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Bernie Sanders: A turncoat socialist who endorsed neocon warmonger Hillary without fight for nomination on the convention

 Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs -- Donald Trump

How you can trust any US politician after that ?  This is a really Obama-style "bait and switch".

Before

After

News US Presidential Elections of 2016 Recommended Links US Presidential Elections of 2016 Quotes Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism
Two Party System as Polyarchy Myth about intelligent voter Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush Donald Trump -- an unusual fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Neoconservatism
The Deep State Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Media-Military-Industrial Complex Casino Capitalism Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Mayberry Machiavellians
Neocons Credibility Scam American Exceptionalism Corruption of Regulators New American Militarism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Nation under attack meme
Color revolutions Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy Diplomacy by deception National Security State / Surveillance State
Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Deception as an art form Who Rules America The Iron Law of Oligarchy Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The attempt to secure global hegemony
Machiavellism Neo-fashism National Socialism and Military Keysianism Predator state Russian Jokes about Neoliberal Fifth Column and Color Revolutions Etc

Introduction

As much as I want to vote for HRC, the stench of neocon corporatism is too much, the thin layer of accumulated grime from years of ethical expediency too toxic, the opaque lack of transparency too dangerous, and the shifting sands of her amorphous policy too treacherous.

Lester Smithson, Guardian, Jul 11, 2016

Trump has spoken against globalism. Trump has spoken against neocon wars. Trump wants to uphold our laws.

Hillary is a globalist shill. Hillary is a warmongerer. Hillary thinks laws are for little people.

The choice is simple.

Bernie just lost all the respect he has built over the last 12 months. Endorsing the warmongering neocon. What was he talking about in his campaign. Apparently nothing.

Anjeska , Guardian comment, Jul 12, 2016

You fooled me once, but now after what you have just done, feel my afterbern - Trump for President!

Puro, guardian comment

First the neoliberal press demolished his candidacy. With NYT and WaPo as two the most rabid pro-Hillary dogs. Despite neoliberal presstitutes efforts to sink his candidacy, Sanders managed to stay competitive almost all the way to the California primary in June.

But next this old fogey turned out to be a sellout. The US masses have no leader to represent their interests. I can now imagine a feelings of Bernie's supporters who will feel duped (M of A , Jun 13, 2016)

Bernie Sanders folded. This without gaining any significant concession from Hillary Clinton on programmatic or personal grounds. (At least as far as we know.) He endorsed Clinton as presidential candidate even as she gave no ground for his voters' opinions. This disenfranchises the people who supported him.

... ... ...

I expect the "Not Hillary" protest vote to be very strong in the November election. There is still more significant dirt to be dug up about her and her family foundation. Trumps current lows in the polls will recover when the media return to the "close race" mantra that makes them money. He still has a decent chance to win.

June 12, 2016 was a sad day when Bernie finds himself endorsing someone who is the complete opposite to the politics he claims to champion. What was his BS campaign and all that rhetoric for? A disgusting spectacle ( Democracy And The Future Of The United States - ICH):

Bernie is a fake. He was and I guess, still is a test case for the system. Lucifer wants to see how far he can go – and what is it that the people want to hear. Accordingly, will be adjusted the discourse of the two candidates. Sanders has a (Senate) voting record which does not portray what he pledges to stand for.

... ... ...

Sanders, early on has said that if he should not succeed, he would support Killary. Hello! what message does that convey? – That he would support a warmonger par excellence? – Europeans like many Americans have been fooled by Bernie's charm and rebellious appearance. All fake!

thebuzzinsider

Tuesday morning Bernie Sanders united the Democrat party by announcing his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, but not everyone is happy, with some of his supporters calling him a sell-out.

Beginning his speech by giving thanks to the 13 million Americans who voted for him during the primaries, Sanders announced that he would be endorsing Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nominee and intends to do everything he can to ensure that she will become the "next president of the United States."

"[T]his campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or any other candidate who sought the presidency," Sanders said in the rally. "This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face."

Sanders began to compare Clinton with Republican nominee, Donald Trump, explaining the differences between the two and using these differences as his reasons for endorsing her. Sanders admitted during the rally that he and Clinton do disagree on a number of issues but he also claimed that on Sunday, July 10, during the Democratic Platform Committee the two campaigns were able to come together significantly.

"Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here today," Sanders said at the end of the rally.

This proclamation is a far cry from how his stance was a couple months ago, when he claimed that Clinton wasn't qualified for the presidency.

"I don't believe that she is qualified," Sanders said in a Philadelphia rally back in April, as reported by thinkprogress.org. "[I]f she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds. I don't think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC."

Trump was one of the first to call Sanders a sell-out on Twitter, comparing his endorsement of "Crooked Hillary Clinton" to Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs.

"I am somewhat surprised that Bernie Sanders was not true to himself and his supporters," Trump tweeted. "They are not happy that he is selling out!"

While some Democrats are happy that the party has seemed to have finally united, like the Communications Workers of America who have now changed their endorsement from Sanders to Clinton, other supporters share Trumps sentiments, feeling outraged and disappointed at Bernie's sudden change of heart.

"A Sanders endorsement of Clinton would be the ultimate betrayal of his supporters, especially those of us that poured money into his campaign."

"Bernie, if you endorse Hillary Clinton, after is NOW A PROVEN FACT she lied to the American people, then you sir are a FRAUD."

"Bernie, endorsing Clinton destroys every point you made and everything you stood for in the race. You are letting the people who supported you down. You made a promise to fight in the end, but instead you are conceding. You are not the elected leader you lead us to believe in. Shame on you."

These are just some of the comments people have been leaving on Sander's Facebook page, as reported on the Forward Progressives website.

Other supporters have asked him to wait for the Democrats Party convention, to run in a third-party or to join Jill Stein in the Green Party ticket.

Now that Sanders has endorsed Clinton, Clinton's campaign will most likely focus on convincing his supporters to join them in their fight for the presidency.

Some priminet left wing thinkers suchg as Chris Hedges view US Senator Sanders as a corporate sellout from the very beginning (Chris Hedges on Bernie Sanders and the Corporate Democrats):

Nader: "Bernie Sanders wants to break up the New York banks, he wants to impose a Wall Street transaction tax, he wants to regulate drug prices, he's for full Medicare for all - everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital - he wants to get rid of these corporate tax havens, he's pushing for a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, he wants to stronger labor unions. What's not to like?"

Hedges: "Because he [Bernie Sanders] did it within the Democratic establishment. . . .He's lending credibility to a party that is completely corporatized. He has agreed that he will endorse the candidate, which, unless there is some miracle, will probably be Hillary Clinton. So what he does is he takes all of that energy, he raises all of these legitimate issues and he funnels it back into a dead political system. . .

"That was the role of Van Jones in the last election," Hedges said. "He was running around, using the language of Occupy - Occupy the Vote - and that is what Bernie has done. I don't understand. He fought the Democratic establishment in Vermont his entire career. Now he has sold out to it."

"Bernie has also not confronted the military industrial complex at all," Hedges said. "On a personal level, having spent seven years in the Middle East, I'm just not willing to forgive him for abandoning the Palestinians and giving carte blanche to Israel. He was one of 100 Senators who stood up like AIPAC wind up dolls and approved Israel's 51-day slaughter last summer of Palestinians in Gaza - the Palestinians who have no army, no navy, artillery, mechanized units, command and control."

Adapted from Wikipedia

Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician. He is the junior United States Senator from Vermont and has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election. As a presidential candidate he is the candidate without a party, as Democratic Party established is controlled by financial oligarchy after Bill Clinton sold his party to Wall street ("Third Way betrayal", similar to the trick Tony Blair performed in the UK).

An independent politician since 1979, Sanders described himself as a democratic socialist (and probably with his political views might fit Social Democratic Party of Germany). He favors the creation of employee-owned cooperative enterprises and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy. He caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for purposes of committee assignments. Since January 2015, Sanders has been the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Budget Committee. He is also associated with the Vermont Progressive Party and was a member of the Liberty Union Party from 1971 to 1979.

After several unsuccessful runs for office, Sanders was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont's largest city, in 1981. He was reelected to three more two-year mayoral terms before being elected to represent Vermont's at-large congressional district in the United States House of Representatives in 1990. He served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to succeed the retiring Republican-turned-independent Jim Jeffords in the U.S. Senate in 2006. In 2012 he was reelected by a landslide. Sanders was the only independent member of the House during most of his service and is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history.

Since his election to the Senate, Sanders has emerged as a leading progressive voice on the issues of income inequality, climate change, and campaign finance reform. He rose to national prominence on the heels of his 2010 filibuster of the proposed extension of the Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy. In response to the speech, hundreds of people signed online petitions urging Sanders to run in the 2012 presidential election and pollsters began measuring his support in key primary states. As a supporter of President Obama, Sanders declined to run in 2012, but began expressing an interest in a 2016 presidential run in December of 2013.

Sanders announced his intentions to seek the Democratic Party's nomination for President on April 30, 2015, in an address on the Capitol lawn. His campaign was officially launched on May 26 with an event in Burlington, Vermont.

Dirty MSM games and tricks with election polls

It is well known that the key idea of polls is to influence electorate. Not to inform but influence. So int he USA they are a very dirty game. Desirable result that conditions those who did not yet decided to vote "for the winner" can be achieved in a very subtle way. For example if electorate of one candidate is younger, you can run poll using landline phones. How subgroup is selected is also important:

3.14e-9

Yes, how they ask the questions is important, and it's also important to note which subgroups were asked the questions. Some questions were limited to respondents who had voted in a previous Democratic primary. That means the results don't include Independents and Republicans who might cross party lines. Also, those who voted in a past primary are far more likely to be familiar with HRC than Sanders.

Lastly, confidence in Bernie rose for some questions. Interestingly enough, there was an increase in the number of people who thought he could competently handle a foreign crisis. Sargent's bias is pretty clear. Entire poll here:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/12/us/politics/document-poll.html

Of course this election cycle much depends on how angry people really are with the establishment. I think many viscerally dislike Clinton and Jeb! for that reason. I think not many understand that Dem and Repug are actually one neoliberal party representing its soft and hard wings, correspondingly. And both intend to harm or even destroy the country with their neoliberal policies to serve interests on top 0.01%. And that the case with Dems since Bill Clinton sold the part to Wall Street. The vast body of american people wants change (and not Obama's fake "change we can believe in") but they don't have a place at the table…

Gaius Publius provide a good analysis of now MSM sell establishment candidate to lemmings in his July 10, 2015 post in Naked capitalism blog (The Clinton Campaign Notices the Sanders Campaign, or How to Read the Media)

Taking Apart the Insider Game

The most important thing to consider when thinking about the Sanders campaign is this. Everyone else who's running, on both sides, is an insider playing within - and supporting - the "insider game," the one that keeps insiders wealthy and outsiders struggling, the one where the wealthy and their retainers operate government for their benefit only. What sets Sanders apart is his determination to dismantle that game, to take it apart and send its players home (back to the private sector) or to jail.

Two examples should make this clear. One is Fast Track and the "trade" agreements being forced upon us. The pressure to pass these agreements is coming equally from mainstream Democrats like Barack Obama, a "liberal," and from mainstream Republicans, supposed "conservatives." They may differ on "rights" policy, like abortion rights, but not on money matters. Trade agreements are wealth-serving policies promoted by people in both parties who serve wealth, which means most of them. People like Sanders, Warren and others, by contrast, would neuter these agreement as job-killing profit protection schemes and turn them into something else.

A second example involves Wall Street banks, in particular, a policy of breaking them up, reinstating Glass-Steagall, and prosecuting Wall Street fraud. Can you imagine any announced candidate doing any of these things, save Bernie Sanders?

In both of these cases, Sanders would aggressively challenge the insider profit-protection racket, not just give lip service to challenging it. Which tells you why he is so popular. Many of us in the bleachers have noticed the insider game - after all, it's been happening in front of us for decades- and most of us are done with it. Ask any Tea Party Republican voter, for example, what she thinks of the bank bailout of 2008-09. She'll tell you she hated it, whether she explains it in our terms or not.

And that's why Sanders, like Warren before him, draws such enthusiastic crowds. The pendulum has swung so far in the direction of wealth that the nation may well change permanently, and people know it. People are ready, just as they were in 2008, prior to eight years of betrayal. People have been discouraged about the chance for change lately, but they're ready for the real thing if they see it.

The Clinton Campaign Notices Sanders

There's been an attempt to downplay the Sanders candidacy since the beginning, to sink his campaign beneath a wave of silence. That ended a bit ago, and the press has begun to take notice, if snippily. Now the Clinton campaign is noticing, if the New York Times is to be believed. I found the following fascinating, for a number of reasons.

The piece first along with some news, then a little exegesis (my emphasis):

Hillary Clinton's Team Is Wary as Bernie Sanders Finds Footing in Iowa

The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation's first nominating contest there.

The enthusiasm that Mr. Sanders has generated - including a rally attended by 2,500 people in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday - has called into question Mrs. Clinton's early strategy of focusing on a listening tour of small group gatherings and wooing big donors in private settings. In May, Mrs. Clinton led with 60 percent support to Mr. Sanders' 15 percent in a Quinnipiac poll. Last week the same poll showed Mrs. Clinton at 52 percent to Mr. Sanders's 33 percent.

"We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don't think that will diminish," Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign's communications director, said Monday in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Some of Mrs. Clinton's advisers acknowledged that they were surprised by Mr. Sanders' momentum and said there were enough liberal voters in Iowa, including many who supported Barack Obama or John Edwards in 2008, to create problems for her there.

"I think we underestimated that Sanders would quickly attract so many Democrats in Iowa who weren't likely to support Hillary," said one Clinton adviser, who like several others spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly share views about the race. "It's too early to change strategy because no one knows if Sanders will be able to hold on to these voters in the months ahead. We're working hard to win them over, but yeah, it's a real competition there."

I don't want to quote the whole thing (well, I do, but I can't). So I encourage you to read it. There's much there worth noticing.

What to Look at When the Times Reports on Clinton

Now, some exegesis, meta-reading of the media, especially corporate media like the Times. My three main points are bulleted below.

Bottom Line

If you like this exercise in reading behind the media, please read the article again with the above thoughts in mind. Is this original reporting (i.e., reporters starting a conversation), or did the campaign make the first approach? Does the article carry Clinton water, subtly support the campaign? Are any opposing viewpoints featured at the top, or are they buried below the point where most people stop reading?

This Times story may be a completely honest exercise in independent journalism. There certainly is a Sanders phenomenon, and it's detailed honestly and factually, so there's value in reading it. But there's an obvious bias toward Clinton messaging in the reporters' own prose, so I'm suspicious, and you should be as well.

I'll also say that most stories about campaigns operate this way, as do many other news stories involving public figures. What will make reporting the Sanders campaign different is what I wrote above - Sanders wants to take apart the insider game. What major media outlet will help Sanders do that, will shut the door to corporate favors, media access and other prizes from a future Clinton administration, in order to be even-handed?

My guess is few or none.

An interesting discussion on Naked Capitalism about Sanders candidacy

In the post by By Les Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute in New York 10 Economic Facts that Power the Sanders Insurgency (naked capitalism, Nov 13, 2015) and subsequent readers discussion contains so far the most interesting discussion of Sanders and his (pretty lonely) current position in the presidential race. Being a an anti-establishment candidate is a difficult job as economic and political power belong to the establishment by definition. BTW that's why you should not believe blindly the US polls -- they are designed to sway electorate, not to inform it).

Here are 10 crucial economic facts that provide the glue for the Sanders message. (The charts are taken from Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice.)

1. The Rich are Getting Richer, The Rest of Us are Not.

There always has been a significant gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of America. But that gap was kept under control largely through governmental tax, banking and labor policies.

You could make a lot of money in this country, but after the New Deal, unions made sure you paid a decent wage to your workers, and government made sure the wealthy provided ample tax revenues. This allowed working people also to enjoy a rising standard of living.

But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken. After 1980, the incomes of the top 1% exploded while the wages of the bottom 90% stagnated….and not by accident.

average_income_of_top_1_percent

2. Wall Street/CEO Greed

Most of us haven't had a real raise (after inflation) for more than a decade. Meanwhile we see our CEOs and their Wall Street partners rake in astronomical sums. The data backs up what we see and sense. As this chart shows, the gap between the pay of the top CEOs and the average worker has jumped from 45 to 1 in 1970 to an astounding 829 to one today.

The game is rigged and Sanders is calling them on it.

wage_gap-top_100_ceos_vs_average_workers

3. The Biggest Banks are Getting Bigger.

One of the most outrageous economics facts of life is the engorgement of too-big-to-fail banks. We are told that they now are under control. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The top four banks have grown even larger since the Great Recession. No wonder crowds roar when Bernie says "If a bank is too big to fail, I think it's too big to exist."

percentage_of_all_banking_assets

4. Students are Crippled with Debt.

Sanders wants to tax Wall Street speculation and use the money to fund free higher education. And for good reason. Debt peonage is hitting college students as banks load them up with onerous loans. Sanders believes it's time for us to catch up with many other developed nations that already provide free higher education.

student_loans_1

5. We lead the developed world in child poverty

Nothing more clearly reflects the values of a country than how it treats its children. And nothing is more painful and inexcusable than children living in poverty.

The countries of northern Europe – Iceland, Finland, Nether­lands, Norway, Denmark and Sweden – have nearly eradicated childhood poverty. These also are the countries that have the lowest levels of inequality. They have made a conscious choice: less inequality, less child­hood poverty.

But in a country like ours so engulfed by runaway inequal­ity, child poverty becomes the responsibility of the poor. In other words, if your kids are poor it's your fault. Don't expect society to feed them.

Bernie does indeed expect society to feed the poor. And so should we.

percentage_of_children_living_in_poverty

6. You can't live on the minimum wage

America is the only country in the developed world in which you can work full time and still live in poverty. That's because our federal minimum wage is a disgrace. As the chart below shows, the real buying power of the minimum wage, after taking into account of inflation, has been on the decline since its peak in the 1960s. That's why one of Sanders' biggest applause lines is

"A minimum wage of $7 an hour is a starvation wage. I applaud those cities-Seattle, Los Angeles and others-that have raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And that is exactly what we will do at the federal level."

rise_and_fall_of_minimum_wage

7. The tax system favors the rich

We all know that the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes. They hire the best lawyers to help make their incomes vanish on IRS papers. They shift money abroad. They use their influence to create and abuse loopholes. And they sell us the lie that decreasing taxes on the rich make all boats rise.

The chart below shows the result on the state and local levels. The sad truth is that the poorer you are, the more you pay as a percent of your income.

rich_pay_lower_state_tax_rates

8. The Rich Buy the Political System

As our economy fractures under the weight of runaway inequality, so does our entire democracy. Money is pouring into politics, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. As the chart below makes clear, corporations and financial institutions are taking full advantage as they flood the political process through Super PACS.

Sanders wants Super PACS outlawed and Citizens United overturned.

9. "The American Dream" is Fading Away

Many Americans still believe in the American Dream - the idea of genuine upward mobility. We cherish the idea that our children will do as well or better than we have done.

But we're getting a wake up call.

The chart below shows that the odds of rising above your father's economic position in the U.S. is about 50/50. In Denmark, you have about a seven to one chance of doing better.

No wonder Bernie wants us to learn a thing or two from the Danes

odds_youll_be_stuck_in_same_class_as_your_parents

10. The Largest Police State in the World

Freedom pays the price for runaway inequality. Because we refuse to use government to provide decent paying work for all those who are willing and able to work, we leave vast tracks of our cities mired in poverty.

We allow institutional racist practices (especially in housing, education and criminal justice) to trap more people of color on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

Instead of using government to create jobs, we use government to fund prisons.

Instead of a War on Poverty we have declared war on the poor.

As a result, we now have more prisoners both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population than any country in the world. And if you compare the chart below with the first chart in this article, you'll find that the incarceration surge started with the onset of runway inequality.

number_of_federal_and_state_prisoners

Taking Them On

Perhaps Bernie's biggest applause line is the one that sets us on our course. His campaign cannot succeed in one election. We need to connect with our neighbors and colleagues and help organize and mobilize for change.

"This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: Yes, we have the guts to take you on."

Let's hope he's right.

tim s

There is much more to a candidates platform than simply economics, which readers of NC know to be as much pseudo-science as anything, and the Fed, which fails to live up to ideals for the common good, and actually preserves the status quo which is such a problem these days.

RP is a mixed bag for certain, but you get a sense that he is at least honest, which is a radical change in itself, and there is much for readers of this blog to latch onto. For instance:

To be sure, many of his positions are headscratchers, for sure, such as his belief in privatization and "free markets". These are very idealistic, and as you probably focus on, the readers of NC will call BS on very quickly.

Still, when having to choose between the internally conflicted and the pathological liar, it is no surprise that many will choose the internally conflicted.

fresno dan, November 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm

I agree.
And one other point: Paul, and every one else elected, so far at least, is not a Napoleon or Caesar, so most platforms are 99.9% baloney. (well, more accurately, most platforms are the same as it ever was – the candidates just say a lot of words to make it appear they are going to do something different – yesterday's LINKS about how Obama didn't REALLY oppose Bush's policies, just that they didn't go through a process to make them legal)

At least with Paul, there was some evidence that he would TRY to dial back all the war mongering….

Jim Haygood, November 13, 2015 at 9:57 am

'Ron Paul knows nothing about the Fed and Economics for which he claims to be an expert.'

He only wrote a book about it:

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

Perhaps you don't agree with his conclusions.

Lambert Strether, November 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

To be fair, plenty of people write books on topics of which they know nothing, or worse/less than nothing. All neo-liberal economists, for example.

Nigelk, November 13, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Ron Paul? Seriously? Did I drive through a wormhole this morning and arrive in Fall 2007?

jrs, November 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

That's what they'll be saying about Sanders in 4 years. I don't mind Sanders as the best choice there is perhaps. But come on folks, none of this stuff has any hope really. A revolution? Well I don't hope for one either, but at least movement building might work. Other than that it's 5 minutes in the voting booth and get on with your life.

Jagger, November 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I would be curious how anybody who reads this blog could possibly be for Ron Paul, let alone have voted for him.

Ron Paul is anti-war. Who else is anti-war amongst the Repub/Dem tickets? Maybe Sanders. He did vote against the Iraqi invasion but wouldn't condemn Israel over the last air war on Gaza. Jury is still out on him.

bob

Is this a different Ron Paul?

https://web.archive.org/web/20021212201652/http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2001/tst100801.htm

washunate

We should remember that the image of the United Nations as a benevolent peacemaker is a myth, as evidenced by the sad history of its military actions over the past 30 years. In virtually every instance its so-called "peacekeeping missions" have done nothing but intensify regional conflicts. Kosovo and Somalia are poignant examples of UN policy gone bad, creating lasting resentment and instability rather than peace.

Uh, that sounds like pretty classic Ron Paul. Are you saying that acting as the world's police force bombing civilian infrastructure in Serbia was a good idea and that things are hunky dory in Somalia today? Do you support the current effort to wage war on the Assad government in Syria?

You didn't answer Jagger's question.

washunate, November 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Maybe we don't need experts. Maybe the God of Authority is a False God. Maybe instead of trying to fight war better, we should stop trying.

That's the thing about the three biggest things Paul stood for (end the Fed, end the drug war, end the Iraq war): they were ends. Not new programs that require advanced degrees and subject matter expertise, but rather, stopping horrible programs run by horrible people for horrible purposes.

Now maybe you disagree that they're horrible, and that's fine. Personally, I vehemently oppose the drug war and the US empire, but I'm not opposed to the Fed. To me, it just does what politicians tell it to do. But the point is, that's a matter of personal opinion, not expertise.

I wonder only half-jokingly if your comment is satire, too. I assume it was unintentional, but it sounds exactly like the whiny Democratic pundit enforcers complaining about Alan Grayson and FDL working with evil Republicans like Grover Norquist on Audit the Fed legislation. The era in which people can be intimidated via guilt by association is over. There are far more independents than Democrats today.

If you don't understand how a 2008 Ron Paul supporter could be interested in fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics, and power, then all I can surmise is that you don't want to understand. If you are genuinely curious, this link might be a particularly useful refresher on the tone of the day to day politics of the time:

https://shadowproof.com/2010/05/06/video-transcript-ron-paul-says-sanders-switched-and-watered-down-audit-the-fed/


TarheelDem, November 13, 2015 at 9:00 am

The rhetoric Occupy Wall Street was not usurped by the Democratic Party until it was crushed completed in an orchestrated multi-city police state take-down by Democratic and Republican mayors. I see no candidates talking about the right of free speech and assembly to petition government for the redress of grievances. I did not see that sort of repression happen with the Tea Party, which was receiving massive financing from the start. The two movements are not equivalent in how they have been received by the two parties.


wbgonne, November 13, 2015 at 10:21 am

Given that OWS and the Tea Party have been usurped by the respective national parties, and both movements are anti-status quo, my opinion is they should join forces. Also, considering there is little difference at the end of the day, between the republican and democrat parties, that they play both sides against the middle, if Trump and Sanders had an ounce of humility between them, they would both quit their party and run on a split ticket.

A couple of quibbles. First, OWS was not usurped by the Democrats: it was opposed, undermined and ultimately crushed by the Democratic Establishment, starting at the top with the Obama Administration all the way down to the mayors, many of whom were Democrats too. The Tea Party began as a populist movement but was largely hijacked by the GOP corporatists. That said, there is clearly a lot of populist energy on both the Right and the Left. Sanders carries the ball forward almost without misstep. Trump, however, is a decidedly mixed bag: while he is anti-TPP - a huge plus - he also opposes wage increases and probably holds many other anti-populist views that just haven't surfaced yet.

But the biggest problem with the merger you propose, however, is the one that has bedeviled populism since the 70s: identity politics issues. While I generally try not to over-emphasize such issues, they should not be discounted either. They should certainly not be disparaged. Let me put it this way: no self-respecting progressive could collaborate with someone who wishes Operation Wetback were our national immigration policy. Overt racism, sexism and homophobia cannot be accepted but political correctness should be rejected too as the antagonizing and divisive factor it is. In order for the merger you posit to occur - which would be a wonderful development - both the Left and the Right must downplay identity politics issues because those are the wedges that keep the two ends of economic populism from joining.

Jagger, November 13, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Identity politics is in the DNA of the Democratic party. Abandoning identity politics is simply not going to happen for a few generations at best.

WindyCity, November 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm

There is discontent on the left and the right. That's what feeding the candidacies of Tea Party darlings like Trump and Carson and the Democratic Socialist Sanders. Working- and middle-class folks across the political spectrum have been hit hard with unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt-slavery, and on and on. Those on the right blame immigration, Obama, and big government; those on the left blame corporate tyranny and capitalist greed. It's probably naive of me, but I do see an opening for a Sanders to draw support from the right. His message ought to resonate with the disaffected, disenfranchised, and disillusioned in all quarters. I've already heard reports of some Tea Baggers throwing in with him. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a significant movement.

Eric Patton

But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken.

I don't like the passive voice here. Who broke the bond? And why?

I recommend Noam Chomsky. Pay attention to Chomsky's comments about the dismantling of the Bretton Woods system in the early 70s. Also pay attention when Chomsky talks about the "crisis of democracy" and the very conscious destruction of the US educational system.

cwaltz, November 13, 2015 at 7:03 am

I have to laugh at anyone who argues they don't like redistribution because it's the equivalent of saying I don't like an economy. The reality is in capitalism you have redistribution. Businesses don't keep the money you give it for goods and services, they redistribute it. The problem is they redistribute it poorly. They put an inordinately large emphasis on rewarding the guy on the top of the totem pole regardless of his contributions(that's why you have CEOs walking away with multimillion dollar parachutes) while paying peanuts to what is often the face of their organization.

The Tea Party has a real critical thinking issue if it thinks any of this has anything to do with winners and losers. You can be a hard worker spending 17 years busting your backside only to find a CEO like Trump has decided that the business isn't profitable enough. Guess what? When he files for bankruptcy he'll get to keep his house, and be insulated from economic consequences that led to the bankruptcy. Meanwhile the same couldn't be said for that worker whose major "bad decision" was placing his lot in with the wrong company at the wrong time under the wrong leadership.

Paul Tioxon, November 13, 2015 at 10:06 am

A Million Student March yesterday was the national day of protest across the nation by university students marching for the cancellation of student debt and $15/hr wages for student jobs. Locally, in Philly, they tied up traffic marching from North to South down Broad St and from West To East across Market St converging at City Hall for a rally against debt, for the $15/hr wage and in solidarity with Mizzou and Yale against racism on campus. Helicopter coverage and on site reporters interviewed the students, allowing them to get their message across in their own words. A Google news search shows similar coverage from Pittsburgh, Reno, Oakland, Vanderbilt etc etc. The report linked below references Bernie Sanders remarks as an inspiration. One student in front of City Hall demanding student debt cancellation presented the case that since a college degree is a necessity, why are they forced into debt for something that society requires of them to live any kind of life worth living? Necessities of life should not require you to borrow money and go into debt. That is similar to buying you supplies from the mining company so you can go down to the mines and work. Candles and picks are required to mine, so why does your paycheck have to cover that cost? The students are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

http://6abc.com/news/philly-students-hit-the-streets-for-million-student-march/1081368/

Vatch , November 13, 2015 at 11:06 am

This is an excellent list of problems in the U.S. economy (some of them affect other parts of the world, too). Whether or not a person currently supports Senator Bernie Sanders, one should ask which candidates for public office are most likely to sincerely try to solve these problems. There are other non-economic issues, but the average person won't have a say in solving other problems unless most of the 10 problems in the list are, at the very least, partly solved.

3.14e-9, November 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm

This article won't convince anyone with half a brain of anything. It's a bunch of opinion, with weasel words such as "My strong impression is." That he cites Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank is all anyone needs to know. They've been hammering on the same opinion over and over with pretty much the same set of "facts," including inaccuracies such as Sanders's alleged support for the bombing of Gaza last summer. Sanders was one of a small minority of senators who actually didn't sign on to that resolution (S. Res. 498) and he didn't vote for it, because there is no vote on resolutions. They are approved by an arcane Senate rule called "unanimous consent," which is not what it sounds like, but it makes a great story for Chris Hedges and others who are just pissed off that Sanders chose to run as a Democrat.

Ultimately, this article is just more of the same ol' - which is ironic, given that that's what most of this crowd says about Sanders.

WindyCity, November 13, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Chris Hedges takes the same view. I am fully sympathetic with the harsh criticisms leveled at Sanders regarding his support for empire and his relative indifference to foreign policy. Also, he's clearly not a socialist (nor could he be, considering his support for US militaristic hegemony). He is a liberal social democratic in the FDR tradition, and what he advocates is the restitution and strengthening of New Deal restraints on capitalism aimed at reducing inequality. He does support worker self-directed enterprises (cooperative businesses owned and run by workers) and has introduced legislation to provide federal support for such endeavors. This does suggest he's mindful of what genuine socialism is about, though he hasn't highlighted these ideas in the campaign.

My own view is that Sanders could provide an impetus for more movement-led change, provided that the energy and hope that he has generated, especially among young people, be channeled into organizing efforts and civil disobedience after the election process has concluded. I have little doubt that Clinton will win the nomination, but if, instead of succumbing to depression and disillusionment after Sanders has been defeated, his enthusiastic supporters take their anger and commitment into movement-building, his campaign will have made an important contribution.

A big problem is that Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate if it's not him. I don't see how he could really get behind the cynical, opportunistic neocon, neoliberal Clinton, but we'll see. It does look like he'll push the less worse argument on his supporters, and that would be unfortunate.

Vatch, November 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

The article misrepresents some things. For example, these statements are false, or at the very least, exaggerations:

1) support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including President Obama's recent decision to maintain a troop presence; 2) blank-check support of Israel, including its savage bombing campaign in Gaza last year;

1 ) Sanders voted against the war in Iraq and against the Patriot Act. See this for links and this for the Iraq vote in the House.
2 ) Sanders has been very critical of Israel's behavior in Gaza. See this for more information and links.

Meant as a reply to Linda J.

Tom Stone, November 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Since reform is not going to happen we need to provide local police departments with more armored vehicles and finish doing away with the 2nd amendment.
The 1st and 4th are gone, it's time for sensible people to get with the program.
Wesley Clarke is calling for FEMA camps to be opened to hold "Extremists".
And he's considered a moderate…
The system is broken, get in line or get hurt.

Lonely fight against neoliberalism

Sanders is probably among very few US politicians who oppose both theory and practice of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA with the election of Ronald Reagan. Now neoliberalism is 35 years old and already experienced one crisis (2008) which severely undermined its credibility. But it recovered and continue to exist in "zombie" (and really bloodthirsty) state: people understand that as a social system it is discredited, but have no viable alternative. What Sanders tried to propose is such an alternative in a form of resurrection of elements of New Deal. This is a tremendously difficult task. He does not enjoy support on financial oligarchy and thus face well organized and well fed Hillary campaign or discrediting him as a viable candidate. One positive thing about this duel that in rate face to face encounters Sanders might prevail over "not so bright" Hillary.

Neoliberalism is a new form of corporatism based on the ideology of market fundamentalism, dominance of finance in the economy (and restoration of the political power of financial oligarchy) and cult of the rich ("greed is good") instead of ideology based on racial or national superiority typical for classic corporatism. Like many religious doctrines it belongs to the class of Theological Voluntarism (with some pseudo mathematical voodoo attached as a justification; actually even this is not new. Iranian ayatollahs in the past needed to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics) , but unlike most philosophies and relations it does not try to suppress greed. On the contrary it pronounces it to be a virtue ("Greed is good"). All actions are covered under smokescreen of propaganda which is unprecedented in its cynicism, hypocrisy and contempt to the ordinary people. Probably exceeding cynicism of the USSR leadership which covered the same redistribution ( in case of the USSR mainly to military industrial complex and nomenklatura ) policies with Big Brother style slogans like "The Party cares for the wellbeing of the people". This is a tailor-made ideology for powerful interests, large international corporations who simply do want to have their way. They created a political system that is the very opposite of what our leadership, the mass media, opinion leaders, think tanks etc. proclaim as the world's foremost exemplary of democracy. The typical for corporatism union of corporate power and government was transformed by the US elite into a flavor of corporatism which Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarianism" which is just another nickname for neoliberalism. Unlike traditional corporatism of Nazi Germany, and Italy the American neoliberal system is designed not to mobilize the populace, but to distract it, to encourage a sense of dependency (by cultivating fear, calling everything a "war", for example "war on terror") as well as encouraging political disengagement (as in Reagan quote: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." ) . Those dirty tricks allowed corporate elite to take full political power and kill remnants of unions political power while citizenry shows little interest or concern. In other words powerful corporate interests which were the key promoters of neoliberalism and the key beneficiaries of its spread. They ingeniously used the Cold War as a pretext of dismantling of the New Deal ( Pt 1-8 Hedges & Wolin Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist - YouTube):

HEDGES: And the Cold War. So the Cold War arises. And this becomes the kind of moment by which capital, and especially corporate capital, can dismantle the New Deal and free itself from any kind of regulation and constraint to deform and destroy American democracy. Can you talk about that process, what happened during that period?

WOLIN: Well, I think the first thing to be said about it is the success with which the governing groups manage to create a Cold War that was really so total in its spread that it was hard to mount a critical opposition or to take a more detached view of our relationship to the Soviet Union and just what kind of problem it created.

And it also had the effect, of course, of skewing the way we looked at domestic discontents, domestic inequalities, and so on, because it was always easy to tar them with the brush of communism, so that the communism was just more than a regime. It was also a kind of total depiction of what was the threat to -- and complete opposite to our own form of society, our old form of economy and government.

