up, deal with a Republican for a few years, if necessary. While the Republican is in charge, pressure them, too. Don't think about the election right now .that's short termism. Let's think 2, 3, 4 elections out. If you're not winning now, clear out the deadwood to win later.

6) Now, to face up to the 'lesser evil' arguments regarding 5). It's over, there's no more 'lesser evilism'. It's dead. Hillary Clinton and the elite Dems killed it. They put it all on display for all to see. They were willing to crush the left (again), squash voting rights through a variety of means, and risk Trump or another whacky 'Pied Piper' candidate in order to get their anointed candidate put in charge. THAT should tell you EXACTLY who we're dealing with here. They were perfectly willing to risk Trump to win, so that means if a 3rd party can get 3%-5% in a close election and play a spoiler role, then that 3rd party should DO it. Every time. Again, keep doing it until the Democrats adopt the platform of a 3rd party (which, presumably includes fight for $15, medicare for all, no wars, etc). Again, until the Dems come to us on policy, they will be opposed.

But, but Nader brought us Bush who brought us Iraq War! You cannot take risks like that! Must vote lesser evil!!! Oh really? Dems voted for Patriot Act, Dems voted for AUMF over and over again. Dems voted to keep funding the war, too. When Dems don't win the Presidency they want to sit back and wait for Repubs to do awful stuff so that Dems will be back in charge as seen in 2006-8. Pelosi and Reid did NOTHING to deserve a win, they just waited it out until people voted for change again. They want to do this again. We can't let them. Make them do their job. Make them act in opposition. Make them earn their next win, otherwise we'll get the same group and the same policies that have just been discredited.

7) From the article, I like Ahmed's strategy/tactics, but the concept of attacking Trump the person, seems flawed. Remember, policy is what matters!
Nixon passed an amendment that created the EPA. That doesn't happen if you oppose Nixon for who he is. Also, wikipedia reveals that the Clean Water Act got passed in spite of Nixon's veto! If Trump wants to move in the right direction, he should be praised for doing so. If he doesn't, go around him!

Trump is a guy that just slapped the Repub establishment silly and clearly is running at least partially out of vanity more than he wants to collect fat checks when he leaves office (like the Clintons, and probably Obama soon enough). There's value in this, by itself, and there's value on policy grounds, too.

Okay, I'm done. I hope anyone who bothers to read found this enjoyable. Happy for comments. Also, to be clear, I've got no experience in organizing or any kind of playbook to carry this plan out. :) So, feel free to mock my credentials, because they don't exist!

funemployed , December 25, 2016 at 8:49 am

Sigh. We millennials might be smart about policy and pragmatic, but if this is our moonshot, we don't know jack about how to organize a successful social movement. Protesting "Trump" is stupid. Trump is not a policy. He is a person. Is our goal to make him feel bad about himself? And he did win the election. So his administration is, in fact, "legitimate" in any meaningful sense of the word.

I'd have slightly different lists, but I entirely agree that a pro-policy platform is an essential starting point. That said, protests basically always fail, and more often then not IMO, strengthen the opposition. When they succeed, or even make headway like NODAPL, they always share a common set of features.

1) One very specific policy. Today, if I were in charge, I'd choose Federally funded Medicare for all. Never mind details for protesting purposes.

2) A simple, clear message that appeals to values that most people in a body politic can agree on "Health Care is a Civil Right!"

3) A symbol that presents a clear, binary, moral choice. Sorry people, it makes me feel icky too, but this is where we go hunting for a dying grandma or kid with cancer who can't get medical care and make him/her our mascot (ideally, in a purely strategic realm, such person would refuse any care until it was guaranteed to all, then die at a decisive moment, thus becoming a martyr).

4) The ability to bring different folks together to agree on ONE thing. Organized bitch sessions about Obamacare in Trump country might work here, but we'd have to throw shit at the wall and see what stuck. I know for a fact that most Trump supporters, if pressed, will say that a family should not have to choose between impoverishment and treating mom's cancer. But protesting "Trump" is protesting them too, with the main goal of feeling like you are a better person because you know that gender is socially constructed or whatever (as if there is something magical in who you are that is the reason you got to go to a private liberal arts college, and you totally never would have been racist no matter what life circumstances you were born into).

It's not that I'm a single issue person, it's just protesting lots of things at once just makes a lot of noise, and a bunch of people trying to work together with competing agendas (lack of shared vision, in corporate speak), makes all human organizations dysfunctional. Basically, I support many issues, but think mixing them all together is not a good recipe for success.

Steven Greenberg , December 25, 2016 at 9:20 am

Didn't read the article. Seems like a misdirected effort to me. You don't win voters by being against something. You win them by being for something. I am getting tired of the "Ain't It Awful" game. Give me a vision to be for.

There is something called target fixation. When you concentrate on what you want to avoid, you end up going right toward it. Concentrate on where you want to go rather than spend all your time thinking about where you don't want to go.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 10:33 am

This can be demonstrated by asking someone to follow your instructions and then issuing a number of imperative sentences:
Don't think of blue
Don't think about your left earlobe
Don't think about what Crazyman will do with this
Don't think of Trump
Etc

One has to think of those things in order to make sense of the words. Moving away from can be a powerful motivator but only toward will get you there. Sorry, clarifying the obvious again.

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 10:38 am

This effort is not about winning voters but about blocking really bad policy changes that will hurt millions of people. Organizing for an election campaign and organizing for issue-based activism are not the same. If Barb Mikulski forty-odd years ago had just gone around the city talking about her vision of good communities and good transportation policy, a lot of Baltimore neighborhoods would have been wiped out as the city was cut apart by an ill-placed interstate. She stopped it by organizing a fight against it. More recently, Destiny Watford, still in high school at the time, was the prime mover in the successful fight against an incinerator in her Curtis Bay neighborhood in south Baltimore.

There is a time and a place for everything. There are at least two other organizations focusing on electoral politics. This one has a different purpose.

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Yes to be opposed to Trump is because they think a bunch of bad policies will come from his administration and they are likely not wrong. It doesn't need to be about Trump the person at all, though for some deluded people it may be. Now they could broaden it to opposing Paul Ryans congress etc. since they are hardly better but if any legistlaton is actually going to be passed a Republican congress and Trump will be working together.

A single issue focus, say it was Medicare for all, even if it was sucessful, would have let all the other issues a Trump administration will represent slide. Ok so if Trump passes tax cuts say that further enrich the plutocrats, an ever more unequal society might even destroy Medicare for all (the rich will just buy their way out). If Trump passes even more obviously anti-environmental legistlation, the fact Medicare for all was achieved would be a goal of it's own but would not change this. Maybe there are people enough for all movements, I don't know.

craazyman , December 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

Oh man. More identity politics yada yada.

It'll never work & for good reason. It's a form of ideation contrary to gnostic principles and therefore to the highest spiritual values on this plane of existence.

Sad to see hopeful inspired people get lost in that maze of misery. Trust your perceptions in the silence of your mind without looking to anybody else for affirmation. People are people. That's what everybody who can figure things out figures out when they grow up.

Grow up & Merry Christmas. LOL

I'm wishing Trump well & am somewhat hopeful that - through the odd feedback loops in complex systems - the provocations of his originality will shape things in a direction even progressives will find appealing. Maybe I'll be wrong, I admit. But I'm usually not wrong. LOL. (Although I am sometimes, no lie.)

alex morfesis , December 25, 2016 at 10:03 am

Firecracker puppies professional trainer who isists she knows about how people of color feel..hmmm a bunch of photos of ms nadine and her fellow associates something about dc that tells me the demographics are not the same as iowa does not look as she thinks there are any people of color who can train on what "she" calls "non violence" and her "famous" black female puppet to represent and protest against the military because the military is so black and female seems a bit tone deaf

Same old same old chameleons bending to the new hot button funding to keep the lights on

"As the international director of the committee to make noise and get nothing done, we strive to "

And ms bangladeshi her nov 27 tweet that anyone right of the democrats is a fascist does this child have an idea what that word means, or is it something she picked up at one of the "people" conventions she attended or spoke at

Not looking to be hyper cynical on this of all days but seems moumita has spent her entire adult life posing with her megaphone and for someone who is so "out there" mekantz find much about her except her self proclaimed relevance and for a person who claims this large network somewhat smallish set of followers on her chyrping account

I hope I am wrong

Peace on earth and goodwill to all

jrs , December 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

movements often outgrow their leaders

mad as hell. , December 25, 2016 at 10:40 am

The Washington police will now have to use a search warrant or a battering ram unlike Zuccotti park where night sticks and pepper spray were used. I don't see a problem getting those. Especially after agents have infiltrated. Well at least it is a start which I hope snowballs!

dcblogger , December 25, 2016 at 10:42 am

enter the sans coullottes! I am thrilled and will try to get in contact with them. depend upon it, the American people will turn to those who demonstrate the best ability to push back against Trump. Which is why Bernie has been doing that since the election.

beth , December 25, 2016 at 11:42 am

No, I disagree. Bernie does not push back against Trump. No identity politics, no focus on personalities. Bernie pushes back against wrong-headed policies. Bernie wants policies that benefit the majority.

Let's pray our new president does some good that most of us do not expect. I hope he is more unpredictable than that. I may be wrong but I can hope.

Montanamaven , December 25, 2016 at 10:53 am

Sounds like the Alternet crowd is up to its sheepdogging tactics again. Let's corral young energy and co-opt it for the Democrats. Co-opting is what I call "Skunking" because it sure stinks up the joint.

I'm with the majority here in finding this sad that these "organizers" have decided to go all negative. They are "going to hold him [Trump] accountable and delegitimize literally everything he is doing and not let him succeed." Well, how has that worked out so far.
New thinking and new solutions ae called for, not the same old feel good "protests" and voter drives that professional organizers love to do. If they had done any real introspection they would have come up with ways of forming new coalitions; and also realize the need to keep Schumer and Pelosi as accountable as Trump. But these are still party operatives in younger sheep's clothing. Many are poli sci majors who want to be in politics in Washington as a vocation. See, they are the wise "behind the scenes" people that will guide the "activists" . Ugh. Same old; Same old story.
And this smells of the same DLC Clinton gang since they are calling Trump's victory and presidency illegitimate. Again, they don't want to delve into why she lost. They wants jobs in D.C. And spend their energy "resisting" rather than coming up with anything remotely interesting. This is not Occupy. And I doubt they will embrace young Anarchists.

Denis Drew , December 25, 2016 at 10:55 am

Re: How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump By NATE COHN
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/upshot/how-the-obama-coalition-crumbled-leaving-an-opening-for-trump.html

Wonderful shakeout by Cohn: Trump won by trading places with Obama . O appealed to less educated whites as their protector against the Wall Street candidate (47% time) Romney. (Crackpot) Trump appealed to them with same promise versus Wall Street candidate (true enough) Hill.

Upshot: Dems only have to get busy rebuilding labor union density at the state by progressive state level (or not so progressive; but be seen trying hard). Repubs will have no where to hide: once and for all political checkmate.

For some beginning thoughts and angles on what and how to - see here:
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

We are only asking state legislatures to make possible joining a union if you want to - without running an impassable gauntlet - no complicated policy issues at all.

fosforos , December 25, 2016 at 10:55 am

Totally unpromising that they start with the calamitous premise of the whole Sanders campaign: "a campaign where Bernie specifically said, 'Do not attack the other person." Sanders knew he could run a campaign that would destroy the Clinton, a proven loser on the merits, and thereby make it possible to defeat any of the GOP's dumpster of deplorables, especially the Trumpe-l'oeil. But that would involve a political break with the whole record of the Obama administration in both domestic and foreign policy. So instead Sanders wound up saying the falsest single thing anyone said in the whole campaign–"nobody cares about those damn e-mails."

Yves Smith , December 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

*Sigh*

Sanders did not lose as a result of his position on the e-mails. The GOP was guaranteed to make a big issue of them and did.

walt , December 25, 2016 at 11:21 am

Youth may wish to have their bragging rights for their old age, but Trump has proven that power lies with the voters, who will be driven away to the likes of Reagan by this posturing.

Ahmed has not learned all the lessons of the 1960s.

Gaylord , December 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

We-The-Ppl rejected Gold Sacks's "shitty deal" Hillary, foisted on us by the Dems whose elites "assassinated" the best candidate since JFK; Repubs rejected "fool me again" Jeb in the Primary. Nasty Trump was put there to shoo-in Hill, but it backfired. Democracy? all gone. The Wild West is back.

PhilK , December 25, 2016 at 11:26 am

They're still trying to grab Sanders' mike and take over his show.

Katharine , December 25, 2016 at 11:41 am

He was always the first to point that this show is not about him but about all of us.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 1:12 pm

True, otherwise we're lost in celebrity.

We need both "away from" and "toward" bullet points. The "away from" will naturally target Trump's onerous policies and will generate lots of energy. The "toward" bullet points will also "target" the "fake news" neoliberals because their support will prove to be tepid faint praise and lots of how it can't be done. Energy wise it will be more of a slog. They will also covertly seek to undermine progressive change. They will be called out on their crap.

Billy-bob , December 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

To the naysayers I say: just shut up and fund it–I just did. It's an experiment and it might work.

At least these yunguns are DOING something.

Reify99 , December 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm

+1

Jamie , December 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Why didn't they set up this "permanent base" when Sanders voted for the 700 billion dollar F35 or when Obama claimed the legal right to indefinitely detain or kill anyone without judicial oversight?

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image,
when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

– Anne Lamott

Elizabeth Burton , December 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm

I assume all of those who have so arrogantly dismissed the efforts of these young people are all, therefore, engaged in alternative activities that support their respective opinions of how to effect the change that is our only salvation from neo-feudalism. Otherwise, I say put up or shut up.

Because I'm getting really sick of all the armchair quarterbacking, which to me is no different from the way the DNC elites treat anyone who isn't a member of their club. If people who object to the goals and/or methods of the District 13 House group have useful suggestions to make, why haven't they engaged in working to bring those suggestions to fruition. It's also precisely the kind of ivory-tower critique that has brought us to this pass, so do keep in mind that when pointing out the sins of others, one has three other fingers pointing in the opposite direction.

ChrisAtRU , December 25, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Natural skeptic/cynic at this point I go back to to Bernie's first statement after the election:

"Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.

"To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him."

Now taken in that light, do we need a generic "anti-Trump" resistance house to "stick out like a sore thumb"?

Or do we need something that speaks to the deeper issues around which non-squillionaire people can unite?

I concur with those who posted above on sticking to the issues. If you stick to the issues, the face of the opposition (from within and without) doesn't matter. It's about getting people to realize that agents of the establishment on BOTH sides (Dem & Repub) of all various identarian flavors have betrayed us all.

Now granted, there's plenty of swamp left undrained to warrant being all up the new administration's grill like freckles. But please, let's get the focus where it should be – on what's being done and undone. Focusing on "Trump" is a non-starter.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and FestivusForTheRestOfUs to everyone!

[Dec 23, 2016] Paul Krugman: Populism, Real and Phony

Dec 23, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
"Trump_vs_deep_state ... is anything but populist":
Populism, Real and Phony, by Paul Krugman, NY Times : Authoritarians with an animus against ethnic minorities are on the march across the Western world. ... But what should we call these groups? Many reporters are using the term "populist," which seems both inadequate and misleading..., are the other shared features of this movement - addiction to conspiracy theories, indifference to the rule of law, a penchant for punishing critics - really captured by the "populist" label?

Still, the European members of this emerging alliance - an axis of evil? - have offered some real benefits to workers. ... Trump_vs_deep_state is, however, different..., the emerging policy agenda is anything but populist.

All indications are that we're looking at huge windfalls for billionaires combined with savage cuts in programs that serve not just the poor but also the middle class. And the white working class, which provided much of the 46 percent Trump vote share, is shaping up as the biggest loser. ...

Both his pick as budget director and his choice to head Health and Human Services want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and privatize Medicare. His choice as labor secretary is a fast-food tycoon who has been a vociferous opponent both of Obamacare and of minimum wage hikes. And House Republicans have already submitted plans for drastic cuts in Social Security, including a sharp rise in the retirement age. ...

In other words..., European populism is at least partly real, while Trumpist populism is turning out to be entirely fake, a scam sold to working-class voters who are in for a rude awakening. Will the new regime pay a political price?

Well, don't count on it..., you know that there will be huge efforts to shift the blame. These will include claims that the collapse of health care is really President Obama's fault; claims that the failure of alternatives is somehow the fault of recalcitrant Democrats; and an endless series of attempts to distract the public.

Expect more Carrier-style stunts that don't actually help workers but dominate a news cycle. Expect lots of fulmination against minorities. And it's worth remembering what authoritarian regimes traditionally do to shift attention from failing policies, namely, find some foreigners to confront. Maybe it will be a trade war with China, maybe something worse.

Opponents need to do all they can to defeat such strategies of distraction. Above all, they shouldn't let themselves be sucked into cooperation that leaves them sharing part of the blame. The perpetrators of this scam should be forced to own it.

ilsm : , December 23, 2016 at 10:45 AM
The Clinton brand of nato-neocon-neolib is way ahead of the populist nativist in tilting toward Armageddon.

Own the world for the banksters.

poor pk

DeDude -> Gibbon1... , December 23, 2016 at 02:33 PM
It really depend on how the two sides play it out. You don't need to move the diehard sexists and racists for things to change. But the Democrats need to have a Warren/Sanders attack team ready on every single GOP "favor the rich and screw the rest" proposal. It would be rather easy to get the press to pay attention to those two if they went to war with Trump/GOP. Their following is sufficiently large to be a media market - so their comments would not be ignored. We also know that at least Warren knows how to bait Trump into saying something stupid so you can get the kind of firework that commercial media cannot ignore. The Dems need to learn how to bait the media at least as effectively as Trump does.
Tim Cahill : , -1
When can we please start tuning Krugman down here? He aided and abetted the election disaster by being one of the most prominent Very Serious People leading the offensive against Sanders and promoting a fatally flawed candidate that was beaten resoundingly in 2008 and with irredeemable, self-inflicted, negative baggage.

He may make good points here after-the-fact, but they're all "duh!" level bits of analysis at this stage. And the last thing I want to hear from any of the VSPs who piloted the train over the cliff during this election season is b*tching about the mess at the bottom of the cliff.

Aren't there ANY other voices with some remaining shred of political credibility that can be quoted here instead of the unabashed VSPs who helped elect trump?

Tim Cahill -> pgl... , December 23, 2016 at 11:17 AM
Since I am only noting objection to one blogger who invested much of his personal credibility into promoting a horrible leader, I don't see the relevance of your comment at all. I enjoy pretty much every other blogger to which Thoma links.

My issue is with highlighting a crank whose writing has cratered over the last year. If a Trump ripping is due (and it usually is), then I'm fine with it being a feature so long as it's written by someone who isn't channeling Niall Ferguson and with the same degree of credibility as a political "wonk".

yuan -> sanjait... , December 23, 2016 at 12:03 PM
I think a certain amount of self-criticism and introspection is warranted at this point, no? And, I think, there is little question that the long-term coziness of the democratic party with high finance and the PMIC played a major role in negative perceptions of HRC.

Although I did not vote for Clinton, if I had lived in a remotely competitive state I would have certainly voted for her. To put this in perspective, my vote for Sanders was a very reluctant vote and Clinton is the POTUS I despise the most (Trump will change this).

ilsm -> sanjait... , December 23, 2016 at 01:04 PM
As Lincoln may have observed: you* can fool too many of the democrats all the time.

one Obama, two Clintons .........

Vapid talking points, like fast and loose with felonies.

She had no convictions bc justice was ordered to do the job of juries.

yuan -> Tim Cahill ... , December 23, 2016 at 11:57 AM
"beaten resoundingly in 2008 and with irredeemable, self-inflicted, negative baggage."

Characterizing Clinton's electoral college defeat as being beaten resoundingly is exactly the kind of irrational "bro" rhetoric that Krugman rightly criticized.

And I write this as someone who voted for Sanders and then Stein.

Peter K. -> Tim Cahill ... , December 23, 2016 at 01:08 PM
As you can tell there a few people here who agreed with Krugman during the primary and agree with him now.

I agree with you in general, but am going to try to ignore the insulters and haters and link to good thinkers.

Tim Cahill -> Peter K.... , December 23, 2016 at 01:46 PM
They're an angry lot.... and they, like the conservative "affinity fraudsters" that Krugman has lambasted over the years, refuse to accept reality. Instead, they hunker down, shut out facts, and surround themselves only with people and information that agrees with their flawed opinions.
Denis Drew : , December 23, 2016 at 11:03 AM
All I hear from Paul -- and others -- sounds like ducking and weaving and back peddling -- in a phrase: retreat-in-good-order to avoid defeat-in-detail.

How about a little aggression? Would it be too much to expect these top brains the potential to rebuild labor union density (THE ONLY POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC TISSUE OF THE AVERAGE PERSON) at state by progressive state level.

NEVER HEAR OF IT -- NO OTHER PATH (and it looks to be multi-multi-path once you start looking through all the angles.

So I wont be accused of hi-jacking the thread with a very long unionization entreaty you can look up my entreaty here:
Wet backs and narrow backs (Irish immigrants' native born kiddies)
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

I'm only beginning to sort all this out -- like the angle that any group disallowed of employee status by the Trump NLRB (student teaching and research assistants?) immediately become eligible for full state supported conduction of NLRB-like certification process. No preemption problem.

Preemption on closer exam may not be the barrier folks think. So, so much more federal preemption/supremacy (not the same thing!) stuff to sort through -- another reason to put off posting the full comment. Few weeks maybe.

Denis Drew -> anne... , December 23, 2016 at 01:07 PM
Where I come from, the Bronx of the 50s-70s, everybody was different, so nobody was different, so we had more fun with your differences.

We didn't have diversity; we had assimilation; everyone was the same.

Typical 60s high school chatter: How's an Italian like a crashing airplane? Guinea, Guinea, Guinea: Whop!
How's an Irishman like a submarine under attack? Down the hatch; down the hatch; down the hatch!

In the movie The Wanderers, portraying the 1979 Bronx with more people of color, the high school teasing is all: nigger, spic, kike! Too much for your non-real-melting pot ears.

:-)-
********************
Be more impressed by your (plural) interest in minority dignity if it obsessed on getting everyone one the same ECONOMIC (!) level.

Click here -- for early thoughts (still sorting) on how to actually do just that -- if you really want to really help:
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

You rebuild union density or you do nothing! You do it at the state by progressive state level or you do nothing! Are you academic progressives the slightest bit interested in doing just that? How come you are not obsessed with re-unionization?

[Dec 21, 2016] Economists View Paul Krugman How Republics End

Notable quotes:
"... That seems to be the problem in most of our western democracies right now. Voters are able to diagnose the problems they themselves feel and suffer from; but are clueless as to the actual cause of those problems. So the first guy who comes around promising to provide solutions is given the go ahead, under the false assumption that it "cannot get any worse than it is now" - but it can get a lot worse! ..."
Dec 21, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Dan Nile : , December 19, 2016 at 11:49 AM
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic."

-Ben Franklin

Fred C. Dobbs : , December 19, 2016 at 11:52 AM
David Souter warned of a Trump-like
candidate in prescient remarks (in 2012)

Steve Benen - October 2016 - Maddow Blog

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter has maintained a very low public profile since retiring from the bench nearly eight years ago, but Rachel highlighted a 2012 appearance Souter made in New Hampshire, and his remarks on "civic ignorance" are striking in their foresight.

"I don't worry about our losing republican government in the United States because I'm afraid of a foreign invasion. I don't worry about it because I think there is going to be a coup by the military as has happened in some of other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed, people will not know who is responsible. And when the problems get bad enough, as they might do, for example, with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown, some one person will come forward and say, 'Give me total power and I will solve this problem.'

"That is how the Roman republic fell. Augustus became emperor, not because he arrested the Roman Senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.

"If we know who is responsible, I have enough faith in the American people to demand performance from those responsible. If we don't know, we will stay away from the polls. We will not demand it. And the day will come when somebody will come forward and we and the government will in effect say, 'Take the ball and run with it. Do what you have to do.'

"That is the way democracy dies. And if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about at night."

Souter couldn't have known about Donald Trump's rise in Republican politics, but that only makes his fears in 2012 that much more prophetic. ...

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 12:26 PM
Do set down the reference link when possible.
Fred C. Dobbs -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 12:36 PM
Oops.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/souter-warned-trump-candidate-prescient-remarks

DeDude -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 12:55 PM
That seems to be the problem in most of our western democracies right now. Voters are able to diagnose the problems they themselves feel and suffer from; but are clueless as to the actual cause of those problems. So the first guy who comes around promising to provide solutions is given the go ahead, under the false assumption that it "cannot get any worse than it is now" - but it can get a lot worse!
ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 03:58 PM
Heard on Howie Carr's (AM 680* in Boston) chump line:

What do you call a bunch of democrats in the basement: whine cellar.

For democrats "if at first you don't succeed; cry cry again".

Shorter poor pk

pitiable pk.

*I much prefer the late Jerry Williams!

Chris G -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 07:41 PM
I miss David Souter.
DrDick : , December 19, 2016 at 11:56 AM
While this is certainly a real possibility, I have a bit more faith in the American people and the American system than Krugman seems to.
New Deal democrat -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:11 PM
I hope you are correct, but if Trump decides to defy the Congress or the Courts, with 40% of the populace ready to do whatever he says, who do you think is going to stand up to him? Mitch McConnell? Paul Ryan? Clarence Thomas? Samuel Alito?
pgl -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 12:13 PM
None of the above. But there will be another election in 2018. We have to make sure the other 60% of the populace stand up.
New Deal democrat -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:44 PM
If PK's concern is right -- and I think it is -- Trump is going to crack down on dissent. In this he will be aided and abetted by his Nuremburg rallies.

We will still have elections in 2018 and 2020. But will they be fair or banana-republic facsimiles? North Carolina has already crossed the line in my opinion.

ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:04 PM
can crooks beat the morality play?

2018 my money is on non democrats!

yuan -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 05:10 PM
an election in 2018 that heavily favors republicans.
ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 04:03 PM
it was the crook

versus cuckoo

who won

it ain't so bad

abortion and deviant

behavior lost

does not threaten

the republic

however whining

democrat subversives

if you all cannot

get over it!

tea baggers lived with

the war mongering

lover of immorality

for 8 years

poor pk

a candidate

for dimbot

che guevera

pgl -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:12 PM
Maybe PK spent too much time watching the Star Wars marathon this weekend. Me? I watched football.
Peter K. -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:45 PM
Krugman also said Hillary was a great candidate who would win easily.

He's wrong a lot when it comes to politics.

Gibbon1 -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 01:47 PM
I've said this before economists and politics are like doctors and light aircraft.
anne -> Gibbon1... , December 19, 2016 at 01:57 PM
Aside:

The comment you made and reminder for me that the Chinese leadership has long been largely educated as engineers was especially important in my understanding the IMF warning of dangerous credit growth in China. Economic planners are of course aware of the warning and a just established goal in 2017 is to limit the extension of credit though keeping general economic growth at 6.5%.

PGL was equally helpful.

I now have the solution, which I can depict in graphs.

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 02:41 PM
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2016/12/links-for-12-17-16.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201b7c8be11ae970b

December 17, 2016

[...the seeming lack of concern about corporate debt suggests the level is not considered a problem. Why though?]

Easy answer: China's leaders are technocrats not finance people like in the US. Meaning they think that a factory is an asset, the bonds used to pay for it is just a weak obligation on paper. In the US it's the opposite.

-- Gibbon

yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:18 PM
you are rewriting history. krugman was histrionically concerned about the possibility of trump win.
Gibbon1 -> yuan... , December 19, 2016 at 05:28 PM
Look another refugee
Fred C. Dobbs -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 03:15 PM
Me too.

Because we live in the
best of all possible worlds.

Tom aka Rusty : , December 19, 2016 at 11:59 AM
The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

I'm with Dr. Dick on this one.

pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 12:11 PM
But you just said that if the Dems don't win the House in 2018 - the party should disband. What's gonna replace it - Luke Skywalker?
Peter K. -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:43 PM
If the Democrats keel listening to people like pgl and Krugman, they will lose again in 2018.

Rustbucket was prophetic. So was Dean Baker and Jared Bernstein.

PGL had nothing but insults for the messengers of what became a populist revolt that helped past Brexit and elect Trump.

BenIsNotYoda -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 01:10 PM
I have to support Peter K on this one. This was important before the election but is all the more important now.
pgl -> BenIsNotYoda... , December 19, 2016 at 04:18 PM
BINY the gold bug jumps on the PeterK pointless bandwagon. Aren't you guys bored with this pointless nonsense by now? Yawn!
yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:19 PM
the democrats will lose badly in 2018 because many of their contested seats are in deep red states.
Tom aka Rusty -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 03:21 PM
I have an RR8 robot running around my living room - maybe a robot party?
pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 04:18 PM
Love it. OK I watched football this weekend but Star Wars rocks!
ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:06 PM
if the crooks still run the dems.......

they are toast.

pgl -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 04:19 PM
Rusty and I are sending R2D2 over to your place. Take cover.
ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 05:31 PM
I will get to that movie!
M. Gamble : , December 19, 2016 at 12:14 PM
I think most people commenting on the Trump phenomena are treating as though it sprang whole cloth out of the either. I think Trump is the natural conclusion of two things the GOP accepted as its own. The modern management style of tell your employees anything and it will happen, no need to be a good manager and know what you're talking about just act as though you know everything. Next the original sin(not my coin) of the GOP supply side economics. Now this brings into power R. Reagan. Who said famously, the scariest thing to hear is, "I am from the Federal Government, and I am here to help you!" This caused down through the years an ongoing disdain for anything coming from Washington, no expert was to be trusted, the other side was not to be trusted, etc. This was for one reason, to make rich people feel good about all the money that was going up stream into their pockets instead of anyone who works for a living.

After about forty years of this is it any wonder that half the people don't vote? Or that half of the half see a rich guy and think he can do it look at all the money he made? It is a very sad state of affairs, but it is what you get when most of society is in love with the all mighty dollar and not actual substance in their lives.

pgl -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 12:25 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhYJS80MgYA

Reagan did have a disdain for the government.

david s -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 01:56 PM
Yet Reagan and Tip O'Neill spent like the Keynesians they were.

Far better than the austere Clinton and Obama Administrations.

Marcus Tullius Cicero -> david s ... , December 19, 2016 at 06:50 PM

They could talk the walk but could not

walk the
talk --

anne -> Marcus Tullius Cicero... , December 19, 2016 at 07:05 PM
Fitting name, Cicero.
Peter K. -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 12:48 PM
"After about forty years of this is it any wonder that half the people don't vote?"

EMichael is astonished that people aren't more excited and energized by the American Jobs Act or Romneycare or Hillary's family leave tinkering.

Julio -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 01:55 PM
"...the Trump phenomena...sprang whole cloth out of the either."

[Either party, I presume :-)].

Meets : , December 19, 2016 at 12:18 PM
He doesn't actually present any evidence that "democracy is at the edge" or that the US republic is about to end.

He's just unhappy about Trump's policies. They may be bad policies, but it's a huge leap from there to the nation collapsing.

pgl -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 12:24 PM
Is this like we survived Nixon as well as Bush-Cheney so we will survive Trump? I hope you're right.
Meets -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:28 PM
Exactly.

I mean, he should first present an argument of why Trump will be a bad president rather than assuming it (which I know he's readers do anyway).

Then from there he needs to explain how a bad president leads to national collapse.

I can see a bad presidency, I don't see the country ceasing to exist.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 01:11 PM
First of all, let me emphasize that I want to be polite about this. But I think the concern is valid. The country will exist. Elections will be held. But they are also held in Russia and Turkey. If those in power crack down on the opposition, and crack down on dissent, and the ruling party controls the election apparatus, then the elections do not make the country a Republic.

The question is, why do you think Trump will refrain -- or be restrained -- from doing any of those things? His rallies have already appeared to condone violence. He has already suggested an embrace of "second amendment remedies. He called for his opponent to be locked up. He has suggested that he personally will start prosecutions. He has said he wants libel laws broadened. He has called for judges who rule against him to be investigated. Really, he has telegraphed that he wants to cross the Rubicon in just about every way he can. Why shouldn't we take that seriously?

Meets -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 01:28 PM
Well for one he has said a lot of stupid things that he's already backed up on, from making the wall just a fence to keeping parts of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.

Second, a President can't do whatever he wants. Lots of Republicans didn't want him there in the first place, they won't let him just violate the constitution and ruin the party when they have control of house, senate, states, etc.

I can believe he'll be the worst president yet, I have trouble seeing how we'll become Turkey, which has a history many coups, or Russia, which is practically a failed state.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 01:29 PM
Re: "a President can't do whatever he wants."

As I asked up thread, who do you believe is going to stop him?

Meets -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 01:47 PM
Congress, Senate, Supreme Court.

Before you say "They're all Republicans" there was segment of the party that didn't want him to run at all.

And the Reps have power, they won't let Trump ruin them.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 02:07 PM
I guess we will just have to leave it at that, because when Trump has his base (which is the GOP base) frothing at the mouth, I simply do not see Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Clarence Thomas, and Samueal Alito suddenly auditioning for Profiles in Courage.

I pray that Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have the best healthcare on earth.

kurt -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 02:18 PM
Something about whistling and graveyards is coming to mind here. Do you think that a weasel like Ryan or an addled old man like McCain can hold him back? McConnell? The Republicans long ago gave up any trappings of rationality or reason. They long ago gave up anything smacking of conscious or thoughtfulness. They long ago stopped treating policy as something to be determined by what works best for the most people. For decades the Republican Party has been an insurgent party that has been seeking to prevent positive change in the world. The elected leaders despise government. They are against programs that actually help people. They nakedly stole $12B in Iraq that we know of. Pretending this is normal only helps to hasten the demise.
pgl -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 04:21 PM
It is already out there - Trump needs to prove he was born on this planet. With that hairdo - it is hard to tell if he is Jedi or a Sith.
ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 05:33 PM
crooks in DNC are a huge threat to republic I thought less GOPsters running Trump. Why I voted against the crook.

HRC should get 3 squares and a cot!

david s -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 01:53 PM
Nixon was the last progressive President.

We should hope to have an Administration as effective and activist as Nixon's.

pgl -> david s ... , December 19, 2016 at 04:23 PM
Nixon was not a right wing creep but he was still a creep. BTW - the Committee to Re-Elect the President was called CREEP.
DrDick -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:28 PM
While I think this will likely be worse than anything we have seen before, but I do not think this will be the end of democracy. It may be in rather ragged shape by then, however.
yuan -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 05:26 PM
draconian voter suppression is not a figment of krugman's imagination. nor is the north carolina legislative coup. i think the usa may very well transitionin into an authoritarian political system.

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-gops-attack-on-voting-rights-was-the-most-under-covered-story-of-2016/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/11/03/federal_judge_slams_north_carolina_voter_purge.html

Peter K. : , December 19, 2016 at 12:39 PM
"Why is this happening? ... And let's be clear: This is a Republican story, not a case of "both sides do it.""

No it's also a story about Democrats and center-left parties the world over.

The callous elites of the center are not presenting a good alternative to the demagogues on the right.

(So voters are unenthusiastic or they don't bother to vote or organize. They're apathetic.)

You can see it here in comments. You can see it with Krugman who absolves the center-left of any blame.

Bernie Sanders and his supporters issued a warning.

But Krugman assured us Hillary was a great candidate who would easily win.

If the Democrats keep behaving like Krugman and EMichael with their heads in the sand, then they'll lose in 2018 and 2020.

EMichael quotes Mike Singletary when Singletary would have nothing but contempt for the EMichaels who are always crying about the media/referees and blaming their loss on meddling from the Russians.

I've seen NO post-mortem from the center-left Democrats. Only excuses.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 12:41 PM
The experts told us Brexit would never pass.

The pollsters assured us Hillary would win.

kurt -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 02:23 PM
In a normal world, we would know - due to exit polling - that something was amiss. In fact, the large skew from the results and exit polling would be considered by our own election watchers in the 3rd world to be indicative of shenanigans. But we can't say that. And apparently the reason we can't is due to people like you being on the same page with the Republican kleptocrats.
ilsm -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 06:25 PM
one poll had HRC 48% on 6 Oct....

before Comey and Assange!

She polled 48% on 8 Nov!

kurt -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 02:21 PM
Your level of dishonesty is appalling. Calling Krugman a centrist? That defies reason. Saying that there is a center-left? Absurd. It doesn't exist. The Pete Peterson's of the world are Center Right. Do you think that being just plain liberal is center left? Anyone who questions anything that Amy Goodman or Thom Hartman says is a centrist (and for the record, while I like Thom and Amy very much - they occasionally fall for utter BS because of tribalism). Also - reasons =/= excuses.
pgl -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 04:25 PM
"Your level of dishonesty is appalling."

I would say a rare but of brilliant honesty here. But I should add EVERY one here knows PeterK lies 24/7. It is his day job. Don't get him fired now as this winter is cold.

Peter K. -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 07:19 PM
pgl can't even keep his story straight.

