Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

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. ..."


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Dec 11, 2017] Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up by Alexander Mercouris

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them. ..."
"... The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light. ..."
"... There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; ..."
"... There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy. ..."
"... If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists. ..."
"... Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions . It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in. ..."
"... Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said. ..."
"... Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved? ..."
"... My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos. ..."
"... Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign. ..."
"... It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions. ..."
"... It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared. ..."
"... By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide. ..."
"... They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans. ..."
"... Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing. ..."
"... Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade. ..."
"... once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months... ..."
"... This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alexander Mercouris via TheDuran.com,

Almost eighteen months after Obama's Justice Department and the FBI launched the Russiagate investigation, and seven months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the investigation over, the sum total of what it has achieved is as follows

(1) an indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates which concerns entirely their prior financial dealings, and which makes no reference to the Russiagate collusion allegations;

(2) an indictment for lying to the FBI of George Papadopoulos, the junior volunteer staffer of the Trump campaign, who during the 2016 Presidential election had certain contacts with members of a Moscow based Russian NGO, which he sought to pass off – falsely and unsuccessfully – as more important than they really were, and which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations; and

(3) an indictment for lying to the FBI of Michael Flynn arising from his perfectly legitimate and entirely legal contacts with the Russian ambassador after the 2016 Presidential election, which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations, and which looks as if it was brought about by an act of entrapment .

Of actual evidence to substantiate the claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election Mueller has so far come up with nothing.

Here I wish to say something briefly about the nature of "collusion".

There is no criminal offence of "collusion" known to US law, which has led some to make the point that Mueller is investigating a crime which does not exist.

There is some force to this point, but it is one which must be heavily qualified:

(1) Though there is no crime of "collusion" in US law, there most certainly is the crime of conspiracy to perform a criminal act.

Should it ever be established that members of the Trump campaign arranged with the Russians for the Russians to hack the DNC's and John Podesta's computers and to steal the emails from those computers so that they could be published by Wikileaks, then since hacking and theft are serious criminal acts a criminal conspiracy would be established, and it would be the entirely proper to do to bring criminal charges against those who were involved in it.

This is the central allegation which lies behind the whole Russiagate case, and is the crime which Mueller is supposed to be investigating.

(2) The FBI is not merely a police and law enforcement agency. It is also the US's counter-espionage agency.

If there were secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence such as might give rise to genuine concern that the national security of the United States might be compromised – for example because they were intended to swing the US election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump – then the FBI would have a legitimate reason to investigate those contacts even if no actual crimes were committed during them.

Since impeachment is a purely political process and not a legal process, should it ever be established that there were such secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy, then I have no doubt that Congress would say that there were grounds for impeachment even if no criminal offences had been committed during them.

The point is however is that eighteen months after the start of the Russiagate investigation no evidence either of criminal acts or of secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy has come to light.

Specifically:

(1) There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy by anyone in the Trump campaign involving the Russians. or the hacking of John Podesta's and the DNC's computers in order to steal emails from those computers and to have them published by Wikileaks; and

(2) There is also no evidence of any secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the election which might have placed the national security of the United States in jeopardy.

Such contacts as did take place between the Trump campaign and the Russians were limited and innocuous and had no effect on the outcome of the election. Specifically there is no evidence of any concerted action between the Trump campaign and the Russians to swing the election from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.

As I have previously discussed, the meeting between Donald Trump Junior and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is not such evidence .

If no evidence either of a criminal conspiracy or of inappropriate secret contacts by the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found after eighteen months of intense investigation by the biggest and mightiest national security and intelligence community on the planet, then any reasonable person would conclude that that must be because no such evidence exists.

Why then is the investigation still continuing?

Some months I expressed doubts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would countenance fishing expeditions. It turns out I was wrong. On any objective assessment it is exactly such fishing expeditions that the Mueller investigation is now engaging in.

How else to explain the strange decision to subpoena Deutsche Bank for information about loans granted by Deutsche Bank to Donald Trump and his businesses?

Deutsche Bank is a German bank not a Russian bank. To insinuate that the Russians control Deutsche Bank – one of the world's leading international banks – because Deutsche Bank has had some previous financial dealings with various Russian banks and businesses is quite simply preposterous. I doubt that there is a single important bank in Germany or Austria of which that could not also be said.

Yet in the desperation to find some connection between Donald Trump and Russia it is to these absurdities that Mueller is reduced to.

Which again begs the question why? Why are Mueller and the Justice Department resorting to these increasingly desperate actions in order to prove something which it ought to be obvious by now cannot be proved?

My colleague Alex Christoforou has recently pointed out that the recent indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive. Some time ago I made exactly the same point about the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and about the indictment against George Papadopoulos.

Those indictments were issued directly after the Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying that Mueller should resign.

The indictment against Manafort and Gates looks sloppy and rushed. Perhaps I am wrong but there has to be at least a suspicion that the indictments were issued in a hurry to still criticism of Mueller of the kind that was now appearing in the Wall Street Journal.

Presumably the reason the indictment against Flynn was delayed was because his lawyers had just signaled Flynn's interest in a plea bargain, and it took a few more weeks of negotiating to work that out.

It is the Wall Street Journal editorial which in fact provides the answer to Mueller's and Rosenstein's otherwise strange behaviour and to the way that Mueller has conducted the investigation up to now. The Wall Street Journal's editorial says that Mueller's past as the FBI's Director means that he is too close to the FBI to take an objective view of its actions.

In fact the Wall Street Journal was more right than it perhaps realised. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the FBI's actions are open to very serious criticism to say the least, and that Mueller is simply not the person who can be trusted to take an objective view of those actions.

Over the course of the 2016 election the FBI cleared Hillary Clinton over her illegal use of a private server to route classified emails whilst she was Secretary of State though it is universally agreed that she broke the law by doing so.

The FBI does not seem to have even considered investigating Hillary Clinton for possible obstruction of justice after it also became known that she had actually destroyed thousands of her emails which passed through her private server, though that was an obvious thing to do.

It is universally agreed that the FBI's then Director – Mueller's friend James Comey – broke protocols by the way he announced that Hillary Clinton had been cleared.

By failing to bring charges against Hillary Clinton the FBI ensured that she would win the Democratic Party's nomination, and that she not Bernie Sanders would face off against Donald Trump in the election in the autumn. That is important because though the eventual – completely unexpected – election outcome was that Donald Trump won the election, which Hillary Clinton lost, every opinion poll which I have seen suggests that if the election had been between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump then Bernie Sanders would have won by a landslide.

In other words it was because of the FBI's actions in the first half of 2016 that Bernie Sanders is not now the President of the United States.

In addition instead of independently investigating the DNC's claims that the Russians had hacked the DNC's and John Podesta's computers, the FBI simply accepted the opinion of an expert – Crowdstrike – paid for by the DNC, which it is now known was partly funded and was entirely controlled by the Hillary Clinton campaign, that hacks of those computers had actually taken place and that the Russians were the perpetrators.

As a result Hillary Clinton was able to say during the election that the reason emails which had passed through those computers and which showed her and her campaign in a bad light were being published by Wikileaks was because the Russians had stolen the emails by hacking the computers in order to help Donald Trump.

It is now known that the FBI also met with Christopher Steele, the compiler of the Trump Dossier, who is now known to have been in the pay of the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign. The first meeting apparently took place in early July 2016, shortly before the Russiagate investigation was launched.

Whilst there is some confusion about whether the FBI actually paid Steele for his information, it is now known that Steele was in contact with the FBI throughout the election and continued to be so after, and that the FBI gave credence to his work.

Recently it has also come to light that Steele was also directly in touch with Obama's Justice Department, a fact which was only disclosed recently.

The best account of this has been provided by Byron York writing for The Washington Examiner

The department's Bruce Ohr, a career official, served as associate deputy attorney general at the time of the campaign. That placed him just below the deputy attorney general, Sally Yates, who ran the day-to-day operations of the department. In 2016, Ohr's office was just steps away from Yates, who was later fired for defying President Trump's initial travel ban executive order and still later became a prominent anti-Trump voice upon leaving the Justice Department.

Unbeknownst to investigators until recently, Ohr knew Steele and had repeated contacts with Steele when Steele was working on the dossier. Ohr also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, head of Fusion GPS, the opposition research company that was paid by the Clinton campaign to compile the dossier.

Word that Ohr met with Steele and Simpson, first reported by Fox News' James Rosen and Jake Gibson, was news to some current officials in the Justice Department. Shortly after learning it, they demoted Ohr, taking away his associate deputy attorney general title and moving him full time to another position running the department's organized crime drug enforcement task forces.

It is also now known that over the course of the election the FBI – on the basis of information in the Trump Dossier – obtained at least one warrant from the FISA court which made it possible for it to undertake surveillance during and after the election of persons belonging to involved the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

In response to subpoenas issued at the instigation of the Congressman Devin Nunes the FBI has recently admitted that the Trump Dossier cannot be verified .

However the FBI and the Justice Department have so far failed to provide in response to these subpoenas information about the precise role of the Trump Dossier in triggering the Russiagate investigation.

The FBI's and the Justice Department's failure to provide this information recently provoked an angry exchange between FBI Director Christopher Wray and Congressman Jim Jordan during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

During that hearing Jordan said to Wray the following

Let's remember a couple of things about the dossier. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, which we now know were one and the same, paid the law firm who paid Fusion GPS who paid Christopher Steele who then paid Russians to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, National Enquirer garbage and it's been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the FBI, taken to the FISA court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document -- that it became the basis for a warrant to spy on Americans.

In response Wray refused to say officially whether or not the Trump Dossier played any role in the FBI obtaining the FISA warrants.

This was so even though officials of the FBI – including former FBI Director James Comey – have slipped out in earlier Congressional testimony that it did.

This is also despite the fact that this information is not classified and ought already to have been provided by the Justice Department and the FBI in response to Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

There is now talk of FBI Director Christopher Wray and of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein being held in contempt of Congress because of the failure of the Justice Department and the FBI to comply with Congressman Nunes's subpoenas.

During the exchanges between Wray and Jordan at the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Jordan also had this to say

Here's what I think -- I think Peter Strozk (sic) Mr. Super Agent at the FBI, I think he's the guy who took the application to the FISA court and if that happened, if this happened , if you have the FBI working with a campaign, the Democrats' campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document so they can take it to the FISA court so they can spy on the other campaign, if that happened, that is as wrong as it gets

Peter Strzok is the senior FBI official who is now known to have had a leading role in both the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's misuse of her private server and in the Russiagate investigation.

Strzok is now also known to have been the person who changed the wording in Comey's statement clearing Hillary Clinton for her misuse of her private email server to say that Hillary Clinton had been "extremely careless'" as opposed to "grossly negligent".

Strzok – who was the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence – is now also known to have been the person who signed the document which launched the Russiagate investigation in July 2016.

Fox News has reported that Strzok was also the person who supervised the FBI's questioning of Michael Flynn. It is not clear whether this covers the FBI's interview with Flynn on 24th January 2017 during which Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. However it is likely that it does.

If so then this is potentially important given that it was Flynn's lying to the FBI during this interview which made up the case against him and to which he has now pleaded guilty. It is potentially even more important given the strong indications that Flynn's interview with the FBI on 24th January 2017 was a set-up intended to entrap him by tricking him into lying to the FBI.

As the FBI's deputy director of counter-intelligence it is also highly likely that it was Strozk who was the official within the FBI who supervised the FBI's contacts with Christopher Steele, and who would have been the official within the FBI who was provided by Steele with the Trump Dossier and who would have made the first assessment of the Trump Dossier.

Recently it has been disclosed that Special Counsel Mueller sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation supposedly after it was discovered that Strzok had been sending anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton messages to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair.

These messages were sent by Strzok to his lover during the election, but apparently only came to light in July this year, when Mueller supposedly sacked Strzok because of them.

It seems that since then Strzok has been working in the FBI's human resources department, an astonishing demotion for the FBI's former deputy director for counter-intelligence who was apparently previously considered the FBI's top expert on Russia.

Some people have questioned whether the sending of the messages could possibly be the true reason why Strzok was sacked. My colleague Alex Christoforou has reported on some of the bafflement that this extraordinary sacking and demotion has caused.

Business Insider reports the anguished comments of former FBI officials incredulous that Strzok could have been sacked for such a trivial reason. Here is what Business Insider reports one ex FBI official Mark Rossini as having said

It would be literally impossible for one human being to have the power to change or manipulate evidence or intelligence according to their own political preferences. FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

This is obviously right. Though the ex-FBI officials questioned by Business Insider are clearly supporters of Strzok and critics of Donald Trump, the same point has been made from the other side of the political divide by Congressman Jim Jordan

If you get kicked off the Mueller team for being anti-Trump, there wouldn't be anybody left on the Mueller team. There has to be more

Adding to the mystery about Strzok's sacking is why the FBI took five months to confirm it.

Mueller apparently sacked Strzok from the Russiagate investigation in July and it was apparently then that Strzok was simultaneously sacked from his previous post of deputy director for counter-espionage and transferred to human resources. The FBI has however only disclosed his sacking now, five months later and only in response to demands for information from Congressional investigators.

There is in fact an obvious explanation for Strzok's sacking and the strange circumstances surrounding it, and I am sure that it is the one which Congressman Jordan had in mind during his angry exchanges with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Recently the FBI has admitted to Congress that it has failed to verify the Trump Dossier.

I suspect that Congressman Jordan believes that the true reason why Strzok was sacked is that Strzok's credibility had become so tied to the Trump Dossier that when its credibility collapsed over the course of the summer when the FBI finally realised that it could not be verified his credibility collapsed with it.

If so then I am sure that Congressman Jordan is right.

We now know from a variety of sources but first and foremost from the testimony to Congress of Carter Page that the Trump Dossier provided the frame narrative for the Russiagate investigation until just a few months ago.

We also know that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report about supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 election which was shown by the US intelligence chiefs to President elect Trump during their stormy meeting with him on 8th January 2017.

The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth.

The June 2017 article in the Washington Post (discussed by me here ) also all but confirms that it was the Trump Dossier that provided the information which the CIA sent to President Obama in August 2016 which supposedly 'proved' that the Russians were interfering in the election.

As the BBC has pointed out , it was also the Trump Dossier which Congressman Adam Schiff – the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Community, who appears to be very close to some of the FBI investigators involved in the Russiagate case – as well as the FBI's Russiagate investigators were using as the narrative frame when questioning witnesses about their supposed role in Russiagate.

These facts make it highly likely that it was indeed the Trump Dossier which provided the information which the FBI used to obtain all the surveillance warrants the FBI obtained from the FISA court during the 2016 election and afterwards.

Strzok's position as the FBI's deputy director for counter-intelligence makes it highly likely that he was the key official within the FBI who decided that the Trump Dossier should be given credence, whilst his known actions during the Hillary Clinton private server investigation and during the Russiagate investigation make it highly likely that it was he who was the official within the FBI who sought and obtained the FISA warrants.

Given Strzok's central role in the Russiagate investigation going back all the way to its start in July 2016, there also has to be a possibility that it was Strzok who was behind many of the leaks coming from the investigation which so destabilised the Trump administration at the start of the year.

This once again points to the true scandal of the 2016 election.

On the strength of a fake Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community carried out surveillance during the election of US citizens who were members of the campaign team of Hillary Clinton's opponent Donald Trump.

Given the hugely embarrassing implications of this for the FBI, it is completely understandable why Strzok, if he was the person who was ultimately responsible for this debacle – as he very likely was – and if he was responsible for some of the leaks – as he very likely also was – was sacked and exiled to human resources when it was finally concluded that the Trump Dossier upon which all the FBI's actions were based could not be verified.

It would also explain why the FBI sought to keep Strzok's sacking secret, so that it was only disclosed five months after it happened and then only in response to questions from Congressional investigators, with a cover story about inappropriate anti-Trump messages being spread about in order to explain it.

This surely is also the reason why in defiance both of evidence and logic the Russiagate investigation continues.

Given the debacle the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community are facing, it is completely understandable why they should want to keep the Russiagate investigation alive in order to draw attention away from their own activities.

Put in this way it is Robert Mueller's investigation which is the cover-up, and the surveillance which is the wrongdoing that the cover up is trying to excuse or conceal, which is what I said nine months ago in March .

Congressman Jordan has again recently called for a second Special Counsel to be appointed .

When the suggestion of appointing a second Special Counsel was first floated last month the suggestion was that the focus of the second Special Counsel's investigation would be the Uranium One affair.

That always struck me as misconceived not because there may not be things to investigate in the Uranium One case but because the focus of any new investigation should be what happened during the 2016 election, not what happened during the Uranium one case.

Congressman Jordan has now correctly identified the surveillance of US citizens by the US national security bureaucracy during the election as the primary focus of the proposed investigation to be conducted by the second Special Counsel.

In truth there should be no second Special Counsel. Since there is no Russiagate collusion to investigate the Russiagate investigation – ie. the investigation headed by Mueller – should be wound up.

There should be only one Special Counsel tasked with looking into what is the real scandal of the 2016 election: the surveillance of US citizens carried out during the election by the US national security bureaucracy on the basis of the Trump Dossier.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

BennyBoy -> MozartIII , Dec 10, 2017 1:29 PM

Top Clinton Aides Face No Charges After Making False Statements To FBI

Neither of the Clinton associates, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, faced legal consequences for their misleading statements, which they made in interviews last year with former FBI section chief Peter Strzok.

http://dailycaller.com/2017/12/04/clinton-aides-went-unpunished-after-making-false-statements-to-anti-trump-fbi-supervisor/

zorba THE GREEK -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 12:53 PM

These are acts to overthrow the legitimate government of the USA and therefore constitute treason. Treason is still punishable by death. It is time for some public hangings. Trump should declare martial law. Put Patraeus and Flint in charge and drain the swamp like he promised...

Oldwood -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 2:57 PM

Absolutely. This is not political, about justice or corruption or election coercion, this is about keeping the fires lit under Trump, no matter how lame or lying, in the hopes that something, anything, will arise that could be used to unseat Trump. Something that by itself would be controversial but ultimately a nothing-burger, but piled upon the months and years of lies used to build a false consensus of corruption, criminality and impropriety of Trump. Their goal has always been to undermine Trump by convincing the world that Trump is evil and unfit using nothing but lies, that without Trump's endless twitter counters would have buried him by now. While they know that can't convince a significant majority that these lies are true, what they can do is convince the majority that everyone else thinks it true, thereby in theory enabling them to unseat Trump with minimal resistance, assuming many will simply stand down in the face of a PERCEIVED overwhelming majority.

This is about constructing a false premise that they can use minimal FACTS to confirm. They are trying and testing every day this notion with continuing probes and jabs in hopes that something....anything, sticks.

Hikikomori -> zorba THE GREEK , Dec 10, 2017 3:26 PM

Just part of the War on Men. Trump is a man. He lost to It's Her Turn. Therefore he must be taken down.

robertsgt40 -> Cynicles II , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

Solve the Seth Rich murder and we'll know who "hacked" the DNC emails. Paging John Podesta.

Lumberjack -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 12:44 PM

More Clinton ties on Mueller team: One deputy attended Clinton party, another rep'd top aide

https://www.google.com/amp/www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/08/more-clin...

turbojarhead -> NoDebt , Dec 10, 2017 2:12 PM

I have a question, if someone could answer.

Mueller is a lot of things, but he is a politician, and skilled at that, as he has survived years in Washington.

So why choose KNOWN partisans for your investigation? He may not have known about Strzok, but he surely knew about Weitsmann's ties to HRC, about Rhee being Rhodes personal attorney,..so why put them on, knowing that the investigations credibility would be damaged? No way most of this would not come out, just due to the constant leaks from the FBI/DOJ.

What is the real goal, other than taking Trump down and covering up FBI/DOJ/Obama Admin malfeasance? These goons are all highly experienced swamp dwellers, so I think there is something that is being missed here..

MissCellany , Dec 10, 2017 1:03 PM

" The fact that the Trump Dossier was included in an appendix to the January ODNI report shows that at the start of this year the top officials of the FBI and of the US intelligence community – Comey, Clapper, Brennan and the rest – believed in its truth. "

Oh, bull crap. None of them believed a word of it, and at least some of them were in on the dossier's creation.

They just wanted to put over their impeach/resist/remove scam on us deplorables so they could hang on to power and maintain secrecy over all their years of criminal activity.

lester1 , Dec 10, 2017 1:33 PM

Obama weaponized the NSA and FBI to try and take out Trump.

Obama figured Hillary would win and everything would be swept under the rug.

Hopefully Trump fires Mueller over the Christmas weekend!

Reaper , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

The FBI is a fraud on the sheeple. Indoctrinated sheeple believe FBI testimony. The M.O. of the FBI is entrapment of victims and entrapped witnesses against victims using their Form 302 interrogations. The FBI uses forensic evidence from which gullible juries trust the FBI financed reports. Power corrupts. The power to be believed because of indoctrination corrupts absolutely.

https://boingboing.net/2013/05/07/dont-ever-speak-to-the-fbi-w.html

https://www.nationofchange.org/2015/04/21/doj-admits-fbi-forensic-examin...

Trump as Chief Executive can end the FBI policy of interviews without recordings being used to entrap victims and witnesses.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:34 PM

EXCELLENT ANALYSIS! A+++

Strzok-Gate And The Mueller Cover-Up

It makes perfect sense.

Stopdreaming -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 1:54 PM

They have the goods on Sessions...he was blackmailed. No other logical explanation for his lack of fortitude.

thebigunit -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:03 PM

Keep your powder dry. Hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

All this crap comes down to ONE THING: Sessions ... why he refuses to fire a mega-conflicted and corrupt POS Mueller...

Investigative reporter Sarah Carter hinted (last Friday?) that something big would be happening "probably within the next forty-eight hours". She related this specifically to a comment that Sessions had been virtually invisible.

I will make a prediction:

THE COMING WEEK WILL BE A TUMULTUOUS WEEK FOR THOSE OBSESSED BY THE "RUSSIA COLLUSION CONSPIRACY" .

First, Sessions will announce significant findings and actions which will directly attack the Trump-Russia-Collusion narrative.

And then, the Democrats/Media/Hillary Campaign will launch a hystierical, viscious, demented political counter attack in a final onslaught to take down Trump.

Expect to see Soros mobs in the streets.

Either Mueller goes, or Trump goes.

turbojarhead -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:37 PM

They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate-including Republicans.

When Trump tries to get out of the trap by leaking he is thinking about firing Sessions, Lispin Lindsey goes on television to say that will not be allowed too happen. If he fires Sessions, Congress would not approve ANY of Trump's picks for DOJ-leaving Rosenstein in charge anyway.

Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing.

thebigunit , Dec 10, 2017 1:40 PM

There is good reason for optimism: Trumpus Maximus is on the case.

I remain intensely skeptical that this will happen. However the fact that some members of Congress such as Congressman Nunes (recently cleared of charges that he acted inappropriately by disclosing details of the surveillance back in March) and Congressman Jordan are starting to demand it is a hopeful sign.

The design has been exposed. It is now fairly clear WHAT the conspirators did.

We now enter the neutralization and mop-up phase.

And, very likely, people who know things will be EAGER to talk:

FBI agents, like anyone else, are human beings. We are allowed to have our political beliefs. If anything, the overwhelming majority of agents are conservative Republicans.

ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 1:51 PM

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

thebigunit -> ClowardPiven2016 , Dec 10, 2017 2:02 PM

EXACTLY!

Strozk demoted to HR...but his take home pay is probably the same

Strzok was obviously at a VERY senior pay grade. It would be very surprising if HR had any jobs at Strzok's pay grade.

Mzhen , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

Bloomberg fed a fake leak that Mueller had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank. Democrats (Schiff) on the House Intelligence Committee fed fake information about Don Jr. that was leaked to CNN. Leading to an embarrassing retraction. ABC's Brian Ross fed a fake leak about the Flynn indictment. Leading to an embarrassing retraction.

Maybe the operation that Sessions set up some time ago to catch leakers is bearing fruit after all. And Mueller should realize that the ice is breaking up all around him.

Angelo Misterioso , Dec 10, 2017 1:57 PM

once this special prosecutor is done, congress needs to rewrite the special prosecutor law to narrow their mandate to just the item allowed to be investigated - no fishing expeditions - enough of this stupidity - and maybe put a renewal clause in there so that it has to be renewed every 12 months...

Nunyadambizness , Dec 10, 2017 2:34 PM

This is, and always has been a sideshow for the "true believers" in the Democrap party and all Hitlary supporters to accuse Trump of EXACTLY what Hitlary did, in the classic method of diversion. Sideshow magicians have been doing it for millenia--"Look over there" while the real work is done elsewhere. The true believers don't want to believe that Hitlary and the Democrap party are complicit in the selling of Uranium One to the Ruskies for $145 million. No, no, that was something completely different and Hitlary is not guilty of selling out the interests of the US for money. Nope, Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election. Yep, that's it.

Mueller is now the official head of a shit show that's coming apart at the seams. He was too stupid to even bring on ANY non-Hitlary supporting leftists which could have given him a smidgen of equibility, instead he stacked the deck with sycophant libtard leftists who by their very nature take away ANY concept of impartiality, and any jury on the planet would see through the connivance like glass. My guess is he's far too stupid to stop, and I happily await the carnage of his actions as they decimate the Democrap party.

Show's on, who's bringing the chips?

[Dec 09, 2017] DNC's Unity Commission Further Dividing the Party

Currently in the USA only nationalist politicians display some level of courage and authenticity. That's why they attract people.
The problem with superdelegates in Democratic Party is just the tip of the iceberg of the "Clinton transformation" of the party. The Part is now neoliberal party that have nothing to do with the democracy. At best it would qualify as a moderate Republican wing.
Notable quotes:
"... This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime. ..."
"... If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement. ..."
"... No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories). ..."
"... I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic. ..."
"... Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors. ..."
"... under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate. ..."
"... In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited? ..."
"... This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth. ..."
"... See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance). ..."
"... I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. ..."
"... What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan. ..."
"... The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism. ..."
"... And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine. ..."
"... The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People. ..."
"... While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention. ..."
"... I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem. ..."
"... So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole. ..."
"... Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop. ..."
Dec 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

JCC , December 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

Having just read the Autopsy report at https://democraticautopsy.org/wp-content/uploads/Autopsy-The-Democratic-Party-In-Crisis.pdf I couldn't agree more.

The Report is fair, but supporting things like reduction of Super Delegates from the mid-700s to mid-200s is wrong! Complaining about lack of democracy within the Party means getting rid of them altogether! That's just one small example.

This endless compromise won't work. The odds of the Dems intentionally trading their Big Money Corporate Supporters like Monsanto for the Working Class is somewhere between slim and none, at least in my lifetime.

John k , December 9, 2017 at 10:34 am

Reducing to 200 supers is a good start. Bernie woulda likely won on that basis.

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:02 pm

It is a good start. If the superdelegates were limited to currently serving Democratic members of Congress, currently serving Democratic state governors, and current or former Democratic Presidents and Vice-Presidents, it would be a huge improvement.

No lobbyists, no big city mayors, and no state party bosses (unless they are also in one of the other permitted categories).

Jeremy Grimm , December 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I can't point to any particulars -- but I felt something disingenuous about Norman Solomon -- something 'off'. An even meaner thought came to mind as I listened to his complaints and details of the DNC machinations -- Norman Solomon would be perfect to work for unity in the Green Party. He could make theater of herding the Green cats and accomplish nothing in particular.

I suppose it doesn't help that I watched the Truman & Wallace episodes of Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" last night. But even before that I've been haunted by the image of shadow on the steps of Sumitomo Bank in Hiroshima, Japan. Recalling that image, the DNC's betrayals of the American people, and the short-sighted and self-serving actions of those who rule us -- detailed in trivialities by Norman Solomon -- combined these give fuller meaning to the comment Bernie Sanders made about those who rule us and their greatest concern about their place on the Titanic.

But this time the DNC has no dying Roosevelt to tack a Truman onto.

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Aye! and you can't burn a thing down by continuing to send it money, or lend it undying support, or by continuing to vote for their horrible lesser evil moderate republican candidates.

I quit the damned party as loudly as i could in november 2016 emails to all and sundry, chewing them all new ones, as it were.

i never heard a word back, of course and the AI that runs the damned thing keeps sending me emails begging for cash; and surveys,lol which i send back to them with my chicken scratch all in the margins with my outrage and my considered opinions. i assume all that goes unread, as well. perhaps if i incorporated and obtained a po box in the caymans or pulau or somewhere

Ted Whittemore , December 9, 2017 at 8:38 am

Short-term (2018)–Norman Solomon is right. Only the Democratic party is in a position to defeat the rightists. In the longer term, Howie Hawkins's recent argument for a new, genuinely working-class party is more convincing to me. It's a lot more work, though.

John Wright , December 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

What may push the Democrats to eventual reform is poor fundraising. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/08/21/the-dncs-abysmal-fundraising/ But one wonders if Dems will amp up their willingness to do the bidding of the donor class in a last ditch effort to increase their personal wealth.

The DNC may be becoming irrelevant, but individual Democratic politicians can monetize their current positions as they stock their personal lifeboats before the Bernie Sanders mentioned Titanic goes down..

Sid_finster , December 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Team D cares not a whit for its voters, but it cares very much for the concerns of big donors.

WobblyTelomeres , December 9, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Substitute R for D and your statement remains true.

oh , December 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

Instead of thinking short term and trying stay in the Dim party real left wing people need to take the long term view and start a new party which will be the only way forward.

lb , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 am

I peeked at the News Hour coverage from PBS to check the official line:

In the draft proposal, a special national party commission calls for keeping some 400 members of the Democratic National Committee as automatic delegates to the convention.

But under the new rules, those superdelegates would have to tie their votes on the convention's first ballot to the outcome of primaries and caucuses. In 2016, all superdelegates were allowed to support either candidate.

And yet

Cohen and other Democrats stressed, however, that commission members have been busy circulating amendments ahead of the commission's weekend gathering in metro Washington.

So, which superdelegates will remain and with what actual constraints, and how far does this move the system away from the status quo? In light of Solomon's interview, I do wonder about actuarial sleigh-of-hand here. Is there a way of affecting a likely purge of 2020 Sanders/"grass-roots" aligned superdelegates now? Is there a way of suggesting that the superdelegates must vote as the states' primaries/caucuses (thus defanging them) but then not actually imposing any real penalty of these "party elders" and such? (Will 2020 be about "unfaithful superdelegates voting their conscience against the party rules for the greater good"?)

In other words, will the practice of Clinton or the Clintonites locking the superdelegate vote up early just be merely reshaped by this process, with a new sheen of faux democracy, rather than inhibited?

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

The report itself is worth reading. I downloaded it a while back when Lambert and Yves first posted it.

Solomon gets Moore wrong. Moore is not a neo-fascist or fascist. Moore represents some very deep-seated religious ideas that are prevalent in the South and in the border states. When Naked Capitalism and other sources report a bishop of an African-American church making rather ambiguous comments about the rock with the Ten Commandments, we see an ancient religious attitude emerging:

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/12/roy_moore_speaks_at_a_black_ch.html

Yet as many Southerners point out, the South has a progressive / populist tradition. And where are the Democrats? To me, this is part of the thorough corruption of the party and its deterioration into a fan club. Too many Democrats are looking for fascists and Rooskies. People are fleeing the party, and various Democrats living the "Don't know much about history" aspect of U.S. culture are desperately trying to pin the fascist label on people. And what is the solution being offered? Fly in Jon Ossoff? He didn't live in the congressional district where he ran anyway, going counter to another deeply held U.S. tradition, that you live in your district.

This isn't about "smart" or not smart thinking. This is about people being so thoroughly corrupt in their thinking that they can only frame questions corruptly and give corrupt answers. Maybe I'm being hard on Solomon, but looking for Benito Mussolini in Alabama is wrong history, wrong metaphor, wrong diagnosis, wrong meme.

Next up? The question and and answer of "gentle" "entitlement" "reform." Corrupt from its very inception.

This is why the comment above by Quanka is astute: You have to tell the Democrats (and Republicans) that you won't owe your vote to them. And that you are going to burn down the party if it doesn't serve the commonwealth.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:39 am

/\x2

See my post below when it comes out of moderation; Our country does have a progressive/populist tradition, but everything possible is done to erase it from contemporary memory. Now buried to memory is the history of the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota, the Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota, and even the Reform Republicanism of the early 1900's (Wisconsin's Robert M. La Follette for instance).

DJG , December 9, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Watt4Bob: You refer here and below to the states along the inland sea, in a sense, the rather eccentric Great Lakes States. I'd add:

–Chicago agitators and the Haymarket "Riot" (which the police caused)
–The United Auto Workers (Flint strike among others).
–Unions and Youngstown.
–Jane Addams and her own ideas about building community and building peace.
–The Milwaukee Socialists and the mayoralty there.
–The whole rambunctious structure (if it's a structure) of neighborhood associations in Chicago, where many of those involved in the Harold Washington campaign got their start.
–Henry Gerber, the Society for Human Rights, and the first agitation for acceptance of gay people, 1924, Chicago. Who even knew that midwesterners thought about politico-sexual themes?

Yes, there is very talented group of people here who simply have to cut down on the distractions and get back to work.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Socialism was actually a powerful movement -- with elected officials -- all throughout the Upper Midwest during the so-called Progressive Era and the 1920s. Part of this was a result of German settlements; any Midwestern town with a significant population of Germans (especially from Hamburg) had a strong socialist impulse. Often this was manifest in the elected officials, but even where the Socialists didn't win elections, they were able to influence policy.

I have little patience for the so-called "Democrats" who, as you said above "don't know much about history".

Rosario , December 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Thank you for bringing those points up. I'd say that buzzwords like fascist and Nazi are bull horned (as opposed to Republican dog whistles) only as a means to distract from actual policy issues (vis-a-vis Bernie), but I wonder if it is the case that even the most cynical Clintonites believe their own BS at this point. These narratives have taken on a life of their own.

I don't think Norman Solomon has bad intentions. If anything he is appealing to pragmatism and reason too strongly in a political environment that is unreasonable. Bernie does a much better job at blowing the emotional horn just enough to fit the political zeitgeist while maintaining an engine of actual policy issues to move his political machine. Historically, this has always been a successful strategy for socialists, Americans love fire-brands.

As far as Norman's claims of fascism I just don't see how tossing around those terms adds any strategic value to the political struggle against the right. It just comes across as preaching to the choir. We (the left) all know Moore is an ass, calling him fascist doesn't make that any more evident. The trick is trying to understand why he is still viable politically to a significant number of people despite being an ass. This was the mistake made with Trump. To loosely paraphrase Adolph Reed, calling something fascist or Nazi and $2.25 will get me a ride on the subway but it does nothing to develop action to counter right wing agendas. The normalization of the right (Republicans) does not occur because they have "better ideas" (their current tax bill shows they aren't even trying to appeal to 99% of society) it is because the current left option in the USA (Democrats) are offering no ideas , or certain members are not allowed to express ideas because of corporate power and corporate-supported political power. Assuming I am directing this at the DNC, then who is actually supporting the so-called fascists?

As goes fascism in the United States, I don't really think anyone has a good definition. Some see it as a politics that are largely aesthetic as opposed to based on discourse or debate. Some see it as a marriage of corporate power with state power with police and military supremacy. By those two measures I think the USA is already deeply fascist. Though it seems by the current measures, the only thing that make someone unequivocally fascist (or Nazi) is their being a bigot. This simplistic view of fascism is an insult to history, and all the people that either died fighting fascism or were sacrificed at its political altar.