HEDGES: And in Politics and Vision, you talk about because of that ideological clash, therefore any restriction of capitalism which was defined in opposition to communism as a kind of democratic good, if you want to use that word, was lifted in the name of the battle against communism, that it became capitalism that was juxtaposed to communism rather than democracy, and therefore this empowered capital, in a very pernicious way, to dismantle democratic institutions in the name of the war on communism.

WOLIN: Oh, I think there's no question about that, the notion that you first had to, so to speak, unleash the great potential capitalism had for improving everybody's economical lot and the kind of constraints that had been developed not only by the New Deal, but by progressive movements throughout the 19th century and early 20th century in the United States, where it had been increasingly understood that while American economic institutions were a good thing, so to speak, and needed to be nurtured and developed, they also posed a threat.

They posed a threat because they tended to result in concentrations of power, concentrations of economic power that quickly translated themselves into political influence because of the inevitably porous nature of democratic representation and elections and rule, so that the difficulty's been there for a long time, been recognized for a long time, but we go through these periods of sleepwalking where we have to relearn lessons that have been known almost since the birth of the republic, or at least since the birth of Jeffersonian democracy, that capitalism has its virtues, but it has to be carefully, carefully watched, observed, and often controlled.

Later Wendy Brown, professor in Berkley advanced Professor Wolin ideas to a new level in her book Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Zone Books, 2015). Notable quotes from her interview (What Exactly Is Neoliberalism):

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."

"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."

"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."

"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."

"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."

"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."

"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."


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Old News ;-)

[Oct 15, 2017] Is Trump the Heir to Reagan? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Bastard neoliberalism by Trump (and Bannon) are inconsistent. You can't be half pregnant -- to be a neoliberal (promote deregulation, regressive taxes) and be anti-immigration and anti-globalist. In this sense words Trump is doomed: neoliberal are determined to get rid of him.
Reagan was a former governor of California before becoming the President. hardly a complete outsider. Trump was an outsider more similar to Barak Obama in a sense that he has no political record and can ride on backlash against neoliberal globalization, especially outsourcing and offshoring and unlimited immigration, as well as ride anti-globalism sentiments and popular protest against foreign wars. Only quickly betraying those promised afterward. Much like king of "bait and switch" Obama .
Notable quotes:
"... Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first. ..."
"... Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot. ..."
"... He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more. ..."
"... Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military. ..."
"... Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security. ..."
"... Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time. ..."
"... As Ingraham writes, Trumpism is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s. ..."
"... Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill. ..."
"... And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics." ..."
"... It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class. ..."
"... Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment. ..."
"... There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive. ..."
"... Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently. ..."
"... As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves. ..."
"... Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup. ..."
"... Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. ..."
"... you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Both men were outsiders, and neither a career politician. Raised Democratic, Reagan had been a Hollywood actor, union leader and voice of GE, before running for governor of California.

Trump is out of Queens, a builder-businessman in a Democratic city whose Republican credentials were suspect at best when he rode down that elevator at Trump Tower. Both took on the Republican establishment of their day, and humiliated it.

Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first.

Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot.

He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more.

Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military.

Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

And both were regarded in this capital city with a cosmopolitan condescension bordering on contempt. "An amiable dunce" said a Great Society Democrat of Reagan.

The awesome victories Reagan rolled up, a 44-state landslide in 1980 and a 49-state landslide in 1984, induced some second thoughts among Beltway elites about whether they truly spoke for America. Trump's sweep of the primaries and startling triumph in the Electoral College caused the same consternation.

However, as the Great Depression, New Deal and World War II represented a continental divide in history between what came before and what came after, so, too, did the end of the Cold War and the Reagan era.

As Ingraham writes, Trumpism is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s.

Which bring us to the present, with our billionaire president, indeed, at the barricades.

The differences between Trump in his first year and Reagan in 1981 are stark. Reagan had won a landslide. The attempt on his life in April and the grace with which he conducted himself had earned him a place in the hearts of his countrymen. He not only showed spine in giving the air traffic controllers 48 hours to get back to work, and then discharging them when they defied him, he enacted the largest tax cut in U.S. history with the aid of boll weevil Democrats in the House.

Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill.

Greg Bacon , Website October 13, 2017 at 10:24 am GMT

And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics."

It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class.

The only parts of the economy it helps are the builders of luxury mansions, antique and pricey art dealers, and the makers of luxury autos and private jets.

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT
@Mark James

when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process

Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment.

Two pieces here at Unz you ought to read, and fully take on board the implications of, if you want to even begin the process of grasping reality, rather than living in the manufactured fantasy you appear to inhabit at the moment:

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm GMT

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive.

Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently.

As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves.

Here's the German government being unusually blunt yesterday about the stupidity of the Trump regime's seeming plans in this regard:

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday said that any move by US President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal would drive a wedge between Europe and the US.

"It's imperative that Europe sticks together on this issue," Gabriel told Germany's RND newspaper group. "We also have to tell the Americans that their behavior on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA."

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-warns-donald-trump-against-decertifying-iran-deal/a-40933703

It's difficult to know whether the likes of Gabriel actually believe all the boilerplate nonsense they talk about a supposed Iranian nuclear program – the real reason the European nations want the deal to continue is that it stopped them having to pretend to believe all the outright lies the US told about Iran, and having to kowtow t0 costly and counterproductive sanctions against Iran that did immense general harm for the benefit only of Israel and Saudi Arabia and their US stooges.

The US pulling out of the deal would at least bring that issue of US dishonesty on Iran and past European appeasement of it to a head, I suppose.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT
Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup.

Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. Assuming they won't kill Pence with the same bomb.

YetAnotherAnon , October 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Mark James

"As for Trump I think it's crystal clear his campaign involved the Russians in our election. "

It's crystal clear that some people will believe any crap that The Media Formerly Known As Hillary's broadcast.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety.

Often I feel like it'd be better if Hillary did the same insane policies. It's always worse when our guy does something wrong, and better when the hated enemy does it.

Hillary was a danger that she would start WW3 in Syria, but I don't think we can be certain she'd have started it. Given how risk-averse women are in general, I think the only issue was whether the Russians could've made it clear that shooting at Russian soldiers would mean war with Russia. And I think even Hillary's advisers would've blinked.

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran. As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Randal

Unfortunately I can see Orbán and the Poles torpedoing a common EU stance. I'm sure that will be the price for Netanyahu's meeting with the V4 leaders a few months ago.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT
I think one good thing would be if US conservatives stopped their Reagan worship. He was certainly not a bad person, but he allowed the amnesty to happen, couldn't stop the sanctions on Apartheid South Africa, didn't (or couldn't?) do anything against the MLK cult becoming a state religion, and started the free trade and tax cuts cults, he's also responsible for promoting the neocons to positions of power. So overall he was a mixed bag from a nationalist conservative viewpoint.
Chris Mallory , October 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm GMT
@Mark James

Private citizens are forbidden to ask for help from a foreign country, when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process.

You forgot the Clintons, Bush, McCain, Romney, and Obama. China and Israel worked on behalf of all five of them, even though three of them lost

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Yes, that's quite possible, but a common EU stance is not really all that important. What really matters is how far the Germans, and to a lesser extent the less relevant but still big European nations such as France and Italy and the more subservient US tool, the UK, are prepared to continue to kowtow to US and Israeli dishonesty on Iran.

All the signs seem to be that repudiating the deal and trying to return to the days of the aggressive and counter-productive US-imposed sanctions will be a step too far for many of those players.

As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

Actually I suspect that repudiating the JCPOA, whether openly or by de facto breach, will go immensely farther, and much faster, towards destroying practical US influence and therefore power globally than any of those domestic policies, at least in the short run.

You can see that Trump is at least dimly aware of that likelihood from the way he keeps bottling and postponing the decision, despite his clearly evident and desperate desire to please his pro-Israeli and anti-Iranian advisers and instincts.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran.

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

1) There's a chance foreign policy insanity starts a nuclear war, in which case all domestic policy issues will pale before such horror.

2) The US already has de facto open borders. Why does it matter if it becomes majority nonwhite in 30 or just 20 years?

3) For non-American whites, it's better the earlier the US sphere disintegrates. I bet you it's better for American whites as well. As long as this political/cultural center holds, the rot cannot be stopped.

The Alarmist , October 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT
I watched the movie Independence Day last night: Can we have that guy for President after Trump, or do we have to have an obligatory Democrat (Chelsea Clinton?) President for the next 8 years?
German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

That's understandable, but obviously the calculation must be somewhat different from a non-US perspective. Given how strongly many white Americans are in favor of pro-war policies and mindless Israel worship (how many US blacks or Hispanics care about Israel or confronting Iran?), I'm not even sure nationalists in Europe should really lament the Hispanicization of the US. It might at least have a positive effect in restricting US interventionism and eroding US power. The sooner the US is unable to continue with its self-appointed role as a global redeemer nation, the better.

RadicalCenter , October 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm GMT
@Mark James

Glad you think it's "crystal clear." How about evidence?

nsa , October 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT
History repeats first as tragedy (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly white air traffic controllers), then as farce (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly afro NFL jocks). Reagan was at least an American Firster. Trumpenstein is an obvious traitorous Izzie Firster, with little concern for the so-called deplorables except to convert them into deployables at the service of his jooie sponsors. Maybe Paddy should have titled his screed "Heir to Begin, not Reagan"?
Aren Haich , October 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT
Pat Buchanan points out that " it is far more likely that a major war would do for the Trump presidency and his place in history what it did for Presidents Wilson, Truman, LBJ and George W. Bush."

As for President Trump; Let us hope that war DOES NOT BECOME "The Last Refuge Of This Scoundrel"!

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Orban has been critical of regime change wars.

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT
@German_reader

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

If only non-White votes were counted, Hillary Clinton would have been elected unanimously by the electoral college, and Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

The few reliable voices for foreign policy sanity in congress, such as Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Walter Jones, John Duncan, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash, represent overwhelmingly White, Protestant, old-stock American districts.

German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 10:39 pm GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

Maybe, but is there any data indicating many blacks in Washington DC actually voted in the Republican primaries? Why would they when most of them are a solid Democrat voting block? I'd guess Rubio got his votes from white elites in DC.
As for Puerto Rico, I didn't know they actually have primaries, seems odd given they don't vote in US presidential elections.

Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

Hillary was horrible all around, and I agree she might well have been disastrous as president given her dangerous proposals for no-fly zones in Syria, and the potential of conflict with Russia this entailed. But I'm no longer sure Trump is really better regarding foreign policy. His behaviour on the North Korea issue is irresponsible imo, and his willingness to wreck the nuclear deal with Iran at the behest of neoconservatives and Zionist donors like Sheldon Adelson is a big fat minus in my view. Sorry, but I think you guys who hoped for something different have all been (neo-)conned.

Jonathan Mason , October 13, 2017 at 11:42 pm GMT
Reagan said: My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Trump said: We will totally destroy North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies.

Reagan was a joker, Trump is a wildcard.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 1:51 am GMT
The only similarities I see between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump is that both live (lived) in a sort of la-la land, totally out of touch with reality. The only difference between them is that Reagan had sensible people around him (like Pat Buchannan) who wrote good speeches and make good decisions which he took full credit for. Trump, on the other hand delivers abbreviated, one-sentence speeches via Twitter while surrounded by mental midgets with military minds.
Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:08 am GMT
@Randal

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

but you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process.

Randal , October 14, 2017 at 7:48 am GMT
@Carroll Price

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Well, yes and no. In both cases. It really is more complicated than that.

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:18 am GMT
Reagan didn't undo Arab Israel Camp David Peace Treaty He didn't keep the Israeli side and undo the Egyptian side of the American obligation . He kept both.

Trump is dangerous malevolent anti-American and anti- anything that hurts his ego or pocket . He has malcontent displaced sycophants as inner circle supporters who want a piece in the pie denied to them by the establishment .

Here is a quote from antiwar -"In other words, it's all about the war that Trump and his still-loyal lieutenant Steve Bannon, assisted by UN ambassador Nikki Haley, have declared on the "deep state."

Also, Trump and Bannon aren't really interested in draining the foreign policy swamp in DC. They simply want to install their own cronies who will ensure that war and globalization benefit them rather than Kissinger and his ilk. It's a shell game designed to fool Trump's base, but the rest of the world has kept its eye on the ball." http://original.antiwar.com/feffer/2017/10/13/trump-signaling-unprecedented-right-turn-foreign-policy/

This war between elites have been predicted by a CT professor in an article in 2016 , to get more serious and dangerous by 2020 . The fights among elites are not new but another pathway an empire takes additionally to the final fate of the destruction from within

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:49 am GMT
@KA

"A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions."

Another visible sign of increasing intra-elite competition and political polarization is the fragmentation of political parties

cliodynamic research on past societies demonstrates that elite overproduction is by far the most important of the three main historical drivers of social instability and political violence (see Secular Cycles for this analysis).

But the other two factors in the model, popular immiseration (the stagnation and decline of living standards) and declining fiscal health of the state (resulting from falling state revenues and rising expenses) are also important contributors.

: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-social-instability-lies.html#jCp

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Ideally Europe would be strong together, without US and more sane policies on morals and immigration.

Yes v4 is connected to CC, Neocon, Zios.

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much, and being stuck between Russia and Germany which would isolate it from Europe in some ways. Obviously Poles are not uniform, views on US, Russia, Germany, Ukraine are all over the place. I wish Poland was just European (in politics) but the US-EU connection is still strong.

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm GMT
Commenting on US presidents. Presidents are puppets. All of them. Modern leaders in Western world are unlikable. Reagan at least had some balance, had some Catholic and Paleocon involvement. It wasnt all Neocons and Zios. Im quite sure Reagan (and his dad), people like Buchanan had connections to groups like Knights Malta or Knights Colombus. Cant prove it though. Kennedy was KC.

Today Neocon/Zionist influence is even stronger. Trump policies on NK and Iran are nuts. At best a war is avoided.

On the other side you have Clintons, Obamas. They would destroy the US, and have similar policies because again they are puppets. Clinton would likely be involved in Syria, just like Obama was.

German_reader , October 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
@polskijoe

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much

Yes, that's a problem, and I think Polish national conservatives are somewhat in denial about what the modern US stands for the "values" pushed by the US establishment today are incompatible with the Polish right's vision for Poland (e.g. conservative values in sexual morality – no homo-lobbyism and transgender nonsense -, strong public role of Catholicism, restrictive and selective immigration policies that keep out Muslims).

I can understand to some degree why the Polish right is so pro-US, given history and apprehensions about Germany and Russia, but they should at least be aware that alliance with the US could have a rather pernicious influence on Poland itself.

[Oct 14, 2017] The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished by Mike Whitney

Anybody who subscript of NYT, or WaPo after this fiasco is simply paying money for state propaganda.
Notable quotes:
"... Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said: "We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee. " ..."
"... Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. ..."
"... This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts -- who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security -- would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. ..."
"... The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. ..."
"... How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: "There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any." ..."
"... Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. ..."
"... Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype? ..."
"... It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war. ..."
"... If the Senate can 'assess,' so can I! I assess that Hollywood hottie Jenifer Lawrence is secretly in love with me! Although I can't prove this, all of my assessments point to this as being fact. ..."
"... This report is as bogus as the "9/11 Commission Report". Both commissions members were hand-picked by those guys that have a vested interest in the right outcome. ..."
"... In the end, Robert Mueller, an Obama/Clinton/Comey/Brennan stooge, will produce some "evidence" about so-called Russian meddling as far-fetched this may be. And the fawning media will go for it. The American public will get the report, which it deserves. ..."
"... But what is missing is that this "Russian Hacking" story was not nonsense, it worked. After Trump was elected, the establishment panicked and went into full attack mode. The headlines were screaming, thought went out the window, it looked like Trump was going to be hounded out of office by force majeure. Then Trump buckled, and shot those missiles at the Syrian air base, and we are back on track throwing away trillions of dollars on endless pointless winless foreign wars in places of zero strategic interest to us. ..."
"... Having served its purpose, the Russian 'hacking' stories are tapering off, being continued more out of momentum and habit than true focused intent. Oh sure, the corporate press still publicly despises Trump, but the intensity is gone. They are just going through the motions, it is no longer important, just political theater. ..."
"... The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished. ..."
"... The inaptly named Intelligence Community just never busts out. However much it has gotten flat out wrong and however much it has flat out missed over the years, however much its blunders and mistakes have cost us and our victims in treasure and blood, it just never busts out. There is always an excuse. The closest the Borg ever came to any gesture towards accountability was the Church committee post Watergate, ancient history, lessons purposefully buried and lost to the legions of bureaucrats blundering their way through the last 40 years. ..."
"... Good article on something everyone who is well researched and truth seeking already knows; the Russian Collusion story is a hatchet job by incompetent political hacks. The only power they USED to have is an obsessive never give up faith in the power of lying. ..."
"... So what ? Truth is no longer an issue in USA politics: Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London ..."
"... Even today there was another AP hit piece about those 201 Russian Twitter handles, and zero perspective about the kind of math that renders 201 out of 24 billion a speck of dust. You really have to depend on a dumbed down population to get them to buy this stuff. ..."
"... If all we hear are endless allusions to what are just opinions, meetings, plans, criticism, etc what is being investigated? This is literally suggesting that some in Washington and US media are not mature enough, smart enough, or sane enough to be taken seriously. How are they planning to recover the basic level of rationality after this fiasco? ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The Senate Intelligence Committee Finds No Evidence of Russian Hacking or Collusion

The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said: "We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee. "

Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. In other words, the intelligence was fixed to fit the policy. Burr of course has tried to conceal his prejudice by pointing to the number of witnesses the Committee has interviewed and the volume of work that's been produced. This is from an article at The Nation:

Since January 23, the committee and its staff have conducted more than 100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed more than 100,000 documents relevant to Russiagate. The staff, said Warner, has collectively spent a total of 57 hours per day, seven days a week, since the committee opened its inquiry, going through documents and transcripts, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing both classified and unclassified material.

It all sounds very impressive, but if the goal is merely to lend credibility to unverified assumptions, then what's the point? Let's take a look at a few excerpts from the report and see whether Burr and Warner are justified in "feeling confident" in the ICA's accuracy. From the Intelligence Community Assessment:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts -- who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security -- would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. It's also shocking that Burr and Warner think this gibberish should be taken seriously.

Here's more from the ICA:

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.

More mind-reading, more groundless speculation, more guessing what Putin thinks or doesn't think. The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. Also, it would have been better if the ICA's authors had avoided the amateur psychoanalysis and stuck to the point, Russia hacking. Dabbling in the former seriously impacts the report's credibility.

To their credit, however, Burr and Warner have questioned all of the analysts who contributed to the report. Check out this excerpt from The Nation:

"We have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice in the creation of the ICA," said Burr. "We've spent nine times the amount of time that the IC [intelligence community] spent putting the ICA together. We have reviewed all the supporting evidence that went into it and, in addition to that, the things that went on the cutting-room floor that they may not have found appropriate for the ICA, but we may have found relevant to our investigation." Burr added that the committee's review included "highly classified intelligence reporting," and they've interviewed every official in the Obama administration who had anything to do with putting it together. ("Democrats and Republicans in Congress Agree: Russia Did It", The Nation)

That's great, but where' the beef? How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: "There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any."

Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story?

Could it be that Burr's admission doesn't mesh with the media's "Russia did it" narrative so they decided to scrub the story altogether?

But it's not just collusion we're talking about here, there's also the broader issue of Russia meddling. And what was striking about the press conference is that –after all the interviews, all the testimony, and all the stacks of transcripts– the Committee has come up with nothing; no eyewitness testimony supporting the original claims, no smoking gun, no proof of domestic espionage, no evidence of Russian complicity, nothing. One big goose egg.

So here's a question for critical minded readers:

If the Senate Intelligence Committee has not found any proof that Russia hacked the 2016 elections, then why do senators' Burr and Warner still believe the ICA is reliable? It doesn't really make sense, does it? Don't they require evidence to draw their conclusions? And doesn't the burden of truth fall on the prosecution (or the investigators in this case)? Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty or doesn't that rule apply to Russia?

Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype?

Don't bet on it.

What about former UK ambassador Craig Murray, a WikiLeaks colleague, who has repeatedly admitted that he knows the source of the DNC emails. Murray hasn't been asked to testify nor has he even been contacted by the FBI on the matter. Apparently, the FBI has no interest in a credible witness who can disprove the politically-motivated theory expounded in the ICA.

Then there's 30-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern and his group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern has done extensive research on the topic and has produced solid evidence that the DNC emails were "leaked" by an insider, not "hacked" by a foreign government. McGovern's work squares with Assange and Murray's claim that Russia did not hack the 2016 elections. Has McGovern been invited to testify?

How about Skip Folden, retired IBM Program Manager and Information Technology expert, whose excellent report titled "Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge" also disproves the hacking theory, as does The Nation's Patrick Lawrence whose riveting article at The Nation titled "A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack" which thoroughly obliterates the central claims of the ICA.

Finally, there's California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and who was assured that Assange would provide hard evidence (in the form of "a computer drive or other data-storage device") that the Russians were not involved in the DNC email scandal.

Wouldn't you think that senate investigators would want to talk to a trusted colleague and credible witness like Rohrabacher who said he could produce solid proof that the scandal, that has dominated the headlines and roiled Washington for the better part of a year, was bogus?

Apparently not. Apparently Burr and his colleagues would rather avoid any witness or evidence that conflicts with their increasingly-threadbare thesis.

So what conclusions can we draw from the Committee's behavior? Are Burr and Warner really conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russia hacking or is this just a witch hunt?

It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war.

Beckow > , October 13, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT

Where is this going? At some point in the next few years there will be a 'damning' report that will regurgitate what has already been endlessly publicised: VIP's meet each other (the horror!), somehow DNC emails got published, Facebook sold ads to 'Russia-linked' users, and Pokemon Go, whatever. That will be described in sinister terms and RT will be thrown in. How dare RT not to have the same views as CNN?

But what then? Let's even say that Trump is removed – he is at this point so emasculated that keeping him in the White House is the most stabilising thing the establishment could do. Is Congress going to declare a war on Russia? Or more sanctions? Are they going to ban RT? Break diplomatic relations? None of that makes sense because any of those moves would be more costly than beneficial, some dramatically so. Therefore nothing will happen.

All that will remain is permanent bitterness towards Russia, and vice-versa. And much reduced ability to do what the West has done for 75 years: heavy interference and media campaigns inside foreign countries to influence elections. If 'meddling' is so bad, the biggest meddlers – by far – will be less able to meddle. So how is this hysteria helping?

Sanity in public life is a precious thing. Once abandoned, all kinds of strange things start happening. Yeah, Pokemon GO – Putin was personally naming the characters to 'sow division'. It sounds like something Stalin would accuse his 'cosmopolitan' enemies of doing. This is really embarrassing.

utu > , October 14, 2017 at 4:35 am GMT

Incorrect parsing of reality. It was not about getting Trump but it was about making Trump administration to severe relations with Russia. It began with having Gen. Flynn fired. This mission was accomplished. We have now worse relations with Russia than at the end of Obama administration.

Greg Bacon > , Website October 14, 2017 at 9:59 am GMT

If the Senate can 'assess,' so can I! I assess that Hollywood hottie Jenifer Lawrence is secretly in love with me! Although I can't prove this, all of my assessments point to this as being fact.

jacques sheete > , October 14, 2017 at 11:45 am GMT

@Johnny Rico

I have been convinced of the ridiculousness of the Russian-hacking/collusion narrative/scandal since it was created in 2016.

I, too, smelled a rat and figured that it was all BS right from the get go. So much so that I haven't followed it a bit. In fact it's so ridiculous on its face, that I have not and probably will not, waste time reading the article even though MW is a good guy, an unimpeachable source, a true journalist, and a fine writer.

Bless you, Mr Whitney, for having the energy to document what is no doubt a pack of lies from the usual suspects.

I stumbled on this yesterday, and it suggests, to no one's surprise, that it's always deja vu all over again. You'd think our "high IQ" masters would show a little originality once in a while, and that we, "Low IQ" as we are, would finally learn that it's all BS from the get-go.

Note the date.:

THESE books all belong to that literature of Katzenjammer which now flourishes so amazingly in the United States t hey all embody attempts to find out what is the matter with the Republic. I wish I could add that one or another of them solves the problem, or at least contributes something to its illumination , but that would be going somewhat beyond the facts.

-H.L. Mencken, Autopsy (4 Reviews), , September 1927 , pp. 123-125 – PDF

http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury-1927sep-00123

jacques sheete > , October 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm GMT

@Thorfinnsson

This makes me suspect that Mike Whitney is a censorious coward on the model of Razib Khan (thankfully expelled from unz.com) or even worse Paul Craig Roberts (who prohibits comments entirely).

While I agree with you about the latter two, and have written them off accordingly, along with Mercer, who I suspect "edits" (really, "purges" ) her comments too, I highly doubt that MW falls into the same categories as those mentioned. At least MW doesn't use the word, "insouciant" 3 or 4 times in every article!

If I am wrong and this article is simply strangely unpopular please let me know and I will apologize.

The article isn't so much unpopular as the subject is wearying. It's the same crud all over again,obviously false, and I suspect virtually everyone knows it. It's utterly boring and I give MW a lot of credit for having the persistence to even face the mindless mess, let alone think and write about it. He really is to be admired for that.

I've always thought it was a distraction as usual from other much more more important things but utu has a better take on it.

it was about making Trump administration to severe relations with Russia. It began with having Gen. Flynn fired. This mission was accomplished. We have now worse relations with Russia than at the end of Obama administration. [ed note:And Flynn is gone too.]

I think that's a "Bingo!" and I also think you better formulate an apology and plan on getting on yer knees to deliver it!

PS: I'm curious as to why you think this is of much interest at all. (Aside from utu's take.)

Michael Kenny > , October 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm GMT

We don't know who this author really is but, once again, what's interesting is that so many people are still so scared of an investigation which is supposedly producing "no evidence" (leaving aside Trump Junior's evidence, of course). If all this was a load of nonsense, why make such a fuss about it? If there's nothing to this, an "effort to support a theory", however "determined" will come up with nothing. The frantic attempts to kill off Russiagate suggest that those who are making such attempts know, or believe, that there actually is something to it which has not yet come to light. Probably something pretty dirty by the sound of it. What if some part of the US intelligence services took part in the manipulation of the election, either in collusion with the Russians or posing as Russians, and Putin can prove it? That would certainly explain the plethora of retired intelligence agents who are so assiduously defending a foreign government. If Putin really is innocent, the common sense way to prove it is to let Russiagate take its natural course.

Captain Nemo > , October 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT

Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia.

Really? Only "now"?! I thought it was pretty much clear from the beginning.

Ludwig Watzal > , Website October 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm GMT

This report is as bogus as the "9/11 Commission Report". Both commissions members were hand-picked by those guys that have a vested interest in the right outcome.

In the end, Robert Mueller, an Obama/Clinton/Comey/Brennan stooge, will produce some "evidence" about so-called Russian meddling as far-fetched this may be. And the fawning media will go for it. The American public will get the report, which it deserves.

TG > , October 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT

Indeed, well said. But what is missing is that this "Russian Hacking" story was not nonsense, it worked. After Trump was elected, the establishment panicked and went into full attack mode. The headlines were screaming, thought went out the window, it looked like Trump was going to be hounded out of office by force majeure. Then Trump buckled, and shot those missiles at the Syrian air base, and we are back on track throwing away trillions of dollars on endless pointless winless foreign wars in places of zero strategic interest to us.

Having served its purpose, the Russian 'hacking' stories are tapering off, being continued more out of momentum and habit than true focused intent. Oh sure, the corporate press still publicly despises Trump, but the intensity is gone. They are just going through the motions, it is no longer important, just political theater.

The people who came up with the Russian hacking story were not stupid. The logical weakness of the claim was never relevant. Unlike Dubya in Iraq, they got what they wanted. Mission accomplished.

Flavius > , October 14, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT

Mike – good article. The inaptly named Intelligence Community just never busts out. However much it has gotten flat out wrong and however much it has flat out missed over the years, however much its blunders and mistakes have cost us and our victims in treasure and blood, it just never busts out. There is always an excuse. The closest the Borg ever came to any gesture towards accountability was the Church committee post Watergate, ancient history, lessons purposefully buried and lost to the legions of bureaucrats blundering their way through the last 40 years.

If it can be gotten wrong, the Borg will get it wrong; it will be gotten wrong at the worst possible time; it will move on to get it wrong again. These are three things that you can absolutely count on.

Joe Hide > , October 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm GMT

Good article on something everyone who is well researched and truth seeking already knows; the Russian Collusion story is a hatchet job by incompetent political hacks. The only power they USED to have is an obsessive never give up faith in the power of lying.

jilles dykstra > , October 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

So what ? Truth is no longer an issue in USA politics: Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London

Pericles > , October 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

@Mike Whitney Russia collusion does lack credibility, but you're still doing us a great service by following the twists and turns of this beheaded snake. The details are worth reading about, even if there isn't much to argue about regarding the conclusion. So thanks for that.

Biff > , October 14, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

Even today there was another AP hit piece about those 201 Russian Twitter handles, and zero perspective about the kind of math that renders 201 out of 24 billion a speck of dust. You really have to depend on a dumbed down population to get them to buy this stuff.

Beckow > , October 14, 2017 at 7:49 pm GMT

@Michael Kenny

"If Putin really is innocent, the common sense way to prove it is to let Russiagate take its natural course."

Innocent of what? What is it exactly that Russia supposedly did? Let me list a few things that are still perfectly legal in our world (that would include US, I hope):

None of the above is either unusual or illegal. It might not look good to some people, but it is what international life has consisted for at least 200 years. If you call that 'meddling', you just might be too naive for the world as it is.

What is the 'natural course' for the investigation? If all we hear are endless allusions to what are just opinions, meetings, plans, criticism, etc what is being investigated? This is literally suggesting that some in Washington and US media are not mature enough, smart enough, or sane enough to be taken seriously. How are they planning to recover the basic level of rationality after this fiasco?

Putin named Pokemon GO characters after BLM victims to stir up racial hatreds in US. How does one answer that? Where would you even start dealing with people who are capable of this level of nonsense?

[Oct 13, 2017] Sympathy for the Corporatocracy by C. J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Biting satire...
Notable quotes:
"... The Tonight Show ..."
"... Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook. ..."
"... No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that. ..."
"... a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without ..."
"... Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'. ..."
"... A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. ..."
"... "Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Well all right, let's review what happened, or at least the official version of what happened. Not Hillary Clinton's version of what happened, which Jeffrey St. Clair so incisively skewered , but the Corporatocracy's version of what happened, which overlaps with but is even more ridiculous than Clinton's ridiculous version. To do that, we need to harken back to the peaceful Summer of 2016, (a/k/a the "Summer of Fear" ), when the United States of America was still a shiny city upon a hill whose beacon light guided freedom-loving people, the Nazis were still just a bunch of ass clowns meeting in each other's mother's garages, and Russia was, well Russia was Russia.

Back then, as I'm sure you'll recall, Western democracy, was still primarily being menaced by the lone wolf terrorists, for absolutely no conceivable reason, apart from the terrorists' fanatical desire to brutally murder all non-believers. The global Russo-Nazi Axis had not yet reared its ugly head. President Obama, who, during his tenure, had single-handedly restored America to the peaceful, prosperous, progressive paradise it had been before George W. Bush screwed it up, was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon slow jamming home the TPP . The Wall Street banks had risen from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, and were buying back all the foreclosed homes of the people they had fleeced with subprime mortgages. American workers were enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the new gig economy. Electioneering in the United States was underway, but it was early days. It was already clear that Donald Trump was literally the Second Coming of Hitler , but no one was terribly worried about him yet. The Republican Party was in a shambles. Neither Trump nor any of the other contenders had any chance of winning in November. Nor did Sanders, who had been defeated, fair and square, in the Democratic primaries, mostly because of his racist statements and crazy, quasi-Communist ideas. Basically, everything was hunky dory. Yes, it was going to be terribly sad to have to bid farewell to Obama, who had bailed out all those bankrupt Americans the Wall Street banks had taken to the cleaners, ended all of Bush and Cheney's wars, closed down Guantanamo, and just generally served as a multicultural messiah figure to affluent consumers throughout the free world, but Hope-and-Change was going to continue. The talking heads were all in agreement Hillary Clinton was going to be President, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Little did we know at the time that an epidemic of Russo-Nazism had been festering just beneath the surface of freedom-loving Western societies like some neo-fascist sebaceous cyst. Apparently, millions of theretofore more or less normal citizens throughout the West had been infected with a virulent strain of Russo-Nazi-engineered virus, because they simultaneously began exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of what we now know as White Supremacist Behavioral Disorder, or Fascist Oppositional Disorder (the folks who update the DSM are still arguing over the official name). It started with the Brexit referendum, spread to America with the election of Trump, and there have been a rash of outbreaks in Europe, like the one we're currently experiencing in Germany . These fascistic symptoms have mostly manifest as people refusing to vote as instructed, and expressing oppressive views on the Internet, but there have also been more serious crimes, including several assaults and murders perpetrated by white supremacists (which, of course, never happened when Obama was President, because the Nazis hadn't been "emboldened" yet).

Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook.

No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that.

This hypothetical leftist analysis might want to focus on how Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to Despotism, and is essentially a value-decoding machine which renders everything and everyone it touches essentially valueless interchangeable commodities whose worth is determined by market forces, rather than by societies and cultures, or religions, or other despotic systems (wherein values are established and enforced arbitrarily, by the despot, the church, or the ruling party, or by a group of people who share an affinity and decide they want to live a certain way). This is where it would get sort of tricky, because it (i.e., this hypothetical analysis) would have to delve into the history of Capitalism, and how it evolved out of medieval Despotism, and how it has been decoding despotic values for something like five hundred years. This historical delving (which would probably be too long for people to read on their phones) would demonstrate how Capitalism has been an essentially progressive force in terms of getting us out of Despotism (which, for most folks, wasn't very much fun) by fomenting bourgeois revolutions and imposing some semblance of democracy on societies. It would follow Capitalism's inexorable advance all the way up to the Twentieth Century, in which its final external ideological adversary, fake Communism, suddenly imploded, delivering us to the world we now live in a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without , and where any opposition to that global ideology can only be internal, or insurgent, in nature (e.g, terrorism, extremism, and so on). Being a hypothetical leftist analysis, it would, at this point, need to stress that, despite the fact that Capitalism helped deliver us from Despotism, and improved the state of society generally (compared to most societies that preceded it), we nonetheless would like to transcend it, or evolve out of it toward some type of society where people, and everything else, including the biosphere we live in, are not interchangeable, valueless commodities exchanged by members of a global corporatocracy who have no essential values, or beliefs, or principles, other than the worship of money. After having covered all that, we might want to offer more a nuanced view of the current neo-nationalist reaction to the Corporatocracy's ongoing efforts to restructure and privatize the rest of the planet. Not that we would support this reaction, or in any way refrain from calling neo-nationalism what it is (i.e., reactionary, despotic, and doomed), but this nuanced view we'd hypothetically offer, by analyzing the larger sociopolitical and historical forces at play, might help us to see the way forward more clearly, and who knows, maybe eventually propose some kind of credible leftist alternative to the "global neoliberalism vs. neo-nationalism" double bind we appear to be hopelessly stuck in at the moment.