That's sure sign of a dishonest troll.

Peter K. -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 07:08 PM
He called himself center-left to differentiate himself from the leftist Sanders supporters.

There are a lot of nutcases on the left - there are everywhere in politics - but the centrist establishment has failed for 40 years.

Krugman just gives excuses for Bill Clinton, Hillary, Obama etc.

Peter K. -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 07:21 PM
"Also - reasons =/= excuses."

Hillary lost to a laughable Reality TV star.

Any true progressive would have won by a large margin.

pgl -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:24 PM
One trick pony you are. Oh wait - I just insulted real world ponies.
kthomas -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:37 PM
You require a lesson in manners.
Peter K. -> kthomas... , December 19, 2016 at 07:19 PM
Who is going to teach me?

You?

Don't make me laugh.

yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:33 PM
additional losses in 2018 are inevitable and voter suppression and gerrymandering will likely result in even larger losses in 2020. i also think constitutional amendments that make the usa a de facto one party state are conceivable.
ilsm -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:35 PM
center left are the problem.....

they are con artists and crooks.

yuan -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 07:53 PM
"center left are the problem....."

sanders, warren and grijalva are crooks and con artists? that's an interesting point of view!

Peter K. : , December 19, 2016 at 12:51 PM
Bernie Sanders and his primary campaign made me hopeful.

"Initially considered a long shot, Sanders won 23 primaries and caucuses and approximately 43% of pledged delegates to Clinton's 55%. His campaign was noted for the enthusiasm of its supporters, as well as his rejection of large donations from corporations, the financial industry, and any associated Super PAC. The campaign instead relied on a record-breaking number of small, individual contributions."

If the Democrats continue to flail helplessly, energy will continue to build on the left.

pgl -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:27 PM
"Bernie Sanders and his primary campaign made me hopeful."

That's cool but then you reverted to your norm - an angry and pointlessly stupid and dishonest troll. Get a life.

Gibbon1 -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 06:14 PM
You need to leave.
yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:43 PM
"energy will continue to build on the left."

meh.

sanders is on his way to retirement and warren is hardly an inspiring candidate. i personally see little evidence of energy from the center-left (e.g. the congressional progressive caucus). if anything, sanders and warren appear to be supporting more triangulation (e.g. neoliberals like ellision and gabbard).

anne : , December 19, 2016 at 01:07 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/how-republics-end.html

December 18, 2016

How Republics End
By Paul Krugman

Adrian Goldsworthy's "In the Name of Rome" says: *

"However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power."

* http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 01:12 PM
Correcting for spacing:

http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

GENERAL IN EXILE: SERTORIUS AND THE CIVIL WAR

Quintus Sertorius (c. 125–72 BC)

The Roman political élite was not unique in its competitiveness and desire to excel. The aristocracies of most Greek cities – and indeed of the overwhelming majority of other communities in the Mediterranean world – were just as eager to win personal dominance and often unscrupulous in their methods of achieving this. Roman senators were highly unusual in channelling their ambitions within fairly narrow, and universally recognized, boundaries. The internal disorder and revolution which plagued the public lives of most city states were absent from Rome until the last century of the Republic. Even then, during civil wars of extreme savagery when the severed heads of fellow citizens were displayed in the Forum, the Roman aristocracy continued to place some limits on what means were acceptable to overcome their rivals. A common figure in the history of the ancient world is the aristocratic exile – the deposed king or tyrant, or the general forced out when he was perceived to be becoming too powerful – at the court of a foreign power, usually a king. Such men readily accepted foreign troops to go back and seize power by force in their homeland – as the tyrant Pisistratus had done at Athens – or actively fought against their own city on their new protector's behalf, like Alcibiades.

Rome's entire history contains only a tiny handful of individuals whose careers in any way followed this pattern. The fifth-century BC, and semi-mythical, Caius Marcius Coriolanus probably comes closest, for when banished from Rome he took service with the hostile Volscians and led their army with great success. In the story he came close to capturing Rome itself, and was only stopped from completing his victory by the intervention of his mother. The moral of the tale was quintessentially Roman. However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power. Senators wanted success, but that success only counted if it was achieved at Rome. No senator defected to Pyrrhus or Hannibal even when their final victory seemed imminent, nor did Scipio Africanus' bitterness at the ingratitude of the State cause him to take service with a foreign king.

The outbreak of civil war did not significantly change this attitude, since both sides invariably claimed that they were fighting to restore the true Republic. Use was often made of non-Roman troops, but these were always presented as auxiliaries or allies serving from their obligations to Rome and never as independent powers intervening for their own benefit. Yet the circumstances of Roman fighting Roman did create many highly unorthodox careers, none more so than that of Quintus Sertorius, who demonstrated a talent for leading irregular forces and waging a type of guerrilla warfare against conventional Roman armies. Exiled from Sulla's Rome, he won his most famous victories and lived out the last years of his life in Spain, but never deviated from the attitudes of his class or thought of himself as anything other than a Roman senator and general....

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 01:16 PM
http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

2003

In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire
By Adrian Goldsworthy

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:12 PM
I would hope readers would carefully consider this quoted passage that Paul Krugman has used. I am uncomfortable with this theme.
kthomas -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:38 PM
No you are not. You are relishing all of this.
anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:28 PM
Julius Caesar who was born in 100 BC, of course invaded Rome with a Roman army. I really am uncomfortable with the theme in using Adrian Goldsworth on the end of the republic, likely I am missing something and will read Goldworthy for a while now.
ilsm -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 05:42 PM
Reference to the Rome of the Gracchi and subsequent empire evolutions is a huge stretch toward false equivalence.

Senators were hereditary, a class oriented. They were the holders of vast farms on the labor of slaves.

The plebes voted for tribunes etc who observed the senate but had no authority other than a veto.

When the senate was in trouble they selected a dictator for the duration.

The roman republic was better than the Athenian demos who sent out fleets to slaughter on the whim of the orator.....

but no role model for an enlightened civitas....

But it was not popular!

anne : , December 19, 2016 at 01:10 PM
http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

GENERAL IN EXILE: SERTORIUS AND THE CIVIL WAR

Quintus Sertorius (c. 125–72 BC)

The Roman political élite was not unique in its competitiveness and desire to excel. The aristocracies of most Greek cities – and indeed of the overwhelming majority of other communities in the Mediterranean world – were just as eager to win personal dominance and often unscrupulous in their methods of achieving this. Roman senators were highly unusual in channelling their ambitions within fairly narrow, and universally recognized, boundaries. The internal disorder and revolution which plagued the public lives of most city states were absent from Rome until the last century of the Republic. Even then, during civil wars of extreme savagery when the severed heads of fellow citizens were displayed in the Forum, the Roman aristocracy continued to place some limits on what means were acceptable to overcome their rivals. A common figure in the history of the ancient world is the aristocratic exile – the deposed king or tyrant, or the general forced out when he was perceived to be becoming too powerful – at the court of a foreign power, usually a king. Such men readily accepted foreign troops to go back and seize power by force in their homeland – as the tyrant Pisistratus had done at Athens – or actively fought against their own city on their new protector's behalf, like Alcibiades.
Rome's entire history contains only a tiny handful of individuals whose careers in any way followed this pattern. The fifth-century BC, and semi-mythical, Caius Marcius Coriolanus probably comes closest, for when banished from Rome he took service with the hostile Volscians and led their army with great success. In the story he came close to capturing Rome itself, and was only stopped from completing his victory by the intervention of his mother. The moral of the tale was quintessentially Roman. However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power. Senators wanted success, but that success only counted if it was achieved at Rome. No senator defected to Pyrrhus or Hannibal even when their final victory seemed imminent, nor did Scipio Africanus' bitterness at the ingratitude of the State cause him to take service with a foreign king.
The outbreak of civil war did not significantly change this attitude, since both sides invariably claimed that they were fighting to restore the true Republic. Use was often made of non-Roman troops, but these were always presented as auxiliaries or allies serving from their obligations to Rome and never as independent powers intervening for their own benefit. Yet the circumstances of Roman fighting Roman did create many highly unorthodox careers, none more so than that of Quintus Sertorius, who demonstrated a talent for leading irregular forces and waging a type of guerrilla warfare against conventional Roman armies. Exiled from Sulla's Rome, he won his most famous victories and lived out the last years of his life in Spain, but never deviated from the attitudes of his class or thought of himself as anything other than a Roman senator and general....

David : , December 19, 2016 at 01:16 PM
I grew up in Bakersfield, California. Most of my friends were minorities, mexicans, phillipinos, blacks. But a lot were white - and there's no other way to put it - racists. I played pool with these guys, drank beer with em.

A lot of the racism was just so casual I let it slide, though I'm very liberal. We all figured it's just something you say over a beer, it doesn't mean anything.

Well, maybe now that they run the government, maybe it does. Maybe they just figure they got nothing left to lose.

And when you got nothing left to lose, you're one dangerous fellow. And there's a bunch of em.

ilsm -> David... , December 19, 2016 at 05:44 PM
I prefer Cali secede!

No nukes for you.

Lord : , December 19, 2016 at 01:37 PM
Plutocracy craves power.
Lord -> Lord... , December 19, 2016 at 01:38 PM
Or what do you get the person who has everything but power?
bob : , December 19, 2016 at 02:12 PM
Lately I have been thinking about the famous story of Kurt Gödel's citizenship hearing, when he said that he could prove that the U.S. Constitution would allow for our government to be converted to a dictatorship. (The most complete account of this perhaps apocryphal story AFAIK is found here http://morgenstern.jeffreykegler.com/ ). I wonder what the most important logician of the 20th century had concluded, and I worry that we may find out!
Greg : , December 19, 2016 at 03:04 PM
What is happening follows directly and inevitably from the Citizens United decision. The Supreme Court failed in its duty to be a bulwark of democracy.

However, that decision wouldn't have gone the way it did unless the culture was already fully compromised.

ilsm -> Greg... , December 19, 2016 at 04:15 PM
evidence?

clinton spent more

far more

in NH the republican senate incumbent was out spent by PAC's attacking her and had nothing to sell in the opponent.

Gibbon1 -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 07:40 PM
It's not so much that Clinton spent more than Trump. Seriously Clinton lost because she had terrible negatives in the Rust Belt and she didn't do jack diddly to shore that up.

Where money comes in is that Clinton's ability to raise unlimited amounts of money allowed her to squash the better candidate, Sanders. Even though she lost a lot of campaign operatives made a lot more than they would have if they backed Sanders.

Tom aka Rusty : , December 19, 2016 at 03:24 PM
Liberals believe the country survives and prospers because of the federal government.

So PK's reaction is natural for a liberal.

The truth is more nuanced.

pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 04:29 PM
"Liberals believe the country survives and prospers because of the federal government."

You really need to stop this stupid nonsense. On occassion you make a decent point. But then you write just asinine and utterly stupid comments.

Tom aka Rusty -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 06:59 PM
Your opinion and $1 will get me a McDonalds coffee.

Open your mind grasshopper.

ilsm : , -1
sad pk

neolib, war mongering corporatists are aghast

it will be 50 years before

wall st banksters can pass

their crooked tool off

as 'center left'

whose detractors are

called sexist and racists!!

only the most deluded liar

would toss that loss

out as a harm to the republic

which they would coup

deplorables are more organized

and many are proud

to be depolrables in the

"faux center left's" eyes.

poor pk

yuan -> ilsm... , -1

'Murrican "democracy" is the theory that the deplorables know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

[Dec 21, 2016] Economists View Paul Krugman How Republics End

Notable quotes:
"... That seems to be the problem in most of our western democracies right now. Voters are able to diagnose the problems they themselves feel and suffer from; but are clueless as to the actual cause of those problems. So the first guy who comes around promising to provide solutions is given the go ahead, under the false assumption that it "cannot get any worse than it is now" - but it can get a lot worse! ..."
Dec 21, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Dan Nile : , December 19, 2016 at 11:49 AM
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic."

-Ben Franklin

Fred C. Dobbs : , December 19, 2016 at 11:52 AM
David Souter warned of a Trump-like
candidate in prescient remarks (in 2012)

Steve Benen - October 2016 - Maddow Blog

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter has maintained a very low public profile since retiring from the bench nearly eight years ago, but Rachel highlighted a 2012 appearance Souter made in New Hampshire, and his remarks on "civic ignorance" are striking in their foresight.

"I don't worry about our losing republican government in the United States because I'm afraid of a foreign invasion. I don't worry about it because I think there is going to be a coup by the military as has happened in some of other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed, people will not know who is responsible. And when the problems get bad enough, as they might do, for example, with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown, some one person will come forward and say, 'Give me total power and I will solve this problem.'

"That is how the Roman republic fell. Augustus became emperor, not because he arrested the Roman Senate. He became emperor because he promised that he would solve problems that were not being solved.

"If we know who is responsible, I have enough faith in the American people to demand performance from those responsible. If we don't know, we will stay away from the polls. We will not demand it. And the day will come when somebody will come forward and we and the government will in effect say, 'Take the ball and run with it. Do what you have to do.'

"That is the way democracy dies. And if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about at night."

Souter couldn't have known about Donald Trump's rise in Republican politics, but that only makes his fears in 2012 that much more prophetic. ...

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 12:26 PM
Do set down the reference link when possible.
Fred C. Dobbs -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 12:36 PM
Oops.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/souter-warned-trump-candidate-prescient-remarks

DeDude -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 12:55 PM
That seems to be the problem in most of our western democracies right now. Voters are able to diagnose the problems they themselves feel and suffer from; but are clueless as to the actual cause of those problems. So the first guy who comes around promising to provide solutions is given the go ahead, under the false assumption that it "cannot get any worse than it is now" - but it can get a lot worse!
ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 03:58 PM
Heard on Howie Carr's (AM 680* in Boston) chump line:

What do you call a bunch of democrats in the basement: whine cellar.

For democrats "if at first you don't succeed; cry cry again".

Shorter poor pk

pitiable pk.

*I much prefer the late Jerry Williams!

Chris G -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 19, 2016 at 07:41 PM
I miss David Souter.
DrDick : , December 19, 2016 at 11:56 AM
While this is certainly a real possibility, I have a bit more faith in the American people and the American system than Krugman seems to.
New Deal democrat -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:11 PM
I hope you are correct, but if Trump decides to defy the Congress or the Courts, with 40% of the populace ready to do whatever he says, who do you think is going to stand up to him? Mitch McConnell? Paul Ryan? Clarence Thomas? Samuel Alito?
pgl -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 12:13 PM
None of the above. But there will be another election in 2018. We have to make sure the other 60% of the populace stand up.
New Deal democrat -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:44 PM
If PK's concern is right -- and I think it is -- Trump is going to crack down on dissent. In this he will be aided and abetted by his Nuremburg rallies.

We will still have elections in 2018 and 2020. But will they be fair or banana-republic facsimiles? North Carolina has already crossed the line in my opinion.

ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:04 PM
can crooks beat the morality play?

2018 my money is on non democrats!

yuan -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 05:10 PM
an election in 2018 that heavily favors republicans.
ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 04:03 PM
it was the crook

versus cuckoo

who won

it ain't so bad

abortion and deviant

behavior lost

does not threaten

the republic

however whining

democrat subversives

if you all cannot

get over it!

tea baggers lived with

the war mongering

lover of immorality

for 8 years

poor pk

a candidate

for dimbot

che guevera

pgl -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:12 PM
Maybe PK spent too much time watching the Star Wars marathon this weekend. Me? I watched football.
Peter K. -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 12:45 PM
Krugman also said Hillary was a great candidate who would win easily.

He's wrong a lot when it comes to politics.

Gibbon1 -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 01:47 PM
I've said this before economists and politics are like doctors and light aircraft.
anne -> Gibbon1... , December 19, 2016 at 01:57 PM
Aside:

The comment you made and reminder for me that the Chinese leadership has long been largely educated as engineers was especially important in my understanding the IMF warning of dangerous credit growth in China. Economic planners are of course aware of the warning and a just established goal in 2017 is to limit the extension of credit though keeping general economic growth at 6.5%.

PGL was equally helpful.

I now have the solution, which I can depict in graphs.

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 02:41 PM
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2016/12/links-for-12-17-16.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201b7c8be11ae970b

December 17, 2016

[...the seeming lack of concern about corporate debt suggests the level is not considered a problem. Why though?]

Easy answer: China's leaders are technocrats not finance people like in the US. Meaning they think that a factory is an asset, the bonds used to pay for it is just a weak obligation on paper. In the US it's the opposite.

-- Gibbon

yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:18 PM
you are rewriting history. krugman was histrionically concerned about the possibility of trump win.
Gibbon1 -> yuan... , December 19, 2016 at 05:28 PM
Look another refugee
Fred C. Dobbs -> DrDick... , December 19, 2016 at 03:15 PM
Me too.

Because we live in the
best of all possible worlds.

Tom aka Rusty : , December 19, 2016 at 11:59 AM
The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

I'm with Dr. Dick on this one.

pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 12:11 PM
But you just said that if the Dems don't win the House in 2018 - the party should disband. What's gonna replace it - Luke Skywalker?
Peter K. -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:43 PM
If the Democrats keel listening to people like pgl and Krugman, they will lose again in 2018.

Rustbucket was prophetic. So was Dean Baker and Jared Bernstein.

PGL had nothing but insults for the messengers of what became a populist revolt that helped past Brexit and elect Trump.

BenIsNotYoda -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 01:10 PM
I have to support Peter K on this one. This was important before the election but is all the more important now.
pgl -> BenIsNotYoda... , December 19, 2016 at 04:18 PM
BINY the gold bug jumps on the PeterK pointless bandwagon. Aren't you guys bored with this pointless nonsense by now? Yawn!
yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:19 PM
the democrats will lose badly in 2018 because many of their contested seats are in deep red states.
Tom aka Rusty -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 03:21 PM
I have an RR8 robot running around my living room - maybe a robot party?
pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 04:18 PM
Love it. OK I watched football this weekend but Star Wars rocks!
ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:06 PM
if the crooks still run the dems.......

they are toast.

pgl -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 04:19 PM
Rusty and I are sending R2D2 over to your place. Take cover.
ilsm -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 05:31 PM
I will get to that movie!
M. Gamble : , December 19, 2016 at 12:14 PM
I think most people commenting on the Trump phenomena are treating as though it sprang whole cloth out of the either. I think Trump is the natural conclusion of two things the GOP accepted as its own. The modern management style of tell your employees anything and it will happen, no need to be a good manager and know what you're talking about just act as though you know everything. Next the original sin(not my coin) of the GOP supply side economics. Now this brings into power R. Reagan. Who said famously, the scariest thing to hear is, "I am from the Federal Government, and I am here to help you!" This caused down through the years an ongoing disdain for anything coming from Washington, no expert was to be trusted, the other side was not to be trusted, etc. This was for one reason, to make rich people feel good about all the money that was going up stream into their pockets instead of anyone who works for a living.

After about forty years of this is it any wonder that half the people don't vote? Or that half of the half see a rich guy and think he can do it look at all the money he made? It is a very sad state of affairs, but it is what you get when most of society is in love with the all mighty dollar and not actual substance in their lives.

pgl -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 12:25 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhYJS80MgYA

Reagan did have a disdain for the government.

david s -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 01:56 PM
Yet Reagan and Tip O'Neill spent like the Keynesians they were.

Far better than the austere Clinton and Obama Administrations.

Marcus Tullius Cicero -> david s ... , December 19, 2016 at 06:50 PM

They could talk the walk but could not

walk the
talk --

anne -> Marcus Tullius Cicero... , December 19, 2016 at 07:05 PM
Fitting name, Cicero.
Peter K. -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 12:48 PM
"After about forty years of this is it any wonder that half the people don't vote?"

EMichael is astonished that people aren't more excited and energized by the American Jobs Act or Romneycare or Hillary's family leave tinkering.

Julio -> M. Gamble... , December 19, 2016 at 01:55 PM
"...the Trump phenomena...sprang whole cloth out of the either."

[Either party, I presume :-)].

Meets : , December 19, 2016 at 12:18 PM
He doesn't actually present any evidence that "democracy is at the edge" or that the US republic is about to end.

He's just unhappy about Trump's policies. They may be bad policies, but it's a huge leap from there to the nation collapsing.

pgl -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 12:24 PM
Is this like we survived Nixon as well as Bush-Cheney so we will survive Trump? I hope you're right.
Meets -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 12:28 PM
Exactly.

I mean, he should first present an argument of why Trump will be a bad president rather than assuming it (which I know he's readers do anyway).

Then from there he needs to explain how a bad president leads to national collapse.

I can see a bad presidency, I don't see the country ceasing to exist.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 01:11 PM
First of all, let me emphasize that I want to be polite about this. But I think the concern is valid. The country will exist. Elections will be held. But they are also held in Russia and Turkey. If those in power crack down on the opposition, and crack down on dissent, and the ruling party controls the election apparatus, then the elections do not make the country a Republic.

The question is, why do you think Trump will refrain -- or be restrained -- from doing any of those things? His rallies have already appeared to condone violence. He has already suggested an embrace of "second amendment remedies. He called for his opponent to be locked up. He has suggested that he personally will start prosecutions. He has said he wants libel laws broadened. He has called for judges who rule against him to be investigated. Really, he has telegraphed that he wants to cross the Rubicon in just about every way he can. Why shouldn't we take that seriously?

Meets -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 01:28 PM
Well for one he has said a lot of stupid things that he's already backed up on, from making the wall just a fence to keeping parts of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.

Second, a President can't do whatever he wants. Lots of Republicans didn't want him there in the first place, they won't let him just violate the constitution and ruin the party when they have control of house, senate, states, etc.

I can believe he'll be the worst president yet, I have trouble seeing how we'll become Turkey, which has a history many coups, or Russia, which is practically a failed state.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 01:29 PM
Re: "a President can't do whatever he wants."

As I asked up thread, who do you believe is going to stop him?

Meets -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 01:47 PM
Congress, Senate, Supreme Court.

Before you say "They're all Republicans" there was segment of the party that didn't want him to run at all.

And the Reps have power, they won't let Trump ruin them.

New Deal democrat -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 02:07 PM
I guess we will just have to leave it at that, because when Trump has his base (which is the GOP base) frothing at the mouth, I simply do not see Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Clarence Thomas, and Samueal Alito suddenly auditioning for Profiles in Courage.

I pray that Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have the best healthcare on earth.

kurt -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 02:18 PM
Something about whistling and graveyards is coming to mind here. Do you think that a weasel like Ryan or an addled old man like McCain can hold him back? McConnell? The Republicans long ago gave up any trappings of rationality or reason. They long ago gave up anything smacking of conscious or thoughtfulness. They long ago stopped treating policy as something to be determined by what works best for the most people. For decades the Republican Party has been an insurgent party that has been seeking to prevent positive change in the world. The elected leaders despise government. They are against programs that actually help people. They nakedly stole $12B in Iraq that we know of. Pretending this is normal only helps to hasten the demise.
pgl -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 04:21 PM
It is already out there - Trump needs to prove he was born on this planet. With that hairdo - it is hard to tell if he is Jedi or a Sith.
ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , December 19, 2016 at 05:33 PM
crooks in DNC are a huge threat to republic I thought less GOPsters running Trump. Why I voted against the crook.

HRC should get 3 squares and a cot!

david s -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 01:53 PM
Nixon was the last progressive President.

We should hope to have an Administration as effective and activist as Nixon's.

pgl -> david s ... , December 19, 2016 at 04:23 PM
Nixon was not a right wing creep but he was still a creep. BTW - the Committee to Re-Elect the President was called CREEP.
DrDick -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 04:28 PM
While I think this will likely be worse than anything we have seen before, but I do not think this will be the end of democracy. It may be in rather ragged shape by then, however.
yuan -> Meets... , December 19, 2016 at 05:26 PM
draconian voter suppression is not a figment of krugman's imagination. nor is the north carolina legislative coup. i think the usa may very well transitionin into an authoritarian political system.

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-gops-attack-on-voting-rights-was-the-most-under-covered-story-of-2016/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/11/03/federal_judge_slams_north_carolina_voter_purge.html

Peter K. : , December 19, 2016 at 12:39 PM
"Why is this happening? ... And let's be clear: This is a Republican story, not a case of "both sides do it.""

No it's also a story about Democrats and center-left parties the world over.

The callous elites of the center are not presenting a good alternative to the demagogues on the right.

(So voters are unenthusiastic or they don't bother to vote or organize. They're apathetic.)

You can see it here in comments. You can see it with Krugman who absolves the center-left of any blame.

Bernie Sanders and his supporters issued a warning.

But Krugman assured us Hillary was a great candidate who would easily win.

If the Democrats keep behaving like Krugman and EMichael with their heads in the sand, then they'll lose in 2018 and 2020.

EMichael quotes Mike Singletary when Singletary would have nothing but contempt for the EMichaels who are always crying about the media/referees and blaming their loss on meddling from the Russians.

I've seen NO post-mortem from the center-left Democrats. Only excuses.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 12:41 PM
The experts told us Brexit would never pass.

The pollsters assured us Hillary would win.

kurt -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 02:23 PM
In a normal world, we would know - due to exit polling - that something was amiss. In fact, the large skew from the results and exit polling would be considered by our own election watchers in the 3rd world to be indicative of shenanigans. But we can't say that. And apparently the reason we can't is due to people like you being on the same page with the Republican kleptocrats.
ilsm -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 06:25 PM
one poll had HRC 48% on 6 Oct....

before Comey and Assange!

She polled 48% on 8 Nov!

kurt -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 02:21 PM
Your level of dishonesty is appalling. Calling Krugman a centrist? That defies reason. Saying that there is a center-left? Absurd. It doesn't exist. The Pete Peterson's of the world are Center Right. Do you think that being just plain liberal is center left? Anyone who questions anything that Amy Goodman or Thom Hartman says is a centrist (and for the record, while I like Thom and Amy very much - they occasionally fall for utter BS because of tribalism). Also - reasons =/= excuses.
pgl -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 04:25 PM
"Your level of dishonesty is appalling."

I would say a rare but of brilliant honesty here. But I should add EVERY one here knows PeterK lies 24/7. It is his day job. Don't get him fired now as this winter is cold.

Peter K. -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 07:19 PM
pgl can't even keep his story straight.

That's sure sign of a dishonest troll.

Peter K. -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 07:08 PM
He called himself center-left to differentiate himself from the leftist Sanders supporters.

There are a lot of nutcases on the left - there are everywhere in politics - but the centrist establishment has failed for 40 years.

Krugman just gives excuses for Bill Clinton, Hillary, Obama etc.

Peter K. -> kurt... , December 19, 2016 at 07:21 PM
"Also - reasons =/= excuses."

Hillary lost to a laughable Reality TV star.

Any true progressive would have won by a large margin.

pgl -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:24 PM
One trick pony you are. Oh wait - I just insulted real world ponies.
kthomas -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:37 PM
You require a lesson in manners.
Peter K. -> kthomas... , December 19, 2016 at 07:19 PM
Who is going to teach me?

You?

Don't make me laugh.

yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:33 PM
additional losses in 2018 are inevitable and voter suppression and gerrymandering will likely result in even larger losses in 2020. i also think constitutional amendments that make the usa a de facto one party state are conceivable.
ilsm -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:35 PM
center left are the problem.....

they are con artists and crooks.

yuan -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 07:53 PM
"center left are the problem....."

sanders, warren and grijalva are crooks and con artists? that's an interesting point of view!

Peter K. : , December 19, 2016 at 12:51 PM
Bernie Sanders and his primary campaign made me hopeful.

"Initially considered a long shot, Sanders won 23 primaries and caucuses and approximately 43% of pledged delegates to Clinton's 55%. His campaign was noted for the enthusiasm of its supporters, as well as his rejection of large donations from corporations, the financial industry, and any associated Super PAC. The campaign instead relied on a record-breaking number of small, individual contributions."

If the Democrats continue to flail helplessly, energy will continue to build on the left.

pgl -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 04:27 PM
"Bernie Sanders and his primary campaign made me hopeful."

That's cool but then you reverted to your norm - an angry and pointlessly stupid and dishonest troll. Get a life.

Gibbon1 -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 06:14 PM
You need to leave.
yuan -> Peter K.... , December 19, 2016 at 05:43 PM
"energy will continue to build on the left."

meh.

sanders is on his way to retirement and warren is hardly an inspiring candidate. i personally see little evidence of energy from the center-left (e.g. the congressional progressive caucus). if anything, sanders and warren appear to be supporting more triangulation (e.g. neoliberals like ellision and gabbard).

anne : , December 19, 2016 at 01:07 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/how-republics-end.html

December 18, 2016

How Republics End
By Paul Krugman

Adrian Goldsworthy's "In the Name of Rome" says: *

"However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power."

* http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 01:12 PM
Correcting for spacing:

http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

GENERAL IN EXILE: SERTORIUS AND THE CIVIL WAR

Quintus Sertorius (c. 125–72 BC)

The Roman political élite was not unique in its competitiveness and desire to excel. The aristocracies of most Greek cities – and indeed of the overwhelming majority of other communities in the Mediterranean world – were just as eager to win personal dominance and often unscrupulous in their methods of achieving this. Roman senators were highly unusual in channelling their ambitions within fairly narrow, and universally recognized, boundaries. The internal disorder and revolution which plagued the public lives of most city states were absent from Rome until the last century of the Republic. Even then, during civil wars of extreme savagery when the severed heads of fellow citizens were displayed in the Forum, the Roman aristocracy continued to place some limits on what means were acceptable to overcome their rivals. A common figure in the history of the ancient world is the aristocratic exile – the deposed king or tyrant, or the general forced out when he was perceived to be becoming too powerful – at the court of a foreign power, usually a king. Such men readily accepted foreign troops to go back and seize power by force in their homeland – as the tyrant Pisistratus had done at Athens – or actively fought against their own city on their new protector's behalf, like Alcibiades.

Rome's entire history contains only a tiny handful of individuals whose careers in any way followed this pattern. The fifth-century BC, and semi-mythical, Caius Marcius Coriolanus probably comes closest, for when banished from Rome he took service with the hostile Volscians and led their army with great success. In the story he came close to capturing Rome itself, and was only stopped from completing his victory by the intervention of his mother. The moral of the tale was quintessentially Roman. However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power. Senators wanted success, but that success only counted if it was achieved at Rome. No senator defected to Pyrrhus or Hannibal even when their final victory seemed imminent, nor did Scipio Africanus' bitterness at the ingratitude of the State cause him to take service with a foreign king.

The outbreak of civil war did not significantly change this attitude, since both sides invariably claimed that they were fighting to restore the true Republic. Use was often made of non-Roman troops, but these were always presented as auxiliaries or allies serving from their obligations to Rome and never as independent powers intervening for their own benefit. Yet the circumstances of Roman fighting Roman did create many highly unorthodox careers, none more so than that of Quintus Sertorius, who demonstrated a talent for leading irregular forces and waging a type of guerrilla warfare against conventional Roman armies. Exiled from Sulla's Rome, he won his most famous victories and lived out the last years of his life in Spain, but never deviated from the attitudes of his class or thought of himself as anything other than a Roman senator and general....

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 01:16 PM
http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

2003

In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire
By Adrian Goldsworthy

anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:12 PM
I would hope readers would carefully consider this quoted passage that Paul Krugman has used. I am uncomfortable with this theme.
kthomas -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:38 PM
No you are not. You are relishing all of this.
anne -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 04:28 PM
Julius Caesar who was born in 100 BC, of course invaded Rome with a Roman army. I really am uncomfortable with the theme in using Adrian Goldsworth on the end of the republic, likely I am missing something and will read Goldworthy for a while now.
ilsm -> anne... , December 19, 2016 at 05:42 PM
Reference to the Rome of the Gracchi and subsequent empire evolutions is a huge stretch toward false equivalence.

Senators were hereditary, a class oriented. They were the holders of vast farms on the labor of slaves.

The plebes voted for tribunes etc who observed the senate but had no authority other than a veto.

When the senate was in trouble they selected a dictator for the duration.

The roman republic was better than the Athenian demos who sent out fleets to slaughter on the whim of the orator.....

but no role model for an enlightened civitas....

But it was not popular!

anne : , December 19, 2016 at 01:10 PM
http://erenow.com/ancient/in-the-name-of-rome-the-men-who-won-the-roman-empire/7.html

GENERAL IN EXILE: SERTORIUS AND THE CIVIL WAR

Quintus Sertorius (c. 125–72 BC)

The Roman political élite was not unique in its competitiveness and desire to excel. The aristocracies of most Greek cities – and indeed of the overwhelming majority of other communities in the Mediterranean world – were just as eager to win personal dominance and often unscrupulous in their methods of achieving this. Roman senators were highly unusual in channelling their ambitions within fairly narrow, and universally recognized, boundaries. The internal disorder and revolution which plagued the public lives of most city states were absent from Rome until the last century of the Republic. Even then, during civil wars of extreme savagery when the severed heads of fellow citizens were displayed in the Forum, the Roman aristocracy continued to place some limits on what means were acceptable to overcome their rivals. A common figure in the history of the ancient world is the aristocratic exile – the deposed king or tyrant, or the general forced out when he was perceived to be becoming too powerful – at the court of a foreign power, usually a king. Such men readily accepted foreign troops to go back and seize power by force in their homeland – as the tyrant Pisistratus had done at Athens – or actively fought against their own city on their new protector's behalf, like Alcibiades.
Rome's entire history contains only a tiny handful of individuals whose careers in any way followed this pattern. The fifth-century BC, and semi-mythical, Caius Marcius Coriolanus probably comes closest, for when banished from Rome he took service with the hostile Volscians and led their army with great success. In the story he came close to capturing Rome itself, and was only stopped from completing his victory by the intervention of his mother. The moral of the tale was quintessentially Roman. However important it was for an individual to win fame and add to his own and his family's reputation, this should always be subordinated to the good of the Republic. The same belief in the superiority of Rome that made senators by the second century BC hold themselves the equals of any king ensured that no disappointed Roman politician sought the aid of a foreign power. Senators wanted success, but that success only counted if it was achieved at Rome. No senator defected to Pyrrhus or Hannibal even when their final victory seemed imminent, nor did Scipio Africanus' bitterness at the ingratitude of the State cause him to take service with a foreign king.
The outbreak of civil war did not significantly change this attitude, since both sides invariably claimed that they were fighting to restore the true Republic. Use was often made of non-Roman troops, but these were always presented as auxiliaries or allies serving from their obligations to Rome and never as independent powers intervening for their own benefit. Yet the circumstances of Roman fighting Roman did create many highly unorthodox careers, none more so than that of Quintus Sertorius, who demonstrated a talent for leading irregular forces and waging a type of guerrilla warfare against conventional Roman armies. Exiled from Sulla's Rome, he won his most famous victories and lived out the last years of his life in Spain, but never deviated from the attitudes of his class or thought of himself as anything other than a Roman senator and general....

David : , December 19, 2016 at 01:16 PM
I grew up in Bakersfield, California. Most of my friends were minorities, mexicans, phillipinos, blacks. But a lot were white - and there's no other way to put it - racists. I played pool with these guys, drank beer with em.

A lot of the racism was just so casual I let it slide, though I'm very liberal. We all figured it's just something you say over a beer, it doesn't mean anything.

Well, maybe now that they run the government, maybe it does. Maybe they just figure they got nothing left to lose.

And when you got nothing left to lose, you're one dangerous fellow. And there's a bunch of em.

ilsm -> David... , December 19, 2016 at 05:44 PM
I prefer Cali secede!

No nukes for you.

Lord : , December 19, 2016 at 01:37 PM
Plutocracy craves power.
Lord -> Lord... , December 19, 2016 at 01:38 PM
Or what do you get the person who has everything but power?
bob : , December 19, 2016 at 02:12 PM
Lately I have been thinking about the famous story of Kurt Gödel's citizenship hearing, when he said that he could prove that the U.S. Constitution would allow for our government to be converted to a dictatorship. (The most complete account of this perhaps apocryphal story AFAIK is found here http://morgenstern.jeffreykegler.com/ ). I wonder what the most important logician of the 20th century had concluded, and I worry that we may find out!
Greg : , December 19, 2016 at 03:04 PM
What is happening follows directly and inevitably from the Citizens United decision. The Supreme Court failed in its duty to be a bulwark of democracy.

However, that decision wouldn't have gone the way it did unless the culture was already fully compromised.

ilsm -> Greg... , December 19, 2016 at 04:15 PM
evidence?

clinton spent more

far more

in NH the republican senate incumbent was out spent by PAC's attacking her and had nothing to sell in the opponent.

Gibbon1 -> ilsm... , December 19, 2016 at 07:40 PM
It's not so much that Clinton spent more than Trump. Seriously Clinton lost because she had terrible negatives in the Rust Belt and she didn't do jack diddly to shore that up.

Where money comes in is that Clinton's ability to raise unlimited amounts of money allowed her to squash the better candidate, Sanders. Even though she lost a lot of campaign operatives made a lot more than they would have if they backed Sanders.

Tom aka Rusty : , December 19, 2016 at 03:24 PM
Liberals believe the country survives and prospers because of the federal government.

