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US Presidential Elections of 2016:

Transitional period as a fight between Trump and the attempts of Deep State to enslave him (and remind him about JFK destiny)  

Neocons want to counterattack and possibly enslave Trump by promoting birds of a feather for key Trump administration positions

Version 5.2 (Nov 25, 2016)

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Hillary Clinton email scandal New American Militarism Anti-Russian hysteria Anti Trump Hysteria Two Party System as Polyarchy
Donald Trump Trump foreign policy platform DNC emails leak Bernie Sanders: A turncoat socialist, who betrayed his voters US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections: from primaries to election day Is Hillary Clinton a war criminal, the killer of women and children in Syria and Libya? Trump vs. Deep State The Deep State
Bill sexapades and Hillary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Hillary wet kiss with neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary role in Libya disaster Questions about Huma Abedin email forwarding Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary health issues
Monday morning quarterbacking Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Hillary as a pathological liar Lock her up movement Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Non-Interventionism Is Hillary Clinton a toxic manager? Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Trump economic platform
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoconservatism Demonization of Putin  American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Perjury Investigation of Hillary Clinton
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter Pluralism as a myth Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme   Trump on immigration
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Corporatism National Security State Predator state Machiavellism Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few
Betrayal by Bernie Sanders of his supporters Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Note: due to the size introduction was moved to a separate page November 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization

This election is about the backlash against neoliberalism that became the dominant ideology of the ruling elite in the USA since 1980th. At this point blue color workers became sick of Demorats (aka Neoliberal Democrats) who are betraying them after each elections ("Change we can believe in" in worlds of the king of "bait and switch" Obama) and expecting still they will vote for Democratic as they have nowhere to go (Clinton strategy). They want to show middle finger to Clinton and other neoliberal criminals who deprived them of work, of dignity, of health (heroine epidemic is hitting the USA really hard). It's a class war all over again. Note how neoliberal media tried to misrepresent it accusing Trump supporters of racism, bigotry, and all other sins to mask anti-neoliberal backlash of the US population, and the revolutionary situation in the county, when the elite lost the control of the population. Which really somewhat reminds me the last days of the USSR when communist propaganda stopped working and people start seeing the "Politburo" as "naked king" -- a bunch of corrupt priests of obscure religion, who do not believe in the ideology they promote for "shmucks", only with their own and their families well-being. that their sons and daughters attend Western universities and their wives are shopping in Paris.

It is not an exaggeration to see in 2016 Presidential election as a referendum on neoliberal globalization. But the political power still belongs to  Neoliberals, which dominates both the government and the economy (transnationals are the cornerstone of neoliberal world order). It's a big question if the American people will be able to change neoliberal dogma, the official civil religion of the USA without a violent revolution...

The great Trump political breakthrough was consolidating the white working class and white middle class vote. At last "clintonization" (sellout of the Party to Wall Street whichwas initialed by Bill Clinton, converting it into the party of "soft neoliberalism" which at times was undistinguishable from "hard neoliberalism" )  of Democratic Party backfired.  Demexit -- abandoning of Demorats by white working and middle class is now a reality.

Writing in Politico, Georgetown political scientist Joshua Mitchell has a long, important take on the deep meaning of Trump — and it’s probably not what you think:

If you listen closely to Trump, you’ll hear a direct repudiation of the system of globalization and identity politics that has defined the world order since the Cold War. There are, in fact, six specific ideas that he has either blurted out or thinly buried in his rhetoric: (1) borders matter; (2) immigration policy matters; (3) national interests, not so-called universal interests, matter; (4) entrepreneurship matters; (5) decentralization matters; (6) PC speech—without which identity politics is inconceivable—must be repudiated.

These six ideas together point to an end to the unstable experiment with supra- and sub-national sovereignty that many of our elites have guided us toward, siren-like, since 1989.

 That is what the Trump campaign, ghastly though it may at times be, leads us toward: A future where states matter. A future where people are citizens, working together toward (bourgeois) improvement of their lot. His ideas do not yet fully cohere. They are a bit too much like mental dust that has yet to come together. But they can come together. And Trump is the first American candidate to bring some coherence to them, however raucous his formulations have been.

This is a clear repudiation of neoliberalism (aka "casino capitalism" or  Trotskyism for the rich) -- the secular religion to both Republican and Democratic parties adhere (while the term is prohibited from mass media -- can you imagine the Communist Party of the USSR would prohibit its members under the threat of purge to utter the word "communism" or call themselves "communists").  And that means that Trump is a threat to Washington neoliberal elite, the threat to neoliberal  Washington_Consensus, which  since 1980 (or even earlier) rules the place. That's why they fight and demonization of Trump is conducted by neoliberal media with such a fierce determination. That's why such a tremendous efforts and money are spend on propelling sick and unprincipled establishment candidate -- Hillary Clinton. A warmonger neoconservative, who is a staunch neoliberal (like her husband Bill Clinton).

The US neoliberal elite ("creator class" or "Masters of the Universe" in neoliberal jargon) have successfully revolted against the political and economic constraints on their wealth and power put by "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal, and for 36 years managed to redistribute wealth up to the level that has no historical presidents. As a result social stability is in danger and "the rest" (or Untermensch, or "takers"/"welfare queen" in neoliberal jargon) are rebelling in the only way left open to them: voting for anyone who claims to be an outsider. (Romney-Ryan 'makers vs. takers' rhetoric helped spawn Donald Trump Washington Examiner)

This idea of low-income "takers" lay beneath Mitt Romney's view that the 47 percent of adults in the U.S. who owed no federal income tax were therefore "dependent upon government" and "who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them…."

...

But "taker" is a slur also when aimed at recipients of government benefits. Millions of "takers" are people who work 40 hours, but at low wages, and thus receive the earned-income tax credit. Will you blame their low wages on them? Perhaps they got horrible education thanks to incompetent government, or were just never blessed with marketable skills.

Some percentage of the 47 percent are World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans, who after serving their country, put in decades of work, and now live off the Social Security they paid into, without earning enough to owe federal income tax.

The "takers" include widows receiving food stamps, the ill being kept alive by Medicaid, and people drawing on unemployment because their employer got up and moved to Mexico.

More importantly, many of those on welfare or disability hate that they are dependent. They want to be working.

Are there "welfare queens," lazy able-bodied moochers, and people scamming disability? Yes. But lumping in 47 percent of the country with these scoundrels is as illegitimate lumping all businessmen in with the failed bankers who depend on bailouts.

This wasn't just Ryan's mistake. Conservatives broadly have equated low income with dependency. The conservative belief that the market tends to reward skill and diligence often mutates into a belief that poverty reflects some sort of turpitude.

That view helped give birth to Donald Trump, who has tapped into the working class that Ryan and Romney had pushed away.

Globalization and free trade are fast becoming dirty words. That’s because they were  culprits for major  shocks — like the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States alone, median household income has been practically stagnant for about three decades, the labor market continues to be anemic, manufacturing jobs have been lost, and many have experienced a significant deterioration in living standards.

Much of the post-Brexit and primary election conventional wisdom seems to be stuck in a political narrative in which the Brexit vote and the rise of Trumpism in the United States are seen as symbols of the populist revolution. These symbols are combined with a nationalist tide has been sweeping not only the United Kingdom and the United States, but also many other parts of Europe, including Poland, Hungary, France, The Netherlands and Scandinavia, not to mention, Russia, Turkey, India and Israel.

According to this narrative, economic insecurity and cultural anxiety that reflect sociodemographic trends have given momentum to ethnonationalism and religious separatism in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The Rust Belt is pitted against New York City, and the Midlands against London.

All this means that the crisis of neoliberalism, which started in 2008 now obtained political dimension, when the institutions created by neoliberalism are under attacks from the disgruntled population. The power of neoliberal propaganda, the power of brainwashing and indoctrination of population via MSM, schools and universities to push forward neoliberal globalization started to evaporate. And the fight against neoliberal globalization is not easy and it is not accidentally Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee and neoliberal MSM unlashed unprecedented campaign of blackmail against Trump.  The fact is, Sheldon Wolin not accidentally calls neoliberalism "inverted totalitarianism" . It's a system where corporate power has seized all of political  levers of control. In fact, under neoliberalism, there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We also have lost our privacy. And under Obama, an assault against civil liberties has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out.

This is about the crisis of neoliberal ideology and especially Trotskyism part of it (neoliberalism can be viewed as Trotskyism for the rich). The following integral elements of this ideology no longer work well and are starting to cause the backlash:

  1. High level of inequality as the explicit, desirable goal (which raises the productivity). "Greed is good" or "Trickle down economics" -- redistribution of wealth up will create (via higher productivity) enough scrapes for the lower classes, lifting all boats.
  2. "Neoliberal rationality" when everything is a commodity that should be traded at specific market. Human beings also are viewed as market actors with every field of activity seen as a specialized market. Every entity (public or private, person, business, state) should be governed as a firm. "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." People are just " human capital" who must constantly tend to their own present and future market value.
  3. Extreme financialization or converting the economy into "casino capitalism" (under neoliberalism everything is a marketable good, that is traded on explicit or implicit exchanges.)
  4. The idea of the global, USA dominated neoliberal empire and related "Permanent war for permanent peace" -- wars for enlarging global neoliberal empire via crushing non-compliant regimes either via color revolutions or via open military intervention.
  5. Downgrading ordinary people to the role of commodity and creating three classes of citizens (moochers, or Untermensch, "creative class" and top 0.1%), with the upper class (0.1% or "Masters of the Universe") being above the law like the top level of "nomenklatura" was in the USSR.
  6. "Downsizing" sovereignty of nations via international treaties like TPP, and making transnational corporations the key political players, "the deciders" as W aptly said. Who decide about the level of immigration flows, minimal wages, tariffs, and other matters that previously were prerogative of the state.

So after 36 (or more) years of dominance (which started with triumphal march of neoliberalism in early 90th) the ideology entered "zombie state". That does not make it less dangerous but its power over minds of the population started to evaporate. Far right ideologies now are filling the vacuum, as ith the discreditation of socialist ideology and decimation of "enlightened corporatism" of the New Deal in the USA there is no other viable alternatives.

The same happened in late 1960th with the Communist ideology. It took 20 years for the USSR to crash after that with the resulting splash of nationalism (which was the force that blow up the USSR) and far right ideologies.

It remains to be seen whether the neoliberal US elite will fare better then Soviet nomenklatura as challenges facing the USA are now far greater then challenges which the USSR faced at the time. Among them is oil depletion which might be the final nail into the coffin of neoliberalism and, specifically, the neoliberal globalization.

This has been a bipartisan effort, because they've both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d'ιtat in slow motion, and it's over.

Neoliberal poison destroys a society and lifts the politicians with nationalistic bend like Trump. First, neoliberalism dislocated the working class, de-industrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system.

I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind Trump. But the point is, we've got to break away from-which is exactly the narrative neoliberal MSM want us to focus on.

 We've got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party.

We need to be aware of neoliberal brainwashing. I mean, this whole debate over the DNC WikiLeaks emails disclosure is insane. The key question here is not who leaked emails, but whether they are authentic or not. They are. As well as DNC dirty laundry exposed those long emails -- you should read them. They're really appalling, and exposes the way the Democratic primaries were rigged. Tricks used included the mechanism of the superdelegates (which unlawfully declared their allegiance very early creating pro-Clinton pressure of voters) , the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, and the huge amounts of corporate money and money of super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign. This faux feminism on which Hillary Clinton based her campaign is another propaganda trick. She si hostile to both women and children. Cold like any sociopath.  The fact is, Clinton has a track record of hurting US children: she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70% of the original recipients were children.

If is important to understand that the rise of nationalism, the phenomenal success of Trump is just a form of backlash against neoliberalism. 

Continued...


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US Presidential Elections of 2016 from primaries to election day US Presidential Elections of 2016: Primaries US Presidential Elections of 2016: 2015 part of the campaign US Presidential Elections of 2012

[Jan 22, 2017] Obama Admits Gap in Russian Hack Case – Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... Oops. Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the U.S. intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with "high confidence" – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds. ..."
"... "the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked ..."
"... He offered a similarly designed comment at a Dec. 16, 2016 press conference when he said: "based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks." ..."
"... Obama does not bridge the gap because to do so would represent a bald-faced lie, which some honest intelligence officer might call him on. So, he simply presents the two sides of the chasm – implies a connection – but leaves it to the listener to make the leap. ..."
"... Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of Assange, has made clear that the two separate batches of Democratic emails – one from the DNC and the other from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – also were leaks from insiders, not hacks from outsiders. ..."
"... "In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media. ..."
"... "Most crucially of all Obama refers to 'The DNC emails that were leaked.' Note 'leaked' and not 'hacked.' I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense 'Russian hacking' story." ..."
"... For whatever reason Obama finally decided to steer clear of the moronic "Russia Connection" BS. At least for the final record. ..."
"... Very true. The stories of risks from other great powers are based upon absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, and the subsidy of wars of aggression for Israel and Saudi Arabia is insanity and corruption to the point of treason. The US has no interest in war at all except bribery from MIC/Israel/KSA. The warmongers should all be in Club Fed Guantanamo for good. ..."
"... Perjury .Any president of the USA is continuously under oath from day one The only thing is USA citizens are cowards. They allow the elite money changers to sway the law ..."
"... The oath thing is effectively a Hitlerian Big Lie. Presidents (and most people, good and bad) lie as naturally as breathing. ..."
"... In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. ..."
"... Obama has used his speaking skills to take us all down the long garden path, beginning as a campaigner who was apparently anti-war and becoming one of the worst of the pro-war presidents. He can claim he never promised he was anti-war during his 2008 campaign because is is "so rhetorically eloquent at . obfuscation" and he very carefully creates "his oratorical constructs." ..."
"... Well, Donald Trump is our president. It is hard to imagine how he will rid the world of the Cold War and it's hard to miss his shift from talking about it directly to the war against Muslim extremism. While we hope it would, working with Russia on ISIS does not mean that the taunting by our Generals or by NATO will disappear. The President has bridled at the behavior of the CIA but will he be able to reduce its power. Ditto the military that he praises as all presidents do and speaks of making it even bigger. ..."
"... His positions on trade will run up against the power of investors who want to freely move their money where the profits are. Arguments like the second world war was a result of our protectionists policies after the Depression hit will surface and the public will be reminded that advanced countries simply don't behave the way he proposes. ..."
"... The choice of one word by Obama is not a strong argument, nor is there a case that "almost certainly" Russia hacked the DNC email, versus China or the US or a private hacker. The US certainly did so, as it has far greater resources and is known to have the ability. So the most likely government hacking source is a US agency like NSA. And the most likely source is the disaffected, resigned, and murdered DNC staffer Mr. Rich. ..."
"... The issue s/n/b "who" leaked "what", it s/b =>why, should information<= about "salaried, elected 527 actor [and appointee] activities" be allowed any privilege of privacy or secrecy. Obviously, those who need to be best informed in a democracy, about the activities and exploits of those in or near to power, are those furtherest from the seats of power, the members of the voting public. Privilege of secret or privacy belongs to those furtherest from the seats of power. Seat occupants possess no privilege or secret to any aspect of their activities and exploits. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton was not trusted. She was a weak candidate whose allegiance was to a tiny sliver of powerful wealthy people. everybody knew that. She cost herself the election. The argument her defenders are using trying to blame the Russians, the FBI, blah blah blah is that if only the truth could have been kept from the voters their candidate would have won. That is a very weak position and does not help their credibility. They play a dangerous game trying to inflame passions against Russia instead of cleaning their own house. ..."
"... Sorry folks, this smacks of W. Bush maintaining "we have no direct evidence that Osama Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11" fully knowing that the majority of Americans had already been successfully programmed to the contrary. The big admission Obama is lacking here is the admission that the whole "Putin hacked" scenario was scripted in the bowels of the American security state otherwise known as the fourth branch of our government. ..."
"... Thank Obama for "dispelling . . . obfuscation"? Obama called for a thorough investigation back in December then almost immediately made statements to the effect that "nothing much happens without Putin knowing it" and "the Russians are capable of doing this" (the essence of his remarks). Massaging the hysteria nicely, wasn't he? Now he states "conclusions are not conclusive." Once again here he is the spinmaster on his silver toe defending his ego. Too kind, Ray, much too kind and generous for this kind of behavior. ..."
"... The NYT will preserve it's reputation as the "toilet paper of record" a remarkably accurate quip from that, All American, Gerald Celente of Trends Research. ..."
"... The apocalyptic visions of George Orwell's warnings "Big Brother is Watching You," have now come to pass. Let us re-examine the classic works of that master of propaganda, Edward Bernays and his modern day student, Philip D. Zelikow. ..."
Jan 20, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The hole in the U.S. intelligence community's "high confidence" about Russia "hacking" Democratic emails has always been who gave the material to WikiLeaks, as President Obama admitted, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Oops. Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the U.S. intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with "high confidence" – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds.

Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. If Russian intelligence did not do so, this would constitute gross misfeasance, especially since the DNC was such easy pickings and the possibility of gaining important insights into the U.S. government was so high. But that is not the question.

It was WikiLeaks that published the very damaging information, for example, on the DNC's dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remains to be demonstrated is that it was "the Russians" who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community doesn't know.

At President Obama's Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: "the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked ." [Emphasis added}

It is necessary to carefully parse Obama's words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs. He offered a similarly designed comment at a Dec. 16, 2016 press conference when he said: "based on uniform intelligence assessments, the Russians were responsible for hacking the DNC. the information was in the hands of WikiLeaks."

Note the disconnect between the confidence about hacking and the stark declarative sentence about the information ending up at WikiLeaks. Obama does not bridge the gap because to do so would represent a bald-faced lie, which some honest intelligence officer might call him on. So, he simply presents the two sides of the chasm – implies a connection – but leaves it to the listener to make the leap.

WikiLeaks Account

As I suggested to RT viewers right after the last press conference, the reason WikiLeaks might have been "not witting" could be that it was quite sure it was not a "conduit" for "hacking" by the Russians or anyone else. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has stated that the Russian government was not the source and it's significant that President Obama stopped short of contradicting him. It is also clear that WikiLeaks, in the past, has obtained LEAKED information from U.S. whistleblowers, such as Chelsea Manning.

Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of Assange, has made clear that the two separate batches of Democratic emails – one from the DNC and the other from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta – also were leaks from insiders, not hacks from outsiders.

After the Jan. 18 press conference - what Murray called the "Stunning Admission from Obama on Wikileaks" - Murray wrote:

"In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material. This undermines the stream of completely evidence-free nonsense that has been emerging from the US intelligence services this last two months, in which a series of suppositions have been strung together to make unfounded assertions that have been repeated again and again in the mainstream media.

"Most crucially of all Obama refers to 'The DNC emails that were leaked.' Note 'leaked' and not 'hacked.' I have been repeating that this was a leak, not a hack, until I am blue in the face. William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, has asserted that were it a hack the NSA would be able to give the precise details down to the second it occurred, and it is plain from the reports released they have no such information. Yet the media has persisted with this nonsense 'Russian hacking' story."

So I suppose we should thank Barack Obama for dispelling at least some of the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent, while our lame "mainstream" media take steno and regurgitate ad nauseam .

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Sally Snyder , January 20, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Here is an interesting look at an essay written by Barack Obama when he was a student at Columbia University:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/01/a-young-barack-obama-and-his-ironic.html

It is so ironic that he is now the only POTUS to serve his full term in a state of war, yet another inconsistency in his persona.

Bob Van Noy , January 20, 2017 at 8:05 pm

Thanks for the link Sally Snyder. They can't be the same person. Can they?

Zachary Smith , January 20, 2017 at 7:33 pm

"So I suppose we should thank Barack Obama for dispelling at least some of the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent, while our lame "mainstream" media take steno and regurgitate ad nauseam."

Not me. In my opinion Obama has been "playing nice" for his final few days and hours in the hope citizens and historians will make that "leap" and conclude he was a nice guy at heart after all.

The Moon of Alabama site had this viewpoint:

The DNC emails "that were leaked" – not "hacked" or "stolen" but "leaked".

One wonders if this is a parting shot is primarily aimed at the involved Intelligence Agencies led by James Clapper and John Brennan. Or is dissing Hillary Clinton and her narrative the main purpose?

That blogger could be right and I might be wrong. For whatever reason Obama finally decided to steer clear of the moronic "Russia Connection" BS. At least for the final record.

Robert E. Moran , January 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm

William Binney was right. A leak, not a hacked was done to the DNC.

Bob Van Noy , January 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Thank you Ray McGovern and The VIPS for keeping us informed about this most important event. It has the potential to expose much wrongdoing affecting our fragile democracy. Watching it being "played out" in real time is a great asset of this remarkable site where truth and decent conversation are carried out on a daily basis

backwardsevolution , January 20, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Ray McGovern – another great article! Keep up the good work. Can't wait to find out what Trump says to the CIA tomorrow. Maybe Trump needs to take along Craig Murray.

Bob Van Noy , January 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

backwardsevolution, please see my comment below about Craig Murray.

Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm

That would be awesome! It won't happen of course. But it would be awesome.

Dr. Ibrahim Soudy , January 20, 2017 at 8:37 pm

what i find truly fascinating is that nobody is giving any attention to the FACT that the DNC cheated to make Hillary the nominee in the general elections!! That is not hacking or leaking, it is CHEATING which should be treated accordingly ..even B.S. himself, should have raised hell about that but he lined up like a sheep dog behind Hillary go figure

Joe Tedesky , January 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Ah Doctor now you are talking. The hacking, leaking , and anything else along those line keep us from talking about the real problem. That problem being Hillary's cheating. Good that you brought it up.

Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

The question then, is, Did those fools kill two birds with one stone? Or did they flub twice and have the contents of two eggs on each of their faces? They thought that they could count on the foundation of the doctrinal system, and people's having been marinated in it's bullcrap, when they tossed out the 'Putin did it line'. They did all the evil that Wikileaks revealed and only added to it with that nonsense that much (most?) of the public now disbelieves.

Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:21 pm

I have not had the time to look into this the way I want to and I regret that. It's not just that I haven't had the time to examine something important and interesting. I have been misled by Craig Murray's own account, not intentionally I'm sure. Neverthless. I took from one of his blog posts the idea that he met the leaker, full stop. Then, as I perused comments by others (Off Guardian I believe), I realized that it wasn't that simple. Craig met someone acting as a courier for the leaker or leakers, apparently. The difference is not unimportant. Craig can say that he knows that the info that Wikileaks obtained here was not 'hacked', based on his having received it from the leaker or his or her courier. That's fair. But if that's how it went down, then I don't want to say that Murray 'met' the leaker. I wish people would be honest. It's important.

Yes, l know all about the other stuff. William Binney's explanations for why it wasn't a hack etc.. That's all good. But it's not my focus here. I was misled and then I misled others and my credibility could be impacted by something like this. If my efforts to educate others is important, then that credibility problem is important.

bob , January 20, 2017 at 8:40 pm

It appears to me Barack and Hillary simply conspired to destroy Bernie's candidacy and populism. It is and always forever shall be about cash.

Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia infinitum.

Our military is an ocean of unaccounted, bloody cash. One Nation Under God. I can tell you this.

I guarded B-52's, F-4 Phantoms, C-5 A's, the secret Black Sheep Squadron of C-130's with no external insignias jammed with electronics to spy on European nations etcetera. No one in their right mind can send these gigantic machines to bomb defenseless little girls who can't even see them they fly so high and be sane. Toys for the insatiably insane. Absolute lunacy and we glorify it because we're trained like rats.

Sam F , January 21, 2017 at 7:33 am

Very true. The stories of risks from other great powers are based upon absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, and the subsidy of wars of aggression for Israel and Saudi Arabia is insanity and corruption to the point of treason. The US has no interest in war at all except bribery from MIC/Israel/KSA. The warmongers should all be in Club Fed Guantanamo for good.

Aristotle warned of these tyrants over democracy, causing foreign wars to create fear and to demand power as false protectors, and to accuse their opponents of disloyalty. Our Constitutional Convention failed to protect the tools of democracy, mass media and elections, from the economic concentrations that did not then exist. The US needs constitutional amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited registered individual contributions, and to improve checks and balances.

John , January 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Perjury .Any president of the USA is continuously under oath from day one The only thing is USA citizens are cowards. They allow the elite money changers to sway the law

Arby , January 21, 2017 at 6:26 pm

The oath thing is effectively a Hitlerian Big Lie. Presidents (and most people, good and bad) lie as naturally as breathing.

Presidents' lies definitely do more damage than little people's lies, not to excuse any of it. (I don't lie, big or white)

To get an idea how much of liar Barack Obama is (which was known early on; See the book "Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion" edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank) just give Seymour Hersh's book "The Killing Of Osama bin Laden" a read.

The book is unbalanced, in that it's as much about Syria (and the lies told, and not told, about that) as it is about bin Laden. But it's very good, although Hersh, who isn't as independent of the establishment as some believe him to be, unfathomably believes that Obamacare was a plus for Obama's legacy.

Bill , January 20, 2017 at 8:52 pm

So you're almost certain that the Russian government hacked the DNC? Based on what, a guess? The whole story has had a bad smell to it from the beginning. Assumptions don't cut it, we need proof.

Bill Bodden , January 20, 2017 at 10:07 pm

In his final press conference, beginning around 8 minutes 30 seconds in, Obama admits that they have no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material.

If "they" had practiced a daily habit of reading Consortium News "they" would have known how Wikileaks got the information.

Call A Spade , January 21, 2017 at 4:11 am

No US citizen would have taken that into account they are emotive they do not vote on evidence otherwise there would have been two different choices.

Tom , January 20, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Eh idk about this. There have been reports that the intel community already identified the russians who gave wikileaks the data. It just hasnt been disclosed in the unclassified reports. And what obama said there has to be looked at carefully. I dont think he's disspelling the narrative, i think he's just saying that Wikileaks might not have known they were being used by Russia as a conduit and means of getting the data published. Who knows though

Charlie M. , January 20, 2017 at 11:11 pm

Bro. Ray, thank you for giving us clarity. We will need more of it. Keep up the Good Fight.

paul , January 21, 2017 at 12:47 am

hi, the hack is easy to figure. mr. PODESTA used a soft easy password so that anyone could hack it. he wanted people to find the clinton email with DEPLORABLES in it. so that it would go viral. he regarded it as having racial tones & he was pissed off at hillary about it. sanders voters were blacks gays & hispanics etc. OBAMA & all the democrats know this but they wont mention it because it reflects on them. i-e therefor /ergo russia the scapegoat bogeyman.or the truth would make them look foolish.–beware the TALENT ACT /circa january 2017 .

BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS , January 21, 2017 at 1:34 am

Great piece, Ray. What I especially appreciated were your comments on Obama's understated great skill in using language.

For example, you write:

"It is necessary to carefully parse Obama's words since he prides himself in his oratorical constructs."

and later:

"the obfuscation at which he is so rhetorically eloquent."

Obama has used his speaking skills to take us all down the long garden path, beginning as a campaigner who was apparently anti-war and becoming one of the worst of the pro-war presidents. He can claim he never promised he was anti-war during his 2008 campaign because is is "so rhetorically eloquent at . obfuscation" and he very carefully creates "his oratorical constructs."

Great job, Ray. Showing that Obama not only was screwing around with innuendo on the issue of Russian hacking, but that Obama's been screwing around with our minds beginning with his statements as a Senator and continuing right until his most recent statements as POTUS.

Joe , January 21, 2017 at 3:28 am

Thank god the election is over and it's time to change wall-hangings and furniture. Civilians also get a change in themes that have preoccupied journalists, such as the Democrats' acute case of McCarthyism.

But now that there is a Republican in the WH, what are you guys going to write about? It's been getting a little old .

Call A Spade , January 21, 2017 at 4:05 am

How would the 2017 Australia of the year possibly be involved isn't he under house arrest in London?

Herman , January 21, 2017 at 4:07 am

Well, Donald Trump is our president. It is hard to imagine how he will rid the world of the Cold War and it's hard to miss his shift from talking about it directly to the war against Muslim extremism. While we hope it would, working with Russia on ISIS does not mean that the taunting by our Generals or by NATO will disappear. The President has bridled at the behavior of the CIA but will he be able to reduce its power. Ditto the military that he praises as all presidents do and speaks of making it even bigger.

His positions on trade will run up against the power of investors who want to freely move their money where the profits are. Arguments like the second world war was a result of our protectionists policies after the Depression hit will surface and the public will be reminded that advanced countries simply don't behave the way he proposes.

On education reform he will find himself pilloried for trying to destroy public education, and suggesting that parents should have choices will be derided as a violation of our Constitution and its freedom of religion First Amendment and other charges piled upon those.

Touching preferential treatment because of race will be shouted out of the room.

In addition to those barriers to getting anything done there is the calls for America first, which is fine except it must include a willingness to deal constructively with world problems. For example, it is disappointing when talking about borders and immigrants, he did not connect our role in the destruction of Middle East countries with the mass exodus from the region. Why not point to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, even on the borders of Russia and China as places where such extremism exists and changing our own behavior is important to combat it.

On health care, good luck. Obama gave us something which setting the move toward universal coverage back years by creating a monster which helped those who see universal care as a threat to their profits and power. Announcing a plan for universal coverage is far removed from the vision Trump creates for our country of greater "freedom" and unleashing the constructive power of free enterprise. Universal health coverage and opening up the health system to innovation could work together but doubtful that Trump would have the power to make it happen even if he saw it as helping the people.

So Trump, already pilloried, marginalized and boxed in, will have a hard time getting anything done, and the interests that oppose anything progressive will not hesitate to unite, scratching each others' back and help each other defeat whatever Trump proposes.

Trump the maverick, Trump the reformer. Would it be so.

Anon , January 21, 2017 at 7:20 am

The choice of one word by Obama is not a strong argument, nor is there a case that "almost certainly" Russia hacked the DNC email, versus China or the US or a private hacker. The US certainly did so, as it has far greater resources and is known to have the ability. So the most likely government hacking source is a US agency like NSA. And the most likely source is the disaffected, resigned, and murdered DNC staffer Mr. Rich.

Let's refuse to play the corrupt DNC game of distraction from the email contents. The story here is that the DNC is controlled by big money and foreign powers Israel and KSA.

There is no other story on this subject, and this constant harping on the distraction story suggests complicity in the diversion of public attention from the DNC corruption.

fudmier , January 21, 2017 at 9:56 am

The issue s/n/b "who" leaked "what", it s/b =>why, should information<= about "salaried, elected 527 actor [and appointee] activities" be allowed any privilege of privacy or secrecy. Obviously, those who need to be best informed in a democracy, about the activities and exploits of those in or near to power, are those furtherest from the seats of power, the members of the voting public. Privilege of secret or privacy belongs to those furtherest from the seats of power. Seat occupants possess no privilege or secret to any aspect of their activities and exploits.

Democracy demands an inverse relationship between government actors closet to "centralized power" and the "privilege" of secrecy or privacy.

evelync , January 21, 2017 at 10:46 am

you're absolutely correct, fudmier. Bernie was trusted by Dems, Independents and Republicans because he spoke the plain truth about our sorry state of affairs. He would've won.

The DNC, corrupt, dishonest, did not serve the large majority of people in their own party.

They conspired to disrupt Bernie's candidacy from the beginning starting with the first primary in the Southeast when they tried to discredit Bernie with that letter from the DNC chairs of the southern block.

It is important for VIPS to demand the proof of the so called hack.

Hillary Clinton was not trusted. She was a weak candidate whose allegiance was to a tiny sliver of powerful wealthy people. everybody knew that. She cost herself the election. The argument her defenders are using trying to blame the Russians, the FBI, blah blah blah is that if only the truth could have been kept from the voters their candidate would have won. That is a very weak position and does not help their credibility. They play a dangerous game trying to inflame passions against Russia instead of cleaning their own house.

Joel Kabakov , January 21, 2017 at 11:31 am

Sorry folks, this smacks of W. Bush maintaining "we have no direct evidence that Osama Bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11" fully knowing that the majority of Americans had already been successfully programmed to the contrary. The big admission Obama is lacking here is the admission that the whole "Putin hacked" scenario was scripted in the bowels of the American security state otherwise known as the fourth branch of our government.

D5-5 , January 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Thank Obama for "dispelling . . . obfuscation"? Obama called for a thorough investigation back in December then almost immediately made statements to the effect that "nothing much happens without Putin knowing it" and "the Russians are capable of doing this" (the essence of his remarks). Massaging the hysteria nicely, wasn't he? Now he states "conclusions are not conclusive." Once again here he is the spinmaster on his silver toe defending his ego. Too kind, Ray, much too kind and generous for this kind of behavior.

Mark Thomason , January 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Thank you. Good points well expressed. This has been buried by those who know better, as partisanship has overtaken truth.

Trump bashing is an expression of the shock of 9:00 pm Election Night returns that were "impossible." It is the political expression of Hillary's drunken ravings that night.

We see Stages of Grief in place of intelligence reports.

Bob Van Noy , January 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm

backwardsevolution, (Responding on Saturday). I thought you'd appreciate what Craig Murray had to say about President Trump today and note the commentary because it's primarily European

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk

Bill Bodden , January 21, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Thank you, Bob, for that excellent link.

evelync , January 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Yes, thank you Bob!

Craig Murray's solid piece is very welcome!!
So glad that there are well informed and honest writers determined to reveal the difference between our words and our actions as a country.

elmerfudzie , January 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Ray, the media propaganda that signaled another world war has now passed? I'd love to think so FDR was quoted as saying "you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can't fool all the people all the time" and IKE's, now famous or rather infamous (he did nothing to stop the momentum) warning about the size and growth of our military industrial congressional complex.

Yet, politicians and citizen proles alike seem to dismiss these words of wisdom. Humanity continues to be dragged towards an inevitable disaster.

Trump announced that he will INCREASE military spending while rebuilding our infrastructure?-already he's BS-ing us.

The NYT will preserve it's reputation as the "toilet paper of record" a remarkably accurate quip from that, All American, Gerald Celente of Trends Research.

The apocalyptic visions of George Orwell's warnings "Big Brother is Watching You," have now come to pass. Let us re-examine the classic works of that master of propaganda, Edward Bernays and his modern day student, Philip D. Zelikow.

It is here we will find the current societal Mission of George Orwell's, Ministry of Truth(s), that is, all three branches of our federal government.

Information gatekeepers of the new Ministry of Propaganda have assumed the shape of, and taken full control of, most of the Western Occident cable and newsprint media. These facts serve to amplify my WW III fears and warnings. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote: "The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses." This same oratory is the "new" yet at the same time, terribly old, politic of the new POTUS.

[Jan 22, 2017] Can a new geopolitical alliance arise consisting of Russia, the new ottoman and the US.

Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 07:28 AM
Not in touch with Tunis.

The rest of spring time for jihadis are known bollux: Libya, Egypt*, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan...... Lebanon outside spring time for jihadis it is under Shiite wraps not so bollux.

*CIA and generals jailed the jihadis to keep Camp David bribes coming.

JF -> Ben Groves... , January 21, 2017 at 08:21 AM
I am terribly worried that a move of the US embassy to Jerusalem is part if a set of provocations leading to US military interventions to eliminate the threats as this group defines them to be (radical islamists). This would immediately make the US and Russian oil industries more valuable as the middle east becomes enflamed.

A new axis arises: Russia, the new ottoman and the US.

I just cant help thinking that this is the plan, you will be measured on your patriotism and allegiances here. Dismaying.

EMichael -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 08:29 AM
I know you and I both hope you are wrong.

But it does go hand in hand with this "America First" schtick.

"But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. 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 peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

― Hermann Gφring

im1dc -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 08:41 AM
I don't think you are wrong.
Peter K. -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 09:32 AM
"I am terribly worried that a move of the US embassy to Jerusalem is part if a set of provocations leading to US military interventions to eliminate..."

You could be right, but most of Trump's campaign talk was isolationist, if contradictory. The Iraq adventurism was a disaster, etc.

He doesn't like diplomacy, like the Iran deal, so there could be more brinkmanship which is dangerous. But a war would be very unpopular. Again he may not care since war could be used as a distraction.

Authoritarian allies like the Arab dictatorships are happy in that a Trump administration won't criticize them about human rights violations or freedom of the press. Russia and China will be happy about that as well.

Trump is basically a real-estate developer/tax fraud etc. I don't see war as a foregone conclusion.

JF -> Peter K.... , January 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM
He used the word 'to protect' in his inaugural. That is definitely not isolationism especially after declaring that he will eliminate radical islam from the earth (close to a direct quote, I'm pretty sure).

And isn't he the one who said during the campaign that we ought to just sieze the oilfields?

So just provoke a few things, a few will do, then announce the alliance wuth russia to settle this in the region, once and for all, so we are protected.

Who indeed will step up and say no, they will not do this type of thing?

ilsm -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 11:53 AM
Moscow-Ankara-Washington axis........

How about a Beijing-Moscow-Berlin axis, what have the Turks got to offer?

US dumb* to ignore and be left out!

*neocon PNAC bat$#1^ crazy

JohnH -> libezkova... , January 21, 2017 at 12:47 AM
Putin is just as guilty intervening in Ukraine-ian affairs as the US. Hillary Clinton and Putin don't like each other and that is just the way it is. But her beliefs there represent the bulk of America including Republican voters.

If you don't think Donald Trump is not going to have wars or invent something like 911 to support his "soft" fascism, shame on you. Nobody is trusting anything. His supporters got their ass kicked by the black bloc today, very underreported by the media(who said it was just protests gone "violent").

ilsm -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 04:19 AM
Clinton was to solve global warming with nuclear winter.

Sheesh! read Obama's neocon anthem aka the speech he gave in Stockholm where he conned the Nobel committee.