Luckily, we don't have to do that (i.e., articulate such a leftist analysis of any such larger historical forces). Because there is no corporatocracy not really. That's just a fake word the Russians made up and are spreading around on the Internet to distract us while the Nazis take over. No, the logical explanation for Trump, Brexit, and anything else that threatens the expansion of global Capitalism, and the freedom, democracy, and prosperity it offers, is that millions of people across the world, all at once, for no apparent reason, woke up one day full-blown fascists and started looking around for repulsive demagogues to swear fanatical allegiance to. Yes, that makes a lot more sense than all that complicated stuff about history and hegemonic ideological systems, which is probably just Russian propaganda anyway, in which case there is absolutely no reason to read any boring year-old pieces, like this one in The European Financial Review , or this report by Corporate Watch , from way back in the year 2000, about the rise of global corporate power.

So, apologies for wasting your time with all that pseudo-Marxian gobbledygook. Let's just pretend this never happened, and get back to more important matters, like statistically proving that Donald Trump got elected President because of racism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, or some other type of behavioral disorder, and pulling down Confederate statues, or kneeling during the National Anthem, or whatever happens to be trending this week. Oh, yeah, and debating punching Nazis, or people wearing MAGA hats. We definitely need to sort all that out before we can move ahead with helping the Corporatocracy remove Trump from office, or at least ensure he remains surrounded by their loyal generals, CEOs, and Goldman Sachs guys until the next election. Whatever we do, let's not get distracted by that stuff I just distracted you with. I know, it's tempting, but, given what's at stake, we need to maintain our laser focus on issues related to identity politics, or else well, you know, the Nazis win.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

jilles dykstra, October 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

Yesterday evening on RT a USA lady, as usual forgot the name, spoke about the USA. In a matter of fact tone she said things like 'they (Deep State) have got him (Trump) in the box'.

They, Deep State again, are now wondering if they will continue to try to control the world, or if they should stop the attempt, and retreat into the USA.
Also as matter of fact she said 'the CIA has always been the instrument of Deep State, from Kenndy to Nine Eleven'.

Another statement was 'no president ever was in control'.

How USA citizens continue to believe they live in a democracy, I cannot understand.

Yesterday the intentions of the new Dutch government were made public, alas most Dutch also dot not see that the Netherlands since 2005 no longer is a democracy, just a province of Brussels.

You can fool all people .

Che Guava, October 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Jilles,

I am thinking you take the article too literally.

jacques sheete, October 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT

Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'.

No doubt many do want their country back, but what concerns me is that all of a sudden we have the concept of "independence" plastered all over the place. Such concepts don't get promoted unless the ruling elites see ways to turn those sentiments to their favor.

A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. (And everything else.)

"Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories.

Does anyone else smell a rat or two?

Anon-og , October 13, 2017 at 5:16 pm GMT

"Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook."

Very impressed with this article, never really paid attention to CJ's articles but that is now changing!

[Oct 12, 2017] Wheres the Beef The Senate Intel Committee and Russia by Mike Whitney

Neocons already poisoned the well of US-Russian cooperation. They already unleashes witch hunt in best McCarthyism traditions. What else do they want ? Why they continue to waive this dead chicken?
Notable quotes:
"... people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem: ..."
"... Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story? ..."
"... Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple. ..."
"... That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype? ..."
"... It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok. ..."
"... Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war. ..."
Oct 12, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) admitted as much in a press conference last Wednesday when he said:

We feel very confident that the ICA's accuracy is going to be supported by our committee.

Burr's statement is an example of "confirmation bias" which is the tendency to interpret information in a way that confirms one's own preexisting beliefs. In this case, Burr and his co-chair, Senator Mark Warner have already accepted the findings of a hastily slapped-together Intelligence report that was the work of "hand-picked" analysts who were likely chosen to produce conclusions that jibed with a particular political agenda. In other words, the intelligence was fixed to fit the policy. Burr of course has tried to conceal his prejudice by pointing to the number of witnesses the Committee has interviewed and the volume of work that's been produced. This is from an article at The Nation:

Since January 23, the committee and its staff have conducted more than 100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed more than 100,000 documents relevant to Russiagate. The staff, said Warner, has collectively spent a total of 57 hours per day, seven days a week, since the committee opened its inquiry, going through documents and transcripts, interviewing witnesses, and analyzing both classified and unclassified material.

It all sounds very impressive, but if the goal is merely to lend credibility to unverified assumptions, then what's the point?

Let's take a look at a few excerpts from the report and see whether Burr and Warner are justified in "feeling confident" in the ICA's accuracy.

From the Intelligence Community Assessment:

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

This is the basic claim of Russia meddling that has yet to be proved. As you can see, the charge is mixed with liberal doses of mind-reading mumbo-jumbo that reveal the authors' lack of objectivity. There's a considerable amount of speculation about Putin's motives and preferences which are based on pure conjecture. It's a bit shocking that professional analysts– who are charged with providing our leaders with rock-solid intelligence related to matters of national security– would indulge in this type of opinionated blather and psycho-babble. It's also shocking that Burr and Warner think this gibberish should be taken seriously.

Here's more from the ICA:

Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.

More mind-reading, more groundless speculation, more guessing what Putin thinks or doesn't think. The ICA reads more like the text from a morning talk show than an Intelligence report. And what is it about this report that Burr finds so persuasive? It's beyond me. The report's greatest strength seems to be that no one has ever read it. If they had, they'd realize that it's nonsense. Also, it would have been better if the ICA's authors had avoided the amateur psychoanalysis and stuck to the point, Russia hacking. Dabbling in the former seriously impacts the report's credibility.

To their credit, however, Burr and Warner have questioned all of the analysts who contributed to the report. Check out this excerpt from The Nation:

"We have interviewed everybody who had a hand or a voice in the creation of the ICA," said Burr. "We've spent nine times the amount of time that the IC [intelligence community] spent putting the ICA together. We have reviewed all the supporting evidence that went into it and, in addition to that, the things that went on the cutting-room floor that they may not have found appropriate for the ICA, but we may have found relevant to our investigation." Burr added that the committee's review included "highly classified intelligence reporting," and they've interviewed every official in the Obama administration who had anything to do with putting it together. ("Democrats and Republicans in Congress Agree: Russia Did It", The Nation)

That's great, but where' the beef? How can the committee conduct "100 interviews, comprising 250 hours of testimony and resulting in 4,000 pages of transcripts" without producing a shred of evidence that Russia meddled in the elections? How is that possible? The Committee's job is to prove its case not to merely pour over the minutia related to the investigation. No one really cares how many people testified or how much paperwork was involved. What people want is proof that Russia interfered with the elections or that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. That's the whole point of this exercise. And, on the collusion matter, at least we have something new to report. In a rare moment of candor, Burr blurted out this gem:

"There are concerns that we continue to pursue. Collusion? The committee continues to look into all evidence to see if there was any hint of collusion. Now, I'm not going to even discuss any initial findings because we haven't any."

Think about that. After "100 interviews, 250 hours of testimony, and 4000 transcript pages" there's not the slightest hint of collusion. It's mindboggling. Why isn't this front page news? Why haven't the New York Times or Washington Post run this in their headlines, after all, they've hyped every other part of this story?

Could it be that Burr's admission doesn't mesh with the media's "Russia did it" narrative so they decided to scrub the story altogether?

But it's not just collusion we're talking about here, there's also the broader issue of Russia meddling. And what was striking about the press conference is that –after all the interviews, all the testimony, and all the stacks of transcripts– the Committee has come up with nothing; no eyewitness testimony supporting the original claims, no smoking gun, no proof of domestic espionage, no evidence of Russian complicity, nothing. One big goose egg.

So here's a question for critical minded readers:

If the Senate Intelligence Committee has not found any proof that Russia hacked the 2016 elections, then why do senators' Burr and Warner still believe the ICA is reliable? It doesn't really make sense, does it? Don't they require evidence to draw their conclusions? And doesn't the burden of truth fall on the prosecution (or the investigators in this case)? Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty or doesn't that rule apply to Russia?

Let's cut to the chase: The committee is not getting to the bottom of the Russia hacking matter, because they don't want to get to the bottom of it. It's that simple.

That's why they have excluded any witnesses that may upset their preconceived theory of what happened. Why, for example, would the committee chose to interview former CIA Director John Brennan rather than WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange? Brennan not only helped select the hand-picked analysts who authored the ICA, he also clearly has an animus towards Russia due to his frustrated attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad which was thwarted by Putin. In other words, Brennan has a motive to mislead the Committee. He's biased. He has an ax to grind. In contrast, Assange has firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired with the DNC emails because he was the recipient of those emails. Has Assange been contacted by the Committee or asked to testify via Skype?

Don't bet on it.

What about former UK ambassador Craig Murray, a WikiLeaks colleague, who has repeatedly admitted that he knows the source of the DNC emails. Murray hasn't been asked to testify nor has he even been contacted by the FBI on the matter. Apparently, the FBI has no interest in a credible witness who can disprove the politically-motivated theory expounded in the ICA.

Then there's 30-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern and his group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern has done extensive research on the topic and has produced solid evidence that the DNC emails were "leaked" by an insider, not "hacked" by a foreign government. McGovern's work squares with Assange and Murray's claim that Russia did not hack the 2016 elections. Has McGovern been invited to testify?

How about Skip Folden, retired IBM Program Manager and Information Technology expert, whose excellent report titled "Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge" also disproves the hacking theory, as does The Nation's Patrick Lawrence whose riveting article at The Nation titled "A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year's DNC Hack" which thoroughly obliterates the central claims of the ICA.

Finally, there's California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who met with Assange in August at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and who was assured that Assange would provide hard evidence (in the form of "a computer drive or other data-storage device") that the Russians were not involved in the DNC email scandal.

Wouldn't you think that senate investigators would want to talk to a trusted colleague and credible witness like Rohrabacher who said he could produce solid proof that the scandal, that has dominated the headlines and roiled Washington for the better part of a year, was bogus?

Apparently not. Apparently Burr and his colleagues would rather avoid any witness or evidence that conflicts with their increasingly-threadbare thesis.

So what conclusions can we draw from the Committee's behavior? Are Burr and Warner really conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russia hacking or is this just a witch hunt?

It should be obvious by now that the real intention of the briefing was not to provide the public with more information, facts or evidence of Russian hacking, but to use the prestigious setting as a platform for disseminating more disinformation aimed at vilifying an emerging rival (Russia) that has blocked Washington's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and threatens to unite the most populous and prosperous region in the world (Eurasia) into one massive free trade zone spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

Reasonable people must now consider the possibility that the Russia hacking narrative is an Information Operation (IO) devoid of any real substance which is designed to poison the publics perception of Russia. It is a domestic propaganda campaign that fits perfectly with the "Full Spectrum Dominance" theory of weaponizing media in a way that best achieves one's geopolitical objectives. The American people are again being manipulated so that powerful elites can lead the country to war.

[Oct 11, 2017] US pseudo left does not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

polistra, Website October 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm GMT

Hedges doesn't seem to understand that the "Resistance" is openly and obviously working FOR Deepstate. They do not resist wars and globalism and monopolistic corporations. They resist everyone who questions the war. They resist nationalism and localism.

Nothing mysterious or hidden about this, no ulterior motive or bankshot. It's explicitly stated in every poster and shout and beating.

[Oct 11, 2017] Russia witch hunt is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working class

Highly recommended!
Chris Hedges, who is doubtless a courageous journalist and an intelligent commentator, suggests that if we are to discuss the anti-Russia campaign realistically, as baseless in fact, and as contrived for an effect and to further/protect some particular interests, we can hardly avoid the question: Who or what interest is served by the anti-Russia campaign?
An interesting observation "The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out."
The other relevant observation is that there is no American left. It was destroyed as a political movement. The USA is a right wing country.
Notable quotes:
"... This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. ..."
"... It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country. ..."
"... The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions. ..."
"... Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. ..."
"... The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater. ..."
"... These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes. ..."
"... The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced. ..."
"... The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left." ..."
"... Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease. ..."
"... For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch. ..."
"... The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down. ..."
"... The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. ..."
"... The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison! ..."
"... Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The elites "have no credibility left" by Chris Hedges

But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It's really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn't make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.

This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.

Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.

The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.

Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.

... ... ...

DN: Let's come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?

CH: The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice," has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.

I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can't go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.

The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.

DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.

CH: It's not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA. The CIA wasn't buying the "weapons of mass destruction" hysteria.

DN: It goes the other way too?

CH: Sure. Because if you're trying to have access to a senior official, you'll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it's usually because they have something to sell you.

DN: The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left."

CH: Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.

If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.

The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.

I've battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they're kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

So Trump's not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. The New York Times , if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it -- as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

[Oct 09, 2017] After Nine Months, Only Stale Crumbs in Russia Inquiry by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
US Congress allowed to drag itself into this propaganda swamp by politized Intelligence community, which became a major political player, that can dictate Congress what to do and what not to do. Now it is not that easy to get out of this "intelligence swamp"
Notable quotes:
"... The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from. ..."
"... This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts ..."
"... iven the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence. ..."
"... It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. ..."
"... One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard. ..."
"... purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level." ..."
"... No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs. ..."
"... the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy. ..."
"... There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall"). ..."
"... These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it. ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The 'briefing' is just another exercise in preferred narrative boosting.

The co-chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a press briefing Thursday on the status of their ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process. Content-wise, the press briefing and the question and answer session were an exercise in information futility -- they provided little substance and nothing new. The investigation was still ongoing, the senators explained, and there was still work to be done.

Nine months into the Committee's work, the best Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), could offer was that there was "general consensus" among committee members and their staff that they trust the findings of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of January 2017, which gave high confidence to the charge that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The issue of possible collusion between Russia and members of the campaign of Donald Trump, however, "is still open."

Frankly speaking, this isn't good enough.

The 2017 ICA on Russia was conceived in an atmosphere of despair and denial, birthed by Democrats and Republicans alike who were stunned by Trump's surprise electoral victory in November 2016. To say that this issue was a political event would be a gross understatement; the 2017 Russian ICA will go down in history as one of the most politicized intelligence documents ever, regardless of the degree of accuracy eventually afforded its contents. The very fact that the document is given the sobriquet "Intelligence Community" is itself a political act, designed to impart a degree of scrutiny and community consensus that simply did not exist when it came to the production of that document, or the classified reports that it was derived from.

This was a report prepared by handpicked analysts from three of the Intelligence Community's sixteen agencies (the CIA, NSA, and FBI) who operated outside of the National Intelligence Council (the venue for the production of Intelligence Community products such as the Russian ICA), and void of the direction and supervision of a dedicated National Intelligence Officer. Overcoming this deficient family tree represents a high hurdle, even before the issue of the credibility of the sources and methods used to underpin the ICA's findings are discussed. Given the firestorm of political intrigue and controversy initiated by the publication of this document, the notion of a "general consensus" regarding the level of trust imparted to it by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee does not engender confidence.

It was this document that spawned the issue of "collusion." While Sens. Burr and Warner can state that "collusion" is still an open issue, the fact of the matter is that, in this regard, Trump and his campaign advisors have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion, especially among those members of the public and the media who were vehemently opposed to his candidacy and ultimate victory. Insofar as the committee's investigation serves as a legitimate search for truth, it does so as a post-conviction appeal. However, as the distinguished Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna noted in his opinion in Berger v. United States (1921):

The remedy by appeal is inadequate. It comes after the trial, and, if prejudice exist, it has worked its evil and a judgment of it in a reviewing tribunal is precarious. It goes there fortified by presumptions, and nothing can be more elusive of estimate or decision than a disposition of a mind in which there is a personal ingredient.

One need only review the comments of the various Democratic members of the Senate Select Committee, their counterparts serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the various experts and pundits in the media, to underscore the degree to which prejudice has "worked its evil" when it comes to the issue of collusion and the Trump campaign in this regard.

The two senators proceeded to touch on a new angle recently introduced into their investigation, that of the purchase of advertisements on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, by the Russians or their proxies. With regard to these advertisements, Senator Burr painted a dire picture. "It seems," he declared, "that the overall theme of the Russian involvement in the US elections was to create chaos at every level."

No one wants to be told that they have been victims of a con; this is especially true when dealing with the sacred trust imparted to the American citizenry by the Constitution of the United States regarding the free and fair election of those who will represent us in higher office. American politics, for better or worse, is about the personal connection a given candidate has with the voter, a gut feeling that this person shares common values and beliefs.

Nevertheless, the percentage of Americans that participate in national elections is low. Those that do tend to be people who care enough about one or more issues to actually get out and vote. To categorize these dedicated citizens as brain-dead dupes who are susceptible to social media-based click advertisements is an insult to American democracy.

There is a world of difference between Russian intelligence services allegedly hacking politically sensitive emails and selectively releasing them for the sole purpose of undermining a given Presidential candidate's electoral prospects, and mimicking social media-based advertisements addressing issues that are already at play in an election. The Russians didn't invent the ongoing debate in the United States over gun control (i.e., the "Second Amendment" issue), race relations (the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) or immigration ("The Wall").

These were, and remain, core issues that are at the heart of the American domestic political discourse, regardless of where one stands. You either know the issues, or you don't; it is an insult to the American voter to suggest that they are so malleable that $100,000 of targeted social media-based advertisements can swing their vote, even if 10 million of them viewed it.

The take away from the press briefing given by Senator's Burr and Warner was two-fold: One, the Russians meddled, and two, we don't know if Trump colluded with the Russians. The fact that America is nine months into this investigation with little more to show now than what could have been said at the start is, in and of itself, an American political tragedy. The Trump administration has been hobbled by the inertia of this and other investigations derived from the question of Russian meddling. That this process may yet vindicate President Trump isn't justification for the process itself; in such a case the delay will have hurt more than the truth. As William Penn, the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, so eloquently noted:

Delays have been more injurious than direct Injustice. They too often starve those they dare not deny. The very Winner is made a Loser, because he pays twice for his own; like those who purchase Estates Mortgaged before to the full value.

Our law says that to delay Justice is Injustice. Not to have a Right, and not to come of it, differs little. Refuse or Dispatch is the Duty of a Good Officer.

Senators Burr and Warner, together with their fellow members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and their respective staffs, would do well to heed those words.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of "Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War" (Clarity Press, 2017).

[Oct 08, 2017] Todays Republicans Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. We ought to just call them what they really all are -- Neocons.

Notable quotes:
"... I'd like to see this: President Rand Paul, VP Tulsi Gabbard, chief of staff Ron Paul, and Sec. of Defense Wesley Clark, for starters. ..."
"... "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | steemit.com

steemihal last month

People need to learn, relearn, and talk to others about this. Let's admit it: today's Republicans & Democrats are just two sides of the same coin. We ought to just call them what they really all are -- "Neocons."

Both sides need to be replaced by truly independent voters giving strength to an administration that is neither R nor D, and that should be the Libertarians. Trump is not one, but he's going to end up making the way for them during his four years.

I'd like to see this: President Rand Paul, VP Tulsi Gabbard, chief of staff Ron Paul, and Sec. of Defense Wesley Clark, for starters.

cve3 2 months ago

It was either Mark Twain or Samuel Clemens who said "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."

[Oct 03, 2017] Russian Ads On Facebook A Click-Bait Campaign

Highly recommended!
This is particular dirty campaign to implicate Trump and delegitimize his victory is a part of color revolution against Trump.
The other noble purpose is to find a scapegoat for the current problems, especially in Democratic Party, and to preserve Clinton neoliberals rule over the party for a few more futile years.
Notable quotes:
"... Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump. ..."
"... The mini-ads were bought to promote click-bait pages and sites. These pages and sites were created and then promoted to sell further advertisement. The media though, has still not understood the issue. ..."
"... A few thousand users will come and look at a page. Some will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant against LGBT and further spread the page. Some will click the promoted Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can automatize, rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scale-able and parts of it can be automatized. ..."
"... This is, in essence, the same business model traditional media publishers use. One creates "news" and controversies to attract readers. The attention of the readers is then sold to advertisers. The business is no longer a limited to a few rich oligarchic. One no longer needs reporters or a printing press to join in. Anyone can now take part in it. ..."
"... We learned after the election that some youths in Macedonia created whole "news"-websites filled with highly attractive but fake partisan stories. They were not interested in the veracity or political direction of their content. Their only interest was to attract viewers. They made thousands of dollars by selling advertisements on their sites: ..."
"... The teen said his monthly revenue was in the four figures, a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly pay is 360 euros ($383). As he navigated his site's statistics, he dropped nuggets of journalism advice. ..."
"... After the mystery of "Russian" $3 ads for "adorable puppies" pages on Facebook has been solved, Congress and the New York Times will have to move on. There next subject is probably the "Russian influence campaign" on Youtube. ..."
"... Russian Car Crash Compilations have for years attracted millions of viewers. The "Russians" want to increase road rage on U.S. highways. This again will - according to expert Clinton Watts - "amplify divisive political issues across the political spectrum". ..."
"... "Russian interference" in Western faux democracies is just more Fake News that distracts from the real issues. And all those real issues come down to this: the need to reign in the oligarchs. This is very easy to do via progressive taxation (with no loopholes). ..."
"... The two words that the establishment fears most: Progressive Taxation . ..."
"... Great article. I especially like the tactful way that modern clickbait farming is obliquely tied to the MSM business model. Facebook and Google have a lot to answer for. ..."
"... Russia gate, since it is unnecessarily mentally exhausting and intellectually futile, it is namely pure provocation and as such it should be ignored and not proliferated even in its criticism making a fakes news a real news by sole fact of mentioning it on the respectable independent sites. ..."
"... The whole digital media and ad business that have built the Google and Facebook media juggernauts is all a giant scam. Smart advertisers like P&G are recognizing it for what it is and will slowly pullback. It is only a matter of time before others catch on and these companies will bleed ad revenues. ..."
Oct 03, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump.

It now turns out that these Facebook ads had nothing to do with the election. The mini-ads were bought to promote click-bait pages and sites. These pages and sites were created and then promoted to sell further advertisement. The media though, has still not understood the issue.

On September 6 the NYT asserted :

Providing new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.
...
The disclosure adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the Russian influence campaign, which American intelligence agencies concluded was designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the election.

Like any Congress investigation the current one concerned with Facebook ads is leaking like a sieve. What oozes out makes little sense.

If "Russia" aimed to make Congress and U.S. media a laughing stock it surely achieved that.

Today the NYT says that the ads were posted "in disguise" by "the Russians" to promote variously themed Facebook pages:

There was "Defend the 2nd," a Facebook page for gun-rights supporters, festooned with firearms and tough rhetoric. There was a rainbow-hued page for gay rights activists, "LGBT United." There was even a Facebook group for animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies that spread across the site with the help of paid ads

No one has explained how these pages are supposed to be connected to a Russian "influence" campaign. It is unexplained how these are supposed to connected to the 2016 election. That is simply asserted because Facebook said, for unknown reasons, that these ads may have come from some Russian agency. How Facebook has determined that is not known.

With each detail that leaks from the "Russian ads" investigation the propaganda framework of "election manipulation" falls further apart:

Late Monday, Facebook said in a post that about 10 million people had seen the ads in question. About 44 percent of the ads were seen before the 2016 election and the rest after, the company said

The original story propagandized that "Russia" intended to influence the election in favor of Trump. But why then was the majority of the ads in questions run later after November 9? And how would an animal-lovers page with adorable puppy pictures help to achieve Trumps election victory?

More details via the Wall Street Journal:

Roughly 25% of the ads were never shown to anyone. That's because advertising auctions are designed so that ads reach people based on relevance, and certain ads may not reach anyone as a result.
...
For 50% of the ads, less than $3 was spent; for 99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.

Of the 3,000 ads Facebook originally claimed were "Russian" only 2,200 were ever viewed. Most of the advertisements were mini-ads which, for the price of a coffee, promoted private pages related to hobbies and a wide spectrum of controversial issues. The majority of the ads ran after the election.

All that "adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the Russian influence campaign ... designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the election"?

No.

But the NYT still finds "experts" who believe in the "Russian influence" nonsense and find the most stupid reasons to justify their claims:

Clinton Watts, a former F.B.I. agent now at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, said Russia had been entrepreneurial in trying to develop diverse channels of influence. Some, like the dogs page, may have been created without a specific goal and held in reserve for future use.

Puppy pictures for "future use"? Nonsense. Lunacy! The pages described and the ads leading to them are typical click-bait, not a political influence op.

The for-profit scheme runs as follows: One builds pages with "hot" stuff that attracts lots of viewers. One creates ad-space on these pages and fills it with Google ads. One promotes the spiked pages by buying $3 Facebook mini-ads for them.

A few thousand users will come and look at a page. Some will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant against LGBT and further spread the page. Some will click the promoted Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can automatize, rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scale-able and parts of it can be automatized.

This is, in essence, the same business model traditional media publishers use. One creates "news" and controversies to attract readers. The attention of the readers is then sold to advertisers. The business is no longer a limited to a few rich oligarchic. One no longer needs reporters or a printing press to join in. Anyone can now take part in it.

We learned after the election that some youths in Macedonia created whole "news"-websites filled with highly attractive but fake partisan stories. They were not interested in the veracity or political direction of their content. Their only interest was to attract viewers. They made thousands of dollars by selling advertisements on their sites:

The teen said his monthly revenue was in the four figures, a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly pay is 360 euros ($383). As he navigated his site's statistics, he dropped nuggets of journalism advice.

"You have to write what people want to see, not what you want to show," he said, scrolling through The Political Insider's stories as a large banner read "ARREST HILLARY NOW."

The 3,000 Facebook ads Congress is investigating are part of a similar scheme. The mini-ads promoted pages with hot button issues and click-bait puppy pictures. These pages were themselves created to generate ad-clicks and revenue. As Facebook claims that "Russia" is behind them, we will likely find some Russian teens who simply repeated the scheme their Macedonian friends were running on.

With its "Russian influence" scare campaign the NYT follows the same business model. It is producing fake news which attracts viewers and readers who's attention is then sold to advertisers. Facebook is also profiting from this. Its current piecemeal release of vague information keeps its name in the news.

After the mystery of "Russian" $3 ads for "adorable puppies" pages on Facebook has been solved, Congress and the New York Times will have to move on. There next subject is probably the "Russian influence campaign" on Youtube.

Russian Car Crash Compilations have for years attracted millions of viewers. The "Russians" want to increase road rage on U.S. highways. This again will - according to expert Clinton Watts - "amplify divisive political issues across the political spectrum".

The car crash compilations, like the puppy pages, are another sign that Russia is waging war against the people of the United States!

You don't believe that? You should. Trust your experienced politician!

Samantha Power @SamanthaJPower - 3:45 PM - 3 Oct 2017

This gets more chilling daily : now we learn Russia targeted Americans on Facebook by "demographics, geography, gender & interests," across websites & devices, reached millions, kept going after Nov. An attack on all Americans, not just HRC campaign washingtonpost.com/business/econo

It indeed gets more chilling. It's fall. It also generates ad revenue.

Posted by b on October 3, 2017 at 02:09 PM | Permalink

nmb | Oct 3, 2017 2:20:52 PM | 1

As Shock Therapy failed miserably in the 90s, the neocon dynasty seeks now direct confrontation with Russia
Jackrabbit | Oct 3, 2017 2:32:24 PM | 2
"Russian interference" in Western faux democracies is just more Fake News that distracts from the real issues. And all those real issues come down to this: the need to reign in the oligarchs. This is very easy to do via progressive taxation (with no loopholes).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The two words that the establishment fears most: Progressive Taxation .

Taxi | Oct 3, 2017 2:32:34 PM | 3
Oh dear intrepidus, why are you still talking about MSM's favorite weapon of mass distraction?

Even though you make a fine point or two, at this stage, you're actually adding to the whirling stupidity by indulging it it yourself, methinks.

I'm so very, very over Russiagate and it's non-existent tentacles. Pfft!

Grieved | Oct 3, 2017 2:49:24 PM | 4
Thanks, b.

You're presenting a very good concept/meme to understand: Fake news is click bait for gain.

The same can be said for any sensationalism or shocking event - like the Kurdish referendum, like the Catalonia referendum, like the Vegas shooting - or like confrontational or dogmatic comments in threads about those events.

Everywhere we turn someone is trying to game us for some kind of gain. What matters is to step back from the front lines where our sense is accosted and offended, to step back from the automatic reflex, and to remember that someone triggered that reflex, deliberately, for their gain, not ours.

We have to reside in reason and equanimity, because the moment we indulge in our righteous anger or our strong convictions, the odds are extremely good that someone is playing us.

It's a wicked world, but in fact we live in an age when we can see its meta characteristics like never before.

Anon | Oct 3, 2017 2:49:39 PM | 5
Jesus Christ, every friggin day we hear about Russians and then the next the lies falls apart, STILL the stupid dumb liberal media keep coming up with new conspiracies spread them as fact, and then try justify them even when they get debunked!
These people are indeed lunatic.

What we see is the biggest psyop., propaganda disinformation campaig ever in the western media, far more powerful than "nuclear Iraq" of 2003.
Still, and this should be a warning, majority of people in EU/US believe this nonsense.

the pair | Oct 3, 2017 3:07:19 PM | 6
$3 ads on facebook seen by nobody:

"russian meddling! their puppies hate our freedom!"

pharmaceutical ads on every evening news show and boeing/lockheed sponsoring the "p"bs news hour?"

"nothing to see here! take off your tin foil hat you f_cking alex jones putinbot!!!!"

you'd think by now most americans would realize the actual threat is other americans. the rest of the world realized it long ago.

sejomoje | Oct 3, 2017 3:08:47 PM | 7
I lol'd. But seriously the next step is a false flag implicating Russia. They're getting nowhere assassinating Russian diplomats and shooting down Russian aircraft, both military and civilian. Even overthrowing governments who are Russia-friendly hasn't seem to provoke a response.

But I consider the domestic Russia buzz to be performance art, and I imagine it's become even grating to some of its participants. How could it not be, unless everyone is heavily medicated(a lot certainly are)? Anyway it's by design that the western media and the political classes they serve need a script, they're incapable of discussing actual issues. Independence has been made quaint.

karlof1 | Oct 3, 2017 3:10:42 PM | 8
Hi Grieved--

I posted this link at the Vegas thread, but the item's contents are valid here too, and speaks to the content of your above comment, https://sputniknews.com/viral/201710031057912410-google-facebook-youtube-vegas-fake-news/

somebody | Oct 3, 2017 3:11:44 PM | 9
The line between politics and product marketing has gone.

But no matter if "the Russians" influenced the US election or not - after all that is what most countries do to each other - the FBI is correct that to be able to target audiences according to demographics and individual traits is a powerful tool.

Like the double hoax of " The War of Worlds broadcast ".

The newspapers had a clear agenda. An editorial in The New York Times, headlined In the Terror by Radio, was used to censure the relatively new medium of radio, which was becoming a serious competitor in providing news and advertising. "Radio is new but it has adult responsibilities. It has not mastered itself or the material it uses," said the editorial leader comment on November 1 1938. In an excellent piece in Slate magazine in 2013, Jefferson Pooley (associate professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College) and Michael J Socolow (associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine) looked at the continuing popularity of the myth of mass panic and they took to task NPR's Radiolab programme about the incident and the Radiolab assertion that "The United States experienced a kind of mass hysteria that we've never seen before." Pooley and Socolow wrote: "How did the story of panicked listeners begin? Blame America's newspapers. ... AND IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA TO COPY ORSON WELLES . . . In February 1949, Leonardo Paez and Eduardo Alcaraz produced a Spanish-language version of Welles's 1938 script for Radio Quito in Ecuador. The broadcast set off panic. Quito police and fire brigades rushed out of town to fight the supposed alien invasion force. After it was revealed that the broadcast was fiction, the panic transformed into a riot. The riot resulted in at least seven deaths, including those of Paez's girlfriend and nephew. The offices Radio Quito, and El Comercio, a local newspaper that had participated in the hoax by publishing false reports of unidentified flying objects in the days preceding the broadcast, were both burned to the ground.
ashley albanese | Oct 3, 2017 3:13:06 PM | 10
Jackrabbit 2
No - the two words the Capital system fears the most are SURPLUS VALUE , the control of the 'profit principle' for social not private ends .
Lea | Oct 3, 2017 3:42:35 PM | 11
Jesus Christ, every friggin day we hear about Russians and then the next the lies falls apart, STILL the stupid dumb liberal media keep coming up with new conspiracies spread them as fact, and then try justify them even when they get debunked!
These people are indeed lunatic.

The "Russiadunnit" thingy has turned into a business in the US. And when a new market is launched in the US, as people depend on it for their living and careers, it generally doesn't go away.
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/28/the-slimy-business-of-russia-gate/

OJS | Oct 3, 2017 3:45:59 PM | 12
god bless amerika

somebody | Oct 3, 2017 3:11:44 PM | 9
The American panic was a myth, the Equadorian panic in 1949 not so much. I listened to this Radiolab podcast about same ... the details of how they pulled it off in a one-radio station country pre-internet are interesting and valuable (they widely advertised a very popular music program which was then "interrupted" by the hoax to ensure near-universal audience (including the police and other authorities). Very very fews were "in on the joke" and it wasn't a joke. whole page on WooW: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91622-war-of-the-worlds/

specific could it happen again? http://www.radiolab.org/story/91624-could-it-happen-again-and-again/

c1ue | Oct 3, 2017 3:58:38 PM | 14
Great article. I especially like the tactful way that modern clickbait farming is obliquely tied to the MSM business model. Facebook and Google have a lot to answer for.
Christian Chuba | Oct 3, 2017 3:58:49 PM | 15
Russian Trolls outed as kids from Oregon: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/taibbi-latest-fake-news-panic-appears-to-be-fake-news-w506396
"Lankford shocked the world this week by revealing that "Russian Internet trolls" were stoking the NFL kneeling debate. ... Conservative outlets like Breitbart and Newsmax and Fox played up the "Russians stoked the kneeling controversy" angle because it was in their interest to suggest that domestic support for kneeling protests is less than what it appears....

The Post reported that Lankford's office had cited one of "Boston Antifa's" tweets. But the example offered read suspiciously like a young net-savvy American goofing on antifa stereotypes "More gender inclusivity with NFL fans and gluten free options at stadiums We're liking the new NFL #NewNFL #TakeAKnee #TakeTheKnee." ...

The group was most likely a pair of yahoos from Oregon named Alexis Esteb and Brandon Krebs. "

Christian Chuba | Oct 3, 2017 4:00:46 PM | 16
Pity Rolling Stone got caught up in that fake college rape allegation, they have actually done some solid reporting. Every MSM outlet has had multiple fake stories, so should RS be shunned for life for one bad story?
Kalen | Oct 3, 2017 4:03:18 PM | 17
It is time that sane part of independent media understood that there is no more need to rationally respond to psychotic delusions of Deep State puppets in Russia gate, since it is unnecessarily mentally exhausting and intellectually futile, it is namely pure provocation and as such it should be ignored and not proliferated even in its criticism making a fakes news a real news by sole fact of mentioning it on the respectable independent sites.

There are only two effective responses to provocation namely silence or violence, anything else plays the book of provocateurs.

Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 4:13:28 PM | 18
Now they're seriously undermining their claims of intentionality ... as well as their wildly inflated claims effect on outcome or even effective "undermining" ... again, compared to Citizens United and the long-count of 2000 ... negligible....

And still insisting that Hillary Clinton is Russia's Darth Vader against whom unlimited resources are marshalled because she must be stopped ... even though she damn near won... and the reasons she lost seems unrelated to such vagaries as the DNC e-mails or facebook campaigns (unless you believe she had a god-given right to each and every vote)

Don Bacon | Oct 3, 2017 4:13:47 PM | 19

Lucky for us that television "news" doesn't use this business model. /s
Pnyx | Oct 3, 2017 5:02:54 PM | 20
Why do you think this is important enough to make the effort to write another blog entry B? Everyone who wants to know that this is all fantasy knows by now.
Mina | Oct 3, 2017 5:05:12 PM | 21
https://mobile.twitter.com/dgaytandzhieva/status/913545591757697024
brian | Oct 3, 2017 5:09:39 PM | 22
'Congress is investigating 3,000 suspicious ads which were run on Facebook. These were claimed to have been bought by "Russia" to influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Trump.