So PK's reaction is natural for a liberal.

The truth is more nuanced.

pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 19, 2016 at 04:29 PM
"Liberals believe the country survives and prospers because of the federal government."

You really need to stop this stupid nonsense. On occassion you make a decent point. But then you write just asinine and utterly stupid comments.

Tom aka Rusty -> pgl... , December 19, 2016 at 06:59 PM
Your opinion and $1 will get me a McDonalds coffee.

Open your mind grasshopper.

ilsm : , -1
sad pk

neolib, war mongering corporatists are aghast

it will be 50 years before

wall st banksters can pass

their crooked tool off

as 'center left'

whose detractors are

called sexist and racists!!

only the most deluded liar

would toss that loss

out as a harm to the republic

which they would coup

deplorables are more organized

and many are proud

to be depolrables in the

"faux center left's" eyes.

poor pk

yuan -> ilsm... , -1

'Murrican "democracy" is the theory that the deplorables know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

[Dec 21, 2016] The essence of voting the lesser of two evils: To comfortable centrists like pgl, the Democrats should be graded on a curve. As long as theyre better than the awful Republicans, then theyre good enough and beyond criticism.

Notable quotes:
"... The essence of voting the lesser of two evils: "To comfortable centrists like pgl, the Democrats should be graded on a curve. As long as they're better than the awful Republicans, then they're good enough and beyond criticism." ..."
"... These Wall Street Democrats can rest assured that Democrats will surely get their turn in power in 4-8 years...after Trump thoroughly screws things up. And then Democrats will proceed to screw things up themselves...as we learned from Obama and Hillary's love of austerity and total disinterest in the economic welfare of the vast majority. ..."
"... In case you didn't notice, Democrats did nothing about the minimum wage 2009-2010. ..."
"... Many Democratic candidates won't even endorse minimum wage increase in states where increases win via initiative. They preferred to lose elections to standing up for minimum wage increases. ..."
Dec 20, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
December 20, 2016 at 07:59 AM

Peter K.... The essence of voting the lesser of two evils: "To comfortable centrists like pgl, the Democrats should be graded on a curve. As long as they're better than the awful Republicans, then they're good enough and beyond criticism."

These Wall Street Democrats can rest assured that Democrats will surely get their turn in power in 4-8 years...after Trump thoroughly screws things up. And then Democrats will proceed to screw things up themselves...as we learned from Obama and Hillary's love of austerity and total disinterest in the economic welfare of the vast majority.

To pgl and his ilk, Obama was great as long as he said the right things...regardless of what he actually did. Hillary didn't even have to say the right things...she only had to be a Wall Street Democrat for pgl to be enthusiastic about her.

JohnH -> jonny bakho... , December 20, 2016 at 12:39 PM
In case you didn't notice, Democrats did nothing about the minimum wage 2009-2010. At a minimum, they could have taken their dominance then to enact increases for 2010-2016 or to index increases to inflation. Instead, Pelosi, Reid and Obama preferred to do nothing.

Many Democratic candidates won't even endorse minimum wage increase in states where increases win via initiative. They preferred to lose elections to standing up for minimum wage increases.

[Dec 17, 2016] Paul Krugman Useful Idiots Galore

Notable quotes:
"... Shorter Paul Krugman: nobody acted more irresponsibly in the last election than the New York Times. ..."
"... Looks like Putin recruited the NYT, the FBI and the DNC. ..."
"... Dr. Krugman is feeding this "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. He comes across as increasingly shrill and even unhinged - it's a slide he's been taking for years IMO, which is a big shame. ..."
"... It is downright irresponsible and dangerous for a major public intellectual with so little information to cast the shadow of legitimacy on a president ("And it means not acting as if this was a normal election whose result gives the winner any kind of a mandate, or indeed any legitimacy beyond the bare legal requirements.") This kind of behavior is EXACTLY what TRUMP and other authoritarians exhibit - using pieces of information to discredit institutions and individuals. Since foreign governments have and will continue to try to influence U.S. policy through increasingly sophisticated means, this opens the door for anyone to declare our elections and policies as illegitimate in the future. ..."
"... Any influence Russian hacking had was entirely a consequence of U.S. media obsession with celebrity, gotcha and horse race trivia and two-party red state/blue state tribalism. ..."
"... Without the preceding, neither Trump nor Clinton would have been contenders in the first place. Putin didn't invent super delegates, Citizens United, Fox News, talk radio, Goldman-Sachs, etc. etc. etc. If Putin exploited vulnerabilities, it is because preserving those vulnerabilities was more important to the elites than fostering a democratic political culture. ..."
"... It's not a "coup". It's an election result that didn't go the way a lot of people want. That's it. It's probably not optimal, but I'm pretty sure that democracy isn't supposed to produce optimal results. ..."
"... All this talk about "coups" and "illegitimacy" is nuts, and -- true to Dem practice -- incredibly short-sighted. For many, voting for Trump was an available way to say to those people, "We don't believe you any more. At all." Seen in that light, it is a profoundly democratic (small 'd') response to elites that have most consistently served only themselves. ..."
"... Post Truth is Pre-Fascism. The party that thinks your loyalty is suspect unless you wear a flag pin fuels itself on Post Truth. Isnt't this absurdity the gist of Obama's Russia comments today!?! ..."
"... Unless the Russians or someone else hacked the ballot box machines, it is our own damn fault. ..."
"... The ship of neo-liberal trade sailed in the mid-2000's. That you don't get that is sad. You can only milk that so far the cow had been milked. ..."
"... The people of the United States did not have much to choose between: Either a servant of the Plutocrats or a member of the Plutocratic class. The Dems brought this on us when they refused to play fair with Bernie. (Hillary would almost certainly have won the nomination anyway.) ..."
"... The Repubs brought this on, by refusing to govern. The media brought this on: I seem to remember Hillary's misfeasances, once nominated, festering in the media, while Trump's were mentioned, and then disappeared. (Correct me if I'm wrong in this.) Also, the media downplayed Bernie until he had no real chance. ..."
"... The government brought this on, by failing to pursue justice against the bankers, and failing to represent the people, especially the majority who have been screwed by trade and the plutocratic elite and their apologists. ..."
"... The educational system brought this on, by failing to educate the people to critical thought. For instance: 1) The wealthy run the country. 2) The wealthy have been doing very well. 3) Everybody else has not. It seems most people cannot draw the obvious conclusion. ..."
"... Krugman is himself one of those most useful idiots. I do not recall his clarion call to Democrats last spring that "FBI investigation" and "party Presidential nominee" was bound to be an ugly combination. Some did; right here as I recall. Or his part in the official "don't vote for third party" week in the Clinton media machine....thanks, hundreds of thousands of Trump votes got the message. ..."
"... It's too rich to complain about Russia and Wikileaks as if those elements in anyway justified Clinton becoming President. Leaks mess with our democracy? Then for darn sure do not vote for a former Sec. of State willing to use a home server for her official business. Russia is menacing? Just who has been managing US-Russia relations the past 8 years? I voted for her anyway, but the heck if I think some tragic fate has befell the nation here. Republicans picked a better candidate to win this thing than we Democrats did. ..."
"... The truth of the matter is that Clinton was a very weak candidate with nothing to offer but narcissism ("I'm with her"). It's notable that Clinton has still not accepted responsibility for her campaign, preferring to throw the blame for the loss anywhere but herself. Sociopathy much? ..."
Dec 17, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Monetas Tuas Requiro -> kthomas... , December 16, 2016 at 05:10 PM
The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win

http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19960715,00.html

JohnH -> Dan Kervick... , December 16, 2016 at 11:46 AM
PK seems to be a bitter old man...
anne -> sanjait... , December 16, 2016 at 03:08 PM
Nothing to see here, say the useful idiots.

[ I find it terrifying, simply terrifying, to refer to people as "useful idiots" after all the personal destruction that has followed when the expression was specifically used in the past.

To me, using such an expression is an honored economist intent on becoming Joseph McCarthy. ]

anne -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 03:15 PM
To demean a person as though the person were a communist or a fool of communists or the like, with all the personal harm that has historically brought in this country, is cruel beyond my understanding or imagining.

"Useful Idiots Galore," terrifying.

Necesito Dinero Tuyo -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 05:25 PM
Dale : , December 16, 2016 at 10:51 AM
trouble is that his mind reflects an accurate perception of our common reality.
Procopius -> Dale... , December 17, 2016 at 02:37 AM
Well, not really. For example he referred to "the close relationship between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence." But Wikileaks is a channel. They don't seek out material. They rely on people to bring material to them. They supposedly make an effort to verify that the material is not a forgery, but aside from that what they release is what people bring to them. Incidentally, like so many people you seem to not care whether the material is accurate or not -- Podesta and the DNC have not claimed that any of the emails are different from what they sent.
Tom aka Rusty : , December 16, 2016 at 11:06 AM
PK's head explodes!

One thought....

When politicians and business executives and economists cuddle up to the totalitarian Chinese it is viewed as an act of enlightment and progress.

When someone cuddles up to the authoritarian thug Putin it is an act of evil.

Seems a bit of a double standard.

We are going to have to do "business" with both the Chinese and the Russians, whoever is president.

Ben Groves -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 16, 2016 at 11:07 AM
Your head should explode considering Trump's deal with the "establishment" in July was brokered by foreign agents.
ilsm -> Ben Groves... , December 16, 2016 at 04:11 PM
curiouser and curiouser! while Obama and administration arm jihadis and call its support for jihadis funded by al Qaeda a side in a civil war.

the looking glass you all went through.

Trump has more convictions than any democrat

... ... ...

Tom aka Rusty -> kthomas... , December 16, 2016 at 01:36 PM
In a theatre of the absurd sort of way.
dilbert dogbert -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 16, 2016 at 12:11 PM
One thought:
Only Nixon can go to China.
anne -> sanjait... , December 16, 2016 at 03:22 PM
Putin is a murderous thug...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/23/opinion/david-brooks-snap-out-of-it.html

September 22, 2014

Snap Out of It
By David Brooks

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, a lone thug sitting atop a failing regime....

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/opinion/thomas-friedman-putin-and-the-pope.html

October 21, 2014

Putin and the Pope
By Thomas L. Friedman

One keeps surprising us with his capacity for empathy, the other by how much he has become a first-class jerk and thug....

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/opinion/sunday/thomas-l-friedman-whos-playing-marbles-now.html

December 20, 2014

Who's Playing Marbles Now?
By Thomas L. Friedman

Let us not mince words: Vladimir Putin is a delusional thug....

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/22/opinion/paul-krugman-putin-neocons-and-the-great-illusion.html

December 21, 2014

Conquest Is for Losers: Putin, Neocons and the Great Illusion
By Paul Krugman

Remember, he's an ex-K.G.B. man - which is to say, he spent his formative years as a professional thug....

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/28/opinion/thomas-friedman-czar-putins-next-moves.html

January 27, 2015

Czar Putin's Next Moves
By Thomas L. Friedman

ZURICH - If Putin the Thug gets away with crushing Ukraine's new democratic experiment and unilaterally redrawing the borders of Europe, every pro-Western country around Russia will be in danger....

anne -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 03:23 PM
Putin is a murderous thug...

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/16/world/middleeast/white-house-split-on-opening-talks-with-putin.html

September 15, 2015

Obama Weighing Talks With Putin on Syrian Crisis
By PETER BAKER and ANDREW E. KRAMER

WASHINGTON - Mr. Obama views Mr. Putin as a thug, according to advisers and analysts....

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/opinion/mr-putins-mixed-messages-on-syria.html

September 20, 2015

Mr. Putin's Mixed Messages on Syria

Mr. Obama considers Mr. Putin a thug, his advisers say....

Gibbon1 -> anne... , December 16, 2016 at 07:15 PM
> By David Brooks
> By Thomas L. Friedman
> By Paul Krugman
> By Peter Baker and Andrew E. Kramer

I feel these authors have intentionally attempted to mislead in the past. They also studiously ignore the United States thuggish foreign policy.

Sandwichman : , December 16, 2016 at 11:06 AM
"...not acting as if this was a normal election..." The problem is that it WAS a "normal" U.S. election.
Ben Groves -> Sandwichman ... , December 16, 2016 at 11:09 AM
Yup, like the other elections, the bases stayed solvent and current events factored into the turnout and voting patterns which spurred the independent vote.
Gibbon1 -> Ben Groves... , December 16, 2016 at 11:57 AM
When people were claiming Clinton was going to win big, I thought no Republican and Democratic voters are going to pull the lever like a trained monkey as usual. Only difference in this election was Hillary's huge negatives due entirely by her and Bill Clinton's support for moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico and China in the 90s.
dilbert dogbert -> Sandwichman ... , December 16, 2016 at 12:13 PM
I would have thought in a "normal" murika and election, the drumpf would have gotten at most 10 million votes.
Sandwichman -> dilbert dogbert... , December 16, 2016 at 01:54 PM
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.
Fred C. Dobbs : , December 16, 2016 at 11:08 AM
To Understand Trump, Learn Russian http://nyti.ms/2hLcrB1
NYT - Andrew Rosenthal - December 15

The Russian language has two words for truth - a linguistic quirk that seems relevant to our current political climate, especially because of all the disturbing ties between the newly elected president and the Kremlin.

The word for truth in Russian that most Americans know is "pravda" - the truth that seems evident on the surface. It's subjective and infinitely malleable, which is why the Soviet Communists called their party newspaper "Pravda." Despots, autocrats and other cynical politicians are adept at manipulating pravda to their own ends.

But the real truth, the underlying, cosmic, unshakable truth of things is called "istina" in Russian. You can fiddle with the pravda all you want, but you can't change the istina.

For the Trump team, the pravda of the 2016 election is that not all Trump voters are explicitly racist. But the istina of the 2016 campaign is that Trump's base was heavily dependent on racists and xenophobes, Trump basked in and stoked their anger and hatred, and all those who voted for him cast a ballot for a man they knew to be a racist, sexist xenophobe. That was an act of racism.

Trump's team took to Twitter with lightning speed recently to sneer at the conclusion by all 17 intelligence agencies that the Kremlin hacked Democratic Party emails for the specific purpose of helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton. Trump said the intelligence agencies got it wrong about Iraq, and that someone else could have been responsible for the hack and that the Democrats were just finding another excuse for losing.

The istina of this mess is that powerful evidence suggests that the Russians set out to interfere in American politics, and that Trump, with his rejection of Western European alliances and embrace of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, was their chosen candidate.

The pravda of Trump's selection of Rex Tillerson, head of Exxon Mobil, as secretary of state is that by choosing an oil baron who has made billions for his company by collaborating with Russia, Trump will make American foreign policy beholden to American corporate interests.

That's bad enough, but the istina is far worse. For one thing, American foreign policy has been in thrall to American corporate interests since, well, since there were American corporations. Just look at the mess this country created in Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Middle East to serve American companies.

Yes, Tillerson has ignored American interests repeatedly, including in Russia and Iraq, and has been trying to remove sanctions imposed after Russia's seizure of Crimea because they interfered with one of his many business deals. But take him out of the equation in the Trump cabinet and nothing changes. Trump has made it plain, with every action he takes, that he is going to put every facet of policy, domestic and foreign, at the service of corporate America. The istina here is that Tillerson is just a symptom of a much bigger problem.

The pravda is that Trump was right in saying that the intelligence agencies got it wrong about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.

But the istina is that Trump's contempt for the intelligence services is profound and dangerous. He's not getting daily intelligence briefings anymore, apparently because they are just too dull to hold his attention.

And now we know that Condoleezza Rice was instrumental in bringing Tillerson to Trump's attention. As national security adviser and then secretary of state for president George W. Bush, Rice was not just wrong about Iraq, she helped fabricate the story that Hussein had nuclear weapons.

Trump and Tillerson clearly think they are a match for the wily and infinitely dangerous Putin, but as they move foward with their plan to collaborate with Russia instead of opposing its imperialist tendencies, they might keep in mind another Russian saying, this one from Lenin.

"There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience," he wrote. "A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel."

Putin has that philosophy hard-wired into his political soul. When it comes to using scoundrels to get what he wants, he is a professional, and Trump is only an amateur. That is the istina of the matter.

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 11:25 AM
If nothing else, Russia - with a notably un-free press - has shrewdly used our own 'free press' against US.

RUSSIA'S UNFREE PRESS

The Boston Globe - Marshall Goldman - January 29, 2001

AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION DEBATES ITS POLICY TOWARD RUSSIA, FREEDOM OF THE PRESS SHOULD BE ONE OF ITS MAJOR CONCERNS. UNDER PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN THE PRESS IS FREE ONLY AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT CRITICIZE PUTIN OR HIS POLICIES. WHEN NTV, THE TELEVISION NETWORK OF THE MEDIA GIANT MEDIA MOST, REFUSED TO PULL ITS PUNCHES, MEDIA MOST'S OWNER, VLADIMIR GUSINSKY, FOUND HIMSELF IN JAIL, AND GAZPROM, A COMPANY DOMINATED BY THE STATE, BEGAN TO CALL IN LOANS TO MEDIA MOST. Unfortunately, Putin's actions are applauded by more than 70 percent of the Russian people. They crave a strong and forceful leader; his KGB past and conditioned KGB responses are just what they seem to want after what many regard as the social, political, and economic chaos of the last decade.

But what to the Russians is law and order (the "dictatorship of the law," as Putin has so accurately put it) looks more and more like an old Soviet clampdown to many Western observers.

There is no complaint about Putin's promises. He tells everyone he wants freedom of the press. But in the context of his KGB heritage, his notion of freedom of the press is something very different. In an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail, he said that that press freedom excludes the "hooliganism" or "uncivilized" reporting he has to deal with in Moscow. By that he means criticism, especially of his conduct of the war in Chechnya, his belated response to the sinking of the Kursk, and the heavy-handed way in which he has pushed aside candidates for governor in regional elections if they are not to Putin's liking.

He does not take well to criticism. When asked by the relatives of those lost in the Kursk why he seemed so unresponsive, Putin tried to shift the blame for the disaster onto the media barons, or at least those who had criticized him. They were the ones, he insisted, who had pressed for reduced funding for the Navy while they were building villas in Spain and France. As for their criticism of his behavior, They lie! They lie! They lie!

Our Western press has provided good coverage of the dogged way Putin and his aides have tried to muscle Gusinsky out of the Media Most press conglomerate he created. But those on the Putin enemies list now include even Boris Berezovsky, originally one of Putin's most enthusiastic promoters who after the sinking of the Kursk also became a critic and thus an opponent.

Gusinsky would have a hard time winning a merit badge for trustworthiness (Berezovsky shouldn't even apply), but in the late Yeltsin and Putin years, Gusinsky has earned enormous credit for his consistently objective news coverage, including a spotlight on malfeasance at the very top. More than that, he has supported his programmers when they have subjected Yeltsin and now Putin to bitter satire on Kukly, his Sunday evening prime-time puppet show.

What we hear less of, though, is what is happening to individual reporters, especially those engaged in investigative work. Almost monthly now there are cases of violence and intimidation. Among those brutalized since Putin assumed power are a reporter for Radio Liberty who dared to write negative reports about the Russian Army's role in Chechnia and four reporters for Novaya Gazeta. Two of them were investigating misdeeds by the FSB (today's equivalent of the KGB), including the possibility that it rather than Chechins had blown up a series of apartment buildings. Another was pursuing reports of money-laundering by Yeltsin family members and senior staff in Switzerland. Although these journalists were very much in the public eye, they were all physically assaulted.

Those working for provincial papers labor under even more pressure with less visibility. There are numerous instances where regional bosses such as the governor of Vladivostok operate as little dictators, and as a growing number of journalists have discovered, challenges are met with threats, physical intimidation, and, if need be, murder.

True, freedom of the press in Russia is still less than 15 years old, and not all the country's journalists or their bosses have always used that freedom responsibly. During the 1996 election campaign, for example, the media owners, including Gusinsky conspired to denigrate or ignore every viable candidate other than Yeltsin. But attempts to muffle if not silence criticism have multiplied since Putin and his fellow KGB veterans have come to power. Criticism from any source, be it an individual journalist or a corporate entity, invites retaliation.

When Media Most persisted in its criticism, Putin sat by approvingly as his subordinates sent in masked and armed tax police and prosecutors. When that didn't work, they jailed Gusinsky on charges that were later dropped, although they are seeking to extradite and jail him again. along with his treasurer, on a new set of charges. Yesterday the prosecutor general summoned Tatyana Mitkova, the anchor of NTV's evening news program, for questioning. Putin's aides are also doing all they can to prevent Gusinsky from refinancing his debt-ridden operation with Ted Turner or anyone else in or outside of the country.

According to one report, Putin told one official, You deal with the shares, debts, and management and I will deal with the journalists. His goal simply is to end to independent TV coverage in Russia. ...

(No link; from their archives.)

DeDude -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 11:33 AM
"Unfortunately, Putin's actions are applauded by more than 70 percent of the Russian people"

Exactly; the majority of people are so stupid and/or lazy that they cannot be bothered understanding what is going on; and how their hard won democracy is being subjugated. But thank God that is in Russia not here in the US - right?

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 11:45 AM
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2001-02-07/html/CREC-2001-02-07-pt1-PgE133-4.htm

February 7, 2001

Russia's Unfree Press
By Marshall I. Goldman

Watermelonpunch -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 16, 2016 at 04:55 PM
"Infinitely dangerous" As in the event horizon of a black hole, for pity's sake?

Odd choice of words. Should there have been a "more" in between there? Was it a typo?

cm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 17, 2016 at 03:42 PM
"Pravda" is etymologically derived from "prav-" which means "right" (as opposed to "left", other connotations are "proper", "correct", "rightful", also legal right). It designates the social-construct aspect of "righteousness/truthfulness/correctness" as opposed to "objective reality" (conceptually independent of social standards, in reality anything but). In formal logic, "istina" is used to designate truth. Logical falsity is designated a "lie".

It is a feature common to most European languages that rightfulness, righteousness, correctness, and legal rights are identified with the designation for the right side. "Sinister" is Latin for "left".

Ben Groves : , December 16, 2016 at 11:18 AM
If you believe 911 was a Zionist conspiracy, so where the Paris attacks of November 2015, when Trump was failing in the polls as the race was moving toward as you would expect, toward other candidates. After the Paris attacks, his numbers reaccelerated.

If "ZOG" created the "false flag" of the Paris attacks to start a anti-Muslim fervor, they succeeded, much like 911. Bastille day attacks were likewise, a false flag. This is not new, this goes back to when the aristocracy merged with the merchant caste, creating the "bourgeois". They have been running a parallel government in the shadows to effect what is seen.

cm -> sanjait... , December 17, 2016 at 03:46 PM
There used to be something called Usenet News, where at the protocol level reader software could fetch meta data (headers containing author, (stated) origin, title, etc.) independently from comment bodies. This was largely owed to limited download bandwidth. Basically all readers had "kill files" i.e. filters where one could configure that comments with certain header parameters should not be downloaded, or even hidden.
cm -> cm... , December 17, 2016 at 03:48 PM
The main application was that the reader would download comments in the background when headers were already shown, or on demand when you open a comment.

Now you get the whole thing (or in units of 100) by the megabyte.

tew : , December 16, 2016 at 11:19 AM
A major problem is signal extraction out of the massive amounts of noise generated by the media, social media, parties, and pundits.

It's easy enough to highlight this thread of information here, but in real time people are being bombarded by so many other stories.

In particular, the Clinton Foundation was also regularly being highlighted for its questionable ties to foreign influence. And HRC's extravagant ties to Wall St. And so much more.

And there is outrage fatigue.

Ben Groves -> DeDude... , December 16, 2016 at 11:34 AM
The media's job was to sell Trump and denounce Clinton. The mistake a lot of people make is thinking the global elite are the "status quo". They are not. They are generally the ones that break the status quo more often than not.

The bulk of them wanted Trump/Republican President and made damn sure it was President. Buffering the campaign against criticism while overly focusing on Clinton's "crap". It took away from the issues which of course would have low key'd the election.

cm -> DeDude... , December 17, 2016 at 03:55 PM
Not much bullying has to be applied when there are "economic incentives". The media attention economy and ratings system thrive on controversy and emotional engagement. This was known a century ago as "only bad news is good news". As long as I have lived, the non-commercial media not subject (or not as much) to these dynamics have always been perceived as dry and boring.

I heard from a number of people that they followed the campaign "coverage" (in particular Trump) as gossip/entertainment, and those were people who had no sympathies for him. And even media coverage by outlets generally critical of Trump's unbelievable scandals and outrageous performances catered to this sentiment.

Jim Harrison : , December 16, 2016 at 11:24 AM
Shorter Paul Krugman: nobody acted more irresponsibly in the last election than the New York Times.
Sandwichman -> Jim Harrison ... , December 16, 2016 at 11:53 AM
Looks like Putin recruited the NYT, the FBI and the DNC.
DrDick -> Sandwichman ... , December 16, 2016 at 11:57 AM
Nah, Wall Street and the GOP recruited them to the effort.
Sandwichman -> DrDick... , December 16, 2016 at 01:57 PM
GOP included in FBI. Wall Street included in DNC, GOP. It's all just one big FBIDNCGOPCNNWSNYT.
sanjait -> Jim Harrison ... , December 16, 2016 at 03:06 PM
He can't say it out loud but you know he's including the NYT on his list of UIs.
tew : , December 16, 2016 at 11:26 AM
Let me also add some levelheaded thoughts:

First, let me disclose that I detest TRUMP and that the Russian meddling has me deeply concerned. Yet...

We only have assertions that the Russian hacking had some influence. We do not know whether it likely had *material* influence that could have reasonably led to a swing state(s) going to TRUMP that otherwise would have gone to HRC.

Dr. Krugman is feeding this "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality. He comes across as increasingly shrill and even unhinged - it's a slide he's been taking for years IMO, which is a big shame.

It is downright irresponsible and dangerous for a major public intellectual with so little information to cast the shadow of legitimacy on a president ("And it means not acting as if this was a normal election whose result gives the winner any kind of a mandate, or indeed any legitimacy beyond the bare legal requirements.") This kind of behavior is EXACTLY what TRUMP and other authoritarians exhibit - using pieces of information to discredit institutions and individuals. Since foreign governments have and will continue to try to influence U.S. policy through increasingly sophisticated means, this opens the door for anyone to declare our elections and policies as illegitimate in the future.

DrDick -> tew... , December 16, 2016 at 11:56 AM
It is quite clear that the Russians intervened on Trump's behalf and that this intervention had an impact. The problem is that we cannot actually quantify that impact.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-backs-cia-view-that-russia-intervened-to-help-trump-win-election/2016/12/16/05b42c0e-c3bf-11e6-9a51-cd56ea1c2bb7_story.html?pushid=breaking-news_1481916265&tid=notifi_push_breaking-news&utm_term=.25d35c017908

Sandwichman -> tew... , December 16, 2016 at 01:17 PM
"We only have assertions that the Russian hacking had some influence."

Any influence Russian hacking had was entirely a consequence of U.S. media obsession with celebrity, gotcha and horse race trivia and two-party red state/blue state tribalism.

Without the preceding, neither Trump nor Clinton would have been contenders in the first place. Putin didn't invent super delegates, Citizens United, Fox News, talk radio, Goldman-Sachs, etc. etc. etc. If Putin exploited vulnerabilities, it is because preserving those vulnerabilities was more important to the elites than fostering a democratic political culture.

cm -> Sandwichman ... , December 17, 2016 at 04:00 PM
But this is how influence is exerted - by using the dynamics of the adversary's/targets organization as an amplifier. Hierarchical organizations are approached through their management or oversight bodies, social networks through key influencers, etc.
David : , December 16, 2016 at 11:58 AM
I see this so much and it's so right wing cheap: I hate Trump, but assertions that Russia intervened are unproven.

First, Trump openly invited Russia to hack DNC emails. That is on its face treason and sedition. It's freaking on video. If HRC did that there would be calls of the right for her execution.

Second, a NYT story showed that the FBI knew about the hacking but did not alert the DNC properly - they didn't even show up, they sent a note to a help desk.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fbi-probe-dnc-hacked-emails_us_57a19f22e4b08a8e8b601259

This was a serious national security breach that was not addressed properly. This is criminal negligence.

This was a hacked election by collusion of the FBI and the Russian hackers and it totally discredits the FBI as it throwed out chum and then denied at the last minute. Now the CIA comes in and says PUTIN, Trump's bff, was directly involved in manipulating the timetable that the hacked emails were released in drip drip form to cater to the media - creating story after story about emails.

It was a perfect storm for a coup. Putin played us. And he will play Trump. And God knows how it ends. But it doesn't matter b/c we're all screwed with climate change anyway.

sglover -> David... , December 16, 2016 at 02:50 PM
"It was a perfect storm for a coup. Putin played us. And he will play Trump. And God knows how it ends. But it doesn't matter b/c we're all screwed with climate change anyway."

It's not a "coup". It's an election result that didn't go the way a lot of people want. That's it. It's probably not optimal, but I'm pretty sure that democracy isn't supposed to produce optimal results.

All this talk about "coups" and "illegitimacy" is nuts, and -- true to Dem practice -- incredibly short-sighted. For many, voting for Trump was an available way to say to those people, "We don't believe you any more. At all." Seen in that light, it is a profoundly democratic (small 'd') response to elites that have most consistently served only themselves.

Trump and his gang will be deeply grateful if the left follows Krugman's "wisdom", and clings to his ever-changing excuses. (I thought it was the evil Greens who deprived Clinton of her due?)

100panthers : , December 16, 2016 at 02:17 PM
Post Truth is Pre-Fascism. The party that thinks your loyalty is suspect unless you wear a flag pin fuels itself on Post Truth. Isnt't this absurdity the gist of Obama's Russia comments today!?!
ilsm -> 100panthers... , December 16, 2016 at 04:29 PM
Obama and the Clintons are angered; Russia keeping US from giving Syria to al Qaeda. Like Clinton gave them Libya.
Jerry Brown -> sanjait... , December 16, 2016 at 04:46 PM
I agree. Unless the Russians or someone else hacked the ballot box machines, it is our own damn fault.
ilsm : , December 16, 2016 at 04:27 PM
the US media is angered putin is killing US' jihadis in Syria
Mr. Bill : , December 16, 2016 at 08:27 PM
"On Wednesday an editorial in The Times described Donald Trump as a "useful idiot" serving Russian interests." I think that is beyond the pale. Yes, I realize that Adolph Hitler was democratically elected. I agree that Trump seems like a scary monster under the bed. That doesn't mean we have too pee our pants, Paul. He's a bully, tough guy, maybe, the kind of kid that tortured you before you kicked the shit out of them with your brilliance. That's not what is needed now.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 16, 2016 at 08:39 PM
What really is needed, is a watchdog, like Dean Baker, that alerts we dolts of pending bills and their ramifications. The ship of neo-liberal trade bullshit has sailed. Hell, you don't believe it yourself, you've said as much. Be gracious, and tell the truth. We can handle it.
Ben Groves -> Mr. Bill... , December 16, 2016 at 09:51 PM
The ship of neo-liberal trade sailed in the mid-2000's. That you don't get that is sad. You can only milk that so far the cow had been milked.

Trump was a coo, he was not supported by the voters. But by the global elite.

Mr. Bill : , December 16, 2016 at 10:28 PM
Hillary Clinton lost because she is truly an ugly aristocrat.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 16, 2016 at 11:49 PM
The experience of voting for the Hill was painful, vs Donald Trump.

The Hill seemed like the least likely aristocrat, given two choices, to finish off all government focus on the folks that actually built this society. Two Titans of Hubris, Hillary vs Donald, each ridiculous in the concept of representing the interests of the common man.

At the end of the day. the American people decided that the struggle with the unknown monster Donald was worth deposing the great deplorable, Clinton.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:11 AM
The real argument is whether the correct plan of action is the way of FDR, or the way of the industrialists, the Waltons, the Kochs, the Trumps, the Bushes and the outright cowards like the Cheneys and the Clintons, people that never spent a day defending this country in combat. What do they call it, the Commander in Chief.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:29 AM
My father was awarded a silver and a bronze star for his efforts in battle during WW2. He was shot in the face while driving a tank destroyer by a German sniper in a place called Schmitten Germany.

He told me once, that he looked over at the guy next to him on the plane to the hospital in England, and his intestines were splayed on his chest. It was awful.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , December 17, 2016 at 12:55 AM
What was he fighting for ? Freedom, America. Then the Republicans, Ronald Reagan, who spent the war stateside began the real war, garnering the wealth of the nation to the entitled like him. Ronald Reagan was a life guard.
btg : , December 16, 2016 at 11:09 PM
Other idiots...

Anthony Weiner
Podesta
Biden (for not running)
Tim Kaine (for accepting the nomination instead of deferring to a latino)
CNN and other TV news media (for giving trump so much coverage- even an empty podium)
Donna Brazile
etc.

greg : , December 16, 2016 at 11:57 PM
The people of the United States did not have much to choose between: Either a servant of the Plutocrats or a member of the Plutocratic class. The Dems brought this on us when they refused to play fair with Bernie. (Hillary would almost certainly have won the nomination anyway.)

The Repubs brought this on, by refusing to govern. The media brought this on: I seem to remember Hillary's misfeasances, once nominated, festering in the media, while Trump's were mentioned, and then disappeared. (Correct me if I'm wrong in this.) Also, the media downplayed Bernie until he had no real chance.

The government brought this on, by failing to pursue justice against the bankers, and failing to represent the people, especially the majority who have been screwed by trade and the plutocratic elite and their apologists.

The educational system brought this on, by failing to educate the people to critical thought. For instance: 1) The wealthy run the country. 2) The wealthy have been doing very well. 3) Everybody else has not. It seems most people cannot draw the obvious conclusion.

The wealthy brought this on. For 230 years they have, essentially run this country. They are too stupid to be satisfied with enough, but always want more.

The economics profession brought this on, by excusing treasonous behavior as efficient, and failing to understand the underlying principles of their profession, and the limits of their understanding. (They don't even know what money is, or how a trade deficit destroys productive capacity, and thus the very ability of a nation to pay back the debts it incurs.)

The people brought this on, by neglecting their duty to be informed, to be educated, and to be thoughtful.

Anybody else care for their share of blame? I myself deserve some, but for reasons I cannot say.

What amazes me now is, the bird having shown its feathers, there is no howl of outrage from the people who voted for him. Do they imagine that the Plutocrats who will soon monopolize the White House will take their interests to heart?

As far as I can tell, not one person of 'the people' has been appointed to his cabinet. Not one. But the oppressed masses who turned to Mr Trump seem to be OK with this.
I can only wonder, how much crap will have to be rubbed in their faces, before they awaken to the taste of what it is?

Eric377 : , -1
Krugman is himself one of those most useful idiots. I do not recall his clarion call to Democrats last spring that "FBI investigation" and "party Presidential nominee" was bound to be an ugly combination. Some did; right here as I recall. Or his part in the official "don't vote for third party" week in the Clinton media machine....thanks, hundreds of thousands of Trump votes got the message.

It's too rich to complain about Russia and Wikileaks as if those elements in anyway justified Clinton becoming President. Leaks mess with our democracy? Then for darn sure do not vote for a former Sec. of State willing to use a home server for her official business. Russia is menacing? Just who has been managing US-Russia relations the past 8 years? I voted for her anyway, but the heck if I think some tragic fate has befell the nation here. Republicans picked a better candidate to win this thing than we Democrats did.

Greg -> Eric377... , December 17, 2016 at 12:11 PM
Well said, Eric377.

The truth of the matter is that Clinton was a very weak candidate with nothing to offer but narcissism ("I'm with her"). It's notable that Clinton has still not accepted responsibility for her campaign, preferring to throw the blame for the loss anywhere but herself. Sociopathy much?

This has made me cynical. I used to think that at least *some* members of the US political elite had the best interests of ordinary households in mind, but now I see that it's just ego vs. ego, whatever the party.

As for democracy being on the edge: I believe Adam Smith over Krugman: "there is a lot of ruin in a nation". It takes more than this to overturn an entrenched institution.

I think American democracy will survive a decade of authoritarianism, and if it does not, then H. L. Mencken said it best: "The American people know what they want, and they deserve to get it -- good and hard."

[Dec 15, 2016] Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS cyberattacks

Dec 15, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Pavlo Svolochenko , December 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm
Georgia asks Trump to investigate DHS 'cyberattacks'

If you want to know what Washington is doing at any given time, just look at what they're accusing the competition of.

yalensis , December 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm
As the Worm Turns!
For all those Amurican rubes out there who beleived that Homeland Security was protecting them against foreign terrorists – ha hahahahahaha!

[Dec 09, 2016] The Persistent Problems of Presidential Elections Zero Hedge

Dec 09, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com

The election is over. I am left with two very contradictory feelings.

First is one of appreciation - every four years we peacefully replace our government.

I remember my parents in the late 1970s discussing Soviet politics at our house with their close friend. Their friend said something anti-Soviet. I vividly recall the fear in my mother's eyes when she realized I had overheard that part of the conversation.