Big River Bandido , December 9, 2017 at 8:51 pm

I hate to tell you, but the New York City subway actually costs $2.75. Another testament to the neoliberal con game, as practiced by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Jack , December 9, 2017 at 10:56 am

What is ironic about this issue of superdelegates is that the so called "Democratic" party has them and the party of the elite, the Republicans, do not (well, they do, but at a much smaller % and they are required to vote for whoever won their respective state primary). What is also ironic is that the reason the Dems came up with this system was to prevent blowouts in the election. Carter and McGovern had gotten trounced. The feeling was that "wiser" heads, i.e. experienced politicians could steer the party toward a more electable candidate. And how did that work out for them? First time superdelegates voted in 1984, Mondale lost 49 out of 50 states to Reagan.

Watt4Bob , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think a little history would be useful at this point to help us understand that we've been this way before.

As concerns the Minnesota Farmer-Labor party which later merged with the Minnesota Democratic Party to form the DFL, which has lately devolved, IMO, Wellstone and Franken not withstanding, to much more closely resemble the party of Clintonism than the party of the young Hubert Humphrey.

Quotes are from Wikipedia ;

The Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party emerged from the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota and the Union Labor Party in Duluth, Minnesota, on a platform of farmer and labor union protection, government ownership of certain industries, and social security laws.[2] One of the primary obstacles of the party, besides constant vilification on the pages of local and state newspapers, was the difficulty of uniting the party's divergent base and maintaining political union between rural farmers and urban laborers who often had little in common other than the populist perception that they were an oppressed class of hardworking producers exploited by a small elite.

That 'divergent base' thing ring a bell anyone?

"The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.

At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state."

The upper-midwest was fly-over land long before the Wright brothers, and it makes perfect sense that the the Minnesota Farmer-Labor, and its predecessor, the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota should sprout here, where the effects of elite neglect/abuse and the related Great Depression had left We the People feeling mis/unrepresented by the two national parties.

Of course it's good to remember that Hubert Humphrey, and the Minnesota Democratic party did not embrace the populist revolt until it had been successful on its own, in electing multiple Minnesota Governors, Senators, and Representatives in the 1920-30's, but embrace it they did, and from 1944 until the 1970's, the DFL stood for something a bit more than the local franchise of the National Party.

I strongly encourage you to follow the links in the quotes above, you'll find the history of, among other things, the Bank of North Dakota, still the only state-owned bank in the country, founded in 1919 to allow ND farmers to break the strangle-hold that banks in Minneapolis and Chicago held over the farmers of the northern plains, and demand of working people for free, universal health-care.

So far, the Democratic party, sadly, including the DFL, seems dedicated to putting down the populist revolt by its neglected base, but with some hard work maybe this time around we can figure out how to shorten the time between being resisted and being embraced.

The enemies are perennial, so are the solutions, but populism did have a season of successes in the first half of the 20th century, and there is no reason to think it couldn't happen again.

Remember too, the Non Partisan League of Alberta Canada, and was one of the principal champions of universal healthcare that Canadians now enjoy.

Jerry , December 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

I think incumbent Governors and Congress members have earned the right to be a super delegate by virtue of having won their own election. Their re-election will be affected by the top of the ticket.

If Repubs had been blessed with super delegates, would Trump have still won?

Vatch , December 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Yes! I missed your comment when I posted a reply to another comment at 1:02 pm.

flora , December 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

July 2016, after the primaries were over, the WaPo, that bastion of Dem estab groupthink, suggested the GOP adopt super delegates to avoid another surprise primary outcome. And we see how well not having super delegates turned out for the GOP.

"There are probably a few missteps I am forgetting. Priebus's spinelessness may well result in an irretrievably divided party, not to mention a humiliating loss in a critical, entirely winnable election. Priebus's successor had better learn some lessons from 2016. He or she might also consider using super delegates. It turns out party grownups are needed. This cycle they've been AWOL."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/07/08/ten-mistakes-reince-priebus-made/?utm_term=.0c7187bd122d

Fast forward to today. Yeah, not having super delegates really cost the GOP in the general election. not.

Sluggeaux , December 9, 2017 at 12:38 pm

The Democrat Party is run by a bunch of careerist hacks. This is why the GOP is actually more "democratic" (and got hijacked by Trump): because it's not run by careerist hacks who are more concerned about protecting their rice bowls than they are about being responsive to the electorate. These hacks got paid a billion dollars to run the losing 2016 campaign -- they "won" the election by their self-serving metric, and now get to pay themselves to "resist" the administration that they caused to be elected through their self-serving careerism.

They're not going to let go of the self-licking ice cream cone that the Democrat Party has become until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. That day may be coming soon; however, the current coup d'etat in Washington may render a party of $27 donors irrelevant

Amfortas the Hippie , December 9, 2017 at 4:28 pm

This: "until their comprehensive election losses make it obvious to the Wall Street Wing that they're wasting their money. "^^^

A similar sentiment was included in all of the flurry of angry emails i sent hither and yon when I quit the demparty right after the election. ie: the current course of pleasing the donors is unsustainable if they continue to chase off their own base. what are the donors paying for?

one would presume a voice in gooberment .meaning won seats,lol.
without voters, why would any self respecting conglomerate continue to shell out dough to the demparty?
of course, all the hippie-punching and other abuse of their base makes perfect sense if the demparty is, in truth, a ringer party for the oligarchs a pressure relief valve, like on the side of a water heater
if, in other words, they pretend to be the "opposition" and "for the people"(tm) so all us'n's don't go rabid and Wobbly.
This seems a more and more likely explanation every week.

Blue Pilgrim , December 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Perhaps old age and failing memory is to blame, but I can't remember not hearing the nonsense arguments of 'vote for the lesser of two evils and reform from within', and the fear mongering about the right or Republicans winning. (Republicans used to have sort-of 'liberal' members, like Lowell Weicker, who would make current Democrats look like fascists -- well, a lot of them are really ). It never worked and everything just gets worse.

And now with current 'RussiaGate' nonsense and the rest of it, and all the wars, including the genocidal destruction of Libya, and some other things, I can never again vote for a Democrat, and I won't vote for a Republican either. I voted for a Socialist once but those votes were not counted because he could not satisfy the requirements to get on the ballot -- petitions and registering in over 200 districts in the state. No one decent gets through the machine.

I've given up on both parties, and their phony elections -- there are no solutions there. What is needed is to see through the games and destroy the machine. Not easy but there is no other way. Solomon is part of the machine, and the so-called 'progressives' are not progressive. We are at the point where the only possible solutions are radical -- striking at the root. The collapse of the empire and capitalism (corporatism -- just a larval stage of fascism) is coming one way or another because it is not sustainable -- and that which cannot be sustained will not be. It's like how slavery and feudalism reached a point where they could no longer survive as dominant systems, nor returned to as such (similar to how the gold standard, or non-tech agricultural society can not be universally restored). The writing finger moves on.

We can either see how the global wind of history and culture is blowing and intelligently move ahead with it, or we can destroy ourselves. The action must be on the streets, in the workplace, from the masses, in collective consciousness, and world wide. Democrat shills like Solomon and clowns like Trump should be ignored as symptomatic noise.

Interview of Richard Wolff by Jimmy Dore has some hints:
https://subtletv.com/baajhiq/Jimmy_Dore_Show_goes_full_socialist_with_Prof_Richard_Wolff

Chauncey Gardiner , December 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The DNC's Unity Commission's behavior confirms that the real goal of the leadership of the DNC is exactly the opposite of the name of the commission. So what is their real goal? To prevent the emergence of a progressive majority. In fact, this has been their goal for decades; and in fairness, they have been very successful in realizing it to the detriment of the majority of We the People.

Thank you for shining the light on this latest episode of their actions for their financial benefactors.

Arizona Slim , December 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Just got back from running errands. While I was at the post office, I had a conversation with a longtime friend who is now in the Arizona House of Representatives. She just got elected last year. Even though she is officially a Democratic Party member, she ran as a progressive and that's how she rolls in the House. Get this, she spent this morning addressing a conservative youth group and they loved it. Compared to what they usually hear from politicians, they found her speech refreshing. It was all about balanced policy, and if she posts a video, I will share it. Perhaps the DNC will pay attention.

JBird , December 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm

it's really not possible for the leaders at the national level of the Democratic Party to have a close working relationship with the base when it's afraid of the base.

And strangely, this is a big reason for why after three plus decades, I am no longer an active member of the party. If you treat the majority of American nation as dangerous, deplorable, or at best just dumb, please don't be shocked when people start either start ignoring you, or just try to get rid of.

I approve of bringing up this suppressed history of our country's leftist, progressive, socialist, even communist strands, not to mention the multi racial and class political alliance, social organizations, and very frequently personal connections including marriages. Don't forget that the power structure used propaganda, legislation, the law, and armed mobs that often especially, but not only, in the South with rope necklaces, lead poisoning, or if you were "lucky" multi-decade prison terms, or just merely having your home/church/business burnt. This has never really stopped. Like when Jim Crow continues by other means, so did the anti-organization. Chicago, Detroit, the South,etc. Sadly, the black misleadership also help, albeit without the violence, after MLK and others, were no longer a problem.

So centuries of poor whites, blacks, native Americans, religious leaders, even some business leaders and some upper class people, struggling together, usually dealing with violence and murder have been dropped into the memory hole.

Some days I just want to start screaming and not stop.

[Dec 03, 2017] The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money.

Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jim Haygood , December 2, 2017 at 8:29 am

Renegade ( ex-? ) Republican David Stockman NAILS IT TO THE WALL:

To be sure, some element of political calculus always lies behind legislation. For instance, the Dems didn't pass the Wagner Act in 1935, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 or the Affordable Care Act of 2010 as exercises in pure civic virtue -- these measures targeted huge constituencies with tens of millions of votes at stake.

Still, threadbare theories and untoward effects are just that; they can't be redeemed by the risible claim that this legislative Rube Goldberg contraption being jammed through sight unseen ( in ACA redux fashion ) is for the benefit of the rank and file Republican voters, and most especially not for the dispossessed independents and Dems of Flyover America who voted for Trump out of protest against the failing status quo.

To the contrary. The GOP tax bill is of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money. Period.

There is no higher purpose or even nugget of conservative economic principle to it. The battle cry of "pro-growth tax cuts" is just a warmed over 35-year-old mantra from the Reagan era that does not remotely reflect the actual content of the bill or disguise what it really is: namely, a cowardly infliction of more than $2 trillion of debt on future American taxpayers in order to fund tax relief today for the GOP's K Street and Wall Street paymasters.

On a net basis, in fact, fully 97% of the $1.412 trillion revenue loss in the Senate Committee bill over the next decade is attributable to the $1.369 trillion cost of cutting the corporate rate from 35% to 20% (and repeal of the related AMT). All the rest of the massive bill is just a monumental zero-sum pot stirring operation.

https://tinyurl.com/yal6ls89

Stockman, who knows federal budgeting better than most of us know the contents of our own homes, goes on to shred the tax bill item by item, leaving a smoking, scorched-earth moonscape in his deadly rhetorical wake. And he's not done yet.

But Lordy, how he scourges the last hurrah of the know-nothing R party, just before it gets pounded senseless at the polls next year. Bubble III is the last hope of the retrograde Republican Congressional rabble. But it's a 50/50 proposition at best that our beloved bubble lasts through next November. :-(

tegnost , December 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

thanks Jim, yes, this looks like it will knock the legs out of the "main st" economy, but over at versailles on the potomac they'll be listening to/playing the fiddle and watching the country burn while guzzling 300 dollar scotch and and admiring their campfire.

ambrit , December 2, 2017 at 9:19 am

Right next to "Versailles on the Potomac" is the site of the former Bonus Army camp, Anacostia Flats. The burning of the Bonus Army camp at Anacostia Flats could be seen, as a red glow, from the White House. Historians charitable to Herbert Hoover suggest that Gen. Douglass MacArthur 'conned' Hoover into letting the Army 'disperse' the Bonus Army. The resulting spectacle can be said to be one of the prime reasons why the American public rejected Hoover when he ran for re-election against Franklin Roosevelt.
I don't know if Hoover played the fiddle, but MacArthur was known to be able to play politicians like one.
The lesson here, if there is one, is that the present occupant of the White House had better be very circumspect about taking advice from Generals.

nonclassical , December 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

"anacostia flats" bonus army raided by Wall Street General MacArthur which is reason in previous iteration of Wall Street power grab by "American Liberty League", ("The Plot To Seize the White House"-Jules Archer) Marine General Smedley Butler felt forced play whistle-blower, providing FDR leverage he needed to prosecute banksters.


Big River Bandido December 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm

The gist of the commenter's statement was true - Democrats are totally complicit in the end result of Republican economic and foreign policy. Until now, Republicans could only deliver on their promises when Democrats helped them out. The Democrats' enabling strategy eventually alienated their own core supporters. With this tax cut, the Republicans have shown, for the first time, the ability to enact and sign their own legislation.

The Democrats basically accommodated the Republicans long enough to ensure their own irrelevance. They will not rise again until their "mixed stances" and those who encourage them are purged.

[Dec 03, 2017] Another Democratic party betrayal of their former voters. but what you can expect from the party of Bill Clinton?

Highly recommended!
Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

SpringTexan , December 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

And I feel like the Democrats get so distracted. They have been talking about sexual harassment and stuff instead of the TAX BILL. It is so damn easy to get them to take their eyes off the ball! and get played again and again. . . and TRAGIC given the consequences . . .

Big River Bandido , December 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

It's the perfect "distraction". Allows them to engage in virtue-signaling and "fighting for average Americans". It's all phony, they always "lose" in the end getting exactly what they wanted in the first place, while not actually having to cast a vote for it.

Kabuki theater in every respect.

jrs , December 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It's all related, less safety net and more inequality means more desperation to take a job, *ANY* job, means more women putting up with sexual harassment (and workplace bullying and horrible and illegal workplace conditions etc.) as the price of a paycheck.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Horrible Toomey's re-election was a parallel to the Clinton/Trump fiasco. The Democrats put up a corporate shill, Katie McGinty that no-one trusted.

"Former lobbyist Katie McGinty has spent three decades in politics getting rich off the companies she regulated and subsidized. Now this master of the revolving-door wants Pennsylvania voters to give her another perch in government: U.S. Senator." Washington Examiner.

She was a Clintonite through and through, that everyone, much like $Hillary, could see through.

Expat , December 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

To paraphrase the Beatles, you say you want a revolution but you don't really mean it. You want more of the same because it makes you feel good to keep voting for your Senator or your Congressman. The others are corrupt and evil, but your guys are good. If only the others were like your guys. News flash: they are all your guys.

America is doomed. And so much the better. Despite all America has done for the world, it has also been a brutal despot. America created consumerism, super-sizing and the Kardashians. These are all unforgivable sins. America is probably the most persistently violent country in the world both domestically and internationally. No other country has invaded or occupied so much of the world, unless you count the known world in which case Macedonia wins.

This tax plan is what Americans want because they are pretty ignorant and stupid. They are incapable of understanding basic math so they can't work out the details. They believe that any tax cut is inherently good and all government is bad so that is also all that matters. They honestly think they or their kids will one day be rich so they don't want to hurt rich people. They also believe that millionaires got their money honestly and through hard work because that is what they learned from their parents.

Just send a blank check to Goldman Sachs. Keep a bit to buy a gun which you can use to either shoot up a McDonalds or blow your own brains out.

And some people still ask me why I left and don't want to come back. LOL

tony , December 2, 2017 at 9:30 am

Macedonia of today is not the same are that conquered the world. They stole the name from Greeks.

That being said, the US is ripe for a change. Every policy the current rulers enact seems to make things better. However, I suspect a revolution would kill majority of the population since it would disrupt the all important supply chains, so it does not seem viable.

However, a military takeover could be viable. If they are willing to wipe out the most predatory portions of the ruling class, they could fix the healthcare system, install a high-employment policy and take out the banks and even the military contractors. Which could make them very popular.

False Solace , December 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm

> a military takeover could be viable

Yeah, right. Have you seen our generals? They're just more of the same leeches we have everywhere else in the 0.01%. Have you seen any of the other military dictatorships around the world, like actually existing ones? They're all brilliantly corrupt and total failures when it comes to running any sort of economy. Not to mention the total loss of civil rights. Americans have this idiotic love of their military thanks to decades of effective propaganda and think the rule of pampered generals would somehow be better than the right to vote. Bleh.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

This is a military dictatorship. The fourth and sixth amendments have been de facto repealed. Trump cared about one thing and one thing only, namely to repeal the estate tax. He is the ultimate con man and this was his biggest con. It is truly amazing how he accomplished this. He has saved his family a billion $$$. He will now turn over governing to the generals and Goldman Sachs. He may even retire. Truly amazing. One has to admire the sheer perversity of it all. When will the American electorate get tired of being conned? The fact is they have nothing but admiration for Trump. We live in a criminal culture, winner take all. America loves its winners.

John Wright , December 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

There is an old 2003 David Brooks column in which he mentions that

"The Democrats couldn't even persuade people to oppose the repeal of the estate tax, which is explicitly for the mega-upper class. Al Gore, who ran a populist campaign, couldn't even win the votes of white males who didn't go to college, whose incomes have stagnated over the past decades and who were the explicit targets of his campaign. Why don't more Americans want to distribute more wealth down to people like themselves?"

Then Brooks goes on to explain

"The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/12/opinion/the-triumph-of-hope-over-self-interest.html

The Republicans have conditioned people to believe government services (except for defense/military) are run poorly and need to be "run like a business" for a profit.

The problem is that not all government services CAN be profitable (homeless care, mental health care for the poor, EPA enforcement, OSHA enforcement). And when attempts are made to privatize some government operations such as incarceration, the result is that the private company tries to maximize profits by pushing for laws to incarcerate ever more people.

The history of the USA as viewed by outsiders, maybe 50 years hence, will be that of a resource consuming nation that spent a vast fortune on military hardware and military adventures when it had little to fear due to geography, a nation that touted an independent press that was anything but, a nation that created a large media/entertainment industry which helped to keep citizens in line, a nation that fostered an overly large (by 2 or 3 times per Paul Whooley) parasitical financial industry that did not perform its prime capital allocation task competently as it veered from bubble to bubble and a nation that managed to spend great sums on medical care without covering all citizens.

But the USA does have a lot of guns and a lot of frustrated people.

Maybe Kevlar vests will be the fashion of the future?

Steve , December 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the great link on how sadly uninformed average Americans are! I've been looking for it for a while and great comment!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

The provision to do away with the estate tax, if not immediately, in the current versions (House and Senate) is great news for the 1%, and bad for the rest of us.

And if more people are not against that (thanks for quoting the NYTImes article), it's the failure of the rest of the media for not focusing more on it, but wasting time and energy on fashion, sports, entertainment, etc.

Vatch , December 2, 2017 at 7:24 pm

he provision to do away with the estate tax . . . is great news for the 1%

I think it's even a little more extreme than that. The data is a few years old, but it is only the top 0.6% who are affected by estate taxes in the United States. See the data at these web sites:

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-historical-table-17

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-estate-tax-statistics-year-of-death-table-1

Sydney Conner , December 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the succinct, accurate eloquent description of our nightmare reality.

DHG , December 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

https://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/the-dark-rigidity-of-fundamentalist-rural-america-a-view-from-the-inside/

JTMcPhee , December 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

The military adventures were largely in support of what Smedley Butler so accurately called the Great "Racket" of Monroe Doctrine colonialism and rapacious extractive "capitalism" aka "looting."

For those who haven't encountered Maj. Gen. Butler's take on his 33 years of serving the Oligokleptocracy, here's a link: https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

A smart and honest fellow, who even declined as a "war hero" to serve as the oligarchs' figurehead in an earlier and clumsier plot to get rid of the trappings and regulation of "democracy:" The Business Plot, https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/smedley-butler-and-the-business-plot/

It took longer and costed the rich a bit more to buy up all the bits of government, but the way they've done will likely be more compendious and lasting. Barring some "intervening event(s)".

Jonathan Holland Becnel , December 2, 2017 at 11:51 am

Doomed?

Project Much?

While Republicans show their true colors, im out there seeing a resurgence of civil society. And im starting to reach Hard core Tea Party types. Jobs, Manufacturing, Actual Policy.

IOW The Revolution Is Nigh.

2018 will be a Fn watershed.

[Dec 01, 2017] Elite needs a kill switch for their front men and women

marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
An interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.

One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

Seems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparations…

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/

marknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels – this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.
Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 am
Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/

marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.

yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?

[Nov 22, 2017] How Despair Helped Drive Trump to Victory naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By Shannon Monnat, Associate Professor, Syracuse University and David L. Brown, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
"... Economic, social and health decline in the industrial Midwest may have been a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, Monnat and Brown's INET research finds, with people living in distressed areas swinging behind Trump in greater numbers. Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems. ..."
"... The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs ..."
"... didn't bother to vote at all ..."
Nov 22, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 18, 2017 by Yves Smith By Shannon Monnat, Associate Professor, Syracuse University and David L. Brown, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Economic, social and health decline in the industrial Midwest may have been a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, Monnat and Brown's INET research finds, with people living in distressed areas swinging behind Trump in greater numbers. Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems.

The role of the rural vote in Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. Presidential election has received widespread coverage . But suggesting that rural frustration with political insiders and years of perceived neglect was in itself enough to deliver Trump to the White House overlooks other key factors that saw the Republican candidate out-perform in areas ravaged by decay.

To be sure, Donald Trump received a much larger share of the rural vote than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Electoral data shows he won the countryside by 63.2 percent to 31.3 percent, with the vote share increasing in the most rural areas. But this advantage hardly signals a new trend. Republican candidates have long won larger shares of the rural vote , particularly in Appalachia, the Great Plains, and parts of the South. In addition, rural voters account for only about 15 percent of the total U.S. population, and provided a similar share of votes in the 2016 presidential election.

Although Trump's rural edge certainly contributed to his victory, it was not sufficient to swing the election on its own or to support a theory that a " rural revolt " handed him the win. Instead, Trump's combined rural and small city over-performance, and Clinton's under-performance, particularly in the industrial Midwest, was key to Trump's unanticipated victory. To understand the election outcome it is critical to understand what drove voters in those areas to cast a ballot for Trump.

Election Results: The Predicable and The Unexpected

Of course, Clinton won the U.S. popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes. Trump not only lost the national popular vote; he also under-performed relative to Mitt Romney four years earlier, receiving 45.9 percent of votes in 2016 compared to Romney's 47.1 percent in 2012.

Trump nonetheless won because the U.S.' electoral college system places more importan ce on some states over others when it comes to the outcome . Small advantages in key places enabled Trump to accumulate sufficient electors to claim victory. Like Romney in 2012, Trump garnered large vote shares throughout Appalachia, the rural South, the Great Plains, and Mountain West.

The Republican stronghold in these areas is not new. What was unexpected though, was how well Trump performed, and conversely how poorly Hillary Clinton performed, in the industrial Midwest. Ultimately, Trump's win came down to a difference of just 77,744 votes spread across three states: Michigan, which he took by 10,704 votes; Pennsylvania, by 44,292; and Wisconsin, with a 22,748 margin.

Trump also garnered substantially larger vote shares than Romney in the other industrial states including Ohio, Illinois and Indiana – as well as in Appalachia, parts of New England, upstate New York, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Trump won more votes than Romney in these regions; Clinton also received far fewer votes and a smaller share than Obama in these areas, even in counties and states she won.

Although the industrial Midwest is home to just over 16 percent of U.S. counties, nearly a third of the 206 pivot counties – those that went for Trump after going for Obama in both 2008 and 2012 – were in the industrial Midwest. In nearly all pivot counties, Obama's victory margin declined between 2008 and 2012, perhaps foreshadowing their shift to a Republican candidate in 2016. Importantly, Trump's advantage in the industrial Midwest was not confined to rural counties; it also included small urban counties like Montgomery County in Ohio and Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and even larger urban counties like Michigan's Macomb County, which is located in the Detroit metropolitan area.

How Despair Drove Trump Votes

To understand the electoral shift in these and similar places outside of the industrial Midwest, it is important to understand the economic, social, and health declines that have plagued them over the past three decades. In many of the rural areas and small cities where Trump performed better than expected or where Clinton performed worse than expected, economic distress had been building and social conditions breaking down for decades . The places that experienced the largest voter shifts in 2016 were not all among the poorest places in America, though Appalachia certainly holds that distinction. But they are places that are generally worse off today than they were a generation or two ago, with far fewer manufacturing and natural resource industry jobs that once provided reliable, livable wages and benefits to those without a college degree. Certainly de-industrialization is not a new phenomenon in the U.S., but its impacts have been unevenly distributed.

Our INET research, published in the Journal of Rural Studies , used county-level election data from 2012 and 2016 alongside demographic, economic, and health research from multiple sources to probe key sources of Trump's support. We found that nationally, and especially in the industrial Midwest, Trump's average over-performance – defined as the difference between his percentage share of the vote compared to that of Romney four years earlier – was greater in areas of higher economic, social, and health distress.

Comparing the difference in Trump over-performance between counties in the top and bottom quartiles for economic, demographic, and health characteristics helps us understand what drove voters in areas including the industrial Midwest to swing to Trump. The percentage of residents without a four-year college degree had the strongest association with Trump over-performance, but indicators of despair also helped to explain his success in the industrial Midwest. In particular, economic distress (based on rates of poverty and unemployment, and the percentage of people collecting disability payments or lacking health insurance), health distress (determined by rates of disability, obesity, those rating their own health fair or poor, smoking, and drug-induced, alcohol-induced and suicide mortality), and social distress (accounting for factors like rates of separation/divorce, single parent families, vacant housing units and persistent population loss), were strong predictors of Trump over-performance. Notably, Trump's average over-performance was 12% higher in counties with the highest poverty rates compared to those with the lowest poverty rates. These relationships held even when controlling for metropolitan status.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of factors that likely influenced the election, and many of these factors are strongly correlated, making it difficult to disentangle and rank in terms of influence. We also don't know from the data whether the most economically distressed residents voted for Trump, or if it was comparatively less distressed residents who, out of anxiety and frustration with the deprivation they saw around them, went for the Republican nominee.

Ultimately, what these descriptive findings suggest is that Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems. Just as decades of declines in secure and livable wage jobs, resource-disinvestment, and social decay have made some places in the U.S. more vulnerable to the opioid sco urge , the same forces made some places more susceptible to Trump's quick-fix populist messages.

Mean Difference in Trump Over-performance (%) between Counties in the Top Quartile vs. Bottom Quartile of Each County Characteristic, Industrial Midwest N=504 counties in Industrial Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). The bars represent the difference in mean Trump over-performance (percent difference in Trump vote share in 2016 vs. Romney vote share in 2012) between counties in the top 25th percentile (Q4) vs. bottom 25th percentile (Q1) for all characteristics except non-metro county and persistent population loss (which are both dichotomous). All estimates are from unadjusted linear regression models, but all models use clustered standard errors to account for nesting of counties within states.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of factors that likely influenced the election, and many of these factors are strongly correlated, making it difficult to disentangle and rank in terms of influence. We also don't know from the data whether the most economically distressed residents voted for Trump, or if it was comparatively less distressed residents who, out of anxiety and frustration with the deprivation they saw around them, went for the Republican nominee.

Ultimately, what these descriptive findings suggest is that Trump performed well within these landscapes of despair – places that have borne the brunt of declines in manufacturing, mining, and related industries since the 1970s and are now struggling with opioids , disability, poor health, and family problems. Just as decades of declines in secure and livable wage jobs, resource-disinvestment, and social decay have made some places in the U.S. more vulnerable to the opioid sco urge , the same forces made some places more susceptible to Trump's quick-fix populist messages.

Schofield , November 18, 2017 at 6:19 am

"globalisation shock without compensation"

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2870313

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2904105

cnchal , November 18, 2017 at 6:37 am

Globalization -> Trump.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm

The most important thing that happened last year (2016) was that globalization, vampire though it could be, was exposed and repudiated, even if it still lives on.

That ought to maintain its own momentum going forward.

When we look at human beings or personalities, it has been obviously one man is just one man. There are other power centers in DC. Proposed bills coming out of Congress do not have to correlate with the party platform or campaign promises. Then, there are those who operate in the dark. If there was a Man of the Year for 2016, it would be the despaired ones, the Deplorables, the previously ignored, etc. It's never about one man.

Kokuanani , November 18, 2017 at 7:42 am

I see that "not having health insurance" is an indicia person is more likely to vote for Trump. I guess that's another reason they're so hell-bent to kick folks off even the feeble ACA coverage.

Collins , November 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

23% of the US population is on Medicaid. The 'insurance expansion' of the ACA was mostly expansion of Medicaid (the private policies are unaffordable and the insurance companies do not compete with each other, as they continue to exit the 'market'). And ~ 65% of Medicaid is now Managed Medicaid (& growing ), where the govt money goes to 'non-profit' companies such as Superior Star Plus Medicaid which are actually owned by Fortune 500 companies, Centene in this example. Guess how well that's working out for funding actual delivery of health care. Obama's original concept included the 'public option' of Medicare, the Insurance lobby gutted that and rewrote the bill to their benefit, and being a professional politician Obama signed it consistent with the crony capitalism rulebook whether you're neo-con or neo-liberal.
Many of the Trump voters could 'sense' this as their life experience even without knowing the actual data above. Writing them off as illogical dullards is not accurate.

Anon , November 18, 2017 at 11:40 am

I don't believe the voters that gave Trump his Electoral College victory are illogical dullards. But many were likely persuaded by a Siren call from a politician who had no history (or intent) of meeting their wants/needs. (They still have no new job, health care, or relief from the opioid epidemic.)

While the economic decline began in these areas in the late 70's (Oil Shock 1973; Japan Auto Market intrusion, etc.), the call for greater pursuit of more education to survive in a changing world was also clearly stated. Some likely ignored the call and gambled on a liveable wage/family formation right out of high school. Unfortunately, fortune and the political system didn't serve their choice well.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm

While true, many people are not suited for a four college degree because their talents are best outside of a desk, and it has gotten so bad economically that one needs at least a bachelors, or more probably a masters degree just to stay even financially; that only works were there are actually jobs.

If you are better as a machinist, or a chef, what use is a college degree. If you do have the talents, and inclination, to work that requires a four year degree, can you pay for it, and if you can, will you be able to find work? If you are disabled, or have family to take care of, or are stuck deep in one of those growing both in size and numbers, economic wastelands, being told that you shoulda, coulda gotten a degree is not good.

Anon , November 18, 2017 at 6:50 pm

I didn't say "four year college". I said more education. Learning to operate a digital lathe (Machinist) takes education/training. Learning to be an electrician/cable installer takes focused training. These are relatively well-paying jobs versus assembly line work requiring simply a high school education.

My point is that some folks chose what worked for their parents and started "life" right out of high school. (During a period when many warned that that may not be good enough in the future.)

The overarching issue is that manipulating the political system for their personal economic advantage is not a broadly acquired skill set in the US.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 9:41 pm

My apologies for the misunderstanding.

oh , November 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I would also blame the elites who praised Obamacare which they never needed/or used themselves, bought all the latest and the greatest electronic toys (made in China). They kept drinking the Obama Kool Aid and allowed more control by neo-liberal Dims and Repigs. Now the poor people are truly screwed with gutting of any kind of public assistance, public transportation and low interest loans (if there were any).
It's time for all of us to work toward ending the two party rule and bring in a stronger third party. It will take time. Until that time, more crooks like Trump will get in.

Vatch , November 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm

23% of the US population is on Medicaid.

I was skeptical when I saw that number -- could it really be so high? Yes, you are correct, tragically. For Medicaid enrollment:

https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/program-information/medicaid-and-chip-enrollment-data/report-highlights/total-enrollment/index.html

In August, 2017, there were 74,305,276 Medicaid enrollees.

Census data:

https://www.census.gov/

The U.S. population in November, 2017, is about 326,290,400 people. On May 7 , it was about 325,000,000 people. So in August, it was approximately 325,700,000. 74,305,276 divided by 325,700,000 equals about 0.228. In other words, with a small rounding adjustment, the percentage of the US population on Medicaid is 23%! That's a national embarrassment! I don't expect sociopathic billionaires to be embarrassed, but there is a surprising number of people who respect or even admire billionaires, because the billionaires are so "hard working" or "talented" or "creative". Those admirers should be ashamed.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Obama never wanted a public option. That was a foam-rubber velcro-decoy Obama pretended to hold out to distract and confuse people, raise their enthusiasm and lower their guard.

S M Tenneshaw , November 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm

And in the end, utterly demoralize them.

Notorious P.A.T. , November 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm

And it shows why the Democrats are so eager to push single payer oh, right. Sigh.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 8:03 am

Trump is no rocket scientist but he can learn from experience

When Bill Clinton passed NAFTA millions of US jobs went to Mexico.

What happened?

Labour is cheaper in Mexico and you can make more profit there, when there are no tariffs and you have the free movement of capital it is better to move jobs out of the US to Mexico.

Why is labour cheaper in Mexico?

Wages have to cover the cost of living and the cost of living is much lower in Mexico.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

The repeal of the Corn Laws ushered in the era of Laissez-Faire.

The businessmen wanted lower corn prices, to lower the cost of living, so they could pay lower, internationally competitive wages.

Remember now?

It's all about the cost of living and the US cost of living is horrendous, they can't compete.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 8:10 am

It's what Michael Hudson has been trying to tell people but condensed.

Capitalism – back to basics

It comes down to one equation:

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

Workers want more disposable income
Business wants to pay lower wages for higher profits
The rentiers look to push up the cost of living.
The government take taxes.

Ned , November 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm

You forgot an important part;

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living PLUS interest payments on debt)

The rentiers look to push up the cost of living TO help make their ever larger interest payments to the banks that harvest much of their rents as interest.

Don't complain about high rents, complain about the ever larger share of rents that go to banks who lend to more and more uncreditworthy apartment house owners thanks to low interest rates and financialization.

Hudson't my hero, but it's still godawful complicated to understand what's not meant to be discussed in our society.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Business wants to lower wages to make higher profits . . .

But Henry Ford paid higher wages in what he thought would be a long term road to higher profits for Ford Motor Company. Perhaps he thought it would lead to long-term higher profits for every thing-making business. I have read that he was considered correct in his thinking.

If business overall would make higher total profits ( even if less profit per unit thing item produced) in a setting of overall higher wages, then what explains business's desire to lower wages in order to "raise profits"? Mere short sightedness? Or a sadistic delight in making workers poor and making poor workers suffer?

nonsense factory , November 18, 2017 at 7:51 pm

But the econometric models of 1992! They mostly said NAFTA would be good for everyone. . . What went wrong?

Most of the CGE models expect the NAFTA to have virtually no impact on U.S. labor markets. With constant returns to scale in production, and under the best-case assumptions described above, none of the CGE models predicts a long-run increase in U.S. wages of more than 0.4 percent, in U.S. employment of more than 0.2 percent, and in U.S. output of more than 0.5 percent; in most cases, the effects are much smaller.u Spread out over the many years of adjustment to free trade that are assumed by the model, none of these changes would be perceptible.

1993 Economists' Assessments of the Likely Employment and Wage Effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement
http://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1173&context=hlelj

The academic economists who promoted NAFTA (almost all of them) made the error of faithfully projecting David Ricardo and comparative advantage theories without considering all the variables. . . That article does a good job of discussing this, however:

.the potential shift of investment expenditure from the U.S. to Mexico is analyzed, with estimates of negative effects on U.S. employment and wages. This investment shift, of course, will increase employment and wages in Mexico's export-processing industries. However, the authors also note the possible impact of the liberalization of agricultural trade policy on the Mexican labor force. If, as seems likely, this forces a portion of Mexico's huge small-scale farming population into urban labor markets, the negative impact of NAFTA on agricultural employment could outweigh the positive impact on manufacturing jobs, with an overall decline in Mexican employment and wages. On this basis, the authors fear that a NAFTA could have a negative impact on labor markets in both countries.