This is the same US congress that regularly marches off to Israel to receive orders

https://www.amazon.com/They-Dare-Speak-Out-Institutions/dp/155652482X

those who dont obey orders: http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/how-i-got-fired/

Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 5:36:59 PM | 23
@ Posted by: Pnyx | Oct 3, 2017 5:02:54 PM | 20

This isn't about the "truth" (or lies) wrt Russian involvement, it's about the increasingly rapid failure of the Government/Establishment's narrative ...

Increasingly they can't even keep their accusations "alive" for more than a few days ... and some of their accusations (like the one here, that some "Russian" sites were created and not used, but to be held for use at some future date) become fairly ridiculous ... and the "remedy" to "Russians" creating clickbait sites for some future nefarious use, I think can only be banning all Russians from creating sites ... or maybe using facebook altogether ... all with no evidence of evil-doers actually doing evil...

It's rather like Jared Kushner's now THIRD previously undisclosed private e-mail account ... fool me once versus how disorganized/dumb/arrogant/crooked is this guy?

Lochearn | Oct 3, 2017 6:43:01 PM | 24
Sorry to be off topic but yesterday the Saker of the Vineyard published a couple of articles about Catalonia. The first was a diatribe, a nasty hatchet job on the Catalan people which included the following referring to the Catalan people:

"The Problems they have because with their corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, inability and sometimes the simplest stupidity, are always the fault of others (read Spaniards here) which gives them "carte blanche" to keep going on with it."

"... They (the independistas) are NATIONAL SOCIALIST (aka NAZI) in their Ideology"

Then Saker published an article by Peter Koenig that was reasonable and what we have come to expect. Then he forbade all comments on either of the two articles. My comment was banned, which simply said in my opinion from working for fourteen years in Spain that the Catalans were extremely efficient in comparison with their Madrid counterparts.

ToivoS | Oct 3, 2017 7:32:04 PM | 25
I must admit that I became a fan of watching those Russian car crashes that were captured by the cams many russian drivers keep on their dash boards. Some of these were very funny. I was not aware that made me a victim of Putin propaganda. In any case, they are not that interesting anymore once they were commercialized. That was about 10 years ago.
Susan Sunflower | Oct 3, 2017 7:43:29 PM | 26
I'm waiting for the expose of the Russian mail-order bride business (Do they still exist?)
ab initio | Oct 3, 2017 8:29:04 PM | 27
Very good analysis.

The whole digital media and ad business that have built the Google and Facebook media juggernauts is all a giant scam. Smart advertisers like P&G are recognizing it for what it is and will slowly pullback. It is only a matter of time before others catch on and these companies will bleed ad revenues.

ben | Oct 3, 2017 8:30:46 PM | 28
Jackrabbit @ 2: Yep!!

And here is another part to the puzzle:

http://therealnews.com/t2/story:19516:Empire-Files%3A-The-Hidden-Purging-of-Millions-of-Voters

Chipnik | Oct 3, 2017 8:42:54 PM | 29
Your answer can be found ...right ...here:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/yc7kskox
james | Oct 3, 2017 8:44:05 PM | 30
OT - more from comedy central - daily USA press briefing from today...

"QUESTION: On Iran, would you and the State Department say, as Secretary Mattis said today, that staying in the JCPOA would be in the U.S. national interest?

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is this a position you share?

MS NAUERT: So I'm certainly familiar with what Secretary Mattis said on Capitol Hill today. Secretary Mattis, of course, one of many people who is providing expertise and counsel to the President on the issue of Iran and the JCPOA. The President is getting lots of information on that. We have about 12 days or so, I think, to make our determination for the next JCPOA guideline.

The administration looks at JCPOA as – the fault in the JCPOA as not looking at the totality of Iran's bad behavior. Secretary Tillerson talked about that at length at the UN General Assembly. So did the President as well. We know that Iran is responsible for terror attacks. We know that Iran arms the Houthi rebels in Yemen, which leads to a more miserable failed state, awful situation in Yemen, for example. We know what they're doing in Syria. Where you find the Iranian Government, you can often find terrible things happening in the world. This administration is very clear about highlighting that and will look at Iran in sort of its totality of all of its bad behaviors, not just the nuclear deal.

I don't want to get ahead of the discussions that are ongoing with this – within the administration, as it pertains to Iran. The President has said he's made he's decision, and so I don't want to speak on behalf of the President, and he'll just have to make that determination when he's ready to do so."

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2017/10/274592.htm

[Oct 01, 2017] Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here by Cornel West

Notable quotes:
"... The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness. ..."
"... This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. ..."
"... In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome! ..."
"... The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang ..."
"... The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised. ..."
"... if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial! ..."
"... The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad. ..."
"... Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back. ..."
"... He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did. ..."
"... Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

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.

The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties.

Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one Liza Featherstone By banking on the idea that women would support Hillary Clinton just because she was a female candidate, the movement made a terrible mistake Read more

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Rightwing attacks on Obama – and Trump-inspired racist hatred of him – have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering – be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence.

In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!

Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election Hannah Jane Parkinson The 'alt-right' (aka the far right) ensnared the electorate using false stories on social media. But tech companies seem unwilling to admit there's a problem

In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy – such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence.

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

theomatica -> MSP1984 17 Nov 2016 6:40

To be replaced by a form of capitalism that is constrained by national interests. An ideology that wishes to uses the forces of capitalism within a market limited only by national boundaries which aims for more self sufficiency only importing goods the nation can not itself source.

farga 17 Nov 2016 6:35

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

Really? The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised.

That in recent decades middle ground politicians have strayed from the true faith....and now its time to go back - popular capitalism, small government, low taxes.

if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial!

Social36 -> farga 17 Nov 2016 8:33

Maybe, West should have written that we're now in neoliberal, neofascist era!

ForSparta -> farga 17 Nov 2016 14:24

Well in all fairness, Donald Trump (horse's ass) did say he'd 'pump' money into the middle classes thus abandoning 'trickle down'. His plan/ideology is also to increase corporate tax revenues overall by reducing the level of corporation tax -- the aim being to entice corporations to repatriate wealth currently held overseas. Plus he has proposed an infrastructure spending spree, a fiscal stimulus not a monetary one. When you add in tax cuts the middle classes will feel flushed and it is within that demographic that most businesses and hence jobs are created. I think his short game has every chance of doing what he said it would.

SeeNOevilHearNOevil 17 Nov 2016 6:36

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back.

He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did.

But that lip service is where his progressive views begin and stop. It's the very reason none of his promises never translated into actions and I will argue that he was the biggest and smoothest scam artist to enter the white house who got even though that wholly opposed centre-right policies, to flip and support them vehemently. Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried.

ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 6:37

I agree with some of this, but do we really have to throw around hysterical terms like 'fascist' at every opportunity? It's as bad as when people call the left 'cultural Marxists'.

LithophaneFurcifera -> ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 7:05

True, it's sloganeering that drowns out any nuance, whoever does it. Whenever a political term is coined, you can be assured that its use and meaning will eventually be extended to the point that it becomes less effective at characterising the very groups that it was coined to characterise.

Keep "fascist" for Mussolini and "cultural Marxist" for Adorno, unless and until others show such strong resemblances that the link can't seriously be denied.

I agree about the importance of recognising the suffering of the poor and building alliances beyond, and not primarily defined by, race though.

l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 6:40
Hang about Trump is the embodiment of neo-liberalism. It's neo-liberalism with republican tea party in control. He's not going to smash the system that served him so well, the years he manipulated and cheated, why would he want to change it.
garrylee -> l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 9:38
West's point is that it's beyond Trump's control. The scales have fallen from peoples eyes. They now see the deceit of neo-liberalism. And once they see through the charlatan Trump and the rest of the fascists, they will, hopefully, come to realize the only antidote to neo-liberalism is a planned economy.

Nash25 17 Nov 2016 6:40

This excellent analysis by professor West places the current political situation in a proper historical context.

However, I fear that neo-liberalism may not be quite "dead" as he argues.

Most of the Democratic party's "establishment" politicians, who conspired to sabotage the populist Sanders's campaign, still dominate the party, and they, in turn, are controlled by the giant corporations who fund their campaigns.

Democrat Chuck Schumer is now the Senate minority leader, and he is the loyal servant of the big Wall Street investment banks.

Sanders and Warren are the only two Democratic leaders who are not neo-liberals, and I fear that they will once again be marginalized.

Rank and file Democrats must organize at the local and state level to remove these corrupt neo-liberals from all party leadership positions. This will take many years, and it will be very difficult.


VenetianBlind 17 Nov 2016 6:42

Not sure Neo-Liberalism has ended. All they have done is get rid of the middle man.

macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 6:46

It would seem that there is a great deal of over simplifying going on; some of the articles represent an hysteric response and the vision of sack cloth and ashes prevails among those who could not see that the wheels were coming off the bus. The use of the term 'liberal' has become another buzz word - there are many different forms of liberalism and creating yet another sound byte does little to illuminate anything.

Making appeals to restore what has been lost reflects badly upon the central political parties, with their 30 year long rightward drift and their legacy of sucking up to corporate lobbyists, systems managers, box tickers and consultants. You can't give away sovereign political power to a bunch of right wing quangos who worship private wealth and its accumulation without suffering the consequences. The article makes no contribution (and neither have many of the others of late) to any kind of alternative to either neo-liberalism or the vacuum that has become a question mark with the dark face of the devil behind it.

We are in uncharted waters. The conventional Left was totally discredited by1982 and all we've had since are various forms of modifications of Thatcher's imported American vision. There has been no opposition to this system for over 40 years - so where do we get the idea that democracy has any real meaning? Yes, we can vote for the Greens, or one of the lesser known minority parties, but of course people don't; they tend to go with what is portrayed as the orthodoxy and they've been badly let down by it.

It would be a real breath of fresh air to see articles which offer some kind of analysis that demonstrates tangible options to deal with the multiple crises we are suffering. Perhaps we might start with a consideration that if our political institutions are prone to being haunted by the ghost of the 1930's, the state itself could be seen as part of the problem rather than any solution. Why is it that every other institution is considered to be past its sell by date and we still believe in a phantom of democracy? Discuss.

VenetianBlind -> macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 7:00

I have spent hours trying to see solutions around Neo-Liberalism and find that governments have basically signed away any control over the economy so nothing they can do. There are no solutions.

Maybe that is the starting point. The solution for workers left behind in Neo-Liberal language is they must move. It demands labor mobility. It is not possible to dictate where jobs are created.

I see too much fiddly around the edges, the best start is to say they cannot fix the problem. If they keep making false promises then things will just get dire as.

[Sep 29, 2017] Bernie Sanders To Democrats This Is What a Radical Foreign Policy Looks Like

It is impossible to understand the current wave of the US militarism without understanding neoliberalism and, especially, neoconservatism -- the dominant force in the US foreign policy since Reagan.
Sep 29, 2017 | theintercept.com

... ... ...

Many of my colleagues, Republican colleagues, here in the Senate, for example, disparage the United Nations, he says, sitting across the table from me, in front of a wall of Vermont tourism posters. While clearly the United Nations could be more effective, it is imperative that we strengthen international institutions, because at the end of the day, while it may not be sexy, it may not be glamorous, it may not allow for great soundbites, simply the idea of people coming together and talking and arguing is a lot better than countries going to war.

... ... ...

The senator makes clear that unilateralism, the belief that we can simply overthrow governments that we dont want, that has got to be re-examined. After referencing the Iraq War -- one of the great foreign policy blunders in the history of this country -- the senator touches on another historic blunder which, to his credit, few of his fellow senators would be willing to discuss, let alone critique. In 1953, the United States, with the British, overthrew [Mohammed] Mossadegh, the prime minister of Iran – and this was to benefit British oil interests, he reminds me. The result was the shah came into power, who was a very ruthless man, and the result of that was that we had the Iranian Revolution, which takes us to where we are right now.

...So far this year, Sanders has hired Matt Duss , a respected foreign affairs analyst and former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), as his foreign policy adviser, and has given speeches at the liberal Jewish lobbying group, J Street, where he condemned Israels continued occupation of Palestinian territories as being contrary to fundamental American values, and at the centrist Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, where he rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for trying to weaken the transatlantic alliance.

Last week, my colleague Glenn Greenwald penned a column in The Intercept headlined, The Clinton Book Tour Is Largely Ignoring the Vital Role of Endless War in the 2016 Election Result. Greenwald argued that Clintons advocacy of multiple wars and other military actions pushed some swing voters into the arms of both Donald Trump and third-party candidates, such as Jill Stein. I ask Sanders whether he agrees with this analysis.

I mean, thats a whole other issue. And I dont know the answer to that. I persist. Surely hed concede that foreign policy was a factor in Clintons defeat? He doesnt budge. I want to talk about my speech, not about Hillary Clinton. So foreign policy plays no role in elections?

... ... ...

The U.S. funding plays a very important role, and I would love to see people in the Middle East sit down with the United States government and figure out how U.S. aid can bring people together, not just result in an arms war in that area. So I think there is extraordinary potential for the United States to help the Palestinian people rebuild Gaza and other areas. At the same time, demand that Israel, in their own interests in a way, work with other countries on environmental issues. He then, finally, answers my question: So the answer is yes.

It is -- by the depressingly low standard of modern U.S. politics -- a remarkable and, dare I say it, radical response from Sanders. Aid to Israel in Congress and the pro-Israel community has been sacrosanct, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency noted earlier this year, and no president has seriously proposed cutting it since Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s.

[Sep 17, 2017] The ethic of hard work , Obama, Trump and Hillary by Gaius Publius

Notable quotes:
"... If anything, the whole plagiarism scandal reflects somewhat poorly on Michelle Obama. One reason Obama's words were able to play so well at the RNC was that in the lifted passages, Obama was speaking using the conservative language of "bootstrapping." Obama's sentence, that "the only limit" to one's achievements is the height of one's goal and the "willingness to work" toward it, is the Republican story about America. It's the story of personal responsibility, in which the U.S. is overflowing with opportunity, and anyone who fails to succeed in such a land of abundance must simply not be trying hard enough. ..."
"... People on the left are supposed to know that it is a cruel lie to tell people that all they need to do is work hard. There are plenty of people with dreams who work very hard indeed but get nothing, because the American economy is fundamentally skewed and unfair. This rhetoric, about "hard work" being the only thing needed for the pursuit of prosperity, is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country. It's a fact that those who work the hardest in this country, those come home from work exhausted and who break their backs to feed their families, are almost always rewarded the least. Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?" ..."
"... This is, of course, the myth of "meritocracy" that Thomas Frank has exposed with scalpel-like precision in his latest book Listen, Liberal . It's clear that the Democratic Party, at its core, believes with Michelle (and Barack) Obama the comfortable and self-serving lie that no individual has anyone to blame but herself if she fails to achieve high goals. She should just have reached higher; she should just have worked harder. ..."
"... It's not only a lie, it's a "cruel lie," as Nimni says. So why is she, Michelle Obama, telling it? Clearly it serves her interests, her husband's interests, her party's interests, to tell the "rich person's lie," that his or her achievement came from his or her own efforts. To call most people's success a product of luck (right color, right gender, right country, right neighborhood, right schools, right set of un-birth-damaged brain cells) or worse, inheritance (right parents), identifies the fundamental unfairness of our supposed "meritocratic" system of allocating wealth and undercuts the "goodness," if you look at it writ large, of predatory capitalism. By that measure, neither the very wealthy themselves (Charles Koch, Jamie Dimon) nor those who serve them (Barack Obama et al ) are "good" in any moral sense. ..."
"... U.S. cultural norms, as the piece describes accurately, glorify and misrepresent "work" especially of the "hard" kind. Hmm I wonder where that notion came from and why it gained such a foothold in the prevailing groupthink? ..."
"... The present regime of "teach to the test" here in America almost completely short circuits the teaching of critical thinking skills. With stressed parents increasingly abdicating their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their offspring in favour of the State, is it any wonder that the narrow interests of the State, such as the Iron Law of Institutions, are supplanting enlightenment in the minds of the young? We now must begin to consider the divergence of the interests of the Society from the interests of the State. With the balance of power swinging heavily in favour of the State these recent decades, I am not sanguine about the near term future of our culture. ..."
"... As is so often the case in American culture, the "hard work" meme emerges from the slave system. Slaves had to be bullied and terrorized in order to extract "hard work" from them, given that they had zero rewards of any tangible sort for it. So "hard work" required constant vigilance and frequent punishments while slaves rationally attempted to do the least amount of work that enabled them to escape the many types of tortures they were regularly threatened with. ..."
"... Then after "emancipation," plantation owners complained that they could not get any of those lazy, shiftless Negroes to perform "hard work" for them, given that the newly freed men and women were much more interested in getting ahead for themselves than continuing to pick cotton or harvest rice for starvation wages. ..."
"... I don't think you are over-simplifying, Clive–in Hong Kong, too, my experience has been that most people I deal with in the work world take a great deal of intrinsic pride in doing a job efficiently and well, for its own sake, not because it will necessarily make you more money. ..."
"... What I'm starting to sniff in the zeitgeist today is that Trump's kids are totally changing what people think of the father. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail. ..."
"... the genesis of the "plagiarism" attacks. The mud slinging has started early in this campaign. However, if Trumps' family can exude some sense of charm and class, the entire mud slinging strategy can be 'stood on its' head.' ..."
"... Me, I'm terrified of Hillary Clinton and the devastation that her ascension to the Presidency might bring to this nation and to the world. She is not only a liar, a blatantly self-dealing criminal, but more devastating yet, a sociopath of the first water, willing to walk across the bodies to advance her personal and class agenda. ..."
"... Her time as President would go a long way toward cementing the Unitary Executive in place (i.e., a functional Dictator, as understood in the Roman Republican meaning of the term, a Tribune, in which a chief magistrate of the State like the President under our Constitution, whose writ as an authoritarian ruler ran so long as there was a national emergency. I serve as the clerk for government documents in a university law library, and I can tell you that the number of House Documents announcing a "National Emergency" or the continuation of a previously announced "National Emergency" is very alarming. These "emergencies" are the camel's nose under the tent in my estimation for the slow accretion of Dictatorial powers (again, in the Roman Republican sense of the term "dictator") toward the Caesar-like role of Unitary Executive. These "National Emergencies" functionally invest power into the hands of the President and those forces military, legal, and regulatory under the control of the Executive by which the President can wage military, legal/diplomatic, and economic warfare against those who refuse to bend the knee to US-dominated global hegemony. ..."
"... Hillary is practically salivating to grasp the rod of power embodied in the Unitary Executive. Warfare will follow her tenure in office like a dire shadow, and due to her belief in the right of and necessity of the US to enforce a global hegemony, she is inevitably moving toward a deadly clash with other nuclear powers unwilling to submit to the yoke of globalized, stateless, culturally-anodyne finance capitalism. Good times await. ..."
"... "Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force." ..."
"... That allows individuals to claim they had no responsibility for the war, something Pence and Clinton cannot claim because of their votes. But on what other things do you see Obama as being a strong "unitary executive." I thought it was generally viewed that Congress had thwarted his (almost) every wish. ..."
"... And how about that patriot act renewal, US out of iraq/afganistan? Vicky nuland and the ukraine? I guess the problem is that you get your information as it is generally viewed, but you fail to indicate who it is that generally views things that way, however, it should help you understand why trump will win because hillary is generally viewed as corrupt. ..."
"... I'm intrigued by author's concluding idea. "It involves another attempt to take over the Republican Party, this time by the Clinton-led Democratic leadership. " ..."
"... And if the words were lies coming out of Obama's mouth, what are they coming out of Trump's mouth? ..."
"... "Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?" ..."
"... A lot of this is related to the Democrats and what Bill made "successful" with his presidency. The lack of a truly left party that works for average citizens has created this environment when a character like Trump can gain such support. This article illustrates but another example of meritocratic nonsense being regurgitated by the party. ..."
"... A thought-provoking and unexpected take, Gaius Publius. I was struck by one item left off your list of lucky attributes: beauty. Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are undeniably beautiful women -– tall, slim, with the elegantly symmetrical features prized in every culture. Sadly in beauty-obsessed America the doors opened for women who look this lovely are shut hard against women who are fat, or old, or ugly. ..."
"... I had pretty much the exact same thought as your second "blackbird" when the video of Melania Trump plagiarizing Michele Obama's speech and all my liberal friends were yuking it up. All I could think was "If the same speech could plausibly come out of either of their mouths without alienating the audience, we have much worse problems than her Mrs. Trump's copycating." The fact that this seemed to bother hardly anyone else made it worse. So much of these elections just get reduced down to rooting for your team at a sporting event. This works well to keep people from having to deal with a lot of unpleasant questions and conclusions. ..."
"... Read Roosevelt's speech, Trump certainly did, for some real fear mongering and look at the coalition he has taken over the Republican party to form. FDR 1932. ..."
"... > "another attempt to take over the Republican Party" Which shouldn't be that hard, since both the Democrat and Republican parties are neoliberal. As always, the real enemy is the left. ..."
"... I'm surprised Gaius failed to address this portion of Michelle's speech which he quoted: "tell the truth; keep your promises; treat others with dignity and respect." Since when has Obama told the truth, or kept his promises, or treated anyone except Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blanfein with respect? ..."
"... Put aside whether "Michelle Obama" or some speechwriting merc came up with the banal verbiage redolent of Sunday school and Horatio Alger. What gives the snippet its special Trumpian turn into hyper-unreality, an ever-expanding balloon of hot boast and hyperbolic deceit, is the way it transcends garden-variety plagiarism by laying claim to the very virtues that the appropriation itself falsifies. ..."
"... That's chutzpah! The stunning effrontery supersizes an overall meta-ness that's less indicative of middle-class morality and meritocracy than the predatory opportunism of the exploitative rich, what C. Wright Mills might have recognized as the "higher immorality." Here we have a colossally vain billionaire atop an empire of glitz and privilege kayfabing his way to a party nomination as the indignant voice of the brutalized working class he's dedicated his life to disparaging as envious losers. The mind reels between giddiness and nausea. ..."
"... You can't forever distract it away with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and color counter-revolutions against exploitative freeloaders (the non-rich and famous ones, that is). It takes an philosophy of human worth apart from vanities over this or that temporarily adaptive skill or happy accident. ..."
"... I think Oren Nimni basically gets it right: When you cut through the tautologies and the bromides that many parents deliver to their children, what you have is the message, "don't expect government to be there for you; those days are over" (which, actually, sounds like Bubba Bill's pitch–"the day's of big government are over"). ..."
"... If you work hard enough and have enough ambition you will succeed is not a lie to those born on 3rd base, it was true for them. The Obama's the Trumps. They are really just guilty of not understanding the plight of those who were born at bat against a major league pitcher. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

naked capitalism

Gaius Publius Two Ways of Looking at a Plagiarism

Oren Nimni: Obama's statement "is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country"

The fact that Michelle Obama's statement is blatantly false (and that a woman of color in the United States said it) is revealing. Current Affairs writer Oren Nimni on that (emphasis in original):

If anything, the whole plagiarism scandal reflects somewhat poorly on Michelle Obama. One reason Obama's words were able to play so well at the RNC was that in the lifted passages, Obama was speaking using the conservative language of "bootstrapping." Obama's sentence, that "the only limit" to one's achievements is the height of one's goal and the "willingness to work" toward it, is the Republican story about America. It's the story of personal responsibility, in which the U.S. is overflowing with opportunity, and anyone who fails to succeed in such a land of abundance must simply not be trying hard enough.

People on the left are supposed to know that it is a cruel lie to tell people that all they need to do is work hard. There are plenty of people with dreams who work very hard indeed but get nothing, because the American economy is fundamentally skewed and unfair. This rhetoric, about "hard work" being the only thing needed for the pursuit of prosperity, is an insult to every tomato-picker and hotel cleaner in the country. It's a fact that those who work the hardest in this country, those come home from work exhausted and who break their backs to feed their families, are almost always rewarded the least.

Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?"

This is, of course, the myth of "meritocracy" that Thomas Frank has exposed with scalpel-like precision in his latest book Listen, Liberal . It's clear that the Democratic Party, at its core, believes with Michelle (and Barack) Obama the comfortable and self-serving lie that no individual has anyone to blame but herself if she fails to achieve high goals. She should just have reached higher; she should just have worked harder.

It's not only a lie, it's a "cruel lie," as Nimni says. So why is she, Michelle Obama, telling it? Clearly it serves her interests, her husband's interests, her party's interests, to tell the "rich person's lie," that his or her achievement came from his or her own efforts. To call most people's success a product of luck (right color, right gender, right country, right neighborhood, right schools, right set of un-birth-damaged brain cells) or worse, inheritance (right parents), identifies the fundamental unfairness of our supposed "meritocratic" system of allocating wealth and undercuts the "goodness," if you look at it writ large, of predatory capitalism. By that measure, neither the very wealthy themselves (Charles Koch, Jamie Dimon) nor those who serve them (Barack Obama et al ) are "good" in any moral sense.

(The idea of the supposed "goodness" of the successful capitalist, by the way, his supposed "greater morality," goes all the way back to the 18th Century attempt of the wealthy to counter the 17th Century bleakness of Protestant predestination. How could people, especially the very rich, know whether they are among the "elect" or the damned? God gives them wealth as a sign of his plans for them, just as God gives them morally deficient poverty-wage workers to take advantage of.)

Clive , July 22, 2016 at 4:27 am

There's also a flip side to the main point drawn out in the above article ("if you work hard you'll be successful and rewarded") which, dare I say, is rarely mentioned and even an anathema in U.S. culture (not, mind you, that I think British culture isn't going the same way so I am not trying to throw stones in this glass house).

Which is: quite often, you are rewarded if you don't "work hard" and even if you work somewhat "hard" the rewards you receive are out of all proportion to the effort you have to make. But no-one (or few people) are willing to admit, if they are in that position, that - to put it crudely - they are really doing bugger all but raking it in.

I, for example, do very little. What I do do certainly isn't "hard work". Now, I have expended a certain amount of mental effort on understanding the system - the dynamic - in play at my employer. And how to successfully exploit that to gain the maximum amount of financial reward for the least amount of effort. But I would hardly call that "work", and certainly it is not of "hard" variety.

U.S. cultural norms, as the piece describes accurately, glorify and misrepresent "work" especially of the "hard" kind. Hmm I wonder where that notion came from and why it gained such a foothold in the prevailing groupthink?

In Japanese culture, to introduce another nuance, the concept of "hard work" is still present as a thing to be looked up to but it is more tinged with an air of "doing your best" or "doing your upmost" rather than "hard" (i.e. demanding) work and lacks the "you're going to get the payoff if you do" quid pro quo. The reward, in Japanese culture, comes from knowing you've done the best you can which is more a personal satisfaction than a financial compensator. But I am glossing over some complexity here so do not view what I've just said in this paragraph as anything other than a simplification.

ambrit , July 22, 2016 at 5:02 am

May I suggest that the "simplification" you mention is an essential part of any group control strategy. Simplified thinking may work wonders in efficiency studies or some sorts of high energy physics, but in the realm of social relations, simplicity masks diversity and complexity to the detriment of any version of "truth." I was lucky in having skeptical parents and some excellent minds among my High School teachers. The present regime of "teach to the test" here in America almost completely short circuits the teaching of critical thinking skills. With stressed parents increasingly abdicating their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their offspring in favour of the State, is it any wonder that the narrow interests of the State, such as the Iron Law of Institutions, are supplanting enlightenment in the minds of the young? We now must begin to consider the divergence of the interests of the Society from the interests of the State. With the balance of power swinging heavily in favour of the State these recent decades, I am not sanguine about the near term future of our culture.

timotheus , July 22, 2016 at 7:43 am

As is so often the case in American culture, the "hard work" meme emerges from the slave system. Slaves had to be bullied and terrorized in order to extract "hard work" from them, given that they had zero rewards of any tangible sort for it. So "hard work" required constant vigilance and frequent punishments while slaves rationally attempted to do the least amount of work that enabled them to escape the many types of tortures they were regularly threatened with.

Then after "emancipation," plantation owners complained that they could not get any of those lazy, shiftless Negroes to perform "hard work" for them, given that the newly freed men and women were much more interested in getting ahead for themselves than continuing to pick cotton or harvest rice for starvation wages. Ever since, we have lived with the embittered voice of the slaveowner infuriated at the loss of all that labor power he once had at his disposal for free. Thus the mythology that "hard work" is all you need to perform to get ahead and the implicit wink-wink-we-know-who-won't-do-that racism that goes along with it.

MsExPat , July 22, 2016 at 10:27 am

I don't think you are over-simplifying, Clive–in Hong Kong, too, my experience has been that most people I deal with in the work world take a great deal of intrinsic pride in doing a job efficiently and well, for its own sake, not because it will necessarily make you more money. (Although often that is the result– over-performing and exceeding expectations is a great way of ensuring repeat customers and a thriving business.)

Coming from the US, where every corporate smile and "Have a Nice Day" is being recorded for performance review, I find this a most refreshing cultural trait, one that I have tried my best to assimilate.

Uahsenaa , July 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

I would add to what Clive said that in Japan the ganbare ethos is also underlined by a certain expectation that your wider social group will back you up, or at least make certain your life doesn't fall off a cliff. This doesn't always work in practice, and there are obvious examples of social groups that the Japanese polity like to pretend simply doesn't exist, but it is a cultural expectation. You even see it among homeless camps in Japan, which constitute a very clear in group.

In the US, a great of anxiety stems from the realization that you could do your best in all circumstances and still have your life fall apart, since that social backstop just isn't there, especially not in the world of meritocracy, in which you're expected to basically give up your pre-existing social networks in order to even participate.

Portia , July 22, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I remember one job where my Boss warned me: "Nice guys finish last here."

Nice of him, eh?

Figure out the culture of your workplace, and if you can stomach it, do what you have to do to succeed. This is what the Obamas and the Clintons have done. And geez, they can stomach a lot. But I do know people who have "worked hard" and been successful in their own businesses, and musicians are a prime example of having to really do the work to get the work. It's who you want to be recognized by, in my way of thinking.

ewmayer , July 22, 2016 at 4:37 am

I often think the better saying would be "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make outrageously successful."

With outrageous – as in wildly-disproportionate-to-effort-and-actual-talent – success comes a sense of infallibility, inevitability, hubris. A self-centered personality-cult delusion – ergo a form of madness – which often ends in a spectacular undoing. Alas, not nearly often enough, when it comes to the DC cabal of hubristic upward-failing sociopaths.

GOP convention finished with a bang tonight, and thankfully the dire pre-convention worries about the streets of Cleveland flowing with rivers of blood proved unfounded – I'd studiously avoided the previous evenings, aside from a few brief nauseating while-channel-flipping glimpses – but happened to catch Trump himself tonight. While I disliked Trump's police-centric take on American security at home, I thought he really effectively hammered the issues of economic inequality – including a mention of soaring unemployment rates in the latino and black communities (I wish he would have said more in that vein, but he did at least say something) and governmental corruption at the highest levels, as well as Hillary's multiple foreign-policy debacles; the whole "what has 15 years of blowing shit up in the middle east done for us?" issue. Also made a very pronounced point of embracing Sanders' "top issue" of bad so-called-free-trade deals, while emphasizing the degree to which things were rigged against Bernie. And closed with a nifty turning of Hillary's pet slogan against her [I paraphrase, too tired to dig the exact quote out]: "she demands a three-word loyalty oath 'I`m with her' well I'm here to tell you tonight that I'm with you ."

And the speeches by his kids (Donald Jr last night, Ivanka tonight) were both good, and I think likely surprising – in a positive way – to many people. The image of the whole family onstage post-speech will likely resonate with the traditional Republican base – clean-cut successful-looking guys and attractive ladies of a leggy-blond (but not Barbie-esque/ditzy) type I expect even folks of a conservative Mormon bent will have found something to like in that image. Scott Adams comments on the kids :

What I'm starting to sniff in the zeitgeist today is that Trump's kids are totally changing what people think of the father. People are making the semi-rational assumption that anyone who can raise such good kids must be very different in private than he is on the campaign trail.

Would be interested to hear the takes of other NC readers who watched the nomination acceptance speech.

ambrit , July 22, 2016 at 5:20 am

Re "..a minority of one.." At least you go in for nuance and reflection. My take on H Clinton and her claque is that they all perceive the Candidate as a 'majority of one.'
Your comment about the wife of Trump reminds me of the old saying by Caesar that : " Caesars' wife must be above suspicion." Thus, the genesis of the "plagiarism" attacks. The mud slinging has started early in this campaign. However, if Trumps' family can exude some sense of charm and class, the entire mud slinging strategy can be 'stood on its' head.'

JerseyJeffersonian , July 22, 2016 at 9:28 am

Me, I'm terrified of Hillary Clinton and the devastation that her ascension to the Presidency might bring to this nation and to the world. She is not only a liar, a blatantly self-dealing criminal, but more devastating yet, a sociopath of the first water, willing to walk across the bodies to advance her personal and class agenda.

Her time as President would go a long way toward cementing the Unitary Executive in place (i.e., a functional Dictator, as understood in the Roman Republican meaning of the term, a Tribune, in which a chief magistrate of the State like the President under our Constitution, whose writ as an authoritarian ruler ran so long as there was a national emergency. I serve as the clerk for government documents in a university law library, and I can tell you that the number of House Documents announcing a "National Emergency" or the continuation of a previously announced "National Emergency" is very alarming. These "emergencies" are the camel's nose under the tent in my estimation for the slow accretion of Dictatorial powers (again, in the Roman Republican sense of the term "dictator") toward the Caesar-like role of Unitary Executive. These "National Emergencies" functionally invest power into the hands of the President and those forces military, legal, and regulatory under the control of the Executive by which the President can wage military, legal/diplomatic, and economic warfare against those who refuse to bend the knee to US-dominated global hegemony.

Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force. This gives the Executive carte blanche to engage in unending wars (beginning to sound familiar?) with all that that implies concerning the dominance of the MIC in the formulation of national policies.

Hillary is practically salivating to grasp the rod of power embodied in the Unitary Executive. Warfare will follow her tenure in office like a dire shadow, and due to her belief in the right of and necessity of the US to enforce a global hegemony, she is inevitably moving toward a deadly clash with other nuclear powers unwilling to submit to the yoke of globalized, stateless, culturally-anodyne finance capitalism. Good times await.

And that is only the beginning, as the plans she has for the US citizenry are scarcely less dire, what with the inevitability of the Grand Bargain in service of Finance Capitalism looming dead ahead.

Clinton delenda est.

Russ Zimmerman , July 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

"Our well-nigh useless Legislative branch has largely surrendered its Constitutional responsibilities to the Executive through such trash as Authorizations of Military Force rather than engaging in the mandated procedure of the Declaration of War found in the Constitution to authorize extended use of military (and legal and economic) force."

That allows individuals to claim they had no responsibility for the war, something Pence and Clinton cannot claim because of their votes. But on what other things do you see Obama as being a strong "unitary executive." I thought it was generally viewed that Congress had thwarted his (almost) every wish.

flora , July 22, 2016 at 10:54 am

This seems pretty strong. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/05/obama-kill-list-doj-memo

tegnost , July 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

Indeed, the republicans twisted barack's arm behind his back and forced him to allow insurance company lobbyists to write the "Affordable Care Act". Since you have tsa pre check I'll guess that your cadillac plan is still operational, or if not that that all the people who pay for insurance they can't use are subsidising you, and your own health care costs have been ameliorated. They also forced him to nominate merrick garland. They forced him to foam the runway for the banks and forced him to let all the bankster crimes go unpunished. My view is that obama, like hillary, is a republican because for both of them the policies they worked to advance are republican policies. TPP, ISDS, ACA, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning I could go on and on. I agree with the author that dems like obama and hillary are interested in serving the top sliver of the population that has the lions share of the wealth. It's not right/left anymore, it's top/bottom .