Putin's 'interventions' are minimalist and defensive, the Clinton neocons would push NATO up to Smolensk with feckless disregard for any entity in the way of US empire.

Neoliberal is starting wars because the empire sees "unjust peace" as excuse to engage with shock and awe despite the dbody count.

Clinton would be mobilizing to crush Russia using the exploded the image of a few suffering Balts to tilt with nuclear winter.

JohnH -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 07:06 AM
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has questions the whole "Putin did it" narrative, demanding evidence: "we strongly suspect that the evidence your intelligence chiefs have of a joint Russian-hacking-WikiLeaks-publishing operation is no better than the "intelligence" evidence in 2002-2003 – expressed then with comparable flat-fact "certitude" – of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/another_demand_for_russian_hacking_20170119

But this JohnH-come-lately drinks whatever Kool-Aid the establishment gives him...

JohnH -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 07:16 AM
Obama starts to walk back his claim that 'Putin did it:'
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/20/obama-admits-gap-in-russian-hack-case/
ilsm -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 07:29 AM
Con artist, the super party hack*.

*low techie

im1dc -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 08:45 AM
When ilsm agrees with you then you are wrong.

Russia did hack to influence the election. Whether they were decisive or not no one can say.

More likely imo Comey's violation of the Hatch Act 6 days before the Election knocking Hillary's Poll lead from 12 to 5 cost her the election.

Comey will pay for his treachery.

Accept and move on.

JohnH -> im1dc... , January 21, 2017 at 09:59 AM
"Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. If Russian intelligence did not do so, this would constitute gross misfeasance, especially since the DNC was such easy pickings and the possibility of gaining important insights into the U.S. government was so high. But that is not the question.
It was WikiLeaks that published the very damaging information, for example, on the DNC's dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remains to be demonstrated is that it was "the Russians" who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community doesn't know."
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/20/obama-admits-gap-in-russian-hack-case/

Democrats want to blame Russia for their ineptitude and their lousy candidate.

Democrats want to blame Russia for exposing the DNC's rigging of the primaries...by blaming Russia for rigging the general elections [abject hypocrisy.]

Neither Democrats nor the intelligence services know who gave the documents to WikiLeaks or, if they do, they don't want you to know who it was.

ilsm -> im1dc... , January 21, 2017 at 12:11 PM
im1dc,

You don't have to agree, we have diverse experiences.

when did Podesta and Wasserman Schultz, those crooks, become "the election". Even if it was the Russians!!!

As to Comey: let the new AG do his or her duty on the crimes of a cabinet officer, with a jury and judge.

My training and experience suggest Clinton will do time.

I am reminded of Job38-41: "Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?....."

Chatham House Rule -> libezkova... , January 21, 2017 at 09:39 AM

reject all war. We are all extremely fortunate that Hillary Clinton will not be taking office this weekend. Had Hillary been elected we would be facing a crisis over Syria. Hillary wants to overthrow the
"

Her victims are our cousins. Each of us emanates from the same living cell. Within Minkowski-time-space we remain connected as one animal. No!

We cannot open up our American hospitality to suspected terrorists. What we can do is open up our homeland to foreigners who are moving over to make space for her victims. Ceu

When South Africa takes in Syrians, we can take in an equal number of South Africans or other foreigners who are demonstrating their love for our cousins, our cousins now victimized by our own Mama-War-Bucks. Tell me something!

Was the HRC-email-server moved to her private home so that SWH, Slick Willie himself could control the World? Hey!

Americans

are not
blind
!

El Chapo Guapo -> Chatham House Rule... , January 21, 2017 at 11:04 AM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-dimensional_space#/media/File:8-cell-simple.gif

[Jan 22, 2017] As Trump takes office, Mass. manufacturers talk globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The strongest advocates for bringing offshore manufacturing back to the United States acknowledge automation's effect on the workforce but say it doesn't negate the need for more domestic factories. Harry Mosser, founder of the Reshoring Institute, which encourages companies to bring manufacturing operations back to the United States, said that even a highly automated factory is better for workers than no factory at all. ..."
"... These days it is more about planned/welcomed obsolescence - the product basically works, but some critical parts may be low grade, making it break after a while so you have to buy something new. This also affects "brands that used to be good". ..."
"... The internet also has played a role - online stores could underbid brick and mortar, then the latter had to cheapen and cut their offerings, driving more customers to the internet, etc. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : January 21, 2017 at 05:04 AM

As Trump takes office, Mass. manufacturers talk globalization
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/01/20/trump-takes-office-mass-manufacturers-talk-globalization/M3KFU50bFaKQfcr83SeowN/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - Adam Vaccaro - January 20, 2017

SOUTHBRIDGE - A mainstay of Massachusetts manufacturing since the late 1800s, the Hyde Group tool company made a big leap overseas in 2010, when it outsourced production of its mass market putty knives and wallpaper blades to China.

"At heart, we're manufacturers. It was the hardest thing for us to do, us in a fourth-generation family," said Bob Clemence, vice president of sales at Hyde Group, and great-grandson of the man who bought the company in the 1890s. "In order for us to stay in business and still employ people, we had to move our low-end business off-shore. It really was like a stab in the heart."

But the cost advantage of China has been steadily shrinking; it's now 40 percent cheaper to make the tools there than in Southbridge. And if that continues to fall, then Hyde might be able to help President Donald Trump fulfill a central campaign promise: bringing manufacturing back to the United States.

"Forty percent [savings] is a huge number to overcome," Clemence said. "We've determined that if it's 20 percent or less, we're going to do it domestically."

As Trump cajoles American companies into returning production to US soil, experiences like Hyde's illustrate the complex, multifaceted decisions manufacturers face as they choose where to build their products.

The president has talked of using lower taxes, fewer regulations, and higher tariffs to bring about a renaissance of American manufacturing. But for factory owners, it's not simply about cheaper labor. The costs of energy and raw materials, the emergence of global competitors, and the location and demands of suppliers and customers all weigh on these decisions, a myriad of cross currents that will make it difficult to fix the factory economy with just a few bold prescriptions.

"It's going to be not an easy job," said Enrico Moretti, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, who predicted that even if factories stay in the United States, production will be increasingly automated. "I'm not sure there is one explicit policy, a magic switch, that executive power in Washington can switch to retain jobs in the US."

In the eyes of factory owners, singling them out won't necessarily solve the problem. Some say they were forced to move production overseas by their customers. At Hyde, it was the retail stores that carry its tools demanding lower prices.

"It doesn't matter what they say about made in the USA, it's all about price," Clemence said. "They've taken some basic items and said there are commodity products and said, 'We only buy them by price.' "

In Norwood, the Manufacturing Resource Group opened a second factory just across the US border in Mexico in 2011 because customers demanded cheaper versions of its cable assemblies, wire harnesses, and other electric components.

"The decision to open in Mexico wasn't ours," MRG president Joe Prior said. "We were told that, 'You need to have a low-cost option, or we're not going to be able to do business with you.' "

The Norwood and Mexico factories nearly mirror one another, each employing about 70 people, with mostly the same equipment and capabilities. The Norwood factory still accounts for most of its business, as MRG's local customers are willing to pay more for quicker shipping and customer service. But other customers simply want a cheaper product - wages at the Mexico factory are a quarter the cost of Norwood, while health care costs about 90 percent lower.

Prior said if Trump does impose a high tariff on imported products, as he has threatened, then that cost would probably be shouldered by customers of the Mexican factory.

"If there is a tax, it just has to be passed on to our customers and they'd have to make a decision about whether it makes sense for them anymore," he said.

Since many US companies sell to customers around the world, a high tariff might bring some production back home - but at a cost. For Eastern Acoustic Works, that might mean losing international customers for its sound equipment.

The Whitinsville company is closing its factory here, laying off 27 workers and outsourcing most production of speaker systems and subwoofers to a contract manufacturer in China. There were just too many competitors around the world making similar equipment for Eastern Acoustic to justify charging higher prices for its US-made products, general manager TJ Smith said. Eastern Acoustic will instead concentrate on new sales, marketing, and R&D initiatives, creating white-collar jobs that will help it grow.

"Running a factory takes a lot of focus and energy," Smith said. "We have to ask ourselves, what are we good at? What do we want to call our competencies?"

Smith said Eastern Acoustic might be forced to bring production back to the United States if the Trump tariff goes into effect. However, that move might also prompt the company to drop its international clients - Asia accounts for 30 percent of Eastern Acoustic's sales - because the US-made products wouldn't be competitive in overseas markets.

"It would split my business up too much, so I couldn't support" an overseas factory, Smith said. "For our scale, I would lean toward [choosing] the domestic market at this point because that's what I know and I'm closer to it."

But the higher tariffs might help Eastern Acoustic in another way - by raising prices on products its European competitors are selling to US customers. "So that might increase my near-term opportunity domestically," Smith said.

Raw materials, such as steel or energy, is another area Trump would have to address. Foreign steel, especially, is so much cheaper that it is very difficult for manufacturers not to use. But Trump's promise to promote more domestic oil and gas production could be a major boon to factories.

For example, US companies are benefiting from very cheap domestic natural gas; that's especially important in processing industries that use a lot of chemicals in their production. ...

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 05:08 AM
Trump wants to fight the effects of trade, but what about automation?
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/01/20/trump-wants-fight-effects-trade-but-what-about-automation/qYt2WjQo4VAXWRWCYkfNeK/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - Adam Vaccaro - January 21, 2017

President Donald Trump has spoken often about trade's effect on US manufacturing employment but has said comparatively little about another economic force that has caused factories to shed jobs: high-tech machines and automation.

At the Hyde Group's Southbridge factory, the amount of work that 100 employees do now would have required 180 workers more than a decade ago, said Bob Clemence, the company's vice president of sales.

While the number of blue-collar assembly-line jobs at US factories has been dropping in huge numbers for decades, Enrico Moretti, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said the number of engineers working in factories has about doubled. Future manufacturing jobs will probably require engineering skills and training, Moretti said.

At Hyde, the typical factory worker might operate two or three computerized machines at a time, and the work generally requires an associate's degree or some college education, Clemence said. That's a far cry from 20 years ago, when the factory used to host night classes to help employees earn high school degrees.

"We could still do the GED," Clemence said. "But I need someone coming in the door that already has that degree information. I don't need somebody that is only running a fork truck."

In his presidential farewell address Jan. 10, President Obama highlighted the effects of technology on the workforce, noting "the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete." He also called for ensuring higher-level education, as well as stronger labor unions, to blunt the effect.

Even if future manufacturing employees are trained to handle robots and high-tech machines, the math is simple enough: Machines and robots require fewer workers on factory floors. When the appliance maker Carrier, a division of United Technologies Corp., agreed to keep in Indiana about 800 jobs it had planned to send to Mexico, it marked an early public relations win for Trump. Within days, however, United Technologies' chief executive said new investments in the Indiana factory would probably result in automation and eventual job losses.

The strongest advocates for bringing offshore manufacturing back to the United States acknowledge automation's effect on the workforce but say it doesn't negate the need for more domestic factories. Harry Mosser, founder of the Reshoring Institute, which encourages companies to bring manufacturing operations back to the United States, said that even a highly automated factory is better for workers than no factory at all.

"If you bring back any manufacturing, you bring back some employment," he said.

run75441 -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 07:53 AM
Just a random question:

"At Hyde, the typical factory worker might operate two or three computerized machines at a time, and the work generally requires an associate's degree or some college education,"

What are "computerized machines," Fred? and why only two or three?

Fred C. Dobbs -> run75441... , January 21, 2017 at 08:34 AM
In my personal experience (as an IT guy) observing electronic techs in computer manufacturing (some decades ago) monitoring several 'computerized' testing machines at once. (Made for interesting challenges trying to measure productivity.)

Why only two or three? When an 'event' happens, prompt operator response is usually called for.

run75441 -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 06:13 PM
Fred:

No, a cnc cell will typically have 4 or 5 cnc machines. You just need labor to feed, stack and turn one off if there is an issue. One will do. Injection molding can be 2 to 4 presses. This is why Labor should have been paid more as they are replacing 3 and 4 people.

We already have this environment and plants are not crawling with engineers. They are needs for programming only and even then an operator might be able to do it.

im1dc -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 08:52 AM
Outsourcing to China means Quality will suffer, if not immediately then eventually.

US Made goods are generally better made, higher grade, and of more consistent quality.

The opposite happens in China even if initially Chinese goods are of equal quality.

Fred C. Dobbs -> im1dc... , January 21, 2017 at 09:18 AM
Haven't had problems with various
hi-tech items (all from China?)
purchased in recent years.
cm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 03:26 PM
"We could still do the GED," Clemence said. "But I need someone coming in the door that already has that degree information. I don't need somebody that is only running a fork truck."

Translation: "We will not pay for upgrading the skills of fresh hires as long as we still have older workers in their 50's+ with existing skills *who are not leaving*."

And that aspect is hinted at right above - 20+ years ago, when today's 50+ were 20/30-ish, they paid for their education, and those people are still in the accessible labor pool.

But they *will* age out, and then they hand wringing and wailing about skill shortages will intensify (and you better believe companies will *then* arrange the skill upgrades).

Chris G -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 05:47 AM
> In the eyes of factory owners, singling them out won't necessarily solve the problem. Some say they were forced to move production overseas by their customers. At Hyde, it was the retail stores that carry its tools demanding lower prices. "It doesn't matter what they say about made in the USA, it's all about price," Clemence said. "They've taken some basic items and said there are commodity products and said, 'We only buy them by price.' "

Yup. Consumers matter. So long as we care more about getting the lowest price than whether the workers who made the widget were getting a fair deal the problem will persist.

cm -> Chris G ... , January 21, 2017 at 03:36 PM
It was said elsewhere in the article that "customers" actually meant retail chains.

With many products, including food, the origin of the product or its ingredients is not properly disclosed. "Made for", "distributed by", "packed in", "packaging printed in", are not actionable.

Then with advances in manufacturing and material sciences, it has become harder to judge the expected quality and workmanship of a product by its external appearance - most look well finished and spiffy, parts are fitting well, etc.

About 20+ years that wasn't the case, and it was much easier to tell that something is cheap junk (when looking good on the outside it may still be junk inside, but at least there was a way of identifying the lowest category).

These days it is more about planned/welcomed obsolescence - the product basically works, but some critical parts may be low grade, making it break after a while so you have to buy something new. This also affects "brands that used to be good".

Then one can only go by price, as that's a difference that can still be discerned. And obviously there is a feedback dynamic - stores observe what sells, and slowly remove variety and "mid range" products.

The internet also has played a role - online stores could underbid brick and mortar, then the latter had to cheapen and cut their offerings, driving more customers to the internet, etc.

[Jan 21, 2017] The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations

Interesting thought: there is no intelligence community, there is not CIA, there are different groups within CIA unbrella with different, often conflicting interests and political agenda.
Notable quotes:
"... This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration. ..."
"... In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations Leading scholar on US-Russia relations addresses the claim being trumpeted by politicians and media on both sides of the political spectrum that Russia is now the "number one" threat to the United States. Given the proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine, Dr. Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and New York University, tells host of 'The Empire Files', Abby Martin, that the real alarming danger today is "a new, multi-front Cuban missile crisis."

This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Russia was of course in the person of Putin, repeatedly, almost begging the US to join it in an alliance against terrorism, not only in Syria, but in a kind of global war. I don't know if the global war against terrorism is possible as a separate issue, but Russia wanted to partner with the US. Obama was inclined very briefly in Sep. 2016, but that was killed by the US department of defence when they attacked those Syrian troops.

In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved.

There are very different views about Washington's policy toward Russia, inside the intelligence community. This may be the single most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations.

The Cuban missile crisis is always said to have been the turning point in our awareness of how dangerous the Cold War was. And that, after we avoided nuclear Armageddon, both sides became wise, and the Cold War continued, but there was a code of contact. Everybody understood where the danger lines were. There was a code of conduct between the Soviet Union and the United States. It doesn't exist today. After the Cuban missile crisis in '62, the two sides began to develop interactive cooperation, student exchanges, scientific exchanges, hot lines, constant talks about nuclear weapons, nuclear reductions, trade agreements. That has come to an end along with communication.

There are now three fronts in the new Cold War that are fought with the possibility of actual war. There's the Baltic region and Poland, where NATO unwisely building up its military presence. There is, of course, Ukraine which could exploded any moment, and, of course, there is Syria, where you got Russian and American aircraft. So, you got a multi-front potential Cuban missile crisis.

Meanwhile, in the United States, this hysterical reaction to alleged - because there is no proof been produced - that somehow Putin put Trump in the White House, this combination of demented public discourse, engrave danger abroad, at least comparable to the Cuban missile crisis.

It's been said that the European Union offered Ukraine a very benign economic relationship. That wasn't a benign agreement, about a thousand pages long. There is a section called 'military security issues' and it's very clear, that any country that signs this so-called eastern partnership agreement with the EU, is obliged to adhere to NATO security policies. By signing that, you become a de facto member of NATO. And this was just more of the attempt by Washington to get Ukraine in the NATO, if not openly, through the back door, and they're still at it.

The decision to expand NATO, all the way, including Ukraine and Georgia, has created a situation in which none of us is safe. And they call that 'national security'?

Full interview: watch-v=Op6Qr7uuMy8

[Jan 21, 2017] The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations

Interesting thought: there is no intelligence community, there is not CIA, there are different groups within CIA umbrella with different, often conflicting interests and political agenda.
Notable quotes:
"... This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration. ..."
"... In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

The most dangerous moment in the US-Russia relations Leading scholar on US-Russia relations addresses the claim being trumpeted by politicians and media on both sides of the political spectrum that Russia is now the "number one" threat to the United States. Given the proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine, Dr. Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus at Princeton University and New York University, tells host of 'The Empire Files', Abby Martin, that the real alarming danger today is "a new, multi-front Cuban missile crisis."

This business that, Russia is the number one existential threat has been unfolding this false drama at the expense of US national security, maybe for a decade, but it certainly intensified under the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Russia was of course in the person of Putin, repeatedly, almost begging the US to join it in an alliance against terrorism, not only in Syria, but in a kind of global war. I don't know if the global war against terrorism is possible as a separate issue, but Russia wanted to partner with the US. Obama was inclined very briefly in Sep. 2016, but that was killed by the US department of defence when they attacked those Syrian troops.

In the intelligence community, there are groups of different political impulses, different vested interest in these organizations, and often, they've been at war among themselves within, say the CIA. We're seeing that now with the hacking allegations. And, all likelihood, later we will discover, this was a war within the CIA itself. The FBI tried not to get involved.

There are very different views about Washington's policy toward Russia, inside the intelligence community. This may be the single most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations.

The Cuban missile crisis is always said to have been the turning point in our awareness of how dangerous the Cold War was. And that, after we avoided nuclear Armageddon, both sides became wise, and the Cold War continued, but there was a code of contact. Everybody understood where the danger lines were. There was a code of conduct between the Soviet Union and the United States. It doesn't exist today. After the Cuban missile crisis in '62, the two sides began to develop interactive cooperation, student exchanges, scientific exchanges, hot lines, constant talks about nuclear weapons, nuclear reductions, trade agreements. That has come to an end along with communication.

There are now three fronts in the new Cold War that are fought with the possibility of actual war. There's the Baltic region and Poland, where NATO unwisely building up its military presence. There is, of course, Ukraine which could exploded any moment, and, of course, there is Syria, where you got Russian and American aircraft. So, you got a multi-front potential Cuban missile crisis.

Meanwhile, in the United States, this hysterical reaction to alleged - because there is no proof been produced - that somehow Putin put Trump in the White House, this combination of demented public discourse, engrave danger abroad, at least comparable to the Cuban missile crisis.

It's been said that the European Union offered Ukraine a very benign economic relationship. That wasn't a benign agreement, about a thousand pages long. There is a section called 'military security issues' and it's very clear, that any country that signs this so-called eastern partnership agreement with the EU, is obliged to adhere to NATO security policies. By signing that, you become a de facto member of NATO. And this was just more of the attempt by Washington to get Ukraine in the NATO, if not openly, through the back door, and they're still at it.

The decision to expand NATO, all the way, including Ukraine and Georgia, has created a situation in which none of us is safe. And they call that 'national security'?

Full interview: watch-v=Op6Qr7uuMy8

[Jan 21, 2017] Trump will struggle to find a face-saving retreat from these unnecessary conflicts and shut his ears to the siren songs of the war party and deep state which just failed to stage a soft coup to block his inauguration

Notable quotes:
"... Each new president inherits a sea of problems from his predecessor. Donald Trump's biggest legacy headaches and priority will be in the Mideast, a disaster area on its own but made far, far worse by the bungling of the Obama administration and its dimwitted attempts to put the US and Russia on a collision course. ..."
"... Thanks to George W. Bush – who dared show his face at the inauguration – and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama, Trump inherits America's longest war, Afghanistan, with our shameful support of mass drug dealing, endemic corruption and war crimes. Add the crazy mess in Iraq and now Syria. ..."
"... Trump should be reminded that the 9/11 attackers cited two reasons for their attack: 1. Occupation of Saudi Arabia by the US; 2. Continued US-backed occupation of Palestine. Persistent attacks on western targets that we call terrorism are, in most cases, acts of revenge for our neo-colonial actions in the Muslim world, the 'American Raj' as I term it. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.unz.com

What I found most impressive this time was the reaffirmation of America's dedication to the peaceful transfer of political power. This was the 45th time this miracle has happened. Saying this is perhaps banal, but the handover of power never fails to make me proud to be an American and thankful we had such brilliant founding fathers.

This peaceful transfer sets the United States apart from many of the world's nations, even Britain and Canada, where leaders under the parliamentary system are chosen in a process resembling a knife fight in a dark room. The US has somehow managed to retain its three branches of government in spite of the best efforts of self-serving politicians to wreck it.

Each new president inherits a sea of problems from his predecessor. Donald Trump's biggest legacy headaches and priority will be in the Mideast, a disaster area on its own but made far, far worse by the bungling of the Obama administration and its dimwitted attempts to put the US and Russia on a collision course.

Thanks to George W. Bush – who dared show his face at the inauguration – and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama, Trump inherits America's longest war, Afghanistan, with our shameful support of mass drug dealing, endemic corruption and war crimes. Add the crazy mess in Iraq and now Syria.

This week US B-2 heavy bombers attacked Libya. US forces are fighting in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and parts of Africa. For what? No one is quite sure. America's foreign wars, fueled by its $1 trillion military budget, have assumed a life of their own. Once a great power goes to war, its proponents insist, 'we can't be seen to back down or our credibility will suffer.'

Trump will struggle to find a face-saving retreat from these unnecessary conflicts and shut his ears to the siren songs of the war party and deep state which just failed to stage a 'soft' coup to block his inauguration. Waging little wars against weak nations is a multi-billion dollar national industry in the US. America has become as addicted to war as it has to debt.

If President Trump truly wants to bring some sort of peace to the explosive Mideast, he will have to reject the advice of the hardline Zionists with whom he has chosen to surround himself. Their primary interest is Greater Israel, free of Arabs, not in a Greater America. Trump is too smart not to know this. But he may also listen to his blood and guts former generals who lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Trump appears to have been gulled into believing the canard that Mideast-origin violence is caused by what he called in his inaugural speech, radical Islamic terrorism. This is a favorite device promoted by the hard right and Israel to de-legitimize any resistance to Israel's expansion and ethnic cleansing. The label of 'terrorism' serves the same purpose.

Trump should be reminded that the 9/11 attackers cited two reasons for their attack: 1. Occupation of Saudi Arabia by the US; 2. Continued US-backed occupation of Palestine. Persistent attacks on western targets that we call terrorism are, in most cases, acts of revenge for our neo-colonial actions in the Muslim world, the 'American Raj' as I term it.

Unfortunately, President Trump is unlikely to get this useful advice from the men who now surround him, with the possibly exception of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Let's hope that Tillerson and not Goldman Sachs bank ends up steering US foreign policy.

(Reprinted from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)

[Jan 21, 2017] Divide and Rule Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election

Notable quotes:
"... both ..."
"... No One Left to Lie To ..."
"... about one kind of hate ..."
"... trumping another kind of hate ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Appeal to Reason ..."
"... Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014) ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
Listen and you can hear the sneering "elite" liberal left narrative about how the big dumb white working class is about to get screwed over by the incoming multi-millionaire- and billionaire-laden Trump administration it voted into office. Once those poor saps in the white working class wake up to their moronic mistake, the narrative suggests, they'll come running back to their supposed friends the Democrats.

Trump Didn't Really Win Over Working Class America: Clinton Lost it

It's true, of course, that Trump is going to betray white working class people who voted for him in the hope that he would be a populist champion of their interests – a hope he mendaciously cultivated. But there are three basic and related problems with the scornful liberal-left storyline. The first difficulty is that the notion of a big white proletarian "rustbelt rebellion" for Trump has been badly oversold. "The real story of the 2016 election," the left political scientist Anthony DiMaggio notes , "is not that Trump won over working class America, so much as Clinton and the Democrats lost it The decline of Democratic voters among the working class in 2016 (compared to 2012) was far larger than the increase in Republican voters during those two elections" If the Democrats had run Bernie Sanders or someone else with "a meaningful history of seeking to help the working class," DiMaggio observes, they might well have won.

Populism-Manipulation is a Bipartisan Affair

Second, betraying working class voters (of all colors, by the way) in service to concentrated wealth and power (the "One Percent" in post-Occupy Wall Street parlance) is what presidents and other top elected officials from both of the reigning capitalist U.S. political parties do. What did the white and the broader (multiracial) working class experience when the neoliberal corporate Democrats Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama held the White House? Abject disloyalty towards egalitarian-sounding campaign rhetoric and a resumption of (big) business (rule) as usual. An ever-increasing upward distribution of income, wealth, and power into fewer hands.

It's an old story. In his 1999 book on Bill and Hillary Clinton, No One Left to Lie To , the still left Christopher Hitchens usefully described "the essence of American politics, when distilled," as "the manipulation of populism by elitism. That elite is most successful," Hitchens added, "which can claim the heartiest allegiance of the fickle crowd; can present itself as most 'in touch' with popular concerns; can anticipate the tides and pulses of public opinion; can, in short, be the least apparently 'elitist.' It is no great distance from Huey Long's robust cry of 'Every man a king' to the insipid 'inclusiveness' of [Bill Clinton's slogan] 'Putting People First,' but the smarter elite managers have learned in the interlude that solid, measurable pledges have to be distinguished by a reserve' tag that earmarks them for the bankrollers and backers."

True, the Republicans don't manipulate populism in the same way as the Democrats. The dismal, dollar-drenched Dems don the outwardly liberal and diverse, many-colored cloak of slick, Hollywood- , Silicon Valley-, Ivy League-and Upper West Side-approved bicoastal multiculturalism. The radically regressive and reactionary Republicans connect their manipulation more to white "heartland" nationalism, sexism, hyper-masculinism, nativism, evangelism, family values, and (to be honest) racism.

But in both versions, that of the Democrats and that of the Republicans, Goldman Sachs (and Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America et al.) always prevails. The "bankrollers and bankers" atop the Deep State continue to reign. The nation's unelected deep state dictatorship of money (UDSDoM, UDoM for short) continues to call the shots. That was certainly true under the arch-neoliberal Barack Obama , whose relentless service to the nation's economic ruling class has been amply documented by numerous journalists, authors (the present writer included ) and academics.

Obama ascended to the White House with record-setting Wall Street contributions. He governed accordingly, from the staffing of his administration (chock full of revolving door operatives from elite financial institutions) to the policies he advanced – and the ones he didn't, like (to name a handful) a financial transaction tax, the re-legalization of union organizing, single-payer health insurance, a health insurance public option, tough conditions on bankers receiving bailout money, and the prosecution of a single Wall Street executive for the excesses that created the financial meltdown.

Anyone who thinks that any of that might have changed to any significant degree under a Hillary Clinton presidency is living in a fantasy world. She gave every indication that a president Clinton 45 would be every bit as friendly to the finance-led corporate establishment (the UDoM) as the arch-neoliberal Cliinton42 and Obama44 presidencies. She was Wall Street's golden/Goldman/Citigroup girl.

We are Not the 99 Percent

Third, elite liberals and left liberals often miss a key point on who white (and nonwhite) working class people most directly interact when it comes to the infliction of what the sociologist Richard Sennett called " the hidden injuries of class ." It is through regular contact with the professional and managerial class, not the mostly invisible corporate and financial elite, that the working class mostly commonly experiences class inequality and oppression in America.

Working people might see hyper-opulent "rich bastards" like Trump, Bill Gates, and even Warren Buffett on television. In their real lives, they carry out "ridiculous orders" and receive "idiotic" reprimands from middle- and upper middle-class coordinators-from, to quote a white university maintenance worker I spoke with last summer, "know-it-all pencil-pushers who don't give a flying fuck about regular working guys like me."

This worker voted for Trump "just to piss-off all the big shot (professional class) liberals" he perceived as constantly disrespecting and pushing him around.

It is not lost on the white working class that much of this managerial and professional class "elite" tends to align with the Democratic Party and its purported liberal and multicultural, cosmopolitan, and environmentalist values. It doesn't help that the professional and managerial "elites" are often with the politically correct multiculturalism and the environmentalism that many white workers (actually) have (unpleasant as this might be to acknowledge) some rational economic and other reasons to see as a threat to their living standards, status, and well-being.

The Green Party leader and Teamster union activist Howie Hawkins put it very well last summer. "The Democratic Party ideology is the ideology of the professional class," Hawkins said. "Meritocratic competition. Do well in school, get well-rewarded." (Unfortunately, perhaps, his comment reminds me of the bumper sticker slogan I've seen on the back of more than a few beat-up cars in factory parking lots and trailer parks over the years: "My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student.") "The biggest threat to the Democrats isn't losing votes to the Greens," Hawkins noted. It is losing votes to Trump, who "sounds like he's mad at the system. So they throw a protest vote to him."

The white maintenance worker is certainly going to get screwed by Trump's corporate presidency. You can take that to the bank. He would also have gotten shafted by Hillary's corporate presidency if she had won. You can take that down to your favorite financial institution too. And the worker's anger at all the "big shots" with their Hillary and Obama bumper stickers on the back of their Volvos and Audis and Priuses is not based merely on some foolish and "uneducated" failure to perceive his common interests with the rest of the "99 percent" against the top hundredth.

We are the 99 Percent, except, well, we're not. Among other things, a two-class model of America deletes the massive disparities that exist between the working-class majority of Americans and the nation's professional and managerial class. In the U.S. as across the world capitalist system, ordinary working people suffer not just from the elite private and profit-seeking capitalist ownership of workplace and society. They also confront the stark oppression inherent in what left economists Robin Hahnel and Mike Albert call the "corporate division of labor"-an alienating, de-humanizing, and hierarchical subdivision of tasks "in which a few workers have excellent conditions and empowering circumstances, many fall well below that, and most workers have essentially no power at all."

Over time, this pecking order hardens "into a broad and pervasive class division" whereby one class - roughly the top fifth of the workforce -"controls its own circumstances and the circumstances of others below," while another (the working class) "obeys orders and gets what its members can eke out." The "coordinator class," Albert notes, "looks down on workers as instruments with which to get jobs done. It engages workers paternally, seeing them as needing guidance and oversight and as lacking the finer human qualities that justify both autonomous input and the higher incomes needed to support more expensive tastes." That sparks no small working class resentment.

It comes with ballot box implications. Many white workers will "vote against their pocketbook interests" by embracing a viciously noxious and super-oligarchic Republican over a supposedly liberal (neoliberal) Democrat backed by middle- and upper middle- class elites who contemptuously lord it over those workers daily. The negative attention that dreadful Republican (Trump) gets from "elite" upper-middle class talking heads in corporate media often just reinforces that ugly attachment.

2016: Hate Trumped Hate

It doesn't help the Democrats when their top candidates channel elitist contempt of the working in their campaign rhetoric. Here's how the silver-tongued Harvard Law graduate Obama referred to white working-class voters in old blue-collar towns decimated by industrial job losses in the early spring of 2008: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Amusingly enough, these reflections were seized on by his neoliberal compatriot and rival for the Democratic nomination, the Yale Law graduate Hillary Clinton. She hoped to use Obama's condescending remarks to resuscitate her flagging campaign against a candidate she now accused of class snotty-ness. "I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America," she said. "His remarks are elitist and out of touch." Clinton staffers in North Carolina even gave out stickers saying "I'm not bitter."

How darkly ironic is to compare that (failed) campaign gambit from nearly nine years ago with the campaign Hillary ran in 2016! Hillary's latest and hopefully last campaign was quite consciously and recklessly about contempt for the white working class. As John Pilger recently reflected :

"Today, false symbolism is all. 'Identity' is all. In 2016, Hillary Clinton stigmatised millions of [white working class and rural – P.S.] voters as 'a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic - you name it'. Her abuse was handed out at an LGBT rally as part of her cynical campaign to win over minorities by abusing a white mostly working-class majority. Divide and rule, this is called; or identity politics in which race and gender conceal class, and allow the waging of class war. Trump understood this."

The "deplorables" comment was a great gift to Trump, whose staffers gave people buttons saying "I'm an Adorable Deplorable."

Disappointed Hillary voters have chanted "Love Trumps Hate" while marching against the incoming quasi-fascist president. But, really, the 2016 U.S. presidential election was about one kind of hate – the "heartland" white nationalist Republican version – trumping another kind of hate , the more bi-coastal and outwardly multicultural and diverse Democratic version.

Let us not forget former Obama campaign manager David Ploufe's comment to the New York Times last March on how the Hillary campaign would conduct itself against a Trump candidacy: "hope and change, not so much; more like hate and castrate."

Meanwhile, the nation's UDoM rules on, whichever party holds nominal power atop the visible state. Pardon my French, but the working class (of all colors) is fucked either way.

Goldman Sachs Wins Either Way

We might also think of the essence of American politics as the manipulation of identity politics – and identity-based hatred – by elitism. Reduced to a corporate-managed electorate (Sheldon Wolin), the citizenry is identity-played by a moneyed elite that pulls the strings behind the duopoly's candidate-centered spectacles of faux democracy. As the Left author Chris Hedges noted three years ago , "Both sides of the political spectrum are manipulated by the same forces. If you're some right-wing Christian zealot in Georgia, then it's homosexuals and abortion and all these, you know, wedge issues that are used to whip you up emotionally. If you are a liberal in Manhattan, it's – you know, they'll be teaching creationism in your schools or whatever Yet in fact it's just a game, because whether it's Bush or whether it's Obama, Goldman Sachs always wins. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs." (We can update that formulation to say "whether it's Trump or where it's Hillary.")

For all their claims of concern for ordinary people and beneath all their claims of bitter, personal, and partisan contempt for their major party electoral opponents, the Republican and Democratic "elites" are united with the capitalist "elite" in top-down hatred for the nation's multi-racial working-class majority.

The resistance movement we need to develop cannot be merely about choosing one of the two different major party brands of Machiavellian, ruling class hate. The reigning political organizations are what Upton Sinclair called (in the original Appeal to Reason newspaper version of The Jungle ) "two wings of the same bird of prey." We must come out from under both of those two noxious wings and their obsessive and endless focus on the quadrennial candidate-centered electoral extravaganzas, which have replaced the recently closed Ringling Brothers show as the greatest circus in the world. We cannot fall prey anymore to the reigning message that meaningful democratic participation consists of going into a voting booth to mark a ballot once every four years and then going home to (in Noam Chomsky's words ) "let other [and very rich ] people run the world [into the ground]." Join the debate on Facebook

Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

[Jan 21, 2017] Theres class warfare, all right, but its my class, the rich class, thats making war, and were winning

Notable quotes:
"... In the face of the enormous political chasm between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, a strategy of elite-led, bipartisan deal-cutting premised on calls for "shared sacrifice" leaves this grossly inequitable economic and political fabric intact. As such, the 99 percent are caught in the vise of small-bore policies from their supposed friends and allies while their opponents encircle them with scorched-earth politics. ..."
"... The Obama administration and much of the leadership of the Democratic Party took extreme care not to upset these basic interests. As a consequence, they squandered an exceptional political opportunity. The financial crisis and the Great Recession were one of those moments when members of the business sector were "stripped naked as leaders and strategists," in the words of Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. The Great Depression was another. ..."
"... As he put the House of Morgan and other bankers on trial, Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee, helped popularize during the age of Al Capone a term not heard today: the "bankster." These hearings compelled Roosevelt to support stricter financial regulation than he might have otherwise. ..."
"... One cannot talk about crime in the streets today without talking about crime in the suites. ..."
"... The political intransigence lavishly on display in the Republican Party - which repeatedly brought Congress to a caustic standstill - obscured how a major segment of the Democratic Party was loath to mount any major challenge to the entrenched financial and political interests that have captured American politics today. ..."
"... For all the bluster about political polarization, the debate over what to do about the economy, the social safety net, and financial regulation - like the elite discussions over what to do about mass incarceration - oscillated within a very narrow range defined by neoliberalism for much of Obama's tenure. Indeed, the president repeatedly bragged that the federal budget for discretionary spending on domestic programs had shrunk under his watch to the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

Vast and growing economic inequalities rooted in vast and growing political inequalities are the preeminent problem facing the United States today. They are the touchstone of many of the major issues that vex the country - from mass incarceration to mass underemployment to climate change to the economic recovery of Wall Street but not Main Street and Martin Luther King Street.

In the face of the enormous political chasm between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, a strategy of elite-led, bipartisan deal-cutting premised on calls for "shared sacrifice" leaves this grossly inequitable economic and political fabric intact. As such, the 99 percent are caught in the vise of small-bore policies from their supposed friends and allies while their opponents encircle them with scorched-earth politics.