So, a few economists got it right, but even they failed to predict the massive migration of desperate Mexicans across the border in search of jobs.

flora , November 19, 2017 at 12:28 am

NAFTA gave us the three D's : de-industrialization, debt, and despair.

And the economists who prompted Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage without also addressing Ricardo's theory of the Iron Law of Wages were ignoring an important aspect.

flora , November 19, 2017 at 12:41 am

correction: iron law of wages was Lassalle's work, not Ricardo's. Any academic economist should have been familiar with it.

David S , November 18, 2017 at 8:52 am

Mexico couldn't compete with the US pre-NAFTA in corn agriculture. Regardless of US cost structure, the shear scale and efficiency of US operations enabled it to be the lower cost provider. Companies like Archer Daniels Midland was the real winner in the deal. The problem was the US and Mexican ag worker received none of the upside.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 10:28 am

Isn't US agriculture subsidised by the state?
This is what makes it hard to compete.

drumlin woodchuckles , November 18, 2017 at 5:49 pm

And we received millions of Mexican ag workers.

The Mexican ag worker was never meant to receive any upside. The whole point of dumping American corn on Mexico was to bankrupt millions of Mexican corn farmers and the more millions of Mexicans whom their steady corn-based incomes supported. The reason for deliberately bankrupting all those Mexicans was to drive them off the land and into the border maquiladoras. That was a key goal of NAFTA all along.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 18, 2017 at 10:32 am

Roll out a half-baked ideology globally and you the same problem globally, the real estate boom.

The housing boom features all the unknowns in today's thinking, which is why they are global.

This simple equation is unknown.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

You can immediately see how high housing costs have to be covered by wages; business pays the high housing costs for expensive housing adding to costs and reducing profits. The real estate boom raises costs to business and makes your nation uncompetitive in a globalised world.

The unproductive lending involved that leads to financial crises.

The UK:
https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

The economy gets loaded up with unproductive lending as future spending power has been taken to inflate the value of the nation's housing stock. Housing is more expensive and the future has been impoverished.

US:
https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

Unproductive lending is not good for the economy and led directly to 1929 and 2008.

Neoliberalism's underlying economics, neoclassical economics, doesn't look at private debt and so no one really knew what they were doing.

The housing boom feels good for a reason that is not known to today's thinkers.

Monetary theory has been regressing since 1856, when someone worked out how the system really worked.

Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory

"A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence" Richard A. Werner

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477

" banks make their profits by taking in deposits and lending the funds out at a higher rate of interest" Paul Krugman, 2015. He wouldn't know.

Bank lending creates money, which pours into the economy fuelling the boom; it is this money creation that makes the housing boom feel so good in the general economy. It feels like there is lots of money about because there is.

The housing bust feels so bad because the opposite takes place, and money gets sucked out of the economy as the repayments overtake new lending. It feels like there isn't much money about because there isn't.

They were known unknowns, the people that knew weren't the policymakers to whom these things were unknown.

UserFriendly , November 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm

I site that lost century paper all the time. Also this one that Stiglitz co-authored which essentially admits MMT.
http://yildizoglu.fr/resources/Files-unprotected/Gaudin-Towards-a-benchmark-model.pdf
I found it by searching papers that cited the lost century one.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:39 pm

need question "neoliberal economics" without historical documentation, found here:

"The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises's book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

The movement's rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning."

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

Scott , November 18, 2017 at 1:51 pm

"50 percent of our Community College students drop out to go to work to buy a car."
In most of the nation you cannot function without a personal vehicle.
Even professionally in NYC transportation by taxi was necessary whenever the issue of time was non negotiable.
(I was trapped underground in the Subway from Brooklyn's Bergen stop on the Red line to Tribeca. Was then late for the call, and lost the client.)
The working classes of America literally have as their fortune their time, time on earth, and not much more than that.

There is little way for the working classes to see their experiences over 10 or 20 years of work into viable Certifications competitive with the all for HR gate out of the University or 4 year colleges anymore.

The prospect for Americans who lived an ethos of "You can work your way up the ladder." is nil.

To those for whom time as slipped away, spent, not so near to the paper mills, but with the experiences that would make them efficiency kings in most systems, there is the anger at the Greenspan Retraining Edict, used to blame the American Worker.
I am glad I was so incensed I have become a "Creative Economist".

When I say I am a Librarian of Work, it is with a point that I am not the only one.

Incensed by this idea abroad in the mental landscape with no means to move and not even wanting to at some point along with the house ball & chain trap that has arisen the anger is pushing an entire demographic into shared intellectual and mental landscape of the pathological.
They helped elect a pathological liar.

As regards the alteration of the American lifestyle & culture that involved a great deal of mobility, when Americans moved an average of every two years to one of being trapped, tricked & Trapped at every turn there is one book I would write to attack the sociologically shared pathology of despair & desperation.
That would be the Book of Tests.

It would be a challenge to the doom of debt in ascendency caused by a Human Resources Bureaucracy so married to the discrimination that all accept blindly against those who did go to the "school of hard knocks". I am a Zappa School Independent Scholar for instance.

In Aviation I have Seen the Mechanics with the Airframe & Powerplant Certification Test to read in the break room till they can pass the Test. Making this sort of Certification System more general, would lead the US, & its America of Post War GI Bill leaps into the "best of all world".

Within the Territory, the Geography, the US cannot any longer afford loser geographic territories of such size.

Keynes is the man. & Marx, who saw the banks as of utility.
If Mahan could change the world & start the America that became Rome, then there have been more than the One Book events to change the world.
I want a world with another name than Rome, that does not degenerate.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm

It was George HW Bush who signed and sealed NAFTA with Mexico and Canada, prior clinton inauguration, Dec. 17, 1992. Dems disliked NAFTA, and clinton and majority of dems wouldn't go along till added labor and environmental regulation were in force. Clinton signed expansion of NAFTA, having added those new regulations to republican legislation. Here's video of George HW Bush signing NAFTA with Canada and Mexico:

http://abcnews.go.com/Archives/video/dec-17-1992-pres-bush-signs-nafta-15205420

(people should remember HW Bush campaign was confronted on NAFTA by Ross Perot, who made NAFTA his primary campaign issue..)

Yves Smith Post author , November 19, 2017 at 1:01 am

Bullshit. What "Dems" are you talking about? Clinton was a big backer of NAFTA and his labor secretary Robert Reich stumped for it, claiming NAFTA would create jobs . Bush the senior the deal with the heads of three other nations was not a binding commitment. NAFTA became law when Clinton signed it in 1993.

This is from a history of NAFTA :

In 1992, NAFTA was signed by President George H.W. Bush, Mexican President Salinas and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

It was ratified by the legislatures of the three countries 1993. The U.S. House of Representatives approved it by 234 to 200 on November 17, 1993. The U.S. Senate approved it by 60 to 38 on November 20, three days later.

President Bill Clinton signed it into law December 8, 1993. It entered force January 1, 1994. It was a priority of President Clinton's, and its passage is considered one of his first successes. (Source: "NAFTA Signed Into Law," History.com, December 8, 1993.)

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 18, 2017 at 9:08 am

I took the time to read several links, and I would encourage everyone -- irrespective of your political perspective -- to click on the link to ' opiod scourge '. It's one of the most insightful, explanatory, compassionate explanations that I've read in the last two years about what we might call 'the Trump Factor' in the US.
Breathtaking.

Robert Hahl , November 18, 2017 at 1:28 pm

A point I have not seen made before is that people who can't pass a drug test may not be counted in the work force, which reduces the official unemployment rate.

This suggests a new "Misery Index" = unemployment rate + addiction rate

Ep3 , November 18, 2017 at 9:17 am

Great post.
Having lived in the heartland of despair of Michigan, in a manufacturing town, here is my 2 cents. I did not vote for trump, but family members, who were life long democrats, did.
And what people want is something to be done.
Example: I lose my job, but get another with less pay and higher health insurance. I am upset but not mad. Politicians tell me it will take a little time, but they will fix the cost of health care. So I wait, expecting an uptick. But I lose this job. And now I am working in retail. I am running out of patience with the current democrats (and all politicians in general). Nothing is being done, that I see. What I see is bickering and name calling and "gridlock". I want something done. I am now losing my rationality because my retail job is not paying the bills. I am falling hopelessly behind. And when I hear politicians are fighting over whatever, I want them all thrown out of office. So along comes trump. He says "F all of them, I will tell them all to go to hell". He plays as an outsider. He says he will get things done.
Who do you think I am going to choose now? I am sick of waiting. I cannot wait. My children are hungry and need medicine. I am getting older and need more medical care. Here's someone who says he will get things done, regardless if whether those things actually benefit me (cuts to Medicare,etc). I see claims that minorities are coming to the country and getting "free stuff". He says he will kick those freeloaders out. I see millionaire sports players complaining.
Now that he is hired, trump has become just as do-nothing as all the other career politicians. His current tax reform and simplification is just as watered down and convoluted and confusing as other "reforms". What happened to filing with a postcard?
Wasn't this what happened in Germany in the 1920s? People became desperate. They elected somebody that did "something", even tho it was bad. I am not comparing trump to that guy. I am comparing the desperation and lack of rational judgement. And that is what I see and hear from people in my community. That's from both lower class citizens to upper class. And people don't realize it is a "war" between the 1% and the rest of us. Put people in this desperate situation, tell them they can't afford social security and Medicare, the people say "this is for the greater good", they cancel those programs, then the money is redirected to the 1%. Then people are still paying 15.2% of their wages govt. but now, they are paying for a huge wealth transfer in the form of tax cuts (and defense spending) instead of paying for their health care & retirement when they are old and can't work no more.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 9:56 am

+1. Thanks for this report from the frontlines of despair.

Scott , November 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

I thank Ep3 as well, for they confirm my thesis of generalized mental landscape pathology. They confirm it with the "loss of the rational" to paraphrase within range.

Andrew Dodds , November 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Actually, it's rational. According to game theory, when you are put in a position where you cannot win whatever you do, the only rational action is to flip the board over; throw the pieces on the floor; stop playing. Elect Trump or vote Brexit.

Those who are on the always-winning side may fail to understand this. It is in their interests to keep everyone playing the game. The results could get messy.

Eclair , November 18, 2017 at 11:20 am

Ep3, your description echoes what I see in western New York state and its adjacent corner of Pennsylvania. Despair hangs over the area. Thank you for bearing witness.

The gutted mills (Jamestown was once the premier manufacturer of wood furniture in the US), the caved-in dairy barns and the rotting late 19th and early 20th century houses, testify to no jobs or minimum wage work in MacDonald's and Walmart. Add to this mix the existence of a truly awful, poverty-based, local food culture; meat, mainly fried, and carbs, also fried, and one begins to understand why the only flourishing enterprises are healthcare related.

A ray of light, there seem to be no homeless people. Not like the growing numbers one sees in Denver, Salt Lake City, or Seattle. Probably due to the low housing costs and the conversion of the big downtown hotels in SRO's.

It's Trump country.

Alfred , November 18, 2017 at 11:41 am

I drove through much of northwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio in October 2016, and afterward told everyone who would listen that I had seen incontrovertible proof that Trump would win in November.

Sam Adams , November 18, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Desperation changes soon or it's the scaffolds or its trading serfs by an overclass.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 10:28 am

Great article.

"To understand the electoral shift in these and similar places outside of the industrial Midwest, it is important to understand the economic, social, and health declines that have plagued them over the past three decades."

I think this also explains why Trump, not Jeb, won the GOP primary.

HotFlash , November 18, 2017 at 11:40 am

Good point. Too bad about the Dem primary

ger , November 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Desperate people do desperate things. By 2020 the desperate will be at near exponential expansion. The democrat leaders apparently believe all they should do is sit on their hands. Like the last time!! Some how the desperate have not been impressed by which restroom people pee in.

Livius Drusus , November 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

Yes there were many Obama-Trump voters especially in the Midwest and they likely won Trump the election. This explodes the theory that Trump's win was all about racism. I doubt that people who voted for Obama in the past were extreme white identity voters.

In addition to the despair highlighted in this piece and in the comments I will also point out that many people were disappointed in Obama. I am from the Midwest and I know people who voted for Obama twice but voted for Trump in 2016. The feeling is that Obama betrayed them and turned out to be a "phony." They thought that Clinton would be Obama 2.0 so they took a gamble on Trump. Contrary to the way they are portrayed in the media, many Midwestern working-class white Trump voters were not very enthusiastic about him. They know Trump is a shady guy but were willing to take a risk on him because from their perspective he talked sense on issues like trade and seemed to notice that not everything is going well in America.

Trump bucked the "everything is fine" message coming from Clinton and the mainstream media. One of the worst slogans to come out of the Clinton campaign was "America is Already Great." Yeah maybe for the top 10 percent but for the rest of the country that is definitely not true. Also, focusing almost exclusively on the Coalition of the Ascendant (non-whites, college-educated social liberals, gays) sent a message that the Democratic Party feels like they don't need or want white working-class voters. Chuck Schumer's quote about losing working-class whites but gaining moderate suburban Republicans just solidified that suspicion on the part of white working-class people.

John Wright , November 18, 2017 at 10:48 am

It has been expressed as "With Clinton we know we are screwed, with Trump we might not be".

Trump was the "hope" candidate this election.

el_tel , November 18, 2017 at 11:03 am

People did indeed vote out of despair. Same as BREXIT. it does NOT mean things will help them (for instance NC has shown just how awful BREXIT could be) but when you feel you're stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea you see this type of phenomenon. Profoundly depressing all round.

perpetualWAR , November 18, 2017 at 12:18 pm

The BREXIT & Trump voter was a big [family blog] you to the establishment. I didn't vote Trump, but laughed uproariously when he won, to the dismay of all the fine neoliberals in Seattle.

Question for Seattle voters: how could you vote in Durkan, who failed to prosecute the biggest financial crime of all -- WaMu, yet reject Hasagawa, who has been rallying for years in the state legislature for a state bank?

I'm still stunned at the stupidity of the Seattle voters to allow Durkan to fail upwards!

John D. , November 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm

BREXIT is a good example to use here; From my admittedly less-than-scientific perusal of internet forums in the immediate aftermath of that debacle, the general consensus of the British poor/underclass was that it was the only option currently available to stick a thumb in the 1%'s collective eye. I might also add it was the only legal and non-violent option they had. If things don't finally start changing in the next decade or so, I suspect events will become considerably less non-violent. As if the world isn't violent enough right now, I know. But things can always get worse

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm

PW, "neoliberal" does not describe many seattle denizens in my acquaintance when considering historical documentation of "neoliberalism":

"The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises's book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

The movement's rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia."

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

(seattle voters remain FDR liberals, in my experience, rather than "supply side" Friedmanite-"Chicago Boys" -- Monbiot contrasts)

George Phillies , November 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

For a similar but more detailed–and maps!–analysis, see Sean Trende's articles https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/01/20/how_trump_won_–_conclusions_132846.html
on RealClearPolitics. Trende uses a finer-grained analysis of population density. Trende makes the point that Democrats did well in megacities (urban areas, population > 5 million) and carried large cities (urban area, population 1-5 million) but over the last two decades have fallen apart everywhere else. Three dozen states have no large or mega cities; a party of large cities is of no consequence in those states. America only has 11 megacities, a fair number of which are in places like California where winning more Democratic votes will not effect the Presidential election. Note also Trende's population growth curves.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Interesting.

An aside:
I think that housing prices in the mega cities can be used, at least in part, as a rough proxy for wealth distributions in the US by geography. People who can move to where they think they'll be able to find decent paying work drive up city size and competition for housing. The mega wealthy also drive up local real estate prices. So today's mega city can be a proxy for more than persons-per-square-mile analysis, imo.

Using city size as a reflection of wealth, this chart on housing prices is very interesting.

http://www.visualcapitalist.com/hours-americans-pay-mortgage-map/

Of course, the downside of this is growing homelessness among the poor in mega cities. The homeless don't vote.

flora , November 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm

adding:
I hear endlessly that the Dems will have to make more compromises with the GOP to win back the Great Plains and the upper MidWest. I think, if anything, the Dems have compromised too much on economic matters with the GOP by adopting neo-liberal economics as the Dems' very own TINA. Dems can't improve the economic lives of their base voters by adopting the GOP economic programs and philosophy.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:54 pm

flora obama codifying of bush – cheney international invasions of sovereign nations on basis of fabrications, wars, war crimes, destabilization of Middle-East (as George HW Bush warned), millions refugees, "Patriot Act", Guantanamo Bay, prosecution of whistleblowers telling truth, and Wall Street "control accounting frauds", no accountability at all, make your point

John D. , November 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm

The bottom line is hardly complicated: The only effective way to combat the sort of phoney, right wing populism adopted by creeps like Trump, Boris Johnson, Rob Ford, etc. is to use the real thing. And Hillary couldn't have done that if her life depended on it.

Collins , November 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm

As the late Princeton health economist Uwe Reinhardt (who grew up in post-war Germany) said, Americans lack a sense of "social solidarity ". He favored national health insurance but with private (non-govt empoyed) health providers, as in Germany.
For all the media trying to portray Trump as a failed leader of his own party, it's clear to millions that the Republicans are pushing for his failure and exit as much as the Democrats.
Unless the Democrats nominate a true moderate progressive with real world track record (like a governor ) -- but who?- rather than another Global Cap mercenary, Trump will be reelected.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Germany (where my wife is R.N.) also provides choice between private and single payer

Scott , November 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

I am a good way through "Nomadland".
Older white CamperForce workers lives of mere survival become State of South Dakota citizens, in one day.
Like Jet Setters who buy passports of convenience are they proving the sociological saw that the poor & the rich think the same.
It is the war for survival and those who can go the furthest the fastest win in war.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I really do not get this. There are plenty of people of all different politics who see clearly the problems, and even agree significantly on the solution and the oncoming catastrophe, but most of the ones running things either are clueless wonders, or just want to continue straight into the ground for the money as if that will do them any real good if it gets truly horrible.

It does not require any special amount of brains, experience, or education, just common sense, and not much of that, to see this. So WTF is going on?

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Naomi Klein defines "what is going on";

http://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=aaplw&p=youtube+naomi+klein+shock+doctrine#id=2&vid=aa296126e5ac1d0fb40b4c460cdf86aa&action=view

..as does John Perkins: http://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=aaplw&p=youtube+perkins+confessions+of+an+economic+hit+man#id=4&vid=f1f88e4213110e44b5deede8e36eaf36&action=click

Minnie Mouse , November 18, 2017 at 3:03 pm

The corporate globalist faction of the democratic party (Clinton) , the minority faction according to the TPA vote, deliberately blew the election to Trump over the TPP, despite warnings – near riot and walkout when TPP came up at the platform committee – carried on C-Span.

nonclassical , November 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

..obama pushed TPP and continued do so, throughout 2016 campaign

Sluggeaux , November 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm

I really think that folks ought to stop obsessing about why some people voted for Trump. The most important factor was that nearly half of eligible voters (non-felons aged 18 and over) didn't bother to vote at all . Trump and Clinton were fighting over the mere 52.8% of eligible voters who cast votes for one of the legacy party candidates.

Nearly 10 million people who voted for Obama in 2008 didn't bother to show up to vote in 2016. Their "Hope" had been changed to "Despair" by Obama's lies. They watched him hand their health care over to the insurance companies, hand their mortgage relief over to the banks, hand their jobs out to foreigners, and expand the wars that were killing their children.

They had no intention of turning out to vote for either of two of the most outrageous prevaricators in their recent memory. Those who did bother to vote did so likely more from force of habit than enthusiasm for either legacy-party candidate, who were cynically looking for a low-turnout "win" rather than any sort of actual voter mandate.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/11/politics/popular-vote-turnout-2016/

MarkE , November 18, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Good point. Non-voting is the better measure of despair.

petal , November 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Myself and others I know are heading in that direction-not bothering to vote anymore. We talk about it.

D , November 18, 2017 at 4:04 pm

This is the best up close to it piece I've seen on this subject, from someone in the midst of a despair zone; unlike the usual East/West Coast Journo/Pundit, or at the computer with the Starbucks in hand data factoid analyzer (emphasis mine):

May 10, 2016 By Anne Amnesia Unnecessariat
.

Facing the Unnecessariat
.

Here's the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren't precarious, we're unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The recovery has gone to the top. And what's worst of all, everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that. The new bright sparks, cheerfully referred to as "Young Gods" believe themselves to be the honest winners in a new invent-or-die economy, and are busily planning to escape into space or acquire superpowers, and instead of worrying about this, the talking heads on TV tell you its all a good thing- don't worry, the recession's over and everything's better now, and technology is TOTES AMAZEBALLS!

The Rent-Seeking Is Too Damn High

If there's no economic plan for the Unnecessariat, there's certainly an abundance for plans to extract value from them. No-one has the option to just make their own way and be left alone at it. It used to be that people were uninsured and if they got seriously sick they'd declare bankruptcy and lose the farm, but now they have a (mandatory) $1k/month plan with a $5k deductible: they'll still declare bankruptcy and lose the farm if they get sick, but in the meantime they pay a shit-ton to the shareholders of United Healthcare, or Aetna, or whoever. This, like shifting the chronically jobless from "unemployed" to "disabled" is seen as a major improvement in status, at least on television.

Every four years some political ingenue decides that the solution to "poverty" is "retraining": for the information economy, except that tech companies only hire Stanford grads , or for health care, except that an abundance of sick people doesn't translate into good jobs for nurses' aides, or nowadays for "the trades" as if the world suffered a shortage of plumbers. The retraining programs come and go, often mandated for recipients of EBT, but the accumulated tuition debt remains behind, payable to the banks that wouldn't even look twice at a graduate's resume. There is now a booming market in debtor's prisons for unpaid bills, and as we saw in Ferguson the threat of jail is a great way to extract cash from the otherwise broke (thought it can backfire too). Eventually all those homes in Oklahoma, in Ohio, in Wyoming, will be lost in bankruptcy and made available for vacation homes, doomsteads, or hobby farms for the "real" Americans, the ones for whom the ads and special sections in the New York Times are relevant, and their current occupants know this. They are denizens, to use Standing's term, in their own hometowns.

This is the world highlighted in those maps, brought to the fore by drug deaths and bullets to the brain- a world in which a significant part of the population has been rendered unnecessary, superfluous, a bit of a pain but not likely to last long. Utopians on the coasts occasionally feel obliged to dream up some scheme whereby the unnecessariat become useful again, but its crap and nobody ever holds them to it. If you even think about it for a minute, it becomes obvious: what if Sanders (or your political savior of choice) had won? Would that fix the Ohio river valley? Would it bring back Youngstown Sheet and Tube, or something comparable that could pay off a mortgage? Would it end the drug game in Appalachia, New England, and the Great Plains? Would it call back the economic viability of small farms in Illinois, of ranching in Oklahoma and Kansas? Would it make a hardware store viable again in Iowa, or a bookstore in Nevada? Who even bothers to pretend anymore?

Well, I suppose you might. You're probably reading this thinking: "I wouldn't live like that." Maybe you're thinking "I wouldn't overdose" or "I wouldn't try heroin," or maybe "I wouldn't let my vicodin get so out of control I couldn't afford it anymore" or "I wouldn't accept opioid pain killers for my crushed arm." Maybe you're thinking "I wouldn't have tried to clear the baler myself" or "I wouldn't be pulling a 40-year-old baler with a cracked bearing so the tie-arm wobbles and jams" or "I wouldn't accept a job that had a risk profile like that" or "I wouldn't have been unemployed for six months" or basically something else that means "I wouldn't ever let things change and get so that I was no longer in total control of my life." And maybe you haven't. Yet.

This isn't the first time someone's felt this way about the dying. In fact, many of the unnecessariat agree with you and blame themselves – that's why they're shooting drugs and not dynamiting the Google Barge. The bottom line, repeated just below the surface of every speech, is this: those people are in the way, and its all their fault. The world of self-driving cars and global outsourcing doesn't want or need them. Someday it won't want you either. They can either self-rescue with unicorns and rainbows or they can sell us their land and wait for death in an apartment somewhere. You'll get there too.

In Sum, Despair is the Collapse of Forever into the Strain of Now

If I still don't have your attention, consider this: county by county, where life expectancy is dropping survivors are voting for Trump.

What does it mean, to see the world's narrative retreat into the distance? To know that nothing more is expected of you, or your children, or of your children's children, than to fade away quietly and let some other heroes take their place? One thing it means is: if someone says something about it publicly, you're sure as hell going to perk up and listen.

Guy Standing believed that the Precariat heralded a new age of xenophobic nationalism and reaction, but at the same time hoped that something like Occupy, that brought the precariat together as a self-conscious community, would lead to social and economic changes needed to ameliorate their plight. Actively. The gay community didn't just roll over and ask nicely for recognition, they had their shit together enough that they could fight their way, literally, into the studios of one of the top news shows in America, into the US capitol, the UK parliament, into the streets of every major city at rush hour. AIDS galvanized them, but it was their mutual recognition as friends, allies, comrades-in-arms from years of fighting for urban space to hook up in that made that galvanic surge possible. The disease blew a hole in an entire generation and the survivors kept fighting. HAART attenuated the death rate, and the survivors kept fighting.

So far, the quiet misery of the unnecessariat has yet to spark its own characteristic explosion, but is it so hard to see the germ of it in Trump's rallies? In the LaVoy Finicum memorials? Are we, and I don't mean this rhetorically, on the verge of something as earth-shaking as ACT-UP?

On primary election day, I wrote the following to a professor friend (edited):

"I am despising myself for a coward today. I stopped for gas on the way to the polls, and noticed a hole in the frame of the car that you could push a parrot through. Dammit, I can't afford a new car, and I don't know if I can afford a welded patch- I don't even know what would be involved, since so much has to be stripped off before you can bring a torch near a car body. I was in a pretty bad state when I got to the polls.

Let me explain my conundrum: all democratic primaries are proportional, among candidates who get 15% or more of the votes. The republicans have a whole slew of delegate procedures, but ours is winner take all. [I could contribute one fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a delegate to Sanders, or help push Trump over the top.]

What's the outcome here? Sanders isn't going to win. He doesn't have the delegates- hell, he doesn't have the votes. Doesn't have the support. Clinton is the democratic nominee, and frankly she's favored to win in the general election, even though in a head-to-head she gets trounced by Cruz, Kasich, or Rubio. Right now she polls ahead of Trump, but Trump is the one factor in this race that could completely kick the whole thing over. What happens if Clinton wins? For me, nothing- nothing good anyway. I still can't afford car repairs, I still have to buy medication in cash raised by selling hay bales. No, I didn't bale them, I trucked them across the county. If you bale them yourself, you make money at it, but I just had some extras to unload. That'll still be the shape of things in a Clinton presidency.

Lets be honest- Clinton doesn't give a shit about me. When Clinton talks about people hurt by the economy, she means you: elite-educated white-collar people with obvious career tracks who are having trouble with their bills and their 401k plans. That's who boomed under the last president Clinton, especially the 401ks. Me, or the three guys fighting two nights ago over the Township mowing contract, we're nothing. Clinton doesn't have an economic plan for us. Nobody has an economic plan for us. There is no economic plan for us, ever. We keep driving trucks around and keep the margins above gas money and maybe take an odd job here or there, but essentially, we're history and nobody seems to mind saying so.

And let me be honest again- Trump doesn't have an economic plan for me either. What Trump's boys have for me is a noose- but that's the choice I'm facing, a lifetime of grueling poverty, or apocalypse. Yeah I know, not fun and games- the shouts, the smashing glass, the headlights on the lawn, but what am I supposed to do, raise my kid to stay one step ahead of the inspectors and don't, for the love of god, don't ever miss a payment on your speeding ticket? A noose is something I know how to fight. A hole in the frame of my car is not. A lifetime of feeling that sense, that "ohhhh, shiiiiiit " of recognition that another year will go by without any major change in the way of things, little misfortunes upon misfortunes a lifetime of paying a grand a month to the same financial industry busily padding the 401k plans of cyclists in spandex, who declare a new era of prosperity in America? Who can find clarity, a sense of self, any kind of redemption in that world?

Fuck it. Give me the fascists, I'll know where I stand

But I went ahead and took a democratic ballot regardless. And voted for Sanders. And as long as chumps like me keep doing that, we'll keep getting the Clintons we deserve.

.

I would add that there are ever increasing East/West Coast despair zones not being discussed, other than tagging those populations as Uneducated ™, which apparently equates to a non tech background, or just being over 35, despite current education. I suspect the large Blue Turnout for California, had far more to do with an enormous anti-Trump immigrant population, traditional Dem voters opting out of either candidate, and vote counting malfeasance, than anything else; as California has the highest Poverty rate in the Nation, yet is predominantly overseen by Democrats who may as well be Republicans for the damage they've wrought.

witters , November 18, 2017 at 5:22 pm

That letter to her "professor friend" is heartbreakingly to the point.

JBird , November 18, 2017 at 10:00 pm

AIDS then and life now does have the same feel. I should have made the connection myself.

Ian , November 18, 2017 at 7:26 pm

I was at a hostel and an interesting perspective put forth from one of the guests was that at the first debate with Clinton when he was largely unresponsive, looked terrible and obviously coked up, during the second debate he did much better. He said that he had believed Trump believed he was going to go in and fundentally fix things but after the primaries he had gotten talked to about the reality of what was going to be allowed and his first debate reflected the shock of the reality of things to him. Just an interesting perspective.

D , November 18, 2017 at 8:17 pm

witters,
yeah dear, if anyone able to read claims they don't understand what she wrote, they're clearly not telling the truth.
*****************
Addending my above comment, a perfect example of the West Coast despair is the Silicon Valley, California despair (and Silicon Valley, and its borders, have been overseen by 99.99 Democrats who may as well be REPUBLICANS for the austerity they've presided over).

Using suicide via Commuter Train – by an approximately fifty mile stretch (which mostly encompasses Silicon™ Valley ™), between San Jose and San Francisco, of Caltrain commuter track – as an example, there were a record 20 Caltrain track deaths in 2015. At least nineteen of those deaths were declared as, or definitely appeared to be suicides. The 20th death (emphasis mine):

Caltrain death is record 20th of year

One person was hit and killed late Monday afternoon by a Caltrain in Santa Clara, roughly 30 minutes after police pulled a trespasser from the tracks in Mountain View, officials confirmed.

The death marked the agency's 20th fatality of the year, spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew confirmed, matching a record-high set back in 1995.

The fatal collision happened shortly before 5:40 p.m. just north of the Santa Clara Caltrain station, agency spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said. The train that hit the pedestrian was heading northbound at the time of the collision.

Less than 30 minutes before that incident, another person was detained by police near the San Antonio station in Mountain View after they were caught on the tracks and nearly hit by a passing train.

Bartholomew said the person was not hit, but a bag they were carrying was grazed. That person has not been identified.

Commuters can expect delays.

Check back for updates.

Those record 2015 deaths –predominantly adults, and two 15 year old males from affluent neighborhoods– were never highlighted by local, or National, news. The adults were usually noted as Trespassing on the Tracks ™; a normal 'coding,' unless it's a youth, or someone considered Meritocratic (see: 03/12/12 Eric Salvatierra Killed By Caltrain: How Did PayPal Executive Die? ; my decades long in silicon valley educated guess: Peter Thiel/Elon Musk Founded, eBay acquired, PayPal , was a ghastly and inhuman place to work at).

In that same year, for their December 2015 issue , and after that above noted November 16, 2015, RECORD 20th Caltrain human tragedy , The Atlantic ™ published a piece by East Coast DC'er Pundit™, Hanna Rosin, titled, The Silicon Valley Suicides -Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves , regarding prior year Teen Suicides on those same Caltrain Tracks , Teens from Affluent Families, mostly in Palo Alto, which neighbors Stanford University and its Hoover institute.

It is wonderful that those teen tragedies from affluent families were highlighted, as they should have been. But then, neither Hanna Rosin, or anyone from the The Atlantic ™ wrote a follow-up piece regarding those record 20 Caltrain – mostly ADULT suicides – deaths in 2015, which, if Hanna was doing her homework regarding Caltrain suicides she had to have been aware of.

Those Caltrain deaths have decreased in the last two years (the last I noticed was an eighth death, on October 19th: Caltrain strikes, kills trespasser in San Francisco , reported by kron4 ™), especially since there is now a worldwide spotlight on the Homogenous Ivy League Male Billionaires of Silicon Valley and the obscene poverty their Publicly Subsidized Private Sandbox encompasses. I.e. rarely reported on, untold suicide attempts, and: versus easing up the ability to economically survive, The State of California has instead focused on making sure no one kills themselves before they are sucked dry of all possible currency, by guarding those tracks (along with Amtrak & Bart tracks, and the Golden Gate Bridge) 24/7.

[Nov 07, 2017] Donna Brazile, the Rigged Democratic Primary, and Relitigating 2016 naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
"... The agreement -- signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to [DNC lawyer] Marc Elias -- specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings. ..."
"... A second difference in substance: Let's remember that for Clinton, the JFA enabled her campaign to circumvent contribution limits for large donors (Brazile: "Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400"). The Sanders campaign , by contrast, had no issue with maxed out donors: "During fall '15, 99.8% of Bernie donors could give again" (because it's awful hard to max out $27 at a time). ..."
"... That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Personnel is policy, as they say, and the Clinton campaign has made sure that the DNC's Communications Director and new hires in the senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments will be acceptable to it. The Clinton campaign will also review all mass email and communcations (which explains why Brazile, as interim DNC chair, couldn't send out a press release without checking with Brooklyn. Since the notorious debate schedule was already controlled by Wasserman Schultz, there was no point messing about with it, I assume.) There is one place in this passage where the general election is mentioned, so let's look at it: ..."
"... Second, the DNC itself does not ..."
"... But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved. ..."
"... It has been a while since I handled a criminal defense case, but I am not sure that the agreement is not in fact, criminal. When the Sanders for President campaign signed an agreement and paid money in consideration of getting access to the voter file and when the state parties agreed to merge their fundraising efforts with the DNC and HFA, the commercial fraud laws applied to that relationship. Since the fundraising was done using interstate phone calls, letters, and emails and the voter file access was provided by electronic transmissions from servers in DC to end users in Burlington, Vermont that includes 18 USC 1341, 1343 and 1346 (mail, wire and honest services fraud). These laws do not just ban outright lying, but also the concealment of material facts that one has a duty to disclose. ..."
"... The DNC got into the position of selling themselves to the Clintons as they were $20 million in debt, right? I have read that the major reason for these debts was that the DNC had not shrunk itself since the last campaign and was paying out a ton of money for consultants doing Christ knows what. In fact, Obama also used the DNC to support a stack of his consultants as well as grifters gotta grift, right? ..."
"... My question is whether this was a deliberate ploy on Obama and the Clinton factions to put the DNC into such a vulnerable position before 2016 came along that when the time came, they had to take up an offer that they could not refuse. I have not heard if Obama has made any comments on this fiasco that took place on his watch and it seems nobody wants to call him out on it. In the Brazile case, it is not a matter of following the money but following the lack of money. ..."
"... "Both sides in the Democratic Party's current faction fight, as I see it, are in denial about the true nature and scope of the problem "Both responses are essentially utopian: They rest on the premise that the Democratic Party is still a functioning political organization and that the United States is still a functioning democracy." ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Donna Brazile, the "Rigged" Democratic Primary, and Relitigating 2016 Posted on November 6, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Long-time Democratic[1] operative Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after Debbie Wasserman Schultz was defenestrated[2], has, like two other participants in the 2016 Presidential election and at least one set of observers , written a book, Hacked , and published a long excerpt from it four days ago, in Politico . Here is the key passage, in which Brazile paraphrases and quotes a conversation with Gary Gensler, former of Goldman Sachs and the CFTC, and then the chief financial officer of the Clinton campaign:

[Gensler] described the party as fully under the control of Hillary's campaign , which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party's national committee.

Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund -- that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states' parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement -- $320,000 -- and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.

Yes, you read that right. Although the Hillary Victory Fund was billed as aiding the states, in fact the states were simply pass-throughs, and the money went to the Clinton campaign. (This is not news; Politico covered the Victory Fun in 2016 : "The Democratic front-runner says she's raising big checks to help state committees, but they've gotten to keep only 1 percent of the $60 million raised.")

"Wait," I said. "That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You're telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?"

Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.

"That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie," he explained, referring to campaign manager Robby Mook. "It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election."

After some research, Brazile finds a document ("the agreement") that spells out what "fully under the control of Hillary's campaign" meant operationally:

The agreement -- signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to [DNC lawyer] Marc Elias -- specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

I had been wondering why it was that I couldn't write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.

(Importantly, Gensler has not disputed this account, of which, assuming he's not vacationing Antarctica, he must have been aware of, given the media uproar. We can therefore assume its accurate). Note two aspects of this passage, which I'm quoting at such length to ensure we know what Brazile actually charged. I've helpfully underlined them: (1) Brazile leads with the money; that is, the Clinton Victory Fund, and (2) Brazile describes the DNC as "fully under the control" of the Clinton campaign.

Predictably, an enormous controversy erupted, much of it over the weekend just passed, but I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow of the talking points. (Glenn Greenwald provides an excellent media critique in "Four Viral Claims Spread by Journalists on Twitter in the Last Week Alone That Are False "; all four have to do with this controversy[3].) I think the following three quotes are key, the first two being oft-repeated talking points by Clinton loyalists:

First, from the current DNC chair, Tom Perez :

"The joint fundraising agreements were the same for each campaign except for the treasurer, and our understanding was that the DNC offered all of the presidential campaigns the opportunity to set up a JFA and work with the DNC to coordinate on how those funds were used to best prepare for the general election."

Question: Were the agreements "the same" for each campaign? (Perez focuses only on the JFA, but that omits a separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, as we shall see below.)

Second, from 2005-9 DNC chair Howard Dean:

Question: Did the agreement apply only to the general election, and not the primary? (Dean says "this memo," but he also omits the distinction between the MOU and the JFA.)

Third, from Elizabeth Warren. CNN :

"We learned today from the former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile that the Clinton campaign, in her view, did rig the presidential nominating process by entering into an agreement to control day-to-day operations at the DNC," Tapper said, continuing on to describe specific arms of the DNC the Clinton camp had a say over, including strategy and staffing, noting that the agreement was "entered into in August of 2015," months before Clinton won the nomination .

Tapper then asked, "Do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?" And Warren responded simply: "Yes."

Question: Can we say that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged? (Tapper uses the word "rigged," and Warren adopts it, but a careful reading of Brazile's article shows that although she uses the word, she does not actually make the claim.[4])

In this post, I'm going to answer each of these three questions by looking at the documents, plural, in question (Spoiler: My answers are "No," "No," and "Yes," respectively.) Here is a timeline of the documents:

In summary, the Clinton JFA set up the Hillary Victory Fund scam , the MOU gave Clinton control of (much of) the DNC apparatus, and ( according to Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver ) the Sanders JFA bought their campaign access to the DNC voter list, and was never used for fundraising because the DNC never asked the campaign to do any. So to answer the our first question, we'll look at the JFA. To answer the second, we'll look at the MOU. And to answer the third, we'll see how all the evidence balances out.

Were the Agreements "the Same" for Each Campaign?

Perez is wrong. The agreements were not at all the same, either formally or substantively.

Formally, the agreements were not the same because the Clinton JFA had an MOU (the "side deal") and the Sanders JFA did not. ABC :

[T]he Clinton campaign Friday afternoon confirmed the existence of a memo between the DNC and their campaign, which specifically outlines an expanded scope and interpretation of their funding agreement . [R]epresentatives from Sanders' former campaign say they only signed a basic, formulaic fundraising agreement that did not include any additional language about joint messaging or staffing decision-making [as does the MOU].

Substantively, the agreements weren't the same either. The substance of the JFA was a scheme enable the Hillary Victory Fund to collect "big checks" (as Politico puts it), supposedly behalf of the state parties, but in reality treating them as conduits to the coffers of the Clinton campaign. Page 3:

From time to time and in compliance with FECA, after expenses have been deducted from the gross proceeds, the Victory Fund will transfer the net proceeds to the Committees according to the Allocation Formula, as modified by any reallocation required.

"[T]he Committees" being the state party political committees, into whose accounts the contributions were deposited, only to be immediately removed and transferred to the Clinton campaign (at least for the states that signed entered into the agreement; a few did not).

However, the Sanders campaign wasn't in the business of collecting "big checks," being small-donor driven. Hence the substance of the agreement could not have been the same. ABC once more :

Former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told ABC News Friday night that the campaign entered the agreement with the party in November 2015 to facilitate the campaign's access to the party's voter rolls. Weaver claims the DNC offered to credit any fundraising the senator did for the party against the costs of access to the party's data costs, priced at $250,000. But, Weaver continued, the party did not follow up about fundraising appearances for the independent senator.

Instead, the Sanders campaign raised the $250,000 from small donors. WaPo :

Weaver said the Sanders campaign decided early on to ignore the joint fundraising program and raise small dollars on its own to pay for access to the voter file. "Who are the wealthy people Bernie was going to bring to a fundraiser?" Weaver asked. "We had to buy the voter file right before the primaries."

A second difference in substance: Let's remember that for Clinton, the JFA enabled her campaign to circumvent contribution limits for large donors (Brazile: "Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400"). The Sanders campaign , by contrast, had no issue with maxed out donors: "During fall '15, 99.8% of Bernie donors could give again" (because it's awful hard to max out $27 at a time).

Suppose you were comparing two mortgages on different houses: One mortgage has a side deal attached, the other does not. One is for a lavish facility and demands a complex financing arrangement involving a third party. The other is for a fixer-upper and a lump sum is paid in cash. Would you say those two mortgages are "the same," or not? Even if they both had the word "Mortage" at the top of page one?

Did the Agreement Apply Only to the General Election, and not the Primary?

We now turn our attention to the MOU. Howard Dean, sadly , is wrong. The MOU contains two key passages; the first describes the relationship between Hillary for America (HFA; the Clinton campaign) and the DNC (Brazile: "fully under the control of Hillary's campaign"), and the second is language on the general election. Let's take each in turn. On control, pages 1 and 2:

With respect to the hiring of a DNC Communications Director , the DNC agrees that no later than September 11, 2015 it will hire one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA.

2. With respect to the hiring of future DNC senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments , in the case of vacancy, the DNC will maintain the authority to make the final decision as between candidates acceptable to HFA. 3. Agreement by the DNC that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research. The DNC will provide HFA advance opportunity to review on-line or mass email, communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate . This does not include any communications related to primary debates – which will be exclusively controlled by the DNC. The DNC will alert HFA in advance of mailing any direct mail communications that features a particular Democratic primary candidate or his or her signature .

That's pretty amazing, isn't it? Personnel is policy, as they say, and the Clinton campaign has made sure that the DNC's Communications Director and new hires in the senior staff in the communications, technology, and research departments will be acceptable to it. The Clinton campaign will also review all mass email and communcations (which explains why Brazile, as interim DNC chair, couldn't send out a press release without checking with Brooklyn. Since the notorious debate schedule was already controlled by Wasserman Schultz, there was no point messing about with it, I assume.) There is one place in this passage where the general election is mentioned, so let's look at it:

Agreement by the DNC that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election[-]related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research.

At the most generous reading, the Clinton campaign has "joint authority" with the DNC over "strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures." At the narrowest reading, given that the "general-election[-]related qualifier applies only to "communications," the joint authority applies to "strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and data, technology, analytics, and research." And given that the Clinton campaign is writing the checks that keep the DNC afloat, who do you think will have the whip hand in that "joint authority" relationship?

Now to the clause that supposedly says the agreement (JFA + MOU) applies only to the general election. Here it is, from page 3:

Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC's obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process. All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary. Further we understand you may enter into similar agreements with other candidates

(Pause for hollow laughter, given Wasserman Schultz's defenestration, Brazile passing debate questions to the Clinton campaign, etc.). First, even though Hoho seems to think it's exculpatory, the clause is an obvious fig leaf. Glenn Greenwald explains :

DNC and Clinton allies pointed to the fact that the agreement contained self-justifying lawyer language claiming that it is "focused exclusively on preparations for the General," but as Fischer noted that passage "is contradicted by the rest of the agreement." This would be like creating a contract to explicitly bribe an elected official ("A will pay Politician B to vote YES on Bill X"), then adding a throwaway paragraph with a legalistic disclaimer that "nothing in this agreement is intended to constitute a bribe," and then have journalists cite that paragraph to proclaim that no bribe happened even though the agreement on its face explicitly says the opposite.

Second, the DNC itself does not believe that it has any "obligation of impartiality and neutrality" whatever. From Wilding et al. v. DNC Services Corporation, D/B/A Democratic National Committee and Deborah "Debbie" Wasserman Schultz (as cited in Naked Capitalism here ), the DNC's lawyer, Mr. Spiva:

MR. SPIVA: [W}here you have a party that's saying, We're gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we're gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have -- and we could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we're gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way . That's not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right, and it would drag the Court well into party politics, internal party politics to answer those questions.

Third, look at the institutional realities from point one on control. The Clinton campaign had control over the Communications Director slot and major strategic decisions from the moment the agreement was signed. Are we really to believe that they were behaving as neutral parties? (One obvious way to have shown that would have been to release the MOU either when it was signed.)

Can We Say that the 2016 Democratic Primary Was Rigged?

Brazile herself says no . She says, of "rigging":

I found no evidence, none whatsoever. 'The only thing I found, which I said, I've found the cancer but I'm not killing the patient,' was this memorandum that prevented the DNC from running its own operation," Brazile added

I think Brazile is either overly charitable, or overly legalistic (perhaps confusing "rigged" with "fixed," where only in the latter case is the outcome absolutely determined). I also think she's wrong. The dictionary definition of rigged is:

to manipulate fraudulently

There's ample evidence of rigging in both the JFA and the MOU. The JFA enabled the Hillary Victory Fund, which was a fraudulent scheme to allow big donors to contribute to the Clinton campaign by using the states as passthroughs. And the MOU enabled to Clinton campaign to fraudulently manipulate the public and the press into the belief that the DNC was an independent entity, when in fact it was a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the Clinton campaign.

Conclusion

I know we're not supposed to "relitigate" the 2016 campaign ; we're supposed to look forward and not back. However, the demand not to "relitigate" assumes that the case is closed; as Brazile shows, we're hardly through with the depositions, let alone prepared to render judgment. So, when you hear "relitigate," think "silencing tactic," and ask yourself who and what silence serves. And perhaps this post will provide a basis for further discussion. 119 comments

Moocao , November 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Another reason why it will be a long time until I can vote Democrat again. The betrayal of trust is enormous.

David, by the lake , November 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Likewise, confirms my decision to wash my hands of the party. If, by some miracle, a candidate acceptable to my priorities is nominated, I will still vote for him/her, but the party isn't getting any default support or any $.

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm

People need to stop conflating the DNC with the Democratic Party. I realized I was doing so and stopped.

The DNC is an organization for raising money to support Democratic Party candidates for US President; its subsidiaries are, of course, the DCCC and the DSCC. The only reason they have power to dictate to the actual party is because they hold the purse strings. That Bernie and others have run successful campaigns, to one degree or another, without their "help" is one of the reasons they're fighting so hard to maintain the status quo. If they're shown to be redundant, the power of those who currently run it evaporates.

Saying "I'll never vote Democrat again" is, as my sainted mother used to say, cutting off your nose to spite your face. Right now, if we're going to at least slow down the rocketing juggernaut that is GOP/plutocratic ownership of our governments, we need to elect progressive candidates. There's no time to create a third party that can compete, so we need to vote for the candidates who are advancing a non-neoliberal/neocon agenda whatever party they run under. It's mostly Democrats, at the moment, but a social media acquaintance spoke of a clearly progressive candidate running for a local office as a Republican because that's how she's registered.

One of the ways the GOP was so successful in conning the working people and small business owners and others into buying their hogwash was by demonizing "the Democrats." Now, their message that "Democrats" are nothing but crazy-headed hippies who want to take their money and give it to other people is so deeply ingrained it's a hard row to how convincing them just how big a lie it is. Indeed, I suspect I shocked a raging right-winger the other day when I told him we agreed about Obama and Clinton, because his Fox-muddled mind firmly believes a Democrat thinks Obama rules the heavens.

If we don't "vote Democrat" in the upcoming primaries, then the establishment local and state parties are going to throw more New Democrats against the GOP and lose. That can't happen.

Vatch , November 6, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Yes, thank you! People need to vote for the progressive candidates in the Democratic primaries. If they don't, then the establishment candidates will easily win, and the national government will continue to be dominated by both Republican and Democratic lap dogs of the billionaires. And if there are a few progressive Republicans out there, sure, vote for them, too.

I often wonder whether some of the people who admonish us to stop voting for Democrats are really employed by one of the many Koch brothers organizations. Not all of them, of course, and I'm not making an accusation against anyone who is commenting here. But if people don't vote for progressive Democrats, the billionaires and the corporate advocates of financialization will win.

nippersmom , November 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm

You're presupposing the presence of "progressive democrats". In many races, they don't exist.

animalogic , November 6, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Of course, appearances can be deceptive: Obama ran as a progressive candidate . As a quick ready-reckoner -- the more a candidate bloviates on Identity issues, the less likely they are (should they be elected) to be "progressive" on issues of substance: the economy, tax, war/imperialism

ArcadiaMommy , November 6, 2017 at 11:51 pm

Right! Where are these progressive democrats? I would love to support one other than Bernie Sanders (yes I know he is not perfect and he is too old). But they don't seem to exist at the national level. There seem to be mayoral and other municipal candidates on the right track – just have no idea how to move those ideas onto the state or national level. Maybe I am just cranky and pessimistic right now.

BoycottAmazon , November 7, 2017 at 6:16 am

Here, here!

TYT did several interviews of "Justice Democrats", newbies running on a progressive platform. Some of the interviews you could see Cenk Uynger almost cringing, and the usually voluble Jimmy Dore very quiet as the candidates lacked public speaking skills, and demonstrating a probable lack of political smarts necessary to maneuver any bureaucracy.

Without trial by fire at lower levels, learning how to run a government and get results, then there is no way to judge the candidates.

Unless candidates like Roza Calderon a faster learn that is apparent at this point, they the Justice Democrats can only win when "anyone but him/her" applies ,

witters , November 6, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Progressive Democrats. Square Circle. 2+2=5. "We Can Make it Happen!" All we need? "The Audacity of Hope".

witters , November 7, 2017 at 12:10 am

So it was our apathy that did it. It was our moral failure. "Really," says Algernon, in The Importance of Being Earnest, "if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility."

bronco , November 6, 2017 at 3:59 pm

no your democratic party is also a party of plutocrats . That's why it needs to be burned to the ground.

annenigma , November 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm

There's an important difference between being and voting Democrat. Actually, we already have a defacto 3rd party, Independents/Unaffiliated, a larger block of voters than either Republicans or Democrats.

With even greater numbers of Independents/Unaffiliated, we could be a force to be reckoned with. Actually, we should recognize and own our power right now because we could decimate the ranks of the Duopoly and make room for an actual third party. We can still vote for Democrats of course, but they'll realize that they can't continue to take our votes for granted.

There's actually no good reason to remain a registered Democrat. You can still vote for Democrats as an Independent/Unaffiliated voter. It's only for some presidential primaries and caucuses that party registration is a limitation. If you live in one of those states, you can temporarily register as a Democrat to vote, then revert to independent/unaffiliated afterwards. Other than that, all other elections are open without regard to affiliation.

The Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same bird of prey, and we're the prey only because we haven't yet learned to fly to escape their talons. If we start owning our power as free agents/Independent voters, that can change. While deep pocketed donors may have the power to make the wheels turn for the Duopoly, those wheels can't go anywhere without our votes. Since we don't have the power of money, we can at least exercise our political power to stay out of their talons.

Independence is the way to fly. It's not just leverage, it's also the only way to clear more space and demand for official third parties. Since the Duopoly refuses to change their ways and repair the rigged system they created to keep only themselves in power, we can and should abandon them in droves.

Let's spread our wings and fly.

mrsyk , November 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm

In order to vote in the New York State Democrat party primary you must be a registered Democrat. In NY the primary is where most seats are won and lost. Being registered as a Democrat is a necessary evil in some cases.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 3:53 am

It has never been clear to me why a hostile takeover of the Democrats, followed by a management purge and seizure of its assets, should be framed as "saving" the Democrat Party. I think that's what a lot of Sanders people would like to do. It's also not clear to me why people think the Democrats can simply be by-passed , and don't need to be assaulted, and if from the inside, all the better.

As readers know, my experience with the Greens was poor (as it has been with others I have talked to). This is especially sad since the GP in Maine had seemed to be viable. So, my fear of the Greens is not fear of the un known, but fear of the known ; I worked at dysfunctional non-profits before, and I don't need to do it again. Others, especially CP activists, may differ in their experience, but that's mine. (Note that I was reinforced in my priors by Stein's lawyer adopting the "Russian hacking" meme in Stein's post-election lawsuits.)

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

if Bernie's primary campaign and support had been transferred to the Green Party, he would have been a very serious contender,

I agree. But Sanders couldn't join the Green ticket, because he made a promise to support the Democratic candidate, and unlike some politicians, he tries to keep his promises. So what did the Greens do? Instead of actively trying to gain the support of Sanders primary voters, they nominated ideological purist Ajamu Baraka as their Vice Presidential candidate, and he would not back down from unrealistic insulting criticism of Sanders. In effect, the Greens chose to fail.

todde , November 7, 2017 at 10:20 am

I am not interested in keeping the two party system. Either the country breaks apart, or we will have regional parties that can compete with the Democrats and the Republicans.

Audacity of Hope , November 6, 2017 at 6:25 pm

How many clowns can dance on the head of a pin? Debating whether it feels better to have a donkey or an elephant standing on your neck is a fools errand. Neither the Democrat or Republican party is democratic or representative of any more than a handful of families from the Billionaires Club. While they may favor different individuals in the ruling class, neither faux-party has the slightest interest in the rabble who don't line their pockets and provide protection against electoral defeat.

Elections are a stage managed charade in our kleptocracy. Expecting them to change anything that matters, or alter the course of the Warfare State is pure delusion. First we must have Collapse, then Chaos before we can have Change that we can believe in.

animalogic , November 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

"First we must have Collapse, then Chaos before we can have Change that we can believe in." You are right -- although hopefully mere "crisis" will be sufficient for radical change rather than complete collapse & chaos . Collapse & chaos may void any chance of organised positive change. Having said that the signs are not good: see https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/06/the-ecosystem-is-breaking-down/ for the less than cheery news on ecosystem breakdown. Both parties must be revealed unambiguously to the whole public as the completely morally bankrupt, treasonous & vicious entities that socialists & progressives have known them to be for decades.

zapster , November 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm

The big problem with the Democrats is that they just kicked all the Progressives out and actively oppose them. Voting for blue dogs doesn't get us anywhere.

Vatch , November 6, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Yes, that's a genuine problem. Here are some possible solutions:

https://www.ourrevolution.com/candidates/

https://now.justicedemocrats.com/candidates

http://brandnewcongress.org/candidates/

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:07 am

You are correct about Carter. Zbigniew Brzezinski was a creature of the Rockefellers, and he was Carter's Special Assistant for National Security. Prior to becoming President, Carter was a member of the Trilateral Commission.

sharonsj , November 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

The rigging was obvious from the start. When nearly all the super delegates declared for Clinton before a single primary was held, I read numerous reports that said the reason was quid pro quo. The super delegates were to be given campaign money in exchange for their support. The agreement proves it.

That, and what the DNC did to Bernie supporters during the convention, made me swear I'd never give them a penny. I have only donated to specific candidates directly. Meanwhile, the Dem establishment stubbornly remains clueless as to why it cannot regain the House and Senate.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 6, 2017 at 4:38 pm

I have seen portions of the agreement (not sure if JFA or MOU) characterized as a "slush fund" for consultants. Naturally, of course, but one might also wonder if that slush fund was used to purchase any superdelegate votes. Pure speculation I didn't have time to run down, so I left it on the cutting room floor.

SpringTexan , November 6, 2017 at 11:06 pm

G, a lot happened to Sanders supporters at the convention, too much to recap but you can probably find stories about it. Many walked out but their seats were filled by paid seat-fillers so the hall didn't look empty, also from what I understand paid seat-fillers sometimes didn't let them take their seats. Signs were blocked, white noise was used to muffle boos, etc.

Before the convention, many of the primaries had a lot of funny business (not all, I know of no problems here in Texas). But California, Arizona, New York, Puerto Rico, Nevada and others all had SERIOUS problems with things such as efforts to prevent Sanders supporters from voting, questionable vote counting (such as at Nevada caucuses), efforts to make voting difficult by having few poll places, etc., etc.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:32 am

..actually, while all you intone is accurate, we did clearly hear the boos from Senator Sanders supporters of which I was one.

Vatch , November 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

I think there were irregularities in Illinois, too. I recall that 6 counties did not have enough Democratic ballots, and the Democratic Attorney General, a Clinton supporter, sued to prevent voters in those counties from voting after election day. In Massachusetts, Bill Clinton illegally electioneered near or in a polling place. But the authorities let him get away with it.

Steve from CT , November 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Great article Lambert. TheGreenwald article was helpful but yours is the icing on the cake. Hopefully many will read this so that they do not get confused with all of the Clintonista response to Brazile. Howard Dean must be suffering from early Alzheimer's to write such a lie. But he has done it before.

Fiery Hunt , November 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm

It's hard for me to believe anyone can, with a straight face, suggest the 2 agreements are equal.How can you have more than one agreement giving "the authority to make the final decision " ??!! Final means last, no? #corruptlosers

ChrisAtRU , November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

From no less than Joy Ann Reid w.r.t. "DNC Collusion":

"YOU CAN'T TRICK PEOPLE INTO VOTING FOR WHO THEY VOTED FOR"

I wonder if this type of logic can and should be applied to #Russian Collusion/Interference ;-)

#ProbablyNotCoolByMSNBC

hemeantwell , November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

I know we're not supposed to "relitigate" the 2016 campaign; we're supposed to look forward and not back. However, the demand not to "relitigate" assumes that the case is closed; as Brazile shows, we're hardly through with the depositions, let alone prepared to render judgment. So, when you hear "relitigate," think "silencing tactic," and ask yourself who and what silence serves.

Well said. Regular contact with the centrist MSM recently is like being subjected to hypnotism routines from 50s movies. "You are thinking forward, forward, forward. When I snap my fingers you will feel fresh, eager to believe in the promises of the party of Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama."

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm

A case could be made that the party of FDR is not the same one as the party of Barack Obama. :-)

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:43 am

and yet FDR stood by while his own "Senator Sanders" – Henry Wallace was sidetracked from his vice-presidency and legacy as FDR's successor (to the chagrin of Eleanor, among many) by corporate dems James Byrnes, stooge for big oil and U.S. steel, who replaced Wallace with Truman at 1944 dem convention

However, there certainly is no comparison, as you note, between obama's complete lack of "transparency, oversight, accountability" regarding bush-cheney war crimes, Wall Street frauds, destabilization of entire Middle-East, leading to republican trump administration, and FDR

Most authors-historicans I have encountered believe FDR had no real idea how ill he was

jsba , November 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm

A while ago, I read a story about the DNC's misuse of unpaid interns. The story itself was barfy enough, but what really shocked me was an aside asserting that even official elected DNC members were barred from viewing the DNC's budget. ( http://paydayreport.com/unpaidinternsatdnc/ )

"Surely that can't be true," I said to myself. But it is! I looked up the DNC's charter and bylaws and the standing budget committee is specifically exempted from article 9 section 12, which says that all official meetings of the DNC and its committees must be open to the public and cannot involve voting by secret ballot. http://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.democrats.org/Downloads/DNC_Charter__Bylaws_9.17.15.pdf

"WTF kind of an organization is this?!" I thought. How on earth is that even legal?

Well, after the Brazile disclosure of the Clinton MOU, I went back to look at the DNC charter/bylaws. You'll note on the first page the date the current version was adopted–2 days after the MOU was signed!

Anyone wanna take a bet that the budget committee carveout was one of things that was changed?

Anonymous , November 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

jsba, suggest you use the Wayback machine or another internet archive and look at prior historical copies of DNC charter/bylaws, to identify the changes. Could be very illuminating as to (possible) criminal intent?

jsba , November 6, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I did find a 2009 dated version ( https://www.demrulz.org/wp-content/files/DNC_Charter__Bylaws_9.11.2009.pdf ).

I was wrong about the budget committee carveout–it's in this version as well (still completely insane!).

The fact that it was amended 2 days after the MOU is, obviously, still extremely suspicious. I don't have time to, but the 2009 version would be useful to identify possible changes.

Di Modica's Dumb Steer , November 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

As much as I'd like to switch parties (hah) so as to add to the greater numbers of fleeing formerly party faithful, I'm in one of those 'closed primary' states. My vote is already nearly worthless (though I exercise my right every chance I get); to switch to a third party would make sure I'm both excluded from the more interesting local party contests AND drowned out in national contests. Lose/lose. Maybe if something like Maine's (currently under attack) Ranked Choice Voting existed all over, I'd be less sour about the whole thing.

Donald , November 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Yeah, you need people like Lambert willing to do the work. It is exhausting keeping up with the truths, half truths and lies promulgated in the press and trying to figure out what is true and what isn't.

EricT , November 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm

I find it interesting that the agreement involved control of the IT/data infrastructure of the DNC. Doesn't the DNC administer the democratic party registry? And with that observation, wasn't there a lot of illegal party switching that caused a problem for some Democrats voting in party restricted primaries that had their registration switched, so that they couldn't take part in the primaries. Wouldn't it be interesting if the switched parties were on the DNC record as donating to Bernie's campaign? Fixed, indeed.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 1:13 am

I'm not sure I understand your scenario, but the DNC "voter file" and the state's list of registered voters are two different things.

JCC , November 6, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It just goes to show you

Skip in DC , November 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Manipulations of the deplorable superdelegate system, with its covert quid pro quo payoffs after the Clintons take power, was part of a seamless fix. Premature coronation by media and party wigs after primary victories in red states no Democrat would win in the general election helped ice it.

Perhaps revelations will turn up on mainstream media, from the Sabbath Gasbags to NPR, knifing Bernie with Hillary talking points at every opportunity, when he wasn't being ignored. Thomas Frank wrote persuasively on WaPo's bias in Swat Team in Harper's, and there have been tidbits on off-record Clinton media cocktail parties and such. But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved. Certainly Jeff Bezos has a Washington wish list. I marveled at how many journalists suddenly sounded like breathless valley girl propagandists. And still do. What faster way to tank journalism's credibility than that perception?

I guess that's why after catching headlines more of my reading time shifts to alternative offerings such as those presented here.

Mark P. , November 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

But I'd like to know how far up the editorial totem poles the fix went and how it was achieved.

I worked as a journalist in America for over a decade. I cannot stress enough how unnecessary such a literal fix would be. (Though doubtless words were and are exchanged between concerned parties when needed.)

The hive-mind position of most U.S. journalists -- and especially of editors, who tend to be the most compliant with the power-structure and often the stupidest people in the room -- was (and is) an automatical default to unquestioning support -- even worship -- of the Democratic Party, its elite, and Clintonite neoliberalism.

I once wrote a long feature that got a crush-letter from Joe Lieberman's office. The editors at the magazine in question were ecstatic and printed that letter as its own separate feature in the next issue. Personally, I thought Leiberman was scum, but kept my qualms to myself and was glad I used a byline.

Samuel Conner , November 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

It seems to me that the HRC campaign's JFA was expressly designed to -- and succeeded in its design -- circumvent the statutory $2700 limit on direct campaign contributions. Yet I have not seen commentary that suggests any laws were violated. What am I missing?

AnnieB , November 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

To me, it seemed that the Democratic Party had already decided for clinton before the primaries, as at my local caucus the party had planted each neighborhood group with a party faithful, not from the neighborhood, who would argue for clinton and fear monger about Trump. I know this because I talked to the plant in my group, asked her where she lived, and discovered it was not in my neighborhood; it was a different town. Others reported the same.

Also, a Dem party leader came up to me and said "Sanders is not going to be the nominee" and "When this is over (meaning the primary), then you'll be supporting Hillary, right?" I told her to never assume anything.

So, thanks to Brazile, no matter her motivation, for providing proof of what we already knew.

Richard , November 6, 2017 at 9:33 pm

I think you don't see that skill set very much in party leaders because they so rarely need for the party to win elections. They do need to be able to maintain control over their parties, so they're great at being cutthroat and cheating. But apart from certain important individual elections, the success of the party as a whole isn't a big priority for them. There are spoils to divide either way.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:49 am

fyi, Lambert, the two political parties, while both far too corrupt, are different-your own false-equivalencies aside

Sam Adams , November 6, 2017 at 5:37 pm

I worked on the Sanders primary campaign in my city. I watched as the state/regional leadership consistently tanked the gotv and other Sanders ground outreach while a few local leaders working in smaller areas worked their hearts out on the ground. Surprisingly (or not) the state/ regional leadership bailed to work on the HRC campaign within hours of closing the primary office.

Nancy Sutton , November 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I swear, in one of her interviews on the past weekend, Brazile made a quick, underbreath, reference to 'poor Seth Rich' in recounting the death threats aimed at her. Glad someone has not forgotten that connection.

jalrin , November 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm

It has been a while since I handled a criminal defense case, but I am not sure that the agreement is not in fact, criminal. When the Sanders for President campaign signed an agreement and paid money in consideration of getting access to the voter file and when the state parties agreed to merge their fundraising efforts with the DNC and HFA, the commercial fraud laws applied to that relationship. Since the fundraising was done using interstate phone calls, letters, and emails and the voter file access was provided by electronic transmissions from servers in DC to end users in Burlington, Vermont that includes 18 USC 1341, 1343 and 1346 (mail, wire and honest services fraud). These laws do not just ban outright lying, but also the concealment of material facts that one has a duty to disclose.

Considering the importance of voter file access, it is impossible to imagine that your chief competitor having joint authority over hiring the people who handle all your customer service and monitor your compliance with voter file contract is not a material fact. If, under DC contract law or FTC commerical regulations, these kinds of conflicts of interest are mandatorily disclosable (I do not practice in DC but I doubt DC applies caveat emptor to that degree), then 18 USC 1343 was broken and Jeff Sessions could indict everyone involved.

It is even worse for the state parties agreement. The DNC arguably has a duty of loyalty to its state affiliates which makes agreeing to encourage them all to sign up even though it is concealing its knowledge that the money will be allocated in a way that will be bad for at least some of them seem utterly inconsistent with the honest services provisions of 1346. All in all, it is probably a good thing for the DNC that the Sessions aides I went to law school with paid less attention in criminal law that I did.

Jeff W , November 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Thanks!

It seemed to me that the nondisclosure of material facts and of conflicts of interest might, arguably, constitute some type of criminal activity and that Donna Brazile's characterization of the agreement as "not a criminal act" was, perhaps, a bit too facile but I did not know the specific statutes or claims that might be involved. I really appreciate your detailed observations here.

a different chris , November 6, 2017 at 9:41 pm

>that the Sessions aides I went to law school with paid less attention in criminal law

Did they? Does it really make sense to destroy the Democratic Party and open up space for something new and dangerous? I would just make popcorn.

PS: thanks for the excellent post, btw.

Oregoncharles , November 7, 2017 at 2:13 am

"Not a dime's worth of difference."
When it comes to politics, it isn't Russians we need to worry about, it's Americans. That's where the collusion is – between the parties.

It was the Republicans' turn, period. Jeff Sessions doubtless knows that.

dk , November 6, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Rigged, fixed, defrauded I like "compromised".

Just want to point out that the state-party=>DNC pass-through is not at all new. Has been active in some form and proportion in every presidential campaign since 1992 (mainly, or at least nominally due to changes in FEC regulation), but really ramped up in and after 2008.

Pushback by states has decreased over time, as state party executive directors are now almost always (even in off-cycle years) routed in from DC, instead of staffing from the local pool of operatives.

One of the important impacts is on state legislatures. Gutted of necessary funding, and discouraged (and sometimes contractually inhibited) from soliciting further funds on the national level, state parties have little left in their coffers to support their legislative candidates and committees (and forget about the bottom of the ticket).

So this kind of money hoovering is a significant factor in the national net loss of Dem seats in state houses in non-"battleground" states.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm

> the state-party=>DNC pass-through is not at all new

I believe the amounts are new. Campaign Legal Center :

During oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC three years ago, Justice Samuel Alito dismissed the Campaign Legal Center's analysis showing how, absent limits on the total amount that donors could give to multiple political committees, candidates could use joint fundraising schemes to raise huge, potentially corrupting contributions.

These scenarios, Justice Alito claimed, are "wild hypotheticals that are not obviously plausible." Hillary Clinton, though, is proving that the Campaign Legal Center was right all along.

I'm not at all a campaign finance expert. Perhaps readers will weigh in?

dk , November 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Yes, the amounts are new. Just saying this was the direction things were going for a while already. Good will between DNC and state parties already at a low ebb, DWS a big part of that.

Kris Alman , November 6, 2017 at 7:58 pm

As we know, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allows corporations, individuals and labor unions to make unlimited contributions to independent organizations that use the money to support or defeat a candidate. Rules prohibit coordination between a candidate committee and an individual or organization making "independent expenditures."

Clearly this was not the arrangement between the HVF, State Democratic Central Committees participating in the PAC and the DNC. Hillary was pulling the strings at the DNC. But I'm just now appreciating that the Hillary Victory Fund is not a Super PAC.

https://www.fec.gov/updates/joint-fundraising-2/

Joint fundraising is fundraising conducted jointly by a political committee and one or more other political committees or unregistered organizations. Joint fundraising rules apply to:

Party committees;
Party organizations not registered as political committees;
Federal and/or nonfederal candidate committees;
Nonparty, unauthorized political committees (nonconnected PACs); and
Unregistered nonparty organizations. 11 CFR 102.17(a)(1)(i) and (2).

The HVF was the first joint fundraising committee between a presidential candidate and the Democratic party since the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision McCutcheon v FEC. A horrible precedent at that!

McCutcheon declared a total limit on how much an individual can give federal candidates and parties in a two-year cycle unconstitutional. Chief Justice Roberts opined, "The existing aggregate limits may in fact encourage the movement of money away from entities subject to disclosure."

Right!

The HVF demonstrates how rechanneling dark money from super PACs toward candidates and parties doesn't stop unethical and undemocratic processes.

That the HVF was needed to balance the Obama debt is one thing. That the HVF can pass through money from State committees to the DNC and then coordinate activities there while passing off as a joint fundraising committee is another thing.

The rechanneling of hundreds of millions of dollars donated by rich D elites to bypass individual contribution limits was a brilliant financial engineering feat–one that the Rs will surely emulate.