And how about that patriot act renewal, US out of iraq/afganistan? Vicky nuland and the ukraine? I guess the problem is that you get your information as it is generally viewed, but you fail to indicate who it is that generally views things that way, however, it should help you understand why trump will win because hillary is generally viewed as corrupt.

flora , July 22, 2016 at 5:59 am

I think both Obama and Trump were reciting a standard variation of the American Dream™. Horatio Alger stories are part of the US mythos. Bill Clinton used a variation in 1992. Most US pols use the "up from nothing by dint of hard work and good morals" line. The flap is that O and T used the exact same words instead of noting that the sentiment itself is boilerplate?

I'm intrigued by author's concluding idea. "It involves another attempt to take over the Republican Party, this time by the Clinton-led Democratic leadership. "

Roger Smith , July 22, 2016 at 7:16 am

" And if the words were lies coming out of Obama's mouth, what are they coming out of Trump's mouth? "

They are still lies, but they are lies in keeping with the ideology that dominates the party of which Trump is the nominee. Nimni summarized this well:

"Far from embarrassing Melania Trump and the GOP, then, it should be deeply humiliating for Democrats that their rhetoric is so bloodless and hollow that it can easily be spoken word-for-word in front of a gang of crazed racists. Instead of asking "why is Melania Trump using Michelle Obama's words?" we might think to ask "why is Michelle Obama using the right-wing rhetoric of self-reliance?"

A lot of this is related to the Democrats and what Bill made "successful" with his presidency. The lack of a truly left party that works for average citizens has created this environment when a character like Trump can gain such support. This article illustrates but another example of meritocratic nonsense being regurgitated by the party.

jrs , July 22, 2016 at 11:04 am

I think she initially claimed she wrote it didn't she? But yea it's clearly silly coming out of her mouth. Although being a model may be hard work (it could very well be frankly), she hasn't worked hard for years by now, and didn't get into such a privileged position by hard work (in whose definition exactly does marrying money count as hard work?).

So while in Michelle Obama's mouth the words are a lie, at least they might be a lie that's kind of true for her, in Misses Trumps mouth it's beyond silly. I have no idea if Mr Inherited Wealth and Misses Married Money do raise their kids that way or not. Wow the rich are crazy!!!

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 6:16 am

A thought-provoking and unexpected take, Gaius Publius. I was struck by one item left off your list of lucky attributes: beauty. Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are undeniably beautiful women -– tall, slim, with the elegantly symmetrical features prized in every culture. Sadly in beauty-obsessed America the doors opened for women who look this lovely are shut hard against women who are fat, or old, or ugly.

MsExPat , July 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

+ Good point. Jane Sanders was repeatedly ridiculed for her appearance by pro-Hillary twitter bots during Bernie's campaign , and I doubt that would have happened had she been young, fashionable and svelte.

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

There is a strong correlation between height and compensation. "When it comes to height, every inch counts–in fact, in the workplace, each inch above average may be worth $789 more per year, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 89, No. 3).

The findings suggest that someone who is 6 feet tall earns, on average, nearly $166,000 more during a 30-year career than someone who is 5 feet 5 inches–even when controlling for gender, age and weight."
http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/standing.aspx

Hana M , July 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

That apparently is not true. One study of lawyers "found that those rated attractive on the basis of their graduation photographs went on to earn higher salaries than their less well-favoured colleagues. Moreover, lawyers in private practice tended to be better looking than those working in government departments." Even among economists, beauty pays and "attractive candidates were more successful in elections for office in the American Economic Association." http://www.economist.com/node/10311266

Roquentin , July 22, 2016 at 7:56 am

I had pretty much the exact same thought as your second "blackbird" when the video of Melania Trump plagiarizing Michele Obama's speech and all my liberal friends were yuking it up. All I could think was "If the same speech could plausibly come out of either of their mouths without alienating the audience, we have much worse problems than her Mrs. Trump's copycating." The fact that this seemed to bother hardly anyone else made it worse. So much of these elections just get reduced down to rooting for your team at a sporting event. This works well to keep people from having to deal with a lot of unpleasant questions and conclusions.

Or worse still, they've become so used to neoliberal platitudes like "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" that it's become "common sense" or the don't even recognize it as such.

A forgotten man , July 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

In case you missed it, T's entire speech was about the "forgotten man," those that work hard and still cannot make a living wage. The height of their dreams count for nothing. The system is rigged. Read Roosevelt's speech, Trump certainly did, for some real fear mongering and look at the coalition he has taken over the Republican party to form. FDR 1932.

Lambert Strether , July 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

> "another attempt to take over the Republican Party" Which shouldn't be that hard, since both the Democrat and Republican parties are neoliberal. As always, the real enemy is the left.

Jess , July 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

I'm surprised Gaius failed to address this portion of Michelle's speech which he quoted: "tell the truth; keep your promises; treat others with dignity and respect."

Since when has Obama told the truth, or kept his promises, or treated anyone except Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blanfein with respect?

dingusansich , July 22, 2016 at 1:07 pm

you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise

Put aside whether "Michelle Obama" or some speechwriting merc came up with the banal verbiage redolent of Sunday school and Horatio Alger. What gives the snippet its special Trumpian turn into hyper-unreality, an ever-expanding balloon of hot boast and hyperbolic deceit, is the way it transcends garden-variety plagiarism by laying claim to the very virtues that the appropriation itself falsifies.

That's chutzpah! The stunning effrontery supersizes an overall meta-ness that's less indicative of middle-class morality and meritocracy than the predatory opportunism of the exploitative rich, what C. Wright Mills might have recognized as the "higher immorality." Here we have a colossally vain billionaire atop an empire of glitz and privilege kayfabing his way to a party nomination as the indignant voice of the brutalized working class he's dedicated his life to disparaging as envious losers. The mind reels between giddiness and nausea.

What then exists outside the genteel social Darwinism of meritocratic ideology and further descent into a society of the spectacle, the Reaganite sitcom devolved into the Trump unreality show? To the gnomic, sidelong mysticism of Stevens let's add the frontal transvaluation of a sardonic Shaw:

What am I, Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I'm one of the undeserving poor: that's what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that he's up agen middle class morality all the time. If there's anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it's always the same story: 'You're undeserving; so you can't have it.' But my needs is as great as the most deserving widow's that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband. I don't need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don't eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, cause I'm a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they charge the deserving. What is middle class morality? Just an excuse for never giving me anything.

Governors both, Democrats and Republicans, the meritocrats and the masters. What must be taken in is that the unskilled, the uneducated, the out of step, the unlucky, all need the means to live. If that's taken from them by the self-described deserving on the Acela and the higher immoralists in their towers and Gulfstreams, a democracy will begin to wobble like a spinning coin on the verge. You can't educate that away. You can't forever distract it away with Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and color counter-revolutions against exploitative freeloaders (the non-rich and famous ones, that is). It takes an philosophy of human worth apart from vanities over this or that temporarily adaptive skill or happy accident.

When the market is be all and end all, an expression of natural law and supernatural giver of meaning, it's hard to see how even a managed, minimal democracy can prevail except as grotesque, corrupt parody, a mood traced in the shadow a decipherable cause. Or did I read something like that somewhere, like in a poem?

George S , July 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I don't recall Ms. Obama's speech. Based on the excerpts I heard during the recent news cycle (from both speeches) were pathetic. I think Oren Nimni basically gets it right: When you cut through the tautologies and the bromides that many parents deliver to their children, what you have is the message, "don't expect government to be there for you; those days are over" (which, actually, sounds like Bubba Bill's pitch–"the day's of big government are over").

... ... ...

Tim , July 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm

If you work hard enough and have enough ambition you will succeed is not a lie to those born on 3rd base, it was true for them. The Obama's the Trumps. They are really just guilty of not understanding the plight of those who were born at bat against a major league pitcher.

... ... ...

[Sep 02, 2017] No Russian Hacking In Durham Election - NY Times Report Belies Its Headline

NYT = neocon/neolib fear mongering and neo-McCarthyism.
If we assume that Russians can control election machine, the question arise about the CIA role in the US elections. They are much more powerful and that's their home turf. And they can pretend to be Russians of Chinese at will. Then they can cry "Thief" to divert attention. Does this that promoting Russia hacking story they implicitly reveal to us that elections are controlled by Deep State and electronic voting machines and voter rosters are just a tool to this end. They allow to get rid of human vote counting and that alone makes hijacking of the election results really easy. machine magically calculates the votes and you are done. As Stalin said it doesn't matter how people are voting, what matters is who is calculating the votes.
Dems should concentrate on removing neoliberal/Clinton wing of the Party from the leadership and making it at lease "A New Deal" Party, not sold to Wall Steer bunch of fear mongering neocons. Anti-Russian campaign is designed to sabotage those efforts.
Notable quotes:
"... All of the reported troubles are simple computer hiccups that would not have occurred in a more reasonable election system build on paper and pencil balloting. All the computer troubles have various innocent causes ..."
"... Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in one district would have effected the general election. There was thereby no motive for anyone to hack these systems: ..."
"... The NYT headline is an outrageous lie. It promotes as causal fact completely unproven interference and troubles for which, as the article notes, plenty of other reason might exist. It is politically irresponsible. Only two out of ten people read beyond the headlines. Even fewer will read down to paragraph five and recognize that the headline lies. All others will have been willfully misled by the editors of the New York Times. ..."
"... The whole "Russian hacking" issue is a series of big lies designed and promulgated by Democratic partisans (specifically Brennan and Clapper who were then at the head of U.S. intelligence services) ..."
"... The New York Times, and other media, present these lies as facts while not providing any evidence for them. In many cases they hide behind " intelligence reports " without noting suspiciously mealymouthed caveats in those subjective "assessments" of obviously partisan authors. Hard facts contradicting their conclusions are simply ignored and not reported at all. ..."
"... "Never trust a computer with anything important." I have been relentlessly campaigning against the use of voting machines, particularly voting computers, since 2004. I have demanded openly hand counted paper ballots in hundreds of blog posts, and even have a website promoting this. ..."
"... At the end of the day it is obvious that the Deep State Syndicate controls the machines, and thus the elections. And then they have the nerve to demand that we must beware of "Russian hacking"! ..."
"... The whole Russia stole my homework meme is getting fairly old and it makes me wonder what they are really hiding with this ongoing obfuscation of the facts......if the drums of war are loud enough will they drown out the calls for justice by any of the current or recent politicians? ..."
Sep 02, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The last piece pointed out that the NYT headline " U.N. Peacekeepers in Lebanon Get Stronger Inspection Powers for Hezbollah Arms " was 100% fake news. The UNIFIL U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon were not getting any stronger inspection powers. The relevant UN Security Resolution, which renewed UNIFIL's mandate, had made no such changes. No further inspection powers were authorized.

Today we find another similarly lying headline in the New York Times.

Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny

By NICOLE PERLROTH, MICHAEL WINES and MATTHEW ROSENBERGSEPT. 1, 2017

The piece is about minor technical election trouble in a district irrelevant to the presidential election outcome. Contradicting the headline it notes in paragraph five:

There are plenty of other reasons for such breakdowns -- local officials blamed human error and software malfunctions -- and no clear-cut evidence of digital sabotage has emerged, much less a Russian role in it
"We don't know if any of the problems were an accident, or the random problems you get with computer systems, or whether it was a local hacker, or actual malfeasance by a sovereign nation-state," said Michael Daniel, who served as the cybersecurity coordinator in the Obama White House. "If you really want to know what happened, you'd have to do a lot of forensics, a lot of research and investigation, and you may not find out even then."

...

the firm had not conducted any malware analysis or checked to see if any of the e-poll book software was altered, adding that the report produced more questions than answers.

All of the reported troubles are simple computer hiccups that would not have occurred in a more reasonable election system build on paper and pencil balloting. All the computer troubles have various innocent causes. The officials handling these systems deny that any "Russian hacking" was involved. Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in one district would have effected the general election. There was thereby no motive for anyone to hack these systems:

Despite the disruptions, a record number of votes were cast in Durham, following a pattern there of overwhelming support for Democratic presidential candidates , this time Hillary Clinton.

The NYT headline is an outrageous lie. It promotes as causal fact completely unproven interference and troubles for which, as the article notes, plenty of other reason might exist. It is politically irresponsible. Only two out of ten people read beyond the headlines. Even fewer will read down to paragraph five and recognize that the headline lies. All others will have been willfully misled by the editors of the New York Times.

This scheme is the gist of ALL reporting about the alleged "Russian hacking" of the U.S. presidential election. There exists zero evidence that Russia was involved in anything related to it. No evidence -none at all- links the publishing of DNC papers or of Clinton counselor Podesta's emails to Russia. Thousands of other circumstances, people or political entities might have had their hands in the issue. There is zero evidence that Russia was involved at all.

The whole "Russian hacking" issue is a series of big lies designed and promulgated by Democratic partisans (specifically Brennan and Clapper who were then at the head of U.S. intelligence services) to:

The New York Times, and other media, present these lies as facts while not providing any evidence for them. In many cases they hide behind " intelligence reports " without noting suspiciously mealymouthed caveats in those subjective "assessments" of obviously partisan authors. Hard facts contradicting their conclusions are simply ignored and not reported at all.

Posted by b on September 1, 2017 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

WG | Sep 2, 2017 1:27:08 AM | 1

Look at what happened today in San Francisco - after ordering the Russians to shut down their embassy there in an unreasonably short timeframe, they then had the fire department respond to smoke coming out of the chimney of the building. Conveniently this brings attention to the situation and continues the narrative of 'ongoing conflict' to the American people.

The end of this story has already decided. It didn't matter who won the election, it doesn't matter that the people chose the candidate who wanted peace, and it doesn't matter that there wasn't any Russian election hacking.

blues | Sep 2, 2017 1:37:27 AM | 2
"Never trust a computer with anything important." I have been relentlessly campaigning against the use of voting machines, particularly voting computers, since 2004. I have demanded openly hand counted paper ballots in hundreds of blog posts, and even have a website promoting this.

At the end of the day it is obvious that the Deep State Syndicate controls the machines, and thus the elections. And then they have the nerve to demand that we must beware of "Russian hacking"!

Get strategic hedge simple score voting today!

psychohistorian | Sep 2, 2017 1:59:38 AM | 3
The whole Russia stole my homework meme is getting fairly old and it makes me wonder what they are really hiding with this ongoing obfuscation of the facts......if the drums of war are loud enough will they drown out the calls for justice by any of the current or recent politicians?

Yes, of course.....thats the plan.....is it working?

If not, invade Venezuela on some pretext and claim ownership of their oil....someone has to make Israel look reasonable.

Bob | Sep 2, 2017 2:01:39 AM | 4
What a bizarre article.
"We don't know if any of the problems were an accident, or the random problems you get with computer systems, or whether it was a local hacker, or actual malfeasance by a sovereign nation-state," said Michael Daniel, who served as the cybersecurity coordinator in the Obama White House. "If you really want to know what happened, you'd have to do a lot of forensics, a lot of research and investigation, and you may not find out even then."

...

the firm had not conducted any malware analysis or checked to see if any of the e-poll book software was altered, adding that the report produced more questions than answers.

They don't even know what happened. Best blame it on the Russians anyway.

Perimtr | Sep 2, 2017 3:07:52 AM | 5
The "paper of record" is just another outlet for the Ministry of Propaganda.
Kalen | Sep 2, 2017 3:22:15 AM | 6
B of course realizes that the headline of an article is almost never written by author but by an editor.

Such as blatant nonsense at NYT and elsewhere I think is possible when author wanting to get published on good NYT page would lie to editor about its contents.

Of course Editor is no idiot and in old American tradition of pretending and deniability does not read it to cover his/her butt and hence this obvious crap get published epitomizing a failure {actually Orwellian success] of editor to vet the paper, as long as bosses are happy with insinuations however baseless.

Shakesvshav | Sep 2, 2017 3:31:33 AM | 7
The Guardian still sees mileage in Pussy Riot, or at least one former member: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/01/pussy-riot-mariya-alyokhina-russian-activist-jailed-white-house
Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2, 2017 7:21:37 AM | 8
...
Of course Editor is no idiot and in old American tradition of pretending and deniability does not read it to cover his/her butt and hence this obvious crap get published epitomizing a failure {actually Orwellian success] of editor to vet the paper, as long as bosses are happy with insinuations however baseless.
Posted by: Kalen | Sep 2, 2017 3:22:15 AM | 6

I like the theory that NYT's sub-editors are too lazy/busy/careless to read the articles they're paid to summarise and add an appealing headline. It's certainly food for thought when pondering possible Chain Of Command issues within the MSM.

When I was a regular lurker at What's Left, one notable aspect was the frequency with which Gowans' most stunning revelations were sourced from the nether regions of articles published in the NYT, WaPo et al.

Lawrence Smith | Sep 2, 2017 9:59:42 AM | 9
What this all speaks of is ineptitude and malfeasance at all levels of government. Lies covering more lies. The only things that gets done in Washington iare covering asses and those, like their wars without end, are complete and utter failures. That the Clinton mob are sore losers and press on with delegitimization of a clown president who, unlike the wicked witch of the West, feigned disinterest in war and won what's left of a hollowed out presidency is theatre of the absurd par excellence. Build the fence around the beltway and keep the psychopaths in the asylum in.
doug | Sep 2, 2017 10:44:46 AM | 10
Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in one district would have effected the general election. There was thereby no motive for anyone to hack these systems:

Plenty wrong with that logic...gosh...give it some thought...a tiny bit will help there...

james | Sep 2, 2017 11:01:34 AM | 12
yeah - more stories on pussy riot.. a story like how pussy riot ate george soros, or putins breakfast would be good..... when i read the nyt, i want a story filled with lies and deception... i'm running away from reality and heading straight for the nyt, lol..
Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2, 2017 11:20:17 AM | 14
...
Plenty wrong with that logic...gosh...give it some thought...a tiny bit will help there...
Posted by: doug | Sep 2, 2017 10:44:46 AM | 10

It would only be a logical fallacy if it said... "Moreover, there was no chance that these troubles in more than one district would have effected the general election." ...but it doesn't, so it isn't.

[Sep 01, 2017] Warren and DemoRat friends

Sep 01, 2017 | theintercept.com

September 1 2017

Mass Independent Joshua88 September 1 2017, 3:29 p.m. Interested in knowing what you think Sen Warren is consistent about.

She has recently joined the Gramps McCain war monger club and told TYT's Cenk Uygur in an interview that she thinks "Russia" is the most important issue for 2018. She gone full Dem idiot and has lost my vote (yes, in Mass) but then again, every vote I ever cast for DemocRATs has been a disappointment. Kerry for Senator and POTUS, Obomber once, Warren once. It's too much, and I'm done with them for good. Reply Joshua88 Mass Independent September 1 2017, 3:45 p.m. Her economic message and message of equity/fairness are consistent.

I know about her support for the defense industry.
I did not know how she feels about Russia.
I know she didn't vote against sanctions and war funding, as well as not speaking out against drones, etc.

All I can tell you is that, as an Independent, I am extremely harsh, disgusted, and fed up with the Dems. They are the hopeless party. I listened to Rep Joe Crowley early this morning. Christalmighty – these people ought to be put out of their misery.

What gives me optimism is that: How easy is it to tweet Ms Slaughter to say, Nobody believes you; Joe Crowley, you are out of your mind. Keep thinking these thoughts and you will LOSE 2018? Very easy, I am sure.

Your nicknames are so sophomoric – are you about twelve/thirteen? Reply Mass Independent Joshua88 September 1 2017, 5:39 p.m. So while we basically agree on our politicians, you take issue with my nicknames for them? How sophomoric of you.

I am equally disgusted and fed up with them, so I try to get under their skin (too). Reply sglover September 1 2017, 2:42 p.m. Google aside, Slaughter's perch at this Beltway feeding trough just goes to show how for somebody like her, the sweet gigs keep on coming no matter how much or how often you fuck up. How many idiotic military adventures has Slaughter advocated? Naturally, neither she nor anybody she knows ever has to pay the cost of her crackpot enthusiasms .. Reply Mass Independent sglover September 1 2017, 3:24 p.m. For all her liberal schooling, her "evolution" as a Hillary NeoCon type is complete. These are the DemocRATS who are ruining the country–with the help of their corporately owned counterparts, the Rethuglicans. Reply free September 1 2017, 2:12 p.m. Corporatins are a creation of the US state and proxies of the US state. That's particularly clear in the case of google-NSA, facebook-NSA, amazon,NSA. PAYPAL-EBAY-NSA etc.

It's quite unlkely tht the US nazi government is going to do anything against those companies because the US gov't has no reason to cut its own arms. Reply Nonsenseyousay free September 1 2017, 2:19 p.m. Welcome to Earth, but that is not how things work here in the United States. Reply free Nonsenseyousay September 1 2017, 3:18 p.m. What the fuck do you mean. That is exactly how things work in the american cesspool. Reply Alferrer September 1 2017, 12:37 p.m. Our politicians are for sale. Reply GhostofTeddyRoosevelt September 1 2017, 11:59 a.m. As a libertarian, i am pretty much hands off the market. However, many tech firms have gotten to a point of no return. At some point the Sherman Act needs to be enlisted.
In the 70s Standard Oil was busted for a lot less. Google, Amazon, Fakebook, Apple, need strutiny and likely busted as well.
I also would put a few large ag & chemical interests into this mix.
The control they wield is no longer acceptable. Reply Joe September 1 2017, 11:10 a.m. This goes to show you how Google is using its monopoly power to crush dissent and destroy its rivals. If there was ever a textbook case of monopolistic abuse that calls out for antitrust action, this is it. Reply Darren Douglas September 1 2017, 10:04 a.m. Time to split up Google (search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) and maybe Amazon (Washington Post, Whole Foods, etc.). Google in particular is a potentially harmful monopoly for freedom of speech. Reply Elizabeth September 1 2017, 9:46 a.m. Great reporting! THANK YOU Reply Benito Mussolini September 1 2017, 9:45 a.m. Washington is a marketplace for buying and selling influence. If you drain the swamp, it doesn't make the marketplace disappear, just renders it transparent. Google's behavior does not seem exceptional, at least when compared with the machinations of Big Oil and the Military-Industrial complex. As far as I know, Google isn't agitating for the invasion of any foreign countries.

[Aug 26, 2017] Court Admits DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schulz Rigged Primaries Against Sanders by Michael Sainato

Notable quotes:
"... In evaluating Plaintiffs' claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true -- that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent, ..."
"... The order reaffirmed that the primaries were tipped in Hillary Clinton's favor, but the court's authority to intervene in a court of law is limited. ..."
"... "The Court thus assumes that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz preferred Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president over Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic candidate. It assumes that they stockpiled information useful to the Clinton campaign. It assumes that they devoted their resources to assist Clinton in securing the party's nomination and opposing other Democratic candidates. And it assumes that they engaged in these surreptitious acts while publically proclaiming they were completely neutral, fair, and impartial. This Order therefore concerns only technical matters of pleading and subject-matter jurisdiction." ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | observer.com

In June 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for violating the DNC Charter by rigging the Democratic presidential primaries for Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders. Even former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid admitted in July 2016, ""I knew!everybody knew!that this was not a fair deal." He added adding that Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have resigned much sooner than she did. The lawsuit was filed to push the DNC to admit their wrongdoing and provide Bernie Sanders supporters, who supported him financially with millions of dollars in campaign contributions, with restitution for being cheated.

On August 25, 2017, Federal Judge William Zloch, dismissed the lawsuit after several months of litigation in which DNC attorneys argued that the DNC would be well within their rights to rig primaries and select their own candidate. " In evaluating Plaintiffs' claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true -- that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent, " the court order dismissing the lawsuit stated.

The order then explained why the lawsuit would be dismissed. "The Court must now decide whether Plaintiffs have suffered a concrete injury particularized to them, or one certainly impending, that is traceable to the DNC and its former chair's conduct!the keys to entering federal court. The Court holds that they have not." The court added that it did not consider this within its jurisdiction. "Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing 'only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.'"

The order reaffirmed that the primaries were tipped in Hillary Clinton's favor, but the court's authority to intervene in a court of law is limited.

"The Court thus assumes that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz preferred Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president over Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic candidate. It assumes that they stockpiled information useful to the Clinton campaign. It assumes that they devoted their resources to assist Clinton in securing the party's nomination and opposing other Democratic candidates. And it assumes that they engaged in these surreptitious acts while publically proclaiming they were completely neutral, fair, and impartial. This Order therefore concerns only technical matters of pleading and subject-matter jurisdiction."

At this time, it's unclear if the attorneys who filed the class action lawsuit, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, will pursue other legal recourse regarding the 2016 Democratic primaries.

[Aug 20, 2017] The chattering political classes have converged on the belief that Trump is not only incompetent, but dangerous. They use identity politics to discredit his base.

The USA started to imitate post-Maydan Ukraine: another war with statues... "Identity politics" flourishing in some unusual areas like history of the country. Which like in Ukraine is pretty divisive.
McAuliffe was co-chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and was one of her superdelegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Notable quotes:
"... The thrust appears to be to undercut components of his base while ratcheting up indignation. WaPo and the Times dribble out salacious "news" stories that, often as not, are substance free but written in a hyperbolic style that assumes a kind of intrinsic Trump guilt and leaps from there. They know better. No doubt they rationalize this as meeting kind with kind. ..."
"... It reminds me of the coverage in the run up to Nixon's resignation. Except this one's on steroids. I believe the DC folks fully expect Trump to be removed and now are focusing on the strategy that accrues the maximum benefit to their party. Unfortunately, things strongly favor the Democrats. ..."
"... Democrats want to drag this out as long as possible and enjoy the chipping away at segments of the Republican base while the Republicans want to clear the path before the midterms. However, the Republican officials, much as many or most can't stand Trump, have to weave a thin line because taking action against Trump would kill them in the primaries and possibly in the general. ..."
"... So the Democrats are licking their chops and hoping this can continue until the midterms with the expectation they will then control Congress. ..."
"... Some of you still don't get it. Trump isn't our last chance. Its your last chance. Yet still so many of you oxygen thieves still insist RUSSIA is the reason Hillary lost. You guys are going to agitate your way into a CW because you can't accept you lost. Many of you agitating are fat, slow, and stupid, with no idea how to survive. ..."
"... From day one after the unexpected (for the punditry class and their media coherts) elections results everybody was piling on Trump. The stories abound about his Russia Collusion (after one year of investigation not even a smoke signal) or his narcistic attitudes (mind you LeeG Trump always addresses people as We where as Humble Obama always addresses in the first person). ..."
"... I get this feeling the Swamp doesn't want a President who will at least try to do something for the American people rather than promises (Remember Hope and Change ala Obama, he got the Change quite a bit of it for him and his Banker Pals from what is left of the treasury and we the people are left with Hope). ..."
"... Someone on the last thread said in a very elegant way that what binds us Americans together is one thing, economic opportunity for all. I believe that was Trump's election platform, with the "for all" emphasized frequently. ..."
"... There is quite the precedent for the media treating trump as they do, Putin has been treated quite similarly, as well as any other politician the media cars disagree with [neocons/neolibs]... ..."
"... I think, during the election campaign, the negative media coverage may have well be a boon to him. Anyone who listened to the media, and then actually turned up at a Trump rally to see for himself, immediately got the idea that the media is full of shit. I think this won Trump a fair number of converts. ..."
"... But I think by now they are just over the top. It almost reminds me of Soviet denunciations of old communists who have fallen out of favor. ..."
"... The one clear thing is that there is a coup attempt to get rid of Donald Trump led by globalist media and supra-national corporate intelligence agents. Charlottesville may well be due to the total incompetence of the democratic governor and mayor. ..."
"... On the other hand, the razing of Confederate Memorials started in democrat controlled New Orleans and immediately spread to Baltimore. This is purposeful like blaming Russia for losing the 2016 election. ..."
"... The unrest here at home is due to the forever wars, outsourcing jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity. Under stress societies revert to their old beliefs and myths. John Brennon, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are scorpions; they can't help themselves. After regime change was forced on Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine; a color revolution has been ignited here in the USA; damn the consequences. We are the only ones that can stop it by pointing out what is really happening. ..."
"... What I see in my Democrat dominated county is that the blue collar folks are noting this overt coup attempt and while they didn't vote for Trump are beginning to become sympathetic towards him. I sense this is in part due to the massive mistrust of the MSM and the political establishment who are viewed as completely self-serving. ..."
"... I read a transcript of the entirety of Trump's news conference upon which CBS and others are basing their claims that Trump is "defending white supremacists," and at no point did he come within hand grenade distance of doing anything of the sort. What he did do is accuse the left wing group of being at fault along with the right wing group in causing the violence, and he did not even claim that they were equally at fault. ..."
"... There is no doubt whatever that his statement was entirely accurate, if in no other respect in that the left's decision to engage in proximate confrontation was certain to cause violence and was, in fact, designed to do so regardless of who threw the first punch. CBS and other media of its caliber are completely avoiding mentioning that aspect of the confrontation. ..."
"... CBS et. al. have been touting the left's possession of not one but two permits for public assembly, but they carefully do not point out that the permits were for two areas well removed from the area where the conflict occurred, and that they did not have a permit to assemble in that area. ..."
"... The media is flailing with the horror of Trump's advocacy of racial division, but it is the Democratic Party which has for more than a decade pursued the policy of "identity politics," and the media which has prated endlessly about "who will get the black vote" or "how Hispanics will vote" in every election. ..."
"... As a firm believer in the media efforts to sabotage Trump and a former supporter (now agnostic, trending negative - Goldman Sachs swamp creatures in the Oval Office????), he greatly disappointed me. First, i will state, that I do not believe Trump is antisemitic (no antisemite will surround himself with rich Jewish Bankers). ..."
"... It doesn't matter whether Trump is getting a raw deal or not. Politics has nothing to do with fairness. ..."
"... But when you've lost Bob Corker, and even Newt Gingrich is getting wobbly, when Fox News is having a hard time finding Republicans willing to go on and defend Trump, you don't need to be Nostradamus to see what's going to happen. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

doug , 17 August 2017 at 04:54 PM

The media, and political elite, pile on is precisely what I expect. The chattering political classes have converged on the belief that Trump is not only incompetent, but dangerous. And his few allies are increasingly uncertain of their future.

The thrust appears to be to undercut components of his base while ratcheting up indignation. WaPo and the Times dribble out salacious "news" stories that, often as not, are substance free but written in a hyperbolic style that assumes a kind of intrinsic Trump guilt and leaps from there. They know better. No doubt they rationalize this as meeting kind with kind. Trump is the epitome of the salesman that believes he can sell anything to anyone with the right pitch. Reporters that might normally be restrained by actual facts and a degree of fairness simply are no longer so constrained.

It reminds me of the coverage in the run up to Nixon's resignation. Except this one's on steroids. I believe the DC folks fully expect Trump to be removed and now are focusing on the strategy that accrues the maximum benefit to their party. Unfortunately, things strongly favor the Democrats.

Democrats want to drag this out as long as possible and enjoy the chipping away at segments of the Republican base while the Republicans want to clear the path before the midterms. However, the Republican officials, much as many or most can't stand Trump, have to weave a thin line because taking action against Trump would kill them in the primaries and possibly in the general.

So the Democrats are licking their chops and hoping this can continue until the midterms with the expectation they will then control Congress. After that they will happily dispatch Trump with some discovered impeachable crime. At that point it won't be hard to get enough Republicans to go along.

The Republicans can only hope to convince Trump to resign well prior to the midterms. They hope they won't have to go on record with a vote and get nailed in the elections.

In the meantime the country is going to go through hell.

turcopolier , 17 August 2017 at 05:19 PM
kerim,

Yes, we are staring into the depths and the abyss has begun to take note of us. BTW the US was put back together after the CW/WBS on the basis of an understanding that the Confederates would accept the situation and the North would not interfere with their cultural rituals.

There was a general amnesty for former Confederates in the 1870s and a number of them became US senators, Consuls General overseas and state governors.

That period of attempted reconciliation has now ended. Who can imagine the "Gone With the Win" Pulitzer and Best Picture of the Year now? pl

Tyler , 17 August 2017 at 05:30 PM
Some of you still don't get it. Trump isn't our last chance. Its your last chance. Yet still so many of you oxygen thieves still insist RUSSIA is the reason Hillary lost. You guys are going to agitate your way into a CW because you can't accept you lost. Many of you agitating are fat, slow, and stupid, with no idea how to survive.
Murali -> LeeG... , 17 August 2017 at 05:38 PM
I totally disagree with you LeeG. From day one after the unexpected (for the punditry class and their media coherts) elections results everybody was piling on Trump. The stories abound about his Russia Collusion (after one year of investigation not even a smoke signal) or his narcistic attitudes (mind you LeeG Trump always addresses people as We where as Humble Obama always addresses in the first person).

I get this feeling the Swamp doesn't want a President who will at least try to do something for the American people rather than promises (Remember Hope and Change ala Obama, he got the Change quite a bit of it for him and his Banker Pals from what is left of the treasury and we the people are left with Hope). I hope he will succeed but I learnt that we will always be left with Hope!

AK -> Dr.Puck... , 17 August 2017 at 06:27 PM
Dr. Puck,

The calls have begun:

That last tweet is from the Green Party candidate for VP. Those are just a few examples from a quick Google search before I get back to work. Those of you with more disposable time will surely find more.

BillWade , 17 August 2017 at 06:47 PM
Someone on the last thread said in a very elegant way that what binds us Americans together is one thing, economic opportunity for all. I believe that was Trump's election platform, with the "for all" emphasized frequently.

I believe Charlottsville was a staged catalyst to bring about Trump's downfall, there seems now to be a "full-court press" against him. If he survives this latest attempt, I'll be both surprised and in awe of his political skills. If he doesn't survive I'll (and many others, no matter the "legality of the process") will consider it a coup d'etat and start to think of a different way to prepare for the future.

A.I.Schmelzer , 17 August 2017 at 07:20 PM
There is quite the precedent for the media treating trump as they do, Putin has been treated quite similarly, as well as any other politician the media cars disagree with [neocons/neolibs]...

I think, during the election campaign, the negative media coverage may have well be a boon to him. Anyone who listened to the media, and then actually turned up at a Trump rally to see for himself, immediately got the idea that the media is full of shit. I think this won Trump a fair number of converts.

But I think by now they are just over the top. It almost reminds me of Soviet denunciations of old communists who have fallen out of favor.

As far as statue removal goes: There should be legal ways of deciding such things democratically. There should also be the possibility of relocating the statues in question. I imagine that there should be plenty of private properties who are willing to host these statues on their land. This should be quite soundly protected by the US constitution.

That these monuments got, iirc, erected long after the war is nothing unusual. Same is true for monuments to the white army, of which there are now a couple in Russia.

As far as the civil war goes, my sympathies lie with the Union, I would not be, more then a 100 years after the war, be averse to monuments depicting the common Confederate Soldier.

I can understand the statue toppler somewhat. If someone would place a Bandera statue in my surroundings, I would try to wreck it. I may be willing to tolerate a Petljura statue, probably a also Wrangel or Denikin statue, but not a Vlassov or Shuskevich statue. Imho Lees "wickedness", historically speaking, simply isn't anything extraordinary.

Haralambos -> turcopolier ... , 17 August 2017 at 07:29 PM
Col., thank you for this comment. I grew up in the "North" and recall the centenary of the Civil War as featured in _Life_ magazine. I was fascinated by the history, the uniforms and the composition of the various armies as well as their arms. I would add to that the devastating use of grapeshot. I knew the biographies of the various generals on both sides and their relative effectiveness. I would urge others to read Faulkner's _Intruder in the Dust_ to gain some understanding of the Reconstruction and carpetbagging.