The Obama administration and much of the leadership of the Democratic Party took extreme care not to upset these basic interests. As a consequence, they squandered an exceptional political opportunity. The financial crisis and the Great Recession were one of those moments when members of the business sector were "stripped naked as leaders and strategists," in the words of Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. The Great Depression was another.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office, the Hoover administration was thoroughly discredited, as was the business sector. FDR recognized that the country was ready for a clean break with the past, and symbolically and substantively cultivated that sentiment. The break did not come from FDR alone. Massive numbers of Americans mobilized in unions, women's organizations, veterans' groups, senior citizen associations, and civil right groups to ensure that the country switched course.

During the Depression, President Roosevelt was forced to broaden the public understanding of crime to include corporate crime. The Senate's riveting Pecora hearings during the waning days of the Hoover administration and the start of the Roosevelt presidency turned a scorching public spotlight on the malfeasance of the corporate sector and its complicity in sparking the Depression.

As he put the House of Morgan and other bankers on trial, Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee, helped popularize during the age of Al Capone a term not heard today: the "bankster." These hearings compelled Roosevelt to support stricter financial regulation than he might have otherwise.

One cannot talk about crime in the streets today without talking about crime in the suites. Over the past four decades, the public obsession with getting tougher on street crime coincided with the retreat of the state in regulating corporate malfeasance - everything from hedge funds to credit default swaps to workplace safety. Keeping the focus on street crime was a convenient strategy to shift public attention and resources from crime in the suites to crime in the streets.

As billionaire financier Warren Buffet quipped in 2006, "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." President Obama's persistent calls during his first term for a politics that rose above politics and championed "shared sacrifice" denied this reality and demobilized the public. It thwarted the consolidation of a compelling alternative political vision on which new coalitions and movements could be forged to challenge fundamental inequalities, including mass imprisonment and the growing tentacles of the carceral state.

The political intransigence lavishly on display in the Republican Party - which repeatedly brought Congress to a caustic standstill - obscured how a major segment of the Democratic Party was loath to mount any major challenge to the entrenched financial and political interests that have captured American politics today.

For all the bluster about political polarization, the debate over what to do about the economy, the social safety net, and financial regulation - like the elite discussions over what to do about mass incarceration - oscillated within a very narrow range defined by neoliberalism for much of Obama's tenure. Indeed, the president repeatedly bragged that the federal budget for discretionary spending on domestic programs had shrunk under his watch to the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

[Jan 21, 2017] US China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?

Jan 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
Eamonn Fingleton

December 8, 2016

Trust mainstream media commentators to get their priorities right! While they dished out hell to Donald Trump the other day over his 10-minute conversation with the president of Taiwan, they could hardly have been more accommodative all these years of a rather more consequential American affront to mainland China: Barack Obama's so-called "pivot" to Asia.

As the London-based journalist John Pilger points out, the absurdly named pivot, which has been a central feature of U.S. foreign policy since 2012, is clearly intended to tighten America's military containment of the Middle Kingdom. In Pilger's words, Washington's nuclear bases amount to a hangman's noose around China's neck.

Pilger makes the point in a searing new documentary, The Coming War on China. Little known in the United States, Pilger has been a marquee name in British journalism since the 1960s. First as a roving reporter for the Daily Mirror and later as a television documentary maker, he has spent more than fifty years exposing the underside of American foreign policy – and very often, given London's predilection to play Tonto to Washington's Lone Ranger, that has meant exposing the underside of British foreign policy also.

Pilger built his early reputation on opposition to the Vietnam war; more recently he emerged as a scathing critic of the Bush-Blair rush to invade Iraq after 9/11.

In his latest movie, Pilger, a 77-year-old Australian, argues that the "pivot" sets the world up for nuclear Armageddon. The Obama White House probably disagrees; but, not for the first time, Pilger is asking the right questions.

This is not to suggest that Washington doesn't have legitimate issues. But its China strategy is upside down. While it rarely misses an opportunity to lord it over Beijing militarily, its economic policy in the face of increasingly outrageous Chinese provocation could hardly be more spineless. Instead of insisting that China honor its WTO obligations, U.S. policymakers have looked the other way as Beijing has not only maintained high trade barriers against American exports but, far worse, has contrived to force the transfer of much of what is left of America's once awe-inspiring reservoir of world-beating manufacturing technologies.

In the case of the auto industry, for instance, Beijing's proposition goes like this: "We'd love to buy American cars. But those cars must be made in China – and the Detroit companies must bring their best manufacturing technologies." Such technologies then have a habit of migrating rapidly to rising Chinese rivals.

By indulging China economically and provoking it militarily, the Obama administration would appear to be schizoid. But this is to judge things from a commonsensical outsider's perspective – always a mistake in a place as inbred and smug as Washington. Seen from inside the Beltway, everything looks perfectly rational. Whether Washington is giving away the U.S. industrial base, on the one hand or arming to the teeth against a putative Chinese bogeyman on the other, the dynamic is the same: lobbying money.

As the U.S. industrial base has been shipped machine-by-machine, and job-by-job, to China, America's ability to pay its way in the world has correspondingly imploded. Although rarely mentioned in the press (does the American press even understand such elementary and obvious economic consequences?), this means America has become ever more dependent on other nations to fund its trade deficits. The funding comes mainly in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. And guess who is the biggest buyer? The Communist regime in Beijing, of course. In effect, the bemused Chinese are paying for the privilege of having nukes pointed at them!

That is not a sustainable situation. Beijing no doubt has a plan. Washington, tone-deaf as always in foreign affairs, has not yet discovered there is a problem. We have been fated to live in interesting times.

Pilger's documentary will air in the United States on RT on December 9, 10, and 11. For details click here .

Eamonn Fingleton is the author of In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Hegemony (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008).

[Jan 21, 2017] Truthdig - Chris Hedges on How the 'Deep State' Will Influence the Trump Presidency

Notable quotes:
"... "It's about shutting down the voices of the dissidents," Hedges says. He explains that America always needs an enemy and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "easier to demonize" than someone like FBI Director James Comey, who was initially seen as the enemy when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.truthdig.com

Chris Hedges on How the 'Deep State' Will Influence the Trump Presidency

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_the_deep_state_will_influence_the_trump_presidency_20170117/

Posted on Jan 17, 2017


By Chris Hedges

In a new episode of his RT show "Redacted Tonight (https://www.rt.com/shows/redacted-tonight-summary/373661-deep-state-trump-presidency/) ," host Lee Camp sits down with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges (https://www.truthdig.com/staff/chris_hedges) to discuss the "collapse of the mainstream media and the continued rise of [the] deep state."

The two examine recent headlines over alleged Russian hacks (http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/experts_arent_convinced_by_fbi_and_homeland_security_20161230) during the 2016 election. Hedges condemns the mainstream media for "hyperventilating" over the alleged hacks, adding that the media fervor about Russia has "insidious" roots.

"It's about shutting down the voices of the dissidents," Hedges says. He explains that America always needs an enemy and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "easier to demonize" than someone like FBI Director James Comey, who was initially seen as the enemy when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election.

Hedges notes that there are also economic factors at play. The "war machine," he says, needs to "demonize Russia" because it "is earning billions of dollars in Eastern Europe with the expansion of NATO."

Camp asks how Donald Trump, who presented himself as a political outsider, will handle these economic and political forces when he becomes president. Hedges responds:


I'm not sure Trump has any fixed beliefs. And it's clear that the deep state-the security and surveillance apparatus, the war machine-all sectors of the deep state, Democrat and Republican, are going to put the screws on him to ratchet up or continue this aggressive posture towards Russia. Partly because there are large sections of the U.S. economy, i.e., the defense industry, for whom this is a huge profit-making venture.

The two also discuss how dissidents will be handled by the Trump administration and whether American society has anything to hope for.

Watch the full video below.

[Jan 21, 2017] For the first time in the lives of just about all of you we are all less likely to see the most powerful nation on earth overthrow another government in the Middle East.

Notable quotes:
"... A farce wherein a capitalist aristocracy is dressed in the torn and soiled fabric of democracy, proclaiming its will to represent the people. ..."
"... I don't like farce. It's pointlessly cruel to the characters; that's not stuff I usually find amusing. ..."
"... For the first time in the lives of just about all of you we are all less likely to see the most powerful nation on earth overthrow another government in the Middle East. From 1991 to 2016 the United States has been bombing nations in the Middle East as part of US foreign policy. Americans love bombing other countries – dropping bombs on people in the Middle East is one of America's favorite methods of bringing peace to the world. ..."
"... I reject all war. We are all extremely fortunate that Hillary Clinton will not be taking office this weekend. Had Hillary been elected we would be facing a crisis over Syria. Hillary wants to overthrow the Assad government by threatening to shoot down airplanes over Syria. Putin supports Assad. The only airplanes flying over Syria are Russian, or Syrian. Do any of you want a war with Russia? Does shooting down Russian airplanes sound like a good plan to you? ..."
"... Americans helped overthrow the elected government of the Ukraine. Americans have been bombing countries in the Middle East for decades. Under Obama the US has been at war for his entire presidency. We don't know what will happen, but for the first time in a very long time Americans elected a president who wants to trade with everyone. He wants to do deals with Kim, with Putin, with China. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

b9n10nt 01.20.17 at 8:47 pm

Nah, Reagan was tragedy, this one is farce. A farce wherein a capitalist aristocracy is dressed in the torn and soiled fabric of democracy, proclaiming its will to represent the people.
Layman 01.20.17 at 9:24 pm ( 17 )

Has anyone noticed the creepy banner CNN is using for their coverage? Two general's stars on a red ribbon? I was struck by it, so I went to CNN's archive to see what they did for the last two inaugurations. I couldn't find anything like it.

And of course there is the story that his team wanted a military vehicle parade, e.g. Tanks, mobile missile launchers, etc. How long before the Don dons a uniform?

Collin Street 01.20.17 at 11:51 pm ( 20 )
Actually, second time as farce.

I don't like farce. It's pointlessly cruel to the characters; that's not stuff I usually find amusing.

kidneystones 01.21.17 at 12:23 am
What I told my own first-year students yesterday:

For the first time in the lives of just about all of you we are all less likely to see the most powerful nation on earth overthrow another government in the Middle East. From 1991 to 2016 the United States has been bombing nations in the Middle East as part of US foreign policy. Americans love bombing other countries – dropping bombs on people in the Middle East is one of America's favorite methods of bringing peace to the world.

I reject all war. We are all extremely fortunate that Hillary Clinton will not be taking office this weekend. Had Hillary been elected we would be facing a crisis over Syria. Hillary wants to overthrow the Assad government by threatening to shoot down airplanes over Syria. Putin supports Assad. The only airplanes flying over Syria are Russian, or Syrian. Do any of you want a war with Russia? Does shooting down Russian airplanes sound like a good plan to you?

Americans helped overthrow the elected government of the Ukraine. Americans have been bombing countries in the Middle East for decades. Under Obama the US has been at war for his entire presidency. We don't know what will happen, but for the first time in a very long time Americans elected a president who wants to trade with everyone. He wants to do deals with Kim, with Putin, with China.

He's not interested in what goes on in other people's countries. He wants to mind his own business. He wants to get rich and become as famous as possible. We don't know what will happen, but for the first time in a very long time Americans have elected a president who does not want to attack other countries.

We are not looking at a new US war in the Middle East for the first time in a very long time. That doesn't mean the war won't happen. Americans love bombing people. But I'm immensely pleased Hillary Clinton is not fighting more wars in the Middle East, and that for the first time in a very long time Americans seem to have decided to leave the rest of us live our lives in peace.

God bless everyone.

[Jan 21, 2017] One man sporting a T-shirt that said: "The witch is dead

Jan 21, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Hundreds of thousands of his supporters poured into Washington from all over the US, partly to savor this moment of history and partly to celebrate that the country was theirs again .

Many of the Trumpistas were making their first visit to the nation's capital. "With the help of our new president, to remind the world why America was great to begin with," said Jimmy Kirby, 46, an electrician from Nashville, Tennessee, who had driven 11 hours to have his first taste of the city.

Another newcomer, Jeff Krotz, 49, from Buffalo, New York, used edgier language. A military veteran, he said: "Nobody respects us. There's no God in the country any more, and the way I see it if you don't like the way we do things here you can go somewhere else."

Shirts proclaiming "Proud member of the basket of deplorables" were peppered through the crowd, as were those demanding "Hillary for prison 2016". Others had an even more malevolent ring, with one man sporting a T-shirt that said: "The witch is dead".

"This is the mood of the world," said Richard Pease, 53, a printing sales executive from New Hampshire. "You just watch: first Brexit, then Trump, next Marine Le Pen for France. People want their lives back."

Asked to elaborate, Pease said: "I'm a white male who owns firearms. At least for the next four years I get to keep my guns and my balls."

[Jan 21, 2017] US neocons try to enforce the continuation of neocon foriegh policy with Trump administration

Notable quotes:
"... Running up the flag in Estonia is a Kagan Clinton affair. ..."
"... No Putin is not the Tsar incarnate nor is the US inheriting England and France 1856 protection of Turks in the Balkans. ..."
"... Making a neocon moral point and tripping with WW III over Estonia is neocon war mongering insane. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> im1dc... , January 20, 2017 at 04:41 PM
After the new AG does what should have been done with HRC.

Then Trump can fire the CIA for the muck up in the middle east.

And pull the Mech brigade out of the Balts.

ilsm -> pgl... , January 20, 2017 at 04:43 PM
you are transferring the neocon enterprise on Trump.

Running up the flag in Estonia is a Kagan Clinton affair.

No Putin is not the Tsar incarnate nor is the US inheriting England and France 1856 protection of Turks in the Balkans.

ilsm -> sanjait... , January 20, 2017 at 03:16 PM
Making a neocon moral point and tripping with WW III over Estonia is neocon war mongering insane.

Who are Balts?

Why would US put a brigade of to defend Estonia? What is the strategic significance of Estonia?

There are as few people in Estonia as in New Hampshire and a large number are Russian speaking.

[Jan 21, 2017] Krauthammer: They're Quaking in Their Boots in Foreign Capitals

Jan 21, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

Krauthammer said, "I wanted to make a point about the speech. A part that we overlooked but I am sure is not being overlooked around the world. There are two audiences obviously for inaugural address-domestic and foreign. I guarantee you that they are quaking in their boots in foreign capitals, particularly of our allies and trading partners. The way that Trump spoke about the outside world was the most aggressive, most sort of hyper nationalist and in some ways, most hostile of any inaugural address I think since the second World War. What Trump pointed out, what he drew was a picture of a zero-sum world where what we've done for the world, they have been stealing from us. He says for decades we have enriched foreign industry at the expense of our American industry, subsidized others' military at the expense of the weakening of our army."

"We've made others rich while becoming poor. Then this scattering sense that the wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed around the world. In other words, the other guys, "the other," including friends. Kennedy spoke harshly about the communist world. This is about our allies," he continued.

"They have been stealing from us, our corrupt ruling class has taken the money of the middle-class and sent it around the world. That is the exaggerated anti-globalist view. I can understand a lot of the sentiments, but imagine how this has been heard in East Asia, in Europe, in other places, and then he ends up with a phrase that may not be as a resonant here, he says we are going to have one principle, "America First." It is capitalized in the version that you get printed out, and capitalized in the name of the isolationist party from the 1930s that fought to keep us out of any entanglements abroad, i.e., out of the second World War, led by Charles Lindbergh and others that dismantled a week after Pearl Harbor. For many people around the world, the British in particular, that is quite a resonant phrase, and it says to them, to the free world, since Harry Truman and Eisenhower, we constructed a world where we carried a lot of you-economically, militarily, etc. That game is over, you are on your own. That is an amazing message for an inaugural address. We heard it on the campaign, but that is policy now and it's going to have a huge effect around the world."

[Jan 21, 2017] Is Donald Trump Becoming a Regular Republican Hawk on Foreign Policy?

Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs :
Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 20, 2017 at 05:12 PM
The above is some sort of definition
of Trumpian neo-isolationism.

Don't pay to help our 'ungrateful
allies', but pummel Iran (say)
for being 'disrespectful'.

[Jan 21, 2017] Non-interventionism and as such it is the opposing theory to neoconservatism, especially its Allbright-Kagan-Nuland troika flavor, which actually does not deviate much from so called liberal interventionists (Vishy left) such as Hillary-Samantha Power-Susan Rice troika

Notable quotes:
"... Trump may end their expert preparedness for unending war. ..."
"... Neolib/neocon conartists call their truthful detractors unready or ignorant of unpatriotic or Russian tools. Sore losers. Does not make war mongers right! ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... January 20, 2017 at 03:34 PM
What sense does it make to tilt with thermonuclear war over a half million Balts' whim?

Outside of the war mongering corporatists who take huge plunder off the US taxpayer.

How about an end to the one worlders?

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to ilsm... January 20, 2017 at 04:04 PM

Can you come up with a theory of neoisolationism?
libezkova -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 20, 2017 at 09:44 PM
Let me try. First of all, it is properly called non-interventionism and as such it is the opposing theory to neoconservatism, especially its Allbright-Kagan-Nuland troika flavor, which actually does not deviate much from so called liberal interventionists (Vishy left) such as Hillary-Samantha Power-Susan Rice troika.

It would be nice to put them on trial, because all of then fall under Nuremberg statute for war crimes. But this is a pipe dream in the current USA political climate with it unhinged militarism and jingoism.

Here is something that more or less resembles the definition

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/noninterventionism-a-primer/

== quote ==

Americans have grown understandably weary of foreign entanglements over the last 12 years of open-ended warfare, and they are now more receptive to a noninterventionist message than they have been in decades. According to a recent Pew survey, 52 percent of Americans now prefer that the U.S. "mind its own business in international affairs," which represents the most support for a restrained and modest foreign policy in the last 50 years. That presents a challenge and an opportunity for noninterventionists to articulate a coherent and positive case for what a foreign policy of peace and prudence would mean in practice. As useful and necessary as critiquing dangerous ideas may be, noninterventionism will remain a marginal, dissenting position in policymaking unless its advocates explain in detail how their alternative foreign policy would be conducted.

A noninterventionist foreign policy would first of all require a moratorium on new foreign entanglements and commitments for the foreseeable future. A careful reevaluation of where the U.S. has vital interests at stake would follow. There are relatively few places where the U.S. has truly vital concerns that directly affect our security and prosperity, and the ambition and scale of our foreign policy should reflect that.

A noninterventionist U.S. would conduct itself like a normal country without pretensions to global "leadership" or the temptation of a proselytizing mission. This is a foreign policy more in line with what the American people will accept and less likely to provoke violent resentment from overseas, and it is therefore more sustainable and affordable over the long term.

When a conflict or dispute erupts somewhere, unless it directly threatens the security of America or our treaty allies, the assumption should be that it is not the business of the U.S. government to take a leading role in resolving it.

If a government requests aid in the event of a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis (e.g., famine, disease), as Haiti did following its devastating earthquake in 2010, the U.S. can and should lend assistance - but as a general rule the U.S. should not seek to interfere in other nations' domestic circumstances.

libezkova -> libezkova... , January 20, 2017 at 09:48 PM
Note the female chickenhawks are the most bloodthirsty, overdoing even such chauvinists as McCain.

That actually has its analogy in animal kingdom were female predators are more vicious killers then male, hunting the prey even if they do not feel the hunger (noted especially for lions)

point : , January 20, 2017 at 03:25 PM
Cross-posted from links earlier:

"So there you have it: ... completely unprepared to govern."

Paul means to imply the Obama boys and girls were better prepared? Judging by how well they did, maneuvering us into Larry's secular stagnation, for instance, some may be forgiven to think perhaps that kind of expertise we could do without.

Lost in all the discourse is that this government of ours was designed to be operated by amateurs.

ilsm -> point... , January 20, 2017 at 03:35 PM
Trump may end their expert preparedness for unending war.
ilsm -> point... , January 20, 2017 at 03:39 PM
Neolib/neocon conartists call their truthful detractors unready or ignorant of unpatriotic or Russian tools. Sore losers. Does not make war mongers right!

[Jan 20, 2017] The Clinton Foundation Is Dead - But The Case Against Hillary Isn't

Jan 19, 2017 | www.investors.com

hile everyone's been gearing up for President Trump's inauguration, the Clinton Foundation made a major announcement this week that went by with almost no notice: For all intents and purposes, it's closing its doors.

In a tax filing, the Clinton Global Initiative said it's firing 22 staffers and closing its offices, a result of the gusher of foreign money that kept the foundation afloat suddenly drying up after Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.

It proves what we've said all along: The Clinton Foundation was little more than an influence-peddling scheme to enrich the Clintons, and had little if anything to do with "charity," either overseas or in the U.S. That sound you heard starting in November was checkbooks being snapped shut in offices around the world by people who had hoped their donations would buy access to the next president of the United States.

And why not? There was a strong precedent for it in Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. While serving as the nation's top diplomat, the Clinton Foundation took money from at least seven foreign governments - a clear breach of Clinton's pledge on taking office that there would be total separation between her duties and the foundation.

Is there a smoking gun? Well, of the 154 private interests who either officially met or had scheduled phone talks with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, at least 85 were donors to the Clinton Foundation or one of its programs.

... ... ...

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch in August obtained emails (that had been hidden from investigators) showing that Clinton's top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, had given "special expedited access to the secretary of state" for those who gave $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Many of those were facilitated by a former executive of the foundation, Doug Band, who headed Teneo, a shell company that managed the Clintons' affairs.

As part of this elaborate arrangement, Abedin was given special permission to work for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo - another very clear conflict of interest.

As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time, "These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors."

The seedy saga doesn't end there. Indeed, there are so many facets to it, some may never be known. But there is still at least one and possibly four active federal investigations into the Clintons' supposed charity.

Americans aren't willing to forgive and forget. Earlier this month, the IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans whether they would like President Obama to pardon Hillary for any crimes she may have committed as secretary of state, including the illegal use of an unsecured homebrew email server. Of those queried, 57% said no. So if public sentiment is any guide, the Clintons' problems may just be beginning.

Writing in the Washington Post in August of 2016, Charles Krauthammer pretty much summed up the whole tawdry tale : "The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.," he wrote. "Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons' lifestyle (offices, travel accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration."

Except, now there is no Clinton Restoration. So there's no reason for any donors to give money to the foundation. It lays bare the fiction of a massive "charitable organization," and shows it for what it was: a scam to sell for cash the waning influence of the Democrats' pre-eminent power couple. As far as the charity landscape goes, the Clinton Global Initiative won't be missed.

[Jan 19, 2017] Davos without Donald Trump is like Hamlet without the prince

From comments: "Saying Davos without Trump is like Hamlet without the prince implies a dignity about the event which is rather far fetched. More like the Dark Side without Darth Vader ... trouble is, Davos ain't fiction." "The biggest cabal of sociopathic criminals the world has ever known."
Notable quotes:
"... This is not new. Klaus Schwab, the man who founded the World Economic Forum in the early 1970s, warned as long ago as 1996 that globalisation had entered a critical phase. "A mounting backlash against its effects, especially in the industrial democracies, is threatening a very disruptive impact on economic activity and social stability in many countries," he said. ..."
"... Schwab's warning was not heeded. There was no real attempt to make globalisation work for everyone. Communities affected by the export of jobs to countries where labour was cheaper were left to rot. The rewards of growth went disproportionately to a privileged few. Resentment quietly festered until there was a backlash. For Schwab, Brexit and Trump are a bitter blow, a repudiation of what he likes to call the spirit of Davos. ..."
"... It would be wrong, however, to imagine that business is terrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency. Boardrooms rather like the idea of a big cut in US corporation tax. They favour deregulation. They purr at plans to spend more on infrastructure. Wall Street is happy because it thinks the new president will mean stronger growth and higher corporate earnings. ..."
"... 'Policy decisions-not God, nature, or the invisible hand-exposed American manufacturing workers to direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. Policymakers could have exposed more highly paid workers such as doctors and lawyers to this same competition, but a bipartisan congressional consensus, and presidents of both parties, instead chose to keep them largely protected.' ..."
"... Good article by the way. Recommend others to read. Thanks. ..."
"... Stop trying to shackle every conservative to the desperate and ugly views of the few. Deplorables and their alt-right kin, are so small in number. We ought keep an eye on the Deplorables but little else ... they're politically insignificant. I wish you'd stop trying to throw the average Republican voter into the basket of bigoted, racist rednecks. It's deplorable! ..."
"... Saying Davos without Trump is like Hamlet without the prince implies a dignity about the event which is rather far fetched. More like the Dark Side without Darth Vader ... trouble is, Davos ain't fiction. ..."
"... Why would Daniel go into the lion's den? Trump is committed to stopping the excesses of the "swamp rats" most of whom are at Davos. The world will be turned on its head in 2017; it is going to be interesting to watch the demise of those at the top of the pyramid. ..."
"... What exactly is the "Spirit of Davos" then? A bunch of fat, rich elderly men and their hangers-on troughing themselves to the point of bursting on fine wines and gourmet food, while paying lip-service to the poor? ..."
"... One question for Davos might be: how are you going to resolve differences between the vast majority of people who exist as national citizens, and the multinational elite? It's not a new question. ..."
"... Multinationals, corporate and individuals, can dodge the taxes which pay for services we all rely on but especially citizens. ..."
"... Davos is not restricting attendance to high office bearers. Trump could have gone, had he wanted to, or he could have sent one of his family/staff - that's how Davos works. ..."
"... Bilderberg is by invitation, as far as I know, Davos by application and paying a high membership, plus fee. But the fact he is not represented could be a good sign if it means that the focus is on solving domestic issues as opposed to spending so much time and resources on international ones. ..."
"... My own take on the annual Davos circus is as follows:. It is a totally useless conclave and has never achieved anything tangible since its inception. ..."
"... This gives an excellent opportunity for those who hold so-called "numbered" or other secret bank accounts in the proverbially secretive Swiss banks to have their annual tete-a-tete with their bankers and carry out whatever maintenance has to be done to their bank accounts. After all, in tiny Switzerland, it is only a hop from one town to another. No one will miss you if you are not visible for a day or two. If any nosy taxman back home asks: "What was the purpose of your visit to Switzerland?", one can say with a straight face: "Oh, I was invited to be a keynote speaker at Davos to talk about the increasing income disparity in the world and on what steps to take to mitigate it."! ..."
"... I think globalisation is inhumane. Someone calculated that if labour were to follow capital flows we would see one third of the globe move around on a constant basis. One son in Cape Town a daughter in New York and a brother in Tokyo. It's not how human societies operate we are group animals like herds of cows. We need to be firmly rooted in order to build functioning and humane societies. That is the migration aspect of globalization the other aspect is the complete destruction of diverse cultures. ..."
Jan 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Trump's influence can also be felt in other ways. The manner in which he won the US election, tapping in to deep-seated anger about the unfair distribution of the spoils of economic growth, has been noted. There is talk in Davos of the need to ensure that globalisation works for everyone.

This is not new. Klaus Schwab, the man who founded the World Economic Forum in the early 1970s, warned as long ago as 1996 that globalisation had entered a critical phase. "A mounting backlash against its effects, especially in the industrial democracies, is threatening a very disruptive impact on economic activity and social stability in many countries," he said.

Schwab's warning was not heeded. There was no real attempt to make globalisation work for everyone. Communities affected by the export of jobs to countries where labour was cheaper were left to rot. The rewards of growth went disproportionately to a privileged few. Resentment quietly festered until there was a backlash. For Schwab, Brexit and Trump are a bitter blow, a repudiation of what he likes to call the spirit of Davos.

It would be wrong, however, to imagine that business is terrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency. Boardrooms rather like the idea of a big cut in US corporation tax. They favour deregulation. They purr at plans to spend more on infrastructure. Wall Street is happy because it thinks the new president will mean stronger growth and higher corporate earnings.

In Trump's absence, it has been left to two senior members of the outgoing Obama administration – his vice-president, Joe Biden, and secretary of state John Kerry – to fly the US flag.

Just as significantly, Xi Jinping is the first Chinese premier to attend Davos and has made it clear that, unlike Trump, he has no plans to resile from international obligations. The sense of a changing of the guard is palpable.

missuswatanabe

It's the way globalisation has been managed for the benefit of the richest in the developed world that has been bad for the masses rather than globalisation itself.

I thought this was an interesting, if US-centric, perspective on things:

'Policy decisions-not God, nature, or the invisible hand-exposed American manufacturing workers to direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. Policymakers could have exposed more highly paid workers such as doctors and lawyers to this same competition, but a bipartisan congressional consensus, and presidents of both parties, instead chose to keep them largely protected.'

http://bostonreview.net/forum/dean-baker-globalization-blame

Sunny Reneick -> missuswatanabe

Good article by the way. Recommend others to read. Thanks.

Paul Paterson -> ConBrio

Decent, hardworking Americans facing social and economic insecurity, whether on the right or left, ought to be the focus. We need to deal with the concerns of the average citizen, however it is they vote. Fringe groups don't serve our attention given tbe very real problems the country faces.

Stop trying to shackle every conservative to the desperate and ugly views of the few. Deplorables and their alt-right kin, are so small in number. We ought keep an eye on the Deplorables but little else ... they're politically insignificant. I wish you'd stop trying to throw the average Republican voter into the basket of bigoted, racist rednecks. It's deplorable!

What we should concern ourselves with is the very real social and economic insecurity felt by many in red states and blue states alike. Those decent and hardworking Americans, regardless of party, are joined in much. Deplorables aren't the average Republican voter and didn't win Trump an election - they are too few to win much of anything.

What you keep referring to as Deplorables are decent Americans seeking change and socioeconomic justice. You are mixing up citizens who happen to vote for the GOP withbwhite nationalist scum. How dare you tar all conservatives with the hate monger brush!

Spunky325 -> Paul Paterson

Actually, before taking office, Trump strong-armed Ford and GM into putting more money in their American plants, instead of moving more production to Mexico. He's also questioned cost-overruns on Air Force One and several military projects which is causing companies to back off. I can't think of another American president who has felt it was important to keep jobs in America or who has questioned military spending. Good for him!

Paul Paterson -> Spunky325

You've made it quite clear "you can't think" as you've bought into the ruse. The question is why are you so boastful about it? Trump's policies are even seen by economists on the right as creating staggering levels of debt, creating more economic inequality and unlikely to increase jobs.

Among many flaws, they point out tax proposals that hurt the poor and middle class to such a degree it almost seems targeted. This is the same economic plot that has failed working Americans repeatedly. You folks are getting caught up in a time share pitch and embracing policy that has little chance to help the average American - however it is they vote. It isn't supposed to but y'all are asleep at the wheel.

DrBlamm0

Saying Davos without Trump is like Hamlet without the prince implies a dignity about the event which is rather far fetched. More like the Dark Side without Darth Vader ... trouble is, Davos ain't fiction.

johhnybgood

Why would Daniel go into the lion's den? Trump is committed to stopping the excesses of the "swamp rats" most of whom are at Davos. The world will be turned on its head in 2017; it is going to be interesting to watch the demise of those at the top of the pyramid.

bilyou

What exactly is the "Spirit of Davos" then? A bunch of fat, rich elderly men and their hangers-on troughing themselves to the point of bursting on fine wines and gourmet food, while paying lip-service to the poor?

Maybe Trump just decided to trough it at his tower and avoid hanging out with a grotesque bunch of insufferable see you next Tuesdays.

Ricardo_K

One question for Davos might be: how are you going to resolve differences between the vast majority of people who exist as national citizens, and the multinational elite? It's not a new question.

Multinationals, corporate and individuals, can dodge the taxes which pay for services we all rely on but especially citizens.

James Patterson

Xi's statements on a trade war are completely self serving. But his assertions that he is against protectionism and unfair trading practices is laughably hypocritical. China refuses to let any Silicon Valley Internet company one inch past the Great Firewall. Under his direction the CCP has imposed draconian regulations, which change by the week, on American Companies operating in China making fair competition with local Chinese companies impossible.

The business climate in China is reprehensible. The CCP has resorted to extortion, requiring that U.S. tech companies share their most sensitive trade secrets and IP with Chinese state enterprises or get barred from conducting business there. Sadly, U.S. companies entered China with high expectations and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in factories, labs and equipment. This threat has caused many CEO's to sacrifice their company's long term viability by transferring their most closely guarded technological advances to China or face the loss their entire investment in China. Even so, multinationals are beginning the Chinese exodus led by those with less financial exposure soon to be followed by companies like Apple despite significant economic ties.

True, most people believe a 'trade war' with China means America is the defacto loser because of dishonest reporting. The truth is that America's economic exposure to China is extremely limited. U.S. exports to China represent only 7% of America's total exports worldwide; which in turn accounts for less than 1% of total U.S. GDP (Wells Fargo Economics Group 2015). Most of America's exports to China are raw materials, which can be redirected to other markets with some effort. So even if China blocked all U.S. exports tomorrow, America's economy could absorb the blow with minimal damage. This presents the U.S. government with a wide range of options to deal with China's many trade infractions and unfair practices as aggressively or punitively as it wishes.

europeangrayling

Poor Davos attendees. You feel for them at their fancy alpine Bilderberg. It's like the meeting of the mafia organizations, if the mafia became legal and respected now and ran the world economy. And I don't think those economic royalists at Davos miss Trump, Trump was a small fish compared to the Davos people. They make Trump look like a dishwasher.

They are just pissed Trump came out against the TPP and those globalist 'free trade' deals, and doesn't want more regime change maybe. They like everything else about Trump's policies, the big tax cuts, environmental and banking deregulations galore, it's like Reagan 2.0, without the 'free trade'. But they really want that 'free trade' though, those guys are used to getting everything. Imagine if Bernie won, they would really hate that guy, he is also against the TPPs and trade, and for less war, and against everything else they are used to. And that's good, if those honorable brilliant Davos gentleman don't like you, that's not a bad thing.

soundofthesuburbs -> soundofthesuburbs

With secular stagnation we should all be asking why is economics so bad?

Keynesian redistributive capitalism went out with Margaret Thatcher and inequality has been rising ever since (there is a clue there for the economists amongst us).

How did these new ideas rise to prominence?

"There Is No Nobel Prize in Economics

It's awarded by Sweden's central bank, foisted among the five real prizewinners, often to economists for the 1% -- and the surviving Nobel family is strongly against it."

"The award for economics came almost 70 years later-bootstrapped to the Nobel in 1968 as a bit of a marketing ploy to celebrate the Bank of Sweden's 300th anniversary." Yes, you read that right: "a marketing ploy."

Today's economics rose to prominence by awarding its economists Nobel Prizes that weren't Nobel Prizes.

No wonder it's so bad.

Global elites can use all sorts of trickery to put their ideas in place, but economics is economics and if doesn't reflect how the economy operates it won't work.

Secular stagnation – what more evidence do we need?

HauptmannGurski -> bcarey

Davos is not restricting attendance to high office bearers. Trump could have gone, had he wanted to, or he could have sent one of his family/staff - that's how Davos works.

Bilderberg is by invitation, as far as I know, Davos by application and paying a high membership, plus fee. But the fact he is not represented could be a good sign if it means that the focus is on solving domestic issues as opposed to spending so much time and resources on international ones.

Meanwhile, alibaba's Jack Ma said in Davos that the US had spent many trillions on wars in the last 30 years and neglected their own infrastructure. Money is for people, or some such like, he said. Just mentioning it here, because the MSM tend to dislike running this kind of remark.

Rajanvn -> HauptmannGurski

My own take on the annual Davos circus is as follows:. It is a totally useless conclave and has never achieved anything tangible since its inception.

Did it, in any way, with all the stars in the financial galaxy gathered in one place, warn against the 2008 global financial meltdown? The real reason why so many moneybags congregate at a place which would be shunned by all who have no affinity for snow sports may be, according to my own reckoning, may not be that innocent and may even be quite sinister.

This gives an excellent opportunity for those who hold so-called "numbered" or other secret bank accounts in the proverbially secretive Swiss banks to have their annual tete-a-tete with their bankers and carry out whatever maintenance has to be done to their bank accounts. After all, in tiny Switzerland, it is only a hop from one town to another. No one will miss you if you are not visible for a day or two. If any nosy taxman back home asks: "What was the purpose of your visit to Switzerland?", one can say with a straight face: "Oh, I was invited to be a keynote speaker at Davos to talk about the increasing income disparity in the world and on what steps to take to mitigate it."!

Roland33

I think globalisation is inhumane. Someone calculated that if labour were to follow capital flows we would see one third of the globe move around on a constant basis. One son in Cape Town a daughter in New York and a brother in Tokyo. It's not how human societies operate we are group animals like herds of cows. We need to be firmly rooted in order to build functioning and humane societies. That is the migration aspect of globalization the other aspect is the complete destruction of diverse cultures.

If everyone drives Toyota and everyone drinks Starbucks we lose the diversity of culture that people claim they find so valuable. And replaces it with a mono-culture of Levi jeans and McDonalds. Wealth inequality is really something that can be reduced if you look various countries score higher in this regard than others while still being highly successful market economies but I think money is secondary to the displacement and alienation that come with the first two aspects of globalisation. I find it strange that it is now the right that advocates reversing these neoliberal trends and the left that seems to champion it. I was conscious during the 90's and anti-globalisation was clearly a left wing issue. For whatever reason the left just leaves room for the right to harvest the grapes of wrath they warned about many years ago. Don't blame the "populist" right ask why the left left them the space.

[Jan 19, 2017] W ith Trump election the train just left the station .