Before conducting a joint fundraiser, all participants must enter into a written agreement that identifies the JFR and states the allocation formula -- the amount or percentage that the participants agree to use for allocating proceeds and expenses. 11 CFR 102.17(c)(1).

What was the allocation formula of the joint fundraising committee?

As the HVF fairy tale plays out, Clinton is the witch who lures Hansel and Gretel to the forest with a castle of confections, with the intention to eat them.

Are Democrats capable of outsmarting the witches that want to cannibalize the party?

Down2Long , November 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Thanks Lambert for this. As usual, you have seen around corners and cleared the mud from the water. Thank God you like crawling through this sh*t, so that I at least don't have to.

Our local radio host Warren Olney, on KCRW who started his show "To The Point" (which is syndicated nationally on Public Radio International) during the 2000 Bush v Gore Supreme Court crowning of Bush fiasco is doing a week long retrospective of the disintegration of Americans' faith in "our" institutions (ha!) before he goes to a once a week podcast.

I have listened to him for 17 years and I don't know how he could stomach covering U.S. society, politics, and culture during those years of non-ending sh*t show. He was fair to all guests including some right wing loonies, but you never got the feeling he was going for "balance." He always seemed to get the truth. Gonna sorely miss him.

So glad you are still on the case, and loving it. You have my gratitude, and soon, a contribution.

Edward , November 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

How much of the $250,000 the Sanders campaign paid for the DNC voter list went to the Clinton campaign? I am still wondering if this kind of thing has occurred in other elections?

Deadl E Cheese , November 6, 2017 at 5:08 pm

As far as relitigating the primary goes, we should've had that fight back, if not in 2000, then definitely in 2004. After Team Clinton, people who justified their sellouts and perfidy with 'we must never have another McGovern or Carter', gave the GOP a gift of a unified government that should have been the permanent end of their credibility. Because while McGovern, Carter, and Mondale went down in flames they didn't so thoroughly destroy the anti-reactionary institutions as badly as the Third Way did.

The endless 2016 primary is our punishment for giving these centrist vipers a second chance.

Hana M , November 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm

I appreciate Lambert going through these documents and laying out the timeline. One of the things that this read sparked for me was the realization the Joe Biden was elbowed out just as much as Bernie Sanders. I didn't follow the Biden decision-making process at the time but checking back on the timeline it seems like Clinton pre-empted any attempt by dear old Joe to actually decide to run. Correct me if I'm wrong (as I may well be. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden#2016_presidential_race

Jen , November 7, 2017 at 4:51 am

It doesn't take much elbowing to oust someone who was polling in single digits in his home state. I donated to O'Malley's campaign before Bernie got in, and, regrettably, am still on his mailing list.

Altandmain , November 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm

The bottom line is that the political system is owned by the ruling oligarchy and that the Democratic Establishment is in bed with them. If a serious candidate from the left poses a challenge, they will rig the Primary against that candidate.

The Democratic Establishment is pretty much paid to lose and to make the consultant class rich. Equally as importantly, they exist to co-opt the left.

Sure there are a few voices talking that make sense like Tulsi Gabbard. They are the exception to a very corrupt party.

A big part of why the middle class has declined is because of the total betrayal of the Democratic Party from the ideas behind the New Deal.

The Rev Kev , November 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm

The DNC got into the position of selling themselves to the Clintons as they were $20 million in debt, right? I have read that the major reason for these debts was that the DNC had not shrunk itself since the last campaign and was paying out a ton of money for consultants doing Christ knows what. In fact, Obama also used the DNC to support a stack of his consultants as well as grifters gotta grift, right?

My question is whether this was a deliberate ploy on Obama and the Clinton factions to put the DNC into such a vulnerable position before 2016 came along that when the time came, they had to take up an offer that they could not refuse. I have not heard if Obama has made any comments on this fiasco that took place on his watch and it seems nobody wants to call him out on it. In the Brazile case, it is not a matter of following the money but following the lack of money.

Summer , November 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm

https://www.alternet.org/human-rights/demo-catastrophe-it-was-worse-we-thought-and-bigger-bernie-vs-hillary/
By Andrew O'Hehir / Salon

O'Hehir flails around until he nails it:

"Both sides in the Democratic Party's current faction fight, as I see it, are in denial about the true nature and scope of the problem "Both responses are essentially utopian: They rest on the premise that the Democratic Party is still a functioning political organization and that the United States is still a functioning democracy."

VietnamVet , November 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Thanks. This was plain and simple money laundering to get around the Federal Election Commission rules and regulations. That no one has been brought to justice shows how corrupt the American political process is. It would great if you could post how you would reform it. I would start with paper ballots counted in public and halt corporations from buying elections.

Lambert Strether Post author , November 7, 2017 at 4:03 am

> This was plain and simple money laundering

If I understand the law correctly, this really wasn't money laundering, since laundered money becomes dirty by virtue of its being the result of a crime (like drug dealers depositing cash at HSBC (IIRC)). Handling money in a complex and obfuscated way is not, in itself, money laundering. I'm not sure what the word is, though.

John k , November 7, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Violating campaign laws is a crime. Circumventing can often be shown to be violating. Need a prosecutor willing to prosecute white collar crime, a rare breed for at least the last decade. But trump has been attacked by Clintons, and he has DOJ but nothing is happening.

makedoanmend , November 7, 2017 at 5:23 am

Some very good points are made here. Carping about the inequities of the Democrat Party establishment isn't going to change their behaviour. Too much lucre. One needs to change the people running the party. From the ground up and with concrete regulatory features. Full stop.

However, one might look to the UK Labour party to see how it reacted when J. Corbyn, a lifelong member and activist, became leader of the party through grandee miscalculation. The Thatcherist Blairites went ballastic and basically decided to destroy the party rather than let a fairly mild democratic socialist offer an alternative to their beloved neoliberal economic policies. Too much lucre. They almost destroyed Labour in Scotland and were intent on defenestrating Labour in England, whilst retaining some feeble structure as a mock substitute, so that the Tories would, in fact, become the one and only alternative.

The forces aligned against the democratic tendencies of ordinary citizens are formidable and reach into every nook and cranny of our lives. They have the money, technological reach and hence the power of capital and its persuasive abilities.

Ain't going to be easy. Never is.

pretzelattack , November 7, 2017 at 9:46 am

i dont think a campaign had owned the dnc like that before. i think it had nothing to do with hilary being a good team player, and everything to do with money and juicy consulting/lobbying jobs. and pointing this out is not "sulking". know your enemy, and don't excuse their crimes and predations by an argument that "that's just the way things are".

audrey jr , November 6, 2017 at 8:26 pm

I am a Bernie supporter. He was pushed to the side by the Dem's – a party to which I belonged for forty years – in a total panic when it was shown to the Dem's that Bernie was able to reach disaffected party members as myself by raising a large amount of money through individual small donors.
That Bernie accomplished this feat was a huge factor, IMO, in why and how my former party felt it necessary to malign and derail Bernie and his supporters before, during and after the Democratic -meh – Nominating Convention.
The Dem's should have just named the Hillary for America Fund the Hillary for Hillary Fund.
Hillary cares only for and about Hillary. She's the reason Trump is POTUS today.
My family has been Democrat for many generations. Most of my family members have, unfortunately, BTFD on this one. I used to find them to be reasonable folk. Trump derangement syndrome has infected them all. This is a common complaint these days.

nonclassical , November 7, 2017 at 12:57 am

truth of trump actions-legislation, appointees, is not "trump derangement syndrome" trump has succeeded in swamping the drain

and yes, it is obama's fault HC opted for a losing, "more of same" campaign policy

audrey jr , November 6, 2017 at 8:34 pm

Forgot to thank Lambert for all of his great care and hard work in putting this together for us. Thank you, Lambert.
In Brazile's account I do believe I remember reading that my home state, CA, did not sign off on the agreement with regard to the HFV fund. But I seem to remember that Naked Capitalism, or perhaps in the commentariat here, did state that the Dem's here in CA were in an uproar over Hillary Victory Fund taking all of the state party monies. Am I having a flashback or did I actually remember this wrong? Anyone know?

JTFaraday , November 6, 2017 at 10:23 pm

I thought the most interesting thing about Brazile's comments to date was that Obama left the DNC indebted and therefore more vulnerable to the highest bidder. Not easy to bail that out on $27 donations. So typical of these Goldmanite administrations, this use of finance as a political weapon.

MLS , November 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

a feature not a bug? Is it completely implausible that Obama deliberately left the party in shambles just so Clinton could ride to the "rescue"?

[Nov 05, 2017] Donna Brazile says critics of Hillary Clinton revelations can go to hell by Martin Pengelly

Presstitutes from guardian have no shame. Look, for example, at the following statement "The former Clinton staffers – among them high-profile figures such as Huma Abedin, Jennifer Palmieri and campaign manager Robby Mook, the target of stringent criticism from Brazile – wrote: "It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent , about our candidate's health."
It is widely suspected that Hillary Clinton has second stage of Parkinson or some other serious neurological diseases?
It is telling that Guardian is afraid to open comments on this article.
Notable quotes:
"... Regarding the primary, in which Sanders – a Vermont independent – mounted a surprisingly strong challenge, Brazile writes in her book that a joint fundraising agreement between Clinton and the DNC "looked unethical" and she felt Clinton had too much influence on the party. ..."
Nov 05, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

She also said she "got sick and tired of people trying to tell me how to spend money" as DNC chair, when she "wasn't getting a salary. I was basically volunteering my time".

"I'm not Patsey the slave," Brazile said, referring to a character in the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave.

In her book, Brazile writes that she did not ultimately try to make the change of candidate because: "I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them."

On ABC, she admitted she had not had the power to make the change but said: "I had to put in on the the table because I was under tremendous pressure after Secretary Clinton fainted to have a quote-unquote plan B. I didn't want a plan B. Plan A was great for me. I supported Hillary and I wanted her to win. But we were under pressure."

Brazile writes that on 12 September 2016, Biden's chief of staff called saying the vice-president wanted to speak with her. Her thought, she writes, was: "Gee, I wonder what he wanted to talk to me about?"

On ABC, she said she did not mention the possible switch. "I mean, look, everybody was called in to see, do you know anything? How is she doing? And of course my job at the time was to reassure people, not just the vice-president but also reassure the Democratic party, the members of the party, that Hillary was doing fine and that she would resume her campaign the following week."

It is unclear if Biden was ever willing to step into the race. The former vice-president, who many believe could a run for the presidency in 2020, made no immediate comment.

Asked if she still thinks a Biden-Booker ticket could have won, Brazile equivocated, saying: "Well, you know, I had a lot of other combinations. This was something you play out in your mind."

Regarding the primary, in which Sanders – a Vermont independent – mounted a surprisingly strong challenge, Brazile writes in her book that a joint fundraising agreement between Clinton and the DNC "looked unethical" and she felt Clinton had too much influence on the party.

[Nov 03, 2017] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Donna Brazile's DNC Bombshell by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

Notable quotes:
"... the DNC agreed to let the Clinton campaign control the party's finances, strategy, donations, and staffing decisions in exchange for the Clinton campaign's financial help. ..."
"... At a time when many people and many voices are calling for unity within the Democratic party, it was really disturbing to see that there was kind of a purge of party officials from both the at large committee, as well as the executive committee within the DNC. That really had one common thread of the people who were booted out of those seats that they had held. Some for decades. The commonality was that these were people who had either supported Bernie Sanders for president or supported Keith Ellison for DNC chair, or both. ..."
"... Getting rid of the non democratic superdelegates who make up one third of all of the votes cast that a nominee needs to secure the nomination, and to secure open or same day registration primaries so that again, open the doors. Let's let everybody in and get involved in the process. ..."
"... In Roger Stone's book, The Making of the President 2016 ..."
"... Every piece of what we've learned so far, unfolding over months, is as bad as or worse than we had thought: The DNC works to engineer a Clinton/Trump match-up, the combination most likely to assure a Democratic loss . It vehemently denies that it is tilted favorably toward Clinton -- which turns out to be true, in a technical sense, because it is controlled by Clinton. ..."
"... Debbie will be the sacrificial lamb. Still waiting for anyone in the mainstream to publish the name "Awan". ..."
"... she's put her money where her mouth is numerous times now, beginning with leaving the DNC in protest over its unethical practices ..."
Nov 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
In this Real News Network interview , Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) responds to former interim chair Donna Brazile's revelation that the Clinton campaign had effective control of the DNC. Gabbard was a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Primary.

Brazile published her book excerpt in Politico, Inside Hillary Clinton's Secret Takeover of the DNC . If you've yet to read it, don't miss.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/S2PHwuIERms

AARON MATÉ: It's The Real News. I'm Aaron Maté. During the 2016 Democratic primary, supporters of Bernie Sanders complained that the Democratic National Committee was plagued by internal corruption, and rigging the nomination for Hillary Clinton. Well today, the former interim chair of the DNC has come out to say exactly that. Writing for Politico, Donna Brazile details a scheme wherein the Clinton campaign effectively took over the DNC. Facing a major funding shortfall, the DNC agreed to let the Clinton campaign control the party's finances, strategy, donations, and staffing decisions in exchange for the Clinton campaign's financial help.

But, this did not happen after Clinton became the nominee. In fact, this agreement was made in August 2015, months before a single primary vote was cast. Among many things, this meant that the DNC was able to act as a money laundering operation for the Clinton campaign. Tens of millions of dollars in donations to state democrats across the country ultimately was kicked back to Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn, well, earlier I spoke to someone who has been a prominent vocal critic of the DNC process from the start. Congressmember Tulsi Gabbard represents Hawaii's second congressional district. She was vice chair of the DNC until February 2016 when she resigned to endorse senator Bernie Sanders. I spoke to her about Donna Brazil's revelations. Congressmember Gabbard, welcome. Your response, what we've heard from Donna Brazile today.

TULSI GABBARD: I was not surprised to read what she was detailing in what was printed today. This was something that when I was vice chair of the DNC I didn't have knowledge of the details, but it was something that some folks were actually talking about and were concerned about at that time

AARON MATÉ: I want to quote more from Donna Brazile. She writes "If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity." She's referring especially to this financial arrangement in which the Clinton camp gives the DNC money but in exchange, the DNC hands over control of basically every single decision. Your thoughts on that? Were you surprised by her revelation?

TULSI GABBARD: Again, this is not something I wasn't privy to the inner workings of how these decisions were made, because at that time the decisions were really ultimately coming from the chair of the DNC. But I had heard some concerns from folks from different state parties actually. Executive directors and chairs and people who were involved in the grassroots organizing and trying to again increase involvement in the process. Their concerns around this joint fundraising agreement that Donna Brazile talked about in her article and her book was that the funds that were being raised through this agreement were not actually benefiting the party, but they were kind of being used as a pass through for lack of a better word. Their concerns again were about getting more support for the work that parties do on the ground and grassroots organizing. Turning out the vote, going and knocking on doors. Doing all the things that happened on the ground in states all across the country. Again, this was not something that I was terribly surprised by in reading that Donna detailed, but it's something that hasn't been laid out in the way that she has in this way.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah. She provides a figure when it comes to the money element. She says that of $82 million that was raised in state fundraisers, less than half of 1%, half of 1% got to go to the state parties, and said the rest went back to Brooklyn for the Clinton campaign. What kind of difference do you think that made on the election outcome when it comes to democratic efforts at the state level?

TULSI GABBARD: It's hard to say. I can't exactly quantify that. But I do know that some of the state party officials who I had spoken to at different times during the campaign had actually expressed these concerns and decided not to sign onto this joint fundraising agreement for that specific reason. They saw at that point, look we're not going to be used by anyone's campaign. If you want to talk about how to help strengthen local parties, let's have that conversation, but this was clearly not an effort in that direction.

AARON MATÉ: You recently spoke out about some more decisions by the DNC at the national level, in terms of their staffing of key committees. Can you comment there on what you were most upset by, and your thoughts on what should be done?

TULSI GABBARD: At a time when many people and many voices are calling for unity within the Democratic party, it was really disturbing to see that there was kind of a purge of party officials from both the at large committee, as well as the executive committee within the DNC. That really had one common thread of the people who were booted out of those seats that they had held. Some for decades. The commonality was that these were people who had either supported Bernie Sanders for president or supported Keith Ellison for DNC chair, or both. If the message is that we're going to get rid of people who may have dissenting opinions, or may be calling for different kinds of reform or retaliating for positions that they've taken this is not the direction that the democratic party should be going in. The democratic party should be going in the direction of openness, inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, which is why I've been calling for two major but very basic kinds of reform. Getting rid of the non democratic superdelegates who make up one third of all of the votes cast that a nominee needs to secure the nomination, and to secure open or same day registration primaries so that again, open the doors. Let's let everybody in and get involved in the process.

... ... ... ...

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

All three major networks ignored it as well.

David , November 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

She says that of $82 million that was raised in state fundraisers, less than half of 1%, half of 1% got to go to the state parties, and said the rest went back to Brooklyn for the Clinton campaign.

Note that among the state parties that signed up to the Hillary Victory Fund ,

Florida – Trump +1%
Michigan – Trump +0.3%
Pennsylvania – Trump +0.7%
Wisconsin – Trump +0.7%
and Puerto Rico

Emorej a Hong Kong , November 3, 2017 at 7:39 am

Great dot-connecting. Incredible irony that HRC's diversion of funds from swing states to her high-spending campaign was one of the proximate causes of her losing the electoral college.

fresno dan , November 3, 2017 at 8:04 am

David
November 3, 2017 at 6:52 am

excellent insight!

Ernie , November 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

Yep. Here in Maine, where the state party was part of the Victory Fund kick-back scheme, Trump ended up winning one of the state's electoral votes (Maine allows splitting by congressional district) -- the first time a Republican took a Maine electoral vote since 1988.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The End Justifies the Means.

Would any of this have come out had we been 'with her?'

Kris Alman , November 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm

The link at the FEC was dated 9/16/15 and shows only 32 states and the Democratic Party of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Open Secrets shows 38 states eventually signed on to the Hillary Victory Fund shows 38 states (Iowa, NJ, Del, KS, NM and SD added), with each participating state a "beneficiary" of around $3M. Nada to the Democratic Party of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
https://www.opensecrets.org/jfc/summary.php?id=C00586537

Georgia, OR, RI, Miss., and WV were among the top "vendors/recipients," netting ~$2M. Does that mean these states only churned ~$1M back to Hillary in this money laundering scheme? https://www.opensecrets.org/jfc/expenditures.php?id=C00586537&cycle=2016

These $3M expenditures pale to Hillary for America ($120,822,326), DNC Services Corp ($55,639,930), Bully Pulpit Interactive ($40,881,995), and Chapman, Cubine et al ($25,432,057).

Every penny of DNC Services Corp's (d/b/a DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE) Independent Expenditures, Communication Costs and Coordinated Expenses went to Hillary: $22,813,448. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/indexpend.php?cycle=2016&cmte=C00010603

Incidentally, I was not able to track these funds at the Oregon Secretary of State with Orestar, the online tool to search campaign finances. As I looked closely at the filings, it appears the FEC requires expenditures by (not contributions to) the Democratic Party of Oregon to federal political committees be recorded. I only see ~$275K contributed back (aggregated expenditures) to "Democratic Party of Oregon Federal Account" and "Democratic Party of Oregon Forward Oregon Transfer Down Acct." in the 2015 and 2016 calendar years (though an additional $123,404.48 has gone to Democratic Party of Oregon Federal Account in 2017).

flora , November 3, 2017 at 8:04 pm

"Open Secrets shows 38 states eventually signed on to the Hillary Victory Fund shows 38 states (Iowa, NJ, Del, KS, NM and SD added) "

Oh, so that's why the KS Dem party officials claimed they couldn't afford $20k for a mailer for Thompson in the KS-04 special election race this spring . A race he almost won, without that help!

Good job, KS Dem party officials! /s
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/republicans-kansas-special-election-2017-236961

Left in Wisconsin , November 3, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Here is one example, from the 2016 financials of the Wisconsin Dem Party. Unity is the name of the joint fundraising project:

Unity Income: $8,595,958
Unity Expenses: $8,591,262
DPW contributions to Unity: $282,000

So for Wisconsin at least, it is not true that the state party made anything (even half of 1 percent) from the "joint" fundraising. Clinton took all but $4700 of the proceeds AND took another $282,000 from the state party.

Watt4Bob , November 3, 2017 at 6:53 am

She says that of $82 million that was raised in state fundraisers, less than half of 1%, half of 1% got to go to the state parties, and said the rest went back to Brooklyn for the Clinton campaign.

Just like Charles Koch, she just wanted her fair share; all of it.

Tell me please, how is this different from republican efforts to exterminate Obama Care by de-funding every bit of its supporting infrastructure?

Whether it was Hilary's intent to exterminate the Democratic party or not, the effect seems quite similar.

JTMcPhee , November 3, 2017 at 11:49 am

Though it seems Obama"Care" was, as an "infrastructure," doing a fine job of self-extermination. https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/09/sickness-american-healthcare.html

Eureka Springs , November 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

82 mil
410k total paid to 33 States
12,400 per State.

Seems like at least 33 States party peeps who agreed to this should be shown the door if they haven't bowed their heads and left in shame.

PKMKII , November 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Whether it was Hilary's intent to exterminate the Democratic party or not, the effect seems quite similar.

She didn't want to exterminate it, she wanted to become it. Dictator of the party, and then pass the mantle on to Chelsea when the time came.

WheresOurTeddy , November 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Her goal does seem to be "L'etat c'est moi"

Disturbed Voter , November 3, 2017 at 6:58 am

Too bad she isn't my congressman.

Arizona Slim , November 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Raul Grijalva is mine.

At first, I didn't think that he was anything more than your classic identity politician. Then I needed constituent service. Matter of fact, I needed it a couple of times. Let me tell you, his staff aced it. They were that good.

As far as I am concerned, Raul has my vote for as long as he wants to stay in office.

Quentin , November 3, 2017 at 7:50 am

Finally one shoe has dropped. The second one about to drop is that the DNC emails were not hacked by Russia in any capacity, directly or indirectly by the Kremlin, whatever. They were most probably leaked. HRC started the Russia hysteria when she called President Trump a pupped of Putin in one of the debates. This is only one small example of her manipulative arrogance.

Arizona Slim , November 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm

In Roger Stone's book, The Making of the President 2016 , Stone said that he thought that the e-mails were leaked by Seth Rich.

Jeff W , November 3, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Every piece of what we've learned so far, unfolding over months, is as bad as or worse than we had thought: The DNC works to engineer a Clinton/Trump match-up, the combination most likely to assure a Democratic loss . It vehemently denies that it is tilted favorably toward Clinton -- which turns out to be true, in a technical sense, because it is controlled by Clinton.

The establishment Democrats accuse Sanders of not working for down-ballot Democrats while the DNC is siphoning money from the states to help Clinton's campaign. "Maintaining ties to Wall Street makes economic sense for Democrats and keeps their coffers full," one "pollster and senior political adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2000" helpfully assures us two weeks ago in the NYT , except when it doesn't, such as when Donna Brazile discovers, to her horror, that the party is, fact, broke, probably due, in no small part, to paying consultants -- like the one writing in the Times -- whose expertise has led the decimation of the party. (And, on top of all that, the DNC, professing "unity," purges long-time members who supported Bernie Sander or Keith Ellison and appoints anti-minimum wage lobbyist Dan Halpern to the Finance Committee.)

Every part of the story turns out to be a colossal train wreck -- and all this from establishment/élite types who spent the entire campaign season reminding everyone else that they knew what was realistic, pragmatic, achievable, so on and so forth. It's unreal, really.

moving left , November 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Nice synopsis.

fresno dan , November 3, 2017 at 7:59 am

" but it was something that some folks were actually talking about and were concerned about at that time"
===================================
Why does this remind me of Harvey Weinstein? its like deja vu or something

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm

I think we have to go back and find out who 'endorsed' Harvey. How many? And we go back, research and publish the names of those who knew, and yet still endorsed Hillary.

Wisdom Seeker , November 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

To be fair to Rep. Gabbard, the excerpt published by Ms. Brazile clearly indicates that Rep. Wasserman-Shulz (DWS) was not keeping the rest of the DNC leadership fully informed of relevant business and financial arrangements.

If Brazile's account is accurate, the question arises, why did the DNC board tolerate that situation for so long, given their legal responsibilities? Given the anomalous behavior by DWS, you have to wonder how the DNC board could have been comfortable in their roles, and why action wasn't taken against DWS earlier. That leads one to a suspicion is that there was an outside force supporting (controlling?) DWS and intimidating the others.

WheresOurTeddy , November 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm

Ah yes, but Brazile's account is a self-serving CYA attempt to get ahead of a story that was obvious as it was happening to anyone paying attention 18 months ago. Notice no mention of passing debate questions from CNN to Clinton ahead of time. It undercuts your "bombshell" if you have to say "it was rigged and I helped"

Debbie will be the sacrificial lamb. Still waiting for anyone in the mainstream to publish the name "Awan".

Chauncey Gardiner , November 3, 2017 at 9:18 am

Nearly a year after the Nov 2016 general election, this issue is finally beginning to be elevated. Senator Elizabeth Warren also responded affirmatively to a question about whether some primary elections were rigged against Sanders on PBS Newshour yesterday evening.

flora , November 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

Somewhat related in terms of the scramble to get ahead of the Den estab breakdown: In an interesting coincidence the recent meeting of the AFL-CIO saw labor leaders say it's time to stop automatically giving Dems support.

"The time has passed when we can passively settle for the lesser of two evils," reads the main political resolution passed Tuesday by delegates. Lee Saunders, chair of the AFL-CIO's political committee and president of AFSCME (link is external), and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (link is external), introduced the resolution. They lead the labor federation's two largest unions. Convention managers yoked the resolution to another measure it also approved discussing a labor party, though not by name. "

https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/afl-cio-calls-for-a-break-with-lesser-of-two-evils-politics/

Many AFT members were very unhappy (understatement) when Weingarten announced support for Hillary without first polling members. AFT lost a lot of members over that. I'm not sure this isn't a PR scramble by labor leaders to keep their jobs, instead of any real change in outlook. But it's an interesting data point about the current state-of-play.

Oregoncharles , November 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

LONG past time. This is just an example of the reason the unions are in such bad shape.

Big River Bandido , November 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

AFT member here. I was livid about the sham endorsement "process" that happened; it was rushed through, months before the first contest, with absolutely no consultation from the rank and file. Weingarten's infamous text messages about the National Nurses Union basically solidified for me that she's nothing but pond scum. She's not a teacher, she's an attorney. And clearly, not a very clever one, at that. I am obligated to be an AFT member, and if I were only to become a "partial" member I'd still be paying about 88% of the dues anyway. I still support my AFT local.

The national AFT and its pathetic misleadership can go to hell.

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

If it's any consolation, your situation appears to be the norm with the long-established unions. Their clearly-stated bias aside, the World Socialist Web Site covers labor disputes and has shown over and over that the mainstream unions have sold their rank-and-file out. Ironically, just this week I read where an activist group has done some major housecleaning at the Teamsters -- and it only took them 41 years.

During the primary, the outrage among SEIU members when their Fearless Leader not only announced for HRC but tried to pretend it was "what our people want" by posting to Facebook photos of a half-dozen blue-shirted members heading out to knock on doors. It didn't go over well.

Steven Greenberg , November 3, 2017 at 10:16 am

Did Senator Warren admit that her refusal to endorse Bernie was bought by the Hillary Victory Fund? In other words, does this indicate that the great fighter against Wall Street corruption was bought off by Wall Street?

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Got any proof of that?

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Was Massachusetts one of the participating states? She wouldn't have made any friends there exposing the money-laundering, if so. And had Clinton beaten the odds and won, she would have been toast, especially given she has a huge target on her back painted by the GOP. The Clintons notoriously hold grudges, and have long memories.

Jeff W , November 3, 2017 at 6:18 pm

The Margot Kidder piece in Counterpunch linked to in Montanamaven's comment lists 31 of the 33 participating states. Massachusetts is one of them. (It's not clear which are the other two states or why they aren't listed.)

Yves Smith , November 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

*Sigh*. Warren is a blockbuster fundraiser for the party. She is a net contributor to them. She doesn't need the DNC.

Montanamaven , November 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

Margot Kidder was on this last spring. I wonder what Montana Democratic State party officials are saying now? Clinton Bought Loyalty of 33 State Dem Parties
I'll ask.

Watt4Bob , November 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Thanks so much for that link.

How is it that such a plain-spoken explanation of what was really happening was totally ignored until Donna Brazile fesses up?

MSM had to be actively ignoring/burying this story ever since then.

Makes me wonder what you have to do to be heard in this country? /snrk

JacobiteInTraining , November 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

I remember reading these things back then, and trying to forward them to HillBots I knew. Without exception I was poo-poo'ed as a tinfoil-hat-wearing-conspiracy-theorist-berniebro-whiner-misogynist-right-wing-conspiracy-member.

I'd love to say 'I told you so' to those peeps, but most of them are now fully occupied looking under their beds for Russkis. :/

Not that I know Joseph Cannon, but check out his Cannonfire site .hysteric hysteria, deny, RUSSKIS!, Brazile is a liar!!!, deny again, MORE RUUUUSSSKKKIIIIS!!!

to me it seems to be the 'I'm With Her' version of a Trumpsters pizzagate rantings .I dunno, maybe I am missing something and my brain has already been washed and taken over by Cyrillic Control Mechanisms

http://cannonfire.blogspot.com

Jack , November 3, 2017 at 9:50 am

I read about this on Politico yesterday. Donna Brazile? This is the lady who leaked debate topics to Clinton and was fired from CNN, right? It makes you wonder why she is writing about this now. Opportunism in order to sell books? Revenge on Clinton? Or does she sense the wind changing direction in the Democratic party?

j84ustin , November 3, 2017 at 9:59 am

All of the above? Which of course doesn't necessarily mean it's not true! :)

Notorious P.A.T. , November 3, 2017 at 10:24 am

Sure, it's worth wondering, alright. But if you want to learn about dirty deals, you often have to go to dirty people.

Linda Amick , November 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Personally I think Donna Brazile, via her story and book, is trying get her version out as she probably knows the Clinton Mafia will throw her under the bus as this story is finally getting legs..with or without Donna Brazile's revelations.

L , November 3, 2017 at 1:23 pm

As I've noted before her name is Mud with CNN, noone wants her to be a talking head. And Clinton can no longer shelter her. What does she have left but airing the dirty laundry and hoping for a payout?

Steven Greenberg , November 3, 2017 at 10:12 am

Donna Brazile is wrong that this was not illegal, but only unethical. The Hillary Victory Fund was set up to evade the campaign financing laws. There is a legal limit on how much an individual can give to a candidate. Hillary's big donors had reached those limits. She directed her donors who had exceeded the legal limits on direct contributions to her to give to the DNC and state parties with the agreement that those entities would funnel the money back to her.

That would seem to me to be evidence of intent to violate the law.

Eureka Springs , November 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

RICO? Would seem the big donors had to know what they were doing as well. But then I recall the recent lawsuit where the party claimed it could do anything and the judge agreed.

There is just no good reason for a party to operate in such a manner. Complete financial transparency in real time whilst functioning in a democratic process among binding terms with real membership seems to be the least people should expect.

All of which is why I am a member/participant of no party and find the process illegitimate across the board. It really does come back to it's not just if you win or lose, but how it's played.

Jim Haygood , November 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

" If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act ." -- Donna Brazile

I, too, beg to differ. Naturally a perp doesn't see their own twisted actions as criminal.

But the basic principle behind campaign finance laws is transparency. Both the D and R parties receive extensive direct and in-kind government financing, such as the free primary elections which states run on their behalf. Consequently they are obliged to provide an accurate accounting of funds received and paid.

Does anyone think Robert "Torquemada" Mueller couldn't indict both Hillary and Donna Brazile on a whole laundry list of federal offenses, if he were actually looking for gross electoral wrongdoing?

Lock her up!

Wisdom Seeker , November 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Re "Naturally a perp doesn't see their own twisted actions as criminal."

Remember Brazile is famous for complaining that people were trying to "criminalize behavior that is normal", when they complained about the blatant pay-to-play behavior revealed during the election.

flora , November 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Slightly off topic: The neolib Dem estab has just discovered – much to their surprise, no doubt – that's it's one thing to run the neoliberal economic playbook on the deplorables, but quite another thing to run the neoliberal playbook on their own establishment's finances and organization, each for their own personal benefit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tyvhq7uhTM

WobblyTelomeres , November 3, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Strangely, it sounds like Sears.

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm

The judge dismissed the lawsuit because federal court wasn't, in his opinion, the proper channel for seeking redress, not because he agreed with the DNC's assertion it wasn't required to abide by its charter.

todde , November 3, 2017 at 7:14 pm

the judge ruled they didn't have standing:

"But not one of them alleges that they ever read the DNC's charter or heard the statements they now claim are false before making their donations. And not one of them alleges that they took action in reliance on the DNC's charter or the statements identified in the First Amended Complaint (DE 8). Absent such allegations, these Plaintiffs lack standing."

Ernie , November 3, 2017 at 11:00 am

+1

Harm Magin , November 3, 2017 at 11:08 am

"ding, ding, ding" We have a winner!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Violating the law.

People who knew and did not speak, would they be accessories?

From Wikipedia:

Knowledge of the crime[edit]
To be convicted of an accessory charge, the accused must generally be proved to have had actual knowledge that a crime was going to be, or had been, committed. Furthermore, there must be proof that the accessory knew that his or her action, or inaction, was helping the criminals commit the crime, or evade detection, or escape. A person who unknowingly houses a person who has just committed a crime, for instance, may not be charged with an accessory offense because they did not have knowledge of the crime.

Is Sanders guilty, as an accessory, as well?

Scott , November 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm

I believe you are most correct & thanks for altering the direction of the comments.
The support for Sanders was a resonate echo of
support many of us felt for President Jimmy Carter.
How far we have traveled is well acknowledged when you see that Sanders lost.

For the purposes of the Naked Capitalism readers, who are studying how real money is captured & used by the Jet Setter Classes, here we have a Politico so entrenched her Unit used coercion & tricks to take for themselves all of the main tool, money, required to make the Democratic Party a real Party.

(I refuse to see Hillary Clinton as the First Woman Nominated for the Presidency, & consider her & her husband Bill, the Clinton Unit.)
I do chalk it up to the Clinton Unit's long & destructive influence as law makers & breakers. What the Unit is about is clear when you look at their history in Haiti. We are to get the leadership & economy same as the Haitians get.

The leak that in many cases there was no sincere link at all between what Clinton Unit II said, and what she really believed & intended, meant we were to get another cipher.

"Look out kid/They keep it all hid. -Bob Dylan, comes to mind.

After Obama it is clear that the Democratic Party is and will be in the pocket of the pirate parasites of the US Financial System.

The revolution has to take place below the jet setter classes stranglehold on who writes the checks for what. (I'd be interested in knowing how much of whose money paid for the Clinton Unit's Boeing.)

In the end we as a bunch of honest people who like justice in that form it takes in the day to day demonstration of good ethical moorings, liked how Sanders got the money for his campaign.

The Clinton Unit by taking money from down ballot candidates crippled the necessary revolution being attempted by those actually fighting to strengthen the nation.

Notorious P.A.T. , November 3, 2017 at 10:24 am

Go, Tulsi, Go!

JTMcPhee , November 3, 2017 at 11:44 am

Is there a large and notable set of organized people who vote, lining up behind Tulsi Gabbard as the next Great Hope of the Mope (GHOTM)? Able and willing to go to the mat for her? Trusting that she is not just another screen on which people can project their images?