I believe the choice to remove the monument as opposed to some other measure, such as the bit of history you offer, was highly incendiary. I also find it interesting that the ACLU is taking up their case in regard to free-speech: http://tinyurl.com/ybdkrcaz

I was living in Chicago when the Skokie protest occurred.

Fred -> Lars... , 17 August 2017 at 07:36 PM
Lars,

"They came to Charlottesville to do harm. They came armed and were looking for a fight."

I agree. This means Governor McAuliffe failed in his duty to the people of the Commonwealth and so did the Mayor of Charlottesville and the senior members of the police forces present in the city. Congradulations to the alt-left.

They - the left - previously came to DC to do harm - on flag day no less. Namely the Bernie Bro James Hodgkinson, domestic terrorist, who attempted to assasinate Steve Scalise and a number of other elected representatives. The left did not denounce him nor his cause. Sadly they did not even denounce the people who actually betrayed him - those who rigged the Democratic primary: Donna Brazile and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Seamus Padraig -> Dr.Puck... , 17 August 2017 at 07:40 PM
"I know of no call by anybody to remove all statues of the slaveholders. Please edify."

Well, it appears that Al Sharpton is now in favor of defunding the Jefferson Memorial. That's close, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg4XKIX1bs4&feature=youtu.be&t=5

VietnamVet , 17 August 2017 at 08:32 PM
PT

The one clear thing is that there is a coup attempt to get rid of Donald Trump led by globalist media and supra-national corporate intelligence agents. Charlottesville may well be due to the total incompetence of the democratic governor and mayor.

On the other hand, the razing of Confederate Memorials started in democrat controlled New Orleans and immediately spread to Baltimore. This is purposeful like blaming Russia for losing the 2016 election.

The protestors on both divides were organized and spoiling for a fight.

The unrest here at home is due to the forever wars, outsourcing jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity. Under stress societies revert to their old beliefs and myths. John Brennon, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are scorpions; they can't help themselves. After regime change was forced on Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine; a color revolution has been ignited here in the USA; damn the consequences. We are the only ones that can stop it by pointing out what is really happening.

James , 17 August 2017 at 09:32 PM
It seems to me that this brouhaha may work in Trump's favor. The more different things they accuse Trump of (without evidence), the more diluted their message becomes.

I think the Borg's collective hysteria can be explained by the "unite the right" theme of the Charlottesville Rally. A lot of Trump supporters are very angry, and if they start marching next to people who are carrying signs that blame "the Jews" for America's problems, then anti-Zionist (or even outright anti-Semitic) thinking might start to go mainstream. The Borg would do well to work to address the Trump supporters legitimate grievances. There are a number of different ways that things might get very ugly if they don't. Unfortunately the establishment just wants to heap abuse on the Trump supporters and I think that approach is myopic.

Jack , 17 August 2017 at 09:56 PM
There will always be an outrage du jour for the NeverTrumpers. The Jake Tapper, Rachel Maddow, Morning Joe & Mika ain't gonna quit. And it seems it's ratings gold for them. Of course McCain and his office wife and the rest of the establishment crew also have to come out to ring the obligatory bell and say how awful Trump's tweet was.

What I see in my Democrat dominated county is that the blue collar folks are noting this overt coup attempt and while they didn't vote for Trump are beginning to become sympathetic towards him. I sense this is in part due to the massive mistrust of the MSM and the political establishment who are viewed as completely self-serving.

Cvillereader -> turcopolier ... , 17 August 2017 at 10:17 PM
It is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to wear a mask that covers one's face in most public settings.

LEOs in Central Va encountered this exact requirement when a man in a motorcycle helmet entered a Walmart on Rt 29 in 2012. Several customers reported him to 911 because they believed him to being acting suspiciously. He was detained in Albemarle County and was eventually submitted for mental health evaluation.

This is not a law that Charlottesville police would be unfamiliar with.

luxetveritas , 17 August 2017 at 10:45 PM
Chomsky: "As for Antifa, it's a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were. "It's a major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who are exuberant."

"what they do is often wrong in principle – like blocking talks – and [the movement] is generally self-destructive."

"When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it's the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is. That's quite apart from the opportunity costs – the loss of the opportunity for education, organizing, and serious and constructive activism."

Bill H , 18 August 2017 at 02:02 AM
I read a transcript of the entirety of Trump's news conference upon which CBS and others are basing their claims that Trump is "defending white supremacists," and at no point did he come within hand grenade distance of doing anything of the sort. What he did do is accuse the left wing group of being at fault along with the right wing group in causing the violence, and he did not even claim that they were equally at fault.

There is no doubt whatever that his statement was entirely accurate, if in no other respect in that the left's decision to engage in proximate confrontation was certain to cause violence and was, in fact, designed to do so regardless of who threw the first punch. CBS and other media of its caliber are completely avoiding mentioning that aspect of the confrontation.

CBS et. al. have been touting the left's possession of not one but two permits for public assembly, but they carefully do not point out that the permits were for two areas well removed from the area where the conflict occurred, and that they did not have a permit to assemble in that area. A pundit on CBS claimed that "if they went" to the park in question, which of course they did, "they would not have been arrested because it was a public park." He failed to mention that large groups still are required to have a permit to assemble in a public park.

The media is flailing with the horror of Trump's advocacy of racial division, but it is the Democratic Party which has for more than a decade pursued the policy of "identity politics," and the media which has prated endlessly about "who will get the black vote" or "how Hispanics will vote" in every election.

Old Microbiologist -> Lars... , 18 August 2017 at 03:53 AM
Lars, but they came with a legal permit to protest and knew what they would be facing. The anti-protestors including ANTIFA had a large number of people being paid to be there and funded by Soros and were there illegally. The same mechanisms were in place to ramp up protests like in Ferguson which were violent and this response was no different.

However, the Virginia Governor a crony of the Clintons, ordered a police stand down and no effort was made to separate the groups. I remind you also that open carry is legal in Virginia.

So, IMHO this was deliberately set up for a lethal confrontation by the people on the left. I will also remind you that the American Nazi Party and the American Communist Party among others, are perfectly legal in the US as is the KKK. Believing and saying what you want, no matter how offensive, is legal under the First Amendment. Actively discriminating against someone is not legal but speech is. Say what you want but that is the Constitution.

AK -> Richardstevenhack ... , 18 August 2017 at 04:02 AM
Richardstevenshack,

Your last paragraph is a suitably Leftist post-modern ideological oversimplification of an infinitely complex phenomenon. It also reveals a great deal of what motivates the SJW Left:

" As for the notion that this is a 'cultural issue', I quote: 'Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.' 'Culture' is the means by which some people oppress others. It's much like 'civilization' or 'ethics' or 'morality' - a tool to beat people over the head who have something you want. "

First, it is a cultural issue. It's an issue between people who accept this culture as a necessary but flawed, yet incrementally improvable structure for carrying out a relatively peaceful existence among one another, and those whose grudging, bitter misanthropy has led them to the conclusion that the whole thing isn't fair (i.e. easy) so fuck it, burn it all down. In no uncertain terms, this is the ethos driving the radical Left.

Second, I don't know exactly which culture created you, but I'm fairly sure it was a western liberal democracy, as I'm fairly certain is the case with almost all Leftists these days, regardless of how radical. And I'm also fairly certain the culture you decry is the western liberal democratic culture in its current iterations. But before you or anyone else lights the fuse on that, remember that the very culture you want to burn down because it's so loathsome, that's the thing that gave you that shiny device you use to connect with the world, it's the thing that taught you how to articulate your thoughts into written and spoken word, so that you could then go out and bitch about it, and it even lets you bitch about it, freely and with no consequences. This "civilization" is the thing that gives rise to the "morals" and "ethics" that allow you to take your shiny gadgets to a coffee shop, where the barista makes your favorite beverage, instead of simply smashing you over the head and taking your shiny gadgets because he wants them. These principles didn't arise out of thin air, and neither did you, me, or anyone else. This culture is an agreed-upon game that most of us play to ensure we stand a chance at getting though this with as little suffering as possible. It's not perfect, but it works better than anything else I've seen in history.

Old Microbiologist -> FourthAndLong... , 18 August 2017 at 04:12 AM
Not as significant but along a similar trend to re-write history is this pastor asking Chicago mayor Emmanuel to rename parks named for Presidents because they were also slave owners. http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/08/inevitable-chicago-pastor-demands-washington-name-be-removed-from-park-because-of-slavery-ties/
AK -> Tyler... , 18 August 2017 at 04:33 AM
In his inimitable fashion, I'll grant Tyler (and the Colonel, as well) the creditable foresight to call this one. Those of you who find yourselves wishing, hoping, agitating, and activisting for an overturn of the election result, and/or of traditional American culture in general would do well to take their warnings seriously.

If traditional American culture is so deeply and irredeemably corrupt, I must ask, what's your alternative? And how do you mean to install it? I would at least like to know that. Regardless of your answer to question one, if your answer to question two is "revolution", well then you and anyone else on that wagon better be prepared to suffer, and to increase many fold the overall quotient of human suffering in the world. Because that's what it will take.

You want your revolution, but you also want your Wi-Fi to keep working.
You want your revolution, but you also want your hybrid car.
You want your revolution, but you also want your safe spaces, such as your bed when you sleep at night.

If you think you can manage all that by way of shouting down, race baiting, character assassinating, and social shaming, without bearing the great burden of suffering that all revolutions entail, you have bitter days ahead. And there are literally millions of Americans who will oppose you along the way. And unlike the kulaks when the Bolsheviks rode into town, they see you coming and they're ready for you. And if you insist on taking it as far as you can, it won't be pretty, and it won't be cinematic. Just a lot of tragedy for everyone involved. But one side will win, and my guess is it'll be the guys like Tyler. It's not my desire or aim to see any of that happen. It's just how I see things falling out on their current trajectory.

The situation calls to mind a quote from a black radical, spoken-word group from Harlem who were around in the early to mid 60s, called the Last Poets. The line goes, "Speak not of revolution until you are willing to eat rats to survive." Just something to think about when you advocate burning it all down.

johnklis56@gmail.com -> rick... , 18 August 2017 at 07:19 AM
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) has added his name to a growing list of public officials in state governments encouraging the removal of Confederate statues and memorials throughout the South. Late in the day on Wednesday McAuliffe released an official statement saying monuments of Confederate leaders have now become "flashpoints for hatred, division and violence" in a reference to the weekend of violence which shook Charlottesville as white nationalists rallied against the city's planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. McAuliffe further described the monuments as "a barrier to progress" and appealed to state and local governments to take action. The governor said:

As we attempt to heal and learn from the tragic events in Charlottesville, I encourage Virginia's localities and the General Assembly – which are vested with the legal authority – to take down these monuments and relocate them to museums or more appropriate settings. I hope we can all now agree that these symbols are a barrier to progress, inclusion and equality in Virginia and, while the decision may not be mine to make...

It seems the push for monument removal is now picking up steam, with cities like Baltimore simply deciding to act briskly while claiming anti-racism and concern for public safety. Of course, the irony in all this is that the White nationalist and supremacist groups which showed up in force at Charlottesville and which are even now planning a major protest in Lexington, Kentucky, are actually themselves likely hastening the removal of these monuments through their repugnant racial ideology, symbols, and flags.

Bishop James Dukes, a pastor at Liberation Christian Center located on Chicago's south side, is demanding that the city of Chicago re-dedicate two parks in the area that are named after former presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson. His reasons? Dukes says that monuments honoring men who owned slaves have no place in the black community, even if those men once led the free world.

Just a few I've seen....

James F , 18 August 2017 at 07:29 AM
Salve, Publius. Thanks for the article. Col. Lang made an excellent point in the comments' section that the Confederate memorials represent the reconciliation between the North and the South. The same argument is presented in a lengthier fashion in this morning's TAC http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/when-confederate-monuments-represent-reconciliation/ . That reconciliation could have been handled much better, i.e. without endorsing Jim Crow. I wish more monuments were erected to commemorate Longstreet and Cleburne, JB Hood and Hardee. I wish there was more Lee and less Forrest. Nonetheless, the important historical point is that a national reconciliation occurred. Removing the statues is a symbolic act which undoes the national reconciliation. The past which is being erased is not the Civil War but the civil peace which followed it. That is tragic.
Ishmael Zechariah -> Dr.Puck... , 18 August 2017 at 08:14 AM
Dr. Puck,
Do you agree w/ this elected representative's statement: ""I hope Trump is assassinated!" Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wrote during a morning Facebook exchange, referring to Republican President Donald Trump."
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/chappelle-nadal-posts-deletes-facebook-post-hoping-for-trump-s/article_406059d6-1aa4-52fc-89ee-2a6a69baaf2e.html
Ishmael Zechariah
Kooshy -> Richardstevenhack ... , 18 August 2017 at 09:21 AM
IMO, most of the problems majority of people (specially the ruling class) have with Donald Trump' presidency is that, he acts and is an accidental president, Ironically, everybody including, him, possibly you, and me who voted for him knows this and is not willing to take his presidency serious and act as such. IMO, he happens to run for president, when the country, due to setbacks and defeat on multiple choice wars, as well as national economic misfortunes and misshapes, including mass negligence of working class, was in dismay and a big social divide, as of the result, majority decided to vote for some one outside of familiar cemented in DC ruling class knowing he is not qualified and is a BS artist. IMO that is what took place, which at the end of the day, ends of to be same.
Croesus -> doug... , 18 August 2017 at 09:52 AM
Netanyahu is under pressure for failing to speak out forcefully against Trump

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/benjamin-netanyahu-resists-calls-to-denounce-trumps-response-to-charlottesville/

Bibi has keen political skills. He hasn't lasted this long based on his mastery of judo.

Fred -> James F... , 18 August 2017 at 10:03 AM
James F,

" Removing the statues is a symbolic act which undoes the national reconciliation."

That is the intent. The coalition of urban and coastal ethnic populists and economic elites has been for increased concentration and expansion of federal power at the expense of the states, especially the Southern states, for generations. This wave of agitprop with NGO and MSM backing is intended to undo the constitutional election and return the left to power at the federal level.

TV , 18 August 2017 at 10:18 AM
I agree with most of Trump's policy positions, but he is negating these positions with his out-of-control mouth and tweets.
As much as I have nothing but contempt and loathing for the "establishment" (Dems, Republicans, especially the media, the "intelligence" community and the rest of the permanent government), Trump doesn't seem to comprehend that he can't get anything done without taming some of these elements, all of whom are SERIOUSLY opposed to him as a threat to their sinecures and riches.
"Who is this OUTSIDER to come in and think that he in charge of OUR government?"
blowback , 18 August 2017 at 10:33 AM
What seems like a balanced eyewitness account of Charlottesville that suggests that although the radicals on both sides brought the violence, it was the police who allowed it to happen.

https://newrepublic.com/article/144365/cops-dropped-ball-charlottesville

The need to keep protesters away from counter-protesters particular when both are tooled should be obvious to anyone, but not so with the protest in Charlottevlle.

doug -> Tyler... , 18 August 2017 at 10:40 AM
-"Trump isnt our last chance. Its your last chance."

Reminds me of the 60's and the SDS and their ilk. A large part of the under 30 crowd idolized Mao's Little Red Book and convinced themselves the "revolution" was imminent. So many times I heard the phrase "Up Against the Wall, MFs." Stupid fools. Back then people found each other by "teach-ins" and the so called "underground press." In those days it took a larger fraction to be able to blow in each other's ear and convince themselves they were the future "vanguard."

These days, with the internet, it is far easier for a smaller fraction to gravitate to an echo chamber, reinforce group think, and believe their numbers are much larger than what, in reality, exists. This happens across the board. It's a rabbit hole Tyler. Don't go down it.

turcopolier , 18 August 2017 at 10:45 AM
Booby

Yes, Forts Bragg, Hood, Lee, AP Hill, Benning, etc., started as temporary camps during WW1 and were so named to encourage Southern participation in the war. The South had been reluctant about the Spanish War. Wade Hampton, governor of SC said of that war, "Let the North fight. the South knows the cost of war." pl

ISL , 18 August 2017 at 10:53 AM
I would like to share my viewpoint. As a firm believer in the media efforts to sabotage Trump and a former supporter (now agnostic, trending negative - Goldman Sachs swamp creatures in the Oval Office????), he greatly disappointed me. First, i will state, that I do not believe Trump is antisemitic (no antisemite will surround himself with rich Jewish Bankers).

But violence on all sides is absolute BS. Nazi violence gets its own sentence and language at least as strong as the language he has no trouble hitting ISIS with. Didn't hear that. So I guess in his mind, the threat the US faced from Nazis during WW2 was less than a ragtag, 3rd world guerilla force whose only successes are because of 1. US, Saudi, and other weapons, and their war on unstable third world countries. Give me a break - did he never watch a John Wayne movie as a kid?

When I discuss nazi's, F-bombs are dropped. I support the right of nazi's to march and spew their vitriolic hatred, and even more strongly support the right of free speech to counter their filth with facts and arguments and history.

I am sorry, but Antifa was not fighting against the US in WW2. If one wants to critique Antifa, or another group, that criticism belongs in a separate paragraph or better in another press conference. Taking 2 days to do so, and then walking it back, is the hallmark of a political idiot (or a billionaire who listens to no one and lives in his own mental echo chamber).

If Trump gets his info and opinions from TV news, despite having the $80+ billion US Intel system at his beck and call, he is the largest idiot on the planet.

sid_finster , 18 August 2017 at 11:29 AM
It doesn't matter whether Trump is getting a raw deal or not. Politics has nothing to do with fairness.

But when you've lost Bob Corker, and even Newt Gingrich is getting wobbly, when Fox News is having a hard time finding Republicans willing to go on and defend Trump, you don't need to be Nostradamus to see what's going to happen.

[Aug 01, 2017] Groupthink at the CIA by

Looks like tail wags the dog -- CIA controls the US foreign policy and in the last elections also played active role in promoting Hillary. A the level of top brass we have several people mentioned by Giraldi who are probably as dangerous as Allen Dulles was. Brennan is one example.
The parade of rogues that Philip describes is really alarming. Each with agenda that directly harms the USA as a country promoting the interest of military-industrial complex and neocon faction within the government...
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter. ..."
"... Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort. ..."
"... Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago. ..."
"... Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. ..."
"... Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down. ..."
"... And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation." ..."
"... Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time. ..."
"... Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia. ..."
"... As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State. ..."
"... The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes. ..."
"... The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done. ..."
"... The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency. ..."
"... I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama. ..."
"... Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness. ..."
"... How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN. ..."
"... Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began. ..."
"... Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. ..."
"... So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face. ..."
"... Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections. ..."
Aug 01, 2017 | www.unz.com

Long ago, when I was a spear carrying middle ranker at CIA, a colleague took me aside and said that he had something to tell me "as a friend," that was very important. He told me that his wife had worked for years in the Agency's Administrative Directorate, as it was then called, where she had noticed that some new officers coming out of the Career Trainee program had red tags on their personnel files. She eventually learned from her boss that the tags represented assessments that those officers had exceptional potential as senior managers. He added, however, that the reverse appeared to be true in practice as they were generally speaking serial failures as they ascended the bureaucratic ladder, even though their careers continued to be onward and upward on paper. My friend's wife concluded, not unreasonably, that only genuine a-holes had what it took to get promoted to the most senior ranks.

I was admittedly skeptical but some recent activity by former and current Directors and Acting Directors of CIA has me wondering if something like my friend's wife's observation about senior management might indeed be true. But it would have to be something other than tagging files, as many of the directors and their deputies did not come up through the ranks and there seems to be a similar strain of lunacy at other U.S. government intelligence agencies. It might be time to check the water supply in the Washington area as there is very definitely something in the kool-aid that is producing odd behavior.

Now I should pause for a moment and accept that the role of intelligence services is to identify potential threats before they become active, so a certain level of acute paranoia goes with the job. But at the same time, one would expect a level of professionalism which would mandate accuracy rather than emotion in assessments coupled with an eschewing of any involvement in the politics of foreign and national security policy formulation. The enthusiasm with which a number of senior CIA personnel have waded into the Trump swamp and have staked out positions that contradict genuine national interests suggests that little has been learned since CIA Director George Tenet sat behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN and nodded sagaciously as Saddam Hussein's high crimes and misdemeanors were falsely enumerated.

Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter.

Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort.

The most recent inexplicable comments come from the current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, speaking at the Aspen Institute Security Forum. He began by asserting that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election before saying that the logic behind Russia's Middle Eastern strategy is to stay in place in Syria so Moscow can "stick it to America." He didn't define the "it" so one must assume that "it" stands for any utensil available, ranging from cruise missiles to dinner forks. He then elaborated, somewhat obscurely, that "I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago.

Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee back in May, he suggested that some Trump associates might have been recruited by the Russian intelligence service. He testified that "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals."

In his testimony, Brennan apparently forgot to mention that the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens. Nor did he explain how he had come upon the information in the first place as it had been handed over by foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch and Estonians, and at least some of it had been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time. That is how Russiagate started.

Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down.

A lesser known former CIA senior official is John McLaughlin, who briefly served as acting Director in 2004. McLaughlin was particularly outraged by Trump's recent speech to the Boy Scouts, which he described as having the feel "of a third world authoritarian's youth rally." He added that "It gave me the creeps it was like watching the late Venezuelan [President Hugo] Chavez."

And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

I and others noted at the time that Putin and Trump had never met, not even through proxies, while we also wondered how one could be both unwitting and a recruited agent as intelligence recruitment implies control and taking direction. Morell was non-plussed, unflinching and just a tad sanctimonious in affirming that his own intelligence training (as an analyst who never recruited a spy in his life) meant that "[I] call it as I see it."

One could also cite Michael Hayden and James Clapper, though the latter was not CIA. They all basically hew to the same line about Russia, often in more-or-less the same words, even though no actual evidence has been produced to support their claims. That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

And the other groupthink that seems to prevail among the senior managers except Pompeo is that they all hate Donald Trump and have done so since long before he won the election. That is somewhat odd, but it perhaps reflects a fear that Trump would interfere with the richly rewarding establishment politics that had enabled their careers. But it does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of CIA employees. Though it is admittedly unscientific analysis on my part, I know a lot of former and some current CIA employees but do not know a single one who voted for Hillary Clinton. Nearly all voted for Trump.

Beyond that exhibition of tunnel vision and sheer ignorance, the involvement of former senior intelligence officials in politics is itself deplorable and is perhaps symptomatic of the breakdown in the comfortable bipartisan national security consensus that has characterized the past fifty years. Once upon time former CIA officers would retire to the Blue Ridge mountains and raise Labradors, but we are now into something much more dangerous if the intelligence community, which has been responsible for most of the recent leaks, begins to feel free to assert itself from behind the scenes. As Senator Chuck Schumer recently warned "Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community -- they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

exiled off mainstreet, August 1, 2017 at 5:06 am GMT

In jumping this fascist nihilist shark, the groupthinkers have closed themselves off from the logical conclusion to their viewpoint, which is final annihilation.

Dan Hayes, August 1, 2017 at 5:47 am GMT

Schumer's statement is true (and probably the only such one in his political career!).

annamaria, August 1, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT

Brennan, Morell, and Pompeo should better find ways to justify their salaries: the U.S. has suffered the greatest breach in cybersecurity on their watch:

" an enormous breach of the United States Security Apparatus by as many as 80 Democrat members of Congress (past and present). We rail on about the Russians and Trump, but t he media avoids providing nightly updates about these 5 spies that have compromised Congress ."

http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-awan-brothers-compromised-at-least-80-congregational-computers-and-got-paid-5-million-to-do-it-we-may-never-know-the-extent-of-the-breach/

"In total, Imran's firm was employed by 31 Democrats in Congress, some of whom held extremely sensitive positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affair s."

polistra, August 1, 2017 at 6:17 am GMT

Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time.

Bruce Marshall, August 1, 2017 at 6:39 am GMT

And back to reality we have VIPS Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia.

That is war, World War Three and it would seem now that Congress is marching that way, but the report below hold the key to fighting back.

http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2017/2017_30-39/2017-30/pdf/37-41_4430.pdf

One of the VIPS is William Binney fomer NSA Technical Director, an important expert. leading the group is Ray McGovern with some whit and grace, well yes how about some sanity, to which humor is important to the insight and to stay in the sights of what is clever thievery and worse. Much worse,
and there is a twinkle in the eye when realize that it is straight forward.

And Congress could stop it tout sweet, but well old habits but they have taken an Oath of Office, so, so what, yeah they did go after Bernie, so will you challenge your elected officials, either do their sworn duty or resign, for what this sanctions bill against Russia and Iran is a declaration of war, not only against Russia and Iran, but a declaration of war against the United States. for there is no reason to do this against Russia when indeed there are great opportunities to get along, but war is the insanity as it is sedition and treason. Tell them that,

https://larouchepac.com/20170731/breaking-lyndon-larouche-crush-british-coup-against-president

Priss Factor, • Website August 1, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT

Moderate Rebels = Toothfairy Rebels

jilles dykstra, August 1, 2017 at 7:21 am GMT

I wonder if groupthink exists. In any organisation people know quite well why the organisation exists, what the threats are to its existence. If they think about this, I wonder.

The CIA is the USA's secret army, it is not comparable to a real intelligence organisation like the British MI5. The CIA is more like WWII SOE, designed to set fire to Europe, Churchill's words. If indeed Trump changes USA foreign policy, no longer trying to control the world, the CIA is obsolete, as obsolete as NATO.

animalogic, August 1, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

" but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter."

Not to defend the CIA, but didn't Rumsfeld, doubt the enthusiasm of the CIA for providing the slanted, bogus, "sexed up" intelligence the Executive required to make its "destroy Iraq now" case ? So Rumsfeld therefore set up an independent intelligence agency within the Defence Dept to provide/create the required "intelligence" ?

The Alarmist, August 1, 2017 at 7:45 am GMT

I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Yeah, because that's what resource-constrained countries with limited ability to tap the global capital markets do. Methinks Mr. Pompeo is projecting his and the neocons' fantasies on the Russians.

Realist, August 1, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State.

CalDre, August 1, 2017 at 10:43 am GMT

If only Trump would really clean the swamp – particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream .

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 11:04 am GMT

Being resistant to jargon and catch phrases it is only slowly that I have accepted that "Deep State" is not entirely pretentious waffle when used to describe aspects of the US. However I may not be your only reader PG who would appreciate a clear explanatory description of the American Deep State and how it works.

Here are some suggested parameters.

The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes.
And its origins imply that it is not just one in a number of major influences ln government or those who vote for it.

So one has to acknowledge that in the US the Deep State has to be different in the important respect that levers of power are observably wielded by lobbies for the aged, gun owners and sellers, Israel, Wall Street, bio fuels, sugar and other ag, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, the arms industry, Disney and other Hollywood and media, health insurers and the medical profession, and I could go on.

These are all relevant to legal events like votes on impeachment or to hold up appointments. The CIA and FBI together completely united (and note how disunited 9/11 showed them to be) wouldn't remotely approach the old Turkish Deep State's ability to stage a coup. Are all of the putative elements of the Deep State together today as powerful as J.Edgar Hoover with his dirt files on everyone? (A contrast and compare exercise of today's presumed Deep State configuration and modus operandi with the simpler Hoover days might shine some light on who does what and how today. And how effectively).

To avoid lack of focus can a convincing account of the US Deep State be best given in terms of a plausible scenario for

  1. getting rid of Trump as President and/or
  2. maintaining the lunacy and hubris which has the US wasting its substance on totally unnecessary antagonistic relations with China and Russia and interference in the ME?

I would read such accounts with great interest. (Handwavers need not apply).

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

Of course the US Deep State must hate Russia. First, Jews have a very long history of hating Russia and Russians. That never changed. The USSR was not Russia; the USSR was Marxism replacing Russia. Jews tended to love that. Rich Jews from across the world, from the US and the UK of most interest to us, sent money to support the Bolshevik Revolution.

Russia managed to survive the USSR and is slowly coming back around to Russian common sense from the Christian perspective. Neither Jews nor their WASP BFFs can ever forgive that. They want Russia to act now to commit cultural and genetic suicide, like Western Europe and the entire Anglosphere are doing.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT

@polistra The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done.

The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency.

jacques sheete, August 1, 2017 at 11:36 am GMT

While there can be no doubt about the crackpots in high positions of the most powerful bureaucracies, it seems to me that the CIA loonies are merely shock troops for an even worse bunch of evil psychos, the bankster mafiosi.

We should always keep that in mind.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

@CalDre If only

But doing so would mean a voluntary end to playing the role of Sauron, determined to find and wear the One Ring to Rule Them All. The average Elite WASP, and his Jewish BFF, definitely would prefer to destroy the world, at least outside their gated compounds of endless luxury, than to step down from that level of global domination.

Philip Giraldi, August 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz Wiz – Here is an article I did on the Deep State two years ago. It was one of the first in the US media looking at the issue. It would have to be updated now in light of Trump, but much of what it states is still more-or-less correct.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/deep-state-america/

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm GMT

@jacques sheete Yes, indeed.

But we need to make certain that your use of the word 'mafiosi' does not lead anyone to assume that group has more than a handful of Italians. Jews, WASPs, and continental Germanics each will outnumber Italians by at least 30 to 1.

Chris Bridges, August 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT

I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama.

Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness.

Well before he was elected I had a letter delivered to President Trump in which I outlined in detail what would happen to him if he did not immediately purge the CIA of these assholes. I know that at least some people on his staff read it but, of course, my advice was ignored. Trump has paid dearly for not listening to an ordinary CIA guy who wanted to give him a reality brief on those vicious snakes.

Proud_Srbin, August 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Historical facts teach humanity that Anglo-Saxon group of Nations was built on slavery, thuggery and theft of other peace loving Civilizations. We Slavs are the New "niggers", hate is the glue that holds you "toGether".
People of color have been successfully conditioned and practice it as well.
Time will tell how well it holds when balloon bursts and 99% gets called to serve as cannon fodder.
Terrorizing UNARMED and WEAKER is not true test of "superiority" and "exceptionalism".
Tiny, extremely tiny minority of Anglo-Saxons and Satraps understand this.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm GMT

@Chris Bridges You are responsible only for telling the truth and warning. Trump's naivete is his failing.

Bernie voter, August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm GMT

How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN.

Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began.

Smash Mouth, August 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm GMT

@Jake

"You must be working for the CIA. They wouldn't have you in the Ma-Fi-A"

1960′s song lyric from "Why can't we be friends"

Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was.

War is Hell, August 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm GMT

Fascinating ..

My old brain that was alive in the 60′s, remembers the lyric. But the first link I find on Google's youtube is a version that removes the above lyric, instead just echoing the title endlessly. That's the modern world .. all real content removed from what you find on the internet.

Here's a better version.

Beauracratic Mind, August 1, 2017 at 1:42 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

I wonder if groupthink exists.

It probably does as do group psychoses and group fantasies.. Anyone who's ever served in a beuaracracy knows that groupthink exists.

Take a bunch of mediocre minds. And, they do exist, as Garrison Keiler once famously made a joke out of with his line Welcome to Lake Woebegone, where all the children are above average.

Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. If everyone is wrong, then there is safety in the group. After all, if they are wrong, so was everyone else in the organization. Thus they are immune to attack and censure for being wrong. But if someone takes a position outside of the group consensus, that can be a career-ending move if they are wrong, as now everyone else will be in the I-told-U-So camp. And even if they are correct, they will still be hated and shunned just for being the person who pointed out to the group that they are wrong.

So, you take your typical average mind, and not only do they not have any great insights of their own, but they tend to stick to the group out of sheer survival and then when you take a mass of these mediocre minds you have 'groupthink'.

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi Thank you. As you have my sparingly conferred respect i thank you even before reading it:-)

Eticon, August 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm GMT

@CalDre

If only Trump would really clean the swamp - particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream ....

What we've learned from Trump is that 'Draining the Swamp' will take more than an individual. It will take a political movement.

One sees this on the fringes of politics. Someone gets the idea of running for President, and they point out all that is wrong. But, they focus only on their own campaign, their own goal, and they thus gloss over the fact that they'll be outnumbered and powerless even if they win.

Seen this often on the Left. The most recent example is Bernie Sanders. Likewise, had Bernie been elected President, he too would face an entrenched establishment and media with only a small fraction of the Congress supporting him.

Change has to be built from the bottom up. There are no shortcuts. Electing a Trump, or a Nader or a Bernie does not lead to real change. Step one is to build the political movement such that it has real voting block power and which has already won voting majorities in the legislature before the movement achieves the election of a President.

What Trump has needed to be doing for this first two years is to form clear divisions that he could then take to his voters in the mid-term elections. He's needed to lay out his own agenda. So what if he loses votes in Congress? He then takes that agenda back to the voters in 2018 with a nationwide slate of Congressional candidates who support that agenda and runs a midterm campaign asking the voters to help him drain that swamp.

So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face.

Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections.

ChuckOrloski, August 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

@Jake Hey Jake,

It is a serious error to consider President Trump "naive."

What we are seeing now is The Donald's role in the serial Zionist THEATER. Think deeper about the motive behind Mr. Giraldi's choice to use the Orwellian word "Groupthink" in characterizing the CIA zeitgeist? In the classic work "1984," one observes Big Brother as the catalyst in control of the proles' thought pattern & subsequent action.

To rise & FALL as a POTUS is a matter of theater and the American proles are entertained by the political for either 4 or 8 years and the Zionists get their next Chosen actor/actress dramatically sworn in on a bible.

Mr. Trump is neither naive nor stupid. Sheldon Adelson would not donate $millioms to any POTUS wannabe who could not effectively lead the American Groupthink tradition. Subsequently, the politcal horror show is brought to you in the understandable form of the perptually elusive Deep State which gets annual Academy Award.

Beware the fake, Jake!,

Joe Hide, August 1, 2017 at 2:20 pm GMT

I agree with Your take on intelligence services in that they must be putting something in their drinking water. Good article. Keep contributing.

[Jul 17, 2017] Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons by Curt Mills

max Book is just anothe "Yascha about Russia" type, that Masha Gessen represents so vividly. The problem with him is that time of neocon prominance is solidly in the past and now unpleasant question about the cost from the US people of their reckless foreign policies get into some newspapers and managines. They cost the USA tremedous anount of money (as in trillions) and those money consititute a large portion of the national debt. Critiques so far were very weak and partially suppressed voices, but defeat of neocon warmonger Hillary signify some break with the past.
Notable quotes:
"... Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies." ..."
"... But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject. ..."
"... New York Observer ..."
"... Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, " ..."
"... : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

This week's primetime knife fights with Max Boot and Ralph Peters are emblematic of the battle for the soul of the American Right.

To be sure, Carlson rejects the term "neoconservatism," and implicitly, its corollary on the Democratic side, liberal internationalism. In 2016, "the reigning Republican foreign-policy view, you can call it neoconservatism, or interventionism, or whatever you want to call it" was rejected, he explained in a wide-ranging interview with the National Interest Friday.

"But I don't like the term 'neoconservatism,'" he says, "because I don't even know what it means. I think it describes the people rather than their ideas, which is what I'm interested in. And to be perfectly honest . . . I have a lot of friends who have been described as neocons, people I really love, sincerely. And they are offended by it. So I don't use it," Carlson said.