Notable quotes:
"... What is called "Secular Stagnation" should be properly named "Secular Stagnation of societies which accepted neoliberalism as a polito-economical model". Very similar to what happened with Marxism: broken promised, impoverishment of the majority of population, filthy enrichment, corruption and all forms of degradation at the top. ..."
"... In the USA the level of elite degradation became really visible despite attempt to mask it with jingoism as a smoke screen (look at the candidates of the last Presidential race - the choice was between horrible and terrible) ..."
"... Speaking about the level of demoralization I understand why somebody might hate Trump, but Hillary as alternative ? Give me a break. In this sense wining about Trump inauguration just signify the inability to connect the dots and understand that the last election was what in chess was called Zugzwang. ..."
"... The fact is that neoliberalism as a social system no longer is viewed favorably by the majority of the US population (like Bolshevism before them in the USSR ). In this sense I think that with Trump election "the train just left the station". ..."
Jan 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova : January 19, 2017 at 07:27 PM , 2017 at 07:27 PM

Summers is a card carrying neoliberal and a Rubin's boy,. And Rubin was former "Deregulator in chief". Actually Summers performed the role of hired gun for Wall Street ( http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Financial_skeptic/Casino_capitalism/Corruption_of_regulators/silencing_brooksley_born.shtml ).

So he organically can't state the main point: neoliberal ideology is bankrupt and neoliberalism as a social system is close, or may be entered the decline stage.

That's why neoliberal MSM lost large part of their influence. Much like Soviet MSM during Brezhnev's rule.

What is called "Secular Stagnation" should be properly named "Secular Stagnation of societies which accepted neoliberalism as a polito-economical model". Very similar to what happened with Marxism: broken promised, impoverishment of the majority of population, filthy enrichment, corruption and all forms of degradation at the top.

Neoliberal elite ("masters of the universe") is split. The majority is still supporting "change we can believe in" (the slogan courtesy of master of "bait and switch") which means "kick the can down the road". While the other part is flirting with far right movements.

In the USA the level of elite degradation became really visible despite attempt to mask it with jingoism as a smoke screen (look at the candidates of the last Presidential race - the choice was between horrible and terrible)

Trump is just a symptom of a much larger problem. Look what happened when Marxist ideology was discredited and everybody understood that Marxism can't deliver its social promises. And look at the level of degradation of Soviet Politburo before the collapse which resulted is the election of this naοve, "not so bright", deeply provincial, inexperienced politician (Gorbachov). who was also determined "to make the USSR great again". The level of demoralization of the society was pretty acute. Nobody believed the government, the MSM, the Party.

The system was unable to produce leaders of the caliber that can save it. That was one of the reasons why it was doomed (bankruptcy of ideology means among other things that there is nobody to defend it and nationalism works both ways). I think we see a very similar processes in the USA now.

With CIA performing the role of KGB in their efforts to prevent or at least slow down the inevitable changes is the system (although at the end of the day KGB brass was simply bought and stepped aside allowing the Triumph of neoliberalism in the xUSSR space).

Speaking about the level of demoralization I understand why somebody might hate Trump, but Hillary as alternative ? Give me a break. In this sense wining about Trump inauguration just signify the inability to connect the dots and understand that the last election was what in chess was called Zugzwang.

The fact is that neoliberalism as a social system no longer is viewed favorably by the majority of the US population (like Bolshevism before them in the USSR ). In this sense I think that with Trump election "the train just left the station".

[Jan 19, 2017] Obamas Parting Shots - RPI 16th Jan Update

Notable quotes:
"... Ron Paul went out with a bang in 2008. He refused to endorse the neocon who won the nomination and instead brought together candidates from the "minor" parties to agree on a basic set of principles upon which this Institute was founded in 2013. It was an excellent parting shot. The McCainiacs in their arrogance bade good riddance to the anti-interventionist wing of the party and...the rest is history (as it was four years later). Did they learn? Of course not. ..."
"... So at that time, in 2008, Ron Paul became the steady voice of the non-interventionist movement even as much of the anti-Bush "peace movement" faded into silence hoping that Obama would live up to his Nobel Peace Prize billing. Instead, Obama bombed his way through his final year in the White House as he did the preceding seven years: he dropped an average of three bombs per hour in 2016. That's three per hour, each 24 hours, each 52 weeks, each 12 months. With some admirable exceptions, the Left side of the peace movement went into hibernation for eight years. ..."
"... President Obama is going out with a bang, but of an entirely different sort. After he and his surrogates all but accused President-elect Trump of being a Kremlin agent -- bolstered by the "fake news" experts at the Washington Post and the rest of the mainstream media -- he made a couple of moves in attempt to bind his successor to a confrontational stance regarding Russia. ..."
"... In today's Liberty Report , Dr. Paul and I mentioned the famous April, 1967 antiwar speech of Martin Luther King where he blasted the superficial patriotism of those who cheer the state's wars without question. ..."
"... We are in the same situation today, where anyone who questions the neocon and mainstream media narrative that to oppose a nuclear confrontation with Russia makes one somehow a Russian agent. ..."
Jan 17, 2017 | Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

It seems strange that this will be the last time I write you under the presidency of Barack Obama. I recall the slight ray of hope we felt when he took office, after eight years of the crazed neocons who ran Bush's White House. At the time, Dr. Paul had just finished his ground-breaking 2008 presidential run and so much had changed for us in the Congressional office. While we were legally separated from campaign activities, we felt the mist from the waves crashing on the shore of American political life. Ron Paul went from being a widely-admired and principled Member of Congress to the world-renowned ambassador of honest money and non-interventionism! A revolution was born!

By the 2008 race, Bush and his foreign policy were thoroughly discredited, and Ron Paul offered the strongest opposition to the warmed-over Bushism that the hapless McCain campaign had on offer. Obama had run as the peace candidate, and the peace candidate always wins -- even if he is a liar (see: Woodrow Wilson, FDR, GW Bush, etc.). But while many of us hoped for the best, we also knew there was little chance for us to change course.

Ron Paul went out with a bang in 2008. He refused to endorse the neocon who won the nomination and instead brought together candidates from the "minor" parties to agree on a basic set of principles upon which this Institute was founded in 2013. It was an excellent parting shot. The McCainiacs in their arrogance bade good riddance to the anti-interventionist wing of the party and...the rest is history (as it was four years later). Did they learn? Of course not.

So at that time, in 2008, Ron Paul became the steady voice of the non-interventionist movement even as much of the anti-Bush "peace movement" faded into silence hoping that Obama would live up to his Nobel Peace Prize billing. Instead, Obama bombed his way through his final year in the White House as he did the preceding seven years: he dropped an average of three bombs per hour in 2016. That's three per hour, each 24 hours, each 52 weeks, each 12 months. With some admirable exceptions, the Left side of the peace movement went into hibernation for eight years.

President Obama is going out with a bang, but of an entirely different sort. After he and his surrogates all but accused President-elect Trump of being a Kremlin agent -- bolstered by the "fake news" experts at the Washington Post and the rest of the mainstream media -- he made a couple of moves in attempt to bind his successor to a confrontational stance regarding Russia.

First, he sent thousands of US troops to permanently be stationed in Poland for the first time ever. These troops and military equipment, including hundreds of tanks and so on, are literally on the border with Russia, but any complaint or counter-move is reported by the lapdog media as "Russian aggression." Imagine five thousand Chinese troops with the latest in war-making equipment on the Mexican border with the US, with a few ships in the Gulf of Mexico to boot. Would Washington welcome such a move? Then today we discover that Obama has sent a few hundred US Marines to take up in Norway for the first time since World War II. Of course it's not enough to be a military threat to Russia nor is it enough to actually defend Norway if "Russian expansionism" dictates an invasion. So what is the purpose? To wrong-foot any ideas Trump might have about turning down the nuclear-war-with-Russia dial.

Ron Paul will continue his position as the Trump Administration takes hold of the levers of power: He continues to push honest money, individual liberties, and non-interventionism. Do you agree that we must not compromise this position no matter who is in power?

In today's Liberty Report , Dr. Paul and I mentioned the famous April, 1967 antiwar speech of Martin Luther King where he blasted the superficial patriotism of those who cheer the state's wars without question.

We are in the same situation today, where anyone who questions the neocon and mainstream media narrative that to oppose a nuclear confrontation with Russia makes one somehow a Russian agent.

And Obama's big miss while he still had the chance? Just a few days ago the media reported that whistleblower Chelsea Manning was on the shortlist for having her 35 year sentence commuted. Imagine decades in solitary confinement for the "crime" of telling your fellow citizens the crimes being committed by their government.

As the news that Manning was being considered for presidential clemency broke, Dr. Paul joined with RPI Board Member former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) to send an urgent letter to President Obama to request that Manning's sentence be commuted. This quick action of the Ron Paul Institute was coordinated with Amnesty International and represents a new, more activist phase for us. With our collective following in the millions, we can mobilize opinion quickly on urgent matters such as this. Obama has not yet responded, but you can be sure that our call to action was well-heard in Washington.

... ... ...

Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

[Jan 18, 2017] A New Problem Emerges For The Davos Elite

Jan 18, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
As such, one major problem facing Davos, is one of loss of credibility , as the majority of people now believe the economic and political system is failing them, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, released on Monday ahead of the Jan. 17-20 World Economic Forum.

A simpler way of putting it: "There's a sense that the system is broken," Richard Edelman, head of the communications marketing firm that commissioned the research, told Reuters .

And it's not just the poor who have lost faith: " The most shocking statistic of this whole study is that half the people who are high-income, college-educated and well-informed also believe the system doesn't work ."

As Reuters puts it, the 3,000 business, political and academic leaders meeting in the Swiss Alps this week find themselves increasingly out of step with many voters and populist leaders around the world who distrust elites. And this time the increasingly angry world is closely watching.

Governments and the media are now trusted by only 41 and 43 percent of people respectively, with confidence in news outlets down particularly sharply after a year in which "post-truth" become the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Trust in business was slightly higher, at 52 percent, but it too has declined amid scandals, including Volkswagen's rigged diesel emission tests and Samsung Electronics' fire-prone smartphones.

The credibility of chief executives has fallen in every country surveyed, reaching a low of 18 percent in Japan, while the German figure was 28 percent and the U.S. 38 percent.

Trust in governments fell in 14 of the countries surveyed, with South Africa, where Davos regular President Jacob Zuma has faced persistent corruption allegations, ranked bottom with just 15 percent support.

Making matters worse, according to a PwC survey released at Davos , even the global business elite is starting to lose oses confidence in the benefits of globalization, i.e. the very bread and butter of the people present at the world's biggest echo chamber symposium.

Batman11 , Jan 16, 2017 2:22 PM

" there is a consensus that something huge is going on, global and in many respects unprecedented. But we don't know what the causes are, nor how to deal with it."

Let me explain.

The US set its heart on liberal democracy and the end was already in sight.

The problems were there at the start but were ignored, it was always going to go wrong in exactly the way it has.

Francis Fukuyama talked of the "end of history" and "liberal democracy".

Liberal democracy was the bringing together of two mutually exclusive ideas.

Economic liberalism – that enriches the few and impoverishes the many.

Democracy – that requires the support of the majority.

Trying to bring two mutually exclusive ideas together just doesn't work.

The ideas of "Economic Liberalism" came from Milton Freidman and the University of Chicago. It was so radical they first tried it in a military dictatorship in Chile, it wouldn't be compatible with democracy. It took death squads, torture and terror to keep it in place, there was an ethnic cleansing of anyone who still showed signs of any left wing thinking.

It was tried in a few other places in South America using similar techniques. It then did succeed in a democracy but only by tricking the people into thinking they were voting for something else, severe oppression was needed when they found out what they were getting.

It brings extreme inequality and widespread poverty everywhere it's tested, they decide it's a system that should be rolled out globally. It's just what they are looking for.

Margaret Thatcher bought these ideas to the West and the plan to eliminate the welfare state has only recently been revealed. Things had to be done slowly in the West due to that bothersome democracy. The West has now seen enough.

It was implemented far more brutally in the developing world where Milton Freidman's "Chicago Boys" were the henchmen of "The Washington Consensus". The IMF and World Bank acted as enforcers insisting on neoliberal conditionalities for loans.

Global markets punished those not towing the neoliberal line and kept nations in their place. As Nelson Mandela was released from prison the South African Rand fell 10%, someone like this was going to be pushing up wage costs and would be bad for the economy.

Looking back it was a grand folly of an international elite whose greed overcame even a modicum of common sense.

Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" will take you through all the gory details.

Underlying neo-liberalism is a different economics, neoclassical economics, which is heavily biased towards the wealthy. Inequality and a lack of demand in the global economy were also guaranteed from the start.

Norma Lacy , Jan 16, 2017 2:22 PM

Crocodile tears. what they're really saying is that there is no body left to exploit. Gates and his buddies from Mastercard and Visa are now literally ragpicking the poor Indians with their destruction of the cash economy. "Get a credit card or starve you huddled masses!" JPMorgan makes millions of $ every year off food stamps. "Thank you O'Bomber - I just love your golf swing." The latest and greatest? Bezos is getting into the food stamp racket... "Thanks O'Bomber - just keep those doggies rollin."

These kids are down to seeds and stems and they don't know what the fuck to do next... The Ruskies look tasty but they're too hard to roll... "Killoing the host" fo shuh.

besnook , Jan 16, 2017 2:24 PM

the depth of their insanity is revealed in their obvious reluctance to admit the con is over. the foot soldiers who are responsible for keeping the rabble in check are ready for mutiny. these guys would piss in their pants and offer their mother in their place if a red dot appeared on their forehead.

Dr. Bonzo , Jan 16, 2017 2:25 PM

System's been broken at least since the 90s. Pretty sure many ZH readers have been accutely aware of this as well. But hey, on behalf of the rest of us, welcome to the party. No run for your fucking lives. Cause you destroyed perfectly good countries with proud histories for no good goddamned reason, and you're going to be held accountable. Scumbags.

mary mary , Jan 16, 2017 2:32 PM

The things I love about Davos are:

1. the way Davos participants open their meetings to all North African and Middle Eastern immigrants;

2. the way Davos participants pledge to go without paychecks until next year's Davos meeting, because they want to "feel your pain";

3. the way Davos participants fast for the entirety of the conclave, to remind themselves that "they exist only to serve";

4. the way Davos participants meet in Syria, tour some areas bombed-and-looted-and-raped by ISIS, crowd onto small boats, row across the Mediterranean to Italy, and then walk the rest of the way to Davos;

5. the way Davos participants promise not to wear PURPLE all year, to show they do NOT appreciate Hillary's bombing of Syria and killing of its leader.

Batman11 , Jan 16, 2017 2:33 PM

"There's a sense that the system is broken,"

With secular stagnation it's a bit more than a sense, the system is broken.

MASTER OF UNIVERSE , Jan 16, 2017 2:33 PM

The entire Global Banking System, and all the Corporate companies in the entire world, will implode, guaranteed. They will implode because of the fact that the Banking Oligopoly has appropriated all of the Disposable Income Gains of the entire world population since the late 1960s. Bill Gates & Warren Buffett should have known that they alone would have to support all the companies in the entire world in order to keep them propped up due to the fact that they are the only individuals with enough money to purchase all the cars, trucks, investments, et cetera. Clearly, Warren Buffett & Bill Gates need to buy all the high end luxury boats and condos in the entire world because no one else can afford to purchase given that everyone is indentured into servitude to bankers that appropriate all of their Disposable Income Gains the world over. The Davos crowd knows what is going on, but they don't want to admit that they stole all the world's wealth so that they could be anal retentive money hoarders like Warren Buffett obviously is. The problems of trust is endemic throughout the entire world now, and it will not be long before we read about Warren Buffett hanging from a lamp post at the hands of an irate population that is panicking.

I honestly know what is going to happen and why it is happening, but the closed-looped Global Banking System does not care one wit about causality. Clearly, they will care when they get lynched by angry irate mobs of people that are going to freak out when the whole system implodes across the board.

sharonsj , Jan 16, 2017 2:37 PM

"But we don't know what the causes are, nor how to deal with it."

I almost spit out my lunch at that one. Maybe when their heads are in a guillotine they'll remember. Better yet, let this non-elite explain it to you: You've rigged the system so that the rich get richer and everyone else gets screwed. How long did you think that would go on before the masses want you dead?

[Jan 18, 2017] Trump's (and Putin's) Plan to Dissolve the EU and NATO.

Jan 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc : January 15, 2017 at 06:05 PM , 2017 at 06:05 PM
Everyone will want to read this:

"Trump's (and Putin's) Plan to Dissolve the EU and NATO."

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-s-and-putin-s-plan-to-dissolve-the-eu-and-nato

"Trump's (and Putin's) Plan to Dissolve the EU and NATO."

By Josh Marshall...January 15, 2017...8:12 PM EDT

"Most people in this country, certainly most members of the political class and especially its expression in Washington, don't realize what Donald Trump is trying to do in Europe and Russia. Back in December I explained that Trump has a plan to break up the European Union. Trump and his key advisor Steve Bannon (former Breitbart chief) believe they can promise an advantageous trade agreement with the United Kingdom, thus strengthening the UK's position in its negotiations over exiting the EU. With such a deal in place with the UK, they believe they can slice apart the EU by offering the same model deal to individual EU states. Steve Bannon discussed all of this at length with Business Week's Josh Green and Josh and I discussed it in great detail in this episode of my podcast from mid-December.

Now we have a rush of new evidence that Trump is moving ahead with these plans.

One point that was clear in Green's discussions with Bannon and Nigel Farage is that Trump wants to empower Farage as its interlocutor with the United Kingdom. Given Farage's fringe status in the UK, on its face that seems crazy. But that is the plan. And it is a sign of how potent Farage's guidance and advice has become for Trump's view of Europe, the EU and Russia.

Two days ago, the United States out-going Ambassador to the EU gave a press conference in which he opened up about Farage's apparently guiding role in the Trump world and what he's hearing from EU Member states.

From the The Financial Times (sub.req.) ...

... Donald Trump's transition team have called EU leaders to ask "what country is to leave next" with a tone suggesting the union "is falling apart" this year, according to the outgoing US ambassador to the bloc.

... In a pugnacious parting press conference, Anthony Gardner warned of "fringe" voices such as Nigel Farage, the former UK Independence party leader, holding influence in Washington over Mr Trump's team.

... Speaking days before leaving office, Mr Gardner said it would be "lunacy" and "the height of folly" for the US to ditch half a century of foreign policy in order to support further EU fragmentation or become a "Brexit cheerleader" in Brussels.

... "I was struck in various calls that were going on between the incoming administration and the EU that the first question is: what country is about to leave next after the UK?" he said.

... "The perceived sense is that 2017 is the year in which the EU is going to fall apart. And I hope that Nigel Farage is not the only voice being listened to because that is a fringe voice."

Today in a new interview with the Germany's Bild and the Times of London Trump expanded on these goals dramatically. Trump leveled a series of attacks on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, suggesting he'd like to see her defeated for reelection and saying she'd hurt Germany by letting "all these illegals" into the country. Trump also called NATO "obsolete", predicted other countries would soon leave the EU, and characterized the EU itself as "basically a vehicle for Germany."

Trump and Bannon are extremely hostile to Merkel and eager to see her lose. But what is increasingly clear is that Trump will make the break up of the EU a central administration policy and appears to want the same for NATO.

My own view is that Trump and Bannon greatly overestimate America's relative economic power in the world. Their view appears to be that no European country will feel it is able to be locked out of trade with a US-UK trade pact. An America eager to break up the EU seems more likely to inject new life into the union. However that may be, Trump and Bannon clearly want to create a nativist world order based on the US, Russia and states that want to align with them. The EU and NATO are only obstacles to that goal."

[Jan 18, 2017] In Stunning Pair Of Interviews, Trump Slams NATO And EU, Threatens BMW With Tax; Prepared To Cut Ties With Merkel Zero Hedg

Jan 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

In two separate, and quite striking, interviews with Germany's Bild ( paywall ) and London's Sunday Times ( paywall ), Donald Trump did what he failed to do in his first US press conference, and covered an extensive amount of policy and strategy, much of which however will likely please neither the pundits, nor the markets.

Among the numerous topics covered in the Bild interview, he called NATO obsolete, predicted that other European Union members would join the U.K. in leaving the bloc and threatened BMW with import duties over a planned plant in Mexico, according to a Sunday interview granted to Germany's Bild newspaper that will raise concerns in Berlin over trans-Atlantic relations. Furthermore, in his first "exclusive" interview in the UK granted to the Sunday Times, Trump said he will offer Britain a quick and "fair" trade deal with America within weeks of taking office to help make Brexit a "great thing". Trump revealed that he was inviting Theresa May to visit him "right after" he gets into the White House and wants a trade agreement between the two countries secured "very quickly".

Trump told the Times that other countries would follow Britain's lead in leaving the European Union, claiming it had been deeply ­damaged by the migration crisis. "I think it's very tough," he said. "People, countries want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity."

Elsewhere, quoted in German from a conversation held in English, Trump predicted Britain's exit from the EU will be a success and portrayed the EU as an instrument of German domination with the purpose of beating the U.S. in international trade. For that reason, Trump said, he's fairly indifferent whether the EU breaks up or stays together, according to Bild. According to Bloomberg , Trump's comments "leave little doubt that he will stick to campaign positions and may in some cases upend decades of U.S. foreign policy, putting him fundamentally at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on issues from free trade and refugees to security and the EU's role in the world."

Trump then attacked another carmarker, previosuly unnoticed by the president-elect, when he warned the United States will impose a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the U.S. market . A BMW spokeswoman said a BMW Group plant in San Luis Potosi would build the BMW 3 Series starting from 2019, with the output intended for the world market. The plant in Mexico would be an addition to existing 3 Series production facilities in Germany and China. Trump said BMW should build its new car factory in the United States because this would be "much better" for the company.

He went on to say Germany was a great car producer, borne out by Mercedes Benz cars being a frequent sight in New York, but there was no reciprocity. Germans were not buying Chevrolets at the same rate, he said, making the business relationship an unfair one-way street. He said he was an advocate of free trade, but not at any cost. The BMW spokeswoman said the company was "very much at home in the U.S.," employing directly and indirectly nearly 70,000 people in the country.

Going back to foreign policy, Trump discussed his stance on Russia and suggested he might use economic sanctions imposed for Vladimir Putin's encroachment on Ukraine as leverage in nuclear-arms reduction talks, while NATO, he said, "has problems."

"[ NATO] is obsolete, first because it was designed many, many years ago ," Bild quoted Trump as saying about the trans-Atlantic military alliance. "Secondly, countries aren't paying what they should" and NATO "didn't deal with terrorism."

While those comments expanded on doubts Trump raised about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during his campaign, he reserved some of his most dismissive remarks for the EU and Merkel, whose open-border refugee policy he called a "catastrophic mistake." He further elaborated on this stance in the Times interview, where he said he was willing to lift Russian sanctions in return for a reduction in nuclear weapons.

When asked about the prospect of a nuclear arms reduction deal with Russia, Trump told the newspaper in an interview: "For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it."

Additionally, Trump said Brexit will turn out to be a "great thing." Trump said he would work very hard to get a trade deal with the United Kingdom "done quickly and done properly".

Trump praised Britons for voting last year to leave the EU. People and countries want their own identity and don't want outsiders to come in and "destroy it." The U.K. is smart to leave the bloc because the EU "is basically a means to an end for Germany," Bild cited Trump as saying. " If you ask me, more countries will leave ," he was quoted as saying.

While Trump blamed Brexit on an influx of refugees he said that Britain was forced to accept, the U.K.'s number of asylum applications in 2015 was a fraction of the 890,000 refugees who arrived in Germany that year at the peak of Europe's migrant crisis.

With Merkel facing an unprecedented challenge from the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany as she seeks a fourth term this fall, Trump was asked whether he'd like to see her re-elected. He said he couldn't say, adding that while he respects Merkel, who's been in office for 11 years, he doesn't know her and she has hurt Germany by letting "all these illegals" into the country.

Among Trump's other comments to Bild::

  • the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq may have been the worst in U.S. history;
  • that Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, is a natural talent who will bring about an accord with Israel
  • Trump plans to keep using social media including Twitter once he's in the White House to sidestep the press and communicate directly with his followers
  • People entering the U.S. will face "extreme" security checks, possibly including some European nationals
  • But perhaps the most troubling, if only to legacy US diplomatic relations, was that, as the Times noted, "despite all of Mr Trump's expressions of admiration for Mr Putin and Mrs Merkel, he revealed that he was prepared to cut ties with both: "Well, I start off trusting both - but let's see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all."

    It is unclear if this litany of strategic and tactical announcements, many of which quite shocking in their audacity and scope, is merely meant to serve as a launching pad for further negotiations, something Trump has proven quite adept at doing by stunning his counterparties into a state of abrupt silence, or if these are actually meant to serve as a basis for future US policy; if it is the latter, when US markets reopen they may have a distinct case of indigestion because while the market had desperately hoped for more clarity out of Trump on his policies, what emerged in these two interview is hardly it.

    [Jan 17, 2017] Is Politically Correct or Jingoistic Reporting Fake News - The Unz Review

    Jan 17, 2017 | www.unz.com
    What Russia's crime consisted of, by the most damaging interpretation, was hacking into a private server belonging to a political party and possibly allowing the admittedly factual but embarrassing material obtained to make its way into the media. Excuse me, but that is what intelligence agencies do routinely to justify their multiple billion dollar budgets. The United States is the world leader in such activity as revealed by Jim Bamford's books on the subject and also through the revelations obtained in the Snowden papers. Now Russia is being condemned for possibly doing some of the same, though no evidence is being provided, and the story is being framed as if we are by definition the good guys and Vladimir Putin is the devil incarnate.

    What I am saying is that the United States mainstream media is the primary source of fake news due to its inbuilt biases on what is acceptable and what is not. It actually hurts black people by its attempts to be protective and its unwillingness to consider a news story through the eyes of the other party for chauvinistic reasons means that Americans are particularly uninformed about what is going on in the world. To suggest that all of this is particularly dangerous, both in terms of domestic tranquility and possible foreign threats, would be an understatement.

    [Jan 16, 2017] DemoRats still c annot reconcile with the fact that your corporatist, neoliberal, war monger candidate lost and thier the Third Way betryal of working class did not pay them this time

    Jan 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    ilsm : January 16, 2017 at 05:55 PM
    poor democrats!

    Cannot reconcile your corporatist, neoliberal, war monger losing to a TV star who suggests we should not tilt with a nuclear power with insane doctrine defining when peace should be breeched; you say the winner is 'illegitimate' or make up relations with a nationalist leader who does not toe the 'one worlder' line.

    US should be Denmark!

    libezkova -> ilsm... , January 16, 2017 at 06:42 PM
    Trump was right to point out that the Clintons and their allies atop the Democratic National Committee rigged the game against Bernie.

    This rigging was consistent with the neoliberal corporate Democratic Party elite's longstanding vicious hatred of left-wing of the party and anti-plutocratic populists. They hate and viciously fight them in the ranks of their pro-Wall Street Party. It's "Clinton Third Way Democrats" who essentially elected Trump, because Bernie for them is more dangerous than Trump.

    The Democratic party became a neoliberal party of top 10% (may be top 20%), the party of bankers and white collar professionals. "Soft" neoliberals, to distinguish them from "hard" neoliberals (GOP).

    Under Bill Clinton the Democrats have become the party of Financial Oligarchy. At this time corporate interests were moving to finance as their main activity and that was a very profitable betrayal for Clintons. They were royally remunerated for that.

    Clintons have positioned the Dems as puppets of financial oligarchy and got in return two major things:

    1. Money for the Party (and themselves)
    2. The ability to control the large part of MSM, which was owned by the same corporations, who were instrumental in neoliberal takeover of the USA. When the neoliberal media have to choose between their paymasters and the truth, their paymasters win every time. Like under Bolshevism, they are soldiers of the Party.

    In any case, starting from Clinton Presidency Democratic Party turned into a party of neoliberal DemoRats and lost any connection with the majority of the USA population. Like Republicans they now completely depends on "divide and conquer" strategy. Essentially they became "Republicans light." And that's why they used "identity wedge" politics to attract African American votes and minorities (especially woman and sexual minorities; Bill Clinton probably helped to incarcerate more black males than any other president). As if Spanish and African-American population as a whole have different economic interests than white working class and white lower middle class.

    So Dems became a party which represents an alliance of neoliberal establishment and minorities, where minorities are duped again and again (as in Barack Obama "change we can believe in" bait and switch classic). This dishonest playing of race and gender cards was a trademark of Hillary Clinton campaign.

    See

    10 reasons why #DemExit is serious. Getting rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not enough by Sophia A. McClennen

    http://www.salon.com/2016/07/29/10_reasons_why_demexit_is_serious_getting_rid_of_debbie_wasserman_schultz_is_not_enough/

    [Jan 16, 2017] Paul Krugman With All Due Disrespect

    Notable quotes:
    "... What do you call dumping a Ukraine president? And Qaddafi, blowing up the middle east, and funding al Qaeda? Fraud/treason, both Clinton neocon connections same as Reagan, shruBush and Obama. ..."
    "... "In Yugoslavia, the U.S. and NATO had long sought to cut off Serbian nationalist and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic from the international system through economic sanctions and military action. In 2000, the U.S. spent millions of dollars in aid for political parties, campaign costs and independent media. Funding and broadcast equipment provided to the media arms of the opposition were a decisive factor in electing opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica as Yugoslav president, according to Levin. "If it wouldn't have been for overt intervention Milosevic would have been very likely to have won another term," he said." ..."
    "... Google Camp Bonesteel. A large NATO base funded mostly by you to keep Serbia under wraps. Enforcing the Clinton neocon "just peace". With threat of US' brand of expensive high tech mass murder. ..."
    "... Democrats voting against legalizing drug imports from Canada (Hall of Shame:) Bennett, Cory Booker, Cantwell, Carper, Casey, Coons, Donnelly, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Menendez, Murray, Tester, and Warner. ..."
    "... progressive neoliberals are libertarians and market idolators' lackies that want gays to get their wedding cakes from Christian bakeries. ..."
    "... 30000 destroyed e-mails, denying the public access to records. How many felony counts is 30000? Read the Federal Records Act. ..."
    Jan 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    ilsm -> DrDick... , January 16, 2017 at 05:44 PM
    What do you call dumping a Ukraine president? And Qaddafi, blowing up the middle east, and funding al Qaeda? Fraud/treason, both Clinton neocon connections same as Reagan, shruBush and Obama.

    The recondite democrat bar for traitor is very high. As arcane as the demo-neolib definition of progressive!

    ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , January 16, 2017 at 05:48 PM
    The center has moved to the Reagan republican side except for its abhorrence of any judeo-christian sexual code.

    Neutrality is shameful when the time is siding with the immoral.

    llisa2u2 : , January 16, 2017 at 12:05 PM
    The old saying what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Well considering all that the Republican party and leadership has dissed out for 8 years or so. Hey, they need to be dissed right back. Trump has set the "TONE" that all is fair as he set the rules, established the rule-book way below the belt, loves playing in the swamp and slinging mud. He deserves any and all that gets slung back from in and out of the swamp, in all global directions! Unfortunately everyone else will be the only citizens to suffer. He's just way above the maddening crowd, and protected by all his cronies!
    ilsm -> llisa2u2... , January 16, 2017 at 04:14 PM
    yup, only difference between the neocons of Kagan and Bush and progressive neolibs is gay rights.
    Jay : , January 16, 2017 at 12:54 PM
    US is a master of manipulating foreign elections.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-intervention-foreign-elections-20161213-story.html

    "In Yugoslavia, the U.S. and NATO had long sought to cut off Serbian nationalist and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic from the international system through economic sanctions and military action. In 2000, the U.S. spent millions of dollars in aid for political parties, campaign costs and independent media. Funding and broadcast equipment provided to the media arms of the opposition were a decisive factor in electing opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica as Yugoslav president, according to Levin. "If it wouldn't have been for overt intervention Milosevic would have been very likely to have won another term," he said."

    ilsm -> Jay... , January 16, 2017 at 03:38 PM
    Google Camp Bonesteel. A large NATO base funded mostly by you to keep Serbia under wraps. Enforcing the Clinton neocon "just peace". With threat of US' brand of expensive high tech mass murder.

    MLK's memory is defiled by the fake liberals grabbing it for revolting political gain.

    JohnH : , January 16, 2017 at 01:28 PM
    Democrats voting against legalizing drug imports from Canada (Hall of Shame:) Bennett, Cory Booker, Cantwell, Carper, Casey, Coons, Donnelly, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Menendez, Murray, Tester, and Warner.

    Presumably many, like Cantwell, are avid supporters of 'free' trade--trade that is rigged in favor of certain special interests. Legalizing drug imports from Canada would have hurt the special interests that fund their campaigns.

    Only a prelude to Democrats caving to Trump...

    ilsm -> JohnH... , January 16, 2017 at 03:35 PM
    progressive neoliberals are libertarians and market idolators' lackies that want gays to get their wedding cakes from Christian bakeries.
    ilsm -> ken melvin... , January 16, 2017 at 03:34 PM
    30000 destroyed e-mails, denying the public access to records. How many felony counts is 30000? Read the Federal Records Act.
    B.T. -> ken melvin... , January 16, 2017 at 04:40 PM
    What drove the assassination of Bernie Sanders campaign?

    People who ask if Trump is illegitimate need to ask if Hillary was as well.

    After all, we aren't talking about literal rigging right? Just leaks with bad timing?

    DeDude : , January 16, 2017 at 02:14 PM
    Considering that Trump and the GOP majority got millions less votes than their democratic counterparts, one can question the legitimacy (but not the legality) of the laws they pass - since they would not represent the will of the people.
    ilsm -> DeDude... , January 16, 2017 at 03:32 PM
    poor dud
    libezkova -> DeDude... , January 16, 2017 at 06:09 PM
    Yes that's true. But all those votes belong to just two places: NYC and California.

    You have a problem here my democratic friend.

    ilsm : , January 16, 2017 at 03:27 PM
    por pk!

    I start this sermon with poor pk, and those who of unsound logic who think he is not jumped the shark poor pk.

    John Lewis.......

    From Dr King's Vietnam Sermon Apr 1967:

    "Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal."

    The liberals' silence is betrayal! All the democrat sponsored fake liberal agendas around this holiday remain damnably silent about the evil that is Clinton/Obama war to end "unjust peace".

    Here is my comment for poor pk, Lewis and the whining do-over tools:

    Last week US drones killed 3 supposed terrorists in Yemen, they were supposed to be al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). No charges, no jury, no judge.

    AQAP is related to the guys Obama is funding to take down Assad and put Syria in ruinous hate filled group of jihadis like run amok in Libya.

    So silent on deadly evil; but so boisterous about affronts to gay people wanting nice cakes!

    Lewis and his crooked neoliberal ilk have been milking Dr. King for 50 years!


    Chris Herbert : , January 16, 2017 at 04:17 PM
    Hey, if it's politics every pathology from torture to assassination to bombing civilians is approved. If you did it as a person, you would be immediately incarcerated. This nation state worship, or religious worship in many parts of the world, is infused with pathology. It's in our DNA apparently. We are over killers par excellence. Only rats are as good. I'm betting on the rats.
    ilsm -> Chris Herbert... , January 16, 2017 at 06:01 PM
    why we have Dr King and Gandhi.

    I like the rat metaphor for neolibs and GOP.

    Jesse : , January 16, 2017 at 05:35 PM

    "Politicians were mostly people who'd had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers."

    George R. R. Martin

    ilsm : , -1
    poor democrats!

    Cannot reconcile your corporatist, neoliberal, war monger losing to a TV star who suggests we should not tilt with a nuclear power with insane doctrine defining when peace should be breeched; you say the winner is 'illegitimate' or make up relations with a nationalist leader who does not toe the 'one worlder' line.

    US should be Denmark!

    [Jan 16, 2017] Blocking Donald Trumps Inauguration

    Jan 16, 2017 | viableopposition.blogspot.ca
    Here is what the group is about:

    " 1. Trump won the Electoral College vote – a legacy of slavery, and used to embed inequality in voting rights since. He lost the popular vote, by well over 2 and a half million votes. Trump has no "mandate", and his victory is illegitimate.
    2. More fundamental: the illegitimacy of the entire fascist regime Trump is moving to install. Trump promises to inflict repression and suffering on people in this country, to deport millions, to increase violence up to the use of nuclear weapons on people across the globe, and to inflict catastrophes upon the planet itself.
    3. He is assembling a "Legion of Doom" cabinet of white supremacists, woman haters, science deniers, religious fundamentalist zealots, and war mongers. NO! His regime must not be allowed to consolidate. We REFUSE to accept a Fascist America !"
    Since the organization regularly refers to "fascism", let's look at the Dictionary.com definition of fascism :
    1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
    2. (sometimes initial capital letter) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.
    3. (initial capital letter) a political movement that employs the principles and methods of fascism, especially the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922–43."

    There are three main aspects of fascism ;

    1.) authoritarianism or the rule of a strong central government.
    2.) nationalism or the pride in one's country.
    3.) xenophobia - the fear of unknown peoples or entities.

    As we all know, the 20th century saw the rise of fascism in both Germany under Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist movement and Italy under Benito Mussolini prior to and during the Second World War, both in circumstance where their homelands had experienced a long period of economic hopelessness. It is actually Benito Mussolini who coined the term "fascism" after the Latin word "fasces" which was the symbol of bound sticks used as a symbol of power in ancient Rome. Here's what Mussolini had to say about fascism:

    " Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death....

    ... Fascism [is] the complete opposite of Marxian Socialism , the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production.... Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect....And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society....

    After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application.

    Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage " (i.e. the vote).... (my bold and comment in brackets)

    By using the term "fascism" in association with Donald Trump and his chosen insiders, the group behind Refuse Fascism has used our innate fears of another Adolf Hitler to raise opposition to the Trump Administration.