Views that were contrary to "politics of the party" were not tolerated. If I repeated in kindergarten what I had just heard, my teacher could report it to authorities and my parents (not me) would get in trouble.

A six-year-old kid could have only heard this sort of anti-Soviet talk at home: TV, radio, and newspapers were a pro-Soviet propaganda machine. My parents would not have been sent to the gulag, but they could have lost their jobs. If this sounds farfetched, my father's best friend, a colleague and professor at Murmansk Marine Academy, was fired for possession of anti-Soviet propaganda - a copy of Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago . It took him years to get another job, and it was almost two decades later, when the Soviet Union fell apart, that he was finally able to get a decent teaching job.

We in America tend to take our democratic elections for granted and underappreciate the fact that we can openly express our views. But there is also the other, new feeling: disgust. Yes, disgust. There is something deeply wrong with the U.S. election process. Between the presidential candidates and the congressional races, billions of dollars were spent (wasted) on the election. To spend that kind of money, first you have to raise it. Politicians sell their souls and beliefs to whomever will give them the most money.

And here is the sad truth: If you don't raise money, the other guy will, and then he can outspend you. He can slaughter you, as his lies will be amplified louder through TV and radio ads, and the victory will be his. As I am writing this, I am realizing that allowing politicians to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns is not unlike allowing steroids in sports - even the strongest athlete will lose to a weaker opponent who is pumped on steroids.

Also, this election process will turn even a very honorable person into a liar or half-truth teller, because it is impossible to express complex ideas in 30-second sound bites. Even during the presidential debates, where candidates were allowed a few minutes to make their case, every claim that each of them made had to be fact-checked the next morning. We must be scratching an all-time low in politics when we feel the need to fact-check the statements of the candidates running for the highest office in the land, the president of the United States, the office that should be the moral compass for the country. If we accept lies and half-truths from them as politics as usual, what do you expect from just a mortal senator or a congressman?

The partisan politics of this country is simply insane. I observed both Republican and Democrat friends, who are otherwise rational people whom I deeply respect, turning into mindless robots when the conversation turned to politics. It seemed that their cognitive abilities had been wiped and replaced by a party program as they mindlessly repeated half-truths and lies propagated by the party mother ship, without any critical thinking of their own. It was scary.

But there is a silver lining to U.S. politics. Call me a disillusioned optimist, but no matter what the outcome of the election, this country has survived and will continue to survive bad congressmen, bad senators, and even bad presidents.

Here is the irony of the above: I wrote that piece exactly four years ago about the Obama/Romney election. I never thought that I was describing what, four years later, we'd consider the good ol' days.

Thoughts on Trump's presidency:

If Hillary Clinton had been elected, her presidency would have provided a fairly narrow band of outcomes - basically a continuation of the past eight years. (I'll let you, Dear Reader, be the judge of whether that would have been good or bad.)

Potential outcomes for the Trump presidency fall in a much wider band. Probable outcomes are relatively narrow for domestic policy and a mile wide for foreign policy.

We tend to think of the American president as a very powerful person. However, that is only true when it comes to foreign policy, when the president acts as commander-in-chief. Regarding domestic policy, the brilliance of the Constitution is that it puts significant limits on what the president can do.

For instance, even though Republicans control the Congress, they lack the 60 votes to break filibusters and invoke cloture. Thus, though Trump's party may diminish Obamacare, they may not have the ability to repeal it altogether. In the case of domestic policy, Trump is pretty much just another Republican president whose effectiveness will be helped by Republican control of Congress - but at the same time may potentially be restricted by the new president's own negotiating skills and his lack of political experience.

When it comes to foreign policy and trade, the range of outcomes becomes incredibly wide. First, we don't know who Trump the commander-in-chief really is. Is he Trump the candidate, who would say brash and simply idiotic things - or the very calm, presidential person who delivered a brilliant acceptance speech? Will he make the world a safer or a more dangerous place?

I don't have an answer for that question. Just as with predictions for the outcome of this election, it seems that no one does.

Vitaliy N. Katsenelson, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo. He is the author of Active Value Investing (Wiley) and The Little Book of Sideways Markets (Wiley).

[Dec 06, 2016] What the demand for recount tells us about Jill Stein?

Dec 06, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
jfl | Dec 3, 2016 5:54:00 PM | 31

A Bare-Knuckle Fight Over Recounts

Since recounts that overturn the vote totals seem unlikely, it appears the Clinton campaign's Plan B is to use any evidence of tampering that it can pin on Russia to lobby electors to change their votes to Clinton when the Electoral College meets in state capitals on Dec. 19.

Finding evidence of hacking of election computers that can somehow be blamed on Russia could be crucial for the Clinton team in their effort to convince electors to change their vote.

Laurence Tribe, a well-known and connected Democratic lawyer, has offered to defend pro bono any elector who breaks the law by changing their vote to Clinton. And there are plans to mount a constitutional challenge against the 26 states that legally bind the electors' to their state's popular vote.


Jill Stein's willingness to provide cover for 'the Russians hacked the election' recounts is interesting ...

Exhibit A in Stein's petition is an affidavit from Professor J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, who alleges that Russia hacked the election.

Exhibit B from Stein's petition is an article from Wired Magazine about Russia's alleged role in the hack.

Exhibit C is a New York Times article quoting DellSecureWorks, a private security firm, saying Russia was behind the hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Exhibits D through G - meaning all of Stein's exhibits - are on alleged Russian hacking. One article is about an alleged attempted Russian hack of the 2014, post-coup Ukrainian election.


... although I think it unlikely that 'the Russians hacked the election' it does look likely that the authors of that 'meme' managed to get Jill Stein to carry their water for them. Why did she do that? Did she even read the petition - that drew $7 million in funding overnight - before signing it? What does it say about her if she didn't? What does it say about her if she did?

What does it say about her that she went for such a lose-lose proposition?

Can an actual run on the electoral college be in the works? Can that be the 'reasoning' behind Jeff Bezos' ProPornoTeam?

[Dec 06, 2016] Challenges for Western civilization

Dec 06, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian | Dec 3, 2016 8:02:21 PM | 46

Here is link to an interview with Stephen Hawking that I will pull some quotes from

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality

The quotes:
"
So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders.
"
"
What matters now, far more than the choices made by these two electorates, is how the elites react. Should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpourings of crude populism that fail to take account of the facts, and attempt to circumvent or circumscribe the choices that they represent? I would argue that this would be a terrible mistake.

The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.

This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.

We need to put this alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.
"
"
For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.

To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world's leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.

With not only jobs but entire industries disappearing, we must help people to retrain for a new world and support them financially while they do so. If communities and economies cannot cope with current levels of migration, we must do more to encourage global development, as that is the only way that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their future at home.

We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humility.
"

[Dec 05, 2016] BuzzFeed Exposes Corporate Super Courts That Can Overrule Government

Corporations are "one-dollar-one-vote" top-down systems. They consider "one-person-one-vote" democracy illegitimate
Notable quotes:
"... Existing "trade" agreements like NAFTA allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and regulations that limit their profits. They set up special " corporate courts " in which corporate attorneys decide the cases. These corporate "super courts" sit above governments and their own court systems, and countries and their citizens cannot even appeal the rulings. ..."
"... Now, corporations are pushing two new "trade" agreements - one covering Pacific-are countries and one covering Atlantic-area countries - that expand these corporate rights and move governments out of their way. The Pacific agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Atlantic one is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). ..."
"... International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat. ..."
"... ISDS is so tilted and unpredictable, and the fines the arbitrators can impose are so catastrophically large, that bowing to a company's demands, however extreme they may be, can look like the prudent choice. ..."
Sep 03, 2016 | Back to (our) Future

BuzzFeed is running a very important investigative series called "Secrets of a Global Super Court." It describes what they call "a parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else."

Existing "trade" agreements like NAFTA allow corporations to sue governments for passing laws and regulations that limit their profits. They set up special "corporate courts" in which corporate attorneys decide the cases. These corporate "super courts" sit above governments and their own court systems, and countries and their citizens cannot even appeal the rulings.

The 2014 post "Corporate Courts - A Big Red Flag On "Trade" Agreements" explained the origin and rationale for these corporate courts:

Picture a poor "banana republic" country ruled by a dictator and his cronies. A company might want to invest in a factory or railroad - things that would help the people of that country as well as deliver a return to the company. But the company worries that the dictator might decide to just seize the factory and give it to his brother-in-law. Agreements to protect investors, and allowing a tribunal not based in such countries (courts where the judges are cronies of the dictator), make sense in such situations.

Here's the thing: Corporate investors see themselves as legitimate "makers" and see citizens and voters and their governments - always demanding taxes and fair pay and public safety - to be illegitimate "takers." Corporations are all about "one-dollar-one-vote" top-down systems of governance. They consider "one-person-one-vote" democracy to be an illegitimate, non-functional system that meddles with their more-important profit interests. They consider any governmental legal or regulatory system to be "burdensome." They consider taxes as "theft" of the money they have "earned."

To them, any government anywhere is just another "banana republic" from which they need special protection.

"Trade" Deals Bypass Borders

Investors and their corporations have set up a way to get around the borders of these meddling governments, called "trade" deals. The trade deals elevate global corporate interests above any national interest. When a country signs a "trade" deal, that country is agreeing not to do things that protect the country's own national interest - like impose tariffs to protect key industries or national strategies, or pass laws and regulations - when those things interfere with the larger, more important global corporate "trade" interests.

Now, corporations are pushing two new "trade" agreements - one covering Pacific-are countries and one covering Atlantic-area countries - that expand these corporate rights and move governments out of their way. The Pacific agreement is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Atlantic one is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Secrets of a Global Super Court

BuzzFeed's series on these corporate courts, "Secrets of a Global Super Court," explains the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the "trade" deals that have come to dominate the world economy. These provisions set up "corporate courts" that place corporate profits above the interests of governments and set up a court system that sits above the court systems of the countries in the "trade" deals.

Part One, "Inside The Global "Club" That Helps Executives Escape Their Crimes," describes, "A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment."

In a little-noticed 2014 dissent, US Chief Justice John Roberts warned that ISDS arbitration panels hold the alarming power to review a nation's laws and "effectively annul the authoritative acts of its legislature, executive, and judiciary." ISDS arbitrators, he continued, "can meet literally anywhere in the world" and "sit in judgment" on a nation's "sovereign acts."

[. . .]

Reviewing publicly available information for about 300 claims filed during the past five years, BuzzFeed News found more than 35 cases in which the company or executive seeking protection in ISDS was accused of criminal activity, including money laundering, embezzlement, stock manipulation, bribery, war profiteering, and fraud.

Among them: a bank in Cyprus that the US government accused of financing terrorism and organized crime, an oil company executive accused of embezzling millions from the impoverished African nation of Burundi, and the Russian oligarch known as "the Kremlin's banker."

One lawyer who regularly represents governments said he's seen evidence of corporate criminality that he "couldn't believe." Speaking on the condition that he not be named because he's currently handling ISDS cases, he said, "You have a lot of scuzzy sort-of thieves for whom this is a way to hit the jackpot."

Part Two, "The Billion-Dollar Ultimatum," looks at how "International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat."

Of all the ways in which ISDS is used, the most deeply hidden are the threats, uttered in private meetings or ominous letters, that invoke those courts. The threats are so powerful they often eliminate the need to actually bring a lawsuit. Just the knowledge that it could happen is enough.

[. . .] ISDS is so tilted and unpredictable, and the fines the arbitrators can impose are so catastrophically large, that bowing to a company's demands, however extreme they may be, can look like the prudent choice. Especially for nations struggling to emerge from corrupt dictatorships or to lift their people from decades of poverty, the mere threat of an ISDS claim triggers alarm. A single decision by a panel of three unaccountable, private lawyers, meeting in a conference room on some other continent, could gut national budgets and shake economies to the core.

Part Three, "To Bankers, It's Not Just A Court System, It's A Gold Mine," exposes how "Financial companies have figured out how to turn a controversial global legal system to their own very profitable advantage."

Indeed, financiers and ISDS lawyers have created a whole new business: prowling for ways to sue nations in ISDS and make their taxpayers fork over huge sums, sometimes in retribution for enforcing basic laws or regulations.

The financial industry is pushing novel ISDS claims that countries never could have anticipated - claims that, in some instances, would be barred in US courts and those of other developed nations, or that strike at emergency decisions nations make to cope with crises.

ISDS gives particular leverage to traders and speculators who chase outsize profits in the developing world. They can buy into local disputes that they have no connection to, then turn the disputes into costly international showdowns. Standard Chartered, for example, bought the debt of a Tanzanian company that was in dire financial straits and racked by scandal; now, the bank has filed an ISDS claim demanding that the nation's taxpayers hand over the full amount that the private company owed - more than $100 million. Asked to comment, Standard Chartered said its claim is "valid."

David Dayen explains this last point, in "The Big Problem With The Trans-Pacific Partnership's Super Court That We're Not Talking About": "Financiers will use it to bet on lawsuits, while taxpayers foot the bill."

But instead of helping companies resolve legitimate disputes over seized assets, ISDS has increasingly become a way for rich investors to make money by speculating on lawsuits, winning huge awards and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill.

Here's how it works: Wealthy financiers with idle cash have purchased companies that are well placed to bring an ISDS claim, seemingly for the sole purpose of using that claim to make a buck. Sometimes, they set up shell corporations to create the plaintiffs to bring ISDS cases. And some hedge funds and private equity firms bankroll ISDS cases as third parties - just like billionaire Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker Media.

Part Four of the great BuzzFeed series, "Secrets of a Global Super Court," is expected to be published later this week.

PCCC Statement

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) released this statement on the ISDS provisions in TPP:

"Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Wall Street would be allowed to sue the government in extrajudicial, corporate-run tribunals over any regulation and American taxpayers would be on the hook for damages. This is an outrage. We need more accountability and fairness in our economy – not less. And we need to preserve our ability to make our own rules.

"It's time for Obama to take notice of the widespread, bipartisan opposition to the TPP and take this agreement off the table before he causes lasting political harm to Democrats with voters."

[Dec 04, 2016] UK election Who really governs Britain

But those politicians lucky enough to win discover -- if they did not know already -- that their capacity to affect even their own domestic environment is constrained by forces beyond their control.
Notable quotes:
"... But those politicians lucky enough to win discover -- if they did not know already -- that their capacity to affect even their own domestic environment is constrained by forces beyond their control. ..."
"... In the case of Britain, the once-powerful centralized governments of that country are now multiply constrained. As the power of Britain in international affairs has declined, so has the British government's power within its own domain. Membership of the European Union constrains British governments' ability to determine everything from the quantities of fish British fishermen can legally catch to the amount in fees that British universities can charge students from other EU countries. ..."
"... Not least, the EU's insistence on the free movement of labor caused the Conservative-dominated coalition that came to power in 2010 to renege on the Tories' spectacularly ill-judged pledge to reduce to "tens of thousands a year" the number of migrants coming to Britain. The number admitted in 2014 alone was nearer 300,000. ..."
"... On top of all that, British governments -- even more than those of some other predominantly capitalist economies -- are open to being buffeted by market forces, whose winds can acquire gale force. In a world of substantially free trade, imports and exports of goods and services are largely beyond any government's control, and the Bank of England's influence over the external value of sterling is negligible. During the present election campaign, HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, indicated that it was contemplating shifting its headquarters from the City of London to Hong Kong. For good or ill, Britain's government was, and is, effectively helpless to intervene. ..."
"... That's why we need a federal Europe. Local governments for local issues and elected by the local people and a European government for European issues elected by all Europeans. ..."
May 04, 2015 | CNN.com

Once upon a time, national elections were -- or seemed to be -- overwhelmingly domestic affairs, affecting only the peoples of the countries taking part in them. If that was ever true, it is so no longer. Angela Merkel negotiates with Greece's government with Germany's voters looming in the background. David Cameron currently fights an election campaign in the UK holding fast to the belief that a false move on his part regarding Britain's relationship with the EU could cost his Conservative Party seats, votes and possibly the entire election.

Britain provides a good illustration of a general proposition. It used to be claimed, plausibly, that "all politics is local." In 2015, electoral politics may still be mostly local, but the post-electoral business of government is anything but local. There is a misfit between the two. Voters are mainly swayed by domestic issues. Vote-seeking politicians campaign accordingly. But those politicians lucky enough to win discover -- if they did not know already -- that their capacity to affect even their own domestic environment is constrained by forces beyond their control.

Anyone viewing the UK election campaign from afar could be forgiven for thinking that British voters and politicians alike imagined they were living on some kind of self-sufficient sea-girt island. The opinion polls indicate that a large majority of voters are preoccupied -- politically as well as in other ways -- with their own financial situation, tax rates, welfare spending and the future of the National Health Service. Immigration is an issue for many voters, but mostly in domestic terms (and often as a surrogate for generalized discontent with Britain's political class). The fact that migrants from Eastern Europe and elsewhere make a positive net contribution to both the UK's economy and its social services scarcely features in the campaign.

... ... ...

After polling day, all that will change -- probably to millions of voters' dismay. One American presidential candidate famously said that politicians campaign in poetry, but govern in prose. Politicians in democracies, not just in Britain, campaign as though they can move mountains, then find that most mountains are hard or impossible to move.

In the case of Britain, the once-powerful centralized governments of that country are now multiply constrained. As the power of Britain in international affairs has declined, so has the British government's power within its own domain. Membership of the European Union constrains British governments' ability to determine everything from the quantities of fish British fishermen can legally catch to the amount in fees that British universities can charge students from other EU countries.

Not least, the EU's insistence on the free movement of labor caused the Conservative-dominated coalition that came to power in 2010 to renege on the Tories' spectacularly ill-judged pledge to reduce to "tens of thousands a year" the number of migrants coming to Britain. The number admitted in 2014 alone was nearer 300,000.

The UK's courts are also far more active than they were. The British parliament in 1998 incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into British domestic law, and British judges have determinedly enforced those rights. During the 1970s, they had already been handed responsibility for enforcing the full range of EU law within the UK.

Also, Britain's judges have, on their own initiative, exercised increasingly frequently their long-standing power of "judicial review," invalidating ministerial decisions that violated due process or seemed to them to be wholly unreasonable. Devolution of substantial powers to semi-independent governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has also meant that the jurisdiction of many so-called UK government ministers is effectively confined to the purely English component part.

On top of all that, British governments -- even more than those of some other predominantly capitalist economies -- are open to being buffeted by market forces, whose winds can acquire gale force. In a world of substantially free trade, imports and exports of goods and services are largely beyond any government's control, and the Bank of England's influence over the external value of sterling is negligible. During the present election campaign, HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, indicated that it was contemplating shifting its headquarters from the City of London to Hong Kong. For good or ill, Britain's government was, and is, effectively helpless to intervene.

The heirs of Gladstone, Disraeli, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, Britain's political leaders are understandably still tempted to talk big. But their effective real-world influence is small. No wonder a lot of voters in Britain feel they are being conned.

ItsJustTim

That's globalization. And it won't go away, even if you vote nationalist. The issues are increasingly international, while the voters still have a mostly local perspective. That's why we need a federal Europe. Local governments for local issues and elected by the local people and a European government for European issues elected by all Europeans.

[Dec 02, 2016] There is no global left. We have only global state capitalists and global social democrats – a pseudo left.

Notable quotes:
"... There is no global left. We have only global state capitalists and global social democrats – a pseudo left. ..."
Dec 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
ejp November 29, 2016 at 7:41 am

There is no global left. We have only global state capitalists and global social democrats – a pseudo left.

The countries where Marxist class analysis was supposedly adopted were not industrial countries where "alienation" had brought the "proletariat" to an inevitable communal mentality. The largest of these countries killed millions in order to industrialize rapidly – pretending the goal was to get to that state.

The terms left and right may not be adequate for those of us who want an egalitarian society but also see many of the obstacles to egalitarianism as human failings that are independent of and not caused by ruling elites – although they frequently serve the interests of those elites.

Bigotry. Identity centered thinking. Neither serves egalitarianism. But people cling to them. "I gotta look out for myself first." And so called left thinkers constantly pontificate about "benefits" and "privileges" that some class, sex, and race confer. Hmmm. The logic is that many of us struggling daily to keep our jobs and pay the bills must give up something in order to be fair, in order to build a better society. Given this thinking it is no surprise that so many have retreated into the illusion of safety offered by identity based thinking.

Hopefully those of us who yearn for an egalitarian movement can develop and articulate an alternate view of reality.

[Nov 30, 2016] For those interested, here is a short vid on the EC.

www.moonofalabama.org

h | Nov 30, 2016 10:16:00 AM | 106

"Every four years it seems U.S. voters need to be reminded how the Electoral College works and how it serves the Republic. Prager University Foundation provides this short video on what the Electoral College is, its purpose, how it works and why America's Founders made it a bedrock in U.S. Presidential elections"...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6s7jB6-GoU

[Nov 30, 2016] Why no New Hampshire recount? So good job Stein, you just destroyed the only credible left alternative

So Clintons bought Jill Stein. Nice...
www.moonofalabama.org
bigmango | Nov 29, 2016 1:52:16 PM | 22

@Jack Smith | Nov 29, 2016 12:50:24 PM | 10

Correct. Many of the people (me included) who voted Green for obvious anti-Clinton reasons were also very suspicious of Trump. So Green made sense. But all of these people now feel utterly betrayed by Stein's greed or fronting for the Clintons. Why no New Hampshire recount? So good job Stein, you just destroyed the only credible left alternative while the Dems are mortally wounded on the their left flank and the Clinton mob are taking resumes for a new sheepdog to get the wayward Sandernistas back into their stinking little corner of Hillary's big tent where they belong.

Jackrabbit | Nov 29, 2016 6:03:01 PM | 44

@32 follow-up

...This recount is serious business. The Greens don't have the organizational aptitude or money to have accomplished what needed to be done within days. That indicates that Democrats/Clinton cronies are behind this. And the Clinton press corps have been engaged as well.

Noirette | Nov 30, 2016 12:58:53 PM | 115

Now Stein has allowed the dems to buy her ass, one has to wonder - why? Debs is dead at 60.

Because carreerism, because her position was always to get ahead in a major party (not Repub. obviously), to capitalise on her popularity.

Many Greens are like that all over the OECD world. They get 'splinter support', often quite high in votes, using seductive discourse, to then join the Top Brass promoting "renewables" using all kinds of inclusive and enviro-friendly, vague but marginal, leftist discourse, avoiding the 'economy' and 'real numbers' and for that matter deeper politics e.g. "sustainable communities" , "sharing", "grass roots initiatives", "husbanding energy", "respecting traditional ways of life", "integrating people", "developping solar", "promoting electric cars" and forbidding plastic bags, etc. etc.

The powerful party apparatus integrates them as a 'voice' for whatever is the gout-du-jour memes and everyone, including the dominant energy conglomerates are all happy. The person earns potentially well a lot.

Sorry to be so cynical and negative but I have seen Greens do this time and time again.

I don't hate or dislike Jill Stein. Just, that is the general trend and from what I have seen (maybe superficial) she is not different from the mold.

The ways of the world and Nature bats last...

[Nov 27, 2016] Given America's history over the last couple of decades, perhaps we can guess where Berezovsky got his idea for his a clever Russian two parties political scheme.

www.unz.com
We always ridicule the 98 percent voter support that dictatorships frequently achieve in their elections and plebiscites, yet perhaps those secret-ballot results may sometimes be approximately correct, produced by the sort of overwhelming media control that leads voters to assume there is no possible alternative to the existing regime. Is such an undemocratic situation really so different from that found in our own country, in which our two major parties agree on such a broad range of controversial issues and, being backed by total media dominance, routinely split 98 percent of the vote? A democracy may provide voters with a choice, but that choice is largely determined by the information citizens receive from their media.

Most of the Americans who elected Barack Obama in 2008 intended their vote as a total repudiation of the policies and personnel of the preceding George W. Bush administration. Yet once in office, Obama's crucial selections-Robert Gates at Defense, Timothy Geither at Treasury, and Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve-were all top Bush officials, and they seamlessly continued the unpopular financial bailouts and foreign wars begun by his predecessor, producing what amounted to a third Bush term.

Consider the fascinating perspective of the recently deceased Boris Berezovsky, once the most powerful of the Russian oligarchs and the puppet master behind President Boris Yeltsin during the late 1990s. After looting billions in national wealth and elevating Vladimir Putin to the presidency, he overreached himself and eventually went into exile. According to the New York Times, he had planned to transform Russia into a fake two-party state-one social-democratic and one neoconservative-in which heated public battles would be fought on divisive, symbolic issues, while behind the scenes both parties would actually be controlled by the same ruling elites. With the citizenry thus permanently divided and popular dissatisfaction safely channeled into meaningless dead-ends, Russia's rulers could maintain unlimited wealth and power for themselves, with little threat to their reign. Given America's history over the last couple of decades, perhaps we can guess where Berezovsky got his idea for such a clever political scheme.

[Nov 24, 2016] Populists as Snake Oil Sellers

Title is pretty misleading. It is neoliberals who are snake oil sellers. In no way FDR was a snake oil seller.
Notable quotes:
"... People aren't so much voting _for_ snake oil as _against_ the status quo. ..."
"... False analogies. Time for "change", no expectation of "hope" from the bomber* who got the Nobel peace prize. 'Snake oil'+ from both sides in 2016. Add a dash of corruption and rigged system. The corrupt snake oil sales pitch who lost to the unorganized snake oil sales pitch. ..."
"... From my prospective the donkey-s were pushing more of the same conservative party-line straight from 1928. The publicans had deep vested interest in the same failed approach to culture, society, economy, and finance. The same except for one of its hopeful candidates who saw the problem, some of the remedies, and a path towards the control tower using the popular but outdated methods of pandering to our most disgusting instincts of evil. Sure! ..."
"... Snake oil salesmen, eh? One only has to read Minsky on the neoclassical assumptions or, for that matter, Milton Friedman on why nonsense is perfectly fine to know who the big league snake oil salesmen have been. People voting for Brexit and Trump were voting for anything but the snake oil status quo. ..."
"... The Establishment isn't delivering so you get populists on the left and right. ..."
"... Make me think of the Middle East where the West destroyed the communists and socialists and so all that was left was the military-backed authoritarians and the mosques with their "snake oil." ..."
"... "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people" ..."
"... Seems it to difficult to admit globalization damaged US workers, so the fall back is to call workers gullible and racist. ..."
Nov 24, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Ron Waller : November 24, 2016 at 08:20 AM

Clearly Keynes and FDR were snake-oil salesmen. The Progressive New Deal Era (1932-80) being the biggest economic muckup in the history of humanity!

Thankfully Friedman came along and made America and the world great again. (Just a slight kink in the model: the global economy teetering on the verge of collapse into fascist revolutions and world war. Nothing a little free-market medicine can't nip in the bud!)

anne -> Ron Waller ... , November 24, 2016 at 08:36 AM
Clearly Keynes and FDR were snake-oil salesmen. The Progressive New Deal Era (1932-80) being the biggest economic muckup in the history of humanity!

[ Perfectly ironic. ]

anne -> Ron Waller ... , November 24, 2016 at 08:40 AM
http://www.measuringworth.com/growth/

January 15, 2016

Annualized Growth Rates

1933 to 1979 Real GDP = 4.71%
1933 to 1979 Real GDP per capita = 3.39%

1980 to 2015 Real GDP = 2.70%
1980 to 2015 Real GDP per capita = 1.69%

Unhandyandy : , November 24, 2016 at 08:31 AM
Maybe a misdiagnosis. People aren't so much voting _for_ snake oil as _against_ the status quo.
ilsm : , November 24, 2016 at 08:48 AM
False analogies. Time for "change", no expectation of "hope" from the bomber* who got the Nobel peace prize. 'Snake oil'+ from both sides in 2016. Add a dash of corruption and rigged system. The corrupt snake oil sales pitch who lost to the unorganized snake oil sales pitch.

If the faux left don't get some logic it needs to be replaced by a leftie of the Trump brand.

*con artist/war monger

+racism/sexism fear mongers

Choco Bell : , November 24, 2016 at 09:01 AM
have become "homogeneous", while Lebanon has not thrived as a nation
"
~~steve randy waldman~

Populist Politicians

From the steve quotation you can guess that USA has thrived thus all our long list of ethnicity-s are mutually dissolving each into the other. As interbreeding proceeds you can see the evidence within Gaussian distribution of each ethnic feature. We are now a nation of one people.

If it then follows that the recent election was not merely all things racism, what was the focus of the candidates?

From my prospective the donkey-s were pushing more of the same conservative party-line straight from 1928. The publicans had deep vested interest in the same failed approach to culture, society, economy, and finance. The same except for one of its hopeful candidates who saw the problem, some of the remedies, and a path towards the control tower using the popular but outdated methods of pandering to our most disgusting instincts of evil. Sure!

His vision is incomplete. He is still searching for the answers, but he is certain that we cannot return to the cold war of 1950. Will he rediscover deflation, full reserve banking, green transportation, a gentler approach to the Luddites?

We need to support his search for a more sustainable USA, a more sustainable planet, a more sustainable

population-al
shrinkage --

Sandwichman : , November 24, 2016 at 09:09 AM
Snake oil salesmen, eh? One only has to read Minsky on the neoclassical assumptions or, for that matter, Milton Friedman on why nonsense is perfectly fine to know who the big league snake oil salesmen have been. People voting for Brexit and Trump were voting for anything but the snake oil status quo.

There are populists and then there are demagogues masquerading as populists. Stamp out the populists with constant ridicule from the crackpot realists and all that will be left are the demagogues who style themselves as populists.

Peter K. -> Sandwichman ... , November 24, 2016 at 09:18 AM
Well said.
Denis Drew : , November 24, 2016 at 09:18 AM
CUT-AND-PASTE AGAIN :-]

As my old Bronx doctor, Seymour Tenzer, put it: "All these histories are bullshit -- I got punched in the chest; that's why I've got a lump." [:-)]

Trump's victory is down to the disappearance of the $800 job for the $400 job. That subtracted from the vote in the black ghettos – and added to the vote in the white ghettos -- both ghettos being far off the radar screen of academic liberals like Hill and O.

I notice the white ghettos because that is me. My old taxi job (much too old now at 72 3/4) was "in-sourced" all over the world to drivers who would work for remarkably less (than the not so great incomes we native born eked out). Today's low skilled jobs go to native and foreign born who willing to show up for $400 (e.g., since Walmart gutted supermarket contracts). Fast food strictly to foreign born who will show up for $290 a week (min wage $400, 1968 -- when per cap income half today's).

Don't expect the 100,000 out of maybe 200,000 Chicago gang age males to show up for a life time of $400/wk servitude. Did I mention, manufacturing was down to 6% of employment 15 years ago -- now 4% (disappearing like farm labor, mostly robo; look to health care for the future?)?
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gang-wars-at-the-root-of-chicagos-high-murder-rate/

6% union density at private employers = 20/10 BP which starves every healthy process in the social body = disappearance of collective bargaining and its institutional concomitants which supply political funding and lobbying equal to oligarchs plus most all the votes ...

... votes: notice? 45% take 10% of overall income -- 45% earn $15/hr or less -- a lot of votes.

Peter K. : , November 24, 2016 at 09:25 AM
The Establishment isn't delivering so you get populists on the left and right. Would Dillow or SWL call Corbyn and Sanders snake oil salesmen?

The centrists do. The corrupt corporate media makes a point to do that.

Make me think of the Middle East where the West destroyed the communists and socialists and so all that was left was the military-backed authoritarians and the mosques with their "snake oil."

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people"

Tom aka Rusty : , November 24, 2016 at 10:27 AM
Seems it to difficult to admit globalization damaged US workers, so the fall back is to call workers gullible and racist.

[Nov 23, 2016] Populism and the Media

Notable quotes:
"... the media is not in competition with talking about disenchantment over globalisation and de-industrialisation, but a complement to it. ..."
"... This piece is right on the money and nails the ultimate failure of our modern corporate media. ..."
"... Modern corporate media is in existence to make more money, not to serve society. Whatever makes (the collective) us more likely to pay attention to the media is what the media will serve up. With the failure of old style media we have to be concerned whether an actual informed political discourse will be possible. ..."
"... These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America http://www.morriscreative.com/6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america/ ..."
"... People are looking for scapegoats and the corrupt corporate media are misleading them, along with politicians. Why are they looking for scapegoats? Not simply because they're wealthy racist Trump supporters who long for the good old days, as the center-left is telling us. ..."
"... The corrupt corporate media was incredibly unfair to both Bernie Sanders and Jeremby Corbyn but the Blairites and Clinton supporters were okay with that. Sanders was quite good on calling out the media. We need more of that. ..."
"... "We know that erecting trade barriers is harmful: the only question is whether in this case it will be pretty harmful or very harmful"...to whom? To the elites? Or to those who voted for Brexit? ..."
"... Instead of constantly harping on the illusory 'free trade is a free lunch for all,' 'liberal' economists need to start taking responsibility for not emphasizing or even acknowledging that free trade is not a panacea...it has real downsides for many...and real benefits mostly for elites that negotiated the deals. ..."
"... Too many were severely harmed by off shoring and illegal immigration. ..."
Nov 22, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Simon Wren-Lewis: Populism and the media :

This could be the subtitle of the talk I will be giving later today. I will have more to say in later posts, plus a link to the full text..., but I thought I would make this important point here about why I keep going on about the media. In thinking about Brexit and Trump, talking about the media is not in competition with talking about disenchantment over globalisation and de-industrialisation, but a complement to it.

I don't blame the media for this disenchantment, which is real enough, but for the fact that it is leading people to make choices which are clearly bad for society as a whole, and in many cases will actually make them worse off. They are choices which in an important sense are known to be wrong.

... ... ...

DrDick : November 22, 2016 at 10:38 AM

This piece is right on the money and nails the ultimate failure of our modern corporate media.
DeDude : , November 22, 2016 at 10:59 AM
Modern corporate media is in existence to make more money, not to serve society. Whatever makes (the collective) us more likely to pay attention to the media is what the media will serve up. With the failure of old style media we have to be concerned whether an actual informed political discourse will be possible.
Paul Mathis -> DeDude... , November 22, 2016 at 01:23 PM
Case in Point: Fake Media. As documented in the WaPo yesterday, two unemployed restaurant workers (McDonalds?) made a fortune with their fake news website that collected ad revenue from the likes of Facebook. They didn't bother with any facts; just published stories they knew would attract right wing extremists.

They really worked at their craft using specific language and formats to draw in eyeballs. It worked beyond their wildest expectations and they won't even discuss how much money they made.

Lili : November 22, 2016 at 11:14 AM
These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America http://www.morriscreative.com/6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america/
sglover -> Lili... , November 22, 2016 at 05:42 PM
Something tells me there might be a bit of "fake news" creation going on in those shops, eh? But no, let's pull out our hair over some 20-year-old with a Facebook feed. And -- censor! For the greater good, naturally.
The Rage : , November 22, 2016 at 12:19 PM
That is because it isn't populism.
Peter K. : , November 22, 2016 at 01:13 PM
"In thinking about Brexit and Trump, talking about the media is not in competition with talking about disenchantment over globalisation and de-industrialisation, but a complement to it."

People are looking for scapegoats and the corrupt corporate media are misleading them, along with politicians. Why are they looking for scapegoats? Not simply because they're wealthy racist Trump supporters who long for the good old days, as the center-left is telling us.

The corrupt corporate media was incredibly unfair to both Bernie Sanders and Jeremby Corbyn but the Blairites and Clinton supporters were okay with that. Sanders was quite good on calling out the media. We need more of that.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , November 22, 2016 at 01:20 PM
The SyFy Channel has a new series called Incorporated about a dystopian America set in 2074 where global climate change has wrecked havoc on politics and society. Giant multinational corporations have stepped in and taken over for governments as America's class divisions have sharpened between the haves and the have-nots. You can watch the first episode online.

http://www.syfy.com/incorporated

Teapot : November 22, 2016 at 02:42 PM
Globalization is not Pareto improving. Maybe it could be done in a way that is, but until then, the "media" is correct to paint a disenchanting picture
pgl -> Teapot... , November 22, 2016 at 02:58 PM
Pareto improving assumes we compensates those who lose from globalization. This is well known. What else is well known is we have a terrible track record on this score.
JohnH : , November 22, 2016 at 03:05 PM
"We know that erecting trade barriers is harmful: the only question is whether in this case it will be pretty harmful or very harmful"...to whom? To the elites? Or to those who voted for Brexit?

Instead of constantly harping on the illusory 'free trade is a free lunch for all,' 'liberal' economists need to start taking responsibility for not emphasizing or even acknowledging that free trade is not a panacea...it has real downsides for many...and real benefits mostly for elites that negotiated the deals.

Why do 'liberal' economists insist on invalidating the life experience of so many?

ken melvin : , November 22, 2016 at 03:30 PM
Wisdom implies giving a good look to the consequences, and taking measures to ameliorate those negative. Too many were severely harmed by off shoring and illegal immigration. These weren't without consequences and maybe not even, on balance, gainful.

In the future, let those best able to make any necessary sacrifices and adjustments.