But Carlson's recent segments on foreign policy conducted with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the prominent neoconservative journalist and author Max Boot were acrimonious even by Carlsonian standards. In a discussion on Syria, Russia and Iran, a visibly upset Boot accused Carlson of being "immoral" and taking foreign-policy positions to curry favor with the White House, keep up his ratings , and by proxy, benefit financially. Boot says that Carlson "basically parrots whatever the pro-Trump line is that Fox viewers want to see. If Trump came out strongly against Putin tomorrow, I imagine Tucker would echo this as faithfully as the pro-Russia arguments he echoes today." But is this assessment fair?

Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies."

Even if Carlson doesn't want to use the label neocon to describe some of those ideas, Boot is not so bashful. In 2005, Boot wrote an essay called "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh." Carlson "has become a Trump acolyte in pursuit of ratings," says Boot, also interviewed by the National Interest . "I bet if it were President Clinton accused of colluding with the Russians, Tucker would be outraged and calling for impeachment if not execution. But since it's Trump, then it's all a big joke to him," Boot says. Carlson vociferously dissents from such assessments: "This is what dumb people do. They can't assess the merits of an argument. . . . I'm not talking about Syria, and Russia, and Iran because of ratings. That's absurd. I can't imagine those were anywhere near the most highly-rated segments that night. That's not why I wanted to do it."

But Carlson insists, "I have been saying the same thing for fifteen years. Now I have a T.V. show that people watch, so my views are better known. But it shouldn't be a surprise. I supported Trump to the extent he articulated beliefs that I agree with. . . . And I don't support Trump to the extent that his actions deviate from those beliefs," Carlson said. Boot on Fox said that Carlson is "too smart" for this kind of argument. But Carlson has bucked the Trump line, notably on Trump's April 7 strikes in Syria. "When the Trump administration threw a bunch of cruise missiles into Syria for no obvious reason, on the basis of a pretext that I question . . . I questioned [the decision] immediately. On T.V. I was on the air when that happened. I think, maybe seven minutes into my show. . . . I thought this was reckless."

But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject.

Boot objects to what he sees as a cavalier attitude on the part of Carlson and others toward allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and also toward the deaths of citizens of other countries. "You are laughing about the fact that Russia is interfering in our election process. That to me is immoral," Boot told Carlson on his show. "This is the level of dumbness and McCarthyism in Washington right now," says Carlson. "I think it has the virtue of making Max Boot feel like a good person. Like he's on God's team, or something like that. But how does that serve the interest of the country? It doesn't." Carlson says that Donald Trump, Jr.'s emails aren't nearly as important as who is going to lead Syria, which he says Boot and others have no plan for successfully occupying. Boot, by contrast, sees the U.S. administration as dangerously flirting with working with Russia, Iran and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. "For whatever reason, Trump is pro-Putin, no one knows why, and he's taken a good chunk of the GOP along with him," Boot says.

On Fox last Wednesday, Boot reminded Carlson that he originally supported the 2003 Iraq decision. "You supported the invasion of Iraq," Boot said, before repeating, "You supported the invasion of Iraq." Carlson conceded that, but it seems the invasion was a bona fide turning point. It's most important to parse whether Carlson has a long record of anti-interventionism, or if he's merely sniffing the throne of the president (who, dubiously, may have opposed the 2003 invasion). "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it," Carlson told the New York Observer in early 2004. "It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. . . . I'm enraged by it, actually." Carlson told the National Interest that he's felt this way since seeing Iraq for himself in December 2003.

The evidence points heavily toward a sincere conversion on Carlson's part, or preexisting conviction that was briefly overcome by the beat of the war drums. Carlson did work for the Weekly Standard , perhaps the most prominent neoconservative magazine, in the 1990s and early 2000s. Carlson today speaks respectfully of William Kristol, its founding editor, but has concluded that he is all wet. On foreign policy, the people Carlson speaks most warmly about are genuine hard left-wingers: Glenn Greenwald, a vociferous critic of both economic neoliberalism and neoconservatism; the anti-establishment journalist Michael Tracey; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation ; and her husband, Stephen Cohen, the Russia expert and critic of U.S. foreign policy.

"The only people in American public life who are raising these questions are on the traditional left: not lifestyle liberals, not the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) group, not liberals in D.C., not Nancy Pelosi." He calls the expertise of establishment sources on matters like Syria "more shallow than I even imagined." On his MSNBC show, which was canceled for poor ratings, he cavorted with noninterventionist stalwarts such as Ron Paul , the 2008 and 2012 antiwar GOP candidate, and Patrick J. Buchanan. "No one is smarter than Pat Buchanan," he said last year of the man whose ideas many say laid the groundwork for Trump's political success.

Carlson has risen to the pinnacle of cable news, succeeding Bill O'Reilly. It wasn't always clear an antiwar take would vault someone to such prominence. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney could be president (Boot has advised the latter two). But here he is, and it's likely no coincidence that Carlson got a show after Trump's election, starting at the 7 p.m. slot, before swiftly moving to the 9 p.m. slot to replace Trump antagonist Megyn Kelly, and just as quickly replacing O'Reilly at the top slot, 8 p.m. Boot, on the other hand, declared in 2016 that the Republican Party was dead , before it went on to hold Congress and most state houses, and of course take the presidency. He's still at the Council on Foreign Relations and writes for the New York Times (this seems to clearly annoy Carlson: "It tells you everything about the low standards of the American foreign-policy establishment").

Boot wrote in 2003 in the Weekly Standard that the fall of Saddam Hussein's government "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history" comparable to "events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which everything is different." He continued, "If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if ), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."

Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, "

Carlson seems intent on pressing the issue. The previous night, in his debate with Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Carlson sounded like Charles Lindbergh, who opposed U.S. intervention against Nazi Germany before 1941. "This particular strain of Republican foreign policy has almost no constituency. Nobody agrees with it. I mean there's not actually a large group of people outside of New York, Washington or L.A. who think any of this is a good idea," Carlson says. "All I am is an asker of obvious questions. And that's enough to reveal these people have no idea what they're talking about. None."

Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest . Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills .

Image : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Jul 13, 2017] Progressive Democrats Resist and Submit, Retreat and Surrender by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" ..."
"... Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: " Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'. ..."
"... Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints. ..."
"... Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more! ..."
"... Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen! ..."
"... Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party. ..."
"... This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary. ..."
"... Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.) ..."
"... Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches. ..."
"... They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. ..."
"... Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act ..."
Jul 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990's progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US's corporate for-profit medical system into a national 'Medicare For All' public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right.

To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.

Progressives by Name and Posture

Progressives purport to embrace 'progress', the growth of the economy, the enrichment of society and freedom from arbitrary government. Central to the Progressive agenda was the end of elite corruption and good governance, based on democratic procedures.

Progressives prided themselves as appealing to 'reason, diplomacy and conciliation', not brute force and wars. They upheld the sovereignty of other nations and eschewed militarism and armed intervention.

Progressives proposed a vision of their fellow citizens pursuing incremental evolution toward the 'good society', free from the foreign entanglements, which had entrapped the people in unjust wars.

Progressives in Historical Perspective

In the early part of the 20th century, progressives favored political equality while opposing extra-parliamentary social transformations. They supported gender equality and environmental preservation while failing to give prominence to the struggles of workers and African Americans.

They denounced militarism 'in general' but supported a series of 'wars to end all wars' . Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas. By the middle of the 20th century, different strands emerged under the progressive umbrella. Progressives split between traditional good government advocates and modernists who backed socio-economic reforms, civil liberties and rights.

Progressives supported legislation to regulate monopolies, encouraged collective bargaining and defended the Bill of Rights.

Progressives opposed wars and militarism in theory until their government went to war.

Lacking an effective third political party, progressives came to see themselves as the 'left wing' of the Democratic Party, allies of labor and civil rights movements and defenders of civil liberties.

Progressives joined civil rights leaders in marches, but mostly relied on legal and electoral means to advance African American rights.

Progressives played a pivotal role in fighting McCarthyism, though ultimately it was the Secretary of the Army and the military high command that brought Senator McCarthy to his knees.

Progressives provided legal defense when the social movements disrupted the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

They popularized the legislative arguments that eventually outlawed segregation, but it was courageous Afro-American leaders heading mass movements that won the struggle for integration and civil rights.

In many ways the Progressives complemented the mass struggles, but their limits were defined by the constraints of their membership in the Democratic Party.

The alliance between Progressives and social movements peaked in the late sixties to mid-1970's when the Progressives followed the lead of dynamic and advancing social movements and community organizers especially in opposition to the wars in Indochina and the military draft.

The Retreat of the Progressives

By the late 1970's the Progressives had cut their anchor to the social movements, as the anti-war, civil rights and labor movements lost their impetus (and direction).

The numbers of progressives within the left wing of the Democratic Party increased through recruitment from earlier social movements. Paradoxically, while their 'numbers' were up, their caliber had declined, as they sought to 'fit in' with the pro-business, pro-war agenda of their President's party.

Without the pressure of the 'populist street' the 'Progressives-turned-Democrats' adapted to the corporate culture in the Party. The Progressives signed off on a fatal compromise: The corporate elite secured the electoral party while the Progressives were allowed to write enlightened manifestos about the candidates and their programs . . . which were quickly dismissed once the Democrats took office. Yet the ability to influence the 'electoral rhetoric' was seen by the Progressives as a sufficient justification for remaining inside the Democratic Party.

Moreover the Progressives argued that by strengthening their presence in the Democratic Party, (their self-proclaimed 'boring from within' strategy), they would capture the party membership, neutralize the pro-corporation, militarist elements that nominated the president and peacefully transform the party into a 'vehicle for progressive changes'.

Upon their successful 'deep penetration' the Progressives, now cut off from the increasingly disorganized mass social movements, coopted and bought out many prominent black, labor and civil liberty activists and leaders, while collaborating with what they dubbed the more malleable 'centrist' Democrats. These mythical creatures were really pro-corporate Democrats who condescended to occasionally converse with the Progressives while working for the Wall Street and Pentagon elite.

The Retreat of the Progressives: The Clinton Decade

Progressives adapted the 'crab strategy': Moving side-ways and then backwards but never forward.

Progressives mounted candidates in the Presidential primaries, which were predictably defeated by the corporate Party apparatus, and then submitted immediately to the outcome. The election of President 'Bill' Clinton launched a period of unrestrained financial plunder, major wars of aggression in Europe (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East (Iraq), a military intervention in Somalia and secured Israel's victory over any remnant of a secular Palestinian leadership as well as its destruction of Lebanon!

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act, thereby opening the floodgates for massive speculation on Wall Street through the previously regulated banking sector. When President Clinton gutted welfare programs, forcing single mothers to take minimum-wage jobs without provision for safe childcare, millions of poor white and minority women were forced to abandon their children to dangerous makeshift arrangements in order to retain any residual public support and access to minimal health care. Progressives looked the other way.

Progressives followed Clinton's deep throated thrust toward the far right, as he outsourced manufacturing jobs to Mexico (NAFTA) and re-appointed Federal Reserve's free market, Ayn Rand-fanatic, Alan Greenspan.

Progressives repeatedly kneeled before President Clinton marking their submission to the Democrats' 'hard right' policies.

The election of Republican President G. W. Bush (2001-2009) permitted Progressive's to temporarily trot out and burnish their anti-war, anti-Wall Street credentials. Out in the street, they protested Bush's savage invasion of Iraq (but not the destruction of Afghanistan). They protested the media reports of torture in Abu Ghraib under Bush, but not the massive bombing and starvation of millions of Iraqis that had occurred under Clinton. Progressives protested the expulsion of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but were silent over the brutal uprooting of refugees resulting from US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the systematic destruction of their nations' infrastructure.

Progressives embraced Israel's bombing, jailing and torture of Palestinians by voting unanimously in favor of increasing the annual $3 billion dollar military handouts to the brutal Jewish State. They supported Israel's bombing and slaughter in Lebanon.

Progressives were in retreat, but retained a muffled voice and inconsequential vote in favor of peace, justice and civil liberties. They kept a certain distance from the worst of the police state decrees by the Republican Administration.

Progressives and Obama: From Retreat to Surrender

While Progressives maintained their tepid commitment to civil liberties, and their highly 'leveraged' hopes for peace in the Middle East, they jumped uncritically into the highly choreographed Democratic Party campaign for Barack Obama, 'Wall Street's First Black President'.

Progressives had given up their quest to 'realign' the Democratic Party 'from within': they turned from serious tourism to permanent residency. Progressives provided the foot soldiers for the election and re-election of the warmongering 'Peace Candidate' Obama. After the election, Progressives rushed to join the lower echelons of his Administration. Black and white politicos joined hands in their heroic struggle to erase the last vestiges of the Progressives' historical legacy.

Obama increased the number of Bush-era imperial wars to attacking seven weak nations under American's 'First Black' President's bombardment, while the Progressives ensured that the streets were quiet and empty.

When Obama provided trillions of dollars of public money to rescue Wall Street and the bankers, while sacrificing two million poor and middle class mortgage holders, the Progressives only criticized the bankers who received the bailout, but not Obama's Presidential decision to protect and reward the mega-swindlers.

Under the Obama regime social inequalities within the United States grew at an unprecedented rate. The Police State Patriot Act was massively extended to give President Obama the power to order the assassination of US citizens abroad without judicial process. The Progressives did not resign when Obama's 'kill orders' extended to the 'mistaken' murder of his target's children and other family member, as well as unidentified bystanders. The icon carriers still paraded their banner of the 'first black American President' when tens of thousands of black Libyans and immigrant workers were slaughtered in his regime-change war against President Gadhafi.

Obama surpassed the record of all previous Republican office holders in terms of the massive numbers of immigrant workers arrested and expelled – 2 million. Progressives applauded the Latino protestors while supporting the policies of their 'first black President'.

Progressive accepted that multiple wars, Wall Street bailouts and the extended police state were now the price they would pay to remain part of the "Democratic coalition' (sic).

The deeper the Progressives swilled at the Democratic Party trough, the more they embraced the Obama's free market agenda and the more they ignored the increasing impoverishment, exploitation and medical industry-led opioid addiction of American workers that was shortening their lives. Under Obama, the Progressives totally abandoned the historic American working class, accepting their degradation into what Madam Hillary Clinton curtly dismissed as the 'deplorables'.

With the Obama Presidency, the Progressive retreat turned into a rout, surrendering with one flaccid caveat: the Democratic Party 'Socialist' Bernie Sanders, who had voted 90% of the time with the Corporate Party, had revived a bastardized military-welfare state agenda.

Sander's Progressive demagogy shouted and rasped on the campaign trail, beguiling the young electorate. The 'Bernie' eventually 'sheep-dogged' his supporters into the pro-war Democratic Party corral. Sanders revived an illusion of the pre-1990 progressive agenda, promising resistance while demanding voter submission to Wall Street warlord Hillary Clinton. After Sanders' round up of the motley progressive herd, he staked them tightly to the far-right Wall Street war mongering Hillary Clinton. The Progressives not only embraced Madame Secretary Clinton's nuclear option and virulent anti-working class agenda, they embellished it by focusing on Republican billionaire Trump's demagogic, nationalist, working class rhetoric which was designed to agitate 'the deplorables'. They even turned on the working class voters, dismissing them as 'irredeemable' racists and illiterates or 'white trash' when they turned to support Trump in massive numbers in the 'fly-over' states of the central US.

Progressives, allied with the police state, the mass media and the war machine worked to defeat and impeach Trump. Progressives surrendered completely to the Democratic Party and started to advocate its far right agenda. Hysterical McCarthyism against anyone who questioned the Democrats' promotion of war with Russia, mass media lies and manipulation of street protest against Republican elected officials became the centerpieces of the Progressive agenda. The working class and farmers had disappeared from their bastardized 'identity-centered' ideology.

Guilt by association spread throughout Progressive politics. Progressives embraced J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tactics: "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" For progressives, 'Russia-gate' defined the real focus of contemporary political struggle in this huge, complex, nuclear-armed superpower.

Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: "Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'.

Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints.

The Progressives' far right - turn earned them hours and space on the mass media as long as they breathlessly savaged and insulted President Trump and his family members. When they managed to provoke him into a blind rage . . . they added the newly invented charge of 'psychologically unfit to lead' – presenting cheap psychobabble as grounds for impeachment. Finally! American Progressives were on their way to achieving their first and only political transformation: a Presidential coup d'état on behalf of the Far Right!

Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!

In return, President Trump began to 'out-militarize' the Progressives by escalating US involvement in the Middle East and South China Sea. They swooned with joy when Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government as Damascus engaged in a life and death struggle against mercenary terrorists. They dubbed the petulant release of Patriot missiles 'Presidential'.

Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen!

Conclusion

Progressives turned full circle from supporting welfare to embracing Wall Street; from preaching peaceful co-existence to demanding a dozen wars; from recognizing the humanity and rights of undocumented immigrants to their expulsion under their 'First Black' President; from thoughtful mass media critics to servile media megaphones; from defenders of civil liberties to boosters for the police state; from staunch opponents of J. Edgar Hoover and his 'dirty tricks' to camp followers for the 'intelligence community' in its deep state campaign to overturn a national election.

Progressives moved from fighting and resisting the Right to submitting and retreating; from retreating to surrendering and finally embracing the far right.

Doing all that and more within the Democratic Party, Progressives retain and deepen their ties with the mass media, the security apparatus and the military machine, while occasionally digging up some Bernie Sanders-type demagogue to arouse an army of voters away from effective resistance to mindless collaboration.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

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WorkingClass > , July 12, 2017 at 9:21 pm GMT

But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party.

This piece accurately traces the path from Progressive to Maoist. It's a pity the Republican Party is also a piece of shit. I think it was Sara Palin who said "We have two parties. Pick one." This should be our collective epitaph.

exiled off mainstreet > , July 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm GMT

This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary.

alan2102 > , July 13, 2017 at 2:04 am GMT

EXCELLENT.

Astuteobservor II > , July 13, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

at this point, are they still progressives though? they are the new far right

CCZ > , July 13, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"

Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Carlton Meyer > , Website July 13, 2017 at 5:56 am GMT

The great Jimmy Dore is a big thorn for the Democrats. From my blog:

Apr 29, 2017 – Obama is Scum!

Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.)

Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches.

Obama gets over $200,000 a year in retirement, just got a $65 million deal, so doesn't need more money. Why would a multi-millionaire ex-president fly around the globe collecting huge speaking fees from world corporations just after his political party was devastated in elections because Americans think the Democratic party represents Wall Street? The great Jimmy Dore expressed his outrage at Obama and the corrupt Democratic party in this great video.

jilles dykstra > , July 13, 2017 at 6:27 am GMT

Left in the good old days meant socialist, socialist meant that governments had the duty of redistributing income from rich to poor. Alas in Europe, after 'socialists' became pro EU and pro globalisation, they in fact became neoliberal. Both in France and the Netherlands 'socialist' parties virtually disappeared.
So what nowadays is left, does anyone know ?

Then the word 'progressive'. The word suggests improvement, but what is improvement, improvement for whom ? There are those who see the possibility for euthanasia as an improvement, there are thos who see euthanasia as a great sin.

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Call me Deplorable > , July 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm GMT

They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. But, hey, the brother now has five mansions, collects half a mill per speech to the Chosen People on Wall Street, and parties for months at a time at exclusive resorts for billionaires only.

Obviously, he's got the world by the tail and you don't. Hope he comes to the same end as Gaddaffi and Ceaușescu. Maybe the survivors of nuclear Armageddon can hold a double necktie party with Killary as the second honored guest that day.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Properly defining the concepts would impede the system's ability to keep you confused.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas.

You left out the other Roosevelt.

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act

Hilarious!

Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

This is a huge myth. All that really happened is that the INS changed some of its internal terminology to make it sound as though they were deporting more people: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.7f964acd9b0d

Stephen Paul Foster > , Website July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT

The Progressives now, failing electorally, are moving on to physical violence.

See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-would-be-assassins.html

annamaria > , July 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer Obama, a paragon of American scoundrel

Anonymous IV > , July 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig Agree on the bit about Obama as "deporter in chief." Even the LA Times had to admit this was misleading

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-deportations-20140402-story.html

so it's not just conservative conspiracy theory stuff as some might argue.

Still, the overall point of this essay isn't affected all that much. Open borders is still a "right wing" (in the sense this author uses the term) policy–pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business. So Obama was still doing the bidding of the donor class in their quest for cheap labor.

I've seen pro-immigration types try to use the Obama-deportation thing to argue that we don't need more hardcore policies. After all, even the progressive Democrat Obama was on the ball when it came to policing our borders, right?! Who needed Trump?

Agent76 > , July 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!" Nathan Meyer Rothschild

June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44864.htm

"Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people." Henry Kissenger

Alfa158 > , July 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer If Jimmy keeps up these attacks on Wall Street, the Banksters, and rent-seekers he is going to get run out of the Progressive movement for dog-whistling virulent Anti-Semitism. Look at how the media screams at Trump every time he mentions Wall Street and the banks.

yeah > , July 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT

Mr. Petra has penned an excellent and very astute piece. Allow me a little satire on our progressive friends, entitled "The path to hell is paved with good intentions".

The early socialist/progressive travellers were well-intentioned but naïve in their understanding of human nature and fanatical about their agenda. To move the human herd forward, they had no compulsions about resorting to harsher and harsher prodding and whipping. They felt entitled to employ these means because, so they were convinced, man has to be pushed to move forward and they, the "progressives", were the best qualified to lead the herd. Scoundrels, psychopaths, moral defectives, and sundry other rascals then joined in the whipping game, some out of the sheer joy of wielding the whip, others to better line their pockets.

So the "progressive" journey degenerates into a forced march. The march becomes the progress, becoming both the means and the end at the same time. Look at the so-called "progressive" today and you will see the fanatic and the whip-wielder, steadfast about the correctness of his beliefs. Tell him/her/it that you are a man or a woman and he retorts "No, you are free to choose, you are genderless". What if you decline such freedom? "Well, then you are a bigot, we will thrash you out of your bigotry", replies the progressive. "May I, dear Sir/Madam/Whatever, keep my hard-earned money in my pocket for my and my family's use" you ask. "No, you first have to pay for our peace-making wars, then pay for the upkeep of refugees, besides which you owe a lot of back taxes that are necessary to run this wonderful Big Government of ours that is leading you towards greener and greener pastures", shouts back the progressive.

Fed up, disgusted, and a little scared, you desperately seek a way out of this progress. "No way", scream the march leaders. "We will be forever in your ears, sometimes whispering, sometimes screaming; we will take over your brain to improve your mind; we will saturate you with images on the box 24/7 and employ all sorts of imagery to make you progress. And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time."

TheJester > , July 13, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT

Knowing who is "progressive" and know who is "far-right" is like knowing who is "fascist" and who is not. For obvious historical reasons, the Russian like to throw the "fascist" slogan against anyone who is a non-Russian nationalist. However, I accept the eminent historian Carroll Quigley's definition of fascism as the incorporation of society and the state onto single entity on a permanent war footing. The state controls everything in a radically authoritarian social structure. As Quigley states, the Soviet Union was the most complete embodiment of fascism in WWII. In WWII Germany, on the other hand, industry retained its independence and in WWII Italy fascism was no more than an empty slogan.

Same for "progressives". Everyone wants to be "progressive", right? Who wants to be "anti-progressive"? However, at the end of the day, "progressive" through verbal slights of hand has been nothing more than a euphemism for "socialist" or, in the extreme, "communist" the verbal slight-of-hand because we don't tend to use the latter terms in American political discourse.

"Progressives" morphing into a new "far-right" in America is no more mysterious than the Soviet Union morphing from Leninism to Stalinism or, the Jewish (Trotskyite) globalists fleeing Stalinist nationalism and then morphing into, first, "Scoop" Jackson Democrats and then into Bushite Republicans.

As you might notice, the real issue is the authoritarian vs. the non-authoritarian state. In this context, an authoritarian government and social order (as in communism and neoconservatism) are practical pre-requisites necessity to force humanity to transition to their New World Order.

Again, the defining characteristic of fascism is the unitary state enforced via an authoritarian political and social structure. Ideological rigor is enforced via the police powers of the state along with judicial activism and political correctness. Ring a bell?

In the ongoing contest between Trump and the remnants of the American "progressive" movement, who are the populists and who the authoritarians? Who are the democrats and who are the fascists?

I would say that who lands where in this dichotomy is obvious.

RobinG > , July 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm GMT

@Alfa158 Is Jimmy Dore really a "Progressive?" (and what does that mean, anyway?) Isn't Jimmy's show hosted by the Young Turks Network, which is unabashedly Libertarian?

Anyway, what's so great about "the Progressive movement?" Seems to me, they're just pathetic sheepdogs for the war-crazed Dems. Jimmy should be supporting the #UNRIG movement ("Beyond Trump & Sanders") for ALL Americans:

On 1 May 2017 Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Brown, and Robert Steele launched

We the People – Unity for Integrity.

The User's Guide to the 2nd American Revolution.

Death to the Deep State.

https://www.unrig.net/manifesto/

Ben Banned > , July 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT

Petras, for some reason, low balls the number of people ejected from assets when the mafia came to seize real estate in the name of the ruling class and their expensive wars, morality, the Constitution or whatever shit they could make up to fuck huge numbers of people over. Undoubtedly just like 9/11, the whole thing was planned in advance. Political whores are clearly useless when the system is at such extremes.

Banks like Capital One specialize in getting a signature and "giving" a car loan to someone they know won't be able to pay, but is simply being used, shaken down and repossessed for corporate gain. " No one held a gun to their head! " Get ready, the police state will in fact put a gun to your head.

Depending on the time period in question, which might be the case here, more than 20 million people were put out of homes and/or bankrupted with more to come. Clearly a bipartisan effort featuring widespread criminal conduct across the country – an attack on the population to sustain militarism.

peterAUS > , July 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

@yeah Nice.

If I may add:
"and you also have to dearly pay for you being white male heterosexual for oppressing all colored, all the women and all the sexually different through the history".

"And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time. If we see that you still don't get with the program we will reeducate you. Should you resist that in any way we'll incarcerate you. And, no, normal legal procedure does not work with racists/bigots/haters/whatever we don't like".

Reg Cæsar > , July 14, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT

@CCZ

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"
Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee

which itself was a progressive invention. There was no "right wing" anywhere in sight when it was estsblished in 1938.

[Jul 06, 2017] DNC Fraud Lawsuit is the Biggest Story in Politics that No One is Talking About

Notable quotes:
"... Chairperson, the designated Vice Chair as provided for in Article Two, Section 12(b) of the Bylaws, or the next highest ranking officer of the National Committee present at the meeting shall preside. Section 4. The National Chairperson shall serve full time and shall receive such compensation asmay be determined by agreement between the Chairperson and the Democratic National Committee. In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process. ..."
Jul 06, 2017 | www.msn.com
In June of 2016 Jared and Elizabeth Beck filed a lawsuit in Florida against the DNC, (Wilding v.s. DNC Services Corporation) known mostly online as the #DNCFRAUDLAWSUIT. The case has slowly wound its way through the courts but has picked up steam in 2017 as court transcripts and allegations of intimidation have become public.

The plaintiffs have filed a class action suit on behalf of three classes of people, arguing that the DNC must return all donations given in the 2016 cycle to Bernie Sanders Donors, DNC Donors and Democrats in general. Why? They claim the DNC defrauded donors in the 2016 primary by failing to remain neutral during the contest. Article 5 section 4 of the DNC bylaws state s:

CHARTER

Chairperson, the designated Vice Chair as provided for in Article Two, Section 12(b) of the Bylaws, or the next highest ranking officer of the National Committee present at the meeting shall preside. Section 4. The National Chairperson shall serve full time and shall receive such compensation asmay be determined by agreement between the Chairperson and the Democratic National Committee. In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.

Beck and Beck cite the hacked emails from Wikileaks as evidence of Democratic Party leaders tampering with the primary process.

[Jul 01, 2017] Gaius Publius An Investigation in Search of a Crime by Gaius Publius

Notable quotes:
"... http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_hayes_drussiafakenews_170627 ..."
"... Start at 2:25. Chris Hayes to Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell: "How long are you allowed to go before you retroactively file as a foreign agent?" Note Swalwell's carefully phrased non-answers, as well as Hayes' seeming failure to know that not registering is a very common practice. (If video doesn't play in your browser, go here and listen, again starting at 2:25.) ..."
"... The big story is that these chicken-little stories all seam to serve as cover for the bought-and-paid for chicken little politicians ..while those elected politicians who give a damp about their office and those they represent are sidelined. ..."
"... And why do you thing tyrants, despots, emirs and dictators generously donated so much to the phoney Foundation? Because they wanted to further its good works, just like the Saudis are very worried about AIDS prevention? No, they wanted to buy influence. And Clinton gave them what they wanted. And why did these same tyrants, despots, emits and dictators stop donating once Clinton lost? Because she could no longer deliver. ..."
"... Corruption in high places is the norm. It is childish, all this virtue signaling. I would respect the sore losers more if they were honest they want to put Obama in as President for Life the US is Haiti now. Or the Kissinger faction of the MIC could install one of our TV generals as our version of Gen. Pinochet. ..."
"... It was the filthy Clintonites who gave us Trump to begin with. ..."
"... No doubt plenty of insulating layers if money-laundering took place via real estate, though its worth plumbing those depths. But given Trump appointees' soft-ball approach to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, I'd guess that's an arena well worth the time of journalists, insulating layers or not. I recall Sheldon Adelson's disdain for the FCPA likely increasing his fervor to dump Democrats. ..."
"... as I keep reminding people, you can turn on the spigot of MacCarthyism, and you may think that you can turn off that spigot, but you can't. In the case of Joe MacCarthy himself, it didn't truly end till about the time of his premature death from alcoholism. ..."
"... One aspect of the now-thoroughly-rotten system in the U S of A is the constant contesting of election results. As Lambert Strether keeps writing, the electronic voting machines are a black hole, and both parties have been engaged in debasing the vote and diminishing the size of the electorate. The gravamen in both parties is that the voters don't know what they are doing and the ballots aren't being counted properly. Maybe we can do something about that ..."
"... This is an implicit warning about impeachment. I interpret this as a recommendation to vigorously oppose Trump's actions over the next three and a half years, and to effectively campaign against him in 2020. Trump really is a terrible President, but Mike Pence would be terrible, too. And so would Hillary Clinton, but I hope we won't have to worry about her any more. ..."
"... In case you're wondering why I think that Trump is a terrible President, here's a short summary: ..."
"... None of the left-leaning writers who have been pooh-poohing the Russia investigation* have demonstrated a working knowledge of counterintelligence. I've also noticed that they correlate a lack of publicly-known evidence to an actual absence of evidence, which is the purview of the investigation. Investigators will be holding any evidence they discover close to their vests for obvious reasons, but even more so in this case because some of the evidence will have origins where sources and methods will statutorily need to be concealed. ..."
"... If they had anything concrete on Trump we've have heard about it by now. The spooks have been leaking for months – they aren't going to suddenly clam up if they've discovered something that's actually a crime. ..."
"... Until someone presents actual evidence, this investigation is nothing more than Democrat payback for Benghazi, which itself was a BS investigation in search of a crime that went on for years. Unfortunately for sHillary, a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while and they did manage to uncover actual criminality in her case (and brushed it right under the rug). ..."
"... Russia disseminates propaganda that (it hopes) will sway the American election in a direction more favorable to their interests! ..."
"... This is what gets me. We're supposed to me a great power, and we're going nuts on this stuff. It's like an elephant panicking at the sight of a mouse. The political class has lost its grip entirely. ..."
"... How sad, then, that the Pied Piper email showed that the Clinton campaign wanted Trump for their opponent. Or Was she ..."
"... OK, so you are saying that we should trust the word of anonymous leakers from the intelligence community, that is, anonymous leaks from a pack of proven perjurers, torturers, and entrapment artists, all on the basis of supposed evidence that we are not allowed to see. ..."
"... For that matter, how do we know the leakers even exist? When some media outlet wants to publish some made-up story, they can just attribute it to an anonymous source. ..."
"... As Constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz pointed out, the DOJ reports to the President. Trump was completely within his authority to give instructions to Comey and fire him. Dershowitz also points out Trump can pardon anyone, including himself. But Trump doesn't read and oddly no one seems to have clued him in on what Dershowitz has said. ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
...Gaius quotes Matt Taibbi's line of thought that the relentless Trump investigations will eventually turn up something, most likely money laundering. However, it's not clear that that can be pinned on Trump. For real estate transactions, it is the bank, not the property owner, that is responsible for anti-money-laundering checks. So unless Trump was accepting cash or other payment outside the banking system, it's going to be hard to make that stick. The one area where he could be vulnerable is his casinos. However, if I read this history of his casinos correctly, Trump could have been pretty much out of that business since 1995 via putting the casinos in a public entity (although he could have continued to collect fees as a manager). Wikipedia hedges its bets and says Trump has been out of the picture since at least 2011 . He only gets licensing fees and has nada to do with management and operations. So even if Trump got dirty money, and in particular dirty Russian money, it's hard to see how that begins to translate into influence over his Presidency, particularly since any such shady activity took place before Trump was even semi-seriously considering a Presidential bid.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_hayes_drussiafakenews_170627

Start at 2:25. Chris Hayes to Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell: "How long are you allowed to go before you retroactively file as a foreign agent?" Note Swalwell's carefully phrased non-answers, as well as Hayes' seeming failure to know that not registering is a very common practice. (If video doesn't play in your browser, go here and listen, again starting at 2:25.)

"And most pitiful of all that I heard was the voice of the daughter of Priam, of Cassandra" - Homer, The Odyssey , Book 11 PRIAM: What noise, what shriek is this?
TROILUS: 'Tis our mad sister; I do know her voice.
It is Cassandra.
-Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida , Act II, scene 2 "I'll be your Cassandra this week." -Yours truly

So much of this story is hidden from view, and so much of the past has to be erased to conform to what's presently painted as true.

Example of the latter: Did you remember that Robert Mueller and Bush's FBI were behind the highly suspicious (and likely covered-up) 2001 anthrax investigation - Robert Mueller, today's man of absolute integrity? Did you remember that James Comey was the man behind the destruction of the mind of Jose Padilla , just so that Bush could have a terrorist he could point to having caught - James Comey, today's man of doing always what's right? If you forgot all that in the rush to canonize them, don't count on the media to remind you - they have another purpose .

Yes, I'll be your Cassandra this week, the one destined not to be believed . To what do I refer? Read on.

How Many Foreign Agents Register as Foreign Agents? A Number Far Smaller Than "All"

Today let's look at one of the original sins pointed to by those trying to take down Trump, leaving entirely aside whether Trump needs taking down (which he does). That sin - Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort's failing to register as "foreign agents" (of Turkey and Ukraine, respectively, not Russia) until very after the fact.

See the Chris Hayes video at the top for Hayes' question to Rep. Eric Swalwell about that. Hayes to Swalwell: "How long are you allowed to go before you retroactively file as a foreign agent?" What Swalwell should have answered: "Almost forever by modern American practice."

Jonathan Marshall, writing at investigative journalist Robert Parry's Consortium News, has this to say about the current crop of unregistered foreign agents (my emphasis throughout):

The Open Secret of Foreign Lobbying

The alleged hacking of the Hillary Clinton campaign's emails and the numerous contacts of Donald Trump's circle with Russian officials, oligarchs and mobsters have triggered any number of investigations into Moscow's alleged efforts to influence the 2016 election and the new administration .

In contrast, as journalist Robert Parry recently noted , American politicians and the media have been notably silent about other examples of foreign interference in U.S. national politics. In part that's because supporters of more successful foreign pressure groups have enough clout to downplay or deny their very existence . In part it's also because America's political system is so riddled with big money that jaded insiders rarely question the status quo of influence peddling by other nations .

The subject of his discussion is the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Under the Act, failure to properly register carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Marshall notes that while the influence of foreign agents was of great national concern during World War I and World War II, very little is done today to require or enforce FARA registration:

Since the end of World War II, however, enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act has been notably lax. Its effectiveness has been stymied by political resistance from lobby supporters as well as by the law's many loopholes - including Justice Department's admission that FARA "does not authorize the government to inspect records of those not registered under the Act."