Got to have leaders, don't we? Because most of us just go along, go along, go along But leaders are just other flawed humans, so easy to corrupt and failing that, to remove from the game board by other means Too bad the Occupy model, whatever that actually was/is, seems not to work effectively, especially against the organized on the other side of the crowd-control technologies

Eureka Springs , November 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

I don't think people learned/practiced an occupy model for the most part. Folk were expected to bite off more than they could chew in due haste. Remember the media immediately asking what are your demands before people could figure out wtf was going on beyond we are the 99 percent? Establishing a new practice was of course difficult to do while wondering if you would be busted for just being there. Like the problems with parties people just keep rolling with what they know (top-down), hammering their familiar square peg in a round hole – rather than attempt/establish new process.

We really have no idea what a democratic process looks like.

JTMcPhee , November 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm

"We" have no idea what a democratic process looks like:" And that is after what, 50,000 years of humans organizing in groups of increasing size and what we call "sophistication"? "Democrats And The Iron Law Of Institutions: Read this if you're driven insane by the Democrats," http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/001705.html , for one interesting thread, and this set of observations: "Why Hierarchies Must Sign Their Own Death Warrant To Survive," https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2013/12/02/why-hierarchies-must-sign-their-own-death-warrant-to-survive/#32212bcf4d68

And one more for fun: "Under The Rainbow: The Inevitability of the Modern World," https://killtoparty.com/2015/12/31/under-the-rainbow-the-inevitability-of-the-modern-world/

Notorious P.A.T. , November 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Trusting that she is not just another screen on which people can project their images?

Always a valid concern, but she's put her money where her mouth is numerous times now, beginning with leaving the DNC in protest over its unethical practices.

Mel , November 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

And also, it's not up to her, is it? That screen thing is not about what she is, it's about what people do. On a practical level, that move that Gabbard decries -- killing off local party organizations -- is truly a step the wrong way. Real citizens have more to do than just project their images.

Big River Bandido , November 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm

she's put her money where her mouth is numerous times now, beginning with leaving the DNC in protest over its unethical practices

That isn't why Tulsi Gabbard resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. She resigned because the person in that position is supposed to remain neutral in presidential primaries, and she decided she wanted to publicly endorse Sanders.

In other words, she was following the party rules. This separates her from all those DNC officers who stayed on board while putting their thumbs on the scale for Clinton.

Norb , November 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

In order to survive, you have to trust SOMEBODY! Whom do you trust JT? I get what you are saying and agree 100%, but what next? I think that is the meaning of accountability. You have to trust someone and make that trust the basis for your life. Screw me over and you are out. Mopes are mopes because they keep placing their trust in the wrong place or for whatever social reason, don't have an option.

The twisted logic of Margaret Thatchers now famous line-" there is no society", is a case in point. The entire quote is,"I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation."

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the champions of Neoliberalism and the recasting of the Divine right of Kings as a means of ordering society. The Market is Supreme, the Noble Families (Corporations and Insiders, the 10%, are in direct communion with the divine, and the rest of us need to worship and obey. We have no power because we have not earned it. It is a recasting of the Feudal order. But what she fails to articulate is the obligation of the system to the people? In her ideology, there is no reciprocal obligation. The systems owes nothing. It is a system where the powerful hold control and the subjects are held in check by blind faith.

Thatcher is right for the wrong reasons. Trust starts with the family and successful, healthy families have a better chance of surviving over time due to the natural support they provide. But she takes for granted, or is totally blinded by her own history. The Feudal order failed for a reason. It breeds war and corruption. It thrived on ignorance and violence. Offer a different vision, and the power center shifts.

Leadership is important as everyone knows. With proper leadership, much is possible. Leadership is achieved when guided by some vision or goal. Is it any wonder why individuals that can communicate a vision of brotherhood and solidarity are killed or marginalized by Authoritarians? Where collectivism is shunned at every turn. How the meaning of family values is cynically turned on its head.

Obligation is right. What is screwed up is how obligations have been distorted, and continue to be distorted in a capitalist system. If you believe in social evolution, then the strength of the family unit can serve as the fundamental immortal unit that provides the basis for continued human existence. It is a buffer against the excesses of the capitalist system. It is the source from which positive change will come. Support the family unit by guaranteeing affordable housing, healthcare, and work. A basic income firmly grounded in social contribution. What institutions are left that have not been corrupted by the Neoliberal disease?

The problem making inroads is that the current political power still thinks this is a game. It is not. The first duty for people who desire a better world for themselves, their families, and their future generations need to see the obligation to protect the commons, their families being the basic unit connected to a larger whole.

By destroying the middle class, capitalists have sown the seeds of their own destruction. How many people are willingly going to walk into bondage? The promise of Neoliberalism is failing and the mopes/masses know it- they live it. They just don't know where to turn. It is a slow motion grinding into dust.

Communities are begging for relief. The organizations that need to be constructed are ones that allow people to extend themselves out into the world and take risks, at the same time, providing them with the assurance and concrete reality that if they fail, there is a place or institution that will not let them perish. Capitalists buy loyalty. Individuals in their club always fail upwards. No one is EVER left behind.

There is nothing to prevent other groups from achieving that same sense of solidarity except fear.

Louis Fyne , November 3, 2017 at 11:02 am

The Democratic Party at the national level needs to be thrown out. It's beyond reform. Dissolve the org.

New articles of incorporation, new bylaws, new people, new bank accounts, new everything.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm

You know that scandal-ridden Hollywood production company?

Nobody would even buy it for next to nothing.

We kid ourselves, I believe, to think anyone can come along and take over this party.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 7:54 pm

The same is true of the Republican party -- nationally it's owned by the Koch brothers and other billionaires, and locally, pretty much the same. Neither organization is going away in the near future.

Norb , November 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm

The most powerful aspect of the last election cycle is the eye opening role that money plays in politics. Everyone knows the fundamental influence money has, but the false narrative that has been acting for decades was finally turned on its head. Namely, that large sums of money are needed to compete in the political process and only by funneling that capital flow into the pockets of corporate entities can anything get done. Sanders campaign proved without a doubt that self financing is possible and money alone is not enough to carry victory. Its who controls that money, and what can be done with it, are the important factors. Money didn't win the election for Trump, corruption did.

The lies and crookedness of the existing power structure has been laid bare and only the completely uninformed still believe it or are directly paid off by the process. No wonder silence and an outside forces- RUSSIA- must be deployed. There is nothing left to mask the class warfare. This process reminds me of rats fleeing a sinking ship, and good riddance- they all need to drown or just scatter away into obscurity.

But until those money flows can be directed towards the commons, the corruption will not be driven out of our society. Democracy will die.

The silence and obfuscation on these important developments just highlight the crisis capitalism, as a system, is facing and how the existing political structure is incapable of dealing with the problem. The level of corruption is the problem, along with the extent lies and misinformation are needed to maintain control. It is dysfunctional.

Once again, the rallying cry is for a social guarantee. A guarantee for work, healthcare, housing, and a basic standard of living. Neoliberalism says no to all the above. Their worldview is that there are no guarantees. Only competition where the strong prevail and the weak perish. Boiled down once again to the fight between socialism and capitalism. Third way politics is no longer functional. Hard choices must be made.

But what is the source of that power? Physical strength? Intellect? Mind control- the ability to convince others? All of the above? The mind returns to social evolution. Forces trying to maintain the status quo and counter forces seeking to alter the system. The constant tension of forces exerting pressure until something gives. The faults and cracks are everywhere. What holds it together is the peoples willingness to exert pressure where they are directed to by their leadership. There is a crisis of leadership.

Finally, people are waking up to the notion that following crooks and thieves does not make their lives better or secure. The nation needs leaders who are not cynical opportunists, here in America and around the world. As the Trump administration makes painfully obvious, America's standing in the world diminishes in proportion to its level of naked corruption. We have become that which we professed we were against. The next true Revolution must be that Scoundrels cannot run the world. Yea, I know Utopia. But if you can't dream about Utopia what do humans have? All that comes to mind is a capitalist nightmare. ( As seen from the Bottom)

Just as the Soviet Union collapsed in a breathtaking short time, the Rube Goldberg construction that is todays capitalist system might meet the same speedy end. Just as the old guard soviet apparatchiks held on for dear life, supporting a known failed experiment due to their privileged position, if feels like the capitalist system is headed for a similar fate. A quick, catastrophic failure instead of a slow, incremental adjustment. A failure brought about form outside forces and the system not being able to deal or cope.

Donna Brazile can now make money revealing how she and the Democratic party screwed over working people in this country and lied to the constituency she was supposed to serve. If this helps people understand how they are fundamentally mislead, if only indirectly and unintended, all the better. Its NOT about the money alone, it shows what the cynical manipulation of money makes you become.

Wisdom Seeker , November 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Re "Once again, the rallying cry is for a social guarantee. A guarantee for work, healthcare, housing, and a basic standard of living. Neoliberalism says no to all the above. Their worldview is that there are no guarantees. Only competition where the strong prevail and the weak perish."

One cannot get a government controlled by special interests and large corporations to provide social guarantees that are worth a damn and won't be corrupted. Indeed, the heart of the problem is that the New Deal guarantees and post-Depression regulations (e.g. Glass-Steagall), or even the earlier antitrust laws, have all been eroded.

There is a historical American worldview, not neoliberal, but also not "Third Way", in which there are no Big Brother guarantees, yet there is strong social protection of those in need. It contains a greater level of self-reliance, in the sense that one does not place one's hope in corruptible governments as the solution. And yet not self-reliance, because it trusted in neighbors to help neighbors. And it also renounces personal greed as a prime motivator. The pioneers had this worldview – self reliance with a recognition of a common interest, and thus a moral duty, leading to a willingness to help others, building an entire nation, one barn raising party at a time, so that their children would have a better life.

Norb , November 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm

I am no historian, but gut experience informs me that what you are talking about is a true American sentiment. The desire for individual freedom struggling simultaneously to forge a lasting social bond with your fellow countrymen. At its heart, our nation was formed in the embrace of a contradiction. The promise of freedom connected to the chains of bondage. The age old dilemma of the rights of the rulers over the ruled. Freedom was sought above all else and the historical opportunity presented itself for a great experiment. Open land available for occupation, far from a ruling power, devoid of a powerful local social force.

The delusion, and betrayal, is the fact that reconciling this contradiction is no longer the driving force of American politics. Neoliberal ideology has short circuited the political system- on should we say, perfected it in that the ruling elite in America never intended to share power with the unwashed masses. With the destruction of a functioning two party system, even the pretense cannot be upheld any longer. Without a viable opposition party, the power of private property can do as it pleases- and is doing it.
In America, we just had lots of space to spread out into and put off the day of reckoning. Well, that day has arrived.

You mention barn raising, but that is an Amish tradition, to my limited understanding, the Amish rejected American culture and wished to separate themselves from the broader culture to ensure that their values could be preserved. It is an honest attempt to live christian values. They are a-political and want to be left alone. I can't say much for other christian denominations other than they are connected at the hip to capitalist values. That is not working out so well on a cognitive dissonance level.

The cooperation that you speak of is more along socialist lines. And once again on an intuitive level, most sane and healthy human beings, this is their normal state. The default desire is to aid a person in need or to take satisfaction from assisting your neighbor instead of abusing them. This natural human desire is prevented from becoming embodied in a political force because that would spell the end to individual opulence, and we can't have that. Charity is acceptable, a natural state of care and social equality is unacceptable.

The question is can you have a secular society that is dedicated to human care? Or a theocratic society that does not become bogged down in religious dogma. American Democracy seemed to point in that direction but appears to have stalled out due to resistance and lack of trying.

Big Brother guarantees is code language for destroying the social responsibilities embodied in New Deal legislation. Functioning Democracy is supposed to protect from corruption by being able to vote the crooks out. This becomes impossible when the crooks take control of the government and citizens are convinced that their government itself is the problem. You have the revolving door policy that we see today. National government captured by special interests.

Until a two-pronged attack can be instituted on a large scale- communities taking care of one another along with demand for honest representation by the government, only small scale resistance will be possible. Evil and hardship will prevail.

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 6:55 pm

As far as a greater level of self-reliance and not placing all one's hopes in corruptible governments I definitely think that's what the radical labor movement aimed at, a lot of bottom up left movements do, just have limited power these days. This is fighting back to reclaim the wealth the 1% (or 1% of the 1%) have captured.

Charity likely doesn't even work with such inequality for several reasons: Although you can always give a dollar to a homeless person, charity fails to do that much good when almost all of the wealth in a society is controlled by fewer and fewer people to a greater and greater degree. A bunch of paupers can only do so much in helping each other (except in trying to fight to reclaim the wealth from the 1% of the 1%). They can't do much else when the very few control the businesses, the agriculture, own most of the property and use their charity (Bill Gate's charity as it were) as a means of control (whatever little good it may or may not also do).

Edward , November 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Has this happened in other elections? Is this a first? The counterpart of this story is the nuts and bolts of how the U.S. press is controlled by various interests.

This is a story which should not disappear down the memory hole.

Oregoncharles , November 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm

" This was something that when I was vice chair of the DNC I didn't have knowledge of the details, but it was something that some folks were actually talking about and were concerned about at that time"

Boy, is there a big question mark hanging over THAT. Apparently she didn't respond to the rumors by asking impertinent questions. And if the vice-chair didn't know who really owned the joint, it was a purely ornamental office. Rather like Ellison's now.

John k , November 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Ellison should quit with as big a stink as possible.

Big River Bandido , November 3, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Brazile said in her Politico article that even she had a hard time finding out what was going on. She said she couldn't even issue a press release without an okay from Brooklyn.

sharonsj , November 3, 2017 at 1:51 pm

I knew the cat was in the bag the moment nearly all of the super delegates publicly supported Hillary Clinton before a single primary was held. (Are you listening, Sen. Shumer?) I also knew it had to be a quid pro quo because it was obvious they were doing it for campaign money for their re-elections. A lot of this appeared in print long before Donna Brazile "discovered" the affirming document. This, and the way Bernie supporters were treated at the convention, is why I will never give the DNC a penny.

John k , November 3, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Tulsi seemed a bit tongue tied on some questions in her position and not knowing what was going on? Not credible to me.
She gets credit for quitting and endorsing Bernie, and big credit for anti war, but she does not have history as a progressive, though moving in that direction.
Similarly Liz is no progressive irrespective of anti bank position, though similarly inching in that direction.
Both want to move up, seem to be sensing changing winds.
If Bernie runs, who would he pick? Both usefully female, but neither brings any ev's he won't get anyway. Tulsi brings looks and youth and she endorsed Liz better at treasury, and she might be happy there.

Arizona Slim , November 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm

I think Liz would be a great Treasury Secretary. As for Bernie's VP pick, I think that Tulsi would, ahem, appeal to a certain portion of our male electorate.

I also think that he could also do well by choosing Nina Turner as his VP. Unlike Tulsi, whose oratorical style puts me to sleep, Nina knows how to sign, seal, and DELIVER a speech.

Elizabeth Burton , November 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Look up Pramila Jayapal, whose history, unlike that of Tulsi Gabbard, is solidly progressive.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Here are four bills in the House that could be considered litmus tests for progressives:

H.R.676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act

H.R.790 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017

H.R.1587 – Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2017

H.J.Res.48 – Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only.

Gabbard is a co-sponsor of all 4, and Jayapal is a co-sponsor of all but HR1587. I believe you that Gabbard isn't always progressive, but she does pretty well most of the time, and (for now) she's better than Jayapal on the very dangerous issue of antibiotic overuse.

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I don't know people taking positions on things that aren't likely to pass isn't all that. Ok if enough Dems were on board and they controlled congress or some Reps were AND they had a president who wouldn't veto then maybe Medicare for All etc. Even getting enough Dems on board to pass it even if they had the majority is a long way from where we are now.

However a constitutional amendment is in a whole other category of unlikely than that as the requirement to get one passed are super majorities we are never going to see. So some of the former may be difficult and mostly grandstanding at this point, but I really regard the last as impossible.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Another way to take a public position is to refuse to co-sponsor high profile bills such as these. People in the PACs notice if a member of Congress co-sponsors something that they don't like, or if the member chooses to avoid co-sponsoring it.

Of course none of these bills will pass in the current Congress. However, it is important to get some momentum for them so that they will have a greater chance in future Congresses, and co-sponsorship is a way to generate some of that momentum.

HR676 has been introduced in every Congress since 2003, and this is the first Congress in which it has gained more than 100 co-sponsors. HR1587 has also been introduced since 2003, although it has always had a different bill number. Its number of co-sponsors has gone up and down.

Perhaps too many people are paying too much attention to Trump's twitter account, and not enough attention to the wonkish reality of how bills can become laws. People need to push their Representatives to support these bills.

Tomonthebeach , November 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm

DNC has long stood for Democratic National CLUB not Committee. Under Perez, I see little evidence of movement toward a "democratic" "committee." This is not about Anti-Sanders it is apparently about maintaining Clintonism when the electorate wants more progressivism. DNC is pushing many of us to vote for a qualified Republican over a Clintonite Democrat. That is very stupid – very sad.

Scott , November 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Good laws make a good society, bad laws make a bad society. Good people make better laws than bad people.
All people are good, but some do more bad, sure, go ahead and think of it that way.
I only get to vote for people.

MarkE , November 3, 2017 at 2:50 pm

"The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats." Steve Bannon

It's not often your opponent does you the favor of telling you why you are losing. I pissed away some money on the Democrats last election (not because I liked Hillary; I just despise Trump). What I got for my money was four or five emails a day asking for more money. That and the ignominious, gut-wrenching loss. Many of the emails were from Donna Brazile and almost all of them were about identity politics issues, usually tsk-tsk'ing some nasty thing Trump said about one group or another. I remember thinking how dumb this was. They already had the identity politics voters and getting them to turn out was going to be a ground game play. While they sang to their choir, Trump and Bannon were out energizing an aggrieved white middle and working class, which could have been Hillary's. Non-stop ads with Trump's ugly face on the screens of Pennsylvania and Ohio saying "you're fired" would have been good. Every time the Democrats waxed indignant about an identity issue, they lost some more aggrieved white voters, who took the message as further confirmation that the Dems really didn't care about them and their problems. Trump walked right in. Comey's timing, the Russians, etc all mattered, but net net the Democrats gave Trump the win. The top of their organization is full of people who seem to be better at identity politics than anything else, except maybe backstabbing. They're crap at strategy.

Vatch , November 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm

I strongly encourage those who have Democratic friends and relatives to be sure that those friends and relatives have seen the article by Donna Brazile. Don't be afraid to be a pest (although I do recommend politeness). Many of those friends and relatives will be voting in primaries next year, and they need to know what is happening in the Democratic party.

jrs , November 3, 2017 at 6:15 pm

It doesn't just indict Hillary, although that is what gets the focus, it is a condemnation of Obama as well for leaving the Dem party in so much debt. So Obama as well sacrificed the Dem party for his own campaign. By slightly different means (running up debt rather than funneling money) but to the same end. What a self-seeking bunch, to the destruction of even their own party, the Dem top ticket has been (yea cheeto is no better, but that's it's own thing).

todde , November 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2989759-Impartiality-Clause-DNC-Charter-Bylaws-Art-5-Sec-4.html

DNC Bylaws state that 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.

Since that obviously didn't happen, I would assert that Hillary being the Democrat nominee is null and void.

todde , November 3, 2017 at 6:01 pm

so if you donated to the DNC I am pretty sure you could sue DWS personally to get your money back.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 3, 2017 at 7:09 pm

When they rig an election, everyone participates in the election (voting or running) is a victim.

Even people watching it become victimized (like the quiz shows in the 1950s, TV viewers were victims).

(So, you, me and all the other guys had the primary election stolen.)

And if Donna Brazile tells you it's rigged, it's not up to you, but up to all of us, to absorb the insider information (you can't withhold all those secret details) and to decide on the verdict.

It can not be 'What are her chances?'

It's up to all of us.

todde , November 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm

nevermind – we've already litigated this

pretzelattack , November 3, 2017 at 7:33 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/03/trump-fbi-clinton-russia-donna-brazile

the guardian finally noticed it happened! in the context of an article attacking trump, but baby steps.

pretzelattack , November 3, 2017 at 7:35 pm

"The victory fund agreement was signed in August 2015 and widely reported during the course of the campaign, amplifying the friction between Sanders and the DNC that had already been fueled by disagreements over the primary debate schedule and access to the party's voter database."

oh well then nothing to see here, let's just go back to bashing russia.

chicagogal , November 3, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Wasn't Brazile the one who said that while the DNC is supposed to be neutral, she was working on behalf of Clinton over Bernie? So as we all knew, then and now, grifters gotta grift and Brazile is no better than anyone else at the DNC who keeps failing upwards and being rewarded for her part in the grift.

[Oct 28, 2017] Is [neo]Liberalism a Dying Faith by Pat Buchanan

Highly recommended!
Nationalism really represent a growing threat to neoliberalism. It is clear the the rise of nationalism was caused by the triumph of neoliberalism all over the globe. As neoliberal ideology collapsed in 2008, thing became really interesting now. Looks like 1920th-1940th will be replayed on a new level with the USA neoliberal empire under stress from new challengers instead of British empire.
Rumor about the death of neoliberalism are slightly exaggerated ;-). This social system still has a lot of staying power. you need some external shock like the need of cheap oil (defined as sustainable price of oil over $100 per barrel) to shake it again. Of some financial crisis similar to the crisis of 2008. Currently there is still no alternative social order that can replace it. Collapse of the USSR discredited both socialism even of different flavors then was practiced in the USSR. National socialism would be a step back from neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html ..."
"... What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey." ..."
"... Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power. ..."
"... Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers. ..."
"... It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc. ..."
"... If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008). ..."
"... And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade". ..."
"... The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency. ..."
"... But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism. ..."
Oct 01, 2002 | www.unz.com

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic -- and the model for mankind's future.

Equality, diversity, democracy -- this is the holy trinity of the post-Christian secular state at whose altars Liberal Man worships.

But the congregation worshiping these gods is shrinking. And even Europe seems to be rejecting what America has on offer.

In a retreat from diversity, Catalonia just voted to separate from Spain. The Basque and Galician peoples of Spain are following the Catalan secession crisis with great interest.

The right-wing People's Party and far-right Freedom Party just swept 60 percent of Austria's vote, delivering the nation to 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, whose anti-immigrant platform was plagiarized from the Freedom Party. Summarized it is: Austria for the Austrians!

Lombardy, whose capital is Milan, and Veneto will vote Sunday for greater autonomy from Rome.

South Tyrol (Alto Adige), severed from Austria and ceded to Italy at Versailles, written off by Hitler to appease Mussolini after his Anschluss, is astir anew with secessionism. Even the Sicilians are talking of separation.

By Sunday, the Czech Republic may have a new leader, billionaire Andrej Babis. Writes The Washington Post, Babis "makes a sport of attacking the European Union and says NATO's mission is outdated."

Platform Promise: Keep the Muslim masses out of the motherland.

To ethnonationalists, their countrymen are not equal to all others, but superior in rights. Many may nod at Thomas Jefferson's line that "All men are created equal," but they no more practice that in their own nations than did Jefferson in his

... ... ...

European peoples and parties are today using democratic means to achieve "illiberal" ends. And it is hard to see what halts the drift away from liberal democracy toward the restrictive right. For in virtually every nation, there is a major party in opposition, or a party in power, that holds deeply nationalist views.

European elites may denounce these new parties as "illiberal" or fascist, but it is becoming apparent that it may be liberalism itself that belongs to yesterday. For more and more Europeans see the invasion of the continent along the routes whence the invaders came centuries ago, not as a manageable problem but an existential crisis.

To many Europeans, it portends an irreversible alteration in the character of the countries their grandchildren will inherit, and possibly an end to their civilization. And they are not going to be deterred from voting their fears by being called names that long ago lost their toxicity from overuse.

And as Europeans decline to celebrate the racial, ethnic, creedal and cultural diversity extolled by American elites, they also seem to reject the idea that foreigners should be treated equally in nations created for their own kind.

Europeans seem to admire more, and model their nations more, along the lines of the less diverse America of the Eisenhower era, than on the polyglot America of 2017.

And Europe seems to be moving toward immigration polices more like the McCarran-Walter Act of 1950 than the open borders bill that Sen. Edward Kennedy shepherded through the Senate in 1965.

Kennedy promised that the racial and ethnic composition of the America of the 1960s would not be overturned, and he questioned the morality and motives of any who implied that it would.

Jason Liu , October 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT
Yes. Fuck yes.

Liberalism is the naivete of 18th century elites, no different than today. Modernity as you know it is unsustainable, mostly because equality isn't real, identity has value for most humans, pluralism is by definition fractious, and deep down most people wish to follow a wise strongman leader who represents their interests first and not a vague set of universalist values.

Blind devotion to liberal democracy is another one of those times when white people take an abstract concept to weird extremes. It is short-sighted and autistically narrow minded. Just because you have an oppressive king doesn't mean everyone should be equals. Just because there was slavery/genocide doesn't mean diversity is good.

The retreat of [neo]liberalism is very visible in Asia. All Southeast Asian states have turned their backs on liberal democracy, especially Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar in the last decade. This NYT article notes that liberalism has essentially died in Japan, and that all political contests are now between what the west would consider conservatives: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/opinion/liberalism-japan-election.html

Good riddance. The idea that egalitarianism is more advanced than hierarchy has always been false, and flies against the long arc of history. Time for nationalists around the world to smash liberal democracy and build a new modernity based on actual humanism, with respect to hierarchies and the primacy of majorities instead of guilt and pathological compassion dressed up as political ideology.

TG , October 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT
"Liberalism" is not dying. "Liberalism" is dead, and has been since at least 1970.

What is today called "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" both are simply corrupted labels applied to the same top-down corporate-fascistic elite rule that I think Mr. Buchanan once referred to as "two wings of the same bird of prey."

Nobody at the top cares about 'diversity.' They care about the easy profits that come from ever cheaper labor. 'Diversity' is not suicide but rather murder: instigated by a small number of very powerful people who have decided that the long-term health of their nations and civilization is less important than short-term profits and power.

Paul's Ghost , October 20, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT
Its been dead for nearly 20 years now. Liberalism has long been the Monty Python parrot nailed to its perch. At this point, the term is mainly kept alive in right-wing attacks by people who lack the imagination to change their habitual targets for so long.

To my eye, the last 'liberal' politician died in a susupicious plane crash in 2000 as the Bush Republicans were taking the White House by their famous 5-4 vote/coup and also needed to claim control of the Senate. So, the last authentic 'liberal' Senator, Paul Wellstone of MN was killed in a suspicious plane crash that was never properly explained.

Hillary and Obama are to the right of the President that Buchanan served in his White House. Richard Nixon was to the Left of both Hillary and Obama. I can't even imagine Hillary accepting and signing into law a 'Clean Water Act' or enacting Price Controls to fight inflation. No way. Heck would freeze over before Hillary would do something so against her Banker Backers.

And, at the root, that is the key. The 'Liberals' that the right now rails against are strongly backed and supported by the Wall Street Banks and other corporate leaders. The 'Liberals' have pushed for a government Of the Bankers, By the Bankers and For the Bankers. The 'Liberals' now are in favor of Endless Unconstitutional War around the world.

Which can only mean that the term 'Liberal' has been so completely morphed away from its original meanings to be completely worthless.

The last true Liberal in American politics was Paul Wellstone. And even by the time he died for his sins, he was calling himself a "progressive" because after the Clintons and the Gores had so distorted the term Liberal it was meaningless. Or it had come to mean a society ruled by bankers, a society at constant war and throwing money constantly at a gigantic war machine, a society of censorship where the government needed to control all music lyrics, the same corrupt government where money could by anything from a night in the Lincoln Bedroom to a Presidential Pardon or any other government favor.

Thus, 'Liberals' were a dead movement even by 2000, when the people who actually believed in the American People over the profits of bankers were calling themselves Progressives in disgust at the misuse of the term Liberal. And now, Obama and Hillary have trashed and distorted even the term Progressive into bombing the world 365 days a year and still constantly throwing money at the military machine and the problems it invents.

So, Liberalism is so long dead that if you exumed the grave you'd only find dust. And Pat must be getting senile and just throwing back out the same lines he once wrote as a speechwriter for the last Great Lefty President Richard Nixon.

Miro23 , October 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT

Is Liberalism a Dying Faith?

Another question is whether this is wishful thinking from Pat or some kind of reality.

I think that he's right, that Liberalism is a dying faith, and it's interesting to check the decline.

It's sure that financial (neo)liberalism was in a growth phase prior to year 2000 (under Greenspan, the "Maestro") with a general belief that the economy could be "fine tuned" with risk eliminated using sophisticated financial instruments, monetary policy etc.

If [neo] Liberalism is a package, then two heavy financial blows that shook the whole foundation were the collapse of the dot.com bubble (2000) and the mortgage bubble (2008).

And, other (self-serving) neoliberal stories are now seen as false. For example, that the US is an "advanced post-industrial service economy", that out-sourcing would "free up Americans for higher skilled/higher wage employment" or that "the US would always gain from tariff free trade".

In fact, the borderless global "world is flat" dogma is now seen as enabling a rootless hyper-rich global elite to draw on a sea of globalized serf labour with little or no identity, while their media and SWJ activists operate a scorched earth defense against any sign of opposition.

The basic divide is surely Nationalism (America First) vs. Globalism (Neo-Liberalism), as shown by the last US Presidential election.

reiner Tor , October 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Randal

A useful analogy might be Viktor Orbán. He started out as a leader of a liberal party, Fidesz, but then over time started moving to the right. It is often speculated that he started it for cynical reasons, like seeing how the right was divided and that there was essentially a vacuum there for a strong conservative party, but there's little doubt he totally internalized it. There's also little doubt (and at the time he and a lot of his fellow party leaders talked about it a lot) that as he (they) started a family and having children, they started to realize how conservatism kinda made more sense than liberalism.

With Kurz, there's the possibility for this path. However, he'd need to start a family soon for that to happen. At that age Orbán was already married with children

Verymuchalive , October 20, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT
@Paul's Ghost

Liberalism ( large L) is indeed long dead.

Neoliberalism, of which the Clintons are acolytes, supports Free Trade and Open Borders. Although it claims to support World Government, in actual fact it supports corporatism. This is explicit in the TPPA Trump vetoed. Under the corporate state, the state controls the corporations, as Don Benito did in Italy. Under corporatism, the corporations tell the state what to do, as has been the case in America since at least the Clinton Presidency.

Richard Nixon was a capitalist, not a corporatist. He was a supporter of proper competition laws, unlike any President since Clinton. Socially, he was interventionist, though this may have been to lessen criticism of his Vietnam policies. Anyway, his bussing and desegregation policies were a long-term failure.

Price Control was quickly dropped, as it was in other Western countries. Long term Price Control, as in present day Venezuela, is economically disastrous.

KenH , October 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm GMT
Let's hope liberalism is a dying faith and that is passes from the Western world. If not it will destroy the West, so if it doesn't die a natural death then we must euthanize it. For the evidence is in and it has begat feminism, anti-white racism, demographic winter, mass third world immigration and everything else that ails the West and has made it the sick and dying man of the world.

But I recall that Pat B also said neoconservatism was on its way out a few years after Iraq war II and yet it's stronger than ever and its adherents are firmly ensconced in the joint chiefs of staff, the pentagon, Congress and the White House. It's also spawned a close cousin in liberal interventionism.

What Pat refers to as "liberalism" is now left wing totalitarianism and anti-white hatred and it's fanatically trying to remain relevant by lashing out and blacklisting, deplatforming, demonetizing, and physically assaulting all of its enemies on the right who are gaining strength much to their chagrin. They resort to these methods because they can't win an honest debate and in a true free marketplace of ideas they lose.

[Oct 27, 2017] Why didn't Democrats pass legislation in 2009 to eliminate the right to work legislation by states? The answeer is they want Wall street money.

Oct 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

DJG , October 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Portside article about NAFTA, unions, and Canadian unions: Here is a paragraph from the underlying article at New York Magazine about the three sponsors:

On Wednesday, Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Kirsten Gillibrand announced their agreement -- and introduced legislation to ban "right-to-work" laws throughout the United States.

[NY Mag article is dated 20 Sept 2017]

The sooner we collectively kill off the feudal idea of "right to work," the better. Right now, though, we're only what -- sixty, seventy–years too late?

Scott , October 27, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Why didn't Democrats pass legislation in 2009 to eliminate it?

It was one of the few policies that I could think of what would actually, you know, help the win elections. But then I realized the the purpose of the DNC isn't actually to win elections, it's to raise money from Wall Street, Hollywood and Silcon Valley to pay for consultants.

Huey Long , October 27, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Why didn't Democrats pass legislation in 2009 to eliminate it?

Yeah, Captain Hope'N-Change failed to deliver labor any meaningful legislation during his eight years in office.

Labor was essentially told "We put some friendly faces on the NLRB and in the judiciary. Be thankful, and forget about card check or right to work preemption."

Sid_finster , October 27, 2017 at 7:40 pm

" the purpose of the DNC isn't actually to win elections, it's to raise money from Wall Street, Hollywood and Silcon Valley to pay for consultants."

Money.

Henry Moon Pie , October 27, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Good luck with that. The Rs ads write themselves.

And it's a bad look anyway. With the basically insurmountable barriers to organizing under the Wagner Act these days, a focus on making sure the money keeps flowing, much of it ending up in the Ds campaign coffers. How about repealing Taft-Hartley?

Maybe unions would be better off with less bureaucracy and more member participation. Do it like the Wobs: you come to the meeting, you pay your dues, you voice your opinion and you vote.

Huey Long , October 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm

How about repealing Taft-Hartley?

Here here!

Repealing Taft-Hartley would bring back:

The Closed Shop
Jurisdictional Strikes
Secondary Boycotts
Common Situs Picketing
A Ban on Right-to-Work
A Ban on presidential interventions in strikes
Supervisor's Unions
Employer Nuetrality

Hopefully this happens before I die. I would absolutely love to see the yacht and learjet owning class in tears!

a different chris , October 27, 2017 at 6:06 pm

>The Rs ads write themselves.

They not only write themselves they've already been written and burned into the brain. True or not, there they are. So what are you risking?

The thing is the D-time is well past the point (no House, no Senate, no Pres, vanishing amount of Govs, vanishing amount of State leges..) where saying "That's not true!!" can be considered a winning strategy, even if you could show me what you've won by saying it.

How about "hell yeah that's how we feel, America rocked (when we had strong labor)". Stand up to the bully for once, again whaddya got to lose now. I often wonder what Steve Gilliard would say at this point, he always made sure that us white people realized that something was better than nothing when you were looking at absolutely nothing at all . but things have sunk so low would he still feel that what has become nothing more than an orderly, but continuous retreat should be sustained? Or is it time to dig in and really declare full throated opposition?

(like the rest of your post, just think the time to avoid things is past)

DJG , October 27, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Henry Moon Pie: So? Let's repeal the Wagner Act and Taft-Hartley. And let's not pre-defeat ourselves.

Just as Lambert keeps reminding us, Who would have though five years ago that the momentum is now toward single-payer health insurance even if the current couple of bills don't pass? For years, John Conyers carried on the fight almost single-handedly. And now we have influential physicians stumping for single-payer.