    The media has played right into this with banners like these:

    1. Slate which found Donald Trump not completely guilty of fascism:
    2. Newsweek :
    3. The Washington Post which actually graded Donald Trump as a 26 out of a possible 44 Benitos (i.e. he doesn't completely fit the profile):
    4. Vox which actually found Donald Trump "not guilty" of fascism:
    Given that the term "fascist" is one of the strongest political epithets that one can use, the very mention of the word in conjunction with the Trump name is a rather convenient way of getting readers to associate the two, particularly given that most readers don't read much past the first few paragraphs of any news item.

    The one key point missing in the Trump as a fascist claim is that fascism is deeply suspicious of capitalism because it divided nations and destroyed national traditions. It advocates strong state intervention in the economy to maintain control of the "fatherland". One definitely cannot term Donald Trump as an anti-capitalist.


    Bruce Wilds January 15, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    The new year rolled in with several Sunday morning talk shows that discuss the Washington beltway and current events piling on America's new president-elect. The panel of supposed experts who impart their deep knowledge in an attempt to enlighten us more ignorant folks made it clear America may not survive as a result of Trump being elected.

    It is difficult not to notice the stark contrast between how Trump is being treated by the press and how they heap praise upon Obama as he takes a "victory tour" lauding his accomplishments as president. More on the ramifications of this bashing of Trump in the article below.

    http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/01/sunday-morning-talk-shows-excel-in.html

    [Jan 16, 2017] If DNI Clapper is telling the truth, then the ICA was prepared in a manner that violated the very tradecraft regarding the preparation of intelligence community analytical products

    Notable quotes:
    "... The implication inherent in DNI Clapper's revelation is that the classified information relied upon by the Intelligence Community was so specific as to its nature, and so critical and central to the judgments made in the ICA, that it could not be worked around to the extent necessary to shield its specific source from the analysts in the INR. ..."
    "... If DNI Clapper is telling the truth, then the ICA was prepared in a manner that violated the very tradecraft regarding the preparation of intelligence community analytical products he proudly cited to underpin the credibility of the ICA. It also implies that the intelligence community was comfortable with excluding from one of the most important assessments of Russian intent in modern times the very agency, the Department of State, that deals with the Russians on a broad spectrum of issues on a daily basis, and as such would be ideally positioned to weigh in on issues such as Russian intent – especially that of its leader, Vladimir Putin. ..."
    Jan 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain Scott Ritter, Huffington Post (Fiver). Important.

    "We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who 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." This statement was false when it was made by Hillary Clinton, on October 9, 2016, referring to the aforementioned October 7 joint statement by DHS and the ODNI; as was the case for the Russian ICA, the joint statement drew upon only three of the 16 agencies (the 17th is the ODNI, which is a coordinating body, not a separate intelligence agency), the only intelligence agencies involved in crafting the underlying assessments and judgments were the FBI, CIA and NSA.

    When one dissects the nuts and bolts that hold the Russian ICA together, the framework is actually quite weak. The FBI, the sole agency responsible for intelligence derived from a domestic source (i.e., the DNC server and John Podesta) has acknowledged that it has had no direct access to the servers involved, and was compelled to carry out its investigation based upon the technical report of a private cyber security company, Crowdstrike, brought in by the DNC in April 2016***.
    ..
    It was interesting to note that DNI Clapper told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, in open session on January 10, 2016, that the State Department, in particular its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was excluded from participating in the preparation of the classified ICA because of "sensitivity of sources." This seems to be a unique circumstance, as the Senator who asked the question noted; INR analysts possess the highest level of security clearances that grant them access to a broad range of highly classified sources of intelligence.

    The implication inherent in DNI Clapper's revelation is that the classified information relied upon by the Intelligence Community was so specific as to its nature, and so critical and central to the judgments made in the ICA, that it could not be worked around to the extent necessary to shield its specific source from the analysts in the INR.

    This exclusion, however, would cut across the entire intelligence community, given the "need to know" caveats attached to most, if not all, sensitive information of this nature. If this was, indeed, the standard applied, then it would also exclude from participation in preparation of the ICA many of the CIA's own analysts, and most, if not all, of the academics recruited to fill positions within the National Intelligence Council, the arm of the ODNI responsible for overseeing the production of multi-agency assessments like the ICA on Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

    If DNI Clapper is telling the truth, then the ICA was prepared in a manner that violated the very tradecraft regarding the preparation of intelligence community analytical products he proudly cited to underpin the credibility of the ICA. It also implies that the intelligence community was comfortable with excluding from one of the most important assessments of Russian intent in modern times the very agency, the Department of State, that deals with the Russians on a broad spectrum of issues on a daily basis, and as such would be ideally positioned to weigh in on issues such as Russian intent – especially that of its leader, Vladimir Putin.

    ==================================================================
    It may seem like a small lie, 3 bureaucracies instead of 17, but it is is an innate characteristic of these institutions and individuals. They spread a lot of disinformation. And than of course, the lying by omission.

    Its a complete and thorough "assessment" .except for the fact that all those cynics, skeptics, and anyone with the expertise to refute the dubious assumptions and obvious biases of the CIA were excluded.

    So, the CIA says "WE ALL AGREE" – does anyone know of a MSM that has pointed out that the "intelligence report" is a consensus ONLY because anybody who disagreed was left off???

    ***
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html?utm_term=.c9e570cc61fc

    One group, which CrowdStrike had dubbed Cozy Bear, had gained access last summer and was monitoring the DNC's email and chat communications, Alperovitch said.

    The other, which the firm had named Fancy Bear, broke into the network in late April and targeted the opposition research files. It was this breach that set off the alarm. The hackers stole two files, Henry said. And they had access to the computers of the entire research staff - an average of about several dozen on any given day.

    The computers contained research going back years on TRUMP. "It's a huge job" to dig into the dealings of somebody who has never run for office before, Dacey said.

    CrowdStrike is not sure how the hackers got in. The firm suspects they may have targeted DNC employees with "spearphishing" emails. These are communications that appear legitimate - often made to look like they came from a colleague or someone trusted - but that contain links or attachments that when clicked on deploy malicious software that enables a hacker to gain access to a computer. "But WE DON'T HAVE HARD EVIDENCE," Alperovitch said.

    ===================================
    Soooo .the DNC is mad that Russia got all their Trump Opo dirt for free?

    HBE , January 15, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Great detailed piece, and on huffpo no less.

    Then I checked the comments (only 12 in 3 days), of which all were of the "OMG Russians" or "the IC must be trusted" variety.

    It appears huffpo buried this affront to it's general narrative somewhere deep, so as not risk a distortion to it's well manicured bubble.

    Not that they needed to, as the few comments on the buried piece illustrate the bubble has become self sustaining.

    WJ , January 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Ritter's piece is unfortunately too detailed and informative–too accurate, in a word–for the vast majority of the screen-reading populace, the credentialed among whom are much dumber and less cultured than their working-class forebears. It's much less taxing to read Jeff Bezos's Blog while ordering your no-whip vanilla latte than trying to work through the far-reaching implications of Ritter's analysis.

    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 11:51 am

    WJ
    January 15, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Poor Ritter – doomed to be this era's Cassandra. Or maybe poor us (poor "US" as in USA) – doomed to ignore the truthful and listen to the liars ..

    and the population all composed of Hamilton Burgers*

    *Hamilton Burger was the rather obtuse District Attorney who charged the clients of Perry Mason with crimes, when week after ween, month after month, year after year the clients would be exonerated*** Most people would have long ago figured out not to charge people Perry Mason was defending, but this DA never learned .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Mason_(TV_series)
    ***When asked by a fan why Perry Mason won every case, Burr told her, "But madam, you see only the cases I try on Saturday."[61]:590
    Mason is known to have lost, in some form or manner, three cases-"The Case of the Terrified Typist", "The Case of the Witless Witness", and "The Case of the Deadly Verdict".[72]

    polecat , January 15, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Why read Ritter . when you can just 'turn on' to Mara liasson ,or lachml Singh, or any of the assorted stenographic heathers on N P R ..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    I don't see Scott tossing out tote bags to the rabble

    Montanamaven , January 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Yeh, but Ritter also inserts this into the piece.

    These failures are furthered when one incorporates the shortcomings of American intelligence analysis behind the failure to accurately predict the Russian actions against Georgia in 2008, the annexation of the Crimea in 2014, and the intervention in Syria in 2015 – in short, the track record of the very intelligence community that produced the ICA addressing allegations of a Russian influence campaign targeting the 2016 US Presidential election is not impressive.

    lyman alpha blob , January 15, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I took that to mean that the IC was too stupid to figure out that Russia would not just sit back and do nothing while the US interfered in their sphere of influence, not necessarily that Russia was the instigator.

    susan the other , January 15, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Why hasn't anybody demanded to see CrowdStrike's pedigree beyond its vague vetting (?) by the DNC? A private company that has remained anonymous except for its name – well that makes no sense. Or rather, it makes the DNC look even worse.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Not to mention that one thing that no one seems to be disputing is that DNC cyber security was terrible to non-existent, so their judgment in this area can be considered weak at best.

    Katniss Everdeen , January 15, 2017 at 11:30 am

    That would be the function of a "principled press," the position of which can be summarized as "Trump and Putin sittin' in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G."

    Still, I can't help but wonder if the "principled" press and the "intelligence" community have not painted themselves into a corner. With Trump and Putin portrayed as locked in a loving embrace and isis seemingly dropped off the face of the earth, should Trump meet with a tragic "accident," whom will the public blame?

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Because Alperovitch is also on the Atlantic Council(neocons-NATO) and also has very close ties to Ukraine Nationals? Reaching across the aisle and bi-partisian support, methinks.

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 11:18 am

    CrowdStrike is fullokrap

    "spearphishing" – See Podesta dump for screenshots of phishing site asking for Podesta to enter his id and password.

    The so called "unique" Russian exploit techniques are old, and can be done by many other reasonably competent hackers.

    Surprising to me is that no one yet has mentioned that a real state hacker would hide her IP behind probably multiple large VPN networks. There might be some way of setting up "spoof servers" too, but I'm nowhere competent enough in this subject to say anything with much certainty. Other than CrowdStrike is full of crap.

    Katniss Everdeen , January 15, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Maybe "crowdstrike" is the hacking version of "correct" the record.

    Arizona Slim , January 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Spearphishing? Welcome to my e-mail in box!

    If I'm not getting e-mails urging me to update some password or the other, I'm getting tales of woe regarding package delivery or something going wrong with an account of a bank I've never used.

    Do I respond? Nope. Do I click on the links or open the attachments in these e-mails? Uh-uh.

    So, am I now in the running for a position at the DNC?

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Possibly a DNC IT guru?

    Oregoncharles , January 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    No, you're specifically disqualified.

    How else are they going to lose to Trump, of all people, next time?

    cnchal , January 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Here is the damning part, economics unwise.

    Errors have been made by the Intelligence Community in the past and, given the punishing reality of a fair and open society, and the scrutiny of a free press contained within, these failures have been exposed – sometimes ruthlessly so – for all the world to see. From the reversal of the Intelligence Community's stance on the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program, underestimating the scope and reach of the threat of the Islamic State, and the exaggeration of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the shortcomings of the intelligence assessments and estimates conducted by the IC over the past two decades – the period spanning the careers of those who continue to provide the analysis that underpinned these highlighted erroneous conclusions and findings – the public history of the failures of the judgment of the American intelligence community is extensive and uncomplimentary.

    This represents massive overhead that can't even be ditched as sunk costs. Keeping this "intelligence" enterprise going is embedded in the government's budget, and the results of these massive errors have caused thousands of untold lives to be destroyed, even the ones still alive, and wasted trillions of dollars, which is ongoing. Meanwhile the rest of the country crumbles.

    "You're fired", directed at upper management of the "intelligence" community can't come fast enough from President Trump's mouth.

    John Parks , January 15, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    "the shortcomings of the intelligence assessments and estimates conducted by the IC over the past two decades"

    This article comes awfully close to equating "assessment" with "wild ass guess" but doesn't quite go that far. (probably deemed unprofessional)
    The misplaced dedication shown by our IC goes further back ..probably even further back than when the FBI spent two years studying the lyrics of "Louie, Louie"

    Goyo Marquez , January 15, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    So the chain of evidence for Trump oppo is:
    DNC>Russians>MI6>John McCain>CIA>Buzzfeed?
    Wow well played.

    LT , January 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Thinking back, the Democrats and Beltway insiders were still believing their computers' predictions of a Hillary at the time the "Russians are coming" mantra began.
    Something tells me this was expected to be the pretext for a Clinton administration led conflict with Russia they just didn't want to let Trump winning stop their plans.
    So it's coming off very clumsily. Lots lost in the improvisation.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Campaign internals. The appearance schedule, reports of polls asking about opinions of Michelle, and Obama hitting the campaign trail when he would ideally like to make a grand gesture such as fraudulent peace talks was a sign the campaign was in trouble.

    There is a good chance the vaunted "data" people noticed the Republicans they expected to win weren't abandoning Trump and registration efforts over the Summer didn't pan out due to lack of effort.

    Russia is the new Nader, war President, and how Bush out spent Kerry on ads excuses from previous campaigns to excuse the same old Clinton ideas and people leading to the usual disaster. I believe the Green Party moved to recount mode so swiftly to blunt being turned into the villain.

    allan , January 15, 2017 at 8:31 am

    To ruin your Sunday morning, listen (if you have the stomach) to Council on Foreign Relations head Richard Haas
    on the Tavis Smiley show
    . Doubling down on the Washington consensus, and clearly trying to talk up
    an intervention in Venezuela. Because R2P can not fail – it can only be failed.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 9:50 am

    True believer, or cynic who knows it is hard to sell a book to people telling them their ideas and goals are bull, you decide.

    I realoy don't know anymore who is just delusional, and who wants their slice of other people's pie regardless of who they have to damage.

    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 8:42 am

    The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam's WMDs Counterpunch

    "Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, [said that] the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP, for at least FIVE YEARS."

    ==========================================================
    Dang those guys are prescience .I wanna ask them what stocks to buy (Hot Octopuss? are masturbatoriums the coming thing???), or better yet, what lottery numbers to pick ..

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 15, 2017 at 11:22 am

    FIVE YEARS?

    Those Euro-Asians are patience and they think long term.

    In the 1963 movie, Bye Bye Birdie, Dick Van Dyke played Al Peterson, whose song, The Last Kiss, to by sung by the just-drafted Conrad (or was it Comrade) Birdie, on the Ed Sullivan Show, was going to make him rich enough to take care of his mother and marry his girl friend. The plan was spoiled by those scheming Russian ballet dancers whose number was going to run too long that Ed Sullivan had to eliminate the song. So, the attack on American freedom went way, way back.

    Moreover, Van Dyke, being a Ph.D. in biochemistry, had invented a pill to 'speed up' animals and humans as well. The girl friend, posing as a photo-journalist, was able to slip a speed-up pill into the conductor Borov's milk, in order to 'speed up' their show, and restore Birde's lost minutes. While this successful patriotic plan was unfolding, you can see a mad Russkie official clutching a shoe, as if he was ready to hit something with it.

    That, there, was the subliminal message to all future shoe-throwers who are now plaguing our world these days.

    And, comrades, that's long-range planning five years is nothing.

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Initially, the devious rooskies were grooming Trump to take down Vince McMahon and totally flatten the Rosie Threat. When they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams is when things went to their heads and they got too big for their britches.

    Now they're coming after our super stars. Those rooskies need to be taken down a notch or two.

    integer , January 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Although I was aware of Schumer's recent comment to Maddow ("You take on the intelligence community? They have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you") I did not get around to watching the exchange until today.

    What struck me when watching it was that Schumer is saying, on the record, that establshment politicians are subservient to the intelligence agencies because it is considered an accepted fact that their careers will be at risk if they do not give these agencies the freedom to act however they see fit. That is an incredibly dangerous dynamic, and what's worse is that it has been normalized and accepted by cowardly and/or corrupt politicians who purport to serve their constituents.

    I for one am grateful that Trump has enough spine to stand firm wrt putting these agencies back in their place (especially the CIA ), which is, after all, to serve and protect the citizens of the US.

    fresno dan , January 15, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    integer
    January 15, 2017 at 8:59 am

    the fact that it did not elicit a firestorm tells you all you need to know about how the US government is really run .

    Nechaev , January 15, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    "their careers" – or given not-so-recent-yet-not-so-ancient USian history – indeed even their lives could/ would be at risk
    the schumer-maddow exchange can certainly be –chillingly– interpreted in a number of ways.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 15, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    That's Schumer's "My Struggle" moment – foretelling what is and what will be happening.

    It's all there, years before it becomes reality.

    "It's impossible. All of them? Too big to imagine. Too big to fail, check that, too big to apprehend. They don't dare."

    alex morfesis , January 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    The blob is all powerful ?? or people like Schumer are afraid of their own shadow sadly methinx it is the later The blob is able to function since characters sit in the seats of power instead of real men ( & not enough women).

    In much like how the mafia slowly brings someone to the dark side by having them do small indiscretions and crimes over a period of time until the victim becomes the victimizer, the blob will attempt to reel one in by burping out national security or just dumping natsec "non disclosures" or luring in someone close to you or finding someone close to you who they already have in their pockets

    If one resists too much, then the existing wimps in charge make sure you get stuck in some subcommittees handling bipartisan egg rolls on the whitehouse lawn

    Get along or get along now(scoot)

    It is getting near the end of the movie and toto has pulled back the curtain .

    shall we ignore the little men behind the curtain

    polecat , January 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I guess this means Chucky won't be calling any .. uh .. 'plumbing contractors' .. to his house anytime soon, unless they're members of Conniving .. Instigators .. Associates !

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Schumer is no lightweight, if he says/believes this then we have a whole lot to be worried about. Thank goodness for Trump.
    (For the record, I voted McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama)

    EndOfTheWorld , January 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Schumer has never been accused of being overly intelligent. He is still miffed because HRC went down in flames. She was supposed to be his partner in crime for eight years.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    And he was supposed to be Senate Majority Leader and get a really cool office instead of the crummy basement one. Given the seats up for reelection in 2018, he will have to wait until January 2021.

    Susan C , January 15, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    When I watched that exchange the other evening in real time, it seemed ominous to me, very dark. I think he was trying to instill real fear into the heart of Trump. I wonder if someone like a Trump has ever felt fear. It makes you wonder. Or if Trump has ever dealt with anyone more powerful than he believes himself to be.

    neo-realist , January 15, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    What struck me when watching it was that Schumer is saying, on the record, that establshment politicians are subservient to the intelligence agencies because it is considered an accepted fact that their careers will be at risk if they do not give these agencies the freedom to act however they see fit. That is an incredibly dangerous dynamic, and what's worse is that it has been normalized and accepted by cowardly and/or corrupt politicians who purport to serve their constituents

    Well hasn't this been pretty much the case since the incident in Dallas 50 plus years ago?

    mad as hell. , January 15, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I hope Booker wears that pharmaceutical vote around his neck for the rest of his life or at least until 2020.

    Annotherone , January 15, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Yes, indeed! It'll go well with the mantle he appears to be taking over as the "more effective evil".

    craazyboy , January 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Leaked tapes from DNC Strategy Room meeting.

    DNC Chair – But Black worked?

    DNC Political Strategist – Yes

    DCN Chair – But Women failed

    DNC Political Strategist – As a strategy, Yes

    DCN Chair – So Black then?

    DNC Political Strategist – We could conclude that, yes

    Haiku politics

    John Wright , January 15, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I'm somewhat surprised Booker did not pull a Nancy Pelosi type vote on this bill.

    From what I remember, on the TPP Fast Track, Pelosi worked behind the scenes to get Fast Track through, and then, with enough votes to assure it would pass without her vote, voted against the very action she had promoted.

    Of course, Pelosi's constituents were opposed to the TPP and she "supported" them.

    Booker could have quietly, privately, assured his big Pharma funders he was in the tank for them while still voting in support of the drug importation bill, because if his vote had moved to the supporting side, the count would have been 47-51 and the bill would still fall the way the big Pharma wanted.

    Maybe other senators in the 46 "supporters" were playing the cynical Pelosi optics type of game and Booker had to fall on his sword to show both his loyalty to big Pharma and give them cover?

    Possibly Booker also priced in that there are about 4 years before the next presidential election and this vote could fall into the dustbin of history.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Dems have gotten away with a lot, hiding behind Obama or Hillary and using the rotating villain strategy, and now they don't have a leader to protect them. Booker doesn't have the cult of personality Obama had, and there won't be an echo chamber to shut down dissent. I don't believe Democrats have a handle on their status.

    mad as hell. , January 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    No it was Russia's fault. Now we must circle the wagons and destroy Russia. Ya better be with me cause we are soon going to war to protect democracy and if you ain't with me you are a ( fill in the blank). The Democratic party does not make mistakes. The rag tag voters make mistakes! Now send us some money so we can stop Trump!

    Will this b******t ever end. It is driving me nuts.

    uncle tungsten , January 15, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Me too MaH. The imitation democracy that is the USA is just a pathetic sideshow and brutally overpriced.

    The only interesting aspect right now is how Trump responds to the unintelligence community for their transparent insubordination and abuse of power. Time will tell.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Dems have had the delusional idea since they caught the car bumper and had both Houses of Congress and the Presidency that just one of those is good, and preferably the Presidency. Hence their lack of panic as they lost the House, the Senate and most of the state legislatures and Governorships in the nation.

    Having now lost the one thing they were determined to win, they are going to slowly find out that there is no place to hide when their constituents are going to expect them to use all the same levers the Republicans did to obstruct all that stuff Obama wanted to do. They can't do the rotating villain thing, they can't NOT block things AND when that doesn't work the myth that Obama was hamstrung by Republicans is going to fall apart. Oops.

    Mind you the Republicans are going to have the problem of needing to pass the things they promised and living with those consequences.

    It is going to be interesting. And terrifying especially with the IC and MIC having tantrums that would do two year olds proud.

    John Wright , January 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    One fear of the Democrats might be they could be now be viewed as a useless appendage to the political process and unworthy of financial support by TPTB.

    That could hit them hard as Democratic think tanks lose funding and the NPV of the future lobbying potential of a current Democratic politician drops off dramatically.

    The Dems might actually feel a personal recession as they lose the ability to place their friends and relatives in well-paid politically related jobs.

    TPTB can simply support a handful of Blue-dog Democrats to buy a voting cushion on legislation that matters to them.

    Why pay more than necessary for Democratic support when it is largely irrelevant?

    OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 15, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    And the Dem reaction, of course, will be to suck up even harder to their money masters they've already concluded from the election that they weren't far enough to the right, this should mesh quite nicely. We've had one party in the country for decades, Obama's populist words (while pushing neo-con corporo-fascist actions) bamboozled for two terms, now we will get absolute unity in pushing the 1% agenda. Then we can do 1776 redux and take back our country.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    People really are loathe to admit that Obama has been an utter freakin' disaster. I was telling someone about how close the ALEC owned state houses were to getting their Constitutional convention and blamed Obama. I was lectured about how he came into a mess and that he was obviously not the problem it was people like Wasserman Schultz. I had to explain about the President and the DNC and that both Kaine and DWS were Obama's hand picked heads, that he moved grass roots organizing to OFA AND that over the course of his leadership of the party they had gone from having the Presidency, the House, the Senate, a majority of Governorships and an almost equal number of state legislative houses to exactly the opposite. Suffice it to say I left them speechless.

    And none of that should have been all that revelatory to a supposed political junkie. But to recognize that he wasn't interested in Democrats winning who were not named Obama is to understand he didn't care that he would not be in a position to get anything Democratic voters want

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    In one sense, Obama's failure was not in our stars but in ourselves, not me personally. If the Obots who cared so much for Obama and politics had torn themselves away from the latest insipid episode of X and called their Congressman or Senator instead of "liking" a cool meme about Obama, he might have been under enough pressure to not be completely terrible. Obama's evolution on gay rights only came after public outrage.

    The Obama followers have to understand this and simply don't want to admit their own complicity preferring to blame their plumber who may or may not have voted.

    HotFlash , January 15, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Obama's evolution on gay rights only came after public outrage gay big-dollar donors slammed their wallets shut.

    Fixed it for ya.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Example 1: Krugthullu's recent craziness.
    Example 2: Greta Van Susteren and noted racist, Megan Kelly both scored gigs at NBC. Were no Dems available? Or at least someone who didn't have a meltdown over a black Santa?
    Example 3: the CGI shutting down despite all the good they do (snark)

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Well that may be their strategy going ahead, but if you looked at the last couple of elections, they just were not interested in winning elections. Money was thrown at people who didn't really need it, token amounts to others. People were chosen to run who had lost in the past, or the usual suspects owed. There was little or no recruitment, the former Republicans they supported pretty much fell in their laps.
    No they are going to have to seriously attempt to win even on a limited manner, and I don't think they have clue how anymore.

    Pat , January 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Both Schumer and Gillibrand voted against this the first two times it came up. They voted for it this time. Works for the rotating villain theory

    marym , January 15, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Same for Durbin 2009 (N) 2012 (N) 2017 (Y)

    polecat , January 15, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Who knows .. Maybe the Donald with bring about a presidential decree, thereby forcing our reps & senators to don 'advertizing' as per Nascar race cars !

    Then it would be apparent to all as to whose loyalties they actually cater to .

    Carla , January 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Don't hold your breath. They're Democrats.

    Arizona Slim , January 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    This Zonie was amazed to learn that Senators McCain and Flake voted FOR this bill.

    NotTimothyGeithner , January 15, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Flake's on the ballot in November, and McCain does do his rotating hero strategy, he's on the side of good when it doesn't matter. He does have a huge senior population who like that desert air.

    Vatch , January 15, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    There are two Senators scheduled to be at this event: Booker and Menendez, and they both voted against the Klobuchar/Sanders amendment to allow Americans to buy medicine from Canada! Clearly this event was scheduled before the vote occurred. I wonder what kinds of discussions about this have been occurring behind the scenes?

    Rhondda , January 15, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Speaking of Amy Klobuchar - I saw in the noooze that she was one of McCain's compatriots on that holiday jaunt to Ukraine

    Klobuchar, McCain, Graham in Ukraine, Baltic States, and Georgia to
    http://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/ /klobuchar-mccain-graham-in-ukraine-baltic-states-and-.. .
    Dec 28, 2016 – WASHINGTON, DC – This week, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is in Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Georgia to reinforce support for the North
    Minnesota Sen. Klobuchar Spends New Year's Eve in Ukraine – Amy
    http://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/ /minnesota-sen-klobuchar-spends-new-year-s-eve-in-uk.. .
    Dec 31, 2016 – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar spent New Year's Eve day with the president of Ukraine and marines fighting Russian aggression in that country.

    Did you know that there is a Senate Ukraine Caucus? News to me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senate_Ukraine_Caucus
    The Senate Ukraine Caucus is a bipartisan caucus of the United States Senate that was Ron Johnson (R-WI); Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Mark Kirk (R-IL); James Inhofe (R-OK); Chris Murphy (D-CT). Gary Peters (D-MI); Rob Portman (R-OH)

    OIFVet , January 15, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    It's OK when Ukraine manipulates US politics. The US has always found nazis to be useful in its anti-Russian efforts, from Reinhard Behlen to Wernher von Braun, with a few Ukie Banderites thrown in for the truly dirty work.

    UserFriendly , January 15, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    She's always been about as far right as she can get away with in this state.

    [Jan 16, 2017] Mainstream Medias Russian Bogeymen

    DHS security honchos want to justify their existence. There is not greater danger to national security then careerists in position of security professionals. Lying and exaggerating the treats to get this dollars is is what many security professionals do for living. They are essentially charlatans.
    Notable quotes:
    "... In the middle of a major domestic crisis over the U.S. charge that Russia had interfered with the US election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) triggered a brief national media hysteria by creating and spreading a bogus story of Russian hacking into US power infrastructure. ..."
    "... Even more shocking, however, DHS had previously circulated a similar bogus story of Russian hacking of a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011. ..."
    "... Beginning in late March 2016, DHS and FBI conducted a series of 12 unclassified briefings for electric power infrastructure companies in eight cities titled, "Ukraine Cyber Attack: implications for US stakeholders." The DHS declared publicly, "These events represent one of the first known physical impacts to critical infrastructure which resulted from cyber-attack." ..."
    "... That statement conveniently avoided mentioning that the first cases of such destruction of national infrastructure from cyber-attacks were not against the United States, but were inflicted on Iran by the Obama administration and Israel in 2009 and 2012. ..."
    "... Beginning in October 2016, the DHS emerged as one of the two most important players – along with the CIA-in the political drama over the alleged Russian effort to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. Then on Dec. 29, DHS and FBI distributed a "Joint Analysis Report" to US power utilities across the country with what it claimed were "indicators" of a Russian intelligence effort to penetrate and compromise US computer networks, including networks related to the presidential election, that it called "GRIZZLY STEPPE." ..."
    "... according to Robert M. Lee, the founder and CEO of the cyber-security company Dragos, who had developed one of the earliest US government programs for defense against cyber-attacks on US infrastructure systems, the report was certain to mislead the recipients. ..."
    "... "Anyone who uses it would think they were being impacted by Russian operations," said Lee. "We ran through the indicators in the report and found that a high percentage were false positives." ..."
    "... The Intercept discovered, in fact, that 42 percent of the 876 IP addresses listed in the report as having been used by Russian hackers were exit nodes for the Tor Project, a system that allows bloggers, journalists and others – including some military entities – to keep their Internet communications private. ..."
    "... Instead, a DHS official called The Washington Post and passed on word that one of the indicators of Russian hacking of the DNC had been found on the Burlington utility's computer network. The Post failed to follow the most basic rule of journalism, relying on its DHS source instead of checking with the Burlington Electric Department first. The result was the Post's sensational Dec. 30 story under the headline "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, US officials say." ..."
    "... DHS official evidently had allowed the Post to infer that the Russians hack had penetrated the grid without actually saying so. The Post story said the Russians "had not actively used the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter," but then added, and that "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability." ..."
    "... The electric company quickly issued a firm denial that the computer in question was connected to the power grid. The Post was forced to retract, in effect, its claim that the electricity grid had been hacked by the Russians. But it stuck by its story that the utility had been the victim of a Russian hack for another three days before admitting that no such evidence of a hack existed. ..."
    "... Only days later did the DHS reveal those crucial facts to the Post. And the DHS was still defending its joint report to the Post, according to Lee, who got part of the story from Post sources. The DHS official was arguing that it had "led to a discovery," he said. "The second is, 'See, this is encouraging people to run indicators.'" ..."
    "... The false Burlington Electric hack scare is reminiscent of an earlier story of Russian hacking of a utility for which the DHS was responsible as well. In November 2011, it reported an "intrusion" into a Springfield, Illinois water district computer that similarly turned out to be a fabrication. ..."
    "... The contractor whose name was on the log next to the IP address later told Wired magazine that one phone call to him would have laid the matter to rest. But the DHS, which was the lead in putting the report out, had not bothered to make even that one obvious phone call before opining that it must have been a Russian hack. ..."
    Jan 16, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

    The mainstream hysteria over Russia has led to dubious or downright false stories that have deepened the New Cold War

    In the middle of a major domestic crisis over the U.S. charge that Russia had interfered with the US election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) triggered a brief national media hysteria by creating and spreading a bogus story of Russian hacking into US power infrastructure.

    DHS had initiated the now-discredited tale of a hacked computer at the Burlington, Vermont Electricity Department by sending the utility's managers misleading and alarming information, then leaked a story they certainly knew to be false and continued to put out a misleading line to the media.

    Even more shocking, however, DHS had previously circulated a similar bogus story of Russian hacking of a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.

    The story of how DHS twice circulated false stories of Russian efforts to sabotage US "critical infrastructure" is a cautionary tale of how senior leaders in a bureaucracy-on-the-make take advantage of every major political development to advance its own interests, with scant regard for the truth.

    The DHS had carried out a major public campaign to focus on an alleged Russian threat to US power infrastructure in early 2016. The campaign took advantage of a US accusation of a Russian cyber-attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure in December 2015 to promote one of the agency's major functions - guarding against cyber-attacks on America's infrastructure.

    Beginning in late March 2016, DHS and FBI conducted a series of 12 unclassified briefings for electric power infrastructure companies in eight cities titled, "Ukraine Cyber Attack: implications for US stakeholders." The DHS declared publicly, "These events represent one of the first known physical impacts to critical infrastructure which resulted from cyber-attack."

    That statement conveniently avoided mentioning that the first cases of such destruction of national infrastructure from cyber-attacks were not against the United States, but were inflicted on Iran by the Obama administration and Israel in 2009 and 2012.

    Beginning in October 2016, the DHS emerged as one of the two most important players – along with the CIA-in the political drama over the alleged Russian effort to tilt the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. Then on Dec. 29, DHS and FBI distributed a "Joint Analysis Report" to US power utilities across the country with what it claimed were "indicators" of a Russian intelligence effort to penetrate and compromise US computer networks, including networks related to the presidential election, that it called "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

    The report clearly conveyed to the utilities that the "tools and infrastructure" it said had been used by Russian intelligence agencies to affect the election were a direct threat to them as well. However, according to Robert M. Lee, the founder and CEO of the cyber-security company Dragos, who had developed one of the earliest US government programs for defense against cyber-attacks on US infrastructure systems, the report was certain to mislead the recipients.

    "Anyone who uses it would think they were being impacted by Russian operations," said Lee. "We ran through the indicators in the report and found that a high percentage were false positives."

    Lee and his staff found only two of a long list of malware files that could be linked to Russian hackers without more specific data about timing. Similarly a large proportion of IP addresses listed could be linked to "GRIZZLY STEPPE" only for certain specific dates, which were not provided.

    The Intercept discovered, in fact, that 42 percent of the 876 IP addresses listed in the report as having been used by Russian hackers were exit nodes for the Tor Project, a system that allows bloggers, journalists and others – including some military entities – to keep their Internet communications private.

    Lee said the DHS staff that worked on the technical information in the report is highly competent, but the document was rendered useless when officials classified and deleted some key parts of the report and added other material that shouldn't have been in it. He believes the DHS issued the report "for a political purpose," which was to "show that the DHS is protecting you."

    Planting the Story, Keeping it Alive

    Upon receiving the DHS-FBI report the Burlington Electric Company network security team immediately ran searches of its computer logs using the lists of IP addresses it had been provided. When one of IP addresses cited in the report as an indicator of Russian hacking was found on the logs, the utility immediately called DHS to inform it as it had been instructed to do by DHS.

    In fact, the IP address on the Burlington Electric Company's computer was simply the Yahoo e-mail server, according to Lee, so it could not have been a legitimate indicator of an attempted cyber-intrusion. That should have been the end of the story. But the utility did not track down the IP address before reporting it to DHS. It did, however, expect DHS to treat the matter confidentially until it had thoroughly investigated and resolved the issue.

    "DHS wasn't supposed to release the details," said Lee. "Everybody was supposed to keep their mouth shut."

    Instead, a DHS official called The Washington Post and passed on word that one of the indicators of Russian hacking of the DNC had been found on the Burlington utility's computer network. The Post failed to follow the most basic rule of journalism, relying on its DHS source instead of checking with the Burlington Electric Department first. The result was the Post's sensational Dec. 30 story under the headline "Russian hackers penetrated US electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, US officials say."

    DHS official evidently had allowed the Post to infer that the Russians hack had penetrated the grid without actually saying so. The Post story said the Russians "had not actively used the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter," but then added, and that "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability."

    The electric company quickly issued a firm denial that the computer in question was connected to the power grid. The Post was forced to retract, in effect, its claim that the electricity grid had been hacked by the Russians. But it stuck by its story that the utility had been the victim of a Russian hack for another three days before admitting that no such evidence of a hack existed.

    The day after the story was published, the DHS leadership continued to imply, without saying so explicitly, that the Burlington utility had been hacked by Russians. Assistant Secretary for Pubic Affairs J. Todd Breasseale gave CNN a statement that the "indicators" from the malicious software found on the computer at Burlington Electric were a "match" for those on the DNC computers.

    As soon as DHS checked the IP address, however, it knew that it was a Yahoo cloud server and therefore not an indicator that the same team that allegedly hacked the DNC had gotten into the Burlington utility's laptop. DHS also learned from the utility that the laptop in question had been infected by malware called "neutrino," which had never been used in "GRIZZLY STEPPE."

    Only days later did the DHS reveal those crucial facts to the Post. And the DHS was still defending its joint report to the Post, according to Lee, who got part of the story from Post sources. The DHS official was arguing that it had "led to a discovery," he said. "The second is, 'See, this is encouraging people to run indicators.'"

    Original DHS False Hacking Story

    The false Burlington Electric hack scare is reminiscent of an earlier story of Russian hacking of a utility for which the DHS was responsible as well. In November 2011, it reported an "intrusion" into a Springfield, Illinois water district computer that similarly turned out to be a fabrication.

    Like the Burlington fiasco, the false report was preceded by a DHS claim that US infrastructure systems were already under attack. In October 2011, acting DHS deputy undersecretary Greg Schaffer was quoted by The Washington Post as warning that "our adversaries" are "knocking on the doors of these systems." And Schaffer added, "In some cases, there have been intrusions." He did not specify when, where or by whom, and no such prior intrusions have ever been documented.

    On Nov. 8, 2011, a water pump belonging to the Curran-Gardner township water district near Springfield, Illinois, burned out after sputtering several times in previous months. The repair team brought in to fix it found a Russian IP address on its log from five months earlier. That IP address was actually from a cell phone call from the contractor who had set up the control system for the pump and who was vacationing in Russia with his family, so his name was in the log by the address.