Denis Drew :
As my old Bronx doctor, Seymour Tenzer, put it: "All these histories are bullshit -- I got punched in the chest; that's why I've got a lump."

Trump's victory is down to the disappearance of the $800 [a week] job for the $400 job. That subtracted from the vote in the black ghettos – and added to the vote in the white ghettos -- both ghettos being far off the radar screen of academic liberals like Hill and O.

I notice the white ghettos because that is me. My old taxi job (much too old now at 72 3/4) was "in-sourced" all over the world to drivers who would work for remarkably less (than the not so great incomes we native born eked out). Today's low skilled jobs go to native and foreign born who willing to show up for $400 (e.g., since Walmart gutted supermarket contracts). Fast food strictly to foreign born who will show up for $290 a week (min wage $400, 1968 -- when per cap income half today's).

Don't expect the 100,000 out of maybe 200,000 Chicago gang age males to show up for a life time of $400/wk servitude. Did I mention, manufacturing was down to 6% of employment 15 years ago -- now 4% (disappearing like farm labor, mostly robo; look to health care for the future?)?
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gang-wars-at-the-root-of-chicagos-high-murder-rate/

6% union density at private employers = 20/10 BP which starves every healthy process in the social body = disappearance of collective bargaining and its institutional concomitants which supply political funding and lobbying equal to oligarchs plus most all the votes ...

... votes: notice? 45% take 10% of overall income -- 45% earn $15/hr or less -- a lot of votes.

[Nov 23, 2016] Affluent women voters apparently had NO IDEA that much of the country has been ravaged by Democratic Party neoliberal policies

www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pelham

"(and maybe we could replace the insulting euphemism "low information voters" with "differently-informationed voters." Or something)."

How about "insufficiently bamboozled voters"?

aab

Given that all these nice, affluent women voters who apparently had NO IDEA much of the country has been ravaged by Democratic Party policies, they are the people who should have the "low information" label hung around their necks for the foreseeable future. They also seem to have very little understanding how how elections work, how American government works, etc.

Low Information, High Credential voters (LIHC): ugly acronym, uglier impact.

[Nov 23, 2016] Recounts in states, when the total vote difference is in the single digit and where hundreds of thousands votes were cast should be mandatory

Notable quotes:
"... I was one of those recounting the votes by hand and when all was said and done we wound up counting over 100 votes more than the machines had counted and we only recounted ballots that contained votes for the 2nd and 3rd place candidates so there were potentially and quite probably an even higher number of ballots that weren't counted the first time around. A rough estimate is that 1-2% of the initial votes weren't counted at all by the machines. ..."
"... The ballots that were initially counted weren't marked in any way so we had no way of knowing which ballots had been previously counted by the machines and which hadn't however we were able to make some educated guesses after looking through thousands of ballots. ..."
"... After the recount we picked up some votes but not enough to change the results which was actually pretty reassuring as the extra votes tallied were in the same proportion for each candidate to what the machines initially tallied which is what you'd expect over a large sample size. ..."
"... What we found is that while these particular machines did accurately count the ballots they were able to count, they cannot count all of them due to user error which is pretty difficult to eradicate – some people simply won't follow directions properly no matter how clear they are. ..."
"... We caught some flak when asking for the recount about the presumed large cost to the taxpayer however the cost turned out to be minimal. Each candidate had 8 volunteers plus 8 more election clerks who were paid $11/hr by the city to supervise the volunteers. Our 8 teams of 3 managed to go through around 12K ballots in about 5 hours. ..."
"... The solution is to have all ballots for every election counted by hand in public immediately after the polls close. It isn't rocket science, it's not that expensive and it's the only way to ensure that everyone's vote is actually counted. ..."
Nov 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Regarding recounts, when the total vote difference is in the single digit thousands in large states where hundreds of thousands or more votes were cast, the candidates shouldn't have to ask for a recount, it should be mandatory*.

I've been asking my city to do a recount to verify the accuracy of the machines for several years and was told that the state law would not allow for a recount simply for accuracy's sake (unbelievable!) and the only way for a recount to happen would be after a close election.

Well my significant other stood for election in a city race this year, and how ironic, came within about 50 votes of winning and we got to ask for a recount! This was an odd race where voters chose two out of seven candidates for the two open seats. One candidate won by a clear margin and 2nd and 3rd place were separated by about 50 votes. I was one of those recounting the votes by hand and when all was said and done we wound up counting over 100 votes more than the machines had counted and we only recounted ballots that contained votes for the 2nd and 3rd place candidates so there were potentially and quite probably an even higher number of ballots that weren't counted the first time around. A rough estimate is that 1-2% of the initial votes weren't counted at all by the machines.

The ballots that were initially counted weren't marked in any way so we had no way of knowing which ballots had been previously counted by the machines and which hadn't however we were able to make some educated guesses after looking through thousands of ballots.

After the recount we picked up some votes but not enough to change the results which was actually pretty reassuring as the extra votes tallied were in the same proportion for each candidate to what the machines initially tallied which is what you'd expect over a large sample size.

What we found is that while these particular machines did accurately count the ballots they were able to count, they cannot count all of them due to user error which is pretty difficult to eradicate – some people simply won't follow directions properly no matter how clear they are.

We caught some flak when asking for the recount about the presumed large cost to the taxpayer however the cost turned out to be minimal. Each candidate had 8 volunteers plus 8 more election clerks who were paid $11/hr by the city to supervise the volunteers. Our 8 teams of 3 managed to go through around 12K ballots in about 5 hours.

The solution is to have all ballots for every election counted by hand in public immediately after the polls close. It isn't rocket science, it's not that expensive and it's the only way to ensure that everyone's vote is actually counted.

* Lest anyone accuse me of trying to get Clinton in, I say all of this as someone who would rather be shot in the face by Dick Cheney than cast a ballot for any of the Clinton's or their spawn, legitimate or otherwise.

[Nov 23, 2016] A crisis of legitimacy -- recommended links

Nov 23, 2016 | www.economist.com

Legitimation crisis - Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimation_ crisis

Jump to International crises of legitimacy - Legitimation crisis refers to a decline in the confidence of administrative functions, institutions, or leadership. The term was first introduced in 1973 by Jürgen Habermas, a German sociologist and philosopher. ‎ Legitimacy · ‎ Theories of legitimacy · ‎ Legitimation crisis origin · ‎ Historical examples A crisis of legitimacy | The Economist www.economist.com/node/796097

A crisis of legitimacy . People are fed up with politics. Do not blame globalisation for that. Sep 27th 2001 | From the print edition. Timekeeper. Add this article to ... Legitimacy: Legitimation Crises and Its Causes - Political Science Notes www.politicalsciencenotes.com/ legitimacy / legitimacy -legitimation- crises -and-its.../797

Causes of Legitimation Crisis : There are several causes or aspects of legitimation crisis . Habermas and several other neo-Marxists, after studying all the aspects of capitalist societies, have concluded that a number of factors are responsible for the legitimation crisis

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy | Stratfor https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100503_global_ crisis _ legitimacy

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy . Geopolitical Weekly. May 4, 2010 | 08:56 GMT. Print. Text Size. By George Friedman. Financial panics are an integral part of ...

The Legitimacy Crisis in the United States: A Conceptual Analysis - JStor https://www.jstor.org/stable/800195 by DO Friedrichs - ‎1980 - ‎ Cited by 52 - ‎ Related articles A " legitimacy crisis " is widely perceived to exist on the basis of polls of public at- ... causes of a legitimacy crisis may be identified, it has been associated with the ...

[PDF] THEORETICAL BASIS OF CRISIS OF LEGITIMACY AND ... - Dialnet https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/3640420.pdf

by GE Reyes - ‎2010 - ‎ Cited by 1 - ‎ Related articles Theoretical basis of crisis of legitimacy and implications for less developed countries: Guatemala as a case of study. TENDENCIAS. Revista de la Facultad de ...

[PDF] A Crisis of Democratic Legitimacy? It's about Legitimation, Stupid! aei.pitt.edu/63549/1/EPB21-def.pdf

by A Mattelaer - ‎2014 - ‎ Related articles Mar 21, 2014 - generalised crisis in legitimacy , our democracies face a crisis of legitimation: political choices are in dire need of an explanatory narrative that. The Legitimacy Crisis | RealClearPolitics www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/05/08/the_ legitimacy _ crisis _126530.html

May 8, 2015 - American government - at all levels - is losing the legitimacy it needs to function. Or, perhaps, some segments of the government have ...

The Global Crisis of Legitimacy of Liberal Democracy - Global ... https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/211/44824.html

The third dimension of the crisis that I identify is the crisis of legitimacy of US hegemony. This, I think, is as serious as the other two crises, since, as an admirer of ...

The Crisis of Legitimacy in Africa | Dissent Magazine https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the- crisis-of-legitimacy -in-africa

The Crisis of Legitimacy in Africa. Abiola Irele ▫ Summer 1992. A bleak picture emerges from today's Africa. One glaring aspect is the material deprivation ...

[Nov 21, 2016] A Brief History of Vote-Rigging

Notable quotes:
"... Harris later learned that the lever machine companies and technicians had all been convicted of election fraud, going back to the 1880s, all over the US. Lever machine tampering was also discovered not long ago that changed election results, resulting from a single "miscalibrated" machine that it turned out had been producing anomalous results for over a decade. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

TheCatSaid November 20, 2016 at 9:59 am

[Response to Ulysses' comment] This begs the question of whether those votes were cast or counted accurately. In my early days of learning about election fraud (particularly at the Black Box Voting.org website and discussion threads), a topic that came up time and again was that there was extensive history of election fraud associated with union elections. IIRC, as electronic voting machines were being actively promoted, one of the avid supporters of using these methods was trade unions.

A couple articles that touch on some of the history (though not specifically in relation to unions) are this one by Victoria Collier written in 2012 but with some important history, and chapter 4, "A Brief History of Vote-Rigging" from Bev Harris' book (available free online).

Harris later learned that the lever machine companies and technicians had all been convicted of election fraud, going back to the 1880s, all over the US. Lever machine tampering was also discovered not long ago that changed election results, resulting from a single "miscalibrated" machine that it turned out had been producing anomalous results for over a decade. Richard Hayes Phillips in his lectures and book about the theft of the OH 2004 election (and thus the presidency) describes with detail how one of the methods used was altering the punch cards or sending voters to the wrong precinct machine, so their ballot would end up with undervotes or overvotes and not be counted.

It would be interesting to know about the election procedures for that union election, particularly the Canadian vote. Was it on machines? Paper? How secure was the chain of custody of the ballots?

[Nov 21, 2016] Beppe Grillo The Amateurs Are Conquering The World Because The Experts Destroyed It

An interesting variant of rotation of elite...
Notable quotes:
"... echo chamber ..."
"... With Trump, exactly the same thing has happened as with my Five Star Movement, which was born of the Internet: the media were taken aback and asked us where we were before. We gathered millions of people in public squares and they marvelled. We became the biggest movement in Italy and journalists and philosophers continued to say that we were benefitting from people's dissatisfaction. ..."
"... the amateurs are the ones conquering the world and I'm rejoicing in it because the professionals are the ones who have reduced the world to this state. Hillary Clinton, Obama and all the rest have destroyed democracy and their international policies. ..."
"... If that's the case, it signifies that the experts, economists and intellectuals have completely misunderstood everything, especially if the situation is the way it is ..."
"... Brexit and Trump are signs of a huge change. If we manage to understand that, we'll also get to face it." ..."
"... Until now, these anti-establishment movements have come face-to-face with their own limits: as soon as they come to power they seem to lose their capabilities and reason for being. Alexis Tsipras, in Greece, for example ..."
"... President Juncker suggested modifying the code of ethics and lengthening the period of abstinence from any private work for former Commission members to three years. Is that enough? ..."
"... I have serious doubts about a potential change in the code of ethics being made by a former minister of a tax haven. ..."
"... We've always maintained this idea of total autonomy in decision-making, but we united over the common idea of a different Europe, a mosaic of autonomies and sovereignties. ..."
"... If he wants to hold a referendum on the euro, he'll have our support. If he wants to leave the Fiscal Stability Treaty – the so-called Fiscal Compact – which was one of our battles, we'll be there ..."
"... Renzi's negotiating power will also depend on the outcome of the constitutional referendum in December. We'll see whether he sinks or swims. ..."
"... Neoliberal Trojan Horse Obama has quite a global legacy. ..."
"... Maybe it's time for the Europeans to stop sucking American cock. Note that we barely follow your elections. It's time to spread your wings and fly. ..."
"... "The Experts* Destroyed The World" - Beppe Grillo. Never a truer word spoken, Beppe! YOU DA MAN!!! And these "Experts" - these self-described "ELITE" - did so - and are STILL doing so WITH MALICIOUS INTENT - and lining their pockets every fking step of the way! ..."
"... As the Jason Statham character says in that great Guy Richie movie "Revolver": "If there's ONE thing I've learnt about "Experts", it's that they're expert in FUCK ALL!" ..."
"... Apart from asset-stripping the economy & robbing the populace blind that is - and giving their countries away to the invader so indigenous populations cant fight back... or PURPOSELY angling for WW3 to hide their criminality behind the ULTIMATE & FINAL smokescreen. ..."
"... It NATO collapses so will the Euro project. The project was always American from the start. In recent years it has become a mechanism by which the Poles (and other assorted Eastern Europeans) can extract war guarantees out of the USA, UK and France. It is a total mess and people like Grillo add to the confusion by their flawed analysis. ..."
www.zerohedge.com
Whatever the reason, we agree with the next point he makes, namely the overthrow of "experts" by amateurs.

euronews: "Do you think appealing to people's emotions is enough to get elected? Is that a political project?"

Beppe Grillo: "This information never ceases to make the rounds: you don't have a political project, you're not capable, you're imbeciles, amateurs And yet, the amateurs are the ones conquering the world and I'm rejoicing in it because the professionals are the ones who have reduced the world to this state. Hillary Clinton, Obama and all the rest have destroyed democracy and their international policies. If that's the case, it signifies that the experts, economists and intellectuals have completely misunderstood everything, especially if the situation is the way it is. If the EU is what we have today, it means the European dream has evaporated. Brexit and Trump are signs of a huge change. If we manage to understand that, we'll also get to face it."

Bingo, or as Nassim Taleb put its, the "Intellectual-Yet-Idiot" class. It is the elimination of these so-called "experts", most of whom have PhDs or other letters next to their name to cover their insecurity, and who drown every possible medium with their endless, hollow, and constantly wrong chatter, desperate to create a self-congratulatory echo chamber in which their errors are diluted with the errors of their "expert" peers, that will be the biggest challenge for the world as it seeks to break away from the legacy of a fake "expert class" which has brought the entire world to its knees, and has unleashed the biggest political tsunami in modern history.

One thing is certain: the "experts" won't go quietly as the "amateurs" try to retake what is rightfully theirs.

... ... ...

Beppe Grillo, Leader of the Five Star Movement
"It's an extraordinary turning point. This corn cob – we can also call Trump that in a nice way – doesn't have particularly outstanding qualities. He was such a target for the media, with such terrifying accusations of sexism and racism, as well as being harassed by the establishment – such as the New York Times – but, in the end, he won.

"That is a symbol of the tragedy and the apocalypse of traditional information. The television and newspapers are always late and they relay old information. They no longer anticipate anything and they're only just understanding that idiots, the disadvantaged, those who are marginalised – and there are millions of them – use alternative media, such as the Internet, which passes under the radar of television, a medium people no longer use.

"With Trump, exactly the same thing has happened as with my Five Star Movement, which was born of the Internet: the media were taken aback and asked us where we were before. We gathered millions of people in public squares and they marvelled. We became the biggest movement in Italy and journalists and philosophers continued to say that we were benefitting from people's dissatisfaction. We'll get into government and they'll ask themselves how we did it."

euronews
"There is a gap between giving populist speeches and governing a nation."

Beppe Grillo
"We want to govern, but we don't want to simply change the power by replacing it with our own. We want a change within civilisation, a change of world vision.

"We're talking about dematerialised industry, an end to working for money, the start of working for other payment, a universal citizens revenue. If our society is founded on work, what will happen if work disappears? What will we do with millions of people in flux? We have to organise and manage all that."

euronews
"Do you think appealing to people's emotions is enough to get elected? Is that a political project?"

Beppe Grillo
"This information never ceases to make the rounds: you don't have a political project, you're not capable, you're imbeciles, amateurs

"And yet, the amateurs are the ones conquering the world and I'm rejoicing in it because the professionals are the ones who have reduced the world to this state. Hillary Clinton, Obama and all the rest have destroyed democracy and their international policies.

"If that's the case, it signifies that the experts, economists and intellectuals have completely misunderstood everything, especially if the situation is the way it is. If the EU is what we have today, it means the European dream has evaporated. Brexit and Trump are signs of a huge change. If we manage to understand that, we'll also get to face it."

euronews
"Until now, these anti-establishment movements have come face-to-face with their own limits: as soon as they come to power they seem to lose their capabilities and reason for being. Alexis Tsipras, in Greece, for example "

Beppe Grillo
"Yes, I agree."

euronews
"Let's take the example of Podemos in Spain. They came within reach of power, then had to backtrack. Why?"

Beppe Grillo
"Because there's an outdated way of thinking. Because they think power is managed by forming coalitions or by making agreements with others.

"From our side, we want to give the tools to the citizens. We have an information system called Rousseau, to which every Italian citizen can subscribe for free. There they can vote in regional and local elections and check what their local MPs are proposing. Absolutely any citizen can even suggest laws in their own name.

"This is something never before directly seen in democracy and neither Tsipras nor Podemos have done it."

euronews
"You said that you're not interested in breaking up the European Union, but rather in profoundly changing it. What can a small group of MEPs do to put into motion such great change?"

Beppe Grillo
"The little group of MEPs is making its voice heard, but there are complications In parliament, there are lobby groups and commissions. Parliament decides, but at the same time doesn't decide.

"We do what we can, in line with our vision of a world based on a circular economy. We put forward the idea of a circular economy as the energy of the future and the proposal has been adopted by the European parliament."

euronews

"One hot topic at the Commission at the moment is the problem of the conflicts of interest concerning certain politicians.

"President Juncker suggested modifying the code of ethics and lengthening the period of abstinence from any private work for former Commission members to three years. Is that enough?"

Beppe Grillo

"I have serious doubts about a potential change in the code of ethics being made by a former minister of a tax haven."

euronews
"You don't think the Commission is legitimate?"

Beppe Grillo
"Absolutely not. Particularly because it's a Commission that no one has actually elected. That's what brought us closer to Nigel Farage: a democracy coming from the people."

euronews
"You don't regret being allied with Farage?"

Beppe Grillo
"It was an alliance of convenience, made to give us enough support to enter parliament. We've always maintained this idea of total autonomy in decision-making, but we united over the common idea of a different Europe, a mosaic of autonomies and sovereignties.

"I'm not against Europe, but I am against the single currency. Conversely, I am for the idea of a common currency. The words are important: 'common' and 'single' are two different concepts.

"In any case, the UK has demonstrated something that we in Italy couldn't even dream of: organising a clear 'yes-no' referendum."

euronews
"That is 'clear' in terms of the result and not its consequences. In reality, the population is torn. Many people's views have done u-turns."

Beppe Grillo
"Whatever happens, the responsibility returns entirely to the British. They made the decision."

euronews
"Doesn't it bother you that Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is playing the spoilsport in Europe? Criticising European institutions was your battle horse and now he is flexing his muscles in Brussels."

Beppe Grillo
"Renzi has to do that. But he's just copying me and in doing so, strengthens the original."

euronews
"Whatever it may be, his position at the head of the government can get him results."

Beppe Grillo
"Very well. If he wants to hold a referendum on the euro, he'll have our support. If he wants to leave the Fiscal Stability Treaty – the so-called Fiscal Compact – which was one of our battles, we'll be there."

euronews
"In the quarrel over the flexibility of public accounts due to the earthquake and immigration, who are you supporting?"

Beppe Grillo
"On that, I share Renzi's position. I have nothing against projects and ideas. I have preconceptions about him. For me, he is completely undeserving of confidence."

euronews
"Renzi's negotiating power will also depend on the outcome of the constitutional referendum in December. We'll see whether he sinks or swims."

Beppe Grillo
"It's already lost for him."

euronews
"If he doesn't win, will you ask for early elections?"

Beppe Grillo
"Whatever happens, we want elections because the government as it stands is not legitimate and, as a consequence, neither are we.

"From this point onwards, the government moves forward simply by approving laws based on how urgent they are. And 90 percent of laws are approved using this method. So what good will it do to reform the Senate to make the process quicker?"

euronews
"Can you see yourself at the head of the Italian government?"

Beppe Grillo
"No, no. I was never in the race. Never."

euronews
"So, Beppe Grillo is not even a candidate to become prime minister or to take on another official role, if one day the Five Star Movement was to win the elections?"

Beppe Grillo
"The time is fast approaching."

euronews
"Really? A projection?"

Beppe Grillo
"People just need to go and vote. We're sure to win."

BabaLooey -> Nemontel •Nov 21, 2016 6:27 AM

euronews: "You don't think the Commission is legitimate?"

Beppe Grillo: "Absolutely not. Particularly because it's a Commission that no one has actually elected. That's what brought us closer to Nigel Farage: a democracy coming from the people."

BOILED DOWN - THAT IS ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID.

Blackhawks •Nov 21, 2016 3:15 AM

Neoliberal Trojan Horse Obama has quite a global legacy. People all over the world are voting for conmen and clowns instead of his endorsed candidates and chosen successor. Having previously exposed the "intellectual-yet-idiot" class, Nassim Taleb unleashes his acerbic tone in 3 painfully "real news" tweets on President Obama's legacy...

Obama:
Protected banksters (largest bonus pool in 2010)
"Helped" Libya
Served AlQaeda/SaudiBarbaria(Syria & Yemen) https://t.co/bcNMhDgmuo

- NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) November 19, 2016

2) (Cont) But in the end what Obama did that is unforgivable is increasing centralization in a complex system.

- NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) November 19, 2016

3) Don't fughet Obama is leaving us a Ponzi scheme, added ~8 trillions in debt with rates at 0. If they rise, costs of deficit explode...

- NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) November 20, 2016

LetThemEatRand •Nov 21, 2016 3:20 AM

Maybe it's time for the Europeans to stop sucking American cock. Note that we barely follow your elections. It's time to spread your wings and fly.

Yen Cross -> LetThemEatRand •Nov 21, 2016 3:27 AM

Amen~ The" European Toadies" should also institute " term limits" so those Jean Paul & Draghi][JUNKERS[]- technocratic A-Holes can be done away with!

NuYawkFrankie •Nov 21, 2016 5:07 AM

"The Experts* Destroyed The World" - Beppe Grillo. Never a truer word spoken, Beppe! YOU DA MAN!!! And these "Experts" - these self-described "ELITE" - did so - and are STILL doing so WITH MALICIOUS INTENT - and lining their pockets every fking step of the way!

As the Jason Statham character says in that great Guy Richie movie "Revolver": "If there's ONE thing I've learnt about "Experts", it's that they're expert in FUCK ALL!"

Apart from asset-stripping the economy & robbing the populace blind that is - and giving their countries away to the invader so indigenous populations cant fight back... or PURPOSELY angling for WW3 to hide their criminality behind the ULTIMATE & FINAL smokescreen.

Yep -THAT is how F'KING sick they are. These, my friends, are your "Experts", your self-decribed "Elite" - and Soros is at the head of the parade.

lakecity55 -> NuYawkFrankie •Nov 21, 2016 6:18 AM

You know the old saying, "an expert's a guy from more than 20 miles outside of town."

tuetenueggel •Nov 21, 2016 5:17 AM

Which experts do you mean Beppe ?

All I Kow is that those "experts" are too stupid to piss a hole in the snow.

Oettinger ( not even speaking his mother tongue halfways correct )

Jean clown Juncker ( always drunk too is a kind of well structured day )

Schulz capo (who was too stupid as mayor of a german village so they fucked him out)

Hollande ( lefts are always of lower IQ then right wing people )

Blair ( war criminal )

and thousands more not to be named her ( due to little space availlable )

caesium •Nov 21, 2016 6:35 AM

It NATO collapses so will the Euro project. The project was always American from the start. In recent years it has become a mechanism by which the Poles (and other assorted Eastern Europeans) can extract war guarantees out of the USA, UK and France. It is a total mess and people like Grillo add to the confusion by their flawed analysis.

The bedrock of Italy was always the Catholic faith which the country has abandoned. "The Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith" said Hilaire Belloc. A reality that Grillo is unable to grasp.

[Nov 20, 2016] Speculation: Trump Promotes NSA Boss Rogers To DNI Because He Leaked The Clinton Emails

Notable quotes:
"... Putin has been supporting right-wing movements across the West in order to weaken NATO ..."
"... prepare ourselves ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
Speculation: Trump Promotes NSA Boss Rogers To DNI Because He Leaked The Clinton Emails

If some investigative journos start digging into the issue this story could develop into a really interesting scandal:

Pentagon and intelligence community chiefs have urged Obama to remove the head of the NSA

The heads of the Pentagon and the nation's intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed.

The recommendation, delivered to the White House last month, was made by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., according to several U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
...
The news comes as Rogers is being considered by President-Elect Donald Trump to be his nominee for DNI, replacing Clapper as the official who oversees all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. In a move apparently unprecedented for a military officer, Rogers, without notifying superiors, traveled to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday at Trump Tower.

Adm. Michael S. Rogers recently claimed in reference to the hack of the Democratic National Council emails that Wikileaks spreading them is "a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect." He obviously meant Russia.

Compare that with his boss James Clapper who very recently said (again) that the "intelligence agencies don't have good insight on when or how Wikileaks obtained the hacked emails."

Emails of the DNC and of Clinton's consigliere John Podesta were hacked and leaked. Additionally emails from Clinton's private email server were released. All these influenced the election in favor of Trump.

Wikileaks boss Assange says he does not know where the emails come from but he does not think they came from Russia.

Clapper and Carter wanted Rogers fired because he was generally disliked at the NSA, because two big breaches in the most secret Tailored Access Organization occurred on his watch even after the Snowden case and because he blocked, with the help of Senator McCain, plans to split the NSA into a spying and a cyber war unit.

Now let me spin this a bit.

Rogers obviously knew he was on the to-be-fired list and he had good relations with the Republicans.

Now follows some plausible speculation:

Some Rogers trusted dudes at the NSA (or in the Navy cyber arm which Rogers earlier led) hack into the DNC, Podesta emails and the Clinton private email server. An easy job with the tools the NSA provides for its spies. Whoever hacked the emails then pushes what they got to Wikileaks (and DCleaks , another "leak" outlet). Wikileaks publishes what it gets because that is what it usually does. Assange also has various reasons to hate Clinton. She was always very hostile to Wikileaks. She allegedly even mused of killing Assange by a drone strike.

Rogers then accuses Russia of the breach even while the rest of the spying community finds no evidence for such a claim. That is natural to do for a military man who grew up during the cold war and may wish that war (and its budgets) back. It is also a red herring that will never be proven wrong or right unless the original culprit is somehow found.

Next we know - Trump offers Rogers the Clapper job. He would replace the boss that wanted him fired.

Rogers support for the new cold war will also gain him favor with the various weapon industries which will eventually beef up his pension.

Some of the above is speculation. But it would make sense and explain the quite one-sided wave of leaks we saw during this election cycle.

Even if it isn't true it would at least be a good script for a Hollywood movie on the nastiness of the inside fighting in Washington DC.

Let me know how plausible you find the tale.

Posted by b on November 19, 2016 at 02:14 PM | Permalink

Comments woogs | Nov 19, 2016 2:29:47 PM | 1
As the song goes, "Aim high, shoot low".

Not sure about the speculation. There's justification for military spending beyond the cold war. Actually, the cold war could be sacrificed in order to re-prioritize military spending.

In any case, Trump's proposed picks are interesting. I especially like the idea of Dana Rohrabacher as Secretary of State if it comes to pass.

One thing for sure .... there's been so much 'fail' with the Obama years that there's an abundance of low-hanging fruit for Trump to feather his cap with success early on, which will give him a template for future successes. That depends largely on who his picks for key posts are, but there has seldom been so much opportunity for a new President as the one that greets Trump.

It's there to be had. Let's hope that Trump doesn't blow it.

jo6pac | Nov 19, 2016 2:36:32 PM | 2
Sounds about right and this just means a new criminal class has taken over the beltway. That doesn't do anything for us citizens, just more of the same.

Everything is on schedule and please there's nothing to see here.

Jen | Nov 19, 2016 2:37:52 PM | 3
I wonder if Rogers' statement appearing to implicate Russian government hackers in leaking DNC information to Wikileaks at that link to Twitter was made after the Democratic National Convention itself accused Russia of hacking into its database. In this instance, knowing when Rogers made his statement and when the DNC made its accusation makes all the difference.

If someone at the NSA had been leaking information to Wikileaks and Rogers knew of this, then the DNC blaming Russia for the leaked information would have been a godsend. All Rogers had to do then would be to keep stumm and if questioned, just say a "nation state" was responsible. People can interpret that however they want.

GoraDiva | Nov 19, 2016 2:38:45 PM | 4
Any of the scenarios you mention could be right. The one thing that is certain - Russia was not the culprit. Not because Russians would not be inclined to hack - I think it is plausible that everyone hacks everyone (as someone said) - but Russians would not likely go to Wikileaks to publicize their prize. They'd keep it to themselves... in that way, they are probably like LBJ, who knew that Nixon had sabotaged the end-of-war negotiations in Paris in 1968, but said nothing for fear of shocking the "system" and the people's trust in it... (didn't work out too well in the end, though). Putin was right when he said (referring to the 2016 US election) that it all should somehow be ... more dignified.

karlof1 | Nov 19, 2016 2:52:16 PM | 5
Makes me wonder who populates the Anonymous group of loosely affiliated hackers and if they were used. The tale has probability; it would be even more interesting if the motive could be framed within the hacker's fulfilling its oath of obligation to the Constitution. Le Carre might be capable of weaving such a tale plausibly. But what about the Russia angle? IMO, Russia had the biggest motive to insure HRC wouldn't become POTUS despite all its denials and impartiality statements. Quien Sabe? Maybe it was Chavez's ghost who did all the hacking; it surely had an outstanding motive.

PavewayIV | Nov 19, 2016 3:14:56 PM | 6
I'll add some color on Rogers in another post, but I just want to preface any remarks with one overriding aspect of the leaks. From the details of most of these leaks, speculation on tech blogs (and as far as anyone knows for certain):

There are many parties that had great incentive to acquire and leak the emails, but I have to insist with the utmost conviction (without a string of expletives) that a junior high school kid could have performed the same feat using hacking tools easily found on the internet . There was absolutely nothing technically sophisticated or NSA-like in someone's ability to get into the DNC server or grab Podesta's emails. It was a matter of opportunity and poor security. If anyone has a link to any other reasoning, I would love to see it. The DNC and Hillary leaks (among other hacks) were due to damn amateurish security practices. The reason you don't outsource or try to get by on the cheap for systems/network security is to reduce the risk of this happening to an acceptable cost/benefit level.

So the presumption of Wikileaks source being (or needing to be) a state actor with incredibly sophisticated hacking tools is utter nonsense. Yes, it could have been the Russian FSB or any one of the five-eyes intelligence agencies or the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. But it could have just as plausibly been Bart Simpson pwning the DNC from Springfield Elementary School and sending everything to Wikileaks, "Cool, I just REKT the Clintons!"

WikiLeaks doesn't care if the leak comes from the head of a western intel agency or a bored teenager in New Jersey. It cares that the material is authentic and carefully vets the content, not the source. At least until they kidnapped Assange and took over WikiLeaks servers a couple of weeks ago, but that's for a different tin-foil hat thread.

Carol Davidek-Waller | Nov 19, 2016 3:18:02 PM | 7
Is Trump that much of a deep thinker? Rebellious teenager who chooses anyone that the last administration didn't like seems more plausible to me. It doesn't matter who they are or what their record is. I don't think Trump plans to surrender any of his undeserved power to anyone. He'll be running the whole show. They'll do what he wants or be shown the door.

Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 3:42:42 PM | 8
Here is another tale I find very plausible:

rufus (aka "rufie") the MoA Hillbot uses a new persona - "Ron Showalter" - to attack Trump post-election. rufie/Ron conducts a false flag attack on MoA (making comments that are pages long) so that his new persona can claim that his anti-Trump views are being attacked by someone using his former persona.

See here , here , and here .

nmb | Nov 19, 2016 4:01:23 PM | 9
One thing Trump could do immediately to signal that he is not with the establishment

Qoppa | Nov 19, 2016 4:12:16 PM | 10
I generally dislike "theories" that go too much into speculation, -- however this one sounds actually quite plausible!

As for "Russia did it", this was obvious bullshit right from the start, not least because of what GoraDiva #4 says:
I think it is plausible that everyone hacks everyone (as someone said) - but Russians would not likely go to Wikileaks to publicize their prize. They'd keep it to themselves

Allegations against Russia worked on confusing different levels: hacking -- leaking -- "rigging".