[Oct 20, 2017] Blaming Russia for the Internet 'Sewer' by Robert Parry

Notable quotes:
"... With the U.S. government offering tens of millions of dollars to combat Russian "propaganda and disinformation," it's perhaps not surprising that we see "researchers" such as Jonathan Albright of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University making the absurd accusation that the Russians have "basically turned [the Internet] into a sewer." ..."
"... I've been operating on the Internet since 1995 and I can assure you that the Internet has always been "a sewer" -- in that it has been home to crazy conspiracy theories, ugly personal insults, click-bait tabloid "news," and pretty much every vile prejudice you can think of. Whatever some Russians may or may not have done in buying $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to its $27 billion in annual revenue) or opening 201 Twitter accounts (out of Twitter's 328 million monthly users), the Russians are not responsible for the sewage coursing through the Internet. ..."
"... Even former Clinton political strategist Mark Penn has acknowledged the absurdity of thinking that such piddling amounts could have any impact on a $2.4 billion presidential campaign, plus all the billions of dollars worth of free-media attention to the conventions, debates, etc. Based on what's known about the Facebook ads, Penn calculated that "the actual electioneering [in battleground states] amounts to about $6,500." ..."
"... In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, Penn added, "I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate." ..."
"... Occasionally, the U.S. mainstream media even acknowledges that fact. For instance, last November, The New York Times, which was then flogging the Russia-linked "fake news" theme , ran a relatively responsible article about a leading "fake news" Web site that the Times tracked down. It turned out to be an entrepreneurial effort by an unemployed Georgian student using a Web site in Tbilisi to make some money by promoting pro-Trump stories, whether true or not. ..."
"... The owner of the Web site, 22-year-old Beqa Latsabidse, said he had initially tried to push stories favorable to Hillary Clinton but that proved unprofitable so he switched to publishing anti-Clinton and pro-Trump articles, including made-up stories. In other words, the Times found no Russian connection. ..."
"... But the even larger Internet problem is that many "reputable" news sites, such as AOL, lure readers into clicking on some sensationalistic or misleading headline, which takes readers to a story that is often tabloid trash or an extreme exaggeration of what the headline promised. ..."
"... This reality about the Internet should be the larger context in which the Russia-gate story plays out, the miniscule nature of this Russian "meddling" even if these "suspected links to Russia" – as the Times initially described the 470 Facebook pages – turn out to be true. ..."
"... And, there is the issue of who decides what's true. PolitiFact continues to defend its false claim that Hillary Clinton was speaking the truth when – in referencing leaked Democratic emails last October – she claimed that the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies "have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election." ..."
"... That claim was always untrue because a reference to a consensus of the 17 intelligence agencies suggests a National Intelligence Estimate or similar product that seeks the judgments of the entire intelligence community. No NIE or community-wide study was ever done on this topic. ..."
"... Only later – in January 2017 – did a small subset of the intelligence community, what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described as "hand-picked" analysts from three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – issue an "assessment" blaming the Russians while acknowledging a lack of actual evidence . ..."
"... In other words, the Jan. 6 "assessment" was comparable to the "stovepiped" intelligence that influenced many of the mistaken judgments of President George W. Bush's administration. In "stovepiped" intelligence, a selected group of analysts is closeted away and develops judgments without the benefit of other experts who might offer contradictory evidence or question the groupthink. ..."
"... America's Stolen Narrative, ..."
Oct 18, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: As the Russia-gate hysteria spirals down from the implausible to the absurd, almost every bad thing is blamed on the Russians, even how they turned the previously pristine Internet into a "sewer," reports Robert Parry.

With the U.S. government offering tens of millions of dollars to combat Russian "propaganda and disinformation," it's perhaps not surprising that we see "researchers" such as Jonathan Albright of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University making the absurd accusation that the Russians have "basically turned [the Internet] into a sewer."

I've been operating on the Internet since 1995 and I can assure you that the Internet has always been "a sewer" -- in that it has been home to crazy conspiracy theories, ugly personal insults, click-bait tabloid "news," and pretty much every vile prejudice you can think of. Whatever some Russians may or may not have done in buying $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to its $27 billion in annual revenue) or opening 201 Twitter accounts (out of Twitter's 328 million monthly users), the Russians are not responsible for the sewage coursing through the Internet.

Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans and pretty much every other segment of the world's population didn't need Russian help to turn the Internet into an informational "sewer." But, of course, fairness and proportionality have no place in today's Russia-gate frenzy.

After all, your "non-governmental organization" or your scholarly "think tank" is not likely to get a piece of the $160 million that the U.S. government authorized last December to counter primarily Russian "propaganda and disinformation" if you explain that the Russians are at most responsible for a tiny trickle of "sewage" compared to the vast rivers of "sewage" coming from many other sources.

If you put the Russia-gate controversy in context, you also are not likely to have your "research" cited by The Washington Post as Albright did on Thursday because he supposedly found some links at the home-décor/fashion site Pinterest to a few articles that derived from a few of the 470 Facebook accounts and pages that Facebook suspects of having a link to Russia and shut them down. (To put that 470 number into perspective, Facebook has about two billion monthly users.)

Albright's full quote about the Russians allegedly exploiting various social media platforms on the Internet was: "They've gone to every possible medium and basically turned it into a sewer."

But let's look at the facts. According to Facebook, the suspected "Russian-linked" accounts purchased $100,000 in ads from 2015 to 2017 (compared to Facebook's annual revenue of about $27 billion), with only 44 percent of those ads appearing before the 2016 election and many having little or nothing to do with politics, which is curious if the Kremlin's goal was to help elect Donald Trump and defeat Hillary Clinton.

Even former Clinton political strategist Mark Penn has acknowledged the absurdity of thinking that such piddling amounts could have any impact on a $2.4 billion presidential campaign, plus all the billions of dollars worth of free-media attention to the conventions, debates, etc. Based on what's known about the Facebook ads, Penn calculated that "the actual electioneering [in battleground states] amounts to about $6,500."

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, Penn added, "I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate."

Puppies and Pokemon

And, then there is the curious content. According to The New York Times, one of these "Russian-linked" Facebook groups was dedicated to photos of "adorable puppies." Of course, the Times tried hard to detect some sinister motive behind the "puppies" page.

Similarly, CNN went wild over its own "discovery" that one of the "Russian-linked" pages offered Amazon gift cards to people who found "Pokémon Go" sites near scenes where police shot unarmed black men -- if you would name the Pokémon after the victims.

"It's unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish, though it may have been to remind people living near places where these incidents had taken place of what had happened and to upset or anger them," CNN mused, adding:

"CNN has not found any evidence that any Pokémon Go users attempted to enter the contest, or whether any of the Amazon Gift Cards that were promised were ever awarded -- or, indeed, whether the people who designed the contest ever had any intention of awarding the prizes."

So, these dastardly Russians are exploiting "adorable puppies" and want to "remind people" about unarmed victims of police violence, clearly a masterful strategy to undermine American democracy or – according to the original Russia-gate narrative – to elect Donald Trump.

A New York Times article on Wednesday acknowledged another inconvenient truth that unintentionally added more perspective to the Russia-gate hysteria.

It turns out that some of the mainstream media's favorite "fact-checking" organizations are home to Google ads that look like news items and lead readers to phony sites dressed up to resemble People, Vogue or other legitimate content providers.

"None of the stories were true," the Times reported. "Yet as recently as late last week, they were being promoted with prominent ads served by Google on PolitiFact and Snopes, fact-checking sites created precisely to dispel such falsehoods."

There is obvious irony in PolitiFact and Snopes profiting off "fake news" by taking money for these Google ads. But this reality also underscores the larger reality that fabricated news articles – whether peddling lies about Melania Trump or a hot new celebrity or outlandish Russian plots – are driven principally by the profit motive.

The Truth About Fake News

Occasionally, the U.S. mainstream media even acknowledges that fact. For instance, last November, The New York Times, which was then flogging the Russia-linked "fake news" theme , ran a relatively responsible article about a leading "fake news" Web site that the Times tracked down. It turned out to be an entrepreneurial effort by an unemployed Georgian student using a Web site in Tbilisi to make some money by promoting pro-Trump stories, whether true or not.

The owner of the Web site, 22-year-old Beqa Latsabidse, said he had initially tried to push stories favorable to Hillary Clinton but that proved unprofitable so he switched to publishing anti-Clinton and pro-Trump articles, including made-up stories. In other words, the Times found no Russian connection.

The Times article on Wednesday revealed the additional problem of Google ads placed on mainstream Internet sites leading readers to bogus news sites to get clicks and thus advertising dollars. And, it turns out that PolitiFact and Snopes were at least unwittingly profiting off these entrepreneurial ventures by running their ads. Again, there was no claim here of Russian "links." It was all about good ole American greed.

But the even larger Internet problem is that many "reputable" news sites, such as AOL, lure readers into clicking on some sensationalistic or misleading headline, which takes readers to a story that is often tabloid trash or an extreme exaggeration of what the headline promised.

This reality about the Internet should be the larger context in which the Russia-gate story plays out, the miniscule nature of this Russian "meddling" even if these "suspected links to Russia" – as the Times initially described the 470 Facebook pages – turn out to be true.

But there are no lucrative grants going to "researchers" who would put the trickle of alleged Russian "sewage" into the context of the vast flow of Internet "sewage" that is even flowing through the esteemed "fact-checking" sites of PolitiFact and Snopes.

There are also higher newspaper sales and better TV ratings if the mainstream media keeps turning up new angles on Russia-gate, even as some of the old ones fall away as inconsequential or meaningless (such as the Senate Intelligence Committee dismissing earlier controversies over Sen. Jeff Sessions's brief meeting with the Russian ambassador at the Mayflower Hotel and minor changes in the Republican platform).

Saying 'False' Is 'True'

And, there is the issue of who decides what's true. PolitiFact continues to defend its false claim that Hillary Clinton was speaking the truth when – in referencing leaked Democratic emails last October – she claimed that the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies "have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election."

That claim was always untrue because a reference to a consensus of the 17 intelligence agencies suggests a National Intelligence Estimate or similar product that seeks the judgments of the entire intelligence community. No NIE or community-wide study was ever done on this topic.

Only later – in January 2017 – did a small subset of the intelligence community, what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described as "hand-picked" analysts from three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – issue an "assessment" blaming the Russians while acknowledging a lack of actual evidence .

In other words, the Jan. 6 "assessment" was comparable to the "stovepiped" intelligence that influenced many of the mistaken judgments of President George W. Bush's administration. In "stovepiped" intelligence, a selected group of analysts is closeted away and develops judgments without the benefit of other experts who might offer contradictory evidence or question the groupthink.

So, in many ways, Clinton's statement was the opposite of true both when she said it in 2016 and later in 2017 when she repeated it in direct reference to the Jan. 6 assessment. If PolitiFact really cared about facts, it would have corrected its earlier claim that Clinton was telling the truth, but the fact-checking organization wouldn't budge -- even after The New York Times and The Associated Press ran corrections.

In this context, PolitiFact showed its contempt even for conclusive evidence – testimony from former DNI Clapper (corroborated by former CIA Director John Brennan) that the 17-agency claim was false. Instead, PolitiFact was determined to protect Clinton's false statement from being described for what it was: false.

Of course, maybe PolitiFact is suffering from the arrogance of its elite status as an arbiter of truth with its position on Google's First Draft coalition, a collection of mainstream news outlets and fact-checkers which gets to decide what information is true and what is not true -- for algorithms that then will exclude or downplay what's deemed "false."

So, if PolitiFact says something is true – even if it's false – it becomes "true." Thus, it's perhaps not entirely ironic that PolitiFact would collect money from Google ads placed on its site by advertisers of fake news.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

David G , October 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm

I bet the Russians are responsible for all the naked lady internet pictures as well. Damn you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, for polluting our purity.

TS , October 19, 2017 at 5:43 am

Two-thirds of a century ago, Arthur C. Clarke, who besides being a famous SF author, conceived the concept of the communications satellite, published a short story in which the Chinese use satellite broadcasting to flood the USA with porn in order spread moral degeneracy. Wadya think?

Mr. Mueller! Mr. Mueller! Investigate who the owners of YouPorn are!
It's all a Chinese plot, not a Russian one!

Broompilot , October 19, 2017 at 1:55 pm

I second the motion!

Antiwar7 , October 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm

"Mandrake, have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure-grain alcohol?"

richard vajs , October 20, 2017 at 7:50 am

And Vladimir keeps tempting me with offers of money that he found abandoned in Nigerian banks and mysteriously bequeathed to me.

Paul Fretheim , October 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

This sounds eerily similar to newspeak described by George Orwell "1984" in

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 7:20 pm

The failure of Russia bashers to rank all nations on FB ads and accounts, proves that they know they are lying. Random Russians (about 2% of the world population) may have spent 100K on mostly apolitical ads on FB (about 0.0004%) and may have 470 accounts on FB (about 0.000025%). So Russians have far fewer FB ads and accounts per capita than the average nation. Probably most developed nations have a higher per capita usage of FB, and many individuals and companies may have a higher total usage of FB.

The fact that 160 million is spent to dig up phony evidence of Russian influence (totaling about 0.13% of the investigation cost), proves that such "researchers" are paid liars; they are the ones who should be prosecuted for subversion of democracy for personal gain.

The fact that all views may be found on internet does not make it a "sewer" because one can view only what is useful. The Dems and Repubs regard the People as a sewer, because they believe that power=virtue=money no matter how unethically they get it, to rationalize oligarchy. They keep the most abusive and implausible ads out of mass media only because no advertiser wants them, but of course they don't want the truth either.

JWalters , October 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Add MSNBC to the sources of sewage on the internet. I checked out MSNBC today, and they are full-throttle on any kind of Russia-phobia. For those who read somewhat widely, it is obvious they are not even trying to present a balanced picture of the actual evidence. It is completely one-sided, and includes the trashiest trash of that one side. Their absolute lack of integrity matches Fox on its worst days.

As someone who formerly watched MSNBC regularly, I am sickened at the obvious capituation to the criminal Zionists who own the network. Have these people no decency? Apparently not. Historians will judge them harshly.

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 11:28 am

JWalters –

Yes. I completely agree with you. I am beginning to wonder if these people who are spitting out this trashiest trash at MSNBC from their mouths every day for over a year now are really sane people. I believe that along with politicians like Adam Schiff, these talk show hosts have slid into complete madness. The way it is going now, I am afraid that If these people are not removed, there is a danger of the whole country sliding into some form of madness.

anonymous , October 20, 2017 at 2:12 pm

"Historians will judge them harshly."

The western civilisation galloped to worldly success on the twin horses of Greed and Psychopathy. This also provided them the opportunity to write history as they wished.

Are historians judging them harshly now? They are themselves whores to whichever society they belong to.

Anna , October 19, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Jonathan Albright, the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, j.albright@columbia.edu . https://towcenter.org/about/who-we-are/
Mr. Albright is preparing for himself a feathered nest among other presstitutes swarming the many ziocons' "think tanks," like the viciously russophobic (and unprofessional) Atlantic Council that employs the ignoramus Eliot Higgins (a former salesman of ladies' underwear and college dropout) and Dmitry Alperovitch of CrowdStrike fame, a Russophobe and threat to the US national security
One can be sure that Jonathan Albright knows already all the answers (similar to Judy Miller) and he is not interested in any proven expertise like the one provided by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/
.

Dan Kuhn , October 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Can anyone out there please supply me with a couple of Russian hit pieces that crippled Hillary´s campaigne. Just askin, because I have never seen one.

Michael K Rohde , October 18, 2017 at 8:29 pm

You obviously haven't looked hard enough. I just finished the book "Shattered" and she had no problem blaming the Russians when the emails of Podesta came out in the summer. It took her a day or 2 to figure out that she couldn't blame the Arabs so the Russians were next up. How could you have missed it?

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 9:38 pm

He is likely asking for ads from Russia that actually could have served as "hit pieces" against Clinton, versus her accusations.

Elizabeth Burton , October 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm

I fear we must set aside our sarcasm and understand that this entire Russian narrative has the ultimate goal of silencing any oppositional news sources to the corporate media. When we hear that Facebook is seeking to hire people with national security clearances, which is made to sound as if it's a good, responsible reaction to the "Russian ads" and is cheered on by people who should know better, we need to get our tongues out of our cheeks and stay alert.

A good friend, who is an activist battling the fracking industry in Colorado and blogging about it, was urging people this week to sign petitions demanding more censorship on Facebook to "prevent Russian propaganda." When I pointed out that, based on the Jan. 6 "report," which condemned RT America for "criticizing the fracking industry" as proof it was a propaganda organ, her blog is Russian propaganda. Did that change her mind? Nope. Her response was in the category of "Better safe."

So, it appears Russia is not replacing "Muslim terrorists" as the "great danger" our beloved and benevolent government must ask us to hand over our rights to combat. And people who can't seem to get it through their heads the government is NOT their friend are marching in lock-step to agree because it never occurs to them they, too, are a target.

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Yes, the purpose of Russia bashing is to distract from the revelations of DNC corruption by oligarchy (top ten Clinton donors all zionists), attack leakers as opponents of oligarchy, and attack Russia in hope of benefits to the zionists in the Mideast.

Perhaps you meant to say that "Russia is [not] replacing "Muslim terrorists" as the 'great danger' our beloved and benevolent government must ask us to hand over our rights to combat." Or perhaps you meant that the Russia-gate gambit is not working.

Abe , October 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm

American psychologist Gustave Gilbert interviewed high-ranking Nazi leaders during the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. In 1947, Gilbert published part of his diary, consisting of observations taken during interviews, interrogations, "eavesdropping" and conversations with German prisoners, under the title Nuremberg Diary.

Hermann Goering, one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party, was founder of the Gestapo and Head of the Luftwaffe.

From an 18 April 1946 interview with Gilbert in Goering's jail cell:

Hermann Goering: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

Hermann Goering: "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 12:44 am

Abe –

Good post. Yes, from all the wars initiated during the last half century what Hermann Goring said is very true of U.S. The opposition to the Vietnam War later on was largely because of the draft.

Bertrand Russell in his autobiography describes in length how they prepared the U.K. public with outrageously false propaganda for War – World War I – against Germany in 1914. Bertrand Russell was vehemently against the War with Germany and spent some time in Jail for his activities to oppose the war.

Brad Owen , October 19, 2017 at 3:58 am

Based on what I have read about him, in his own words,on EIR, he was probably opposed to war with Germany because he was already looking ahead to a revival of the "Imperial Rome" situation we have in the Trans-Atlantic Community today, with its near-global Empire (enforced by America), working on breaking up the last holdout:the Eurasian Quarter with Russia, China, India, Iran, etc.

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 2:21 am

Yes Brad, Bertrand Russell did love England and was very proud of English Civilization and it's contributions to the World. Considering his very aristocratic background, his contributions to mathematics and Philosophy are laudable. And he was very much involved in World peace and nuclear disarmament movements.

BobH , October 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

(Goering quote) ahh yes, sometimes it takes a cynical scoundrel to tell the truth!

T.Walsh , October 20, 2017 at 11:09 am

the major war criminals' trial ended in 1946, with the execution of the 10 major war criminals taking place on October 16, 1946.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Elizabeth for the mere fact you are on this site may possibly be your reason for your escape from the MSM as it is a propaganda tool, to be used by the Shadow Government to guide your thought processes. (See YouTube Kevin Shipp for explanation for Shadow Government and Deep State) other than that I think it safe to say we are living in an Orwellian predicted state of mass communications, and for sure we are now living in a police state to accompany our censored news. Joe

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Here is something I feel may ring your bell when it comes to our maintaining a free press. Read this .

"From the PR perspective, releasing one anti-Russia story after another helps cement a narrative far better than an all-at-once approach to controlling the news cycle. The public is now getting maximum effect from what I believe is a singular and cohesive effort to lay the groundwork for global legislation to eradicate any dissent and particular dissent that is pro-Russia or pro-Putin. The way the news cycle works, a campaign is best leveled across two weeks, a month, or more, so that the desired audience is thoroughly indoctrinated with an idea or a product. In this case, the product is an Orwellian eradication of freedom of speech across the swath of the world's most used social media platforms. This is a direct result of traditional media and the deep state having failed to defeat independents across these platforms. People unwilling to bow to the CNN, BBC and the controlled media message, more or less beat the globalist scheme online. So, the only choice and chance for the anti-Russia message to succeed is with the complete takeover of ALL channels. As further proof of a collective effort, listen to this Bloomberg interview the other day with Microsoft CEO Brad Smith on the same "legislation" issues. Smith's rhetoric, syntax, and the flow of his narrative mirror almost precisely the other social CEOs, the US legislators, and especially the UK Government dialogue. All these technocrats feign concern over privacy protection and free speech/free press issues, but their real agenda is the main story."

Here is the link for the rest of the essay to Phil Butler's important news story ..

https://journal-neo.org/2017/10/18/globalist-counterpunch-going-for-the-media-knockout/

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Here is a great example of American politicians colluding with the Russians.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-18/fbi-informant-says-he-was-threatened-after-offering-details-linking-clinton-foundati

When you read this keep in mind that the Russians weren't doing any backroom illegal deals, because the Russians thought that they were dealing on the upside with the Obama White House State Department. Where you may question this, is where our Obama State Department side stepped the law to make money for those couple of Americans who fronted this deal. This is the epitome of hypocrisy of the worst kind.

Disclaimer; please Clinton and Trump supporters try and attempt to see this scandal for what it is. This fudging of the law to make a path for questionable donations is not a party platform issue. It is an issue of integrity and honesty. Yes Trump is the worst, but after you dig into the above link I provided, please don't come back at me screaming partisan politics. This scandal doesn't deserve a two sided political debate, as much as it deserves our attention, and what we do all should do about it.

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Joe Tedesky –

Reading about this Russian Bribery case in buying interest in "Uranium One" reminds me that Russians came a century or two late into this Capitalist Game. And they must be novices and rather crude in this business of bribing. This Russia bribery case is just a puddle in this vast Sea of Corruption to sell weapons, fighter jets, commercial airplanes, and other things by U.S., U.K., French, Swedes or other Western Nations to the Third World countries like India, Egypt, Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria etc. To make a sale of three or four billion dollars they would bribe the ministers and other officials in those countries probably with a 100 million dollars easily. Those of us who belong to the two worlds know it much better. The Indian Newspapers used to be always full of it, whenever I visited.

And the bribe money stays in the Western banks with which those ministers and officials sons and daughters buy extensive properties in these countries. In fact, these kind of issues are the topic of conversation at these Ethnic parties of rather prosperous people to which we do get invited once in a year or so – which minister or official bought what property and where with this kind or other type of corruption money. There used to be stories about Egyptian Presidents Sadat and Mubarak's sons playing around in U.S. having bought extensive properties with the bribe money. For Indian Ministers and Officials U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., and New Zealand are the preferred destinations to buy the properties.

And as we know with the corruption money, rich Russians are buying all these homes and other properties in Spain, U.S., U.K. and other Western Countries. It seems like Putin and his team have stopped most of big time corruption but it is very hard to stop the other corruption in this globalized free market economy, especially in countries where corruption is the norm.

Same is true of these IMF loans to those Third World Countries. Most of the money ends up in these Western Countries. The working class of those countries end up in paying back the high interest loans.

This is the World we are trying to defend with these endless wars and Russia-Gate.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm

Dave I concur that even the Russians are not beyond corruption, but we are not talking about the bad habits of the Russians, no we are talking about U.S. officials possibly breaking the law. I'll bet Dave if I had taken you on a vandalizing spree when we were young bad ass little hoodlums, and we got caught, that your father wouldn't have come after me, as much as he would come after you, as he would have given you a well deserved good spanking for your bad actions. So with that frame of mind I am keeping my focus with this Clinton escapade right here at home.

I like that you did point out to how the Russians maybe new to this capitalistic new world they suddenly find themselves in, but I would not doubt that even an old Soviet Commissar would have reached under the table for a kickback of somekind to enrich himself, if the occasion had arisen to do so. You know this Dave, that bribery has no political philosophy, nor does it have a democratic or communist ideology to prevent the corrupted from being corrupt.

I am not getting my hopes up that justice will be served with this FBI investigation into Hillary and Bill's uranium finagling. Although I'm surmising this whole thing will get turned around as a Sessions Trump attack upon the Clintons, and with that this episode of selling off American assets for personal wealth benefits, will instead fade away from our news cycles altogether. Just like the torture stuff went missing, and where did that go?

Dave I always look forward to hearing from you, because I think that you and I often have many a good conversation. Joe

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 2:07 am

Yes Joe. I agree with you. The reason I wrote my comments was to make a point that Russian businessmen are not the only one who are in the bribery business, the businessmen of other Western Nations are doing the same thing. Yesterday on the Fox News the "Uranium One" bribery case was the main News. Shawn Hannity was twisting his words to make it look like that it is Putin who did it, and that it is Putin who gave all this 140 million as bribery to Clinton Foundation. Actually , I think the 140 millions was given to the Clinton Foundation by the trustees of the Company in Canada. And Russian officials probably greased the hands of a few of them too.

Of course Clintons are directly involved in this case. Considering how Hillary Clinton has been perpetuating this Russia-Gate hysteria, I hope some truth comes out to show that she may be the real center of this Russia-Gate affair. But way the things in Washington are now, probably they are going to whitewash the Hillary Clinton's role in this bribery scandal.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 10:55 pm

While my one comment i wanted for you to read is being moderated, and it is an important comment, read how the Israeli's handle unwanted news broadcasting. When you read this think of the Kristallnacht episode, and then wonder why the Israeli's would do such a terrible thing similar to what they had encountered under Hitler's reign.

http://theduran.com/rt-provider-off-air-palestine-israeli-regime-takes-palestinian-broadcasters/

Be sure to see my comment I left above, which is being moderated. In the meantime go to NEO New Eastern Outlook and read Phil Butler's shocking story, 'Globalist Counterpunch: Going for the Media Knockout'.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 3:41 am

Joe Tedesky – the Zionists had been working (long before Hitler) on getting the Jews into Palestine. Read up on the Balfour Declaration. Hitler was helping them get out to Palestine. During World War II, one of the top German officials (can't remember which one right now) went to Palestine to have discussions with the Zionists. The Zionists basically said to him: "Look, you're sending us lazy Jews. These guys aren't interested in construction. Can't you raise more hell so that the harder-working Jews will want to leave Germany and come to Palestine?"

I think if we ever find out the truth about what happened, we will be shocked.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:11 am

Edmund de Rothschild who was a big financier of Zionism in 1934 on the subject of Palestine had said, "the struggle to put an end to the Wandering Jew, could not have as its result, the creation of the Wandering Arab."

I personally can't see the legality of the 'Balfour Declaration', but before Zionist trolls attack me, I must admit I'm no legal scholar.

I'll need to research that episode you speak of about the Germans meeting the Zionist. It's not an easy part of the Zionist history to study. Unless, you backwardsevolution can provide some references that would help to learn more about this fuzzy history.

Good to see you posting, for awhile your absence gave me concern that you are doing okay. Joe

Skip Scott , October 19, 2017 at 8:38 am

Thanks for the links Joe. Both great articles.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:14 am

Your welcome Skip I'll apologize for my posting all these links, but I kind of went nuts getting into the subject we are all talking about here, and more. Joe

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 11:21 pm

Although this article by the Saker talks about the U.S. being prepared for war against Iran it speaks to the bigger problem of who is America's puppet master.

http://thesaker.is/trump-goes-full-shabbos-goy/

Tannenhouser , October 19, 2017 at 9:40 pm

Joe start with a book called The Transfer Agreement by Edwin Black

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 11:25 pm

I put it on my next book to read. Thanks Tannerhouser appreciate your recommendation. Joe

dfc , October 18, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Elizabeth: Tell your good friend that once they get rid of the Russian propaganda on Facebook they will coming after those that oppose the Fracking Industry next:

How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World

h**p://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/hillary-clinton-fracking-shale-state-department-chevron/

Why Obama's top scientist just called keeping fossil fuels in the ground 'unrealistic'

h**ps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/12/why-obamas-top-scientist-just-called-keeping-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground-unrealistic/

Protesting the Dakota pipeline is not cut and dried

h**ps://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/protesting-the-dakota-pipeline-is-not-cut-and-dried/2016/11/06/2872e228-a207-11e6-8832-23a007c77bb4_story.html

Sorry, but how naive or deeply in the bubble can one be? lol :(

Beverly Voelkelt , October 19, 2017 at 2:50 am

I agree Elizabeth. The ultimate objective is censorship and control, using the pretext of keeping America safe from external meddling just like they enacted the Patroit Act to protect us from the terrists they created.

Daniel , October 19, 2017 at 5:04 am

Thank you Elizabeth. Shutting down alternative voices is clearly the end game here.

David G , October 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm

I'm not crazy about Robert Parry's phrase, "the mistaken judgments of President George W. Bush's administration".

The lying, murdering bastards were lying. It's their parents that made the mistake.

But I'll let it slide.

Tayo , October 18, 2017 at 6:29 pm

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I suggest Mueller focuses on Tinder too. I'm betting there's something on there. Russians have been known to use honey pot plots.

D.H. Fabian , October 18, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Ah, but who is better at it -- Russia or the US? (And dare we even consider the power of China to infiltrate political powers and the media?)

anon , October 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

So do Martians and every other national, religious, and ethnic group on the planet, with the US out in front. You will not trick more careful thinkers by attacking the target du jour.

D.H. Fabian , October 18, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Yes, and over the past week or two, it appears that work is being redirected into holding the vast military behemoth (?), Israel, accountable for our own political/policy choices. Either way, the US is clearly in its post-reality era.

anon , October 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm

zio-alert

Abe , October 18, 2017 at 10:06 pm

The naked gun of post-reality Hasbara propaganda:

When Israeli influence on US foreign policy choices may be discussed, Hasbara troll "D.H. Fabian" pops up to insist:

"Please disperse! There's nothing for you to see here. Keep moving!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSjK2Oqrgic

WC , October 19, 2017 at 12:05 am

And what do you want to discuss Abe? That there is undue influence from Israel on the US government? Maybe, but you could say the same thing about the pharmaceuticals, the MIC, big oil and the bankers, just to begin the list.

If you and others wish to focus in on a single culprit (defined as anyone fighting for their own self interests), fine. But there are opposing views that believe the picture is bigger than the one you would like to paint.

Curious , October 19, 2017 at 1:26 am

WC, I don't want to speak for Abe, but I am wondering about your use of the word "maybe". Since the last count of US politicians was 13 Senators, and 27 House Reps who are dual citizens of Israel, does that not imply a conflict of interest just in those stats alone? Israel doesn't allow dual citizenship in their political system as it is a security risk, so why do we? I will wait for your reply.

WC , October 19, 2017 at 4:23 am

Curious.

I can't speak for the legalities that led to allowing dual citizenship in the House and Senate, nor why Israel doesn't allow dual citizenship in their political system. Like a lot of laws it is probably serving someone's best interests. ;)

As for the word "maybe" and how it relates to your overall question. Just because there are dual citizen reps in government, does that automatically say they all vote in the interests of Israel exclusively? And even if that were the case what makes them any different from the rep sold out to the MIC, big oil, pharmaceuticals, bankers, etc., or combination of? We'd then need to do a study of all of the sold-out politicians and chart the percentage of each to the various interests they sold out to. At what percentage does Israel come into the big picture?

No one is denying Israel has a certain influence on the US government, but given all of the vested interests involved, the US also has a big stake in what happens in the region. I also don't know what the overall game plan is, not just for the middle east but all of the sordid shit going on everywhere. If old George is right about "The Big Club", I'm assuming some group or combination of groups have some master plan for us all, so I am not ready to label any group, country or entity good or bad at this stage of the game. If this somehow leaves out the moral question, I am not idealistic enough to believe morality and Geo-politics often work hand in hand. :)

Brad Owen , October 19, 2017 at 4:41 am

WCs point is valid and correct. The picture is MUCH bigger than a tiny desert country of a few million Semites ruling the World. The actual picture is the outgrowth of the several, world-wide, European Empires having united into one, gigantic "Roman Empire" (under Synarchist directorship) and CAPTURED America, post WWII, to be its enforcer, working to break the last holdout: the Eurasian Quarter including Iran, into a truly global Empire. Israel was a strategy of the British Empire to preclude any revival of a Muslim Empire, threatening its MENA holdings. The enemy is still the British Empire of the 1%er oligarchs in City-of-London and Wall Street. The fact that NOBODY pays attention to this situation, and obsesses over Israel, guarantees the success of the Plan.

anon , October 19, 2017 at 7:29 am

No, the problem of Mideast policy and oligarchy control of mass media is entirely due to zionist influence, including all top ten donors to Clinton 2016. Ukraine and the entire problem of surrounding and opposing Russia is due primarily to zionist influence, due to their intervention in the Mideast, although the MIC is happy to join the corruption for war anywhere. The others on your list "pharmaceuticals, big oil and the bankers" are involved in other problems.

WC seeks to divert discussion from zionist influence by changing the subject.

anon , October 19, 2017 at 7:33 am

Brad, you will have a hard time explaining why US wars in the Mideast and surrounding Russia are always for the benefit of Israel, if you think that ancient Venetians and British aristocracy are running the show. Looks like a diversionary attack to me.

Abe , October 20, 2017 at 2:05 am

The naked solo of "D.H. Fabian" has surged into a Hasbara chorus. Where to begin.

Let's start with "Curious", who definitely does not speak for me.

The "dual citizens" canard is a stellar example of Inverted Hasbara (false flag "anti-Israel", "anti-Zionist", frequently "anti-Jewish" or "anti-Semitic") propaganda that gets ramped up whenever needed, but particularly Israel rains bombs on the neighborhood.

Like Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel or pro-Zionist) propaganda, the primary purpose of Inverted Hasbara false flag propaganda is to divert attention from Israeli military and government actions, and to provide cover for Israel Lobby activities

The Inverted Hasbara canard inserted by "Curious" came into prominence after the Israel-initiated war Lebanon in 2006. Israel's shaky military performance, flooding of south Lebanon cluster munitions, use of white phosphorus in civilian areas brought censure. Further Israeli attacks on Gaza brought increasing pressure on the neocon-infested Bush administration for its backing of Israel.

A Facebook post titled, "List of Politicians with Israeli Dual Citizenship," started circulating. The post mentioned "U.S. government appointees who hold powerful positions and who are dual American-Israeli citizens."

With the change of US administration in 2008, new versions of the post appeared with headlines such as "Israeli Dual Citizens in the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration." Common versions included 22 officials currently or previously with the Obama administration, 27 House members and 13 senators.

The posts were false for a variety of reasons, not least of which was the misrepresentation of Israeli nationality law. Israel does allow its citizens to hold dual (or multiple) citizenship. A dual national is considered an Israeli citizen for all purposes, and is entitled to enter Israel without a visa, stay in Israel according to his own desire, engage in any profession and work with any employer according to Israeli law. An exception is that under an additional law added to the Basic Law: the Knesset (Article 16A) according to which Knesset members cannot pledge allegiance unless their foreign citizenship has been revoked, if possible, under the laws of that country.

The Law of Return grants all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel and almost automatic Israeli citizenship upon arrival in Israel. In the 1970s the Law of Return was expanded to grant the same rights to the spouse of a Jew, the children of a Jew and their spouses, and the grandchildren of a Jew and their spouses, provided that the Jew did not practice a religion other than Judaism willingly. In 1999, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that Jews or the descendants of Jews that actively practice a religion other than Judaism are not entitled to immigrate to Israel as they would no longer be considered Jews under the Law of Return, irrespective of their status under halacha (Jewish religious law).

Israeli law distinguishes between the Law of Return, which allows for Jews and their descendants to immigrate to Israel, and Israel's nationality law, which formally grants Israeli citizenship. In other words, the Law of Return does not itself determine Israeli citizenship; it merely allows for Jews and their eligible descendants to permanently live in Israel. Israel does, however, grant citizenship to those who immigrated under the Law of Return if the applicant so desires.