    Without investigating the IP address itself, the utility reported the IP address and the breakdown of the water pump to the Environmental Protection Agency, which in turn passed it on to the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, also called a fusion center composed of Illinois State Police and representatives from the FBI, DHS and other government agencies.

    On Nov. 10 – just two days after the initial report to EPA – the fusion center produced a report titled "Public Water District Cyber Intrusion" suggesting a Russian hacker had stolen the identity of someone authorized to use the computer and had hacked into the control system causing the water pump to fail.

    The contractor whose name was on the log next to the IP address later told Wired magazine that one phone call to him would have laid the matter to rest. But the DHS, which was the lead in putting the report out, had not bothered to make even that one obvious phone call before opining that it must have been a Russian hack.

    The fusion center "intelligence report," circulated by DHS Office of Intelligence and Research, was picked up by a cyber-security blogger, who called The Washington Post and read the item to a reporter. Thus the Post published the first sensational story of a Russian hack into a US infrastructure on Nov. 18, 2011.

    After the real story came out, DHS disclaimed responsibility for the report, saying that it was the fusion center's responsibility. But a Senate subcommittee investigation revealed in a report a year later that even after the initial report had been discredited, DHS had not issued any retraction or correction to the report, nor had it notified the recipients about the truth.

    DHS officials responsible for the false report told Senate investigators such reports weren't intended to be "finished intelligence," implying that the bar for accuracy of the information didn't have to be very high. They even claimed that report was a "success" because it had done what "what it's supposed to do – generate interest."

    Both the Burlington and Curran-Gardner episodes underline a central reality of the political game of national security in the New Cold War era: major bureaucratic players like DHS have a huge political stake in public perceptions of a Russian threat, and whenever the opportunity arises to do so, they will exploit it.

    Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . He can be contacted at porter.gareth50@gmail.com .

    Reprinted from Consortium News with the author's permission.

    [Jan 16, 2017] Viable Opposition Blocking Donald Trumps Inauguration

    Jan 16, 2017 | viableopposition.blogspot.ca
    Here is what the group is about:

    " 1. Trump won the Electoral College vote – a legacy of slavery, and used to embed inequality in voting rights since. He lost the popular vote, by well over 2 and a half million votes. Trump has no "mandate", and his victory is illegitimate.
    2. More fundamental: the illegitimacy of the entire fascist regime Trump is moving to install. Trump promises to inflict repression and suffering on people in this country, to deport millions, to increase violence up to the use of nuclear weapons on people across the globe, and to inflict catastrophes upon the planet itself.
    3. He is assembling a "Legion of Doom" cabinet of white supremacists, woman haters, science deniers, religious fundamentalist zealots, and war mongers. NO! His regime must not be allowed to consolidate. We REFUSE to accept a Fascist America !"
    Since the organization regularly refers to "fascism", let's look at the Dictionary.com definition of fascism :
    1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
    2. (sometimes initial capital letter) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.
    3. (initial capital letter) a political movement that employs the principles and methods of fascism, especially the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922–43."

    There are three main aspects of fascism ;

    1.) authoritarianism or the rule of a strong central government.
    2.) nationalism or the pride in one's country.
    3.) xenophobia - the fear of unknown peoples or entities.

    As we all know, the 20th century saw the rise of fascism in both Germany under Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist movement and Italy under Benito Mussolini prior to and during the Second World War, both in circumstance where their homelands had experienced a long period of economic hopelessness. It is actually Benito Mussolini who coined the term "fascism" after the Latin word "fasces" which was the symbol of bound sticks used as a symbol of power in ancient Rome. Here's what Mussolini had to say about fascism:

    " Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death....

    ... Fascism [is] the complete opposite of Marxian Socialism , the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production.... Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect....And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society....

    After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application.

    Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage " (i.e. the vote).... (my bold and comment in brackets)

    By using the term "fascism" in association with Donald Trump and his chosen insiders, the group behind Refuse Fascism has used our innate fears of another Adolf Hitler to raise opposition to the Trump Administration.

    The media has played right into this with banners like these:

    1. Slate which found Donald Trump not completely guilty of fascism:
    2. Newsweek :
    3. The Washington Post which actually graded Donald Trump as a 26 out of a possible 44 Benitos (i.e. he doesn't completely fit the profile):
    4. Vox which actually found Donald Trump "not guilty" of fascism:
    Given that the term "fascist" is one of the strongest political epithets that one can use, the very mention of the word in conjunction with the Trump name is a rather convenient way of getting readers to associate the two, particularly given that most readers don't read much past the first few paragraphs of any news item.

    The one key point missing in the Trump as a fascist claim is that fascism is deeply suspicious of capitalism because it divided nations and destroyed national traditions. It advocates strong state intervention in the economy to maintain control of the "fatherland". One definitely cannot term Donald Trump as an anti-capitalist.


    Bruce Wilds January 15, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    The new year rolled in with several Sunday morning talk shows that discuss the Washington beltway and current events piling on America's new president-elect. The panel of supposed experts who impart their deep knowledge in an attempt to enlighten us more ignorant folks made it clear America may not survive as a result of Trump being elected.

    It is difficult not to notice the stark contrast between how Trump is being treated by the press and how they heap praise upon Obama as he takes a "victory tour" lauding his accomplishments as president. More on the ramifications of this bashing of Trump in the article below.

    http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/01/sunday-morning-talk-shows-excel-in.html

    [Jan 15, 2017] The Congressional defeat, insured by Democrats, of the proposal by Bernie Sanders to allow the import of drugs from Canada to lower drug prices in the United States

    Jan 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    JohnH -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 08:00 AM
    The Congressional defeat, insured by Democrats, of the proposal by Bernie Sanders to allow the import of drugs from Canada to lower drug prices in the United States.
    '
    This is only the beginning of Democrats' appeasement of Trump and Republicans...it will be stunning to watch how much damage Republicans can do during Trump's first 90 days with only a slim majority in the Senate. During the first 90 days under Obama, who had a true electoral mandate and big majorities in both houses, Democrats basically sat on their hands, blaming Republicans for their unwillingness to do much for the American people.
    Observer -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 08:50 AM
    So if we matched Canada, we'd see a 30% decrease, of a segment which comprises 10% of health care spending, or 3% overall decrease.

    "PwC's Health Research Institute projects the 2017 medical cost trend to be the same as the current year – a 6.5% growth rate."

    So reaching Canadian spending levels would counter ~ 6 months of health care cost increases. Reaching OECD levels buys you another couple of months.

    Put another way, reaching OECD levels for drug spending closes 10% of the US-OECD spending gap.

    Not nothing, but "fixing" drug prices seems more like an emotional (i.e. political) talking point than a real silver bullet for health care costs.

    http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/behind-the-numbers.html

    pgl -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 11:17 AM
    Ever noticed that marketing costs are 30% of revenue? This is a by product of the monopoly power in this sector. Dean Baker has often noted we could have the government do the R&D and then have real competition in manufacturing.
    libezkova -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 10:40 PM
    Don't be a lobbyist for Big Farma.

    You forgot that those researchers often produce useless or even dangerous drags, which are inferior to existing. Looks as scams practiced with hypertension drugs.

    This rat race for blockbuster drugs is the same as corruption in financial industry.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/148907/15_dangerous_drugs_big_pharma_shoves_down_our_throats

    pgl -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 11:16 AM
    Actually the industry profile is very relevant but goes in a different direction - if US firms were compelled to charge market (not monopoly) prices, we would better compete with foreign firms.
    pgl -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 11:14 AM
    Any excuse to charge sky high prices for drugs that don't cost that much to manufacture? If these monopoly profits were not so high, we would buy more drugs and employ more people.
    Observer -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 12:57 PM
    Do you think we would really buy materially more drugs if prices were lower? Particularly enough more, at those (30-50%?) lower prices, to generate the funds to employ more people?

    (If that actually generated at much or more funds, it would seem like the pharma companies, seeking to make as much money as possible, would have already set prices at that lower per unit level.)

    In any case, that seems like a LOT more drugs.

    Perhaps Anne has data on the number of scripts per person in the US vs OECD.

    pgl -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 01:06 PM
    There are lots of poor people who don't take drugs because they can't afford them. This will become especially true if the Republican repeal Obamacare.
    anne -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 09:05 AM
    The point of course is wildly exploiting ordinary people in need of healthcare in every possible way, or a reflection of what we have come to. Returning now to the market...

    [Jan 15, 2017] 'How's That Hopey, Changey Stuff' Palin Asks NPR

    Jan 15, 2017 | www.npr.org
    Conservative activists in Nashville this week for the first-ever National Tea Party Convention gave a hero's welcome to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who closed the event with a speech Saturday night. Palin praised the Tea Party movement and delivered a scathing - sometimes mocking - critique of both the economic and national security policies of the Obama administration.

    After three days of workshops and speeches by movement leaders far less well-known, Tea Party convention delegates got to see a bona fide conservative superstar.

    "I am so proud to be an American," she called out to the cheering crowd Saturday night in a hotel ballroom at the Opryland resort. "Thank you so much for being here tonight. Do you love your freedom?"

    She drew more big cheers when she told Tea Partiers that America is ready for another revolution.

    This was the rare Palin speech these days to be open to the press, and she used the opportunity to tear into the president. She described his foreign policy as not recognizing the true threats America faces. She cited the decision to criminally charge the suspect in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt as a move that she says puts the country at grave risk.

    Article continues after sponsorship

    "Because that's not how radical Islamic extremists are looking at this. They know we're at war, and to win that war we need a commander in chief and not a professor of law standing at the lectern."

    Related NPR Stories Two-Way: Watch The Speech Feb. 7, 2010 Two Views Of The Tea Party's Appeal Feb. 6, 2010

    On the economy, she accused the White House of pushing a stimulus package that hasn't created the promised jobs. Millions of dollars have been wasted, she said.

    Palin also says the Obama administration has not been transparent, as promised during the campaign.

    "This was all part of that hope and change and transparency. Now, a year later, I gotta ask the supporters of all that, 'How's that hopey, changey stuff working out?'

    [Jan 15, 2017] Depending on what the GOP does, we could get austerity rather than fiscal expansion.

    Jan 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    jonny bakho : , January 14, 2017 at 12:02 PM
    Depending on what the GOP does, we could get austerity rather than fiscal expansion.

    Tax cuts for the wealthy are not much stimulus. The wealthy invest globally and could invest to offshore jobs rather than in the US. Or they could drive a bubble as what happened to the GWBush tax cuts.

    Combine those with repeal of the ACA Medicaid and Medicare cuts, there would be less money available to pay for services.
    Deporting immigrants reduces both demand and workers in the economy.
    Privatizing government functions typically results in grift or worse and that money may go to the Caymans or elsewhere offshore.
    The Trump plan is to build infrastructure using tax breaks
    How much of this happens remains to be see.
    Ryan has a budget that cuts taxes and butchers spending = austerity

    cm -> jonny bakho... , January 14, 2017 at 12:46 PM
    It's what they teach in MBA school - cost-cut your way to greatness.
    pgl -> cm... , January 14, 2017 at 01:01 PM
    Bloomberg did that as mayor of NYC. Which left a host of problems for the next mayor.
    pgl -> jonny bakho... , January 14, 2017 at 01:00 PM
    Yes - we need to look at the entire fiscal policy picture. Ryan is a small government type so he can give more tax cuts to his rich buddies.
    Peter K. -> jonny bakho... , January 14, 2017 at 01:03 PM
    A lot depends on what the Fed does even though I know you don't believe monetary policy matters much.
    pgl : , January 14, 2017 at 12:59 PM
    An interesting take from PK which seems to be back by recent data on interest rates:

    http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2017/01/interest-rates-since-december-16.html

    anne -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:16 PM
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cnvK

    January 15, 2017

    Interest Rates on 10-Year Treasury Bonds and 10-Year Inflation-Indexed Bonds, 2014-2017


    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=ckhP

    January 4, 2017

    Major and Broad Currency, Trade Weighted Price of an American Dollar, 2014-2017

    (Indexed to 2014)

    Peter K. : , January 14, 2017 at 01:02 PM
    "So investors betting on a big infrastructure push are almost surely deluding themselves."

    Since the election Sanjait has suggested investors weren't betting on a big infrastructure push. He has explained his thinking a couple of time but I still don't understand it. It doesn't add up.

    Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:23 PM
    Nowhere does Krugman suggest that the initial investor euphoria has faded. He just says it's wrong.
    pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:33 PM
    Look at the fall in interest rates since Dec. 16. Oh wait - you never look at the facts. Gets in the way of your pointless and dishonest smears.
    anne -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:48 PM
    Stop the personal insults.
    pgl -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:48 PM
    Tell him to stop the incessant lies and I will not have to point out that he lied.
    ilsm -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 02:32 PM
    You use the ad hominem too frequently?

    It seems hard for you to express yourself rationally but give it a try.

    I suspect you do not think some here would understand you, give it a try.

    Maybe you did not tale enough of a break after Nov 8th?

    pgl -> ilsm... , January 14, 2017 at 02:48 PM
    Snore!
    Jesse -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:15 PM

    I agree with Anne.

    The quick resort to name calling, rather than correcting someone with facts, is getting out of hand, and is very counterproductive if one really wishes to make a case.

    pgl -> Jesse... , January 14, 2017 at 02:49 PM
    I'm all for discussions based on facts. PeterK is not. That's the problem here.
    Peter K. -> Jesse... , January 14, 2017 at 03:17 PM
    He has no facts so he has to resort to name-calling.

    He has no alternative.

    He should really take a break. He's so mad all of time.

    Watermelonpunch -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 07:31 PM
    I agree with anne too. This petty back & forth has gone on long enough.
    SomeCallMeTim -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:26 PM
    In response to people looking for a Trump pivot at various points over the last two years, biographar Michael D'Antonio has said many times that there's no other 'there' to pivot to.

    In Pennsylvania he roused folks by talking vaguely about bringing coal back, here in Oregon he changed nouns and rolled out the logging version.

    How do you come to any meaningful decision about what he's going to do? I wouldn't bet on follow through on any policies (well, except maybe The Wall) that don't benefit Trump himself.

    Peter K. -> SomeCallMeTim... , January 14, 2017 at 01:32 PM
    I think all of these investors are thinking that Republicans control the White House and Congress so good things are coming for investors and rent-extraction, like tax cuts.

    In a way they're right, but in a way they're just being ideological.

    The Democrats have tried *so hard* to show how good they can be for Wall Street, and Wall Street doesn't really care.

    The was my original comment about how it's kind of funny.

    And Sanjait of course chimes in to say "no, no, there is no investor euphoria, it's an illusion."

    And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading. Maybe but NOBODY ELSE has commented on it yet. NOBODY.

    But the people here in comments don't really care one way or the other, about what's right and wrong. They just want a civil discussion.

    pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:35 PM
    "And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading."

    No dumbass. I presented facts. Of course facts to you are just "neoliberal" lies. The head troll just on and on.

    anne -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:47 PM
    Stop the personal insults.
    pgl -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:51 PM
    "And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading."

    Look at my post. I never even used the term "euphoria". I talked about anticipated fiscal policy and interest rates.

    So once again PeterK flat out lied about what someone said to smear them. This is the insult. Calling out this pathetic liar is just putting the record straight.

    No as long as this troll lies this way - we will call hin on his lies.

    Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:36 PM
    The problem with Democrats and some of these prog neolib pundits is they want to equate Wall Street and Main Street. They want us all to be friends (so Wall Street can continue screwing Main Street). They're whores and sellouts.

    It's why Bernie's primary campaign caught fire and why neolibs like Krugman attacked him regularly.

    anne -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:44 PM
    They're ------ and sellouts....

    [ There is never a reason to use such sexist language. ]

    Peter K. -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:45 PM
    duly noted
    pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:52 PM
    'they want to equate Wall Street and Main Street'.

    Another flat out lie. Your forte.

    Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:37 PM
    "And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading. Maybe but NOBODY ELSE has commented on it yet. NOBODY."

    Haven't seen anybody else comment on how the euphoria is fading. Krugman didn't even say anything in his blog post.

    pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:53 PM
    I never used the term euphoria. And you never stop lying.
    pgl -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:54 PM
    Oh wait - "euphoria" is just another term for interest rates. Now I see how PeterK gets so incredibly confused.
    pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 02:50 PM
    No lying wonder. You were the one who talked about euphoria - not me. Lord - you lies are so transparent.
    Watermelonpunch -> SomeCallMeTim... , January 14, 2017 at 07:33 PM
    I honestly don't think bringing coal back was of much interest to people in Pennsylvania. It's ridiculous to focus on that, because most people in PA (that I know) kind of rolled their eyes at that one... including the people who liked the other stuff.
    anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:50 PM
    http://www.multpl.com/shiller-pe/

    Ten Year Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings Ratio, 1881-2017

    (Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

    January 13, 2017 - PE Ratio ( 28.13)

    Annual Mean ( 16.71)
    Annual Median ( 16.05)

    -- Robert Shiller

    anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:58 PM
    From an historical perspective stock market prices are remarkably high, even though interest rates are low.

    From a 10 year perspective looking forward, with an earnings price ratio of 3.55 and a dividend yield of 1.98, an investor can anticipate an average yearly return of 5.53% on stocks assuming the current price earnings ratio lasts the decade.

    The 10 year Treasury bond yield is 2.39 so the risk premium for stocks is currently 5.53 - 2.39 = 3.14.

    anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:50 PM
    http://www.multpl.com/s-p-500-dividend-yield/

    Dividend Yield, 1881-2017

    (Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

    January 13, 2017 - Div Yield ( 1.98)

    Annual Mean ( 4.38)
    Annual Median ( 4.33)

    -- Robert Shiller

    anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:52 PM
    http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/data.htm

    January 15, 2017

    Ten Year Mean Price Earnings Ratio, 1960-2016

    (Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

    1960 ( 18.3)
    1961 ( 18.5) Kennedy
    1962 ( 21.0)
    1963 ( 19.0) Johnson
    1964 ( 21.3)

    1965 ( 22.9)
    1966 ( 23.8)
    1967 ( 20.1)
    1968 ( 21.2)
    1969 ( 20.8) Nixon

    1970 ( 16.9)
    1971 ( 16.4)
    1972 ( 17.1)
    1973 ( 18.6)
    1974 ( 13.4) Ford

    1975 ( 8.9)
    1976 ( 11.3)
    1977 ( 11.5) Carter
    1978 ( 9.2)
    1979 ( 9.2)

    1980 ( 8.8)
    1981 ( 8.5) Reagan
    1982 ( 7.4)
    1983 ( 9.6)
    1984 ( 9.4)

    1985 ( 10.7)
    1986 ( 13.4)
    1987 ( 16.0)
    1988 ( 14.4)
    1989 ( 16.6) Bush

    1990 ( 16.5)
    1991 ( 17.9)
    1992 ( 19.5)
    1993 ( 20.8) Clinton
    1994 ( 20.5)

    1995 ( 22.7)
    1996 ( 25.9)
    1997 ( 31.0)
    1998 ( 36.0)
    1999 ( 42.1)

    2000 ( 41.7)
    2001 ( 32.1) Bush
    2002 ( 25.9)
    2003 ( 24.1)
    2004 ( 26.4)

    2005 ( 26.0)
    2006 ( 26.0)
    2007 ( 26.8)
    2008 ( 20.8)
    2009 ( 16.9) Obama

    2010 ( 20.7)
    2011 ( 21.8)
    2012 ( 21.4)
    2013 ( 23.2)
    2014 ( 25.5)

    2015 ( 26.2)
    2016 ( 26.1)

    December

    2016 ( 28.0)

    -- Robert Shiller

    anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:54 PM
    https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/list#/mutual-funds/asset-class/month-end-returns

    January 13, 2017

    The 3 month Treasury interest rate is at 0.52%, the 2 year Treasury rate is 1.19%, the 5 year rate is 1.89%, while the 10 year is 2.39%.

    The Vanguard Aa rated short-term investment grade bond fund, with a maturity of 3.1 years and a duration of 2.6 years, has a yield of 1.87%. The Vanguard Aa rated intermediate-term investment grade bond fund, with a maturity of 6.0 years and a duration of 5.5 years, is yielding 2.67%. The Vanguard Aa rated long-term investment grade bond fund, with a maturity of 22.8 years and a duration of 13.2 years, is yielding 3.85%. *

    The Vanguard Ba rated high yield corporate bond fund, with a maturity of 5.8 years and a duration of 4.5 years, is yielding 4.89%.

    The Vanguard unrated convertible corporate bond fund, with an indefinite maturity and a duration of 4.1 years, is yielding 1.85%.

    The Vanguard A rated high yield tax exempt bond fund, with a maturity of 17.1 years and a duration of 7.1 years, is yielding 3.30%.

    The Vanguard Aa rated intermediate-term tax exempt bond fund, with a maturity of 8.5 years and a duration of 5.1 years, is yielding 2.16%.

    The Vanguard Government National Mortgage Association bond fund, with a maturity of 7.0 years and a duration of 4.8 years, is yielding 2.01%.

    The Vanguard inflation protected Treasury bond fund, with a maturity of 8.6 years and a duration of 8.1 years, is yielding 0.06%.

    * Vanguard yields are after cost. Federal Funds rates are no more than 0.75%.

    Peter K. : , January 14, 2017 at 02:09 PM
    Bernanke:

    "While it's hard to know how much of the market's optimism reflects expected policy changes under the new administration, the rise in equities, interest rates, and the dollar since the election is precisely the configuration that standard macroeconomics would predict in anticipation of a Trump-backed fiscal expansion. (A similar pattern occurred in the early Reagan years, which was dominated by tax cuts, increased military spending, higher deficits, and rate increases by the Federal Reserve.)"

    Krugman:

    "So investors betting on a big infrastructure push are almost surely deluding themselves."

    PGL suggests the "optimism" is fading. Has anybody else anywhere echoed his sentiments?

    pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 02:53 PM
    PGL suggests the "optimism" is fading.

    Oh it is not euphoria now - it is optimism. Is that your new term for interest rates. You have been lying about what I have said. I never used "euphoria" or "optimism" in anything I wrote.

    So yea - you lie 24/7. What to make it so obvious.

    Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 03:15 PM
    "Bernanke:

    "While it's hard to know how much of the market's optimism reflects expected policy changes under the new administration,"

    Again it's funny how none of the regular commenters care about what's being said.

    ilsm : , January 14, 2017 at 02:33 PM
    poor pk like a mule with blinders after the teamster took a 2 by 4o to it.
    anne : , January 14, 2017 at 02:33 PM
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/world/africa/africa-donald-trump.html

    January 13, 2017

    Trump Team Questions Value of Aid to Africa
    By HELENE COOPER

    The list of Africa-related queries from the transition staff suggests an American retreat from development and humanitarian goals.

    [ Setting aside the sole question of domestic infrastructure formation or emphasis, there is every reason to think that the coming administration will not value and foster international infrastructure formation. At a time when infrastructure formation in developing countries is both sorely necessary and showing special promise, I find this worrisome indeed. ]

    anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:41 PM
    Paul Krugman's essay is all too convincing and worrisome in that there is reason to think that domestic infrastructure formation from the New Deal through the Eisenhower administration was the basis for the fastest years of American productivity growth in the last century.

    Productivity growth for all our information technology applications has slowed markedly since about 2005, and I would argue a neglect of infrastructure formation is an important or even essential factor.

    anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:42 PM
    http://lsb.scu.edu/economics/faculty/afield/AER%20September%202003e.pdf

    November, 2003

    The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Century
    By Alexander J. Field

    Abstract

    There is now an emerging consensus that over the course of U.S. economic history, multifactor productivity grew fastest over a broad plateau between 1905 and 1966, and within that period, in the two decades following 1929. This paper argues that the bulk of the achieved productivity levels in 1948 had already been attained before full scale war mobilization in 1942. It was not principally the war that laid the foundation for postwar prosperity. It was technological progress across a broad frontier of the American economy during the 1930s.

    anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:55 PM
    Interestingly and importantly, China has been emphasizing infrastructure development in developing countries from Asia to Africa. The response from Ethiopia to South Africa to Nigeria to Laos, Cambodia and Pakistan... has been markedly encouraging though little noted in American media.
    DeDude : , January 14, 2017 at 02:50 PM
    If they can turn it into a way that GOP campaign contributors can rip of the public it may get support in congress. Handing over repairs on public bridges to private companies, followed by big fat tolls - may be a go if Wall Street can get in on it.
    anne -> DeDude... , January 14, 2017 at 02:56 PM
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/24/business/dealbook/private-equity-water.html?ref=business

    December 23, 2016

    In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works
    By DANIELLE IVORY, BEN PROTESS, and GRIFF PALMER

    Desperate towns have turned to private equity firms to manage their waterworks. The deals bring much-needed upgrades, but can carry hefty price tags.

    DeDude -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 03:09 PM
    Exactly, it ends up costing a lot more. Its just that the cost is on the utility bill rather than on your taxes. The politicians don't want to commit suicide by raising taxes. Then after decades of neglect of the infrastructure they face a crisis.
    anne : , January 14, 2017 at 03:34 PM
    Testing:

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2060971/all-aboard-africas-heartland-train-built-china

    January 10, 2017

    All aboard for Africa's heartland – on a train built in China
    Inaugural journey on 750km line from Djibouti and the Suez Canal to landlocked Ethiopian capital
    By Laura Zhou

    anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 03:37 PM
    An example of the Chinese emphasis on infrastructure development and the welcome of the emphasis in developing Africa...

    [ The rest of the fine article, which can be read at the link, cannot be posted however, though I do not understand why. ]

    anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 06:47 PM
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/14/china-silk-road-trade-train-rolls-london

    January 14, 2017

    Silk Road route back in business as China train rolls into London
    After 16 days and 7,456 miles, the locomotive's arrival heralds the dawn of a new commercial era
    By Tracy McVeigh - Guardian

    When the East Wind locomotive rumbles into east London this week, it will be at the head of 34 carriages full of socks, bags and wallets for London's tourist souvenir shops, as well as the dust and grime accumulated through eight countries and 7,456 miles.

    The train will be the first to make the 16-day journey from Yiwu in west China to Britain, reviving the ancient trading Silk Road route and shunting in a new era of UK-China relations.

    Due to arrive on Wednesday, the train will have passed through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before crossing under the Channel and arriving in the east end of London at Barking rail freight terminal.

    Faster than a ship, cheaper than a plane, the East Wind won't be quite the same train that left Yiwu on 2 January. Differing rail gauges in countries along the route mean a single locomotive cannot travel the whole route. But the journey still marks a new departure in the 21st-century global economy. The new train, which will start to run weekly while demand is tested, is part of China's One Belt, One Road policy – designed to open up the old Silk Road routes and bring new trade opportunities, said Prof Magnus Marsden, an anthropologist at Sussex University's School of Global Studies, who has been studying the trading patterns in Yiwu. China Railway has already begun rail services to 14 European cities, including Madrid and Hamburg. As a result, Yiwu's markets are now loaded with hams, cheese and wine from Spain and German beer is available on every corner....

    Dan Kervick : , January 14, 2017 at 05:09 PM
    Yes, Trump has no real policy smarts or shop.

    If he doesn't push an infrastructure program, Dems should propose a gigantic one themselves, and point out to the country that Mr. Make-America-Great-Again is a small-thinking fraud.

    Here's one. It's called the "Rebuild America Act".

    https://berniesanders.com/issues/creating-jobs-rebuilding-america/

    Watermelonpunch -> Dan Kervick... , January 14, 2017 at 07:43 PM
    I wrote to my representative in congress (Democrat) about that, and he wrote back with a kind of subtext pooh-poohing it.
    Dan Kervick -> Watermelonpunch ... , January 14, 2017 at 08:44 PM
    It's going to be had to get most Dems to do anything. Their sole partisan aim right now is to make sure the next two years are a maximum clusterfu**.
    EMichael -> Dan Kervick... , January 14, 2017 at 09:15 PM
    Your political IQ is 1.

    Serves no purpose.

    When the Dems held the White House and Congress they put forward another stimulus bill after the ARRA that never hit the floor. The effect of that obstruction on the electorate was zero.

    Now somehow you think some bs that has no chance in the world to get out of committee means something.

    This is why progressives keep losing. There are too many who live in an alternate universe.

    btg : , January 14, 2017 at 05:11 PM
    Some republicans voting with the democrats might be enough...

    but remember that republicans will do anything to stop the Democrats from winning back the White House, which means they will need to give in to Trump on a few key promises where they disagree, or else ditch Trump to get Pence

    [Jan 15, 2017] Trumpian Uncertainty

    Notable quotes:
    "... But, if it seemed clear that there would be political consequences, their form and timing were far less obvious. Why did the backlash in the US come just when the economy seemed to be on the mend, rather than earlier? And why did it manifest itself in a lurch to the right? After all, it was the Republicans who had blocked assistance to those losing their jobs as a result of the globalization they pushed assiduously. It was the Republicans who, in 26 states, refused to allow the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health insurance to those at the bottom. And why was the victor somebody who made his living from taking advantage of others, openly admitted not paying his fair share of taxes, and made tax avoidance a point of pride? ..."
    "... Donald Trump grasped the spirit of the time: things weren't going well, and many voters wanted change. Now they will get it: there will be no business as usual. ..."
    Jan 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : January 14, 2017 at 08:53 AM , 2017 at 08:53 AM
    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/2017-economic-forecast-trump-uncertainty-by-joseph-e--stiglitz-2017-01

    January 9, 2017

    Trumpian Uncertainty
    By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ

    NEW YORK – Every January, I try to craft a forecast for the coming year. Economic forecasting is notoriously difficult; but, notwithstanding the truth expressed in Harry Truman's request for a one-armed economist (who wouldn't be able to say "on the other hand"), my record has been credible.

    In recent years, I correctly foresaw that, in the absence of stronger fiscal stimulus (which was not forthcoming in either Europe or the United States), recovery from the Great Recession of 2008 would be slow. In making these forecasts, I have relied more on analysis of underlying economic forces than on complex econometric models.

    For example, at the beginning of 2016, it seemed clear that the deficiencies of global aggregate demand that have been manifest for the last several years were unlikely to change dramatically. Thus, I thought that forecasters of a stronger recovery were looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses. Economic developments unfolded much as I anticipated.

    Not so the political events of 2016. I had been writing for years that unless growing inequality – especially in the US, but also in many countries throughout the world – was addressed, there would be political consequences. But inequality continued to worsen – with striking data showing that average life expectancy in the US was on the decline.

    These results were foreshadowed by a study last year, by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, which showed that life expectancy was on the decline for large segments of the population – including America's so-called angry men of the Rust Belt.

    But, with the incomes of the bottom 90% having stagnated for close to a third of a century (and declining for a significant proportion), the health data simply confirmed that things were not going well for very large swaths of the country. And while America might be at the extreme of this trend, things were little better elsewhere.

    But, if it seemed clear that there would be political consequences, their form and timing were far less obvious. Why did the backlash in the US come just when the economy seemed to be on the mend, rather than earlier? And why did it manifest itself in a lurch to the right? After all, it was the Republicans who had blocked assistance to those losing their jobs as a result of the globalization they pushed assiduously. It was the Republicans who, in 26 states, refused to allow the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health insurance to those at the bottom. And why was the victor somebody who made his living from taking advantage of others, openly admitted not paying his fair share of taxes, and made tax avoidance a point of pride?

    Donald Trump grasped the spirit of the time: things weren't going well, and many voters wanted change. Now they will get it: there will be no business as usual.

    But seldom has there been more uncertainty. Which policies Trump will pursue remains unknown, to say nothing of which will succeed or what the consequences will be.

    Trump seems hell-bent on having a trade war....

    Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 1979, is University Professor at Columbia University.

    Fred C. Dobbs -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 09:24 AM
    (It was another 'Hopey-Changey' thing, after all.)

    'How's That Hopey, Changey Stuff?' Palin Asks http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123462728
    Via @NPR - February 7, 2010

    ('How's that workin' out for ya?')

    [Jan 14, 2017] The Deep State Versus Donald Trump - New Smears And The Ukrainian Connection

    Jan 14, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
    From www .moonofalabama .org - January 11, 9:41 PM Enrique Ferro's insight: There are signs that the "reports" were written with some Ukrainian nationalist and anti-semitic background. Just consider this passage from the July 26 "report": In terms of the FSB's recruitment of capable cyber operatives to carry out its, ideally deniable, offensive cyber operations, a Russian IT specialist with direct knowledge reported in June 2016 that this was often done using coercion and blackmail. In terms of 'foreign' agents, the FSB was approaching U.S. citizens of Russian (Jewish) origin on business trips in Russia. Such tropes are typical of the anti-semitic Ukrainian "nationalist" (aka Nazi) narrative.

    [Jan 14, 2017] Trump Denounces Phony Spies, Sleazebag Political Operatives

    Notable quotes:
    "... "It now turns out that the phony allegations against me were put together by my political opponents and a failed spy afraid of being sued," Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning, adding , "Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS!" ..."
    "... According to the New York Times , a wealthy Republican donor funded political opposition group Fusion GPS to investigate Trump. The investigation was continued by Hillary Clinton's Democratic supporters, and the group hired Steele to investigate Trump. ..."
    Jan 14, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
    President-elect Donald Trump continued excoriating the forces behind the published document of unsubstantiated accusations of compromising behavior, accusing his political rivals for leaking the document prepared by a private investigator.

    "It now turns out that the phony allegations against me were put together by my political opponents and a failed spy afraid of being sued," Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning, adding , "Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS!"

    The Wall Street Journal reported that former British spy Christopher Steele, now the director of a private investigation firm, prepared the document.

    According to the New York Times , a wealthy Republican donor funded political opposition group Fusion GPS to investigate Trump. The investigation was continued by Hillary Clinton's Democratic supporters, and the group hired Steele to investigate Trump.

    Trump again pointed to Russian denials of possessing information on him and suggested "intelligence" sources released it.

    [Jan 14, 2017] Neoliberals try to understand groups of voters that supported Sanders, and of course get it wrong. Suckers

    Krugman was and is neoliberal stooge and Hillary stooge. Complete despicable personality in this particular area. A political hack.
    Jan 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Peter K. -> Peter K.... January 13, 2017 at 11:39 AM , 2017 at 11:39 AM

    Krugman like PGL hates the left. That's why they're so dishonest.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/the-truth-about-the-sanders-movement/

    The Truth About the Sanders Movement
    May 23, 2016 6:17 pm 1134

    In short, it's complicated – not all bad, by any means, but not the pure uprising of idealists the more enthusiastic supporters imagine.

    The political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels have an illuminating discussion of Sanders support. The key graf that will probably have Berniebros boiling is this:

    "Yet commentators who have been ready and willing to attribute Donald Trump's success to anger, authoritarianism, or racism rather than policy issues have taken little note of the extent to which Mr. Sanders's support is concentrated not among liberal ideologues but among disaffected white men."

    The point is not to demonize, but, if you like, to de-angelize. Like any political movement (including the Democratic Party, which is, yes, a coalition of interest groups) Sandersism has been an assemblage of people with a variety of motives, not all of them pretty. Here's a short list based on my own encounters:

    1.Genuine idealists: For sure, quite a few Sanders supporters dream of a better society, and for whatever reason – maybe just because they're very young – are ready to dismiss practical arguments about why all their dreams can't be accomplished in a day.

    2.Romantics: This kind of idealism shades over into something that's less about changing society than about the fun and ego gratification of being part of The Movement. (Those of us who were students in the 60s and early 70s very much recognize the type.) For a while there – especially for those who didn't understand delegate math – it felt like a wonderful joy ride, the scrappy young on the march about to overthrow the villainous old. But there's a thin line between love and hate: when reality began to set in, all too many romantics reacted by descending into bitterness, with angry claims that they were being cheated.

    3.Purists: A somewhat different strand in the movement, also familiar to those of us of a certain age, consists of those for whom political activism is less about achieving things and more about striking a personal pose. They are the pure, the unsullied, who reject the corruptions of this world and all those even slightly tainted – which means anyone who actually has gotten anything done. Quite a few Sanders surrogates were Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don't bother them, because it was never really about results, only about affirming personal identity.

    4.CDS victims: Quite a few Sanders supporters are mainly Clinton-haters, deep in the grip of Clinton Derangement Syndrome; they know that Hillary is corrupt and evil, because that's what they hear all the time; they don't realize that the reason it's what they hear all the time is that right-wing billionaires have spent more than two decades promoting that message. Sanders has gotten a number of votes from conservative Democrats who are voting against her, not for him, and for sure there are liberal supporters who have absorbed the same message, even if they don't watch Fox News.

    5.Salon des Refuses: This is a small group in number, but accounts for a lot of the pro-Sanders commentary, and is of course something I see a lot. What I'm talking about here are policy intellectuals who have for whatever reason been excluded from the inner circles of the Democratic establishment, and saw Sanders as their ticket to the big time. They typically hold heterodox views, but those views don't have much to do with the campaign – sorry, capital theory disputes from half a century ago aren't relevant to the debate over health reform. What matters is their outsider status, which gives them an interest in backing an outsider candidate – and makes them reluctant to accept it when that candidate is no longer helping the progressive cause.

    So how will this coalition of the not-always disinterested break once it's over? The genuine idealists will probably realize that whatever their dreams, Trump would be a nightmare. Purists and CDSers won't back Clinton, but they were never going to anyway. My guess is that disgruntled policy intellectuals will, in the end, generally back Clinton.

    The question, as I see it, involves the romantics. How many will give in to their bitterness? A lot may depend on Sanders – and whether he himself is one of those embittered romantics, unable to move on.

    [Jan 14, 2017] W hether Hillary really damaged national security with her bathroom server

    Jan 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    ilsm : January 13, 2017 at 06:45 PM

    I do not know Logan, I know federal records act. Clinton is a felon!