It was all like this :-)
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CwI-ThzWIAApRki.jpg


This picture encapsulates IMO the full absurdity this election campaign had come down to:
MSM constantly bashing Trump for "lies", "post-factual", "populist rage", "hate speech", -- while themselves engaging in the same on an even larger level, in a completely irresponsible way that goes way beyond "bias", "preference" or even "propaganda".
I understand (and like) the vote for Trump mainly as a call to "stop this insanity!"

~~~

Some more on the issue:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/10/really-really-upset-foreign-office-security-services/
I left Julian [Assange] after midnight. He is fit, well, sharp and in good spirits. WikiLeaks never reveals or comments upon its sources, but as I published before a fortnight ago, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is not any Russian state actor or proxy that gave the Democratic National Committee and Podesta material to WikiLeaks.


http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/10/russia-hack-dnc-really.html


And here about an inconspicuous detail suggesting one hacker actually planned to set up "Russians" as the source:
https://medium.com/@jeffreycarr/the-yandex-domain-problem-2076089e330b#

Nice summary on Sputnik
https://sputniknews.com/us/201610261046768902-dnc-hack-speculation-carr-interview/


Qoppa | Nov 19, 2016 4:35:36 PM | 11
btw, the "inside job" theory goes quite nicely with what we know about alleged traces to "Russians":

https://www.wired.com/2016/07/heres-know-russia-dnc-hack/

The following week, two cybersecurity firms, Fidelis Cybersecurity and Mandiant, independently corroborated Crowdstrike's assessment that Russian hackers infiltrated DNC networks, having found that the two groups that hacked into the DNC used malware and methods identical to those used in other attacks attributed to the same Russian hacking groups.

But some of the most compelling evidence linking the DNC breach to Russia was found at the beginning of July by Thomas Rid, a professor at King's College in London, who discovered an identical command-and-control address hardcoded into the DNC malware that was also found on malware used to hack the German Parliament in 2015. According to German security officials, the malware originated from Russian military intelligence. An identical SSL certificate was also found in both breaches.

Sooooo .... these "traces" all show known Russian methods (whether true or not). If they are known they can be faked and used by someone else.


Now who is the no. 1 organisation, worldwide, in having and being capable to use such information?


@b, your speculation gets better and better the more one thinks about it.


IhaveLittleToAdd | Nov 19, 2016 4:58:27 PM | 12
I'm out of my depth on cyber forensics, but would the NSA, and thus Clapper, know who hacked and leaked these documents? Or would the NSA be in the dark, as they suggest?

Just watched Oliver Stone's "Snowden". Awesome. Can't believe after seeing it that Clapper has survived all these years. Just another Hoover.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 19, 2016 5:18:42 PM | 13

Just watched Oliver Stone's "Snowden". Awesome. Can't believe after seeing it that Clapper has survived all these years. Just another Hoover.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 19, 2016 5:18:42 PM | 13

Manne | Nov 19, 2016 6:35:17 PM | 14
Sheer conspiracy talk, besides b are wrong on Assange, Assange know who leaked it and have denied that a nation is behind it!

james | Nov 19, 2016 6:50:23 PM | 15
thanks b.. i like the idea of it being an inside job.. makes a lot of sense too.

i like @3 jens question about the timing as a possible aid to understanding this better.

@4 gordiva comment - everyone hacks everyone comment..ditto. it's another form of warfare and a given in these times..

i agree with @6 paveway, and while it sounds trite, folks who don't look after their own health can blame all the doctors.. the responsibility for the e mail negligence rests with hillary and her coterie of bozos..

@7 carol. i agree.

@8 jr.. did you happen to notice a few posts missing from the thread from yesterday and who it was that's been removed? hint : poster who made the comment "more popcorn" is no longer around. they have a new handle today..

@20 manne.. you can say whatever you want and be speculative too, but i don't share your view on assange knowing who leaked it..

stumpy | Nov 19, 2016 7:00:28 PM | 16
Except that you have to consider the targeting. I've suspected an insider all along, given the pre-packaged spin points coordinated with the release vectors. Not that the Russies, Pakistanis, or Chinese wouldn't know more about the US than the US knows about itself, but the overall nuance really hits the anti-elitist spurned sidekick chord. This clashes a bit with b's interagency pissing match scenario, but, then again, you step on the wrong tail... Someone didn't get their piece of pie, or equally valid, someone really really disapproves of the pie's magnitude and relative position on the table.

Curious how Weenergate led to the perfectly timed 650K emails on that remarkably overlooked personal device.

MadMax2 | Nov 19, 2016 7:01:17 PM | 17
@20 Manne
Yes I think on this case Assange does know, if I remember correctly, he spoke to RT and said something to the effect of 'it's not Russia, we don't reveal our sources but if the DNC found out who it was they would have "egg on their faces"' ...and easy access, copy, paste, send job, my hunch it was the DNC staffer who was suicided.

Manne | Nov 19, 2016 7:05:51 PM | 18
James

Its what Assange himself says, do your homework, as someone else said here, Wikileaks wont reveal the source, that doesnt mean they dont know who leaked it.

Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 19, 2016 7:05:53 PM | 19
Is Trump that much of a deep thinker? Rebellious teenager who chooses anyone that the last administration didn't like seems more plausible to me. It doesn't matter who they are or what their record is. I don't think Trump plans to surrender any of his undeserved power to anyone. He'll be running the whole show. They'll do what he wants or be shown the door.
Posted by: Carol Davidek-Waller | Nov 19, 2016 3:18:02 PM | 7

I agree.
Trump's got charm and a good memory and doesn't need to be a deep thinker in order to network efficiently and listen carefully. Nor does he need to be a mathematician to figure out that 1 + 1 = 2.

james | Nov 19, 2016 7:07:22 PM | 20
@24 manne.. okay, thanks..

Oddlots | Nov 19, 2016 7:32:04 PM | 21
Has anyone else got the feeling that much of the panic inside Washington is due to the possibility that the crimes of the Obama administration might be exposed?

One of the most uncanny moments I've experienced watching the Syria crisis unfold is seeing the "Assad gasses his people" operation launched, fail miserably, then - mostly - interest is lost. I know: the lie, once asserted, has done most of its work already, debunked or not. I also understand that the western press is so in the tank for the establishment, so "captured" that it shouldn't surprise anyone that no follow up is offered. My point is, rather, that if you think back over just the Ukrainian and Syrian debacle the amount of dirt that could be exposed by a truly anti-establishment figure in the White House is mind boggling.

Just off the top of my head:

- the sabotage of the deal to save the Ukrainian constitutional order brokered by Putin, Merkel and Hollande c/o of the excuisitely timed and staged sniper shootings (otherwise known as the "most obvious coup in history")
- the farce that is the MH17 inquiry (and the implication: another false flag operation with a cut-out that killed, what was it, 279 innocents?)
- the Kherson pogrom and the Odessa massacre
- the targeting of both Libya and Syria with outright lies and with all the propaganda perfectly reflecting the adage that, in dis- info operations, the key is to accuse your enemies of all the crimes you are committing or planning to
- highlights of the above might include: Robert Ford's emails scheming to create "paranoia" in Damascus while completely justifying same; the "rat-lines" and Ghoutta gas operation; the farcically transparent White Helmets Psy-op *

And on and on...

If you or the institution that pays you had a closet full to bursting with skeletons like this and you were facing an incoming administration that seems to relish and flaunt it's outsider status wouldn't you be freaking out?

To ice the cake the latest Freudian slip is the crusade against "fake news." Seriously, if I were in their shoes that's the last phrase I would want people ruminating over. I think it was R. D. Laing who said "we always speak the truth." One way or another.


* This comes with the delicious irony that the operation's own success offers proof of the adage that sometimes you can succeed too well. The fact that the Omran photo was plastered across every paper in the west is good evidence of how completely "fake" our news has become. My favourite is this farcical interview between Amanpour and Lavrov: https://youtu.be/Tx8kiQyEkHc

MadMax2 | Nov 19, 2016 7:53:11 PM | 22
@27 Oddlots
Most of those are pretty easy picking under a firm rule of law - plenty of underling rats willing to squeal with even gentle pressure, I'm sure.

His legacy is horrific.

Obama taught constitutional law for 12 years... It would be sweet, sweet poetry to see him nailed... his 'white papers', formed in secret courts that no one can see, no oversight in the light of day... phony legal documents that allowed him to incinerate fellow humans via drone without charge, without trial...

Some brother, some nobel prize...

Circe | Nov 19, 2016 8:37:46 PM | 23
95% or more of the individuals Trump is considering for his administration, including those already picked have a deep-seated obsession with Iran. This is very troubling. It's going to lead to war and not a regular war where 300,000 people die. This is a catastrophic error in judgment I don't give a sh...t who makes such an error, Trump or the representative from Kalamazoo! This is so bad that it disqualifies whatever else appears positive at this time.

And one more deeply disturbing thing; Pompeo, chosen to head the CIA has threatened Ed Snowden with the death penalty, if Snowden is caught, and now as CIA Director he can send operatives to chase him down wherever he is and render him somewhere, torture him to find out who he shared intelligence with and kill him on the spot and pretend it was a foreign agent who did the job. He already stated before he was assigned this powerful post that Snowden should be brought back from Russia and get the death penalty for treason.

Pompeo also sided with the Obama Administration on using U. S. military force in Syria against Assad and wrote this in the Washington Post: "Russia continues to side with rogue states and terrorist organizations, following Vladimir Putin's pattern of gratuitous and unpunished affronts to U.S. interests,".

That's not all, Pompeo wants to enhance the surveillance state, and he too wants to tear up the Iran deal.

Many of you here are extremely naďve regarding Trump.

Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 8:53:09 PM | 24
James @21 I noticed the different handle but b hasn't commented on the attack. I assumed that this meant that b didn't know for sure who did the attack.

As I wrote, rufus/Ron made himself the prime suspect when he described the attack as an attempt to shut down his anti-Trump message. Some of us thought that it might be a lame attempt to discredit rufus but only "Ron" thought that the attack was related to him.

If one doesn't believe - as I do - that Ron = rufus then you might be less convinced that rufus did the deed.

Gaianne | Nov 19, 2016 9:43:45 PM | 25
@20 Manne--

Yes, it is important to remember that Assange, though he did not state that he knew who provided the DNC emails, implied that he did, and further implied--but did not state--that it was Seth Rich. Assange's statement came shortly after Rich's death by shooting. Assange stated he specifically knew people had people had risked their lives uploading material, implying that they had in fact lost them.

--Gaianne

Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 10:20:57 PM | 26
b's speculation has the ring of truth. I've often wondered if Trump was encouraged to run by a deep-state faction that found the neocons to be abhorrent and dangerous.
Aside: I find those who talk about "factions" in foreign policy making to be un-credible. Among these were those that spoke of 'Obama's legacy'. A bullshit concept for a puppet.The neocons control FP. And they could only be unseated if a neocon -unfriendly President was elected.

Trump is turning animosity away from Russia and toward Iran. But I doubt that it will result in a shooting war with Iran. The 'deep-state' (arms industry and security agencies) just wants a foreign enemy as a means of ensuring that US govt continues to fund security agencies and buy arms.

And really, Obama's "peace deal" with Iran was bogus anyway. It was really just a placeholder until Assad could be toppled. Only a small amount of funds were released to Iran, and US-Iranian relations have been just as bad as they were before the "peace deal". So all the hand-wringing about Trump vs. Iran is silly.

What is important is that with Iran as the nominal enemy du jour plus Trump's campaign pledge to have the "strongest" military (note: every candidate was for a strong military) , the neocons have no case to make that Trump is weak on defense.

And so it is interesting that those that want to undermine Trump have resorted to the claim that he is close to Jews/Zionists/Israel or even Jewish himself. Funny that Trump wasn't attacked like that before the election, huh?

The profound changes and profound butt-hurt lead to the following poignant questions:

>> Have we just witnessed a counter-coup?

>> Isn't it sad that, in 2016(!), the only check on elites are other elite factions? An enormous cultural failure that has produced a brittle social fabric.

>> If control of NSA snooping power is so crucial, why would ANY ruling block ever allow the another to gain power?

Indeed, the answer to this question informs one's view on whether the anti-Trump protests are just Democratic Party ass-covering/distraction or a real attempt at a 'color revolution'.

ben | Nov 19, 2016 11:33:40 PM | 27
Plausible as hell b.

b said also.."Rogers support for the new cold war will also gain him favor with the various weapon industries which will eventually beef up his pension."


That's the long game for most of the "Hawks" in DC. Perpetual war is most profitable.

And, that game transcends both parties.

Circe | Nov 19, 2016 11:52:44 PM | 28
@32

What is important is that with Iran as the nominal enemy du jour plus Trump's campaign pledge to have the "strongest" military (note: every candidate was for a strong military), the neocons have no case to make that Trump is weak on defense.

Oh please! Trump is stacking his cabinet with Iran-obsessed Islam haters! Nominal enemy , my ass! And was every candidate for spending a Trillion more on defense??? Did you even read Trump's plan to build up the military?

You do Netanyahu proud with your deflection. What? Nothing regarding Pompeo's blistering comments on Russia or Ed Snowden?

Why are you trying to diminish the threat to Iran with the hawks, Islam-haters, and Iran-obsessed team that Trump cobbled together so far?

Trump's Israel adviser David Friedman is known to be more extreme than even Netanyahu.

No doubt Netanyahu has unleashed an army of IDF hasbara to crush criticism of Trump and his Iran-obsessed cabinet because he must be elated with his choices and wants to make them palatable to the American sheeple.

Netanyahu is the first leader Trump spoke with on the phone. Trump praised Netanyahu from day one. PNAC and Clean Break were war manifestos for rearranging the Middle East with the ultimate goal of toppling Iran.

Trump and his cabinet are all about tearing up the deal and assuming a much more hostile position with Iran. Tearing up the deal is a precursor to a casus belli. What more proof is there that Trump is doing the bidding of Zionist Neocons??? Oh, but you don't want more, do you?

Your comment reeks of duplicity and sophistry.

psychohistorian | Nov 20, 2016 1:28:45 AM | 29
I always try to "follow the money" concept.

As chipnik noted in a comment, Iran is one of the only countries that is yet to be under the control of private finance (see my latest Open Thread comments, please)

I personally see all this as obfuscation covering for throwing Americans under the bus by the global plutocrats. The elite can see, just like us, that the US empire's usefulness is beyond its "sold by" date and are acting accordingly. America and its Reserve Currency status are about to crash and the elites are working to preserve their supra-national private finance base of power/control while they let America devolve to who knows what level.

Too much heat and not enough light here...or if you prefer, the noise to signal ratio is highly skewed to noise.

psychohistorian | Nov 20, 2016 1:31:46 AM | 30
And in support of my noise to signal comment there is this comment I made recently in the MoA Fake News posting:

So is this real or fake news? Trump meeting with folks this week to expand his personal business interests in India....EGAD!

http://www.ebhsoc.org/journal/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/6/6

Crimes involving moral turpitude have an inherent quality of baseness, vileness, or depravity with respect to a person's duty to another or to society in general.

Given the above Trump would not be allowed to immigrate to the US.....just saying...

Manne | Nov 20, 2016 3:50:10 AM | 31

Assange: No state actor behind the leak.
http://fortune.com/2016/11/03/julian-assange-wikileaks-russia-podesta-emails/

the pair | Nov 20, 2016 3:55:42 AM | 32
the shadowbrokers say they have NSA malware/tools and to prove it after their auction was met with crickets riding tumbleweeds they released some teaser info on NSA servers used for proxy attacks and recon. of course a few just happened to be "owned" boxes in russia (and china and some other places for that matter). add their russian IP addresses to some (mostly useless) sigantures associated with supposedly russian-designed malware and you've got some good circumstantial evidence.

also: an email address associated with one or more attacks is from a russian site/domain but whoever registered was directed to the .com domain instead of the .ru one. this probably means someone got sloppy and didn't remember to check their DNS for fail.

in general these hacks look less like russians and more like someone who wants to look like russians. the overpaid consultants used by the DNC/clinton folks can put "bear" in the names and claim that a few bits of cyrillic are a "slam dunk" but all the "evidence" is easily faked. not that anyone in the "deep state" would ever fake anything.

Harry | Nov 20, 2016 5:35:50 AM | 33
@ Jackrabbit | 26

Trump is turning animosity away from Russia and toward Iran.

I worry about it as well. Trump said he'll tear up nuclear agreement, and the people he is choosing also have rabid anti-Iranian agenda.

Nice start for Trump:

Thursday US House voted to stop civilian aircraft sales to Iran by both Boeing and Airbus.

Few days before - US extending economic sanctions against Iran through 2026.

Of course Trump can block it, but will he? Even if he does, he might blackmail Iran for something in return, etc. Iran is by no means off the hook for neocons and Israel, and I wouldnt be surprised if Trump follows the suit.

Trump will (or might) have better relations with Russia, but this cordiality doesnt extend to Iran. Or as Jackrabbit says, US neocons will simply switch the targeted state and Iran may soon become "worse threat to humanity than ISIS", again.

FecklessLeft | Nov 20, 2016 7:12:24 AM | 34
@33

I doubt separating the animosity towards Russia and Iran is even possible. Truth be told his comments towards Russia during the election seemed more like he was woefully unaware of the reality of the Russo-American situation in the Mideast than about being ready to negotiate major US power positions and accept Russia as anything more than enemy. Sounded very off the cuff to me. Maybe he thought he'd 'get along great with Putin' at the time but after realizing later that means making nice with Iran and giving up a large measure of US influence in the MENA he has reconsidered and taken the party line. It'd certainly be understandable for a noncareer politician. I'd imagine he'd be more interested now in currying favour with the MIC and the typical Republican party hawks than with Russia/Putin given his statements on military spending. Back when I saw him bow down at the altar of AIPAC earlier in the season I had trouble reconciling that with how he hoped to improve relationships with Russia at the same time given their radical differences wrt their allies. He's made a lot of those type of statements too, it was hard to read where he stood on most any issue during election season.

I imagine as he's brought into the fold and really shown the reality of how US imperialist power projection he'll change his mind considerably. I think we, as readers and amateur analysts of this type of material, take for granted how hard some of this knowledge is to come by without looking for it directly. When we hear someone is going to make nice with Russia we want to think "well he says that as he must surely recognize the insanity and destructive forces at work." Maybe it's more of a case where the person speaking actually thinks we're in Syria to fight ISIS - that they have very little grasp of how things really work over there.

In my eyes the names he's been considering are reason for much worry for those hoping Trump would be the one to usher in a multipolar world and end the cold war. I never had much hope in that regard (but I'm still praying for the best).

Oui | Nov 20, 2016 7:45:56 AM | 35
Figment of imagination ...

Putin has been supporting right-wing movements across the West in order to weaken NATO

Care to back this statement with arguments, examples ar a link to an excellent article?

Looking at most of "New Europe", it's the other way around ... fascist states allied with Nazi Germany against communism, participating in massacres of Jewish fellow citizens and functioning as a spearhead for US intelligence against communism after the defeat of Nazi Germany – see Gladio. Now used by the CIA in the coup d'état in Ukraine in Februari 2014.

Ahhh ... searched for it myself, a paper written earlier in 2016 ... how convenient!

Putinism and the European Far Right | IMR|

The paper, authored by Alina Polyakova , Ph.D., deputy director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council , was originally presented at the 2015 ASEEES Annual Convention.

Policy set by the Atlantic Council years ago: make Russia a pariah state . Written about it many times. BS and more western propaganda. The West has aligned itself with jihadists across the globe, Chechnya included. Same as in Afghanistan, these terrorists were called "freedom fighters". See John McCain in northern Syria with same cutthroats.

Absolutely outrageous! See her twitter account with followers/participants Anne Applebaum and former and now discredited Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski .

Pitiful and so uninformed!

Posted earlier @BT - To the Stake .. Burn the Heretic

Yonatan | Nov 20, 2016 7:58:10 AM | 36
"Emails of the DNC and of Clinton's consigliere John Podesta were hacked and leaked. Additionally emails from Clinton's private email server were released. All these influenced the election in favor of Trump."

Not necessarily so. An informal poll of people in blue collar flyover country about their voting intentions prior to the election expressed 4 common concerns

i) The risk of war.
ii) The Obamacare disaster especially recent triple digit percent increase in fees.
iii) Bringing back jobs.
iv) Punishing the Democrat Party for being indistinguishable from the Republicans.

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/when-shouting-stops.html

Newsboy | Nov 20, 2016 8:23:05 AM | 37
Fascists usually start off doing a lot of good work in the honeymoon-period.
Here we go!

Jackrabbit | Nov 20, 2016 9:03:25 AM | 38
Circe @28

We shouldn't take Trump's bluster at face value. For example, Trump said that he'd eliminate Obamacare. Now he has backed off that saying that some elements of Obamacare are worthwhile.

Trump called for a strong military while attacking Hillary as "trigger happy" . The implication is clear - Trump would not be looking for wars like Hillary would.

That the Israeli head of state is one of the first foreign leaders that any President-elect speaks to is no surprise. That you harp on what is essentially nonsense is telling.

In my view Trump is not anti-Jewish. He is anti-neocon/anti-Zionist. As Bannon said, America has been getting f*cked.

john | Nov 20, 2016 9:18:04 AM | 39
Oddlots @ 21 says:

To ice the cake the latest Freudian slip is the crusade against "fake news."

i see it more as another mindfucking meme than a Freudian slip. another paean to Discordia, the goddess of chaos. we've lived with 'fake news,' heretofore advertised by reliable sources , since forever. baptizing this bastardized melange only sinks us deeper into dissonant muck.

Jules | Nov 20, 2016 10:12:03 AM | 40
One would hope if that is true - Trump recognises this and fires him as well rather than promoting him.

However, if he were instrumental in getting Trump elected it is understandable if Trump decided to promote him.

It's well-known and clear Trump rewards those who have done him favours.

Let us hope it is not true.

The first thing Trump must do when elected is declassify all material related to MH17. This can be done in late January/ February as one of his first orders of business.

It's important to do this quickly - at least before the Dutch Elections in March 2017.

#MH17truth

If Trump does this he will do a number of things.

1 - Likely reveal that it was the Ukrainians who were involved in shooting down MH17. I say likely because it's possible this goes deeper than just Ukraine - if that's the case - more the better.

2. He will destroy the liar Porky Poroshenko and his corrupt regime with him. He will destroy Ukraine's corrupt Government's relationship with Europe.

3. He will destroy the sell-out traitor to his own people Mark Rutte of Netherlands. This will ensure an election win for a key Trump ally - Geert Wilders.

If Rutte is discredited for using the deaths of 200 Dutch citizens for his own political gain - he is finished and might end up in jail.

4. He will destroy Merkel utterly. Her chances of re-election (which she just announced she will stand!) will be utterly destroyed.

5. He will restory Russia-USA relations in an instant.

Trump must also do this ASAP because this is the kind of thing that could get him killed if he doesn't do it ASAP when he's inaugurated.

Of course - until then - he should keep his mouth shut about it - but the rest of us should be shouting it all around the Internet.

#MH17truth
#MH17truth
#MH17truth
#MH17truth
#MH17truth

Then - after that - he can move to do the same for September 11.

MH17 must come first ASAP because of the Dutch Elections and the chance to remove that globalist traitor to his own people Rutte.

Denis | Nov 20, 2016 10:19:43 AM | 41
b: "Let me know how plausible you find the tale."

Very, very, very plausible. Yes! (Fist-pump)

And very well documented, too. Sort of like the theory that 9/11 was carried out by the Boy Scouts of America. After all, the boost in jingoism and faux-patriotism gave the BSA a boost in revenue and membership, so that pretty well proves it, eh?

And if you dig deep enough I'm sure you'll find that on 9/10 the BSA shorted their stocks in United.

Yo! (Double fist-pump)

Jules | Nov 20, 2016 10:35:24 AM | 42
Re: Posted by: Oddlots | Nov 19, 2016 7:32:04 PM | 21

Totally agree Oddlots and that is why Trump must be on the front foot immediately.

Exposing MH17 and destroying Poroshenko, Rutte & Merkel - and Biden & Obama by the way and a bunch of others is absolutely key.

Blow MH17 skyhigh and watch Russia-USA relations be restored in a nanosecond.

It will be especially sweet to watch the Dutch traitor to his own people Rutte destroyed in the midst of an election campaign such that he might end up in jail charged with treason and replaced by Geert Wilders - the Dutch Donald Trump if ever there was one - within a matter of weeks.

However, a word of caution, it is precisely because of these possibilities that there has to be a high chance Trump will be assassinated.

Pence would not walk that line. Not at all.

There is no doubt Trump's life is in danger. I hope he has enough good people around him who will point the finger in the right direction if and when it happens.

Because frankly I doubt it.

juliania | Nov 20, 2016 10:37:15 AM | 43
I think it's a bit of a stretch. First of all, there are other, deeper areas of investigative matters concerning previous governments of the US, impeachable offenses and international crimes - remember when Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table? Not to mention, what did happen in Benghazi and why? It wouldn't matter who did that hacking of those emails- it's a bit like the exposure of the White House tapes in Nixon's presidency. We didn't worry about who revealed that - we went to the issues themselves. I think that is what Trump is doing as he brings people to his home for conversations. It is the opposite of Obama's 'moving forward, not looking back'. Trump is going to look back. It's not about reinstating the cold war; it's about gathering information.

Do we want another Obama? I don't think so.


Jules | Nov 20, 2016 10:43:57 AM | 44
Re: Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 19, 2016 10:20:57 PM | 26

I think Saudi Arabia are the ones who should be scared. Trump has implied before he knows who is responsible for September 11.

My guess is he wants to expose Saudi Arabia and the Bush Family.

Ever wondered why the Bushes hate and appear frightened of Trump? Because they understand he will expose their complicity in September 11 and potentially have them locked up.

Or perhaps he'll let Dubya off claiming he didn't know in return for a favour and lock up Dick Cheney instead. Quite possible.

The Saudis will get thrown down the river and lose any assets they hold in US Dollars - a significant amount I believe!

Sucks to be a Saudi Royal right about now - they better liquidate their US assets ASAP if they have any brains.

lysias | Nov 20, 2016 10:49:04 AM | 45
Retired UK ambassador Craig Murray said on his Web site, after meeting with Assange and then traveling to Washington where he met with former NSA officials, that he was 100 percent sure that Wikileaks's source was not the Russians and also suggested that the leaks came from inside the U.S. government.

lysias | Nov 20, 2016 10:52:19 AM | 46
Pursue the truth about 9/11, and you'll also find guilty paties in Israel (as well as Pakistan). Is Trump willing to do that?

lysias | Nov 20, 2016 10:54:41 AM | 47
Guilty parties

Jules | Nov 20, 2016 11:02:05 AM | 48
Re: Posted by: lysias | Nov 20, 2016 10:52:19 AM | 46

That would seem to be the truth wouldn't it, but I doubt he'd go that far down the rabbit hole? How would that serve him?

He'd go as far down as Saudi Arabia & Pakistan - and yes, that would serve his purpose for "enemies".

It would also serve Israel's interests. I can't imagine he'd go as far as to expose Israel - why would he? His life would then be in danger!

james | Nov 20, 2016 11:49:01 AM | 49
@24 jr.. i found the rs guy to be quite repugnant..rufus never came across quite the same way to me, but as always - i could be wrong! i see pac is gone today and been replaced with another name, lol.. and the beat goes on.. b has deleted posts and must be getting tired of them too.

@31 manne.. thanks.. does that rule out an insider with the nsa/cia as well?

@34 fecklessleft.. i agree with your last paragraph..

@36 yonatan.. i agree with that alternative take myself..

@40 jules.. would be nice to see happen, but most likely an exercise in wishful thinking.. sort of the same with your @44 too.. the saudis need to be taken down quite a few notches.. the usa/israel being in bed with the headchopper cult has all the wrong optics for suggesting anything positive coming from usa/israel..


Robert Beal | Nov 20, 2016 12:04:35 PM | 50
#1 election story, from 3 (indirectly 4) separate investigative journalists.

Also, see Sputnik comments at bottom of:

https://sputniknews.com/radio_the_bradcast/201611171047576289-us-election-exit-polls/

h | Nov 20, 2016 12:11:40 PM | 51
b says 'Next we [can speculate] - Trump offers Rogers the Clapper job. He would replace the boss that wanted him fired.' There, fixed it.

There appears to be a growing canyon in the intelligence world with some wanting to rid the Office of the National Intelligence agency altogether, while others are lobbying for it to remain.

Recall the 50+ intelligence analysts who went on record that the higher ups within the spying apparatus were cooking the books on Syria and the Islamic State - http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/09/exclusive-50-spies-say-isis-intelligence-was-cooked.html

Remember when Obama referred to the rise of the Islamic State as the 'JV team'? That nonchalant attitude by Obama towards the growing threat of the head choppers in Iraq and Syria was squarely placed on senior management within the intelligence community -

"Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration's public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda's branch in Syria, the analysts claim."

Who knows, Rogers may very well have been one in senior management who encouraged these 50 analysts to come forward. Maybe the IG investigation is wrapping up and at least internally, the senior management who made intel reports to Obama full of 'happy talk' have been identified and are now leaving on their own.

Maybe Rogers is a 'White Hat' as is being suggested by the CTH - https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/11/19/shadow-fight-angst-within-obama-admin-as-intel-community-white-hats-align-w-trump/

Circe | Nov 20, 2016 1:25:22 PM | 52
@38

We shouldn't take Trump's bluster at face value. For example, Trump said that he'd eliminate Obamacare. Now he has backed off that saying that some elements of Obamacare are worthwhile.

For crying out loud! I don't give a rat's ass about Obamacare when he outlined a plan to boost the military by a trillion dollars and stacks his cabinet with crazy Iran-obsessed hawks who want to start a world war over effing Iran! And you're deflecting this with freakin' Obamacare -- It's speaks volumes about your credibility!

Trump is anti-Zionist??? Ha! His adviser to Israel David Friedman is an extreme right-wing Zionist! Or do you just prefer to completely ignore fact and reality???

And Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo can't stand Putin and their comments and record are there - FACT!

And Trump didn't only tell Hillary he was going to build up the military; he outlined it later in his plan with facts and figures and it's going to cost about a Trillion dollars, so quit comparing it to a gradual phasing out of Obamacare!

Okay, you know what? I see right through your little game. Unless you have something cogent with factual backup; I don't wanna read your responses based on pure fantasy and deflection. I look at the cold, hard facts and reality. I look at who Trump is surrounding himself with rabid Islam-haters obsessed with going after Iran and extremist Zionist loons and hawks like Pompeo and Pence making disturbing comments on Russia and Snowden and Trump's plan. So quit pretending you're not trying to obscure fact with fiction meant to deceive!

Quadriad | Nov 20, 2016 1:37:31 PM | 53
#23 Circe

"...and not a regular war where 300,000 people die..."

- Regular? So, you're calling an aggression on Syria just a 'Regular' war, on par with the course? The very least the Americans have to do, including those given the 'Nobel Peace Prize' (a bloody joke if there ever was one)? And those regular wars are needed to, what, regularly feed and the US MIC Beast? So... Obama and Hillary were just getting on with the inevitable?

Your other observations regarding Pompeo are more meaningful, but I think you underestimate the power of groupthink under the Clinton-Bush-Obama continuous administration complex. Anyway, if Pompeo doesn't wish to get "reassigned", he might be better off unmounting the neocon horse mindset and getting on better with the Tea Party dogma, where the enemies of thy enemies are more likely to be seen as friends then frenemies.

#34 Feckless Left

In a sense you are right, he is not a career politician and he might be underestimating the depth of the abyss. Yet, he has far more street cred than you seem to be giving him credit for. An honest, naive idealist, he is certainly not...

Lozion | Nov 20, 2016 1:51:14 PM | 54
Circe, I have addressed your panic about Iran in another thread and you failed to reply so again:

"Even if true that the future administration would shift its focus against Iran, what can they accomplish militarily against it? Nought. SAA & ISA would send militias to support Iran, nothing would prevent Russia from using Hamedan airbase just as it uses Hmeimim and deploy S-400 et al systems to bolster Iran's already existing ones. Plus on what grounds politically could they intervene? Nobody is buying Bibi's "Bomb" bs seriously anymore. Forget it, with Syria prevailing Iran is safe.."

Jackrabbit | Nov 20, 2016 1:57:06 PM | 55
@Circe

If Trump is so friendly with Zionists, why did they go crazy when Bannon was named as a senior adviser?

And, neocon angst about the Trump Administration is well summed up by Cohen's tweet :

After exchange w Trump transition team, changed my recommendation: stay away. They're angry, arrogant, screaming "you LOST!" Will be ugly.

S.H.E. | Nov 20, 2016 2:03:31 PM | 56
Oddlots #21. insightful. you ignored the entire list on the financial side, but they are linked through the profound mutual support between Israel and Wall Street.

I have been really surprised at the lack of discussion of BHO's impromptu post-election tour of Germany and Greece. It seems to me Egypt flipped and it was met with silence, because WashDC must be secured before the neocons can respond. But the two countries that are game-set-match are Germany and Greece. The Greek navy with German support is a great power in the Mediterranean. How convenient to keep them at each other's throats for a decade. I think BHO was trying desperately to keep them onside. But he would either have to promise them something that he can no longer deliver after Jan 20th...or he has to clue them in to a different timeline than the one we think is playing out. Anyone have a idea why the Prez had to go and talk to Merkel and Tsipras *without intermediaries?*

Nick | Nov 20, 2016 2:22:33 PM | 57
Today Putin meeting Obama in Peru. Like, you lost nigga!
https://cdnbr2.img.sputniknews.com/images/623/35/6233517.jpg

TheRealDonald | Nov 20, 2016 2:47:05 PM | 58
28

Having now founded a central bank in every nation of the world, the Khazars have defeated the Pope and the Caliphate. Only Iran and North Korea don't have a Khazar central bank. And only Iran has the last stash of crown jewels and gold bullion that the Khazars don't already control.

They want Iran as part of Greater Israel, and they hate Russia for driving them out after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Khazars control the American Union under a Red/Blue Star. Just talking ethnics, not race, religion or creed, since Hebrew is a religion of pure commercial convenience for the Khazars.

US and IL are therefore aligned against IR and RU. Now we can get rid of all the race, religion or creed crap, and talk New Math set theory: {US,IL} ≠ {IR,RU}

Who are {US,IL} sanctions against? {IR,RU}. In this new Trump' Administration: {TA} ⊆ {US,IL}, and {TA} ⊄ {IR,RU}. From a chess perspective, Putin just got Kieningered, because the Khazars would have everyone believe that {TA} ❤ {RU}, when in reality, {TA} ∩ {RU} = {Ř}.

On to {IR}!!

ben | Nov 20, 2016 2:55:01 PM | 59
I'm fully expecting a radical change in rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump and his new team, but little else. The REAL movers and shakers who run the U$A have everything moving their direction right now, so why change? I expect "the Donald" to do as he's
told, like every other POTUS in modern history. They'll let him screw the workers, but, not the REAL owners of the U$A( 1%).

TheRealDonald | Nov 20, 2016 2:59:20 PM | 60
55

You don't know? Before he died, my father told me a trick. Once the bloom was off their marriage, his wife would deliberately provoke his heavy-handed management of the family, by doing whatever he didn't want. So he learned to always 'go crazy' over things, knowing that's exactly what she would do to spite him, ...and in that way, using 'reverse psychology', the Khazars would have you believe that they hate Trump, and Trump loves Russia. They're just putting the Maidan gears into motion.

Like taking c__ from a (ಥ‸ಥ).

Circe | Nov 20, 2016 3:14:41 PM | 61
If Trump is considering Mitt Romney for SoS then you can bet his policy towards Russia will be hostile because the only reason Trump would put someone between himself and Putin, who repeatedly called Russia, America's No. 1 enemy, is because he wants a bad cop on Russia in the State Department, in spite of his supposed good cop remarks regarding Putin. In other words, he wants someone who can put it straight to Putin so he himself can pretend to be the good cop. If Trump were being honest regarding a softening in policy with Russia do you really believe he would ever consider someone like Romney for SoS??? Again, Mitt Romney has made the most scathing comments of anyone against Putin, and then calling Russia the number one geopolitical enemy of the U.S. . Many on the Democratic and even Republican side felt he went overboard and many have since called his comment prophetic and today Romney feels vindicated.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/09/30/romney-again-makes-case-russia-most-dangerous-foe-amid-syrian-air-strikes.html

Many analysts on the Democratic side and Republican side are calling Romney prophetic since he made that statement on Russia before Russia messed with U.S. plans for Syria.

So, my point is this; it's possible, it's very possible that, Mike Pompeo, Trump's choice for CIA Director, who also has a hostile position towards Russia asked Trump to consider Romney because he know doubt also believes that Romney proved good foresight with that comment regarding Russia and urged Trump to give Romney a meeting.

My 2nd point is this: quit trying to make Trump into what he's not when he's spelling it all out for you in black and white!

It doesn't look good. This picture that's starting to develop is looking worse by the day. Look at who he's surrounding himself with; look at his actions and forget about his words. This man has sold ice to the eskimos in his business dealings. Look at the facts. Trump is not who you think he is and just because he made some comments favorable in Putin's regard doesn't mean he's not going to turn around and stick it to Putin a year or maybe a few years down the line. Kissinger told Fareed Zakaria today on GPS: One should not insist in nailing Trump to positions he took during the campaign.

I already wrote that I believe Trump is using this fake softer strategy to get Russia to look sideways on a coming Resolution to invade Iran and then he's going to deal with Putin and Russia.

If Trump picks someone like Romney for State; he'll have 3 individuals in the most important cabinet positions dealing with foreign policy and foreign enemies who will be hostile to Russia: VP, CIA Director and SoS. Therefore he would be sending his bad cop to deal with Russia and sending a message to Putin like: Don't put your money on whatever I said during the campaign, my positions are changing for the empire's benefit and strategic interests. And even if he doesn't choose Mitt, because on Breitbart where his base convenes they're up in arms about this meeting, I would still be wary of his direction because of the picks he's made already; the majority of his cabinet so far want war with Iran and his VP and CIA Director can't stand Putin and then looking at who's advising him, rabid Neocon Zionists like James Woolsey and David Friedman.

Look at what Trump does, who he's meeting with, who he's choosing to surround himself with and quit hanging on what he said, because talk is cheap, especially coming from someone who's now in the inner circle of American power.

@55

Please don't give me one measly Cohen tweet as fact! The entire Zionist Organization of America came to Bannon's defense and he will be attending their gala! It's been made public everywhere; so quit obscuring the truth.

@54

Yes, Russia could come to Iran's defense considering Iran allowed for Russia's use of that air base for Syria and rescued one of the two Russian pilots shot down by Turkey, and is fighting al-Nusra shoulder to shoulder with Russia, but the empire has something up its sleeve to stop Russia from coming to the defense of Iran, should the U.S. and Israel decide to circumvent the Security Council. Something stinks; Trump is top loading his cabinet with crazy, Iran-obsessed hawks and his VP and CIA Direct also have no love for Putin. They're planning something against Iran and I know they're going to do something to tie Putin's hands. Something's up and it's going to lead to war beyond Syria. Look the Russians are already depleting resources in Syria; already that puts Russia in a weakened position. I don't know what they're planning but it's not good. The picture unfolding with Trump's cabinet is very disturbing.

Circe | Nov 20, 2016 3:35:38 PM | 62
There's another aspect and maybe it's significant and maybe not that could influence a change in Trump's position on Russia that would have also made him take the extreme step of meeting with Romney while considering the SoS position. Trump is getting the highest level of security briefings now that he's President-elect. You wanna bet that Russia and Putin are mentioned in over 50% of those briefings and ISIS, Iran and others get the other 50% collectively???

Jackrabbit | Nov 20, 2016 3:41:53 PM | 63
@Circe

Hasbara hysteria to undermine Trump. Unrelenting bullshit and innuendo.

What was Bannon talking about when he said that America is getting f*cked? Globalism vs. Nationalism. Who equates nationalism with nazism? Zionists. Who is butt-hurt over Trump Presidency? Zionists and neocons.

Circe | Nov 20, 2016 3:47:15 PM | 64
@63

Unrelenting bullshit and innuendo.

Yep, describes your weak deception to a T! ...like I'm going to hang on Bannon's word as gospel when he's going to be wining and dining with Zionists at the ZOA gala.

Try again.

Circe | Nov 20, 2016 3:54:39 PM | 65
Oh, and one more thing: Zionists, FYI, relate very well with nationalists and supremacists since they got their own nationalist, supremacist operation in ISRAEL! So I'm only too sure they'll be commiserating and exchanging ideas on how best to secure their nationalist, supremacist vision for the empire. There's a whole lot of common ground for them to cover during the gala, and YOU CAN'T AND DIDN'T DENY THAT BANNON IS ATTENDING THE ZIONIST GALA! Did you???

So again, quit dogging me, quit presuming I'm some undercover hasbara, that maybe you are, and spare me the bullshit.

Circe | Nov 20, 2016 4:59:44 PM | 66
As if we didn't need anymore proof of where Trump is taking the U.S.: Trump tweeted a comment highly praising General James Mattis after their meeting considering him for Secretary of Defense. This is a major, major red flag signalling a very troubling direction in Trump's foreign policy.

Mattis served for two years as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. Although, he served under Obama, he was against the Iran deal and considers Iran more dangerous that ISIS!

Mattis is nicknamed "mad-dog mattis" for a reason: he is an extreme hawk and he is MIC incorporated.

But here's the kicker, Mattis like Pompeo, Pence and Romney has also made blistering comments against Russia, stating that Putin wants to break up NATO, sent "dogs and thugs" into Georgia and has been very critical of Putin's actions in Ukraine and Syria.

At the beginning of the primaries, Neocons wanted Mattis as a candidate for the Presidency on the Republican side. I like how the following article describes just how much Neocon war hawks salivated over the thought of Mattis in the White House:

http://original.antiwar.com/daniel-mcadams/2016/04/25/neocons-panting-president-mad-dog-mattis/

Well folks, Mattis, the darling of Neocons, will be in the White House next to Trump advising him on war strategy! And worst of all this mad-dog Neocon war hawk is going to run the Pentagon, oversee a trillion-dollar military expansion and command the next world war!

So are you convinced yet that Trump is perpetuating the Neocon PNAC/Clean Break plan or are you still totally blind???