A non-Israeli Jew or an eligible descendant of a non-Israeli Jew needs to request approval to immigrate to Israel, a request which can be denied for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to) possession of a criminal record, currently infected with a contagious disease, or otherwise viewed as a threat to Israeli society. Within three months of arriving in Israel under the Law of Return, immigrants automatically receive Israeli citizenship unless they explicitly request not to.

In short, knowingly or not, "Curious" is spouting Inverted Hasbara propaganda.

Conventional Hasbara (pro-Israel, pro-Zionist) propagandists constantly attempt to portray Israeli military threats against its neighbors, Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, Zionist claims of an "unconditional land grant covenant" for Israel, or the manipulations of the Israel Lobby, as somehow all based on "the way the world really works".

"WC" slithered into the CN comments srael's land grab "solution" was under scrutiny here:
Israel's Stall-Forever 'Peace' Plan (September 23, 2017)
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/23/israels-stall-forever-peace-plan/

"WC" has repeatedly promoted a loony "realism" in the CN comments, claiming for example that "The Jews aren't doing anything different than the rest have done since the beginning of time."

The Conventional Hasbara troll refrain is that whatever Israel does "ain't no big thing".

"D.H. Fabian", "WC" and others are not Hasbara trolls because we somehow "disagree". They are Hasbara trolls because they promote propaganda for Israel.

Fellow travellers round out the Hasbara chorus.

Commenter anon discourses in absolutes such as "entirely due to zionist influence" and "always for the benefit of Israel".

Commenter Brad Owen just can't understand why everyone "obsesses" over that "tiny desert country" when "the Plan" outlined by LaRouche is sooo much more interesting.

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 11:55 am

Abe – An excellent analysis – very penetrating. Yes, I understand it very clearly.

I am one of those who does not have the background in this area. However, reading the largely British view oriented newspapers since I was fourteen , in a different land where at that time during 1950's and early 60's, all viewpoints were discussed including the communist Russian/Soviet side, and the Communist Chinese side too, one develops a balanced outlook on the World events.

Reading your comments on Israel's citizenship laws, is very eye opening for me. Israel is a very Racist State, which is kind of the opposite of what Jewish Writers write books in this country about America being the melting pot. Some of us have already melted here. I sometimes wonder, Jewish writers are writing all these books, but why don't they melt! Are they special chosen people?

WC , October 20, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Let me first dispel the notion that I am trying to change the subject, as "anon" would like to imply. What I am after is a proper perspective as opposed to something blown out of proportion.

When it comes to the subject of Israel, Jews and Zionism, Abe would appear to be well versed on the subject. He certainly cleared up "Curious"s question on dual citizenship!

With Abe and others on this site, Zionism is the big daddy culprit in the world today. I, on the other hand, see it as simply one part of a bigger picture, which I am still trying to get my head around, but I am quite certain it goes far beyond just a regional issue. In reading what Abe has to say on this subject over the past few months, he may very well be right about Zionist influence and a take no prisoners-type of resolve in pursuing their aims (whatever that may be). But none of this has yet to convince me they are entirely wrong either.

Which brings us to the subject of morality. Take a second look at what Abe has chosen to cherry pick from what he sees as the "Hasbara chorus" – all pointing to "trolls" who (he thinks) are in support of an all powerful and heartless sect. This is what is known as being overly dramatic and speaks volumes about what Abe (and others on this site) view as the most objectionable of all – the moral wrongs being committed. For the sake of clarification "morality" is defined as "principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior". Most of us who are not suffering from a mental disorder can agree on what constitutes right and wrong at its purist level, but thrown into a world filled with crime, corruption, greed, graft, hate, lust, sociopaths and psychopaths vying for power, sectarian violence, a collapsing economy, inner city decay, and all of the vested special interests jockeying to save their piece of the pie, what is right and wrong becomes far more convoluted and mired in mud. Simply throwing perfect world idealism at the problem will not fix it. In fact, it will get you as far as the miles of crucified Christians that lined the road to Rome. Which is a hell of a way to prove you are so right in a world filled with so much wrong.

Since the day I "slithered in" here, I have asked the same question over and over – what are your REAL world solutions to REAL world problems? So far, the chorus of the Church Of The Perfect World has offered up nothing. :)

Abe , October 20, 2017 at 6:07 pm

Making the same statements over and over again, "WC" is clearly "after" a Hasbara "proper perspective" on Israel.

For example, in the CN comments on How Syria's Victory Reshapes Mideast (September 30, 2017), "WC" advanced three key Hasbara propaganda talking points concerning the illegal 50-year military occupation of Palestinian territory seized by Israel during the 1967 War:
– Spurious claims about "what realistically (not idealistically) can be done"
– Insistence that "Israel is not going to go back to the 1948 borders"
– Claims that the US "depends on a strong Israeli presence"

A leading canard of Hasbara propaganda and the Israeli right wing Neo-Zionist settlement movement is the notion of an "unconditional land grant covenant" entitlement for Israel.

Land ownership was far more widespread than depicted in the fictions of Israeli propaganda. In reality, the Israeli government knowingly confiscated privately owned Palestinian land and construct a network of outposts and settlements.

Israel's many illegal activities in occupied Palestinian territory encompass Neo-Zionist settlements, so-called "outposts" and declared "state land".

The United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (which provides humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone).
The 1967 "border" of Israel refers to the Green Line or 1949 Armistice demarcation line set out in the Armistice Agreements between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

The Green Line was intended as a demarcation line rather than a permanent border. The 1949 Armistice Agreements were clear (at Arab insistence) that they were not creating permanent borders. The Egyptian–Israeli agreement, for example, stated that "the Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question."

Similar provisions are contained in the Armistice Agreements with Jordan and Syria. The Agreement with Lebanon contained no such provisions, and was treated as the international border between Israel and Lebanon, stipulating only that forces would be withdrawn to the Israel–Lebanon border.

United Nations General Assembly Resolutions and statements by many international bodies refer to the "pre-1967 borders" or the "1967 borders" of Israel and neighboring countries.

According to international humanitarian law, the establishment of Israeli communities inside the occupied Palestinian territories – settlements and outposts alike – is forbidden. Despite this prohibition, Israel began building settlements in the West Bank almost immediately following its occupation of the area in 1967.

Defenders of Israel's settlement policies, like David Friedman, the current United States Ambassador to Israel, argue that the controversy over Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory is overblown.

The Israeli government and Israel Lobby advocates like Ambassador Friedman claim the built-up area of settlements comprises only around 2% of the West Bank.

This Hasbara "2%" argument is at best ignorant, and at worst deliberately disingenuous.

The "2%" figure is misleading because it refers restrictively to the amount of land Israeli settlers have built on, but does not account for the multiple ways these settlements create a massive, paralytic footprint in the illegally occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

Since 1967, Israel has taken control of around 50% of the land of the West Bank. And almost all of that land has been given to the settlers or used for their benefit. Israel has given almost 10% of the West Bank to settlers – by including it in the "municipal area" of settlements. And it has given almost 34% of the West Bank to settlers – by placing it under the jurisdiction of the Settlement "Regional Councils."

In addition, Israel has taken hundreds of kilometers of the West Bank to build infrastructure to serve the settlements, including a network of roads that crisscross the entire West Bank, dividing Palestinian cities and towns from each other, and imposing various barriers to Palestinian movement and access, all for the benefit of the settlements.

Israel has used various means to do this, included by declaring much of the West Bank to be "state land," taking over additional land for security purposes, and making it nearly impossible for Palestinians to register claims of ownership to their own land.

The Israeli Supreme Court has repeatedly used the term "belligerent occupation" to describe Israel's rule over the West Bank and Gaza. Indeed, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the question of a previous sovereign claim to the West Bank and Gaza is irrelevant to whether international laws relating to occupied territories should apply there.

Rather, the proper question – according to Israel's highest court – is one of effective military control. In the words of the Supreme Court decision, "as long as the military force exercises control over the territory, the laws of war will apply to it." (see: HCJ 785/87, Afo v. Commander of IDF Forces in the West Bank).

The Palestinian territories were conquered by Israeli armed forces in the 1967 war. Whether Israel claims that the war was forced upon it is irrelevant. The Palestinian territory has been controlled and governed by the Israeli military ever since.

Who claimed the territories before they were occupied is immaterial. What is material is that before 1967, Israel did not claim the territories.

Ariel Sharon, one of the principal architects of Israel's settlement building policy in the West Bank and Gaza, recognized this reality. On May 26, 2003, then Israeli Prime Minister Sharon told fellow Likud Party members: "You may not like the word, but what's happening is occupation [using the Hebrew word "kibush," which is only used to mean "occupation"]. Holding 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation is a bad thing for Israel, for the Palestinians and for the Israeli economy."

Whether one believes that these territories are legally occupied or not does not change the basic facts: Israel is ruling over a population of millions of Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens. Demographic projections indicate that Jews will soon be a minority in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

Real world solutions:

An end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

An end to apartheid government and the beginning of real democracy in Israel.

What can be done now?

United States government sanctions against Israel for its 50-year military occupation of Palestine, its apartheid social regime, and its arsenal of nuclear weapons.

The United States can require Israel to withdraw its forces to the 1967 line, and honor the right of return to Palestinians who fled their homeland as a result of Israel's multiple ethnic cleansing operations.

In addition, the United States can demand that immediately surrender its destabilizing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons arsenal or face severe U.S. action.

Hasbara trolls will keep trying to change the subject, continue muttering about "opposing views" and some "bigger picture" picture", and repeatedly insist that an Israel armed with weapons of mass destruction routinely attacking its neighbors "ain't no big thing".

Tannenhouser , October 20, 2017 at 10:30 am

Most of the ones in control of "pharmaceuticals, the MIC, big oil and the bankers" are Israel firsters as well. Round and round we go eh?

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , October 19, 2017 at 4:31 am

This is probably as good a place as any to point out that it isn't just Russophobia at work; Congress is hard at work to protect Israel's abominable human rights record from public criticism as well. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is squarely aimed at criminalizing advocates of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement and has 50 co-sponsors in the Senate. See https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/720?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22israel+anti-boycott+act%22%5D%7D&r=2

The Act is squarely aimed at our First Amendment right to boycott and to advocate for boycotts. See https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/first-amendment-protects-right-boycott-israel?redirect=blog/speak-freely/first-amendment-protects-right-boycott-israel

dahoit , October 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

wapo says Hamas disarm because us and israel want them to.israel won't disarm though.Boy.

Curious , October 18, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Thank you Mr Parry for actually taking the time to read the NYT or WaPo for your readers, so we don't have to. There is only so much disinformation one can cram into our 'cranium soft drives' regarding journalists with no ethics nor moral rudders.
It reminds me of watching Jon Stewarts Daily Show to check out the perverse drivel on Fox News since to watch Fox myself would have damaged me beyond repair. Many of my friends are already Humpty-Dumptied by the volume of fragmented info leeching into their bloodstreams by 140 character news.
Thank you for your fortitude in trying to debunk the news and 'outing' those editors who feel they are insulated from critical analysis.

dahoit , October 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

jon stewart?WTF?

Curious , October 19, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Well dahoit,
Just chalk it up to a historical reference as that is around the time I stopped watching TV, having worked in the biz for some 30 years. I don't miss it either. Jon gave us a lot of humor and a lot of clever, surreptitious info, and the way they captured the talking points of the politicians by the use of their fast cuts was remarkable. There was a lot of political content in a show meant to just be humorous. Sorry you feel otherwise.

fudmier , October 18, 2017 at 6:59 pm

EITHER OR, INC. (EOI) a secret subsidiary of Deep Sewer Election Manipulators, Inc (DSEMI), a fraudulent make believe Russia company, that changes election outcomes, in foreign countries, to conform the leadership of the foreign country with Russia foreign policy, studied the most recent USA candidates and concluded Russia could not have found persons more suited to Russian foreign policy than the candidates the USA had selected for its American governed, to vote on. The case is not yet closed, EOI is still trying to decide if there is or was a difference between the candidates..

Charles Misfeldt , October 18, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Our election process is so completely corrupted I doubt that a few thousand dollars of Facebook ads that no one pays any attention to could sway the vote, I am much more concerned about bribery, Israel, American Zionists, racists, corporations, evangelicals, dominionists, white nationalists, anarchist's, conservatives, war profiteers, gerrymanders, vote purges, vote repressors, voting machine hackers, seems like Russian's are pretty far down the list.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Now you talking, let's get to the real stuff. Good one Charles. Joe

Peter Loeb , October 19, 2017 at 6:08 am

I don't have "FACEBOOK". Or any other "social media (whatever that may be.)
I don't "tweet" and the technology which we were once told would save
the world, has left me behind. I don't text. I have no smart phone
or cell.

I no longer have a TV of any description. Or cable with millions of things
you don't want to see anyway.

Only my mind is left. For some more years.

(J.M. Keynes: " in the long run we will all be dead."

Perhaps one has to have "social media" to be born in
this generation. Do you need it to exit?

Please accept my thoughts with my "asocial" [media]
appologies.

-- -Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

My "tweet"/message is only my fear that the NY Yankees
will be in the World Series where I can hate them with complete
impunity. (I was created a fan of the Washington Senators,
morphed into a Brooklyn Dodgers fan so the usually failing
Boston Red Sox fits me well. Being for that so-called "dodgers"
team on the west coast is a forced marriage at best.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:27 am

Peter screw Facebook and all the rest of that High Tech Big Brother Inc industry, and the garbage they are promoting.

Also Peter do you have a little Walter Francis O'Malley voodoo doll to stick pins in it? I also haven't followed baseball since Roberto Clemente died.

We kids use to skip school to go watch Clemente play. In fact in 1957 a young ball player who the Pirates had acquired in somekind of trade with the Brooklyn Dodgers chased my seven year old little butt out of right field when I wandered all confused onto the field. That young rookie who chased my loss little being off the field, was none other than the great number 21 Roberto Clemente.

Actually the only thing you left out Peter was the Braves moving to Atlanta. Take care Peter, and let's play more ball in the daylight, and let's make it more affordable game to watch again. Play ball & BDS. Joe

Thomas Phillips , October 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

I'm envious now Joe. Roberto Clemente was one of my favorite baseball players. My no. 1 favorite, though, was Willie Mays. And speaking of the Braves moving to Atlanta, my father took my brother and I there the first year the team was in Atlanta. The Giants were there for a series with the Braves, and I got to see Mays play (my first and only time). I would have loved to have been able to skip school and watch Clemente play.

On the subject of concern here, The Hill has a couple of stories on the zerohedge.com story you referenced above. From what I read, it appears to me that if this is still an open case with the FBI, Ms. Clinton (and Obama?) could possibly face criminal charges in this matter. We can only hope. To Peter – I do have an old 1992 console TV, but no cable; so I have no television to speak of. I have a VHS and DVD player though and watch old movies and such on the old TV.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Thomas how cool. My buddies and I would purchase the left field bleacher seats for I think fifty cents or maybe it was a dollar. Then around the third inning we would boogie on over into the right field stands overlooking the great Roberto, and yell 'hey Roberto'. From right field we kids would eye up the empty box seats off of third base. Somewhere about the sixth or seventh inning we would sneakily slide into those empty box seats along third base side, where you could see into the Pirate dugout along first. Now the Pirate dugout is along third. The box seat ushers would back then justbsimply tell us kids to be good, and that they got a pat on the back from management for filling up those empty box seats, because the television cameras would pick that up. The best part was, we little hooky players did all of this on our school lunch money.

About that FBI thing with Hillary I'm hoping this doesn't get written off as just another Trump attack, and that this doesn't turn into another entertaining Benghazi hearing for Hillary to elevate her status among her identity groupies. Joe

mark , October 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

All this nonsense will soon die an evidence-free natural death, but rather than admit to the lies the MSM will divert the Deplorables with some convenient scandal like the Weinstein affair.

The effect of all this will be to hammer the final nails in the coffin of the political establishment and its servile MSM. This process began with the Iraqi WMD lies, and now 6% of the population believes what it sees in the MSM.

Skip Scott , October 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

mark-

I wish you were right, but with all the money being thrown around, and scumbag Mueller in the mix, how this will end is anybody's guess. I'm also curious where you got the 6% figure. Sounds like wishful thinking to me.

Stephen J. , October 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm

We have sewer rats in our depraved "democracy."
More info at link below:
October 18, 2017
Is This The "Democracy" of the Depraved?
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/10/is-this-democracy-of-depraved.html

falcemartello , October 18, 2017 at 7:54 pm

Great take Mr Parry
Smoke and mirrors to distract we the sheeple of this dying paradigm. Fascism alive and well in the land of the free. The sheeple r now entering the critical stage, they have hit 20 percent. Dangerous times for the western masters of the universe. Get ready for more false flags to keep the sheeple blinded from reality. The recent events globally with regards to Iran, Syria and the DPRK are all their for distractions add the Russians ate my homework and viola distraction heaven. But like I said more and more people in the US and the west are turning off 1/5 to be exact and that spells trouble for the masters. They want war at all costs 600 percent debt is not a sustainable economic system . IMF warning just the other day that all it will take is one major European bank to crash and viola. So dangerous and interesting times we r living. Is it by design in order to get their way.?I would say yes to that.

Sam F , October 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Good notes. Incidentally you may intend the French "voila" rather than the musical instrument "viola."

Skip Scott , October 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Voila, viola. Didn't Curly of the three stooges do a bit on that?

Michael K Rohde , October 18, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Should I say it? Shocker. NYT and HIllary are a potent team. Add on Google and CNN and you have a formidable propaganda organization that is going to influence millions of American. Plus Face Book and you have most of America covered without a dissenting voice. I used to be one of their customers, reading and believing everything they put out until Judith Miller was exposed with W and Scooter. I confess to a jaundiced eye since then. Unfortunately there isn't a whole lot out there if you like to read good writers of relevant material. We have a problem, Houston.

Joe Tedesky , October 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm

If it is possible to consider Russia helped throw the 2016 presidential election with 100k spent over a three year period, then why not suspect and investigate the American MSM, who gave Donald Trump 4.9 billion dollars worth of free media coverage? Surely you all may recall the wall to wall commercial free cable network coverage Trump used to receive during the way too long of a presidential campaign? Now we are being led to believe that a few haphazard placed Russian adbuys on FB stool the election from 'it's my turn now boys' Hillary. Here I must admit that as much as I would love to have a woman President, I would choose almost any qualified women other than Hillary. But yeah, this Russia-gate nonsense is a creation of the Shadow Government, who wants so badly to see Putin get thrown out of office, that they would risk starting WWIII doing it.

Larry Gates , October 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm

A single person started all this nonsense: Hillary Clinton.

Jessica K , October 18, 2017 at 9:46 pm

No need for America to be influenced to turn the internet into a sewer, America is doing just fine on that with no help at all. The Russians are just mocking us over there, which is perfectly understandable. In fact, from what I read, Russians are actually more religious and concerned about immorality than Americans.

This whole thing is a joke, we know it, it's an attempt to control people, and I for one am pretty sick of it and don't mind telling anyone just that. Let them sputter, stomp their feet, or whatever. Keep it up, United States, and you'll be playing in the schoolyard all by yourself!

Stephen J. , October 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Was the article below in corporate media? Link below:
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
Thousands of govt docs found on laptop of sex offender married to top Clinton adviser
Published time: 18 Oct, 2017 16:45Edited time: 18 Oct, 2017 18:37
https://www.rt.com/usa/407120-fbi-found-3k-docs-weiner/

Sam , October 19, 2017 at 12:10 am

It's amazing how the "mainstream media" has pushed this Russian collusion nonsense. What's more amazing is how every time an article is published my these outlets claiming some new evidence of Russian collusion, within 24 hours there's evidence to the contrary. I think the whole Pokemon and Facebook claims are the lowest point in this Russian collusion nonsense. The worst part is we won't see it end anytime soon

Sam F , October 19, 2017 at 7:38 am

Good points, Sam. There are many named "Sam" so please distinguish your pen name from mine, perhaps with an initial. Thanks!

Drew Hunkins , October 19, 2017 at 12:46 am

Absolutely crucial and outstanding piece by Mr. Parry. His well thought out dissection of Politifact is invigorating.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 12:52 am

Peter Schweizer, author of "Clinton Cash", has been talking about the biggest Russian bribe of all, the one no one wants to talk about – Uranium One. This deal may have been the reason why $145 million ended up in Clinton Foundation coffers, all while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

Here is Peter Schweizer today on Tucker Carlson's program talking about it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNTdlyx7EMQ

Daniel , October 19, 2017 at 5:21 am

Her emails showed that HRC's internal polling proved her greatest vulnerability with her supporters was when they were told the details of her uranium deal.

Skip Scott , October 19, 2017 at 9:03 am

Thanks for the link. Great interview. The real Russia-gate!

flip diving , October 19, 2017 at 12:54 am

Your site has a lot of useful information for myself. I visit regularly. Hope to have more quality items.

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 1:33 am

Joe – I never had interest in conspiracy type stories and narratives like that. However, after reading the zerohedge article in the link in your post, I am beginning to seriously doubt the Seth Rich murder investigation findings by the Washington DC police – I had some misgivings before about it too. I think there was not any significant involvement by FBI in the case. And the Justice department under Loretta Lynch did not pursue the investigation.

Knowing all kind of stories in the news about Clintons friend Vince Foster's death during 1990's , and many other episodes in Bill and Hillary Clinton's political life, I wonder about the power and reach of this couple. And now this article and no investigation of this bribery and corruption scandal during Obama's presidency. It all smells fishy.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 1:58 am

Dave not only as what you had mentioned, but the Seth Rich story seems to have become taboo in our news. I realize what the Rich family requested, but when did ever a request from the family ever get honored by the big media ever before? I'm not suggesting anything more, than why is the Seth Rich murder appearing to be off limits, and further more with Seth's death being in question and implicated to the Wikileaks 'Hillary Exposures' being Seth one of those 'leakers', then take responsibility DNC and ask the same questions, or at least answer the questions asked. I hope that made sense, because somehow it made sense to me.

The suggestion of any alternative to the establish narrative gets tossed to the wind. I think this drip, drip, flood, of Russia collusion into the gears of American Government is a way of America's Establishment, who is now in charge, way of going out with a bang. The world is starting to realize it doesn't need the U.S., and the U.S. is doing everything in it's power to help further that multi-polar world's growing realization that it doesn't.

Okay Dave. Joe

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 2:57 am

Joe, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has the power to initiate investigations into these cases. However, it seems to me that the Ruling Elite/Deep State does not want to wash the dirty linen in front of the whole World. It would be very embarrassing; it will show the true picture of this whole sewage/swamp it is. Jeff Sessions or others in high places, have no independence at all, even if they want to pursue their own course – which they rarely do.

It seems like that all these investigations are a kind of smoke screen to hide the real issues. During 1950's or 60's , people in this country mostly trusted the leaders and elected officials. And majority of the leaders, whatever their policies or sides they took on issues, had some integrity, depth, solidity and dignity about them. But it seems to me that these days politicians do not have any of it. The same is true of the Media. This constant mindless Russia-Gate hysteria being perpetuated by the elected leaders, Media, and pundits without any thought or decorum is not worthy of a civilized country. Also, it is not good for the Country or the World.

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

Yes Dave the quality of accountability and responsibility in DC is sorely lacking of concern to be honest, and do the right thing by its citizens. This is another reason why it's good to talk these things over with you, and many of the others who post comments here. Joe

BobH , October 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

Joe,Dave, glad you bring it up Russiagate seems to be providing a full eclipse of any investigation into the Seth Rich murder and just whatever happened to his laptop?

Joe Tedesky , October 19, 2017 at 10:45 am

I think Bob the Rich investigation got filed under 'conspiracy theory do not touch' file. Joe

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 1:39 am

Hours ago:

"Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley asked the attorney of a former FBI informant Wednesday to allow her client to testify before his committee regarding the FBI's investigation regarding kickbacks and bribery by the Russian state controlled nuclear company that was approved to purchase twenty percent of United States uranium supply in 2010, Circa has learned.

In a formal letter, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked Victoria Toensing, the lawyer representing the former FBI informant, to allow her client, who says he worked as a voluntary informant for the FBI, to be allowed to testify about the "crucial" eyewitness testimony he provided to the FBI regarding members of the Russian subsidiary and other connected players from 2009 until the FBI's prosecution of the defendants in 2014. [ ]

FBI officials told Circa the investigation could have prevented the sale of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium supply under U.S. law. The deal which required approval by CFIUS, an inter-agency committee who reviews transactions that leads to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the United States. At the time of the Uranium One deal the panel was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder."

https://www.circa.com/story/2017/10/18/judiciary-committee-calls-on-former-fbi-informant-to-testify-about-uranium-one

This FBI informant was apparently gagged from speaking to Congress by either Loretta Lynch or Eric Holder (I've heard both names). Why would they have done this?

Sven , October 19, 2017 at 1:44 am

Very well written article

Lee Francis , October 19, 2017 at 2:41 am

The whole Russia-Gate brouhaha has become a monumental bore. How anyone with a modicum of intelligence and moral integrity can believe this garbage is beyond me. I salute Mr Parry for his fortitude in clearing the Augean stables of this filth; it reminds of the old Bonnie Raitt song, to wit – 'It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it." personally I can't be bothered reading it anymore.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 2:51 am

Stefan Molyneux does a great job in this 25-minute video where he outlines the absolute corruption going on in the Banana Republic of Americastan on both the left and right.

He ends up by saying that all of the same actors (Rosenstein, McCabe, Mueller, Comey, Lynch, Clinton) who were part of covering up Hillary's unsecured servers and Uranium One are the very same people who are involved with going after Trump and his supposed collusion with Russia. Same people. And the media seem to find no end of things to say about the latter, while virtually ignoring the former.

https://www.sgtreport.com/articles/2017/10/18/shocking-fbi-corruption-exposed-true-news

Dave P. , October 19, 2017 at 3:39 am

backwardsevolution –

Yes, Media ignores the other scandal while beating up 24/7 on Russian inference/collusion in the Presidential Election. It is the same with the Foreign News. There was this more than 10,000 strong torchlit Neo-Nazi March in Kiev last Saturday. The pictures in the Sputnik News of these neo-Nazis in the march were very threatening. I think that most of the Russians have probably left West Ukraine. There was not even a mention of this March in the Los Angeles Times.

However, a week before Alexander Navalny had this protest – 500 figure as given the Western media – in Moscow. The picture was splashed across the entire page of Los Angeles Times with a half page article, mostly beating up on Putin.

I rarely watch TV shows. However, this Tuesday, because of the some work going on our house, I was home most of the day. My wife was watching TV starting in the afternoon well into the evening – MSNBC, CNN, PBS newshour; Wolg Blitzer, Lawrence O'Donnell, Don Lemon, Rachel Maddow, and others with all these so called experts invited to the shows. Just about most of it was about beating up on Trump and Russia as if it is the only news in the Country and in the World to report. It was really pathetic to hear all these nonsensical lies and garbage coming out the mouths of these talk show hosts and experts. It is becoming Banana Republic of Americanistan as you wrote.

backwardsevolution , October 19, 2017 at 4:04 am

Hi, Dave P. Yeah, I swear they have things on the shelf that are ready-to-go stories whenever there's a lull in the Trump/Russia collusion nonsense. This last week they pulled Harvey Weinstein off the shelf and crucified the guy (not that he shouldn't have been). If this Uranium One deal gets legs, watch for some huge false flag to coincidentally appear to take our minds off of it.

The biggest thing separating a "first world" country from a "third world" country is the rule of law. Without it, you might as well hoist up a flag with a big yellow banana on it and call it a day. Bananastan has a nice ring to it.

Cheers, Dave.

Lee Francis , October 19, 2017 at 8:10 am

"There was this more than 10,000 strong torchlit Neo-Nazi March in Kiev last Saturday." It never happened, well according to the Washington Post (aka Pravda on the Potomac) or New York Times (aka The Manhattan Beobachter) who, like the rest of the establishment media lie by omission. Other things that didn't happen – the Odessa fire where 42 anti-Maidan demonstrators were incinerated by the Banderist mob who actually applauded as the Union Building went up like a torch with those unfortunate people not only trapped inside with the entrances barricaded, but those who jumped out of windows to escape the flames (a bit like 9/11 in New York) were clubbed to death as they lie injured on the ground. The film is on youtube if you can bear to watch it, I could only bear to watch it once. According to the website of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was "another bright day in our national history." A Svoboda parliamentary deputy added, "Bravo, Odessa . Let the Devils burn in hell." These people are our allies, along of course with Jihadis in the middle east.

In his the British playwright Harold Pinter's last valediction nailed the propaganda methodology of the western media with the phrase, 'even while it was happening it wasn't happening.'

Dave P. , October 20, 2017 at 2:31 am

Lee Francis –

yes. The words : 'even while it was happening it wasn't happening.' It is from his Nobel lecture. I read the text of Nobel Lecture by Harold Pinter at that time – very passionate lecture. Pinter had terminal throat cancer, he could not go to Sweden. I think he sent his video of the Nobel lecture to be played.

Jessica K , October 19, 2017 at 7:14 am

It will be interesting to see how the so-called left leaning media like MSNBC and CNN spin the Uranium One/Obama-Clinton State Department story. The right, especially Hannity on Fox, are on it, also Tucker Carlson who is moderate mostly. When these pundits say "Russia", they seem to imply "Putin" but that may not be the case. And they always want to imply the US is beyond corrupt business deals, which is a joke. It's about time the Clinton case is cracked, but with corruption rampant, who knows?

JeffS , October 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

The targeting of Pokemon Go users was especially nefarious because aren't about half of those people below voting age? But when they finally are old enough to vote we can say that they were influenced by Russia! And this is always reported in a serious tone and with a straight face. I find the aftermath of the 2016 election to be 'Hillary'ous. The obviously phony from the get-go Russia story was invented out of whole cloth to allow stunned Democrat voters to engage in some sort extended online group therapy session. After a year many are still working through the various stages of the grieving process, and some may actually reach the final stage -- Acceptance (of the 2016 Election results)

mike k , October 19, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Good one!

Jamila Malluf , October 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Excellent Report! Consortium needs a video outlet somebody to give these reports. There are many places other than YouTube you could use and I could become one of your Amateur video editor :)

mike k , October 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

The Rulers fear the internet.

Liam , October 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

#MeToo – A Course In Deductive Reasoning: Separating Fact From Fiction Through The Child Exploitation Of 8 Year Old Bana Alabed

https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/10/19/metoo-a-course-in-deductive-reasoning-separating-fact-from-fiction-through-the-child-exploitation-of-8-year-old-bana-alabed/

rosemerry , October 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

I was glad to see that when H Clinton was in England, the RT ads all around were making fun of the blame game. Someone needs to lighten up and stop the ludicrous nonsensical year-long concentration on blaming Russia for the deep defects in almost all aspects of US presence in our world. Observe Pres. Putin and nearly every other real leader getting on with negotiations, agreements, constructive trade deals, ignoring the sinking ship led by the Trumpet and the Republican Party, while the Dems slide down with them.

Realist , October 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm

I think the "Powers that be" in America actually believed it when Karl Rove announced to the world that the U.S. government had the godlike power to create any reality of its own choosing, the facts be damned, and the entire world would come to accept it and live by it, like it or not. They've been incessantly trying to pound this square peg of a governing philosophy into holes of a wide spectrum of geometric shapes ever since, believing that mere proclamation made it so. Russia, China, Iran and any other country that does business with this troika are evil. Moreover, any country that does not kowtow to Israel, or objects to its extermination campaign against the Palestinian people, is evil. Even simply pursuing an independent foreign policy not approved by Washington, as Iraq, Libya and Syria felt entitled to do, is evil. Why? Because we say so. That should suffice for a reason. Disagree with us at your peril. We have slaughtered millions of "evil-doers" in Middle Eastern Islamic states who dared to disagree, and we have economically strapped our own "allies" in Europe to put the screws to Russia. The key to escape from this predicament is how much more blowback, in terms of displaced peoples, violated human rights, abridged sovereignty and shattered economies, is Europe willing to tolerate in the wake of Washington's megalomaniacal dictates before it stands up to the bully and stops supporting the madness. When does Macron, Merkel and May (assuming they are the leaders whom others will follow in Europe) say "enough" and start making demands on Washington, and not just on Washington's declared "enemies?"

And, if the internet has indeed become the world's "cloaca maxima," I'd say first look to its inventors, founders, chief administrators and major users of the service, all of which reside in the United States. In terms of volume, Russia is but a small-time user of the service. If the object is to re-create a society such as described in the novel "1984," it is certainly possible to censor the damned thing to the point where its just a tool of tyranny. The "distinguished" men and corporations basically running the internet planetwide have already conferred such authority to the Chinese government. Anything they don't want their people to see is filtered out, compliments of Microsoft, Google, Facebook and the other heavy hitters. Just looking at trends, rhetoric and the fact that the infrastructure is mostly privately-owned, I can see the same thing coming to the West, unless the users demand otherwise, vociferously and en masse.

Tannenhouser , October 20, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Trump is running point on the distraction op currently being run, to distract from the actual crimes committed by the Blue section of the ruling political party. So far he played his part brilliantly, knowingly or unknowingly, matters not.

Jerry Alatalo , October 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Readers of Consortium News come from around the world, from very small towns with populations in the few 1,000's to major cities with populations in the millions, and everything size category in between. In each of those categories of population size, the power is controlled by those possessing the greatest wealth inside that particular population, whether small town, medium, semi-large or major city. One can describe each category of population center as pyramidal in power structure, with those at the top of the pyramid the wealthiest few who "pull the strings" of societies, and, as relates to war and peace, the people who literally fire the first shots.

Identify those at the top of the world category pyramid, call them out for their war crimes, and then humanity has a fighting chance for peace.

Curious , October 19, 2017 at 7:56 pm

For WC,
Thank you for your answer to my question. The 'reply' tab is gone on the thread so I will reply here.
I believe I was trying to figure out the difference between "lawmakers" and the corporate entities you mentioned. Obviously the lawmakers are heavily influenced by the money and the lobbyists from the large corps which muddies the waters and makes it even more difficult to find clarity between politicians and the big money players. When the US sends our military into sovereign countries against international law, it's fair to ask whether it is at the behest of corporate interests, or even Israels' geopolitical agenda, especially in the Middle East.
The large corps you mentioned don't have the legal authority to send our military to foreign lands and perform duties that have nothing to do with US defense (or do they?) and that is why I try to understand the distinction between 40 dual citizens of Israel within the 'lawmakers' of our country and large corporations. When Israels 'allowance' from US tax payers goes remarkably up in value, one has to wonder how and why that occurs when our own country is suffering. That's all I wonder about. I won't distract any more from Mr. Parrys' article.

GM , October 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

If I recall correctly, Politifact is owned by the majority owners of the St Petersburg times, which family is a major big Clinton donor.

Kevin Beck , October 20, 2017 at 9:01 am

I am curious whether Russia is really able to employ all these "marketing geniuses" to affect elections throughout the world. If so, then America's greatest ad agencies need to look to Moscow for new recruits, instead of within our business schools.

Riikka Söyring , October 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Maybe Politifact declares it? stance is based on an alternative fact?

But greetings from Finland. In here is in full swing a MSM war against so called fake media, never mind the fact that many are the stories in fake media that have turned out to be the truth -- or that we are supposed to be a civilized country with free speech.

Our government with the support of the MSM is using a term hatespeech to silence all tongues telling a different tale; some convictions have been given even though our law does not recognise hatespeech as a crime. The police nor the courts can not define exactly what hatespeech is -- so it is what they want it to be.

[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 f