    You all got to be careful, after Friday those of us who still have a duty from our oaths have to protect Trump.

    im1dc -> ilsm... January 13, 2017 at 08:14 PM
    From Wikipedia

    The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799 ) is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments having a dispute with the U.S. It was intended to prevent the undermining of the government's position.

    libezkova -> ilsm... , -1 January 13, 2017 at 09:06 PM
    "I know federal records act. Clinton is a felon!"

    Good summary, but now, with some time passed, and Hillary out of Presidential race we can create a more detailed summary. Actually for me it is unclear whether she is a felon, but she is definitely a moron (along with all her close entourage).

    The key question here is the actual level of damage to national security achieved by her actions (or inactions). It might be great, but it might be nothing at all.

    There is no question that Hillary Clinton "private" (aka bathroom) email server violated a lot of regulations and her NDA. So formally she is guilty as hell and as a felon should go to jail, like a lot of common folks do for similar, or even lesser, violations.

    But she belongs to the "masters of the universe' and as such is above the common law. So let's limit ourselves to the question whether she really damaged national security

    First of all what Hillary did is the not just creation of her private email server. She created her "Shadow IT" Department within State Department staffed with people, who are probably OK or even good for running IT in non-profits and charities, but not above this level. And that even abstracting from formalities such as security clearance, presence of classified mail in her mail stream, wiping the evidence, etc creation of Shadow IT is a a big "No-no". Clearly severely punishable "career-limiting" move. I now understand why Mills advised Hillary not to run. So why she survives after such a move. That's mystery.

    In corporate environment the creation of "Shadow IT" is a very serious, typically fatal charge that usually leads to immediate termination. For federal government it is even worse, as it smells with treason. That means that all senior level IT staff of State Department is fully complicit, and needs to be investigated and probably persecuted for their cowardice. They understood well the level of danger and choose to ignore it "hiding their head in the sand, like an ostrich"

    But there are a lot of strange thing in this story. Both the behavior of NSA, and, surprise, surprise White house IT staff was very strange. They definitely knew about this setup. They did not directly or indirectly reported to Hillary, unlike IT staff of State Department. And still they did nothing. Obama himself also knew about it. Did nothing. That tells us something about this president. Although interception of domestic communication were never in NSA charter, still this is what they do for living, and that means the NSA also played very strange, unexplainable to me role in this story. NSA staff also knew about the setup from Hillary request to provide a specially secured version of Blackberry (similar to what Obama used). Which surprisingly was denied. Looks like NSA did not like Hillary much, is not it.

    Now about the security. On the level required to create State Department infrastructure the setup used was completely childish. It was not even incompetent, it was childish. Probably IT people responsible never saw any other type of IT infrastructure then cash poor non-profits and never ever read NIST recommendations for setup of this type of servers, to say nothing about more serious staff.

    Even on my rather primitive understanding of computer security all those men and women involved in Clinton bathrooms mail server drama look like complete and utter morons. But this is a real life and such situations do happen in very large corporations, but not that often. So again what was the real damage?

    Any discussion of whether the server was "open" for hacking to state or non state actors or not simply does not make any sense. My impression is that the level of security in Hillary's Shadow IT server infrastructure (which includes internet modem (they were using regular ISP, like any non-profit), router and other staff like networked printer(s)) was much lower that is required for this question to make sense.

    Still miracles happen and may be some foreign agencies thought that this is a trap, a "honeypot" in "security-speak". So being utter moron might be a good security protection measure in its own right, as paradoxical as it is.

    But it is unclear at what point the traffic was intercepted if it was. People usually concentrate of "bathroom server". But what about internet router and modem?

    If traffic was intercepted on the router level in real time (it was not encrypted) then the damage was very real and Hillary can be viewed as a traitor. If not, and only dumps of old emails were obtained after she left her position of State Secratary, the question about real damage is more complex and here the situation is alot similar with the situation with Manning. An old staff (assuming that it was more the a year old) may be embarrsing, may be danaging, bit it is what it is "old". Played cards. Even if some of them were classified it is unclear what useful info can extracted for such emails. Compromising information probably yes. Tactical information that preempts some US actions probably .no.

    Also we need to take into account that Huma Abedin was a completely computer illiterate person, who did her own set of blunders (including creating a hidden channel that copied emails to her home server). And that Hillary herself looks like reckless sociopath, concerned only about her personal power and money, not the interests of the state. Not to understand the level of danger she exposed State Department communications is unconceivable for any lawyer, forget about Yale graduate at the top of her class. That increase the damage.

    Please note that whether the idea was to hide her activities was connected with "pay for pay" involving Clinton foundation, paranoia, or something else is a completely separate topic.

    IMHO Comey proved to be a "despicable coward" who first decided not to derail Clinton run (probably not without pressure from Obama and/or Bill Clinton via Attorney General Loretta Lynch), but then, when he discovered "Abedin channel" it well might be that he has had a second thought. That's how I read his controversial behavior. Nothing honorable in this interpretation of his behavior too.

    The whole set of events looks like literally taken from pages of the famous novel "The Good Soldier Svejk: and His Fortunes in the World War". And we know what eventually happened to Austro-Hungarian empire.

    [Jan 14, 2017] Comey Letter on Clinton Email Is Subject of Justice Dept. Inquiry

    NYT tries to hide one interesting nuance: whether emails in Huma computer contained the set of emails deleted by Hillary from her.
    Notable quotes:
    "... The inspector general's office said that it was initiating the investigation in response to complaints from members of Congress and the public about actions by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department during the campaign that could be seen as politically motivated. ..."
    "... Republicans, who made her use of a private email server a centerpiece of their campaign against Mrs. Clinton, attacked Mr. Comey after he decided there was not sufficient evidence she had mishandled classified information to prosecute her. ..."
    "... In the end, the emails that the F.B.I. reviewed - which came up during an unrelated inquiry into Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin - proved irrelevant to the investigation's outcome. ..."
    "... Inspectors general have investigated F.B.I. directors before, but rarely. The most high-profile example was the investigation of William S. Sessions, who was fired by President Bill Clinton after an internal inquiry cited him for financial misconduct. In recent years, the inspector general has investigated accusations of wrongdoing by the F.B.I. involving some of its most sensitive operations, including a number of surveillance and counterterrorism programs. ..."
    "... Mr. Horowitz said he would also investigate whether the Justice Department's top congressional liaison, Peter Kadzik, had improperly provided information to the Clinton campaign. A hacked email posted by WikiLeaks showed that Mr. Kadzik alerted the campaign about a coming congressional hearing that was likely to raise questions about Mrs. Clinton. ..."
    "... Investigators will be helped in gathering evidence by a law that Congress passed just last month, which ensures that inspectors general across the government will have access to all relevant agency records in their reviews. ..."
    "... Mr. Trump has not indicated whether he intends to keep Mr. Comey in his job. When he cleared Mrs. Clinton of criminal wrongdoing during the campaign, Mr. Trump accused him of being part of a rigged system. ..."
    Jan 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Peter K. : January 13, 2017 at 06:17 AM

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/us/politics/james-comey-fbi-inspector-general-hillary-clinton.html

    Comey Letter on Clinton Email Is Subject of Justice Dept. Inquiry

    By ADAM GOLDMAN, ERIC LICHTBLAU and MATT APUZZO
    JAN. 12, 2017

    WASHINGTON - The Justice Department's inspector general said Thursday that he would open a broad investigation into how the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, handled the case over Hillary Clinton's emails, including his decision to discuss it at a news conference and to disclose 11 days before the election that he had new information that could lead him to reopen it.

    The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, will not look into the decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton or her aides. But he will review actions Mr. Comey took that Mrs. Clinton and many of her supporters believe cost her the election.

    They are: the news conference in July at which he announced he was not indicting Mrs. Clinton but described her behavior as "extremely careless"; the letter to Congress in late October in which he said that newly discovered emails could potentially change the outcome of the F.B.I.'s investigation; and the letter three days before the election in which he said that he was closing it again.

    The inspector general's office said that it was initiating the investigation in response to complaints from members of Congress and the public about actions by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department during the campaign that could be seen as politically motivated.

    For Mr. Comey and the agency he heads, the Clinton investigation was politically fraught from the moment the F.B.I. received a referral in July 2015 to determine whether Mrs. Clinton and her aides had mishandled classified information. Senior F.B.I. officials believed there was never going to be a good outcome, since it put them in the middle of a bitterly partisan issue.

    Whatever the decision on whether to charge Mrs. Clinton with a crime, Mr. Comey, a Republican former Justice Department official appointed by President Obama, was going to get hammered. And he was.

    Republicans, who made her use of a private email server a centerpiece of their campaign against Mrs. Clinton, attacked Mr. Comey after he decided there was not sufficient evidence she had mishandled classified information to prosecute her.

    The Clinton campaign believed the F.B.I. investigation was overblown and seriously damaged her chances to win the White House and resented Mr. Comey's comments about Mrs. Clinton at his news conference. But the campaign was particularly upset about Mr. Comey's two letters, which created a wave of damaging news stories at the end of the campaign, when Mrs. Clinton and her supporters thought they had put the email issue behind them.

    In the end, the emails that the F.B.I. reviewed - which came up during an unrelated inquiry into Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin - proved irrelevant to the investigation's outcome.

    The Clinton campaign said Mr. Comey's actions quite likely caused a significant number of undecided voters to cast ballots for President-elect Donald J. Trump.

    F.B.I. officials said Thursday that they welcomed the scrutiny. In a statement, Mr. Comey described Mr. Horowitz as "professional and independent" and promised to cooperate with his investigation. "I hope very much he is able to share his conclusions and observations with the public because everyone will benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency," Mr. Comey said.

    Brian Fallon, the former press secretary for the Clinton campaign and the former top spokesman for the Justice Department, said the inspector general's investigation was long overdue.

    "This is highly encouraging and to be expected, given Director Comey's drastic deviation from Justice Department protocol," he said. "A probe of this sort, however long it takes to conduct, is utterly necessary in order to take the first step to restore the F.B.I.'s reputation as a nonpartisan institution."

    Mr. Horowitz has the authority to recommend a criminal investigation if he finds evidence of illegality, but there has been no suggestion that Mr. Comey's actions were unlawful. Rather, the question has been whether he acted inappropriately, showed bad judgment or violated Justice Department guidelines. It is not clear what the consequences would be for Mr. Comey if he was found to have done any of those things.

    The Justice Department and the F.B.I. have a longstanding policy against discussing criminal investigations. Another Justice Department policy declares that politics should play no role in investigative decisions. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have interpreted that policy broadly to prohibit taking any steps that might even hint at an impression of partisanship.

    Inspectors general have investigated F.B.I. directors before, but rarely. The most high-profile example was the investigation of William S. Sessions, who was fired by President Bill Clinton after an internal inquiry cited him for financial misconduct. In recent years, the inspector general has investigated accusations of wrongdoing by the F.B.I. involving some of its most sensitive operations, including a number of surveillance and counterterrorism programs.

    As part of the review, the inspector general will examine other issues related to the email investigation that Republicans have raised. They include whether the deputy director of the F.B.I., Andrew G. McCabe, should have recused himself from any involvement in it.

    In 2015, Mr. McCabe's wife ran for a State Senate seat in Virginia as a Democrat and accepted nearly $500,000 in political contributions from Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a key ally of the Clintons. Though Mr. McCabe did not assume his post until February 2016, months after his wife was defeated, critics both within the agency and outside of it felt that he should have recused himself.

    The F.B.I. has said Mr. McCabe played no role in his wife's campaign. He also told his superiors she was running and sought ethics advice from F.B.I. officials.

    Mr. Horowitz said he would also investigate whether the Justice Department's top congressional liaison, Peter Kadzik, had improperly provided information to the Clinton campaign. A hacked email posted by WikiLeaks showed that Mr. Kadzik alerted the campaign about a coming congressional hearing that was likely to raise questions about Mrs. Clinton.

    Investigators will be helped in gathering evidence by a law that Congress passed just last month, which ensures that inspectors general across the government will have access to all relevant agency records in their reviews.

    The law grew out of skirmishes between the F.B.I. and the Justice Department inspector general over attempts by the F.B.I. to keep grand jury material and other records off limits. The new law means Mr. Horowitz's investigators should have access to any records deemed relevant.

    Mr. Trump has not indicated whether he intends to keep Mr. Comey in his job. When he cleared Mrs. Clinton of criminal wrongdoing during the campaign, Mr. Trump accused him of being part of a rigged system.

    Although the president does not need cause to fire the F.B.I. director, a critical inspector general report could provide justification to do so if Mr. Trump is looking for some.

    [Jan 13, 2017] Neoliberalism vs Make America Great Again slogan

    Notable quotes:
    "... Our model for funding infrastructure is broken. Federal funding means project that are most needed by cities can be overlooked while projects that would destroy cities are funded. ..."
    "... The neo in neoliberalism, however, establishes these principles on a significantly different analytic basis from those set forth by Adam Smith, as will become clear below. Moreover, neoliberalism is not simply a set of economic policies; it is not only about facilitating free trade, maximizing corporate profits, and challenging welfarism. ..."
    "... But in so doing, it carries responsibility for the self to new heights: the rationally calculating individual bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action-for example, lack of skills, education, and child care in a period of high unemployment and limited welfare benefits. ..."
    "... A fully realized neoliberal citizenry would be the opposite of public-minded; indeed, it would barely exist as a public. The body politic ceases to be a body but is rather a group of individual entrepreneurs and consumers . . . ..."
    "... consider the market rationality permeating universities today, from admissions and recruiting to the relentless consumer mentality of students as they consider university brand names, courses, and services, from faculty raiding and pay scales to promotion criteria. ..."
    "... The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market. ..."
    Jan 13, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    sanjait : , January 13, 2017 at 01:09 AM
    I just read through the Zingales, Schiller, Smith and Wren-Lewis pieces.

    They all make what I would consider to be obvious points, though all are arguably worth repeating, as they are widely not accepted.

    pgl -> sanjait... , January 13, 2017 at 02:07 AM
    Let's see. Zingales does not like crony capitalism whereas Schiller praises LBJ's Great Society. I think most progressives agree with both.
    Libezkova -> sanjait... , January 13, 2017 at 04:37 AM
    There is nothing common between articles of Zingales and Schiller.

    My impression is that Schiller might lost his calling: he might achieve even greater success as a diplomat, if he took this career. He managed to tell something important about incompatibility of [the slogan] "Make America Great Again" with neoliberalism without offending anybody. Which is a pretty difficult thing to do.

    Zingalles is just another Friedman-style market fundamentalist. Nothing new and nothing interesting.

    pgl : , January 13, 2017 at 01:32 AM
    Noah Smith is wrong here: "This idea is important because it meant that we shouldn't expect fiscal stimulus to have much of an effect. Government checks are a temporary form of income, so Friedman's theory predicts that it won't change spending patterns, as advocates such as John Maynard Keynes believed."

    Friedman's view about consumption demand is the same as the Life Cycle Model (Ando and Modligiani). OK - these models do predict that tax rebates should not affect consumption. And yes there are households who are borrower constrained so these rebates do impact their consumption.

    But this is not the only form of fiscal stimulus. Infrastructure investment would increase aggregate demand even under the Friedman view of consumption. This would hold even under the Barro-Ricardian version of this theory. OK - John Cochrane is too stupid to know this. And I see Noah in his rush to bash Milton Friedman has made the same mistake as Cochrane.

    jonny bakho -> pgl... , January 13, 2017 at 03:23 AM
    What Friedman got wrong is not including current income. People with high income spend a fraction of that income and save the rest. Their demand is met, so the additional income mostly goes to savings.

    People with low income spend everything and still have unmet demands. Additional income for them will go to meet those unmet demands (like fixing a toothache or replacing bald tires).

    Friedman was biased against fiscal intervention in an economy and sought evidence to argue against such policies

    Our model for funding infrastructure is broken. Federal funding means project that are most needed by cities can be overlooked while projects that would destroy cities are funded.

    Federal infrastructure funding destroyed city neighborhoods leaving the neighboring areas degraded. Meanwhile, necessary projects such as a new subway tunnel from NJ to Manhattan are blocked by States who are ok if the city fails and growth moves to their side of the river.

    Money should go directly to the cities. Infrastructure should be build to serve the people who live, walk and work there, not to allow cars to drive through at high speeds as the engineers propose. This infrastructure harms cities and becomes a future tax liability that cannot be met if the built infrastructure it encourages is not valuable enough to support maintenance.

    We are discovering that unlike our cities where structures can increase in value, strip malls decline in value, often to worthlessness. Road building is increasingly mechanized and provides less employment per project than in the past. Projects such as replacing leaking water pipes require more labor.

    pgl : , January 13, 2017 at 01:37 AM
    Simon Wren Lewis leaves open the possibility that an increase in aggregate demand can increase real GDP as we may not be at full employment (I'd change that from "may not be" to "are not") but still comes out against tax cuts for the rich with this:

    "There is a very strong case for more public sector investment on numerous grounds. But that investment should go to where it is most needed and where it will be of most social benefit"

    Exactly but alas Team Trump ain't listening.

    Libezkova : January 13, 2017 at 03:45 AM
    Re: Milton Friedman's Cherished Theory Is Laid to Rest - Bloomberg View

    Friedman was not simply wrong. The key for understanding Friedman is that he was a political hack, not a scientist.

    His main achievement was creation (partially for money invested in him and Mont Pelerin Society by financial oligarchy) of what is now called "neoliberal rationality": a pervert view of the world, economics and social processes that now still dominates in the USA and most of Western Europe. It is also a new mode of "govermentability".

    Governmentality is distinguished from earlier forms of rule, in which national wealth is measured as the size of territory or the personal fortune of the sovereign, by the recognition that national economic well-being is tied to the rational management of the national population. Foucault defined governmentality as:

    "the ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses, and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power, which has as its target population, as its principle form of knowledge political economy and as its technical means, apparatuses of security"

    Here is Wendy Brown analysis of "neoliberal rationality": http://lchc.ucsd.edu/cogn_150/Readings/brown.pdf

    == quote ===

    A liberal political order may harbor either liberal or Keynesian economic policies -- it may lean in the direction of maximizing liberty (its politically "conservative" tilt) or of maximizing equality (its politically "liberal" tilt), but in contemporary political parlance, it is no more or less a liberal democracy because of one leaning or the other.

    Indeed, the American convention of referring to advocates of the welfare state as political liberals is especially peculiar, given that American conservatives generally hew more closely to both the classical economic and the political doctrines of liberalism -- it turns the meaning of liberalism in the direction of liberality rather than liberty.

    For our purposes, what is crucial is that the liberalism in what has come to be called neoliberalism refers to liberalism's economic variant, recuperating selected pre-Keynesian assumptions about the generation of wealth and its distribution, rather than to liberalism as a political doctrine, as a set of political institutions, or as political practices. The neo in neoliberalism, however, establishes these principles on a significantly different analytic basis from those set forth by Adam Smith, as will become clear below. Moreover, neoliberalism is not simply a set of economic policies; it is not only about facilitating free trade, maximizing corporate profits, and challenging welfarism.

    Rather, neoliberalism carries a social analysis that, when deployed as a form of governmentality, reaches from the soul of the citizen-subject to education policy to practices of empire. Neoliberal rationality, while foregrounding the market, is not only or even primarily focused on the economy; it involves extending and disseminating market values to all institutions and social action, even as the market itself remains a distinctive player.

    ... ... ...

    1. The political sphere, along with every other dimension of contemporary existence, is submitted to an economic rationality; or, put the other way around, not only is the human being configured exhaustively as homo economicus, but all dimensions of human life are cast in terms of a market rationality. While this entails submitting every action and policy to considerations of profitability, equally important is the production of all human and institutional action as rational entrepreneurial action, conducted according to a calculus of utility, benefit, or satisfaction against a microeconomic grid of scarcity, supply and demand, and moral value-neutrality. Neoliberalism does not simply assume that all aspects of social, cultural, and political life can be reduced to such a calculus; rather, it develops institutional practices and rewards for enacting this vision. That is, through discourse and policy promulgating its criteria, neoliberalism produces rational actors and imposes a market rationale for decision making in all spheres.

    Importantly, then, neoliberalism involves a normative rather than ontological claim about the pervasiveness of economic rationality and it advocates the institution building, policies, and discourse development appropriate to such a claim. Neoliberalism is a constructivist project: it does not presume the ontological givenness of a thoroughgoing economic rationality for all domains of society but rather takes as its task the development, dissemination, and institutionalization of such a rationality. This point is further developed in (2) below.

    2. In contrast with the notorious laissez-faire and human propensity to "truck and barter" stressed by classical economic liberalism, neoliberalism does not conceive of either the market itself or rational economic behavior as purely natural. Both are constructed-organized by law and political institutions, and requiring political intervention and orchestration. Far from flourishing when left alone, the economy must be directed, buttressed, and protected by law and policy as well as by the dissemination of social norms designed to facilitate competition, free trade, and rational economic action on the part of every member and institution of society.

    In Lemke's account, "In the Ordo-liberal scheme, the market does not amount to a natural economic reality, with intrinsic laws that the art of government must bear in mind and respect; instead, the market can be constituted and kept alive only by dint of political interventions. . . . [C]ompetition, too, is not a natural fact. . . . [T]his fundamental economic mechanism can function only if support is forthcoming to bolster a series of conditions, and adherence to the latter must consistently be guaranteed by legal measures" (193).
    The neoliberal formulation of the state and especially of specific legal arrangements and decisions as the precondition and ongoing condition of the market does not mean that the market is controlled by the state but precisely the opposite. The market is the organizing and regulative principle of the state and society, along three different lines:

    1. The state openly responds to needs of the market, whether through monetary and fiscal policy, immigration policy, the treatment of criminals, or the structure of public education. In so doing, the state is no longer encumbered by the danger of incurring the legitimation deficits predicted by 1970s social theorists and political economists such as Nicos Poulantzas, Jόrgen Habermas, and James O'Connor.6 Rather, neoliberal rationality extended to the state itself indexes the state's success according to its ability to sustain and foster the market and ties state legitimacy to such success. This is a new form of legitimation, one that "founds a state," according to Lemke, and contrasts with the Hegelian and French revolutionary notion of the constitutional state as the emergent universal representative of the people. As Lemke describes Foucault's account of Ordo-liberal thinking, "economic liberty produces the legitimacy for a form of sovereignty limited to guaranteeing economic activity . . . a state that was no longer defined in terms of an historical mission but legitimated itself with reference to economic growth" (196).
    2. The state itself is enfolded and animated by market rationality: that is, not simply profitability but a generalized calculation of cost and benefit becomes the measure of all state practices. Political discourse on all matters is framed in entrepreneurial terms; the state must not simply concern itself with the market but think and behave like a market actor across all of its functions, including law. 7
    3. Putting (a) and (b) together, the health and growth of the economy is the basis of state legitimacy, both because the state is forthrightly responsible for the health of the economy and because of the economic rationality to which state practices have been submitted. Thus, "It's the economy, stupid" becomes more than a campaign slogan; rather, it expresses the principle of the state's legitimacy and the basis for state action-from constitutional adjudication and campaign finance reform to welfare and education policy to foreign policy, including warfare and the organization of "homeland security."

    3. The extension of economic rationality to formerly noneconomic domains and institutions reaches individual conduct, or, more precisely, prescribes the citizen-subject of a neoliberal order. Whereas classical liberalism articulated a distinction, and at times even a tension, among the criteria for individual moral, associational, and economic actions (hence the striking differences in tone, subject matter, and even prescriptions between Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and his Theory of Moral Sentiments), neoliberalism normatively constructs and interpellates individuals as entrepreneurial actors in every sphere of life.

    It figures individuals as rational, calculating creatures whose moral autonomy is measured by their capacity for "self-care"-the ability to provide for their own needs and service their own ambitions. In making the individual fully responsible for her- or himself, neoliberalism equates moral responsibility with rational action; it erases the discrepancy between economic and moral behavior by configuring morality entirely as a matter of rational deliberation about costs, benefits, and consequences.

    But in so doing, it carries responsibility for the self to new heights: the rationally calculating individual bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action-for example, lack of skills, education, and child care in a period of high unemployment and limited welfare benefits.

    Correspondingly, a "mismanaged life," the neoliberal appellation for failure to navigate impediments to prosperity, becomes a new mode of depoliticizing social and economic powers and at the same time reduces political citizenship to an unprecedented degree of passivity and political complacency.

    The model neoliberal citizen is one who strategizes for her- or himself among various social, political, and economic options, not one who strives with others to alter or organize these options. A fully realized neoliberal citizenry would be the opposite of public-minded; indeed, it would barely exist as a public. The body politic ceases to be a body but is rather a group of individual entrepreneurs and consumers . . . which is, of course, exactly how voters are addressed in most American campaign discourse.8

    Other evidence for progress in the development of such a citizenry is not far from hand: consider the market rationality permeating universities today, from admissions and recruiting to the relentless consumer mentality of students as they consider university brand names, courses, and services, from faculty raiding and pay scales to promotion criteria. 9

    Or consider the way in which consequential moral lapses (of a sexual or criminal nature) by politicians, business executives, or church and university administrators are so often apologized for as "mistakes in judgment," implying that it was the calculation that was wrong, not the act, actor, or rationale.

    The state is not without a project in the making of the neoliberal subject. It attempts to construct prudent subjects through policies that organize such prudence: this is the basis of a range of welfare reforms such as workfare and single-parent penalties, changes in the criminal code such as the "three strikes law," and educational voucher schemes.

    Because neoliberalism casts rational action as a norm rather than an ontology, social policy is the means by which the state produces subjects whose compass is set entirely by their rational assessment of the costs and benefits of certain acts, whether those acts pertain to teen pregnancy, tax fraud, or retirement planning. The neoliberal citizen is calculating rather than rule abiding, a Benthamite rather than a Hobbesian.

    The state is one of many sites framing the calculations leading to social behaviors that keep costs low and productivity high. This mode of governmentality (techniques of governing that exceed express state action and orchestrate the subject's conduct toward himor herself) convenes a "free" subject who rationally deliberates about alternative courses of action, makes choices, and bears responsibility for the consequences of these choices. In this way, Lemke argues, "the state leads and controls subjects without being responsible for them"; as individual "entrepreneurs" in every aspect of life, subjects become wholly responsible for their well-being and citizenship is reduced to success in this entrepreneurship (201).

    Neoliberal subjects are controlled through their freedom-not simply, as thinkers from the Frankfurt School through Foucault have argued, because freedom within an order of domination can be an instrument of that domination, but because of neoliberalism's moralization of the consequences of this freedom. Such control also means that the withdrawal of the state from certain domains, followed by the privatization of certain state functions, does not amount to a dismantling of government but rather constitutes a technique of governing; indeed, it is the signature technique of neoliberal governance, in which rational economic action suffused throughout society replaces express state rule or provision.

    Neoliberalism shifts "the regulatory competence of the state onto 'responsible,' 'rational' individuals [with the aim of] encourag[ing] individuals to give their lives a specific entrepreneurial form" (Lemke, 202).

    4. Finally, the suffusion of both the state and the subject with economic rationality has the effect of radically transforming and narrowing the criteria for good social policy vis-ΰ-vis classical liberal democracy. Not only must social policy meet profitability tests, incite and unblock competition, and produce rational subjects, it obeys the entrepreneurial principle of "equal inequality for all" as it "multiples and expands entrepreneurial forms with the body social" (Lemke, 195). This is the principle that links the neoliberal governmentalization of the state with that of the social and the subject.

    Taken together, the extension of economic rationality to all aspects of thought and activity, the placement of the state in forthright and direct service to the economy, the rendering of the state tout court as an enterprise organized by market rationality, the production of the moral subject as an entrepreneurial subject, and the construction of social policy according to these criteria might appear as a more intensive rather than fundamentally new form of the saturation of social and political realms by capital. That is, the political rationality of neoliberalism might be read as issuing from a stage of capitalism that simply underscores Marx's argument that capital penetrates and transforms every aspect of life-remaking everything in its image and reducing every value and activity to its cold rationale.

    All that would be new here is the flagrant and relentless submission of the state and the individual, the church and the university, morality, sex, marriage, and leisure practices to this rationale. Or better, the only novelty would be the recently achieved hegemony of rational choice theory in the human sciences, self-represented as an independent and objective branch of knowledge rather than an expression of the dominance of capital. Another reading that would figure neoliberalism as continuous with the past would theorize it through Weber's rationalization thesis rather than Marx's argument about capital.

    The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market.

    Julio -> Libezkova...

    I agree with this. But I think it's extraordinarily wordy, and fails to emphasize the deification of private property which is at the root of it.

    anne -> Libezkova... January 13, 2017 at 05:10 AM

    http://lchc.ucsd.edu/cogn_150/Readings/brown.pdf

    January, 2003

    Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy
    By Wendy Brown

    Chris G :

    Brown - who I haven't read much of but like what I have - sounds a lot like Lasch.

    Brown:

    "The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market."

    Lasch in Revolt of the Elites:

    "... Individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market.... The market tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles that are antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pressure on every activity to justify itself in the only terms it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image."

    Libezkova -> anne... January 13, 2017 at 05:43 AM
    The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy Paperback – January 17, 1996

    by Christopher Lasch

    https://www.amazon.com/Revolt-Elites-Betrayal-Democracy/dp/0393313719

    anne -> anne...
    Correcting:

    https://www.theworkingcentre.org/course-content/2717-communitarianism-or-populism-ethic-compassion-and-ethic-respect

    May, 1992

    Communitarianism or Populism? The Ethic of Compassion and the Ethic of Respect
    By Christopher Lasch

    [Jan 13, 2017] Making America Great Again Isnt Just About Money and Power

    Notable quotes:
    "... Excellent article by an economist who understands that economic extends beyond markets and intersects with political enlightenment. Were more economists that inclusive and divorced from self promotion the study would have more effective application. ..."
    "... For many today, greatness is simply a government in the business of actively governing, as opposed to shying away from it under one excuse or the other. One example: the meteoric rise of incomes for the wealthy, which is a direct result of less financial regulation. First discovered by Reagan, then perfected by Clinton, the method involves highlighting regulation as a dirty word and overstating its link to American Capitalism, and in the bargain achieving less work for government, plus bag brownie points for patriotism. ..."
    "... But what it really was, was a reluctance to govern for almost thirty years. Thank goodness Trump called it out for the fraud it was, and Obama decided he would spend his last month making a show of "governing". ..."
    "... So that's what greatness means to most today: Government, please show up for work every day and just do your job. Not draw lines in sand and unlock every bathroom in sight and let illegals in. Just your job please, that's all. Yes? Grrreaat, thank you Donald. ..."
    "... I doubt many think that the greatness of America is just about money and power. But many corporations are run on exactly this limited idea of the greatness of corporations. ..."
    "... And, unfortunately, these same misguided bottom-line corporations now control Congress and the GOP. Corporate control of Congress should not be primarily for increasing corporate profits. Part of the profits stemming from automation should be used to mitigate the tremendous disappearance of jobs that corporations are causing by introducing AI and automation. ..."
    "... I have traveled overseas enough to have an idea of life in other countries. My father shared something with other veterans--a sense of belonging to something bigger than them based on being "in the service." ..."
    "... That comradeship, born of intense experience while young, is rare. In terms of the sense of belonging to a city or state, the most successful of us move around and cities have lost most of what made them unique. ..."
    "... there is no central cultural core to being American--as compared to being French or British--other than technology and the meritocracy of money, a personal sense of ownership in America on the part of a majority of Americans runs contrary to contemporary experience. ..."
    "... The first step on this path is real social & economic justice for all in our wonderful country. The current economic inequality in the U.S. is a disgrace to any just & civil society. We must figure out a way to fairly deal with that & our other inequalities of education, opportunity & racial injustices, if we are to achieve our potential of being that 'shining city on the hill' that the rest of the world will want to follow. ..."
    "... A Great Society cannot be great in any meaningful sense unless it is determinedly honest -- not just self-relievingly frank. Thus, although I was happy to see this article, which I judge to be 'exemplarily' honest, I had disappointment that, in an age when the term post-truth is being used to describe conversation in English-speaking society, it neglects to emphasize the essentiality of honesty in any debate about what being a great society entails. Adam Smith did his best to point that out, but the rich and powerful and especially those in public office and those of capitalistic ideological bent appear these days to be letting us all down in this respect. ..."
    "... This article is long overdue. Mr Trump has never explained is what MADE America great in the past. If questioned, he demurred. His shallow approach to policy and his poor understanding of American history and civics makes any answer from him questionable. ..."
    "... Our current Free Trade pacts make it too easy for employers to shift jobs abroad. Other countries protect their industries. We should do the same, by again placing tariffs on any goods which have been manufactured abroad which could be made here. This would not be "forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs". It would be saying that if you want to sell your products here, then you will either make them here or pay tariffs on them. ..."
    "... The Free Trade pacts have an additional problem. They allow international corporations to sue us if they think that one of our laws or regulations is keeping them from making as much money as they otherwise could. These lawsuits are conducted in special courts whose decisions cannot be appealed. This allows international corporations to interfere with our democracy. They should not be allowed to sue us for enforcing our own laws. ..."
    "... The issue isn't what the definition of "great" is. It's who America is great *for.* America is outstandingly great for a very slim slice at the tip-top of the economy. ..."
    "... The GOP are now proving that they are traitors to the general welfare. They are determined to make this nation's chief goal be to protect the welfare of the wealthiest and best-connected. If we are depending on a free press or the voting booth to protect us, we are fooling ourselves. The forces that have seized our democracy are going to gut both the press, and our civil liberties, so that this country can never again be "of, for and by the people." It will henceforth be for the plutocrats. ..."
    "... The rest of us should just go quietly, and die on our own. ..."
    Jan 13, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

    "Make America Great Again," the slogan of President-elect Donald J. Trump 's successful election campaign, has been etched in the national consciousness. But it is hard to know what to make of those vague words.

    We don't have a clear definition of "great," for example, or of the historical moment when, presumably, America was truly great. From an economic standpoint, we can't be talking about national wealth, because the country is wealthier than it has ever been: Real per capita household net worth has reached a record high, as Federal Reserve Board data shows.

    But the distribution of wealth has certainly changed: Inequality has widened significantly. Including the effects of taxes and government transfer payments, real incomes for the bottom half of the population increased only 21 percent from 1980 to 2014. That compares with a 194 percent increase for the richest 1 percent, according to a new study by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

    That's why it makes sense that Mr. Trump's call for a return to greatness resonated especially well among non-college-educated workers in Rust Belt states - people who have been hurt as good jobs in their region disappeared. But forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs isn't reasonable, and creating sustainable new jobs is a complex endeavor.

    Difficult as job creation may be, making America great surely entails more than that, and it's worth considering just what we should be trying to accomplish. Fortunately, political leaders and scholars have been thinking about national greatness for a very long time, and the answer clearly goes beyond achieving high levels of wealth.

    Adam Smith, perhaps the first true economist, gave some answers in " An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations ." That treatise is sometimes thought of as a capitalist bible. It is at least partly about the achieving of greatness through the pursuit of wealth in free markets. But Smith didn't believe that money alone assured national stature. He also wrote disapprovingly of the single-minded impulse to secure wealth, saying it was "the most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments." Instead, he emphasized that decent people should seek real achievement - "not only praise, but praiseworthiness."

    Strikingly, national greatness was a central issue in a previous presidential election campaign: Lyndon B. Johnson , in 1964, called for the creation of a Great Society, not merely a rich society or a powerful society. Instead, he spoke of achieving equal opportunity and fulfillment. "The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents," he said. "It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness."

    President Johnson's words still ring true. Opportunity is not equal for everyone in America. Enforced leisure has indeed become a feared cause of boredom and restlessness for those who have lost jobs, who have lost overtime work, who hold part-time jobs when they desire full-time employment, or who were pushed into unwanted early retirement.

    But there are limits to what government can do. Jane Jacobs , the great urbanist, wrote that great nations need great cities, yet they cannot easily create them. "The great capitals of modern Europe did not become great cities because they were the capitals," Ms. Jacobs said. "Cause and effect ran the other way. Paris was at first no more the seat of French kings than were the sites of half a dozen other royal residences."

    Cities grow organically, she said, capturing a certain dynamic, a virtuous circle, a specialized culture of expertise, with one industry leading to another, and with a reputation that attracts motivated and capable immigrants.

    America still has cities like this, but a fact not widely remembered is that Detroit used to be one of them. Its rise to greatness was gradual. As Ms. Jacobs wrote, milled flour in the 1820s and 1830s required boats to ship the flour on the Great Lakes, which led to steamboats, marine engines and a proliferation of other industries, which set the stage for automobiles, which made Detroit a global center for anyone interested in that technology.

    I experienced the beauty and excitement of Detroit as a child there among relatives who had ties to the auto industry. Today, residents of Detroit and other fading metropolises want their old cities back, but generations of people must create the fresh ideas and industries that spawn great cities, and they can't do it by fiat from Washington.

    All of which is to say that government intervention to enhance greatness will not be a simple matter. There is a risk that well-meaning change may make matters worse. Protectionist policies and penalties for exporters of jobs may not increase long-term opportunities for Americans who have been left behind. Large-scale reduction of environmental or social regulations or in health care benefits, or in America's involvement in the wider world may increase our consumption, yet leave all of us with a sense of deeper loss.

    Greatness reflects not only prosperity, but it is also linked with an atmosphere, a social environment that makes life meaningful. In President Johnson's words, greatness requires meeting not just "the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community."

    sufferingsuccatash ohio 3 hours ago

    Excellent article by an economist who understands that economic extends beyond markets and intersects with political enlightenment. Were more economists that inclusive and divorced from self promotion the study would have more effective application.