Harry | Nov 20, 2016 5:17:23 PM | 67
More and more troubling news from Trump camp and his party, but lets not make snap judgements. We'll see soon enough.

jfl | Nov 20, 2016 5:24:10 PM | 68
@34 fl, 'In my eyes the names he's been considering are reason for much worry for those hoping Trump would be the one to usher in a multipolar world and end the cold war. I never had much hope in that regard (but I'm still praying for the best).'

Trump is in it for Trump. He's a solipsist. We and our 'real world' doesn't exist for Trump. He lives in Trump Tower. The only things he cares about are his personal interests. He'll put in people to 'run the government' who will insulate him and his interests from the consequences of their actions and that'll keep him happy and them in their jobs, no matter the consequences for our 'imaginary' real world. We're back to the mad Caesars. Our government has been steadily walking away from us since Bush XLI. It's on the run now, we're up to Nero. We 'barbarians' need to take care of our real world in its absence, prepare ourselves to pick up the pieces when it's become so unrecognizable that it's finally disappeared.

[Nov 19, 2016] Neoliberalism created the highly centralized State and the globalized market that has resulted in an unprecedented concentration of power and wealth and redefined regular notion of left and right

Notable quotes:
"... Put together, these two trends have served the purposes of the highly centralized State and the globalized market that has resulted in an unprecedented concentration of power and wealth. ..."
"... The liberal left and significant portions further left tend to celebrate a negative cultural and sexual liberty while the Liberal right tends to celebrate an economic and political negative liberty. ..."
"... It ends up bringing about exactly the kinds of intolerant [neo]liberalis m(blatantly on display these days) it ascribes to all non-liberal positions. ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jim November 17, 2016 at 3:51 pm

"The Archdruid report is useful but Greer should read Thomas Frank. Then he will stop conflating "Left" and "Liberal."

  • The "Left" as well as the center-left/center-right (Hillary/traditional conservative Republican crowd) both are strong supporters of a social-cultural liberalism, that since the 1960s has heavily promoted individual rights and an equality of opportunity for self-expression.
  • The "Right" since at least the early 1980s( along with the Hillary crowd) has supported an economic political liberalism that champions "free markets" liberated from the bureaucratic State.

Put together, these two trends have served the purposes of the highly centralized State and the globalized market that has resulted in an unprecedented concentration of power and wealth.

The liberal left and significant portions further left tend to celebrate a negative cultural and sexual liberty while the Liberal right tends to celebrate an economic and political negative liberty.

The Left's defense of existing negative liberty (and not being willing to think beyond it) ends up undermining all modes of freedom because it tends to shut down debate about substantive ends.

It ends up bringing about exactly the kinds of intolerant [neo]liberalis m(blatantly on display these days) it ascribes to all non-liberal positions.

Is there anyplace for a positive concept of liberty in 2016?

[Nov 19, 2016] Here Ackerman ranks the USA with Belarus and Singapore on the democracy scale and indeed explicitly characterizes it as a Russian-like "soft authoritarian" regime.

Notable quotes:
"... Here Ackerman ranks the USA with Belarus and Singapore on the democracy scale and indeed explicitly characterizes it as a Russian-like "soft authoritarian" regime. I've always thought the USA possessed a distinct "Russkieness" to it, not surprising for a continent-country with a historic background of relative labor shortage and rich in natural resources. ..."
"... Yes, we are a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual empire of continental scope, that acquired contiguous territory by accretion, ruled by a decadent police state. There are many similarities, including waiting in line a a lot, ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Brad November 17, 2016 at 1:24 pm

OK last one. "Obama urges Trump to stand up to Russia". Obama hasn't read the Bannon transcript apparently. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/obama-russia-231556

Laugh line: "But Russia also diverges sharply from the U.S. on values like democracy, freedom of speech, international sovereignty and territorial integrity, he noted."

Obama, and everyone, needs to read Seth Ackerman's piece on the reality of the US political system up on Jacobin:

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/bernie-sanders-democratic-labor-party-ackerman/

Here Ackerman ranks the USA with Belarus and Singapore on the democracy scale and indeed explicitly characterizes it as a Russian-like "soft authoritarian" regime. I've always thought the USA possessed a distinct "Russkieness" to it, not surprising for a continent-country with a historic background of relative labor shortage and rich in natural resources.

However, I think the USA's political restrictiveness *does* directly stem for the founders and their constitution. It's an 18th C vintage Whig clique constitution in neo-classical dress.

Lambert Strether Post author November 17, 2016 at 3:09 pm

> I've always thought the USA possessed a distinct "Russkieness"

Yes, we are a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual empire of continental scope, that acquired contiguous territory by accretion, ruled by a decadent police state. There are many similarities, including waiting in line a a lot, and mordant humor.

JSM November 17, 2016 at 4:39 pm

JSM was struck by the same line in the Jacobin piece. 'Authoritarian democracy' was making the rounds in the primaries.

When Jill Stein can be zip-tied to a chair for hours on end, all for merely attending the 2012 presidential debates, why quibble about whether parties are banned by law, or as in the US, laws 'not directly intended' to achieve that de facto result, ruling power conspiracies, and arbitrary police action.

[Nov 19, 2016] The Democratic party lost its soul. Its time to win it back

Notable quotes:
"... For one thing, many vested interests don't want the Democratic party to change. Most of the money it raises ends up in the pockets of political consultants, pollsters, strategists, lawyers, advertising consultants and advertisers themselves, many of whom have become rich off the current arrangement. They naturally want to keep it. ..."
"... For another, the Democratic party apparatus is ingrown and entrenched. Like any old bureaucracy, it only knows how to do what it has done for years. Its state and quadrennial national conventions are opportunities for insiders to meet old friends and for aspiring politicians to make contacts among the rich and powerful. Insiders and the rich aren't going to happily relinquish their power and perquisites, and hand them to outsiders and the non-rich. ..."
"... I have been a Democrat for 50 years – I have even served in two Democratic administrations in Washington, including a stint in the cabinet and have run for the Democratic nomination for governor in one state – yet I have never voted for the chair or vice-chair of my state Democratic party. That means I, too, have had absolutely no say over who the chair of the Democratic National Committee will be. To tell you the truth, I haven't cared. And that's part of the problem. ..."
"... Finally, the party chairmanship has become a part-time sinecure for politicians on their way up or down, not a full-time position for a professional organizer. In 2011, Tim Kaine (who subsequently became Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 election) left the chairmanship to run, successfully, for the Senate from Virginia. ..."
"... The chair then went to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Florida congresswoman who had co-chaired Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. This generated allegations in the 2016 race that the Democratic National Committee was siding with Clinton against Bernie Sanders – allegations substantiated by leaks of emails from the DNC. ..."
"... So what we now have is a Democratic party that has been repudiated at the polls, headed by a Democratic National Committee that has become irrelevant at best, run part-time by a series of insider politicians. It has no deep or broad-based grass-roots, no capacity for mobilizing vast numbers of people to take any action other than donate money, no visibility between elections, no ongoing activism. ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

For one thing, many vested interests don't want the Democratic party to change. Most of the money it raises ends up in the pockets of political consultants, pollsters, strategists, lawyers, advertising consultants and advertisers themselves, many of whom have become rich off the current arrangement. They naturally want to keep it.

For another, the Democratic party apparatus is ingrown and entrenched. Like any old bureaucracy, it only knows how to do what it has done for years. Its state and quadrennial national conventions are opportunities for insiders to meet old friends and for aspiring politicians to make contacts among the rich and powerful. Insiders and the rich aren't going to happily relinquish their power and perquisites, and hand them to outsiders and the non-rich.

Most Americans who call themselves Democrats never hear from the Democratic party except when it asks for money, typically through mass mailings and recorded telephone calls in the months leading up to an election. The vast majority of Democrats don't know the name of the chair of the Democratic National Committee or of their state committee. Almost no registered Democrats have any idea how to go about electing their state Democratic chair or vice-chair, and, hence, almost none have any influence over whom the next chair of the Democratic National Committee may be.

I have been a Democrat for 50 years – I have even served in two Democratic administrations in Washington, including a stint in the cabinet and have run for the Democratic nomination for governor in one state – yet I have never voted for the chair or vice-chair of my state Democratic party. That means I, too, have had absolutely no say over who the chair of the Democratic National Committee will be. To tell you the truth, I haven't cared. And that's part of the problem.

Nor, for that matter, has Barack Obama cared. He basically ignored the Democratic National Committee during his presidency, starting his own organization called Organizing for America. It was originally intended to marshal grass-roots support for the major initiatives he sought to achieve during his presidency, but morphed into a fund-raising machine of its own.

Finally, the party chairmanship has become a part-time sinecure for politicians on their way up or down, not a full-time position for a professional organizer. In 2011, Tim Kaine (who subsequently became Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 election) left the chairmanship to run, successfully, for the Senate from Virginia.

The chair then went to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Florida congresswoman who had co-chaired Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. This generated allegations in the 2016 race that the Democratic National Committee was siding with Clinton against Bernie Sanders – allegations substantiated by leaks of emails from the DNC.

So what we now have is a Democratic party that has been repudiated at the polls, headed by a Democratic National Committee that has become irrelevant at best, run part-time by a series of insider politicians. It has no deep or broad-based grass-roots, no capacity for mobilizing vast numbers of people to take any action other than donate money, no visibility between elections, no ongoing activism.

[Nov 19, 2016] The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss of jobs. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun.

It is the end of neoliberalism and the start of the era of authoritarian nationalism, and we all need to come together to stamp out the authoritarian part.
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism has been disastrous for the Rust Belt, and I think we need to envision a new future for what was once the country's industrial heartland, now little more than its wasteland ..."
"... The question of what the many millions of often-unionized factory workers, SMEs which supplied them, family farmers (now fully industrialized and owned by corporations), and all those in secondary production and services who once supported them are to actually do in future to earn a decent living is what I believe should really be the subject of debate. ..."
"... two factors (or three, I guess) have contributed to this state of despair: offshoring and outsourcing, and technology. ..."
"... Medicaid, the CHIP program, the SNAP program and others (including NGOs and private charitable giving) may alleviate some of the suffering, but there is currently no substitute for jobs that would enable men and women to live lives of dignity – a decent place to live, good educations for their children, and a reasonable, secure pension in old age. Near-, at-, and below-minimum wage jobs devoid of any benefits don't allow any of these – at most, they make possible a subsistence life, one which requires continued reliance on public assistance throughout one's lifetime. ..."
"... In the U.S. (a neoliberal pioneer), poverty is closely linked with inequality and thus, a high GINI coefficient (near that of Turkey); where there is both poverty and a very unequal distribution of resources, this inevitably affects women (and children) and racial (and ethnic) minorities disproportionately. The economic system, racism, sexism, and xenophobia are not separate, stand-alone issues; they are profoundly intertwined. ..."
"... But really, if you think about it, slavery was defined as ownership, ownership of human capital (which was convertible into cash), and women in many societies throughout history were acquired as part of a financial transaction (either through purchase or through sale), and control of their capital (land, property [farmland, herds], valuables and later, money) often entrusted to a spouse or male guardian. All of these practices were economically-driven, even if the driver wasn't 21st-century capitalism. ..."
"... Let it be said at once: Trump's victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this. ..."
"... Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street – and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote. ..."
"... Regional inequality and globalization are the principal drivers in Japanese politics, too, along with a number of social drivers. ..."
"... The tsunami/nuclear meltdown combined with the Japanese government's uneven response is an apt metaphor for the impact of neo-liberalism/globalization on Japan; and on the US. I then explained that the income inequality in the US was far more severe than that of Japan and that many Americans did not support the export of jobs to China/Mexico. ..."
"... I contend that in some hypothetical universe the DNC and corrupt Clinton machine could have been torn out, root and branch, within months. As I noted, however, the decision to run HRC effectively unopposed was made several years, at least, before the stark evidence of the consequences of such a decision appeared in sharp relief with Brexit. ..."
"... Just as the decline of Virginia coal is due to global forces and corporate stupidity, so the decline of the rust belt is due to long (30 year plus) global forces and corporate decisions that predate the emergence of identity politics. ..."
"... It's interesting that the clear headed thinkers of the Marxist left, who pride themselves on not being distracted by identity, don't want to talk about these factors when discussing the plight of their cherished white working class. ..."
"... The construction 'white working class' is a useful governing tool that splits poor people and possible coalitions against the violence of capital. Now, discussion focuses on how some of the least powerful, most vulnerable people in the United States are the perpetrators of a great injustice against racialised and minoritised groups. Such commentary colludes in the pathologisation of the working class, of poor people. Victims are inculpated as the vectors of noxious, atavistic vices while the perpetrators get off with impunity, showing off their multihued, cosmopolitan C-suites and even proposing that their free trade agreements are a form of anti-racist solidarity. Most crucially, such analysis ignores the continuities between a Trumpian dystopia and our satisfactory present. ..."
"... Race-thinking forecloses the possibility of the coalitions that you imagine, and reproduces ideas of difference in ways that always, always privilege 'whiteness'. ..."
"... Historical examples of ethnic groups becoming 'white', how it was legal and political decision-making that defined the present racial taxonomy, suggest that groups can also lose or have their 'whiteness' threatened. CB has written here about how, in the UK at least, Eastern and Southern Europeans are racialised, and so refused 'whiteness'. JQ has written about southern white minoritisation. Many commentators have pointed that the 'white working class' vote this year looked a lot like a minority vote. ..."
"... Given the subordination of groups presently defined as 'white working class', I wonder if we could think beyond ethnic and epidermal definition to consider that the impossibility of the American Dream refuses these groups whiteness; i.e the hoped for privileges of racial superiority, much in the same way that African Americans, Latin Americans and other racialised minorities are denied whiteness. Can a poor West Virginian living in a toxified drugged out impoverished landscape really be defined as a carrier of 'white privilege'? ..."
"... I was first pointed at this by the juxtapositions of racialised working class and immigrants in Imogen Tyler's Revolting Subjects – Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain but this below is a useful short article that takes a historical perspective. ..."
"... In a 1990 essay, the late Yale political scientist Juan Linz observed that "aside from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government - but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s." ..."
"... Linz offered several reasons why presidential systems are so prone to crisis. One particularly important one is the nature of the checks and balances system. Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, "there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved." The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: "the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate." ..."
"... In a parliamentary system, deadlocks get resolved. A prime minister who lacks the backing of a parliamentary majority is replaced by a new one who has it. If no such majority can be found, a new election is held and the new parliament picks a leader. It can get a little messy for a period of weeks, but there's simply no possibility of a years-long spell in which the legislative and executive branches glare at each other unproductively.' ..."
"... In any case, as I pointed out before, given that the US is increasingly an urbanised country, and the Electoral College was created to protect rural (slave) states, the grotesque electoral result we have just seen is likely to recur, which means more and more Presidents with dubious democratic legitimacy. Thanks to Bush (and Obama) these Presidents will have, at the same time, more and more power. ..."
"... To return to my original question and answer it myself: I'm forced to conclude that the Democrats did not specifically address the revitalization – rebirth of the Rust Belt in their 2016 platform. Its failure to do so carried a heavy cost that (nearly) all of us will be forced to pay. ..."
"... This sub seems to have largely fallen into the psychologically comfortable trap of declaring that everyone who voted against their preferred candidate is racist. It's a view pushed by the neoliberals, who want to maintain he stranglehold of identity politics over the DNC, and it makes upper-class 'intellectuals' feel better about themselves and their betrayal of the filthy, subhuman white underclass (or so they see it). ..."
"... You can scream 'those jobs are never coming back!' all you want, but people are never going to accept it. So either you come up with a genuine solution (instead of simply complaining that your opponents solutions won't work; you're partisan and biased, most voters won't believe you), you may as well resign yourself to fascism. Because whining that you don't know what to do won't stop people from lining up behind someone who says that they do have one, whether it'll work or not. Nobody trusts the elite enough to believe them when they say that jobs are never coming back. Nobody trusts the elite at all. ..."
"... You sound just like the Wiemar elite. No will to solve the problem, but filled with terror at the inevitable result of failing to solve the problem. ..."
"... One brutal fact tells us everything we need to know about the Democratic party in 2016: the American Nazi party is running on a platform of free health care to working class people. This means that the American Nazi Party is now running to the left of the Democratic party. ..."
"... Back in the 1930s, when the economy collapsed, fascists appeared and took power. Racists also came out of the woodwork, ditto misogynists. Fast forward 80 years, and the same thing has happened all over again. The global economy melted down in 2008 and fascists appeared promising to fix the problems that the pols in power wouldn't because they were too closely tied to the existing (failed) system. Along with the fascists, racists gained power because they were able to scapegoat minorities as the alleged cause of everyone's misery. ..."
"... None of this is surprising. We have seen it before. Whenever you get a depression in a modern industrial economy, you get scapegoating, racism, and fascists. We know what to do. The problem is that the current Democratic party isn't doing it. ..."
"... . It is the end of neoliberalism and the start of the era of authoritarian nationalism, and we all need to come together to stamp out the authoritarian part. ..."
"... This hammered people on the bottom, disproportionately African Americans and especially single AA mothers in America. It crushed the blue collar workers. It is wiping out the savings and careers of college-educated white collar workers now, at least, the ones who didn't go to the Ivy League, which is 90% of them. ..."
"... Calling Hillary an "imperfect candidate" is like calling what happened to the Titanic a "boating accident." Trump was an imperfect candidate. Why did he win? ..."
"... "The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians." ..."
"... "It is not an exaggeration to say that the Democratic Party is in shambles as a political force. Not only did it just lose the White House to a wildly unpopular farce of a candidate despite a virtually unified establishment behind it, and not only is it the minority party in both the Senate and the House, but it is getting crushed at historical record rates on the state and local levels as well. Surveying this wreckage last week, party stalwart Matthew Yglesias of Vox minced no words: `the Obama years have created a Democratic Party that's essentially a smoking pile of rubble.' ..."
"... "One would assume that the operatives and loyalists of such a weak, defeated and wrecked political party would be eager to engage in some introspection and self-critique, and to produce a frank accounting of what they did wrong so as to alter their plight. In the case of 2016 Democrats, one would be quite mistaken." ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... "At the end of World War II, the United States and its allies decided that sustained mass unemployment was an existential threat to capitalism and had to be avoided at all costs. In response, governments everywhere targeted full employment as the master policy variable-trying to get to, and sustain, an unemployment rate of roughly four percent. The problem with doing so, over time, is that targeting any variable long enough undermines the value of the variable itself-a phenomenon known as Goodhart's law. (..) ..."
"... " what we see [today] is a reversal of power between creditors and debtors as the anti-inflationary regime of the past 30 years undermines itself-what we might call "Goodhart's revenge." In this world, yields compress and creditors fret about their earnings, demanding repayment of debt at all costs. Macro-economically, this makes the situation worse: the debtors can't pay-but politically, and this is crucial-it empowers debtors since they can't pay, won't pay, and still have the right to vote. ..."
"... "The traditional parties of the center-left and center-right, the builders of this anti-inflationary order, get clobbered in such a world, since they are correctly identified by these debtors as the political backers of those demanding repayment in an already unequal system, and all from those with the least assets. This produces anti-creditor, pro-debtor coalitions-in-waiting that are ripe for the picking by insurgents of the left and the right, which is exactly what has happened. ..."
"... "The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss and racism. It's also driven by the global economy itself. This is a global phenomenon that marks one thing above all. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun." ..."
"... They want what their families have had which is secure, paid, benefits rich, blue collar work. ..."
"... trump's campaign empathized with that feeling just by focusing on the factory jobs as jobs and not as anachronisms that are slowly fading away for whatever reason. Clinton might have been "correct", but these voters didn't want to hear "the truth". And as much as you can complain about how stupid they are for wanting to be lied to, that is the unfortunate reality you, and the Democratic party, have to accept. ..."
"... trump was offering a "bailout" writ large. Clinton had no (good) counteroffer. It was like the tables were turned. Romney was the one talking about "change" and "restructuring" while Obama was defending keeping what was already there. ..."
"... "Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course - the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check." http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html ..."
"... Clinton toward the end offered tariffs. But the trump campaign hit back with what turned out to be a pretty strong counter attack – ""How's she going to get tough on China?" said Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro on CNN's Quest Means Business. He notes that some of Clinton's economic advisors have supported TPP or even worked on it. "" ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

dbk 11.18.16 at 6:41 pm 130

Bruce Wilder @102

The question is no longer her neoliberalism, but yours. Keep it or throw it away?

I wish this issue was being seriously discussed. Neoliberalism has been disastrous for the Rust Belt, and I think we need to envision a new future for what was once the country's industrial heartland, now little more than its wasteland (cf. "flyover zone" – a pejorative term which inhabitants of the zone are not too stupid to understand perfectly, btw).

The question of what the many millions of often-unionized factory workers, SMEs which supplied them, family farmers (now fully industrialized and owned by corporations), and all those in secondary production and services who once supported them are to actually do in future to earn a decent living is what I believe should really be the subject of debate.

As noted upthread, two factors (or three, I guess) have contributed to this state of despair: offshoring and outsourcing, and technology. The jobs that have been lost will not return, and indeed will be lost in ever greater numbers – just consider what will happen to the trucking sector when self-driving trucks hit the roads sometime in the next 10-20 years (3.5 million truckers; 8.7 in allied jobs).

Medicaid, the CHIP program, the SNAP program and others (including NGOs and private charitable giving) may alleviate some of the suffering, but there is currently no substitute for jobs that would enable men and women to live lives of dignity – a decent place to live, good educations for their children, and a reasonable, secure pension in old age. Near-, at-, and below-minimum wage jobs devoid of any benefits don't allow any of these – at most, they make possible a subsistence life, one which requires continued reliance on public assistance throughout one's lifetime.

In the U.S. (a neoliberal pioneer), poverty is closely linked with inequality and thus, a high GINI coefficient (near that of Turkey); where there is both poverty and a very unequal distribution of resources, this inevitably affects women (and children) and racial (and ethnic) minorities disproportionately. The economic system, racism, sexism, and xenophobia are not separate, stand-alone issues; they are profoundly intertwined.

I appreciate and espouse the goals of identity politics in all their multiplicity, and also understand that the institutions of slavery and sexism predated modern capitalist economies. But really, if you think about it, slavery was defined as ownership, ownership of human capital (which was convertible into cash), and women in many societies throughout history were acquired as part of a financial transaction (either through purchase or through sale), and control of their capital (land, property [farmland, herds], valuables and later, money) often entrusted to a spouse or male guardian. All of these practices were economically-driven, even if the driver wasn't 21st-century capitalism.

Also: Faustusnotes@100
For example Indiana took the ACA Medicaid expansion but did so with additional conditions that make it worse than in neighboring states run by democratic governors.

And what states would those be? IL, IA, MI, OH, WI, KY, and TN have Republican governors. Were you thinking pre-2014? pre-2012?

To conclude and return to my original point: what's to become of the Rust Belt in future? Did the Democratic platform include a New New Deal for PA, OH, MI, WI, and IA (to name only the five Rust Belt states Trump flipped)?

kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:32 pm ( 135 )

Thomas Pickety

" Let it be said at once: Trump's victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.

Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example. What sealed the deal, though, was the suspicion that the Democrats were too close to Wall Street – and the inability of the Democratic media elite to learn the lessons from the Sanders vote. "

The Guardian

kidneystones 11.18.16 at 11:56 pm 137 ( 137 )

What should have been one comment came out as 4, so apologies on that front.

I spent the last week explaining the US election to my students in Japan in pretty much the terms outlined by Lilla and PIketty, so I was delighted to discover these two articles.

Regional inequality and globalization are the principal drivers in Japanese politics, too, along with a number of social drivers. It was therefore very easy to call for a show of hands to identify students studying here in Tokyo who are trying to decide whether or not to return to areas such as Tohoku to build their lives; or remain in Kanto/Tokyo – the NY/Washington/LA of Japan put crudely.

I asked students from regions close to Tohoku how they might feel if the Japanese prime minister decided not to visit the region following Fukushima after the disaster, or preceding an election. The tsunami/nuclear meltdown combined with the Japanese government's uneven response is an apt metaphor for the impact of neo-liberalism/globalization on Japan; and on the US. I then explained that the income inequality in the US was far more severe than that of Japan and that many Americans did not support the export of jobs to China/Mexico.

I then asked the students, particularly those from outlying regions whether they believe Japan needed a leader who would 'bring back Japanese jobs' from Viet Nam and China, etc. Many/most agreed wholeheartedly. I then asked whether they believed Tokyo people treated those outside Kanto as 'inferiors.' Many do.

Piketty may be right regarding Trump's long-term effects on income inequality. He is wrong, I suggest, to argue that Democrats failed to respond to Sanders' support. I contend that in some hypothetical universe the DNC and corrupt Clinton machine could have been torn out, root and branch, within months. As I noted, however, the decision to run HRC effectively unopposed was made several years, at least, before the stark evidence of the consequences of such a decision appeared in sharp relief with Brexit.

Faustusnotes 11.19.16 at 12:14 am 138

Also worth noting is that the rust belts problems are as old as Reagan – even the term dates from the 80s, the issue is so uncool that there is a dire straits song about it. Some portion of the decline of manufacturing there is due to manufacturers shifting to the south, where the anti Union states have an advantage. Also there has been new investment – there were no Japanese car companies in the us in the 1980s, so they are new job creators, yet insufficient to make up the losses. Just as the decline of Virginia coal is due to global forces and corporate stupidity, so the decline of the rust belt is due to long (30 year plus) global forces and corporate decisions that predate the emergence of identity politics.

It's interesting that the clear headed thinkers of the Marxist left, who pride themselves on not being distracted by identity, don't want to talk about these factors when discussing the plight of their cherished white working class. Suddenly it's not the forces of capital and the objective facts of history, but a bunch of whiny black trannies demanding safe spaces and protesting police violence, that drove those towns to ruin.

And what solutions do they think the dems should have proposed? It can't be welfare, since we got the ACA (watered down by representatives of the rust belt states). Is it, seriously, tariffs? Short of going to an election promising w revolution, what should the dems have done? Give us a clear answer so we can see what the alternative to identity politics is.

basil 11.19.16 at 5:11 am

Did this go through?
Thinking with WLGR @15, Yan @81, engels variously above,

The construction 'white working class' is a useful governing tool that splits poor people and possible coalitions against the violence of capital. Now, discussion focuses on how some of the least powerful, most vulnerable people in the United States are the perpetrators of a great injustice against racialised and minoritised groups. Such commentary colludes in the pathologisation of the working class, of poor people. Victims are inculpated as the vectors of noxious, atavistic vices while the perpetrators get off with impunity, showing off their multihued, cosmopolitan C-suites and even proposing that their free trade agreements are a form of anti-racist solidarity. Most crucially, such analysis ignores the continuities between a Trumpian dystopia and our satisfactory present.

I get that the tropes around race are easy, and super-available. Privilege confessing is very in vogue as a prophylactic against charges of racism. But does it threaten the structures that produce this abjection – either as embittered, immiserated 'white working class' or as threatened minority group? It is always *those* 'white' people, the South, the Working Class, and never the accusers some of whom are themselves happy to vote for a party that drowns out anti-war protesters with chants of USA! USA!

Race-thinking forecloses the possibility of the coalitions that you imagine, and reproduces ideas of difference in ways that always, always privilege 'whiteness'.

--

Historical examples of ethnic groups becoming 'white', how it was legal and political decision-making that defined the present racial taxonomy, suggest that groups can also lose or have their 'whiteness' threatened. CB has written here about how, in the UK at least, Eastern and Southern Europeans are racialised, and so refused 'whiteness'. JQ has written about southern white minoritisation. Many commentators have pointed that the 'white working class' vote this year looked a lot like a minority vote.

Given the subordination of groups presently defined as 'white working class', I wonder if we could think beyond ethnic and epidermal definition to consider that the impossibility of the American Dream refuses these groups whiteness; i.e the hoped for privileges of racial superiority, much in the same way that African Americans, Latin Americans and other racialised minorities are denied whiteness. Can a poor West Virginian living in a toxified drugged out impoverished landscape really be defined as a carrier of 'white privilege'?

I was first pointed at this by the juxtapositions of racialised working class and immigrants in Imogen Tyler's Revolting Subjects – Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain but this below is a useful short article that takes a historical perspective.

Why the Working Class was Never 'White'

The 'racialisation' of class in Britain has been a consequence of the weakening of 'class' as a political idea since the 1970s – it is a new construction, not an historic one.

.

This is not to deny the existence of working-class racism, or to suggest that racism is somehow acceptable if rooted in perceived socio-economic grievances. But it is to suggest that the concept of a 'white working class' needs problematizing, as does the claim that the British working-class was strongly committed to a post-war vision of 'White Britain' analogous to the politics which sustained the idea of a 'White Australia' until the 1960s.

Yes, old, settled neighbourhoods could be profoundly distrustful of outsiders – all outsiders, including the researchers seeking to study them – but, when it came to race, they were internally divided. We certainly hear working-class racist voices – often echoing stock racist complaints about over-crowding, welfare dependency or exploitative landlords and small businessmen, but we don't hear the deep pathological racial fears laid bare in the letters sent to Enoch Powell after his so-called 'Rivers of Blood' speech in 1968 (Whipple, 2009).

But more importantly, we also hear strong anti-racist voices loudly and clearly. At Wallsend on Tyneside, where the researchers were gathering their data just as Powell shot to notoriety, we find workers expressing casual racism, but we also find eloquent expressions of an internationalist, solidaristic perspective in which, crucially, black and white are seen as sharing the same working-class interests.

Racism is denounced as a deliberate capitalist strategy to divide workers against themselves, weakening their ability to challenge those with power over their lives (shipbuilding had long been a very fractious industry and its workers had plenty of experience of the dangers of internal sectarian battles).

To be able to mobilize across across racialised divisions, to have race wither away entirely would, for me, be the beginning of a politics that allowed humanity to deal with the inescapable violence of climate change and corporate power.

*To add to the bibliography – David R. Roediger, Elizabeth D. Esch – The Production of Difference – Race and the Management of Labour, and Denise Ferreira da Silva – Toward a Global Idea of Race. And I have just been pointed at Ian Haney-López, White By Law – The Legal Construction of Race.

Hidari 11.19.16 at 8:16 am 152

FWIW 'merica's constitutional democracy is going to collapse.

Some day - not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies - there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we're lucky, it won't be violent. If we're very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we're less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen .

In a 1990 essay, the late Yale political scientist Juan Linz observed that "aside from the United States, only Chile has managed a century and a half of relatively undisturbed constitutional continuity under presidential government - but Chilean democracy broke down in the 1970s."

Linz offered several reasons why presidential systems are so prone to crisis. One particularly important one is the nature of the checks and balances system. Since both the president and the Congress are directly elected by the people, they can both claim to speak for the people. When they have a serious disagreement, according to Linz, "there is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved." The constitution offers no help in these cases, he wrote: "the mechanisms the constitution might provide are likely to prove too complicated and aridly legalistic to be of much force in the eyes of the electorate."

In a parliamentary system, deadlocks get resolved. A prime minister who lacks the backing of a parliamentary majority is replaced by a new one who has it. If no such majority can be found, a new election is held and the new parliament picks a leader. It can get a little messy for a period of weeks, but there's simply no possibility of a years-long spell in which the legislative and executive branches glare at each other unproductively.'

http://www.vox.com/2015/3/2/8120063/american-democracy-doomed

Given that the basic point is polarisation (i.e. that both the President and Congress have equally strong arguments to be the the 'voice of the people') and that under the US appalling constitutional set up, there is no way to decide between them, one can easily imagine the so to speak 'hyperpolarisation' of a Trump Presidency as being the straw (or anvil) that breaks the camel's back.

In any case, as I pointed out before, given that the US is increasingly an urbanised country, and the Electoral College was created to protect rural (slave) states, the grotesque electoral result we have just seen is likely to recur, which means more and more Presidents with dubious democratic legitimacy. Thanks to Bush (and Obama) these Presidents will have, at the same time, more and more power.

Eventually something is going to break.

dbk 11.19.16 at 10:39 am ( 153 )

nastywoman @ 150
Just study the program of the 'Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland' or the Program of 'Die Grünen' in Germany (take it through google translate) and you get all the answers you are looking for.

No need to run it through google translate, it's available in English on their site. [Or one could refer to the Green Party of the U.S. site/platform, which is very similar in scope and overall philosophy. (www.gp.org).]

I looked at several of their topic areas (Agricultural, Global, Health, Rural) and yes, these are general theses I would support. But they're hardly policy/project proposals for specific regions or communities – the Greens espouse "think global, act local", so programs and projects must be tailored to individual communities and regions.

To return to my original question and answer it myself: I'm forced to conclude that the Democrats did not specifically address the revitalization – rebirth of the Rust Belt in their 2016 platform. Its failure to do so carried a heavy cost that (nearly) all of us will be forced to pay.

Soullite 11.19.16 at 12:46 pm 156

This sub seems to have largely fallen into the psychologically comfortable trap of declaring that everyone who voted against their preferred candidate is racist. It's a view pushed by the neoliberals, who want to maintain he stranglehold of identity politics over the DNC, and it makes upper-class 'intellectuals' feel better about themselves and their betrayal of the filthy, subhuman white underclass (or so they see it).

I expect at this point that Trump will be reelected comfortably. If not only the party itself, but also most of its activists, refuse to actually change, it's more or less inevitable.

You can scream 'those jobs are never coming back!' all you want, but people are never going to accept it. So either you come up with a genuine solution (instead of simply complaining that your opponents solutions won't work; you're partisan and biased, most voters won't believe you), you may as well resign yourself to fascism. Because whining that you don't know what to do won't stop people from lining up behind someone who says that they do have one, whether it'll work or not. Nobody trusts the elite enough to believe them when they say that jobs are never coming back. Nobody trusts the elite at all.

You sound just like the Wiemar elite. No will to solve the problem, but filled with terror at the inevitable result of failing to solve the problem.

mclaren 11.19.16 at 2:37 pm 160

One brutal fact tells us everything we need to know about the Democratic party in 2016: the American Nazi party is running on a platform of free health care to working class people. This means that the American Nazi Party is now running to the left of the Democratic party.

Folks, we have seen this before. Let's not descend in backbiting and recriminations, okay? We've got some commenters charging that other commenters are "mansplaining," meanwhile we've got other commenters claiming that it's economics and not racism/misogyny. It's all of the above.

Back in the 1930s, when the economy collapsed, fascists appeared and took power. Racists also came out of the woodwork, ditto misogynists. Fast forward 80 years, and the same thing has happened all over again. The global economy melted down in 2008 and fascists appeared promising to fix the problems that the pols in power wouldn't because they were too closely tied to the existing (failed) system. Along with the fascists, racists gained power because they were able to scapegoat minorities as the alleged cause of everyone's misery.

None of this is surprising. We have seen it before. Whenever you get a depression in a modern industrial economy, you get scapegoating, racism, and fascists. We know what to do. The problem is that the current Democratic party isn't doing it.

Instead, what we're seeing is a whirlwind of finger-pointing from the Democratic leadership that lost this election and probably let the entire New Deal get rolled back and wiped out. Putin is to blame! Julian Assange is to blame! The biased media are to blame! Voter suppression is to blame! Bernie Sanders is to blame! Jill Stein is to blame! Everyone and anyone except the current out-of-touch influence-peddling elites who currently have run the Democratic party into the ground.

We need the feminists and the black lives matter groups and we also need the green party people and the Bernie Sanders activists. But everyone has to understand that this is not an isolated event. Trump did not just happen by accident. First there was Greece, then there was Brexit, then there was Trump, next it'll be Renzi losing the referendum in Italy and a constitutional crisis there, and after that, Marine Le Pen in France is going to win the first round of elections. (Probably not the presidency, since all the other French parties will band together to stop her, but the National Front is currently polling at 40% of all registered French voters.) And Marine LePen is the real deal, a genuine full-on out-and-out fascist. Not a closet fascist like Steve Bannon, LePen is the full monty with everything but a Hugo Boss suit and the death's heads on the cap.

Does anyone notice a pattern here?

This is an international movement. It is sweeping the world . It is the end of neoliberalism and the start of the era of authoritarian nationalism, and we all need to come together to stamp out the authoritarian part.

Feminists, BLM, black bloc anarchiest anti-globalists, Sandernistas, and, yes, the former Hillary supporters. Because it not just a coincidence that all these things are happening in all these countries at the same time. The bottom 90% of the population in the developed world has been ripped off by a managerial and financial and political class for the last 30 years and they have all noticed that while the world GDP was skyrocketing and international trade agreements were getting signed with zero input from the average citizen, a few people were getting very very rich but nobody else was getting anything.

This hammered people on the bottom, disproportionately African Americans and especially single AA mothers in America. It crushed the blue collar workers. It is wiping out the savings and careers of college-educated white collar workers now, at least, the ones who didn't go to the Ivy League, which is 90% of them.

And the Democratic party is so helpless and so hopeless that it is letting the American Nazi Party run to the left of them on health care, fer cripes sake! We are now in a situation where the American Nazi Party is advocating single-payer nationalized health care, while the former Democratic presidential nominee who just got defeated assured everyone that single-payer "will never, ever happen."