A 2016 audit by the inspector general of the Department of Justice determined that half of FARA registrations and 62 percent of initial registrations were filed late , and 15 percent of registrants simply stopped filing for periods of six months or more. It also determined that the Department of Justice brought only seven criminal cases under FARA from 1966 to 2015, and filed no civil injunctions since 1991 .

The result - almost no one registers who doesn't want to.

Here's Russia-savvy Matt Taibbi , who is looking at the whole Russia-Trump investigation and wonders what's being investigated. Note his comments about FARA at the end of this quote:

When James Comey was fired I didn't know what to think, because so much of this story is still hidden from view .

Certainly firing an FBI director who has announced the existence of an investigation targeting your campaign is going to be improper in almost every case. And in his post-firing rants about tapes and loyalty, President Trump validated every criticism of him as an impetuous, unstable, unfit executive who additionally is ignorant of the law and lunges for authoritarian solutions in a crisis.

But it's our job in the media to be bothered by little details, and the strange timeline of the Trump-Russia investigation qualifies as a conspicuous loose end.

[So] What exactly is the FBI investigating? Why was it kept secret from other intelligence chiefs, if that's what happened? That matters, if we're trying to gauge what happened last week.

Is it a FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act) case involving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn or a lower-level knucklehead like Carter Page?

Since FARA is violated more or less daily in Washington and largely ignored by authorities unless it involves someone without political connections (an awful lot of important people in Washington who appear to be making fortunes lobbying for foreign countries are merely engaged in "litigation support," if you ask them), it would be somewhat anticlimactic to find out that this was the alleged crime underlying our current white-hot constitutional crisis.

Is it something more serious than a FARA case, like money-laundering for instance, involving someone higher up in the Trump campaign? That would indeed be disturbing, and it would surely be improper – possibly even impeachable, depending upon what exactly happened behind the scenes – for Trump to get in the way of such a case playing itself out.

But even a case like that would be very different from espionage and treason . Gutting a money-laundering case involving a campaign staffer would be more like garden-variety corruption than the cloak-and-dagger nightmares currently consuming the popular imagination.

Sticking narrowly with FARA for the moment, if this were just a FARA case, it would be more than "somewhat anticlimactic to find out that this was the alleged crime underlying our current white-hot constitutional crisis." It would be, not to put to fine a point on it, highly indicative that something else is going on, that other hands are involved, just as the highly suspicious circumstances around the takedown of Eliot Spitzer indicate the presence of other hands and other actors.

My best guess, for what it's worth, is that Trump-Russia will devolve into a money-laundering case, and if it does, Trump will likely survive it, since so many others in the big money world do the same thing. But let's stick with unregistered foreign agents a bit longer.

John McCain, Randy Scheuneman and the Nation of Georgia

Do you remember the 2008 story about McCain advisor Randy Scheunemann, who claimed he no longer represented the nation of Georgia while advising the McCain campaign, even though his small (two-person) firm still retained their business?

And all this while McCain himself was trying to gin up a war between Georgia and Russia that he would benefit from politically :

In the current [2008] crisis, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia fell into a Soviet trap by moving troops into the disputed territory of South Ossetia and raining artillery and rocket fire on the South Ossetian capital city of Tskhinvali, with a still undetermined loss of civilian life. As in 1956, the Soviets responded with overwhelming force and additional loss of life. Once again the United States could offer only words, not concrete aid to the Georgians.

It is difficult to believe that, like the Hungarians in 1956, the Georgians in 2008 could have taken such action without believing that they could expect support from the United States . Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denies that the Bush administration was the agent provocateur in Georgia. To the contrary, a State Department source said that she explicitly warned President Saakashvili in July to avoid provoking Russia.

If this information is correct, then, by inference, John McCain emerges as the most likely suspect as agent provocateur . First, McCain had a unique and privileged pipeline to President Saakashvili (shown to the right in the photo to the right). McCain's top foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, was a partner in a two-man firm that served as a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government . Scheunemann continued receiving compensation from the firm until the McCain campaign imposed new restrictions on lobbyists in mid-May. Scheunemann reportedly helped arrange a telephone conversation between McCain and Saakashvili on April 17 of this year, while he was still being paid by Georgia...

McCain has benefited politically from the crisis in Georgia. McCain's swift and belligerent response to the Soviet actions in Georgia has bolstered his shaky standing with the right-wing of the Republican Party. McCain has also used the Georgian situation to assert his credentials as the hardened warrior ready to do battle against a resurgent Russia. He has pointedly contrasted his foreign policy experience with that of his Democratic opponent Barack Obama. Since the crisis erupted, McCain has focused like a laser on Georgia, to great effect . According to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released on August 19 he has gained four points on Obama since their last poll in mid-July and leads his rival by a two to one margin as the candidate best qualified to deal with Russia.

Was Scheunemann a paid lobbyist for Georgia at the time of these events? He says no. Others aren't so sure :

Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal-leaning watchdog group, said Scheunemann still has a conflict of interest because his small firm continues to represent foreign clients. The records that show Scheunemann ceased representing foreign countries as of March 1 also show his partner, Michael Mitchell, remains registered to represent the three nations. Mitchell said Tuesday that Scheunemann no longer has any role with Orion Strategies but declined to say whether Scheunemann still is receiving income or profits from the firm .

If almost no one registers under FARA who doesn't want to, what's the crime if Flynn didn't register? The answer seems to be, because he's Trump appointee Michael Flynn, and FARA is a stick his enemies can beat him with, while they're looking for something better.

The fact that FARA is a stick almost no one is beaten with, matters not at all, it seems. Not to Democratic politicians and appointees; and not to many journalists either.

An Investigation in Search of a Crime

Questioning the Michael Flynn investigation leads us (and Matt Taibbi) down a further rabbit hole, which includes two questions: what's being investigated, and how did this investigation start?

Short answer to the first question - no one knows, since unlike the Watergate break-in, this whole effort didn't start with a crime that needed investigating. It seems to have started with an investigation (how to get rid of Trump) in search of a crime. And one that still hasn't found evidence of one.

Journalist Robert Parry, who himself was a key Iran-Contra investigator, makes the same point :

In Watergate , five burglars were caught inside the DNC offices on June 17, 1972, as they sought to plant more bugs on Democratic phones. (An earlier break-in in May had installed two bugs, but one didn't work.) Nixon then proceeded to mount a cover-up of his 1972 campaign's role in funding the break-in and other abuses of power.

In Iran-Contra , Reagan secretly authorized weapons sales to Iran, which was then designated a terrorist state, without informing Congress, a violation of the Arms Export Control Act. He also kept Congress in the dark about his belated signing of a related intelligence "finding." And the creation of slush funds to finance the Nicaraguan Contras represented an evasion of the U.S. Constitution.

There was also the attendant Iran-Contra cover-up mounted both by the Reagan White House and later the George H.W. Bush White House, which culminated in Bush's Christmas Eve 1992 pardons of six Iran-Contra defendants as special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was zeroing in on possible indictment of Bush for withholding evidence.

By contrast , Russia-gate has been a "scandal" in search of a specific crime. President Barack Obama's intelligence chieftains have alleged – without presenting any clear evidence – that the Russian government hacked into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta and released those emails via WikiLeaks and other Internet sites. (The Russians and WikiLeaks have both denied the accusations.)

The DNC emails revealed that senior Democrats did not maintain their required independence regarding the primaries by seeking to hurt Sen. Bernie Sanders and help Clinton. The Podesta emails pulled back the curtain on Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street banks and on pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

Hacking into personal computers is a crime, but the U.S. government has yet to bring any formal charges against specific individuals supposedly responsible for the hacking of the Democratic emails. There also has been no evidence that Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russians in the hacking.

Lacking any precise evidence of this cyber-crime or of a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, Obama's Justice Department holdovers and now special prosecutor Robert Mueller have sought to build "process crimes," around false statements to investigators and possible obstruction of justice.

I've yet to see actual evidence of an underlying crime - lots of smoke, which is fine as a starting point, but no fire, even after months of looking (and months of official leaking about every damning thing in sight). This makes the current investigation strongly reminiscent of the Whitewater investigation, another case of Alice (sorry, Ken Starr) jumping into every hole she could find looking for a route to Wonderland. Ken Starr finally found one, perjury about a blow job. Will Mueller find something more incriminating? He's still looking too.

Note that none of this means Trump doesn't deserve getting rid of . It just means that how he's gotten rid of matters. (As you ponder this, consider what you think would be fair to do to a Democratic president. I guarantee what happens to Trump will be repeated.)

What Was the Sally Yates Accusation Against Flynn Really About?

Short answer to the second question of my two "further rabbit hole" questions - How did this investigation start? - may be the Sally Yates accusation that Flynn was someone who could be blackmailed.

Here's Parry on that (same link):

In the case of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, acting Attorney General Sally Yates used the archaic Logan Act of 1799 to create a predicate for the FBI to interrogate Flynn about a Dec. 29, 2016 conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, i.e., after Trump's election but before the Inauguration .

Green Party leader Jill Stein and retired Lt. General Michael Flynn attending a dinner marking the RT network's 10-year anniversary in Moscow, December 2015, sitting at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Logan Act, which has never resulted in a prosecution in 218 years , was enacted during the period of the Alien and Sedition Acts to bar private citizens from negotiating on their own with foreign governments. It was never intended to apply to a national security adviser of an elected President, albeit before he was sworn in.

But it became the predicate for the FBI interrogation - and the FBI agents were armed with a transcript of the intercepted Kislyak-Flynn phone call so they could catch Flynn on any gaps in his recollection, which might have been made even hazier because he was on vacation in the Dominican Republic when Kislyak called.

Yates also concocted a bizarre argument that the discrepancies between Flynn's account of the call and the transcript left him open to Russian blackmail although how that would work – since the Russians surely assumed that Kislyak's calls would be monitored by U.S. intelligence and thus offered them no leverage with Flynn – was never explained.

Still, Flynn's failure to recount the phone call precisely and the controversy stirred up around it became the basis for an obstruction of justice investigation of Flynn and led to President Trump's firing Flynn on Feb. 13.

Do I need, Cassandra-like, to say this again? None of this means that Trump doesn't deserve getting rid of . It just means that how he's gotten rid of matters.

"So Much of the Story Is Still Hidden From View"

I'm not taking Robert Parry as the final word on this, but he's one word on this, and his word isn't nothing. If we were looking down rabbit holes for the source of this investigation, for where all this anti-Trump action started, I don't think Yates' concerns are where it begins.

I think this story starts well before Trump took office , a rabbit hole I don't want to jump into yet, but one with John Brennan 's and James Clapper 's fingerprints - Obama's CIA director, Obama's DNI - all over it. Models of honesty all.

What's down that hole? Who knows.

What I do know is that Manafort and Flynn not registering as foreign agents puts them squarely in the mainstream of Washington political practice. The fact that these are suddenly crimes of the century makes me just a tad suspicious that, in Matt Taibbi's words, "so much of this story is still hidden from view."

I warned you - I'll be your Cassandra this week. crime

TomDority , June 30, 2017 at 6:50 am

I would think that a crime in search of an investigation would be Clinton's private server while at state and, the tie in thru the Clinton foundation .just saying.

The big story is that these chicken-little stories all seam to serve as cover for the bought-and-paid for chicken little politicians ..while those elected politicians who give a damp about their office and those they represent are sidelined.

Ed , June 30, 2017 at 9:04 am

While some might think there is some tie in with donations to the Clinton Foundation and favors granted by the political wing of the Clinton Conglomerate and the sudden dissolution of said donations after the toppling of Dame Clinton by Der Trumpf it appears all such talk originates in the fever swamp of the right wing echo chamber and it's shot caller the GRU.

sid_finster , June 30, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Oh, what a load of bullcrap!

Present us evidence that the GRU has any influence, much less is the "shot-caller" with respect to the "right-wing echo chamber".

And why do you thing tyrants, despots, emirs and dictators generously donated so much to the phoney Foundation? Because they wanted to further its good works, just like the Saudis are very worried about AIDS prevention? No, they wanted to buy influence. And Clinton gave them what they wanted. And why did these same tyrants, despots, emits and dictators stop donating once Clinton lost? Because she could no longer deliver.

different clue , June 30, 2017 at 9:12 pm

I cannot tell if Ed's comment is straight or satire or snarcasm or what. The internet is a poor place to try such things.

I am going to take it as a straight comment. The Clintons have been grooming Chelsea for public office and will try desperately to get her elected to something somewhere. That way, they will still have influence to peddle and their Family of Foundations will still be worth something.

I hope Chelsea's wanna-have political career is strangled in the cradle. And hosed down with napalm and incinerated down to some windblown ashes.

Thor's Hammer , June 30, 2017 at 9:35 am

That investigation has been firmly crammed down the rabbit hole and cemented over.

If it had taken place in a nation where laws meant anything it would have likely disclosed:

Disturbed Voter , June 30, 2017 at 7:09 am

Corruption in high places is the norm. It is childish, all this virtue signaling. I would respect the sore losers more if they were honest they want to put Obama in as President for Life the US is Haiti now. Or the Kissinger faction of the MIC could install one of our TV generals as our version of Gen. Pinochet.

RenoDino , June 30, 2017 at 8:16 am

"None of this means that Trump doesn't deserve getting rid of."

I guess this means, he needs to go, but not this way. This way is anti-democratic. But isn't that the point?

Carolinian , June 30, 2017 at 10:09 am

Did Obama "deserve getting rid of"? Oh heck yes. You pays your money and you makes your choice. Next chance: 2020.

Crazy Horse , June 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Since he won't be impeached, I assume Gaius meant Trump should be assassinated? In the USA every four years we have the opportunity to battle over the control of voting machine software, voter disqualification and hanging chads. But if we want to change Presidents in mid-stream the traditional method is to have them shot.

different clue , June 30, 2017 at 9:15 pm

It was the filthy Clintonites who gave us Trump to begin with. Let Trump be smeared all over their face and shoved way deep up their noses till 2020. And if the Clintonite scum give us another Clintonite nominee in 2020, then let Trump be elected all over again. I'll vote for that.

Alice X , June 30, 2017 at 8:17 am

As regards the 2008 Georgian situation discussed here, Russia seems to have been referred to as Soviet . Twice. This happened for some years in the '90s but it is rather late to do so these days. Maybe I misunderstood something?

Vatch , June 30, 2017 at 9:50 am

You did not misunderstand; yes, the author of that article was sloppy. He was switching back and forth between events of 1956 and 2008, and he failed to adequately proofread what he wrote about 2008.

Skip in DC , June 30, 2017 at 8:39 am

Gaius offers a realistic and well-put caution for Democrats and journalists taking their eye off the ball of the Mnuchin crowd.

I've a good friend who's exasperated when I utter such blasphemies, asking how I could have missed the constant swell of opinion by Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Joe Scarborough, Rachel Meadow, etc

When I reply that prospects outside the courts of comedians and MSNBC infotainment pundits goosing their base are different – and I'm not so sure I'd prefer a less crass and crazed President Pence armed with Trumpster strategies – I'm asked "But what about justice?!!!"

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.

No doubt plenty of insulating layers if money-laundering took place via real estate, though its worth plumbing those depths. But given Trump appointees' soft-ball approach to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, I'd guess that's an arena well worth the time of journalists, insulating layers or not. I recall Sheldon Adelson's disdain for the FCPA likely increasing his fervor to dump Democrats.

sid_finster , June 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm

The right-on set ask "What about justice?"

Hell, let's see some evidence before we proceed to the sentence and verdict.

TheCatSaid , June 30, 2017 at 2:51 pm

And let's apply the justice to everyone , not just the "enemy camp" of whoever happens to be speaking.

And let's apply justice to those at the top first. Only after cleaning out all the top, most privileged layers, then the layers beneath them, should justice be applied to those at the bottom socio-economic layers. IOW, the opposite of the strategy we've seen applied over most of our history in many or most places.

DJG , June 30, 2017 at 9:18 am

Yves Smith: Thanks for this. Astute observations. And as I keep reminding people, you can turn on the spigot of MacCarthyism, and you may think that you can turn off that spigot, but you can't. In the case of Joe MacCarthy himself, it didn't truly end till about the time of his premature death from alcoholism.

Hence the observation above in the posting that the rightwingers will pull out the same techniques if a Democrat wins the next election.

One aspect of the now-thoroughly-rotten system in the U S of A is the constant contesting of election results. As Lambert Strether keeps writing, the electronic voting machines are a black hole, and both parties have been engaged in debasing the vote and diminishing the size of the electorate. The gravamen in both parties is that the voters don't know what they are doing and the ballots aren't being counted properly. Maybe we can do something about that

Crazy Horse , June 30, 2017 at 9:49 am

Perhaps we should look at the fairest electoral system in the world as a model. http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8935

I'm sure readers will be shocked to learn that the electoral system referred to is that used in Venezuela in 2012. And it will be the rare person who can distinguish between a superior system for conducting an election and a result that they don't like.

Stephen Douglas , June 30, 2017 at 10:09 am

Do I need, Cassandra-like, to say this again? None of this means that Trump doesn't deserve getting rid of.

No. You didn't need to say it even once. Another interesting analysis utterly ruined by the writer's incessant feverish need to virtue signal himself as a Trump hater. Ugh!

You write an article chock-full of information clearly pointing to corruption, venality, un-democratic machinations, and still you feel the need to repeat over and over and over again that does not mean that you don't want to remove Trump. Remove him? Like how, Gaius? And why? Why not remove the people you write about in your article? Why not say 40 times you want to remove them. Undemocratically, of course. As you say in your article, be careful of how the talk about removing people one does not like.

You're a Cassandra alright. And methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Vatch , June 30, 2017 at 11:13 am

Here's another paragraph from the article:

Note that none of this means Trump doesn't deserve getting rid of. It just means that how he's gotten rid of matters. (As you ponder this, consider what you think would be fair to do to a Democratic president. I guarantee what happens to Trump will be repeated.)

This is an implicit warning about impeachment. I interpret this as a recommendation to vigorously oppose Trump's actions over the next three and a half years, and to effectively campaign against him in 2020. Trump really is a terrible President, but Mike Pence would be terrible, too. And so would Hillary Clinton, but I hope we won't have to worry about her any more.

In case you're wondering why I think that Trump is a terrible President, here's a short summary:

Scott Pruitt
Betsy DeVos
Jeff Sessions
Steven Mnuchin
Tom Price
Neil Gorsuch

There are other reasons, but that list should suffice for now.

Jay , June 30, 2017 at 11:10 am

None of the left-leaning writers who have been pooh-poohing the Russia investigation* have demonstrated a working knowledge of counterintelligence. I've also noticed that they correlate a lack of publicly-known evidence to an actual absence of evidence, which is the purview of the investigation. Investigators will be holding any evidence they discover close to their vests for obvious reasons, but even more so in this case because some of the evidence will have origins where sources and methods will statutorily need to be concealed.

Furthermore, many of these writers appear to be unfamiliar with the case law governing the major features of the case. Yes, money laundering may be a part of the case and a financial blog may emphasize that aspect of the case because that's what they're familiar with, but what we're fundamentally looking at is possible violations of the Espionage Act, as well as the obstruction of justice by certain players to hide their involvement. Not a single one of these articles (or any of the cable news shows) have taken note of one of the juiciest and obscure pieces of evidence that's right there out in the open, if you'd been following this as closely as I have. As much as I admire Gaius Publius and Matt Taibbi, and trust their reporting within their demonstrated and reliable competencies, neither have really written about intelligence activities in a thoroughgoing manner in order to be identified as journalists specializing in matters pertaining to intelligence, espionage, spies. Publius writes about political economy and Taibbi is as "Russia savvy" as your average Russian citizen; maybe less so. And being Russia savvy does not make you FSB savvy. Now if Sy Hersh wrote something about L'Affaire Russe, that would be worth seriously considering.

*I won't even address the seriousness or motives of the people on the right who have been pooh-poohing the Russia investigation. But it is curious for otherwise "GOP-savvy" lefties to align with people who spout Fox News talking points all the live long day, and who are wrong about everything, all the time, and not in a "broken clock tells correct time twice a day" sort of way.

lyman alpha blob , June 30, 2017 at 11:44 am

If they had anything concrete on Trump we've have heard about it by now. The spooks have been leaking for months – they aren't going to suddenly clam up if they've discovered something that's actually a crime.

Until someone presents actual evidence, this investigation is nothing more than Democrat payback for Benghazi, which itself was a BS investigation in search of a crime that went on for years. Unfortunately for sHillary, a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while and they did manage to uncover actual criminality in her case (and brushed it right under the rug).

shinola , June 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Just what makes Putin "the enemy"? Russia disseminates propaganda that (it hopes) will sway the American election in a direction more favorable to their interests! and in other news, the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:45 am

> Russia disseminates propaganda that (it hopes) will sway the American election in a direction more favorable to their interests!

This is what gets me. We're supposed to me a great power, and we're going nuts on this stuff. It's like an elephant panicking at the sight of a mouse. The political class has lost its grip entirely.

NotTimothyGeithner , June 30, 2017 at 2:15 pm

"but we've been hearing new evidence on a daily and weekly basis. Mueller isn't going to show his hand until the investigation has concluded,"

Ah we've been hearing new evidence, but Mueller is simultaneously keeping it secret wait did you mean we've heard new innuendos?

Jay , June 30, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Mostly it's been gumshoe reporters getting interviews. No need for inside sources for this story: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/republican-claimed-flynn-tie-clinton-emails-article-1.3289348

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:51 am

This is the story where the main source is dead?

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:49 am

> Putin must be delighted to have a vainglorious ignoramus presiding over a US government paralyzed by division

How sad, then, that the Pied Piper email showed that the Clinton campaign wanted Trump for their opponent. Or Was she Putin's stooge? Perhaps the server she left open to the world for three months with no password provided the Russkis with some kompromat ? Really, there's as much evidence for that theory as anything else

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:55 am

> so must also likewise concede that there may be more there than you suppose

So either there's something there or there isn't. That does seem to exhaust the possibilities. If only Maddow, the Clintonites, whichever factions in the intelligence community that are driving the "drip, drip, drip" of stories, the Jeff Bezos Shopper, cable, and all the access journalists writing it all up would take such a balanced perspective .

sid_finster , June 30, 2017 at 12:34 pm

OK, so you are saying that we should trust the word of anonymous leakers from the intelligence community, that is, anonymous leaks from a pack of proven perjurers, torturers, and entrapment artists, all on the basis of supposed evidence that we are not allowed to see.

Because secret squirrel counterintelligence. Ah, now I get it.

sid_finster , June 30, 2017 at 2:26 pm

We don't know who the leakers are. They're anonymous, but they willingly associate themselves with an intelligence community, the very organizations that commit perjury, that engage in torture, that do entrapment, all on a regular basis. Not to mention other crimes for which men have hung, such as gin up up evidence to drive this country towards aggressive war. So nothing to be suspicious of here.

These organizations have been leaking on a regular basis but they have not leaked evidence. That by itself is suspicious, since in a white collar crime case, a serial killer case, etc. we don't usually have a flood of anonymous leaks coming from supposed investigators.

Nor in a garden-variety criminal investigation do we have the suspect laid out in advance, and any leaks are intended to make the suspect guilty in the mind of the public, before charges or brought or a crime is determined.

ian , June 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm

For that matter, how do we know the leakers even exist? When some media outlet wants to publish some made-up story, they can just attribute it to an anonymous source.

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:34 am

> name the leakers who have committed perjury, torture, and entrapment.

We can't. They're anonymous.

> Is everyone in the intelligence community a perjurer, a torturer, or engaged in entrapment?

No, just the leadership. Clapper (perjury), Mueller (entrapment), Brennan (torture). Those come to mind immediately; there are doubtless others.

WeakenedSquire , June 30, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Nope. Telling us prawns to wait until the evidence is in, or, worse, that only the specialists can be trusted, is one of the tactics of repression that the elite use while they are busy manufacturing and/or hiding said evidence. And surely by now we all know that "specialists" have no clothes.

different clue , June 30, 2017 at 9:21 pm

If you want serious analysis by seriously non-left people who have broken rocks in the quarry of intelligence, you can read Sic Semper Tyrannis. They have offered some hi-valu input on this whole "Putin diddit" deal.

They also offered some hi-valu input on the Hillary server matter. And Colonel Lang had a thing or three to say about the Clinton Family of Foundations . . . including a little-remarked-upon stealth-laundry-pipeline registered in Canada.

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:35 am

Philip Giraldi at The American Conservative also does good work.

different clue , July 1, 2017 at 3:10 am

Philip Giraldi has also written guest-posts at Sic Semper Tyrannis from time to time. The name "Philip Giraldi' is one of the pickable subject-category names on the right side of the SST homepage.

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:59 am

> Not a single one of these articles (or any of the cable news shows) have taken note of one of the juiciest and obscure pieces of evidence that's right there out in the open, if you'd been following this as closely as I have.

OK, what is it?

sid_finster , June 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm

An investigation seeking to find evidence that a pre-selected target has commited a crime is I believe called a "witch hunt".

Byron the Light Bulb , June 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Or, you know, probable cause to investigate based on very public admissions. Production before a grand jury is secret under penalty of criminal prosecution. Once probable cause is affirmed, then the indictments will be under seal for what could be some time. I think it's probable that there may already be indictments against some of the players. DJT may already be a John Doe. The Fed GJ's in DC are three months long, the current one wrapping up third week of August [a guess based on past experience as a 3rd party]. Expect movement early this fall.

Yves Smith Post author , June 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm

As Constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz pointed out, the DOJ reports to the President. Trump was completely within his authority to give instructions to Comey and fire him. Dershowitz also points out Trump can pardon anyone, including himself. But Trump doesn't read and oddly no one seems to have clued him in on what Dershowitz has said.

Nixon was a completely different case. There had been an actual crime, a break in. Archibald Cox was an special prosecutor appointed by Congress. Firing him raised Constitutional issues.

Jay , June 30, 2017 at 6:43 pm

You mean this Alan Dershowitz? http://abovethelaw.com/2016/11/alan-dershowitz-thinks-black-lives-matter-is-anti-semitic-sticks-up-for-steve-bannon/

witters , June 30, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Yes. And?

Katje Borgesius , July 1, 2017 at 12:38 am

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, read the complaint in "Kriss et al v. BayRock Group LLC et al" [ 1:10-cv-03959-LGS-DCF ] in NY Southern District. It's a RICO. It goes from the 46-story Trump SoHo condo-hotel on Spring Street to Iceland [?] and beyond. Then check out DJT's deposition in Trilogy Properties "LLC et al v. SB Hotel Associates LLC et al" [ 1:09cv21406 ] and his D&O doc production.

If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.

Yves Smith Post author , July 1, 2017 at 12:49 am

Help me. This is the best you can do?

I've said repeatedly that people should stop hyperventilating about Trump and Russia and if anything should be bothered that he was in business with a crook, as in Felix Sater. I was on this long ago. Sater is Brighton Beach mafia. That means Jewish mafia, BTW; he worked Jewish connections overseas. He's not connected to anyone of any importance in Russia. No one with any sophistication would do business with a felon who turned state's evidence. Means he can't be trusted (by upstanding people, because he's a crook, and by crooks, because he sang like a canary).

Oh, and the former employees lost that suit.

Lambert Strether , July 1, 2017 at 12:36 am

Or a fishing expedition.

sid_finster , June 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm

For "super secret" investigations, the investigators sure leak like sieves. I wonder why.

Lambert Strether , June 30, 2017 at 5:02 pm

On the latest one, " GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn ," unlocked at the WSJ, the main source, long-time Republican oppo researcher Peter W. Smith, left the land of the living on May 14 of this year, at the age of 81. So, on the up side, we've finally got a source with a name. On the down side, he's dead. Do better!

[Jun 28, 2017] Democrats Help Corporate Donors Block California Health Care Measure, And Progressives Lose Again

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. , June 27, 2017 at 07:11 AM

How does one describe this faction of Democrats? Corporate Democrats. Neoliberals? What's the shorthand way of distinguishing them from Berniecrats?

http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/democrats-help-corporate-donors-block-california-health-care-measure-progressives

Democrats Help Corporate Donors Block California Health Care Measure, And Progressives Lose Again

BY DAVID SIROTA ON 06/26/17 AT 4:06 PM

As Republican lawmakers grapple with their unpopular bill to repeal Obamacare, Democrats have tried to present a united front on health care. But for all their populist rhetoric against insurance and drug companies, Democratic powerbrokers and their allies remain deeply divided on the issue - to the point where a political civil war has spilled into the open in America's largest state.

In California last week, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon helped his and his party's corporate donors block a Democrat-sponsored bill to create a universal health care program in which the government would be the single payer.

Rendon's decision shows how progressives' ideal of universal health care remains elusive - even in a liberal state where government already foots 70 percent of the total health care bill.

Until Rendon's move, things seemed to be looking up for Democratic single-payer proponents in deep blue California, which has been hammered by insurance premium increases. There, the Democratic Party - which originally created Medicare - just added a legislative supermajority to a Democratic-controlled state government that oversees the world's sixth largest economy. That 2016 election victory came as a poll showed nearly two-thirds of Californians support the creation of a taxpayer-funded universal health care system in a state whose population is roughly the size of Canada - which already has such a system.

California's highest-profile federal Democratic lawmaker recently endorsed state efforts to create single-payer systems, and 25 members of its congressional delegation had signed on to sponsor a federal single-payer bill.

Meanwhile, after Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had twice vetoed state single-payer legislation, California in 2010 elected a governor who had previously campaigned for president on a pledge to support such a system. Other statewide elected officials had also declared their support for single-payer, including the current lieutenant governor, who promised to enact a universal health care program if he is wins the governorship in 2018.

None of that, though, made the difference: Late Friday, Rendon announced that even though a single-payer bill had passed the Democratic-controlled state senate, he would not permit the bill to be voted on by the Assembly this year.

"As someone who has long been a supporter of single payer, I am encouraged by the conversation begun by Senate Bill 562," Rendon said. But "senators who voted for SB 562 noted there are potentially fatal flaws in the bill, including the fact it does not address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, or the realities of needed action by the Trump Administration and voters to make SB 562 a genuine piece of legislation."

Since 2012, Rendon has taken in more than $82,000 from business groups and healthcare corporations that are listed in state documents opposed the measure, according to an International Business Times review of data amassed by the National Institute on Money In State Politics. In all, he has received more than $101,000 from pharmaceutical companies and another $50,000 from major health insurers.

In the same time, the California Democratic Party has received more than $1.2 million from the specific groups opposing the bill, and more than $2.2 million from pharmaceutical and health insurance industry donors. That includes a $100,000 infusion of cash from Blue Shield of California in the waning days of the 2016 election - just before state records show the insurer began lobbying against the single-payer bill.

While Rendon oversees a supermajority, it had never been clear that Assembly Democrats would muster the two-thirds vote needed under the state constitution to add the new taxes needed to fund the single-payer system proposed by the senate-passed bill. That is because the Democratic Assembly caucus includes progressive legislators but also more conservative members who are closer to business interests.

In addition to the money given to Rendon, the groups opposing the single-payer measure have delivered more than $1.5 million to Democratic assembly members since the 2012 election cycle. In all, the 55 Democratic members of the 80-seat Assembly have received more than $2.7 million from donors in the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries in just the last three election cycles.

Complicating matters for this year's single-payer bill was the fact that the pharmaceutical industry had just spent more than $100 million to defeat a 2016 ballot measure in California aimed at lowering drug prices. That wave of money was a powerful reminder that major industries opposed to single-payer have virtually unlimited resources to spend against California's Democratic incumbents in the next election if those Democrats ultimately try to pass a bill.

"Subject To Enormous Uncertainty"

The episode in California was the latest defeat for single-payer health care advocates, who have faced a string of losses at the hands of Democrats whose party has continued to attract significant cash from the health care industries that benefit from the current system.

In the last decade, Barack Obama raised millions of dollars from health care industry donors and then backed off his previous support for single-payer. He and other administration officials explicitly declared that the Affordable Care Act would not become a Medicare-for-all system. The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate then failed to pass a proposal to create a publicly run insurance option to compete with private insurers.

More recently, Vermont's Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin abandoned his state's high-profile push for single-payer in 2014 - just as he was serving as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, a group whose top donors included UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross, AstraZeneca and the pharmaceutical industry's trade association.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign was boosted by millions of dollars from health care industry donors, and she derided Bernie Sanders for pushing single payer, saying such an idea would "never, ever come to pass." In the same 2106 election, prominent Democratic Party consultants helped lead an insurer-funded campaign - backed by prominent Democratic lawmakers - to kill a single-payer ballot measure in Colorado.

And yet despite those defeats, single-payer advocates were thinking big at the beginning of 2017. Heading into the new legislative sessions, Democrats controlled both governorships and legislatures in six states - and another Democratic-leaning state with a Democratic governor, New York, appeared to have legislative support for single-payer. With its Democratic supermajority, California was the biggest focus of attention among progressive healthcare advocates.

According to a June report by California senate analysts, the single-payer legislation that was introduced in Sacramento this year would have created a government agency called Healthy California that would be "required to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage system for all California residents." The program would have been prohibited from charging participants premiums and co-pays and would have covered "all medical care determined to be medically appropriate by the members' health care provider," according to the Senate report.

While the report said fiscal estimates "are subject to enormous uncertainty," it projected that $200 billion worth of existing federal, state and local health care spending would offset about half of the estimated $400 billion annual cost. Shifting that money, though, could require California to secure waivers from the federal government that would allow it to redirect the federal money into the new program.

The original bill did not include a specific tax proposal to raise the rest of the needed revenue. However, the report estimated that the other $200 billion could be funded by moving state payroll taxes up to 15 percent , a levy the report said "would be offset to a large degree by reduced spending on health care coverage by employers and employees."

"The Only Health Care System That Makes Any Sense"

At the start of California's legislative session, bill proponents pitched the sweeping measure as a way to protect the state from Trump administration health care policy. They may have been banking on support from California's top Democrat, Gov. Jerry Brown, who endorsed single payer during his 1992 presidential campaign.

"I believe the only health care system that makes any sense is a single-payer system," Brown said during a March 1992 Democratic presidential forum. "I don't see any way, after having worked on this problem in the largest state in the union, which, after all, has the highest medical costs, to really contain costs without establishing a single payer for all basic services."

But as the the California legislation began moving forward, Brown cast doubts on it in comments to reporters in March.

"Where do you get the extra money?...This is the whole question. I don't even get ... how do you do that?" said Brown, who has collected more than a quarter-million dollars of campaign contributions from groups opposing the bill.

Supporters of the legislation tried to answer the governor's question with a detailed economic analysis asserting that the legislation could save the state money through lower administrative costs and drug prices.

"Providing full universal coverage would increase overall system costs by about 10 percent, but ... single payer system could produce savings of about 18 percent," concluded a May 2017 study led by University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist Robert Pollin. "The proposed single-payer system could provide decent health care for all California residents while still reducing net overall costs by about 8 percent relative to the existing system."

That same month, U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi - California's highest-ranking federal official -- seemed to give the idea a boost. At a Capitol Hill press conference, she said "the comfort level with a broader base of the American people is not there yet" for a federal Medicare-for-all bill, but she promoted state efforts.

"I say to people, if you want that, do it in your states. States are laboratories. It can work out. It is the least expensive, least administrative way to go about this," she said. "States are a good place to start."

Economist Pollin echoed that argument, telling IBT that the California situation is fundamentally different than Vermont, which in 2014 abandoned its high-profile effort to create the nation's first state-based single-payer system. While single-payer cou