    TMK New York, NY 5 hours ago

    For many today, greatness is simply a government in the business of actively governing, as opposed to shying away from it under one excuse or the other. One example: the meteoric rise of incomes for the wealthy, which is a direct result of less financial regulation. First discovered by Reagan, then perfected by Clinton, the method involves highlighting regulation as a dirty word and overstating its link to American Capitalism, and in the bargain achieving less work for government, plus bag brownie points for patriotism.

    But what it really was, was a reluctance to govern for almost thirty years. Thank goodness Trump called it out for the fraud it was, and Obama decided he would spend his last month making a show of "governing".

    But Reagan did not hesitate to govern on the international stage. That credit goes solely to Obama, a president who's turned non-governance into something of an art. From refusing to regulate bathroom etiquette, to egging people to have more casual sex (condoms on government, no worries, go at it all you want), to unleashing 5 million illegals on domestic soil with a stroke of the pen, this President has been the most ungoverning president in US history.

    So that's what greatness means to most today: Government, please show up for work every day and just do your job. Not draw lines in sand and unlock every bathroom in sight and let illegals in. Just your job please, that's all. Yes? Grrreaat, thank you Donald.

    John Brews Reno, NV 6 hours ago

    I doubt many think that the greatness of America is just about money and power. But many corporations are run on exactly this limited idea of the greatness of corporations.

    And, unfortunately, these same misguided bottom-line corporations now control Congress and the GOP. Corporate control of Congress should not be primarily for increasing corporate profits. Part of the profits stemming from automation should be used to mitigate the tremendous disappearance of jobs that corporations are causing by introducing AI and automation.

    Duane Coyle Wichita, Kansas 7 hours ago

    I was born in America in 1956 to native-born Americans. My father served starting right after the Berlin Blockade, up through the Korean Conflict. My political consciousness was formed by Vietnam, Kent State, the COINTELPRO Papers, the Pentagon Papers, the Church Committee reports.

    My father had trust in the federal government, whereas I have none. I became a lawyer, and married a lawyer. My brothers and my wife's sisters are all college-educated professionals.

    Financially speaking, America has been very good to me. But as far as having any intellectual or visceral concept of what America is, or what being an American means, I couldn't tell you.

    I have traveled overseas enough to have an idea of life in other countries. My father shared something with other veterans--a sense of belonging to something bigger than them based on being "in the service."

    That comradeship, born of intense experience while young, is rare. In terms of the sense of belonging to a city or state, the most successful of us move around and cities have lost most of what made them unique.

    Given how very little we are expected to contribute to our city, state or country, or even our neighbors, and as there is no central cultural core to being American--as compared to being French or British--other than technology and the meritocracy of money, a personal sense of ownership in America on the part of a majority of Americans runs contrary to contemporary experience.

    Wayne Hild Nevada City, CA 9 hours ago

    I think this article touches on not only what will make America great, but also on how we should act in order to show the rest of the world why liberal democracies are truly the path to prosperity & peace in this oh so imperfect world.

    How do we go about defeating ISIL & winning the smoldering economic/military contest with Russia & China & other authoritarian regimes? By living righteously & daily demonstrating that treating the planet & each other justly & humanely is the way to real happiness on Earth. & that we can at the same time create plenty of wealth & life-fulfilling opportunities for all our citizens.

    The first step on this path is real social & economic justice for all in our wonderful country. The current economic inequality in the U.S. is a disgrace to any just & civil society. We must figure out a way to fairly deal with that & our other inequalities of education, opportunity & racial injustices, if we are to achieve our potential of being that 'shining city on the hill' that the rest of the world will want to follow.

    If the great liberal democracies of Europe & North America & the southern pacific region can reinvigorate our optimism & our commitment to the communal values that have driven the world's prosperity since WWII, we can surely convince the rest of the world through the awesome leverage of 'social media' that our liberal values of education, fairness, & love for all of our fellow humans is the true path to happiness & peace on Earth.

    Angus Cunningham Toronto 9 hours ago

    As a Britisher, educated at Wharton by the grace of an American-owned company, I feel gratitude for American generosity; yet I am now a Canadian citizen, having decided that the US in the time of Nixon could never be a place where my family could be happy. So I write this with mixed feelings.

    A Great Society cannot be great in any meaningful sense unless it is determinedly honest -- not just self-relievingly frank. Thus, although I was happy to see this article, which I judge to be 'exemplarily' honest, I had disappointment that, in an age when the term post-truth is being used to describe conversation in English-speaking society, it neglects to emphasize the essentiality of honesty in any debate about what being a great society entails. Adam Smith did his best to point that out, but the rich and powerful and especially those in public office and those of capitalistic ideological bent appear these days to be letting us all down in this respect.

    Having made a modest livelihood as an executive coach, I do not pretend that being honest (without being self-relievingly so) is easy in high-level negotiations. Indeed it requires enormous courage, intellect, empathy, and articulation skills. So I have enormous grief and considerable anxiety for the state of US society today. But efforts like this one by the New York Times are certain to be helpful. Thank you. I hope my contribution will be valuable to this fine newspaper and its readers alike.

    R Charlotte 9 hours ago

    This article is long overdue. Mr Trump has never explained is what MADE America great in the past. If questioned, he demurred. His shallow approach to policy and his poor understanding of American history and civics makes any answer from him questionable.

    FreedomAndJusticeForAll United States 9 hours ago

    Hope and Change.

    Tom is a trusted commenter Midwest 9 hours ago

    Yet almost every policy and piece of legislation by Republicans seems aimed at making more money for business. They assume it will trickle down to the workers (and we have seen over 30 years of how good that is working). So Republicans will ignore your plea or denigrate it. Doing anything close to what you suggest gets in the way of making money.

    ann Seattle 10 hours ago

    "But forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs isn't reasonable, "

    Our current Free Trade pacts make it too easy for employers to shift jobs abroad. Other countries protect their industries. We should do the same, by again placing tariffs on any goods which have been manufactured abroad which could be made here. This would not be "forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs". It would be saying that if you want to sell your products here, then you will either make them here or pay tariffs on them.

    The Free Trade pacts have an additional problem. They allow international corporations to sue us if they think that one of our laws or regulations is keeping them from making as much money as they otherwise could. These lawsuits are conducted in special courts whose decisions cannot be appealed. This allows international corporations to interfere with our democracy. They should not be allowed to sue us for enforcing our own laws.

    Let's restore our sovereignty.

    Jack and Louise North Brunswick NJ, USA 10 hours ago

    The issue isn't what the definition of "great" is. It's who America is great *for.* America is outstandingly great for a very slim slice at the tip-top of the economy.

    It's great for the Trumps and his cabinet members. These people have so much wealth that they have bought our government. The gleeful look on McConnell's face last night after the GOP moved to get rid of health care for millions, and to turn it back to the whim of the insurance companies, said it all: America is great again for him. It's great for his owners.

    The GOP are now proving that they are traitors to the general welfare. They are determined to make this nation's chief goal be to protect the welfare of the wealthiest and best-connected. If we are depending on a free press or the voting booth to protect us, we are fooling ourselves. The forces that have seized our democracy are going to gut both the press, and our civil liberties, so that this country can never again be "of, for and by the people." It will henceforth be for the plutocrats.

    The rest of us should just go quietly, and die on our own.

    [Jan 13, 2017] Brexit and Labour Disaster

    Notable quotes:
    "... In the case of the US, a Republican donor-class candidate should have been a Democrat donor-class candidate. Owing to the particular corruption of the Democratic party over the last 8 years, effectively run by the Clinton crime family, the field was unofficially limited to just one. The collapse of the Republican establishment from below still makes my heart sing. Would that the same might occur among Democrats. ..."
    "... `I do not understand the pushback [against transnational causes for these events]. Do they really believe that Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, the rise of many right-wing populist parties in Europe etc. have nothing to do with economics? That suddenly all these weird nationalists and nativists got together thanks to the social media and decided to overthrow the established order? People who believe this remind me of Saul Bellow's statement that "a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is strong."' ..."
    "... These are not idiomatic one-off events due to contingent political situations peculiar to each individual country. ..."
    "... Something bigger is going on. If Marine LePen wins in France (and I predict she will), that will provide even more evidence. This looks like a global rebellion against globalization + neoliberal economics because the bottom 96% are realizing they're getting screwed and all the benefits are going to the top 6% of professional class + licensed professionals + top 1% in the financial robber barony. ..."
    "... Because the 'soft' left, in collaboration with the soft right (and the hard right) have worked assiduously since roughly about 1979 to destroy the 'hard left'. ..."
    "... If you help crush the communists then don't be surprised if, in 20 years time, you get the Nazis, because people who hate the system will vote to destroy it, and they will use whatever weapons are to hand to do so . If 'left wing' options aren't available, they will choose 'right wing' ones. ..."
    "... I think that the Democratic Party is unlikely to hand over power to the average man and woman in America, but I'm sure that the Republican Party is even less likely to do so; anybody who voted Republican in 2016 because it seemed the best chance of getting power for the average man and woman was played for a sucker. ..."
    "... The original Nazis emerged and rose to power in a context where the Communists were trying to destroy the system, and also seeking to crush the Social-democrats; close to the opposite of the pattern you're describing. ..."
    "... And Trump, as we all know, is highly suspicious of the EU. Moreover, there is likely to be a battle between the 'liberal (in the highly specific American sense) leaning' intelligence services (the CIA etc.) and the Trump administration. ..."
    "... And, thanks to Obama, the CIA, NSA etc. have far more leeway and freedom to act than they did even 20 years ago. It is also possible/likely that MI5/MI6 might be 'let off the leash' by a British (or English) nationalist orientated Conservative Government. ..."
    "... you must know why you yourself aren't doing it, and the reasons that apply to you could easily apply to other people as well. ..."
    "... There are people making statements daily about how what the Tories are doing is not in the interest of the vast majority of people; but with what effect? ..."
    Jan 08, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

    by Henry on January 5, 2017 A piece I wrote on Brexit and the UK party system has just come out in Democracy. More than anything else, I wrote the article to get people to read Peter Mair. I didn't know Mair at all well – he was another Irish political scientist, but was based in various European universities and in a different set of academic networks than my own. I met him once and liked him, and chatted briefly a couple of times after that about email. I wish I'd known him better – his posthumously edited and published book, Ruling the Void is the single most compelling account I've read of what has gone wrong in European politics, and in particular what's gone wrong for the left. It's still enormously relevant years after his death. The ever ramifying disaster that is the British Labour party is in large part the working out of the story that Mair laid out – how party elites became disconnected from their base, how the EU became a way to kick issues out of politics into technocracy, and how it all went horribly wrong.

    The modern Labour Party is caught in an especially unpleasant version of Mair's dilemma. Labour's leaders tried over decades to improve the party's electoral prospects in a country where its traditional class base was disappearing. They sought very deliberately and with some success to weaken its party organization in order to achieve this aim. However, their success created a new governing class within Labour, one largely disconnected from the party grassroots that it is supposed to represent. Ed Miliband recognized this problem as party leader and tried to rebuild the party's connection to its grassroots. However, as Mair might have predicted, there weren't any traditional grassroots out there to cultivate. Mair argued that the leadership and the base were becoming disengaged from each other, so that traditional parties were withering away. Labour has actually taken this one stage further, creating a party in which the leadership and membership are at daggers drawn, each able to stymie the other, but neither able to prevail or willing to surrender.
    J-D 01.05.17 at 11:53 pm ( 8 )

    This has all changed. Class and ethnic and religious identities no longer provide secure foundations for European parties, which have more and more tried to become "catchalls," appealing to wide and diffuse groups of voters. People are not attached to parties for life anymore, often waiting until just before Election Day to decide whom to vote for. Party membership figures across Western Europe have shrunk by more than half in a generation.

    Do you evaluate this change (on balance) positively or negatively? and why?

    Also, since I'm commenting anyway, one minor query:

    (Some European countries had different parties for Catholics and Protestants.)

    Which countries did you have in mind? There are few European countries that have (or had) both enough Catholics for a significant Catholic party and enough Protestants for a significant Protestant party.

    John Quiggin 01.06.17 at 1:47 am ( 10 )

    The Labour Party is so weak that the Conservatives do not need to worry about Labour defeating them in the next election, or perhaps in the election after that.

    I don't think this is obvious, precisely because of the volatility of the situation. I remember people saying this about the Cameron government in 2015 and I objected at the time that no-one knew how the Brexit referendum will turn out. Now Cameron is gone and just about forgotten. It's true that the Conservatives are still in, but it's a very different crew.

    More importantly, we haven't yet seen what Brexit means, in any sense. May has been coasting on the referendum result, and Labour has been wedged, unable to oppose the referendum outcome and also unable to criticise May's Brexit policy because she either doesn't have one or isn't telling. This can't continue forever (presumably not beyond March), and when the situation changes, anything can happen.

    Some scenarios where the Conservatives could come badly unstuck

    (a) they put up a "have cake and eat it" proposal that is rejected so humilatingly that they look like fools, then cave in and accept minor concessions on migration in return for a face-saving soft Brexit
    (b) hard Brexit becomes inevitable and the financial sector flees en masse
    (c) train-crash Brexit with no agreement and a massive depression

    The only scenarios I can see that would cement the current position are
    (a) a capitulation by the EU on migration etc, with continued single market access
    (b) an economically successful hard Brexit/non-fatal train crash

    It seems to me that (a) is politically infeasible and (b) is economically unlikely

    That's not to gloss over Labour's problems or your diagnosis, with which I generally agree.

    mclaren 01.06.17 at 4:11 am ( 11 )
    " how party elites became disconnected from their base, how the EU became a way to kick issues out of politics into technocracy, and how it all went horribly wrong."
    This sounds exactly like what has happened to the Democratic party in America. Which suggests that there's something transnational going on, much larger than the specific political situation in any given country
    kidneystones 01.06.17 at 4:21 am ( 12 )
    The essay is excellent as we might expect, Henry. I'm not convinced that Labour had any other choice but to elect Corbyn. Single data points are always suspect, but the decision by the Labor bigwig (have succeeded in forgetting which) to mock 'white-van man' clearly suggests she was playing to a constituency within Labour primed to share in a flash-sneer at the prols. I'd have expected as much from any Tory. I have other quibbles, the decision by Labour to take a position on the referendum and on Remain always seemed critical to forcing Labour to adopt anti-immigrant Tory-light postures in order to have it both ways with working-class voters hostile to London and Brussels.

    More problematic is this paragraph: "Research by Tim Bale, Monica Poletti, and Paul Webb shows that these new members tend to be well-educated and heavily left-wing. They wanted to join the Labour Party to remake it into an unapologetically left-leaning party. However, the research suggests that they aren't prepared to put in the hard grind. While most of them have posted about Labour on social media or signed a petition, more than half have never attended a constituency meeting, and only a small minority have gone door to door or delivered leaflets. They are at best a shaky foundation for remaking the Labour Party." Your questionable decision to deploy 'they' and 'them' muddies the reality a bit, as does your decision to rely on metrics from the past to predict future behavior.

    I take your point that failing to attend a political rally, or go door-to-door, means something in a time when populist parties are in the 'ascent.' But as you point out this rise can only occur because the 'old parties' have failed so badly to connect activists and members. Again, that said, I'm still not convinced all is doom and gloom. Labour activists opposed to EU membership were effectively gagged/shamed by the elite right up to the present. It is only now this week, that Labour has elected to make English compulsory for new immigrants: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/chuka-umunna-immigrants-should-be-made-to-learn-english-on-arrival-in-uk-classes-esol-social-a7509666.html

    Labour wasn't anything but Tory-lite until Jeremy and the new influx of members. I'm not personally in favor of the new policy. It does seem to me more Tory-lite. But the battles are now more out in the open. My guess is that Labour will survive and will rule again, but only if the party can persuade Scotland and Wales to remain part of the UK. Adopting Tory-lite policies is precisely what alienated Scots Labour voters and drove them into the arms of the SNP, so that's that the PLP gives you.

    Britain is entering a period of flux: jobs, housing, respect for all – including all those dead, white people who made such a mess of the world, and respect for all forms of work, and greater social and economic movement within Britain will likely go over quite well with large sections of the electorate. Strong borders and a sensible immigration policy is part of that.

    kidneystones 01.06.17 at 6:58 am ( 14 )
    @10 "This sounds exactly like what has happened to the Democratic party in America. Which suggests that there's something transnational going on, much larger than the specific political situation in any given country"

    "This sounds " Yes, in general terms. Yet, the donor-class candidates could have and should have won in Brexit and in the US.

    In the case of the Brexit, I argued before and after that simply allowing Labour candidates and members to express their own views publicly, rather than adhere to a (sufficiently unpopular) particular policy set by Henry's elite would have negated the need to adopt anti-immigrant Tory lite stances – a straddle that fooled nobody and drove Labour voters to UKIP in not insignificant numbers.

    In the case of the US, a Republican donor-class candidate should have been a Democrat donor-class candidate. Owing to the particular corruption of the Democratic party over the last 8 years, effectively run by the Clinton crime family, the field was unofficially limited to just one. The collapse of the Republican establishment from below still makes my heart sing. Would that the same might occur among Democrats.

    Had, however, the Clinton campaign actually placed the candidate in Wisconsin, in Michigan, and in Pennsylvania rather than bank on turning off voters, we'd be looking at a veneer of stability covering up the rot now on display.

    The point being: there's always something transnational going on. I explained Brexit to my own students as a regional rebellion against London, as much as Brussels. Henry's essay is good on Brexit and UKIP. Both the US and UK outcomes could have been avoided.

    @12 Thank you for this, Gareth.

    J-D 01.06.17 at 7:33 am ( 15 )
    kidneystones

    Britain is entering a period of flux: jobs, housing, respect for all – including all those dead, white people who made such a mess of the world, and respect for all forms of work, and greater social and economic movement within Britain will likely go over quite well with large sections of the electorate.

    If Britain were to enter a period of jobs, housing, and respect for all, with greater social and economic mobility, it would be reasonable to expect most people to be pleased; but there's no evidence that anything of the kind is happening, or is going to happen.

    Igor Belanov 01.06.17 at 9:26 am ( 16 )
    Layman @ 6

    "The PLP didn't opt to get along, they opted to fight, and got mauled."

    They lost the battle but are winning the war.

    Corbyn has been keeping a very low profile since his re-election, proposals for reform such as mandatory reselection seem to have been dropped, and the left of the party is squabbling over whether it remains a Corbyn fan club or an active agent for the democratisation of the party. Party policy remains inchoate and receives little media publicity.

    Michels hasn't been disproved just yet, and I suspect the party remains immune to lasting reform, short of a major split.

    J-D 01.06.17 at 10:39 am ( 17 )
    Igor Belanov

    I suspect the party remains immune to lasting reform, short of a major split.

    There are plenty of examples from the UK and other countries, including the Labour Party itself, of parties undergoing major splits, and the evidence doesn't suggest that the experience is conducive to lasting reform.

    gastro george 01.06.17 at 10:40 am ( 18 )
    @Layman @Igor

    Yes, after the second election, the PLP have opted for the long game, with the expectation that a disastrous General Election (one of the reasons why the talk up the possibility of an early one at every opportunity) will see a return to "normality". In the meantime, the strategy is to make Corbyn an irrelevance, hence the lack of coverage in the MSM, except for a drip of mocking articles of which today's by Gaby Hinsliff in the Graun is typical.

    Corbyn and his organisation don't help themselves but, faced with such irredentism, they have little leverage on the situation.

    Dan Hardie 01.06.17 at 11:06 am ( 19 )
    You don't make a single mention of Scotland, which is a massive omission to make. (And frankly, it's a particularly odd mistake for an Irishman: it's supposed to be the English who blithely assume that where they live is coterminous with the whole United Kingdom).

    I like a lot of the essay, but it's gravely weakened by the fact that you're prepared to discuss things like political elites and class allegiance- and, in a European context, religious allegiance- but you don't mention national or regional political identities. You really can't leave those things out and give an accurate picture of current British politics.

    Chris Bertram 01.06.17 at 12:53 pm ( 23 )
    I agree that a Labour revival isn't coming along soon. The problem is that a lot of people in Labour think and hope that it might, and that makes them very unwilling to start thinking about electoral alliances, because they are committed to standing candidates everywhere.

    Labour, imo, needs some further and serious bad shocks to get them into the frame of mind that could make an anti-Tory alliance possible. Once it is, FPTP could turn from the secret of Tory success into the mechanism for their destruction. But 2020 might be too soon.

    Guano 01.06.17 at 3:28 pm ( 25 )
    Re Chris Bertram #22

    Forming coalitions and alliances requires negotiation and making trade-offs and active listening: unfortunately there are probably too many people in the Labour Party who would find that very difficult. They appear not to be willing to negotiate even with their own members.

    Igor Belanov 01.06.17 at 4:10 pm ( 26 )
    Chris Bertram @ 22

    I really can't see the obsession with an 'anti-Tory alliance'. Given that it involves allying with a party who recently were effectively part of a pro-Tory alliance, it only works in any sense if you think that the Tories have morphed into the far-right, or if you have a well-worked out programme of constitutional reform you want to implement.

    The bit that concerns involving the SNP particularly baffles me. Given that they have been at daggers drawn with the Labour Party in Scotland, and that they are highly unlikely to step aside from any of their 90-odd % of Scottish seats to give their alliance partner a few more MPs, it seems a non-starter. This impression is magnified when you consider that the spectre of a Labour-SNP minority government was thought to have scared off potential Labour voters at the last election.

    Dipper 01.06.17 at 8:02 pm ( 34 )
    Corbyn is just awful. A toxic mix of naivity, ego, and blundering stupidity.

    His concept of role is almost non-existant. He walks onto a train without having pre-booked, finds it difficult getting two seats together, and decides on the spot that all trains must be nationalised. He spots a man sleeping rough and decides ending rough sleeping is his top priority. He blunders around like he's just landed from another planet, sees an injustice and thinks he, Jeremy, is the first person ever to see such a terrible thing, and decides on the spot to make it his top priority to eliminate this evil by the simple policy expedient of saying he will eliminate it.

    He doesn't do policy in any recognisable sense. He does positioning statements which he assembles with mates and puts on his personal web site. Take his "Manifesto for Digital Democracy". It claims to be a policy, but in reality its just a list of Things That Jeremy Thinks Are Good. It doesn't appear to have gone through a discussion process or approval process. It is not clear if this is a party policy or just a personal document.

    His position on Brexit is a disaster. On the issue which is coming to define politics in the UK he is neither clearly for it nor clearly against it. He gives the impression he finds it a dull subject. He is at best second choice for everyone, first choice for no-one; at worst, he is an irrelevance.

    Worse, he appears completely oblivious to the power games being played out in his name. Neighbouring constituencies are to be carved up so Jeremy's seat can be preserved. His son Seb is given a job in John McDonnell's office. He is effectively held captive by a North London clique who look after him, tell him he's great, and then use his "policies" as a checklist against which to assess conformance of MPs to The One True Corbyn Way and pursue vendettas.

    His personality is completely unsuited to the job of Leader, let alone Prime Minister. Even if you believe in Jeremy's policies you need to find someone else to implement them because he lacks any of the requisite capabilities.

    Nothing is going to magically get better.

    No matter how bad things get, under Jeremy they can always get worse.

    references:

    J-D 01.06.17 at 8:22 pm ( 35 )
    effectively gagged/shamed

    Any argument which treats being gagged and being shamed as effectively equivalent is not worth taking seriously.

    Layman 01.06.17 at 9:05 pm ( 37 )
    'Unofficially limited' dies give one the wiggle room to assert just about anything. It's a way of lying which can't be rebutted. If you say 'but there were 3 candidates', he'll respond that he did say 'unofficially' limited. If you say 'but two of them did quite well', he'll respond that he did, after all, say 'unofficially' limited. So he can take a case where there was actually a competitive race, and make it seem like there was never a competitive race. Of course, his post is, officially, approved by the moderators
    djr 01.06.17 at 10:22 pm ( 38 )
    While most of them have posted about Labour on social media or signed a petition, more than half have never attended a constituency meeting, and only a small minority have gone door to door or delivered leaflets.

    There's a strong feel of "young folks aren't doing politics the way my generation used to do politics" about this, especially given the activities you're complaining they're not doing. Is posting on social media achieving more or less than posting leaflets to fill up people's recycling bins?

    mclaren 01.07.17 at 3:43 am ( 43 )
    kidneystones @14 claims: "I explained Brexit to my own students as a regional rebellion against London, as much as Brussels."

    If that's correct, why did we get: [1] Trump/Sanders in the U.S., [2] Brexit in the UK, [3] repudiation of Matteo Renzi along with the referendum in Italy, [4] a probable win for Marine LePen in France (wait for it, you'll be oh-so-shocked when it happens)?

    `I do not understand the pushback [against transnational causes for these events]. Do they really believe that Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, the rise of many right-wing populist parties in Europe etc. have nothing to do with economics? That suddenly all these weird nationalists and nativists got together thanks to the social media and decided to overthrow the established order? People who believe this remind me of Saul Bellow's statement that "a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is strong."'

    Interview with economist Branko Milanovic in The New Republic, http://glineq.blogspot.de/2016/12/full-text-of-my-new-republic-interview.html?m=1

    Scottish economist Mark Blyth has been making the same point: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/12/15/when-does-democracy-fail-when-voters-dont-get-what-they-asked-for/?utm_term=.0b8b5cf98cc4

    I would suggest kidneystones is simply wrong. These are not idiomatic one-off events due to contingent political situations peculiar to each individual country.

    Something bigger is going on. If Marine LePen wins in France (and I predict she will), that will provide even more evidence. This looks like a global rebellion against globalization + neoliberal economics because the bottom 96% are realizing they're getting screwed and all the benefits are going to the top 6% of professional class + licensed professionals + top 1% in the financial robber barony.

    kidneystones 01.07.17 at 5:33 am ( 44 )
    @43 Actually, I make no claim against trans-national developments. Quite the opposite.

    Elsewhere, I've written that we are dealing with a world-wide tension between advocates of globalization and their opponents. Where you differ is in determinations and outcomes, which I argue are based on the actors, actions and dynamics of each state and which are, as such, unique. There is nothing at all inevitable about any of this and JQ very sensibly reminds us of the volatility of the present moment.

    What is clear to me at least is that ideas and actions matter. Labour need not have decided in 2014, or so, to ban members from advocating either a referendum, or leaving the EU. I dug all this up at the time and the timeline is easy enough to recreate.

    Austria stepped back from the brink, as did Greece when it repudiated Golden Dawn. The French right and left worked together to keep the presidency out of the hands of the FN, although it's less clear how that successful these efforts will be in the future.

    The next few years will be telling. I see no reliable evidence to indicate good fortune, or end times. The safest bet is more of the same, repackaged, with all the predictable shrieks and yells about 'never before' etc. that usually accompanies the screwing of the lower orders. The donor class is utterly dedicated to retaining power. I think JQ is spot on regarding alliances. We didn't come this far just to have the wheels fall off.

    The populism of the right (which I support in large measure) points the way. I'd have preferred to see a populism of the left win, but too many are/were unwilling to burn down establishment with the same willingness and enthusiasm of those on the right. Indeed, this thread has several vocal defenders of an utterly corrupt Democratic party apparatus busted cold for colluding to steal the nomination. There's a reason donors forked over 1.2 billion to the Clinton crime family and it wasn't to help Hillary turn over power to the average woman and man in America.

    Ya think?

    J-D 01.07.17 at 6:46 am ( 45 )
    mclaren

    How does voting for Trump look like 'rebellion against the financial robber barony'?

    For that matter, how does voting 'No' in the Italian referendum look like 'rebellion against the financial robber barony'?

    Hidari 01.07.17 at 9:15 am ( 46 )
    @43, 45

    Because the 'soft' left, in collaboration with the soft right (and the hard right) have worked assiduously since roughly about 1979 to destroy the 'hard left'.

    'High points' in this 'epic battle' include Neil Kinnock's purging of Militant, the failure of the trade union establishment to (in any meaningful sense) support the miners' strike (1984), the failure of the Democratic party establishment to get behind McGovern (1972), Carter's rejections of Keynesianism (and de facto espousal of monetarism) in roughly 1977, Blair's war on 'Bennism', the tolerance of/espousal of Reaganite anti-Communism by most sectors of the British left by the late 1980s/early 1990s, and so on.

    So what we are left with nowadays is angry working class people who would, in previous generations (i.e. the 1950s, and 1960s) have voted Communist or chosen some other 'radical' left wing option (and who did vote in such a way in the 1950s/1960s) no longer have that option.

    What the 'soft left' hoped is that, with 'radical' left wing options off the table, the proles would STFU and stop voting, or at least continue to vote for a 'nice' 'respectable' soft left party.

    What they failed to predict is that (as they were designed to do) neo-liberal policies immiserated the working class, leaving that class angrier than ever before.

    And so, the working class wanted to lash out, to register their anger, their fury. But, as noted before, the 'traditional' way to do that was off the table. Ergo: Trump, Brexit etc.

    If you help crush the communists then don't be surprised if, in 20 years time, you get the Nazis, because people who hate the system will vote to destroy it, and they will use whatever weapons are to hand to do so . If 'left wing' options aren't available, they will choose 'right wing' ones.

    We have all read this story book before: the 'social democrats' connived with the German state to crush the 1918/1919 working class uprising, and then were led, blubbering, to Dachau 20 years later. One wonders how many of them reflected that they themselves might be partially responsible for their fate.

    In the same way: the 'soft left' connived and collaborated with the Right to crush the 'radical left' in the US and the UK (and worldwide) and then were SHOCKED!! and AMAZED!! that the Right don't really like them very much and were only using them as a tool to defeat the organised forces of the working class, and that with the 'radicals' out of the way, the parties of the 'soft left' (with no natural allies left) can now be picked off one by one, at the Right's leisure.

    Boo hoo, so sad, oh well, never mind.

    J-D 01.07.17 at 9:58 am ( 47 )
    kidneystones

    Ya think?

    I think that the Democratic Party is unlikely to hand over power to the average man and woman in America, but I'm sure that the Republican Party is even less likely to do so; anybody who voted Republican in 2016 because it seemed the best chance of getting power for the average man and woman was played for a sucker.

    (Incidentally, if 'the donor class' means the same thing as 'rich people', wouldn't it be clearer to refer to them as 'rich people'? and if 'the donor class' means something different from 'rich people', what constitutes the difference?)

    gastro george 01.07.17 at 10:04 am ( 48 )
    @Dipper

    Any tirade against Corbyn is entirely pointless, because you're not addressing the reasons why he was elected, or what he represents. I think most of those that support him have a varying degree of criticism, and many would prefer a more able leader. The problem for Labour is that there is not a more able leader available that understands the need to ditch Third Way nonsense. If any of the PLP "big beasts" had done this in any meaningful way, instead of plotting against him, they would be leader by now.

    J-D 01.07.17 at 10:21 am ( 49 )
    Hidari

    So what we are left with nowadays is angry working class people who would, in previous generations (i.e. the 1950s, and 1960s) have voted Communist or chosen some other 'radical' left wing option (and who did vote in such a way in the 1950s/1960s) no longer have that option.

    In the US, only tiny numbers of voters supported Communist candidates in the 1950s and 1960s. It's true that the option of voting Communist no longer exists, because the Communist Party has stopped running candidates, but that seems to be a realistic response by the party to its derisory level of voter support. If there are people who still want to follow the Communist line, what they would have done in 2016 is turn out to vote against Trump (that's what the party was urging on its website; the information is still accessible).

    In Italy, on the other hand, it's true that large numbers of voters supported Communist candidates in the 1950s and 1960s; and in Italy, voters still have the option of supporting Communist candidates, but the numbers of those who choose to do so have become much smaller.

    People who voted for Trump weren't doing so because they were denied the option of voting Communist; and people who voted 'No' in the Italian referendum weren't doing so because they were denied the option of voting Communist.

    If you help crush the communists then don't be surprised if, in 20 years time, you get the Nazis, because people who hate the system will vote to destroy it, and they will use whatever weapons are to hand to do so.

    The original Nazis emerged and rose to power in a context where the Communists were trying to destroy the system, and also seeking to crush the Social-democrats; close to the opposite of the pattern you're describing.

    Hidari 01.07.17 at 10:56 am ( 50 )
    @28, @41

    Yes, and another situation where 'mostpeople' have failed to follow the logic of a situation through. Many intellectuals can see that it is not in the EU's interests for the UK to prosper out of the EU lest it 'encourager les autres'. Fewer have pointed out that this works the other way, too. It is no longer in the UK's interests for the EU to prosper (or, indeed, to continue), and a new nationalist orientated Conservative government might make moves in this direction.

    As Jeremy Corbyn alone has had the perspicacity to point out, insofar as there is a political movement in the UK that is most closely aligned with Donald Trump's Republicanism, it is the Conservatives under May (the UK's latest intervention vis a vis the UN and Israel was a blatant attempt to curry favour with the new American administration).

    And Trump, as we all know, is highly suspicious of the EU. Moreover, there is likely to be a battle between the 'liberal (in the highly specific American sense) leaning' intelligence services (the CIA etc.) and the Trump administration. Assuming Trump wins (not a certainty) it is possible/likely that Trump will use the newly 'energised' intelligence services to pursue a more 'American nationalism' orientated policy, and it is likely that this new approach will see the EU being viewed as much more of an economic competitor to the US, rather than a tool for the containment of Russia, as it is primarily seen at the moment.

    And, thanks to Obama, the CIA, NSA etc. have far more leeway and freedom to act than they did even 20 years ago. It is also possible/likely that MI5/MI6 might be 'let off the leash' by a British (or English) nationalist orientated Conservative Government.

    It is not implausible, therefore, that the US and the UK will use what 'soft' power they have to weaken the EU and sow division wherever they can. And of course the EU has enough problems of its own, such that these tactics might work. Certainly it is highly possible that the EU will simply not exist by 2050, or at least, not in the form that we have it at present.

    Igor Belanov 01.07.17 at 11:48 am ( 51 )
    dsquared @22

    "One of the consequences of the phenomenon you're discussing is that volatility is incredibly high. I'd never before seen a politically party as totally, irredeemably fecked as Fianna Fail in 2010, but look at them now."

    I think this is just one of the features of postmodern politics. For potential governmental parties they only have to retain enough support to be a realistic alternative, and even with 20% of the vote Fianna Fail had enough of a profile that an opportunistic campaign of opposition could lead to them recovering their fortunes to some extent at the next election. I suspect that even PASOK and New Democracy will receive a similar bounce at the next Greek election.

    These kind of stances usually involve avoiding too close a link to certain social groups and maintaining a distance from potentially principled and activist party memberships. This explains the hostility of Labour MPs towards Corbyn and the left of the party. They feel that ideological commitments and an orientation towards the poor and disadvantaged will reduce the party's freedom of maneuver, damaging their chances of capitalizing electorally on Tory failure.

    Of course, they have not provided any reason why anyone of a left-wing persuasion should support such a cynical and opportunistic worldview, apart from the fact that the Tories are evil. And they then wonder why many people are alienated from politics.

    gastro george 01.07.17 at 3:03 pm ( 52 )
    @Hidari

    "Fewer have pointed out that this works the other way, too. It is no longer in the UK's interests for the EU to prosper (or, indeed, to continue) "

    Interesting, I'd not seen that elsewhere. I'd be pretty certain that this is the objective of people like Hannan.

    ".. and it is likely that this new approach will see the EU being viewed as much more of an economic competitor to the US, rather than a tool for the containment of Russia, as it is primarily seen at the moment."

    Maybe less to do with competition than regulation? The Trump view is presumably that anything that restricts continued plundering of the economy, especially transnational institutions.

    @Igor

    "I think this is just one of the features of postmodern politics. For potential governmental parties they only have to retain enough support to be a realistic alternative "

    "This explains the hostility of Labour MPs towards Corbyn and the left of the party. They feel that ideological commitments and an orientation towards the poor and disadvantaged will reduce the party's freedom of manoeuvre, damaging their chances of capitalising electorally on Tory failure."

    Very good.

    gastro george 01.07.17 at 3:05 pm ( 53 )
    " The Trump view is presumably against anything that "
    Ronan(rf) 01.07.17 at 3:22 pm ( 54 )
    "Perhaps these parties are in fact in sync with global political trends because they are all nationalist parties and nationalism is clearly on the rise at the moment. "

    Yes, they are clearly part of the nationalist turn. Or at least I assume that is true of Plaid Cymru and the SNP, but it definitely is of Sinn Fein, who are policy wise a leftist party, but ideologically first and foremost a nationalist one. You can see this in polling on their support base, which tends to be more reactionary* and culturally conservative than even the irish centre right parties, yet Sinn Fein as a political party often takes position (such as their strong support for gay marriage) in opposition to the preferences of a large chunk of their base.

    This Is particularly the case with immigration, where for going on a decade local politicians have noted that this is one of the concerns they often hear in constituency work that they don't make a priority in national politics. It's difficult to (as Sinn Fein does) see yourself (rightly or wrongly) as the nationalism of a historically oppressed minority, and to support the rights of that minority in the north (I'm making no normative claims on the correctness of their interpretation) and then attack other minorities. This is why they're institutionally , and seemingly ideologically, commited to diversity and multiculturalism in the south of ireland, while also being fundamentally a nationalist party. (Question is (1) does this posture survive the current leadership , and (2) is it enough to stave off explicitly nativist parties**) Afaict this is also true of the snp, I don't know about PC.

    But there's still a lot of poison in it. "Anti englishness" , which a lot of this, (at least implicitly") can encourage , might be more acceptable than anti immigrant sentiment, but it's still qualitatively the same mind set.

    *this is 're a big chunk if their base, but by no means the full story.

    **basically what happens to the independent vote, which is (afaict)possibly the real populist turn in ireland.

    Daragh 01.07.17 at 5:06 pm (