C'mon! Is anyone surprised that Hillary lost? Let's cut the crap with the "Hillary was a flawed candidate" arguments. The plain fact of the matter is that Hillary was running mainly on getting rid of the problems she and her husband created 25 years ago. Hillary promised criminal justice reform and Black Lives Matter-friendly policing policies - and guess who started the mass incarceration trend and gave speeches calling black kids "superpredators" 20 years ago? Hillary promised to fix the problems with the wretched mandate law forcing everyone to buy unaffordable for-profit private insurance with no cost controls - and guess who originally ran for president in 2008 on a policy of health care mandates with no cost controls? Yes, Hillary (ironically, Obama's big surge in popularity as a candidate came when he ran against Hillary from the left, ridiculing helath care mandates). Hillary promises to reform an out-of-control deregulated financial system run amok - and guess who signed all those laws revoking Glass-Steagal and setting up the Securities Trading Modernization Act? Yes, Bill Clinton, and Hillary was right there with him cheering the whole process on.

So pardon me and lots of other folks for being less than impressed by Hillary's trustworthiness and honesty. Run for president by promising to undo the damage you did to the country 25 years ago is (let say) a suboptimal campaign strategy, and a distinctly suboptimal choice of presidential candidate for a party in the same sense that the Hiroshima air defense was suboptimal in 1945.

Calling Hillary an "imperfect candidate" is like calling what happened to the Titanic a "boating accident." Trump was an imperfect candidate. Why did he win?

Because we're back in the 1930s again, the economy has crashed hard and still hasn't recovered (maybe because we still haven't convened a Pecora Commission and jailed a bunch of the thieves, and we also haven't set up any alphabet government job programs like the CCC) so fascists and racists and all kinds of other bottom-feeders are crawling out of the political woodwork to promise to fix the problems that the Democratic party establishment won't.
Rule of thumb: any social or political or economic writer virulently hated by the current Democratic party establishment is someone we should listen to closely right now.

Cornel West is at the top of the current Democratic establishment's hate list, and he has got a great article in The Guardian that I think is spot-on:

"The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election

Glenn Greenwald is another writer who has been showered with more hate by the Democratic establishment recently than even Trump or Steve Bannon, so you know Greenwald is saying something important. He has a great piece in The Intercept on the head-in-the-ground attitude of Democratic elites toward their recent loss:

"It is not an exaggeration to say that the Democratic Party is in shambles as a political force. Not only did it just lose the White House to a wildly unpopular farce of a candidate despite a virtually unified establishment behind it, and not only is it the minority party in both the Senate and the House, but it is getting crushed at historical record rates on the state and local levels as well. Surveying this wreckage last week, party stalwart Matthew Yglesias of Vox minced no words: `the Obama years have created a Democratic Party that's essentially a smoking pile of rubble.'

"One would assume that the operatives and loyalists of such a weak, defeated and wrecked political party would be eager to engage in some introspection and self-critique, and to produce a frank accounting of what they did wrong so as to alter their plight. In the case of 2016 Democrats, one would be quite mistaken."

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/18/the-stark-contrast-between-the-gops-self-criticism-in-2012-and-the-democrats-blame-everyone-else-posture-now/

Last but far from least, Scottish economist Mark Blyth has what looks to me like the single best analysis of the entire global Trump_vs_deep_state tidal wave in Foreign Affairs magazine:

"At the end of World War II, the United States and its allies decided that sustained mass unemployment was an existential threat to capitalism and had to be avoided at all costs. In response, governments everywhere targeted full employment as the master policy variable-trying to get to, and sustain, an unemployment rate of roughly four percent. The problem with doing so, over time, is that targeting any variable long enough undermines the value of the variable itself-a phenomenon known as Goodhart's law. (..)

" what we see [today] is a reversal of power between creditors and debtors as the anti-inflationary regime of the past 30 years undermines itself-what we might call "Goodhart's revenge." In this world, yields compress and creditors fret about their earnings, demanding repayment of debt at all costs. Macro-economically, this makes the situation worse: the debtors can't pay-but politically, and this is crucial-it empowers debtors since they can't pay, won't pay, and still have the right to vote.

"The traditional parties of the center-left and center-right, the builders of this anti-inflationary order, get clobbered in such a world, since they are correctly identified by these debtors as the political backers of those demanding repayment in an already unequal system, and all from those with the least assets. This produces anti-creditor, pro-debtor coalitions-in-waiting that are ripe for the picking by insurgents of the left and the right, which is exactly what has happened.

"In short, to understand the election of Donald Trump we need to listen to the trumpets blowing everywhere in the highly indebted developed countries and the people who vote for them.

"The global revolt against elites is not just driven by revulsion and loss and racism. It's also driven by the global economy itself. This is a global phenomenon that marks one thing above all. The era of neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has just begun."

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-11-15/global-Trump_vs_deep_state

efcdons 11.19.16 at 3:07 pm 161 ( 161 )

Faustusnotes @147

You don't live here, do you? I'm really asking a genuine question because the way you are framing the question ("SPECIFICS!!!!!!) suggests you don't. (Just to show my background, born and raised in Australia (In the electoral division of Kooyong, home of Menzies) but I've lived in the US since 2000 in the midwest (MO, OH) and currently in the south (GA))

If this election has taught us anything it's no one cared about "specifics". It was a mood, a feeling which brought trump over the top (and I'm not talking about the "average" trump voter because that is meaningless. The average trunp voter was a republican voter in the south who the Dems will never get so examining their motivations is immaterial to future strategy. I'm talking about the voters in the Upper Midwest from places which voted for Obama twice then switched to trump this year to give him his margin of victory).

trump voters have been pretty clear they don't actually care about the way trump does (or even doesn't) do what he said he would do during the campaign. It was important to them he showed he was "with" people like them. They way he did that was partially racialized (law and order, islamophobia) but also a particular emphasis on blue collar work that focused on the work. Unfortunately these voters, however much you tell them they should suck it up and accept their generations of familial experience as relatively highly paid industrial workers (even if it is something only their fathers and grandfathers experienced because the factories were closing when the voters came of age in the 80s and 90s) is never coming back and they should be happy to retrain as something else, don't want it. They want what their families have had which is secure, paid, benefits rich, blue collar work.

trump's campaign empathized with that feeling just by focusing on the factory jobs as jobs and not as anachronisms that are slowly fading away for whatever reason. Clinton might have been "correct", but these voters didn't want to hear "the truth". And as much as you can complain about how stupid they are for wanting to be lied to, that is the unfortunate reality you, and the Democratic party, have to accept.

The idea they don't want "government help" is ridiculous. They love the government. They just want the government to do things for them and not for other people (which unfortunately includes blah people but also "the coasts", "sillicon valley", etc.). Obama won in 2008 and 2012 in part due to the auto bailout.

trump was offering a "bailout" writ large. Clinton had no (good) counteroffer. It was like the tables were turned. Romney was the one talking about "change" and "restructuring" while Obama was defending keeping what was already there.

"Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course - the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check."
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/19romney.html

So yes. Clinton needed vague promises. She needed something more than retraining and "jobs of the future" and "restructuring". She needed to show she was committed to their way of life, however those voters saw it, and would do something, anything, to keep it alive. trump did that even though his plan won't work. And maybe he'll be punished for it. In 4 years. But in the interim the gop will destroy so many things we need and rely on as well as entrench their power for generations through the Supreme Court.

But really, it was hard for Clinton to be trusted to act like she cared about these peoples' way of life because she (through her husband fairly or unfairly) was associated with some of the larger actions and choices which helped usher in the decline.

Clinton toward the end offered tariffs. But the trump campaign hit back with what turned out to be a pretty strong counter attack – ""How's she going to get tough on China?" said Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro on CNN's Quest Means Business. He notes that some of Clinton's economic advisors have supported TPP or even worked on it. ""

http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/11/news/economy/hillary-clinton-trade/

[Nov 19, 2016] 2 presidential electors encourage colleagues to sideline Trump

Nov 19, 2016 | www.politico.com
P. Bret Chiafalo, a Washington State elector who has already declared his opposition to Hillary Clinton, and Micheal Baca of Colorado have launched what they've dubbed "Moral Electors," an attempt to persuade 37 of their Republican colleagues to bail on Trump - just enough to block Trump's election and leave the final decision to the House of Representatives. They have the support of a third elector , Washington State's Robert Satiacum.

Story Continued Below

"This is a longshot. It's a Hail Mary," Chiafalo said in a phone interview. "However, I do see situations where - when we've already had two or three [Republican] electors state publicly they didn't want to vote for Trump. How many of them have real issues with Donald Trump in private?" Chiafalo, a self-described "regular nerdy dude who works for Microsoft" and Baca, a grad student and Marine Corps veteran, insist they're not seeking the election of Clinton - or even a Democrat. Both, in fact, had already been considering voting against her when the Electoral College meets in five weeks. Rather, they intend to encourage Republican electors to write in Mitt Romney or John Kasich. If enough agree, the election would be sent to the House of Representatives, which would choose from among the top three vote-getters.

Both men acknowledge that their effort is unlikely to succeed.

[Nov 19, 2016] Steve Bannon Interviewed Its About Americans Not Getting disposed

Notable quotes:
"... " Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement ," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks . It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement." ..."
"... Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids." ..."
"... Bannon on Murdoch: "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump" ..."
"... " The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ." ..."
"... ... I'd say, IMO, Steve Bannon is more than an excellent choice for President Trump's team ... Bannon's education, business, work and military experience speaks highly of his abilities ... I wish the MSM would stop labelling him a white nationalist and concentrate on his successful accomplishments and what he could contribute to Trump's cabinet. ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
Bannon next discusses the "battle line" inside America's great divide.

He absolutely - mockingly - rejects the idea that this is a racial line. "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist, " he tells me. " The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Bannon's vision: an "entirely new political movement", one which drives the conservatives crazy. As to how monetary policy will coexist with fiscal stimulus, Bannon has a simple explanation: he plans to "rebuild everything" courtesy of negative interest rates and cheap debt throughout the world. Those rates may not be negative for too long.

" Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement ," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks . It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

How Bannon describes Trump: " an ideal vessel"

It is less than obvious how Bannon, now the official strategic brains of the Trump operation, syncs with his boss, famously not too strategic. When Bannon took over the campaign from Paul Manafort, there were many in the Trump circle who had resigned themselves to the inevitability of the candidate listening to no one . But here too was a Bannon insight: When the campaign seemed most in free fall or disarray, it was perhaps most on target. While Clinton was largely absent from the campaign trail and concentrating on courting her donors, Trump - even after the leak of the grab-them-by-the-pussy audio - was speaking to ever-growing crowds of thirty-five or forty thousand. "He gets it, he gets it intuitively," says Bannon, perhaps still surprised he has found such an ideal vessel. "You have probably the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don't speak to their audience. But he speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with these people in a very visceral way. Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids."

Bannon on Murdoch: "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump"

At that moment, as we talk, there's a knock on the door of Bannon's office, a temporary, impersonal, middle-level executive space with a hodgepodge of chairs for constant impromptu meetings. Sen. Ted Cruz, once the Republican firebrand, now quite a small and unassuming figure, has been waiting patiently for a chat and Bannon excuses himself for a short while. It is clear when we return to our conversation that it is not just the liberal establishment that Bannon feels he has triumphed over, but the conservative one too - not least of all Fox News and its owners, the Murdochs. "They got it more wrong than anybody," he says. " Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump. To him, Trump is a radical. Now they'll go centrist and build the network around Megyn Kelly." Bannon recounts, with no small irony, that when Breitbart attacked Kelly after her challenges to Trump in the initial Republican debate, Fox News chief Roger Ailes - whom Bannon describes as an important mentor, and who Kelly's accusations of sexual harassment would help topple in July - called to defend her. Bannon says he warned Ailes that Kelly would be out to get him too .

Finally, Bannon on how he sees himself in the administration:

Bannon now becomes part of a two-headed White House political structure, with Reince Priebus - in and out of Bannon's office as we talk - as chief of staff, in charge of making the trains run on time, reporting to the president, and Bannon as chief strategist, in charge of vision, goals, narrative and plan of attack, reporting to the president too. Add to this the ambitions and whims of the president himself, and the novel circumstance of one who has never held elective office, the agenda of his highly influential family and the end runs of a party significant parts of which were opposed to him, and you have quite a complex court that Bannon will have to finesse to realize his reign of the working man and a trillion dollars in new spending.

"I am," he says, with relish, "Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors."

Life of Illusion nibiru Nov 18, 2016 2:32 PM ,
now that is direct with truth

" The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Deathrips Life of Illusion Nov 18, 2016 2:34 PM ,
William Jennings Bryan!!!! Bonus Points.

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1876-1900/william-jennings-bryan-cro...

Read cross of gold about bimetalism. Gold AND Silver

PrayingMantis wildbad Nov 18, 2016 3:51 PM ,
... I'd say, IMO, Steve Bannon is more than an excellent choice for President Trump's team ... Bannon's education, business, work and military experience speaks highly of his abilities ... I wish the MSM would stop labelling him a white nationalist and concentrate on his successful accomplishments and what he could contribute to Trump's cabinet.

........ from wiki ...

Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia into a working-class, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 and holds a master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. In 1983, Bannon received an M.B.A. degree with honors from Harvard Business School.

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department. In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. Through Bannon & Co., Bannon negotiated the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to Ted Turner. As payment, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld. Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.

In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made acting director of Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the project shifted emphasis from researching space exploration and colonization towards pollution and global warming. He left the project in 1995.

After the sale of Bannon & Co., Bannon became an executive producer in the film and media industry in Hollywood, California. He was executive producer for Julie Taymor's 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm, Inc., a film and television management company. In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart. He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated (on Sarah Palin), and Occupy Unmasked. Bannon also hosts a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on a Sirius XM satellite radio channel.

Bannon is also executive chairman and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, where he helped orchestrate the publication of the book Clinton Cash. In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite's list of the "25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015".

Bannon convinced Goldman Sachs to invest in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment. Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was chairman and CEO of Affinity Media.

Bannon became a member of the board of Breitbart News. In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart's death, Bannon became executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News. Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach towards its agenda. Bannon declared the website "the platform for the alt-right" in 2016. Bannon identifies as a conservative. Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: "We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class."

The New York Times described Breitbart News under Bannon's leadership as a "curiosity of the fringe right wing", with "ideologically driven journalists", that is a source of controversy "over material that has been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist." The newspaper also noted how Breitbart was now a "potent voice" for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Escrava Isaura The Saint Nov 18, 2016 6:11 PM ,

Bannon: " The globalists gutted the American working class ..the Democrats were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Well said. Couldn't agree more.

Bannon: " Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.

Dear Mr. Bannon, it has to be way more than $1trillion in 10 years. Obama's $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) didn't make up the difference for all the job lost in 2007/08. Manufacturing alone lost about 9 million jobs since 1979, when it peaked.

Trump needs to go Ronald Reagan 180% deficit spending. If Trump runs 100% like Obama, Trump will fail as well.

[Nov 19, 2016] The Anti-Democratic Heart of Populism by Andrés Velasco

The author mixes the notion of populism as a social protest against the excesses of the rule of the current oligarchy, which enpoverish common people, with neofascism and far right nationalism, which are now popular forms of expression of this protest
Nov 19, 2016 | www.project-syndicate.org

SANTIAGO – Many of the men and women who turned out for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in early October were saying something like this: "Imagine if the Republicans had nominated someone with the same anti-trade views as Trump, minus the insults and the sexual harassment. A populist protectionist would be headed to the White House."

The underlying view is that rising populism on the right and the left, both in the United States and in Europe, is a straightforward consequence of globalization and its unwanted effects: lost jobs and stagnant middle-class incomes. Davos men and women hate this conclusion, but they have embraced it with all the fervor of new converts.

Yet there is an alternative – and more persuasive – view: while economic stagnation helps push upset voters into the populist camp, bad economics is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for bad politics. On the contrary, argues Princeton political scientist Jan-Werner Mueller in his new book : populism is a "permanent shadow" on representative democracy.

Populism is not about taxation (or jobs or income inequality). It is about representation – who gets to speak for the people and how.

Advocates of democracy make some exalted claims on its behalf. As Abraham Lincoln put it at Gettysburg , it is "government of the people, by the people, for the people." But modern representative democracy – or any democracy, for that matter – inevitably falls short of these claims. Voting in an election every four years for candidates chosen by party machines is not exactly what Lincoln's lofty words call to mind.

What populists offer, Mueller says, is to fulfill what the Italian democratic theorist Norberto Bobbio calls the broken promises of democracy. Populists speak and act, claims Mueller, " as if the people could develop a singular judgment,... as if the people were one,... as if the people, if only they empowered the right representatives, could fully master their fates."

Populism rests on a toxic triad: denial of complexity, anti-pluralism, and a crooked version of representation.

Most of us believe that social choices (Build more schools or hospitals? Stimulate or discourage international trade? Liberalize or restrict abortion?) are complex, and that the existence of a plurality of views about what to do is both natural and legitimate. Populists deny this. As Ralf Dahrendorf once put it, populism is simple; democracy is complex. To populists, there is only one right view – that of the people.

If so, the complex mechanisms of liberal democracy, with its emphasis on delegation and representation, are all unnecessary. No need for parliaments endlessly debating: the unitary will of the people can easily be expressed in a single vote. Hence populists' love affair with plebiscites and referenda. Brexit, anyone?

And not just anyone can represent the people. The claim is to exclusive representation. Remember Trump's boast in his address to the Republican National Convention: "I alone can fix it."

Politics is always about morality, Aristotle told us. But populists favor what Mueller calls a particular moralistic interpretation of politics . Those who hold the right view about the world are moral; the rest are immoral, lackeys of a corrupt elite. That was exactly the rhetoric of the late Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chávez. When that failed, and when Chávez's sank his country's economy, there was always US imperialism to blame. So populism is a kind of identity politics. It is always us against them .

Viewed in this light, populism is not a useful corrective to a democracy captured by technocrats and elites, as Marine Le Pen, Rafael Correa, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or assorted Western intellectuals want you to believe. On the contrary, it is profoundly anti-democratic, and hence a threat to democracy itself.

What is to be done? My take (the prescription is my own, not Mueller's) is that democrats must (and can) beat populists at their own game. The toxic triad can become salutary.

First, acknowledge complexity. The only thing that upsets voters as much as being lied to is being treated like babies. People who lead challenging lives know that the world is complex. They do not mind being told that. They appreciate being spoken to as the grownups they are.

Second, do not treat diversity of views and identities as a problem calling for a technocratic solution. Rather, make respect for such diversity a profoundly moral feature of society. The fact that we are not all the same and we can still get along is a tremendous democratic achievement. Make the case for it. And do not fall for the tired cliché that reason is for democrats and emotion is for populists. Make the case for pluralistic democracy in a way that inspires and stirs emotion.

Third, defend – and update – representation. Leave delegation to complex technical matters. Take advantage of modern technologies to bring other choices – particularly those having to do with the fabric of daily life – closer to voters. Tighten campaign finance laws, regulate lobbying better, and enforce affirmative-action measures to ensure that representatives are of the people and work for the people.

These measures alone will not ensure that all of democracy's broken promises are fulfilled. But we cannot expect a single set of simple actions to solve a complex problem. Nor can we believe that we alone can fix it.

If we believed that, we would be populists. For the sake of democracy, that is precisely what we should not be.

Andrés Velasco, a former presidential candidate and finance minister of Chile, is Professor of Professional Practice in International Development at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He has taught at Harvard University and New York University, and is the author of numerous studies on international economics and development.

[Nov 19, 2016] Men arent interested in working at McDonalds for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is... steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life

Notable quotes:
"... The economic point is that globalisation has boosted trade and overall wealth, but it has also created a dog eat dog world where western workers compete with, and lose jobs to, people far away who will do the work for much less. ..."
"... But neither Trump nor Farage have shown any evidence of how realistically they can recreate those jobs in the west. And realistically god knows how you keep the wealth free trade and globalisation brings but avoid losing the good jobs? At least the current mess has focused attention on the question and has said that patience has run out. ..."
"... Compared to the real economic problems, the identity politics is minor, but it is still an irritant that explains why this revolution is coming from the right not from the left. ..."
"... And what "age" has that been Roy? The "age" of: climate change, gangster bankers, tax heavens, illegal wars, nuclear proliferation, grotesque inequality, the prison industrial complex to cite just a few. That "age"? ..."
"... the right wing press detest one kind of liberalism, social liberalism, they hate that, but they love economic liberalism, which has done much harm to the working class. ..."
"... Most of the right wing press support austerity measures, slashing of taxes and, smaller and smaller governments. Yet apparently, its being socially liberal that is the problem ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | profile.theguardian.com
goodtable, 3d ago

A crucial point "WWC men aren't interested in working at McDonald's for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is... steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life."

The economic point is that globalisation has boosted trade and overall wealth, but it has also created a dog eat dog world where western workers compete with, and lose jobs to, people far away who will do the work for much less.

But neither Trump nor Farage have shown any evidence of how realistically they can recreate those jobs in the west. And realistically god knows how you keep the wealth free trade and globalisation brings but avoid losing the good jobs? At least the current mess has focused attention on the question and has said that patience has run out.

Compared to the real economic problems, the identity politics is minor, but it is still an irritant that explains why this revolution is coming from the right not from the left.

If you're white and male it's bad enough losing your hope of economic security, but then to be repeatedly told by the left that you're misogynist, racist, sexist, Islamophobic, transgenderphobic etc etc is just the icing on the cake. If the author wants to see just how crazy identity politics has become go to the Suzanne Moore piece from yesterday accusing American women of being misogynist for refusing to vote for Hillary. That kind of maniac 'agree with me on everything or you're a racist, sexist, homophobe' identity politics has to be ditched. Reply

EnglishMike -> goodtable 3d ago
Funny, I've been a white male my whole life and not once have I been accused of being a misogynist, racist, sexist, Islamophobic, or transgenderphobic. I didn't think being a white male was so difficult for some people... Reply
garrylee 3d ago
"Are we turning our backs on the age of enlightenment?".

And what "age" has that been Roy? The "age" of: climate change, gangster bankers, tax heavens, illegal wars, nuclear proliferation, grotesque inequality, the prison industrial complex to cite just a few. That "age"?

Bazz Leaveblank -> garrylee 3d ago
I agree hardly an age of enlightenment. My opinion... the so called Liberal Elite are responsible for many of the issues in the list. The poor and the old in this country are not being helped by the benefits system. Yet the rich get richer beyond the dreams of the ordinary man.

I would pay more tax if I thought it might be spent more wisely...but can you trust politicians who are happy to spend 50 billion on a railway line that 98% of the population will never use.

No solutions from me ...an old hippy from the 60s "Love and peace man " ...didn't work did it :)

aronDi 3d ago
I have come under the impression that the right wing press detest one kind of liberalism, social liberalism, they hate that, but they love economic liberalism, which has done much harm to the working class.

Most of the right wing press support austerity measures, slashing of taxes and, smaller and smaller governments. Yet apparently, its being socially liberal that is the problem.

[Nov 18, 2016] Ellison is a dud, Bernie tweets support for Schumer theres nobody I know better prepared and more capable of leading our caucus than Chuck Schumer -- Well theres a good

Nov 18, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
chunder maker in that statement eh? Hope dashed! jo6pac November 17, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Lambert you were on to something when you mention his twitter account.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/17/the-skeletons-in-keith-ellisons-display-case/

I know my Muslim friends would never want to hurt anyone but this guy is as crazy as hillabillie.

cocomaan November 17, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Support for Syria and Libya interventions? Gross. No thanks.

Who else do we got? Wait this is it? WHAT?!!

uncle tungsten November 18, 2016 at 7:25 am

Ellison is a dud, Bernie tweets support for Schumer "there's nobody I know better prepared and more capable of leading our caucus than Chuck Schumer"!
Well there's a good chunder maker in that statement eh? Hope dashed!

There are no doubt many who are better informed, more progressive and principled, more remote from Wall Street and oligarchic capture than Chuck Schumer and Ellison. So there you have it – this is reform in the Democrats after a crushing defeat.

Vale democrats, and now the journey becomes arduous with these voices to smother hope. A new party is urgently needed (I know how difficult that is) and these voices of the old machine need to be ignored for the sake of sanity.

[Nov 18, 2016] The statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes by Bruce Wilder

Notable quotes:
"... The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. ..."
"... It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. ..."
"... When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. ..."
"... Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. ..."
"... It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics. ..."
"... This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. ..."
"... No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. ..."
"... If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying. ..."
"... Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

At the center of Great Depression politics was a political struggle over the distribution of income, a struggle that was only decisively resolved during the War, by the Great Compression. It was at center of farm policy where policymakers struggled to find ways to support farm incomes. It was at the center of industrial relations politics, where rapidly expanding unions were seeking higher industrial wages. It was at the center of banking policy, where predatory financial practices were under attack. It was at the center of efforts to regulate electric utility rates and establish public power projects. And, everywhere, the clear subtext was a struggle between rich and poor, the economic royalists as FDR once called them and everyone else.

FDR, an unmistakeable patrician in manner and pedigree, was leading a not-quite-revolutionary politics, which was nevertheless hostile to and suspicious of business elites, as a source of economic pathology. The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance.

It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle.

In retrospect, though the New Deal did use direct employment as a means of relief to good effect economically and politically, it never undertook anything like a Keynesian stimulus on a Keynesian scale - at least until the War.

Where the New Deal witnessed the institution of an elaborate system of financial repression, accomplished in large part by imposing on the financial sector an explicitly mandated structure, with types of firms and effective limits on firm size and scope, a series of regulatory reforms and financial crises beginning with Carter and Reagan served to wipe this structure away.

When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup.

I don't know what considerations guided Obama in choosing the size of the stimulus or its composition (as spending and tax cuts). Larry Summers was identified at the time as a voice of caution, not "gambling", but not much is known about his detailed reasoning in severely trimming Christina Romer's entirely conventional calculations. (One consideration might well have been worldwide resource shortages, which had made themselves felt in 2007-8 as an inflationary spike in commodity prices.) I do not see a case for connecting stimulus size policy to the health care reform. At the time the stimulus was proposed, the Administration had also been considering whether various big banks and other financial institutions should be nationalized, forced to insolvency or otherwise restructured as part of a regulatory reform.

Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. Accelerating the financialization of the economy from 1999 on made New York and Washington rich, but the same economic policies and process were devastating the Rust Belt as de-industrialization. They were two aspects of the same complex of economic trends and policies. The rise of China as a manufacturing center was, in critical respects, a financial operation within the context of globalized trade that made investment in new manufacturing plant in China, as part of globalized supply chains and global brand management, (arguably artificially) low-risk and high-profit, while reinvestment in manufacturing in the American mid-west became unattractive, except as a game of extracting tax subsidies or ripping off workers.

It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics.

It is conceding too many good intentions to the Obama Administration to tie an inadequate stimulus to a Rube Goldberg health care reform as the origin story for the final debacle of Democratic neoliberal politics. There was a delicate balancing act going on, but they were not balancing the recovery of the economy in general so much as they were balancing the recovery from insolvency of a highly inefficient and arguably predatory financial sector, which was also not incidentally financing the institutional core of the Democratic Party and staffing many key positions in the Administration and in the regulatory apparatus.

This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints.

No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence.

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:33 pm ( 31 )

The short version of my thinking on the Obama stimulus is this: Keynesian stimulus spending is a free lunch; it doesn't really matter what you spend money on up to a very generous point, so it seems ready-made for legislative log-rolling. If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying.

Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference.

likbez 11.18.16 at 4:48 pm 121

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

Great comment. Simply great. Hat tip to the author !

Notable quotes:

"… The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. …"

"… It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. …"

"… When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. … "

"… Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. …"

"… It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics. …"

"… This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. …"

"… No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. …"

"… If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying. …"

"… Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. …"

[Nov 16, 2016] President Obama Deserves an Oscar by Robert Weissberg

Pretty biting assessment ...
Notable quotes:
"... I can recall tales of insecure Eastern European Jewish immigrants pretending to be WASPS. ..."
"... To be blunt, Barack Obama was less "a president" than a talented actor playing at being presidential. ..."
"... Those of us who have encountered this deception are usually aware of its tell-tale signs, though, to be fair, it may have been diligently practiced for so long that it has become a "real" element of the perpetrator's core personality. For those unfamiliar with this deception, let me now offer a brief catalogue of these tactics. ..."
"... Central is the careful management of outward physical appearances. In theatrical terms, these are props and depending on circumstances, this might be a finely tailored suit, wingtip shoes, a crisp white shirt, a smart silk tie and all the rest that announce business-like competence. ..."
"... Mastering "white" language is equally critical and in the academy this includes everything from tossing around trendy terms, for example, "paradigmatic," to displaying what appears to be a mastering of disciplinary jargon. Recall how the Black Panthers seduced gullible whites with just a sprinkling of Marxist terminology. ..."
"... I recall one (white) colleague who gave a little speech praising a deeply flawed dissertation written by a black assistant professor up for tenure. He told the assembled committee that her dissertation reminded him of Newton's Principia Mathematica (can't make that stuff up). ..."
"... Obama as President repeatedly exhibits these characteristics. It is thus hardly accidental that he relies extensively on canned Teleprompter speeches. According to one compilation published in January 2013, Obama has used Teleprompters in 699 speeches during his first term in office. There is also his aversion to informal off-the-cuff discussions with the press and open mike who-knows-what-will-happen "Town Hall" meetings. Obama is also the first president I've ever seen who often favors a casual blue jacket monogrammed "President of the United States." ..."
"... I suspect that deep down Obama recognizes that almost everything is an act not unlike Eddy Murphy playing Professor Sherman Klump in The Nutty Professor . It is no wonder, then, that his academic records (particularly his SAT scores) are sealed and, perhaps even more important, many of his fellow college students and colleagues at the University of Chicago where he briefly taught constitutional law cannot recall him. It is hard to imagine Obama relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with his sharp-witted Chicago colleagues. ..."
"... As a mulatto raised by white grandparents in Hawaii, Obama is not a black American, with no cultural ties to black Americans and slavery, yet he later learned to throw out a black accent to fool the fools. As Stephen Colbert once observed, white Americans love Obama because he was raised the right way, by white people. That was intended as humor, but ..."
"... Obama has leased an ultra-expensive house in an exclusive neighborhood in DC just like the corrupt Bill Clinton prior to his multi-million dollar speaking and influence peddling efforts. Obama will not return to Chicago to help poor blacks, like Jimmy Carter did elsewhere after he left office. Obama doesn't need an Oscar, he got a Nobel Peace Prize for the same act. ..."
"... Congratulations on noticing what it takes to be a successful politician in ANY "Western" democracy. It doesn't matter if you are black, white, aquamarine or candy-striped, or whether you are a college professor, an "economist", or a "businessman". It's all bluff and acting. ..."
"... The single most critical element of a successful con is not the hucksters appearance, or mannerisms, or even the spiel, it is simply making the con something that the sucker wants to believe. ..."
"... I recognized Obama's type not from academia, but from corporate America. He was the token black higher up. He's smart enough not to obviously do something requiring termination (get drunk and harass a colleague at an office party, shred important document, etc.), and his mistakes can be blamed on team failures, so he gets "black guy's tenure"-a middle or upper management position after only a few years. ..."
"... This critique applies to almost every Presidential candidate, regardless of ethnicity. ..."
"... The most successful recent President was a former professional actor and thus well suited for the position. The latest President-elect is also a savvy media figure, and yet mocked for his obvious lack of intellectual heft. But in his case, he's not acting, it's reality TV. ..."
"... PS. Maybe some Jews around Trump are beginning to feel that China is the real danger to US power in the long run. So, what US should really do is patch things up with Russia for the time being, drive a wedge between China and Russia, and use Russia against China and then go after Russia. ..."
"... Really! Go after Russia? And how would you do that and why? What would "going after Russia" look like? What about the "horrific Rape of Russia" you spoke of? China and Russia have business to conduct, they're quite through with us, our dollar and our Fed. We'll be lucky if they allow us a piece of the action. Instead of Russia>China>Russia machinations, we might want to figure out strategies for doing some other business than patronizing our arms manufacturers. Hey, cap Jewish influence in the courts and business if you wish, but keeping the U.S. in an endless state of war, economic and otherwise is zero sum and worse for the little people. ..."
"... I've called him that for years. And Dubya was possibly our first "legacy" president: chosen entirely based on whom he's related to not on any individual qualities that would suit him for such a high office. Had Dubya been raised by regular people, he would have probably ended up as a hardware store manager. ..."
"... Amen to all. The whole deal is a fraud. All successful politicians are imposters, people who've mastered the art of deception. I'd go even further and say that the majority of "authority figures" are probably parasites and frauds to one degree or another. ..."
"... Overall, the current president has been a deception, a trivial self-absorbed person whose main concern has been himself turned outward onto issues of race and sexual orientation ..."
"... American politics at this level is fake. Everything is orchestrated, attire is handpicked, speeches are written by professionals and read off the teleprompter, questions from the public are actually from plants and rehearsed prior, armies of PR people are at work everywhere, journalists are just flunky propagandists, ..."
"... He will be the subject of future dissertations about the failure of the American political process and the influence of media and third parties like Soros. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.unz.com
As the troubled Obama presidency winds down, the inevitable question is why so many people, including a few smart ones were so easily fooled. How did a man with such a fine pedigree-Columbia, Harvard-who sounded so brilliant pursue such political capital wasting and foolish policies as forcing schools to discipline students by racial quotas? Or obsessing over allowing the transgendered to choose any bathroom? And, of the utmost importance, how can we prevent another Obama?

I'll begin simply: Obama is an imposter, a man who has mastered the art of deception as a skilled actor deceives an audience though in the case of Obama, most of the audience refused to accept that this was all play-acting. Even after almost eight years of ineptitude, millions still want to believe that he's the genuine article-an authentically super-bright guy able to fix a flawed America. Far more is involved than awarding blacks the intellectual equivalent of diplomatic immunity.

When Obama first appeared on the political scene I immediately recognized him as an example of the "successful" black academic who rapidly advances up the university ladder despite minimal accomplishment. Tellingly, when I noted the paucity of accomplishment of these black academic over-achievers to trusted professorial colleagues, they agreed with my analysis adding that they themselves had seen several instances of this phenomenon, but admittedly failed to connect the dots.

Here's the academic version of an Obama. You encounter this black student who appears a liberal's affirmative action dream come true -- exceptionally articulate with no trace of a ghetto accent, well-dressed, personable (no angry "tude"), and at least superficially sufficient brain power to succeed even in demanding subjects. Matters begin splendidly, but not for long. Almost invariably, his or her performance on the first test or paper falls far below expectations. A research paper, for example was only "C" work (though you generously awarded it a "B") and to make matters worse, it exhibited a convoluted writing style, a disregard for logic, ineptly constructed references and similar defects. Nevertheless, you accepted the usual litany of student excuses -- his claim of over-commitment, the material was unfamiliar, and this was his first research paper and so on. A reprieve was granted.

But the unease grows stronger with the second exam or paper, often despite your helpful advice on how to do better. Reality grows depressing -- what you see is not what you get and lacks any reasonable feel-good explanation. The outwardly accomplished black student is not an Asian struggling with English or a clear-cut affirmation action admittee in over his head. That this student may have actually studied diligently and followed your advice only exacerbates the discomfort.

To repeat, the way to make sense out this troubling situation is to think of this disappointing black student as a talented actor who has mastered the role of "smart college student." He has the gift of mimicry, conceivably a talent rooted in evolutionary development among a people who often had to survive by their wits